Biden regains polling advantage. TRANSCRIPT: 7/29/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Jerry Nadler, Seth Moulton, Neera Tanden

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Joy.  That`s right.  You

can`t leave the building yet.  You have to go to a TV set to watch Chairman

Jerry Nadler who is going to lead us off tonight.  You don`t want a miss a

word of that.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  I will not miss a word.  Go for it.  Have a great



O`DONNELL:  OK.  Thank you, Joy.


REID:  Thank you.


O`DONNELL:  Congressman Jerry Nadler represents ground zero.  The 9/11

attack on the World Trade Center occurred in Jerry Nadler`s congressional

district.  Jerry Nadler was the first elected official to raise concerns

about the toxic fumes that first responders were exposed to in the rubble

of 9/11 when they were trying to rescue people buried under the debris,

including in some cases their friends and relatives. 


Jerry Nadler was a co-sponsor of the 9/11 victims compensation fund bill

which president Trump signed into law today in the Rose Garden where he

told a new lie about 9/11, because Donald Trump cannot speak about 9/11

without lying. 


We will show you the new lie that Donald Trump told about 9/11 today at the

end of this hour and remind you of some of his other vicious and

pathological lies about 9/11.  We will hear Jerry Nadler`s reaction to

Donald Trump`s latest lie about 9/11 when he joins us as our first guest



He was last here a month after the Democrats won back the House of

Representatives and a month before he took up the gavel of chairman of the

House Judiciary Committee.  My first questions to Congressman Nadler back

in December were about impeachment, and my first questions tonight to

Chairman Nadler will be about impeachment. 


In his 26th year in the House of Representatives, Jerry Nadler has become

the fourth chairman in the 206-year history of the House Judiciary

Committee to be handed the house judiciary chairman`s most solemn duty and

heaviest burden: to consider whether the House of Representatives should

impeach the president of the United States. 


Yesterday, Chairman Nadler said this. 




REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY:  We are investigating whether to report – whether

to approve articles of impeachment that are before the committee.  We will

make that determination. 




O`DONNELL:  You would think if Donald Trump was going to spend the weekend

attacking a member of the House of Representatives, the chairman, it would

be the chairman who has announced he is investigating the possible

impeachment of the president. 


But that is not who Donald Trump chose to attack this weekend.  He chose to

attack one of the three chairmen of the three most important committees

that are investigating Donald Trump in the Trump White House.  Here they

are at a press conference on Wednesday after Robert Mueller testified to

the House Judiciary Committee and then the House Intelligence Committee

chaired by Chairman Adam Schiff. 


Chairman Elijah Cummings was also at that press conference even though

Robert Mueller did not testify to his committee that day, because Chairman

Cummings is conducting multiple investigations of Donald Trump and the

Trump administration and the House Oversight Committee.  Chairman Cummings

last week led a committee vote to authorize subpoenas for senior White

House officials` communications via private email accounts and messaging

applications, including the electronic communications of the president`s

daughter and the president`s son-in-law who have been repeatedly using

private email for government purposes for which Donald Trump and everyone

supporting his campaign last time said Hillary Clinton should be locked up. 

That was the basis of their “lock her up” chant. 


Surely, Donald Trump does care about his daughter being exposed for doing a

much worse version of what Hillary Clinton was accused of doing, by using

private email for government communications.  But Donald Trump cares much

more about the possibility that he will be impeached.  Still, he chose to

spend the weekend attacking Elijah Cummings, not Jerry Nadler. 


The president fired off tweets about Chairman Cummings and his

congressional district, calling it the worst congressional district in the

country, without saying what “worst” means.  What could it be about Elijah

Cummings that makes Donald Trump want to spend the entire weekend attacking

him?  Why not Adam Schiff?  Why not Jerry Nadler?  What is it about Elijah

Cummings?  What could it possibly be? 


Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler

of New York.  He is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 


Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. 


NADLER:  Thank you. 


O`DONNELL:  And let me just start with what we all saw the president do

with Elijah Cummings this weekend in this tweet rant that went on and on. 

What is your interpretation of that? 


NADLER:  Well, my interpretation is it`s a racist and disgusting attack,

and it was designed to whip up racist sentiment on which the president is

hoping to base his reelection. 


O`DONNELL:  You`ve been watching here in New York since you got in trouble

with the Justice Department over racial discrimination in housing practices

with his father.  There is no surprise to you, I don`t think, in any of



Does it look to you like this is the campaign, this is the Trump

presidential campaign?  Try not to – don`t leave a single racist possible

vote behind. 


NADLER:  It certainly seems that`s a very large part of the Trump campaign. 

He`s making no attempt to reach out to anybody beyond his so-called base. 


His base – he is betraying his base in terms of all the economics.  He`s

handing – you know, he`s opposed to minimum wage increases, opposed to any

kind of health and safety regulations for the working people.  He`s not

bringing back manufacturing jobs. 


He`s doing everything against their interests, but he is appealing to

people`s nativism.  That`s what this whole immigration thing is about. 

He`s appealing to people`s nativism and their racial and other prejudices. 


O`DONNELL:  Now, you`ve said over the weekend, and you`ve said since

Friday, that the committee is considering articles of impeachment.  Are

these the articles that some members have introduced and tried to bring to

a vote in the House and have then been referred to your committee? 


NADLER:  We said this well before Friday, but the press finally picked up

on this.  We said in notices for hearings we held back on July 12th.  Yes,

there are articles of impeachment that were referred by various member –

that were introduced by various members of the committee – I`m sorry – of

the House several months ago that we referred to the committee.


And obviously, we are investigating all of the president`s crimes and

violations of the Constitution.  And we will present them to the American

people and we will do what we have to, and we will then consider whether to

report those articles of impeachment or some new articles of impeachment

which we may draft for ourselves to the floor, to the House. 


O`DONNELL:  And you said in a shorter version of that, in legal filings

seeking the underlying evidentiary material –


NADLER:  Seeking grand jury material. 


O`DONNELL:  Yes, in the Mueller report.  So, you`re telling a judge that we

are considering the impeachment – an impeachable procedure against this

president, so we need this information. 


NADLER:  Yes.  So, we need this information.  Grand jury information you

can`t get.  The court of appeals in Washington ruled that you don`t have

inherent right to grand jury information unless you come within one of the

statutory exceptions.  One of the statutory exceptions is a judicial

proceeding.  An impeachment is a judicial or preliminary judicial

proceeding, and we`ve told the court that we are investigating possible –

all Article 1 remedies and possible recommendation of impeachment articles

to the floor. 


And on the same basis, we`re going into court this week to enforce our

subpoena against former White House counsel McGahn, and we`ll be telling

the court that the enforcement of that subpoena is absolutely necessary in

our investigation of possible impeachment articles. 


O`DONNELL:  And when we first discussed this in December, I made the point

in basically introducing you that here is the person who is going to have

the unique power to initiate impeachment proceedings.  And as you`ve

pointed out over the weekend, there is more than one way to do this.  I

think a lot of people have fallen into the belief that the entire House has

to pass a resolution asking you to start impeachment, or authorizing you to



That`s one way.  That`s – a version of that has happened in the past.


NADLER:  A version of that – 


O`DONNELL:  But you can also just start it yourself. 


NADLER:  Well, there have been – impeachments have been started in several

ways.  Even the Nixon impeachment, the House directed the Judiciary

Committee to do an impeachment – to investigate impeachment articles about

six months after the committee started doing that. 




NADLER:  There have been a number of impeachments where the House never

made such a vote.  Impeachments of various judges, that went through, where

the committee did it on its own initiative.  And we certainly have ample

power to do that, and we`re doing it. 


O`DONNELL:  Might that be the way this – if this moves to formal

consideration of articles of impeachment where –  


NADLER:  We are in – 


O`DONNELL:  OK, go ahead. 


NADLER:  – consideration of articles of impeachment among other remedies. 

There is nothing called formal consideration. 


We are considering – we are investigating the actions of the president. 

We have impeachment resolutions on file with the committee.  We may

introduce others. 


And at the conclusion of our investigations, we will either vote on those

impeachment resolutions or we will not.  Maybe we`ll vote on essential or

something, but that`s all being considered now. 


O`DONNELL:  So, this – in other words, this looks a lot – this could look

a lot like the legislative process might, on some sort of criminal justice

legislation moving through your committee, which is to say you`re

investigating some kind of criminal justice reform, and after having a

bunch of informational hearings about it, at a certain point, the chairman

just comes out with basically a schedule saying, we`re going to have a vote

on these reforms on a given day. 


So – 


NADLER:  Essentially right. 


O`DONNELL:  – we could at some point down the road have a day where

Chairman Nadler announces that he is going to schedule a vote on two,

three, four, whatever it is, articles of impeachment on X date at X time,

release those articles, and that will be the moment. 


NADLER:  That`s (ph) – well, that will be the moment for the vote. 


O`DONNELL:  Yes, right.


NADLER:  But the – 


O`DONNELL:  But everything leading up to that is what people would think of

as an impeachment inquiry. 


NADLER:  Well, people can think what they want.  Everything leading up in

that is the process that leads up to possible voting on articles of

impeachment.  We have to – you know, we`ve accomplished several things, I



Number one, last week with the Mueller hearings, despite the press saying,

well, you know, he wasn`t the rock star and so forth, that`s not important. 

What`s important is that we broke the logjam of the lies being told by the

attorney general, by the president that the findings where of the Mueller

report were no collusion, no obstruction and total exoneration.  All three

of those are not true. 


The Mueller report found, after an exhaustive investigation very clearly

that the Russians attacked our democracy, that – in order to help the

Trump campaign.  That the Trump campaign welcomed that help, worked with

the Russians, formed their messaging strategy around anticipated releases

of information stolen by the Russians at certain periods of time.  That the

president lied to investigators and lied to the American people, that he

told other people to lie to investigators.  All of those are very serious

crimes of obstruction of justice. 


So, you now have the Mueller report, and I think this word will seep out,

that they found very serious evidence of very serious crimes by the

president when president – plus they`re working with the Russians to

subvert an American election, which is another serious crime. 


And we have to look into this now.  We have to lay out more evidence before

the American people.  We have to get the witnesses – the Mueller report is

a summary of what other witnesses told them.  We have to get the same

witnesses – Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, Cory Lewandowski, other people, to

come in and testify. 


And we are breaking the logjam.  This is what our litigation is designed to

do, to break the logjam of the administration doing what was unprecedented,

denying all congressional subpoenas, denying all information.  Nixon did

much less than that in terms of opposing subpoenas and that was Article 3

of the impeachment of Nixon.  This president said right out front he`s

going to deny all subpoenas. 


But we have to break that logjam, and we are in the strongest position of

doing so when we can honestly tell the court we`re doing so for the purpose

of considering how to discipline the president, where we need and whether

we should vote articles of impeachment. 


O`DONNELL:  More and more members of the House want to move into a vote on

articles of impeachment.  We`re now up to 100 – well over 100, 109,

something like that, today.  There seems to have been significant movement

since the Mueller hearing. 


What do you – what is the – what is the point of this count?  Is there a

spot we`re going to get to in that number where something changes in the

dynamic in the House? 


NADLER:  Well, I don`t know that the specific number is that important, but

obviously the more members of the House say that we should on articles of

impeachment or even just have an inquiry, the more – the easier it is

politically to do it.  Now, this should not be a political issue, but it is

political to some extent because it`s not traditional. 


But it makes it easier, and it shows the numbers who have seen the serious

nature of the allegations and the serious evidence here, and also who have

seen back home that people are paying attention and are getting more

involved in this.  Because ultimately, the American people, if we`re going

to vote articles of impeachment, the American people have to be in a

position to support that. 


O`DONNELL:  Nancy Pelosi seems more reluctant to go in this direction than

you do.  From my observation having worked in the Senate for a committee

chairman, it is common for a leader of one of the bodies to be in a

slightly different posture on something than a chairman.  That happens in

multiple directions all the time.


Where do you see yourself in terms of – 


NADLER:  Let me just say –


O`DONNELL:  Go ahead.


NADLER:  The lawsuit we brought last Friday to get the grand jury material. 

The lawsuit we`re bringing this week to get McGahn`s testimony.  And if we

break McGahn, we`ll get everybody else`s testimony because it`s the same

legal issue.


O`DONNELL:  Uh-huh.


NADLER:  They could not have been brought without the strong support of

Speaker Pelosi.  They`re being brought by the House counsel, which is his

office which is controlled by the speaker, not by the chairman of Judiciary

Committee.  And Speaker Pelosi is just as determined to hold this president

accountable as anyone. 


O`DONNELL:  All right.  Let me just go to something before you go, which is

the president`s 9/11 lie today.  I just to want show this to the audience

before we discuss it. 





firefighters, police officers and other first responders.  And I was down

there also, but I`m not considering myself a first responder, but I was I

down there.  I spent a lot of time down there with you.  Since September

11th, we – 




O`DONNELL:  That was an audience that had a lot of people who were down

there.  None of them clapped for that, indicating that they don`t believe

he was down there and some people who were there told “The New York Times”

afterwards, no, he was not down there. 


NADLER:  Well, I was there, not all the time.  I never saw him there. 


I thought what the – what the federal government did in the aftermath of

the 9/11 disaster was shameful.  I fault no one for working on the pile

without proper respiratory equipment the first three days when he may have

been saving people and there might have been people still buried there. 

But after three days, it was a cleanup, not a rescue operation.


And you had the head of the EPA and the mayor of the city of New York, for

that matter, is assuring everybody that the air was safe to breathe, and we

know perfectly well it was not safe to breathe.  I was telling people,

don`t send your kids back to school, don`t go to work there, don`t work on

the pile because it is not – 




O`DONNELL:  What made you think that at that point? 


NADLER:  Well, because you went down there –


O`DONNELL:  You went down there. 


NADLER:  I was down there.


O`DONNELL:  You smelt it. 


NADLER:  Right, you smelt it, obviously, but you saw the dust over

everything.  You knew that within that dust, there had to be asbestos, had

to be fine bits of concrete. 


The first two days that they were saying that the air was safe to breathe,

we really didn`t have scientific data, we just had suspicions.  After that,

we knew they were lying.  We had the scientific data.  We had

environmentalist groups telling us.


And people were being told, it`s safe to work there.  It`s safe to go back

to school.  It`s safe to work on the pile. 


It was – it was – I get so upset.  It was not only unjustified, it was

manslaughter.  It`s manslaughter on the part of the federal government and

the mayor of the city at that point to allow people – or to tell people it

was safe when we knew it wasn`t safe.  And people are dying and will

continue to die because of that today. 


O`DONNELL:  Chairman Jerry Nadler, thank you very much for joining us

tonight.  I really appreciate it. 


NADLER:  Thank you. 


O`DONNELL:  Thank you.


When we come back, we have a new polling tonight on the eve of the next

Democratic presidential debate. 


And later, Mitch McConnell is very, very upset, and he went to the floor of

the United States Senate to talk about the comments that he has found so

upsetting.  Hint:  those comments were not made by Donald Trump. 




O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump won the Electoral College with Russia`s help, as

the Mueller report shows, and it seems Donald Trump wants Russia`s help

again for his reelection campaign.  And that could be why.  Dan Coats, now

that he has left the director of national intelligence, will be replaced if

Donald Trump has his way, by this guy.




REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX):  He manages to represent sacred traditions

about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about potential

crimes that aren`t charged.  So, Americans need to know this as they listen

to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle. 




O`DONNELL:  Tonight, NBC news is reporting that there is no legal record of

Congressman Ratcliffe participating in any terror prosecutions when he

served in the Bush Justice Department in Texas, even though the

congressman`s website claims he, quote, put terrorists in prison. 


If Donald Trump manages to get Texas congressman John Ratcliffe confirmed

by the Senate as his next director of national intelligence, the president

will continue his record-breaking pace of appointing inexperienced and

utterly incompetent people to his administration and his cabinet. 


Joining us now is Brett McGurk who served in senior national security

positions under Presidents Bush, Obama and President Trump.  He is also a

senior foreign affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. 


Also joining us is Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton from Massachusetts,

a member of the Armed Services Committee.  He`s also a Democratic candidate

for president.


Congressman Moulton, let me start with you, and your reaction to the

possibility of Congressman Ratcliffe being the next head of the

intelligence operations of this country.



important conclusion of Robert Mueller`s investigation is that Russia

attacked the United States.  And what John Ratcliffe did to earn this

nomination is undermine Robert Mueller in the United States Congress.  He`s

playing politics with a national security issue.  And that is the last

thing we need as the director of national intelligence. 


You know, who we should have is someone like Will Hurd, a fellow

congressman who actually had the courage to ask tough, pointed questions

about Russia – whether Russia will infiltrate and meddle in the 2020

elections.  Robert Mueller said yes, they will.  And, oh, by the way, Will

Hurd is also a former CIA officer.  He actually has a background in

intelligence which John Ratcliffe does not. 


O`DONNELL:  But he didn`t do anything in that hearing that pleased the



MOULTON:  That`s right.  And so, once again, the president is getting rid

of people who tell the truth and replacing them with people who will played

politics.  This is a national security issue.  This is why we need to take

on Donald Trump as commander in chief, not just as president, but as

commander in chief in that – in this race.  That`s what I`m doing in this

presidential race. 


I actually think it`s where Donald Trump is weakest.  It`s also just

fundamental to our national security.  We need to show how we need to keep

America safe. 


O`DONNELL:  Brett, this happens only if the United States Senate confirms

the president`s nominee, but this Senate has not been requiring much by way

of qualification for Trump nominees. 



interesting, and I very much agree with the excellent points Seth just

made, but there is a statute here for why this position was created.  It

was created after the attacks of 9/11, and the first section of the statute

that creates the ODNI says the director of national intelligence shall have

extensive national security experience.  That`s a statutory requirement. 

So that`s something obviously the Senate is going to pick up. 


I just want to echo what Seth said.  This is such an important position.  I

mean, I`ve been to multiple meetings in the situation room, and what the

director of national intelligence does is he frames the meeting.  At the

beginning of each meeting, it is ODNI, that office, the principal, who

basically lays out the facts of the decision that the president has to

decide.  These are weighty things our country faces such as you`re sitting

with a real hero on our set, sending our men and women off to foreign



So, this an extremely consequential appointment and I think the Senate has

some real due diligence to do. 


O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what John Brennan had to say about this.




JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR:  I have no sense that Trump is looking

for somebody to speak truth to him about all of these challenges around the

globe that really threaten our national security.  And Mr. Ratcliffe does

not give me any confidence at all that he`s going to be able to direct the

men and women of the intelligence community to do what they need to do at

this troubling time. 




O`DONNELL:  Seth, it may be all up to Mitch McConnell. 


MOULTON:  A lot of things are in today`s world, which is why we have to get

rid of Mitch McConnell.  But, you know, Brett is absolutely right.  These

are national security issues, and one of the things that is true about any

leadership position, but especially president of the United States, is you

have to have people around you who will tell you the bad news.  That`s a

quote from John F. Kennedy. 


He said, you`ve got to have people who are going to tell you the bad news,

tell you the truth, and not play politics with something as fundamental as

keeping our country safe.  And these decisions about whether we put young

men and women into combat, and whether we respect the work of our

intelligence professionals who are risking their lives every single day to

keep us safe.  Every intelligence agency in the United States government

concluded that Russia attacked the United States, but we have a president

who would rather trust Putin. 


Dan coats, I don`t agree with them on everything, but he was willing to

stand up to the president and tell the president when he was wrong.  That`s

obviously why he resigned.  I`m not sure John Ratcliffe will do the same. 


O`DONNELL:  Brett, there are a lot of jobs in the federal government where

you can install as the boss someone who has no idea what they`re doing or

even someone who has bad intentions.  But as long as that person is

surrounded by people who do have honorable intentions, do have experience

and do know how to control the ball, that person at the top can sometimes

be rendered harmless.  Is this one of those jobs? 


MCGURK:  I really don`t think so.  This is not the kind of job where you

can kind of learn on the job.  I mean, the reason this job was created is

that this is the job that prioritizes, that collects and that sets

basically the prioritization of all the intelligence community of this

government from 16 different intelligence agencies.  And basically delivers

the presidential daily brief to the president every day. 


So, it is one of the most important jobs in government.  It`s in the

shadows.  That statute I mentioned said that this position shall not sit in

the executive office of the president.  It`s supposed to be independent

because you have to do exactly what Seth said, tell the president the



When I was on the National Security Council to President Bush and was

spending time in the Oval Office, I asked his new chief of staff John

Bolton, any advice?  He said, yes, tell the president the truth in five

minutes every morning.  That`s what you have to do to protect the country,

that`s what presidents deserve, and obviously, I think there is some pause

about this appointment and I hope the Senate does its job. 


O`DONNELL:  Seth, with you here as a member of Congress, two things I want

to touch on very quickly.  Impeachment, you already said you`re in favor of



MOULTON:  Absolutely.  In fact, I was the first person in this entire

presidential field to not only come out in favor of having this impeachment

investigation but actually voting for it in Congress back in December of

2017.  And I understand the political arguments for why it`s tough and the

politics are difficult.  I get the fact that the polling is not with us



But how about just doing the right thing by the Constitution, the

Constitution that I swore an oath to protect and defend?  I didn`t swear an

oath to protect and defend the politics of my party or the politics of the

2020 election.  I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of

the United States.  And that`s what we have to do here. 


It`s up to us Democrats now to uphold the law, to have this impeachment

inquiry, because the law is actually very simple.  Mueller made it clear he

didn`t think he could prosecute the president, but if the president break

the laws the law, and you impeachment proceedings, I don`t know why

Democrats are so afraid to do that. 


O`DONNELL:  The oath you took is to defend the Constitution against enemies

foreign and domestic. 


MOULTON:  Foreign and domestic.


O`DONNELL:  Is Donald Trump a domestic enemy of the Constitution? 


MOULTON:  I think he is.  And when you have a commander in chief, not just

a president, but a commander in chief who is more interested in listening

to Russia than our own intelligence professionals, what message does that

send to a country of people who volunteer to serve in our military? 


Brett was our man on the ground in Iraq for many years.  That`s how I got

to know him.  And he is working every day to understand what we need to do

in an incredibly difficult place like Iraq. 


What does it say to him if he believes the commander in chief won`t listen

to what he says because he`d rather learn of the political interpretation

of his new director of national intelligence?  That`s what at stake here. 

That`s what at stake in this election. 


It`s why we need to take on Donald Trump not just as president, but as

commander in chief.  I believe he`s been derelict in his duty to keep this

country safe. 


O`DONNELL:  Congressman Seth Moulton gets the LAST WORD in this discussion. 

Brett McGurk, thank you, too, for joining us.  Really appreciate it. 


MCGURK:  Thank you.


And when we come back, we have new polling tonight in the Democratic

presidential campaign on the eve of the next debate.


And later Donald Trump`s new lie about 9/11, we will take a look at it, we

will analyze it. We will take a look at what we can - we think we can see

him thinking when he`s telling that lie.




O`DONNELL: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Joe Biden returning to a strong lead

in the Democratic field of presidential candidates. In that poll Joe Biden

has moved back up to 34 percent, that`s up 12 points in the Quinnipiac poll

from earlier this month.


Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is in second position in that poll

with 15 percent, that`s up one point in the last month. Kamala Harris is

that 12 percent and that is down eight points from the last Quinnipiac



Bernie Sanders is in fourth position in the poll now 11 percent, down two

points from the last Quinnipiac poll. And Pete Buddha judges at six

percent, that is up two points from the last Quinnipiac poll.


Today senator Harris released her own Medicare-for-All proposal, that is of

course different from the Medicare-for-All proposal introduced by senator

Bernie Sanders in the Senate that is co-sponsored by Senator Elizabeth

Warren and Senator Kamala Harris. Unlike a Senator Sanders` plan, Senator

Harris`s proposal would reserve a role for private insurance as supplement

to Medicare.


Elizabeth Warren is also up with a new international trade plan today,

which she discussed during a town hall in Toledo Ohio.





policy basically for decades and it kind of boils down to this, do whatever

the giant multinational corporations want America to do.


In Warren administration, you know who`s going to be in the room to

negotiate? It`s going to be labor, workers, small businesses, small

farmers, environmentalist, people who care about human rights.




O`DONNELL: After a break we will get into the presidential campaign with

Neera Tanden and Jonathan Capehart. We`ll be right back.




O`DONNELL: Today, presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris was asked

about Donald Trump`s weekend of racist attacks on Congressman Elijah






done from the time he became a candidate, which he is trying to divide this

country. He`s trying to divide this country. He`s trying to say it`s us

versus them. That is not reflective of a leader and certainly not an

American leader.


But the American people are smarter than that. I believe in the American

people. And we know that that`s not reflective of who we are. We know that

the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.




O`DONNELL: Sharing our discussion now is Neera Tanden. She is a former

senior adviser to President Obama. She was on the staff of Hillary

Clinton`s first presidential campaign. She is president and CEO of the

Center for American Progress.


Jonathan Capehart is with us. He`s an opinion writer for The Washington

Post and MSNBC Contributor.


Neera, as a presidential campaign veteran, what is it like on the eve of a

presidential debate when a new poll comes out that kind of reshapes the

whole - the standing of things?



think despite what the polls say, what was clear from last - the last

debate is that you have to go into the debates and really try to meet your

campaign goals, which is, I think for most of these candidates, is to show

that they are ready to go toe to toe with Donald Trump.


Kamala did that in the last debate. I think she`ll have an opportunity to

do that in the coming days in the next debate. But I think each of these

candidates tomorrow and the next day want to show that they are ready, not

for this fight they will have with Democrats, but truly with - they`re

prepared to actually take on Trump. He was - we see today is really a

street fighter.


O`DONNELL: Jonathan, your reaction to the new poll.



Well it is kind of interesting that the Vice President Biden has gone up,

but that Senator Harris has gone down as the Q-poll showed minus 8.


But I looked at the fine print at the bottom where you have the margin of

error. And I went back to the Q-poll`s announcement - press release about

this poll. And it`s plus or minus five percentage points on a sample size

that`s just about 560 Democrats or lean Democrat.


And so that`s a very - that`s very volatile. And so I think going into - I

mean, seeing these numbers it gives you sort of an idea of where the race

is. But with a margin of error that big and a drop so big for Senator

Harris and for some of the other candidates, I think the race might be a

little closer to what the old numbers were.


But going into this debate, these debates is the same as it was going into

the first set of debates and that is Vice President Biden is the front-

runner in this campaign. He has strong - he has very strong support.


And to Neera`s point, tomorrow all the candidates are going to have to make

the case, but especially the ones on the stage with Vice President Biden on

the second night are going to have to try to do things, say things that

dampen his support or at least make people give them a second look.


O`DONNELL: Neera, one of the very important elements of this poll, which is

actually consistent with many other polls, and that is the question of

Donald Trump. Definitely vote for Donald Trump 32%, consider voting for

Donald Trump 12%, which would put him up at a maximum to 44%. And then this

stunning number, definitely not vote for Trump, 54%.


Neera, as you know in campaigning, the hardest thing you can possibly try

to do in campaigning is change the mind of someone who says I definitely

will not vote for you.


TANDEN: Yes, I mean, this is this is a flashing red light for the Trump

campaign. And I think, honestly, one of the reasons why Mitch McConnell

doesn`t want to pass an election security bill is, because I honestly

believe they think they need outside help for this.


Because the 54% do not - will not support really under any circumstance is

really a problem for any campaign. And I want to underscore one additional

point. When you look at the numbers, actually 49% of white voters are

saying that they will absolutely not support him and only 38% are saying

they will support him.


So after all this racism where a lot of pundits said that it`s actually

going to help him with white voters and it`s actually a super smart ploy to

invoke his base, what you`re seeing is that he`s actually repelling a

majority of the country from his divisive, racist rhetoric.


And you know I think the challenge for the Trump campaign is Donald Trump

himself. You know the person that he is, is just used to dividing and not

adding. It`s you know playing this kind of us versus them politics, which I

think the country is hopefully very tired of.


O`DONNELL: And Jonathan it seemed the President - his campaign this weekend

was he doesn`t want to leave a single possible racist vote for him behind.


CAPEHART: Yes. I mean, it`s stunning that a man who burst onto the national

political scene by questioning the citizenship of the first African-

American President, who announced his campaign on June 16, 2015, by saying

within the first two minutes that Mexicans were rapists.


The idea that there were more stones to unturn is incredible, so this

weekend it was just bizarre and bananas. I don`t know how else to describe



O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, Neera Tanden thanks for joining us tonight,

really appreciate it.


And when we come back, Mitch McConnell is very, very upset he had to go to

the Senate floor because there was something he desperately needed to talk

about on the floor. It wasn`t legislation. It was comments that upset him

and it was not something President Trump said.




O`DONNELL: Mitch McConnell rushed to the Senate floor today to express his

outrage over Donald Trump`s racist weekend rant against Congressman Elijah





SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): First there`s something I need to address.




O`DONNELL: Nah, it wasn`t the Trump weekend of public racist rants. That

didn`t bother the Majority Leader of the United States Senate one bit. He

didn`t care about that, hasn`t said a word about that. Here is what Mitch

McConnell felt he had to urgently address.




MCCONNELL: Over the last several days, I was called unpatriotic, un-

American and essentially treasonous by a couple of Left wing pundits.




O`DONNELL: Not me. Not guilty. Didn`t do it.




O`DONNELL: The smear that I am quote “a Russian asset” ran in the opinion

pages of the Washington Post. The accusation that I`m quote “un-American”

was broadcast on MSNBC. This is the state Mr. President of Left-wing

politics in 2019.




O`DONNELL: No it`s not. The person who called Mitch McConnell un-American

on MSNBC on Friday, which provoked Mitch McConnell to go to the Senate

floor today to complain about it, is not a Left-winger. He is a former

Republican Congressman.




JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST MSNBC: I want to talk about Moscow Mitch. Moscow

Mitch says it`s a hoax. How could Moscow Mitch so willingly turn a blind

eye? Moscow Mitch won`t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-

American. He`s Moscow Mitch.




O`DONNELL: Joe Scarborough called him Moscow Mitch 16 times Friday morning

when I was watching Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough was objecting to the very

same thing that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was objecting to in

his column entitled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset”. Dana Milbank is

not a Left-winger. Dana Milbank is not a partisan, political columnist.


Dana Milbank who has now found his way into the Congressional Record

through Mitch McConnell`s complaining speech today, said that “Mitch

McConnell is a Russian asset because he is blocking legislation requiring

presidential campaigns to report any offers of assistance from foreign

governments to the FBI”.


Dana Milbank wrote this about Mitch McConnell. Presumably he thinks

whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him. He`s

up for reelection in 2020 and his party.


So the lesson of the day is, do not dare call Mitch McConnell a Russian

asset or un-American or “Moscow Mitch” because if you do, he just might

repeat some of your words into the congressional record where your words

will live forever.




O`DONNELL: Donald Trump did it again today, he did what he always does when

he talks about 9/11, he lied. This time he told them new lie and the proof

that it is a lie is right there in the video recording of what the

President said.


The proof is the silence after the President said it - a silent that speaks

the truth to the President`s lie. Today Donald Trump profanely and falsely

tried to include himself among the very brave people who went to Ground

Zero where the World Trade Center once stood and exposed themselves to the

toxic debris there that made so many of the first responders fall ill, some

fatally ill.


Here is President Trump reading his teleprompter today at the bill signing

of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, a bill that the President did

absolutely nothing to help pass.





firefighters, police officers and other first responders. And I was down

there also, but I`m not considering myself a first responder. But I was

down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.


Since September 11th, we have lost more than 2,000 first responders and

survivors to 9/11 related cancers and illnesses.




O`DONNELL: You notice it`s when the President goes off his teleprompter

that he adds his grotesque lie - I was down there also, but I`m not

considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot

of time down there with you. And that statement was greeted by silence from

the people in that audience who were down there.


If Donald Trump spent a lot of time down there with them, they would have

applauded. Instead, the people who know the truth were silent.


Richard Alles was a Deputy Chief with the New York Fire Department on 9/11

and was in the Rose Garden today when the President lied to his face. He

told “The New York Times” today that he spent many months at Ground Zero

and he never saw Donald Trump.


Mr. Alles told “The Times” he had vivid memories of other people being

there, like Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney who was one of the

sponsors of the bill that the President signed today. But Carolyn Maloney`s

office said that she was not invited to the White House bill signing.


This is what makes Donald Trump such a pathological liar. That he will lie

directly to people who he knows the truth. Now we`re going to run that

video of the lie once again, so that you can watch the pathological process

he goes through.


And, I think, what you will see on his face in the small space that he

leaves for applause is the very quick realization that he is more likely to

get booed for his deplorable lie and so he chooses to race on to the next

sentence in his teleprompter. Take another look.




TRUMP: Many of those affected were firefighters, police officers and other

first responders. And I was down there also, but I`m not considering myself

a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there

with you.


Since September 11th we have–




O`DONNELL: It`s not the worst lie he`s told about 9/11. His worst lie about

9/11 was a lie he told only twice in about a 12 hour period and then never

told it again. And the fact that he did not tell that lie again today is

further proof that it is a lie.


And it is a lie that he got away with, because when you look at the lists

of Trump 9/11 lies that most news reports have assembled today, this lie

isn`t on most of those lists and so it remains the great forgotten Trump

lie about 9/11.


In the South Carolina Republican primary debate, Donald Trump told the lie

that he lost hundreds of friends on 9/11.




TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center - the World -

excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends–




TRUMP: I immediately tweeted that that was a lie when I heard him say it

that night. And the next day on “Meet the Press” Donald Trump reduced his

lie to quote “many, many friends”.




TRUMP: I was there. I lost many, many friends in that tragedy.




O`DONNELL: And I immediately tweeted that that was also a lie and Donald

Trump never said it again.


Donald Trump lost zero friends on 9/11. Donald Trump attended zero 9/11

funerals – zero. Not hundreds, zero.


And if Donald Trump had attended even a single 9/11 funeral or if he had

lost a single distant acquaintance on 9/11, you would have heard about that

today.  If Donald Trump lost many, many friends on 9/11, you would have

heard about that today.  So Donald Trump`s silence today about his own

lying claim of suffering the loss of hundreds of friends on 9/11 proves

once again that he was lying when he tried to steal the grief of the people

who lost loved ones on 9/11 and make that grief his own.  And it proves

once again that Donald Trump will lie to anyone at any time, in any place,

on any occasion, no matter how sacred or solemn, about anything.


That is tonight`s LAST WORD.  “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts








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