Trump tweets insults at Rep. Tlaib. TRANSCRIPT: 8/16/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: They`re not saying whether this is a male or
female doctor, but Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope that is the
byproduct of nuclear fission.
If this report in “The Moscow Times” today is correct, doctors` turning up
Casesium-137 in their bodies is a very bad sign about what happened last
week in Russia.
What exactly happened in that explosion? How bad was it? How dangerous does
it continue to be? Have they cleaned up whatever it is that happened? Have
they cleaned up the blast site itself? We are over a week out now. We still
really have no idea.
I will tell you, though, that the nation of Norway is now saying that
0they`ve detected radiation on their Russian border. This whole story is
still unspooling. We will keep you apprised as we learn more. Watch the
space. That`s going to do it for us tonight. Now it`s time for “Last Word”
where Ari Melber is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. Have a great weekend.
MADDOW: Appreciate it. You too, my friend.
MELBER: Absolutely. I am Ari Melber. I`m in for Lawrence O`Donnell, and
tonight, Donald Trump has some troubling poll numbers that even he is
concerned about filling the crack – 40 percent in these potential matchups
with Democratic opponents.
That may not even be the worst of it. Check this out, the president finding
new ways to create diplomatic crises of his own making around the globe.
We`re not even just talking about the idea of buying Greenland.
And then there`s this fresh reporting, “he`s rattled.” That is how one
Republican is now describing President Trump`s fears, his state of mind,
his private anxiety facing these potential economic jitters according to
new reporting fresh tonight from “The Washington Post.”
Donald Trump has long been banking on a strong economy to be his key, his
path to some sort of narrow Electoral College re-election. Now, in public
and in private, the president apparently shaken by these jitters and this
market slump this week.
“The Post” reporting, “Munting signs of global economic stress this week
have alarmed President Trump who`s worried a downturn could imperil his re-
election. The president has sounded anxious and apprehensive.”
Or take this from “The New York Times,” “In private, he has expressed his
own anxiety about the economy taking a dive knowing his electoral fortunes
are likely tied to it.”
And that`s not all. While those are accounts from rigorous and fact check
newspapers, there are other indicators that the president follows as well,
like this new polling from Fox News. A growing number of Americans simply
unhappy with the way Donald Trump deals with the economy.
And this is of course any big market adjustment hits, if it does hit.
Forty-six percent of voters say that imposing tariffs on these import
products from places like China hurts the economy.
So as the president`s fears rise how does he respond? Well, we`re seeing a
pattern. It`s one you may know about. It`s a type of deflection and
division attacking political rivals.
Here`s how “The New York Times” described Trump`s rally last night in New
Hampshire, “His speech was at times a greatest hits album of favorite
lines, replaying the 2016 campaign against Clinton, bashing the news media,
Democrats and America`s allies in Europe. Typically rambling, veering on
and off scripts seemingly at random over a hour and a half”
“The Times” reports, “that the president repeated points he had already
made earlier in the evening as if he did not remember already making them”.
The president also failing to address the recent mass shootings in El Paso
And at one point, Donald Trump apparently always looking for something to
attack turned apparently on a supporter, on a fellow MAGA traveler who the
president apparently erroneously thought was a protester.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That guy`s got a serious
weight problem. Go home, start exercising. Get him out of here, please. Got
a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now, he
goes home and his mom says what the hell have you just done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And while Donald Trump may be happy to blame old and new enemies
for his own problems, he is not addressing his own accountability. And that
may explain why he is reportedly uninterested in even exploring policies or
steps he could take to deal with these economic problems.
Turning to that “Post” reporting, get this, “officials in the White House,
at Treasury and throughout the administration planning, no new steps to
attempt to stave off a recession.”
So the president is not leading, if the buck doesn`t stop with him. If the
great deal maker that we heard about so much in 2016 literally hasn`t done
anything to the degree that “The Washington Post” can even say there`s a
plan. Then what is the plan?
Well, if you have followed the news and you`re watching the news so maybe
you have, you can probably guess this part. Apparently, the plan is deny
there`s any problem at all. “The Post” reporting, “Donald Trump has a
conspiratorial view at this point telling confidants he doesn`t trust the
statistics that he sees reported about the economy in the media.”
This is not the last time we are likely to hear that kind of response from
this president about problems that independent experts and independent data
says he`s responsible as we head towards an election that, again, according
to the reporting, he is now nervous about.
We have a lot in tonight`s edition of “last word.” Leading off our
discussion, former Republican congressman, David Jolly of Florida, an MSNBC
analyst and Christina Greer, political scientist and associate professor at
Fordham University. Good to see both of you. David, what jumps out to you
here in this picture as we head into the weekend?
DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes, a lot there, Ari, to unpack. The
president set the national narrative, the nation`s priorities, at a podium
at the microphone. And it`s important to see what we didn`t hear last
We didn`t hear focus on how to protect the nation from greater gun
violence, how to address the violence we saw in Texas and California and
Ohio. We didn`t hear a defense of the fundamental liberties of expression
and dissent that are being challenged by one of our greatest allies in
Instead what we saw the president trying to sell an economy that, Ari, you
know, conventional wisdom is the president is focused on the economy
because it`s his greatest strength. I don`t think he`s focused on it
because the economy is so strong. I think he`s focused on selling it
because there`s a fundamental uncertainty among voters about the economy.
Consider if you are not part of the – if you are the 50 percent that is
not in the market. Your economic situation is not appreciably different
than it was under Barack Obama.
And if you are in that 50 percent, you are enjoying the traditional growth
in your savings that you saw under Obama. But there`s an injection of
uncertainty on a daily basis by this president. So wherever you are in the
economy today, you`re worried.
Donald Trump is not touting the economy. He`s trying to sell it because he
knows that the voters are uncertain about it. This is a president very
worried and also not focused, frankly, on the issues that have the most
urgency among the American people this week which are gun violence and this
issue with Israel.
CHRISTINA GREER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with the congressman. I think
we also didn`t hear a link to these tax cuts that he promised would, you
know, be a real boom for regular Americans and their pocket books (ph).
I mean, I agree with the congressman in the sense that we`re talking about
the overarching economy. When it comes to dollars and cents for actual
Americans, they`re not seeing their lives improve. And I think that`s
what`s making the president quite nervous.
The other piece is this president focuses consistently on the campaigning
phase of the job and not really – isn`t really quite interested in the
governance phase. And the governance piece is really making sure that the
tax cuts that he and his party passed actually trickle down to regular
Americans, which they have not and they will not.
Because we knew – we knew when before it was passed and we knew when the
president was touting it, that it would help him and hs cronies and his
friends and his members of Congress who were Republicans.
And so now we see as we get closer and closer to 2020, the president will
be on a full-fledge campaigning phase, but he will have to answer some
questions hopefully from someone about governance.
And hopefully lots of Democratic candidates will also really link the
failure of the tax cuts and his tax plan to what`s really happening to
Americans when they, you know, get a check every two weeks or if they get a
check every two weeks.
We have to remember, the vast majority of Americans do not have a savings
account and they don`t have quite a bit of money in 401(k) and in sort of
long-term planning and that`s unfortunate. That`s not a problem that
started with Donald Trump.
It`s definitely not a problem that started with Barack Obama. But that`s a
reality that we are facing as a nation and this president has not made the
situation better at all.
MELBER: Congressman, Donald Trump`s not the first politician to trade on
fear and try to buy low and sell high. But I wondered if you have ever seen
anything quite like one of the claims he made as he was sort of clearly
improvising. I mean, “The Times” reporting it was 90 minutes with
repetition as the economy seeped out on his mind last night. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: See, the bottom line is I know you like me and this room is a love
fest, I know that. But you have no choice but to vote for me because your
401(k)s, down the tubes, everything is going to be down the tubes. So
whether you love me or hate me, you`ve got to vote for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What is that there?
JOLLY: He is the master of making hypothetical comparative arguments. We
have seen this everyday of this administration. His fundamental argument is
essentially you would be worse off with Democrats. So if things are good I
will make them greater. If they`re bad they would be worse under Democrats.
And that`s essentially what he`s selling. And his followers will believe
him and his critics won`t. You know, we often look at the comparative
analysis of economic indicators going into an election, and there`s a lot
of focus on that rightly so.
But there`s a factor that`s not an economic indicator but I think a
political one when it comes to the economy, and that is the factor of
resentment. I think one thing this economy has contributed to is an
acceleration of the wealth gap.
And so if you are not a beneficiary of this economy, you are looking at a
tax plan that benefits the wealthy. You`re looking at uncertainty for
health care in the Obama lawsuit. You`re looking at more challenges to
homeownership for lower and middle class income families.
And as a result, we may be in an economy that`s continuing to steadily
grow, but if you`re not on the right side of that economy, what you`re
going to get is resentment among voters. And I believe strongly that that
This is not an enthusiastic economy like we sometimes see in a bubble, the
dot-com or the housing bubble if you will. This is simply an economy that`s
continuing to steadily grow but it`s burdened by an uncertainty we
typically don`t see in past growth cycles.
MELBER: I wonder also Congressman in terms of just on the policy side of
this, things do over time follow the leader. And while the president`s own
team is worried that the federal government is somehow out to get him,
“deep state,” we hear lots about that lately.
But it would seem that at the top, folks are following his lead, however
much it contradicts just standard non-partisan policy planning. Take a look
at more of this reporting.
“Administration officials reportedly not actively planning for a recession
because they don`t believe one will occur. They worry making such plans
would validate a negative narrative about the economy and precipitate a
crash, according to people involved in internal discussions.”
I mean, Congressman, does that even sound proper to you? Isn`t their whole
job to have a plan A and B, not worry about or they`re having a plan B will
make people fear that plan B will be necessary?
JOLLY: Look, this is the danger that Donald Trump injects upon the
country. I mean, he will not let his closest advisers provide him with the
best intelligence or information. If it`s matters of national security or
the economy, the president simply doesn`t want to hear it because he
believes he`s the smartest person in the room.
It is, Ari, why we see such uncertainty. We know that the Dow has grown,
and if you`re in that market, if you`re in the equity market, you have more
money in your accounts today but you are rattled by the insecurity of a
president who by a single tweet can inject volatility into a market.
And depending on which industry you`re most closely associated with, either
through your labor or your investment, you`re not necessarily seeing the
gains of a growing economy.
And so this is an uncertain market and we are reminded of that every time
the president rejects his own adviser`s council or restricts their ability
to do what we typically would expect presidential economic advisers.
GREER: Well, I think the congressman mentioned some valid points awhile
back when he said that there is this resentment and anxiety that a lot of
voters feel. But I think the third element of that equation is the racial
animus that is injected which plays out on a financial level.
We`ve had lots of candidates in the past prey on racial resentment or
resentment in the economy or anxiety, but we haven`t seen in modern day a
president ever use the racial animus that this particular president has
And so when we think about the few Americans, percentage-wise, who actually
are involved in conversations about the Dow, most Americans are not. And
it`s a paycheck to paycheck scenario that so many people are living in.
But if Donald Trump can continue to frame his economic policy as you don`t
have, not because I have failed to plan, not because I`ve ignored my
advisers, not because I`m used to going bankrupt and just leaving whatever
business I`ve started and moving on.
It`s because of – and certainly he love, you know, whatever racial or
ethnic group from Africa, Latin America, not Europe, right? And so this is
part of the new equation that I think a lot of Democratic strategists are
trying to figure out.
Because there are so many Americans who are still contemplating voting for
this president based on what they`re calling economic issues, but we know
that they are shrouded in a much deeper racial resentment that is being
seeded every day by the president.
MELBER: David Jolly and Christina Greer, thanks to both of you for joining
JOLLY: Thank you.
MELBER: Coming up, we have North Korea testing these missiles and
democracy itself being tested in Hong Kong. How does the Trump
administration deal with these problems and why is it talking about
Later, as Trumpcast connected a new poll numbers showing Trump trailing
including tied dead even in a red state he needs to win, all that ahead,
MELBER: There are roiling international crises around the world and
President Trump continues to find ways to add to them essentially with
self-inflicted diplomatic snafus for the United States. It may have been a
long week, but consider it was just the beginning of this week that few
would have said, well, this is the time in the middle of the summer that
the American president should get a public rebuke from of all places
But it all began with a report last night in “The Wall Street Journal”
revealing that Donald Trump was using taxpayer dollars to put serious
effort into trying to purchase what is basically a semiautonomous region
from Denmark. And now the government of Greenland issues this response
saying, “Hey, we`re not for sale.”
Now this gaffe is the lesser of course of two international uproars that
Trump created this week. And tonight he`s continuing to tweet about the
U.S. congresswomen that he convinced the government of Israel through Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ban from visiting reversing Israel`s
previous policy because they were going to let them in until Donald Trump
put on the heat.
Now, this has been roundly criticized and has put the Israeli government
basically on its heels. So today here`s the update, Israel reversing its
reversal sort of and offering one of the congresswomen, Representative
Tlaib, conditional entry so that she could see her Palestinian grandmother
who lives over in the West Bank region.
The congresswoman under these circumstances after everything that`s
happened is rejecting that conditional invite. And then you go hop over to
Asia where China`s police force has been holding military style exercises
in an area near Hong Kong.
Well some see this as this effort to intimidate a pro-democracy movement
there. President Trump despite some entreaties inside America and from his
own administration, will not lift a finger yet to support the democracy
protesters, instead saying he hopes that they can all just work something
And today, the North Korean government is testing a series of short range
missiles off its eastern coast. It`s the sixth time they`ve done so in the
last month alone. These tests come less than a week after Trump lavished
praise on Kim Jong-un and pledged to meet with the dictator again citing a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un yesterday. He really
wrote a beautiful three-page, I mean, right from top to bottom, a really
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m joined now by Nayyera Haq, the host of SiriusXM Progress and
former senior advisor at the State Department, and also we are joined by
Maria Echaveste, a former deputy chief of staff to President Clinton.
Thanks to both of you for joining me on a Friday night.
Nayyera, I wonder how big a problem are these things in the category of
things the U.S. doesn`t have to do wrong or do at all and is choosing to do
under Trump at a time when Americans are understandably following a lot of
different stories. This stuff can get ignored or forgotten and yet it seems
to have potential significance.
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SENIOR ADVISOR: Right. These are all
self-inflicted wounds at a time when the world is already in crisis, right?
You`re looking at a worldwide economic downturn. We have 75 million people
who are either refugees or displaced. That`s a crisis throughout the Middle
East, Europe, and we know about Asia now as well.
And within that Donald Trump, as a leader of the United States, ostensibly
as the leader of the free world, has the power of words, diplomacy and
military strength. Unfortunately, he only seems to value the military
strength and only values that when other people look strong as well.
His words can be very powerful in this moment to help just calm the waters.
Instead, the language that he uses, the moments that he picks really tend
to inflame tensions and put our allies at risk. The North Korea example is
a perfect one.
He`s flattered a dictator. He`s not actually signed any negotiating deal
other than personal promises and love letters. And now you have these
missiles that have been tested that are more accurate that our military
says are harder to shoot down and that directly threatens South Korea and
MELBER: Maria, what is the fall out or accountability of anything for the
unusual move regarding the president asking Israel to help retaliate
against domestic opponents. Is that an abuse of power?
MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well,
it certainly seems unprecedented, the reality that he is now signaling to
dictators and autocrats across the world that if they have a problem with a
U.S. official they can refuse entry.
We have for decades developed a reputation for having the high ground. Yes,
we`ve made mistakes, no question about it. But we were a beacon of
democracy, of process, of facts, of truth. And what this president has done
by intimidating Israel and then having this latest reversal by Israel is
really shown the world what Michelle Goldberg wrote today, that President
Trump is playing Jenga, you know, the game where you pull the pieces of
wood and then it becomes unstable and everything falls apart?
Except it`s the world. And what it reflects, every single misstep, that if
you look at North Korea, if you look at Hong Kong, it is a lack of
intellectual curiosity, someone who believes so strongly that he knows
everything and unfortunately that man controls our Department of Defense.
He`s the commander-in-chief, and was the leader – is the leader of the
free world, right?
I bet many of our allies are extremely concerned about what the president
is doing. Between the economic concerns and we haven`t even talked about
Kashmir, what is going on around the planet should give all of us
MELBER: Nayyera, go ahead.
HAQ: All right. The challenge is that it`s affecting U.S. interests
overseas. So, clearly our ideals and the American brand and reputation have
been degraded under Donald Trump.
But when we`re looking at American interests in the Middle East, you now
have people organizing and looking to have movements, for example, the
Germans discussing what they`re going to do in the Strait of Hormuz and
they`re not talking about coordinating with the U.S. anymore.
You have India as Maria mentioned, who has completely just violated
international accords, moved into Kashmir and you now have two nuclear
power countries that could potentially go back to war over an issue they
have fought over before.
Again, Donald Trump, the United States, absent from all of this which
indirectly and directly will come back to the harm American national
security and the American consumer.
MELBER: And Maria, it`s Friday night in 2019, so I guess my last question
to you is should we buy Greenland?
ECHAVESTE: I think, you know, as many have written, this man makes foreign
policy by twitter. It`s whatever comes into his head. And the fact we`re
actually talking about this ridiculous idea to me is just we need to let
people know that the president may be delusional about what can be done.
But we are a democracy. We do have Congress. And I highly suggest that our
members of Congress continue to look at what this president and his
administration is doing. And I would say what he did with Israel and with
our two representatives really requires some serious consideration of abuse
of power that is impeachable.
MELBER: Strong words on a rocky week for the president abroad. Nayyera Haz
and Maria Echaveste, tanks to both of you.
Coming up, there is a new poll that shows Donald Trump tied in a red state
and another with him trailing nationwide. Why that contributes to him
Later, in the autopsy results of Jeffrey Epstein, we`ll tell you what you
need to know.
MELBER: We`re 445 days from Election Day but who`s counting? Well, there`s
a new head-to-head poll and it shows Donald Trump losing not to one or two
Democrats but actually all four off those offered in the poll. Now, who`s
going to believe a poll like that? Is it just rooting for the resistance?
Well, it`s from Fox News, has Biden up 52:38, Sanders 48:39, Warren 46:39,
and Harris by a tighter 45:39.
This has Donald Trump`s attention and here`s what he`s saying about his
potential challenger, last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`ll see what happens. Whoever, you know, whoever it is, I don`t
know that it matters, but whoever knows different - different people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Well, it didn`t matter exactly in the Fox poll, which admittedly is
very early and may relate to name recognition, but each of those Democrats
that Fox put up would in the hypothetical poll appear to be more popular
than Trump, if the election were held today. And that goes to a bigger
problem that he`s aware of. He didn`t break 40 percent against any of them.
That`s lower than his actual approval rating which, in fairness, is low but
slightly higher at 43 percent.
His disapproval, a near record 56 percent at a time of stress, of division,
of Donald Trump`s bungled response according to many to these horrific mass
shootings, in a new poll of North Carolina by another more right leaning
group, a conservative think-tank, shows Trump tied within the margin of
error with Democrats there.
And their headline for the poll, “President Trump leads top Democratic
candidates by, well, razor thin margin.” The margin of error though, more
than four points.
David and Christina are back. What does that look like to you, David?
JOLLY: Historically, terrible numbers for an incumbent President in his
first term who is tallying a strong economy. I mean, these are bad numbers,
are as you mentioned not breaking the 40 percent threshold, a widespread
among, you know, he`s down six to eight to ten points from some of these
candidates. His disapproval numbers are hitting a historic high.
This is a President that`s in trouble. I think the one thing Democrats can
take from this, which is fascinating compared to where we were about three
or four months ago, when the Democratic primary really started to get legs,
there was a conversation around electability. Was Joe Biden the only
candidate that could be Trump? I think what we`re seeing right now is any
one of these Democratic candidates that emerge can beat the President of
the United States; that includes someone who`s considered very progressive
like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
And I think if you went to kind of the next tier that we didn`t really see
matchup, say the Mayor Petes the Cory Bookers, the others, if they were to
emerge out of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina as a leading candidate,
simply because of their introduction to the nation and their name
recognition, they`d be positioned six to eight points ahead of this
President as well.
This is a good poll for Democrats clearly, but a historically bad one for
the incumbent President of the United States.
MELBER: Well, you make an interesting point there about the multiple layers
of the way this stuff matters, because Christina on the one hand,
predictions far out of an election are worth about as much as a MAGA hat in
San Francisco, very close to zero. But on the other hand, David speaks to a
political reality in the media, kind of internet world that we live in now,
whether it`s good or bad, it is a reality as he says that a lot of people
who are in the resistance, who want to defeat Trump are following this
closely and trying to figure out what the issues are.
And if one of the political issues is, and again I don`t know that it`s
provable, but if there was a perception that one person was way more
electable than others, that might play into this primary. I wonder your
analysis, Christina, of David`s observation that if this becomes the
premise, that there are multiple candidates who have a good shot and not
one of them that is clearly “more or less electable,” does that actually
open up the primary field in a way for Democrats to figure out, what wait a
minute, who do they really support, not just who is being put on the throne
GREER: I agree 100 percent. I think that this does change the conversation
because far too many Democrats are saying, well, I really like - insert
name Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro - but I
don`t think they can win. So, there`s the - Biden and Bernie tend to be at
the top of the ticket because of name recognition, because of their history
serving the nation as public servants, but also there`s some demographic
variables that a lot of Democrats are interested in because they think that
a matchup between an older white male and another older white male will
What this poll is showing us is, one, that the President is in trouble but
I definitely think that we`re so far out, we`ve seen that unfortunately
when we have catastrophic events that happen as a nation that obviously
gives the President a bump, so if something like that happened closer to
the election, that would change polling obviously, especially if he was
able to deal with the situation in somewhat of a guise of a leadership
We also know that as voters learn a lot more about particular candidates,
they can - they can be swayed. And so, this is helpful for Democrats to
really have honest conversations with voters beyond just Iowa, New
Hampshire and South Carolina, to say in many ways the way Barack Obama did
in 2007. You may not have thought I could win, but I`m clearly building a
coalition. I`m talking about policies that are substantive to you, so you
don`t have to vote for your second or your third choice, just because
demographically you think that they`re going to win against the sitting
President, you can actually vote for your first choice. And that is a
really important conversation for Democrats to have.
MELBER: The other thing I want to ask you about, Christina, which also
comes through in the Fox News poll is for people who are traditionally
patriotic, it is painful to deal with the fact that the United States is
governed by a President who is a liar, who traffics in hate, who is so
divisive. That is not something to be celebrated even if people think it
gives perhaps their side some political edge. It`s not a happy state of
And yet, to euphemize that or to underplay that, doesn`t help it at all.
And so, I wonder what you think of this other finding in the Fox News poll
that shows there is actually some bipartisan unity about the fact that the
President sows disunity. This is not a disagreed upon point. Again, citing
Fox News, when asked is Donald Trump drawing the country together? It`s
only 31 percent, a smaller portion of perhaps his base that even feels that
way. And then there is this larger unity, Christina, 59 percent, I mean
that`s a coalition if you ever wanted to get anything past that says, no,
at this point speaking of Fox News pollsters, he is “tearing the country
GREER: Right, I think though there are far too many Republicans who know
he`s a liar and they`re not concerned enough about it to do something to
get him out of office. So, we`re looking at say Republicans in Congress who
consistently cover for him and his lies. My concern is this, when you have
people who fill out - who answer polls and say, I do think the President`s
ripping the country apart. I do think the President is a liar, maybe I
could be swayed.
We saw this many, many years ago with Mayor Bradley in Los Angeles when
lots of voters said that they were going to vote for this African-American
for Governor of California and then when they went to the polls, they did
not. Obviously, there was a big concern when Obama did the same thing when
he ran for the presidency.
And so, here, we`re seeing people say one thing, which is I think he`s a
liar, I think he`s ripping the country apart. But when it comes to actually
going to the voting booth in 2020, will those individuals actually vote
what they know, which is we have to change course? We don`t know.
MELBER: Yes, very well laid out, and we`ve called it new - in more than one
part of the show, Christina and David, thanks so much.
JOLLY: Thank you.
GREER: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Yes, hope you guys have a great weekend.
GREER: Have a good night.
MELBER: You too. Coming up, we fit in a break and then we have an update on
a story that has really dogged the Trump Administration, its responsibility
for failures in a prison that it was in charge of, and the Jeffrey Epstein
investigation with new information from his autopsy results breaking today.
MELBER: No foul play; that is the bottom line conclusion of the New York
Medical Examiner who determined today the cause of death for Jeffrey
Epstein who suicide by hanging. His autopsy results come following a week
of rampant speculation about what happened after Epstein was found
mysteriously dead in his Manhattan jail cell, which is under the
supervision of the Trump Administration, while awaiting this much
publicized trial on sex trafficking charges.
Tonight, Epstein`s lawyers are casting doubt on the findings. They`re
saying, “Their team intends to conduct its own independent and complete
investigation to the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein`s death. Now,
other investigations are already underway as lawmakers demand answers from
the Trump Administration DoJ`s Bureau of Prisons.
These are basic questions like why was Epstein suddenly taken off suicide
watch when there had been a previous apparent suicide attempt, and why were
procedures that are designed to deal with exactly this situation not
followed in the case of an individual who was, a, famous and b, publicly
linked to multiple officials in the Trump Administration, as well as linked
to several Democrats we can add, but when it comes to conflicts of
interest, it`s those Trump links that has a lot of questions left
And then take this in The Washington Post, “Epstein left alone in the cell,
guards failed to check on him for several hours leading up to his death
after officials had given explicit instructions for him not to be left
alone and for guards to check on him every 30 minutes.” So while
investigations continue looking at exactly those kinds of failures, I
should say there are a whole different set of cases proceeding and they are
important. This is about Epstein`s accusers continuing to use the court
process to seek their justice.
There`s at least two civil lawsuits now filed against Epstein`s estate.
Attorney General Barr says authorities will continue and investigate any
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me assure you that this
case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein, any
co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they
will get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: New York Times reporting Manhattan federal prosecutors have not
charged or named anyone as a formal co-conspirator. But in 2007, a non-
prosecution agreement between Mr. Epstein and federal officials in Florida,
including a later Trump cabinet member, said prosecutors would not charge
four women that were identified at the time as “potential co-conspirators.”
One of those potential co-conspirators is Ghislaine Maxwell, a long-time
And The Daily Beast is reporting police have been scrambling to find her
because she faces a new lawsuit from at least one victim who alleges that
socialite gave “organizational support to Epstein`s sex trafficking ring,
procuring underage girls for his sexual pleasure.” That lawsuit according
to Daily Beast also names three other unidentified staffers referred to as
“recruiter, secretary and maid.”
We`re going to fit in a break and then turn to some of the important
discussions tonight around what happens next in these investigations of
Epstein`s death, the hunt for this potential co-conspirator and what it
means for the Trump Administration with so many questions swirling around
their conduct, all of that width one of our experts, Glenn Kirschner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMBERLY LERNER, ATTORNEY FOR EPSTEIN ACCUSER JENNIFER ARAOZ: Since Jeffrey
Epstein killed himself, she will never have the closure of confronting him
in a court of law. However, she`s still going to go forward and go after
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That was one of the attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein`s accuser who
filed a lawsuit this week against Epstein`s estate and several associates.
We interviewed her on The Beat. They allege that there was a wider
coordination of Epstein`s sex trafficking operation. I want to turn now to
Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst.
A lot of the attention lately is understandably around the mysterious death
of Mr. Epstein. As we`ve been reporting, some of these suits are moving
forward not in connection to his death, regardless of his death, but
because of these laws that allow accusers to come forward and some have
allowed for more time for that.
So our viewers understand, walk us through how this and what more we may
learn or what other accountability may occur, even though Mr. Epstein is
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well,
yes, Ari, there are still a number of moving legal parts to this. I think
importantly, because the Southern District of New York already had brought
a conspiracy charge against Jeffrey Epstein for the sex trafficking, it`s
hard to - it`s hard to conceive that there will not be additional people
brought in and charged as being part of this conspiracy. We`ve already
heard about Ms. Maxwell. We`ve already seen other co-conspirators named in
that non-prosecution agreement down in Florida, involving Epstein`s earlier
So, I fully expect that we will we will see in the coming weeks additional
charges brought by the Southern District of New York prosecutors against
some of Epstein`s co-conspirators. Then the other moving piece, as you
mentioned, is some of Jeffrey Epstein`s victims will be allowed to bring
suit against Epstein`s estate. Now, that gets a little tricky when you have
potentially civil litigation sort of going on at the same time criminal
litigation is proceeding in the event they make arrests of co-conspirators.
What I can tell you and I`ve encountered that as a prosecutor, what
ordinarily will happen is the civil proceedings will be stayed, they`ll be
paused while the criminal proceedings move forward. And at the conclusion
of the criminal proceedings, that`s when the civil cases will move forward.
So, I would expect there`s going to be a lot to sort out and a lot of
litigants involved, but that`s the likely path these two cases will take.
MELBER: How do you think the Barr Justice Department has handled this?
KIRSCHNER: Well, you know, Bill Barr jumped out and announced what seemed a
bit premature that this was a suicide. Now, we have a ruling– we have a
summary conclusion in essence from Dr. Barbara Sampson, who is the Chief
Medical Examiner for the City of New York, and I hope she`ll forgive me,
but I`m a little bit skeptical when I hear a government official giving us
a summary conclusion, her conclusion as has been reported out today is that
the cause of death was hanging and the manner of death was suicide.
It`s all well and good to hear that conclusion. Of course, if we accepted
conclusions from government officials these days, we would still be
believing that there was no obstruction, no collusion, because that was the
summary conclusion Bill Barr gave the American people until we saw the
Mueller Report for itself.
So, Ari, here`s what I`d like to see as a former homicide prosecutor, I
want the Medical Examiner`s Office for the City of New York to be
transparent with the American people. We need to see the autopsy report and
we need to see the supporting investigation. For example, we know that
Jeffrey Epstein`s hyoid bone was broken. I can tell you that is more
consistent with homicide by manual strangulation than it is with a suicide
Now, it`s not completely inconsistent with a suicide hanging, particularly
a hanging where there has been some velocity involved. But this was a low-
velocity hanging because of the nature of the setting in a cell where
gravity has to do the work, I`ve dealt with multiple manual strangulation
cases and you know that - I want to see the toxicology report. I want to
see the results of DNA testing from underneath Jeffrey Epstein`s fingernail
scrapings to see if he perhaps scratched somebody and transferred DNA under
We need transparency and we need to see more than just a summary
MELBER: Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much as always.
KIRSCHNER: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: We`re going to fit in a break and we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That`s what I do, is I build. I was always very good at building. It
was always my best thing. I think better than being President, I was maybe
good at building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: June 2017, the Trump White House began Infrastructure Week
promising $1 trillion revamp of roads, bridges, physical structures around
the country. And if you haven`t seen the results, that`s because there
really aren`t any. Now, on Sunday night, right here, there`s the finale of
MSNBC`s docu-series American Swamp with our own Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff
looking at why.
Even with potential bipartisan backing, there`s very little getting done on
Trump`s claims that he would fix America`s crumbling roads and bridges and
tunnels. And guess what? It`s Friday night, and MSNBC correspondent Jacob
Soboroff is right here on The Last Word. What did you find, and what will
people see in the finale?
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: In my home library here, Ari, it`s
good to see you on this Friday night. We found that Donald Trump did not
follow through with Infrastructure Week. So, we`re going to have one of our
own. As a matter of fact, he said he`s the best builder. Politicians on
both sides of the aisle obviously have been talking about how critical this
all is for quite some time, but it never gets done.
At the end of the day, what we found is that surprise, surprise,
politicians put themselves and their political fortunes ahead of the
American people, who really in all seriousness desperately need
infrastructure. So, this is a bit of a spoiler alert, but we end the
episode in Los Angeles, my hometown, and Katy`s hometown and we tried to
think of a way to get politicians ultimately to come around and get
infrastructure done. This is what we came up with. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOBOROFF: We`re driving under five miles an hour on an interstate highway.
You`d only think, honestly, literally every member of Congress should have
to sit in Los Angeles bumper-to-bumper traffic as punishment for not
And then I think infrastructure would pass–
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think that would be defined as cruel
and unusual punishment.
We`re crawling along the 10 Freeway, west of downtown Los Angeles. The
problem here isn`t crumbling roads; it`s that there are just too many cars.
A fact that Jacob and I are painfully aware of, having both grown up here.
SOBOROFF: I will say, I`m somewhat optimistic because LA is trying to
expand the subways and the light rail. Have you ever been on the train in
TUR: I`ve never been on the train in LA?
SOBOROFF: They`re getting it done.
TUR: I don`t think of trains in LA.
SOBOROFF: They`re getting it done. Having grown up here, I think when you
see it for the first time, it will actually change your whole outlook on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOBOROFF: So, we`re not going to get all the members of Congress into a car
and put them on the 10 Freeway. But, one thing I actually - that remarkably
was very candid from Ken Buck, the Congressman from Colorado, you`ll hear
it - the full thing in the episode. But he told Katy, it doesn`t pay to
actually stick your neck out and get anything done here. Your fortunes will
be better, ultimately, if you don`t pass anything and sit on your hands.
And it`s disappointing - it`s disappointing because, literally, lives are
on the line with infrastructure, Ari, and we`re going to get into all of it
on Sunday night.
MELBER: Jacob, you`ve also answered the question what happens if you
combine investigative reporting with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
SOBOROFF: I don`t want to get sued by Seinfeld, Ari. Don`t do me like that.
MELBER: It looks like a great series. Jacob Soboroff, thanks for telling us
about it. Everyone should check it out. American Swamp–
SOBOROFF: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: As mentioned, the finale, this Sunday night 9PM.
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the