Trump tweets insults at Rep. Tlaib. TRANSCRIPT: 8/16/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Christina Greer, Nayyera Haq, Maria Echaveste

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 Dayton.


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.





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.




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.


MELBER:  Christina?


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.




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.




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

is there.


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.


MELBER:  Christina?


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

“beautiful letter.”




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

beautiful letter.




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.



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?



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

tremendous concern.


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

feeling rattled.


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.




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.




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

of electability?


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

apart,” Christina.


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

alleged accomplices.





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.




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

Epstein associate.


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.







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

his accomplices–




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




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

sex trafficking.


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

his fingernails.


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.






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.




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.




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

passing infrastructure.




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





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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