Russia backed troops. TRANSCRIPT: 8/30/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Paul Harmatz, Maria Echaveste, Rachel Bitecofer, Evelyn Farkas
Transcript:

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  That election is happening on September 10th. Mark

your calendars. And that does it for us tonight. Rachel will be back next

week and you can catch me tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for my show “AM Joy.” The

“Last Word” with Lawrence O`Donnell is up next. Good evening, Lawrence. Am

I getting it in? Boom! 10:00 exactly.

 

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you, Joy. And Joy, I hope you can

hang around and run over here to the studio because a little bit later in

this hour I would like to get your political analysis on what`s happening

in the presidential campaign. So, unless you have to run out the door,

could you run over here?

 

REID:  I could be talked into that because you know what I love, Lawrence?

Political analysis. I love to do it, so I will.

 

O`DONNELL:  We need a few more minutes from you. Just a few more.

 

REID:  OK, sounds good. Sounds good. Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL:  OK, thank you.

 

REID:  See you soon.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, what should be a relaxing long holiday weekend is going

to be a weekend of bracing for the worst in Florida and the south eastern

United States. MSNBC will be tracking Hurricane Dorian all weekend and we

will have the latest on the hurricane track on this program at the end of

this hour.

 

And that`s an important time because just toward the end of this hour is

when we will get the very latest forecast from the National Hurricane

Center. That should be coming out and we should have it for you here at the

end of this hour.

 

And there are military storm clouds near the Russian border tonight with

Georgia. It is another demonstration of Russian aggression toward its

neighboring countries that could become another international crisis over

this weekend created by Vladimir Putin at a time when President Trump is

saying he wants Vladimir Putin and Russia to be welcomed back into the G8.

 

Russia expert Evelyn Farkas will join us once again tonight with her take

on what Vladimir Putin is up to now and what the president of the United

States should be doing about it. And our second favorite Rachel will be

back with us tonight.

 

Political scientist Rachel Bitecofer will give us more of her explanation

of why the data she is using in her election model has given her a

prediction of the Democrat, whoever the Democrat is, winning a solid

electorate victory in the Electoral College in the next election.

 

And we begin tonight where we left off last night with the clock ticking on

the death sentence the Trump administration has we hope unwittingly imposed

on Maria Isabel Bueso.

 

This is the most important story we discussed last night and it is the most

important story we will discuss tonight because a life hangs in the

balance.

 

All because of an immigration policy change made by the Trump

administration, which has decided to refuse to grant any extensions of

permission to stay in the United States for medical treatment.

 

That decision has been met by understandable outrage and moral condemnation

since the story first broke at radio station WBUR in Boston this week and

then in the “Boston Globe,” and then yesterday in “The New York Times,” and

that moral condemnation is completely understandable.

 

But I for one, I am going to leave that out of what I have to say about

this story because we are presenting this story again tonight with an

objective. The goal here is to inform you of the news of what your

government is doing but possibly even more importantly in this particular

instance, the goal here is to save a life.

 

And the people who have the power to intervene and save this life will not

hear the plea for her life if it is hurled at them wrapped in moral

outrage. The government officials who can change this death sentence in the

coming days cannot be condemned into changing their policy.

 

But they might be persuaded to change their policy if we keep telling them

the story of Maria Isabel Buezo. She came to this country when she was 7-

years-old at the invitation and request of my first guest tonight, Dr. Paul

Harmatz, who told Isabel`s story to Rachel Maddow last night.

 

Dr. Harmatz needed patients to conduct clinical trials for a rare disease

and he could not find enough patients for this rare disease to study in the

United States.

 

There`s the full formal name of the disease on the screen right now. The

professional shorthand for it is MPS-6. It causes spinal cord compression

and other growth abnormalities. And Dr. Harmatz convinced Isabel`s parents

to bring her to the United States to help medical research, to help other

children who would be born with her condition.

 

Isabel is now 24-years-old. She has been participating in medical studies

throughout her life in the United States. Her doctor credits her with

helping him and his research team make dramatic breakthroughs that have

helped people with her disease live longer.

 

Patients with her disease used to live just a bit beyond the age of 20.

Now, with Isabel`s lifelong participation in these studies, patients can

now live longer than 30 years.

 

Isabel graduated from college summa cum laude last year. Two weeks ago she

received a letter saying that if she doesn`t leave the country within the

next 33 days she will be deported.

 

And every day between now and her deportation order we are going to try to

find a way to persuade the people in the Trump administration who are doing

this – doing this to this patient to change their minds because this is

what Isabel`s doctor told Rachel last night.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PAUL HARMATZ, UCSF BENIOFF CHIILDREN`S HOSPITAL:  You`re really handing her

a death sentence. It`s as if we`re pulling the plug on a respirator or

stopping feedings for a patient that needs that type of support.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  I think it`s fair to assume that no one in the Trump

administration who participated in this change of policy decision has ever

heard of the disease that Isabel struggles with. I certainly have never

heard of it.

 

And the disease that Isabel has had to find medical breakthroughs for

treatment. They could not have known that they were sentencing Isabel

personally to death with that letter.

 

But after this week`s new coverage of the story, many of them do know now.

We have to try to make sure that they all know in the hope that somewhere

we will find a sympathetic ear connected to an open heart, someone who can

begin to turn this decision around in the days that are left before Isabel

is scheduled to be deported to her death.

 

The politics of governing is far more complex than the politics of

campaigning. In the politics of campaigning, you are just trying to beat

the other side. And in the politics of governing, you are trying to

persuade the other side.

 

And in your own lives, you all know that the tone and vocabulary that you

adopt for persuasion is very different from the tone that you bring to open

argument.

 

If Isabel is deported to her death, if the day comes that we must report at

this hour that she has died in Guatemala because she was deported and

denied medical treatment to help keep her alive, there will be moral

outrage, there will be condemnation.

 

But as long as there is a chance to save her life, we are going to work on

this story the way I worked on legislation in the United States Senate when

I was a Democratic staff member, trying to persuade senators on the other

side to change their minds.

 

So, we are going to frame our coverage of this story in optimism. Our

coverage of this story will be based on the hope that someone will persuade

the Trump administration that Isabel should be rewarded for what she`s done

in this country, rewarded for what she has done for medical research.

 

Rewarded for the lives she has saved with her participation in medical

research, live she has improved and lengthened because of her participation

in medical research. We hope that someone will persuade the Trump

administration to reward Maria Isabel Bueso with her life.

 

And no one is more persuasive in telling Isabel`s story than the medical

hero who has kept her alive longer than anyone thought possible when she

was a little girl in Guatemala, and longer than anyone thought possible

when she arrived in California at age 7.

 

And so, it is my honor to begin our discussion tonight with that medical

hero, Dr. Paul Harmatz, who joins us now. Doctor, thank you very much for

joining us again tonight. I know your schedule is difficult, but it is

important to you.

 

And so joining Rachel last night, joining me tonight I think is, at this

stage possibly the most help that you can bring to your patient. So, thank

you very much for joining us.

 

HARMATZ:  Thank you, Lawrence. It`s really been a whirlwind two or three

days and we`re beginning to see some hope in the responses that we`re

getting on the internet, by phone calls, by people – you know, parents of

patients with rare diseases, similar diseases that I take care of, that are

asking how they can help.

 

And people calling who we don`t know that are just giving suggestions and

leaving messages. And I think it`s really beginning to move people that

this is a crisis. And it`s a crisis not just for Isabel but for all of

these very rare disease patients that are being asked to leave the country.

 

I also – I`m not a hero. I`m a pediatrician. I followed some great

scientists with these studies and really want to give them credit. It was

the perfect time to bring a unique therapy. We can mention (inaudible), was

one of the inventors of this therapy when it was first brought to the human

for MPS-1.

 

And he helped move this forward for MPS-6, which was the second disease

that had therapy developed in this group. So, it was a tremendous

breakthrough to be able to give these patients back the missing enzyme.

 

And it was, you know, a breakthrough of new science, genetics, all of the

ability to do gene therapy within cells and make this protein that we can

infuse each week.

 

And the future is open. I mean, that`s the amazing thing, is that Isabel is

healthy and bright and vigorous and we`re within a few years of being able

to do gene therapy. Trials are ongoing in Italy for gene therapy for MPS-6.

 

And we just need a few more years to bring this therapy to Isabel so she

doesn`t need these infusions weekly, that she can make her own enzyme. And,

you know, it would be an unbelievable tragedy if she`s taken off enzyme and

is not able to reach this permanent solution.

 

O`DONNELL:  I have to believe that Isabel is more than just a patient to

you after almost 20 years now of treatment and working together. She`s been

a contributor to your research and I`m sure one of the real friends,

important friends in your life.

 

HARMATZ:  She is. It`s a small community. We only have 50 to 100 patients

in the U.S. I know most of the patients with MPS-6 over having worked with

this disease for 20 years. And I travel around the world and try to meet as

many patients as I can.

 

And they support each other. They know each other especially the young

adults that have grown up with the disease and now have hope that they can

lead reasonably long and productive lives.

 

And, you know, it`s – this is really hitting the entire community and, you

know, it takes the wind out of them to think that this unique therapy

that`s keeping them alive is being pulled away from somebody that is doing

well with it.

 

So, you know, anything that we`re doing with media and with Congressional

help and will, you know, potentially can break through this barrier and

keep the therapy going.

 

O`DONNELL:  Doctor, if you had a minute with President Trump, what would

you tell him about Isabel?

 

HARMATZ:  I would say that she`s a delightful, vigorous, productive person.

She`s – you know, she loves to dance. She has many friends. She`s always

thinking about how she can help other people. She actually – even in high

school was organizing rare disease day to help educate her friends and

schoolmates about rare diseases.

 

She`s spent time and every year she travels to Washington to participate in

Congressional meetings on rare disease day, lobbying congressmen, educating

their offices. She really is an engaged person. I think that`s the way to

say it.

 

And she will produce many positive benefits that we hope all of our

children are able to do when they grow up and become adults. And this would

be a tragedy to take this opportunity to live and contribute away from her.

 

O`DONNELL:  Dr. Paul Harmatz, thank you very much for making the time to

join us tonight. We really appreciate it.

 

HARMATZ:  Thank you, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL:  Appreciate it. Thank you. And we turn now to the politics of

governing, the politics of persuasion and what it might take to convince

the Trump administration to save Isabel`s life.

 

Joining us now is Maria Echaveste. She`s a former deputy chief of staff to

President Clinton and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley

School of Law. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

 

You`ve worked in a presidential administration. You know the way the

thinking works. You know the way persuasion works. What would you suggest

as an approach to try to persuade the Trump administration to pull back on

what is a death sentence?

 

MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I

think the first thing to the focus on is to understand what is motivating

this administration, to try to figure out how to persuade them. And

unfortunately, every step that this administration has taken on immigration

is really rooted in what I believe is an effort to take discretion out of

the system.

 

Because that`s what this new rule is to just summarily say you`ve been

here, we`re no longer accepting as a reason for you to be able to stay here

that you are having critical, essential medical treatment.

 

It is to take that discretion and to basically lose the humanity, hide the

humanity of immigrants. So, I`m sort of at a loss, frankly, Lawrence, to

say how would I persuade this administration to withdraw this draconian

view of immigrants as sort of not human.

 

That they don`t have stories and they`re individuals and that immigration

authorities ought to be able to look at the context of each particular case

and determine, in this case of Isabel, this is case of life and death as

you heard from Dr. Harmatz.

 

To expel her from this country, to deport her from this country is frankly

an act of murder because she can`t get this treatment in Guatemala. So, how

would I persuade this administration? Somewhere we`ve got to find a way to

appeal to the – there must be some humanity in them somewhere, don`t you

think, Lawrence?

 

O`DONNELL:  I do. And that`s exactly the perspective from which I`m

covering this story and I hope that it can reach people who have access to

the president, whether they`re in government or out of government, to make

this case.

 

This is a president who reportedly at the time – reportedly at the time,

was moved by photographs of a child in Syria who was a victim of what was

happening there. He was moved to missile strikes, according to the White

House reports on this – that his daughter presented him with these

photographs.

 

And so if there`s any truth to that, if there`s just a sliver of truth to

that, it seems to me that somewhere in that area is a space where something

like this could break through.

 

I want to read you from the letter, basically the deportation letter that

was sent to Isabel because we now have a copy of it and it says – it was

dated August 13th and giving her 33 days from August 13th. And it says, “If

you fail to depart the United States within 33 days of the date of this

letter, we may issue you a notice to appear and commence removal

proceedings against you with the immigration court.”

 

So, 33 days from August 13th is September 15th. So on September 15th they

may commence, send her a notice to appear to commence removal proceedings.

Do you have any estimate if she gets one of those notices to appear, will

it be appear within a week, appear within two weeks? What kind of

timetable?

 

ECHAVESTE:  No, they will set a date and she will need to appear. And let`s

be clear, there will be some time, but we also know from other efforts

within the administration to speed up those processes, right, to not get

people the time to really prepare their case.

 

But I want to say, in a case like this where your health and mental well-

being is part of your ability to survive, imagine the stress and the damage

that can happen to this young woman. So, it is very likely that it`ll be

several weeks, perhaps a month.

 

But the important thing is no one should – with this kind of condition,

where leaving the country would be a death sentence, why does she have to

go through this?

 

And why should others not be able to present their case in a way that

doesn`t make them feel like their life is on the line, which is literally

what is going on in this case.

 

I do want to say one thing. Maybe when you think about persuasion, you

know, Stephen Miller is as we all know the aide, if not the architect of

this president`s immigration policy, pretty close to it.

 

What would it take to persuade him to think of human beings when he`s

coming up with these policies? That these are lives and families and

individuals, human beings with as much right to dignity as he has himself?

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, you know, I think the way a lot of these policies have

been developed, it`s entirely possible that the president himself knew

nothing about this decision when it was made, knew nothing about these

letters going out.

 

And I actually, in this case, hope that is true so that the knowledge of it

might be something that he can choose to reverse, the more we get attention

to this. Maria Echaveste, thank you very much for joining us on this

subject tonight. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

 

ECHAVESTE:  Great to be with you.

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.

 

And after this break that`s coming up, we`ve just had a week of terrible

polls from Donald Trump`s re-election prospects. Political scientist Rachel

Bitecofer is back with us tonight after these week`s polls added even more

support to her Electoral College model, that now shows the Democrat –

whoever that Democratic nominee turns out to be, winning the Electoral

College with at least 278 Electoral College votes.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  And now for the return of our second favorite Rachel. This

week, delivered another round of very bad polls for Donald Trump`s re-

election prospects especially the Quinnipiac poll that showed Donald Trump

losing in one-on-one match ups with the top five Democratic presidential

candidates and losing to the top four of those candidates by double digit

margins.

 

Quinnipiac`s poll showed Joe Biden at 54 percent against Donald Trump`s 38

percent. Bernie Sanders ahead of Trump 53 to 39. Elizabeth Warren ahead of

Trump 52 to 40. Kamala Harris is ahead of Trump 51 to 40. Pete Buttigieg is

ahead of Trump 49 9 to 40 in the Quinnipiac poll.

 

And so, as of tonight, the latest polling supports political scientist

Rachel Bitecofer`s election modeling showing that whoever the Democrats

nominate for president will beat Donald Trump in the Electoral College.

 

Rachel Bitecofer is using the same election modeling that allowed her to

predict the big blue wave of 2018 long before most people saw that coming.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is political science professor Rachel Bitecofer

with the Lawson Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University

in Newport, Virginia. And Rachel, it`s really great to have you here. This

is your third round here –

 

RACHEL BITECOFER, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, WASON CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY:  It

is.

 

O`DONNELL:  – here on the “Last Word” and I actually want to once again

start from the beginning and step through this analysis. And, you know,

there`s a lot of emotional reaction to this kind of talk now –

 

BITECOFER:  It is.

 

O`DONNELL:  – because I think there`s such a shocked electorate especially

on the Democratic side that Donald Trump won before. And I believe that

there is an exaggerated notion of Donald Trump as some kind of super man

politically including in the media, which overreacted to Donald Trump

squeaking out the Electoral College.

 

BITECOFER:  Right.

 

O`DONNELL:  And I have not given up on looking at polling information in

the traditional way.

 

BITECOFER:  Right.

 

O`DONNELL:  And all of the polling information on Donald Trump is

disastrous –

 

BITECOFER:  Yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  – and always has been in terms of re-election since

Inauguration Day. You look at that but you go way beyond that. And so, talk

us through how you get to the point where tonight you can say you`re sure

that you can either say the Democrat will get 278 or possibly put a better

way. Donald Trump will lose 278 –

 

BITECOFER:  Right.

 

O`DONNELL:  – electoral votes to the Democrat whoever that is.

 

BITECOFER:  Yes, and it really is important to go back to that night in

November in 2016 and think about how the mood of the electorate was. And

there was just such a sense – right now we have this invincibility complex

for Trump.

 

He`s basically the terminator. You can`t kill him. Nothing will stick to

him. And back then everybody believed the opposite, that there was no way

he would be president. I mean, nobody entertained seriously that they were

going to wake up on Wednesday morning to President Trump.

 

And that attitude really set the tone I think for the entire debate between

Trump and Clinton. It really fired up a lot of the division within the

Democratic caucus between Bernie Democrats and Hillary supporters.

 

And this assumption, you know, certainly bioed (ph) by the forecasting

models and the polling, particularly in those crucial swing states,

Wisconsin and Michigan, that just never showed him in contention.

 

That gave people a sense of security that they did not need to show up with

ferocity (ph) and we are talking about – a whole different ball game now.

 

O`DONNELL:  OK, so stage one is move the electorate.

 

BITECOFER:  Exactly.

 

O`DONNELL:  Totally different in 2020 from 2016.

 

BITECOFER:  Yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  There was a certain amount of over-confidence that Hillary

Clinton would win, which meant a lower turnout on the Democratic sider.

There are voters, you are sure, who if they were told if you don`t vote

tomorrow, Donald Trump will win, they would have gone to the polls but

didn`t. So, that turn out will show up in 2020.

 

BITECOFER:  Absolutely.

 

O`DONNELL:  The other thing that`s in your analysis that`s relevant to that

especially in those swing states that you just mentioned is the third party

vote for Jill Stein, for example, in some of those states made the

difference in the Electoral College for those states. And you insist that

won`t happen again, that vote will not go to the third party.

 

BITECOFER:  Yes, but we will see some third party balloting and I think the

Arizona Senate race last year was a great example where even after the

green party candidate withdrew and tried to beg their supporters not to

protest ballot, 2 percent did go there and it ended up being decisive.

Krysten Sineam still pulled out of victory there. So I`m thinking probably

around 2 percent of the national vote, yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  It`ll be down from what it was.

 

BITECOFER:  Yes, but we`re talking about in 2016. I mean, I don`t

understand –

 

O`DONNELL:  Extraordinarily high.

 

BITECOFER:  Extraordinarily high. I mean, the story in 2016 is not about

the white working class who had been involved in a long-term realignment

away from the Democrats. And really, you know, last time they got excited

about a Democrat, it was bill Clinton, a white, you know, southern

gentleman from Arkansas.

 

You know, the story of 2016 is much more about who did not vote and who

showed up and voted a protest ballot than it is about white working class

voters who really just did what they have been doing for a long time and

that`s trending Republican.

 

O`DONNELL:  So, I mean, the simple stage of this analysis actually and

there`s more to it, what you`re going to is – all you have to do is reduce

the third party voting from 2016 on the Green Party side of third party

voting and Trump loses. That`s all you have to do.

 

BITECOFER:  Yeah, you could do just that one tweak in those critical

states. And I mean, keep in mind, Florida has the same problem. We don`t

talk about it a lot, but the same problem down there occurred. I mean,

we`re talking about all of these states being decided by less than 1

percent.

 

Donald Trump did not win a majority in any of those states. He carried them

with a plurality of the vote because of the 5 to 6 percent that was

siphoned off the third party voters. So, absolutely that is enough there.

 

But then when we factor in the languished turn out among millennials and

African-American voters and Latinos, I mean, that`s just quadro (ph) – I

guess you would call that a quadruple factor of Democratic malaise that we

are not going to see 100 percent no matter how bad Democrats might be at

turning out voters. There is this natural passion now. It`s like kerosene

on this demographic tsunami that`s been laying there just waiting to vote.

 

O`DONNELL:  So you first saw this new turn out phenomenon developing in the

state of Virginia in their state-wide – their state elections in 2017.

 

You then – learning from that, applied it to the House races and that`s

what gave you the essence of your predictions was, there`s going to be a

turn out in these 2018 House races –

 

BITECOFER:  Right.

 

O`DONNELL:  – that will deliver these seats to Democrats. It`s going to be

extremely energized and all of Orange County –

 

BITECOFER:  That`s right.

 

MCDONNELL: So he`s going to compete.

 

BITECOFER: Yes, that`s exactly right and that was the one surprising

feature of 2018, and I`ll come back to that in a second. But I really want

to hammer a point home, this is the point, the Democratic enthusiasm has to

have the conditions for it.

 

So when we look at these 40 districts that I identified with my model, they

all share certain factors. They are suburban, there`s a high rate of

college education in them, a decent rate of diversity in terms of the

racial and ethnic diversity of the district.

 

Those were places that I could look at and say this is going to see a huge

turnout surge and that`s why even though the polling hasn`t caught up in

Orange County on July 1 and the House ratings were lean Republican or toss-

up in the other raters (ph), I knew for sure they were going to flip.

 

And even after election night, when - if you`ll remember, those districts,

they took a long time to flip. I was not in panic at all, I sat there for

five days, I mean I just listened to a podcast with Katie Porter where she

was worried that she might not win ultimately, and I–

 

MCDONNELL: You should have called in.

 

BITECOFER: I was like, oh I wish Katie Porter had seen my analysis, she

would have felt so much better. (LAUGHTER)

 

I guess it was just a mathematical certainty that if you have a passionate

turnout, they catalyst, you`re going to see that. But with the Republicans,

I expected - Republicans vote, they`re just - they`re easier to vote in

terms of their demographics and also the Republican Party is just

strategically superior to the Democrats on how to get people to vote.

 

But I didn`t expect to see them maintain their turnout advantage and in

every district, that I analyze in a forthcoming analysis I`ll show, that

even though Democratic turnouts are just bigger and a massive surge, they

still underperformed the turnout of Republicans.

 

MCDONNELL: And so, you`ve now applied this to the Electoral College map and

you`re looking at the districts that basically areas within the Electoral

College map that say there`s a lot of college educated voters or there`s

the kind of voter profile that you say will turn out in surprisingly big

numbers, and in shorthand, that`s how you`re getting to 278.

 

BITECOFER: That`s exactly right. So I`m looking, I mean instead of a

district, I`m looking at statewide factors, I`m looking at urban

populations because that`s one advantage Democrats have in - there are

disadvantages to the Electoral College system certainly. But every state

has urban centers, some states have more than others and every urban center

has suburban populations.

 

And so, case in point Texas, right, Texas is ground zero of the 2020 cycle.

Democrats left several Texas House seats on the table in 2018 because

they`re not thinking about them in terms of these - my model, the way I

identify competition. And now I think they`re starting to recognize, oh the

suburbs of Dallas, I mean not only are they potential pickups for the

House, those are the places that if Democrats want to make a serious play

at the Texas Senate or a serious play at flipping that in the Electoral

College which by the way would knock the Presidency for the long-term off

of the Republicans` agenda. I mean that`s where it would happen in the

suburbs of Dallas, in Houston, in major urban areas.

 

MCDONNELL: Professor Rachel Bitecofer, our second favorite Rachel, thank

you very much–

 

BITECOFER: Pleasure.

 

MCDONNELL: –for joining us tonight. We`re going to have to have you back a

lot to keep us posted on this.

 

Coming up, the woman who wrote the book on the politics of Trumpism, Joy

Reid will join us and we`ll see what Joy Reid thinks of Rachel Bitecofer`s

Electoral College prediction. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MCDONNELL: Here`s Joe Biden on Jonathan Capehart`s podcast in effect

echoing Rachel Bitecofer`s modeling for the Presidential election.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When the assertion is made that well

the reason the only person that can beat Trump is “an old white guy” I just

think that - I mean I think there`s other people in the race who can beat

Trump.

 

JONATHAN CAPEHART, AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND CONTRIBUTOR FOR MSNBC: Who?

 

BIDEN: Well, I think almost anybody, they`d all make a better President

than Trump, doesn`t matter who`s left in the race.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MCDONNELL: Joy Reid is generously doing double-duty for us tonight by

hosting Rachel Maddow Show and then returning to join us here at The Last

Word. Joy is an MSNBC National Correspondent and she`s the host of AM Joy

in MSNBC, and the author of The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the

Unraveling of the American Story.

 

And Joy, it says right here on the back of your book, it delivers a

compelling account of how we got to Trumpism and what will happen next. So

with that authority invested–

 

JOY REID, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AT MSNBC: And it is great authority, a

great–

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MCDONNELL: –invested in you by this book, what`s your take on what you`re

hearing from Rachel Bitecofer, she says she can count tonight 278 electoral

votes–

 

REID: Yes.

 

MCDONNELL: –for the Democratic Presidential nominee, whoever that is.

 

REID: Yes, and I`m going to bring our conversation off air, on air that I

did say to you that, when she tweeted, someone tweeted to me her analysis

that I read the same day that you first had her on the show, and then I

watched her on this show. And it was sort of a wake-up call for me as well.

 

And I`ve been on both sides of this business covering it and also working

on campaigns, and I can tell you that, in the last month of the 2004

election, which is the first Presidential campaign that I worked on, in my

deep inside I knew that the Democrat was going to lose.

 

Like you could - there were things about the race that you knew and one -

and she wrote down, Ms. Bitecofer wrote down the four things I think are

the key. The mood of the electorate, which side is hungry, the hungrier

constituency always wins.

 

The overconfidence that Democrats had in 2016, I myself, the data said

Hillary Clinton`s going to win, so a lot of analysis was around that

overconfidence. The fact that it is not the white working-class that is the

pivot, they are already Republican, I`ve done - I believed that for a long

time, I think Democrats obsess with them too much.

 

And the fact that it is diverse suburban college-educated districts that

are the ones that delivered the angry result in 2018, it could again. And I

think that she`s right in the sense that that first thing, the mood, the

hungry constituency after eight years of Barack Obama were white Americans

who are angry about racial change, they were enraged, they were motivated.

 

Hillary Clinton`s voters were not motivated. African-American turnout for

instance fell under 60 percent, that is a sure loser for Democrats. So I

think since the Democrats are angrier and hungrier and the Far-Right is

sated by Donald Trump`s cruelty toward immigrants, I think she`s right.

 

MCDONNELL: Yes, and there`s also a simple piece of mathematics that`s right

in the center of your analysis, which is the third party voting gave Donald

Trump the election, and people vote third party when they think they can.

 

REID: That`s right.

 

MCDONNELL: And they think it`s not going to tilt it and she doesn`t believe

you`re going to see a third party vote that gives Wisconsin to Donald

Trump.

 

REID: Right, and so if you think about the way that the Democrats and

Democratic leaning independents were thinking about 2016, the assumption

was Hillary`s going to win anyway. So that if you had some objection to

her, whatever your objection was that she spoke at a corporate function at

some point, you could say you know what I`m going to vote for Jill Stein,

because I don`t like her ethics on speeches.

 

Because you figure, she`s going to win anyway, what difference does it

make? No one thinks that now.

 

MCDONNELL: Right.

 

REID: Everyone who in any way is disturbed by Donald Trump and that`s most

of the country is shocked, appalled and terrified, and wants him gone. On

the other side, though, when you think about the way his base is, they are

in one of two camps.

 

They either are loving Donald Trump and they think he`s right, but they are

sated. They don`t need to come out as much as the other side does or

they`re wondering, well what the heck, my farm is going down the tubes. So

I do think that the anger and the outrage is on the side of the Democrats

and the idea that people kind of willy-nilly vote third party, I don`t see

that happening again.

 

MCDONNELL: And I am just so glad that we have found a new source of

analysis about this. I discovered Rachel Bitecofer, I read about her - read

an article and I`m immediately said, let`s get her on the show.

 

REID: Yes.

 

MCDONNELL: And she`s really - as you say, she`s changed my thinking, she`s

expanded your thinking.

 

REID: Absolutely.

 

MCDONNELL: Joy Reid, thank you very much–

 

REID: Thank you very much.

 

MCDONNELL: –for doing overtime tonight.

 

REID: This is fun for me, this is actually fun, I love this stuff.

 

MCDONNELL: Thank you very much.

 

REID: Thank you.

 

MCDONNELL: We`ll be - when we come back on Monday, the world was shocked

once again when Donald Trump blamed Russia`s illegal annexation of Crimea

from Ukraine on President Obama instead of Vladimir Putin. Tonight, Russian

forces are once again acting aggressively toward a neighboring country,

towards Georgia. Who will Donald Trump blame now? That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MCDONNELL: One of those Republican nominees for president in 2008 John

McCain said, “Today, we are all Georgians.” He was amplifying the

international outrage at Russia`s aggression against the neighboring

country of Georgia. That aggression has taken a new and dangerous turn this

week. According to the State Department, the United States is monitoring

reports of military buildup near the administrative boundary line of the

Russian-occupied Georgian region of South Ossetia.

 

Georgian officials are now warning about the risk of a new serious

confrontation in that region. Military forces in the Russian-backed South

Ossetia region are lining up along that region`s border to demand Georgian

forces remove a checkpoint that separates the region from the rest of

Georgia. The move comes just days after President Trump absolved Russian

President Vladimir Putin for the shocking acts of Russian aggression that

took place when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014.

 

Donald Trump blamed that not on Vladimir Putin, but on President Obama. So,

who is to blame for Russia`s aggression tonight in Georgia? And what should

the President of the United States be doing about it? Russia expert Evelyn

Farkas is back with us and will join us after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MCDONNELL: Tonight as we approach yet another international crisis created

by Vladimir Putin, we are joined by Evelyn Farkas, Senior Fellow at the

German Marshall Fund and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for

Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. She is an MSNBC national security analyst.

 

Evelyn, troops forming on a Russian border area with Georgia; we`ve seen

this before.

 

EVELYN FARKAS, SENIOR FELLOW AT GERMAN MARSHALL FUND, FORMER DEPUTY

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RUSSIA/UKRAINE/EURASIA, MSNBC NATIONAL

SECURITY ANALYST: Right. This is Vladimir Putin showing the world and

showing his neighbors in particular that he`s still the man, if you will,

that Russia is still a great power and that Russia has a lot of cards. It`s

also I think a little bit of a finger in the face to the West, so Western

Europe, the G7, our President, saying “Hey, I can still cause a lot of

trouble. Don`t think about expanding NATO.”

 

Georgia is still on the list. They still want to become a NATO member, and

the original - the original invasion of Georgia, if you remember, in 2008

came about because the Georgians were offered a conditional membership by

NATO. And actually George Bush, our president at the time, was pushing it

really hard. It was Georgia and Ukraine.

 

It didn`t come to pass because the Russians invaded, and they continue to

occupy 20% of Georgia`s territory. But this is a very dangerous situation

and unfortunately, it`s yet again I would say a G7 failure because they

should have been talking about Ukraine and Georgia and all of the things

that Russia is doing wrong, rather than even having to discuss the

possibility of re-allowing, re-inviting Russia into the G7.

 

MCDONNELL: Yes, President Trump had them basically wasting their time on a

discussion and then Vladimir Putin to show his gratitude for how hard

Donald Trump worked for him at the G7 trying to get him back in the group,

he does this.

 

You mentioned the first incursion into Georgia. Let`s listen to what

Republican presidential candidate John McCain had to say about that then

and just imagine what has happened to republicanism since John McCain said

this and where Donald Trump is now. Let`s listen to this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOHN MCCAIN, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: I know from speaking this

morning to the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who I have known

for many years, that he knows that the thoughts and the prayers and support

of the American people are with that brave little nation as they struggle

today for their freedom and independence. I know I speak for every American

when I say to him, “Today, we are all Georgians.”

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MCDONNELL: It`s so hard to watch that with John McCain gone.

 

FARKAS: Right.

 

MCDONNELL: And Donald Trump now in the place where John McCain wanted to

be. That didn`t have been written for him, not one word of that had to be

put in his mind. He was ready for that kind of - how to deal with that kind

of crisis. What should this president be doing now?

 

FARKAS: Well, he should be ideally doing what John McCain did, which is

recognizing what Russia is doing. This is not a democracy; this is a

country that`s trying to re-establish a sphere of influence. It`s trying to

bully Georgia, of course. There`s also the situation in Ukraine which we

need to keep a very close eye on. Now, maybe they`ve made some progress,

but nevertheless I mean Vladimir Putin`s agenda is all about creating a

sphere of influence, getting his way with the neighboring countries,

weakening them politically.

 

And so, this is again, unfortunately John McCain understood we have to

fight against the bullies, we have to fight against autocracy. The

Georgians established a democracy; it was a really big deal. And John

McCain was actually there at the very beginning, heavily involved, when

most people didn`t know there was a Republic of Georgia. We just thought

there was the state of Georgia.

 

And so, he understood clearly what happened. In 2008, when we said Georgia

come into NATO, we didn`t realize that the Russians would have the reaction

that they would have. Now, we know that they`ll use military force to

prevent sovereign countries from joining associations that their people

want them to join. That should be unacceptable.

 

So, the West needs to jump in right now, Lawrence. I mean our government

should be leading the way to put an end to this aggression.

 

MCDONNELL: We`ll be watching it over the weekend and we will probably have

to hear from you next week about this. Evelyn Farkas, thank you very much

for joining us tonight. And when we come back, we have breaking news. The

newest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has just been released.

Bill Karins has it; he`s ready. He will be with us next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MCDONNELL: Breaking news, the National Hurricane Center has just been

released its latest update on Hurricane Dorian. Let`s go right to NBC

Meteorologist Bill Karins. Bill, what`s the latest?

 

BILL KARINS, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Lawrence, it`s a coin flip, it`s 50-50

right now for whether you are going to get a Florida landfall. Yesterday, I

would say maybe it was 75 percent chance that this was heading into

Florida, possibly as a major hurricane. So this is a great trend. We still

have two to three days to go - we could trend worse tomorrow. But at least

we like the trend that we`ve seen in the last 12 to 18 hours.

 

Now if you seeing, there you like behind me, you see this beast of a storm.

You see the huge eye, the rapid intensification today. We knew all along

that this had perfect conditions to become a big major hurricane, maybe a

4, maybe a 5, we know it`s a 4 right now. But what we didn`t know is where

it would head.

 

If we get a huge Category 4, even a 5, it just stays out in the ocean. It`s

bad for the cruise lines or whatever else, but that spares us a billion-

dollar weather disaster. So that`s what we`re still hoping for and we still

have a chance of that happening.

 

So here`s the latest from the Hurricane Center, Category 4, 140 mile per

hour wind, looks extremely impressive on satellite imagery, but we are

still 545 miles west of Palm Beach, Florida. So we still have a ways to go,

for a lot of changes with the path.

 

So, let me get you to the latest path and forecast from the Hurricane

Center. Yesterday, at this time, we had the storm coming in just north of

West Palm Beach, up through Central Florida. So we have slowed it down and

shifted towards the coast.

 

We tell you not to stare at the red line, of course it`s bright red line,

it`s kind of hard not to. That`s kind of the center path, the cone of

uncertainty is this area in white in here. And notice, we`re now starting

to take out extreme South Florida and The Keys from that. As we go closer

to the storm, getting towards Florida or towards the Bahamas, we`re going

to narrow this cone down and start to eliminate some people from it. The

Florida trend today was fantastic for Miami and the Tampa/Fort Myers, the

Naples areas. But still, anywhere from about north of Miami to West Palm

Beach, Jupiter, all towards Palm Bay, the Melbourne area, the Space Coast,

all the way to Flagler County.

 

 

END   

 

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