Hurricane Dorian death toll rises. TRANSCRIPT: 9/5/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
We`re going to have Bill Karins and also the death count in the Bahamas now
is increasing tonight and the health minister said it may rise dramatically
from where it already is.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: So, we`re going to take a look at where that stands tonight.
That is becoming an increasingly tragic story.
MADDOW: Yes, those foreboding warnings from the health minister, even as
he announces the increased death toll. It`s just very, very chilling and
very worrying, yes.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, the Navy SEALs are now our most prominent Special Forces
unit. Their history goes all the way back to World War II. But the oldest
Special Forces unit in our military is the fighting group that started the
Special Forces concept, Army Rangers, who traced their history to before
the Revolutionary War.
And I grew up knowing a lot about Army Rangers and holding them in awe
because my Uncle John was an Army Ranger. My Uncle John, Thomas Curley
(ph), was born to Irish immigrants in Brooklyn. He graduated from West
Point, saw combat in World War II in Korea, was wounded in World War II.
He earned eight Silver Stars, eight in his military career.
After he died in 1977, my Uncle John was inducted into the Ranger Hall of
Fame. And I`ve admired many people in my life, including many people I
have known and worked with, but I have been in full awe of exactly one
person, my Uncle John, the war hero, the Army Ranger Hall of Famer.
And a portion of that awe always extends to Special Forces veterans and
combat veterans, and you might detect some of it tonight when I introduce
you to former Army Ranger Jason Crow who you will meet and I will meet in
tonight`s episode of “Meet the Freshman”.
Jason Crow is a freshman Democratic congressman from Colorado who won a
congressional district last year that a Democrat has never won before. He
is bringing his military experience to his new job. He is bringing his
constitutional law experience as a lawyer to his new job when he considers
the question of impeachment. And you will hear the story of how an
encounter he had with an Iraqi man who he was on patrol in Baghdad helped
shape his decision to come out in support of an impeachment inquiry, not a
politically easy thing to do in a district that Jason Crow represents.
You will meet and I will meet Congressman Jason Crow later in this hour and
that is something I`m really looking forward to in this hour and I think
you will too.
Presidential candidate Cory Booker will also join us tonight.
But we begin tonight where the news demands we begin. We have tragic
breaking news tonight from the Bahamas on what Hurricane Dorian has already
done to those islands with the death toll there rising significantly
tonight to a new total of 30 victims. And we have the latest tracking
tonight about what Hurricane Dorian might do next as it approaches the
We have our live report in a moment from Wilmington, North Carolina, which
is bracing from a possible direct hit from Hurricane Dorian. The mayor of
Wilmington will join us. And we`ll also get the latest from the Bahamas
tonight on a situation turning more tragic by the hour.
We begin with what you need to know right now about what Hurricane Dorian
might do next, and for that we turn to meteorologist Bill Karins.
Bill, what is the latest?
BILL KARINS, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Right now, we`re waiting to see if we
get landfall, Lawrence. That`s the big, dramatic thing. Will the highest
winds, the 100-mile-per-hour wind, will they move onshore or stay offshore?
That will be a big determination how much damage we have in eastern North
Carolina when we all wake up tomorrow morning.
So, during the day, the storm brushed by areas of South Carolina. When I
say brushed, it`s left its mark, on almost 300,000 people without power.
But it didn`t do a lot of significant damage with the storm surge. That
was one thing we were concerned about with the Charleston area and even
Savannah for that matter and that was OK.
We have weakened it a little bit. Now, we`re down to 100-mile-per-hour
max, and sustained winds, gusts still get up there about 120, if you`re in
the worst of the storm. And that`s the question, who`s going to be in the
worst of the storm?
As we go throughout the next four hours, we`re going to parallel the
coastline, that northern eye is very close to areas around Wilmington,
Richfield Beach, that`s going to Onslow County, the Camp Lejeune marine
base there, north beach, then we could possibly get that landfall here near
Carteret County, near Atlantic Beach, Morehead city. That`s where we`re
going to be watching the possibility of the highest winds.
And so far, as I mentioned, it hasn`t been that dramatic with the winds.
Even Wilmington, you know, you`re not that far from the center, but your
winds only gusting to 55 or 43 in Jacksonville. Myrtle Beach still gusting
at 52 on the backside of the storm but your weather will dramatically
improve as we go through the night.
And so, here`s how we`re going to see this playing out. So, here`s that
potential landfall in eastern Carteret County, sometime right around, it
looks like maybe 2:00, 3:00 a.m. in the morning and that could have the
winds 75 to 95 miles per hour. We could get the peak of the surge at high
tide about the same time. So, we still could have some problems there.
And then, we take the storm early tomorrow morning over the top of Cape
Hatteras, it looks like by about 10:00 a.m., it`ll be crossing land and
getting out over the ocean. And then by noon tomorrow, after about two
weeks of watching what will be historically remembered and never used name
again, Dorian, will be gone, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: At noon tomorrow, Bill, you think that might be the last
necessary reporting on this?
KARINS: In the Lower 48, and the only little caveat is that this will
slingshot up, become extra tropical almost like a nor`easter type storm and
go into Nova Scotia. They`re going to have some high winds and rain on
Saturday. It`ll be a different beast then than the hurricane it`s been
O`DONNELL: Bill Karins, thank you very much us through tonight. Really
And how is it looking at this hour in North Carolina? Right now, we head
to Wilmington where NBC News correspondent Cal Perry is covering Dorian for
Cal, what is the situation there?
CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, just to give you an idea, I`m
under cover here. We`ve had 3 inches of rain in the last three hours.
That deluge is something officials are worried about because the story here
is flooding. I`ll step out a bit so you can hear the difference.
And you heard Bill saying there, we`re getting gusts up to about 50 miles
an hour. Not terrible to be honest considering what this storm has done on
its way here and what people were expecting. A big part of the story here
and a big part of reporting needs to be what happened last year in
Wilmington. Hurricane Florence hit one year ago next week, and it cut the
city off from the rest of the state.
This city was basically an island for a period of 48 hours. And because of
that, some people have decided to stay here and ride out the storm because
they were not able to get back into their homes last year. Emergency
officials are telling people to hunker down. This is sort of the meat of
And again just a reminder to anybody who still has power and there is power
on in much of the city, once those winds get to 50 miles an hour, the
authorities are not going to get out and do any rescue efforts. It`s
important for people to remember at least for the next six hours, this is
the time where they really want to hunker down, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Cal Perry , thank you very much for joining us with that live
And for more on how the residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, are
dealing with Hurricane Dorian, we`re joined by phone by Mayor Bill Saffo.
He is the mayor of Wilmington, North Carolina.
And, Mr. Mayor, we just heard from Bill Karins that by noontime tomorrow,
this storm could already be in your history books. But what do crow expect
to wake up tomorrow in terms of the consequences that have already landed
MAYOR BILL SAFFO, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): A lot of
rains and we`re getting it right now. And, of course, probably some downed
trees and hopefully not power lines but possibly power lines will also come
down. It`ll be the second time in a year that we`re dealing with the
hurricane. We had Florence last year, and now, we`re dealing with Dorian
and it`s – you know, obviously our citizens are kind of weather weary but
we`re ready to go and we`ll hunker down and we`ll put our assets out on the
streets as soon as this storm passes.
O`DONNELL: Now, I know you have a lot of experience as a coastal city in
the Carolinas dealing with hurricanes and anticipation of hurricanes. But
did you do anything differently this year based on last year`s experience?
SAFFO: We did. Last year, we just we were cut off from the world for four
days because outlying areas were flooded and Interstate 40, our main artery
coming to the city, was flooded for four days. So, we prepositioned a lot
of fuel, a lot of our resources came in from the state early on, were
prepositioned into higher ground, closer to the city.
Obviously, we have been going through these hurricane drills a couple of
times a year, so our teams down here, our first responders, our emergency
operation officials are always doing something different about every storm
and we learned a lot from Florence and we positioned a lot of our assets
closer into the city this time than last time in anticipation if this thing
does come ashore, we`ll be ready to help the folks and citizens out in our
O`DONNELL: What do you want to tell the people who have evacuated, what do
you want to tell them tonight about what they can expect in terms of being
able to return?
SAFFO: Well, you know, listen to what the emergency operation folks say.
You know, give us some time to get our crews into the streets and cleanup
the debris. We want to make sure if there are any downed power lines,
they`re not live wires so somebody doesn`t get hurt or electrocuted. And
let us get those things out of the way and cleared up before you get into
We`ll give you the all clear to get back and you`ll be listening to the
state and federal officials as well as local officials before you make that
track back into town. And we also will make certain that if we do have any
roadways that are flooded, we want the citizens to be aware of them because
we lost several people last year where people tried to traverse roads that
were covered and thought they could make it and unfortunately lost their
lives because of it.
So, we want people to be cautious and vigilant, and just listen to what
emergency operation folks are telling you.
O`DONNELL: Mayor Bill Saffo of Wilmington, North Carolina, thank you very
much for taking the time to talk with us tonight. We really appreciate it.
And Dr. Duane Sands, the health minister of the Bahamas who joined us on
this program last night told NBC News tonight that the death toll in the
Bahamas has just increased by seven to a new total of 30.
Dr. Sands told NBC News, quote: The official count is 30, we expect the
number to climb dramatically. I certainly believe based on the findings in
the field that the number will rise dramatically. I really believe that
based on the geography, topography, the separation due to flooding,
collapsed buildings, that this is going to take quite a while.
I mean, the zone we`re talking about, islands in range of 50 miles,
settlements that are separated, we literally have to go house by house to
inspect some of the structures that have collapsed. It`s going to take
quite a while. The logistics are incredibly challenging. It is a
horrendous challenge right now. The prime minister has attempted to
prepare the public for the ultimate confirmation and the expectation that
this has been a devastating storm and loss of life and property.
Dr. Sands told NBC News that the next death toll update will come some time
And joining us now by phone is the Honorable Kwasi Thompson. He is the
minister of state for the Grand Bahama.
Minister Thompson, can you tell us what you know at this point about the
changing death toll? It suddenly went up by seven. Is that because it`s
easier to be able to make some of these identifications and recoveries?
HON. KWASI THOMPSON, MINISTER OF STATE FOR TEH GRAND BAHAMA (via
telephone): Yes. And I want to say good night to you. Good night to you
all, to all of the folks there in the U.S. and the world who`s joining.
You`re absolutely correct. The floodwaters are now receding, places that
we`re not able to get into the areas that were impassable before. And so,
now, we`re now in that recovery mode, we are recovering and seeing now the
– unfortunately, the death toll that exists. I am on the island of Grand
Bahama, and the same really is happening on the island of Grand Bahama.
We`re the second most populated island in the Bahamas. So a bit more
populated than Abaco. And there were some areas we were only able to reach
today, unfortunately recovering bodies today. So the prime minister and
Dr. Sands were absolutely correct that the official death count
unfortunately is going to increase.
O`DONNELL: One of the grimmer points of news that we got today was the
fact the islands need more morticians, more people who know how to handle
dead bodies and help in the identification of dead bodies. And they are
flying in from the United States, as many as can.
Is that the current most important focus is finding and identifying these
THOMPSON: Well, that`s one of the focuses. I mean, we`ve been doing that
today, getting into the eastern side of the island today, and
unfortunately, we did recover some bodies today. However, that`s just one
of the concerns. We have hundreds of persons on our island that are
homeless. We have about 400 now that remain in shelters. A number are
still with their families.
One part of our island was really completely devastated. We had flood
waters in the range of 20 feet high. Some persons trapped in their attics
had to be rescued.
We`ve now setup feeding banks because obviously persons who have lost their
houses, the complete island is out of power and out of water. So the
government has mobilized thankfully persons of control will now be
receiving relief items and are now mobilizing to get those relief items
into the community. We have feeding centers and we`re now trying to feed,
clothe, provide water, provide those essential supplies just to keep our
O`DONNELL: Are there areas of the islands that are so remote that the
people there who have survived won`t be able to find their way to a safer
place? They won`t be able to walk whatever that distance might be?
THOMPSON: Well, the island of Grand Bahama and also the island of Abaco
really have a number of – so you can imagine there are areas in regular
circumstances only assessable by boat and in some cases only by small
boats. Compound that with areas only assessable by one road, and that road
either will have been washed away or that road would have had debris that
was covered and so it would have taken some time to access those areas
because of the damage.
But we have done so by way of heavy equipment and access to those roads.
In some cases, we`ve actually had to use vessels to go around the island to
get into different areas. And so, it`s been challenging, but our police,
our defense force, our officials I really commend them because on those
circumstances, they`ve stepped up.
The prime minister has said we will spare no expense to ensure that we do
what we can to recover, that we do what we can to assist our population and
that`s really what`s been happening.
O`DONNELL: Minister Thompson, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
We are very sorry for what has happened to your islands and what you are
continuing to discover in this aftermath. We really appreciate your time
THOMPSON: Thank you. And we want to thank all of your listeners. We`ve
gotten tremendous support, tremendous outpouring. So we want to thank all
of those persons who have been in the recovery effort and have offered
their help and assistance to us. Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Appreciate it.
And when we come back, one of the most devastating hurricanes that has ever
hit north eastern United States was Hurricane Sandy which brought
devastation like we`ve never seen to New York City`s Staten Island and New
Cory Booker was mayor of Newark, New Jersey, then. He brought people into
his home then to feed them, to let them stay there, and he saw what is
always true about hurricanes. Surviving the hurricane is one thing but
surviving the aftermath is something else, and surviving the aftermath
usually is much more difficult for poor people just like everything else.
Cory Booker will tell us what he did leading his city through the aftermath
of Superstorm Sandy. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: The destruction caused by super storms and hurricanes like
Dorian costs the United States billions of dollars in damage every year.
But when it comes to escaping, surviving and recovering from a natural
disaster, it`s like everything else, poor people suffer the most.
A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research states the obvious.
There is a broad consensus that the wealthy can access a wide range of
protective strategies from owning a second home to accessing better quality
medicine, food and medical care and housing. The poor are thus more likely
to bear the incidents of natural disasters.
Our next guest has had hard experience dealing with the catastrophic
effects of super storms on poor communities. Cory Booker was mayor of
Newark, New Jersey, when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in October of 2012.
Sandy had just been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit New
Jersey but it still left millions without power and without a place to
Mayor Cory Booker invited members of his community to eat and sleep-in his
home in the aftermath of the storm. Now, United States Senator Booker is a
Democratic presidential candidate and he joins us tonight from Newark, New
Senator Booker, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
I want to get your reaction to what we just heard the minister tell us from
the Bahamas, that it death toll has risen by seven tonight. It was down in
the low 20s, went up to 30 and we`re told it`s going to probably rise
And I want to get your reaction to what`s happening in the Bahamas and what
we should be doing to help.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, number one, my
heartaches watching the photos and videos and seeing what`s going on there.
But you really hit the nail on the head. When the storm passes, the danger
persists. We lost people here in the city, lost lives in the days after
because of things that folks often don`t think of.
Remember Hurricane Sandy hit in October. It was cold. People often make
mistakes running generators indoors and we`ve lost people to carbon dioxide
People need medicines and access to drugs that sometimes need to be
refrigerated or you have no power. Your drugs can get spoiled. There`s so
many life threatening things that happen in the aftermath of a storm that
they are not out of the crisis yet.
And this is a test of our compassion and our empathy right now, and I`m
hoping that folks are finding the right places to go to contribute to this
effort because we here in the state of New Jersey, believe it or not, have
still people who are recovering their lives after the devastating loss.
And again, Lawrence, I appreciate you on so many levels but pointing out
the resiliency to people of wealth who often have but low income families,
poor families can be tragically, tragically devastating to their lives.
And the impact can be lasting and traumatic and last for years.
O`DONNELL: No, listen, I know people who in the aftermath of hurricanes
simply pulled up and went to a hotel, just to a hotel. And I also know
people who lost their homes and had nowhere to go.
After Sandy, I didn`t get to New Jersey, but I was out in Staten Island
which was absolutely devastated, and you`re not surprising me by saying
there are people in areas and housing situations that have not recovered,
have not been made whole since Sandy.
What is the – what is the government`s responsibility in the aftermath of
one of these storms?
BOOKER: I think these are moments where we have to understand it`s all
hands on deck, that responsibility – everyone has to take responsibility.
And, Lawrence, you and I lived in the New York, New Jersey area. We have
seen 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy where I saw the best of humanity come forward,
where people were there for their neighbors, there for their community,
never stopped working.
And I know first responders in the aftermath, my team was going days with
very little to no sleep whatsoever, but I`ll tell you what, we setup a hub
in Newark to receive resources, and we`re getting truckloads of food and
water from states around us. People sending their emergency crews here
doing sort of joint rescues because we had people stranded.
It was an amazing moment where I saw people ask what party you`re in, what
background, the best of who we are. Well, I think that`s patriotism, I
think that`s love of our country, but love shouldn`t stop at our borders.
This is the same time we need that same kind of grace to the Bahamas and
what they`re going through.
In America, we`re one of the best nations if not the best nation often for
showing support to a lot of our neighbors especially in the Caribbean from
Haiti to the Dominican Republic to obviously in this case the Bahamas. I`m
hoping more and more Americans will think maybe I can`t do everything but I
can do something even if it`s a small gesture to help that incredible
O`DONNELL: That grace and the aftermath talking about I saw, I witnessed
it up close in Staten Island, truly inspiring after Sandy. What made you
decide to take people into your home?
BOOKER: Look, I – I love where I live. I live in a low income, below the
poverty line community. You often see folks with little who consistently
show the most. I`ve learned about the definition of grace from living here
in Newark from people who I`ve seen rise to challenges. Sometimes, it`s a
murder in the community, a family that`s been evicted over frankly B.S.
And so, I just feel blessed to have opportunities to return to a community
that`s done so much for me. So, in that aftermath, I was in the command
center and literally running around the city, and got a text from one of my
neighbors who just said, look, the power on our side of the block is out,
your side is not. I go look, I`m not using my house, I`m going constantly
just here`s how you get in, anything that you need, I`m going to send food
and resources. It became a hub.
The problem is that I got a lot of attention from doing that maybe because
I was the mayor, but it was going on all over Newark, all over New Jersey
just to see the deep decency and goodness in our country when there`s
crises that happen. I have to say sometimes when a visible storm passes, I
hope that empathy can often continue to deal with other crises we have,
whether it`s environmental injustice or scourge of gun violence, because we
are at our best as a community, as a country when we don`t let the lines
that divide us ever stop us from tightening those bonds that hold this
country together. And we need more of that.
I was in the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco. I`ve never seen anything
like it before. This happened during the World Series, horrible
devastation. I`ll never forget that was the first major natural disaster I
was in that weeks after, you could go to gas stations, to restaurants,
there was this kindness in the air that was so profound.
I saw America at its best, and I hope we can continue especially this era
where we see demeaning and degrading happening – behavior happening at the
highest office in the land, I want to see it in our country and this is one
of the reasons I`m running for president a revival of the civic grace. So,
the spirit we often see come out when we`re at our worse can also come out
during times of relative calm or without these kind of natural disasters
that remind us about American goodness.
We need more of that now more than ever. Especially as you see more
partisanship or I would say more - more just divide in our nation.
O`DONNELL: Senator Cory Booker, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
We really appreciate it.
BOOKER: Lawrence, I just want to say one more thing. That story about your
uncle really moved me, and, you know, there are heroes like that that we
don`t celebrate and we`re talking about them right now, first responders in
But the heroism you talk about in your uncle we don`t know and I now know
this, I`m dealing with it more as United States Senator whether it`s
rangers or ceils, they`re Special Forces people out there right now as we
speak out there doing incredible things. I give honor to your uncle and to
all of those Americans who are continuing in his tradition. So all the best
to your family`s legacy.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Senator. Really appreciate it. Thank you for joining
And when we come back, President Trump obviously wants us to talk about his
defaced weather map tonight. He`s doing everything he can to keep that
story alive. And often when Donald Trump keeps a bad Trump story alive it`s
because every other Trump story is much worse.
After this break John Heilemann and Sam Stein will join us to discuss what
we think Donald Trump doesn`t want us talking about which includes taking
money away from schools for children of military personnel and using that
money for you guessed it. If you haven`t guessed it, you`ll get the answer
after this break. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: This is the segment for where President Trump apparently wants
us to be discussing his abuse of weather maps. He must want us to talk
about it because he kept tweeting about it today. The President is
personally keeping this story alive.
The story of him using a defaced weather map to try to prove Hurricane
Dorian could have reached Alabama. Why is he doing this? Why does he so
obviously want us to talk about this story? It`s a bad story for Donald
Trump, but it does seem like it might be one of those deliberate Trump
diversions because the story we turn to now is much, much worse for Donald
Trump and worse in the view of Trump voters.
And that is the new information we have tonight about the money Donald
Trump is diverting from the Defense Department Budget to pay for the wall
he promised his voters Mexico would pay for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I will have Mexico pay
for that wall. Mark my words. Mexico will pay for the wall. Believe me. And
- and who`s going to pay for the wall? Mexico, 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: How is the next rally going to feel about chanting the Pentagon
will pay for the wall or we will pay for the wall or school children of
military personnel will pay for the wall? This is a much worse story for
Donald Trump than a fake line on a weather map.
The Defense Department is diverting $3.6 billion away from 127 military
construction projects; projects in 23 states are being defunded to pay for
the wall. Nine of those construction projects are for building or
renovating schools for the children of U.S. military personnel.
Utah, a state with two Republican Senators is losing $54 billion in
military funding that will be sent to the wall. Arizona Senator Martha
McSally who has supported the President`s emergency declaration that he`s
using to justify the diversion of military funds is now watching an army
base in her state lose $30 million to pay for the wall.
And that`s after the Secretary of Defense had personally assured her that
Arizona wouldn`t lose any money. Former Astronaut Mark Kelly running as a
Democrat for the Senate in Arizona is already polling ahead of Republican
Senator Martha McSally. Mark Kelly now says that Senator McSally “Didn`t
keep her word when she promised to protect funding for Arizona military
As local news stories continue to appear in the 23 states that are losing
military funding to pay for the wall, no Republican Senator has suffered a
harsher judgment in the local news media than North Carolina Republican
Senator Tom Tillis who must first survive a Republican primary before
entering what will be a General Election race for his re-election next
A Charlotte Observer Editorial said the loss of $80 million in military
construction spending in North Carolina is, “An $80 million punch in the
gut and a lesson that Tom Tillis never seems to learn. The lessons here
there are at least a couple. First, don`t trust this President. Donald
Trump will not hesitate to burn anyone including people who previously
helped him to get a political victory. And also when you buy political
favor in exchange for your principles the bill is always more than you
thought it would be”.
We`re joined now by two highly experienced political journalists who could
surely deliver the best jokes on this program about the Trump weather map
but have agreed to temporarily leave that to the late night comedians while
they concentrate on the issues the President seems to be trying to divert
John Heilemann, he is a National Affairs Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He
is Co-host and Executive Producer of show time`s “The Circus” and he is one
of the truly great writers who has fixed his focus on politics and we are
the better for it.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Who wrote this script?
O`DONNELL: And Sam Stein joins us, he is the Politics Editor of “The Daily
Beast” and he is an MSNBC Political Analyst. Sam continues to deliver some
of the most important reporting of the Trump era about what the Trump
administration is actually doing about with the levers of power and
SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST POLITICS EDITOR: Nice.
O`DONNELL: I mean that Sam - I mean that you`re the one who goes inside the
government in these stories that few of us find the space to cover and tell
us what they`re really up to.
STEIN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: So let`s start with you on this question of he wants us to talk
about the hurricane map because what`s the thing he doesn`t want us talking
about? Is it the military money for the wall?
DTEIN: I don`t buy the premise. I actually challenge the premise. I think
earlier when I was covering Trump I probably would have bought the premise,
the three-dimensional chess. And I certainly do grant you that the military
- the diversion of military funds to the wall is an embarrassing story, if
anything, a complete absence of his campaign–
O`DONNELL: For these higher Republican Party?
STEIN: Yes, and because they allowed this to go through with the
transference of funds. But I`ve come through the observation of reporting
that Trump is just sort of clinically incapable of moving on from these
things and to him there`s no greater slight than being perceived as out of
touch with reality.
So he`s now gone through almost a dozen tweets, proclamation statements,
written upon maps to prove he was right about Alabama. And what`s
particularly bizarre about this and why I think that this is very bad in it
own right is he`s doing it while our country is still dealing the
hurricane. It`s not like the hurricane is past. North Carolina is about
getting hit right now. It`d be one thing if we`d gone through this, there
was no damage, but he`s literally distracted by proving that Alabama was in
the cross here as North Carolina is dealing with this.
O`DONNELL: I meant to include this in the premise. I cling to the
possibility that it`s both. If he is obsessive and he has obsessive
behavior you see all the time, but he`s also aware he`s looking at those
map segments and going no they`re not talking about the kids schools that
I`m not funding.
HEILEMANN: Well, I think this is the right answer and I will say not
obsessive, pathological is the word you`re looking for. He`s is a
pathology, he`s is pathological liar, the pathology, however, is triggered
by various bad news on other fronts.
The pathology gets amped up when he looks around and sees what all the
domestic political front he looks at polling where he gets beaten like a
gong in every swing state by not just Joe Biden but by many of the further
down the scale Democrats.
He looks across the ocean and sees his friend Boris Johnson getting eaten
about the face and neck every day.
O`DONNELL: After that telling us as smart Boris Johnson.
HEILEMANN: And then he looks at the economy where we have news just today,
this survey financial industry executives who are more pessimistic about
the outlook for the economy than they have been in three years and you got
data coming out that suggest that we have a looming recession.
So economic news, political news and foreign news all bad stories for
Donald Trump and it amps up the instinct for pathological lying.
STEIN: Let me just say, it`s not like this is particularly savvy effort in
HEILEMANN: We got more enough,–
STEIN: I`m not the one who said three three-dimensional chess–
STEIN: It doesn`t take the level of sophistication he tried to divert the
attention to something a little bit more positive–
HEILEMANN: Then you have ranting about Alabama and riding over maps–
STEIN: Oh, what`s he got -go do a rally somewhere. Leave the oval office.
Go down to the border where they`re building the wall. There are things you
could do as the President of the United States to divert attention in much
more positive ways instead of bringing attention to yourself as someone
incapable of getting over the idea that Alabama may have had gusty winds.
HEILEMANN: But as Lawrence pointed out he lost the rally chant. Let`s see
go do, go do a rally and the key element of the rally is build that wall
and Mexico is going to pay for it. You can`t do that me more.
STEIN: He stuck with the idea that Mexico end up paying for other. The guy
can maneuver through this. It`s just what`s remarkable to me is he`s unable
to literally get out of his chair and try to do something else other than
tweet and say look at this map, I drew on it.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein gets the LAST WORD in this round.
STEIN: Thank you, deserve it.
O`DONNELL: It shows that he really likes the LAST WORD.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann and Sam Stein, thank you both for joining us
tonight. And when we come back it`s tonight`s episode of meet the freshman.
Freshman Democrat Jason Crow of Colorado is a Former U.S. Army Ranger who
served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He says Donald Trump`s plan to divert money from military projects to pay
for the border wall is putting military readiness at risk. Jason Crow is
also working to keep the kinds of weapons that he used on the battlefield
out of the hands of America`s mass murderers.
He`s one of the Democratic Freshman who won in a Republican district and
who has come out in favor of the impeachment process. This is a freshman
you`re really going to want to meet. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: When the news began to break yesterday about exactly where the
$3.6 billion in military funding was coming from to pay for the Trump
border wall Freshman Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado was on a
bipartisan delegation trip to the Southern Border with Republican
Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska. They were right there at the border.
They are both members of the Armed Services Committee, which has original
jurisdiction over that money that is now being diverted to the Trump wall.
Congressman Crow served in combat in Iraq. He also served in combat in
Afghanistan where he was a member of the Elite Army Rangers, our military`s
original Special Forces Unit. It was his service in Iraq that informed his
decision this summer to support an impeachment inquiry.
In a medium post he wrote announcing his decision on impeachment, he told
the story of patrolling the streets of Baghdad when an Iraqi man approached
him with a problem that should have been settled in court, but the man told
Jason Crow that there was so much corruption in Iraq he said justice is
hard to find.
Jason Crow said he is hearing that same kind of thing now in the United
States. He wrote, “I recognized that the values I fought for overseas were
now under assault at home. I didn`t run for office because I disliked
Donald Trump. I ran because I love our country”. And he ran in a Colorado
district last year that has never elected a Democrat.
In his statement supporting an impeachment inquiry Congressman Crow wrote
“During my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan I saw what happens when government
officials are above the law”. When Democrats campaigned in previously
Republican districts in the West, they usually don`t like to talk about the
gun problem in this country but Jason Crow ran as a Democrat who supports
banning the sale of assault weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): You know I look at the gun violence crisis and how
it`s torn apart so many families. Enough is enough. These are the weapons
that I needed when I was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they`re
tearing our communities apart.
When my 4-year-old daughter comes home from school and tells us about the
bad guy drills that she has and how she had to hide in a dark closet and be
quiet in case a bad guy ever came to their school, I`ve had enough of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s episode of “Meet the Freshman”, will you meet
Congressman Jason Crow. He will tell us what the people in our government
working at the Southern Border told him yesterday and today about what they
need to secure our Southern Border. We`ll get the results of his informal
poll of border officials on the question of to build or not to build the
Trump wall. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: And for tonight`s episode of “Meet The Freshman” we are joined
now by the 40-year-old Freshman Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of
Colorado. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman. Really
CROW: Good to be on, Lawrence. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: You were down at the Southern Border just as this news was
breaking on the 3.6 billion that`s being diverted from the jurisdiction of
your committee, Armed Services Committee, to fund the border wall what did
you hear at the border from the people working there about what they need
at the border?
CROW: So every location we visited I asked one simple question. I didn`t
want to guide the answer in any particular direction. I just said what is
your greatest need from Washington? What can we give you to help you get
this job done and accomplish your mission on the border?
And every single person gave me the same answer. They said we need more
personnel. They didn`t say a wall. In fact, one agent that I was talking to
who said it doesn`t matter what we build. We could put a fence, a wall,
slats, barricades. They always find a way over, under or through it.
But what we need is more personnel and more agents. So that just
illustrated to me that the President`s drive for this wall is a political
decision. He`s driving this based on his politics and his need, to show
strength or to, you know, keep a campaign promise, whatever it happens to
be, but this is not what the folks are saying, certainly to me, is their
number one priority.
O`DONNELL: It sounds like the kind of question that if a member of Congress
found you in Iraq or when you`re serving Afghanistan that a wise member of
Congress would have asked you. What do you need? Is that where that kind of
question comes from, for you?
CROW: Well, what I like to do when I do these visits, these Congressional
Oversight visits, I just want to get information. My job is to get
information to assess that information and to make good policy. It`s not to
drive politics and any of these situations that`s not my background.
I grew up in a family of small business owners and construction workers. I
worked in construction to put my way through college. I became an army
ranger. My job was about getting things done for my community and for
people, not about politicizing issues. I always want to try to get the best
information possible. That`s certainly my background.
O`DONNELL: I want to go to your decision this summer to come out in support
of an impeachment inquiry. Tell us how you got there?
CROW: I wanted to assess all the information. I wanted to wait to see what
the Mueller Report contained in it. I read the whole report, was shocked by
its contents, I still am shocked by its contents. I wanted to hear what
Robert Mueller had to say some of the other testimony.
Ultimately at the end of the day, this was about rule of law, this was
about my experience, as you mentioned earlier, in Iraq and Afghanistan and
seeing firsthand what happens in a society when people don`t trust
government anymore, when rule of law, order and process breaks down.
And I started to see some indications of that early on in my campaign. I
was talking to some folks on the campaign trail and, you know, some of them
said listen, it doesn`t matter what you tell me. You seem like a really
nice guy but I just don`t believe this system works for me, whether you`re
a Republican or a Democrat.
And that really shook me. That shook me to the core to hear people saying
that, that type of apathy and resignation and I wanted to do something
about it. And that`s why I said recently that we have to conduct an
inquiry. Congress has to assert itself in this process and maintain checks
and balances and if we`re not able to do that now, then when?
O`DONNELL: Congressman, what is your constituents` reaction been to this?
As we said, stressed, you`re the first Democrat to represent this district.
Here you are, in your first year, saying you want to have an impeachment
inquiry of a Republican President?
CROW: Well, I walk people through my thought process on this. I get out in
my community a lot. I hold town halls and coffees on the corner, round
tables all the time, you know, over the last month. We were here on our
district work period. I probably did 30 or 40 public events out in the
I meet with anybody and everybody. I take their questions and I walk them
through my thought process. I think that`s a lesson for other folks, don`t
hide from those interactions. Even if people don`t agree with you
necessarily, if you show up, if you`re willing to have the conversation
with them, talk through the issue, keep an open mind, listen to what they
have to say, be respectful of them.
More often than not, they`ll be okay with the way you come out because I
always remind my constituents that the promise is not agreement 100 percent
of the time. If elected official comes up and says, you know, you`re going
to agree with me 100 percent of the time, they`re not telling you the
truth. The promise is about, you know, making sure you`re transparent and
open with folks.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Jason Crow gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you
very much for joining us, Congressman, and please come back, really good to
have you here.
CROW: Thank you. Good to be on.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian
Williams starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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