Hurricane Dorian death toll rises. TRANSCRIPT: 9/5/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Bill Saffo, Kwasi Thompson, Cory Booker, Sam Stein, Jason Crow
Transcript:

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

Carolinas. 

 

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

now. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Bill Karins, thank you very much us through tonight.  Really

appreciate it.

 

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

us there. 

 

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

this storm. 

 

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

reporting. 

 

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

on Wilmington? 

 

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

community. 

 

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

town. 

 

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

tomorrow. 

 

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

victims? 

 

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

population going. 

 

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

tonight. 

 

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

Jersey. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

live. 

 

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

Jersey. 

 

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

dramatically tomorrow. 

 

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

poisoning. 

 

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

nation recover. 

 

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

crises.

 

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

us tonight.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

bases”.

 

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

year.

 

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

us from.

 

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

government.

 

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

diversion–

 

HEILEMANN: We got more enough,–

 

STEIN: I`m not the one who said three three-dimensional chess–

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HEILEMANN: –Sam.

 

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.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

appreciate it.

 

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

community.

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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