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Interview with Cory Booker. TRANSCRIPT: 8/19/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Michael Hiltzik, Jason Johnson, RachelBitecofer

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. 

And you know how proud the great Celtics legend Bill Russell is of his basketball accomplishments? 


O`DONNELL:  He`s even more proud that his daughter Karen Russell is a Harvard Law School graduate.  I`m very proud that Karen Russell is a friend of mine and that`s the kind of name-dropping I thought I needed to lead into who will be my final guest of the night because I`ve never met her and I never read anything written by her until this weekend because Karen Russell told me to.


O`DONNELL:  And it`s changed the way I think about the presidential election. 

MADDOW:  Wow.  This is like the best cocktail party conversation lead in you have ever given me.  This is great.

O`DONNELL:  And it includes a very specific Electoral College prediction, actual number -- 


O`DONNELL:  -- what`s going to happen on election night.  You can learn that tonight.  I`m afraid I may lose viewers for the next 18 months, because people are going to know at the end of the show tonight who`s going to win.  It`s locked.  It`s locked.

And here`s the best part. 


O`DONNELL:  Here`s the very best part.  Her name is Rachel. 


O`DONNELL:  And she may become my audiences` second favorite Rachel.  It`s entirely possible. 

MADDOW:  You had me at that.  Lawrence, thank you, my friend. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

Well, as I say, you`re going to hear from the other Rachel tonight, and for many of you, I`m very, very sure she will become your second favorite Rachel in the world.  She is a political science professor who accurately predicted last year`s big blue wave in the House of Representatives election along before -- I mean long before anyone else did. 

She issued a couple of estimates of how many seats the Democrats would pick up, 40, 41, or 42.  And then the Democrats picked up 46.  And now she is ready with her prediction, very specific about next year`s presidential election.  She predicted what she thinks is the minimum number of electoral votes the Democratic candidate for president is going to get whoever the Democratic presidential candidate turns out to be. 

And like me, you will probably be stunned at what that number is because that number says it doesn`t matter what the candidates say at the debates, or who the Democrats nominate because the Democrats are already virtually guaranteed to win 278 electoral votes and the only variability in that number is that it might go up. 

Two seventy is the winning number for the Electoral College.  So, you`re going to want to hear this analysis at the end of this hour by the political science professor who accurately predicted the big blue wave in the House, and is now predicting the number of Electoral College votes the Democrat will get and Donald Trump will get because of his weakness in the Midwest now and the new Democratic voter enthusiasm. 

You will want to hear this analysis.  You want to repeat it tomorrow to all of your friends.  It will change the way you think about this election.  It has changed the way I think about this election. 

We begin tonight with an issue raised in the last Democratic presidential debate.  Today, the New York City Police commissioner reached his decision in the investigation of Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was shown five years ago choking Eric Garner on Staten Island in a video that has been seen around the world.  And that became an issue in this year`s Democratic presidential debate. 


JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold that was prohibited by NYPD.  He did that for seven seconds, 11 different times, Eric Garner said he couldn`t breathe.  He knew what he was doing, that he was killing Eric Garner, and yet, he has not been brought to justice.  That police officer should be off the streets. 

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He should be fired.  He should be fired now. 

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice said charges should have been filed.  But this United States Department of Justice has usurped, and I believe it is because that president did not want the charges to go forward, and they overrode a decision by the civil rights division of the United States. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Senator. 


O`DONNELL:  In that video of Officer Pantaleo choking Eric Garner, if that video had not been recorded by a witness watching the arrest, then there would have been no real investigation of what Officer Pantaleo actually did.  And it is that video that allowed Eric Garner himself to testify against Officer Pantaleo in the police department`s investigation.  Eric Garner now takes his place in the tragic history of police misuse of deadly force, as the dead victim who was still able to testify against the police officer. 

Eric garner`s testimony was instantly memorable.  We heard it on the video.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  Eleven times.  I can`t breathe. 

We will show you once again a portion of the video of Daniel Pantaleo choking Eric Garner to death.  And I say that by way of warning because it has always been difficult to watch.  We will show you about 20 seconds of that video.  You will hear Eric Garner saying, "I can`t breathe" four times. 


ERIC GARNER:  Every time you see me, you mess with me.  I`m tired of it. 



GARNER:  Don`t touch me.  Don`t touch me. 



ERIC GARNER:  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe. 


O`DONNELL:  In the police department investigation, the medical examiner testified that chokehold killed Eric Garner.  Chokeholds are against NYPD rules.  But the departmental judge hearing the case found that chokehold was acceptable for the first couple of seconds because Officer Pantaleo`s grip slipped accidentally into a chokehold.  It`s what happened after that that killed Eric Garner. 

Here`s how the police commissioner described that today. 


JAMES O`NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: During the struggle, Officer Pantaleo had the opportunity to re-adjust his grip from a prohibited chokehold to a less lethal alternative, but did not make use of that opportunity.  Instead, even once Mr. Garner was move to his side on the ground with his left arm behind his back and his right arm still open and extended, Officer Pantaleo kept his hands clasped and maintained the chokehold. 


O`DONNELL:  It was for that reason and the judges finding that Officer Pantaleo did not tell the truth to investigators that judge recommended that Daniel Pantaleo be fired.  Her recommendation was addressed to police commissioner James O`Neill who has the exclusive authority to make the final departmental decision in cases like this. 


O`NEILL:  I stand before you to day confident that I have reached the direct decision.  And that has certainly not made it an easy decision.  I served for nearly 34 years as a New York City cop before becoming police commissioner.  I can tell you that I had been in Officer Pantaleo`s situation, I may have made some similar mistakes.  And had I made those mistakes, I would had wished I had used the arrival of background officers to get situation more time to make that arrest, and would have wished that I had released my grip before it became a chokehold. 

Every time I watch that video, I say to myself as probably all of you do to Mr. Garner, don`t do it.  Comply.  Officer Pantaleo, don`t do it. 

I said that about the decisions made by both Officer Pantaleo and Mr. Garner.  But none of cuss take back our decisions, most especially when they lead to the death of another human being. 


O`DONNELL:  Enough of that long preamble.  After 13 minutes, 13 minutes after the police commissioner began speaking today he finally said this. 


O`NEILL:  Therefore, I agree with the deputy commissioner of trials legal findings and recommendations.  It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer. 


O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is Bill De Blasio, the mayor of New York City, and a Democratic presidential candidate. 

Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us to night on this important night. 

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You`re very welcome, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  There was a lot of talk during the presidential debate about why haven`t you fired the officer.  Could you just clarify that for the audience?  It`s been very clear I think to people in New York who follow this.  But the lines of authority in these cases and how it works? 

DE BLASIO:  Absolutely, Lawrence. 

So, our state law says that this is something that has to be handled within the NYPD through a public trial, due process, a decision by a trial judge that goes to the commissioner as a recommendation and the police commissioner by state law is the only person who can ultimately act. 

In decades and decades of New York City history, no matter what a mayor says or doesn`t say, the only actual ability to fire a police officer after due process is in the hands of the police commissioner.  And, by the way, if you want to see the due process and how it hold up in the end, it`s actually important that a mayor not interfere. 

Because I believe justice has been done here finally.  It took way, way too long, but justice has been done.  And now, it`s important that this decision stick. 

I`m sure there is going to be an attempt to challenge it in court.  But it`s crucial that it stick.  That justice be served and that we`re able to move on as a city and a nation.

And I have to say, Lawrence, you watched the situations all around the country.  This is the premier police department in the nation, and not so long ago it would not have been necessarily assumed that a trial inside the NYPD with an NYPD deputy commissioner as the judge would result in this level of accountability. 

That judge said, no, that was a prohibited chokehold.  That was wrong.  And this officer should be terminated. 

The first deputy commissioner concurred.  Sent back to the commissioner, the commissioner concurred.  This is actually the process working. 

It should have happened a long time ago.  And if it were not for the U.S. Department of Justice telling the city of New York not to proceed, we would have done this a long time ago. 

O`DONNELL:  And just --


DE BLASIO:  And we learned a very painful lesson from that experience with a Justice Department over two different presidential administrations. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, let me go to -- it`s not so much that they were not telling you not to, they were requesting that you not proceed because they don`t actually have the authority to slow you down.  It is customary, and I think pretty much every department and probably every city in the country would have gone along with the Justice Department`s request. 

But if this were to happen again and the Justice Department were to make the same request and you have this kind of convincing video and a city with a sense of urgency about it, what you would do differently? 

DE BLASIO:  At this point, Lawrence, I don`t believe that the United States Department of Justice is dispensing justice anymore.  There is no conceivable way they could take five years to decide to do nothing.  That`s unacceptable from my point of view. 

We would not -- we would not honor their request in the future.  But, Lawrence, the key is not to have another Eric Garner case, to do things so differently that we never have this kind of tragedy again.  And I think it`s important for all your viewers to understand, these situations, these conflicts can be changed through de-escalation. 

We`ve taught all of our officers, 36,000 officers, we retrained after the tragedy of Eric Garner to deescalate any kind of situation at the community, deescalate exactly what you saw on camera there.  Now that would be handled very differently. 

There`s a body camera on every officer.  That was not true at that time.  Every officer is getting implicit bias training to help weed out whatever biases are in all of us as humans. 

This is a very different city.  This is a very different police force.  And it`s very notable that the first place there was a public trial in this entire case, first time there was actually a trial, it was an NYPD trial. 

O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, I think I`ve been studying this subject for all of my adult life literally and the first book was titled "Deadly Force" about this subject.  And what is very clear is it is going to happen again, just like plane crashes are going to happen again. 

And what one of the things we absolutely need because there`s human error, as you say.  There say bunch of ways in which this can happen again.  And it`s the aftermath, the transparency of the aftermath that becomes so important. 

And we see in your administration the two different versions of.  One, on the civil side where the family was in the process of filing a civil lawsuit to sue the city and you very quickly settled that case with basically no legal strain on the family for $5 million, a little more than $5 million.  And then all rest of the process, the non-civil process was what dragged on for all of these years. 

And so again, would you simply say, for example, on the parts of it that the city controls, let`s just go ahead with the police internal affairs investigation, the police department possible trial as we saw in this case and let`s not consider the timetables of any of the other processes which we don`t control and could be slow? 

DE BLASIO:  Lawrence, in the past I would have said and you indicated it, when the Justice Department makes that request, we used to take it very, very seriously.  They had the higher charges.  They were not just dealing with personnel matters.  They were dealing with potential criminal charges. 

The Justice Department had often been throughout the whole civil rights movement and since the place that you went for objective justice, even when localities were not providing it. 

And I have to tell you, especially because this started before the current administration, this started in the previous presidential administration, I just in a million years could not have foreseen this delay and this ability of the Justice Department not to act.  Whereas as I say, in the future, we would never do it that way again because we`ve learned this painful lesson.

But I want to contest one thing you said and I have a lot more expertise in the study you`ve done of this issue than I probably do.  But I have to contest one thing. 

You know, for decades, we have not trained our police officers properly in this country to deescalate conflict.  We certainly never gave them implicit bias training.  We didn`t have body cameras.

I think it`s a very, very different reality now.  We have a neighborhood policing policy that`s all about actually building human relationships between officers and the people they serve first-name basis.  Officers stay in the community long term, getting to know people and feeling at one with the community. 

This is happening on a mass scale in New York City.  And we`re actually driving down crime every single year as we heal the relationship between police and community. 

So, I do not think these tragedies are inevitable.  I agree with you, human error is always possible in life.  But I`ve got to tell you, so much of why this happened in the past was because officers were trained in a very aggressive approach policing and over-policing approach, not in a humane understanding, compassionate approach that was actually about building relationships of mutual respect. 

And as we`ve been doing that in New York City, you`re not seeing these incidents.  And I really think the goal should be for this whole country.  Every single police officer, good people who choose to serve all of us, good people who follow noble calling deserve the kind of training and support and opportunity to build a relationship with the people they serve. 

But, bluntly, they have not been given, nor have communities been given a chance to experience that kind of policing.  I think we need to do that all over this country. 

O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, I want to go to something one of your critics said today, Patrick Lynch.  He heads the police officers union in New York City.  And let`s just stipulate that the leaders of police unions around the country are always critical of any police department or mayor whenever a police officer is disciplined. 

But he said something very interesting because word for word, it is actually what the protesters in the Eric Garner case want the police to do.  He actually said, we will uphold our oath but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety. 

I`m not sure Mr. Lynch under -- realizes, but what he said there is exactly what people who want police accountability, that`s exactly what people want them to do. 

DE BLASIO:  Well, look, I`d say this way.  I think the sad reality is, and I`m someone who believes in the labor movement very, very deeply.  But you said it. 

Unfortunately, there`s been too many times, when leaders of police unions did not serve their members because they sent a message that was not about how we heal, not about how we move forward, but ultimately a very divisive message.  And that`s what you heard today from Pat Lynch.  Very disrespectful of our police commissioner, Jimmy O`Neill.  Very disrespectful of the fact there was due process and there needs to be accountable for all of us. 

But look, I think our police officers are truly professional.  I think they`re going to continue to serve and protect people.  They`re not going to get caught up in an attempt to politically manipulate them by a few union leaders. 

I think our police officers are here doing this work.  It`s tough.  It`s dangerous.  But they do it because they want to help people and protect people. 

And this city is going to move forward.  I`ve got to tell you, Lawrence, this has been a very, very painful episode.  But it`s also finally a moment where there is some visible justice and some closure for the Garner family and a chance to build something different. 

And that`s what I`m going to focus on.  I think that`s what the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans want, and the voices telling us to go backwards, that`s not what people are looking for.  They want healing.  They want us to put that past that held us back behind us. 

O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, we crashed over the commercial break.  But I want to squeeze in one presidential question about this, which would be -- in a de Blasio administration, with a de Blasio chosen attorney general, how would the Justice Department approach these cases? 

DE BLASIO:  Lawrence, I think there should be an immediate commitment to speedy justice.  In fact, I would support legislation of the federal level to require a time limit whenever there is an issue of police discipline, the case involving a police officer, this case, an unarmed civilian.  The justice department needs to come in and make its decision in real time.  One year, two year, whatever frame that should be decided, it should be mandatory. 

In my administration as president, I would say the Justice Department makes clear to local authorities, if you`re not going to address this issue, the Justice Department will step in, in a speedy manner and address it forthrightly. 

O`DONNELL:  Democratic presidential candidate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you very for joining us on this important night, on this very important subject, important to New York City and the country.  Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.

DE BLASIO:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  We`ll be joined by another Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Cory Booker, next. 

And later in this hour, we`ll be joined by the political scientist who predicted last year`s 40-seat pickup by the Democrats in the House long before anyone else saw that coming and she`s ready with her prediction about the Electoral College.  It`s very specific.  You`re going to want to take notes. 


O`DONNELL:  What happened to Senator Cory Booker in the last presidential debate when he began his opening statement will not happen next time. 



Last week the president of the United States attacked an American city calling it a disgusting, rat-infested, rodent mess.  We need a nation that understands this tired, old language. 

(CROWD CHANTING: Fire Pantaleo!)

MODERATOR:  Stand by, Senator. 

BOOKER:  I`ll stand by. 

MODERATOR:  Please stand by. 


O`DONNELL:  The crowd chanting "fire Pantaleo" got their way today when the New York City police commissioner fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was seen on video five years ago using a chokehold on Eric Garner that the medical examiner said caused Eric Garner`s death. 

And joining our discussion now is Cory Booker, Democratic senator from New Jersey and presidential candidate. 

Senator Booker, I just want to begin with the developments in the Eric Garner story today that has been five years in the making and finally we see the firing. 

You`re a former mayor yourself.  What is your reaction to what you saw today? 

BOOKER:  Well, first of all, this is justice delayed.  And five years to come to this conclusion, it`s very frustrating, the process.  But I think the larger point that I want to make as a guy who knows the fear of being followed because of the color of your skin, being pulled over that for every name we know like Eric Garner, there are thousands we do not.  For every video that we actually see, there thousands of incidents that aren`t captured on video that never get the kind of justice that this enabled. 

Remember, the police report after this incident, the way they wrote it cleaned everything up and would have gone undiscovered.  It was really that video that captured it.  So where we come as a society where we`re not getting to the root of the large spread problem of police accountability where it`s just time that something is captured on a videotape that we actually see justice done. 

And even when justice gets done, five years later after someone, an unarmed civilian was choked to death after saying repeatedly time and time again, I can`t breathe.  So, as a guy who actually had to run a police department who learned a lot along the way and now as a senator has led on police accountability legislation.  We can so much better as a nation, dealing with issues of implicit racial bias, accountability for use of force and transparency in data and actions both from things like officer video cameras, all the way to reporting requirements that could go much longer way in dealing with this problem in our country. 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Emerald Gardner, Eric Gardner`s daughter, said today. 


EMERALD GARDNER, ERIC GARDNER`S DAUGHTER:  Commissioner O`Neill, I thank you for doing the right thing.  I truly sincerely thank you for firing the officer, regardless to however you came up to your decision, you finally made a decision that should have been made five years ago. 

I should not be here standing with my brother fatherless.  I should be here with my father.  But Pantaleo took that away from me on 7/7/17. 

So, yes, he is fired but fight is not over.  We will continue to fight.  Thank you. 


O`DONNELL:  Senator, I think you and I know that she`s not the last person who is going to lose her father in questionable circumstances, an interaction with police.  In a Booker administration, what would your attorney general do in cases like this and what should the Justice Department do in cases like this? 

BOOKER:  Well, let`s go further than that, because unless you have an administration that puts police accountability at the center of the priority list, the Obama administration actually had a task force on 21st century policing that came up with a whole lot of recommendations, which this administration has failed to implement whatsoever.  This was Black Lives Matter activists sitting at the table with big city police chiefs, coming up with a whole constellation of common sense things that can do to deal with this problem in our country, not just a police involved shootings but of police accountability in general. 

And so, it`s not just waiting until something happens.  We can`t be re- activists in this situation.  We must be activist in this situation.  We must have a president that understands this issue in a sense -- with a sense of urgency so that we can start doing things to create police accountability in this country, not waiting for crisis to happen to respond to them, but who make sure that crises, that this kind of actions are not happening in our country again. 

We can do something about it.  But we must have a president understands the urgency and feels intimately a connection to this crisis. 

O`DONNELL:  Another thing that Donald Trump doesn`t seem to feel like a connection or urgency about is gun safety legislation.  He made some comments about the possibility of background checks after the recent mass murders we saw, but then he has now since clarified that he`s not really budging on it. 

Let`s listen to what the president had to say about it and I`d like you to respond to it. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  People don`t realize, we have very strong background checks right now.  You go into to buy a gun, you have to sign up.  There are a lot of background checks that have been approved over the years. 

So I`ll have to see what it is.  But Congress is meeting, bipartisan.  A lot of people want to see something happen.  But just remember this, big mental problem and we do have a lot of background checks right now. 


O`DONNELL: Senator, on a Presidential debate stage with Donald Trump on that subject, what you would have to say after he says something like that?

BOOKER: I would say he`s wrong and the kind of ignorance and idiocy that he is putting out there even NRA members, 84 percent of which believe we need universal comprehensive background checks.

I would talk to him about my numerous visits to Mother Emanuel Church where the white supremacists that came in there and shot nine people to death. I would say to those folks that, that loophole that they used to buy a gun through the porous holes within the background check system are unacceptable.

This President is wrong and people are dying because of his inaction. And I`ll tell you this right now. We live in a country where we are capitulating to fear. We are literally surrendering our liberty and our freedom, freedom from fear and freedom gun violence.

We`re sending kids to school right now and into September literally giving them the message we can`t protect you so we`re going to teach you in school how to hide, how to shelter in place. This is unacceptable. No other country does this to its communities.

Were people I talk to Latino activist and leaders and community members who are afraid now Sikh Americans are Muslim Americans were terrified. We see plots being uncovered this past weekend of white supremacists to go into synagogues and cause more mayhem and murder.

What is it going to take in this country for us to do the common sense things that we know will save us? This is an issue of freedom and liberty, the culture of our country. The toxin of fear is taking over because of inaction of leaders like Donald Trump who are ultimately responsible.

He is responsible for this rise of terroristic hate in our country. Leaders take responsibility. His language is contributing to the problem as opposed to him taking responsibility to stop it. I`ll be the President who lives in the neighborhood where these shootings happen to one who`s had a Mr. Hotsmith (ph) murdered on my block.

There are so many of us that live in communities like this every single day. We worry just about our children going to school. And so I`m running for President and will be the President that takes a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they`ve never seen before and brings an end to this terror in our communities and weakness in our country. We`re not showing the strength that we really have to protect our children, communities, our families and our country.

O`DONNELL: Senator Booker, I just want to take you back to Mother Emanuel Church for a moment. Because I want you to talk about what it feel like? What it felt like for you to be there. It`s not just a church. It`s a scene of one of our worst mass murders of completely racially motivated mass murder.

And it`s a place where we know Donald Trump is never going to visit. It`s the kind of place we know most Republican candidates for office never visit. Your neighborhood is a place most Republican candidates for office will never visit. What are they missing by never setting foot in Mother Emanuel Church never setting foot in your neighborhood?

BOOKER: We`re a nation that they`re used to be a time, forget party. Four girls were killed in a bombing in Birmingham, the conscious of our country responded, we changed laws. When women were dying because of the factory fire throwing themselves out windows it affected the hearts of our nation.

This is about having a more courageous empathy a sense of love. Patriotism is love of country. You can`t love your country unless you love your fellow country men and women. Love is in a sentiment, love is saying that I`m going to fight to defend folks. I`m going to be there when there is injustice.

And that`s why it is painful to me that we have such a constipation of compassion and empathy and love in this country amongst some who just can`t see the suffering of others we every single day have to live with the pain or grief or hurt or the wretchedness of the violence that they or their family experienced so enough of that.

We just need to get back to having a nation with a revival of a civic grace. We understand that we have to be there for anybody. King said this eloquently that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We cannot have community that do nothing and wait until this violence is visited upon them and then suddenly they`re awakened to the sense of urgency.

We have a crisis in our country that is ripping apart concerts and nightclubs and churches and synagogues and schools. If we don`t stop this, we wait for more and more bloodshed until we finally get it? Every day we wait people in communities that I know intimately suffer.

Every day we wait to stop people from being able to walk in a gun show and go to a casual seller and fill up with a trunk full of weapons. Every day we wait. Someone right now in America, some white supremacist is plotting against us and our values and our communities.

And so what I have to say is enough is enough. Enough talk. We need action and if you`re not going to act, we`re going to remove from you office. This is yet another reason why this man will be defeated in the White House because now we need courage. We need strength and action. We need leaders that will take responsibility. And that`s what I`m going to do should I be President of the United States.

O`DONNELL: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Cory Booker, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight. We really appreciate it.

BOOKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll not be talking about Greenland because Donald Trump wants us to talk about Greenland. We`ll be talking about the very bad news that Donald Trump doesn`t want us talking about and once again a reminder all of the Presidential candidates are always invited on to this show.

If you haven`t seen your favorite Presidential candidate on this show, it`s because your favorite Presidential candidate has declined all of our invitations to be that show. While in show it`s an open invitation to all of them in the interest of equal time and equal presentation. We`ll be presenting you as many of the Presidential candidates as accept the invitation to come.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is hoping that we spend a lot of time tonight discussing his comments about buying Greenland. He wants us to do that even knowing that he would be ridiculed from start to finish in that conversation and he wants us to do that because he doesn`t want us discussing the possibility of a slowdown in the global economy and economic indicator showing a possible recession coming to the American economy.

And so we won`t be bothering with the Greenland distraction. In a new national NBC News Wall Street Journal Poll, 52 percent of registered voters say they`ll definitely or probably vote for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 election just 40 percent of registered voters say they will definitely or probably vote for Donald Trump.

In that same poll, 55 percent disapprove of Donald Trump`s overall job performance. Only 43 percent approve. 52 percent disapprove of the President`s handling of the aftermath of the shootings, the mass murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 36 percent approve.

The associated press reports that 74 percent of American business economists expect a recession in the United States by the end of 2021 possibly the most ominous economic indicator for the U.S. economy is the inverted yield curve and the Treasury Bond Market that we discussed last week.

One of the President`s economic advisors Peter Navarro was on television this weekend saying that the inverted yield curve didn`t matter and Peter Navarro says we should listen to him because he has written books that explain the inverted yield curve and why it doesn`t matter.

The problem for Peter Navarro is in his books, he says the inverted yield curve has a "Excellent forecasting track record" with an inverted yield curve and global economic slowdown and a looming disastrous Brexit in the fall, how many more Greenland`s will Donald Trump have to come up with to try to distract voters from the failures of the economic policy from tariffs to giant tax cuts for corporations and these super rich?


TRUMP: The tariffs have caused nothing in my opinion or certainly very little.


O`DONNELL: How much will the tariffs cost Donald Trump in his re-election campaign? After this break, we`ll consider those questions with Professor Jason Johnson and "Los Angeles Times" Economic Correspondent Michael Hiltzik.


O`DONNELL: And now to not discuss Greenland we are joined by Michael Hiltzik Pulitzer Prize Winning Business Columnist for "The Los Angeles Times" and Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at and a Professor of Politics and Media at Morgan State University. Professor Johnson is an MSNBC Political Analyst.

And Michael, we have got the inverted yield curve which Peter Navarro has decided now doesn`t mean a thing. And we`ve got the President and his economic advisors trying to say publicly no Americans are paying one penny of these tariffs that are disrupting the global economy. And it seems like certainly American farmers have figured out how these tariffs work?

MICHAEL HILTZIK, LOS ANGELES TIMES BUSINESS COLUMNIST: Well, American farmers, you`re right. The farm zone is in crisis it`s in chaos. We`ve seen bankruptcies. We`ve seen suicides. It`s really a big problem.

When Trump and his minions talk about Americans not being affected by the tariffs, it`s really a case of intern dysfunction or a disconnect because after all Trump just last week said he was going to differ some of those tariffs because he didn`t want to interfere with America`s Christmas buying season.

So that tells us right there that he knows that this is affecting sales. It`s going to affect the economy. It is affecting the economy in a big way.

O`DONNELL: And Jason, tariffs are clearly having a global effect. And we`re seeing this global slowdown. But the President has been just kind of his method on this from the start has just been to lie and to lie nonstop. He`s finding that he`s certainly having trouble lying especially in those Midwestern farming states that he needs to win.

JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM POLITICS EDITOR: Right. Well the President can lie to himself. He can lie to the other members of his staff. He can`t lie to my pocketbook. He can`t lie to my wallet. He can`t lie to the people who are waiting to see if that tax cut ever trickles down into our lives.

He can`t lie to the people who are doing school shopping in the next couple weeks and they`re not feeling any more wealthy. This is the thing. This is really important for people to understand. The recession is not about what the actual numbers say. The recession is about what people start feeling is about to happen.

If people start holding on to their wallets, if people start seeing how they see these things, you know what? Maybe I can`t travel for Thanksgiving this year. May be we`re not going to take that trip for Christmas that, is how the ball gets rolling.

If this President can`t convince people that all of his economic miracles are going to continue, that is going to have serious consequences for him electorally in 2020.

O`DONNELL: And Michael, the Republican Economic Theory has held that everything that is happening in the California economy cannot happen because California has a higher minimum wage several higher minimum wages including local ones and then federal minimum wage, has more regulation, environmental regulation. It has heavier state taxation than most other states. And, yet, it is the leader of the American economy. Without the California economy, the Trump National Economy would not be doing well.

HILTZIK: Well, I think there are two lessons for Trump and the Republicans in the California economy. One is if you have a good fiscal policy, it helps. California, but the trend we raise taxes a couple of years ago under Jerry Brown. We turned our budget into something solid we`ve got a Rainy Day Fund. We are more prepared than it used to be for a downturn that would take the income tax down. That`s one thing.

The other thing is that California has welcomed diversity economic diversity. Years ago, we had proposition 187 which was an attack on immigrants that passed but it was over turned by the court and it destroyed the California Republican Party. That party is out of business.

They don`t have the single statewide office holder, their Congressional delegation has been decimated it was decimated in the last election. That`s the message I think to Republicans around the rest of the country and to economies and the rest of the country that if you don`t absorb and accept and welcome immigration and diversity, you are going to be in economic trouble and you`re going to be in political trouble.

O`DONNELL: It sounds like an area that the Democratic Candidates should be talking more about and find the language for. Michael Hiltzik, Jason Johnson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll declare the winner. The candidate who is currently pretty much guaranteed 278 electoral votes in next year`s Presidential Election. The Political Scientists who has made that prediction is the very same Political Scientist who accurately predicted the big blue wave last year in the House of Representatives long before anyone else saw that coming. She will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Okay Class, the Professor is here and you might want to start taking notes. The Professor who accurately predicted the 40 seat pick up for the Democrats in last year`s Blue Wave Election long before anyone else saw that one coming is about to join us with her prediction for the Presidential Election using the very same analytical tools she used to predict last year`s House Election with astonishing accuracy.

Now imagine if you were taking notes about her prediction for the Big Blue Wave Election and then been able to tell your friends many months before anyone else could that the Democrats are going to pick up 40 seats. Imagine how that would have felt.

Well, now imagine what it would feel like tomorrow to tell your friends the new magic number. 278. And here to explain why, 278 are the most important number you are going to learn tonight is Political Science Professor, Rachel Bitecofer with the Wason`s Center for Public Policy at the Christopher Newport University and Newport News, Virginia. Rachel I have actually actively been avoiding attempting to pronounce your last name throughout the hour. How did I just do with that?

RACHEL BITECOFER, WASON CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: You know what, you did really well and you are not alone. I married that monstrosity and it tackles everybody. So don`t you worry?

O`DONNELL: We`re going to turn it into a beautiful thing for our audience. So, Rachel I have read your writing on this. It is really persuasive survivor I urge everybody to follow you on Twitter and get to your actual writing because we`re going to do a tip of the iceberg version of it now.

278 which you see the Democrat tonight whoever the Democrat is with 278 electoral votes eight more than needed for victory.

BITECOFER: That`s right and that`s at a starting point, they`re going to start at that 278 before we get into four swing contests in Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.

O`DONNELL: And you are using tools that you first developed in the Virginia State Elections and the legislature there where we saw a surprising surge for Democrats in 2017 and then you transferred that experience into 2018. What does it tell you about the electorate? What is that tell you about what is motivating the voter that will produce this result that you expect?

BITECOFER: That`s right. I really do urge everybody who is watching this to go and read the model read the theory that drives the model because it really is a very huge departure from what you are used to seeing in forecasting.

It is arguing that the election of Donald Trump is a needed kerosene on a - I hate to use the word lazy but lazy and complacent Democratic Electorate who was taking a kind of a go for granted some of the ability to kind of sit back and ride Obama`s coat tails and then did not show up in big numbers in 2016 and kind of took for granted that Trump would not be elected and in 2017 in Virginia and 2018 all across the nation, we saw big turnout surges.

And of course the media likes to talk about 2018 is as moderate Republicans rejecting the party of Trump and joining hands with Democrats and these swing districts. That`s not what the data shows. Albeit really seeing a fourth coming analysis very shortly that shows the house gains in 2018 are powered by two things, turn out surges among Democrats and left leaning independents, not moderate Republicans jumping ship.

O`DONNELL: And so your argument is, it is all about that turnout and energizing that turnout and speaking to those voters and that`s an easier vote to get than trying to convince a Trump voter to switch in 2020.

BITECOFER: Exactly. I`m arguing that this ant or grand daddy`s electorate anymore. And I think we need no more proof than to look at the election of Donald J. Trump to the American Presidency, the time when you can persuade large swifts of the electorate over has passed. We are in a deeply hyper partisan era now. And I`m not saying that moderates aren`t important and that they aren`t moderates are certainly are.

And they can be appealed to although Democrats don`t do it well.  But really, it`s all about the base.

O`DONNELL:  Professor Rachel Bitecofer, thank you very much for just the tip of the iceberg version.  We`re going to have to have you back and we`ll take more notes.  Really appreciate you joining us tonight.

BITECOFER:  Oh, love it.  Thank you so much for having me.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.  That is tonight`s LAST WORD.  "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                                                     END