Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: May 30, 2018 Guest: Mark Thompson; Melissa Mark-Viverto; Clarence Page, Michael Avenatti
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we`re going to have a discussion of the Harvard study later in this hour. It includes deaths that occurred after the hurricane because people were denied medical care during and after the hurricane for many, many months after the hurricane, people couldn`t get life-sustaining medical care.
And so, many of those deaths actually occurred months after the hurricane, but would not have occurred were it not for the hurricane.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Right. And that is the way that death tolls from these sorts of things are supposed to be counted. You`re supposed to factor in things like loss of medical care. You know, disruption of utilities and other things that are caused directly by the storm as causing deaths related to the storm.
And so, those things being counted months later, that`s part of how it`s supposed to go.
O`DONNELL: Yes, this is -- by any estimate, this is the deadliest storm in American history. And the president has given himself an A-plus grade for the way the government responded to it.
MADDOW: Yes, he gives himself an A-plus on everything.
O`DONNELL: He`s an easy grader for himself.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Two and a half weeks, June 15th. That is the new deadline for Donald Trump`s lawyers and Michael Cohen`s lawyers to review all of the evidence obtained by the FBI in raids on Michael Cohen`s home, office, and hotel room. By June 15th, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen must file all of their requests to protect attorney/client privileged communication revealed in those documents.
Michael Cohen`s lawyer today said, that`s impossible. He told Judge Kimba Wood, that he has 15 lawyers working full time on sifting through all of that evidence.
He said, we are moving heaven and earth. We have people working all night. We have people sleeping on couches and our offices. We have people who worked all through the Memorial Day weekend.
I had an associate yesterday who felt a tremor in his hand from lack of sleep. I had to send him home late last night. He came back at 7:30 this morning. We are working around the clock.
Judge Kimba Wood was unmoved. Federal prosecutors asked for a deadline of mid-June, Michael Cohen and Donald Trump`s lawyers asked for a deadline of mid-July. And Judge Wood said, OK, mid-June is the date.
In Michael Cohen`s lifetime, he has never been hit with a bill as big as he is going to face for having 15 lawyers working around the clock for several hundred dollars an hour for each one of them. These are high-priced New York City lawyers. If Michael Cohen had to reportedly take out a home equity loan to get the $130,000 to pay off Stormy Daniels for her silence, Michael Cohen is going to have to sell everything he`s got to pay for those 15 lawyers working around the clock.
Or, or he can stop paying them tomorrow, or most of them anyway, and start cooperating with the FBI and federal prosecutors and answer all of their questions about his dealings with and for Donald Trump. And so, if you`re Donald Trump tonight between tweets about Roseanne Barr, what you`re really worried about, if you`re Donald Trump, is how long will Michael Cohen be able to continue to pay those 15 high-priced lawyers?
Setting that deadline was the primary reason for today`s court session in the southern district of New York. The other matter under consideration was first guest, Stormy Daniels` lawyer Michael Avenatti`s request that he be granted the right to participate in that legal proceeding to protect Stormy Daniels` attorney/client privilege issues. That could arise in the Michael Cohen investigation.
As an example of what Michael Avenatti is concerned about, he told the judge about a phone call he got from a reporter. Mr. Avenatti said: Your honor, I received a call last week from a member of the press who asked me to comment on an audio recording that the member of the press had evidently heard. It was an audio recording between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Davidson, my client`s former counsel.
During that discussion, Mr. Davidson disclosed attorney/client privileged communications that he had with my client. Later, outside the courtroom, after Michael Cohen`s lawyer admitted that such recordings might exist, Michael Avenatti called the recordings, the Trump tapes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Just like the Nixon tapes years ago, we now have what I will refer to as the Trump tapes. Mr. Ryan admitted that there are audio recordings that Michael Cohen was taking for years and that those recordings are, to quote him, not only do they exist but they are under lock and key, and some of them relate to my client and her attorney/client privilege communications. Mr. Cohen and his attorney, Mr. Ryan, should release all of those audio recordings to the American people and to Congress so that they can be heard by all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Judge Wood told Michael Avenatti that if she did formally grant him the right to participate in her courtroom proceedings, it would change his conduct.
Judge Wood told Mr. Avenatti, quote: That means you have to stop doing some things you have been doing. If you participate here, you would not be able to declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen`s guilt, which you did. You would not be able to give publicity to documents that are not public. It would change your conduct, that is my role in doing what Mr. Cohen`s lawyers want, which is to essentially stop in its tracks your publicity tour on TV and elsewhere. And I say publicity tour not in a derogatory sense. You are entitled to publicity, so long as that is -- I can`t stop you, unless you are participating in this matter before me.
When Steven Ryan, one of Michael Cohen`s lawyers discussed the audio recordings that Michael Avenatti told the judge about, he said this, if we had released those audio tapes to a reporter, it would have been the biggest story in America. It has not occurred. The audio tapes that we have, if any, that pertain to him, under lock and key, they are controlled by my law firm, the Trump Organization and the president of the United States, to the extent that there may be a claim of privilege related to them. I am unaware of any release of an audio file of this kind.
Michael Avenatti told the judge that suspect number one for releasing an audio recording of a Michael Cohen conversation was Michael Cohen. He told the judge that the recording the reporter told him about must have come, quote, from Mr. Cohen or someone associated with Mr. Cohen who provided that to the press recently in an effort to paint a false narrative about my client or Mr. Davidson or for some other reason.
Michael Avenatti closed his comments to the judge by reflecting on the revelation by Michael Cohen`s lawyer, in court today, that the Michael Cohen recordings are under lock and key.
Mr. Avenatti told the judge: Your honor, I will note that now my concerns have been confirmed. Mr. Ryan states there are recordings relating to my client, they are under lock and key. He stated that on the record. So that`s now been confirmed.
So that raises considerable concerns. I will digest those concerns. We will move appropriately. But if there are recordings of my client`s former counsel disclosing attorney/client privileged information that is significant concern to me and my client, and we will address that with the government and attempt to arrive at a resolution, your honor.
And after today`s court session, Michael Avenatti filed a motion withdrawing his request to officially participate in the evidentiary proceeding in Judge Wood`s courtroom which Judge Wood said today, quote, is a potential precursor to a criminal trial if charges are filed against Mr. Cohen.
Joining us now is Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels.
Now, explain to us your decision to withdraw. Is that related to what you said to the judge at the very end of your comments today where you said you`re going to digest this revelation about the audio recordings?
AVENATTID: No, Lawrence, actually, it is not. The reason why I withdrew the motion is because we have a motion to intervene in the case that`s now been tabled by agreement between us and the government. And there`s no need for us to proceed with the motion for admission until that motion is actually teed up, when and if it is.
This issue of the tapes, Lawrence, is of significant, serious concern to me and my client --
O`DONNELL: Can I hold you for one second on the representation of Stormy Daniels in this courtroom? Is there a New York lawyer who is associated with you who is also present in the courtroom?
O`DONNELL: Who is therefore ready to in effect take charge in the courtroom on behalf of Stormy Daniels? I mean, her --
O`DONNELL: Are her interests represented in that courtroom whether you are granted the right to participate or not?
AVENATTI: You are 100 percent correct, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: So your withdrawal does not withdraw a representation for Stormy Daniels in that courtroom?
AVENATTI: No, no, not all. And, Lawrence, I don`t know ultimately if we`re going to have to proceed because we`ve been cooperating with the government. We have an exceptional relationship with the government. We communicate with the government on a near daily basis in the connection with this case, as it relates to documents and the like, contrary to bogus press reports that have been issued lately.
So, I don`t know ultimately that we`re going to have to formally intervene in the case. But let me say this -- this revelation today, which came as a result of an issue that we have pressed forward, namely that there are audio recordings that were seized in the FBI raid of Michael Cohen communicating with other individuals, including Mr. Davidson, about my client. And I will tell you that we also know that at least one of those recordings, it is between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump, we believe that there are more than one of such recordings, that these audio recordings are of significant interest concern to us and in my view the American people.
I mean, in my view -- and I know this is a big statement, but I`m going to stand behind it, I have the track record to back it up. This is the second version of the Nixon tapes from years ago. And ultimately, I hope that these audio recordings are going to be laid bare -- laid out for the American people so they can hear Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen communicating about a whole host of issues.
And Mr. Ryan was kind enough to confirm on the record today that there are audio recordings and they are under, quote, lock and key. We want them released. We want them released now.
O`DONNELL: And everything you`ve learned about these audio recordings are from a phone call made to you by a reporter?
AVENATTI: No, we have separate information we were able to obtain from other sources prior to me obtaining this call from this reporter.
O`DONNELL: But the only thing you mentioned to the judge today in a representation in court was one phone call from a reporter.
AVENATTI: That is correct.
O`DONNELL: Is there any reason you didn`t tell the judge about other sources of information about these recordings?
AVENATTI: Well, because we didn`t need to, Lawrence, because once we -- once we described for the court the call from the reporter, of course, Mr. Ryan was kind enough to rise and admit recordings existed and they were under lock and key. So, there`s no need for us to disclose everything --
O`DONNELL: But the word Trump was never mentioned in relation to these recordings today. In court, you never said anything to the judge about Donald Trump being on the recordings.
AVENATTI: That`s correct, because that issue was not teed up before her honor today during court. So, there was no reason to raise that in front of her honor or address that issue with the court.
But again, these tapes exist. Now, why Mr. Cohen was dense -- was so dense to record conversations between himself and Mr. Davidson or others during his legal representation is beyond me. Why was he keeping 13 -- 15 cell phones now we learned, that were obtained by the FBI is beyond me.
O`DONNELL: Can I ask you -- why haven`t the federal prosecutors subpoenaed these tapes? We heard about evidence today that is in possession, apparently, only of Michael Cohen`s lawyers.
AVENATTI: No, Lawrence, actually, it`s our understanding that this evidence was also seized in the raid by the FBI. So, there`s two copies of these tapes.
O`DONNELL: OK. So the FBI has them and then Michael Cohen`s lawyers.
O`DONNELL: Rudy Giuliani, apparently reading or getting some accounts of what happened in court today, he was not in court with you today. He did have comments about what happened to you in court today, which he just said on FOX News.
Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Judge Wood, you know what she did? She threw Avenatti, the television star of the left wing CNN and MSNBC -- she threw him out of court. He doesn`t belong in a New York court. He`s not ethical enough.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Mr. Mayor --
GIULIANI: You know why? Because he`s a big liar. And he wanted to debate me. Like heck he`s going to debate me. He should go debate in some gin mill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, I just want to -- since this is presented here on my show and that is video from FOX News, I need to point out to audience, you`re going to respond, but every single thing he just said was a lie. You were not thrown out of court. The transcript is right here, you had a very polite interchange with the judge. The judge with you, there was nothing about you -- no one was thrown out of court today. That`s a lie.
The judge did not say that you are not ethical enough. Lawyers from the other side tried to suggest that there were some -- there were ethical problems in in the way you`ve been dealing with the media and releasing certain information. So, none of what Rudy Giuliani said is actually accurate. I think that needs to be said even before you respond to it.
But what is your reaction to it?
AVENATTI: Lawrence, this is pathetic. This is the guy, this is the best lawyer -- and there`s a lot of lawyers in America. This is the best lawyer that the president of the United States can find to represent him before the American people.
I mean, this is the best that Donald Trump can do with all the lawyers in America is this guy? This guy is -- is a known liar, he can`t keep his facts straight, he doesn`t know the law, he contradicts himself. He`s an absolute buffoon on television.
This is the lawyer that represents the president of the United States, it`s an absolute joke. Anyone that looks at my appearances and sees the way I conduct myself and my knowledge of the facts and the law and then compares me to Rudy Giuliani, it`s clear as day as to why he will not go on any show with me, it`s clear as day as to why he won`t debate me, because he can`t handle it.
He would be destroyed. He knows it, the president knows it, and anyone with any common sense knows it.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined by Jill Wine-Banks. She`s a former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Jill, I just want to get your reaction to where this stands as of now, based on what happened in court today and what we just heard Rudy Giuliani say. This is a lawyer for the president of the United States going on Fox News, called itself -- they say it`s Fox News -- and they allow a person to say, she threw him out of court.
That did not happen. That is an outright lie. And I can`t stress that enough. I don`t -- I don`t want to just, you know, play Rudy Giuliani comments and pretend that these -- that this is just some neutral zone of the news where you can have an opinion about this. That`s a lie.
Now, as to what Rudy Giuliani is trying to accomplish by it, that`s something else. But your reaction to all this?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: My reaction to Rudy Giuliani`s comments on Fox tonight is to be really appalled. And to say that in any debate between Michael Avenatti and Rudy Giuliani, I know who the winner would be, and it`s not Rudy.
He was terrible tonight. He followed in the footsteps of both Roseanne Barr, who followed in the footsteps of the president of the United States in calling this a lynching. I mean, this is such inappropriate behavior for a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for the president, that it really is appalling.
The situation in the court was also very interesting. And as you pointed out, his statements about the courtroom are really false. There was nothing about Michael being thrown out of court. And he withdrew the motion so that that won`t be decided.
There`s so much that needs to be public. The transcript was very interesting. My only difference with what Michael has said is I think Ryan was a little less clear in stating that there were tapes or that there were tapes that involved his client or the president. And the fact that there are tapes under lock and key was an answer to, I didn`t leak them, and no one from my office could have because they`re under lock and key, just as they are with the federal government who seized them.
So Michael is correct, there are two copies of them, one in the government`s hands and he stated -- he Michael stated in court he does not for any instant think that the government leaked the tapes or any content of it.
So the only tape that we know about is the one that he got a phone call from a reporter. We haven`t heard it, we haven`t seen it. And I wish I had been in court. I`m sure it was an exciting incident today and I would have liked to have seen it live instead of just reading the transcript.
O`DONNELL: Michael, I think we know that Rudy Giuliani has not read a transcript of any legal proceedings in over 30 years. He`s been out of the practice of law.
But what this transcript shows very, very clearly, as I read to this audience, is that a group of lawyers went into the courtroom today and lost. They are the lawyers representing Michael Cohen and representing Donald Trump. They asked for a mid-July deadline. That was their principle job in court today, a mid-July deadline to examine the evidence.
The prosecutors asked for a mid-June deadline and the judge agreed with the prosecutors and made the deadline June 15th. There were lawyers who went into that courtroom who won, there were lawyers who went into that courtroom today and lost in today`s battle today.
And you were not one who won. You were not one who lost. You were on the sidelines of the principal action in there today.
But Rudy Giuliani is part of the legal team of Donald Trump that went into this courtroom today and lost.
AVENATTI: Without a doubt, Lawrence. And, you know, I don`t know the last time that Rudy Giuliani tried a case. I mean, the last time I tried a case was last year and we got a significant result in federal court in Los Angeles, the third largest verdict in the nation last year.
I don`t know the last time this guy actually tried a case to verdict. I think it was probably 20 or 30 years ago. You know, he`s a has-been, and he`s a dishonest has-been. And it`s time for him to hang it up.
I mean, this appearance on "Hannity" tonight was just the latest in the series of embarrassments for him. He`s destroying his legacy. The president needs a new lawyer. He can`t hire me, but he better get somebody confident, and he better do it quickly.
O`DONNELL: Now, obviously, I think our audience knows that you can handle yourself in any controversy. And if someone wants to make a criticism of you and put it on video, I will show it to you and it`s legitimate criticism and leave it to you to fight it.
But the FOX News standards for pushing lies out on television is something that I cannot allow into this program. And that is why when Rudy Giuliani lied about what happened in the courtroom today, and referring to you, I feel it is my job to deal with those lies before I then throw it out here for discussion.
But, Michael Avenatti, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it.
Jill Wine-Banks, please stay with us for another discussion.
And coming up, we`re going to have more on what Rudy Giuliani had to say tonight about the investigation of the president. And this time, he went to new demented rhetorical extremes, calling the special prosecutor`s investigators a lynching mob.
And Roseanne has been busy tweeting after she said she was quitting Twitter yesterday and one of her tweets last night was directly to me, and it was a lie about me. That explanation is coming up.
O`DONNELL: Warning to viewers: Rudy Giuliani is now going to lie to you in video from Fox News tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: We`ll challenge Mueller to write whatever you got, take your best punch, with all your 13 Democrats there. You couldn`t find a Republican?
HANNITY: Andrew Weissmann.
GIULIANI: How about an independent? How about you have guys with ethical issues at the Justice Department? I know that because I was a high-ranking official in the Justice Department. So, you got a group there that`s a lynching mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We are joined now by former members of what Rudy Giuliani would call a lynching mob, Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, and a professor at the University of Alabama Law School. She`s also an MSNBC contributor.
And back with us is Jill Wine-Banks former federal prosecutor.
And, Joyce Vance, I want to get your reaction to what Rudy Giuliani just said.
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It`s incredibly disturbing to hear him say that, Lawrence. You know, I live in Alabama and not too many weeks ago, a memorial to victims of all lynchings that occurred during the civil rights movement open down here. These were people who were killed without a trial, often people who had done nothing wrong.
And for Rudy Giuliani to compare what Mueller`s team of highly experienced, incredibly professional prosecutors and investigators from whom we haven`t heard a single, you know, peep of a leak in this entire run of this investigation, for him to compare those people to lynching mobs in the Deep South during Jim Crow and earlier eras is just without any reason and it`s deeply offensive.
O`DONNELL: And, Jill, it used to be that the accepted position of special prosecutors is that they come from the opposing party of the president. You don`t want a Democratic special prosecutor investigating a Democratic president. So, Bill Clinton had a Republican special prosecutor investigating him, because that lends credibility to the final outcome of the investigation, that there`s no partisan bias in favor of the president in this kind of investigation.
It seems that Rudy Giuliani now believes and everyone at Fox News now believes that the only legitimate special prosecutor investigation of a Republican president can only be done by Republicans.
WINE-BANKS: Well, of course, that isn`t true. And Richard Nixon was a Republican president investigated by a Democrat. But Donald Trump is a Republican president being investigated by a Republican. Mueller is Republican.
As far as the staff, I don`t know their party affiliations, although it has been alleged that there are 13 Democrats. But I can say for sure that the professionals in the Department of Justice, the party affiliation has nothing to do with how they will investigate. It has to do with the facts.
They will look at the facts and they will come to conclusions based on those facts. I think I heard Rudy just say he was a high official of the Department of Justice. I`m not aware of that. He was the U.S. attorney. But then Joyce is also a former U.S. attorney, and so, she ranks equally with him. And I`m with her opinion on this.
She is absolutely correct. I think he`s taking too many lessons from Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump in his language. And it`s unforgivable for a lawyer representing the president to speak that way.
O`DONNELL: Rudy Giuliani did serve in the Justice Department in Washington before becoming the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Just want to get that in the notes here.
O`DONNELL: I want to listen to more of what Rudy Giuliani said, especially his approach to the -- what he says should have been the approach to the investigation of possible collusion. And, of course, he uses the word spying, saying that the Trump campaign should have been notified about what the FBI was actually investigating.
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Of course, if it wasn`t spying they should have come to the Trump campaign. They should have come to me. My goodness, I was the FBI man of the year that year. They could have come to me, they could have told me and I could have briefed the president or they could have briefed the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joyce, your reaction to that?
VANCE: It`s just wrong. For one thing, this would have been a highly classified investigation. No reason to believe that Rudy would have had the level of classification necessary for this information to be shared with him.
And when you`re conducting a counterintelligence investigation, you`re keeping it held as closely as possible because you`re entire goal is to uncover what`s happening and then to put a stop to it. You`re really not looking for a criminal prosecution in that situation, although sometimes they morph and this one apparently did. But the goal of the FBI would have been to put an end to Russian interference, to make sure that they weren`t recruiting anyone.
And if that`s not enough, they did warn the campaign. They told them early on they would be the subject very likely of efforts by Russia and it would have been on the campaign to pick up the phone and call the FBI when they started to get these hits from Russians. But at no point in time did they do that. Not when there was outreach from the NRA looking for a back channel, not when the Russians set up a meeting at Trump Tower, at no point in time did they pick up the phone and call the FBI.
O`DONNELL: And, Jill, "The New York Times" has a breaking news report tonight about a memo written by Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI. This is a memo that has not been publicly revealed before. And in that memo, Andrew McCabe summarizes conversations he had with Rod Rosenstein about the firing of James Comey. And Rod Rosenstein in that memo tells Andrew McCabe that the President wanted Rod Rosenstein to include something about Russia in Rod Rosenstein`s memo on justifying the firing of James Comey.
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it`s now, according to that same news report that the reason he wanted something in there was just to have them say, I`m not under investigation for the Russian collusion. But the whole conversation was very inappropriate. And I think that the fact that McCabe wrote this memo is because he felt that there was something fishy going on. And that it shouldn`t have happened. It`s another piece of evidence that there was intent on the President`s part to interfere in the investigation.
And I just want to add one thing to what Joyce said, which is, I think it`s time for Rudy to zip up and stop talking because he is just making things worse for the President. He is not helping him.
O`DONNELL: I don`t think that`s going to happen.
Joyce Vance and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both for joining us. Really appreciate it.
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up it took one day for Roseanne Barr to declare she is now the victim in her scandal. Oh, and there`s another victim, Donald Trump. He thinks he is a victim anyway.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday, after Roseanne Barr tweeted, I apologize. I am now leaving twitter, Roseanne then tweeted and retweeted over 100 times, including one tweet directly to me accusing me of lying.
At 10:33 a.m. yesterday New York time, Roseanne tweeted I apologize to Valerie Jarett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me my joke was in bad taste.
Seven minutes after that I tweeted this looks like a network forced apology. ABC is desperately trying to save its biggest show.
And then last night, Roseanne responded to my tweet, saying no. It was cancelled before I sent this out. Stop lying.
So Roseanne Barr sends me a tweet that is a lie, and in that lying tweet she tells me to stop lying. The tweet that she falsely claimed was sent out after ABC cancelled her show was actually sent out hours before ABC canceled her show.
So Roseanne is not getting any boater at tweeting. What she said about me lying is nothing compared to the racist attack she launched on Valerie Jarett that got her fired by ABC even though she was the star of ABC`s highest rated show.
Yesterday, the White House press secretary said the President was much too busy to comment on something like the Roseanne controversy. But today apparently affairs of state calmed down to the point where the President finally found the time to tweet about Roseanne. And, of course, he made it all about him. Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ABC does not tolerate comments like those made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the horrible statements made about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn`t get the call.
No one on ABC has ever said anything racist about Donald Trump. But people on ABC and every network now and in every fair-minded of news organization now are calling Donald Trump a liar. And our defense for that is that it is true. It`s a repeatedly proven fact and has been for his entire public life that Donald Trump is a liar.
Donald Trump is also a racist. And so, of course, Donald Trump`s public comment about Roseanne`s racist outburst includes absolutely no objection about Roseanne`s overt public racism.
Did Donald Trump do that so that he could continue his unique and powerful appeal to racist voters or did he do it because his racism makes him oblivious to Roseanne`s racism? I will ask my friends, "Chicago Tribune" columnist Clarence Page and Sirius XM radio`s Mark Thompson after this break.
O`DONNELL: Today, the day after Roseanne said she was quitting twitter, Roseanne took heart from many supporters of hers who were commenting on twitter and Roseanne tweeted.
You guys make me feel like fighting back. I will examine all of my options carefully and get back to you.
I can get back to you right now on Roseanne`s options. Any network can cancel any TV show at any time and there is absolutely no legal recourse of any kind for Roseanne, especially in a situation like this.
Joining our discussion now is Mark Thompson, the host of "Make It Plain" on Sirius XM radio and Clarence Page, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for the "Chicago Tribune."
Clarence, I want to go to the questions I raised earlier about the President tweet. The President tweets about this situation and he never mentions, doesn`t have one line, not one word in there, objecting to Roseanne`s overt and public racism. Why do you think that is in the President`s tweet?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Yes. I also noticed Sarah Huckabee- Sanders also indicated there was no defense of Roseanne`s statement but she went on the attack, as Trump did. Because it`s an indefensible statement. Even Roseanne said I did wrong, don`t try to defend me, I appreciate your efforts, blah, blah, blah.
The fact is the only way Trump can really may political hay out of this is to go on the offense and accuse others of doing something as bad as this. But as you mentioned, nobody at ABC has made the kind of racial supremacy statement that Roseanne made here. And there`s really not much of a comparison but this is standard Trump and it helps him build his base.
O`DONNELL: And Mark, even on FOX News tonight, Geraldo Rivera said he wishes the President had said something to objecting to what Roseanne did which of course the President didn`t do.
Now, let`s just stipulate that not all of Trump`s voters are not racists. But there is a racists vote in America. And we have seen various politicians directly appealed to that racists vote. It seems Donald Trump never misses an opportunity to appeal directly to the racists vote and never says anything that will make the racist vote even slightly uncomfortable like Roseanne shouldn`t have said that.
MARK THOMPSON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Right. And he should use his pulpit and have some moral authority as almost Presidents do. You are right, all Trump voters are not racists but most racists are in fact Trump voters. When is the last time we saw a President identify with a popular television program and say this represents all of us? This represents us.
His racism is narcissistic so he makes it about him. It really even steps on something he did last week. That was a good thing we wanted. We wanted a pardon for Jack Johnson, but what was Jack Johnson compared to throughout his career. He was compared to when the political cartoons were drawn. He was compared to an ape and a monkey. And many people felt that the movie King Kong was a metaphor for Jack Johnson. And he had other black man who married a white woman at the time.
Trump just stepped all over that and she represents the very racist imagery of ape when defining an African-American is inexcusable. He has a duty to say something and the fact that he doesn`t means that he condones her statements.
You are right. Nothing has been said about him equal to this. And it`s really up to him to say something about it or else he`s showing us once again who he really is.
O`DONNELL: Clarence, we always have to reset to normal. Can we imagine any other President commenting on this without condemning what Roseanne had to say?
PAGE: Well, that`s the key there, you know. There was no condemnation. And that`s the same as an endorsement. The sad thing about is Donald Trump is not doing his own base any favors because every Trump supporter I know tells me at high volume that they are not racist. And they constantly want to let you know that their vote was not racially motivated. And I think for most Trump voters that`s true. They had other economic reasons or whatever that they would give you or they were just fed up with Washington system. But why is that every almost like hot work (ph) as Mark says, you get someone like Roseanne coming forth, who is a proud Trump voter and she plays right into the stereo type. There`s something going on there.
O`DONNELL: And Mark, it`s not really clear if that comment that Roseanne made was made by someone working in the Trump White House that that person would either have to apologize or be fired. It`s not clear at all. Roseanne would still have her job if her job was in the White House.
THOMPSON: Not clear at all. And it wasn`t Ambien. She is golden girl. They call her our girl on (INAUDIBLE). All of those types of size. So she can`t blame the prescription drug either.
It is really shameful that this President is running a scorched earth presidency. He is using everything. Everything is dispensable for his own purpose. He is tearing up the NFL. He is tearing up culture, television, anything he can use to promote himself and divide the nation and it`s appalling.
O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson and Clarence Page, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
PAGE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, as you heard Rachel and I discuss at the beginning of the hour, the official death count from hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico from hurricane Maria is 64. But a new Harvard study estimates that it is in the thousands because of the very slow recovery and rebuilding and the inability of people to get the medical care they need, life sustaining medical care. That same recovery President Trump says went just perfectly. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: President Trump never talks about the number of people killed in the hurricanes in Puerto Rico last year but he does give himself an A- plus for the government response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Texas, we got an A-plus. And I tell you what, I think we have done just as good in Puerto Rico and it is actually a much tougher situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The official death count in Puerto Rico is 64. But a new Harvard study published in the New England journal of medicines says that hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was the deadliest storm in America`s history, 4,645 people actually lost their lives because of that storm.
According to the study, approximately one-third of post-hurricane deaths were reported as being caused by delayed or prevented access to Medicare and nearly one in ten directed to the hurricane.
Joining our discussion now Melissa Mark-Viverto, vice president of strategic engagement for the Latino Victory Project.
And Melissa, you have been to Puerto Rico several times since the hurricane. Does that a stunning number? 4,645 makes any sense to you?
MELISSA MARK-VIVERTO, VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT FOR THE LATINO VICTORY PROJECT: Well, based on what we understand -- first of all, those of us that are familiar with the issue know that the number that the governor of Puerto Rico is throwing out there is completely false.
O`DONNELL: The 64 makes no sense at all?
MARK-VIVERTO: Not at all. If you look at the devastation on the ground, if you went into the town and the mountains, if you understood that there was no communication, no electricity. The impact that it has on people that rely on electricity for either medications or for oxygen or going into a hospital where services are definitely not available readily available, the impact that it has.
So this is alarming and it should be alarming and I am glad you are covering it. But it really speaks to what many of us have been saying that the government of the United States, in terms of federal administration and the government of the island have been completely negligent. And as a result of that negligence, we have seen this exacerbation of the number of deaths and that is just unacceptable.
O`DONNELL: And the aftermath is included in this because people who are unable to get access to healthcare because of the aftermath, because of the lack of supplies, many cases was a lack of water for an extended period of time, dehydration like that complicates every illness that anyone has.
MARK-VIVERTO: Right. You had road ways that were impenetrable. And you could not pass because there was -- of the debris and mudslides that were happening. You have hospital that were on electric plants, that were on generators and that were losing electricity all the time. And so this was severe. And obviously, we are seeing that in the results. And the fact that this report is coming out now means that there is methodologies in place where we could have gotten to some levels of reporting earlier on. But the government of Puerto Rico and the President of this administration did not want information to get out. And I think that that is something that is --.
O`DONNELL: What is the incentive of the government of Puerto Rico to not find or publicize the real numbers?
MARK-VIVERTO: You have to ask him. But there have been lawsuits, there have been investigative journalists on the island that have taken the government to court. And the courts have ruled in their favor. Is it trying to get access to government data that`s made unavailable? So this again demonstrates that there is negligence on the part of the government of Puerto Rico and the government -- of this presidency of Donald Trump as well.
O`DONNELL: Melissa Mark-Viverto gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you very much.
MARK-VIVERTO: Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: We really appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can stay for hours and shake hands with 1,100 and something, what should I do? I will stay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, what a guy? He`s going to stay. That`s surprise and he lined up and let everyone shake his little hand. It is like a game show every day.
There is a bronze statue of depicting warrior named Tecumsah (ph) at the academy. It is very old. And some believed Tecumsah (ph) had power, magic powers including the ability to make the President of the United States mispronounced his name in this special Annapolis edition of drunk Donald Trump.
TRUMP: From the all-powerful Tecumsah (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tecumsah (ph), that is tonight`s Last Word.
Andrea Mitchell joins Brian to discuss the Trump administration`s discussion with North Korea in the 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS and that start right now.
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