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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 09/28/15

Guests: Matt Schlapp, Adrian Karatnycky, Deray Mckensson, Bill Nye

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And that does it for us tonight. Rachel Maddow will be back tomorrow. Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Steve. If you were watching this network exactly five years ago tonight, you were watching the very first edition of THE LAST WORD. This is our five-year birthday party tonight. KORNACKI: Happy anniversary. O`DONNELL: Thank you, Steve. Well, President Obama met with Vladimir Putin at the U.N. today and the host of the first Democratic presidential debate are now desperate to get Joe Biden on that stage. And Donald Trump says his new tax plan would actually increase his personal taxes but he also says it would not just reduce, it would completely eliminate the biggest tax Donald Trump`s kids would ever have to pay. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The nations of the world cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama and Putin addressing the General Assembly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They both wanted to flex a muscle in front of the U.N. -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While President Obama demands Syrian`s Assad step down -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin said without Assad, ISIS would take over. OBAMA: The United States is prepared to work with any nation including Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Putin is a nicer person than I am. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan today. TRUMP: A very complex set of papers that actually, if you know business, is not so complex. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has at the top of his tax plan, tax reform that will make America great again. TRUMP: We`re lowering taxes, which the Republicans love. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very beneficial -- TRUMP: Yes -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tax plan for the wealthiest people in this country including Donald Trump. TRUMP: I fight like hell to pay as little as possible. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past -- surprise, liquid water has been found on Mars. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And where there`s water of course, there could potentially be life. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once-thought science fiction now seems within sight. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joe Biden received in effect a personal invitation today from "Cnn" to take his place in the first Democratic Party presidential debate in just two weeks. Even if Joe Biden does not announce his candidacy until the day of the debates, "Cnn" said that`s OK, you can get on the stage at the last minute. A new "Nbc News" poll shows Hillary Clinton is still the frontrunner in the Democratic field at 42 percent with Bernie Sanders seven points behind at 35 percent and Joe Biden at 17 percent. If Joe Biden is not in that race, the Biden voters told pollsters most of them would support Hillary Clinton, pushing her way up to 53 percent, Bernie Sanders would just get 38 percent in that poll. Joe Biden polls better than Hillary Clinton in one-on-one match-ups against Republicans. Hillary Clinton is in a statistically tie with Jeb Bush in the poll while Joe Biden beats Jeb Bush by eight points. Joe Biden beats Donald Trump by 21 points while Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump by 10 and against Ben Carson, Biden wins by eight while Hillary Clinton is actually in a statistical tie with Ben Carson. Joe Biden polls ahead of Carly Fiorina by six points while Hillary Clinton polls in a statistical tie with Carly Fiorina. Joining us now, Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and an MSNBC contributor. He`s also a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Also with us, Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino and host of "CHANGING AMERICA" on shift by MSNBC. And joining us, Matt Schlapp, Republican strategist and former White House political director for President George W. Bush. Jared Bernstein, you know Joe Biden, so will he announce the day of the "Cnn" debate or the day before the "Cnn" debate? JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s a trick question. (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Yes, it is. (LAUGHTER) BERNSTEIN: Hey, happy anniversary. O`DONNELL: Thank you very much -- BERNSTEIN: Great show. Look, I have always thought that the vice president was less interested in getting to this race than some of the conventional wisdom. And I always thought it was really a function of how much the frontrunner Hillary Clinton would stumble. Now, clearly, some of the numbers you cited, some of those matchup head-to- head match-ups suggest a candidate is not doing nearly as well as she was, she had a lousy August, but that happens and it`s still a long way out. So, I still think whether the Vice President gets in the race is a matter of how much Hillary Clinton lags. If she finds her footing, then less likely he`ll get in. O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, it`s very clear that Bernie Sanders has his own pretty unshakeable base of support in these polls, and that all the movement on a Biden candidacy, if he comes in, is basically taking votes away from Hillary Clinton. MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC ANCHOR, "CHANGING AMERICA": Well, and I also think that the difference though between Biden and the difference between Bernie Sanders is that, Biden not only takes votes from Hillary Clinton. But he`s also going to start taking votes from the different people of color community; the African-American community and the Latino community, specifically, because they actually know Biden. Bernie Sanders has an uphill battle right now and when it comes to name recognition within these communities that he needs in order to win the White House. Hillary Clinton doesn`t. And I think that`s what -- if there`s a challenge right now within the Bernie Sanders campaign it`s that one. O`DONNELL: Matt Schlapp, who do Republicans want to run against? MATT SCHLAPP, FMR. WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I`ll tell you one thing, they should be scared to death -- KUMAR: Bernie -- SCHLAPP: Of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, you know, beat Donald Trump pretty substantially in this -- in this -- in this poll. I tell you one thing, Bernie Sanders should write a check to Joe Biden and get him in this race because, you know, it really hurts Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden to be in this race. But clearly, I would rather run against Hillary Clinton, I think most Republicans would rather run against Hillary Clinton and this poll shows why. O`DONNELL: You know, there is this "Nbc" poll like so many other polls, does not fully include Bernie Sanders is the way I would put it. They match Bernie Sanders one-on-one with Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders crushes him 52 to 36, does much better than Hillary Clinton does, and that`s it. They don`t match him for some reason, they don`t match him against any of the other candidates the way they did with Joe Biden -- KUMAR: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And Hillary Clinton. And, Jared, the Bernie Sanders candidacy is actually a very consistent polling phenomenon in these Democratic polls. He`s the one who just stays solid whether Biden`s in or Biden`s out. BERNSTEIN: It`s a great point. And you know, one of the things that I try to do is stay abreast of all the policy analysis of what everybody is talking about. Today, I know we`re going to talk about the Trump tax plan later. And when it comes to Bernie Sanders, you actually hear very little of that. I mean, the only thing I consistently hear about Bernie Sanders are, you know, really pretty positive poll numbers. But Bernie Sanders has articulated a very progressive and extremely a progressive agenda when it comes to issues like college affordability, particularly income inequality, some of the struggles of the middle class. And I think it is a somewhat odd and unfortunate that we haven`t done enough to highlight those differences. I mean, when you come to the policy agenda of a Biden and a Clinton, there`s actually not that much space between them. There`s a lot of space between them and Bernie. O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton said about why she thinks she would do a better job as president than Bernie Sanders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think it is significant that people that have worked with me in the Congress, you know, when I wasn`t running for president, even Republicans -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right -- CLINTON: Were praising me, but the fact now that I have so many of my Democratic colleagues present and former in the house and the Senate, out in state houses who are lined up to say, you know, this is the person we want to see as president is very gratifying because they look at what they think I can do for them. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, this is -- you know, everyone is calling this the year of the outsider and that is as insider an answer and as insider a theory of a candidacy as you could ask for. KUMAR: Well, I think she`s also playing nod to the machine that she`s built in the states that none of the other candidates really have. And in order to be successful, I think that`s actually what Biden may be weary of, is the fact that he doesn`t have the infrastructure, he doesn`t have the fundraising mechanism and that`s the nod that she was doing. Whereas Bernie Sanders, you`re absolutely right, he tries to be the outside game even though he`s inside Washington. The fact that he went and met with evangelical -- to evangelical college is giving -- is basically playing a nod of -- to even young people by saying that, yes, you may be evangelical but maybe this is the party for you. Because we start talking about values and income redistribution, which is something that`s really much hitting the millennial community. O`DONNELL: Matt Schlapp, as much as people want to talk about the year of outsider and outsider candidacies as they kind of always want to, whenever people line up those kinds of endorsements and those kinds of political relationships, they always advertise them. SCHLAPP: Yes, and it always tends to work. I know in the -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHLAPP: Republican side, we have this conversation and then we go with the one that everyone expected to get the nomination -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHLAPP: And I think -- KUMAR: Right -- SCHLAPP: You know, I`ve often said, Republicans, this cycle are acting like Democrats and Democrats are acting like Republicans. Democrats have kind of anointed their candidate and the Republicans have no clue as to what`s happening. O`DONNELL: And Jared, the -- what we`re seeing in the internals of these Democratic polls is a favorability number that tends to, in effect, favor Joe Biden. Meaning, he has a more positive number on favorability versus unfavorability. Hillary Clinton`s unfavorability number is higher than her favorability number. BERNSTEIN: Right, she`s under water and -- well, look, I mean, it`s a little easy to be favorable when you`re not really in the campaign. O`DONNELL: Yes, it is -- BERNSTEIN: The only -- you know, the only question for the vice president is, are you in or are you out right now? And you know, he`s campaigned in the past and he, you know, hasn`t exactly glided through. So, let`s see where that goes when this deepens. But of course, I`m sure the Clinton folks are taking notice of those -- of those ratings. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break, when we come back, we`re going to talk about the Donald Trump tax plan, and guess who the biggest winners are in the Donald Trump tax plan; Donald Trump`s kids. And Elizabeth Warren gives a speech, strongly supportive of Black Lives Matter Movement, we will have that later. Also later, Bill Nye, the science guy is here to explain to me the importance of the science of water on Mars. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: If you`re mad at some business or organization and you want to run a boycott, do not involve Donald Trump. He is the worst boycotter in the history of boycotts. The latest Trump boycott of "Fox News" will end tomorrow night on the Bill O`Reilly show when Donald Trump will return to "Fox News" after announcing last week that that was it, he`d had it, he`d had enough, he was boycotting "Fox News". The latest Trump boycott of "Fox News" did not last a week. Up next, Trump`s tax plan, guess who the biggest winners are in Trump`s tax plan. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: After weeks of pretending and maybe even believing that he would offer a tax plan that would raise taxes on the super rich. The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination unveiled the outlines of a tax plan today that would be a giant tax cut for the rich and the super rich and would actually completely eliminate taxes for Donald Trump`s children when they inherit Donald Trump`s nest egg. And Donald Trump copied almost every line of his tax plan from the former frontrunner of the Republican presidential nomination Jeb Bush who in the latest poll is now running a distant fifth to Donald Trump. Donald Trump is at 21 percent, Ben Carson at 20 percent, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio are at 11 percent and there`s Jeb Bush down there at 7 percent. We`re back with Jared Bernstein, Matt Schlapp and Maria Teresa Kumar. Jared Bernstein, your reaction to the details and the giant lack of details in the Trump tax plan. BERNSTEIN: Well, this is a tax plan that is hugely regressive, which is what you were just talking about. That is that it heaps most of its benefits on the wealthy, just to give you one example for lowest income families, their tax liability would fall by around $250, middle income families about $2,500. For families in the top 1 percent, it would fall over $180,000. So, it`s usually regressive because it cuts taxes so deeply across the board, it hemorrhages something like $10 trillion to the U.S. treasury according to the Citizens for Tax Justice. And what`s really interesting to me at a political level, is here is the allegedly anti-establishment candidate with an extremely establishment supply side, regressive, revenue shedding tax plan. O`DONNELL: Yes, Matt Schlapp, this is a pretty classic Republican presidential candidate tax plan, anyway. SCHLAPP: Yes, but we`re looking at one side, we`re looking at what the rates are. The parts that I think is interesting is what happens to all of these deductions. We see verbiage that says, well, deductions will, you know, be taken away as those rates are reduced, but as you know, the devil is in the details on these deductions. So, how people come out where they actually have a higher effective rate or a lower effective rate, we can`t know until we know those details. O`DONNELL: Yes, he`s completely left out any details on what deductions would be eliminated. But he says he`s going to not touch really big deductions in terms of their cost to the treasury. Which is the mortgage interest deductions, he`s not going to touch that for anyone and charitable giving deductions, he`s not going to touch that for anyone. And Maria Teresa, I mean, everybody who knows the numbers knows that it is impossible with what`s left in the tax code to try to make up out of closing so-called loopholes, these giant tax cuts. KUMAR: Well, and the thing is that, he basically is promising a tax cut for everyone. But I think that we could all agree that someone has to pay taxes. And the fact that -- like Jared said, unfortunately it leaves a huge hole in the deficit that we`re trying to make sure that we are alleviating it, it contributes to it. And I think at the end of the day, Trump, what he does, he compiles -- it was like one of a former -- one of the analysts was saying earlier is that, basically, he basically took piecemeal approaches from everyone but no one really understands the heart and soul of why. Because if you look at Marco Rubio, you know that he is the -- his tax plan, whether you agree with him or not actually is claiming to help the family in some way. But here, you have no idea who the beneficiary is -- SCHLAPP: But let me just -- KUMAR: But perhaps his family. SCHLAPP: Let me jump in, I mean, he says that his tax plan is revenue neutral. I actually as a conservative would like it not to be revenue neutral. I`d actually would like to see these tax rates get cut, to see revenue to the government go down. But actually -- BERNSTEIN: Well -- SCHLAPP: It`s not what -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: Don`t worry, it`s not -- BERNSTEIN: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Revenue -- SCHLAPP: That`s it -- O`DONNELL: Neutral, don`t worry about it -- SCHLAPP: That`s exactly why your -- (LAUGHTER) BERNSTEIN: Yes, and that`s it -- SCHLAPP: I`d like to see that -- BERNSTEIN: That`s exactly what you`re going to get Matt -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHLAPP: Yes, OK, well, then -- BERNSTEIN: You`re going to get -- SCHLAPP: Maybe or I could even better -- O`DONNELL: Right, well, we -- you know, we don`t -- BERNSTEIN: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Know for example -- KUMAR: There`s a whole four pages, you know, we could actually outline, they`re -- O`DONNELL: Right -- KUMAR: Online -- O`DONNELL: We do not know what he`s going to do on the depreciation of commercial real estate which is a -- KUMAR: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: Giant deduction that Donald Trump gets. And -- but he did spend the day -- and Jared, I think this is very helpful to the overall discussion of taxes in this country. He kept talking about this corporate loopholes and many of the high-end personal loopholes and deductions as being unfair, that`s his word and obsolete. He kept using that word, obsolete and unfair. KUMAR: Well, because -- O`DONNELL: Now, if those deductions are unfair today, why not just -- BERNSTEIN: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Eliminate those deductions? BERNSTEIN: Well, this is the part that I think is really kind of odd and surprising. I guess in a sense, in that, it would have been kind of consistent with Donald Trump to actually come out with the tax plan that was very different from the ones of all the other Republicans running for president. His actually doubles down on those plans and, boy, you want to talk about loopholes, he introduces a huge new loophole; that is, he takes the pass through tax rate on businesses. That is, if you have a business that provides income, you can pass that income through to the personal side, so you`d pay your personal rate on that. He takes that down to 15 percent. Now, why that`s a -- SCHLAPP: I think it`s great -- BERNSTEIN: Massive loophole? Oh, boy, you made a -- (CROSSTALK) SCHLAPP: I think it`s great, you know why it`s great? -- BERNSTEIN: Massive loop -- SCHLAPP: Because -- (CROSSTALK) BERNSTEIN: I`ll tell you, let me just -- Matt, hold on -- (CROSSTALK) SCHLAPP: Corporations -- KUAMR: But it`s -- BERNSTEIN: The reason it`s a massive loophole is because every single person in the top bracket now is going to become an independent contractor so that they can claim -- KUMAR: That`s right -- BERNSTEIN: That lower rate -- SCHLAPP: No, that`s not right -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead Matt -- SCHLAPP: That`s not right because as you know, the corporate tax rate -- why should it -- why should corporations pay a lower rate than small business people? That`s absurd. And the fact is we have one of the highest corporate tax rates on the globe and we`re seeing what`s happening with these corporate inversions. And it`s smart for us -- O`DONNELL: But Matt -- SCHLAPP: To be more competitive than -- O`DONNELL: But Matt -- (CROSSTALK) KUMAR: We are going to have to pay -- that`s actually one thing that Donald Trump did do and he recognized that so many Americans are frustrated that you have corporations basically parked overseas and not paying their taxes. He does provide an "incentive" where they come in and basically have to pay 10 percent for the very first time if they rearrange their books and come back within American borders and then slowly increase their tax rate. That I think is actually going to resonate with a lot of Americans because they`re sick and tired of corporations going offshore and not necessarily paying their fair share. O`DONNELL: Jared, a last word on the tax plan. BERNSTEIN: Well, sure, all I`m telling you is that if you take a pass through income on your business, you`re paying more than 40 percent on it now. Under Trump, you are down to 15. Here is my rule -- KUMAR: That`s right -- BERNSTEIN: Of -- SCHLAPP: I love his plan -- BERNSTEIN: But if somebody defines -- somebody -- if somebody defines -- here`s Jared`s rule of tax avoidance. If somebody defines -- if there`s a tax law that says you can have a preferential treatment on "X" type of income, all of a sudden, every rich person`s income becomes "X" type of income and that`s what you`re -- KUMAR: That`s right -- BERNSTEIN: Going to see here. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to leave it -- (CROSSTALK) There for tonight, Jared Bernstein, Maria Teresa Kumar and Matt Schlapp, thank you all for joining us tonight. KUMAR: Thank you, happy birthday. O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York City this evening. Republicans are very concerned about exactly what they`ve been discussing in there. And later, Elizabeth Warren gives a speech, very much in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: This evening, President Obama had a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the United Nations after they gave dueling speeches to the General Assembly. This is what they had to say about Ukraine. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Imagine if instead Russia had engaged in true diplomacy and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. That would be better for Ukraine but also better for Russia and better for the world. Which is why we continue to press for this crisis to be resolved in a way that allows a sovereign and Democratic Ukraine to determine its future and control its territory. Not because we want to isolate Russia, we don`t! But because we want a strong Russia that`s invested in working with us to strengthen the international system as a whole. VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): First, they continue their policy of expanding NATO. What for? If there were so block so blocks(ph) topped its existence. The Soviet Union had collapsed and nevertheless, the NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure than they offered the poor Soviet countries a false choice. That should be with the west or with the east, sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to sparkle a grave geopolitical crisis. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used under military coup was orchestrated from outside that triggered a civil war as a result. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And here`s what they had to say about Syria. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: The United States is prepared to work with any nation including Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo. Realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out IS. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader. And an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild. PUTIN: We think it`s an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces -- well, that ends the fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad`s armed forces and militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow for The Atlantic Council and a Russian expert, also with us, Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and an MSNBC contributor. Adrian, on the Ukraine, there`s Putin saying why do they have to expand NATO? Why do they have this expansion force? And saying -- certainly I haven`t heard him say this word, the Soviet Union had collapsed. Is that -- is that a difficult thing for him to say publicly, the Soviet Union has collapsed? ADRIAN KARATNYCKY, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: It is a difficult thing for him to say and I do think that the real question is, why is he bringing up NATO? NATO was not on the agenda. The trigger of Russian aggression is that the Ukrainian people went out because they wanted to join a trade agreement with the European Union, that was it. And they wanted to express the option of being part of Europe and he sees membership in a trade association basically as a hostile act in a bipolar world. It`s -- I think he still has this -- you know, the old images are still haunting him inside his mind. O`DONNELL: Ambassador McFaul, who got the better of that argument on that stage in front of that audience in that room? MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: You know, President Obama and President Putin were actually speaking to two different audiences. Putin doesn`t care what you or I or Adrian thinks about his speech. He`s speaking to the rest of the world and just like Adrian said, he`s trying to create this metanarrative about how the United States expanded NATO and caused all this turmoil. When, of course, there was no discussion of expansion of NATO towards Ukraine at the time. I was still in the government at the time. And the second theme of his speech was how we export revolution, which of course, we also weren`t doing in Ukraine or Syria. That`s what he wants the rest of the world to think. President Obama was speaking to the rest of the world, but also to the American people about his policy towards Russia. And so in that regard, they were -- they were not talking to each other, they were talking at two different audiences. KARATNYCKY: By the way, I think it`s important to note that President Obama actually spent more time in his speech speaking about Ukraine -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: President Obama was speaking to the rest of the world, but also to the American people about his policy towards Russia. And, so in that regard, they were not talking to each other, they were talking at two different audiences. ADRIAN KARATNYCKY, NONRESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: By the way, I think it is important to note that President Obama actually spent more time in his speech speaking about Ukraine than President Putin did. President Putin spent about a minute of 30-minute speech. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST OF "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" PROGRAM: Yes. KARATNYCKY: He is trying to change the topic. I think he is aware that he is in a bit of a quagmire inside Ukraine and he is looking to find a new grand project with which not only to excite the international community, but to basically excite the Russian people. And, I think, you know, there was like a delay of his appearance, thinking he was looking not to be in Russian drive time but to be in prime time. I think all of this was theater calculated for the Russian people. O`DONNELL: And, is the new project Syria? KARATNYCKY: The new project is another platform from which Russia can show that it is strong, that it is macho, that the world has to deal with him. O`DONNELL: And, Ambassador McFaul, there is the president saying, we have got to compromise on an outcome in Syria, but it has to include, as he put it, "A transition away from Assad to a new leader." And, then you have Vladimir Putin saying, "We have to admit that the Assad military is the only way to defeat the Islamic state." AMB. MCFAUL: Well, and that has been President Putin`s argument that goes back to the beginning of this tragic civil war. And, let us just be clear, they have doubled down and tripled down on support for Assad and the result has not been peace and stability. It is been more bloodshed. So, I obviously agree with the president. There has got to be a transition there. It was very interesting, however, to watch the words that he chose. He said the military have to be involved. I am not sure the American administration, the Obama Administration, would disagree with that. What they want to see in a transition is that elements from the existing government work with elements from the opposition for a political transition. So far, Putin has not been willing to engage in that kind of deal making. O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Putin said on "60 Minutes" last night about Russian troops in Syria. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: (Translated in English) Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other states. Well, at least, we do not plan on it right now. But, we are considering intensifying our work with both President Assad and with our partners in other countries. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Adrian, you chuckled when he said at least we are not planning on it right now. KARATNYCKY: Well, I think that the environment that they are putting their air power and their military is very unpredictable. It is a sort of a fissiparous environment in which, you know, there could be attacks, there are terrorist attacks and so on. And, Russia can be drawn very quickly into some kind of land engagement. O`DONNELL: Ambassador McFaul, your reaction to that. AMB. MCFAUL: I do not think President Putin knows what he is going to do in Syria. Let us be clear. We have been there for a long time. We have been bombing targets with 50 or 60 other countries with very limited results. I think that incremental addition of whatever air power or military power will come from Russia will not have an effect. But, what I do think the Russians need to think very seriously about is now, they become a target in this civil war not only from ISIS but from other elements. And, when they begin to have casualties how will that debate play back home in Russia? O`DONNELL: Adrian, Donald Trump saying tonight, "Hey, just let the Russians take on this fight against the Islamic state." KARATNYCKY: It is, you know, Russia has backed the wrong horse. It has created this instability. It is backing -- Donald Trump is actually saying that he prefers to back someone, who is backing someone who uses chemical weapons as a way of stabilizing the Middle East. It is preposterous. O`DONNELL: Ambassador McFaul, what do you see -- is there a way of reading what happens six months down the line now with Russian involvement in Syria? AMB. MCFAUL: Well, you know, the presidents did meet. That has not happened for a long time. The Russian side was very eager to read that meeting out as a positive meeting. Their spin about the meeting was much more positive and forward leaning than the American side. And, you know, there may be possibilities to cooperate, at a minimum to make sure that we do not crosshairs with each other. And, that we do not somehow get into some kind of conflict inadvertently with each other. And, so at a minimum, that is an important achievement moving forward. O`DONNELL: Adrian Karatnycky and Ambassador Michael McFaul, thank you both for joining me tonight. Coming up, water on Mars. Who do you call? We call Bill Nye the science guy. Bill Nye will join us later. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Yesterday in Boston, at the institute named for Ted Kennedy, her predecessor in the senate, Elizabeth Warren, delivered a speech, strongly supportive of the "Black Lives Matters" Movement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS, SENIOR SENATOR: Listen to the brave powerful voices of today`s new generation of civil rights leaders. Incredible voices. Listen to them say, if I die in police custody, know that I did not commit suicide. Watch them when they march through the streets, "Hands up, do not shoot." Not to insight a riot but to fight for their lives. To fight for their lives. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In the 25-minute speech, Senator Warren discussed racial discrimination in several arenas including real estate but she concentrated on police use of deadly force. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. WARREN: In the same way that the tools of oppression were woven together a package of civil rights laws came together to protect black people from violence, to ensure access to the ballot box, and to build economic opportunity, or to say it another way, black lives matter, black citizens matter, and black families matter. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) We have seen sickening videos of unharmed black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air. Their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them. Peaceful, unarmed protesters have been beaten. Journalists have been jailed. And, in some cities, white vigilantes with weapons freely walk the streets. I speak today with full knowledge that I have not personally experienced and can never truly understand the fear, the oppression, and the pain that confronts African-Americans every day. But none of us can ignore what is happening in our country. Not when our black friends, family, neighbors, literally fear dying in the streets. It is a tragedy when any American cannot trust those who are sworn to protect and serve. The pervasive and persistent distrust is not based on myths. It is grounded in the reality of unjustified violence. Policing must be a community endeavor. Not just in some cities, but everywhere in this country. Police forces should look like and come from the neighborhoods they serve. They should reach out to support and defend the community, working with people in neighborhoods before problems arise. All police forces, not just some, must be trained to de-escalate and to avoid the likelihood of violence. Body cameras can help us know what happened when someone is hurt. We honor the bravery and sacrifice that our law enforcement officers show every day on the job and the noble intention of the vast majority of those who take up the job to keep us safe, but police are not occupying armies. This is America, not a war zone. And, policing practices in all cities, not just some, need to reflect that reality. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Deray Mckensson of Black Lives Matter activist. Deray, that was as strong -- and correct me if I am wrong, but that is a strong statement of support for your activity of any major politician in this country has given. DERAY MCKENSSON, CAMPAIGN ZERO INITIATIVE: Yes. Without equivocation, she called into question America`s commitment to black lives, which is really powerful. And, she also noted that the protests will response to deep legacy of institutional racism in the country about housing, voting, and then police violence. O`DONNELL: Yes, she did begin the story she was telling in the last 12 or 24 months. MCKENSSON: Correct. O`DONNELL: And, she linked everything that -- she kept using the phrase, Black Lives Matter, as kind of the end -- the rational for all previous civil rights legislation. MCKENSSON: Yes. And, she did it, you know, in a way that was so true to the way she normally talks about the work. Like this economic approach to the work, which is why she started with housing. O`DONNELL: Yes. MCKENSSON: And, she got us to voting, and then she talked about policing in a way that was authentic to her voice and also true to the spirit of the protest. It was by far one of the most powerful and coherent speeches we have seen from any political leader so far. O`DONNELL: And, very carefully chosen words, because we saw her reading each one of these words she had written. So, every word she said was done with real deliberation. Now, you famously have exchanged this tweet that Hillary Clinton tweeted to you. "Let us meet. We want to hear from anyone ready to address this urgent problem and work towards solutions. Our team will follow up." What is the status of you meeting with Hillary Clinton. MCKENSSON: Yes. We are working on a date and time. I hope that it will be in October, but we are still trying to figure it out. And, with Warren, you know, it will be important that she actually puts her speech into action, right? That her words are really powerful , the next steps. With Hillary Clinton, we are waiting to a scheduling. O`DONNELL: And, what is it that you hope to -- in your half of the meeting with Hillary Clinton, you will say what? MCKENSSON: Yes, so we will talk about Campaign Zero. The platform on police reform that we wrote out. We will also ask her about her history around the criminal justice. I mean she has not rolled out a platform yet, so we will be prepared to talk about the speeches that she has given. And, asked her questions about those. I mean, hopefully, really informed the platform that is eventually going to come out in the same way that our meeting with Sanders, we talked in-depth about his platform. O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders. I want to listen to one more thing of Elizabeth Warren said. It is about a conversation she had with Congressman John Lewis and his history in the civil rights movement. Let us listen to what she said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. WARREN: Then he said something I will never forget. He said his parents did not want him to get involved in civil rights. They did not want him to cause trouble, but he had done it anyway. He said, "Sometimes it is important to cause necessary trouble." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Is that the spirit of the Black Lives Matter Movement? MCKENSSON: It is true. You know, protest is America`s original political act, right? And, that quote from John Lewis just highlights us so perfectly. That like it is not the confrontation and disruption that we have made so much progress in America and she calls that out perfectly. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, the audience for this speech, you know, is obviously -- it is at the Kennedy institute, at the JFK Library, a very, very receptive audience to this. But, nationally, that is not what she would be facing if she was giving this speech in a larger venue. MCKENSSON: Yes. I think there has clearly been push back to these messages about the deep legacy of racism. I was impressed that she like clearly just says that America was founded on racist principles and talks about this legacy. Again, it will be interesting to see what those words turns into. She used the platform as a senator to address the issues in Massachusetts, in Boston, and help us push a national legislation to end police violence and to end the other forms of discrimination that she named so aptly in this speech the other day. O`DONNELL: Deray McKensson, thanks for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. MCKENSSON: Absolutely. O`DONNELL: And, you know, on the day you have the meeting with Hillary, just come right back. You sit right there. (LAUGHING) MCKENSSON: OK. O`DONNELL: And at any other time. We love to have you back. Thank you very much, Deray. Up next, how would Joe Biden handle Donald Trump in a presidential campaign? We will get Joe Biden`s answer from his first appearance on this program exactly five years ago tonight. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: I could not have a better lead-in? (LAUGHING) RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST OF "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": It is very kind of you, sort of. Break a leg, Lawrence. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, so it began exactly five years ago tonight on the debut episode of "The Last Word." Our first guest that night was Vice President Joe Biden, who was then watching the senate race in his home state of Delaware in which the republican nominee, Christine O`Donnell -- remember her? Had to deny that she was a witch. Christine O`Donnell had run for senate once before in Delaware against Joe Biden. And, so, I asked the only politician in America who had won elections against Christine O`Donnell and Sarah Palin, how he would advise democrats to campaign against what I then called the Palin-O`Donnell phenomenon in which now could be called the Palin-O`Donnell-Trump phenomenon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Take them both very seriously. Treat them with respect. Debate their ideas. And, do not get diverted by all of these silly things that they may or may not have said that have nothing to do with policy. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, there you have a hint of how Joe Biden will handle Donald Trump if or should we say when, the vice president runs for president. I want to thank the vice president again for being my first guest five years ago and every other guest who has joined us since. I want to thank them all. And, on the show`s fifth anniversary tonight, I want to especially thank MSNBC President, Phil Griffin, for talking me into doing this show which was all his idea. And, thank you for Izzy Povich and Greg Kordick, the executive producers who have created this show and the wonderful and supportive staff who have made this show better than I ever could have for the last five years. We have had three babies born to "The Last Word" family with three on the way right now. And, we have had a few weddings on the staff, including one marriage of two people who met working right here on "The Last Word," Nikki Egan and Chris Godburn. Not bad for five years. And, of course, we have raised a total of $8,852,116 for the "KIND" fund, Kids In Need of Desks. The project that we created to deliver desks to African schools. Thank you for five years of support for "The Last Word" and much more importantly for five years of kindness to kids in need of desks. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Birthday present to "The Last Word" you can buy one of these desks for an African school at the or you can call 1-800-4UNICEF. Up next, Bill Nye is here to explain why scientists say it is so important that they have found water on mars. It must be important, right? Bill Nye will tell us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) JOHN GRUNSFELD, ASSOCIATE ADMIISTRATOR NASA`S SCIENCE MISSION DIRECTORATE: The discovery we are going to talk about today really is most exciting because it suggests that it would be possible for there to be life today on Mars. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: NASA scientists revealed new findings today about liquid water flowing on Mars. NASA says that water streaks appeared during warm parts of the year but disappeared during cold seasons and are caused by liquid water that is salty enough to remain liquid down to temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Here is NASA Astronaut John Grunsfeld. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRUNSFELD: We still have this question, did life arise on mars once and can we find out? And, we have lots of intriguing clues about that story. Still that begs a question about, if life started on Mars some 3-1/2 billion years ago, did any survived? Is there any life on mars today? And, that is a fascinating question, one that is going to take some time to answer. But technologically, we can answer and we can answer it by sending rovers and we can answer it by sending people. And, I look forward to that day on our journey to Mars. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," and the CEO of Planetary Society. OK, Bill, what is the big deal? I will play dumb here. I am very good at that because I actually know nothing about this. BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY AND THE CEO OF PLANETARY SOCIETY: Yes. Your producer was mentioning that. No, if we were to discover -- if we were to discover life on another world, as I like to say, it would change this one. It would change the way everybody feels about what it means to be a living thing in the cosmos, about what I like to call our place in space. It would be like the discoveries made by Copernicus that the Earth goes around the sun. Galileo, the moon is not a perfect ball, and that other bodies in the solar system had moons like ours. It would change human history. It would be an enormous discovery. O`DONNELL: And, so where do we go from here? What is the -- There are all of these plans that are out there now, and entrepreneurs have these wild plans including this Mars one project to try to colonize Mars. What are the realistic possibilities? NYE: Oh, Lawrence -- so, the first thing we want to do is to continue to explore Mars with our robots, with our spacecraft. We have a rover going in 2020, which will have some astro-biological experiments onboard. But, what you want to do is send people there because people explore so much faster than the robots that we can create. It is estimated of what a human does in five minutes a robot does in a week. So, we would want to get people there. And, tomorrow, Tuesday, the Planetary Society, some disclosure, I am the CEO, the Planetary Society is publishing our humans orbiting mars report. We have shown that we could have humans orbiting Mars in the year 2033 without increasing the NASA budget, just adjusting for inflation. This is an extraordinary claim, but we back it up. Anyway, here is the thing. When you go exploring, you will make discoveries and you will have an adventure. You will adventures that will engage everyone in the world. And, the same way this movie that is coming out will engage people, but it will be real. And, as far as business models and big ideas for entrepreneurship, we take the examples from history of Magellan, Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Henry Hudson, the East India Company. All of these people, these explorers went on the government dime. And, then the East India Company showed up, then the Hudson Bay Company showed up, then the transcontinental railroad was created. The explorers are paid for by the governments and then the entrepreneurships show up. And, we are still at the point on Mars where there is not really a business model. But, if we were to discover life there, Lawrence, it would change everything. Everybody would feel differently about what it means to be a living thing. O`DONNELL: You know, I was inspired by this Sunday night here in New York. There is a playoff off Broadway called "How to Live on Earth," which is about an expedition to Mars. Absolutely fascinating. And, then the next day we suddenly have water on Mars. So, I am completely hooked on this subject, Bill. Bill, thank you very much. NYE: It would change everything. O`DONNELL: Bill Nye -- NYE: Thank you. O`DONNELL: -- gets tonight`s nice last word, change everything. Chris Hayes is up next. END