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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 12/2/2017

Guests: Hassan Hassan, Anthony Shaffer, Jeremy Bash, Nasser Weddady, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Frank Rich, Asra Nomani

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 7, 2015 Guest: Hassan Hassan, Anthony Shaffer, Jeremy Bash, Nasser Weddady, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Frank Rich, Asra Nomani>

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, I will be watching tomorrow night.

MADDOW: Cheers, thank you my friend --

O`DONNELL: As always --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. Tonight, the FBI investigation of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino continues and Frank Rich is here to try to sift through the debris of the political bomb just dropped by Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening.

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: President Obama addressed the nation last night from the Oval office.

OBAMA: On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He delivered a rare prime time address.

OBAMA: Victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their co- workers and his wife. The two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President`s over arching message was to stay the course in the fight against ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Presidential candidates didn`t waste any time criticizing the speech.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He announced nothing new.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called on the Muslim community, the Muslim-American community to step up more.

OBAMA: We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam.

JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We must not vilify American Muslims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marginalization of Muslims, even the idea or the theory of it actually is maximization of ISIS goals.

HOLT: But late today, Donald Trump called for a total ban on Muslims entering the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

We have no choice! We have no choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The FBI has been questioning the mother of Syed Farooq who lived upstairs in the house where authorities now say Farooq and his wife Tashfeen Malik had set up a bomb-making factory.

Investigators are also questioning a friend of Syed Farooq who in 2011 purchased the two assault rifles used in the attack.

FBI investigators said that Syed Farooq and Tashfeen Malik did target practice at local gun ranges and Syed Farooq practiced shooting his assault rifle at a local range just two days before last Wednesday`s attack.

It was also real today that Tashfeen Malik attended classes at a fundamentalist Islamic school for women in Pakistan in 2013 and 2014 after she graduated from university.

The U.S. government released this photo of Syed Farooq and Tashfeen Malik taken at Chicago`s O`Hare International Airport when she arrived in the United States for the first time in July 2014.

FBI investigators said today they believe the couple had been radicalized "for quite some time."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID BOWDICH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LOS ANGELES: We believe they both were, that`s the question for us is, how and by whom and where were they radicalized? Maybe there`s not a by whom.

Remember, often times it`s on the internet, we just don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In his Oval office address last night in reaction to the massacre in San Bernardino, President Obama continued to stress that protecting the United States from ISIS attacks at home meant fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.

In both countries, we`re deploying special operations forces who can accelerate that offensive. We`ve stepped up this effort since the attacks in Paris and we`ll continue to invest more in approaches that are working on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, who is a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. Also with us Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff for Leon Panetta at both the CIA and the Department of Defense.

Also with us, Hassan Hassan, he is the co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror". He`s also an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London, and a Nonresident Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

Hassan, what is your reaction to everything we`re learning about the radicalization of this couple and the educational history of the wife in this -- in this story?

HASSAN HASSAN, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE & NONRESIDENT FELLOW, TAHRIR INSTITUTE FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: Well, to me this sounds familiar, if indeed, you know, that process was the reason.

You know, they went through radicalization and then -- and then they carried out the -- you know, the act.

Then, you know, it makes perfect sense because usually people who join, you know, the -- you know -- or it`s sad to, you know, kind of buying into this ideas, the ideas that ISIS sort of represent.

They go through a massive change and transformational change in a very quick -- in a very, you know, very short period of time.

And you know, it makes sense that the mother -- sorry, the wife was supposedly the reason why he was radicalized and he -- you know, he was pushed into this act.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Obama said last night, asking Muslim leaders around the world to help on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote.

To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Colonel Shaffer, how important is that in the full package of the President`s strategies and hopes for how to defeat ISIS?

ANTHONY SHAFFER, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY RESERVE LIEUTENANT COLONEL & SENIOR FELLOW, LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH: Extraordinarily important.

Just today, one of the groups I work with, the Association of British Muslims in London had Prince Andrew at their footballer for peace.

It`s very important to recognize those elements of the Muslim faith who are very much fighting the radicalism, trying very hard to stop it.

Plus, we have the Ahmadiyya Muslim community right here in the D.C. area, in Baltimore is a very large community who have completely taken and got rid of -- it says they forego violence altogether.

So, this is an important peace. And we need to -- Lawrence, we need to really look at how to expand working with groups who are willing to work with us because clearly this is a war of ideas as much as anything else.

We must get on top of that. We have not been doing well in the war of ideas against the radicalization issue.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, talk about where we are on the coordination these days between CIA, FBI, all the various investigative capacities that we have that would be relevant to trying to prevent attacks like we saw in San Bernardino.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE & CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, that kind of coordination, Lawrence, happens on a daily, hourly basis, even minute by minute out at the National Counterterrorism Center in northern Virginia.

As well as in the field that the joint terrorism task force is, and actually out in the world at our embassies and with our allies overseas.

So, our coordination between intelligence and law enforcement, Homeland Security is fairly well lashed up.

But what makes this case so challenging, we`re seeing this as the investigation widens day-by-day, is that here you have a couple that may not have had direct ties or direct connections to plotters overseas.

Yet they were engaged in stockpiling of weapons, of training, of planning, of plotting, even of linking potentially to others on the internet.

And so this is where it makes it very difficult for our intelligence agencies to penetrate a plot overseas and stop an attack at home. Because often times those connections aren`t so clear.

It`s just going to require a lot more coordination, a lot better lash up, a lot more intensive focus on understanding exactly the way individuals and couples get radicalized here in the United States.

O`DONNELL: A lot of complaints from Republican candidates for president saying that President Obama offered nothing new last night.

They offered nothing new themselves. There are very few -- I think Lindsey Graham might be the only one who is really willing to send in ground troops. Let`s listen to what President Obama said about a ground war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That`s what groups like ISIL want.

They know they can`t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq, but they also know that if we occupy foreign lands they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops, draining our resources, and using our presence to draw new recruits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Hassan Hassan, do you think the Islamic State really wants an invasion of American ground troops?

HASSAN: Well, ISIS wants many things but, you know, what it wants most is that this -- really this message that was delivered yesterday by President Obama.

Which is to somehow suggest that everyone should abandon the whole -- you know, the whole Syrian conflict which is actually the -- you know, the ISIS was a symptom of this conflict.

It was borne out of, you know -- it was borne out before the Syrian conflict, but it would not have been this, you know, huge threat without the Syrian conflict.

And somehow, you know, President Obama was suggesting that everyone should somehow, you know, agree together to fight the organization rather than actually resolving the Syrian conflict.

This is the key to defeating the group. There`s nothing you can -- you know, that the group will continue to operate in Syria and Iraq and expand elsewhere unless you deal with the situation on the ground.

And I think that was something that was missing from the speech yesterday. It was -- there was no plan, there was no strategy of what to do.

The only thing that, you know, President Obama was suggesting that to stay the course and not do anything beyond what`s being done at the moment.

O`DONNELL: All right, Colonel Shaffer --

SHAFFER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: What would you suggest to the President beyond what you heard him offer last night?

SHAFFER: Well, three things. First, the President did admit that these folks are adapting. Well, what we have to do, Lawrence, is get ahead of them.

We have to anticipate how they`re going to adapt and get ahead of them. This is a pattern we`ve seen before. Faisal Shahzad was radicalized in Pakistan, in the very area where the wife of the terrorist suspect came from.

So we have to recognize that that`s an area we have to focus on intensely. Secondly, we have to recognize as you mentioned before, the war of ideas.

We have to get on top of that, figure out a way to work with people like President el-Sisi of Egypt who is willing to work with us as an ally in this war, and work to find a way to go back at these extremists with -- and war of ideas.

Third, we have to take back the terrain. We have -- President Obama should have said we`re going to double down and try to bring back governance to those ungoverned spaces.

Lawrence, ungoverned spaces are the magnet for this sort of thing. So, we have to do all three of those things.

And I wish the President would have been clearer about giving the Pentagon either more authority or clear authority to go do the things necessary to get ahead of ISIS and we`re just not doing that yet.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, what would you add to what you`d recommend?

BASH: Well, I think Colonel Shaffer illuminated some important points, and I would also add, I think we probably need more forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Fifty special operations in Syria is not a lot, 250 special operations forces in Iraq is not a lot. Now, of course, the President is right, a ground force, ground operations, that`s not what we want to be engaged in.

At least, we don`t want American troops to be doing that. But we probably need several hundred, maybe a couple of thousand to comprise a task force that can really try to squeeze ISIS from both sides.

And really go to the playbook that we used successfully against al Qaeda senior leadership along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Where we surged our intelligence, surged our efforts to employ special operations forces and then engage in punishing airstrikes to decapitate and decimate al Qaeda senior leadership.

That`s a strategy that I think we need to bring now to Syria and Iraq.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy, quickly before we go, when I hear that talk about our success with al Qaeda, didn`t we just squeeze one end of the balloon and the other end of the balloon expanded and that end of the balloon is now called ISIS?

BASH: Yes, but, Lawrence, let`s not diminish that. Because the plots that were coming out of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region were very serious.

They would have caused major losses of life here and in Europe. And the United States stepped up and actually stopped those plots. So, there are people living today because we engaged in that fight.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, thanks for joining us, also Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Hassan Hassan, thank you all for joining us tonight.

Coming up, how to combat Islamic radicalization, the personal end of it. And tonight, Donald Trump has outdone himself.

The candidate who is associated in polls with the word idiot has gone to a place where only he could go.

No other candidate is joining him in his madness tonight. Frank Rich will be here with his reaction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Three weeks after the terror attacks in Paris, members of the California band Eagles of Death Metal made a surprise return to a Paris stage tonight.

The band was called on to the stage during a U2 concert. The two bands played the Patti Smith song "People have the Power".

Coming up, Frank Rich will try to respond to the relentless stupidity that is the Trump for president campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If we`re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. There`s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and the author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman`s Struggle for the Soul of Islam".

Also joining us is Nasser Weddady, an expert on ISIS and youth radicalization. Asra Nomani, what was your reaction to what the President had to say last night.

ASRA NOMANI, AUTHOR & CO-FOUNDER, MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT: Well, Lawrence, since I last spoke with you, it`s great progress that we are actually calling out the fact that there`s an ideological problem.

I`m disappointed though that we still work with terms like cancer and poison instead of really calling out what the problem is.

You know, on Friday, I was really proud that I stood with a group of Muslims and we started this movement for reform and Islam.

And one of our tenets is explicitly that we stated. We posted this declaration on the Mosque, and the Saudi Mosque in Washington, D.C.

And we wrote that we believe we must target the ideology of violent Islamist extremism. So, to truly tackle this problem of radicalization, we have to name it.

And Islamist ideology is one that believes in the political governance that is wrapped around Islam and that is very much what influenced this couple in San Bernardino, California, and it`s what influences the Islamic State.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: Now, I have an ask. It is an ask of the people in this room and all Muslims across this country.

Terrorist organizations overseas have targeted your communities. They seek to pull your youth into the pit of violent extremism. Help us to help you stop this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Nasser Weddady, what is your reaction to that?

NASSER WEDDADY, EXPERT, ISIS & YOUTH RADICALIZATION: I think that unfortunately we`re still using some of the old language and we`re not recognizing a reality. Even I would take a little bit of an issue about talking about religion.

Everything shows that ISIS` success has a lot to do with them creating a global counter culture which is unfortunately, the hardest global counter culture today that is appealing to youth.

And by the way, it`s appealing to youth who doesn`t necessarily look like me. They have blue eyes and blonde hair. And that is something that has not quite sank in.

It doesn`t mean that we -- what I`m basically trying to drive at is that the theology, I think that`s a little bit of a deadbeat because a lot of the people who fall into this were not religious.

But that does not exclude what the fact is, that we do have a serious problem with Islamism that has basically mutated and became this extremely virulent strain that is ISIS today.

We need to recognize that reality because cohesion here at home depends on it. Because one of the direct damages of the attacks in San Bernardino is that a lot of people who look (INAUDIBLE) around them and saying, like, look, this guy looks nice, but am I sure this is not going to flip on me tomorrow?

That`s the reality that we need to address by understanding the fact that we`re dealing with something a lot more complicated and elaborated.

Because if we don`t do that, the risk that we`re running is that we will be, again, perpetrating the same problem, spending billions of dollars, creating all sorts of, you know, the new hot words, CVE; counter violence extremism which doesn`t mean much -- totally vanilla.

And more importantly, with all these initiatives that are put out there, including like the segment that you played.

OK, the Homeland Security guys going to meet with the grey leaders, old men and women, who are perfectly incapable of understanding what a millennial is thinking.

And again, ISIS has a heads-up start on that because it create materials that are really good tie-back to their original point that I`m making.

They understand how millennials think. They know how their audience -- where we, the rest of us have failed to do that.

O`DONNELL: What`s your recommendation then in this area?

WEDDADY: My recommendation is very clear. Is that we need to start fighting -- fighting the war of ideas.

We need to beat them at their own game and point back the fact that Democracy, our way of life in this country is far better than the caliphate.

And for us to do that, we need to basically level down, start creating materials that are very much -- that encapsulate that message.

We shouldn`t be shy from stating it clearly. We in the west have a better way of life and a better system. There`s nothing racist about that.

And furthermore, I would add that we need to listen to the youth and learn better to address them rather than going to the Mosque, which -- again, I`m not dismissing it.

It`s important, it should be done, but it`s not the only solution because, frankly, the Mosque itself has some issues and needs to answer for those.

O`DONNELL: Nasser Weddadi, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Asra, please stay around, I want to get your reaction to what Donald Trump had to say tonight.

And up next, it might just be that Donald Trump has finally left me speechless tonight which means I`m very lucky, but Frank Rich is here to do all the talking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, the presidential candidate who won polls shows is best described by the word idiot said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What`s happened is we`re out of control. We have no idea who is coming into our country. We have no idea if they love us or if they hate us.

We have no idea if they want to bomb us. We have no idea what`s going on. Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Reaction was quick. Jeb Bush said, "Donald Trump is unhinged." Marco Rubio tweeted, "I disagree with Donald Trump`s latest proposal.

His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together." Governor Chris Christie said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don`t know what they`re talking about. We do not need to resort to that type of activity, nor should we.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Ted Cruz who has pushed Donald Trump out of first place in the most recent Iowa poll was the most polite disagreer with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: That is not my policy. I believe the focus should focus on radical Islamic terrorism and we need to be directly focused on threats to the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now Frank Rich, writer-at-large for "New York Magazine". He`s also an executive producer of "Hbo`s" "Veep".

Frank, this is the night I need you. I have --

(LAUGHTER)

I`m at wits end as they say -- he`s gone there. It`s kind of like once he said it you realized, oh, he`s been tip-toeing up to this, hasn`t he, for the last few weeks?

FRANK RICH, WRITER-AT-LARGE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yes, he`s been tip-toeing up to it. And look, there`s nothing he won`t say, particularly if there`s any movement against him in the polls or by another candidate.

But the whole Republican Party has been tip-toeing up to it. I don`t see why it`s such an enormous leap to Trump`s outrageous statement for Jeb Bush saying a few weeks ago that we should only let in Christian Syrian refugees.

The whole party have been trading in this xenophobia and Trump just takes it to an extreme degree, it`s an extreme xenophobia, it`s Trumpism.

O`DONNELL: It -- you know, there is -- you could lay out the Trump candidacy -- and as if it was a plan for it to crash. You know, you whisper in his ear, insult John McCain, that ought to kill your candidacy.

You know, and it`s just like right down the line. Like this thing tonight looks like, is he trying to kill his candidacy?

RICH: Is he or is he trying to appeal to a base in the Republican Party that might sustain him in some primaries? That`s what we don`t know.

We have all these polls and we don`t know yet how the voters are going to vote. And in the end, the only people who can really shut him down are Republican voters in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

I was sort of off on the side of it because it is particularly conservative and evangelical group in the Republican Party.

But, it is going to be up to republicans to shut this nonsense down. And, he may not crash. We do not know. You cannot fight something with nothing and no one has really put a glove on him nationally in terms of stealing his thunder.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to a former vice president who has never been accused of being a liberal on the "Hugh Hewitt" show today reacting to Donald Trump.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say, "No more Muslims, just ban a whole religion", goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Frank, remember six months ago when Dick Cheney was the toughest guy in the Republican Party?

(LAUGHING)

RICH: I know, really, the goalposts have been moved to God knows where, but here is the thing. I think it is -- look, I think it is admirable of Dick Cheney of whom I am not a fan to say that. I also think George W. Bush after 9/11 took a more or less understanding idea about religious diversity in Muslims.

But, they are not in power. The people who are -- where is Mitch O`Connell? Where is Paul Ryan? Where is Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican Party? A few state chairmen, candidates who were below 5 percent in the polls are criticizing Trump, but Cruz who has a lot to gain by inheriting Trump is following really did not stand up strongly against him. They are all sort of cowering the way they did -- some people in that party did before Joe McCarthy in another generation.

O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton knows what a gift Donald Trump is. She tweeted tonight, "This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. Donald Trump, you do not get it. This makes us less safe." And, she got a strong point there, this kind of hate rhetoric is just exactly -- you know, if ISIS could have made one request of Donald Trump, it would be please say this tonight.

RICH: Exactly. I mean, that is exactly right. Hillary Clinton is right. You are right. And, the crazy thing is, I do not think that Trump actually even understands that. I do not think he understands what he is doing. He is like the kid, you know, lighting matches in a woodpile and does not know what he is doing.

But, he is certainly helping the democrats, if we want to look at a narrow political lens with everything he talks about, whether he is, you know, attacking women as bimbos or attacking Muslims or everything else in his insane arsenal.

O`DONNELL: So, Ted Cruz surging in Iowa. He may be who people end up voting for, who are now currently thinking about Donald Trump. Let us listen to what Ted Cruz had to say on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I do not know if sand can glow in the dark, but we are going to find out.

(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, Frank, I am sure he does not know that carpet-bombing is now a war crime, but I am not sure that would have stopped him from saying it.

(LAUGHING)

RICH: No, absolutely not. And, look, he is after the Trump brigade. He is a smarter than Trump, much more clever and more of a professional politician than Trump. But, he -- he is appealing to the same voters with that speech that Trump was trying to appeal to today. And, we are going to find out how large a hold they have in the base of the GOP in the months to come.

O`DONNELL: And, his Trump strategy now seems to have worked. He was the one who decided early on, "I am going to embrace Trump. I will never be critical of him no matter what he says because I am betting the day comes when voters will fall away from Trump to the person who they think might actually be able to win an election who sounds a lot like Trump."

RICH: I think that is exactly right. And, of course, in Iowa he has a weapon to use against Trump because he has an evangelical following. And, despite Trump`s claims that he read the bible almost as insidiously as the art of the deal, no one believes that Trump is a conservative Christian.

So, he is really going to get under Trump`s skin, but he is never going to do anything to offend Trump or, more importantly, Trump voters because that is his constituency.

O`DONNELL: Frank Rich, thank you very much for joining us from L.A. Tonight. Now, I will go back to work on that best comedy on T.V.

(LAUGHING)

RICH: Thank you. Great talking to you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Frank.

Up next, we have more on Donald Trump`s religious test to enter the united states.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANADIDATE: It is going to get worse and worse, folks. We can be politically correct or we can be stupid, but it is going to get worse and worse. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangers threat it poses, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad. These are people only believe in Jihad. They do not want our system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Stephen Yale-Loehr. He is a professor of law at Cornell Law School, where he is the preeminent authority on U.S. Immigration Law. And, Back with us is Asra Nomani.

Professor, what is your view of the legality of this. I know that we have controlled the number of immigrants from certain countries over time that, that is possible within law. But, if this was ever attempted, would it require legislation?

STEPHEN YALE-LOEHR, CORNELL LAW PROFESSOR: Yes, absolutely. I mean, Donald Trump has a first amendment right to say anything that he wants, but he is trying to take away the first amendment right of Muslims to practice their religion. So, he can say and propose anything he wants but congress would have to enact a statute and then it would be up to the Supreme Court to determine whether that is constitutional.

O`DONNELL: And, so the problem here, it is slightly tricky because only citizens really have rights in our courts. And, so the harm here would be done to people who are not citizens, but can you conceive of a case there that would involve the rights of an American citizen effected by Trump is idea?

YALE-LOEHR: Sure. There are two instances. For example, a U.S. Citizen relative, who may want to bring their loved one in from a foreign country, who will be prohibited by such a statute would sue, saying that their rights to be able to reunited with their family members had been violated by the statute.

Similarly, Muslim immigrants, who are here in the United States who have green cards or perhaps have U.S. naturalized citizenship, who then left the United States under Trump`s proposal would be barred from returning. And, as U.S. citizens, they do not lose their constitutional rights by leaving the United States, so they could sue as well.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So -- two things. One, it would never happen. Even though, you know, the craziest presidential candidate of all times says it. So, it would never happen. But, just to do the full thought exercise, if it did it would never survive in the Supreme Court. Asra Nomani, what is your reaction to Donald Trump saying this?

ASRA NOMANI, CO-FOUNDER, MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT: Well, it is completely impossible and unacceptable for this to happen. But, you know, whenever you look at any type of issue, you can look at the words, which is just above the iceberg or you can look also below the iceberg.

And, what I am just taken back to is when I arrived in 1969 as a 4-year-old girl in my Muslim family. I came with my brother, Mustafa, on a TWA flight. And, we arrived at a very different time in our world. And, over the span of my lifetime what has happened is that we have this Islamist threat that is confronting us.

And, so, Sunday night, the president offered some strategies, but I think that Trump`s words reveal the vulnerability that many people feel. He is exploiting that vulnerability, that fear of a presidency that unfortunately is not giving people confidence that we are actually dealing effectively with that Islamist strategy.

So, while we talk about CDE and counter in violent extremism, the challenge has been adding the "I" word, that countering violent Islamist extremism. And, I think, ultimately, that is at the heart of this controversy. So, what we really need is a White House that moves more to the middle and comes up with a rational strategy.

And, we need those on the extreme right like Donald Trump to be challenged as he is by his republican counterparts. So, we can take the middle path in our solution for this great dilemma that is facing our country.

O`DONNELL: Well, besides the semantics what specifically would you suggest that President Obama should do or that he has not done?

NOMANI: Well, when we think about the Islamist threat, the threat of this ideology, it is very real in schools and in preachings that are coming out from some of our greatest allies including the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And, we have to challenges those allies.

We are in these unholy alliances with these country and quite frankly we are not still confronting this ideology in a direct way. When President Obama told Muslims to take it on, trust me, we are. We are trying. We are doing everything that we possibly can.

Although, I would say not everybody, is because many people are still living in a culture of denial about this, but many of us are trying. And, so, what we need to do is have an administration that also acknowledges that this is an ideological problem that we name very effectively.

O`DONNELL: But, what could you possibly say to the regime in Saudi Arabia about their religious teachings that would have any impact on them?

NOMANI: Well, when he said that Muslims need to challenge the ideology that is not compatible with western values, let us think about that for a second. Is an ideology that sentences to death a man for the simple act of what he thinks acceptable to our western values? It is not. And, that is what the government of Saudi Arabia has done.

Has it acceptable to put a young man Ashra who is a poet in jail also to be sentenced to death for the crime of writing poetry? It is not. Those are not our western values. So, we need to have moral courage as a nation and we need to stand up to these regimes that are, in fact, causing the same problem that many of our Muslims have now to challenge and that is costing many of us our lives as well.

O`DONNELL: Asra Nomani and Stephen Yale-Loehr, thank you, both, very much for joining us tonight.

On the same day that the Justice department announces an investigation to the Chicago Police Department Chicago Police released another video of another deadly shooting by Chicago Police.

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LORETTA LYNCH U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Specifically, we will examine a number of issues related to the Chicago Police Department`s use of force including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic, and other disparities in its use of force and its accountability mechanisms.

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O`DONNELL: The United States Attorney General announced that the justice department is now conducting a general investigation into the police practices in Chicago. Also, today, Chicago Prosecutor Anita Alvarez made a presentation of evidence in a killing by police that she says shows the killing was justifiable.

That presentation of evidence might not have even happened if Chicago was not already reeling from murder charges that same prosecutor brought two weeks ago in another case, charges that she inexplicably took well over a year to file.

Today`s case presented the killing of Ronald Johnson, who was shown in video being shot in the back by Police Officer George Hernandez while Johnson was running away and carrying a gun. The prosecutor said that although Johnson was running away from the officer who shot him, Johnson was running toward other officers, and so was a threat to them.

The prosecutor added that Officer Hernandez has a right to shoot because Johnson could have fired the gun at police officers behind him at any moment without even turning around. And, then, she actually showed video of another man doing exactly that in another confrontation with Chicago Police. Here is that video.

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ANITA ALVAREZ, CHICAGO PROSECUTOR: Discharged with his right hand while running forward without ever turning his body position. The officer is going to come from behind here after he is struck in the leg.

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O`DONNELL: A lawyer for Ronald Johnson`s family who is suing the police for wrongful death tried to insist today that the gun shown in Johnson`s hand in the video is not a gun, but just a shadow.

He also said that the gun police say they found in Johnson`s hand was a plant but offered no evidence to support that claim. The prosecutor said the gun had Johnson`s DNA on it.

Now, there are three kinds of shootings by police. A bad shooting like the one that resulted in murder charges by -- against the police officer last month in Chicago. A legally justifiable shooting, meaning one where the officer had a legal right to do it, maybe did not have to do it but had a legal right to do it.

And, then there are good shootings, shootings where the criminal poses a deadly threat and every police officer has a duty to fire at that person. Those are the good ones. The prosecutor did not say today that this was a good shooting, that this was commendable police work.

What she said was that it was legally justifiable, because Mr. Johnson had a gun and could have fired at any of the officers at any time. Now, there were other officers, who were almost as close, just about as close as Officer Hernandez and noticed that they decided not to shoot.

They may have believed that they had a legal right to shoot, but they did not. They were maybe waiting for just a bit more direct provocation. But, it is possible that if they waited too long, one of them might be dead. Officer Hernandez did not wait. He did not wait at all.

He was the only officer, who chose not to wait for any more provocation and chose to shoot Ronald Johnson. But, by any objective reading of today`s evidence, Officer Hernandez was technically legally justified in that decision to shoot.

But, because the Chicago Police Department has lost the trust of the community that it polices, many people there today wondered if they could accept the prosecutor`s findings in this case. 30 years ago Howard Saffold, then a Chicago Police Officer, told me, quote -- a quote I will never forget, "Cops can do things in a minute or a second but will sour a community for a generation.

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O`DONNELL: I want you to meet some girls tonight. Some girls who would not be where they are now were it not for you. That is next.

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MARY JANE, STUDENT IN MALAWI: We are six of us in our family, and our parents cannot manage to consider all of us to pay our school fees.

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O`DONNELL: That was Mary Jane telling you that her parents cannot afford to pay the high cool tuition fees for any of the six kids in her family in Malawi. She is one of the girls, who is still in high school. Thanks to your generosity to the K.I.N.D. Find. The program we established five years ago that provides scholarships for girls to attend high school as well as providing desks for kids in need of desks in African schools. Schools that have never had desks.

And, the Malawi`s families that can afford to pay for at least one student to go to high school, it is usually one of the boys, who gets to go to school, which is why we are making the extra effort to support girls` education in Malawi, where the high school graduation rate for girls is half the graduation rate for boys.

Even with the scholarships that you provide for Mary and many other girls in Malawi, completing high school is a very, very hard road, beginning in Mary`s case, every day with the one-hour walk to school at 5:30 A.M.

And, after the one-hour walk home, Mary has very little time to get her homework done because she has no electricity in her home.

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MARY JANE: We do not have electricity at home. Then when it reaches the night, the pressures come when we have the exams the following day. So, the parents do encourage, but we just do not have the resources.

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O`DONNELL: Mary is as optimistic and determined a student as I have ever met anywhere. She told me, she wants to be a lawyer. Here is why.

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MARY JANE: I would like to be a lawyer when I complete my education because I would like to fight for the rights of women and the rights which have been violated for many years in our country and have in Africa. I also want to promote the equal justice between the riches and the poor.

Because a lot of the poor in our country, they are being violated just because they do not have money. So, I want to promote the equal justice for both people - the poor and the riches, and to fight for the rights of the women and children.

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O`DONNELL: Aisha, who also in high school, thanks to a scholarship that you provided, told me about the day in seventh grade when she decided she wanted to be a nurse.

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AISHA: I was admiring these girls, who were walking and were wearing like white jerseys, black shoes, walking there. They were talking like they were in the heaven, like, "Yeah." So, I was admiring them and I was telling my mum like, "Mommy, when I finish school, I want to be a nurse so that I can walk like these girls."

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O`DONNELL: Fatouma, told me she wants to be a doctor. She told me that she knows how hard it will be for her to make it all of the way to medical school and through medical school and become a doctor.

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FATOUMA: But, I will do my best to make it.

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O`DONNELL: "I will do my best to make it." That is the kind of determined confidence that I find in so many of the girls, who are able to stay in high school thanks entirely to your kindness.

You can help Fatouma make it by going to the LastWordDesks.MSNBC.com. You can contribute to the girls scholarship fund or you can contribute desks to school. Desks like this one. You can give a desk or a scholarship to anyone on your Christmas list and UNICEF will send them a card acknowledging the gifts that have been made in their names.

The girls you have been listening to tonight all know that their scholarship money comes from you. And, as we were wrapping up our conversation last month, Fatouma told me that there was one more thing she wanted to say. Something she wanted to say to you. And, so, Fatouma Katete (ph) gets tonight`s "Last Word."

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FATOUMA: AS for me, I thank those people who provided this for us. I thank them a lot, because my parents cannot manage to do all these things for me. But, I thank those people. Yes.

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