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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 3/2/2016

Guests: April Ryan, Charlie Pierce, William Flint, Bart Ring, Bruce Bartlett, William Saletan

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: March 2, 2016 Guest: April Ryan, Charlie Pierce, William Flint, Bart Ring, Bruce Bartlett, William Saletan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": So, Dr. Carson is not going to -- for a couple more days.

So, Dr. Carson is not going to participate in the Republican debate tomorrow tonight, but he does still want to give a speech as a candidate the day after that on Friday.

So, that means even though we will be able to poof him soon, we cannot poof him yet for some inexplicable Ben Carson reason.

Hold tight though, he`ll go soon. 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, MSNBC HOST: You know what, Rachel? I wasn`t ready. I wasn`t ready for you to poof him.


O`DONNELL: I really wasn`t so -- I`m really glad, I am really --

MADDOW: We`ve made him staticky --


MADDOW: We haven`t poofed him yet --


MADDOW: Sometime soon --


MADDOW: Hold tight.


MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. Thirteen days, that might be all the time that`s left in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and just about every Republican not named Trump is now in full panic mode.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is the GOP`s Frankenstein monster.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: If Trump does well over the next two weeks, it`s likely game over for the Republican establishment.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Paul Ryan, I don`t know him well, but I`m sure I`m going to get along great with him.

And if I don`t, he`s going to have to pay a big price, OK?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We may be in a position where have to rally around Ted Cruz.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We are the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump.

GRAHAM: Rally behind Ted Cruz, I can`t believe I would say yes, but yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that some of the personal attacks may have backfired?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: No, they`re not personal attacks -- and you know what they say about men with small hands.


TRUMP: I`ve always had people say, Donald, you have the most beautiful hands, right?

RUBIO: Donald Trump is the frontrunner and there are more delegates against him than for him.

TRUMP: If I`m going to win all of these states with tremendous numbers, I think it`s awfully hard to say that`s not the person we want to lead the party, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that someone does not have 120,037 votes going into the convention, then all hell could break loose.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: It`s time for Republicans stop the Frankenstein they create.

BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: Our forefathers would be horrified if they were here today.

RUBIO: I`m all --


O`DONNELL: Thirteen days. The next 13 days could change our world. We`ve been here before.

Last time with our very survival at stake. On October 16th, 1962, the CIA presented John F. Kennedy with photographs of missile sites 90 miles off the Florida coast in Cuba equipped to launch Soviet nuclear missiles that could wipe out Washington D.C. and New York City in a flash.

President Kennedy addressed the nation, revealing the Soviet missile sites in Cuba, and making public his demand that they`d be removed.

And instantly, the United States of America and the world knew that we were on the brink, the brink of nuclear war.

In 13 days of secret complex, sometimes confusing, and always tense negotiations. President Kennedy convinced his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev to back down and remove those missiles.

And that was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. The Cuban missile crisis was solved in 13 days through the combined sleepless efforts of Korea diplomats, military officials and government servants of all kinds.

The kind of people who Donald Trump now calls stupid. They were all led by a president who never called anyone stupid and his brother Bobby Kennedy, the Attorney General.

In 13 days, they diffused the single greatest threat that has ever faced the United States of America.

They were the most dramatic 13 days in the history of our government. If you lived through them, you will never forget them.

And tonight, we may now be embarking on the most dramatic 13 days in the history of presidential campaigning.

Thirteen days that you will never forget. That may be all the time that`s left to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Today, Donald Trump added two and a half pages of substance to his campaign, releasing a very slim position paper on healthcare reform entitled of course "Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again".

It begins by calling President Obama the most divisive and partisan president in American history.

That is because Donald Trump and no one in his campaign seems to know that the civil war actually occurred on President Lincoln`s watch.

President Lincoln of course, being by far the most divisive president in American history for all the right reasons.

Point one of the Trump position paper says, "we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare."

Sound familiar? Not to me, it doesn`t. I have never heard Donald Trump mention Congress having any role in his imaginary presidential powers.


TRUMP: We`re going to win -- with Obamacare, we`re getting rid of it, we`re repealing it, replacing it.


O`DONNELL: He always says he`s going to do it himself, whether it`s repeal Obamacare or raise tariffs on goods from Mexico or China.

And he can`t do any of that himself. But Donald Trump knows that his voters will never read this paper.

And so he can say things like any reform effort must begin with Congress. Several reforms will be offered that should be considered by Congress.

Congress must act. The first thing he wants to do of course is repeal Obamacare, which Senate Democrats will not allow, so that will never happen.

Then he wants to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, meaning, your state`s insurance commissioner will no longer be able to regulate health insurance.

All health insurance will then be sold from whatever state has the weakest insurance commissioner in America who allows the weakest and sleaziest and most deceptive kinds of insurance policies to be sold.

Donald Trump wants to ask Congress to allow individuals to deduct health insurance premium payments which of course gives the highest deductions to richest taxpayers and would blow another Trump-size hole in the deficit.

Because of course, nothing he proposes in this plan, nowhere in it, does he suggest any way to pay for a single penny of it.

Donald Trump would ask Congress to allow individuals to use health savings accounts that could be used by anyone in their family and he would ask Congress to block, grant Medicaid to the states.

Which would completely surrender to the states how they spend Medicaid money. Which would mean, governors like Chris Christie would use that money in virtually any way they wanted to, to cover up big holes in their budgets.

Nowhere in Trump`s plan does he mention pre-existing conditions. The words are never used.

Big surprise, because he wasn`t telling the truth apparently when he said this.


TRUMP: The insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep pre-existing conditions and that would be a great thing.

Get rid of Obamacare, we`ll come up with new plans, but we should keep pre- existing conditions.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump says we need to reform our mental health programs, but he has no idea how, and he makes no reference to any specific mental health program.

Instead, the Trump plan says, "there are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bipartisan support."

You know, because that`s the way it works. This is the most important Trump document yet revealed in this campaign.

This is the smoking gun that I guarantee you, the media will ignore.

This smoking gun proves every public fantasy that Donald Trump has offered voters about his magical presidential powers, every one of those is a lie and this document proves it.

In this document, President Trump has no power whatsoever. He`s just another beggar asking Congress to do something, and that actually is the truth of the presidency.

That`s the design. The truth of the presidency is that Congress has power over every important matter including selection of Supreme Court Justices, including war-making powers, that is how the founding fathers balanced the power through the budget that Congress can control anything, it can forbid anything.

Congress basically has all that power and the President just gets veto power over them, and Congress gets the power to overrule the President`s veto power.

Donald Trump didn`t seem to understand any of that last night.


TRUMP: I`m going to get along great with Congress, OK? Paul Ryan, I don`t know him well, but I`m sure I`m going to get along great with him.

And if I don`t, he`s going to have to pay a big price, OK?



O`DONNELL: Now, when I heard that threat to Paul Ryan last night, when I heard Donald Trump say that, I mentioned during our election coverage that presidents never threaten the speaker of the house.

Because presidents know the speaker of the house has complete control over a president`s agenda, and I mean complete control.

Someone in Trump world must have been listening last night because today, "Nbc News" reports that the Trump campaign has reached out suddenly to Paul Ryan; the speaker of the house.

Speaker Ryan staff told "Nbc News", "we have heard from the Trump campaign, but the two have not yet spoken.

We expect the speaker to be in touch with all the remaining candidates soon to discuss our efforts to build a bold, conservative policy agenda for 2017."

So, how tough a negotiator with Paul Ryan will tough guy President Trump be? Not as tough as his poor deluded voters seem to think.

One way, Donald Trump tries to convince his supporters just how tough he is, is by suing people -- or I should say, threatening to sue people.


JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: He`s repeatedly threatened people with lawsuits and not followed through, including the rapper Mac Miller, Lawrence O`Donnell, "Vanity Fair" and an activist who launched a petition for Macy`s to drop Trump`s products.

I`ll sue you is Trump`s version of bazinga.


It doesn`t really mean anything but he says it all the time.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has been sued for fraud more than any other presidential candidate.

Because none of the rest of the presidential candidates have been sued for fraud. And even with that, Donald Trump tries to play tough with his audiences.


TRUMP: When I get sued, I take it right or just take it all the way. You know what happens if you settle suits, you get sued more.

So, I don`t settle anything. I don`t settle.


O`DONNELL: Of course Donald Trump never settles except when he does as he did with my next guest who will tell you their story of suing Donald Trump.

William Flint purchased a condominium in a Mexican development that he thought was being built by Donald Trump because it had Donald Trump`s name on it.

The project then went bankrupt, it was foreclosed on, and Donald Trump later claimed that he had nothing to do with it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump was an expert in these types of projects or so we thought.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a deposition for a lawsuit regarding the property, Trump`s son Donald Trump Junior conceded that the Trump brand could lead people to think a project was a solid investment.

DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: It`s one of the things that you`ve learned through this process is that the Trump name brings stability and viability to the project.

I don`t have a brain stability, but I imagine certain people feel that.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Bart Ring, a lawyer who settled that case against Donald Trump involving that project in Baja, Mexico.

Also with us, William Flint who was one of the people who sued the Trump organization over that loss of his investment in that Trump Baja Ocean Resort.

Mr. Ring, Mr. Flint, thank you both for joining me tonight, I really appreciate it. Mr. Flint, what made you invest in that Donald Trump project?

WILLIAM FLINT, SUED TRUMP ORGANIZATION OVER THE LOSS OF HIS INVESTMENT: We were on a little vacation trip to Ensenada in April of 2006.

And on the toll road, the Mexican toll road on the way to Ensenada, we saw this huge sign with Donald Trump`s image on it.

Then image of Baja resorts, so we thought, well, this looks kind of interesting. I mean, I had retired.

I was going to retire from the Navy. I spent 31 years in the Navy and retire as a captain. I`ve -- I thought this would be nice because we`d be next to San Diego and access to Balboa Medical facility.

So we stopped in on the way back to San Diego, met the representative Mathias Susar(ph) there at the site.

The site consisted of a sales office and a construction shed. Sales office had a complete mock-up of the resort.

Beautiful three towers, swimming pools, fitness centers, the whole thing. And so, we were told by Mathias(ph) that Donald Trump was it.

He was the guy behind this whole thing and we could always trust Donald Trump.

And so, that kind of sold us on the deal. We gave them a $5,000 deposit, which gave us an exclusive right to select the site when it came up.

And so we get a phone call in -- I think it was June of 2007, maybe, to show up in San Diego because they were going to offer us an opportunity to buy a unit in tower two.

We got -- we show up, huge crowds, all kinds of Trump people around. We -- they had the model of Tower two there and we happened to meet the architect.

The architect was a young man, last name, Glass. He said, this is the greatest thing going.

He was from our hometown of Denver, went to high school with my older son. So, we were sold on this thing.

O`DONNELL: Well --

FLINT: And that`s the way it was --

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at -- let`s take a look at the promotional video for this project that Donald Trump did.


TRUMP: People ask me, what does Trump stand for more than anything else, and if I use one word, it`s always quality.

Big windows, great fixtures, beautiful kitchens, everything is going to be the best. And that`s what it`s all about.


O`DONNELL: Bart Ring, what was the essence of the case you brought on behalf of your clients and how did you settle it?

BART RING, LAWYER: You know, well, Lawrence, really basically, the bottom line was that the case was about Mr. Trump`s decision to disavow himself of having any responsibility when the project failed.

And despite the representations made through marketing materials and other such videos that you showed here as well as documents and even letters that reaffirmed his role as a developer in the project.

Mr. Trump took the position when it failed and he simply licensed his name and basically gave notice that he had no responsibility.

There was $32.5 million in deposits and the buyers were left with a hole in the ground and nowhere to go but to litigate.

Ultimately, the case resolved, Mr. Trump was a developer in this project with Iron Gate, which was the same tandem that did the Trump Waikiki project.

They rolled into the Trump Baja project. Iron Gate folded about halfway through the litigation and settled which Mr. Trump opposed and then ultimately after Iron Gate was settled in and out of the case.

Ultimately, the approximately 200 people that were represented on our end of things settled with the Trump organization.

O`DONNELL: And William Flint, you`re one of those veterans that Donald Trump talks about how much he loves veterans and wants to help them in every way.

You couldn`t have given more years of service to your country, over 30-year veteran in the military.

When you hear him talking about how he wants to take care of veterans, what`s your reaction to that?

FLINT: My reaction is that Donald Trump is putting on a con. That`s all it is. He conned us.

He`s a con-man. What else can I say? I mean, it cost me a lot of money. We -- 168,000 and I`m just -- I think we settled, but he`s a liar there also because he did settle.

He says he never settles, but he did.

O`DONNELL: William Flint, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I`m sorry you`re joining us to tell us this story.

And Bart Ring, thank you very much for joining us, we really appreciate it.

RING: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump won Massachusetts big time last night, and today, the biggest Republican in the state says that he will not vote for Donald Trump in November.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump won Massachusetts last night and here is what Massachusetts` Republican Governor Charlie Baker said today.


GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Oh, I said that I wasn`t going to vote for Donald Trump yesterday and I didn`t.

And I don`t plan to vote for him in November, but I`m not willing to concede with 35 states still to go that he`s going to be the Republican nominee.


O`DONNELL: Governor Baker becomes the 30th prominent Republican official to say they will not support Donald Trump in the general election if he gets the Republican presidential nomination.

We`ll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a bad word. Well, liberals ended slavery in this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Republican president ended slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a liberal Republican. What happened to them? They got -- run out of your party.

What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party, senator?


O`DONNELL: What has happened to the Republican Party and how long has it been happening?

First, they got rid of the liberal Republicans, then they started getting rid of responsible Republicans who would never dream of bringing the country to the brink of fiscal calamity by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

And now, they`re on the verge of nominating a candidate who John Oliver calls a serial liar.

Will Donald Trump destroy the Republican Party? At least one Republican hope so and that is exactly why he voted for Donald Trump yesterday.

Joining us now is that Republican economist Bruce Bartlett, he served in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.

Also with us, William Saletan, National correspondent for "Slate". Bruce, so, there`s no one -- I know, who is more opposed to Donald Trump than you are.

You voted yesterday in Virginia I assume --


O`DONNELL: Against -- voted for Donald Trump.

BARTLETT: Yes, I did --

O`DONNELL: Explain yourself, sir.

BARTLETT: Well, my goal is to try to destroy the Republican Party, frankly. I think only when it has reached rock bottom can responsible Republicans once again come back and make it a reasonable governing party.

Right now, it is just a coalition of cranks and racists and bigots and religious cukes. And people associate with the Tea Party who really have taken control of it since 2010.

And they have to be run out of the party completely, and I think Trump is the vehicle that will allow that to happen.

I think if he gets the nomination and I hope he does, he will have -- he will go down to a historic defeat.

I think the Republican establishment will have no choice but to disown him.

I think there will be a very substantial Republicans for Hillary, effort -- and I think that he will lose disastrously, and hopefully bring down a lot of Republican senators and congressmen with him.

O`DONNELL: William Saletan, my sense is that this pebble started rolling down the hill actually decades ago in a way that we didn`t perceive.

That we just thought was increased tension of certain kinds. But then in the last few years, certainly under the Obama administration, the Republicans in Washington have been promising more and more impossible dreams in the face of legislative realities.

And so here we are with the guy who promises them anything.

WILLIAM SALETAN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE: That`s exactly right. I think what Bruce said is correct. The Republican Party as it`s -- today, doesn`t actually stand for anything in particular.

What it stands, it stands against liberalism, and that`s not exactly coherent either. So, what the Republican Party has become now is the party that`s against Barack Obama.

Everything Barack Obama stands for. Now if Republicans had been right that Barack Obama was a crazy leftist, then by opposing him at every turn which is what they`ve done.

They would have made their party a moderate, centrist, politically popular party. Instead, Obama was a moderate, a practical centrist.

And therefore, by opposing him at every turn, by opposing -- you know, by holding the nation`s credit rating hostage in the debt ceiling (INAUDIBLE), by coming out against the Iran deal when they had no alternative but war.

By becoming the party that`s against not just illegal, but legal immigration. They have pushed their party to the extreme.

And that is what has left them in a situation where Donald Trump now represents their voters.

O`DONNELL: Bruce, I think I know what Ted Cruz and Rush Limbaugh and the Rush Limbaugh-wing of the Republican Party are going to say if Donald Trump is the nominee and if he loses big in November.

They`re going to say what they always say, we didn`t nominate a true conservative, Donald Trump wasn`t a true conservative, that was our big mistake.

BARTLETT: Well, though, of course they will say that. But I think that history shows that after a party loses the presidency enough times, there are enough people in that party who really want to win, that they will put aside a crazy ideology and look at somebody based on -- not on ideology, but based on electability.

Now, I don`t know who or if there`s a Republican out there who could win in 2020, but none of the guys running this year can possibly win in my opinion.

O`DONNELL: William, one of the things that strikes me about the Trump campaign and shows you just how it`s shattering the Republican Party is that he does go in there and say things that no Republican has ever said before.

Like no, George W. Bush did not keep us safe, 9/11 happened on his watch. The Iraq war was a giant mistake.

It was thought impossible for a viable Republican presidential candidate to say either one of those things before Donald Trump said them.

SALETAN: Oh, yes, and look, Republican voters, anybody who is voting for Trump, they love this. They love it when he kicks down these heresies.

The problem is that what these voters are voting for, they`re not actually voting for a policy when they do that.

They`re just voting for a guy who vent. And the problem is that the Republican Party has become a party of venting.

It has ceased to be a party of governing. It hasn`t held the White House for the entire term of Barack Obama.

It hasn`t taken seriously the job of running Congress. Its stages, what Marco Rubio, its own presidential candidate calls show votes.

Everything just voting against Obamacare again and again. And so they`ve gotten out of the habit of actually making policy.

They vent their spleen and now they have a candidate who says things the voters love it.

But as you pointed out earlier, there is no agenda behind it. There is no position paper that actually represents a policy that could solve any of these problems.

O`DONNELL: And Bruce, this is the party that gave Sarah Palin the vice presidential nomination eight years ago.

Actually put her up as someone who they all said at the time, absolutely ready to take over the presidency in a blink of an eye.

This seems to flow from that.

BARTLETT: Actually I think it goes back even earlier to Dan Quayle who you remember --




BARTLETT: Chief of Staff, was Bill Kristol(ph). And he took this guy who occasionally had occasion to work within the Bush administration, and the guy there was no there, there.

And I think that`s where they got the idea that somebody like Sarah Palin could be controlled and manipulated to do -- to be, you know, a talking head with people like Bill Kristol(ph) pulling the strings, and that didn`t really work.

But -- and the result now is that they`ve so dumped it down, their party that Trump is viable.

O`DONNELL: Bruce Bartlett, thank you for sharing your voting strategy with us tonight. Really appreciate it, and William Saletan, thank you for joining us, really appreciate it.

SALETAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next, the damage Marco Rubio is doing to Donald Trump and he is doing damage.

Might not be enough to save the Rubio campaign, but it absolutely will help the Democrats in November.


O`DONNELL: Today, I learned, thanks to a Charlie Pierce tweet that Thomas Jefferson was a much more vicious insult comedian than Donald Trump or Marco Rubio. Jefferson called his rival John Adams, "A hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Joining us now, April Ryan, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for "American Urban Radio Networks" and Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Opinion Writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC Political Analyst. April, the white house press core back in the day of Thomas Jefferson`s surely had some beautiful quotes, right down there.

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hermaphroditical. That is interesting.

O`DONNELL: I do not want to just show a clip of Marco Rubio talking about Donald Trump, because this is so much I believe what we saw in 2012 when Newt Gingrich, Santorum went after Romney. The democrats ended up using all of that in the fall. Let us listen to him talking about Trump University.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is trying to do to the American voter what he did to the students of Trump University and we are not going to let it happen. We are not going to let the conservative movement and the party of Ronald Reagan and the party of Abraham Lincoln be taken over by a first-rate con artist, which is what is about to happen.



O`DONNELL: April, I do not know how Marco Rubio is going to do, but I know I am going to see him on video in commercials paid for by the democrats in November.

RYAN: Yes. Yes, most definitely. And, I want to go back to something you said with Thomas Jefferson, talking about hermaphroditical. I mean, Rubio is really hitting under the belt. He has gone to the point of the tweets and how Trump has misspelled words.

He is, I mean, basically, talking about his grammar and his wherewithal and even talked about the fact that "He want to Wharton business school and is this what they teach them at that Wharton?"

And, then another thing. Going back to Thomas Jefferson, the issue of hermaphroditical; Rubio, if you really listen to what Rubio is saying when he talks about his hands -- if you really listen to the hand thing, that is a reference to something else on a human`s body.

So, I am like, "Wow, he is really hitting below the belt, and he is catching his stride and he has found the chink in the armor because Donald Trump is livid and he is trying to go back and attack Rubio.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Eugene, he knows, everyone knows, this stuff really deeply bothers Donald Trump. This is exactly the stuff that Trump does not want to hear.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It does seem to bother him. Does it bother his voters? I mean that is kind of -- that is kind of the question. I mean does it affect the fact that Trump has won how many primaries so far and Rubio has won one caucus, finally, last night.


ROBINSON: He has got to be -- he has got a long climb and he is going to - - he has got to make himself the center of attention somehow. And, I think that, as much as getting under Trump`s skin is what he is trying to do. He is trying to -- you know, he wants us talking about him rather than talking about Trump all the time.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I just want to add to Marco Rubio`s credit. I saw him on Sunday, he did a policy speech that was at least 30 minutes long. All policy. All serious. He began with five minutes of jokes about Trump. Everybody ran every joke about Trump and not one word about government. Let us listen to some of the funny Rubio stuff. Let us listen to what he said about Donald Trump and his casinos.


RUBIO: He says he is some sort of business genius. Really? Then why did four of your companies go into bankruptcies? Why did Citibank had to put you on an allowance. They put him in an allowance. How did you bankrupt a casino? How do you bankrupt a casino? The house always wins.



O`DONNELL: And, April, there he goes. He goes right at the area where he knows Trump is vulnerable and he knows it will drive him crazy.

RYAN: And, this is good S&L stuff. I cannot wait for Saturday night. But one thing for sure, Rubio is doing this with a wink and a nod from the leadership in the republican national committee. They love it. And, he has got the wind beneath his wings to keep on going.

But, the fortunate things is the fact that, again, we listen to the jokes. We hear the sound bytes from the jokes and not necessarily the policy. And, the unfortunately thing is, you know, we tell our children not to play the -- not to do jokes and not to be bullies and that is what we are seeing right now on this republican side of this, I guess, debate campaign. I do not what you call it.

O`DONNELL: And, April, I think there is a longer range of a Rubio possibility here, which is if Donald Trump is the nominee, he believes he will lose, that means Marco Rubio can run for an open republican presidential nomination four years from now.

RYAN: Yes, he can. But, you know, Rubio is young and one thing that Lindsey Graham said, "You know, he is too young. He is longing a lot right now." And, I think a lot of people will take him under their wing and try to help groom him to be, maybe the prince the next timeout.

But, also, look at what happened to Paul Ryan, you know, with that failed attempt with the Romney/Ryan ticket. Look at where he is now. He may have gone kicking and screaming into the position, but he is in that position now. So, I think Rubio has a lot in store for him even beyond 2020, I guess you would say.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He may have the longest political future of them all in that field.

RYAN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: April Ryan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

RYAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, who do the democrats want to win the republican nomination and who do the republicans want to win the democratic nomination.



O`DONNELL: A new poll, New Jersey Poll, shows that Chris Christie`s endorsement of Donald Trump has pushed his approval rating down even lower. The Farleigh Dickinson University Poll conducted in the days before and after the Trump endorsement last week found that Christie`s approval rating fell to a new record low of 27 percent. His disapproval rating in the poll is 64 percent.

It is the lowest approval rating in the history of polling of New Jersey governors. And, now six New Jersey newspapers have issued a joint editorial calling on Governor Christie to resign saying, "We are disgusted with his endorsements of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign trail trashing him, calling him unqualified by temperament and experience to be president.

And, we are fed up with his continuing travel out of state on New Jersey`s dime stumping for Trump after finally abandoning his own presidential campaign. For the good of the state, it is time for Christie to do his long neglected constituents a favor and resign as governor. If he refuses, citizens should initiate a recall effort."

Up next, we have breaking news tonight in the investigation of Hillary Clinton`s e-mail server.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight in the investigation of Hillary Clinton`s state department e-mail address. "The Washington Post" reporting that the department of justice will grant immunity to Bryan Pagliano. He is the former state department employee who set up a private e-mail server for Secretary Clinton in her home in New York.

Bryan Pagliano is reportedly working with the FBI on the investigation, which the government launched last summer. At this time, there is no indication that prosecutors have assembled a grand jury in the e-mail investigation or a grand jury that would be able to subpoena testimony or documents. No statement yet from the FBI or the Justice Department on this.

The lawyer for Bryan Pagliano has also declined comment. Bryan Pagliano in September pleaded the fifth amendment before a house committee investigating this issue. Joining us now, Charlie Pierce, writer at large for Esquire and Eugene Robinson is back with us. Charlie, first of all, what do you make of this news tonight and how might it effect the campaign?

CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE, ESQUIRE: Well, two things. Number one, this investigation continues to be a sieve. Number two, as you pointed out, there is no indication that this is anything more than an investigative tactic or uses of a tool. Third, Mr. Pagliano, obviously has a very good lawyer and fourth, it is going to be about two or three days of really scary headlines.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, I had a feeling, Donald Trump might say something to say about it.

ROBINSON: You think? I mean, Trump in his speeches in his rallies has already convicted Hillary Clinton.


ROBINSON: And, she is on her way to - Obviously, they want to ask some questions. They want to ask him what did the Secretary Clinton tell you to do and why did she tell you -- you know, why did she tell you she wanted it done and that sort of thing.

And, also how did he set up the server and anything they can learn. There may be absolutely nothing there or nothing incoherent, but it sounds logical. They want to hear from this guy. They, obviously, do not think he has committed a crime, so they gave him immunity and we will hear the testimony.

O`DONNELL: Charlie, can we expect that Bernie Sanders will stick to the point that nobody wants to hear any more about Hillary Clinton`s damn e- mails as he would say.

PIERCE: Well, I mean he has not raised it so far. He is more interested in getting the transcript of the speech she gave to Goldman Sachs. So, I do not anticipate he will try to make a meal out of this. And, again, this is Mr. Pagliano took the fifth amendment in front of congress.

And, I would take the fifth amendment in front of that particular committee if they asked me my name and address, because I would not trust them as far as I could throw them. But I think this is just a tool by which the FBI will get what they want to get to learn from him.

O`DONNELL: All right. We are going to take a quick break here. When we come back who do the democrats want to win the nomination and who do the republicans want to win the nomination in the other party?



O`DONNELL: What the people in Russia think about a possible President Trump. MSNBC news hit the streets of Moscow to find out.


UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN FEMALE SPEAKER: (Translated to English) I do not keep tabs on it at all, do not know any names and whatever happens in any country. It is the worst for us.

UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN MALE SPEAKER (1): (Translated to English) Trump, as far as I know -- I have heard it somewhere. Do not know where. Trump is sympathetic to Putin, to Russia. So, that will mean warmer relations, which is obviously a plus for everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN MALE SPEAKER (2): (Translated to English) I am for Trump, because I know the U.S. Russian relations will improve in every regard if Trump will be president. Kennedy -- I mean Hillary, is too American, not our kind of person.


O`DONNELL: Yes. Hillary is way too American to be a Russian. Up next, which -- who are the democrats rooting for to win the nomination and who are the republicans rooting for to win the democrat nomination.


O`DONNELL: In 13 days, the presidential nominations in both parties just might be basically locked up. Who do the republicans want and who do the democrats want in the other party? Charlie Pierce, Eugene Robinson back with us. So, Charlie, let us start with the democrats. Who do the democrats really want to run against?

PIERCE: You know, at this time of the year, when we are all filling our NCAA tournament brackets for Amusement only. There is always that one team that you say, "Boy, no good team wants to play them in the first round." I think this point, they would rather run against anybody except Donald Trump, because nobody knows what the guy is going to do.

There is no rhyme or reason. You know, he is a bringer of chaos. Now, I think by the time of the convention, especially if the republicans have a bloodbath in Cleveland this will change, but I think they would rather run against the more conventional wing like Ted Cruz.

O`DONNELL: Gene, what do you think?

ROBINSON: I think they would rather run against Ted Cruz. There is a play book for running against Ted Cruz, right? Even he is a doctrinaire conservative, you know what he is going to say. You know how he is going to attack. You know how he is going to attack.


ROBINSON: You know how to attack him.


ROBINSON: And, of course, nobody likes him. So, that is the guy I would want to run against. Somebody said and I wish it had been me that running against Donald Trump is like participating in a NASCAR race when one of the other drivers is drunk. You know, all bets are off, so they would definitely not I think want to run against Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: And, Charlie, Donald Trump is willing to say things that nobody else is, which means it would be unique in the history of Clinton campaigning because the opponent would absolutely go straight at all of Bill Clinton`s indiscretions that did not involve governing and did involve women not his wife.

PIERCE: Well, not just that, but I think we are going back to the Mena Airport. I think we are going back to Parker Dozhier`s fish camp. And, I think we are going to the Whitewater Development Corporation. We are going to go back maybe to making stuff up again.


O`DONNELL: Yes. And, the kids are all running to the Google machine right now to find out -- All right, now, look. Let us get some numbers in here.


PIERCE: I am sorry, children if you did -- yes.

O`DONNELL: I want to put some numbers up on the board here. It turns out that in the one-on-one matchups right now in the CNN poll, Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump 52 percent to 44 percent. That is how she does against Donald Trump.

The trouble is Hillary Clinton loses to Rubio and she loses to Ted Cruz. In a one-on-one against Rubio, Hillary Clinton is at 47, Rubio is at 50 percent. And, in one on one with Ted Cruz, they are basically tie, but technically Hillary`s number is 48, Cruz is 49 percent.

Now, Bernie Sanders, he beats them all and he beats Trump by a bigger number than Hillary does. Bernie Sanders beats Trump 55 percent to 43 percent. Bernie Sanders beats Rubio 53 percent to 45 percent.

And, Bernie Sanders makes Ted Cruz disappear, 17 points ahead. Bernie Sanders 57 percent. That is the highest number in any of these matchups, 57 percent to 40 percent. Gene, do you want to change your testimony?

ROBINSON: No, I think I will stay where I am. Look, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton machine are a tough political opponent for anybody. I think history proves that and I think -- I think they will be tough. Bernie Sanders is a good politician. He is a good campaigner.

The republicans I believe would be delighted to run against Sanders, despite those numbers, because they believe they can bring those numbers down by yelling socialist, socialist, socialist until their throats are raw and hoarse.


O`DONNELL: Yes. Charlie, what do you think would the republicans rather run against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?

PIERCE: Yes, because if they have to run against Hillary Clinton they have to defend the south, which they would not have to do against Bernie Sanders. They would not -- I mean they might not necessarily lose any states down there, but they would have to spend money and they have to organize down there and they would have to take the south seriously. But, yes, again, this is one of those situations where you take a deep breath and thank God for the electoral college.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Gene, these are the kinds of polls that as much as Bernie Sanders wants to bring them to Washington and show his friends, the professionals remain decidedly unimpressed by these.

ROBINSON: Yes. And, their reasons by the professionals are unimpressed in general by these kinds of polls, because they do not actually has to follow-up question, "Have you heard?" "Do you know anything about candidate x or candidate y?"

You know, I am not a pollster. I cannot say they are entirely worthless. And, Bernie Sanders is absolutely right to bring them up. They are points in his favor. In the end, I guess my gut is that Hillary Clinton is the one the republicans do not want to run against.

O`DONNELL: Charlie, how worried should the democrats be when they look at the way Hillary Clinton matches up in those polls?

PIERCE: I do not think very worried right now. I think they look at the other side and see chaos. I think they have a -- they have some real breathing space to gettheir act together, which is unusual for democrats.

O`DONNELL: Gene, democrats, when they look at Rubio tying, basically, with Clinton, Cruz tying basically -- and Rubio slightly ahead.

ROBINSON: Well, look. I think democrats worry about Marco Rubio.

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

ROBINSON: But then again, Marco Rubio has won one caucus.

O`DONNELL: One. So far they do not worry too much about him.

ROBINSON: So, I mean, maybe --

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson and Charlie Pierce, thank you both tonight. I really appreciate it.

PIERCE: Thank you, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.