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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 3/16/2016

Guests: Tim Pawlenty, Maria Teresa Kumar, Jonathan Alter, Frank Rich, Norm Ornstein, Sam Frizell, Kim Foxx

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: March 16, 2016 Guest: Tim Pawlenty, Maria Teresa Kumar, Jonathan Alter, Frank Rich, Norm Ornstein, Sam Frizell, Kim Foxx

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us night, 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: Hey Rachel, you look well rested and I know you`re not --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: After last night --

MADDOW: Yes, it`s called drugs and makeup.

O`DONNELL: I get it.

MADDOW: Yes --


O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump thinks that he knows his supporters well. He`s looked them in the eye at his rallies all over the country.

He knows how to excite them, knows what makes them tick and he is absolutely certain that if they don`t get what they want, they will become criminals. They will riot.



STEVE SCHMIDT, CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Most of the people talking about the stop Trump movement, most of them couldn`t organize a three-car motorcade.

TRUMP: I think you`d have riots. I think you`d have riots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope you`re ready for some tension at your convention - -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big breaking news from the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a Supreme Court nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably the least controversial of any of the possible nominees.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have fulfilled my constitutional duty.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.

OBAMA: Now, it`s time for the Senate to do theirs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there`re a lot of people who probably don`t want to see Donald Trump nominate the next Justice of the Supreme Court.

TRUMP: I think you`d have riots. I think you`d have riots.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: I`m going to ask Mr. Trump who he is considering for vice president beside me.


O`DONNELL: There will be blood, riots, that`s what Donald Trump predicted would happen today if he doesn`t get the Republican presidential nomination.


TRUMP: I think we`ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn`t and if we`re 20 votes short or if we`re -- if we`re, you know, a 100 short.

And we`re at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we`re way ahead of everybody.

I don`t think you can say that we don`t get it automatically. I think it would be -- I think you`d have riots. I think you`d have riots.


O`DONNELL: This is where I would like to play for you all the condemnations that Republicans visited upon Donald Trump today for predicting riots, but there are none.

Imagine what Republicans would say if anyone else predicted riots today for any other reason.

What if Bernie Sanders predicted riots if Donald Trump is nominated? What would Bill O`Reilly say about that?

What if a politician predicted riots the next time there`s a bad shooting by police in this country?

Would that be met by silence from Republicans? Donald Trump has been looking down from the stage at his political audience of thousands and thousands of people and all those halls for almost a year.

And he has reached this conclusion about those people who he sees every day. If they don`t get what they want, they will riot.

They are violent criminals waiting to happen, ready to spring into action for Donald Trump if he doesn`t get what he wants.

That is his opinion of his supporters. And like just about everything Donald Trump says, I don`t believe him.

I think most of Donald Trump`s supporters are better than -- better than that. Most of Donald Trump`s supporters are better than Donald Trump.


TRUMP: I think bad things would happen. I really do. I believe that. I wouldn`t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.


O`DONNELL: So Donald Trump wouldn`t lead the riots that he is predicting, but he didn`t condemn the idea of rioting.

The last time Republicans arrived at a convention without a nominee locked in place was 1976.

President Gerald Ford went into the convention with only 43 more delegates than Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan did everything he possibly could to try to snatch the nomination away from Gerald Ford.

And no one there thought there was anything wrong with Reagan struggling to get that nomination even though he was in second place in the delegate count.

Ronald Reagan lost that fight for the nomination and Gerald Ford then went on to lose the presidency.

And today, you can`t find the Republican who doesn`t wish that Ronald Reagan had grabbed that nomination away from Gerry Ford.

You can`t find a Republican who doesn`t think Ronald Reagan would have been a better candidate against Jimmy Carter than Gerald Ford.

And the first Republican president didn`t secure the nomination until the third ballot at his convention, 13 names were put in nomination in that Republican convention.

Senator William Seward from New York was the favorite and to no one surprise he was the first ballot leader with 173 votes, 71 votes more than his nearest challenger.

On the second ballot, Senator Seward went up ten points, ten votes, but the second place challenger picked up 79 votes suddenly.

And then on the third ballot, Senator Seward dropped four votes to 180 and Abraham Lincoln got 231 votes and the nomination.

And there was no rioting. Republicans know how to do this.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Actually have the convention, the delegates decide between the candidates that have gotten a whole bunch of delegates.

That`s actually the Democratic process working the way it`s supposed to and I think there that it becomes a decision for the delegates.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: It is unlikely that anybody is going to achieve enough delegates to avoid a convention.

And for those who worry about a convention, it will be right in the open. I mean, there`s no closed rooms. There`s nothing but total transparency.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now Tim Pawlenty; former Republican Governor of Minnesota who ran for president in 2012.

Maria Teresa Kumar; President and CEO of Voto Latino and an Msnbc contributor and Jonathan Alter; Msnbc political analyst and columnist for the "Daily Beast".

Tim Pawlenty, are you going to be at this Republican convention or are you super delegate or any kind of delegate already?

TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, unlike the Democratic Party, we don`t have super delegates per se in the Republican Party.

I probably will be there, Lawrence, but look, in terms of the comments, I think that Donald Trump as you know, speaks in exaggerated terms, in imprecise ways.

Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, but I don`t think there`re going to be riots.

I think there`d be demonstrations, there`d be hard feelings or maybe some yelling and pushing and shoving, but I think it would be very unusual to have riots, and I don`t think that`s likely to happen.

O`DONNELL: And where are you now? You endorsed Marco Rubio, where does that leave you now?

PAWLENTY: It leaves me now deciding what to do next. I think Donald Trump is on his way to the nomination.

I think if he is a little over or a little under and he gets denied the nomination, you`re going to have a political civil war in the Republican Party that it won`t recover from by November and you`ll hand the election to Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, if Donald Trump is a little under when he goes into the convention, that means he will be going in as the weakest nominee since Gerald Ford who did a very good job of losing.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Absolutely. But I also think that the Republican Party is already currently in a civil war.

Because even though they don`t like Trump, they definitely don`t like Cruz. So, who is their nominee going in?

It was interesting today, Boehner basically alluded that the problem with Cruz was that he equated him to Lucifer.

There`s a serious problem right now with who the identity of the Republican Party is, and the fact that they cannot identify even a third party candidate within their -- within their ranks.

That says, you know, we should go -- you know, we should all go behind Kasich as an example, that`s a problem.

One of the reasons that Rubio dropped out was with the hope of coalescing the Republican Party, but they just don`t like number two, which is Cruz.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, where are we going?

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Well, you know, Attila the Hun has just taken over the party.



ALTERR: (INAUDIBLE) depends on, you know, what metaphor you want to use. But what Trump was saying today that there could be riots.

It`s sort of like a nice little democracy you have there, it would be a pity if anything happened to it.

You know, it`s sort of mafioso talk, it`s banana republic talk, it`s Mao`s(ph) talk, power comes from the barrel of a gun.

This is not the way we do things in this country, and I think we haven`t yet quite absorbed, internalized the assault not just on the Republican Party, but on our system that this guy represents.

So there`s a time of moral reckoning for every American, especially every Republican.

They have to decide what are they going to do? What are they going to tell their grandchildren as Mitt Romney asked when they say, granddad, what did you do when this man, you know, took over your political party?

So, you know, my question for people like Tim Pawlenty is, will they stand up? What will they do?

Will they vote? This has been done before at political conventions, the people who can`t stand the nominee leave and they start another party to maintain their honor and their integrity.

O`DONNELL: You know, Tim Pawlenty happens to be here, and so we can ask him -- we can ask him exactly that.

And the Romney questions, you endorsed Mitt Romney four years ago. But those questions about what do you tell your grandchildren?

What do you do -- what do you do -- what do you Tim Pawlenty do in the face of a Trump nomination if he gets the nomination?

PAWLENTY: You know, I`ve always supported the nominee and I would be inclined to do that again here, Lawrence.

But I haven`t made a final decision in that regard, and I want to see to what extent he can improve his behavior between now and July.

He`s got a big track record here, but these are big titanic plates that are shifting --


PAWLENTY: Underneath us. And I do want to say one thing. The Republican Party has some responsibility of its own in this regard because these candidates for years have been running around saying, we`re going to get spending under control.

We`re going to get the debt under control, we`re going to get the deficit under control.

We`re going to reform entitlements, we`re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, we`re going to fix immigration, we`re going to do pro-growth tax cuts.

We`re going to do variety of other things and none of it`s come true. And finally, I think, in addition to the other things that are going on, there`s a bunch of party activists who basically said we`re sick of the BS and we`re going to try something dramatically different.

So this has been brewing for a lot of reasons, for a lot of years, but I think one ingredient of many is the fact that the traditional politicians saying the same things have finally hit the -- the activists have hit the point of saying we don`t believe you.

And we realize Donald Trump is out there, that he`s different, we don`t -- they`re not even sure they believe half of the stuff he says.

But they know they want to try something dramatically different. And frankly, the party and the leaders have to take some responsibility for how we got here.


KUMAR: But I think -- but I think governor, but I -- governor, I actually also think that for so -- for the last ten years we`ve basically been hearing the fact that there is no -- that there`s no skill when it comes to politicking.

But in fact, if you have -- if you know how to negotiate, if you look at someone like Senator Reid, Mitch McConnell.

If you look at individuals that actually understand the workings of Washington, that have leadership, that know that you can`t always go -- you know, have everything you want otherwise you`re going to take your marbles and go home.

That every -- the policy does not -- is not sweeping. That is actually incremental, that`s when we have policy change.

But what we`ve had is basically junior class of congressional members right now that have never held political office and if so, after very few years.

And now they don`t -- they don`t want government to work, but they also don`t know how to negotiate and as a result, we have a broken system, but it`s because they`re breaking it.

ALTER: So those are great diagnoses. What I am interested in is who will stop Trump at this time of moral reckoning?

So, Governor Pawlenty said well, maybe he`ll improve his behavior between now and the convention.

Character is destiny. We know who he is. We know he cannot be trusted with the presidency.

Everybody knows this. The question is what action will they now take? So, you have Marco Rubio at the debate recently, he called Donald Trump a con man.

And then he was asked will you support him if he`s the nominee? And he said yes. He essentially said I will support a con man to be president. That`s not a terrible position --

PAWLENTY: But Jonathan, I think -- I think the thing --

KUMAR: Well --


PAWLENTY: I think the thing to be careful about with all --

ALTER: Yes --

PAWLENTY: Due respect Is you have a process in place where actual people at the grassroots level get to show up and vote.

You and others may not like the outcome, but they`re speaking.

ALTER: Right --

PAWLENTY: And they`re speaking by saying, we are choosing to a fair process, is showing up and voting in a form of democracy their candidate.

And then for the party elites or others who are more or less or establishment types or whatever you want to call them --

ALTER: Moralists defending the country from Trump? --


PAWLENTY: Let me just finish, let me just finish. For them to say, you know, the process has spoken, but we know better and therefore we`re going to kick over the result at the convention, win it or lose it, but don`t steal it.

Don`t steal it at the convention, that would be --

ALTER: That`s right --

PAWLENTY: A disaster --

ALTER: That`s right, you got to vote --

KUMAR: But governor, you`ve also --


KUMAR: The Republican Party has actually created these rules, it`s not like they`re making them up as they go along.

These are actual rules. And other candidates as Lawrence said in the beginning have actually abided by those rules.

So, part of the problem is that if you are not teaching civic education to your population.

If you are not actually explaining to them how the rules are brokered, that they`re not being made up as they go along.

Then yes, you create chaos and then you actually make people feel like they are vulnerable and that there is nothing for them to abide by.

But you actually have an opportunity to stand as someone in the leadership and say this is not OK.

Trump may not win the nomination, but what he`s unleashed in the country, I can tell you from being on the ground, is actually something that is stomach churning.

You have children coming home facing -- being pointed out by their classmates, saying mommy, Trump is telling -- I have kids in my classroom telling me that I`m going to go home because of the color of my skin because of what Trump is saying.

The instability that is being created in local communities cannot be undersold and it`s an opportunity for the Republican Party -- for the leadership of the Republican Party to say this is not the country that we live in.

This is not our watch.

O`DONNELL: Governor Pawlenty, you said that the Trump supporters attitude toward the Republican politicians, the standard politician is we don`t believe you.

And I agree with that when I`ve been out there talking to them, they will say, you know, you talk about things and they`ll say well, all these politicians lie, they all lie.

And by the way, that`s what they say in response when I show them something that Donald Trump has lied about.

Actually their answer is they all lie. And what I was struck by when you said they`re turning to Donald Trump because "we don`t believe you."

The very first thing you said tonight is you don`t believe Donald Trump meant what he said this morning about rioting.

And I know when you were backing Marco Rubio, you were backing a candidate who was saying Donald Trump is a con man and Donald Trump lies all the time.

So, the people who you`re saying have been let down by politicians lying to them are now embracing the most overt rampant wire in the history of American presidential campaigning.

PAWLENTY: Well, Lawrence, let`s acknowledge this reality. Politics is a reflection of our culture.

And at some level we get the politics that culture demands. And the culture has been reduced in part not just to Donald Trump, but candidates across the board.

Incrementally, a move towards cartoon proportions for a number of years. Number two, people are sick of traditional politicians for good reason and the establishment for good reason.

So, I think they`re saying we know this guy has got all kinds of flaws and warts, but at least he sounds and looks strong and there`s going to -- perhaps increase the likelihood of something getting done.

On the domestic side, you`re still going to have Congress, you`re still going to have the courts, so he`s going to have some bumper rails or some guard rails on the domestic side of issues.

I think the real risk potentially is, you know, his lack of interest in detail on foreign policy and national security that I wish he`d bone up on.

He`s been at this for a year and he should be studying and be much more informed and detailed on those issues.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to leave it there for tonight. Tim Pawlenty, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both very much for joining us, really appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thank you Lawrence --

PAWLENTY: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Kim Foxx was raised on food stamps and last night she won her first political campaign, a district attorney for Cook County in Chicago, running to reform the way the prosecutor`s -- that prosecutor`s office investigates police use of deadly force.

She will join us. Also later, Michelle Obama`s moving talk today at South by Southwest.


O`DONNELL: Five sheriff`s deputies are being disciplined for their actions at a Donald Trump rally that turned violent in North Carolina last week.

On March 9th, Trump supporter John McGraw hit protester Rakeem Jones who was then thrown to the floor and removed from that event by deputies of the Cumberland County Sheriff`s office.

Today, Sheriff Earl Butler(ph) announced that he has decided that three of the deputies will be demoted in rank and suspended for five days each without pay.

Two others were suspended for three days without pay, all five will be on probationary status for the next 12 months.

Coming up, Frank Rich on just how ugly this campaign can get.



TRUMP: Well, I don`t think Hillary has the strength or the energy to be a great president or to be president. I really don`t.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has apparently decided that what worked against Jeb Bush should work against Hillary Clinton.

After sweeping all five primaries last night, Hillary Clinton previewed what her general election argument would be against Donald Trump.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Our commander-in-chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it.


Engage our allies, not alienate them. Defeat our adversaries, not embolden them.

When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States --


When he embraces torture, that doesn`t make him strong, it makes him wrong.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump began his day as he so often does talking on TV via telephone while for all we know still in full recline in his pajamas.


TRUMP: I think in many ways she`ll be an embarrassment. Look at what`s going on with her e-mails.

She`s under federal investigation. I think she would be a major embarrassment for the country.

She doesn`t have strength, she doesn`t have the stamina, I think she would -- you know, she talks about defeat our enemies.

Well, where has she been for the last year, we can`t even beat ISIS. She`s not defeating our enemies, she wouldn`t know how to defeat the enemies.


O`DONNELL: The Trump campaign posted this Instagram video this afternoon.





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

Frank, the -- I do want people -- you know, when Trump does the phone-ins in the morning, we`re all been obliged to just picture him, right? Because we can`t see, right?


O`DONNELL: My choice is he`s in bed, you know, kind of reaching for the coffee cup, having been delivered by --

RICH: Or going like this, for someone to bring him a coffee --

O`DONNELL: That`s right --

RICH: Cup --


O`DONNELL: Or you know, having answers, you know, put in front of him by the staff or something on the tray in bed in front of him.

RICH: And we have to hope like a velvet team smoking jacket --

O`DONNELL: Something like that --

RICH: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Something like that. So, there was Hillary Clinton`s serious argument against Trump, very strongly presented on a strong night for her.

RICH: Right --

O`DONNELL: And Trump just begins with the energy ridicule, that`s always step one for him.

And then the Instagram videos, this is -- this is where he`s playing it so far.

RICH: Yes, well, look, he can`t have a serious argument against anything Hillary Clinton or any serious candidate says because he doesn`t know what`s going on.

He hasn`t -- he hasn`t learned the --


RICH: Basic facts of foreign policy --


RICH: Or someone said, anyone asked him does he know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Probably not.


RICH: And so, he`s going with his strong suit which is ridicule, misogyny and being an entertainer.

And you know, I wonder if it wore out its welcome, it hasn`t yet. But it`s ridiculous.

Hillary Clinton versus Trump, she`s a substantial person with actual achievements in the world and he`s a clown.

O`DONNELL: And it`s hard to imagine how -- you know, how these two campaigns, they won`t talk to each other.

RICH: No --

O`DONNELL: It will -- it will go right past. Hillary Clinton will be -- will be composing serious thoughts about what`s wrong with a possible Trump presidency based on things he`s actually said and explaining their implications as everyone would understand.

And Trump will just be doing that insult comedy thing. It`s just --

RICH: And playing the strong man. You know on --

O`DONNELL: Yes, a strong man --

RICH: On foreign policy about which he knows nothing. He`s going to talk about her vote on Iraq.

By the way, he`s learned that from Obama and Bernie Sanders and he`s going to play the strong man.

And I`ve often felt, you know, in a race, it really is Hillary`s to lose if this is a face-off.

What if there is a terrorist incident -- God forbid, close to the election? Does that play into Trump`s cartoonish sort of Chaplinesque to kind really --


RICH: Dictator, great dictator impersonation. I don`t know, it`s not rational but irrationality, you know, it seems to be the card that he`s playing that is working so far --

O`DONNELL: You know, when he dropped out of that, the first time he dropped out of the debate in Iowa, I began to wonder then was he setting the precedent for just not debating anymore in the primaries --

RICH: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Or was he setting the precedent for being able to drop out of debates with Hillary Clinton where he will be in big trouble one-on-one.

Today, he dropped out of what was to be the next Republican debate. He tweeted of course, he`s dropped out.

"I am making a big speech the night of the "Fox News" debate, but I wish everyone well. Yesterday was a big day for me."

So, what he`s done -- this is a fantastic and perfect challenge to the American media, he`s dropped out of the debate.

And then "Fox" canceled the debate because what`s a debate without Donald and then he`s scheduling a speech at exactly the same time.

Do you have a prediction --

RICH: And before APEC, right --

O`DONNELL: About whether the American media will reward him for dropping out of the debate by televising that speech live from start to finish on say, three or four cable networks at the same time.

RICH: They probably will because he is still -- as he would say, he is, you know, gets good ratings.

You`d think that he would wear out his welcome over a certain period of time as indeed, you know, his prime time show started to before he left it, but I don`t know.

My biggest fear is if the media kowtows to him during the actual general election and he gets out of the debate with Hillary Clinton because that would be really a blight on the democracy and if he`s a Republican nominee, they`re going to have to enforce it.

They cannot allow him to drop out of major debates running for president --

O`DONNELL: What`s your -- what`s your one minute review of how the political news media has handled the Trump candidacy?

RICH: Well, I think -- I don`t think there`s any problem with -- I don`t think -- I think the too much coverage thing is a canard.

He deserves coverage. He`s a big story. I do think that the media has been wrong almost every step in the way from decreeing he should be covered as entertainment to predicting he was out as far back as last Summer when he insulted McCain, not taken seriously at all.

O`DONNELL: What about the challenge of covering what Bernie Sanders calls a pathological liar?

This system is set up on the assumption that the candidates will not come on here and try to get away with blatant lies nonstop. He does that.

RICH: He does it. I do feel the media does try to honestly call him on it, but it doesn`t seem to make any difference, you know, as they were saying in the previous segment.

It`s -- you know, he gets away with it, people don`t care.

O`DONNELL: Frank Rich, thank you for joining us once again, really appreciate it. Coming up, President Obama makes his nomination to fill that vacancy in the Supreme Court.

Now, we`ll see what the Senate will do. And one day after a big loss on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders` team announces what they see as the path forward.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.


O`DONNELL: And, that nomination was greeted in the senate today like no other before it.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: The American people are perfectly capable of having their say, their say, on this issue. So, let us give them a voice. Let us let the American people decide. The senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee, the next president nominates, whoever that might be.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Contributing Writer for "The Atlantic." Norm, I thought the American people decided to put those hundred senators in that room. And, I thought the American people decided to put President Obama in the White House and that the constitution says now the president decides what name to send to them and they decide whether to vote yes or no. What did I get wrong there?

NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: You know, one of the things that struck me was Mitch McConnell, Lawrence, was and the fact he is saying we should have elected judges with just a step in between --

O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.

ORNSTEIN: -- which is not what we had. And, The idea that with 11 months left in a term that you are basically going to say that the person -- that this president has nominated is a non-person when it comes to being considered, not even to hold a hearing. And, for many of them not even to meet with that person, really is unprecedented, and I think it is going to put them in a terrible box.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Norm, they are trying to say, "Oh, you know, the democrats did this or said things like this. And, Mitch McConnell today, talking about the Biden rule, which there is no such rule.

It is a phrase of Mitch McConnell`s, when Joe Biden publicly used about how to handle maybe something like this. But, if there was a Biden rule, when Biden was chairman of judiciary, it was in practice in fact that every nominee gets a hearing, every nominee gets a vote.

ORNSTEIN: And, you know, if you look at past Supreme Court nominations, I think in a lot of ways, this sort of limiting case as Clarence Thomas. If you remember, at a 7-7 vote in the judiciary committee, which would mean the death of the nomination, but they brought it to a floor. And, Thomas, of course, is now sitting on the court.

We had a brief filibuster of Sam Alito. He got his vote on the floor and, of course, that was preceded by a hearing and he sits on the Supreme Court. You can reject somebody. The senate has every right to do that. It is a real breach of norms of longstanding norms to basically say, "We are going to completely ignore what the president has done with this much time left in this term.

O`DONNELL: And, Norm, Mitch McConnell and the republicans are gambling that either they get a nominee from President Trump. And, by the way, in that case, you and I know, Donald Trump will not choose anyone, the senate will tell him who to send up there.

And, McConnell will say, "Here are the three names we can accept. Pick one of those." And, that will not be the first time that has happened, or they get one from a democratic president. It is unlikely, if they get one from a democratic president that they will get one more moderate than the judge that Barack Obama sent up today.

ORNSTEIN: You know, one of the interesting things here, Lawrence, is that you do have some republican senators now who are musing that if worse things happen to them, then they hope, namely if Hillary Clinton wins and the democrats take the senate, they can always opt for Merrick Garland in the lame duck session that followed rather than have a more liberal nominee emerge.


ORNSTEIN: What we are seeing, as well, is that even that may not work for them. Because they are getting so much pressure from their right, not to cave or do anything including holding a hearing. That, I think they really cannot act in any fashion.

And they are going to keep getting hit over and over again on this. And, if you saw that press conference today, Merrick Garland is such an extraordinary person in every respect that to deny him the respect of a hearing or a vote, I do not think is going to sit very well with a lot of people.

O`DONNELL: Norm Ornstein, thanks for joining me tonight. I wanted to be with someone who is as sad about what we are watching in the United States Senate -- As sad as I am.

ORNSTEIN: This is wrenching, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. It really is.

ORNSTEIN: It really is awful for those of us who love the institution as you and I do.

O`DONNELL: Yes. The once great body of the United States Senate.


O`DONNELL: Norm, thank you very much.

ORNSTEIN: Sure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Kim Foxx. She grew up in Chicago`s biggest housing project and she is now on her way to becoming the district attorney for Cook County in Chicago.



O`DONNELL: After five loses last night, Senator Bernie Sanders` campaign team insists the democratic presidential nomination is not out of reach. Here is senior adviser on conference call with reporters today.


TAD DEVINE, BERNIE SANDERS` SENIOR ADVISER: I think the pressure that is going to build in the weeks and months ahead, particularly Bernie Sanders can get on the kind of winning streak that I believe he can get on. If we look at the states, for example, coming on the near horizon, I see opportunities for victory in practically every one of them.


O`DONNELL: Clinton Campaign Manager, Robby Mook, released this statement today, "Looking ahead to the rest of March senator sanders is poised to have a stretch of very favorable states vote, including 5 caucuses next week, which he is likely to win, and the primary in Arizona, in which he has invested more than $1.5 million in ads. Our pledged delegate lead us so significant that even a string over the next few weeks would have little impact on Sec. Clinton`s position in the race.

Joining us now is Sam Frizell, Political Reporter for "Time" Magazine. He has been covering the Bernie Sanders` campaign. Sam, you were in on the call today. What is the -- what are the basic points of the Sanders` campaign path as they see it forward from here.

SAM FRIZELL, POLITICAL REPORTER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, their message, Lawrence, is that they can win this campaign. I mean it is the same kind of message they have been broadcasting since the start despite the overwhelming odds. Sanders -- Bernie Sanders can win the democratic nomination.

And, now, you played a clip earlier from Tad Devine. He is a very smart guy. He has been working a democratic politics. He has worked for Walter Mondale around in 1984. But, I do think that it is pretty clear to him that the delegate math is pretty overwhelmingly in Hillary Clinton`s favor.

He was arguing on the call that I listened in on, that there are slew of favorable states that they can win states like Washington, Alaska, Idaho. But the fact of the matter is they would have to win them by overwhelming margins, if they want to catch up with the Clinton campaign.

O`DONNELL: And, the Clinton campaign in fact echoing the Sanders campaign in the new future in that statement saying, there is five caucuses next week. They said Bernie Sanders is likely to win. They are not challenging that.

FRIZELL: Right. I mean, think a lot of that is expectation setting, right? I mean, the Hillary Clinton Campaign wants to make sure that it is better to win a race that you were not expected to win than it is to lose a race on those sort of same terms.

So, I think what Robby Mook is doing is he is saying, "OK, these are legitimately challenging states where Bernie Sanders does have a shot," but I think he is also overplaying the odds there. I mean, if you look ahead, Bernie Sanders has to win 58 percent of democratically alleged delegates, these are the pledged delegates, if he wants to win the nomination.

That does not even take into account super delegates of which Hillary Clinton has a huge lead. So, I think what we are seeing here is daunting odds for the Sanders` Campaign going forward and their top aids, you know, in the call that I was in on today trying to put sort of the best face on it that they can.

O`DONNELL: I have heard Bernie Sanders say that they are going on to the convention. But, also you will hear him say from time to time going on to California. But, that means is we are going on to the last day, the very last primary, that is the biggest delegate prize. And, like a lot of these states that are down the road, we have very little public polling about them.


O`DONNELL: The last poll of California was in January, Hillary Clinton had a 10-point lead at that point in time, but who knows what has happened since then.

FRIZELL: Yes. California is the -- and you sort of heard that along the way too. You have heard them talk about various states as sort of their own kind of firewall. Minnesota, Colorado, New York, now California. And, so, we will have to see what happen happens. But, I think what we will see is Bernie Sanders is trying to make his mark on the party`s platform for as long as he can.

O`DONNELL: Sam Frizell, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

FRIZELL: Thanks so much, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a moving message from First Lady Michelle Obama today at South by Southwest.



O`DONNELL: At South by Southwest today Michelle Obama was the Keynote Speaker. She concentrated on the importance of girls` education worldwide.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I do not know about young people here, but growing up as a black girl on the south side of Chicago, where the expectations of me were limited. As I was trying to make my way and do good in school and apply to colleges, there were people around telling me what I could not do.

You know, always telling me how far I should only dream. And, my reaction to that at that time was to prove the doubters wrong. You know, that spurred me, I will show you. It gave you strength.


Many of us heard about the Nigerian girls, 200 of them or so kidnapped from their dormitory school rooms in the middle of the night by terrorists, because they were in school. You know, you just think grown men trying to snuff out the aspirations of little girls.

What will I miss most about being first lady? You all. The young people - - you are going to make me cry -- that interact with every day. The young people in this country keep me inspired because I see myself in them, in you all.

I see that little girl on the south side, who was told she could not. I see the scared kid, I see the kid with doubts. And, I just know that if I can do this and be here, have gone to great colleges and had all these wonderful experiences, you can do it too.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, the district attorney, who took over a year to bring charges against Chicago police officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald was defeated in her reelection bid last night. The woman who won, Kim Foxx, will join us.



O`DONNELL: And, now for the good news. Smyrna, Georgia resident, Tracy Warshal had just finished paying for her groceries when she noticed an older man behind her getting flustered because he had forgotten his wallet at home and had no way to pay for his $7 worth of groceries.

So, Tracy stepped in and paid for him. The man asked for her name and thanked her. Nearly two months later, Tracy was informed that the man she helped was making a $10,000 donation in her name to the Piedmont Cancer Institute where she works.

It turns out the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was able to track her down because Tracy was wearing a Piedmont T-shirt the day she helped him. Tracy Warshal says, I do not even really have the words to express myself to be honest. The help that is going to provide for patients is just tremendous. One small gesture can really change people`s lives in the blink of an eye.


O`DONNELL: The Cabrini-Green Housing Project built in Chicago in 1942 was one of the biggest housing projects in the country and it was a mistake. Social scientists and public housing experts eventually concluded that families living in public housing would be much better served in smaller scale developments.

I first learned about Cabrini-Green in a college class and it was there as the prime example of how public housing should not be built. Decades later, it was demolished. Kim Foxx grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing project.

In 1975, 2-year-old Kim Foxx made her first appearance in the Chicago Tribune. There she is in the photograph with her mother and her older brother, Stephen. Her mother was quoted in Jeff Lyon`s report that day about President Gerald Ford`s attempt to cut spending on food stamps.

She said, "The stamps barely last the month. I really have to stretch them. We eat an awful lot of beans, but even they are expensive." Here is Kim Foxx last night with her two daughters.


KIM FOXX, (D) COOK COUNTY STATE`S ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: We share a quality of life that is free from harm, where safety and justice for all. And, so the work that we have to do is going to take an all hands on deck approach. It is one that I am honored and humbled to be tasked with taking on.

And, it takes all of you working in conjunction with the state attorney`s office, with our public health officials, with our mental health officials, across the spectrum to have the type of criminal justice system that Cook County deserves.



O`DONNELL: That was Kim Foxx`s victory speech in her first political campaign. Last night, Kim Foxx defeated Chicago`s Cook County`s State`s Attorney Anita Alvarez in a campaign that centered on Prosecutor Alvarez`s handling of the investigation of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, investigation that resulted in the murder charge against Officer Jason Van Dyke. A charge filed over a year after that shooting.

Joining us now, Kim Foxx from Chicago. First of all, congratulations on the win last night. What did it feel like to be standing up there with your two little girls right beside you?

KIM FOXX, (D) COOK COUNTY STATE`S ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: Thank you, Lawrence. It was humbling to have my daughters with me in that moment. My oldest was overwhelmed by the sight of that many people there to celebrate. It was very humbling.

O`DONNELL: And, tell us what is going to change now if you make it through the general election and become the district attorney there, what will change in the way police cases involving deadly force will be investigated and handled.

FOXX: One of the things I am proposing is that we have an independent prosecutor, who handles deadly police shooting cases in an effort to ensure transparency and accountability and restore the credibility of our criminal justice system, having an independent prosecutor to look at these cases, I think is an effort to do that.

O`DONNELL: And, what do you think it will take to restore reasonable confidence in the community about how this process works? Will you have to introduce new elements of transparency that have not been there before in these kinds of cases?

FOXX: Absolutely. The public has to be able to know what is going on from beginning to end. And, one of the failures here in Cook County was our state attorney never shared data, never shared information. And, so, the first thing we have to do is acknowledge that the public has a right to that information.

And, then we have to make it accessible just so long as we do not compromise the integrity of our prosecutions, but the public has an absolute right to know what we are doing, why we are doing and how we are doing it.

O`DONNELL: What about the challenge involved in protecting potential defendant`s rights from prejudicial pretrial publicity, that sort of thing? There is a balance here to be struck in these cases.

FOXX: Absolutely. And, we have to make sure, you know, that the integrity of our investigations and prosecutions are intact. And, you do that by not releasing information prematurely, the evidence prematurely, but you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. So, that is always at the forefront. We want to make sure that our prosecutions are fair and balanced and that the defendant`s rights are protected.

O`DONNELL: And, what -- at this point, how would you describe your confidence in Chicago Police Department`s internal processes, internal affairs kinds of investigations of investigating their own problems?

FOXX: I think we are now at a point, where the department of justice is coming into the City of Chicago to look at patterns and practices. And, I think that will give us a better vantage point of what has been happening there.

I am really concerned about the role of the prosecutor in making sure that any allegations of misconduct that come before the prosecutor`s office are fully vetted and the public can be assured that it is the prosecutor that is holding officer`s accountable for their wrongdoing if there is any.

O`DONNELL: You know, when I saw that picture of you in the newspaper when you were 2 years old, I could help but wonder and I would like to hear the long version of this, but just when did that little girl decided to become an attorney?

FOXX: I think it took her about four years after that. I was about six years old when I had an opportunity to go into a courtroom and was in awe of the fact that there were these people who were there who were there to champion for people like me, little girls like me.

So, very early on it was one of my childhood dreams to be a lawyer and my mother insisted that I bear that out. And, so, I have been practicing law for almost 20 years based on that little girl`s dreams.

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

FOXX: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Kim Foxx gets tonight`s "Last Word." Chris Hayes is up next.