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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 8/15/2016

Guests: Ron Wyden, Katie Packer, Gwen Moore, Graeme Wood, Kurt Andersen, Tim Miller, Barry Meier

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 15, 2016 Guest: Ron Wyden, Katie Packer, Gwen Moore, Graeme Wood, Kurt Andersen, Tim Miller, Barry Meier


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, good afternoon, congratulations, you did us proud today, how are you feeling?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The background might -- the background might look so (INAUDIBLE), but it`s very real.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lads, listen, what has the last few hours been like for you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I suppose we did a bit of celebration in the podium thing and got the podium fans as well, so that was quite nice.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Great, are just happy they got to put on their podium pants. If you are wondering, these are their podium pants.

You know, O`Donavan brothers wearing their podium pants and one of the most coveted medals in the world doesn`t take much to make them happy, so awesome.

That does it for us tonight, 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: Rachel, now you have me sobbing for the O`Donovan brothers.

MADDOW: I know, I know, what`s the crack? I know --

O`DONNELL: Anyway, welcome back from vacation and --

MADDOW: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: By the way, all you missed last week was Donald Trump being sarcastic.

MADDOW: Oh, good.

O`DONNELL: That`s it, nothing else.

MADDOW: Just a little joke between friends.

O`DONNELL: Yes, just --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Something like that, yes.


MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. The "New York Times" reporter who broke the story about possible cash payments to Donald Trump`s campaign Chair Paul Manafort of $12.7 million will join us and explain how he followed the money to the Ukraine.

And we`ll be joined by Senator Ron Widen because he might have figured out a way for us all to get a look at Donald Trump`s tax returns. But first, the latest polls show Hillary Clinton surging now to a big lead in the electoral college.



JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: That`s the guy who knows he`s going to lose.

TRUMP: I`m running against the crooked media. That`s what I`m running against.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not going to win the election running against the "New York Times".


TRUMP: I may be wrong and on November 8th, I`ll say, I guess I was wrong.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No major party nominee has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Oh, you better elect me, folks, I`ll never speak to you again.

BIDEN: It absolutely amazes me that he doesn`t seem to want to learn.

TRUMP: The time is over due to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.

CLINTON: We face real serious challenges in America. We need serious leadership.

TRUMP: You can get her out, get her out. You know, she looks just like Hillary Clinton, actually.

BIDEN: This man is totally, thoroughly unqualified to be president of the United States of America.



O`DONNELL: And we now know the name of the next Trump family reality show.


TRUMP: I`d call it extreme vetting. I`d call it extreme vetting.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump will assign celebrities and former celebrities to vetting teams, and each team will compete with the other on vetting domestic help, gardeners, cooks, house cleaners for the Trump family children.

Because when the children are in Africa killing beautiful animals or vacationing in Croatia as one of them is today, the Trump kids never have the time to vet their domestic help, never mind extreme vetting the domestic help.

At the end of each episode with the wise advice of his kids who have been doing such a great job advising him on his presidential campaign, Donald Trump will fire someone, anyone, whether he or she deserves it or not.

And according to the latest polls, Donald Trump will be available to fully commit to production of that show beginning on November 9th, the day after election day.

When current polls indicate he will be wiped out in the electoral college. The latest Nbc News 2016 battleground map shows Hillary Clinton surging past the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

Nbc`s calculations based on the most recent polling show Hillary Clinton with 288 electoral votes, Donald Trump with 174, with 76 electoral votes that could go either way at this point.

A recent national poll shows Hillary Clinton at 42 with Donald Trump at 36, and at least 10 percent voting for a third party candidate.

Those percentages are almost identical to Bill Clinton`s winning percentage in his first presidential campaign in 1992 when he got 43 percent of the vote to President George H.W. Bush`s 37 percent of the vote.

Ross Perot took 19, and Bill Clinton`s 43 percent of that vote gave him 370 electoral votes, a 100 more than he needed in what was an electoral college landslide for President Clinton.

Donald Trump`s extreme vetting pitch today was one of the few moments where he slightly departed from a written speech about how he would defeat the Islamic State.

He began with an assessment of how we got to where we are today, blaming someone he called Obama-Clinton for the current situation in Libya, Syria and Iraq and the spread of ISIS across the Middle East and Europe.

But he also did something that no other Republican nominee has ever dreamed of doing. He condemned President George W. Bush for the Bush-Cheney war in Iraq. But he did it without ever mentioning the names Bush or Cheney.


TRUMP: What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed and what about the people coming back with no arms and no legs? Not to mention, in all fairness, the other side, the tremendous damage done.

All those Iraqi kids who have been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All of this death and destruction for nothing.


O`DONNELL: The Trump campaign has been so full of stunning statements from Donald Trump, plagiarized statements from his wife and robotic madness from some Donald Trump spokes people that it has been impossible for the news media to step back and give properly-weighted astonishment to each of them.

But what we just heard is worth a pause. We just heard the Republican nominee for president say that every American soldier who has died in Iraq has died for nothing. That the Bush-Cheney war in Iraq was a waste of lives pursued for the wrong reasons.

Nothing John Kerry could say in the 2004 presidential campaign could convince the Republican base to change its mind in any way about fully supporting the Bush-Cheney version of war in Iraq.

Nothing Barack Obama said could change the mind of the Republican base about Iraq, and anyone who dared to publicly condemn the Bush-Cheney Iraq war has always been attacked viciously by Dick Cheney appearing on "Fox News" or a member of his family doing it for him until Donald Trump.

Donald Trump extinguished Cheneyism in American politics. Every chance he gets, including today, Donald Trump says that the Iraq war was a mistake, that it was all for nothing. And every time he says it, Dick Cheney, and his previously combative daughter, silently in fear somewhere.

And the Republican base continues to cheer for Donald Trump. Here is the strategy that candidate Trump outlined today to -- as he put it, crush ISIS.


TRUMP: My administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition, military operations to crush and destroy ISIS.

International cooperation to cut off their funding, expanded intelligence sharing and cyber warfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. Their recruiting is taking place right now and they`re setting records. It`s got to be stopped.


We cannot allow the internet to be used as a recruiting tool. And for other purposes by our enemy, we must shut down their access to this form of communication and we must do it immediately.



O`DONNELL: At a Clinton campaign event today in Pennsylvania where Hillary Clinton holds a strong lead over Donald Trump, Joe Biden offered the audience an image of Donald Trump, that according to polls scares most people in this country -- President Trump with the nuclear codes.


BIDEN: Someone who lacks this judgment cannot be trusted. There`s a guy that follows me right back here, has the nuclear codes. So, God forbid if anything happens to the President and I have to make a decision, the codes are with me -- he is not qualified to know the codes!


He can`t be trusted!


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Tim Miller, senior adviser for Our Principles; an anti-Trump PAC, he`s also a former spokesman for the -- communications director for Jeb 2016. Also with us, Kurt Andersen; the host of public radio program "Studio 360".

And Graeme Wood; contributing editor for "The Atlantic" and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, he`s an expert on ISIS and he wrote that definitive piece "what ISIS really wants". Graeme, I listened to Donald Trump`s methods for crushing ISIS.

I didn`t hear anything that we`re not doing already. Did I miss something?

GRAEME WOOD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: I suppose if you count extreme vetting is one of the methods for crushing ISIS --


WOOD: It`s something that we`re not doing in the way that he would like. But it`s true, we`re already working on the cyber warfare aspect of it. And yes, we`ve got quite a bit of boots on the ground in fact.

Helping Kurds, helping Iraqi soldiers, take on ISIS where it lives. Already that`s happening.

O`DONNELL: What -- if he is serious about doing something that we`re not already doing, what would that be? I mean, if you were desperately trying to pull something out of this. Is there anything in there that you could point to?

WOOD: When he talks about disrupting recruiting, I assume that he`s talking about something beyond on just snooping on more people`s e-mails.

What ISIS does to recruit people is a person-to-person contact. You`d have to shut down Gmail, you`d have to shut down Yahoo Mail, you`d have to shut down e-mail to actually make that happen.


WOOD: So, there`s no realistic way that this is a serious proposal.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, he seems to think that that`s possible.


O`DONNELL: When you -- when you hear him talk about, we must shut down their access to this form of communication.

ANDERSEN: Well, this form of communication sounds like my grandpa --


ANDERSEN: Talking about internet access. And that`s the thing. You would think that he or someone around him would say, shut down internet access for every ISIS recruiter. How do we do that exactly?

It`s the most -- it`s the one new thing in his here-to-for secret plan to crush ISIS, but of course it`s impossible.

The other thing in addition to his plan, which is simply a summary of what this administration is already doing, except for shutting down internet access, is to make sure that nobody immigrates to the United States who is committed to bigotry or hatred.

Now, and he said this without irony --


ANDERSEN: Donald Trump, which I found --

WOOD: We`re not assuming, I mean --


O`DONNELL: Sarcastic --



WOOD: And so exactly --

O`DONNELL: Right --

ANDERSEN: And funny if it is --

O`DONNELL: Right --

ANDERSEN: It was very funny.

O`DONNELL: Tim, the Trump prescription, none of us can find anything that the Obama administration isn`t already doing. What is it that his Republican supporters are hearing when they hear this?

TIM MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER, OUR PRINCIPLES PAC: I think what they`re hearing is somebody who said he`s going to be tough and strong. You know, somebody who is not going to follow the Geneva Convention or whatever silly rules Hillary Clinton will follow when dealing with terrorists.

That I actually did hear one new thing that he said today that is extremely disturbing, far more disturbing than the other things he said.

And that is that our alliances under a Trump administration are going to be mercenary. They aren`t even based on shared values or shared commitments to human rights or to ideals as it`s been in a bipartisan consensus since World War II.

Instead, it`s going to be who is going to pay for it and, you know, who is going to help us regardless of their ideology and the war against ISIS. And what that means is, it will end up allying us with Vladimir Putin and probably Bashar al-Assad, and puts us out of alliance with many countries who do share our values.

ANDERSEN: And indeed dictators are good, at least in the Middle East was the policy of the day. Mubarak was better than what came after, Gaddafi was better than what came after. Assad, we should have -- we shouldn`t have done whatever we apparently did to make Syria such a mess. That is the Trump policy, it`s (INAUDIBLE) --

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what he said today about nation building.


TRUMP: If I become president, the era of nation building will be brought to a very swift and decisive end.



O`DONNELL: And Graeme, he is stealing a line from President Bush`s first presidential campaign in 2000 where he said exactly the same thing.

WOOD: Yes, he has a policy of nation wrecking. Once we`re -- once we`ve wrecked ISIS` territory, then what happens after that if there is not some program of building then you have exactly the kind of chaos that even Donald Trump attributes to the rise of ISIS.

So, he`s just talking about rebooting an episode that we don`t want to watch again.

MILLER: We will build, we`ll occupy them to maintain the oil fields.

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly, yes. He went on at length about that today, Kurt, about, you know, we should have taken -- in other words, we should have taken -- you know, I told everybody take --

ANDERSEN: I know, and said, in the old days to the victor went the spoils. Well, to the old days, what, in the 16th and 18th century?

O`DONNELL: Well, in wars with Mexico or Indian tribes, but --


O`DONNELL: Nothing else.

ANDERSEN: Yes, that hasn`t been the way 20th century war --

O`DONNELL: We took nothing from Japan, we took nothing from Germany --

ANDERSEN: Right --

O`DONNELL: And Tim, his audience doesn`t seem to know that because that line got huge applause.

MILLER: No, and that`s extremely troubling. And like I said, it`s a complete departure from the post World War II bipartisan consensus. He is the most dangerous nominee on foreign policy of either party since World War II.

And this has been the great thing about America and no matter what you maybe at this table might think about Reagan or George W. Bush`s foreign policy, at least it was founded in basic American principles.

About willing to support freedom, willing to support human rights. Trump has no interest in any of that. It`s completely mercenary and transactional. And it`s going to end us throwing us illegal, some of the worst people in the world.

It`s extremely disturbing on the level that I think that some people on the coverage of it have (INAUDIBLE) because there`s so much focus on all the Trumpiness of it.

O`DONNELL: And so much of the criticism of the Iraq war from people who believe it was a deliberate active line to get us in there. So much of that criticism was we went there for oil. We went there for oil.

And Graeme, Donald Trump wants to prove that, that we went there for oil.

WOOD: Yes, he says we should take the oil, if we were in there, why don`t we keep the oil and why don`t we use that money to pay for the recovery of wounded veterans, I think was one of the suggestions that he had.

This is -- this is the going conspiracy theory about -- in the Middle East about the American intervention in Iraq. That yes, it was to simply plunder the place, and Donald Trump says why shouldn`t we do that.



ANDERSEN: That we created ISIS, which of course, he`s also signed on to in a big way.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, to give Americans credit for the creation of the Islamic State is --


O`DONNELL: To completely fail to comprehend the region.

MILLER: Again, Hezbollah echoed him on this. So, this is, you know, yet another time during the Trump campaign where he`s been basically on the Putin-Assad message.

And now, in this case, it was Hezbollah who announced this week and said, see, even Donald Trump says that it was the Americans that created ISIS.

O`DONNELL: Kurt, I need to get the theater critic in here since you`ve been watching Trump longer than any of us. This was the kind of speech that last week I called Xanax Trump. Where he -- it looks like he might not be doing this entirely on his own.

There could be pharmaceuticals involved to deliver that performance where he kind of reads it and you`re wondering is he going to fall asleep before I do?

ANDERSEN: Well, I think he knows that this is so not what he should be doing. This is not the Trump that 40 percent of the Republican Party and then the whole Republican Party bought.

It is the, you know, rim shot, let`s be funny, let`s say whatever we want. Let`s --


ANDERSEN: Meander all over the place rather than sticking to these written points. He looks so terribly uncomfortable. And I think he comes away from a performance like that and knows it. Know that this isn`t what I should be doing.

This is not me.

O`DONNELL: Well, we`ll see what he does tomorrow. Tim Miller, Kurt Andersen, Graeme Wood, thank you all very much for joining us tonight, I appreciate it.

Coming up, how the "New York Times" followed the money to the Ukraine, $12.7 million in cash that appears beside Paul`s Manafort`s name, indictments there.

One of the reporters who broke that story will join us. And it`s just a tradition for presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Senator Ron Wyden wants to make it a law. Senator Wyden will join us.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s episode of Republicans against Trump. The "Financial Times" reports a group of eight senior Republicans, Asia experts are now the latest Republicans to declare they are voting for Hillary Clinton, not just against Trump, voting for Hillary Clinton.

An open letter declares Donald Trump would lead to "ruin this marginalization of the United States in Asia if elected president.

The current Republican presidential candidate offers only bluster or preposterous panaceas for Asia ideas which if they ever find their way into policy will wreck our country`s credibility, economy and leadership in very short order."

Up next, the "New York Times" report about cash payments to Donald Trump`s campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, and how they tracked that down in the Ukraine. The reporter who broke the story will join us.


O`DONNELL: Paul Manafort has taken on the difficult and often maddening job of being the Chairman of the Trump campaign. And he`s doing it for nothing. He`s not being paid.

Why is he doing that and why does a ledger found in Ukraine indicate that he was paid $12.7 million in cash while he was working for the then president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.

Joining us now, Barry Meier; one of the reporters who broke the big story of the day today for "New York Times" on the possible cash payment to Paul Manafort. He`s also the author of "Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran".

Barry, thank you very much for joining us. Again, you`ve had a long day starting with the publication of this big story where you tracked down this ledger in Ukraine. Tell us what you found and what it suggests.

BARRY MEIER, JOURNALIST: Well, major kudos to my colleague Andrew Kramer who was the one who went to Ukraine to find this ledger.

Essentially, you have a situation there like a bookie join, if you will. You`ve got a legitimate economic ledger, and then you`ve got this off-books cash ledger.

And in that ledger, there were 22 entries over a five-year period showing a total of $12.7 million assigned to Paul Manafort. We don`t know if he got the money.

We don`t know if the money went to anyone, went to his firm, went to his associates, that investigation is now underway by the Ukrainian authorities.

O`DONNELL: We -- what we do know is that he did serve as a political consultant to the president of Ukraine, and that, that kind of money is flying around there, and there`s some very big players interested in what`s happening there.

You detailed various business deals in your article, including one involving a Russian who the United States government regards as kind of a gangster, who they don`t think people should be in business with.

And Manafort is in business with these kinds of people.

MEIER: That`s absolutely correct. I mean, there are business dealings between him and Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who has been barred from the U.S.

Another fellow by the name of Fettash(ph) who basically is under indictment here in the U.S., he was involved with the, you know, a revolving set of characters on the business front than on the political lobbying front.

He had Mr. Yanukovych as his client, and there is this interlap -- overlap, I should say, between his political activities and his business activities. And that`s -- who knows what happened there. But there`s a lot of stuff going on.

Paul Manafort released a statement today, saying he absolutely never received any cash payments. The statement takes an odd turn as you get down to the bottom of it.

Where he says all payments were made to my entire firm and everyone working there. And so, it left me wondering, what are you saying?

Are you saying that you as an individual never received cash payments or did you receive giant cash payments? They just -- you just didn`t take it to be for you as an individual?

MEIER: Well, I think you bring up a good point because I read his statement very similarly. And it`s, I didn`t receive --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MEIER: I didn`t get, and then he says, well, there are these payments made to my entourage or --


MEIER: My political firm. And so, what we don`t know is ,A, who were those -- who did those -- who were those payments designated for if they existed? Did they go to his associates, to his firm, and how much did he actually make?

I mean, we`ve asked him how much did Mr. Yanukovych and the party of regents pay you and your firm for your services during this five-year period and in question.

And when I last checked my e-mail, was about 15 seconds ago, we hadn`t received any kind of answer.

O`DONNELL: And how much has a politician paid a political consultant is an easily answerable question and must be answered by law in the United States. You must file reports about that.


MEIER: Yes, but he`s playing on a very different --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MEIER: Field --

O`DONNELL: There -- and he refused to cooperate with your article in any way, refuse to answer any questions.

MEIER: Except for stock denials by his attorney, but did not respond to any questions from us.

O`DONNELL: Barry Meier, thank you very much for joining us tonight with this breaking story --

MEIER: Thanks so much --

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Coming up, turning a tradition into a law, Senator Ron Wyden wants to require the release of presidential candidates tax returns. Senator Wyden joins us next.



PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Mr. Trump`s position has been clear from the beginning, he`s under audit. When the audit is completed, he`ll release his terms.


O`DONNELL: That was Paul Manafort yesterday defending Donald Trump`s refusal to release his tax returns. The most tax return question for Mr. Manafort now is, do Paul Manafort`s tax returns reflect $12.7 million in cash that he might have been handed by his former political client, former president of Ukraine.

Despite my public urgings via Twitter, no Trump interviewer or Manafort interviewer has asked that Donald Trump released at least his audit letter from the IRS proving that he is being audited or at least was audited, although an audit letter could indicate an audit commenced. We would have no way of knowing if it is still going on.

So, there is still no proof that Donald Trump is actually being audited. Most of the press doesn`t seem to understand that.

And President Nixon did release tax returns while he was being audited, so there`s no reason why an audit should prevent a candidate from releasing returns. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine released their most recent tax returns Friday, along with this video.



MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will only really know if he`s a real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: The last 30 or 40 years, every candidate has released their tax returns, and I think Donald Trump should as well.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, if you`re running at a minimum, probably, you`re going to have to show your return.

If you didn`t see the tax return, you would think there`s something wrong, what`s wrong?


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Senator, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Senator -- as I said, it`s a tradition that the candidates release their returns and you have an idea to make it requirement, tell us how you would do that.

WYDEN: Larry, first of all, I wish it wasn`t necessary. This has been a 40-year expectation, Democrats and Republicans, the reality is a tax return tells a whole lot about the people who want the world`s most demanding job, the tax return doesn`t spin, it`s all there in black and white when I have proposed is that within a couple of weeks after convention, candidate would make it public if they don`t, it would, in effect, be automatic, you would have the federal election commission get it from the Treasury Department, they would put it on the web site and the American people would have the facts.

O`DONNELL: Now, I would ask the first question that I would have asked to the finance committee council back when I was working there, is this constitutional? The Constitution specifies requirements for the presidency, age, natural born citizen, but it doesn`t specify, you must release tax returns, tax returns didn`t exist then.

WYDEN: Larry, it is definitely constitutional. This is well within the purview of the United States Congress. In fact, I would say it is much like when the Congress determined with the Federal Election Commission that there`d be financial disclosures. So, there`s no question to my mind, this is constitutional.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So, this would be another element added within that FEC regime that does dictate, in effect, behavior of candidates?

WYDEN: I think you can say that. The reality is, the American people have a right to know and you`ve been touching on these questions throughout the show. For example, whether a political candidate has foreign investments. Are there conflicts of interest there? Does a candidate give to charity?

These are questions that seems to me, Democrats and Republicans have all said, in effect, go with the turf. Nobody is required to run for president of the United States, but there`s been a standard that you would disclose this information and has, apparently, been the case fairly often when Mr. Trump thinks it`s convenient. He just ignores the standard.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I`d like you to address something since you`re the highest ranking Democrat on the tax-writing committee, jurisdiction over all of this in the IRS and the Senate, address something that I answer every once in a while on Twitter, someone will say to me in Twitter, why doesn`t the IRS just release his returns, why can`t they say whether they`re auditing Donald Trump or not? And I try to explain, the rigorous privacy that surrounds tax information.

But explain that to the audience about why this -- how the IRS is bound to secrecy in these matters.

WYDEN: The IRS -- and this has certainly been an important political issue, is held to very strong privacy strictures. The idea that the IRS would just disclose this information automatically without the Congress having the chance to debate this and direct that, just to me, would be over the line.

I`d rather not have to go forward with a law, Larry, we usually think there are plenty of laws, but this is a case where you have a candidate for president of the United States, in effect, flouting the public`s right to know and he`s doing it in a way that, in effect, walks back a tradition we`ve had for four decades in America that`s been very much in the public interest.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I would guess you would have bipartisan support for this that there`s got to be a dozen or 25 Republican senators you`re working with every day who feel like their party just got hijacked by this candidate who it turns out, among other crazy things, won`t release his tax returns and they want to keep people like that away from their nomination.

WYDEN: You`re being logical, Larry. That`s going to be my argument and I will be calling when we get to September after Labor Day, I`ll be calling on the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to bring this up right away as priority business for exactly the reason you`ve described and I would note that you ran a comment, again, from Mitch McConnell in the preview indicating that he, too, thought that this was in the public interest.

O`DONNELL: Senator Ron Wyden, the once and future chairman of the Finance Committee when the Democrats get the majority back -- thank you very much for joining us tonight, Senator.

WYDEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, we`ll go inside the desperate Trump campaign war room with the "Wall Street Journal" today asking Donald Trump to get out of the race and hand that presidential nomination to his running mate, Mike Pence.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s campaign "War Room", "The Wall Street Journal" in editorial said if they can`t get him to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races.

As for Trump, he needs to stop blaming everyone else and decides if he wants to behave like someone who wants to be president or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence.

With 84 days left from presidential campaign war rooms, joining us in tonight`s LAST WORD "War Room" is Katie Packer, a veteran of Mitt Romney`s 2008 and 2012 campaign war rooms.

Katie, "The Wall Street Journal" is, once again, clinging to this possible -- this possibility that somehow after Labor Day, by Labor Day, Donald Trump will change, he`ll start behaving differently.

KATIE PACKER, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MAGR., MITT ROMNEY`S 2008 AND 2012 CAMPAIGNS: You know, it`s inconceivable to me that there are people out there that think he`s going to change his spots. I mean, this is a guy that`s shown time and time again you can give him a teleprompter, he can give a speech, he can read somebody else`s words, and the minute he`s left to his own devices, he`s often running in a different direction. And I think conservatives, even those who had fallen in line once the primary concluded, are just exhausted by it.

And so, you know, I don`t have any anticipation that things are going to change, but I think if Donald Trump, you know, wants to keep any shred of dignity, he`s going to have to get very serious about being a presidential candidate.

O`DONNELL: And there`s a lot of problems with that campaign trying to get serious, chief among them is recruiting. "Politico" has a report tonight saying that the state directors they`ve been hiring are not exactly the A team. They said veteran Republican operatives say the battleground states they`ve never heard of Trump state directors and they have limited familiarity with them and they know them and question their ability to do the job.

I mean, that`s the way this campaign begun, with Corey Lewandowski and people who would have never been in positions like that.

PACKER: Yes, absolutely. We`ve seen this from the beginning of the Trump campaign they haven`t been able to acquire really top level talent, even with all of the respect to Mr. Manafort. Paul Manafort is somebody who actually hasn`t done a campaign in several days. We`re seeing sort of his rustiness on the campaign trail. Even he has become a distraction this week with allegations of inappropriate behavior and financial dealings in Ukraine, that he`s having to answer to.

These are things that should not be confronting a presidential candidate. There are distractions. They are messy. This whole campaign is a hot mess.

And I really do think that we`re seeing the American people that are just tiring of it and that`s why we`re seeing these poll numbers that have just started to crash down to earth and they`ve got a real problem on their hands. I do think that the day is coming very, very soon where the party, at large, is going to say, we`ve had enough and we`re going to focus on down-ballot races and see what we can do to keep our floods from taking the down-ballots with them.

O`DONNELL: And, Katie, every tweet I`ve read from Donald Trump in the last 24 hours or so has read like a leaked line from a concession speech, blaming the media. I`d be 20 points ahead if they told the truth about me. Just -- it`s constant blame for why he`s so far behind in the polls.

And he could use exactly those lines and we might hear them on election night as part of his concession speech, why he lost.

PACKER: Yes. And he sounds like a petulant child. These are the kind of things you hear from a child, complaining life hasn`t been fair to them. I mean, this was a guy that was born on third base and running around acting like he hit a triple. Life has been pretty good to him. He doesn`t have too much to complain about.

He managed to win these primaries. He had every opportunity. The lion share of the Republican Party has rallied around him, even though he didn`t really earn that right. But he`s continued to embarrass the party and exhaust the party. And I really do think that patience is wearing thin.

O`DONNELL: Katie Packer, thanks for joining us again tonight in the war room, really appreciate it.

PACKER: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Ms. Gwen Moore from Milwaukee will join us. We`ll get a report on the latest there after a weekend that saw a killing of a black man by police that led to disturbances there.


MADDOW: In just about 12 minutes, 10:00 Central Time, a curfew for Milwaukee teenagers will go into effect after two nights of violence in the wake of a police shooting over the weekend.

On Saturday, a black Milwaukee police officer shot and killed Sylville Smith a 23-year-old black man after traffic stop turned into a chase. They say he did not drop the gun that he was carrying, even after the officer told him multiple times to drop that gun. Police say the gun was stolen loaded, semiautomatic handgun.

Officials say there is body camera video showing Sylville Smith with that weapon. But that video won`t be released until the Wisconsin Justice Department has finished its investigation.

Today, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett urged that the video be released.


TOM BARRETT, MAYOR OF MILWAUKEE: I want the video released. I believe the video will provide a lot of context as to what`s going on. I have not seen the video. I saw the still shot taken from the video from which the individual had a gun in his hand.


O`DONNELL: On both Saturday and Sunday night, local businesses and police cars were destroyed and police made more than 30 arrests eight officers were injured and 18-year-old was taken to the hospital last night after being shot in the neck.

Joining us now outside the Milwaukee police headquarters, NBC`s Kerry Sanders.

Kerry, what`s the situation there tonight?

KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We`ve actually moved from the police headquarters, Lawrence, over into the Sherman Park area where there`s been a fair amount of police activity tonight.

In fact, some of the officers wearing riot gear. They have the zip ties on their side. We saw just a short time ago, they had a car pulled over for about 20 minutes, just a short distance from where I am, about three blocks, and we can see from this other picture, there was even some gunfire here this evening. So while things are calm and there`s no repeat thus far of what`s happened the last two nights, there`s certainly a sense of the police being aware and a community that is on edge.

As you noted, Lawrence, there`s a lot of people who would like to see that videotape released. It was a body camera, the police chief here calls it a silent movie because it was not recording any audio. That audio didn`t click in. We won`t actually, when we eventually see it, hear what the officer may have said to the suspect that he was chasing on foot.

But what is, perhaps, most demanded from this community, they don`t want to hear, as we just heard, the mayor describing what he saw in that single image, rather the folks here say they want to see it. As happens on situations like this, especially in a community where people have distrust of the authorities, the police, they say, look, unless we get a chance to see it, why should we believe what we`re being told.

So, what`s holding up right now, as you noted, is the department of justice here in Wisconsin has the videotape as part of their investigation. They`re an outside agency. Wisconsin turns to outside agencies to determine whether there was something right or wrong.

So, the videotape may not be released immediately, and until it`s released, I think there`s going to be a fair amount of people here, Lawrence, who just don`t believe it. They want to see it to understand it themselves.

O`DONNELL: Kerry Sanders, live from the streets of Milwaukee -- thank you, Kerry. Really appreciate it.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore who represents the district where all this happened in Milwaukee will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had this to say about the police body cam video of that shooting that occurred there on Saturday.


EDWARD FLYNN, MILWAUKEE POLICE CHIEF: Every time one of these is released, it`s usually a chief airing on the side of transparency at some risk to the criminal justice process. You`re going to find very few, you know, career attorneys who are going to say, oh, yes, get that out in public as fast as possible. You may get police chiefs who say that. You`re certainly going to get some political figures who believe that very strongly as well as community activists. But this is a balancing act and we`re doing to try to do our best to get it right.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore whose district includes the city of Milwaukee, where all of this trouble has occurred this weekend.

Congresswoman Moore, thank you very much for joining us tonight. What`s your reaction to what Chief Flynn said about that balancing act involved in releasing the video?

REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: I can tell you that our mayor and our police chief have really tried to be very responsible to the community over the course of the last few days. I`m really proud of the way that the clergy, the way community-based organizations, young black male elected officials have come together to try to bring regular order back to the city.

And, in fact, we`ve seen a Nate Hamilton and Maria Hamilton brother and mother of Dontre Hamilton -- Dontre Hamilton, of course, is a victim two years ago of a police shooting. We`ve seen them out in the streets, on their hands and knees picking up glass and debris from some of the burnt out store fronts.

And so, this is the community that`s trying really, really hard to come together, really trying very, very hard to address and acknowledge the frustration of the community, but yet trying to make sure that -- that we have some calm.

O`DONNELL: One of the things with the history of this subject shows everywhere in the United States, is that when you get a violent community reaction like this, it is never for that one individual incident, it`s always an accumulation of past grievances that have not been satisfactorily addressed in terms of the community`s understanding of them, at least.

Is that the case in Milwaukee?

MOORE: Oh, absolutely, Lawrence. You know, we have one of the youngest African-American populations in the country. And the resources for jobs, for, you know, for economic well being, for basic things like being -- the ability to pay rent for women and the high incarceration rate for black men. We have the highest incarceration rate of African-American men in the country. It creates a power keg.

It`s so ironic that on the same day that this violence broke out in Milwaukee, I was on a panel where we discussed if we would just fix our infrastructure in this country, it would create 20 million jobs and that would work so well for a place like Milwaukee who has seen, you know, not only such a downturn from its manufacturing base and center, but has not really recovered from the last recession.

And so, we are in such need of those kind of resources. We also have had a sad history of police community relations, but I can tell you, we are working very, very hard to bridge that.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Gwen Moore, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate.

MOORE: Thank you. Pray for us.

O`DONNELL: And we will. Thank you very much.

Just wanted to clarify for the audience the video you were seeing was not from tonight, it was what was happening over the weekend. Everything is calm there now.

We`ll be right back.



TRUMP: In the old days when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils.


O`DONNELL: What old days is he talking about, you mean, when we wiped out Indian tribes or when we had a war with Mexico and we took all that land? OK.

But did we take any of Germany, did we take anything from Germany? Did we take anything from Japan after World War II? No, that is not the way it works here but the Donald Trump audience doesn`t seem to know that.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

MSNBC`s live coverage continues now with Ari Melber -- Ari.