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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 8/23/2016

Guests: Cher, Jacob Monty, Charlie Sykes, Rick Wilson, Jeffrey Pollock, Fred Goldberg, Michael Tomasky

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 23, 2016 Guest: Cher, Jacob Monty, Charlie Sykes, Rick Wilson, Jeffrey Pollock, Fred Goldberg, Michael Tomasky

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: 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, MSNBC HOST:: Rachel, do you have the cancel jitters because Cher had to cancel last night on --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Me, but she`s back tonight, she`s --

MADDOW: She --

O`DONNELL: Going to be with us tonight and --

MADDOW: Definitely --

O`DONNELL: She promised.

MADDOW: Got her.

O`DONNELL: Definitely like, you know, ten minutes from now or so.

MADDOW: OK, I will --


MADDOW: Hold tight and that will help me with my jitters.

O`DONNELL: OK, that`s why we`re doing it.


Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, man.

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump tonight said, he`s softening and Ann Coulter is afraid that he`s panicking.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`re going to obey the existing laws.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This issue is such a complex issue.

ANN COULTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I`m starting to worry that he`s panicking and talking to the wrong people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an agile campaign, he`s an agile leader.

TRUMP: Bing-bong --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And still says he`s going to build a wall.

TRUMP: That wall will go up so fast, your head will spin.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump is one of the most optimistic people I`ve ever met in my life.

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Trump has been saying that Hillary Clinton looks unwell.

CONWAY: I`m not a doctor. I`m not a doctor, and again, I`m not a doctor.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Can you open the jar of pickles, is it not tampered with?


Oh, wow!

O`BRIEN: Trump then admitted he thinks any woman over 35 looks like she`s dying.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Bannon thinks the reason Trump is behind in the polls is that he`s been too civil.


And now the gloves are off, the tiny gloves.



O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is softening, that`s his word, softening, and Sean Hannity is softening right along with Donald Trump. Sean Hannity is even more openly devoted to Donald Trump than Trump`s friend Bill O`Reilly.

I don`t know what just happened on the TV screen there. Sean Hannity has agreed with every single thing that Donald Trump has said as a candidate, including Donald Trump`s promise to deport all the undocumented people in this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think everything about Donald Trump`s immigration plan is wrong, he`s not only wrong, but it is simply impossible to achieve. He cannot deport 11 million people, that`s not doable.

He wants to --



O`DONNELL: Now that Donald Trump is abandoning at least, temporarily, his promise to deport everyone who`s entered this country illegally or overstayed a visa, Sean Hannity has to abandon everything he has said in support of deporting all those people.

And so today, Sean Hannity asked Donald Trump, if he would "accommodate those people that contribute to society, have been law-abiding, have kids here."

And Donald Trump answered, "there certainly can be a softening because we`re not looking to hurt people." Donald Trump may be softening and Sean Hannity may be softening, but Ann Coulter isn`t.

Here she is on "HARDBALL" tonight with Chris Matthews.


COULTER: I`m starting to worry that he`s panicking and talking to the wrong people, because he`s sounding a little bit more like the candidates he defeated with the talking points about, you know, softening on deporting the ones who -- oh, they`ve been here a long time and they`re law-abiding.

You know, and that`s -- yes, that`s true, but how about you just saying, no, my policy is consistent.


O`DONNELL: Ann Coulter is on a publicity tour selling her latest book that is of course, worshipful of Donald Trump.


COULTER: This can be the shortest book tour ever if he is really softening his position on immigration. There are only so many things you can talk about. Why are we talking about softening the lives of law breakers? I just --


COULTER: I think this is a mistake --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it right card?

COULTER: It sounds like it`s coming from conservatives --



O`DONNELL: And by consultants, of course, she means Trump`s new campaign manager, who is no doubt, the leader of Trump`s retreat on deportation.


CONWAY: I am saying that he sat down, which is there could be a way to figure out how to do it, so that we`re not here to harm people.

And I think that`s a very important phase --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, a deportation force, we`re not going to be hearing Donald Trump talking about a deportation force for 11 million undocumented --

CONWAY: He has not said that for a while, and by the way, Senator Jeff Sessions, who I know --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that`s a change of policy.


O`DONNELL: So, when Kellyanne Conway says that Donald Trump hasn`t said something in a while, that means he doesn`t believe it any more, if he ever did believe it.

Tonight, Donald Trump Jr. who has known Donald Trump much longer than his new campaign manager has, has now officially and publicly, completely given up trying to figure out what his father means.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does that mean that mass deportation of the estimated 11 to 12, 15 million illegal is off the table?

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Does it mean it`s off the table? I don`t know, you know, I don`t know the exact details of it, you know, in terms of that.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s public softening began after his meeting with a Hispanic group on Saturday. Jacob Monty, who was in that meeting was then quoted as saying, "I really liked that Trump acknowledged that there`s a big problem with the 11 million people who are here and that deporting them is neither possible nor humane."

Joining us now, Jacob Monty, Houston-based immigration attorney and Republican activist, he`s a member of the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump.

Also with us, Charlie Sykes, radio host of "Wtmjam" in Milwaukee and the editor-in-chief of "Right Wisconsin".

And with us here in New York, Rick Wilson; Republican strategist and contributor to "Heat Street". He`s consulting with the Evan McMullin campaign who is making an independent run for president.

Mr. Monty, it was your quote that went public about Donald Trump`s meeting on Saturday that started this whole new cycle which has now landed us tonight with Donald Trump publicly saying he is softening on deportation.

And last night, he seemed to say to Bill O`Reilly that he wouldn`t do anything different from what the Obama administration is currently doing. Is that your understanding of the Trump position now?

JACOB MONTY, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: I don`t view it as softening. I view it as articulating the rest of his immigration plan. And it`s still about building the wall, Latinos and immigrants want the wall.

But he acknowledged that we have to do something for the 11 million people that are here that aren`t law breakers, that aren`t criminals.

And that is -- that is a good thing that was well received. He showed up in this -- at this meeting prepared, it was obvious that he had studied the issue.

And unlike a lot of politicians who want to repeat slogans, it was obvious that he had studied the issue and he was very well received by the community on Saturday.

O`DONNELL: I want to play for us all, again, Donald Trump`s pledge to deport 11, 12 million people, he said it on "MORNING JOE", let`s listen to the way he said it.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: How do you deport 12 million?

TRUMP: OK, so, let me --


TRUMP: You do it, you do it because they`re here illegally, you do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to have a massive deportation force?

TRUMP: You`re going to have a deportation force and you`re going to do it humanely.


O`DONNELL: So, Mr. Monty, after that, how surprised were you on Saturday to discover he now does not intend to deport 12 million people, and does not intend to have a deportation force, even though he promised his supporters that that`s what he would do?

MONTY: Well, it was -- you know, he didn`t commit to anything at the meeting, but he was prepared. It was obvious that he had studied it.

It was a good, you know, a good meeting where, you know, he didn`t commit to one thing definitely, but it was obvious that he was opening -- he was open to considering a way to deal with these 11 million people that aren`t law breakers or that aren`t felons, I mean.

But that was, you know, a very positive, very positive meeting and we`re excited. He also announced that he would be announcing a very detailed immigration plan and we`re awaiting that plan because we think that when it becomes public, it will be embraced by more Latinos and more Americans, so we`re very pleased.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, that new plan was going to be --


O`DONNELL: Described Thursday --

SYKES: Yes --

O`DONNELL: In a major speech which the Trump campaign has canceled because the softening, apparently, will continue until they figure out what his --

SYKES: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Position actually is. You talk to Trump supporters every day on your radio show, they call in. How important was the deportation of 12 million people to Trump supporters?

SYKES: Well, there are flip-flops and there are mega flip-flops. I mean, try to imagine if any other Republican candidate had used the word softening to describe the immigration laws. Donald Trump would have unleashed legions of all right, flying monkeys on social media against them.

I mean, this wasn`t just one issue among others, this was the centerpiece of his campaign. You know, and some of us spent almost a year explaining to people you cannot deport 11, 12 million people, and we were hammered.

No, Donald Trump knows what he`s going to do, it`s going to be huge, he`s going to do it. And now, apparently, we`re finding out once again, that with Donald Trump everything is subject to negotiation and there`s an expiration date on every single promise.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, this is for me a stunning reversal --


O`DONNELL: Of the Trump position. The only policy position that he announced at the beginning of his campaign was all about immigration across the southern border, illegal immigration, that was the entire focus on it for weeks.

There were two pieces of it. We`re going to send them all back, and we`re going to --

WILSON: Build a wall --

O`DONNELL: Build a wall that will never allow any more to come in.

WILSON: Donald Trump`s -- the fundamental column of Donald Trump`s campaign was to tell these very credulous folks who believe that their jobs were taken away by immigrants and that Mexico is the source of billion people every year coming across the border to kill them.

His fundamental column was, I`m going to build the wall, and I`m going to ship them home. You know, the phrase you have to go back is a popular all right meme --

O`DONNELL: Right --

WILSON: And now they don`t have --


WILSON: To go back. Now, Donald Trump has also in the all right promise cuffed himself over immigration. He is now a guy who has flip-flopped on the most fundamental core issue he claimed to have.

All these people that built this gigantic rhetorical construct by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and all these -- all these --

O`DONNELL: Right --

WILSON: Folks at "Breitbart", that immigrants with a problem, they`re the centerpiece of all your problems. Now Donald Trump is saying, no problem, flip-flop, it`s good.

This is -- this is Kellyanne Conway has now taken basically a poison pill. She either survives and holds this line, he does this, blows up a huge part of his base, or --


WILSON: About a week or two, it`s Steve Bannon in charge again and we`re back to the race war.

O`DONNELL: Jacob Monty, did -- you`re an immigration lawyer yourself, you represent defendants and the kinds of people that Donald Trump has wanted to deport up until today, anyway.

Did you spend some time in that meeting explaining to him the humane costs of that kind of mass deportation?

MONTY: He certainly listened, but he showed up prepared. And let me be clear about something. In terms of the felons, there`s no disagreement among the Latino community they have to go back. They make the rest of the immigrants look bad.

They endanger Americans, so there`s no debate there. There`s no debate on the wall. I think Anglos sometimes make the wall to be a bigger deal than it is to Latinos. We want the wall. The wall protects us.

But at the same time, there has to be a way to deal with the 11 million people that are here. Many of them have U.S. citizen children, so, I don`t view it as a change at all, I view it as an explanation --


MONTY: Of the rest of its policy. And yet, he hasn`t announced it yet, but when it is announced, I feel confident it`s something that Americans will embrace.

O`DONNELL: Well, if all he wants to do is deport the criminals, that`s what President Obama wants to do, too. What about the Dream Act?

Was there any discussion of that and Donald Trump`s determination to reverse President Obama`s executive order on that?

MONTY: We spent a good deal of time talking about the 11 million that are here, that was something that was discussed, that was -- we also discussed the need for more border security -- look, if it wasn`t for Donald Trump, we wouldn`t be talking about border security.

He brought this to --


The nation`s attention --

O`DONNELL: Can I -- can I -- can I just hold you --

MONTY: It hasn`t been at the presidential campaign --

O`DONNELL: And I just told you specifically --


Question about the Dream Act? --

MONTY: A lot of credit for that.

O`DONNELL: I`m just asking you specifically about the Dream Act --

MONTY: The Dream Act was not -- the Dream Act was not discussed. You know, every politician --

O`DONNELL: Do you -- do you as an immigration -- do you as an immigration lawyer with your experience think the Dream Act is a good thing or do you think those kids should all be deported?

MONTY: Well, we do need a Dream Act. We need a law passed by Congress, not executive amnesty like --


O`DONNELL: So, you`re opposed to -- you`re opposed to the executive action that President Obama took on the dreamers?

MONTY: Well, it didn`t work. It was found not legal. So, you need someone that can work with Congress. And if Hillary were to win, there`s no way she can pass immigration reform with a Republican-controlled house.

So, if you want immigration reform and you want border security, it only comes with the one person, and that`s Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, you just heard --

SYKES: Yes --

O`DONNELL: The brand new Donald Trump campaign slogan. "Trump for immigration reform".

SYKES: Yes, you know, apparently, you know, Trump states, Trump University didn`t work out for him, so, he`s going to try Trump waffles now.


I mean -- I mean, really it`s a -- you know, I guess my strong advice would be, you know, at what point are conservatives going to figure out that he doesn`t mean anything he says.

It is the art of the deal. He`s going to say whatever he feels he needs to say to seal the deal. And you know, because the man really has no core.

So, if he needed to gin up animosity against immigrants to get himself through the primaries, he was willing to do that.

You know, and then when the polls show that, that doesn`t work for him anymore, he folds on all of that. But you know, none of the promises he makes are worth any more than, you know, what would the next poll.

And I`m sorry that people have not figured that out, yet.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen -- again, just to get this, the enormity of this switch in policy. Let`s listen to what --

SYKES: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump said to Chuck Todd about this.


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: You`re risking the Dream Act executive order --

TRUMP: You`re going to have to --

TODD: Darker --

TRUMP: We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in --

TODD: So, you have to split up families --

TRUMP: Chuck --

TODD: You`re going to deport children --

TRUMP: Chuck, no, we`re going to keep the families together. We have to keep the families together.

TODD: But you`re going to keep them together --

TRUMP: But they have to go --

TODD: Out.

TRUMP: But they have to go.

TODD: What if they have no place to go?

TRUMP: We will work with them. They have to go.


O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, we`re going to keep the families together, they have to go.

WILSON: This is -- this is like I said --

O`DONNELL: They`re going to be deported --

WILSON: Right --

O`DONNELL: Together --

WILSON: He was going to deport --

O`DONNELL: All of them --

WILSON: He was going to deport the folks that were born in this country, and who are by definition citizens -- I don`t care where their parents came from. If they were born in this country, they are citizens.

He was going to split those families -- he was going to say -- he was going to deport U.S. citizens, deprive them of their constitutional rights by shipping them off to whatever country of origin they come from. This is a promise he`s now reneged on. This is another flip flop.

These are -- and the people that support Donald Trump, the heartbeat of his campaign are people that hate folks from other countries and they blame them for everything. And now what Donald Trump is saying is, they get to stay.

They get to be a part of society. Their kids get to go to state colleges, they get to get driver`s license. I can imagine the fury brewing up in those folks and Ann Coulter was just a preview of that. I mean, we`re not just talking about the whacky spinster demo that Ann represents.


WILSON: We`re talking about a giant number of millions and millions of Trump voters who are going to just realize what`s happened to them.

And they`ve been conned, they`ve been rocked, they`ve been taken to the cleaners and this guy is about to just flip on them again.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, thank you very much for joining us tonight --

SYKES: Right --

O`DONNELL: And Jacob Monty, thank you for joining us, really appreciate it.

MONTY: Thank you.

SYKES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Cher spent the weekend campaigning for Hillary Clinton up and down the East Coast. She`s back in California tonight, and she will be my next guest. Adventures on the campaign trail with Cher.

And in the campaign war room tonight, the Trump campaign says it knows exactly why all the polls showing him losing are wrong.


O`DONNELL: Campaign TV ad update. So far in the general election, Hillary Clinton has been hit with $6.3 million in negative campaign ads. Donald Trump, Donald Trump has been hit with $47 million in negative ads.

Coming up next, Cher is here, she is going to join us. She`s going to tell us about her beach adventures this weekend with Hillary Clinton.


O`DONNELL: Did you get to the beach this weekend? Cher did. She got to three beach towns this weekend, first Miami, then Fire Island in New York. And finally Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

And she did it all for Hillary Clinton. Cher was the headliner for the Clinton campaign at fundraises in each of those beach towns.

Cher knows something about tough elections. The year that she won her Oscar for best actress, she was in the toughest category in the Oscars.

Take a look at who she was up against. Meryl Streep, who had already won a couple of Oscars, Glenn Close who already had several Oscar nominations and would have several more.

Holly Hunter, a future Oscar winner and Sally Kirkland who turned in an extraordinary performance that year in honor.

Cher didn`t just win an Oscar, she won an Oscar against the toughest competition that the best actress category has ever seen.

She`s now hoping to bring her winning magic to the Clinton campaign on election night, and Cher is joining us now by phone from her home in Los Angeles. Cher, thank you very much for doing this tonight.

CHER, SINGER & ACTRESS (via telephone): Hi, Lawrence, I`m such a big fan.

O`DONNELL: Oh, well, there`s two fans talking to each other here. So, you flew around the East Coast for Hillary this weekend --

CHER: Yes, I did --

O`DONNELL: And where did you have the most fun? Come on, Miami, Fire Island or Provincetown?

CHER: Well, I -- they were all different. But you know, seeing her and listening -- she gave the most amazing -- I don`t know, you know, it didn`t sound like a speech, and I`m sure she said the same things before and -- but I just, you know, as I`ve said she`s not a good speaker.

But that was a really good speech. I was kind of mesmerized and I thought she looked so cute and so fresh. And I said to her, you know, I have been doing this for three days and I`m dead.


How are you doing it? You know, just tell me, how are you doing it? And she said I just love it. And she looked -- and I`m not saying this because of this other stuff about you know, she`s got whatever she`s got, I don`t know.

But she just looked so pretty.

O`DONNELL: How long have you known Hillary Clinton?

CHER: I worked on her -- on her Senate campaign, and I -- and I didn`t -- I didn`t really know her when I did it, I just was interesting -- I was interested to meet a woman that the GOP had been vilifying since before she got into office. I wanted to know who she was and how did she cause all this?

O`DONNELL: You`ve got a lot of experience or real experience on the presidential campaign trail because I remember the first time I ever saw you in a political venue and it was with Michael Dukakis, presidential candidate in 1998 --

CHER: Oh, that`s right and Caroline --

O`DONNELL: In New York City --

CHER: I totally forgot about that.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and so was that your first venture into presidential politics, Michael Dukakis, 1998? --

CHER: Yes, it was. The first -- the first president I actually knew was Jimmy Carter. We had dinner in the White House with him the first night and I loved him.

But he`s the -- and then, I met Bill Clinton later, but the closest relationship I had was with Jimmy Carter. Even though I didn`t -- I didn`t go out and stump for him.

O`DONNELL: So, you`ve been backstage with presidents and politicians at the presidential level in campaigning. How does -- how does Hillary Clinton compare to the presidential candidates you`ve been around?

CHER: Well, I`m kind of amazed at her. And I -- and I say -- I mean, look, I say what I want and sometimes I just have both of my high heels in my mouth, OK?

But I am surprised -- I am surprised at how she`s -- how alive and how generous and how the people really loved her in Provincetown.

And I just -- I was uplifted by what she had to say. And I -- I might sound, you know, incredulous, it just was -- after all she`s been through and what she`s been going through and how she`s been stumping and how she`s not -- she will not quit.

She will just not quit. I don`t care what anyone throws at her, I don`t care how tough the job is, she will not quit.

O`DONNELL: Well, you`re speaking to something that Donald Trump`s campaign manager said tonight about Hillary Clinton. Let`s listen to that.


CONWAY: And I`m not a doctor, but I can see somebody who is not very joyful on the trail, doesn`t seem to like the rigors of campaigning.


O`DONNELL: So, Cher, there is Kellyanne Conway saying that Hillary Clinton is not very joyful on the campaign trail and doesn`t like the rigors of campaigning. What`s your reaction to that?

CHER: Well, my experience, I can only tell you what my experience was on - - in Provincetown. And if you knew me, you would know that nothing could make me say something that I don`t believe. And she was amazing.

And I had such a great time with her and at the Greek theater, we were jumping around like girls because she said something that was so funny and we were just laughing so hard. And how can I say what I saw, what I saw was real, you know, and I don`t care what that chick has to say.

I don`t like her any way and every time she opens her mouth, some smooth piece of dialogue comes out that`s not the truth.

She really is -- she`s becoming more like Trump than Trump is becoming more like her. And we all know that, you know, lies are mother`s milk to him.

O`DONNELL: Cher, I want you to listen to just one thing that Donald Trump said. And this was when he was speaking in, I guess, his form of outreach to people that you know well. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and depression of the hateful foreign ideology.


O`DONNELL: Cher, what was your reaction when you heard him say that?


CHER: Oh, come on, and he says it -- he says those letters like a child that`s just learning the alphabet, and then pokes his finger in the air for Q.

I mean, he is the most disingenuous man I`ve ever seen. And I want to tell you, my people will not believe him for a minute.

And I read that he was at a seven-hour, you know, closed-door meeting with 400 of the most conservative, hate gay people, you know, LGB community that there are -- so what? How does he go from that meeting to telling my people that he will protect them.

One of the reasons that I have gone out to them, because I care for all Americans and I`m not kidding you. America has been so great for me.

I was a poor child. I had dyslexia, nothing would say that I would succeed in this country, and I did.

And I fear for those people, and not just because of my son, you know, I fear for what they will do to those people, to my people.

O`DONNELL: Cher, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it. I think you`ve seen how excited the Twitter world has been for the last 24 hours, knowing that you were coming here tonight. Thank you very much, Cher.

CHER: Thank you so much, Lawrence, I am so excited talking to you and I hope you invite me again.

O`DONNELL: How about tomorrow night?


Or any time?

CHER: OK, it`s great.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Cher.

CHER: Bye.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Trump campaign`s newest excuse -- and this is an amazing one -- for why the polls do not show Donald Trump winning.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s campaign "War Room" with Rick Wilson and Jeffrey Pollock in what is a career first for them. This is the first time either one of them have followed Cher. If we`re here at THE LAST WORD, it won`t be their last.

Here is the Trump campaign`s new explanation for why Donald Trump is not ahead in the polls.


INTERVIEWER: The polling numbers for Donald Trump are looking pretty bad out there.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Not all of them, no, just the cherry picked polling numbers that are put out there by media outlets that are also been on his destruction. Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election.

INTERVIEWER: Why is that, do you think?

CONWAY: It`s because it`s become socially desirable, especially if you`re a college-educated person to say that you`re against Donald Trump. The hidden Trump in this country is a very significant proposition.

INTERVIEWER: Have you been able to put a number on that?


INTERVIEWER: Good. What do you think that is?

CONWAY: I can`t discuss it.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, come on.

CONWAY: No, it`s a project we`re doing internally. I call it the undercover Trump voter, but it`s real.


O`DONNELL: Jeffrey Pollock, see, I`m one that does better human beings than talking to computers.

So, the undercover Trump voter, you are an actual pollster, a real live pollster. You`re polling for her enemy, the Clinton super PAC, but how is that for spinning the polls, how did she do?

JEFFREY POLLOCK, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Let`s just be clear -- so the new strategy for the Trump campaign to convince people they`re winning is to say that voters are embarrassed to admit they`re voting for their candidate. That is A, it`s preposterous.

O`DONNELL: That`s a shameful thing.

POLLOCK: That is preposterous and most importantly, it is factually inaccurate. If you like right now at online polling, right now, Donald Trump is actually performing slightly better in online polls than he is in live telephone polls, right? So, that argument is completely shattered.

There was this notion during the primary that that was the case, that he was performing better on online polls. It`s just not the case. He is actually performing 0.9 percent better in live interview polls than in the online polls. It just doesn`t work.

O`DONNELL: So, here is another factoid to go with this. In the primaries averaged in the results, Rick, 2.4 percent better than polls indicated -- here is the problem, Ted Cruz averaged 2.5 percent better than the polls indicated. And apparently, all that meant was, all the thing we called undecided, they decided. They were actually undecided when the pollsters called, and then on Election Day, they knew time was up.

WILSON: Sure. Here`s the thing, Jeff and I may work on opposite sides of the fence, but magical thinking has no business in our polling or in data analysis or in campaigns. The fantasy that there are secret Trump voters by the billions out there who are just ashamed to say it, it`s just the most recursive thing.

She`s also going to say something like that. It`s also going to be looking back into, we have a secret sauce hidden underneath here, there`s something special happening. You know, the numbers in aggregate are a disaster for Donald Trump. He`s losing this campaign. He`s a weak, weak candidate.

He is a terrible, terrible candidate on every axis. He`s doing to get his head handed to him.

And no matter how much Kellyanne wants to come out and say, none of you pollsters or analysts understand, only I get it. It`s our secret in-house Trump project.

POLLKOCK: We didn`t hear it the day after the Republican convention when Donald Trump was actually up in all the polls, was he not? So, you can`t pick and choose.

WILSON: Was he 50 points up then?

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the latest Trump campaign tactic, which is the softening.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Is there any part of the law that you might be able to change that will accommodate those people that contribute to society, have been law abiding, have kids here, would there be any room in your mind, because I know you had a meeting this week.

TRUMP: I did, I did. I had a meeting with great Hispanic leaders there certainly can be a softening, we`re not looking to hurt people. We want people -- we have some great people in this country. We have some great, great people in this country. So, we`re going to follow the laws of this country.


O`DONNELL: So, Jeff, your polling expertise, we are -- he says this today, we are what now, about six or seven days away in polling results that will show us what the softening is doing?

POLLOCK: I don`t know that it will take that long for us to see that nothing is working for Donald Trump, Lawrence, let`s be clear, right? Right now, they`re flailing. That`s what you`re seeing. You`re seeing a campaign that is flailing, trying to do anything.

So, I don`t think it`s going to be three days or seven days before you see a difference. This is a surefire hit to his right flank. I legitimately do not understand what the guy is doing. He`s offending the middle, which he`s done.

I mean, by the way, let`s also remember what his first TV commercial is. His first TV commercial is an absolutely, racially driven, racist campaign commercial and now he`s softening? You cannot have it both ways when you`re running for president of the United States.

O`DONNELL: If he drops on 1 percent in the polls after the softening, the hardening will be instantaneous.

POLLOCK: Magic polls or real policy.

WILSON: Right.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson and Jeffrey Pollock, followed Cher tonight.

You did a beautiful job.

We will be right back.



INTERVIEWER: You say you stand by your comments. Do you still believe Donald Trump should be transparent to release his tax returns?

CONWAY: I`ve learned since being on the inside that this audit is a serious matter, and that he has said when the audit is complete, he`ll release his tax returns.


O`DONNELL: That is before Kellyanne Conway started getting paid to defend Donald Trump`s refusal to release his tax returns. Fred Goldberg, a former commissioner, says that as an audit that does not prevent Donald Trump from releasing his tax returns.

Mr. Goldberg has a new suggestion for Donald Trump. In an article for CNBC, he wrote, "Donald Trump can and should immediately release the first two pages of his form 1040 along with his schedule A for the past 20 years. This will tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes and how much he contributes to charity. Releasing this information will have no impact on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump, zero, none."

Joining us now, Fred Goldberg who served as assistant secretary for the treasury and tax policy and commissioner of the IRS during the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And I, first of all, just want to know that we have no proof that Donald Trump is actually being audited. And because of privacy laws, it is impossible for the IRS to confirm that he`s being audited.

FRED GOLDBERG, FORMER ASST. TREASURY SECRETARY: Thanks, Lawrence. Thanks for having me.

That is correct, although that I believe that his advisers did issue a letter saying he was under examination. I think it is fair to assume that he is.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I`ve read that letter carefully a few times and they never use the word audit. I think it`s a carefully phrased letter that could mean a lot of things.

But let`s go with the assumption that there`s an audit. So, in the face of that, with your experience as former counsel to the IRS, the head of the IRS, your suggestion is, even if there`s an audit, why not release those first two pages that just have the summary numbers on it and -- because all of the workings of an auditor, really all about what`s on all the other pages of the tax return.

GOLDBERG: Lawrence, that`s correct. There is zero risks that releasing the first two pages of his tax return, plus the schedule A that shows charitable contributions, that will have no impact whatsoever. And it tells the American people what they have a right to know.

He`s put these issues in the public, how much does he make, how much -- what are his charitable contributions, and what`s his tax rate. He says his goal is to pay as little taxes as possible. That`s his right. Show us how you`re doing it.

O`DONNELL: What do you think in your experience now, is the value of candidates releasing their tax returns? This is not something that happened earlier in the 20th century. I believe it started around President Nixon`s time.

GOLDBERG: You know, Lawrence, tax returns are an amazing portrait of each of us. I`ve seen it in my various jobs. I`ve seen that in vetting candidates for high office. It`s a portrait. And for those who aspire to high office, those who aspire to be president of the United States, letting us see that portrait is a window on that person. And we have a right to look through that window.

O`DONNELL: Having worked in Republican administrations, do you have a view, at this point, of who you`re voting for as president?

GOLDBERG: Yes, sir, I am voting for Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: What`s the basis of that decision?

GOLDBERG: I think that she -- I believe she will keep us safe. I believe that she has the ability, wisdom and experience to accomplish the bipartisan change that this country desperately needs. And I think she understands who we are as a country and what our country is all about.

I don`t agree with everything she says, but she gets those pieces and that is important and I trust her.

O`DONNELL: Fred Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

GOLDBERG: Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is THE LAST WORD on campaign 2016.

O`DONNELL: "The Associated Press" has a new analysis today and looking at Clinton foundation contributors and access to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. We`ll look at that next.

But, first, here is how it looked today on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: No one owns me. I answer only to the American people. That`s why I`m doing this.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The campaign is kind of being run in a little bit of not what can you do for your country, but, hey, what can this campaign do for me?

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump will uphold the highest integrity in the highest office of the land and his only special interest will be you.

KAINE: He has highly unusual expenditures, even in this campaign.

PENCE: He understands that it`s about getting government out of the way and letting America be America and do America.

KAINE: Donald Trump is renting space in one of his buildings to his campaign, and the campaign is paying Donald Trump, personally. Once he started to fund-raise dramatically, he immediately tripled the rent pay.

PENCE: When Donald Trump becomes president, the days of the rigged system that benefit the favored few, are over.

KAINE: Donald Trump, his economic plan has not been particularly specific. Donald Trump has tended to say, we`re going to be great, believe me, but he doesn`t give you the details.

TRUMP: I will be the greatest jobs` president that god ever created, believe me.



O`DONNELL: Today, "The Associated Press" has new reporting on the Clinton Foundation. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department, donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs. According to a review of State Department calendars released so far to the "Associated Press", combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million.

The Clinton released this statement in reaction, "The story relies on utterly flawed data. It cherry picked a limited subset of Secretary Clinton`s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths to individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation. The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as secretary, and it omits more than 1,700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other U.S. government officials, while serving as secretary of state."

Joining us now, Mike Tomasky, columnist for "The Daily Beast."

Mike, you recently came to a decision that you wrote in "The Daily Beast" about what should happen with the Clinton Foundation. What`s your reaction to this news today and tell us what you`ve been thinking about it as you wrote?

MIKE TOMASKY, EDITOR, DEMOCRACY & JOURNAL OF IDEAS: Yes, this story is not great for the Clinton campaign. There`s no question about it. I mean, at the time, you know, I don`t think it amounts to proof of racketeering enterprise, which is a phrase that Rudy Giuliani after he apparently this story.

Look, here is what I think is going on here. There are two standards that people might use to judge whether something untoward went on. One standard is the simple fact of meetings. If that`s your standard, then this looks really horrible. More than one of the half of the meetings are pretty good.

But I think then you have to ask, there is a different standard, isn`t there? You have to ask, what happened at these meetings? You know, if something happened at these meetings where somebody said, hey, I gave you husband`s foundation $300,000, why don`t you hook me up with that cell phone tower contract in Mauritania and she said, "Oh, yes, great," well, that would be bad news.

But there`s no evidence of anything like that, at least in this "Associated Press" story. I mean, she`s meeting with people like Muhammad Yunus. Mohammad Yunus is a Nobel Prize winner, who is being badgered, not to say persecuted by a prime minister who was upset he won the Nobel Prize and not she.

And there were other people who -- as far as we know from the -- from the "A.P." story, we`re just trying to do good in different ways around the world. So, you know, I understand why it`s a story, but, you know, it doesn`t rise to me, to the level of actual corruption.

O`DONNELL: Despite all that, though, you`ve written that the Clinton Foundation should be shutdown, you essentially agree with "The Boston Globe" editorial on this.

TOMASKY: I do. I want to stipulate two things, the foundation has done a tremendous amount of good work. There`s` no question about that.

I also think a lot of the media coverage of the foundation has been unfair. But, yes, I do think they should get out of that business. When I say shutdown, I don`t mean all these things should end, a lot of people yelled at me on Twitter today that I was saying that. I actually didn`t say that, I said precisely the opposite.

The good work that the Clinton Foundation has done and does must go on and can be farmed out to other foundations that do similar work or the foundation can be re-imagine with new boards and new names and things like that. Apparently, Donna Shelley (ph) spoke of exactly this kind of step, that might be taken today.

So, that`s what I think should be done. I don`t think she can go into the White House, Lawrence, giving Judicial Watch, and the right thing, this club they can use over her and undoubtedly will, because Judicial Watch is a $20 million a year organization that isn`t going anywhere. Just take that club out of their hands.

O`DONNELL: Mike Tomasky, thank you very much.

TOMASKY: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I think that does indicate why it`s important for us to take the federal government seriously, the federal workers seriously. There`s a tendency sometimes for us to bash them and think they`re these faceless bureaucrats. But when you get into trouble, you want somebody who knows what they`re doing, who is on the ground and working without standing officials and that`s true whatever party.


O`DONNELL: President Obama in Louisiana today noting that whenever the worst possible thing that can happen to a community does happen to that community, everyone wants the federal government there as fast as possible.

Ari Melber continues our live coverage here on MSNBC.

Hey, Ari.