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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 8/25/2016

Guests: Nicholas Kristof, Eugene Robinson, Tara Wall, Ben Shapiro, David Corn, Frank Rich, Katie Packer, Karine Jean-Pierre

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 25, 2016 Guest: Nicholas Kristof, Eugene Robinson, Tara Wall, Ben Shapiro, David Corn, Frank Rich, Katie Packer, Karine Jean-Pierre

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

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC: Rachel, of the many details you went into last night on the doctor`s letter, the thing that I really love was why does he have a gastroenterologist?

Which is like -- and by the way, that haven`t occurred to me and it is such a great medical question. If there`s nothing wrong with the man.

MADDOW: It`s one -- it`s one thing to see a gastroenterologist, nothing wrong with that, but why see gastroenterologist for 35 years?

O`DONNELL: Yes, you`ve got a --

MADDOW: Right, it`s --

O`DONNELL: You`ve got to show up with something wrong in there --


It`s something you complain about. So --

MADDOW: We`ve been -- we`ve been calling the doctor and trying to get some -- at least, further statement from him. We`ll let you know if we get it.

O`DONNELL: All right, let me know if you get an appointment with them, and how that might go.

MADDOW: I`ll steal your magazine from the waiting room.

O`DONNELL: All right, thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: So, what does a spoiled four-year-old boy do when he feels guilty about something? He accuses someone else of doing what he has done, and that`s what Donald Trump is doing tonight with Hillary Clinton.

And what was supposed to be day three of the softening, Donald Trump thinks he might be hardening again. And those are his words, not mine.


DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR 2016 ELECTION: There is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: His views are -- they seem to be ever changing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really can`t tell you what Donald Trump`s immigration stance is at the moment.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: He said he could be softening, which is normal, it happens to a lot of men his age. But --


TRUMP: They have to pay taxes. There`s no amnesty as that, there`s no amnesty --


TRUMP: But we work with them.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Who knew that it would be Donald Trump to come and convert the GOP base to supporting amnesty.

BUSH: His views will change based on the feedback he gets from a crowd.

TRUMP: Number one?



TRUMP: Number two --



BUSH: I find it abhorrent.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.

TRUMP: You`re racist, you`re racist, you`re racist.

CLINTON: There has been a steady stream of bigotry.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a bigot!

CLINTON: But here is the hard truth, there is no other Donald Trump, this is it.

TRUMP: Shame on you.

CLINTON: His real message, make America hate again.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has a history of racist behavior going back decades. Some of it taught to him by his father, Fred Trump, who managed to get himself arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

That history was chronicled by my first guest tonight Nick Kristof in a recent "New York Times" column.

And now that Donald Trump realizes he cannot win the election without appealing to voters who are not racist and bigoted, he did what a petulant child might do, he accuses opponent of what he knows he is guilty of.


TRUMP: She is a bigot --


Because if you look at what`s happening to the inner cities, you look at what`s happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.

She`s talking -- look at the vets where she said the vets are being treated essentially just fine. That is over exaggerated what`s happening to the vets not so long ago.

ANDERSON COOPER, JOURNALIST: Well, how is she a bigot? Bigot is a --

TRUMP: Well, because she`s --


Selling them down the tubes. Because she is not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game, but she isn`t doing a thing --


COOPER: She has hatred or --

TRUMP: Her policies are --

COOPER: Is like --

TRUMP: Bigoted, her policies are bigoted because she knows they`re not going to work.

COOPER: So, you`re saying she is personally a bigot?

TRUMP: Oh, she is, of course she is. Her policies, they -- her policies - - she comes out with her policies and others that believe like she does also. But she came out with policies over the years. This is over the years.

Long time, she`s totally bigoted, there`s no question about it.

COOPER: But it doesn`t --


O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton is a bigot. That is the new Trump campaign slogan. And no matter how many African-Americans publicly complain about what Donald Trump says about them, Donald Trump insists that he knows better than African-Americans, what African-Americans are thinking.


COOPER: We`ve been, you know, interviewing a lot of African-Americans voters, some of them are insulted by some of the language you use. Did you use --

TRUMP: I don`t think they are, I think if they actually heard me they wouldn`t be insulted at all.


O`DONNELL: In his interview with Anderson Cooper tonight, Donald Trump appeared to reverse his two days of softening on mass deportation when he said, no undocumented people will be allowed to stay in the United States.

They will have to return to their country of origin and then asked to come back in.


TRUMP: There`s not a pass. There`s no path to legalization --

COOPER: You talked about paying back taxes --

TRUMP: Unless people --


Leave the country -- well, when they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes.

COOPER: So, they still have to leave --

TRUMP: But there`s no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.


O`DONNELL: In a hard-hitting speech today, Hillary Clinton talked about the recent changes in the Trump campaign, including the new campaign CEO Stephen Bannon.


CLINTON: Trump likes to say he only hires the best people. But he`s had to fire so many campaign managers, it`s like an episode from "The Apprentice".


The latest shakeup was designed to, "let Trump be Trump". So to do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called "" as the campaign CEO.

Now, to give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they`ve published -- and I`m not making this up. "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy".


"Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?" "Gabby Giffords, the gun control movement human shield." Just imagine, Donald Trump reading that and thinking this is what I need more of in my campaign.


O`DONNELL: Clinton campaign released this web video today highlighting Donald Trump`s support from white supremacist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump will be best for the job.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a farmer and white nationalist, I support Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sending out all the illegals, building a wall, and a moratorium on Islamic immigration, that`s very appealing to a lot of ordinary white people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump responded today by pretending that Hillary Clinton is saying that all of Donald Trump`s supporters are white supremacist.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton isn`t just attacking me. She`s attacking all of the decent people of all backgrounds, doesn`t matter, of all backgrounds who support this incredible once in a lifetime movement.

When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument, you`re racist, you`re racist, you`re racist, they keep saying it, you`re a racist. It`s a tired disgusting argument.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer-Prize winning opinion writer for the "Washington Post" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Tara Wall, filmmaker and former senior media adviser for the Republican National Committee and the Romney 2012 campaign. And with us here in New York, Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the "New York Times".

Nick, your recent column about Donald Trump`s history, which includes his father`s history has brought a lot of us back to some of the things that we`d forgotten about in his history.

Donald Trump tonight addressed one of the things you brought up, which was the housing discrimination that he and his father engaged in it and describe the way -- the practices they used as you understand it.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Sure, I waited through more than a thousand pages of these documents, the Nixon administration, you know, not saying for its civil rights activism had sued the Trump campaign, which Donald Trump was then the president for a routine housing discrimination.

What they had done was they sent out testers to Trump properties, some whites and some blacks. Consistently, the blacks were told that there was no room available. White was told, yes, you know, here is this nice apartment.

And it kind of turned out that people who worked in the buildings were told that if a black person actually applied for an apartment, then their application was to be coded, in one case, C for "colored", so that they would be sure not to give it to somebody who was not white.

And so you had this consistent policy across Trump properties. The initial suit was 1973, there was a follower of the suit when Trump failed to implement his consent decree and then, you know, that was just in the 1970s.

Then you have this whole layer of similar Trump behaviors in the 1980s and 1990s right through the person.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Donald Trump`s response to Anderson Cooper about this tonight.


TRUMP: We were sued many years ago when I was very young by the government, sued many companies. You know that, it wasn`t me, it was -- they sued many companies --

COOPER: But you were just the -- well, this company was sued for not allowing black people --

TRUMP: And you know what? They found nothing. They found absolutely nothing.

COOPER: You settled.

TRUMP: They bring up the case and I settled with no awards, no nothing.

COOPER: But do people in your company use the word --

TRUMP: I don`t even know --

COOPER: See --

TRUMP: Honestly, what a superintendent does in the building, that I can`t tell you. But I can just tell you that they settled the case and that was the end of it.

It was many years ago, and I guess they found we did nothing wrong because we didn`t have to do anything. We didn`t have any payments to make, we didn`t have to pay $20 million in fines. We didn`t have anything --

COOPER: You didn`t pay any money in order to settle.

TRUMP: We did not -- it`s a long time ago, but I don`t believe so, no.


O`DONNELL: Nick, is that your --


O`DONNELL: Understanding of the case?

KRISTOF: It`s a complete misstatement of what happened. In fact, you look at those whole clippings, and everybody regarded at the time that settlement to be a complete victory for the government.

Trump -- they did consent to doing various activities. They agreed to advertise their properties in black audience publications, for example.

So that those -- so that African-Americans who having to really crack into those apartments, they agreed to end this kind of discrimination.

And then when they did not adhere to it, the government actually sued them again. So, it was completely recognized by absolutely everybody at the time that there was wrong-doing and that Trump had to take significant measures to try to address it.

O`DONNELL: And Gene Robinson, there`s a long history of people on the wrong side of racism and bigotry accusations, turning that around and aiming that at other --


O`DONNELL: People in an attempt to completely render the words completely meaningless. If you get to stand up there and say Hillary Clinton is a bigot, one of the things you`re trying to do is make that word have no meaning any more.

ROBINSON: Right, but it does have meaning. And it -- and we know which way it cuts in this election. And I mean, you know, think about it, in his 20s, Donald Trump and his -- well, along with his father was being sued for housing discrimination.

In her 20s, Hillary Clinton was in the south working for the children`s defense fund, combating school segregation.

So, the idea of Donald Trump standing on the stage, screaming Hillary Clinton is a bigot is -- it`s not just offensive, but it`s like many things in this campaign, it`s really crazy.

O`DONNELL: Tara Wall, there`s a passage that`s quoted in Nick`s column that`s from a 1991 book that talks about Donald Trump being upset that he discovered that there was a black man working on his accounting.

And this is the quote in the book quoting Donald Trump as saying, "black guys counting my money, I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulke`s every day.

I think the guy is lazy, and it`s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks, it really is, I believe that. It`s not anything they can control.

TARA WALL, JOURNALIST & FILMMAKER: Yes, I just had a chance to read that on the way over. And of course, I mean if it`s -- if it`s true, if it`s accurate, I defer to Nick`s reporting on that. But if it is accurate, I mean, it`s absolutely reprehensible.

I think that Trump is right to say that he doesn`t either recall saying that or didn`t say it. Obviously, I wasn`t there, so I can`t say. But if that happened, it`s certainly reprehensible.

I think the bigger problem for Trump is that, even if for the sake of argument this happened years and years ago and it`s something he forgot, I think even in the -- in the clip you just played with Anderson Cooper to show, you know, any real lack of, you know, ownership over some of these things to instantly kind of go to that knee-jerk reaction of, well, you know, we didn`t -- it didn`t happen, we didn`t -- we settled.

There was nothing there. There was -- I mean, there has to be at some point a certain level of deference you would think particularly in a presidential candidate. And someone who is saying anyway that they want to reach out and court voters that`s arguable.

But I think it is, at best, you know, obviously troubling and, you know, legitimately, I think that these are questions I think that will -- that are going to continue to service and come out, that will probably come out during the debates.

But I will say this, too. I mean, it`s obvious, you know, we`re at this point in the -- in the race where when both sides are lobbying racism charges against one another.

I mean, it`s not unheard of for Democrats to bring up the race card as they generally do in elections against Republicans.

It`s always kind of a knee jerk, I think though for Trump`s case, he has provided so much fodder that it`s really hard for him to back away from any of it.

And to use this narrative, I think it`s legitimate on one hand to say, to raise the issue, yes, Democrats have failed, black voters in this regard or one regard over another.

It`s legitimate to raise it. It`s legitimate to bring that up. The problem is the messenger and where that`s coming from, particularly because of all the hyperbole and the rhetoric that he`s already lobbed against minority voters early on.

O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton gave her first speech today where she talked about the alt-right, the alternative right which is to the right of the right wing of the Republican Party, it`s a term we`ve all been learning recently.

They involve a lot of white nationalist as they call themselves, white supremacist. Let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton said about that today.


CLINTON: The de facto merger between "Breitbart" and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for this group. A fringe element that has effectively taken over the Republican Party.

And this is part of a broader story. The rising tide of hardline right- wing nationalism around the world.


O`DONNELL: And the -- one of the objectives that they have is this neutralizing of the language, to be able -- it is just accuse everyone of being a bigot, therefore no one is a bigot.

KRISTOF: Yes, although, I mean, frankly, I think it`s probably not a great strategy to begin to raise the term bigotry, because when you think about bigotry, you know, what do you see?

You see somebody who has this long record -- going back as we said, since the 1970s and his dad, as he say, arrested at a clan rally in 1927. Woody Guthrie(ph) announcing his dad for racism in the 1950s.

And then on, not only through the casinos, African-Americans working with him in the casinos said that when Donald Trump visited, all the black employees were ushered off and hidden in the back so that he wouldn`t see them.

And then, you know, in the campaign, you have the tweets. I mean, this is somebody who has twice retweeted a white genocide Twitter handle with a photo of the founder of the American anti-party --

O`DONNELL: It says white genocide --

KRISTOF: It is panicking --

O`DONNELL: Right on it, you know what it is, yes --

KRISTOF: It`s astonishing, you know, and I do think that one study found that one third of the accounts that Trump follows -- that Trump retweeted in turn follow white nationalist, white supremacist handle.

And you know, how do you even find these sites out here unless you`re kind of looking for them. I mean, it does reflect the degree to which Donald Trump is not a mainstream Republican candidate.

But is much more akin to some of the far right political figures we`ve seen in Europe, for example.

O`DONNELL: Gene, quickly, before we go, Donald Trump now seems confused as to whether he is softening or hardening --

ROBINSON: Sure, yes --

O`DONNELL: And I`m telling you those were his words tonight --

ROBINSON: Yes, I know --

O`DONNELL: As he was talking about it, how do we tell?

ROBINSON: We can`t.


ROBINSON: We absolutely can`t. All right, do you --

O`DONNELL: We just can`t, yes --

ROBINSON: The famous quote from his spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, Mr. Trump isn`t changing his positions, he`s just changing the words he uses.

And in fact, all he has is words, Lawrence, he doesn`t have positions. He has words, and he has -- and he has volume, and that`s what we got.

WALL: I will say though that I disagree with one point that Hillary Clinton made about this being reflective of the party.

I think what it does is, it undermines the Republican Party`s effort, it`s coming mainly from Trump and it goes to the very base of core folks within the party.

And it continues to feed that narrative from those folks when he doesn`t immediately and consistently condemn folks like that.

O`DONNELL: Tara Wall gets the last word on this segment. Nick Kristof, Eugene Robinson, Tara Wall, thank you very much for joining us, appreciate it --


WALL: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Frank Rich will be joining us later, also coming up, Donald Trump`s latest position on illegal immigration.

We`re going to try to figure out whether he is softening or hardening -- those are his terms for what he thinks is going on here. And a programming note, Hillary Clinton will be on "MORNING JOE" tomorrow on Msnbc.


O`DONNELL: A new Quinnipiac poll asked should Donald Trump publicly release his tax returns? Seventy four percent say, yes, including 66 percent of Republicans. Donald Trump was scheduled to give a speech on immigration today.

That was scheduled a few days ago, they canceled that speech for today, now we know why? Donald Trump as of today cannot decide whether he is softening or hardening. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: After softening for two full days, tonight Donald Trump says, he might be hardening again. He actually said that he`s not sure if he`s softening or hardening.

Now, I know this sounds crazy and I know some of you think I am making this up, and so I give you Mr. Donald J. Trump on what was supposed to be day three of the softening.

Talking about the softening and the hardening.


TRUMP: We`re going to have borders, very strong borders. And after that, we`re going to see what happens.

But we are going to find people and we`re getting immediately, and I mean first hour of my -- the first document I will sign will say, get the bad ones out of this country, bring them back where they came from.

COOPER: But I know, you know I`ve got to follow up, you asked -- you said on Hannity, you used the word softening. Even last night on Hannity you talked about --

TRUMP: Well, I don`t think it`s a softening, I think --

COOPER: But 11 million people are no longer going to be deported --

TRUMP: I`ve heard people say it`s a hardening.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Corn, a Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst, and Ben Shapiro, former editor-at-large for "Breitbart News" and editor-in-chief of the "Daily Wire".

Ben, what is this, softening or hardening?

BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DAILY WIRE: Well, I mean if you can`t tell after four hours, he ought to call his doctor. But it`s confusing to say the least. I`m not sure that he has a real position on immigration.

My recommendation is that he should stop talking about immigration until he can figure out what the hell is going on.

O`DONNELL: So, David Corn, we now know very clearly why this immigration speech which is supposed to be today was canceled a few days ago. He has no idea where he is on this subject.

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JOINES: I know, it`s certainly fun to make jokes, and I had a four-hour joke, too, Ben, you beat me to the punch there.

SHAPIRO: I did, I always do.


CORN: But you know, the larger -- I think the larger point to the hardening or softening questioning, Lawrence, is that, I don`t think Donald Trump ultimately is interested in very much, other than Donald Trump.

You know, you look at any of his policy positions across the board, they basically aren`t there or no, they say I`m going to do this thing without telling you how he`s going to do it.

He is decidedly uninterested in policy -- if you look at the speech he gave today, calling, you know, Hillary Clinton, basically a mobster. There`s no policy element to components to it at all.

The only policy element that he really seems to care about and that he`s been consistent about is the wall. Everything else is whatever Trump thinks at the moment.

O`DONNELL: Now, the softening came from the notion that he wasn`t going to do a mass deportation of 11 million people.

CORN: Right --

O`DONNELL: Then tonight when he was talking to Anderson Cooper, he said that those people have to leave the country in order to then apply to come into the country legally. So, that sounds like they all have to leave.

But Ben, maybe it means he`s not going to force them to leave, which would basically leave us in policy terms, exactly where we are now.

SHAPIRO: Well, I mean, what he`s talking about now is what he was originally proposing, touch-back amnesty.

So, both of them are what he originally would have called amnesty, one is just regular amnesty without chipping people out.

And when it`s touch-back amnesty, where they`re ship back in, but, I mean, honest to God, his position changes moment to moment.

It`s like shaking a magic 8 bottle, if you don`t like this answer, then you can get another one in a couple of minutes.

The man has more positions than the Kama Sutra. I`m not sure how much it hurts him in the end, just because he`s got, you know, a solid base of support among people who really love him and they`re willing to move with him.

He`s hoping that if he shifts in the middle, that people will move with him. You know, I am highly --

CORN: Because this is not --


SHAPIRO: That`s the case --

CORN: This is not as much of a shift, is a jiggle. Because you don`t know where he`s going to come down on this position with his speech.

And you know, throughout the campaign, you know, talking about the wall and sort of tying it to massive deportation, which is what he referred to again and again.

Particularly when he was trying to trounce Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, was the heart of the campaign that got him going, they got him up in the polls. And without massive deportation, Trump is like a roast-beef sandwich without the roast beef.

O`DONNELL: Yes, he made -- he made fun of every candidate, which was all of them who were not in favor of the mass deportation.

Let`s listen to this quick 12 seconds where Donald Trump talks about just how many people we might be talking about here.

He`s got a wildly new variable estimate for how many people might be here illegally. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: You know, it`s a process, you can`t take 11 at one time and just say, boom, you`re gone. We have to find where these people are. Most people don`t even know where -- nobody even know if it`s 11.

COOPER: So, it`s still possible --

TRUMP: It could be 30 and it could be 5. Nobody knows what the number is --

COOPER: But if --


O`DONNELL: So, Ben, the guy who is claiming that the country is being invaded and over run by these people is now dropping the estimate down to possibly only 5 million of them here.

SHAPIRO: Yes, I mean, I know where he`s getting the 30. He`s getting the 30 from Ann Coulter`s estimate in the (INAUDIBLE) America where she looks at McKenzie study where they estimate the number of illegal immigrants is far higher than the census figures.

I don`t know where he`s getting five from, but again, I`m not sure that he has any -- I`m not sure. I don`t think he has any deep knowledge of any of the issues.

So, I think that he`s making policy up as he goes and there`s a reason they postponed his speech until next week.

Until his team can figure out what they want to say he`s floating a trial balloon everyday and saying which one to pop.

O`DONNELL: Ben Shapiro and David Corn, thanks very much for joining us tonight.

CORN: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, what do Glenn Beck, Hillary Clinton and I agree on? That`s going to be next and we`ll see if Frank Rich agrees with us on that.



O`DONNELL: There`s only one person in human history who could get Hillary Clinton and Glenn Beck to agree on something, anything. I`m speaking, of course, of Mr. Donald J. Trump.


HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. It`s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he`d be.

GLENN BECK, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: This is a dog whistle. He is using dog whistles and speaking to people but they`re hearing things. And whether he`s meaning it or not, I don`t know. But people are hearing him say things and each of them different. He is in massive, massive trouble and more importantly, we are, if he is elected.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Frank Rich, writer at large for New York Magazine and Executive Producer where HBO`s Veep where he gets to spend his day in the most fun writers room in Hollywood. Frank, hell hath frozen over. That was Hillary Clinton and Glenn Beck agreeing.

FRANK RICH, AMERICAN ESSAYIST: And let`s not forget the Coke Brothers are among the biggest Trump critics.


RICH: They`re now patriots.


RICH: That`s what we`ve come to.


RICH: But look --

O`DONNELL: So he is a uniter.

RICH: He is a uniter, not a divider. But, look, they`re both right. It`s still -- they`re dog whistles and everyone knows what they`re about. They`re Nativist and Racist. I think Glenn Beck is a little bit disingenuous and sort of pretending he had nothing to do it because he was a huge supporter of the Tea Party. And Donald Trump is the bastard child of Tea Party and Sarah Palin I`d say. So, and to some extent Glenn Beck and all who enabled them.

But look better at least Glenn Beck is, you know, on the correct side now, is n my view.

O`DONNELL: Yes and he -- Glenn Beck has been opposed to Trump from the start, unlike Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, others in conservative media who completely junked whatever principles they use to have --

RICH: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- in favor of Trump`s.

RICH: Yes, including most of Fox news.


RICH: And no, you had -- Beck has been independent from the beginning and he`s one of the rare ones who is, you know, not compromising about that. But he`s very rare. I don`t know if it`s going to make any difference.

O`DONNELL: Right. Now we`ve all been trying to figure out whether he`s softening or hardening. It`s usually not that hard to tell. But let`s listen to one more thing he said tonight about this talking about how people who are here now, without documentation might or might not ever get to a legalized status. Let`s listen to this with Anderson Cooper.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: There is no path to legalization --

ANDERSON COOPER, PRIMARY ANCHOR, CNN NEWS SHOW: You`re talking about the taxes identity --

TRUMP: Unless people leave the country -- well, when they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes.

COOPER: So they still have to leave the country?

TRUMP: But there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.

COOPER: If you haven`t committed the crime and you`ve been here for 15 years and you have a family here or you have a job here, will you be deported?

TRUMP: We`re going to see what happens once we strengthen up our border. There is a very good chance the answer could be yes. We`re going to see what happens.


O`DONNELL: Hardening or softening. I`d leave it to the judges. He`s policy seems to be and sort of like baseball. You touch on first before you steal second and that`s how you -- that`s the path to some kind of legal status as an immigrant.

It`s gibberish, really and it`s sort of just, let`s just see what happens. It seems the one thing he won`t retreat from is building that wall. That`s his -- well here`s the striking thing about that. They were clearly trying to get a retreat from that because in all of the written speeches, the wall was never mentioned for the last couple of weeks.


O`DONNELL: And what was happening is, the impatient audience at a certain point would start chanting about the wall, and then he would ad lib the wall stuff. The wall is now back-in in writing. And with Ann Coulter and others, that`s what their clinging to.

RICH: Exactly.

O`DONELL: They`re watching him reverse on everything else about it. And they`ve going -- oh but the wall, the wall. So I`m still for him because of the wall.

RICH: Right, and now we see even from that little bit in his interview tonight in general with Cooper that the wall has like magical powers.


RICH: I mean, it`s something I don`t know out of poking or something that is going to somehow solve the whole immigration issue. We`ll build the wall. We`ll see what happens. People will go. They`ll come. It`s not a policy. But we all know that, don`t we.

Doesn`t everyone, including his supporters whose listening to it, including the Ann Coulter`s, don`t they all know its gibberish.

O`DONNELL: Now the thing that I think might be the most important thing about the complete reversal even if for only two days or however long this is. The complete reversal and mass deportation is, doesn`t that say to everyone, he`s capable of a complete reversal on anything.

RICH: Exactly. But I think that`s always been true. I think that he, you know, he`s --

O`DONNELL: But the true believers never got to see that so clearly before last week.

RICH: I hope -- I hope you`re right about that. But I still feel, call me cynical or jaded.

O`DONNELL: I would never. No. No. No.

RICH: I would say the true believers, you know, we`ve seen pieces like in the Washington Post where the true believers of Trump rally say, "We don`t really believe he`s going to build the wall. He`s just standing up for us. We know Mexico won`t pay for it. He`s just our guy."

And the details don`t matter and I guess -- my guess is they`re saying the same thing tonight in spite of this spectacular flip flop on his number one issue, the issue that made him.

O`DONNELL: How do you think the new Trump Campaign Management Team is doing so far, in their almost full week of the job?

RICH: They`re geniuses. What you see -- what you see, I mean obviously, we see the influence of Kellyanne Conway because he`s giving these stately speeches.

O`DONNELL: She got two days of softening out of the day.

RICH: She`s got two days of softening and she got him saying I want to explain white audiences why we should be nice to black people who live under poverty and have no education or standing in America. So that`s her part of it. I assume the Bannon "alt-right" part we`ve been talking about is going to kick in again very soon. It`s an odd couple of Felix and Oscar.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and we`ll see what happens on the poll. I mean, I`m curious to see the polling maybe five days from now to check the effects of the softening and see what Trump`s reaction to that is.

RICH: Yes, softening and hardening. At least it`s not about his fingers.

O`DONNELL: They`re his words. They are his words. He`s the one who has introduced what some people considered the pornographic segments of the show. Frank Rich, thank you very much for joining us to tonight.

RICH: Nice to see you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, in the rewrite tonight, a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history Americans always try to forget.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s episode of Republicans Against Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal surveyed all of the living former members of the Whitehouse Counsel of Economic Advisers, a total of 45 economist who served under eight Presidents going back all the way back to Richard Nixon.

The journal reports among the 17 Republican appointees who responded to journal inquiries, none said they supported Donald Trump. Six other Republican appointees did not respond to the inquiry. None of the Democratic appointees said they were supporting Donald Trump. Economist Martin Feldstein, Counsel Chairman under President Ronald Reagan said I have known personally every Republican President since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. Donald Trump does not have that understanding.

Also today, George W. Bush`s Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell while -- why he has endorsed Hillary Clinton.


CARLOS GUTIERREZ, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: I know it`s a controversial decision. But the, you know, this comment about the "alt- right" is it`s not just a buzz word. There`s Xenophobia, anti-immigrant, populism, protectionism. That is not the Republican Party I signed up for. And that is not the country I love.

And right now, what`s important to me is the country and not going back 50 years from a social point of view. That is my number one priority. That`s why I made the shift.


O`DONNELL: The Campaign War Room is next and then the rewrite on America`s forgotten history.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s "Campaign War Room". Seventy-four days until the election and in the Trump Campaign War Room tonight, they`re not sure if they`re softening or hardening.


COOPER: You said, I`m hearing you using the word "softening". Even last night, I heard you talked about --

TRUMP: Why do you think it`s a softening. I think it`s --

COOPER: But 11 million people are no longer to be deported.

TRUMP: I`ve had people say it`s a hardening.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now on the Campaign War Room, Katie Packer, GOP Strategist, former Deputy Campaign Manager for Romney 2012 and MSNBC Contributor. Also with us Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Adviser and National Spokesperson from the 2016 elections, from and former Deputy Campaign for Martin O`Malley 2016 Presidential Campaign.

Karine, which way is Donald Trump going? I`m going to -- I want to stop using those words that he`s chosen. What do you think is happening here?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISER AND NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, MOVEON.ORG: Well, look, every week we hear about Donald Trump pivot. But what he actually does is a 360 turn, right? It`s never a 180. It`s always like this spinning around like a bobble head just going up and down, up and down, up or down and then while it`s spinning.

Look, what he`s really doing is he`s pandering to the white voters, right. That`s what he`s doing. He`s not going after the black vote. He`s not going after the Latino vote.

He`s pandering to these independent moderate voters who he`s hemorrhaging with that we`ve seen in recent -- most recent polls. And what he`s -- the attempt is to wash away month`s worth of racist, bigoted, sexist rhetoric and policies that he`s put forth. But here is the problem, he`s singing to the same choir, his own choir and the congregation is just not listening to his nonsense.

O`DONNELL: Katie Packer, from the softening to the hardening, to maybe the softening, whatever it is. What does it tell us these last two, three days? Now, tell us about what`s going on inside the Trump War Room with Bannon, with Kellyanne? What`s going on here?

KATIE PACKER, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR MITT ROMNEY: Well I think clearly they`ve done a lot of focus group testing. And have found out that part of the reason that he has slipped so badly in the polls is because his rhetoric has turned off the kind of voters that Republicans need in order to win general elections. And it`s amusing to me after the primary we went through that, you know, this candidate that many of the Republican primary voters glommed unto is now articulating the position that Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and other reasonable conservatives were articulating. And these Republicans rejected it and calling it amnesty, calling it all kind of things it wasn`t. Any of those candidates would be winning a general election right now.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Donald trump tonight. Basically, saying. They`re trying to sound really tough as he`s switching right into the Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush position on this, talking about how he will never apologize. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: I will never apologize for pledging to enforce and uphold every single law of the United States. I will never apologize for making it my - - and this is, I will tell you, for making it my priority. But is it priority also? I think so.

So I will never apologize for making it my priority on immigration to protect American Citizens above every other single consideration.


O`DONNELL: So, Karine, just to put it another way, he will never apologize for switching his position to be identical to people he was running against in the primary who he ridiculed for having that position?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look Lawrence Trump is all about Trump. I mean he`s -- he`s poll numbers with -- he`s polling with Latino`s is pretty much baked in, right? That`s not going to change. They know who he is. And so, what he`s trying to do has nothing to do with that group of people or any of the minorities that he`s been talking about.

It`s the character assassination that he just continues to do. One thing that I do want to say is the Clinton campaigns did a great opposition research. And they put out today like there`s a report that came out today that Bannon was indeed was once charge with domestic violence which is great opposition research if you`re talking about the War Room here. And it`s so smart connected to her scathing -- her scathing speech against him today.

O`DONNELL: Katie Packer, latest Quinnipiac Poll, the National Poll, Clinton 51, Trump 41, solid lead, way outside the margin of error.

PACKER: Yes and it saddens me as a Republican operative that really cares about this party. If any of these other candidates that I just mentioned Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, any of these more reasonable Conservatives had been nominated, we would be spending this week talking about Hillary Clinton and her lack of transparency, the e-mails that she`s hidden from the FBI and from the public. You know, things that are really damming and things that highlight the negatives that are already baked in with voters. But unfortunately, we nominated a candidate that has all these anchors hanging around his neck.

O`DONNELL: That`s all the time we have for the War Room tonight. Katie Packer, and Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you both for joining us tonight.

PACKER: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a Native American protest in North Dakota this month reminds us of what this country tries so very hard to forget. That is next in the rewrite.


O`DONNELL: Dakota means friend, friendly. The people who gave that name to the Dakota`s have sadly never been treated as friends. The people whose language was used to name the Dakota`s and Minnesota and Iowa and Oklahoma, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states, the Native American tribes. The people who were here before us long before us have never been treated as friends.

They have been treated as enemies and dealt with -- with more harshly than any other enemy in any of this country`s wars. After all of our major wars, we signed peace treaties and lived by those treaties.

After World War II when we made peace with Germany, we then did everything we possibly could to rebuild Germany. No Native American tribe has ever been treated, as well, as we treated Germans after World War II.

Donald trump and his supporters now fear the country being invaded by foreigners who want to change our way of life, a fear that Native Americans have lived with every day for over 500 years. The original sin of this country is that we invaders shot and murdered our way across the land killing every Native American we could and making treaties with the rest. This country was founded on genocide before the word genocide was invented, before there was a war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

When we finally stopped actively killing Native Americans for the crime of living here before us, we then preceded to violate every treaty we made with the tribes, every single treaty. We piled crime on top of crime on top of crime against the people whose offense against us was simply that they lived where we wanted to live.

We don`t feel the guilt of those crimes because we pretended they happened a very long time ago in ancient history and we actively suppressed the memories of those crimes. But there are people alive today whose grandparents were in the business of killing Native Americans. That`s how recent these crimes are.

Every once and a while, there is a painful and morally embarrassing reminder as there is this week in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where hundreds of people have gathered and camped out in opposition to an interstate pipeline being built from North Dakota to Illinois. The protest is being lead by this country`s original environmentalist, Native Americans. For hundreds of years they were our only environmentalists.

The only people who thought that land and rivers should be preserved in their natural state. The only people who thought a mountain or a prairie or a river could be a sacred place.

Yesterday, a Federal judge heard arguments from the tribes against the Federal government`s approval of the pipeline and said he will deliver his decision on whether the pipeline can proceed next month. There are now over 93 tribes gathered in protest of that pipeline. That protest will surely continue even if the judge allows construction to proceed.

And so we face the prospect next month of the descendants, of the first people to ever set foot on that land, being arrested by the descendants of the invaders who seized that land. Arrested for trespassing, that we still have Native Americans left in this country to be arrested for trespassing on their own land is testament not to the mercy of the genocidal invaders who seized and occupied their land. But to the stunning strength and the 500 years of endurance and the undying dignity of the people who were here long before us, the people who have always known what is truly sacred in this world.