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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 9/6/2016

Guests: Tony Schwartz, Charlie Cook

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 6, 2016 Guest: Tony Schwartz, Charlie Cook

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- but still, and yesterday, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an impromptu meeting on the sidelines of the G-20.

They reportedly talked about a ceasefire in Syria, and cyber security which of course is awkward in light of the reporting on Russia`s reported plans to disrupt the November election.

And just in case things were too calm in North Korea, test fired three ballistic missiles towards Japan during this visit without any warning. That all literally happened during President Obama`s trip to China and Laos.

For President Obama`s departure from the G-20 though, the Chinese did get him a shiny set of stairs, complete with slate(ph) blue, light (INAUDIBLE) in the railings, fancy stairs, so maybe it`s all, you know, well and good.

That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, I don`t want any talk about my health tonight, because as you may have already noticed, I do have a throat lozenge that I am working at the moment.

And I may occasionally at different points in the show, and I just don`t want any wild speculation out there about what`s going on --

MADDOW: Clearly --

O`DONNELL: With my --

MADDOW: You are unfit to be president.

O`DONNELL: My cough --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Suppressing I`m doing right now.

MADDOW: Bellevue(ph) calling!

O`DONNELL: That`s right --

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Well, today, Donald Trump was asked some very good questions about what he would do as commander-in-chief. His favorite former General Michael Flynn asked those good questions.

And Donald Trump didn`t answer any of them and that was perfectly OK with General Flynn and Donald Trump`s audience.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: His whole campaign has been one long insult to all those who`ve worn the uniform.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION & REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR 2016 ELECTION: You have illegal immigrants that she wants treated better than veterans.

CLINTON: He has no clue about what he`s talking about.

TRUMP: Wouldn`t it be nice if we actually could get along with Russia?

TIM KAINE, NOMINEE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN 2016 ELECTION : He has a bizarre fascination with strong men and authoritarian leaders.

TRUMP: Putin looks at her and he laughs, OK --

CLINTON: He says he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS.

TRUMP: We are going to solve the ISIS problem.

CLINTON: But the secret is, he has no plan.

KAINE: Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares me to death.

TRUMP: Our country is going to hell.

CLINTON: He`s been accused repeatedly of fraudulent behavior.

TRUMP: This is a phony group of lying people.

KAINE: He says whatever he feels like at any given time.

CLINTON: And that`s fine if you`re a reality TV star. I don`t think it is fine if you want to be president of the United States.


O`DONNELL: Election day is now just 62 days away and the first presidential debate is 19 days from now. But tomorrow night, we will see a preview of the debate. It`s address rehearsal of sorts right here on Nbc and Msnbc.

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump participated in the commander-in- chief forum hosted by Nbc News and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.


TRUMP: Hillary likes to play tough with Russia. Putin looks at her and he laughs, OK.


He laughs. Putin looks at Hillary Clinton and he smiles, but wouldn`t it be nice, honestly, because Russia doesn`t like ISIS any better than we do. Wouldn`t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia?


O`DONNELL: That was before an audience composed mainly of veterans in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn who Donald Trump considered for his running mate asked Donald Trump some very good questions, which Donald Trump did not answer.

And the audience did not notice that he did not answer and they applauded any way. And General Flynn asked a good yes or no question. The kind of question that candidates like Donald Trump do not like.



TRUMP: Look, we have a problem, it`s called ISIS. ISIS is fighting Syria. Now, we`ve built up Iran to be a big power. Iran is on the side of Assad, Syria.


O`DONNELL: Notice that Donald Trump has not yet said yes or no to that simple question of do you support regime change in Syria?

He goes on with that answer. His answer goes on for 665 words and he never answers the question. He just talks about what a bad job John Kerry did negotiating the Iran deal, which is exactly what Donald Trump had said in answer to a previous question.

And here is how Donald Trump`s 665-word non-answer actually ended.


TRUMP: So, these are the things that we`re stuck with, folks, but we will fix them.



O`DONNELL: Great, the questioner who did not get an answer to his question, nothing even close to an answer to his question grades the non- answer, great.

And then General Flynn asked another very good question to which he got lots of words, but no answer to his question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do in Libya to defeat ISIS and just talk a little bit about your commander-in-chief philosophy for how you would deal with this?

TRUMP: Well, it`s more of the same. I mean, just another place they`ve taken over. And this was a Hillary Clinton deal.


O`DONNELL: And this time the answer went on for about 440 words and included sentences like "Germany is a disaster". "France is a disaster".

"Crime is unbelievable" and not one word about what Donald Trump would do to defeat ISIS in Libya and not one word about his commander-in-chief philosophy.

Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine was across the border from Donald Trump in North Carolina today giving us a preview of what we might hear from Hillary Clinton tomorrow night at the commander-in-chief forum.


KAINE: Donald Trump trash-talks our own military, and those who sacrificed for it including John McCain, an American hero, a POW.

He picked a fight with a Virginia gold star family whose son died saving his fellow soldiers. He has a bizarre fascination with strong men and authoritarian leaders in countries that are no allies of the United States.

And with respect to our allies, he would toss alliances aside and says he wants to "take everything back from the world that we`ve given to them".


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Stuart Stevens, columnist for the "Daily Beast", Republican strategist, he was the senior strategist for Mitt Romney`s 2012 presidential run.

Also with us, David Corn, the Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

And Boris Epshteyn, senior adviser to the Trump-Pence 2016 campaign. Boris, let me try that yes or no question with you. Is Donald Trump in favor of regime change in Syria?

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP-PENCE 2016 CAMPAIGN: It`s a very nuance issue, as you well know.

The problem with Syria is that when we started our policy with Syria, there was a red line with Assad. Then it was (INAUDIBLE) up, chemical weapons were used, the red line was passed.

Then we were backing some rebels who ended up backing ISIS. Now, ISIS has a lot of our home base, has a lot of our money, has a lot of our military equipment. The question right now is not about regime change, Lawrence, it`s about how do we defeat ISIS?

That is the main --


TRUMP: Problem we have with the Middle East --

O`DONNELL: Did General Flynn ask that question, Donald Trump`s favorite general, if that`s not the question now?

EPSHTEYN: Well, listen, it`s up to --

O`DONNELL: Was it a bad question? Should General Flynn --

EPSHTEYN: No, it`s --

O`DONNELL: Not have asked that question? --

EPSHTEYN: It`s up to General Flynn to ask the question, up to Donald Trump to answer the questions -- by the way, Hillary Clinton didn`t answer any questions tonight --

O`DONNELL: So, I`m putting it down as not in favor of regime change in Syria.

EPSHTEYN: I would -- if I were you, I would put him down as somebody who is going to be strong on ISIS unlike Hillary Clinton on whose watch ISIS was born.

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, again, he was --


O`DONNELL: Asked how he would be -- how he would deal with ISIS and we got no answer to that.

STEVENS: Look, Donald Trump has stated his position, he thinks it`s a conspiracy that was founded by the president of the United States.


STEVENS: He said Barack Obama founded ISIS. And this is the problem with Donald Trump. You know, he takes a truth and wraps it in so many lies, you can`t see the truth. I personally think that there`s a lot of culpability of things that could have been done better.

We have a human disaster in Syria, but it`s impossible to have this discussion with Donald Trump when he just sort of talks about this stuff and doesn`t really say anything.

I hope they ask Donald Trump some serious questions like, what is the difference between Sunni and Shiite? His depth of knowledge is just that of a guy that was on the apprentice.


O`DONNELL: He was asked serious questions today.

EPSHTEYN: Right --

O`DONNELL: General Flynn asked good questions, that wasn`t the problem --


EPSHTEYN: Not exact point. Donald Trump also said that Hillary Clinton and Barack should get an MVP award. Obviously, he`s being sarcastic. But the point remains that --

O`DONNELL: He`s got to hold up a sign when --


EPSHTEYN: We have learned of our home base.


EPSHTEYN: ISIS was born under Hillary Clinton`s watch. The Middle East is blown up on Obama and Hillary Clinton`s watch. There`s no question about that.

You look at Egypt, Libya, of course Syria. Look at -- even Iran with the secret causes that are allowing them to keep uranium.

It is obvious that our foreign policy and national security have been a disaster under the watch of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, go ahead.

CORN: You know, this is a part of the problem having a debate like this in this sort of forum, and I`m not blaming you, Lawrence. But Boris has already said that ISIS started under Hillary Clinton`s watch, not true.


CORN: And --


O`DONNELL: Boris, please --

CORN: You know, you said that -- you said that -- you said that --

EPSHTEYN: I did say it --

CORN: And --

EPSHTEYN: It`s true --

CORN: You know, and of course, you know, you make one other fact that Donald Trump said that Obama was the founder of ISIS. It shows that the guy --

EPSHTEYN: I never said that --

CORN: Is not serious. If he can get -- that`s a real good joking point about a very serious matter. And if he -- and if he can`t really respond by coming --

EPSHTEYN: So, when did ISIS start, David?

CORN: Out with his plan, his viewpoints and his policy options --

EPSHTEYN: When did ISIS start?

CORN: Then it`s just -- you know, he`s not really ready to be commander- in-chief.

EPSHTEYN: You`re disagreeing with him but you`re not bringing a counter for it. When did ISIS start according to you, David? --


CORN: Not the same thing, is making jokes about the president being the MVP --


CORN: Even if you want to say that, which is not what he said initially.

EPSHTEYN: When did ISIS start, according to you, David? Is it -- I guess you`re going to blame --


EPSHTEYN: George W. Bush from now on, right? --

CORN: ISIS came out -- ISIS came out of al Qaeda in Iraq which started long before --

EPSHTEYN: Right --

CORN: ISIS is --


I mean, you can look it up --

EPSHTEYN: Started under the administration of Barack Obama --

CORN: If you wanted to look it up, if you cared about the truth --


If you cared about the fact --

EPSHTEYN: Both you and I know --

CORN: You could look it up, Boris.

EPSHTEYN: Right --

O`DONNELL: It`s not OK, let`s --

EPSHTEYN: Under Back Obama, both you and I know it --

O`DONNELL: Boris, let`s move --

CORN: No, it didn`t start under Obama`s watch --


CORN: He did not -- this is a fair --



CORN: We know this --

O`DONNELL: Look --

CORN: There are books here, read --


Book --

O`DONNELL: David, you don`t have to go any further --

EPSHTEYN: All right --

O`DONNELL: We`ve got our disagreements recorded, Boris alone in this discussion believes that this is signable to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And we all understand --

EPSHTEYN: Which I am the only Donald Trump supporter here, right? --

O`DONNELL: The rest of us disagree with that, OK. Let`s move -- let`s move across the globe to North Korea. Let`s listen -- again, very good question by General Flynn.

What would be your policy, your strategy, he asked him, toward North Korea? Listen to this leadership answer.


TRUMP: What I would do very simply is say, China, this is your baby, this is your problem, you solve the problem. China can solve that problem.


O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, that was it. That`s the entire Trump strategy with North Korea.

STEVENS: You know, you know, he`s also said that he wants to give nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea because clearly the problem of the world is we don`t have enough nuclear weapons. I don`t really know what to make of this.

It`s not -- this is kind of like a discussion that guys would -- and girls would have late at night, maybe in some high school sitting around. It`s just -- it`s just an absolute jumble of gibberish that he`s filing --


EPSHTEYN: What`s Hillary Clinton`s policy on North Korea? Is it the failed deal in 1994 that her husband put in place? What`s Hillary Clinton`s policy on North Korea?

STEVENS: Well --

EPSHTEYN: And we both know China does --

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night --

EPSHTEYN: China does control North Korea --


O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night is very likely -- it`s going to be on for basically half an hour. So, North Korea, it`s possible it won`t come up.

But if your candidate, if he`s asked his position on North Korea and his entire answer is, I`m just going to ask the Chinese to take care of that.

Do you really think that the American people have a leadership position to vote for in Donald Trump`s position on North Korea?

EPSHTEYN: Well, if you look at the history of North Korea as a communist country, right? Since the `50s, what is the one country that`s been able to control it, time and time again? And that`s China.

Did happen during the Korean war, it`s happened ever since. Donald Trump is exactly right. The United States has tried to play the leadership role under President Clinton but absolutely failed in that nuclear deal that Madeleine Albright put in place in `94 as you well know, right?


EPSHTEYN: So, China actually is the right country --

O`DONNELL: Right --

EPSHTEYN: To be partners with on North Korea --


EPSHTEYN: And China wants to control North Korea.

O`DONNELL: OK, I want us -- you included David in this discussion. And so, David, here we have the anti-China candidate Donald Trump who rails against China nonstop on all trade policy issues. He`s going to go to them after he`s ripped up every conceivable trade agreement with China, the --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Various ways we have of international trade with China. Wants to destroy all that and then say to them now, I need --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: You to do my job for me --

CORN: You know --

O`DONNELL: With North Korea because I don`t know how to do it.

CORN: This is absurd, and the United States has been trying to get China to work and lean on North Korea for decades now. This is not a new idea, Boris --


I`m just going to ask -- I`m just going to ask China to do this, well, United States has been asking and it hasn`t worked because China plays a very sort of sophisticated game with North Korea and doesn`t lean on them too hard.

So, Donald Trump who does everything he can to bash China, is not going to ask China and things are going to change --


EPSHTEYN: Therefore the promises are completely wrong --

CORN: This is basically --

EPSHTEYN: Donald Trump --


CORN: You know what? My policy on North Korea is -- my policy on North Korea is, give me a unicorn, that`s what he`s saying there. That`s about his --


O`DONNELL: Boris --


EPSHTEYN: Can I just disagree with the premise for one second here. Donald Trump has repeatedly said, repeatedly said that he`s worked with China, the Bank of China which is a tenant in one of his buildings, that he`s willing to work with them and will work with them.

But he`ll do it out of a position of toughness, which is something that --


EPSHTEYN: He doesn`t owe China a cent --

O`DONNELL: His companies moved --

EPSHTEYN: And that`s -- and that`s --

O`DONNELL: Moved into China for --


EPSHTEYN: That story was incorrect --

O`DONNELL: Let me -- let me --

EPSHTEYN: And again --

O`DONNELL: Show you something -- let me --


EPSHTEYN: Out there, Lawrence, because it`s not true.

O`DONNELL: You`re going to maintain that the Trump companies have no debt to China whatsoever --

EPSHTEYN: They are all companies which Donald Trump is a part of, which may --


With China --

O`DONNELL: Good --

EPSHTEYN: But Donald Trump is not --


Or even a cent --

O`DONNELL: Let me show you something --

EPSHTEYN: Of that debt --

O`DONNELL: Let me show you a moment Hallie Jackson had today with General Flynn. Let`s listen to this.


HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS: He knows more about ISIS than generals do. You`re a general, does Donald Trump know more about ISIS than you?

FLYNN: You know, that`s a -- that is a statement that he made well over a year ago as he got into this -- as he got into the primaries.

So, I mean, I kind of put things in context, and I`ve been with him for almost a year now, and I will tell you that this is a very capable guy.


O`DONNELL: So Boris, General Flynn refused to agree with Donald Trump that he knows more about ISIS than the generals do. Do you think Donald Trump knows more about ISIS than the generals do?

EPSHTEYN: You know, it`s interesting, you are very keen to pick and choose, you know, small things that Donald Trump has said here. You know what else has been said in the campaign season?

Hillary Clinton told Congress she turned over all --


O`DONNELL: So, we`re not getting an answer to that question?


Do you think Donald Trump knows more about ISIS than the generals do? --

EPSHTEYN: You`d have to ask the generals, you have to ask Donald Trump.


EPSHTEYN: I`m here to talk about policies --

O`DONNELL: All right --

EPSHTEYN: Maybe we should talk about Hillary Clinton because there are two choices --


O`DONNELL: We`re out of time -- sorry, Boris --

EPSHTEYN: In this election --

O`DONNELL: We`re out of time for this segment, sorry. Stuart Stevens, David Corn and Boris Einstein -- Epshteyn, thank you --

EPSHTEYN: Einstein is fine, I respect that --


EPSHTEYN: Einstein any day --


O`DONNELL: That`s the one mistake when you`ll take, OK, Boris Epshteyn, thank you very much --

EPSHTEYN: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: For joining us in this story --

EPSHTEYN: All right --

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Coming up, a visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota this weekend where they are protesting construction of an oil pipeline. I`ll tell you what happened when attack dogs were used to control the protesters.

And I`ll tell you the most important thing that the protesters are trying to teach us. Also tonight, Tony Schwartz, who co-authored Donald Trump`s book "The Art of the Deal" will tell us what he expects from Donald Trump and debates.

And David Cay Johnston will take a look at Donald Trump`s illegal contribution to the Florida Attorney General just before the Florida Attorney General decided not to bring any charges civil or criminal against Trump University.


O`DONNELL: Three years ago, the Attorney General of New York filed a fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump for operating Trump University, the university that was not a real university. And in New York State, it is illegal to call anything that isn`t actually a university a university.

As we`ve reported on this program many times, the New York Attorney General found that many of the ways of doing business within Trump University besides the name constituted fraud.

It was such a compelling case that the Florida Attorney General`s spokesperson said she was considering joining the New York Attorney General`s fraud case.

Four days after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi made that announcement through her spokesperson, she got a campaign contribution of $25,000 from Donald Trump.

The "Associated Press" has reported that Attorney General Bondi said she personally solicited Donald Trump for that campaign contribution.

Within weeks of receiving that $25,000, Attorney General Bondi decided not to join any case against Trump University.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: You said recently "when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do".

TRUMP: You better believe it. I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody.

When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.

BAIER: So, what do you get? --

TRUMP: And that`s a broken system.


O`DONNELL: That was last year. Yesterday, Donald Trump tried to make you believe that the one person he never got anything from in exchange for a political contribution was Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.


TRUMP: Wishes beyond reproach, he`s a fine person, never spoke to her about it at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you hoping to get out of that donation? Now, you talked a lot about that donation --

TRUMP: I`ve just known Pam Bondi for years. I have a lot of respect for her. Never spoke to her about that at all and just have a lot of respect for her as a person and she`s done an amazing job as the Attorney General of Florida.


O`DONNELL: The story looks bad enough for Donald Trump if it stops there. But it doesn`t. The campaign contribution was illegal because it came from the Trump Foundation. A charity which is not allowed to make political contributions.

The Trump Foundation`s tax return did not list the illegal contribution. When the IRS discovered it, the IRS fined the Trump Foundation $2,500.

The Trump campaign said today, it was just a series of clerical errors that led to the illegal contribution by the foundation. And the coincidental failure to include that contribution in the foundation`s tax returns.


CLINTON: I am quite taken aback by the foundation making a political contribution to the Florida Attorney General who is just about to investigate Trump University and then ending the investigation.

I mean, there are so many things that are questionable about that and the IRS certainly thought so and said it was illegal and fined Trump for that, you know, set of facts.


O`DONNELL: The Florida Attorney General now caught in the ugliest possible timing of a campaign contribution is just outraged. That anyone could have the slightest suspicion that she and Donald Trump might have been up to something.


PAM BONDI, ATTORNEY GENERAL, FLORIDA: Will not be collateral damage in a presidential campaign nor will I be a woman bullied by Hillary Clinton. This is about her trying to deflect everything she did as Secretary of State.

Of course, I asked Donald Trump for a contribution, and that`s not what this is about. She was saying he was under investigation by my office at the time and I knew about it. None of which is true.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and columnist with the "Daily Beast". He has a new book out called "The Making of Donald Trump".

David, I guess we now know why you want to keep Trump tax return secret if you can. Here is the one we know about, and it`s got a tax crime on it.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Yes, the IRS operates under rules, Congress, though that are very lenient here. And by the way, we don`t actually know there was a $2,500 fine.

We know that the Trump campaign has said that they paid the $2,500 statutory penalty. But in theory, actions like this should -- could, and I would argue should resolve in revocation of your charitable status.

Because this was an elaborate story they came up with, you know, claiming that the money really went to a group that teaches anti-abortion protesters in Kansas.

Well, no, they wrote it to an outfit in California, neither of which have any past connection to Trump whatsoever like by the way Pam Bondi, who Trump now wants you to think was his close good friend for a long time.

O`DONNELL: And there`s so many outrages here including the notion that you can give $25,000 to a state Attorney General campaign and Pam --

JOHNSTON: When you`re under investigation.

O`DONNELL: When you`re under -- and Pam Bondi pretending that it`s outrageous for us to wonder about this contribution arriving after her office announced that they were looking at the Trump University.

JOHNSTON: Well, and afterwards she lied about this also. She said they had one complaint from somebody in Florida who had been taken by this scam called Trump University.

It turns out that there were over 8,000 pages of documents the state had from people saying, hey, I was swindled out of my entire life savings.

I`m going to lose my house because of these crooks at Trump University. And it turns out the agents representing Donald Trump or a couple who were well-known to state level securities, law enforcement people, all across America and who just shutdown the office and disappeared.

Bondi`s office told people, well -- and her predecessor, well, you should just call and ask for a refund. How do you call and ask for a refund when they`ve shutdown the office and have squandered with your money.

O`DONNELL: We`ve been on the Trump University case for a year now, and it`s not ending any time soon, David Cay Johnston, thank you very much for joining us.

JOHNSTON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next, one of the presidential candidates visited the pipeline protest at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, and I`ll bring you my report of what I learned there this weekend.

And later, if you`re going to debate Donald Trump, you want to talk to the man who co-wrote Donald Trump`s book "The Art of the Deal", Tony Schwartz will join us.


O`DONNELL: Meet Alice Brown Otter. Alice is 12 years old. She made her first trip to Washington, D.C. this year. She didn`t pile into a bus with her 7th grade classmates. She ran all the way from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, 1,519 miles.

Alice told me she did it because water is life. That`s what I kept hearing this weekend at the Standing Rock Reservation in English and Lakota "Water is Life," "Mni Wiconi." Over 100 tribes from all over North America have gathered there to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and protesting the construction of an underground oil pipeline that will go under the Missouri River.

The tribe`s fear that any leakage from the pipeline will damage the river and the reservation. The Federal Court Judge hearing the tribe`s case against the pipeline announced last week that he would make a decision at the end of this week. Then on Friday, the tribe filed additional information in court about sacred sites they had located in the path of the pipeline.

On Saturday, the pipeline construction company sent bulldozers and deployed a security force to protect the work of those bulldozers. Security personnel used trained attack dogs to keep protesters away from the bulldozers. It didn`t work.

The protesters kept advancing. Several of them were reportedly bitten by the dogs. In this shot, captured by Amy Goodman and her crew at Democracy Now, you can see blood on the mouth of this dog. There were no police witnesses to the confrontation, but a police statement after the fact mentioned only reported injuries to the security personnel, including one who was brought to the hospital in Bismarck but refused treatment when he got there. The pipeline company refused to respond to any of our questions today about their use of attack dogs against the protesters.

In an emergency hearing this afternoon, the Federal Judge handling the case ordered a temporary stop to construction activity on land controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. Judge James Boasberg said he had no jurisdiction to order temporary stop on privately owned land. The tribe says, there are sacred sites remaining on that privately owned land that could be destroyed by bulldozers this week.

Senator Bernie Sanders stands with the tribes. He issued a written statement opposing the construction of the pipeline. But Bernie Sanders is not a presidential candidate anymore. So Hillary Clinton is no under pressure from Bernie Sanders to take a position on the pipeline.

Green Party President Candidate Jill Stein supports the tribes and visited the pipeline protest today. But Jill Stein doesn`t have the following of Bernie Sanders. And so the tribe`s protests against the pipeline still struggles to be heard by the national news media. No one at the protest camp on Saturday was surprised that the pipeline company literally let loose the dogs against them.

It might be hard for the rest of us who believe that in 21st century, dogs could be used this way legally in America. It could be for us to believe but the tribes aren`t surprised. Everyone I met in the protest camp, including the children, is willing to endure dog bites if that`s what it takes tomorrow or preserve their sacred sites and their sacred water.

They don`t understand why we don`t understand what water means to them and to us. They know that we`re taught in high school of the human body is 60 percent water. They know that we are taught that there could be no life of any kind on this planet without water.

They know we know that the first thing we search for in other planets is any trace of water because water is life. But the tribes know that we think water is just commodity. It is something outside of us that we use for our convenience.

The tribes know better. The tribes know that water is part of us. The tribes know we are water. There would be no protest today if the pipeline had followed an earlier proposed route that would not have crossed the Missouri River and would not have come close to the sacred sites of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Alice Brown Otters first stop in Washington, D.C. was not one of the tourist locations. It was the Army Corps of Engineers where she stood outside and protested with a small group of kids her age and younger who ran to Washington with her. They did it because water is life. We can only hope the 12-year-old Alice Brown Otter doesn`t have to spend the rest of her life trying to teach us what she already knows. "Mni Wiconi," "Water is Life."


O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton is doing her homework which should come as a surprise to no one. Hillary Clinton is preparing for the upcoming Presidential Debates and tomorrow nights Presidential Candidate Forum here on NBC and MNBC. And here is how she`s approaching the debates.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: I`m doing my homework. Donald Trump is a self proclaimed great debater who won everyone of the Republican debates. So I take nothing for granted. I think this will be a difficult and challenging debate, which is why I`m going to be thinking hard about what I need to present the American people.


O`DONNELL: And here`s Eric Trump today talking about how his father prepares for debates.


ERIC TRUMP, AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN: I sat on every single one of the debates. Every single one, the Republican primary debates and I would look up at some of the people on stage and then obviously, I saw this as well when I watched Hillary and Bernie debate. But I mean, how many of those sound bites have been rehearsed 300 times, where somebody obviously stood in front of a mirror and they looked out into the crowd. And they did so with blurred vision and they weren`t looking at anybody and they were just remembering a sound bite and threw it out.

And that`s not who my father is. He`s not going to feel ever be. I mean his way preparing for a debate, he`s talking to really, really smart people.


O`DONNELL: Not just really smart people, really, really smart people. Tony Schwartz, the man who covered Donald Trump`s the "Art of the Deal" will join us next on debating Donald Trump.



DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, 2016: I think I`m preparing somewhat like I prepared for the other debates. I think I`m preparing, like, you know, I enjoy the debating process. I did -- obviously, I did well in the debates according to the polls, you`re online polls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is someone playing Hillary in your prep?





O`DONNELL: Joining us now Tony Schwartz, co-author of Donald Trump`s best selling book the "Art of the Deal". Tony, I want to get to this debate stuff. But I want to talk about a little breaking news that`s happening at this hour. And it`s on the Donald Trump relationship with Florida`s Attorney General with Pam Bondi.

We knew about the $25,000 contribution. We are now learning that he then hosted a fund-raiser for her at Mar-a-Lago of some months after that first one, the first contribution. And so, you know, what is your reading of the transactional nature of this kind of thing for Donald Trump when he`s got a Florida Attorney General`s office announcing, we might join this case against Trump University.

TONY SCHWARTZ, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: I mean, it`s pretty simple. He`s a transactional man and he`s always doing something that he thinks could serve his self interest and bribing politicians is something that he`s explicitly said. You, I think ran a clip earlier. He`s explicitly said he does and he said it`s a problem with the system but not with his taking advantage of the system in the most extreme ways.

O`DONNELL: And then it is also -- it also quite essentially Trumpian that when we show him a transactional case like this, that this is the one where he says, "oh, no, no, there was nothing transactional about this at all," after having told us in the primaries that every single one of his political contributions was transactional.

SCHWARTZ: Because he lies without thinking. I mean that`s -- that`s what he does. If you raise something that he doesn`t have an answer to then he says it`s not true.



O`DONNELL: How will this work in the debate scene for him. Tomorrow night, he`s going to be doing half an hour on Commander in Chief issues. He`ll go after Hillary Clinton. There was a coin toss today which he won. So he chose to go second after he gets to hear what Hillary Clinton says.

He was good today in front of an audience that loved him, about not answering any questions about the Commander in Chief roles, asks smart questions asked to him by a general, Former General Flynn. Is he going to play an evasive non-answer game and filibuster or how do you expect him to move on?

SCHWARTZ: Well he`s not actually capable of filibustering because he doesn`t have enough content in his head to actually filibuster --

O`DONNELL: But he pours out enormous amount of words without content though --

SCHWARTZ: -- with tremendous amounts of repetition.

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.

SCHWARTZ: So I mean I think he is as we all know he`s a counter puncher. So he`s going to be looking for what she goes after. I think, you know, the best way to deal with Donald Trump in a debate is to give him back his own words.

I mean, he can say on a press plane he`s not going to comment on the Birther issue anymore. But he can`t say that in a debate. And if he does say it, it`s an opening that`s wide -- it`s a wide opening for Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: You`ve been watching the televised debates, President`s debates for decades. You know Donald Trump. You`ve been watching him for decades. Do you think the debate format will be able to corral him?

SCHWARTZ: No. Actually, I do not think you can corral him. I think what you hope to do is to get under his skin and unnerve him. He doesn`t show up as unnerved. He simply says something that becomes an obvious sound bite because it`s so outrageous and off the wall. So what you hope he`ll do is he`ll say something equivalent to what he said about the Khans or he`ll say something equivalent to what he said about McCain.

And if he feels humiliated, what we know about Donald Trump is it`s -- he will always double down. So, if he feels that he`s been caught, he will double down and make it worse. So, it`s his own words that, to me, are the greatest opportunity during this debate.

It`s what he said about McCain. It`s what he said about the Khans. It`s what he said about knowing more than the generals. You have a list, and in fact, you know, I think for Hillary the challenge will be to choose wisely among the opportunities, among the choices, which of those she wants to put in front of his face.

And, you know, that`s not giving away anything about strategy because --

O`DONNELL: Right. Right.

SCHWARTZ: -- those words already exist and she -- there`s nothing he can do to take them back except to deny that he said in the first place, which we know he`s capable of doing. And so, you know, the fact that Chris Wallace said he was not going to fact check during the debate, I think gives an opportunity for an awful lot of other people to fact check during this debate.

What we know is between Google and the reality of -- or the likelihood that Trump won`t be saying things that are true, there`s a tremendous opportunity to very quickly respond to where he is clearly not telling the truth, where he`s lying.

O`DONNELL: So we can expect -- I would think you would expect that the Clinton campaign will be able to harvest material out of the debate that gets turned around into 30-second TV Ads very quickly.

SCHWARTZ: Well I do. But I also think they can harvest if we were in the harvest game, I think they can harvest a tremendous amount of material from long before the debate so over the last year and a half.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Tony Swartz, thank you very much for joining us with your insights on Donald Trump. Really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Campaign War Room, new national polls show a tightening in the race. One of them actually shows Donald Trump ahead and Charlie Cook will translate those polls for us.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Campaign War Room, the Trump and Clinton War Rooms are studying three new polls tonight. A new NBC Tracking Poll of registered voters shows the race unchanged from last week with Hillary Clinton four points ahead of Donald Trump at 41-37, with Gary Johnson 12, Jill Stein at 4. But a new CNN Poll of likely voters shows Donald Trump at 45 and Hillary Clinton at 43 in the four-way race.

The Trump and Clinton War Rooms now have a Washington Post Poll of all 50 states. The first time the post has polled all of the states. Some states usually are so lopsided that no one even bothers to poll them.

The Washington Post Poll shows 20 states where Hillary Clinton leads by at least four points and 20 states for Donald Trump leads by at least 4 points with ten toss up states. The states where Hillary Clinton leads account for 244 electoral votes, the states where Donald Trump leads accounts for just 126 electoral votes.

With 62 days left for the Presidential Campaign War Room joining us tonight and the last Word War Room is Charlie Cook, an NBC News Political Analyst and Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report. Every one`s bible when they`re looking at these races. Charlie, translate for us what you`re seeing in these polls.

CHARLIE COOK, POLITICAL ANALYST, NBC NEWS: Well we have seen some tightening since August. But I think it`s, you know, the two cardinal offenses in watching Presidential polls is one don`t cherry pick, don`t look for the polls that tell you what you want to see and obsess over those. And then don`t get too caught up on whatever is the most recent even if it`s inconsistent with all the others. And that`s why I suggest to people watch the averages.

Watch the real clear politics average or and if Nate Silver`s FiveThirtyEight. And if you look at those, it`s heightened up a little bit. But, you know, I don`t think anybody was ever going to run away with this race. They`re -- both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump`s negatives are way too high for either one of them to win by a big margin.

O`DONNELL: And Charlie what about -- there`s two different kinds of polls were looking at these days. There are two - well, two-way race polls, one on one, Clinton versus Trump. Hillary Clinton tends to do better in the one on one polls.

Then we run sometimes the three-way poll with the Libertarian candidate and then sometimes the four-way poll. In the four-way poll, that`s when Hillary Clinton has her smallest leads. That`s when she does the worst in these polls. Which is the better way to look at these, granted that in almost 50 states, at least the multi party candidates will be on the ticket?

COOK: That`s real quandary for pollsters because what they found in the past is that if you suggest the names of the third or fourth candidates in the race, it tends to over inflate what they`ll actually get on Election Day. But it`s not fair to leave them out either because then you`re leaving it completely out of the count. And so, you know, there`s not a right answer other than maybe just go ahead and ask all four.

But keep in mind that by suggesting these names to people that may not be thinking about Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. You`re probably puffing up their numbers by a point or two.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I`ve noticed that some of the polling organizations actually do it both ways. They in this -- within the same poll, they do a one on one and then they do a four-way race. It seems like they`re suggesting to us that we might want to find a middle space between those two spreads.

COOK: Right. That`s why I mean for example if you look on the real clear politics, they`ll have the four way, three way, the two way and then sort of look at all three of those variations. And kind of keep an eyeball on it. But, you know, a lot of these things, there`s no right or wrong answer. And the idea is just to kind of take it all in and but keep it all in perspective. But this race is closed up some -- but, you know, Donald Trump still has a long way to go to get to earn 70 electoral votes.

O`DONNELL: Charlie, the Presidential Race is checkers. Everybody thinks they can play checkers. Everybody thinks they can predict the presidential race.

Senate and control of the Senate is chess -- you keep your eye on every player on that board. How does the Senate Race look to you now in terms of which party ends up with control?

COOK: Well the conversional wisdom is that Democrats have probably about 60 percent chance of getting a majority back. I personally am about 50/50. But when the arithmetic is clearly working towards Democrats, you know, Republicans have 24 seats up, Democrats only have 10, seven of the Republican seats up or in states that Obama carried, none of the Democratic states are up in Romney states.

And that there`re just a lot of Republicans seats right up against the edge. I think if I were just going to look at say three, I would probably watch New Hampshire, North Carolina, maybe Indiana, Pennsylvania those would be sort of the four I would watch.

But I think it`s going to be a 50/50 give or take a seat or two. And the numbers push it towards Democrats. But I still think that the more likely it appears that Hillary Clinton will win, I still think there`s going to be a little bit of hedging. That you`re hear Republicans say don`t give Hillary Clinton a blank check.

And because of sort of the trust issues that she faces, I think you will see some swing voters in some of these key states kind of hedge back a little bit and want to, you know, maybe give Republican a second look in some of these really close races. So I think is -- I think it`s a 50/50 proposition.

O`DONNELL: Charlie, that sounds like almost a professionalization of voters. What states do you expect the voter to behave that way? Is that something you look for in New Hampshire where the voters think about this and a lot more than other states?

COOK: I think that`s probably -- if I was going to look at one, to me, that`s the closest thing to a 50/50 race we`ve got. I mean, we can look at all the others and Indiana, you know, Evan Bayh`s just a little bit up or Pennsylvania, Katie McGinty is up a little bit over Pat Toomey, you know, where you could look -- but New Hampshire is the one that`s just right on the knife`s edge. And so, I would look at it there more than any place else.

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

COOK: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Up next, Donald Trump has a new answer tonight about his tax returns. It turns out the audit is no longer a problem for him.



TRUMP: When the audit is complete, I`ll release my returns. I have no problem with it. It doesn`t matter --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the legal team would say you could do it now --

TRUMP: But how does she talk about my tax returns -- there`s one now but nobody recommend that. In the meantime, she has 33,000 e-mails that she deleted. Let her release her e-mails and I`ll release my tax returns immediately.


O`DONNELL: What? And suddenly the audit wouldn`t be a problem. And Donald Trump would just release his tax returns. Sure he would.

Donald Trump gets THE LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams is up next.