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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/14/2016

Guests: Mark McKinnon; Scott Stringer; Earlest Johnson, Robert Costa, Elise Jordan, Josh Barro

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 14, 2016 Guest: Mark McKinnon; Scott Stringer; Earlest Johnson, Robert Costa, Elise Jordan, Josh Barro

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us, we will see you again tomorrow - - no, Monday. Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC: No, Rachel, they would be happy for you to come in tomorrow. Why don`t you come in tomorrow? I will watch.

MADDOW: That`s a mistake I will never, ever make.

O`DONNELL: We have five more days until the next presidential debate. At the rate of two per day, how many more women, how many more accusations from women will Donald Trump have to wrestle with in that next debate?

Mark McKinnon is going to join us in the war room to discuss how you prepare for a debate with the ground moving under you like this every day.

And today we have two more women who`ve come forward and in one of these stories, they`re all he said/she said stories, two people alone in the room, very hard to figure out where the credibility is. But in one of these stories there is something that is as close as anything we have found to a Donald Trump fingerprint.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today another woman has courageously come forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came to me and started kissing me opened mouth as he was pulling me towards him.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now I am being viciously attacked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After hearing the released audiotapes and your denials during the debate, I felt I had to speak out about your behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump lashing out at his accusers and painting himself as the victim, some kind of global conspiracy.

TRUMP: They are all false, totally invented, never met this person, these people, I don`t know who they are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instead of a job, Ms. Zervos claims that she got the Donald all over her, kissing her, touching her breast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who would have thought the guy who says he forces himself on women actually forces himself on women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying that these women are lying?

DR. BEN CARSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: That`s your characterization because you need to characterize it that way to try to make me the bad guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House is not a locker room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a version of he said/she said, only in this case, it`s he said, she said, then she said, then she said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have news for you, Donald, there is no conspiracy. It is you and you alone who is responsible.


O`DONNELL: OK, so you`re accused of robbing a bank. Let`s say someone accuses you of robbing the Bank of America on 50th Street right over there. Would your response be are you crazy, I would never rob a bank or would your response be "that wouldn`t be my first choice of bank."

That answer implies it`s not exactly inconceivable that you would rob a bank. You actually kind of sound like a bank robber who just doesn`t want to rob that Bank of America on 50th Street.

Here`s what Donald Trump said today about Jessica Leeds who, in a "New York Times" report, accused him of sexually assaulting her on an airplane in the 1980s.


TRUMP: I was with Donald Trump in 1980. I was sitting with him on an airplane and he went after me on the plane. Yes, I`m going go after her. Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man, you don`t know. That would not be my first choice.


O`DONNELL: Would not be my first choice. That is why criminal lawyers don`t want their clients to ever say a word to the cops, because they know that with most criminals all you have to do is get them talking and they`re bound to say something incriminating.

It sounds like Donald Trump is saying that 30, 35 years ago Jessica Leeds would not have been attractive enough for him to sexually assault on an airplane.

This afternoon the Trump campaign provided to the "New York Post" what they say is an eyewitness to that incident on the airplane. His name is Anthony Gilbertthorpe.

He is 54 years old, which means he would have been about 19 or 20 years old when he says he was sitting across the aisle in first class from Donald Trump and Jessica Leeds.

He says that Donald Trump did not do thinking to Jessica Leeds and although he doesn`t remember what year it was, he`s absolutely sure that he saw Donald Trump and Jessica Leeds. Absolutely sure that it`s Jessica Leeds.

He says to the "New York Post," "Undoubtedly it was her, I have a good photographic memory. I recognized her," over 30 years later. This is actually the second time Anthony Gilberthope has worked his way into a headline.

Two years ago, he publicly claimed that when he was 17 years old, he procured boys, some who may have been underage, for sex parties with high ranking British politicians. That`s Donald Trump`s eyewitness.

When Donald Trump says that Jessica Leeds would not be his first choice it seems pretty clear that he means she was not attractive enough to be his first choice.

Well, how about someone who looked a lot like Donald Trump`s second wife? How about Summer Zervos, who met Donald Trump ten years ago when she was a contestant on his TV show.

When that show was over, she asked to meet with Donald Trump in the hope of getting a job with the Trump Organization.


SUMMER ZERVOS, TRUMP ACCUSER: When I arrived he kissed me on the lips. I was surprised but felt that perhaps it was just his form of greeting. We sat and spoke. He was extremely complimentary. He said he was impressed with how I handled myself on "The Apprentice."

He said he had never met anyone with my combination of being smart, attractive and with the largest set of balls as I had. He would say -- he said that he would love to have -- he said he would love to have me work for him.

Mr. Trump said he would be coming to Los Angeles soon and he would contact me. I felt as though I was reaching for my brass ring. I was very excited. I felt as though my dream of working for Mr. Trump might come true.

As I was about to leave he again kissed me on the lips, this made me feel nervous and embarrassed. This is not what I wanted or expected.


O`DONNELL: Summer Zervos said that she spoke to her friends and some of her family about that incident.


ZERVOS: I spoke at length to my loved ones and we came to the conclusion that this was undoubtedly some form of greeting and that I should not take it as anything other than that.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump then called her when she was back in Los Angeles and told her that they would meet on his next trip to Los Angeles.


ZERVOS: When I arrived, the security guard greeted me at the hotel. He walked with me to greet Mr. Trump. I assumed we were going to a restaurant in the hotel instead I was taken to a bungalow. The security guard opened the door and I went in.


O`DONNELL: All Trump security guards and employees signed a confidentiality agreement that prevents them from ever saying anything about what they witnessed with Donald Trump, but Donald Trump can release them from that confidentiality agreement.

Donald Trump can produce his security guard who might have been with him that day to swear that this absolutely did not happen and that confidentiality agreement can be broken if Donald Trump were charged with a crime, then his security guards would be subpoenaed to testify and they would have to testify.


ZERVOS: I was standing in the entryway. To my left was a bedroom and I saw Mr. Trump`s clothes on the bed, I do not see him but he greeted me with hello in a sing-song voice. It sounded like "Hellooo."

I thought the mistake had been made and Mr. Trump thought he was speaking to someone he was more familiar with. I walked further into the living room away from the bedroom and sat down.

I waited for about 15 minutes until Mr. Trump emerged. He had his suit on. I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me opened mouth as he was pulling me towards him.

I walked away and sat down in a chair. He was on a love seat across from me and I made an attempt at conversation. He then asked me to sit next to him. I complied. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast.

I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom. I walked out. He then turned me around and said "let`s lay down and watch some tele-tele."

He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said "come on, man, get real." He repeated my words back to me. "Get real" as he began thrusting his genitals.

He tried to kiss me again with my hands still on his chest and I said "Dude, you`re tripping right now" attempting to make clear I was not interested. He said "what do you want?" And I said I came to have dinner. He said "OK, we`ll have dinner."


O`DONNELL: Summer Zervos said dinner was delivered to the room, they talked more about the possibility of a job, Donald Trump gave her some financial advice about how to handle her mortgage, advice that sounds like a perfect example of business advice that Donald Trump would actually give. It was very specific.

In fact, we`ll examine that advice in our next segment as an important element of Summer Zervos` credibility. It`s a very, very important part of the story, but we`re going to hold that for a moment.

Another woman`s story appeared in the "Washington Post" today. Kristin Anderson said that Donald Trump grabbed her in exactly the way Donald Trump told Billy Bush that he grabs women.


TRUMP: I`m automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them, like a magnet. Just kiss. And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (inaudible). You can do anything.


O`DONNELL: She was in a crowded Manhattan nightclub, she says, about 20 years ago and didn`t realize that she was sitting next to Donald Trump until he touched her.

Karen Tumulty`s report in the "Washington Post" says she recalls his fingers slid under her mini skirt, moved up her inner thigh and touched her vagina through her underwear.


KRISTIN ANDERSON, TRUMP ACCUSER: This is the vivid part for me. So the person on my right who unbeknownst to me at that time was Donald Trump put their hands up my skirt. And as I pushed the hand away and I got up and turned around and I see these eyebrows, very distinct eyebrows of Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: Here`s Donald Trump`s response to Kristin Anderson`s story today.


TRUMP: One came out recently where I was sitting alone at some club. I don`t sit alone, that much. Honestly, folks I go in with groups of people. I was sitting alone by myself like this and then I went -- to somebody. I just heard this one. It`s like -- it`s like unbelievable.


O`DONNELL: And, of course, Donald Trump has denied all of these allegations that have been levelled against him in the past week, NBC News has not been able to independently verify these stories of any of the accusers who`ve come forward so far.

Joining us now Robert Costa, a national political reporter for the "Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst, and Elise Jordan, an MSNBC political analyst and former advisor to Senator Rand Paul for president.

Robert, could you speak for a moment about how the "Washington Post" developed this story? Karen Tumulty said she`s been talking to this woman for days and it took her a while to come around to the notion that she should go public with this.

According to what Karen Tumulty revealed in the story, it`s basically all about Donald Trump provoking her in his recent comments to come forward.

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Karen Tumulty, my excellent colleague, has been pursuing and listening to different kinds of tips for days, this is something she had been working on. It`s part of a large number, a rising number, of these kind of allegations and accusations and the "Washington Post" is listening to women who come forward. Some want to speak at first on background or maybe off the record and eventually some of them do go on the record.

O`DONNELL: And Elise, we`re hearing this in -- this morning when Summer Zervos came out, that the reason she was coming out is she saw the "Access Hollywood" video, which is one week ago tonight, she and the rest of America were at home seeing this video for the first time. Then on Sunday night she sees Donald Trump deny that he does anything like what`s in that video and that`s the part that she couldn`t stomach along with the rest of these women.

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He essentially set up a challenge to these women that he had exposed himself to over the years and that he had been predatory towards and so they heard him making these claims and they knew he was a liar and decided to call him out on it.

I think it shows a lot of courage on all of their parts for choosing to go forward and put themselves under this level of scrutiny for really no good reason considering it`s probably so psychologically damaging to do so.

And it`s admirable that they feel like they should tell their stories and share with the nation what they experienced with Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Robert Costa, two big Donald Trump rallies today. The one in the afternoon and this seems to be a pattern, I have to say, when he has two a day. The one in the afternoon he really went off and talked at length about these accusations and these women and getting very -- denying everything they had to say.

Tonight, he really didn`t have anything to say about it and there are reports that the campaign staff -- some in the campaign staff are trying to get him to stay on the issues, keep talking about jobs, that sort of thing.

Is that struggle going on in the Trump campaign and what are the prospects going forward for who will win that struggle if there really is one?

COSTA: There`s a different dynamic within the campaign right now, Lawrence. You had people at Trump Tower today watching the candidate on the road. Some of them were chagrined privately when they spoke to the "Washington Post" about Trump going off script, about forcefully confronting his accusers in this manner.

Even Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager, she had a Twitter message tonight saying -- there was someone in the back rally of the Trump rally saying "stay on the issues" and she tweeted the, I guess playfully, that was her.

It was, of course, probably a Trump supporter in the crowd. Steve Bannon, Lawrence, is really running the Trump campaign`s overall strategy, Kellyanne Conway certainly remains the campaign manager.

But in terms of this incendiary populism confrontational politics claiming there`s a global conspiracy of Republicans, Democrats in the media all aligned against Trump, that`s Steve Bannon.

O`DONNELL: Elise, speak for a minute about the ethics of the jobs involved in working on campaigns. We have some Trump staffers like Hope Hicks, for example, who says in her own words, attributing it to her own view, as if she has this authority, that these women are liars, that they are not telling the truth.

She could just release a statement "Donald Trump says" and keep herself out of it as anything but the deliverer of that statement. There seems to be no real concern about that distinction among some of these people working in the press side of the Trump --

JORDAN: Well, they`re showing no concern for their long-term credibility and if they`re going to be believed in the future by media, if they are going to be trusted campaign operatives they are hitching their wagon with a guy who is clearly kamikaze Donald Trump right now.

He`s taking himself down and trying to take the Republican Party with him. This has arguably been the worst week, the most damaging week any presidential campaign has had ever. Consider last Friday night we were here and since then over 50 Republicans and a dozen women -- 50 Republicans denounced him, dozens of -- a dozen women have come forward with these claims.

O`DONNELL: Robert, it`s anyone`s guess what the total number of women accusing Donald Trump will be by Wednesday night`s debate.

COSTA: That`s right, Lawrence, I mean, it seems like almost every few hours there`s a new story whether it`s at the "Washington Post" or "People" magazine or elsewhere, new allegations and this has become a cloud, Trump has denied it, but it remains a cloud politically over his campaign.

One thing I heard from Trump Tower is that there will be no holds barred in the coming days, Lawrence. This is going to be going after Secretary Clinton in a startlingly aggressive way and continuing to deny these allegations.

O`DONNELL: Robert Costa, Elise Jordan, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

Coming up, one of Donald Trump`s accusers, one of the women who came out today, says something very specific about her conversation with Donald Trump which is -- we`re going to take a close look at that next. It sounds like Donald Trump talking, that`s for sure.

The polls show Hillary Clinton widening a lead on Donald Trump. How can the Trump campaign prepare for a debate with the ground moving under them every day, with new women coming out every day?

Mark McKinnon who has been in the Republican campaign war room will try to figure that one out for us.


O`DONNELL: That`s Earlist Johnson at the second presidential debate, the black man sitting there looking at Donald Trump. He is listening to Donald Trump, and his reaction there, that look, spread around the internet, provoking tweets like this.

"I`m guessing here, but it looks like this guy is no longer undecided." Well, we will find out if he`s undecided because he is going to join us later.


O`DONNELL: So far, all the stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault by Donald Trump are classic he said/she said stories. The women making these accusations have no eyewitnesses to corroborate what they`re saying so far.

And Donald Trump has no eyewitnesses to corroborate his denials unless, of course, you count that very strange British guy, who the Trump campaign produced today for the "New York Post" only as a so-called eyewitness to Donald Trump on that airplane.

He claims he was on the airplane where Jessica Leeds claims Donald Trump sexually assaulted her and he`s that same guy who has publicly claimed that he used to supply boys, some underage, for sex with high ranking members of the British government around the same time he claims he was sitting there across the aisle from Donald Trump and Jessica Leeds, who he somehow miraculously remembers for 30 years.

But that`s all we`ve got for eyewitnesses, so we`ve got none. But then there is, of course, Donald Trump`s recorded confession to Billy Bush on the "Access Hollywood" bus that he does, indeed, do these things, that he does kiss women without permission upon meeting them.

He does, indeed, grab their vaginas without their permission upon meeting them. Donald Trump said that about Donald Trump. He said all those things about Donald Trump before this week`s revelations from other women have come out that corroborate that Donald Trump was, in fact, telling the truth to Billy Bush.

Today Summer Zervos told a story within her story. A story that had nothing to do with the sexual assault she says Donald Trump committed against her in the Beverly Hills Hotel.

It`s the part of the story where she describes the conversation they had during dinner the hotel suite. Listen to her account of that conversation and ask yourself, does this sound like Donald Trump? Is it credible that Donald Trump would say this? Would give her this advice?

If the answer is yes that it is credible that doesn`t mean that he said and did everything else that Summer Zervos claims he did, but this story just might be as close as we can ever get to a Trump fingerprint in one of these he said/she said stories.


ZERVOS: The conversation then focused on the fact that I had a mortgage on my home which I told him was in good standing. He spoke about how he was able to maneuver to get out of debt. He told me that I need to let my house go into default and tell the bank they would take it back -- tell the bank they could take it back.

He advised that then the bank would then take anything to rid themselves of a problem loan. He told me to call the bank and tell them I was leaving the keys on the table and for them to just pick them up. He said that would be a mini version of what he does. He urged me not to make another payment on my home loan.


O`DONNELL: And here`s Donald Trump about ten years later.


TRUMP: I call myself the king of debt. I`m the king of debt. I`m great with debt. Nobody knows debt better than me. I`ve made a fortune by using debt and if things don`t work out I renegotiate the debt. That`s a smart thing, not a stupid thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you renegotiate the debt?

TRUMP: You go back and you say "Guess what? The economy crashed, I`m going to give you back half.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Josh Barro, a senior editor for "Business Insider" and MSNBC contributor. So no one should be taking personal financial advice from Donald Trump, what he doesn`t seem to know there to get into the particulars of the advice is although he can do that in big business, he`s advising her to ruin her credit rating, something he doesn`t seem to know about and never get a mortgage again in her life.

JOSH BARRO, "BUSINESS INSIDER": It`s also a broader Trumpian thing where Trump seems to have an idea that if you made an agreement, even if you don`t perform on the agreement, you will get it away. Remember the USA freedom kids, the three girls who had the creepy song about how Donald Trump will restore freedom? They came to some rally of his in Iowa and he was supposed to pay their travel and he didn`t. That`s just another small example.

O`DONNELL: And here what is such a Trump fingerprint also is she says she`s totally financially capable of paying this mortgage, she doesn`t need help paying this mortgage and he doesn`t care, he`s saying screw the bank any way you can and when you`re looking in these stories for is there anything in here that feels like Donald Trump -- because we don`t know anything about the guy who sexually assaults women, but we have seen that guy. The guy who she`s talking about saying walk out on your mortgage, we`ve seen that Donald Trump.

BARRO: I was a commercial real estate banker when I first moved to New York ten years ago. At work we would talk about who you don`t lend money to. Exhibit A was Donald Trump. He was the example of a person who even if he brought in a deal where the numbers look good you wouldn`t lend to him because he would do this thing. Even if he could pay you would worry he would try to find a way not to pay so it makes sense he would advise somebody else to do that.

O`DONNELL: And as we negotiate these he said/she said stories, it feels like these are the kinds of things that we`ll be clinging to. What else in this story outside of the specifics of the assault. As I say, none of us have anything about -- we have no way of adding any witness to that but we can add witness to the fact that, yes, this is exactly the way Donald Trump talks about debt.

BARRO: This is a detail that makes the story more credible but more broadly you have so many women coming forward and you have to tape on which he says he behaves like this. On some level it doesn`t matter whether every single accuser is telling the truth.

Now I believe they are by and large telling the truth, I believe Summer Zervos when she tells the story, but if 100 women come forward between now and the election saying Donald Trump behaved in some inappropriate manner toward them sexually.

Even if only 80 of them are telling the truth, that`s still 80 women that he behaved inappropriately towards sexually. So we don`t need to resolve each individual case in this. The pattern is clear that Donald Trump does these things.

O`DONNELL: And it remains that the evidence that we were examining at this table last Friday night for four hours, that`s the "Access Hollywood" video, that remains the Donald Trump confession in this case and you could not ask for a more vivid confession.

BARRO: Yes, and that`s what makes it so funny watching Mike Pence go around saying --

O`DONNELL: Evidence will come out any minute now.

BARRO: He`s a good man, I believe him. You have him on tape saying he does this. Why would you believe him when people come forward and say yes, he did that thing that he insisted that he did it. It`s like no, he couldn`t possibly have done that.

O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

Coming up, in the campaign war room, how does Hillary Clinton prepare for this financial presidential debate? Each one of these debates is completely different from the one before because the news environment is changing so dramatically. Does she play it safe? Protect her lead? How does Donald Trump prepare for it with the stories changing around him every day getting worse by the day? That`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s campaign war room. The Trump campaign war room has an unprecedented problem facing them as they try to prepare for the next debate on Wednesday. How should Donald Trump handle the questions, inevitable questions sure to come about what is becoming a new sex scandal every day. And if Wednesday of next week is like Wednesday of this week he might be hit with one or two more new accusations on that very day, on the day of the debate. And what should Hillary Clinton`s debate strategy be with Donald Trump sinking in the polls, 538`s Nate Silver says Hillary Clinton now has an 85 percent chance of winning the presidential election, projecting she will win 338 electoral votes as of tonight`s polling.

With 24 days left for the campaign war room, we are joined by Mark McKinnon, a veteran of many campaign war rooms, Democrat and Republican, including the presidential campaign war rooms of George W. Bush and John McCain.

Alright, Mark, this is an easy one. You have to pull out your model of that presidential campaign that had two sex scandals per day dropping on it as the third debate was approaching. What do you do?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH MEDIA ADVISOR: Yes. Well, I remember when one DWI was a huge crisis.

O`DONNELL: Yes. President Bush as Governor Bush in 2000, that DWI that was revealed about him was how many days from --

MCKINNON: Just like three days to report ex-report. That is right before the election.

O`DONNELL: Before the election.


O`DONNELL: Yes. And so how did you handle that?

MCKINNON: Well, I just had to confront it and take it straight up and admit it. But what we should have done with that much, much earlier, we should have done with a year old is we should have put it in his book and just got it out on the deal. And people said fine, you know. He said I was young and irresponsible. I was young and irresponsible. That`s what I -- and I think that`s more the direction Donald Trump should have gone in the last debate. I mean, it may be too late now but to say I grew up in a mad men world.


MCKINNON: You know, when there was behavior that today, you know, it was inexcusable but it was condoned at the time. And I`m not excusing my behavior but explaining it. And it`s a different day and a different era and I recognize there and I apologize to anybody that I may have been offended or there may have been any sort of activity that crossed the line. But I`m running for a lot of other reasons. I`m running to change America and to change the power structure that we have had for the last 30 years and that`s why I have this great support and momentum and just pivot off of that.

You have -- the American public is amazingly forgiving and redemptive but you have to ask. You have to ask. Now that said, I think what their strategy is going to be is the Viking strategy. I think they are going to invade Europe and burn the boats so none of these people can retreat.

O`DONNELL: What is that look like? What do they say? Donald Trump is in the debate saying what?

MCKINNON: I don`t know.

O`DONNELL: Anderson Cooper`s first question, first moderator question was about this last time. It`s going to be about this this time to Donald Trump.

MCKINNON: Well, you know, I mean, the last thing he did was he went on saying that Bill Clinton, you know, I think he suggested that Hillary Clinton had has well based on nothing. So at this point I don`t know where you go beyond that. He is claiming that there are additional Bill Clinton people which is, you know, I just don`t know. I mean, at this point for voters, I don`t know how you move voters because it is - they have heard as many stories as they can about emails, as many stories as they can about sex. But I fear there is going to be sex and emails for the rest of the campaign anyway.

Now, based on that, just one other thing I`ll say, there`s a huge opportunity here and this sounds a little bit quaint but given how horrible this has been and I felt, you know, I have been through this before and the whole campaign has been like this. But I felt a shift in the last week among everybody. Everybody is saying this is new territory and we all hate it. And if one of them went high, you know, and really into a visionary thing, just kind of expressed what we are all feeling, that could be a powerful moment. On the other hand, you know, I think the Trump campaign, as I have said, burn the boat strategy. I think their strategy will be that if she goes low, we will go lower.

O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton or after that second debate I felt I was watching Hillary Clinton play it safe which seemed to me to be a very reasonable strategy under the circumstances. Why should she do anything in that second debate other than play it safe with Donald Trump walking in there in the face of this scandal? What about this third one? Would you say, look, you have got a lead?

MCKINNON: I just dial it a little bit. I mean, she is prepared so well and that`s what is key to any debate strategy is to be confident, be prepared for any situation. I think the only problem with the last one is that it was like prevent defense which just allowed him to kind of run up the score, you know. This is like, he didn`t, you know, they knew that we have enough points to win the game but we are just going to let him run up the score.

O`DONNELL: But there`s no polling evidence that he ran up any score.

MCKINNON: No, they thought they did in and it gave him confidence. But, you know, it motivated his base. And I would just say that in this case she needs to kind of press the pedal a little bit. Get back on him because he doesn`t handle it that well when she turns the tables on him and go high. Go real high, sky high.

O`DONNELL: And what about this notion of push. Get Trump back on jobs, get Trump back on policy. It seems like there`s nothing they can do to get them to do that.

MCKINNON: Well, the best moment -- one of the best moments of the campaign, not just the debates, was the first 30 minutes in the first debate when he got on trade and she had no defense. Trades and jobs, I mean, that`s why he is doing well in Ohio. I mean, there`s no good defense on that. And that`s the sweet spot. And I don`t know why he doesn`t stay there and just get after that over and over again.

O`DONNELL: We will know soon enough. And as I say, what we don`t know tonight is what will the women count be up to by Wednesday night at 9:00?

MCKINNON: We have clawed our way to the bottom.

O`DONNELL: Mark McKinnon, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, we have an exclusive interview tonight with New York City controller Scott Stringer who says there is no evidence that Donald Trump actually contributed to a 9/11 fund which he claims he made a major contribution to.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched when the world Trade Center came tumbling down and I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.

How did he keep us safe when the world trade center came down? Excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has a problem with the truth about everything, but it seems completely impossible for him to tell the truth when he is talking about 9/11. He did not see anyone celebrating in New Jersey, not thousands of people, not one. He did not lose hundreds of friends on 9/11, he didn`t lose anyone, not one.

And now we may have a new lie, the "New York Daily News" reports in the weeks after the brutal attacks Trump pledged $10,000 to the twin towers fund as part of an effort Howard Stern was pushing. A report said Trump promised the donation in late September, 2001. And the "Daily News" obtained audio of Stern`s October 10th, 2001, interview with Trump where he and co-host Robin Quivers thanked him for that donation.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: Let me say something here that Donald Trump has been a good friend of the show.

ROBIN QUIVERS, RADIO HOST: Yes he has. And he gave us $10,000. That was beautiful.

STERN: Yes. He did to our fund.


O`DONNELL: The "New York Daily News" reports Donald Trump may not have followed through on a promise to make a donation to the 9/11 funds after the attacks. The "Daily News" Cameron Joseph writes, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer conducted a review of hundreds of pages of previously sealed records of the two main 9/11 charities at the request of "the Daily News" and found that Trump and his charity hadn`t donated a dime in the months after 9/11. For the periods covered by the audits we did not find any record of a donation from Trump himself or a Trump entity. Stringer`s office said in a statement to the "Daily News" in response to a freedom of information request.

Joining us now for an exclusive interview is New York City controller Scott Stringer.

Scott, this is a sacred subject in New York City. I mean, just not in the United States but especially so in New York City. And to go on a radio show a New York-based radio show claiming you are giving $10,000 to the 9/11 fund. To give nothing, it`s hard to think of something worse in that category.



STRINGER: And he knows the pain and suffering. And we all of us who were there knew what was at stake. And the twin towers fund, this is a fund that helps first responders, police officers, firefighters, people who widowed in this terrible tragic day. And there was a part of me that when we were doing the review you almost wanted him to have made that donation because it speaks to the decency of people. And after doing our analysis, it is clear that the donation was never made. And I think there is a sense of outrage and the sense of untruthfulness, but also it`s somewhat sad that the campaign brings this out.

But I will tell you one thing, 100,000 Americans donated to that fund. So while we look at this individual and we shrug and we say how could this be? I think it`s important for Americans to celebrate the people, many who didn`t have anywhere near his wealth, who sent their $10 and $20 and $50 to help people who are in need.

O`DONNELL: And here is somebody who at the time is claiming to be a billionaire, certainly is rich by some definition, probably not a billionaire but rich. $10,000. This is nothing to him. And he still was happy to take public credit for doing it but doesn`t deliver.

STRINGER: It`s very unfortunate that we are at a point in this campaign. And on a personal level, this is, you know, talking that this has to come out and it speaks to character, it speaks to judgment, but I tell you, people in this country know what happened on 9/11. They saw those towers come down and they watched the rebuilding. And for him not to have participated in that arena speaks to, I think, a real character issue, but others did.

And I`ll tell you something, the press, the "Daily News" and others foiled for this information. It was important that we honor, foil the press. And when we put this out there I think it spoke to a real character issue that he has.

O`DONNELL: New York City controller Scott Stringer, thank you very for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Up next, Donald Trump attacked a friend of mine. She`s going to get the last word on that tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you study St. Augustin at Stanford?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two pretty smart guys, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They believed in that part of the Old Testament which said who shed at a man`s blood by man shall his blood shall be shed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Emmanuel Kant said that the death penalty is a categorical imperative. But Mr. President those writings are from other centuries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a Harris Poll says 71 percent of the American people support capital punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a political problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a politician.



O`DONNELL: That was Oscar winner and "West Wing" cast member Marlee Matlin on "the West Wing" in the oval office, a room that Donald Trump someday hopes to work in.

Donald Trump apparently, according to reports by people working on his show "Celebrity Apprentice" said some very unkind things about Marlee Matlin when she was a contestant on that show. Things that I don`t want to quote Donald Trump on but I will quote Marlee. She tweeted a response today to what has been reported about Donald Trump and what he has said about her.

She said recent media reports have circulated that Donald Trump allegedly referred to me as retarded. The term is abhorrent and should never be used. The fact that we are talking about this during a very important moment in American history has upset me deeply. I am deaf. There are millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people like me in the United States and around the world who face discrimination and misunderstanding like this on a daily basis. It is unacceptable. So what`s my response? It`s not about insults or taking each other down. As a person who is deaf, as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as an actor, I have a voice and I`m using that voice to make myself heard and vote.

We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: At this point in the campaign season some people who never expected to get their 15 minutes of fame and they do it as participants in the town hall debate.


TRUMP: I mean whether we like it or not, and we can be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not there is a problem. And we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on.


O`DONNELL: There was a star who emerged in that shot, this is Earlest Johnson from St. Louis, one of the many tweets about what was seen there was one person saying, this guy is so done with Donald.

Well, has Earlest Johnson moved from undecided to decided? He joins us now from St. Louis to answer that question.

Earlest Johnson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: So did you go into the debate thinking something like this could happen? Because every four years, you know, some of you people in those town hall debate audiences, is whether it`s through a look or question or an outfit in the case of some of your fellow audience members pop and we all want to talk to you. Did you anticipate something like that would happen?

JOHNSON: No I never did think that something like this would happen. I went into the debate hoping to get some answers from questions that we all put together. And no, I never thought stuff like this would happen.

O`DONNELL: Now, were you conscious sitting in that audience that we are all looking at you? We are all looking at all of you like jurors trying to guess what you are thinking and how you are reacting? Were you aware of that and trying to control your reaction?

JOHNSON: No, actually, I thought that we would be like in the shadows.

O`DONNELL: You weren`t.

JOHNSON: And only when we were called upon to ask our question would maybe the lights show up on the person asking the question. So I had no idea that we should be shown the way we were.

O`DONNELL: All right. So the world has interpreted your look to mean you don`t like what you`re hearing in that moment.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. The young lady asked a question about -- she identified herself as being a Muslim and asked him in particular a question about, you know, what he sees for her future, the response that he gave her was a little -- it wasn`t appropriate. To what she asked.

O`DONNELL: So did that help move you out of the undecided column? Have you decided?

JOHNSON: Yes, I have decided. Actually, prior to the debate I -- Bernie Sanders was a person that I took a lot of interest in in particular because I have one daughter who has school loans and one son that`s a freshman in college and some of the things he was saying really piqued my interest as a father.

O`DONNELL: And so what`s your decision? How are you going to vote in November?

JOHNSON: I`m going to support Hillary Clinton in December -- in November, sorry.

O`DONNELL: OK. Yes, make it November 8th.

JOHNSON: It will be November 8th.

O`DONNELL: All right, Earlest Johnson gets the last word. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

JOHNSON: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.