The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 12/5/2016

Guests: Adam Schiff, Jonathan Alter, Steven Brill, Jonathan Capehart, David Archambault Ii, Shailene Woodley, Kellyanne Conway, Elise Jordan

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 5, 2016 Guest: Adam Schiff, Jonathan Alter, Steven Brill, Jonathan Capehart, David Archambault Ii, Shailene Woodley, Kellyanne Conway, Elise Jordan

ARI MELBER, MSNBC: For ten years -- sewing machine somewhere else, hide all their fake documents. This basically was not just someone selling fake Rolex watches in an alley.

This was someone building a fake Rolex store in the center of town and operated for ten years.

Wow is an understatement, quite a story. Now, that does it for us, Rachel will be back tomorrow, and now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Ari, I`m not like you, I don`t get the Rolex thing, I`m a Timex guy. I don`t get what that Rolex thing is all about --

MELBER: I should have said Seiko I think --

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ari --

MELBER: Cheers.

O`DONNELL: Fake news is now on the verge of getting someone killed. That`s what almost happened this weekend in Washington at a Pizza restaurant.

Thanks to the kinds of tweets being passed around by Donald Trump`s choice for national security adviser, former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.

Congressman Adam Schiff will join us on that subject tonight. And we have breaking news tonight about Joe Biden openly considering running for president in 2020.

Also tonight, live from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the leader of the tribe David Archambault will join us along with Shailene Woodley, the actress who has been so active in that protest from the beginning, all that coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are not allowed to be a president if you are not born in this country. He may not have been born in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Promoting false and reckless conspiracy theory do come with consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man opened fire at a popular pizzeria, apparently because of so-called fake news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Online conspiracy theory known as "Pizzagate".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suggesting that pizza shop was at the center of a child sex slavering organized by Hillary Clinton, it sounds absolutely insane. And this is as fake as it gets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re excited to have Dr. Carson as our intended nominee for Housing and Urban Development.

TRUMP: He went after his mother with a hammer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you know about doing that?

BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: Well, I know that I grew up in the inner city.

TRUMP: He went after a friend and he lunged -- he lunged that knife.

CARSON: People in Washington who have had the experience, what a fine job they`ve done.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to run 2020.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: OK, Kelly, for real, for fun, for what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wanted us to know he has not closed that door.

BIDEN: So, what the hell, man?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said more than once, "we`re all entitled to our own opinion but not our own facts."

Senator Moynihan died in 2003, and so we are left to imagine what his reaction would be to a Trump supporter who said the other day, there`s no such thing unfortunately anymore as facts.

That Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes is paid to say such things by "Cnn". She said her now famous -- there are no fact statement on a Washington radio show.

"Cnn" apparently believes that someone who believes there are no facts is someone worth paying to talk on TV. "Cnn" is a news network which is supposed to be dedicated to the pursuit of and delivery of facts.

And these days, when it is not delivering the paid-for gibberish of the likes of Scottie Nell Hughes, "Cnn" is doing its share of outrage stories about fake news.

Nowhere in "Cnn`s" outrage stories about fake news is there any reference to the believers and purveyors of fake news that "Cnn" employs.

Their team of Trump supporters who will support, defend and deflect any lie that Donald Trump tells at any time. Most people working at that network are honest, fair-minded people trying to find the truth.

Most of them are no-doubt horrified that their network delivers fake news every day in the fact-free commentaries of Scottie Nell Hughes and others.

When we say fake news is everywhere, we don`t mean it`s all over the internet in a bunch of otherwise obscure websites targeted to reactionary, political news consumers.

It`s on national, cable news networks every day. Fake news is in the tweets of Donald Trump day-in and day-out and has been for many years.

Every lie Donald Trump told about President Obama`s birth certificate was fake news made up by Donald Trump.

And so, the presidential candidacy that was launched on fake news, based on the hatred of President Obama became the presidential campaign that won the electoral college fueled by fake news and hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Whenever Donald Trump retweeted a fake news lie by a white supremacist and was called on it, he would always say he was just retweeting it.

It`s just a retweet. And he would offer other defenses like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t know, what do I know about it? All I know is what`s on the internet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: All I know is what`s on the internet. To survive a president who only knows what`s on the internet, we need that president to be surrounded by a staff that knows better.

A White House staff, cabinet members, a national security staff who can separate fact from fiction for a president who has never been able to do that.

The most sensitive White House job that is not subject to Senate confirmation is national security adviser.

Richard Nixon`s national security adviser Henry Kissinger, a former Harvard professor was the first to make that job a high-profile, world-famous position.

Dr. Kissinger as he preferred to be called in honor of his PHD worked hard on mythologizing himself into the smartest man in Washington.

Donald Trump`s selection for national security adviser will be going into the job with the opposite image. He has already demonstrated that he too is incapable of separating fact from fiction.

Days before the election, he was busy retweeting a few times, completely false stories about Hillary Clinton being involved with a crew who were engaged in sex crimes with children.

One of the false articles General Flynn retweeted said there was enough evidence "to put Hillary and her crew away for life."

So, General Flynn was not just in the "lock her up" crowd, he was in the lock her up and throw away the key crowd based on absolutely nothing.

To say General Flynn disgraced himself with these tweets is to sound old- fashioned to anyone in the Trump world where there are no facts.

Where there are no facts, there can be no decency. Where there are no facts, there is no right or wrong.

Where there are no facts, there is no guilt. So, General Flynn truly does not feel guilty tonight that men, women and children in Washington D.C. almost got killed because of the kind of stuff that he tweets.

On Sunday, a man with a gun walked into a Pizza Place in Washington D.C., which according to fake news reports was one of the key locations in Hillary Clinton`s conspiracy to use children for sex.

Twenty eight-year-old Edgar Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina carried his assault rifle into the pizza parlor to self-investigate.

That was his term, self-investigate how the pizza restaurant was supplying children for sex.

He fired his weapon but luckily no one was injured. They were all terrified. This was a terror attack in which everyone was terrorized and luckily no one was killed.

Edgar Welch has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. General Michael Flynn has been charged with nothing.

He is of course legally guilty of nothing. But in the court of public opinion, he is now charged with being a very dangerous man.

A dangerous man who will be at the president`s side when they are trying to assess the facts of national security situations.

A man who is no better at separating fact from fiction than Scottie Nell Hughes who doesn`t even try.

Because there are no facts. Joining us now is Congressman Adam Schiff; ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Congressman Schiff, you commented on this today, issued a public statement about it, and your reaction to General Flynn and that inability it seems, to separate fact from fiction.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it`s terrifying really, and it permeates the incoming administration.

I mean, it comes from the top down. This is someone and the president- elect who helped propagate the whole birther myth.

And as recently as last week sent out a tweet, saying that millions of undocumented immigrants had voted.

And of course, so, he now has picked the national security adviser who says that fear of all Muslims is rational.

And who also helped propagate this conspiracy theory involving Secretary Clinton and child-sex trafficking.

So, this is really quite a terrifying prospect, because what the president- elect doesn`t seem to realize is there are going to be times where the country really needs to believe its president.

And if he is willing to propound these fake news stories, if he`s willing to make blatantly false statements like millions of illegal immigrants voting, then, when the country really needs to believe something he asserts, it`s very likely that a significant number if not the vast majority of Americans simply won`t.

And the same goes for our allies and the same goes for our adversaries. And so I`ve been hoping that he will grow into the job.

I`ve been hoping that he would make the transition to being a president. But these events don`t show that he is growing with responsibilities, and that`s quite a frightening prospect.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Schiff, knowing the work that the national security adviser is charged with, and the intimacy of that position to the presidency in all national security matters.

That ability to sift through intelligence, to be -- to be trying to find what`s the best information we have. This is something that has challenged the best teams in the White House over time.

And some of the best teams have gotten certain things wrong at certain times. But what you could -- in most cases, what you wouldn`t doubt is that they were attempting always with the best methods to find the best information.

SCHIFF: Well, you would certainly hope so, and there`s profound reason for concern as, you know, recently as the last few weeks when there was abundant evidence and in fact the director of national intelligence spoke to Russian involvement in hacking our elections.

And you had the president-elect and the nominee for national security adviser essentially carrying Russian water and saying we don`t know that it`s the Russians, it could be the Chinese.

It could be a 400-pound person. If they`re willing to ignore what the best intelligence tells us when it doesn`t suit their interests, then they`re going to be willing to ignore it on other circumstances.

So, that is very concerning. One other part of that job now which is equally important is bringing together desperate voices within the administration.

The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the National Security Council and others. The Secretary of Homeland Security when there are really tough calls to be made.

And forging a consensus, and that requires somebody who is thoughtful, someone who is a bedrock of stability and regrettably, that was not General Flynn`s reputation when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency.

So, there are I think some very serious concerns, but chief among them is if we can`t even agree that the facts should guide our decision-making, we`ve got a real problem on our hands.

Joining the conversation now is Jonathan Alter; Msnbc political analyst and a columnist for "The Daily Beast".

Jonathan, of the point that the congressman just made, it`s called the honest broker job in the White House --

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Right --

O`DONNELL: Because of all those different departmental intersections that go through that office, sorting out what is the best decision-making menu for the president.

And when you think of the people who`ve had this job, from Henry Kissinger forward, all of whom have gotten a lot of national attention while in the job. They have all made every effort they possibly can to be perceived as careful, as circumspect.

Most of them shy away from interviews while they`re in that job. They are -- they are not inclined to testify to Congress.

They usually don`t have to because that`s what cabinet members are doing. And it`s mostly regarded as the job requiring the most discretion of any in the White House.

ALTER: Yes, it`s a very serious job, and General Flynn has disqualified himself from holding the job.

So, the question that all the rest of us face in the press and in Congress is what are we going to do about it beyond wringing our hands?

And I agree with the Congressman, it`s a terrifying situation. And to assume that we`re all powerless to put pressure on him to not take this position.

I think underestimates the power of other actors in Washington. And we`re reminded that John Sununu, when he was White House Chief of Staff, which is also a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

When he ran into trouble for taking a car in an unauthorized way to a stamp collection meeting, that was his offense, he was forced to resign by public pressure.

We`ve forgotten the concept of public pressure. My question is, where is the stake-out of General Flynn`s house?

Since the 1920s, the press in Washington, when somebody had serious questions to answer as General Flynn does tonight, staked out his house.

And the person in question was not allowed in and out without facing the shouted questions of reporters.

And until they got answers to those questions, the feeding frenzy, as it used to be called did not end.

So, what we need now is a feeding frenzy on this story. This man cannot take this job until he apologizes for spurring a violent act in Washington, helping spur a violent act.

I won`t lay all the responsibility of it at him. But the idea that he has no responsibility for peddling lies and his son was his Chief of Staff, Michael Flynn Jr. has doubled down on this.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: And said that the onus is now on this restaurant to prove that this lie is not true.

Which is even more insane. So, until General Flynn says no, this was a lie, I`m sorry that I retweeted it, I`ll move forward in a more responsible fashion.

The pressure must mount and mount including resolutions in Congress, stake- outs, whatever it takes to make sure that he does not take his position.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Schiff, what about Jonathan`s point there? Has Washington in the age of Trump basically lost its ability to form outrage since there has been so much to form outrage about?

SCHIFF: Well, this is a very good question, and here`s the challenge. We have a president-elect who throughout the last year has said and done things that would be utterly disqualifying in the past.

And how many times have we had illustrations of this when he said John McCain wasn`t a hero because he only admired people who didn`t get caught.

When the tape came out about his getting off the bus and bragging about sexually assaulting women, all of these things and so many more were viewed as completely disqualifying, end of story, and yet they weren`t.

And yet he went on to win this election, win the nomination and win the general election. So, the standard has been dramatically altered.

I mean, who could have imagined honestly you would have someone weeks from being sworn in as president of the United States who would send out a deliberate falsehood of the magnitude of saying millions of people illegally participated in the election.

There ought to be a stake-out about that. But this is where we are right now. Half the country is ready to accept that as the new way of life.

And half the country is terrified that the prospect that this is what the next four years are going to look like.

And we are really quite in a new ball game here and we`ll have the most profound consequences.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And Jonathan Alter --

SCHIFF: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: We`re going to need you, you`ve been hanging out with Joe Biden, so you can help us with this news of --

ALTER: OK --

O`DONNELL: Joe Biden running for president, so, stay with us. Coming up, Republicans and repealing Obamacare, they are now facing the reality of it.

And they do not like the reality, so they have come up with a new trick for their Obamacare repeal.

And later, breaking news that I mentioned, Joe Biden openly thinking about running for president. It`s something he also discussed with Jonathan Alter, we`ll be discussing that coming up.

And also live from the Standing Rock Reservation tonight, Chairman of the tribe, leader of the tribe Dave Archambault will join us along with Shailene Woodley, that`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Our breaking news tonight is that Joe Biden is the first Democrat to publicly say he`s considering running for president in 2020.

Up next, Republicans want to repeal and replace their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Wait until you hear the trick they`ve come up with for Obamacare now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: So, repeal and replace has become repeal and wait. Remember how simple it all used to sound?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare.

(CHEERS)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was a long time ago, about a week before the election. And here is Donald Trump five days after the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We`re going --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No? --

TRUMP: To do it simultaneously, it will be just fine. We`re not going to have like a two-day period and we`re not going to have a two-year period where there`s nothing.

It will be repealed and replaced and we`ll know. And it will be great healthcare for much less money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But now congressional Republicans who have been pretending for years that they just want to repeal Obamacare, knowing that they couldn`t as long as there was a Democrat in the White House are facing the political reality of what happens if they really do repeal Obamacare.

Twenty million beneficiaries will become very angry at the Republicans the day President Trump signs the repeal of Obamacare because they would lose their health insurance that day. They`re out.

No more long waits in the doctor`s waiting room because they wouldn`t be allowed in the doctor`s waiting room.

Donald Trump and the Republicans would be taking health insurance away from 20 million people.

Now that they`re actually in a political position to be able to do that, Republicans have decided they don`t want to pay the political price for doing that.

And so, their new strategy is to repeal Obamacare early next year, but to delay the effective date of that repeal until three years from that after the next congressional election.

And in that three-year period, the Republicans are hoping they can come up with something they can call a replacement for Obamacare.

But there is no replacement that any Republican has ever proposed that would deliver health insurance to 20 million people. And the smartest guy in the Republican House of Representatives knows that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first bill you intend to pass.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, the first bill we`re going to be working on is our Obamacare legislation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to repeal it first?

RYAN: Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not pulling the rag out from under the --

RYAN: Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty million people who --

RYAN: No, we --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t have Obamacare.

RYAN: We want to make sure that we have a good transition period so that people can get better coverage at a better price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what are we talking about, months, years?

RYAN: I can`t give you an answer, that we`re still working on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But people have talked about three years in terms of a transition.

RYAN: Yes, I don`t know the answer to that right now. What we know is we have to make good on this promise. We have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Paul Ryan told the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" that he wants to find a replacement to Obamacare, "so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off."

Joining us now is Steven Brill; a journalist and author of "America`s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System".

Steve, your book is the exhaustive study of how Obamacare was done, what`s in it, how it works. The Republicans, Paul Ryan have had over five years - -

STEVEN BRILL, JOURNALIST: Right --

O`DONNELL: To figure out the answer to Scott Pelley`s question, which is basically, what do you replace it with?

And the Ryan rule now is, not one person can be worse off after the Republicans have done their replace --

BRILL: Right, that`s right, and it`s not only the 20 million people who got care, it`s the people who didn`t suffer from the old pre-existing condition rules, it`s a pretty broad swath.

And as you pointed out, from the day the law was passed in March of 2010, they have said we have to repeal it.

And the Democrats have said, well, what`s your plan? In fact, their plan was Obamacare.

It`s worth mentioning again and again that Obamacare was the slightly more conservative version of Romneycare, a Republican, which was a slightly more conservative version of something Richard Nixon proposed.

So, the only plan the Republicans have ever had is Obamacare. Which is why they can`t think of an alternative.

O`DONNELL: Well, it also -- there`s that issue of once you say we`re going to take care of the people with pre-existing conditions, there`s a giant amount of intervention --

BRILL: Everything --

O`DONNELL: Then it occurs once you do that.

BRILL: Right, because it`s -- the phrase they use is the three-legged stool. If you`re going to let anybody buy health insurance who has a pre- existing condition, and to get more people into the insurance pool, you have to have a mandate.

Which the Republicans suddenly hate, but which is a concept invented by the conservatives at the Heritage Foundation and endorsed by President Nixon and endorsed by Governor Romney.

Now, if you hate the mandate, then you can`t get rid of the pre-existing condition bar. So that falls apart.

And with all that come the subsidies as the people, if they have to abide by the mandate have the money to buy health insurance.

This whole thing really falls apart. Now, what`s also amusing about this is nobody`s talking about the central problem that Obamacare did not solve, which is the cost of healthcare.

And I noticed that the speaker said -- and that the president-elect has said we`re going to have a better program at lower cost.

There isn`t a single proposal, even in the drafts that the Republicans have done which they admit, obviously now aren`t realistic that lowers the costs of prescription drugs.

That lowers the cost of going to your favorite, non-profit hospital whose - - which has -- you know, profit margins that are much higher than the average insurance company. There`s nothing that goes after costs.

O`DONNELL: And what we see in this is there`s Donald Trump, absolutely determined, repeal and replace, it`s all going to be done at once.

And there he is five days after the election saying, oh, no, there won`t be a two-day gap, there won`t be --

BRILL: Right --

O`DONNELL: A two-minute gap, it`s all going to be done at once. And then here are the Congressional Republicans saying, no, there`s going to be a three-year gap and we`re going to take care of the whole thing and not a peep out of Donald Trump.

This seems -- if this is the model as I expected it to be, Donald Trump is just going to be taking dictation from the house Republicans --

BRILL: Right, let`s remember that Speaker Ryan said, well, we need a three-year transition. Transition to what?

If they were worried about a transition, they could pass a law that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with X as of --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

BRILL: On a certain period. They haven`t told us what X is because they have no idea.

O`DONNELL: Right --

BRILL: And they`ve now -- they would have had eight years to deal with it with no idea.

O`DONNELL: But it sounds like day one, first bill is going to be repeal.

BRILL: That`s right. And what they`re going to try to do is make this sort of like the fiscal cliff.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

BRILL: We`ve repealed it, and there`s going to be nothing to take its place after, guess when?

O`DONNELL: Right --

BRILL: After --

O`DONNELL: Therefore you, Democrats --

BRILL: Two thousand and eighteen --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Have to agree to whatever we`ve --

BRILL: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Legislated on that --

BRILL: And if you don`t agree --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

BRILL: It`s your fault.

O`DONNELL: It`s fault, right, Steven Brill, thank you very much --

BRILL: Sure that --

O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, our breaking news report tonight of Joe Biden openly now considering running for president in 2020.

Also tonight, live from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, tribal leader Dave Archambault will join us along with actress Shailene Woodley.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have breaking news tonight, the first Democrat even hint at running for President in 2020. And this is much more than a hint. Vice President Joe Biden said this to reporters today on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My staff always kids me. every time I come up here, I feel invigorated. I love this place. I mean this is where I spent my life. I`m going to run in 2020.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what?

BIDEN: For president, you know, so what the hell? Anyway --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going to run with that, so you know --

BIDEN: That`s okay. That`s okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, were you kidding about running for president in 20so?

BIDEN: I`m not committing not to run. I`m not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell is one of the reporters asking Joe Biden about those comments he just made. She had this to say tonight on Hardball with Chris Matthews.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC POLITICAL REPORTER: In my sense is that he wants to keep that door open. Now he`s 74 years old now. The facts of the election have played out. It`s not even a month since the election. There is, I think in a world if Hillary Clinton had been President, certainly, he would not have challenged her for reelection. But now with Donald Trump, a Republican about to take office, might he reconsider it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jonathan Alter, Pulitzer Prize Winning Opinion Writer for the Washington Post and an MSNBC Contributor. Jonathan -- wait a minute. What do we have here?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m the other one.

O`DONNELL: So many Jonathan`s -- there`s too many Jonathan`s here. I knew that wasn`t your introduction. Jonathan Capehart. Did you bring your Pulitzer prize with you?

CAPEHART: I did not.

O`DONNELL: If you could just have it with you it would make this easier I could tell. So every presidential election night, as the returns are coming in. and the party that is losing, there`s a half-dozen people looking at that and going, OK, do I run in four years? Do I run in four years? Now it sounds like we know who one of them was.

CAPEHART: Well I mean are we surprised by this? We`ve been talking about the fact that Joe Biden -- Vice President Biden wanted to, wants to, will forever run for President of the United States. Its something is I think is an inherent part of his character, an inherent part of his nature. And I don`t say that in a disparaging way, not in a dismissive way. It`s just something that we all know about him. So I am not surprised to hear him say oh, yes, I`m going to run in 2020.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, you had a chance to talk to him about this recently.

ALTER: Yes, I did. I went to South America with him this past week. Look, he wants to be vital. And he`s vital. He`s only four years older than Donald Trump and in a hell of a lot better shape than Trump. So he`s feeling is, he`s not going to walk away and go gently into that good night of Vice Presidential retirement. He`s going to stay super active and whether he runs for President or not, and clearly he hasn`t made any decision about whether or not to do it, you`re a lot more part of the process if you`re possible candidate than if you`re a retiree. So it`s a smart thing for him to do politically.

O`DONNELL: And he will be 78 years old when running, Bob Dole, 73 is the highest age of any nominee. Also thinking about it, I have officially declared. Also thinking about it tonight are Senator Cory Booker, 47 years old, Elizabeth Warren, 67 years old. I`m sure Bernie Sanders is thinking about it. Why shouldn`t he be thinking about it?

ALTER: Right.

O`DONNELL: Tim Kaine should be thinking about it next time around. Mark Cuban. There`s going to be a lot of people like Trump who don`t come from politics.

ALTER: Yes, yes. That`s true. I talked to a guy in the Whitehouse today who suggested to me that it`s going to be a really big field the next time around, maybe even bigger than the 17 who ran on the Republican side.

O`DONNELL: There are reports that Senator Kristin Gillibrand is thinking about from New York. Kamala Harris would run. Would she be in that Obama mold of being the freshmen senator think about running.

CAPEHART: Right, I agree with Jonathan, that the field in 2020 will probably be huge. But I think there`s something more important for the Democratic Party in the near term, is that they are going to need voices and big guns to help them get through the next two years of this new President, and so having a former president, President Obama, having a former vice president, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, if she, you know, comes out and becomes more active in the aftermath of the election. I think that`s how Joe Biden and all these folks stay relevant. The party has an immediate short term issue that it has to deal with, and that is Whitehouse and Congress in the hands of Republicans and tearing down everything that they`ve all worked so hard for.

ALTER: It`s about whether they`re going to enlist to resist. And every citizen, whether politicians or not, has to face that question.

O`DONNELL: Got to leave it there for tonight, the two jonathans, Jonathan Alter, thank you very much for joining us. Mr. Pulitzer I`m going to need you later --

CAPEHART: I`ll be back.

O`DONNELL: For another subject. OK, great. Coming up, victory for the pipeline protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the 500 years of tensions between Native-American Tribes and the immigrants who settled in this country and eventually conquered the continent and took it as their own, there have been good days and bad days for the tribes mostly bad days. The few good days were always followed by many more bad days. Yet the tribes persevered.

In the settlers` genocidal march across the continent, some tribes were exterminated. Others against all odds survived some might say miraculously. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe survived in their camps in North Dakota for hundreds of years against harshest winters in the United States. They were prepared to do that again this winter in a protest camp that grew spontaneously this summer in a desperate attempt to stop construction of a pipeline through their sacred lands and under the Missouri River, posing pollution a threat to their water supply.

It was a protest like no other in Native American history drawing tribes from all over the North American Continent and beyond. On most days the protests seemed hopeless. There were defeats in court for the tribe and harsh police tactics at the protest sitte. When I visited standing rock a few months ago I didn`t find people calculating their chances of success. I found people simply standing their ground and praying. Putting more faith in prayer than in the law that has betrayed them so many times over so many centuries. And yesterday in shocking development to everyone at the camp, on what was the day before a threatened, forced removal of the protesters. The Army Corps of Engineers, operating under President Obama`s approval refused to allow construction of the pipeline under the Missouri River and said alternate routes for the pipeline would have to be considered.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re obviously so happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, because they don`t realize the grandchildren, the next generation, and I`m very happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are tears of happiness right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, they are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m crying because I have a granddaughter. I also cry because of my people. I love my people. I`ve been here for a long time and helping the people and the community and helping here at the camp.

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O`DONNELL: Joining us now via Skype, Dave Archambault, the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Also with us by phone, Shailene Woodley. She has been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, made several visits to the location since the protests have started. Dave, tell us what it was like yesterday, how you got the news and how you told everyone there about the news.

DAVE ARCHAMBAULT, CHAIRMAN, STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE: I got a phone call from Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, and she informed me that the Corps of Engineers was not going to grant the easement and they will come out with their official notice in a couple hours. So it was a relief. and I wanted to be at the camp and make the announcement to the people. But before I even made the announcement, people were already aware and walking up to me, asking if the news was true. So I would just say yes, and then, you know, it was an overwhelming feeling of relief, because it feels hike the first time in the history of this country that Native-Americans have been heard.

O`DONNELL: And talk about that, Dave. this is a group that has, that has been accustomed to, over the centuries, treachery in dealing with the American Government and here they were in a protest that, as I say, legally at certain points, seemed hopeless, but I never had a sensation of hopelessness from anyone there.

ARCHAMBAULT: Yes, we felt like the deck was definitely stacked against us no matter what we do. The company had every right and was moving forward regardless, even though the Federal Government had asked their voluntary stay. They said we`re going to go on no matter what. And they put their investors` moneys at risk, the banks that loaned them money for this project is at risk, and they continued to force their hand on us, and it just felt like there was nothing we could do. And I truly am so thankful that the administration took the courage to --

O`DONNELL: Looks like Dave -- Dave`s has frozen up there. Shailene Woodley, you were one of the first to go out to standing rock before any of your colleagues in the acting community went out there, and I think you inspired many others to join you out there. What brought you out there, and what did it feel like yesterday when you got the news?

SHAILENE WOODLEY, AMERICAN ACTRESS: I heard about the pipeline back in February from our few friends and worked with some of the youth from Standing Rock. This movement really did stem from the youth out here getting together and recognizing that if they didn`t stand up to protect their water, not only would they not have clean drinking water for their future, but all future generations wouldn`t either.

And, you know, at that time, it was really hard to get press. For months and months and months, nobody was paying attention, and now the whole world knows about this. And something, as an outsider, someone who has come to support this movement, yesterday being at camp and seeing the relief and the celebration and also the, you know, the knowledge that this is far from over, you know. There`s the Pipon pipeline that the Navajo nation is now facing.

There`s the AIM pipeline in New York. There`s so many pipelines, but what this movement has done is showing that Native-Americans for far too long, like you mentioned in our country, have been silenced, have been ignored. The media hasn`t paid attention, the public hasn`t paid attention, the government hasn`t paid attention. And now that millions of people are watching, I pray that moving forward those millions of people continue to watch and continue to support.

And I think that was the feeling that a lot of people were experiencing yesterday was this moment of celebration and also knowing that we have to keep our boot straps buckled. There`s a lot of work to do. And we cannot, we cannot ignore the fact that there is that work to do, and how do we move forward in a good way now that we are united and stay in a place of listening and stay in a place of humility to honor the indigenous communities and indigenous populations in our country and support them in the issues that they`re facing.

O`DONNELL: Dave it`s to Shailene`s point about the difficulty of getting media attention to this, this was the first national television program to report on Standing Rock, and I was kind of surprised at the time that we were the first. And it`s been fascinating to watch since then how long it took to ramp up to this point where it has become, prior to yesterday, had become "the" story out there for everyone to be covering. Yesterday, when that word came and you had the chance to tell everyone about it, that`s one of the few times in tribal history where there`s a win like this to report to them.

How did that feel to the group and to you yourself to be the person who was delivering a victory message to people who were not accustomed to hearing victory messages?

DAVID ARCHAMBAULT II, STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBAL CHAIRMAN: It`s an overwhelming feeling that I can`t describe. It`s just joy and excitement. And relief all at the same time and, you know, it wasn`t just me that worked at this. It was everybody that was supporting and contributed from our legal team to our tribal staff to the people who, all around the world came, all the tribes who recognized this problem and this and had a true concern for what was happening. And to finally hear the corps of engineers make a decision, and it was in our favor, it was almost unbelievable.

O`DONNELL: Chairman Dave Archambault and Shailene Woodley, thank you both very much for joining us on this important night, really appreciate it.

WOODLEY: thank you.

ARCHAMBAULT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Ben Carson thinks he is unfit to run a cabinet department, but that didn`t stop Donald Trump from choosing him.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, Vice President elect Biden and I are pleased to announce our National Security team. Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Susan Rice.

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama on december first, 2008. Today`s December 5th. And here is Kellyanne Conway tonight, lying.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: To the president-elect and he`s way ahead of schedule obviously at this point in president-elect Obama`s term he had not announced any appointments.

O`DONNELL: The big lie. Donald Trump`s newest cabinet pick is next.

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O`DONNELL: Here`s Donald Trump discussing the person he`s chosen to be Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development, Dr. BEN Carson.

TRUMP: No. If you`re pathological, there`s no cure for that, folks, but if you`re a child molester, there`s no cure, they can stop you. Pathological, there`s no cure. And we`re going to put somebody in office who considers himself to have pathological disease. Read the definition in the dictionary of pathological disease. And I`m not saying it. He said it about him0self before he knew he was going to run for office.

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O`DONNELL: Just three weeks ago, Dr. Ben Carson said having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water quite frankly. Joining us now Elise Jordan, a former adviser to Senator Rand Paul`s presidential campaign and an MSNBC political analyst and back with us, Jonathan Capehart. Elise here`s a guy who`s advertised he`s unfit for the cabinet. Donald Trump says, well that won`t prevent you from being in my cabinet.

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s fascinating that this is supposed to give us confidence in the man who is going to oversee employees and a $50 billion budget and around 8,000 employees and ensure fair housing for all Americans, that you would put someone in to office who says, I have no experience running a bureaucracy. I frankly have never demonstrated that much of an interest in federal housing policy, but then that`s the appointment.

O`DONNELL: He has publicly -- Ben Carson has publicly said the words that would condemn him in a senate confirmation hearing which is, I`m unfit to do this.

CAPEHART: Yes, which makes this about --

O`DONNELL: what is this about?

CAPEHART: Look. I think it`s about several things. One, Donald Trump -- president-elect Trump has nominated someone who`s only qualification for this is that I think he`s even said this, his patients have come from public housing. He`s from Detroit. Like that`s some blanket job qualification. The other thing you have to keep in mind is this is the only African-American who`s been nominated for any cabinet post. And so, the only African-American president-elect Donald Trump nominates is a person who is woefully unqualified to hold the position.

No, I mean he`s a neurosurgeon. Dr. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon, why wasn`t he made health and human services secretary. That`s at least remotely plausible. Maybe is because of the clips you ran before where Donald Trump was saying that Ben Carson suffers from a pathological disease that he got turned down for HHS and it was given HUD. This -- that agency is so vital to millions of Americans. Millions of Americans --

O`DONNELL: And complex.

CAPEHART: And complex. And there`s someone who`s completely unqualified to run it and I just worry about the (INAUDIBLE).

JORDAN: It`s really a double signal. It`s a signal to conservatives that they aren`t not going to see any reform in some of the crony capitalism that goes on at HUD, it`s a signal to liberals that, hey this is not an administration that`s concerned about upholding fair housing free, you know. Having housing that isn`t segregated in America so neither side is getting any promise of competency from this appointment.

CAPEHART: Right.

O`DONNELL: Quick last word.

CAPEHART: And the last thing is, HUD used to be the agency where presidents put their black nominee, and now look, everything old is new again.

O`DONNELL: Elise Jordan and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

CAPEHART: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC`s live coverage continues in to the 11th Hour now with Brian Williams, that`s next.

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