Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 12, 2016 Guest: Steve McMahon, Paul Eaton, Tom Nichols, David Frum, David Corn, Matt Orstein
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel, we`ve got a lot of breaking news to cover here.
MADDOW: Yes, we do.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks my friend.
O`DONNELL: As Rachel just explained, Donald Trump has chosen ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
Donald Trump tweeted that, that announcement will actually be made tomorrow. Mitt Romney tweeted tonight that he was glad to have been considered. He made it clear before the breaking news about Rex Tillerson that it would not be Mitt Romney.
And then there`s more breaking news that developed earlier tonight on what we will not hear from Donald Trump this week.
This was the week when Donald Trump was going to announce his plans to deal with possible conflicts of interests in his business.
That has now been postponed until next year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don`t like a smart person.
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What I am hearing here is an ignorant person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The overwhelming consensus of the intelligence agencies is that the Russians hacked into our Democratic institutions.
TRUMP: They have no idea that it`s Russia or China or somebody --
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It`s not at all clear to me that this hacking was not a false flag operation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the CIA reports with high confidence, that`s as good as gold --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no higher degree of confidence that you can get within the CIA.
TRUMP: It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know where he gets these images from, they`re kind of creepy.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community.
TRUMP: But who knows? I don`t know either. They don`t know, and I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop tweeting, start taking your presidential daily briefing.
TRUMP: I don`t have to be told the same thing and the same way, it`s every single day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They aren`t the same thing everyday.
NANCE: It`s constantly changing.
JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: It`s just another example of why he is incompetent, ill-prepared and not curious enough to become a decent president.
TRUMP: You don`t like a smart person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "Nbc News" has confirmed Donald Trump will name ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State.
Earlier this evening, Donald Trump tweeted, "I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning."
And minutes ago, Mitt Romney acknowledged that he has been told he will not be Donald Trump`s choice for Secretary of State.
Mitt Romney wrote on Facebook "it was an honor to have been considered for Secretary of State of our great country. My discussions with President- elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening.
I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace."
The "Wall Street Journal" reports among those considered for Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson has perhaps the closest ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Having negotiated a 2011 energy partnership deal with Russia. In 2012, the "Kremlin" bestowed the country`s order of friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson.
"The Washington Post" reports that the CIA now believes Russia deliberately interfered with the U.S. election to specifically help Donald Trump win.
Donald Trump responded to that report yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don`t catch them in the act, you`re not going to catch them.
They have no idea that it`s Russia or China or somebody, it could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace. I mean, they have no idea --
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: So, why would the CIA put out the story that the Russians wanted you to win? --
TRUMP: Well, I`m not sure they put it out. I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.
Personally, it could be Russia. It -- I don`t really think it is, but who knows? I don`t know either. They don`t know and I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And here is how Donald Trump gets his intelligence briefings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You are getting the presidential daily brief.
WALLACE: Only once a week.
TRUMP: Well, I get it when I need it.
WALLACE: But is it -- is there some skepticism? --
TRUMP: First of all, these are very good people that are giving me the briefings. And I say, if something should change from this point, immediately call me, I`m available on one minute`s notice.
I don`t have to be told, you know, I`m like a smart person. I don`t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.
It could be eight years, but eight years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This morning, Donald Trump tweeted, can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and we tried to play the Russia/CIA card?
It would be called conspiracy theory. And he also tweeted, "unless you catch hackers in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking.
Why wasn`t this brought up before election?" As of course everyone knows, it was brought up before the election by the director of National Intelligence which issued a statement on October 7th.
Saying the U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.
These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. In October, Mike Pence acknowledged that Russia was implicated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: I know you`re getting intelligence briefings.
Do you believe the American intelligence that says Russia is behind all of these hacks into a former White House Chief of Staff and John Podesta, the DNC, et cetera.
Do you believe the American intelligence community on this?
MIKE PENCE, VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think there`s more and more evidence that implicates Russia and there should be serious consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And of course the Russian hacking was brought up in presidential debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians -- well, she doesn`t know if it`s the Russians doing the hacking.
Maybe there is no hacking, but they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia is because they think they`re trying to tarnish me with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here`s how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reacted to reports of Russia hacking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: It defies belief that somehow Republicans in the Senate are reluctant to either review Russian tactics or ignore them.
So, last, let me say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the Central Intelligence Agencies.
The CIA is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people.
The Russians are not our friends. I think we ought to approach all of these issues on the assumption that the Russians do not wish us well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, General Paul Eaton; retired U.S. Army Major General and the Managing Director of the Vet Voice Foundation.
Also with us Tom Nichols, a foreign policy expert professor at the U.S. Naval War College. General Eaton, your assessment of what we`re hearing about the Russian hacks at this point.
PAUL EATON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, VET VOICE FOUNDATION: Well, Lawrence, to have the president-elect of the United States dismiss an entire community of very hardworking intelligence officers.
You know, put yourself in their shoes. I think this is the guy who is going to be their boss, and he has just dismissed out of hand all their hardwork that comes to this conclusion.
And I have worked with Intel officers all my life. If you don`t agree with them, you don`t necessarily dismiss them out of hand.
Embrace them, bring it in, analysis is your purview as well. And he has just dismissed an entire community of hardworking men and women, sometimes at great risk to their lives.
O`DONNELL: Tom Nichols, the standard of proof that Donald Trump wants to use now. He said if you don`t catch them in the act, you`re not going to catch them.
Now Donald Trump apparently has never heard of fingerprints. He`s never heard of electronic fingerprints.
He doesn`t know that there are plenty of crimes that if not caught in the act, traces are left behind that enable us to figure out who did it.
I mean, that standard of proof of if you don`t catch them in the act you`re not going to catch them. Is that the standard that we should be using on those hacking stories like this?
TOM NICHOLS, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: It made me wonder who is advising the president-elect on hacking.
My view of course, I represent my own view, not the war college is that it`s a convenient way to dismiss the problem.
To say, well, whatever happened, happened. It`s water under the bridge as the transition team has said, well, it`s time to move on.
But, as you pointed out, you don`t have to catch hackers in the act. And in fact, it`s pretty rare to catch hackers in the act.
There`s a whole forensic field that`s meant to reconstruct what happens after this kind of an event.
So, I found it a very strange thing to say, and as General Eaton points out, it`s dismissing the view of an entire community of professionals who really do know what they`re doing.
O`DONNELL: And General, the idea that the CIA has been studying this as long as they have several weeks now and they`ve come out with this conclusion.
Why aren`t we getting more substance on this conclusion? Why is it in the whole kind of unnamed source level at this point?
EATON: It`s a great question. You have now ten members of the electoral board, the people who are going to cast their votes for the presidency.
You have Senator Graham, Senator McCain, who are all on board, looking for the output for the investigation.
So, for the life of me, I do not understand why we are not seeing more delivered to our senators in a bipartisan approach to deliver the goods on the very hardwork that they`ve done to bring this analysis and to bring this conclusion.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Tom Nichols, that would seem like if they`re not ready to go full public with it, it seems like they could do the so-called gang of 12-style briefing where they brief the leaders of the intelligence committees and the leadership in the House and Senate.
EATON: That`s true, and I also find it unusual, because the president- elect, unlike most politicians I`ve ever worked with, most political leaders can`t get enough information.
They actually are almost insatiable for more information rather than simply dismissing things out of hand.
But the other problem here of course is the problem that the intelligence community always finds itself.
The (INAUDIBLE) intelligence community always finds itself in, which is that it wants to bring forward evidence of some kind of a problem.
And then of course skeptics say, well, bring out all of this classified material that you obviously can`t share publicly.
And if you don`t share it publicly, then it didn`t happen. Well, that`s not how the intelligence community operates.
And it`s an impossible demand at some point, but I think that`s absolutely correct that certainly Senators and senior members of Congress can actually get briefed on these kinds of matters, of course.
O`DONNELL: General Eaton, we now have the news of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
We have, as Rachel pointed out at the end of her hour, we have a president with no governing experience, no diplomatic experience.
We have a national security adviser with no governing experience, no diplomatic experience. And now we have a Secretary of State with no governing experience, no diplomatic experience.
EATON: Lawrence, remember the comment "friend of Bill"? And we`ve got a friend of Vlad situation going on here. Two data points to turn three data points is a confirmation of that trend.
And we have -- we have three men, the president-elect, his national security adviser, and now his nominee for state. And they are -- they share this common situation of being a friend of Vladimir Putin.
And as an American, I find it absolutely disturbing that we have that nexus in these three positions. And we`ve got a developing problem that I don`t know how we`re going to resolve it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, put that way, Tom Nichols as General Eaton just did. It`s hard to think in those three: the president, national security, Secretary of State.
How they could possibly be any more pro Vladimir Putin. How they could in any way, be more positive about Putin.
NICHOLS: And that`s the problem, is that in any one case you might say, well, it`s actually good to have somebody on the team who has good relations with Russia. Who has some understanding of the president of Russia as a foreign leader.
The problem is, and I think this is what makes a lot of folks -- again, speaking personally for myself, it makes me uncomfortable when you have enough people in the room who think that Vladimir Putin is -- who basically share Vladimir Putin`s world view.
And I think this is something that`s really important to ask of the nominees as to the degree to which they do share that world view.
I think it`s fair to worry about whether or not this is going to provide solid and unbiased advice to the president during -- particularly during a crisis.
Because I think that`s the other thing people aren`t thinking enough about that on a day-to-day basis some of this lack of experience might not be a major problem.
But during a crisis, lack of experience becomes crucially, vitally, fatally important, and I think that`s a big worry.
O`DONNELL: You`re getting nods here from General Eaton. Talk about that crisis situation.
EATON: Roger that. You are going to be presented with a crisis. I mean, it`s going to happen. And you know, a lot of people speak in terms of the first crisis is going to be North Korea.
We lost a component of an outcome when we disenfranchised the China relationship by the Taiwan phone call that the president-elect took.
So, he is going to get a crisis. And he has a -- he has a team that is immature. It is probably not going to be fully manned.
And he is not going to have those people in the room who are going to be sage and wise and being able to lay out a path out of the crisis.
So many bad things can happen in that. And there are a lot of branches and sequels associated with what this crisis can perform.
But when he -- when after the unique China relationship, when the president-elect took that phone call from the president of Taiwan, we committed a very serious mistake.
And one of the things that China has in its possible responses is that North Korea will not have China to manage the outcome of the most likely crisis this administration is going to be faced with.
O`DONNELL: And in the group we just mentioned, zero experience with China.
O`DONNELL: General Eaton, thank you very much for joining us tonight --
EATON: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Tom Nichols, thank you for joining us, really appreciate it.
Coming up, will Donald Trump`s pick for Secretary of State get through the confirmation process? Remember, he`s never -- there has never been an FBI background check on Rex Tillerson.
Also more breaking news. Donald Trump won`t tell us now what he plans to do with the possible conflicts of interest in his business.
He`s scheduled a press conference for this week about that. That press conference has now been canceled, postponed until at least next year.
O`DONNELL: The one thing you cannot call the last presidential election is landslide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had a massive landslide victory as you know in the electoral college.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Massive landslide victory. The United States has had 58 presidential elections.
Forty five of them, the electoral college winner got far more electoral college votes than the 306 that Donald Trump is expected to get when the electoral college meets on December 19th.
Many presidents in the last century have won in landslides. FDR in `36, Richard Nixon in `72, Ronald Reagan in `84 all got more than 500 electoral votes.
Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush all got more than 400 electoral college votes.
Barack Obama won far more electoral college votes than Donald Trump in both 2008 and 2012. But Donald Trump will continue to pretend that he got a landslide in the electoral college.
Because he can`t talk about the other thing, the vote, the actual votes in which Hillary Clinton got about 2.8 million more votes than Donald Trump.
The latest national vote count shows her at 2.8 million more than Donald Trump. Coming up, what Trump Republicans see in Vladimir Putin. Why? What is it?
What is the attraction to Vladimir Putin? That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There`s no doubt about the hacking. Just let`s establish that.
I was hacked into. My campaign in 2008 was hacked into. So, there`s no doubt about the hacking.
And the question is about the intention, but it`s all part of the larger issue of the cyber threat we face from Russia, China and other countries.
It`s another form of warfare, and the entire issue is going to be examined by the Armed Services Committee because it`s a threat to our national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, Senator John McCain was one of the Republican senators countering Donald Trump`s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the presidential election.
Senator McCain described Russia as an adversary waging "another form of warfare." But Donald Trump`s wing of the Republican Party doesn`t see Russia that way.
Here`s what "The Atlantics`" Peter Beinart writes today about why Donald Trump`s Republican Party embraces Russia.
"Before Trump, Republican leaders generally described the United States as fighting an ideological struggle against the enemies of freedom.
Now Trump and his advisors describe America as fighting a civilizational struggle against the enemies of the west seen through that very different lens.
Muslims look more nefarious, and Vladimir Putin looks more benign. Many conservatives who once opposed the Soviet Union because of its atheism now view Putin`s Russia as Christianity`s frontline against the new civilizational enemy, Islam."
Joining us now, David Frum; senior editor for "The Atlantic", and David Corn; a Washington Bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.
David Frum, what do you make of that, that because Vladimir Putin has certain problems with Islamic terrorism even within his realm.
That he is fighting that, and because he`s fighting that, that he is the friend of others who are fighting that.
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: I think it`s ingenious but way unnecessarily complicated.
I think you can explain how most Republicans are reacting to Putin now by the simple Trump problem.
Which is that when this hook gets into you, it drags you to places that you would never have gone of your own free will.
And the party is now trapped. It`s got this president-elect who is deeply compromised by Russia. We may learn maybe more compromised even then, we dare fear right now. The compromises will continue to come.
And the challenge for Republicans is, you either say something. In which case you are out because you`ve embarrassed the party and caused the president-elect political problems or the future president political problems.
Or you swallow one more toad. And every day in Washington for these Republican senators is a day where you have -- for breakfast, it`s toad, for lunch it`s toad and dinner double toad.
O`DONNELL: David --
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Or frog legs.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, there are reports though of these kind of white nationalist extremist types. Identifying Russia as the last great white power.
CORN: That is true. The -- you know, they like to call themselves the alt-right, we call them white nationalists, it`s more accurate.
But a lot of them do look at Vladimir Putin as sort of the ways that Peter Beinart just described as a bulwark against non-white culture that he`s standing up for, you know, sort of a master race of Slavics.
And they -- and sort of, you know, preserving, you know, like Christian European-type identity. Now, I don`t know how far that extends into, you know, the Republican Party establishment. I think David Frum has a good analysis that it`s basically opportunism --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
CORN: You sort of --
O`DONNELL: Right, trapped --
CORN: But you`re being trapped because of opportunism. Because Trump won and you`re not going to take him on because you want the benefits of Trump`s victory.
So, you saw Mitch McConnell today give this statement in which he looked like he was swallowing a toad or something even worse. He could barely get out the words, and then he said but Russia is not our friends.
But his wife has gotten a job because the guy who Putin wants in the White House is in the White House. So, on Facebook you can call this complicated. It`s very --
O`DONNELL: All right --
CORN: Complicated for these important --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead --
FRUM: The point of view of Russian foreign policy, it is true that Russia flows money to all kinds of white nationalist parties through Europe.
We know about their loans to Front National in France and other such parties. But they also opportunistically work with other people who are not white nationalists. And there`s a lot suspicion that they help the Scottish nationalists in the United Kingdom.
Because their goal is to smash Europe, to smash NATO and then to smash a part of the constituent parts of Europe. So that this country Russia with the GDP the size of Italy can again be a super power.
Not by making itself stronger, but by making everybody else weaker, and above all by disabling the connection between the United States and Europe.
CORN: And there`s a business connection, even we talked earlier -- you talked earlier about Rex Tillerson becoming Secretary of State.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
CORN: His love or his love affair with Putin is not because of white nationalism or keeping, you know, Islam`s civilization in check.
It`s because he wants to drill, baby, drill with places where Russia has oil. So, you have this sort of convergence of Donald Trump.
I do think you`re right, and I`ve written about this. I think there`s more to come out on his connections with Russians.
But you have the alt-right, the white nationalists who Steve Bannon was a champion of when he was at "Breitbart".
You have Tillerson who wants to get in there and you know, make hundreds of millions of dollars for Exxon.
And the Republican Party is really caught between all this, and I think John McCain is going -- you know, his head is going to explode at some point.
O`DONNELL: Let`s consider the Tillerson confirmation process for a moment.
There are plenty of reasons why Secretaries of State normally come from the kinds of people who have been in government to -- you know, revealing their tax returns as senators, filing financial disclosure forms as senators.
Submitting to FBI background checks if they have been in the government before in other capacities.
Here`s someone who`s never been through any of that.
FRUM: Yes --
O`DONNELL: No one`s ever seen a tax return of his. He`s never been checked out by the FBI.
There`s plenty to wonder about in terms of whether he will be able to cross the threshold of all the background checks involved in a Senate confirmation process.
FRUM: Well, he`s a corporate CEO of a publicly-traded corporation, not a Donald Trump-like --
O`DONNELL: Right --
FRUM: So, Trump, my guess is that this tax affairs, there are probably pretty orderly, and although the numbers will be impressive, they will not show weird things like --
O`DONNELL: Right --
FRUM: Never paying taxes. It`s hard to -- he`s basically a salary, very well paid salary employee.
But here is I think the difficulty in most cases. The most upsetting person in the administration for people who want to continue America`s traditional view about Russia is Michael Flynn, the national security adviser.
He`s not Senate-confirmed. If you had a normal national security adviser, and then you had, you know, General Mattis at defense who`s a reasonably normal Secretary of Defense.
And you have done a business Republican who wants to do more business with Russia versus the Secretary of Defense who wants to do a certain national security interest.
And you would -- a normal national security adviser between people who would be less worried with this national security adviser. The Senate may attack where it can, maybe not where it would like to but can`t.
O`DONNELL: Yes, because they will feel they won`t be able to trust a system run by this group, and this is --
CORN: Right --
O`DONNELL: The only one we can affect. We`re going to have to take a break here. David Frum, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really --
FRUM: Thank you --
O`DONNELL: Appreciate it. Coming up, we have more breaking news on Donald Trump canceling that news conference that was scheduled for Thursday.
The one where he was going to explain how he was going to solve any problem of conflict of interest with his business. That news conference has now been postponed until at least next year.
O`DONNELL: Remember the Melania Press Conference? It`s the press conference that Donald Trump promised that Melania Trump would give, showing us all of the documentation of her immigration records to this country and showing that -- proving that she never worked illegally here. Donald Trump promised that. He said it would happen in a couple weeks that was back in the middle presidential campaign. And it`s more than a couple weeks later. This never happened. That`s why you don`t remember the Melania Press Conference. And now the Trump transition team is confirming that Donald Trump will postpone a press conference that was scheduled for Thursday of this week. That press conference was supposed to be an announcement of how he would eliminate any conflict of interest issues involving his business while serving as President of the United States.
That press conference has now been postponed from Thursday to we do not know when. They`re suggesting that it will be sometime next year, before January 20th, before Donald Trump Oath of Office. But, you know, the Melania Press Conference, that was supposed to be just a couple weeks, just a couple weeks from the time Donald Trump announced it, still waiting for that one. Joining us now Steve McMahon, Democratic Strategiest and CEO and co-founder of the Purple Strategies. And back with us David Corn. Steve McMahon, another press conference schedule.
STEVE MCMAHON, PURPLE STRATEGIES: it`s kind of amazing. It`s almost like once he says after a couple of weeks he`s -- it`s not operable anymore. I mean we`ve seen fairly consistently. And I actually think that what he said shortly after he was elected President when he said he doesn`t believe President have conflicts. It reflects his real attitude. And I Republicans are going to have to figure out what their going to do about that because it`s going to be a real problem.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, surely he`s not going to do anything real about it. That`s what we`re coming to. And someone made the calculation, better that we wait until around the inauguration to announce that we`re not going to do anything about it rather than do that now and get --
CORN: Or even not announced, just keeping putting it off. I mean I think it`s a really open question whether he will ever have a press conference again.
CORN: I mean we know that the media went nuts when Hillary went all those months without having a press conference and it was wrong for her to that. But then knowing the general election, after the convention she had a bunch of them. He hasn`t had one in months as well. And I don`t think he sees a need for it. And the explanation they gave today is that he`s too busy putting his cabinet together to focus on these possible constitutional violations. But at the same time, he`s not too busy to watch Alec Baldwin. He`s not too busy to go out on these thank you tours. So he has time to do all sorts of things but he still can avoid the daily briefings of intelligence, and now bear down on this. And you know like we talked about in the other segment. It`s going to fall upon Republicans to decide just how much they can stomach. So far it seems like a lot.
MCMAHON: Maybe he`s getting ready to release his tax returns. That could be --
CORN: He`s busy with that.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Kellyanne Conway`s explanation for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: What it does make more clear on how convoluted and complex many of these business holdings are. His expectation remains that he will cede operational control of the Trump organization to his adult children and other corporate officers whom he trusts and have worked for him for many years. So that he can next 100 percent of his time and attention on being President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Now Steve every one who knows anything about conflict of interest knows that that does not release any of the conflicts of interest. They`re all still present. But the Trump voter doesn`t know that, the voting public generally doesn`t know that. What`s the likelihood of any of this sticking to Donald Trump?
MCMAHON: Well the Trump voter doesn`t know and probably doesn`t care frankly. But I think members of Congress do understand and care quite a bit. I mean they have to file --
O`DONNELL: Republican members?
MCMAHON: Well I think at some point the pressure`s going to get pretty great. And I think you`re going to have Democrats who are asking questions and Republicans who at some point are not going to be able to dodge those questions any longer. I think Democrat will move ethics legislation. They`ll do other things to shine a light on this. And I don`t think this is an issue that`s going to go away. And I think, you know, it`s easy for the Republicans right now to say we`re going to give him a little bit of room. But at some point, they`re going to start to say, we have to see something from him. And I actually think the Republicans will do that.
CORN: Well, Elijah Cummings is the ranking member of the House Government Oversight Committee, a Democrat, has called on Jason Chaffetz who runs the -- and I remembered during the campaign he said we`re going to go after Hillary whether she wins. We`re not going to stop any of this. Well Elijah Cummings has sent letters and has called Chaffetz and said can we look some of these conflict matter and have a bipartisan hearing. Silence, crickets, nothing coming from there. I think we may have to wait for a teapot dome scan or another Watergate or something that really puts us in front of some of the Trump voters who think that Trump was telling truth where he said because I`m rich I won`t be corrupt. I think we`re going to see a lot of possible corruption. And that may change the equation for some Republicans.
MCMAHON: Remember most of these voters believe politicians are innately corrupt. And the more Donald Trump and so far he`s not turning out to be very different. It`s a cabinet full of billionaires and folks close to Vladimir Putin, and his voters are going to see that and understand it and it`s going to be a problem for him.
O`DONNELL: David Korn, Steve McManon thank you both for joining us.
CORN: Thank you.
MCMAHON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, some members of the Electoral College now want an intelligence briefing for the electors who will cast their votes for President on December 19th. They want to hear what the CIA knows about the Russian hacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER PALMIERI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS HILLARY CLINTON`S 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Hillary Clinton conceded and that has not changed but, and there are a hot of activities happening around the Electoral College. There`s a lot of groups that have self-formed to pursuing lawsuits and alike. Those are all activities that we have chosen not to be involved with. But this, we felt since there was new information we learned on Friday night about the intent of Russia. We thought this was a worthy effort for us to weigh in on.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Clinton campaign`s former Deputy -- former Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri. That was earlier this evening talking to Rachel Maddow. She`s was talking about the 10 members of the Electoral College who are now asking for an intelligence briefing on the investigation into Russia`s hacking of electoral process and deliberately in favor of Donald Trump according to some reports. The Electors want to have that briefing before they vote to make Donald Trump the President of the United States. That vote is scheduled for December 19th. Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta said this today in statement. The bipartisan elector`s letter raises very grave issues involving our National Security. Electors have a solemn responsibility under the constitution and support their efforts to have their questions addressed. Joining us now Kyle Cheney, Politics for Employer for Politico. Kyle, you have written about this electors. What -- did they -- how big is the demand among the electors for this information?
KYLE CHENEY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s generally being driven right now by Democratic Electors. So in states where Hillary Clinton won you have Democratic members of the Electoral College. And they`re the one driving this. One is Christine Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi`s daughter is actually she`s the one who sort of organize this and put her name on the top of the letter.
O`DONNELL: By the way electors. People don`t generally know who they are. But it`s very common for them to turn out to be relatives of officeholders and politicians. These are -- people close to the political system.
CHENEY: Right. These are positions that are very often overlooked. It`s sort of an honor to be an elector. They usually rubberstamp the votes on Election Day so you never really think about it. So kind of getting a real-time civics lesson now the presidential election hasn`t really happened yet until the 19th. And now you`re seeing Democratic Electors, not really Republicans saying we`ll hold on. We want to slow it down. We want to do some due diligence here which is not something you normally hear electors say.
O`DONNELL: And there is one Republican involved. That`s the Republican from Texas who has already said he`s not going to vote for Donald Trump.
CHENEY: Exactly. He`s the only Republican out there so far who said I will not cast my vote for Donald Trump. He`s not sure who he`s going to vote. He`s talked about maybe John Kasich. For this to actually influence the outcome of the election you would need at least three dozen more Republicans to join him and so far their not really gaining traction on that part.
O`DONNELL: The math is as you laid on your piece you need 37 electors, Trump electors, basically, to switch their positions. That what it would take to change the outcome.
CHENEY: Exactly and that would be so far beyond unprecendented. You know we`ve never had more than six against a presidential candidate in the history of the country. So we`re really talking about a scale we have never seen. But these Democrats who would like to see that outcome are lobbying their Republican counterparts trying to convince that many Republicans.
O`DONNELL: And so they sent their letter to intelligence officials requesting that any kind of response at all?
CHENEY: They haven`t received anything formal yet. I`m not sure they will. I think what they are trying to do is really draw attention to the fact that there are these unanswered questions and the fact that the Electoral Vote hasn`t hasn`t happened yet. So maybe we can use some leverage that we have to force answers and or Trump in an uncomfortable position.
O`DONNELL: Kyle Cheney, thank you very much for joining us tonight and I really appreciate it. Coming up, the amazing story of the African-American Jazz Musician who spends as much time as he can talking to members of the Ku Klux Klan.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock pleaded not guilty to 24 charges in Federal Court today including corruption, fraud and filing false Federal Income Tax Returns. Aaron Schock a rising Republican star he resigned in 2015 during an investigation of his spending. His office spending, including the redecorating his office to look like the British Estate in the TV show Downton Abbey. Something he was very proud of. Aaron Schock says he`s innocent and that any errors were quote, honest mistakes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AARON SCHOCK, FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: I have full confidence in my legal team, full confidence in the good people of this community and I`m confident that in the end justice will prevail. Thank you.
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O`DONNELL: Aaron Schock`s trial is scheduled to start February 7th. Coming up, meet Daryl Davis. That`s Daryl Davis in the blue shirt. One of his favorite things to do is to meet members of the Ku Klux Klan.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: So here`s the time Daryl Davis tried to join the Nazi Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DARYL DAVIS, MUSICIAN: Could I join? There are white people in the NAACP.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The membership is just open to white people.
DAVIS: So it`s racist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t say it`s racist.
DAVIS: Well what is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s geared towards white people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Daryl, you`re going to explain what you`re up to. We`re going to take a break. You`re going to explain it all. We`ll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Have you spoken to a member of the Klan lately? I haven`t but maybe we should. Daryl Davis does it all the time.
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DAVIS: What would you say to people like me who will say to you that yes, white people came here, they took over this land from the Native-Americans. They built this country on the backs of my ancestors, on the backs of black slaves. So now where`s my place in this country in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first off, I would like to hear some words of appreciation, think of the thousands of farm boys who died in some battlefield in the civil war and spilled their blood that eventually purchased the freedom of the African slave, and I never heard anybody say thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Why does Daryl Davis talk to Klan members? Here`s why.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times we don`t agree with everything, but at least you respect me to sit down and listen to me. And I`ll respect him to sit down and listen to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn`t changed my views on the Klan, you know, because my view on the Klan has been pretty much cemented in my mind for years.
DAVIS: We kept on doing that. He and I became the best of friends. And over a period of time, that cement that was in his mind that held his ideas together began to crack. And then it crumbled. And then a few years hater Roger Kelly quit the Klu Klux Klan. And when Roger Kelly quit the Ku Klux Klan, he gave me his robe and hood,
OK? This is the robe of the Klan leader. The same one that you saw him wearing in the video.
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O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Daryl Davis, he is a blues musician who`s traveled the country for decades, attempting to befriend White Supremacists, also with us Matt Orstein. He`s the Director of the Documentary titled, Accidental Courtesy, Daryl Davis and Race in America. Daryl, what got you started on this?
DAVIS: Well as a young child, I`m 58 years old now. At the age of 10 I had a racist experience. And I formed a --
O`DONNELL: Where did you grow up?
DAVIS: I grew up all over the world. My parent were U.S Foreign Service.
DAVIS: But I noticed I didn`t have any racial problems overseas. I only had them here in my own country. And I formed a question at the age of 10, how can you hate me when you don`t know me. So nobody could answer the question. As an adult, I figured, who better to ask than someone who would join an organization whose whole premise is hating those who not look like them and who do not believe like as they believe. .
O`DONNELL: Now do you think it was your experience living outside the United States that gave you the audacity to ask these question?
DAVIS: That`s a good question. But I think absolutely because, you know, being around so many different cultures in the diplomatic field I just experienced the Klan as another culture. What differences is another culture because I was in classes with Italians, Japanese, Germans, French, Russians, Nigerians. And back home here I went to school just black kids and white kids or just black kids or just white kids depending upon whether you went to the newly integrated school or it was still segregated.
DAVIS: So overseas, I was living 12-15 years ahead of my time because that scenario had yet to come here.
O`DONNELL: Matt, how did you discover Daryl, and what gave you the idea to do a documentary about him?
MATT ORSTEIN, DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR: Well, first, thank you so much for having us, Lawrence. It`s a real pleasure. I watch the show. I very much enjoy it. I read an article about Daryl in a newspaper. And I was instantly intrigued. Race is such a constant issue in this country and yet we approach it over and over again from the exact same angle and never wonder why we don`t get a different result, and here was a man doing it differently.
O`DONNELL: And Daryl, I understand how you can hang in there when you start to feel you`re making progress with someone.
O`DONNELL: But that first, when you first come up against hard core racists, how do you hang in there in that conversation?
DAVIS: Because I knew what to expect. I had bought -- I have a vast library. Every book on black supremacy, white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis in Germany, the neo-Nazi`s over here, anti-Semitism. So I was well versed in it and I knew what to expect and I knew I could rise above it.
O`DONNELL: So did -- but is there a version of yourself that you bring into your encounters where you`re hyperconscious of how you`re behaving with these guys?
DAVIS: I think when you go into a situation knowing what to expect you have it under control, if I were to be walking just out here on the street and somebody yelled some racial epitaph at me I might not be prepared for that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s a whole different thing.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Matt, what did you discover about it? What is the biggest thing you`ve learned by following Daryl around?
ORSTEIN: Well a big part of what Daryl does is making himself available in person, one on one and really listening to people. Obviously, you know, e- mail and face book are part of how he meets people. But once he does meet them, he really listens to them and they have to listen to him, you know, through that exchange. And I think we`ve lost track of that a little bit.
O`DONNELL: So Daryl I imagine when we see these guys -- I mean this is someone who`s chosen to meet you. He could have chosen not to meet you. So there`s something there just in that choice.
DAVIS: Well, initially, those who chose to meet me did not know I was black.
DAVIS: I have my white secretary contact them and specifically not tell them that I was black so they didn`t find out until I showed up at their home or at a --
O`DONNELL: And what was the pitch? She calling and saying he would like to meet --
DAVIS: Saying, my boss is writing a book on the Ku Klux Klan, would you be willing to sit down and interview with them?
O`DONNELL: Yes and so then you arrive and they see --
DAVIS: And they freak out and some --
O`DONNELL: What`s an example of a freak out? What do they do?
DAVIS: Well in some cases there was a physical confrontation. In other cases they would say no, I don`t want to talk to him, you know, I`m out of here. Other times after they got over the shock they would invite me into their home or come over to my hotel room, you know, where were having the meeting.
O`DONNELL: And did you sense among of them a need to prove to you that they are actually decent human beings and they just have a different belief?
DAVIS: Yes, some of them would try to prove that. You know we don`t hate anybody. We just love our own kind.
DAVIS: Well, if you love your own kind then why can`t I help you love your own kind? We can all love each other.
O`DONNELL: We are out of time. Daryl Davis, an amazing story.
DAVIS: Thank you my friend.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for coming in.
DAVIS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Matt Ornstein, thank you for joining us tonight too, really appreciate it, great movie, great documentary.
ORNSTEIN: Thank you so much. Please go to our website viewers. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And again the name of the documentary again is Accidental Courtesy.