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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 1/3/2017

Guests: Steven Brill, Leo Wise, Julian Epstein

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

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  I can`t wait to read the gossip columns  tomorrow. A standing date with Senator Sanders, Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders.

MADDOW:  I got to go home and tell Susan.  O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel --  MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Well, for Republicans, the real worst news of the day of day  one of the new Congress is not the ethics story.  We will get to that, but that`s not their biggest problem.  That`s a  problem they fix in less than 24 hours.  The biggest problem on this first real day of governing for Republicans in  Congress has gone completely unnoticed until now. But it will ruin Donald Trump`s first year as president.  (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC:  On day one of the new Congress, house Republicans  think twice and throw out their plan to overhaul an ethics watch dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The president-elect weighing in on the timing of that  epic battle.

Saying, there are so many other things of far greater importance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why is this the most important thing for Congress to  be focused on right now?  UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It isn`t, that`s the whole thing, it`s not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don`t they realize what the election was about in  November? It was about that Americans are sick and tired of what goes on in  Washington.  So, this should not have been the first thing that people hear about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The amendment that was adopted last night was withdrawn  by unanimous --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The new Republican-led Congress is not wasting any  time with their promise to repeal Obamacare.  UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Today, a bill to repeal Obamacare was introduced.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS:  This time they have the votes and a  president to sign the bill.

  KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST:  There`s no question that  there will be different health insurance coverage in this country under  President Trump.  UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Republicans in that repealing -- remember the whole  pottery barn rule -- you break it, you own it. Well, Republicans will end up owning everything that comes with healthcare.  (END VIDEO CLIP)  O`DONNELL:  In the history of American presidential campaigning, no winning  candidate has ever made more impossible promises to his voters than Donald  Trump did.  Some of those Trump promises were silly, some of them were  unconstitutional, some of them were actually harmful.  To some of Donald Trump`s supporters, but they didn`t care.  They cheered  for all of them.  (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re going to build  the ball, but who is going to pay for the wall? Hundred percent.  Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims  entering the United States. Immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare. (CHEERS)  (APPLAUSE) From day one I have been saying repeal and replace Obamacare.  Real change  begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.  (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL:  Today is the day that professional Republicans have been  dreading.  And by professional Republicans, I`m only referring to those Republicans  who draw a salary in government or politics and are professional enough to  comprehend the demands of governing professionalism.  So that leaves out some Republican senators and most Republican members of  the house. It includes most of the committee chairs in both the House and the Senate  and definitely includes the leadership teams in both the house and the  senate. All of those people understand legislative reality.  The governing  professionals in both parties always understand legislative reality much  better than new presidents do.  Not since Lyndon Johnson have we had a presidential with real federal  legislative experience.  And we have never had a president with less governing experience of any  kind than Donald Trump.  None of the Republican pros in the Congress thought Donald Trump was going  to win.  So they weren`t much worried but they would ever have to do what they did  today -- face the reality of dealing with Donald Trump`s campaign promises.  Some of Donald Trump`s promises will just fade away, and not be missed by  anyone, including by his supporters.  But no one in the Congress, and no Trump voter can forget the promise that  Donald Trump made during the campaign that was identical to the promise  that virtually every Republican in Congress has been making for years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER:  The Obamacare was an abysmal  failure.  Surely, we can do better for the American people.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The biggest threat to  Medicare is Obamacare and we are going to get rid of this specter(ph)  Medicare by repealing Obamacare.  (CHEERS)  TRUMP:  We will terminate Obamacare and replace it, believe me, with  something good.  (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL:  And today was day one of dealing with the reality of that  promise and it was a very bad day for Republicans. But luckily for the Republicans, the media has been distracted by the dust  up over the ethics enforcement process in the House of Representatives.  Something we`ll talk about later.  And no one has noticed just how bad a  day it was for the professional Republicans whose job it is to make Donald  Trump`s Obamacare repeal a legislative reality.  It could not have been more of a disaster.  "Reuters" carried the headline  today, "U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution." I hate to pick on headline writers but in reality, that`s not exactly what  happened today.  "Reuters" wasn`t the only one to report that Republicans in the House and  the Senate had a budget resolution ready to go on day one that repeals  Obamacare.  Here is that budget resolution, 54 pages long.  Obamacare is not mentioned  in this resolution.  This is simply an outline of what Republicans hope will be the basic shape  of the federal budget for the next ten years after they repeal Obamacare  and implement Donald Trump`s giant tax cut.  Which is really just a version of the giant tax cut previously proposed by  Paul Ryan.  You have to get all the way to the first line on page 3 of this resolution  to see the first piece of the disaster that this resolution represents for  the Republicans. It says that "the federal government`s revenue next year will be two  trillion, six hundred and eighty two billion dollars. Now, I know that`s a lot of money, but it is significantly less revenue  than we are collecting now.

And that would be OK for the Republicans.  In fact, it would be a big win  for the Republicans cutting taxes, raising less revenue, a very Republican  thing to do.  But as the very first line on the next page, page 4 shows the spending that  the Republicans are proposing for 2017 is three trillion, three hundred and  eight billion dollars. And if you make it all the way to the first line in page 5 of the budget  resolution, you will see that, that means Donald Trump`s first year as  president, the Republicans will produce a deficit of $582 billion. And spending will go up every year under the Republican budget.  So, the  ten years from now the deficit will be over a trillion dollars a year.  The Republicans are going to ask their members in the House and Senate to  vote for a budget that increases the deficit every year and gets us to a  trillion-dollar deficit ten years from now and the deficit just keeps going  up after that.  And is anyone -- is anyone going to hate that more than Donald Trump?  (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  TRUMP:  We`re dying, we`re going to have $20 trillion in debt, $20  trillion.  Obama-Clinton policies have doubled the national debt. It took more than 230 years for the United States to accumulate its first  $10 trillion in debt.  It took President Obama less than eight years to add another $10 trillion.

We owe $20 trillion right now, doubled under Obama and we haven`t done  anything.  (END VIDEO CLIP)  O`DONNELL:  In his first year in office, Donald Trump is going to increase  the national debt.  According to the budget outlined by Republicans today, he will continue to  increase the national debt every year.  And so if he runs for re-election four years from now, you won`t hear a  word from Donald Trump about the national debt.  And ten years from now, the national debt will be, thanks to Donald Trump  and the Republicans, $10 trillion higher than it is now.  And that is written right into the budget resolution that they introduced  today that`s been ignored.  They will have turned a $19 trillion national debt into a $29 trillion  national debt and that is against everything that Donald Trump and the  Republicans say they stand for.  That is the legislative and political disaster that Donald Trump and the  Republicans face by being forced to do the math today for the very first  time on Donald Trump`s promises and actually put that in writing in here,  in this budget resolution.  Donald Trump and the Republicans like to say that the very first thing  they`re going to do is repeal Obamacare. But if it is the very first thing they are going to do, it is going to take  them a very long time for them to do that very first thing.  This budget resolution will have to be voted on by both the House and the  Senate.  But because there is nothing in this thing, except numbers, nothing about  Obamacare, nothing about spending any money on infrastructure. Nothing about spending money on building a wall with Mexico because none of  that is here.  Committees in the House and the Senate are going to have to  write those details into another bill about exactly how they will reduce  revenue.  How they will spend that government revenue, exactly what taxes they will  cut, on exactly what programs will they increase spending, will they cut  spending. The repeal of Obamacare will have to be written into a completely separate  piece of legislation, commonly referred to as a reconciliation bill which  will then reconcile the numbers in this budget resolution.  Reconcile them with the actual legislative changes that achieve these  promised numbers.  Tax cuts that match the total amount of reduced revenue  that the resolution calls for. They will have to be legislated specifically.  Spending increases in  specific programs that end up matching the total spending increases  outlined, and this resolution will have to be specifically legislated.  Budget resolutions like this, they don`t do anything.  They are simply  promises that Congress will do something. Republicans now in the House and Senate do not know how to pass a  reconciliation bill that fully delivers on the promises of a complex budget  resolution like this one, because they never have.  They passed a functionally fake reconciliation bill in 2016 that President  Obama vetoed three days later.  Some like Mitch McConnell have been around long enough to know how to pass  a real reconciliation bill, but he`s never done it as a Senate leader.  Most Republican members of Congress have never seen it done.  They have no  idea how difficult it is.  When it`s done, well, it takes most of the year to do it, and during every  minute of the year that the Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare and  to enact a gigantic tax cut.  They will be exposed to the political liability that is revealed here that  they are voting to increase the national debt by $10 trillion.  In other words, they will be voting against what used to be their  principles.  And unfortunately for the Republicans, even before they will be close to  figuring out how to deliver on the promises in this budget resolution, they  will be forced to vote to increase the debt ceiling on what will be the  worst Saint Patrick`s Day of Donald Trump`s life.  Saint Patrick`s Day is bad enough for Donald Trump already with an endless  stream of paraders clogging up in front of his front door on 5th Avenue.  But this year, it will be the day or maybe the day after, that he has  signed his first increase in the debt ceiling, voted on by Republicans in  Congress.  The current debt ceiling expires at 12:01 a.m. on March 16th.  And so the  first major crisis of the Trump presidency is officially scheduled for  March 16th, day 55 of Donald Trump`s presidency.  He will do on that day what every president before him has done, when  necessary, and raise the debt ceiling.  And when he does it, he will not be able to make any even vaguely realistic  promises to his voters that the national debt will ever go down ever.  Because when he signs the increase in the debt ceiling, Donald Trump and  the Republicans in Congress will still be trying to pass this resolution,  this stunning increase in the national debt.

And by that time, the news media will have caught up with what`s in this  resolution.  And so Donald Trump supporters will know by then, what is in this  resolution.  And by that time, the mechanisms for repealing Obamacare will  probably not yet be written.  But the budgetary outline for the fiscal and political disaster of  increasing the national debt by a trillion dollars a year will be right  there, in print, for professional Republicans in Washington.  The weight of the Trump promises landed on them today.  And despite all  their smiles for the camera when taking their oaths of office for the new  Congress, today was the worst day of their legislative lives.  And it only gets worse from here.  Coming up, what will happen if the  Republicans do manage to repeal Obamacare?  Steven Brill who wrote the definitive book on Obamacare joins us.  (COMMERCIAL BREAK)  (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  They are like the dog who caught the  boss.  They don`t know what to do with it.  It has so many good things.  Twenty million people covered.  Twenty one to  twenty six, you get on your parents plan.  Your parents would earn in a year, your child has cancer, they can`t deny  you insurance.  Women have to be treated the same, planned parenthood.  All  these things are very popular.  They say, oh, we`ll keep those but get rid of ACA, they can`t.  And so,  what do they do?  They say we`ll repeal it and two years from now we`ll tell you what we`ll  replace it with.

Oh, they have nothing to replace.  MADDOW:  But they do have --  (END VIDEO CLIP)  O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is Steven Brill; journalist and author of  "America`s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Background Deals and the Fight to  Fix Our Broken Healthcare System".  Steven, talk about money, politics and background deals.  The year that we  have coming on putting together this budget reconciliation bill, in which  the Obamacare repeal will live or die. STEVEN BRILL, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  That`s going to be another one of these years of back room  deals.

BRILL:  It is, except, I don`t think the deals are going to happen.  I  think we`re going to get to 2020 with the replacement still not there and  maybe they`ll extend the time to get the replacement.  You know, it is sort of amazing, and you and I have talked about this that  the law passed in 2010 from the moment it passed, they said it should be  repealed or replaced.  They still don`t have their replacement and I`ll bet you right here that  ten years after the law passed they will not have a replacement.  And the reason they won`t have a replacement is that Obamacare is the  Republican health reform plan.  The Democrats tried all of their plans, they tried single payer.  They`ve  been trying plans since the Truman administration.  But the Clinton administration tried it and Obama finally gave up and said,  all right, let`s do Mitt Romney`s heritage society Republican plan.  So, that`s why they don`t have an alternative plan because Obamacare is  their plan.  O`DONNELL:  Kellyanne Conway, which is -- it`s risky to even mention her  because we know she doesn`t speak for Donald Trump, no one does.  But she did say today on "MORNING JOE", "we don`t want anyone who currently  has insurance to not have insurance." BRILL:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  So, not one person currently covered under Obamacare can lose  their insurance and the only way to do that --  BRILL:  Well --  O`DONNELL:  Is to preserve Obamacare.  BRILL:  OK, but here`s the problem, you are taking her literally as well as  taking her seriously.

O`DONNELL:  No, I`m taking her as saying something that they are saying --  BRILL:  I --  O`DONNELL:  And will not be able to live up to.

BRILL:  Sure, but just like what you said about the debt, I guaranteed you  that Donald Trump runs for president, and for re-election saying he`ll  reduce the debt and he reduced the debt --  O`DONNELL:  When it will have gone up by $4 trillion --    BRILL:  Because that -- you know, that`s the real fake news we live in --  O`DONNELL:  Yes --  BRILL:  It`s the false equivalency of someone saying, well, actually the  debt went up a little bit.  They will say that everybody is getting the same health insurance.  They  will say that Medicaid hasn`t been cut or Medicare hasn`t been cut.  But it`s up to the press really to dig into this stuff --    O`DONNELL:  So he -- yes, so actually --  (CROSSTALK)  What you`re saying, he`d say something like Medicaid hasn`t been cut, we  just put it back to the way it was --  BRILL:  Yes, we --  O`DONNELL:  Before Obamacare. BRILL:  Or which gave it to the state so the states can improve it and the  states really know how to do this.

And they can raise the money to do it.  We`re not cutting it.

O`DONNELL:  So, you expect Donald Trump basically to lie his way around the  negative outcomes of -- but what about the members of Congress? --

BRILL:  I think -- I think with Kellyanne Conways --  O`DONNELL:  Have to live with that --  BRILL:  Of the world will see everybody has the opportunity to get the same  or better insurance. But if the states didn`t deliver on it or if the charitable organizations  didn`t deliver on it, or if these high-risk plans we set up didn`t deliver  on it, well, we`re still working on it, that`s not our fault.

O`DONNELL:  But think about the Republican Senators who will be approached  by the big hospitals, especially research hospitals --  BRILL:  Exactly --  O`DONNELL:  In their states, that they care about, and that they --  BRILL:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  Know they`re going to spend some time in themselves, at some  point --  BRILL:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  In their lives --  BRILL:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  Which is one of the reasons they care about --  BRILL:  Everybody cares about --  O`DONNELL:  Them a lot --  BRILL:  Hospitals --  O`DONNELL:  Care about them a lot --  BRILL:  For that reason --  O`DONNELL:  I have seen the way hospitals --  BRILL:  As you know --  O`DONNELL:  Lobby in Washington and they are very effective.  They`re going  to come and say what you`re doing is going to kill us.  It`s going to kill  us --  BRILL:  Yes --  O`DONNELL:  And those people will not be able to come up with the kind of  spin that Donald Trump does.

BRILL:  Well, that`s right.

O`DONNELL:  The people who have to vote on this.

BRILL:  Remember, Obamacare passed because it pleased the hospital lobby,  the medical device lobby, the drug lobby, the insurance lobby.  So, all of those interests are not going to let it be repealed easily.  And  it`s not going to be repealed.  It will be repealed on paper but I predict to you that there will not be  anything different until least after the congressional elections and  they`ll probably punt until after the presidential --

O`DONNELL:  Yes, so, you`re betting that the best version of repeal they  will do will be one of these things where they say we`ll repeal it with an  effective date way down the line --  BRILL:  I bet --  O`DONNELL:  In the future --

BRILL:  Yes, and we`re working on this plan and don`t worry it`s going to  be great.  O`DONNELL:  But then, the Republican voters who wanted this repeal really  going to fall for that card trick?  That we repeal it today but it doesn`t take effect for several years? --

BRILL:  They`re not going to fall for it.  But I think the real danger is  that the Democratic Party instead of having a meeting in Washington  tomorrow or to meet in Kentucky and Ohio and see some of the people that I  met when I was doing my book.  Who are Trump voters, who are really scared by this now, because they  didn`t quite take him seriously.  But now they keep reading in the newspapers that this thing has been  repealed.  And they lose on this.  They lose big time.  I`ll bet you that more people  helped buy Obamacare voted for Trump than voted for Clinton.

O`DONNELL:  The advantage of it being in a reconciliation bill is you only  need 50 votes plus the vice president`s vote --  BRILL:  Right --  O`DONNELL:  In the United States Senate.  The disadvantage is a  reconciliation bill has so many things in it.  Including defense spending, all --  BRILL:  Yes --  O`DONNELL:  Sorts of spending in it.

BRILL:  It`s a new --  (CROSSTALK)  But there`s a lot more reasons to object to it --  O`DONNELL:  Yes --  BRILL:  Than just Obamacare --  O`DONNELL:  That`s right --  BRILL:  It`s not a stand-alone bill.  We`ve got to cut it there for  tonight, we`re going to be talking about it all year.  Steven Brill, thank  you very much --  BRILL:  Sure enough --  O`DONNELL:  For joining us tonight, really appreciate it.  Coming up, the  gangster, the really bad guy who was with Donald Trump, he`s right there  with Donald Trump on new year`s eve. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)  O`DONNELL:  Throughout most of the history of the government of the United  States, there has been no such thing as congressional ethics.  Meaning there was no real policing authority for congressional ethics.

When Congress moved to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974, we had no  idea how ethical or unethical the house members were who were conducting  the president`s impeachment hearings because there were no house -- there  was no House Ethics Committee.  There was no Senate Ethics Committee.  The House Ethics Committee was  invented three years after the Nixon impeachment hearings.  The Senate Ethics Committee was created a year after that.  And so, all of  the giants of the House of Representatives and the Senate throughout  history that you`ve read about from John Adams who was in the House of  course to Daniel Webster to Lyndon Johnson, Everett Dirksen. They all lived in an ethics free zone.  Since the ethics committees were  invented, we have only become more and more concerned with congressional  ethics.  And so, in 2008 when the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives,  they created another layer, the Office of Congressional Ethics. And yesterday Republicans tried to turn back the clock to 2007.  They were  smart enough not to get caught abolishing the Office of Congressional  Ethics entirely.  But they did dramatically reduce its powers and its relevance in a secret  vote conducted in a room full of Republicans last night with the door  closed.  Paul Ryan and others in the leadership were opposed to this idea, but the  Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte pushed for a vote and he  won with a vote of 119 to 74.  And today, Republicans unanimously changed their minds and realized it was  a very bad idea after hearing from some outraged Republican constituents  and after this tweet from Donald Trump. "With all the Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the  weakening of the Independent Ethics watch dog as unfair as it may be, their  number one act and priority? Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater  importance."  There is a possibility that Republicans were going to reverse themselves on  this without the Trump tweet, but the Trump tweet certainly removes all  doubt about it.  And the good news for Paul Ryan`s leadership in this story is that, after  allowing the rebels to have their way last night, the rebels and their  leader last night Chairman Goodlatte were humiliated today.  And the next time that the rebels or Bob Goodlatte tried to challenge the  leadership of Paul Ryan, they`re all going to remember what happened this  time.  Joining us now is Leo Wise; he was the first staff director and chief  counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics when it was first  established. Also joining us Julian Epstein; the former chief minority counsel of the  House Judiciary Committee and a former majority staff director of the House  Government Operations Committee.

Leo Wise, tell us what you feel the congressional -- why this new layer of  policing of congressional ethics was necessary in 2008?  What was inadequate at that point or considered inadequate at that point  about the House Ethics Committee?  LEO WISE, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR & CHIEF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL  ETHICS:  Well, I think it was two things.

There was a sense that with the scandals related to Jack Abramoff and the  members of Congress that were ensnared with him that the house wasn`t  acting. And these stories were playing out in the press, sometimes in the courts  and it wasn`t clear if members were being held accountable in the  institution where they served.  So, the Office of Congressional Ethics were set up to really throw sunlight  onto the Ethics process and open a window that through which the public  could see whether the institution was investigating these allegations and  then making decisions about the facts once they were presented.  O`DONNELL:  And what is the record of it so far? I mean, how many cases has  it -- has it covered and reported on?  WISE:  It`s covered and reported on dozens of cases in a non-partisan and  professional way.  It declines to pursue cases more often than it pursues them.  It weeds out  unfounded accusations and then it puts together very robust fact records  that are presented to the ethics committee. And then ultimately to the public when these reports become public so the  citizens everywhere can make their own judgments about their own elected  officials and how the institution is holding them accountable.

O`DONNELL:  Julian Epstein, one of the weaknesses of the congressional of  ethics committee system both in the House and Senate is the inside secret  anyway that no one wants to be on the ethics committee.  I`ve never known a member of Congress, House or Senate who wanted to be on  the ethics committee. Who wanted the job of investigating his or her colleagues.  It is the most  undesirable task in the building.  And you would think that the 2008 move, which in a certain sense, relieved  the ethics committee in a certain kind of way.  You could look at it as it relieves the ethics committee of certain kinds  of pressures, puts them in a place outside of member influence and maybe  that would actually be a better life for the people on the ethics  committee, who actually don`t want this burden.  JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:

Well, you would think that would be the point of view of most members,  including most of the members who do pretty much engage very ethically in  their --  O`DONNELL:  Yes --  EPSTEIN:  Day-to-day business --    O`DONNELL:  Most wouldn`t do, absolutely, yes.

  EPSTEIN:  Most of them do, but there are several that don`t like this idea  of an independent agency kind of monitoring them on ethics issues.  And I think Leo is exactly right.  It wasn`t just a Jack Abramoff issue, it  was the Mark Foley pedophilia scandal.  And democrats came to power 2006 on  the culture of corruption.  In the Abramoff case we had 21 public officials  that were convicted of bribery and like charges.

And the ethics committee kind of sat on the sidelines during the - during  most of that process.  So, it was a big embarrassment to the ethics  committee.  But just to further underscore Leo`s point, any effective  investigatory agency like an inspector`s general has to have essentially  three things.  It`s going to have the ability to compel testimony, it`s got  to have independence, independence in terms of when to initiate an  investigation, when to refer an investigation or criminal procedures and it  has to be able to use other tools like whistle-blowers.

The Office of Congressional Ethics already doesn`t have the most important  of those three tools.  It doesn`t have the ability to compel congressional  testimony or documents.  And what the republicans tried to do yesterday in  an incredibly (INAUDIBLE) move that is going to have spillover effects for  Donald Trump was that they tried to get rid of the other two essential  things the Office of Congressional Ethics has.

The independence, the independence in terms of when to initiate  investigation and when, if they find something that might be criminally  wrong or ethically wrong, when they can refer you to congress or to a  criminal prosecutor.  The third -- so they don`t have the first, the  ability to compel.  The congressional republicans tried to take away the  second, which is the independence and they tried to take away the third  tool that the office needs, which is the ability to use tools like whistle- blowers.

So, it was an effective neutering of this agency and the republicans have  now poked this hornets nest of ethics and they found out that there`s a  huge grassroots movement in favor of draining the swamp, in favor of  ethical conduct and this is going to have big spillover effects for Donald  Trump right now who has a whole much bigger mess of ethics issues as we  discussed last week on the show or two weeks ago on the show.  He is  getting payments from China, he`s got entanglement with Russian interest,  he`s got - he`s been accused of promoting his daughter`s apparel business  with the Japanese.

All of the issues with India, with Turkey going on down the line.  So, this  has had, you know -- this has been a very, very revealing thing that will  have very significant spillover effects for Donald Trump.  O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise. Quickly. before we go, were you aware of a ground  swell among republicans of this kind of complaint that they wanted to  weaken it?

WISE:  No.  I mean when I was there, there wasn`t anything like that.  You  know, the office did its job.  It did it professionally and in a  nonpartisan way.  There were certain members that were unhappy that their  conduct was being questioned but at the end of the day, facts are facts.

And what this attempted to do was make those facts not known.  Didn`t  change anybody`s conduct but to take away the ability to see what people  were doing and then to hold them accountable.

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise and Julian Epstein, thank you both for joining us.

Appreciate it.  EPSTEIN:  Thank you Lawrence.

WISE:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, we have some breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted  about an intelligence briefing tonight and immediately intelligence  officials said that the Donald Trump tweet is not true.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted this little  earlier tonight.  "The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking  was delayed until Friday.  Perhaps more time needed to build a case.  Very  strange."  NBC`s Ken Dilanian is reporting that a senior intelligence  official says that the briefing with CIA, NSA and FBI heads has always been  scheduled for Friday.  The early report that the briefing was to occur  Wednesday apparently was wrong.

The intelligence chiefs were not scheduled to be in New York City on  Wednesday.  The senior intelligence official called Trump tweet disturbing  and adversarial.  He added he is calling out the men and women of the  intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing but these  are public servants.  Donald trump will learn more he says about Russia  hacking from the McCain hearing which is scheduled for Thursday.

Also today the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson as Secretary Of State  was set for January 11th, where he will face questions about his ties with  Vladimir Putin, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says that Tillerson  does not have to turn over his tax returns as the foreign relations  committee does not usually get tax returns from secretary of state  nominees.  Joining us now David Corn Washington bureau chief for Mother  Jones and an MSNBC political analyst.  Also with us Elise Jordan former senior policy advisor to Senator Rand  Paul`s presidential campaign and an MSNBC political analyst.  Elise to the  breaking news of the night, Donald Trump, first of all, apparently getting  it wrong that there ever was a Wednesday scheduled meeting, but then using  the fact that this meeting is now Friday tries to use that to attack the  integrity of the intelligence services that will be reporting to him.

ELISE JORDAN, FMR. SR. ADVISOR, RAND PAUL CAMPAIGN:  He`s going to war with  our intelligence agencies and I think it is really disturbing.  I think  that if he has problems with their analysis, if he wants to go in, approach  the organization with skepticism that is his agenda but he should do it  behind closed doors.  Any problems that he has with the analysis it doesn`t  need to be aired to the world.  It hurts our spy craft and it is  irresponsible and puts our men and women abroad their mission in question I  think.

I think it`s really troubling the way this has been unfolding.

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn it`s that phrase we get used to, we`ve never  seen anything like it.  And what`s so fascinating about it, is he puts  himself in a direct, and unnecessary battle with the head of the FBI, head  of CIA, head of NSA, no reason to have this battle.

DAVID CORN, CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU FOR MOTHER JONES:  Well, one of  your great producers on the show just said to me, it`s amazing, isn`t it?

And I said actually at this point it`s not amazing.  And I think we have to  get used to the fact that Donald Trump says things and tweet things that  are more often false than not.  That show that he is impulsive, he could  have easily checked with his scheduler and said, was it Wednesday, Friday?

Why did they move but then he attributes the darkest motives to it when he  has no reason to.  We do know he is sort of -- has a liking for conspiracy  theories and just like yesterday, or the day before when he said, you know,  what I know something about hacking that you don`t know and I might tell  you on Tuesday maybe Wednesday.  Well you know what that`s not going to  happen either.  So you have a guy who`s a serial fabricator who is  adversarial basically everything, but most of all to the truth.

O`DONNELL:  And Elise, what he doesn`t seem to understand and apparently no  one who has any influence over his tweeting understands is how confirmation  hearings work.  Everything is relevant in confirmation hearing.  When  Tillerson has his hearing for Secretary of State he is going to be asked,  as I suggested on twitter this weekend, did you advise Donald Trump on this  tweet when he said " great move on delay by V. Putin.  I always knew he was  very smart."  Can we get that tweet up on the screen?

That one, that went up on - over the New Year`s weekend.  Did you advise  Donald Trump on that tweet will be question one, question two, when he says  no which he better say, do you agree with that tweet.  It`s going to be  impossible for Donald Trump`s secretary of state to agree with that tweet  or what he tweeted tonight.

JORDAN:  Well that`s why what he is doing right now makes no sense because  he is making it more complicated for his own nominees that he wants to sail  through their confirmation hearings.  Right now this situation is so  politicized.  I personally think that there needs to be some evidence, if  the charges are as serious as what the intelligence community has  suggested.  I think that it might be a time that we reveal some of our  sourcing that we actually show evidence and make the case, if it is what  they say.

If not, it has been over-politicized and Donald Trump is partially to blame  for that because of his posture towards Putin.  He needs to stop acting so  juvenile over twitter and saying I want to be -- he previously said he  wanted to be best friends with Putin.  You know, just recently he was  calling him very smart.

It`s just - it`s unnecessary and while we need to  have a strong relationship with Russia we need to project strength and  right now not what he is showing is weakness.

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn Rex Tillerson should be also be asked on January  11th, do you believe Donald Trump or do you believe the director of the  FBI, the  CIA that they were not scheduled for Wednesday, they were  scheduled for Friday?  And also do you believe the implied corruption about  their agencies in Donald Trump`s tweet?

CORN:  Yes.  Do you take at face value the intelligence of establishment  judgment that Russia hacked, meddled in our elections?  Do you believe that  or not?  Or do you believe what Donald Trump and his supporters are saying  that it`s all trumped up and made up?  That question should be put to Mike  Pompeo who is going to be head of the CIA.  Elise is a hundred percent  right that this is causing trouble for Trump and his nominees but it just  gets to the basic problem here.

The guy is impulsive.  He doesn`t think before he tweets.  He doesn`t  check.  And as we`ve seen time and time again, his aides have no idea what  he is doing.  As a guy who is in charge of the nuke - or who will be in  charge of the nuclear arsenal in a pretty dangerous world in which things  can go wrong very quickly, this is probably the most worrisome thing about  the Trump presidency.

O`DONNELL:  If senate staffers on the confirmation committees still know  what they are doing and how to do this, they should be writing questions  tonight using Donald Trump`s tweets.  Elise Jordan and David Corn, thank  you both for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it.

JORDAN:  Thank you.

CORN:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, Donald Trump says he will hold a press conference  next week.  It is the same press conference that he promised to have last  month.  And how about this for a first question, why did you spend New  Year`s Eve with a known felon and mob associate?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump has once again promised a press conference for  next week which does not mean he`s going to have a press conference next  week.  But if he does he should be asked to explain what he was doing with  Joey No Socks on new Year`s Eve.  The felon and mob associate standing next  to him right there.  That`s next.  (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump once again rescheduled his long awaited news  conference on how he will avoid conflicts of interest with his businesses.  Tweeting tonight, he said I will be having a general news conference on  January 11th in NYC. Thank You.  This new conference will come just one day  after President Obama`s farewell address in Chicago next week.  Among the  many questions Donald Trump might have to answer during that news  conference is why he spent his New Year`s Eve with this guy -- Joseph  Cinque also known as Joey No Socks, a convicted felon with mob ties.  Joseph Cinque runs the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences which gives  out star diamond awards in hospitality and has given multiple awards to  Trump`s hotels, golf courses and restaurants.  In May 2015 Donald Trump was  even listed as the Ambassador extraordinaire for Cinque `s company.  But  just one year later, when the associated press asked Donald Trump about his  ties to Joey No Socks, Donald Trump denied knowing him well, saying if a  guy is going to give you an award you take it.  You don`t tend to look up  his whole life story. Joining us David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize winning  journalist who founded d.c. report.org, a non profit news organization that  will cover the Trump Administration and has looked up Donald Trump`s life  story and Joey No Socks life story.

David, tell us what we need to know  about this guy.  DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST:  Well Joey No Socks decided to change his  life a bit and go in to the business of selling awards with Donald Trump on  his board at one time and his board at a majority of either Trump family  members or retainers after a hit on him that failed.  And he is one of many  --  O`DONNELL:  Whoa, whoa, you mean an attempted murder of Joey No Socks?  JOHNSTON:  Oh yes.  O`DONNELL:  And so that`s  what got Joey No Socks to think I should be in a  less dangerous line of work?  JOHNSTON:  Exactly, exactly and so art thievery and selling clothing out of  Central Park South apartment and when he decided to hang out with Muffet  and Biff, he also decided to take up loafers without socks.  But he is one,  Lawrence, of a number of mob-connected people.  Donald was posing a week  ago with Don King, who stomped to death one of his employees over a $600  dispute in the `60s.  Now he was pardoned later but the fact is he killed  the man.

We don`t know what other connections Donald has.  In this case, it was so  brazen, Joey No Socks has been coming to the Mar-A-Lago Christmas Eve party  or New Year`s eve party every year by his account for more than decade.  Donald Trump doesn`t know who he is.  He was with him in Scotland. Donald  doesn`t know who he is.  That`s nonsense.  Of course Donald knows who he  is.  But unlike everybody else he doesn`t do background checks when he  doesn`t want to know about him.  That`s how Felix Sater the son of the  refuted - son of the Russian mob boss in New York ends up working closely  with Donald and traveling all over with him an then Donald said wouldn`t  know if he was in the same room. Donald just makes the stuff up and  journalists are not holding him accountable O`DONNELL:  All right, quick break.  We`re going to be right back with  David on why Donald Trump kicked someone off of his golf course last week.

Someone Donald Trump knows very well.  (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Harry Hurt III a Trump biographer told MSNBC tonight about  Donald Trump kicking him off a Trump golf  course over the holiday weekend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HARRY HURT III TRUMP BIOGRAPHER:  And I went up to him and I simply said  congratulations sir.  I tipped my hat.  I extended my hand.  We shook hands  and then he went into a exploitive filled (INAUDIBLE) tribe about the  content of my book.  He then said that he thought it was inappropriate for  me to be playing at golf course.  And he asked me to leave and I said that  I would. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL:  Up next David Cay Johnston will tell us exactly what Donald  Trump hates about Harry Hurt. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL:  We`re back with David Cay Johnston.  So David, why did Donald  Trump kick Harry Hurt off of his golf course this weekend?  He wrote a book  about Donald Trump and I guess Donald Trump doesn`t like most of the books  you people have written about him and I guest you`d probably run the same  risk if he saw you on one of the Trump golf course.  JOHNSTON:  Well Trump was actually very cordial to Harry just before he  announced he was running for President when they ran in to each other at  the same course.  But Donald doesn`t like Harry`s book because Harry is the  one who in his meticulously careful reporting revealed that Ivana Trump  said that her husband roughed her up and raped her.  Donald`s lawyer said  you can`t rape your wife in New York.  That`s not true.  We have marital  rape in New York.  He dug up a lot of other very unsavory facts from the  public record he has gone through and Donald of course doesn`t want you to  know about that.  He doesn`t want you to know that he had a fight with  Marla where the doors were knocked off the hinges of their hotel suite,  knocked of the hinges and other things that Harry documented carefully,  thoroughly and accurately. O`DONNELL:  And so I was - I thought well I kind of understand why Trump  would go after him but what surprises me is he had a pleasant encounter  with Trump at the beginning of the campaign. JOHNSTON:  Because back then, Donald needed to start his calm and hide his  vindictiveness.  And now that he`s won the election you`re going to see  this vindictiveness come out.  Remember Donald is a man who said he gets  pleasure from destroying the lives of other people.  You refuse a favor for  him he will go out of his way to destroy your life.  You say something on  daytime television like Rosie O`Donnell did and he will attack you in  public in forum after forum.  Donald is petty.  He`s vindictive.  This is a  good example and we will see more of this.  O`DONNELL:  David Cay Johnston who wrote one of the books on Donald Trump.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate. JOHNSTON:  Thank you. O`DONNELL:  MSNBC`s live coverage continues into "THE 11TH HOUR".  That`s  next. END

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

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  I can`t wait to read the gossip columns tomorrow.

A standing date with Senator Sanders, Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders. 

MADDOW:  I got to go home and tell Susan.

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel --

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, for Republicans, the real worst news of the day of day one of the new Congress is not the ethics story.

We will get to that, but that`s not their biggest problem.  That`s a problem they fix in less than 24 hours.

The biggest problem on this first real day of governing for Republicans in Congress has gone completely unnoticed until now.

But it will ruin Donald Trump`s first year as president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC:  On day one of the new Congress, house Republicans think twice and throw out their plan to overhaul an ethics watch dog. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The president-elect weighing in on the timing of that epic battle. 

Saying, there are so many other things of far greater importance. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why is this the most important thing for Congress to be focused on right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It isn`t, that`s the whole thing, it`s not. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don`t they realize what the election was about in November? It was about that Americans are sick and tired of what goes on in Washington.

So, this should not have been the first thing that people hear about. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The amendment that was adopted last night was withdrawn by unanimous -- 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The new Republican-led Congress is not wasting any time with their promise to repeal Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Today, a bill to repeal Obamacare was introduced. 

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS:  This time they have the votes and a president to sign the bill.   

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST:  There`s no question that there will be different health insurance coverage in this country under President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Republicans in that repealing -- remember the whole pottery barn rule -- you break it, you own it.

Well, Republicans will end up owning everything that comes with healthcare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  In the history of American presidential campaigning, no winning candidate has ever made more impossible promises to his voters than Donald Trump did.

Some of those Trump promises were silly, some of them were unconstitutional, some of them were actually harmful.

To some of Donald Trump`s supporters, but they didn`t care.  They cheered for all of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re going to build the ball, but who is going to pay for the wall? Hundred percent.

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

Immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.

(CHEERS)

(APPLAUSE)

From day one I have been saying repeal and replace Obamacare.  Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Today is the day that professional Republicans have been dreading.

And by professional Republicans, I`m only referring to those Republicans who draw a salary in government or politics and are professional enough to comprehend the demands of governing professionalism.

So that leaves out some Republican senators and most Republican members of the house.

It includes most of the committee chairs in both the House and the Senate and definitely includes the leadership teams in both the house and the senate.

All of those people understand legislative reality.  The governing professionals in both parties always understand legislative reality much better than new presidents do.

Not since Lyndon Johnson have we had a presidential with real federal legislative experience.

And we have never had a president with less governing experience of any kind than Donald Trump.

None of the Republican pros in the Congress thought Donald Trump was going to win.

So they weren`t much worried but they would ever have to do what they did today -- face the reality of dealing with Donald Trump`s campaign promises.

Some of Donald Trump`s promises will just fade away, and not be missed by anyone, including by his supporters.

But no one in the Congress, and no Trump voter can forget the promise that Donald Trump made during the campaign that was identical to the promise that virtually every Republican in Congress has been making for years. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER:  The Obamacare was an abysmal failure.  Surely, we can do better for the American people. 

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The biggest threat to Medicare is Obamacare and we are going to get rid of this specter(ph) Medicare by repealing Obamacare.

(CHEERS) TRUMP:  We will terminate Obamacare and replace it, believe me, with something good.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  And today was day one of dealing with the reality of that promise and it was a very bad day for Republicans.

But luckily for the Republicans, the media has been distracted by the dust up over the ethics enforcement process in the House of Representatives.

Something we`ll talk about later.  And no one has noticed just how bad a day it was for the professional Republicans whose job it is to make Donald Trump`s Obamacare repeal a legislative reality.

It could not have been more of a disaster.  "Reuters" carried the headline today, "U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution."

I hate to pick on headline writers but in reality, that`s not exactly what happened today.

"Reuters" wasn`t the only one to report that Republicans in the House and the Senate had a budget resolution ready to go on day one that repeals Obamacare.

Here is that budget resolution, 54 pages long.  Obamacare is not mentioned in this resolution.

This is simply an outline of what Republicans hope will be the basic shape of the federal budget for the next ten years after they repeal Obamacare and implement Donald Trump`s giant tax cut.

Which is really just a version of the giant tax cut previously proposed by Paul Ryan.

You have to get all the way to the first line on page 3 of this resolution to see the first piece of the disaster that this resolution represents for the Republicans.

It says that "the federal government`s revenue next year will be two trillion, six hundred and eighty two billion dollars.

Now, I know that`s a lot of money, but it is significantly less revenue than we are collecting now. 

And that would be OK for the Republicans.  In fact, it would be a big win for the Republicans cutting taxes, raising less revenue, a very Republican thing to do.

But as the very first line on the next page, page 4 shows the spending that the Republicans are proposing for 2017 is three trillion, three hundred and eight billion dollars.

And if you make it all the way to the first line in page 5 of the budget resolution, you will see that, that means Donald Trump`s first year as president, the Republicans will produce a deficit of $582 billion.

And spending will go up every year under the Republican budget.  So, the ten years from now the deficit will be over a trillion dollars a year.

The Republicans are going to ask their members in the House and Senate to vote for a budget that increases the deficit every year and gets us to a trillion-dollar deficit ten years from now and the deficit just keeps going up after that.

And is anyone -- is anyone going to hate that more than Donald Trump?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We`re dying, we`re going to have $20 trillion in debt, $20 trillion.  Obama-Clinton policies have doubled the national debt.

It took more than 230 years for the United States to accumulate its first $10 trillion in debt.

It took President Obama less than eight years to add another $10 trillion.  We owe $20 trillion right now, doubled under Obama and we haven`t done anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  In his first year in office, Donald Trump is going to increase the national debt.

According to the budget outlined by Republicans today, he will continue to increase the national debt every year.

And so if he runs for re-election four years from now, you won`t hear a word from Donald Trump about the national debt.

And ten years from now, the national debt will be, thanks to Donald Trump and the Republicans, $10 trillion higher than it is now.

And that is written right into the budget resolution that they introduced today that`s been ignored.

They will have turned a $19 trillion national debt into a $29 trillion national debt and that is against everything that Donald Trump and the Republicans say they stand for.

That is the legislative and political disaster that Donald Trump and the Republicans face by being forced to do the math today for the very first time on Donald Trump`s promises and actually put that in writing in here, in this budget resolution.

Donald Trump and the Republicans like to say that the very first thing they`re going to do is repeal Obamacare.

But if it is the very first thing they are going to do, it is going to take them a very long time for them to do that very first thing.

This budget resolution will have to be voted on by both the House and the Senate.

But because there is nothing in this thing, except numbers, nothing about Obamacare, nothing about spending any money on infrastructure.

Nothing about spending money on building a wall with Mexico because none of that is here.  Committees in the House and the Senate are going to have to write those details into another bill about exactly how they will reduce revenue.

How they will spend that government revenue, exactly what taxes they will cut, on exactly what programs will they increase spending, will they cut spending.

The repeal of Obamacare will have to be written into a completely separate piece of legislation, commonly referred to as a reconciliation bill which will then reconcile the numbers in this budget resolution.

Reconcile them with the actual legislative changes that achieve these promised numbers.  Tax cuts that match the total amount of reduced revenue that the resolution calls for.

They will have to be legislated specifically.  Spending increases in specific programs that end up matching the total spending increases outlined, and this resolution will have to be specifically legislated.

Budget resolutions like this, they don`t do anything.  They are simply promises that Congress will do something.

Republicans now in the House and Senate do not know how to pass a reconciliation bill that fully delivers on the promises of a complex budget resolution like this one, because they never have.

They passed a functionally fake reconciliation bill in 2016 that President Obama vetoed three days later.

Some like Mitch McConnell have been around long enough to know how to pass a real reconciliation bill, but he`s never done it as a Senate leader.

Most Republican members of Congress have never seen it done.  They have no idea how difficult it is.

When it`s done, well, it takes most of the year to do it, and during every minute of the year that the Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare and to enact a gigantic tax cut.

They will be exposed to the political liability that is revealed here that they are voting to increase the national debt by $10 trillion.

In other words, they will be voting against what used to be their principles.

And unfortunately for the Republicans, even before they will be close to figuring out how to deliver on the promises in this budget resolution, they will be forced to vote to increase the debt ceiling on what will be the worst Saint Patrick`s Day of Donald Trump`s life.

Saint Patrick`s Day is bad enough for Donald Trump already with an endless stream of paraders clogging up in front of his front door on 5th Avenue.

But this year, it will be the day or maybe the day after, that he has signed his first increase in the debt ceiling, voted on by Republicans in Congress.

The current debt ceiling expires at 12:01 a.m. on March 16th.  And so the first major crisis of the Trump presidency is officially scheduled for March 16th, day 55 of Donald Trump`s presidency.

He will do on that day what every president before him has done, when necessary, and raise the debt ceiling.

And when he does it, he will not be able to make any even vaguely realistic promises to his voters that the national debt will ever go down ever.

Because when he signs the increase in the debt ceiling, Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress will still be trying to pass this resolution, this stunning increase in the national debt. 

And by that time, the news media will have caught up with what`s in this resolution.

And so Donald Trump supporters will know by then, what is in this resolution.  And by that time, the mechanisms for repealing Obamacare will probably not yet be written.

But the budgetary outline for the fiscal and political disaster of increasing the national debt by a trillion dollars a year will be right there, in print, for professional Republicans in Washington.

The weight of the Trump promises landed on them today.  And despite all their smiles for the camera when taking their oaths of office for the new Congress, today was the worst day of their legislative lives.

And it only gets worse from here.  Coming up, what will happen if the Republicans do manage to repeal Obamacare?

Steven Brill who wrote the definitive book on Obamacare joins us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  They are like the dog who caught the boss.  They don`t know what to do with it.

It has so many good things.  Twenty million people covered.  Twenty one to twenty six, you get on your parents plan.

Your parents would earn in a year, your child has cancer, they can`t deny you insurance.  Women have to be treated the same, planned parenthood.  All these things are very popular.

They say, oh, we`ll keep those but get rid of ACA, they can`t.  And so, what do they do?

They say we`ll repeal it and two years from now we`ll tell you what we`ll replace it with. 

Oh, they have nothing to replace.

MADDOW:  But they do have --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

Steven, talk about money, politics and background deals.  The year that we have coming on putting together this budget reconciliation bill, in which the Obamacare repeal will live or die.

STEVEN BRILL, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  That`s going to be another one of these years of back room deals. 

BRILL:  It is, except, I don`t think the deals are going to happen.  I think we`re going to get to 2020 with the replacement still not there and maybe they`ll extend the time to get the replacement.

You know, it is sort of amazing, and you and I have talked about this that the law passed in 2010 from the moment it passed, they said it should be repealed or replaced.

They still don`t have their replacement and I`ll bet you right here that ten years after the law passed they will not have a replacement.

And the reason they won`t have a replacement is that Obamacare is the Republican health reform plan.

The Democrats tried all of their plans, they tried single payer.  They`ve been trying plans since the Truman administration.

But the Clinton administration tried it and Obama finally gave up and said, all right, let`s do Mitt Romney`s heritage society Republican plan.

So, that`s why they don`t have an alternative plan because Obamacare is their plan.

O`DONNELL:  Kellyanne Conway, which is -- it`s risky to even mention her because we know she doesn`t speak for Donald Trump, no one does.

But she did say today on "MORNING JOE", "we don`t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance."

BRILL:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  So, not one person currently covered under Obamacare can lose their insurance and the only way to do that --

BRILL:  Well --

O`DONNELL:  Is to preserve Obamacare.

BRILL:  OK, but here`s the problem, you are taking her literally as well as taking her seriously.

  O`DONNELL:  No, I`m taking her as saying something that they are saying --

BRILL:  I --

O`DONNELL:  And will not be able to live up to. 

BRILL:  Sure, but just like what you said about the debt, I guaranteed you that Donald Trump runs for president, and for re-election saying he`ll reduce the debt and he reduced the debt --

O`DONNELL:  When it will have gone up by $4 trillion --  

BRILL:  Because that -- you know, that`s the real fake news we live in --

O`DONNELL:  Yes --

BRILL:  It`s the false equivalency of someone saying, well, actually the debt went up a little bit.

They will say that everybody is getting the same health insurance.  They will say that Medicaid hasn`t been cut or Medicare hasn`t been cut.

But it`s up to the press really to dig into this stuff --  

O`DONNELL:  So he -- yes, so actually --

(CROSSTALK)

What you`re saying, he`d say something like Medicaid hasn`t been cut, we just put it back to the way it was --

BRILL:  Yes, we --

O`DONNELL:  Before Obamacare.

BRILL:  Or which gave it to the state so the states can improve it and the states really know how to do this. 

And they can raise the money to do it.  We`re not cutting it. 

O`DONNELL:  So, you expect Donald Trump basically to lie his way around the negative outcomes of -- but what about the members of Congress? -- 

BRILL:  I think -- I think with Kellyanne Conways --

O`DONNELL:  Have to live with that --

BRILL:  Of the world will see everybody has the opportunity to get the same or better insurance.

But if the states didn`t deliver on it or if the charitable organizations didn`t deliver on it, or if these high-risk plans we set up didn`t deliver on it, well, we`re still working on it, that`s not our fault. 

O`DONNELL:  But think about the Republican Senators who will be approached by the big hospitals, especially research hospitals --

BRILL:  Exactly --

O`DONNELL:  In their states, that they care about, and that they --

BRILL:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  Know they`re going to spend some time in themselves, at some point --

BRILL:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  In their lives --

BRILL:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  Which is one of the reasons they care about --

BRILL:  Everybody cares about --

O`DONNELL:  Them a lot --

BRILL:  Hospitals --

O`DONNELL:  Care about them a lot --

BRILL:  For that reason --

O`DONNELL:  I have seen the way hospitals --

BRILL:  As you know --

O`DONNELL:  Lobby in Washington and they are very effective.  They`re going to come and say what you`re doing is going to kill us.  It`s going to kill us --

BRILL:  Yes --

O`DONNELL:  And those people will not be able to come up with the kind of spin that Donald Trump does. 

BRILL:  Well, that`s right. 

O`DONNELL:  The people who have to vote on this. 

BRILL:  Remember, Obamacare passed because it pleased the hospital lobby, the medical device lobby, the drug lobby, the insurance lobby.

So, all of those interests are not going to let it be repealed easily.  And it`s not going to be repealed.

It will be repealed on paper but I predict to you that there will not be anything different until least after the congressional elections and they`ll probably punt until after the presidential -- 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, so, you`re betting that the best version of repeal they will do will be one of these things where they say we`ll repeal it with an effective date way down the line --

BRILL:  I bet --

O`DONNELL:  In the future -- 

BRILL:  Yes, and we`re working on this plan and don`t worry it`s going to be great.

O`DONNELL:  But then, the Republican voters who wanted this repeal really going to fall for that card trick?

That we repeal it today but it doesn`t take effect for several years? -- 

BRILL:  They`re not going to fall for it.  But I think the real danger is that the Democratic Party instead of having a meeting in Washington tomorrow or to meet in Kentucky and Ohio and see some of the people that I met when I was doing my book.

Who are Trump voters, who are really scared by this now, because they didn`t quite take him seriously.

But now they keep reading in the newspapers that this thing has been repealed.

And they lose on this.  They lose big time.  I`ll bet you that more people helped buy Obamacare voted for Trump than voted for Clinton. 

O`DONNELL:  The advantage of it being in a reconciliation bill is you only need 50 votes plus the vice president`s vote --

BRILL:  Right --

O`DONNELL:  In the United States Senate.  The disadvantage is a reconciliation bill has so many things in it.

Including defense spending, all --

BRILL:  Yes --

O`DONNELL:  Sorts of spending in it. 

BRILL:  It`s a new --

(CROSSTALK)

But there`s a lot more reasons to object to it --

O`DONNELL:  Yes --

BRILL:  Than just Obamacare --

O`DONNELL:  That`s right --

BRILL:  It`s not a stand-alone bill.  We`ve got to cut it there for tonight, we`re going to be talking about it all year.  Steven Brill, thank you very much --

BRILL:  Sure enough --

O`DONNELL:  For joining us tonight, really appreciate it.  Coming up, the gangster, the really bad guy who was with Donald Trump, he`s right there with Donald Trump on new year`s eve.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Throughout most of the history of the government of the United States, there has been no such thing as congressional ethics.

Meaning there was no real policing authority for congressional ethics. 

When Congress moved to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974, we had no idea how ethical or unethical the house members were who were conducting the president`s impeachment hearings because there were no house -- there was no House Ethics Committee.

There was no Senate Ethics Committee.  The House Ethics Committee was invented three years after the Nixon impeachment hearings.

The Senate Ethics Committee was created a year after that.  And so, all of the giants of the House of Representatives and the Senate throughout history that you`ve read about from John Adams who was in the House of course to Daniel Webster to Lyndon Johnson, Everett Dirksen.

They all lived in an ethics free zone.  Since the ethics committees were invented, we have only become more and more concerned with congressional ethics.

And so, in 2008 when the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, they created another layer, the Office of Congressional Ethics.

And yesterday Republicans tried to turn back the clock to 2007.  They were smart enough not to get caught abolishing the Office of Congressional Ethics entirely.

But they did dramatically reduce its powers and its relevance in a secret vote conducted in a room full of Republicans last night with the door closed.

Paul Ryan and others in the leadership were opposed to this idea, but the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte pushed for a vote and he won with a vote of 119 to 74.

And today, Republicans unanimously changed their minds and realized it was a very bad idea after hearing from some outraged Republican constituents and after this tweet from Donald Trump.

"With all the Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics watch dog as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority?

Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance."

There is a possibility that Republicans were going to reverse themselves on this without the Trump tweet, but the Trump tweet certainly removes all doubt about it.

And the good news for Paul Ryan`s leadership in this story is that, after allowing the rebels to have their way last night, the rebels and their leader last night Chairman Goodlatte were humiliated today.

And the next time that the rebels or Bob Goodlatte tried to challenge the leadership of Paul Ryan, they`re all going to remember what happened this time.

Joining us now is Leo Wise; he was the first staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics when it was first established.

Also joining us Julian Epstein; the former chief minority counsel of the House Judiciary Committee and a former majority staff director of the House Government Operations Committee. 

Leo Wise, tell us what you feel the congressional -- why this new layer of policing of congressional ethics was necessary in 2008?

What was inadequate at that point or considered inadequate at that point about the House Ethics Committee?

LEO WISE, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR & CHIEF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS:  Well, I think it was two things. 

There was a sense that with the scandals related to Jack Abramoff and the members of Congress that were ensnared with him that the house wasn`t acting.

And these stories were playing out in the press, sometimes in the courts and it wasn`t clear if members were being held accountable in the institution where they served.

So, the Office of Congressional Ethics were set up to really throw sunlight onto the Ethics process and open a window that through which the public could see whether the institution was investigating these allegations and then making decisions about the facts once they were presented.

O`DONNELL:  And what is the record of it so far? I mean, how many cases has it -- has it covered and reported on?

WISE:  It`s covered and reported on dozens of cases in a non-partisan and professional way.

It declines to pursue cases more often than it pursues them.  It weeds out unfounded accusations and then it puts together very robust fact records that are presented to the ethics committee.

And then ultimately to the public when these reports become public so the citizens everywhere can make their own judgments about their own elected officials and how the institution is holding them accountable. 

O`DONNELL:  Julian Epstein, one of the weaknesses of the congressional of ethics committee system both in the House and Senate is the inside secret anyway that no one wants to be on the ethics committee.

I`ve never known a member of Congress, House or Senate who wanted to be on the ethics committee.

Who wanted the job of investigating his or her colleagues.  It is the most undesirable task in the building.

And you would think that the 2008 move, which in a certain sense, relieved the ethics committee in a certain kind of way.

You could look at it as it relieves the ethics committee of certain kinds of pressures, puts them in a place outside of member influence and maybe that would actually be a better life for the people on the ethics committee, who actually don`t want this burden.

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  Well, you would think that would be the point of view of most members, including most of the members who do pretty much engage very ethically in their --

O`DONNELL:  Yes --

EPSTEIN:  Day-to-day business --  

O`DONNELL:  Most wouldn`t do, absolutely, yes.   

EPSTEIN:  Most of them do, but there are several that don`t like this idea of an independent agency kind of monitoring them on ethics issues.

And I think Leo is exactly right.  It wasn`t just a Jack Abramoff issue, it was the Mark Foley pedophilia scandal.  And democrats came to power 2006 on the culture of corruption.  In the Abramoff case we had 21 public officials that were convicted of bribery and like charges. 

And the ethics committee kind of sat on the sidelines during the - during most of that process.  So, it was a big embarrassment to the ethics committee.  But just to further underscore Leo`s point, any effective investigatory agency like an inspector`s general has to have essentially three things.  It`s going to have the ability to compel testimony, it`s got to have independence, independence in terms of when to initiate an investigation, when to refer an investigation or criminal procedures and it has to be able to use other tools like whistle-blowers. 

The Office of Congressional Ethics already doesn`t have the most important of those three tools.  It doesn`t have the ability to compel congressional testimony or documents.  And what the republicans tried to do yesterday in an incredibly (INAUDIBLE) move that is going to have spillover effects for Donald Trump was that they tried to get rid of the other two essential things the Office of Congressional Ethics has. 

The independence, the independence in terms of when to initiate investigation and when, if they find something that might be criminally wrong or ethically wrong, when they can refer you to congress or to a criminal prosecutor.  The third -- so they don`t have the first, the ability to compel.  The congressional republicans tried to take away the second, which is the independence and they tried to take away the third tool that the office needs, which is the ability to use tools like whistle- blowers. 

So, it was an effective neutering of this agency and the republicans have now poked this hornets nest of ethics and they found out that there`s a huge grassroots movement in favor of draining the swamp, in favor of ethical conduct and this is going to have big spillover effects for Donald Trump right now who has a whole much bigger mess of ethics issues as we discussed last week on the show or two weeks ago on the show.  He is getting payments from China, he`s got entanglement with Russian interest, he`s got - he`s been accused of promoting his daughter`s apparel business with the Japanese. 

All of the issues with India, with Turkey going on down the line.  So, this has had, you know -- this has been a very, very revealing thing that will have very significant spillover effects for Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise. Quickly. before we go, were you aware of a ground swell among republicans of this kind of complaint that they wanted to weaken it? 

WISE:  No.  I mean when I was there, there wasn`t anything like that.  You know, the office did its job.  It did it professionally and in a nonpartisan way.  There were certain members that were unhappy that their conduct was being questioned but at the end of the day, facts are facts.  And what this attempted to do was make those facts not known.  Didn`t change anybody`s conduct but to take away the ability to see what people were doing and then to hold them accountable. 

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise and Julian Epstein, thank you both for joining us.  Appreciate it.

EPSTEIN:  Thank you Lawrence. 

WISE:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, we have some breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted about an intelligence briefing tonight and immediately intelligence officials said that the Donald Trump tweet is not true. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted this little earlier tonight.  "The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday.  Perhaps more time needed to build a case.  Very strange."  NBC`s Ken Dilanian is reporting that a senior intelligence official says that the briefing with CIA, NSA and FBI heads has always been scheduled for Friday.  The early report that the briefing was to occur Wednesday apparently was wrong. 

The intelligence chiefs were not scheduled to be in New York City on Wednesday.  The senior intelligence official called Trump tweet disturbing and adversarial.  He added he is calling out the men and women of the intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing but these are public servants.  Donald trump will learn more he says about Russia hacking from the McCain hearing which is scheduled for Thursday. 

Also today the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson as Secretary Of State was set for January 11th, where he will face questions about his ties with Vladimir Putin, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says that Tillerson does not have to turn over his tax returns as the foreign relations committee does not usually get tax returns from secretary of state nominees.  Joining us now David Corn Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and an MSNBC political analyst.

Also with us Elise Jordan former senior policy advisor to Senator Rand Paul`s presidential campaign and an MSNBC political analyst.  Elise to the breaking news of the night, Donald Trump, first of all, apparently getting it wrong that there ever was a Wednesday scheduled meeting, but then using the fact that this meeting is now Friday tries to use that to attack the integrity of the intelligence services that will be reporting to him. 

ELISE JORDAN, FMR. SR. ADVISOR, RAND PAUL CAMPAIGN:  He`s going to war with our intelligence agencies and I think it is really disturbing.  I think that if he has problems with their analysis, if he wants to go in, approach the organization with skepticism that is his agenda but he should do it behind closed doors.  Any problems that he has with the analysis it doesn`t need to be aired to the world.  It hurts our spy craft and it is irresponsible and puts our men and women abroad their mission in question I think. 

I think it`s really troubling the way this has been unfolding. 

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn it`s that phrase we get used to, we`ve never seen anything like it.  And what`s so fascinating about it, is he puts himself in a direct, and unnecessary battle with the head of the FBI, head of CIA, head of NSA, no reason to have this battle. 

DAVID CORN, CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU FOR MOTHER JONES:  Well, one of your great producers on the show just said to me, it`s amazing, isn`t it?  And I said actually at this point it`s not amazing.  And I think we have to get used to the fact that Donald Trump says things and tweet things that are more often false than not.  That show that he is impulsive, he could have easily checked with his scheduler and said, was it Wednesday, Friday? 

Why did they move but then he attributes the darkest motives to it when he has no reason to.  We do know he is sort of -- has a liking for conspiracy theories and just like yesterday, or the day before when he said, you know, what I know something about hacking that you don`t know and I might tell you on Tuesday maybe Wednesday.  Well you know what that`s not going to happen either.  So you have a guy who`s a serial fabricator who is adversarial basically everything, but most of all to the truth. 

O`DONNELL:  And Elise, what he doesn`t seem to understand and apparently no one who has any influence over his tweeting understands is how confirmation hearings work.  Everything is relevant in confirmation hearing.  When Tillerson has his hearing for Secretary of State he is going to be asked, as I suggested on twitter this weekend, did you advise Donald Trump on this tweet when he said " great move on delay by V. Putin.  I always knew he was very smart."  Can we get that tweet up on the screen? 

That one, that went up on - over the New Year`s weekend.  Did you advise Donald Trump on that tweet will be question one, question two, when he says no which he better say, do you agree with that tweet.  It`s going to be impossible for Donald Trump`s secretary of state to agree with that tweet or what he tweeted tonight. 

JORDAN:  Well that`s why what he is doing right now makes no sense because he is making it more complicated for his own nominees that he wants to sail through their confirmation hearings.  Right now this situation is so politicized.  I personally think that there needs to be some evidence, if the charges are as serious as what the intelligence community has suggested.  I think that it might be a time that we reveal some of our sourcing that we actually show evidence and make the case, if it is what they say. 

If not, it has been over-politicized and Donald Trump is partially to blame for that because of his posture towards Putin.  He needs to stop acting so juvenile over twitter and saying I want to be -- he previously said he wanted to be best friends with Putin.  You know, just recently he was calling him very smart.   It`s just - it`s unnecessary and while we need to have a strong relationship with Russia we need to project strength and right now not what he is showing is weakness. 

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn Rex Tillerson should be also be asked on January 11th, do you believe Donald Trump or do you believe the director of the FBI, the  CIA that they were not scheduled for Wednesday, they were scheduled for Friday?  And also do you believe the implied corruption about their agencies in Donald Trump`s tweet? 

CORN:  Yes.  Do you take at face value the intelligence of establishment judgment that Russia hacked, meddled in our elections?  Do you believe that or not?  Or do you believe what Donald Trump and his supporters are saying that it`s all trumped up and made up?  That question should be put to Mike Pompeo who is going to be head of the CIA.  Elise is a hundred percent right that this is causing trouble for Trump and his nominees but it just gets to the basic problem here. 

The guy is impulsive.  He doesn`t think before he tweets.  He doesn`t check.  And as we`ve seen time and time again, his aides have no idea what he is doing.  As a guy who is in charge of the nuke - or who will be in charge of the nuclear arsenal in a pretty dangerous world in which things can go wrong very quickly, this is probably the most worrisome thing about the Trump presidency. 

O`DONNELL:  If senate staffers on the confirmation committees still know what they are doing and how to do this, they should be writing questions tonight using Donald Trump`s tweets.  Elise Jordan and David Corn, thank you both for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

JORDAN:  Thank you. 

CORN:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, Donald Trump says he will hold a press conference next week.  It is the same press conference that he promised to have last month.  And how about this for a first question, why did you spend New Year`s Eve with a known felon and mob associate? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump has once again promised a press conference for next week which does not mean he`s going to have a press conference next week.  But if he does he should be asked to explain what he was doing with Joey No Socks on new Year`s Eve.  The felon and mob associate standing next to him right there.  That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump once again rescheduled his long awaited news conference on how he will avoid conflicts of interest with his businesses. Tweeting tonight, he said I will be having a general news conference on January 11th in NYC. Thank You.  This new conference will come just one day after President Obama`s farewell address in Chicago next week.  Among the many questions Donald Trump might have to answer during that news conference is why he spent his New Year`s Eve with this guy -- Joseph Cinque also known as Joey No Socks, a convicted felon with mob ties.

Joseph Cinque runs the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences which gives out star diamond awards in hospitality and has given multiple awards to Trump`s hotels, golf courses and restaurants.  In May 2015 Donald Trump was even listed as the Ambassador extraordinaire for Cinque `s company.  But just one year later, when the associated press asked Donald Trump about his ties to Joey No Socks, Donald Trump denied knowing him well, saying if a guy is going to give you an award you take it.  You don`t tend to look up his whole life story. Joining us David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize winning journalist who founded d.c. report.org, a non profit news organization that will cover the Trump Administration and has looked up Donald Trump`s life story and Joey No Socks life story.   David, tell us what we need to know about this guy.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST:  Well Joey No Socks decided to change his life a bit and go in to the business of selling awards with Donald Trump on his board at one time and his board at a majority of either Trump family members or retainers after a hit on him that failed.  And he is one of many --

O`DONNELL:  Whoa, whoa, you mean an attempted murder of Joey No Socks?

JOHNSTON:  Oh yes.

O`DONNELL:  And so that`s  what got Joey No Socks to think I should be in a less dangerous line of work?

JOHNSTON:  Exactly, exactly and so art thievery and selling clothing out of Central Park South apartment and when he decided to hang out with Muffet and Biff, he also decided to take up loafers without socks.  But he is one, Lawrence, of a number of mob-connected people.  Donald was posing a week ago with Don King, who stomped to death one of his employees over a $600 dispute in the `60s.  Now he was pardoned later but the fact is he killed the man. 

We don`t know what other connections Donald has.  In this case, it was so brazen, Joey No Socks has been coming to the Mar-A-Lago Christmas Eve party or New Year`s eve party every year by his account for more than decade. Donald Trump doesn`t know who he is.  He was with him in Scotland. Donald doesn`t know who he is.  That`s nonsense.  Of course Donald knows who he is.  But unlike everybody else he doesn`t do background checks when he doesn`t want to know about him.  That`s how Felix Sater the son of the refuted - son of the Russian mob boss in New York ends up working closely with Donald and traveling all over with him an then Donald said wouldn`t know if he was in the same room. Donald just makes the stuff up and journalists are not holding him accountable

O`DONNELL:  All right, quick break.  We`re going to be right back with David on why Donald Trump kicked someone off of his golf course last week.  Someone Donald Trump knows very well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Harry Hurt III a Trump biographer told MSNBC tonight about Donald Trump kicking him off a Trump golf  course over the holiday weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY HURT III TRUMP BIOGRAPHER:  And I went up to him and I simply said congratulations sir.  I tipped my hat.  I extended my hand.  We shook hands and then he went into a exploitive filled (INAUDIBLE) tribe about the content of my book.  He then said that he thought it was inappropriate for me to be playing at golf course.  And he asked me to leave and I said that I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Up next David Cay Johnston will tell us exactly what Donald Trump hates about Harry Hurt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  We`re back with David Cay Johnston.  So David, why did Donald Trump kick Harry Hurt off of his golf course this weekend?  He wrote a book about Donald Trump and I guess Donald Trump doesn`t like most of the books you people have written about him and I guest you`d probably run the same risk if he saw you on one of the Trump golf course.

JOHNSTON:  Well Trump was actually very cordial to Harry just before he announced he was running for President when they ran in to each other at the same course.  But Donald doesn`t like Harry`s book because Harry is the one who in his meticulously careful reporting revealed that Ivana Trump said that her husband roughed her up and raped her.  Donald`s lawyer said you can`t rape your wife in New York.  That`s not true.  We have marital rape in New York.  He dug up a lot of other very unsavory facts from the public record he has gone through and Donald of course doesn`t want you to know about that.  He doesn`t want you to know that he had a fight with Marla where the doors were knocked off the hinges of their hotel suite, knocked of the hinges and other things that Harry documented carefully, thoroughly and accurately.

O`DONNELL:  And so I was - I thought well I kind of understand why Trump would go after him but what surprises me is he had a pleasant encounter with Trump at the beginning of the campaign.

JOHNSTON:  Because back then, Donald needed to start his calm and hide his vindictiveness.  And now that he`s won the election you`re going to see this vindictiveness come out.  Remember Donald is a man who said he gets pleasure from destroying the lives of other people.  You refuse a favor for him he will go out of his way to destroy your life.  You say something on daytime television like Rosie O`Donnell did and he will attack you in public in forum after forum.  Donald is petty.  He`s vindictive.  This is a good example and we will see more of this.

O`DONNELL:  David Cay Johnston who wrote one of the books on Donald Trump.  Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate.

JOHNSTON:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  MSNBC`s live coverage continues into "THE 11TH HOUR".  That`s next.

 

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