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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 1/9/2017

Guests: Andrew Rice, David Corn, David Cay Johnston, Toure Neblett, Lizz Winstead, William Barber, Evan Mcmullin, Charlie Brotman

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: January 9, 2017 Guest: Andrew Rice, David Corn, David Cay Johnston, Toure Neblett, Lizz Winstead, William Barber, Evan Mcmullin, Charlie Brotman

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Joy Reid is filling in for Lawrence tonight there, good evening, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel, and I have to tell you, thank you so much for doing that extended profile on Charlie Brotman.

He`s the dearest, sweetest, most wonderful guy. I`ve been watching him -- you know, going on TV throughout the day and listening to his story.

He`s gotten progressively less sort of sad --

MADDOW: Yes --

REID: But he is -- he promised to take a selfie with me the next time I see him, which has made my entire life.

MADDOW: That`s awesome --


Well done, Joy.

REID: OK, thank you, Rachel. All right, thank you, Rachel. And if your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.

Sun Tzu wrote that in chapter one of the "Art of War" 2,500 years ago. And last night, Meryl Streep proved it`s still a sound strategy.

While Donald Trump proved that he doesn`t care what the law says about hiring relatives in the White House, Ivanka`s husband, he`s getting a gig.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re now in charge of the largest organization on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you talk a little bit about your preparations to detangle yourself from your conflict of interests?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will talk about it on Wednesday, it`s very simple.

OBAMA: You can`t manage it the way you would manage a family business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump`s son-in-law Jared Kushner will be named senior adviser to the president.

TRUMP: I`d love to have Jared helping us and see if we can do peace in the Middle East.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Some potentially contentious confirmation hearings.

TRUMP: Confirmation is going great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re nominating --


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: There should not be hearings until the Office of Government Ethics gives them an examination.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE: You know, Democrats are really frustrated that they lost the election. Grow up here and get past that.

SCHUMER: We`re not doing this for sport.

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The speech eviscerating the president-elect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I completely agree with Meryl. It was a heartbreaking moment and so beneath the dignity of the presidency.

STREEP: When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.


REID: Today, President-elect Donald Trump renewed concerns over his potential conflicts of interest with a new hire; Jared Kushner, Trump`s son-in-law, husband of Ivanka.

And one of his closest confidantes was officially announced today as a senior adviser to the president.

And he`s already representing the president-elect in meetings on Capitol Hill.

Tonight, Kushner and a clark(ph) of incoming White House officials including alt-righter Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP lawmakers to discuss the House Republicans tax reform plan.

News of Kushner`s involvement comes as concerns grow over his role in the Trump administration.

Nbc News was told Trump`s son-in-law won`t take a salary and he`ll resign all of his positions with Kushner companies and the "New York Observer".

But ethics experts have raised questions about whether Kushner will run up against a federal anti-nepotism law.

And how he`ll separate himself from his real estate holdings, including the fate of the deal Kushner was pursuing after the election with the Chinese firm and bank to redevelop his building at 666 Fifth Avenue.

Kushner declined to address those concerns tonight when asked by Nbc`s Kelly O`Donnell.


KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Mr. Kushner, are you going to fully divest of your family business in order to serve in the White House?

Any concerns about the nepotism laws, sir, in serving in your father-in- law`s administration?

Will you comment at all, sir, on what you`re going to do as far as the family business?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not going to be commenting.


REID: Meanwhile, Trump`s Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson also facing new scrutiny today after "USA Today" reported that during Tillerson`s time as CEO of Exxon Mobil, the oil giant did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European subsidiary.

While those countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism.

And late last week, the "Wall Street Journal" reported on newly discovered potential conflicts connected to Donald Trump`s debts.

Trump has already disclosed $315 million in debt to other companies. But according to a new analysis from the journal, another $1.5 billion of previously undisclosed debt is also connected to Trump.

And that debt is held by more than 150 different financial institutions.

According to Trevor Potter who served as a general counsel to the campaigns of Bush 41 and John McCain, "the problem with any of this debt is that if something goes wrong and if there`s a situation when the president is suddenly, personally beholden or vulnerable to threats from the lenders."

The potential conflicts facing Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson and Trump himself are all likely to be brought up two days from now.

When Donald Trump in theory holds his first press conference in 167 days, if it takes place.

But Democrats aren`t convinced that Trump and his team will take meaningful steps to address these concerns.

So, today Democrats in both Chambers of Commerce took matters into their own -- in Congress, took matters into their own hands.

They introduced a bill that would address at least one of these issues, Trump`s business conflicts.

The bill would effectively force Trump to fully divest from his business interests by subjecting him to conflict of interest laws that currently exempt the president.

The legislation looks to require the president, the vice president, their spouses and minor or dependent children to divest all interests that create financial conflicts of interest, placing those assets in a true blind trust.

According to Senator Elizabeth Warren`s office, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation that would be the case if it passes.

And joining me now are Andrew Rice; contributing editor to "New York Magazine:" who penned the cover story this week titled "President-in-Law: Jared Kushner`s Rise to Unimaginable Power".

Also David Cay Johnson; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who founded; a nonprofit news organization that covers the Trump administration.

And David Corn; Washington Bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Thank you guys all for being here. I`m going to start with you, Andrew, you wrote this pretty extensive review of Jared Kushner`s life and business career.

What kinds of potential conflicts are out there based on the business that he does both in New York and in his companies at large?

ANDREW RICE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, I don`t think the potential conflicts are all that different than any New York developer might have.

But that said, it`s -- and as we`ve seen with Trump himself, it`s a -- it`s a difficult thing because he`s not just like selling stock.

If you own a $1.8 billion office building, like he does at 666 Fifth, it`s difficult to just sort of cash out of that.

The big revelation over the weekend which I can`t claim credit for, the "New York Times" --

REID: Sure --

RICE: Reported that On Bond Insurance said sort of a mysteriously held a Chinese insurance firm was --

REID: It owns the Waldorf Astoria --

RICE: And has -- there have been some concerns as to whether it has some connections to Chinese government or intelligence.

There -- you know, they`re negotiating to buy a big piece of this building.

And the question is, you know, will Kushner in some way be beholden to this -- to this company because he`s -- you know, trying to get them to pay him some money for his building.

REID: For his building, and David Corn, that he was trying to do business with them after the election --


REID: Was over. So, he was aware of the fact that --

CORN: Yes --

REID: He`s probably the most influential adviser to his father-in-law. He`s literally making decisions on who stays in and who gets pushed out -- just ask Chris Christie.

And yet he`s still trying to cut a deal with this firm after the election.

CORN: It seems like we`re maybe turning into America`s stan. You know, some sort of audit -- kleptocracy -- autocracy.

And you know, the Trump and his people around him are just not taking it seriously. Trump is you know, conflicted, although not legally.

But in real terms conflicted on so many fronts. Jared Kushner, not just on the anti-nepotism law, which is silly because you`re not allowed to hire your relatives if you run a federal agency.

His lawyers are arguing, well, the White House isn`t a federal agency, although it has been interpreted as such under other laws.

And there`s just no seriousness on the part of the Trump family, the Trump team, the transition team in dealing with these issues.

Trump owes hundreds of -- you know, of millions of dollars to people we don`t even know.

All his creditors and some of them are foreign creditors. The Bank of China, Deutsche Bank, it`s very serious and yet the Republicans aren`t raising an issue on this.

And Trump is steam-rolling his conflicts of interests and those of his nominees.

REID: And you know, David Cay Johnston, you know, it`s worse than not taking it seriously.

You seem to see the Trump family simply just flouting the laws, the morans, the traditions, they just don`t seem to care.

Earlier this evening our colleague -- my colleague Chris Matthews cited who didn`t -- who said, because they`re making a family business of government.

Andrew wrote a piece today that talked about Kushner`s business dealings, like Trump involving numerous partners, lenders around the globe.

Even immigrants investing by a controversial cash for visa program and likely to come under great -- they`re likely to come under great scrutiny.

That he`s trying to disentangle it, but can we disentangle it in what, two days?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST: No, and we`re not going to. Joy, what we`re seeing here is Trump being Trump.

A man who has no regard for anyone else, no regard for norms or propriety.

And frankly, I think that having Jared Kushner there may be a good thing. First of all, Trump can`t complain that he made mistakes or errors because he didn`t have the advisors he wanted to have.

That makes him more vulnerable in the future if he screws up. And secondly, Jared Kushner may well provide a force that will help deal with what I assure you is going to be increasingly erratic behavior by Trump once he has to actually deal with issues.

Remember, he`s having a great time right now appointing people and humiliating people.

He doesn`t have any responsibilities yet. And so, if Kushner provides a (INAUDIBLE) force which help stabilize him, that will be good for the country.

But I also think, you know, if Trump wants these people as his advisors, let him have them and then let`s see what happens.

REID: You know, Andrew, you write that, you know, Kushner is often the last person in the room with him.

And we know from your reporting and others that often the last person in the room with Donald Trump is the person who gets their way.

So, what kind of advice are we talking about? Where is he on the spectrum if Stephen Bannon is a you know, right-wing Christian white nationalist, populist, whatever he is calling himself these days.

Where is Jared Kushner on the ideological scale?

RICE: Well, and somebody who knows both of them put it to me that, you know, Bannon sort of comes at this as he has sort of defined philosophy and he sees Trump as a vehicle for achieving that philosophy.

Kushner comes from the opposite perspective. He`s there to fulfill the desires of Donald Trump, his father-in-law.

And so that leads him in the direction of supporting these populist-kind of ideas.

But -- so, I don`t think that he`s really so much an ideologue as he is there really just to kind of serve the interests of his father-in-law, the president-elect.

REID: And you know, David Corn, have you been able to get a handle on which wing of Trump world --

CORN: Yes --

REID: Is going to be the most influential on policy and will any of the wings of Trump world even have a second thought of concern about these incredible conflicts?

Trump could be in debt to a bank --

CORN: Yes --

REID: In a country that we`re in conflict with?

CORN: And his business deals with people overseas, who we might have different foreign policy priorities.

It`s highly problematic. At this stage it`s been interesting, you know, Kushner, you know, thanks to Andrew`s piece and others, you know, has taken a little bit more -- or at least has a higher profile than he did during the campaign.

And Stephen Bannon has been very quiet. I think, you know, maybe worrisomely so in the last couple of weeks after -- right after the election.

Since Trump himself doesn`t seem to have any policy core, any real ideas that he wants to talk about or advance, maybe other than the wall.

I think when you talk about the wings, you know, fighting with each other, it`s going to be a tremendous free-fall within the Trump world in terms of policy.

Whether it`s foreign policy, domestic policy, tax policy -- you know, Paul Ryan is moving ahead with privatizing Medicare when that was something that Donald Trump said he didn`t want to do. But --

REID: Yes --

CORN: They`re taking it seriously.


REID: Go ahead --

JOHNSTON: There`s nothing here to keep in mind. I think what Andrew Rice`s article points are very clearly is Jared Kushner is crucial to enabling Trump to say one thing and do another.

That`s what my new organization is going to focus on, what he does, not what he says.

And we`ve had way too much coverage of Trump tweeting and what he says, more focus on what he does.

And Kushner is clearly going to be crucial to allowing Trump to say one thing and do another.

REID: Yes, well, we will be watching. Andrew Rice, David Corn and David Cay Johnston, thank you all, appreciate it.

CORN: Thank you.

JOHNSTON: Thank you. And coming up, Meryl Streep once again proved last night how easy it is to get under Donald Trump`s skin.

Lizz Winstead and Toure are here. And one of Donald Trump`s most controversial nominees is Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

Civil rights groups are worried that Sessions could do a lot of damage. North Carolina NAACP leader Reverend Dr. William Barber is here to discuss.


REID: President Obama will be giving his farewell address tomorrow night in Chicago. A president`s farewell address can be so important that it ends up in high school textbooks.

It can be that meaningful. Seven thousand people will be there to watch it and you can watch it live here on Msnbc.

Our coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And then join me at midnight Eastern Time for a special hour of coverage.

And coming up next, Donald Trump versus Meryl Streep.


REID: With less than two weeks until he assumes the most important job in the world, Donald Trump spent this morning attacking a celebrity on Twitter.

Donald Trump took issue with Meryl Streep who said this last night.


STREEP: There was one performance this year that stunned me. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter.

Someone he out-ranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back.

It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. And I still can`t get it out of my head because it wasn`t in a movie.

It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it`s modeled by someone in the public platform.

By someone powerful, it filters down into everybody`s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.


REID: Donald Trump called the three-time Oscar winner, who also holds the record for the most Oscar nominations, most Golden Globe nominations and the most Golden Globe wins, "overrated".

He also tweeted that he "never mocked a disabled reporter, would never do that", but simply showed him, "groveling".

Well, here`s the video of Trump mocking that reporter played side-by-side with a photo of the reporter so you can decide for yourself what Donald Trump was mocking.


TRUMP: Now, the poor guy, you got to see this guy -- oh, I don`t know what I said -- I don`t remember.

He`s going, well, I don`t remember -- oh, maybe that`s what I said.


REID: And joining us now is Toure; an Msnbc contributor. And also joining us is Lizz Winstead; co-creator of "The Daily Show".

Well, my friends, I have to play for you Kellyanne Conway for the defense.

Her defense of Donald Trump, what you just saw, that video of him clearly mocking that reporter.

This was Kellyanne Conway`s defense on "Cnn" this morning.


UNIIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she wrong that it was wrong for Trump to make gestures like that about a man --


That is not what he did. And he had said that a thousand times as he tweeted out today --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even said a million --

CONWAY: Say a hundred times --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the video --

CONWAY: You can`t give him the benefit of the doubt on this? And he`s telling you what was in his heart.

You always want to go by what`s come out of his mouth rather than look at - -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s --

CONWAY: What`s in his heart --


REID: Thoughts? Don`t believe your lying eyes!

TOURE NEBLETT, WRITER: There you go, Joy, listening to his words --

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: And demanding that he live up to the things that he say, shame on you!

REID: But also looking at the video, I mean, it was clear what he was doing, and it`s -- Lizz, it`s not just that he did it.

It was the clear glee and enjoyment that he got out of mocking that disabled reporter and mocking him for something he cannot help.



REID: And now he`s pretending he didn`t do it --

WINSTEAD: He went back three times, and it`s like you can`t talk about gas-lighting enough it feels --

NEBLETT: Right --

WINSTEAD: Right, I mean --

REID: Yes --

WINSTEAD: When somebody is telling you this isn`t happening and then there`s people doubling down who are the spokes people for the person saying, why don`t you listen to what`s in his heart?

Because his heart is not saying anything. His actions and words are saying both things. His heart doesn`t speak, his voice does.

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: Well, once again here we have a citizen speaking from her heart saying this is all problematic.

Not just you specifically but Trump is of this notion of bullying people --

REID: Right --

NEBLETT: And taking power over people and he attacks the person -- he feels attacked by this critique which is not delivered in some strident ways.

She`s very calm, she has every right to say what --

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: She wants to say. If he had said she`s one of our greatest actors this year, has every right to say whatever she wants to say --

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: It kind of neutralizes the whole thing. But he wants to say, what you saw didn`t happen, she`s overrated --

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: Which we all know is not real --

REID: Right --

NEBLETT: It just makes him seem small.

REID: It is also not even what he believes. I mean, just literally in 2015, which is one year before he mocked the reporter.

He was saying, "Julia Roberts is terrific and many others, Meryl Streep is excellent."

He actually admires Meryl Streep himself. So, he contradicts himself, that`s out the window.

But what do you make of the reaction from some conservatives? I was flabbergasted by the reaction on Twitter to what Meryl Streep did.

My daughter and I watched it, we all both had tears in our eyes.


REID: Meghan McCain tweets last night "that Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won.

And if people in Hollywood don`t start recognizing why and how to get him re-elected."

He mocked Meghan McCain`s father during the campaign. Is she saying that we`re not to -- we`re to say that that`s OK.

WINSTEAD: Well, I mean, first of all, she never said the word Trump --

REID: Know --

WINSTEAD: In her entire speech. She never said his --

REID: But it`s clear she meant him.

WINSTEAD: But of course -- but Meryl Streep was smart enough to talk about the actions of a human and his actions.

You know, and I think that, that is such a smart, touching, wise thing to do.

Is, she wasn`t demonizing the man. She was saying, this person`s actions did this. Everybody knew it was Trump.


WINSTEAD: But for Meghan McCain or anybody to double down on, do you really think that you should be imitating a person who is differently able when you are literally in a position of power?

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: What she did with the first part of her speech was really powerful and important as well.

Speaking up for Hollywood and saying, hey, we are real Americans as well. We may be elite now but we come from the other side of the tracks.

REID: Right --

NEBLETT: Meryl, public school in New Jersey, this one from the share cropper`s home --

REID: Viola Davis.

NEBLETT: They were -- most of these folks are not to the man or born right there.

Few of them are, but most of them are not -- most of them are coming from somewhere, they had a dream.

Is that not the American dream to come from nowhere, make it in Hollywood and then have money and have some power?

Is that not the American dream?

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: They have achieved it. Why are we denigrating these folks?

REID: And I guess, the question, too, is what is the principle that conservatives are fighting for here?

Is it the right to denigrate? I don`t understand what the principle is, I`m wondering --

NEBLETT: Right --

REID: If you do.

WINSTEAD: I think the most fascinating part of it is, it`s a celebrity death match --

REID: It`s true --

WINSTEAD: And the most ridiculous celebrity won the presidency, and the first lady of celebrity eloquently shut the whole thing down and made everybody had to reflect.

NEBLETT: Is it --


NEBLETT: Is it the notion that you shouldn`t criticize the president? Like he`s -- you know, a king who we should not ever critique --

REID: Hash tag Barack Obama.


NEBLETT: I mean, again, no, I don`t understand what Meghan who I know -- I don`t understand what her point is here, Meghan.

I don`t understand what the right point is here, saying that Meryl Streep should not speak.

I mean, I guess, you know, they`re trying to delegitimize everyone who is not "real American".

So then, I guess Meryl shouldn`t get to speak. But this sort of bifurcation, these sort of real Americans and these are not --

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: That doesn`t work. That`s going to bite you in the end because - -

REID: Yes --

NEBLETT: Because Hollywood is filled with real Americans.

REID: It is. And also real Americans love Hollywood. They may say --

NEBLETT: That`s right --

REID: We don`t like it, but they`re still those movies every week. "Hidden Figures" by the way is very good, and it`s not "Hidden Fences".

NEBLETT: What about "Hidden Fences", I love that movie --

REID: Not "Hidden Fences", Toure and Lizz Winstead, thank you. And coming up next, protests in Washington today against Jeff Sessions` nomination to be Attorney General.

Reverend William Barber was there and he`ll join me next.



TRUMP: He was the first senator to endorse me. The next Attorney General of the United States, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: I will give my honest and best effort every single day to make you proud, the American people proud.

To serve everybody with equality and justice.


REID: Tomorrow morning, Attorney General nominee and Senator Jeff Sessions will begin his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A former federal prosecutor and Attorney General for the State of Alabama, Sessions has served nearly two decades in the Senate.

His nomination has drawn fierce opposition. And today 100 African-American pastors sent a letter asking senators to vote against Jeff Sessions` confirmation.

The letter cites two incidents, first, "as a U.S. Attorney in the 1980s, Senator Sessions unsuccessfully prosecuted multiple African-American voting rights advocates including a trusted adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And when Mr. Sessions was being considered for a position as a U.S. District Court judge, a federal prosecutor testified that Sessions had agreed with a comment that a white attorney representing African-American clients maybe a "disgrace" to his race."

The prosecutor also reported that mr. Sessions had called the NAACP un- American and a black attorney testified that mr. Sessions had referred to him as boy. Senator Sessions did not get that Federal Judgeship. Also today another group of clergy marched to Capitol Hill in protest of his nomination. One of the members of the clergy who was at that march joins me now the Reverend Dr. William Barber, President and Senior Lecturer for Repairers of the Breach. And Reverend Barber, first, tell us about the action that you and other members of clergy took today at the Capitol?

DR. WILLIAM BARBER, REVEREND: Thank you so much, Joy. Well, over 500 clergy representing Muslims, Christians, Jews, (INAUDIBLE), Unitarians and others joined together to make a moral declaration against the nomination of Jeff Sessions. There are personal people that are trying say personally he is respectable and nice, but his policies are mean and racist and extreme. And we wanted to say that this is not about left versus right, conservative versus liberal. It`s about what`s right, what`s wrong. We even had evangelicals with us who understand justice. And All of us were there today. We delivered it. We are clear this is a first action, not a last action, because we`re committed all the way, even to civil disobedience -- even if he gets appointed we`ll stand every time that he does things that are contrary and contentious of our constitution.

REID: And there`s an interesting sort of breakdown of people coming forward, for and against Jeff Sessions. You had Kazir Khan the gold star father -- father of Captain Humayun Khan who came out and denounced Jeff Sessions in a letter because of his path and saying there`s no reason to believe he has changed. On the other side of that you have Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser who`s from Alabama. She`s an Alabama native and she says essentially Jeff Sessions has helped to heal the wounds of the country`s racist past. But I want to read you a little bit of Bishop Kyle Searcy and he is from Alabama`s Fresh Anointing House of Worship and he was speaking on why he`s supporting Jeff Sessions` nomination. Take a listen to Bishop Searcy.


KYLE SEARCY, BISHOP, ALABAMA`S FRESH ANOINTING HOUSE OF WORSHIP: And if you look honestly at the track record of Jeff Sessions, not biased but honestly, you`ll find him to be a kind and decent man. One that many democrats, black democrats and whites alike have supported and a man who deserves to lead this nation as its top lawyer.

(END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Reverend Barber, how do you answer that?

BARBER: Well it`s interesting. He said kind in policy but he didn`t list his policy. Let`s look at the record because a tree is known by the fruit it bears. This man has called the voting rights act an intrusion. He applauded the Shelby decision, which gutted the voting rights act. That decision opened the flood gates for the worst kind of voter suppression we`ve seen since Jim Crow. He refused to help the voting rights of more than 1,000 days. That`s a 1,000 days longer than Strorm Thurman Filla Bursted the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

He has never repented for his past actions. He sought to put persons in jail for 250 years because of their participation in the fight for voting rights. He has voted against authorized -- reauthorizing Violence Against Women`s Act. He has voted to oppose the repeal of don`t ask, don`t tell. He opposed the Matthew Shepherd/James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He voted to ease restrictions on wiretapping and cell phones. He voted to abolish a program that helps businesses owned by women and minorities compete for Federal Funding.

And he has opposed comprehensive immigration reform and has supported religious bigotry. And he`s been in connection with white supremacist groups. He opposed Attorney General Lynch. He did not want to give President Obama his nominee. He opposed all of President Obama`s Supreme Court nominees. So, he has persons who come up and just have empty phraseology for what reason, I don`t know. But when you look at justice, when you look at the poor, when you look at racism, to put Jeff Sessions over the U.S. Department of Justice, it`s like putting the fox over the hen house. He is contemptuous. He has contempt for the very laws he would be called on to enforce as Attorney General.

REID: And Reverend, very quickly, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey has taken unprecedented steps and he will testify against Jeff Sessions. Take a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I`m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition by actually being a sitting Senator testifying tomorrow against another sitting senator. We`ve seen consistently Jeff Sessions as Senator Jeff Sessions voting against everything from the Matthew Shepherd Act, voting against -- or speaking out against ideals around the Voting Rights Act, taking measures to block criminal justice reform. He has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country.


REID: And Reverend Dr. Barber, we see you do the impossible moral Monday move to do the impossible in North Carolina in the defeat of the Governor there. Do you expect Jeff Sessions to be defeated or is this more about making a statement opposing his nomination?

BARBER: Well, I`m believing people always have that hope. That people will stand up and be statesmen and stateswoman. This is not the time for cordiality and put someone in place who`s the antithesis of the very office he would be holding. We do not need to give him more power. We do not need to give him the ability to deconstruct the Attorney General`s Office. He`s not shown any past or present action that makes him worthy of this. I hope that people will stand up against it. I hope they will stand strong. I hope they will not say, well, he`s just a Senator because even if you`re a democrat and you vote for this, you own it. You own his record. What we`re saying is, if he is, we`re going to keep fighting. We`re going to challenge him. We`re willing to go all the way including civil disobedience. Not one or two times but consistently even if he Becomes Attorney General, we`ll call attention to what he`s doing.

REID: Reverend Dr. William barber, thank you for being here tonight sir. Thank you. And up next, former presidential candidate and former CIA agent Evan McMullin is here to talk about what Donald Trump could do about Russia and what he`s actually likely to do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: President Obama is making it harder for Trump to roll back sanctions on Russia. Today the Obama Administration is increasing punishment on Russia by black listing five Russians, including a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And according to The New York Times the sanctions will ban travel to the United States and freeze any of their assets held by U.S. financial institutions. The New York Times reports it may be harder for Trump to ignore the requirements under the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act was passed in 2012 with bipartisan support. And is intended to punish Russian officials suspected in the death of a Russian lawyer in Moscow prison.

This is what Kellyanne Conway said when asked by USA Today Susan Page if Trump would roll back the sanctions that President Obama has enacted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KELLYANNE CONWAY, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: I think president trump will want to make sure our actions are proportionate to what`s occurred based on what we know.

(END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And joining us is Evan McMullin, former CIA operative and a former independent Presidential Candidate who I`m happy to have finally met in person for the first time.

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Yes, the pleasure is mine.

REID: SO what do you make of Kellyanne Conway seeming to indicate that the Trump administration might be open to rolling back these sanctions?

MCMULLIN: Well I found her comments fairly amusing. She said we need to make sure they`re proportionate. That there are proportionate response suggesting what Obama has done is disproportionate.

REID: Right.

MCMULLIN: I would say what Obama has done is a couple steps in the right direction. But to even suggest those steps are disproportionate, we`re talking about a foreign adversary attacking our democracy, the very system of government that`s critical for defending our rights and other United States` interests. For her to suggest that just a few modest sanctions are disproportionate, I think, does a tremendous disservice to the security of the United States.

REID: Can you just put -- take us to a bizarro world, right, where Donald Trump was a different sort of personality and had what would be a normal and expected response of an incoming American President to the now known hacking of the election. What should the response be?

MCMULLIN: It`s not complicated. An American President should say this is unacceptable what Russia has done and what Russia is doing. We`re going to sanction them as a response. We`re going to increase the cost of Russia taking this kind of activity inside our borders. We`re also going to stand up and stand with democracies in Europe through NATO and otherwise to make sure that Russia and Putin can`t continue to destabilize those democracies.

I mean, this is something Russia is doing all across Europe and the United States. that needs to be the response of an American President. Instead, we have a President -- President-Elect, at least, who continues to try to obscure the fact that Russia is actively undermining our democracy in a multifaceted way, doing a range of things. propaganda, fake news, trolls, all kind of things, the hacks. And we have a President-Elect who is trying to obscure that fact in the minds of the American people while it`s still going on.

REID: Yes. And you know, I`m glad you mentioned Europe because I read a really actually terrifying article in The Daily Beast and it says the global trends report authored by the same intelligence community that concluded Russia tried to interfere with the U.S. elections portrayed the dystopian future of increasingly divided have and have not with climate change drying up resources, driving migrants into already stressed western nations, increasing competition for jobs further and it predicts governments and would-be leaders who would play to their public`s worst fears blaming outsiders and other nations for calamities to come so they don`t get the blame. This paints a picture of decline and this sort of creeping populace nationalism. If the American President isn`t standing against it, who will?

MCMULLIN: We have to. Joy that is such a critical question. we as Americans, with Europeans, actually, we must stand against this. Only a very few number of our elected officials are still standing strong, especially, I`m sad to say, on the Republican side.

REID: Sure.

MCMULLIN: And because of that, it`s exposing what I call a leadership crisis in our country. It`s not just Trump. It`s a range of leaders that aren`t standing up for our interests. It is incumbent -- it`s become incumbent upon the American people to stand for liberty. That`s something that I and my running mate from the election, Mindy Finn, that`s something we`re working on. And we invite all Americans to join us in this cause.

REID: Are your friends in the intelligence world concerned that the President of the United States doesn`t seem to believe anything they say if it`s negative about Russia?

MCMULLIN: Yes, they`re very concerned. But I think it`s deeper than that. It`s not just that Trump doesn`t believe what they say. It`s I think, I suspect, it`s more that Trump is on board with Putin`s agenda. It`s not that Trump is naive to Putin`s agenda.

REID: Right.

MCMULLIN: I don`t believe. I believe he understands it very well and is on board with the kind of populism you described that will weaken our country in favor of Vladimir Putin, in favor of Russia, but will also provide opportunities for corruption and cleptocracy for Donald Trump during his tenure.

REID: Well that`s scary. who can stop him if he is the President of the United States ? MCMULLIN: We can and we have to.

REID: Yes. Do you think the American people will get us exercised about this as they did for instance business at the Golden Globes talking --

MCMULLIN: Yes, right. we must.

REID: Yes, yes, well, here`s hoping. And thank you so much for all you do. Evan Mcmullin, thank you for being here.

MCMULLIN: Thank you.

REID: Appreciate it and coming up, I`ll be joined by the man who has announced every presidential inauguration since Eisenhower but got fired by Donald Trump.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Our republican friends are tied in a knot. They say repeal, but then they know there are so many good things as part of ACA, such as 20 million people covered who didn`t get coverage. If you`re 21 to 26, you can you stay on your parents` plan when you`re out of college. A family, young daughter has cancer, no longer can the insurance company say no because of pre-existing condition. And women are treated equally as men, which they didn`t have to be before and weren`t.

So, all these good things have to be kept. And our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have no idea how to keep them and repeal ACA at the same time. And the whole -- so much of America is behind us.

REID: That was democratic senator Chuck Schumer on Facebook live tonight. Still in congress for an overnight talkathon against republican efforts to repeal the affordable care act a.k.a obamacare. Senator Schumer and other congressional democrats are talking -- taking to the floor in Washington tonight to defend president Obama`s signature health care law and stop republican plans to also defund planned parenthood and cut health care security programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

On face the nation yesterday senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the first steps to repealing Obamacare will be taken in senate by the end of the week. And coming up, how Donald Trump ended an inaugural tradition and fired the man who has announced every incoming president`s parade since Eisenhower.


REID: There`s one thing that every presidential inaugural parade has had in common for the past 60 years. The man known as the eyes and ears of the president, the parade announcer, Charlie Brotman. He announced his first inaugural parade in 1957 for President Eisenhower`s second term and has a broadcasting career that dates back to 1949. Brotman has been the official announcer for 11 presidents in 16 inaugural parades since 1957.

But Charlie Brotman won`t be behind the mic for Donald Trump`s inauguration day. The inaugural committee cast him aside, giving the gig to freelance announcer and Trump campaign volunteer Steve Ray. It`s no surprise that the Trump team has shown little reverence for the American tradition and for basic human kindness. But let`s face it, treating Charlie Brotman, a man who looks forward to that phone call from the Whitehouse every four years.

A call he sometimes makes himself to remind a new administration of his duty, to treat him with so little compassion on the thing that is his thing just seems downright shabby. Joining me now is Charlie Brotman. And Charlie, and I`m going to just let my friends in the audience now you did say I could call you Charlie, so I`m going to call you Charlie.


REID: Charlie, how did you find out that you were not going to be announcing the Trump inaugural?

BROTMAN: I received an e-mail that says, Charlie, you are so spectacular. You are so wonderful. You sound great. And you`re like the leader of the pack here in the Capitol City. But I wanted to let you know, you`re not going to be the announcer.

And I`m saying, impossible. Is this an imposter there? What are you talking about that I`m not going to be the announcer? Well, we`ve made some changes and that we`re going to allow you special privileges and we are going to put down you in a special box seats near the president. And it`s going to be our honor to honor you. And I said, gee, that`s all well and good, but what happened to the announcement -- the announcer, the guy that`s done 15 consecutive, the parades.

REID: Right.

BROTMAN: And 10 different presidents, what happened to that?

REID: And did they explain to you why they chose someone else.

BROTMAN: No, they didn`t. Did I asked the question? Several times and in each case it was, we`ll get back to you. Our communications director will call you back. And nothing.

REID: You`re terrific. Obviously, you`ve been doing -- you mentioned that you`ve done 15 of these inaugurals. Tell us about the first one and you did and your favorite one.

BROTMAN: Well, we do have two or three days on this, don`t we? What happened, I was the public relations stadium announcer for the Washington Senator`s baseball team. President Eisenhower was there to throw out the first ball.

REID: Right.

BROTMAN: And with all celebrities, including the president, they bring that individual to me. I take them into the locker room and the dugout, introduce them to all the players. And the players and the president get a big kick out of this.

REID: Right.

BROTMAN: So I had done everything that I could to be a pal of the president.

REID: Sure.

BROTMAN: And the season is over and everything went well for opening day. It`s now November 1956, and a woman calls me and says, are you Charlie Brotman? I said yes, ma`am. She says, I`m calling from the Whitehouse. The president has been asking everybody, get that announcer, see if he`ll announce me again.

REID: Wow, that`s terrific.

BROTMAN: And I`m saying, holy mackerel, I mean this is really special. Would I like to? Just tell me where and when.

REID: Yes.

BROTMAN: Well she says the where is, Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C, the when is January 20th, 1957. I told the lady, I`m a native Washingtonian.

REID: Right.

BROTMAN: And that sounds like the presidential inaugural parade.

REID: Sure.

BROTMAN: And she says, Mr. Brotman, you are absolutely correct. You will be the president`s announcer.

REID: Announcer. That is amazing.


REID: That`s amazing. I understand you have with you a little memento from the last announcer gig that had you did with President Barack Obama. Can you show that to us real quick before we go?

BROTMAN: I will, indeed. Here`s that baby. It doesn`t look like much here but when I open it up, look at how many pages, how much it weighs. And from people over 50, it`s similar to the yellow pages.

REID: Absolutely.

BROTMAN: In years going by.

REID: Yes. Well Charlie --

BROTMAN: Probably takes -- takes maybe two hours.

REID: Yes.

BROTMAN: But for Reagan and for Kennedy --

REID: Yes.

BROTMAN: -- it was four hours.

REID: Well, Charlie Brotman, I have to tell you, America has fallen in love with you. You may not be announcing at the inaugural parade, but I think in all of our hearts, we`re going to hear your voice over that loud speaker. You are terrific, sir. And we wish you all the best. Oh, thank you, Charlie. Have a wonderful night.

BROTMAN: That was very nice. Thank you.

REID: Thank you. And make sure you log on to to hear Charlie tell me about his favorite inauguration parade of all.

MSNBC`s live coverage continues with Brian Williams and that`s next.