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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 1/23/2016

Guests: Nicholas Kristoff, E.J. Dionne, Catherine Rampell, Mike DeBonis, Eli Stokols, Marty Walsh

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: January 27, 2017 Guest: Nicholas Kristoff, E.J. Dionne, Catherine Rampell, Mike DeBonis, Eli Stokols, Marty Walsh

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: At their retreat this week, behind closed doors, talking to each other, freaking out about how they have no plans to replace the Affordable Care Act once they`ve repealed it. The "Washington Post" got tape of them talking about it amongst themselves behind closed doors.

And the man who wrote that story is the reporter Mike DeBonis, and he is coming up next on "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL," which means you should watch that show. It starts right now.

Have a great night.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, another day, another humiliation of the president of the United States by a foreign leader. In fact, today was a little special because he managed to get humiliated by two foreign leaders today. One of them standing right beside him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D), BOSTON: I think you`re going to see cities around America step us and say enough is enough. 28 percent of the residents of the city of Boston are immigrants. 48 percent of our children, like myself, have at least one foreign born parent.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, my mother was born in Scotland.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The invitation is an indication of the strength and importance of the special relationship.

TRUMP: This most special relationship.

JIMMY KIMMELL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": We`re already in a special relationship with a new world leader. His name is Vlad. He`s handsome. There, he wrestled bears with his shirt off.

TRUMP: I don`t know the gentleman. I hope we have a fantastic relationship. It`s also possible that we won`t.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Mexico, can we get an update on where the relationship is?

TRUMP: Over the coming months we will be negotiating and we`ll see what happens.

VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: Mexico is not paying for the wall.

TRUMP: There will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": So definitely not with money then. Bad news, Mexico didn`t give us any cash for the wall. Good news, we have new hats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: For the second day in a row the president of the United States was -- pardon the expression -- Trumped by the president of Mexico. We are now completing 48 solid hours of the utter humiliation. The likes of which we have never seen of a president of the United States by our former friend and permanent neighbor Mexico.

This is of course the most avoidable and the most childish fight any president of the United States has ever picked with another country. Never mind our next door neighbor.

When Donald Trump was running for president, he called Senator Marco Rubio "Little Marco." He did that both because he is a bully and because he is a complete ignoramus on matters of government. Because Marco Rubio knows so much more about the job that they were both running for. President of the United States. Because Marco Rubio knows so much more about that and so much more about governing.

Donald Trump couldn`t possibly challenge Marco Rubio or anyone else to a real policy debate. And so he reached for the only thing an ignorant bully could use on a debate stage, the insult, the epithet, the nickname "Little Marco."

Marco Rubio is not little. Marco Rubio is almost 5`10". Donald Trump is almost an inch taller than I am, he`s about 6`2". I don`t think that anyone who`s 5`10" is little. And Donald Trump`s fevered bigotry about people with Spanish names, does he picture all men with Spanish names as little? Is that where he got Little Marco? Imagine. Imagine what Donald Trump wants to call Enrique Pena Nieto, the 57th president of Mexico who has now humiliated Donald Trump two days in a row.

Enrique Pena Nieto is 5`6" or 5`7", somewhere around there. Three, possibly four inches shorter than Little Marco. Think about Donald Trump seething in the White House at this very moment. After two days of being outmaneuvered by the president of Mexico, think of how many times he has reached for that Android of his to start tweeting about Little Enrique and think of how many taxpayer funded White House staffers it has taken to get that Android out of his hands every time he gets the urge to tweet something about Little Enrique.

What we know about Donald Trump is he does not speak a word of Spanish, other than of course all of the place names of California which used to actually be Mexico. But surely he doesn`t think that that`s Spanish. Surely he thinks Los Angeles is an American word. You know he doesn`t know what either word in Los Angeles actually means or either word in San Francisco or San Diego. His ignorance functions like a blanket his nanny wrapped around him in infancy and that he has kept wrapped around him his entire life blocking out information about every human feeling or human endeavor not involved in commercial real estate. And so we know that Donald Trump does not even know how to speak the words Enrique Pena Nieto.

[22:05:08] We also know that Donald Trump loves nicknames, especially hateful nicknames, for people who he hates. Donald Trump`s pathologies have been publicly diagnosed for us here on this program and elsewhere by Tony Schwartz who wrote Donald Trump`s first book for him and spent a lot of time very close to Donald Trump for years.

Even without that diagnosis Donald Trump has flamboyantly displayed his pathologies to us without the slightest self awareness of what he was telling us about himself. And we have seen the bitterness and viciousness with which he publicly lashes out at anyone who criticizes him or embarrasses him in any way. And he always thinks it`s perfectly justified. He has done that to me countless times over the last six years beginning with the first time I called him a liar six years ago. Back when I was the only one calling a Donald Trump lie a lie.

He had much more time in those days to focus his Twitter hatred at me. But now that everyone not employed by FOX News is calling him a liar it`s impossible for him to keep up. But exactly one leader of a foreign country, one president, has stood up to Donald Trump and just said no. And today the president of Mexico revealed to Donald Trump`s voters something even worse than his ability to defy Donald Trump.

The president of Mexico and the president of the United States did something normal today. They each issued a statement, clearly a negotiated statement that included wording that was agreed upon by the staffs of each president. That`s the way presidents of the United States and presidents of Mexico are supposed to communicate publicly. Not by crazy threatening tweets that the president of the United States fires off at the president of Mexico, thereby provoking the president of Mexico to fire off the humiliating tweet that he has decided to cancel his meeting with the president of the United States next week.

And you saw yesterday how Donald Trump tried to pathetically claim that they both tried to cancel this meeting. They both posting, both of them. They both wanted to cancel it, which is clearly not true because if that was the case, if they had both agreed to that they would have issued a joint statement about that. And instead the president of Mexico, on his own, fired right off into Donald Trump`s Twitter stream his defiant refusal to meet with Donald Trump.

The president of Mexico`s statement today begins this way. "The presidents of Mexico and the United States held a telephone conversation today." Here`s the way the president of the United States` statement begins. "The United States president, Donald J. Trump, and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto spoke by phone this morning for an hour. The call was mutually arranged by their teams."

Now the world wants to know who called who, because the president of Mexico turned his back on the president of the United States yesterday and said publicly forget it, I don`t want to talk to -- needs to talk to you. And then the president of the United States pretended that it was his idea not to talk to the president of Mexico. And so whose idea was it, for one of them to call the other today?

Only the Trump statement has the line that the call was mutually arranged by their teams. The president of Mexico`s statement simply leaves out any reference to how the call was arranged. That makes the likelihood very high that Donald Trump called the president of Mexico to try to begin to fix the reckless damage he has done to North America this week. And the White House staff begged the Mexican president`s staff not to specify who called who in their statements. It will eventually leak out.

We`ll know who called who, but there`s another hugely important difference in the two president`s statements, and this is the point of most extreme humiliation for the president of the United States today. The White House statement says, "With respect to payment for the border wall both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences on positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship," and here is what the president of Mexico`s statement said.

"Regarding the payment of the border wall both presidents acknowledge their clear and very public differences on positions on this sensitive issue and agreed to resolve these differences as part of a comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the bilateral relationship."

Those sentences are identical. And the only way sentences became identical in two presidents` statements is for the staffs of each president to negotiate and work out identical language like that. And so that is what makes the next line so important. The line that appears only in the Mexican president`s statement and not in the White House statement. The Mexican president`s statement says, "The presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue."

[22:10:10] And so there the president of Mexico telling Trump voters that their hero, who was going to force the president of Mexico to pay for a border wall has now been forced -- Donald Trump has been forced to agree to not even talk about it publicly. The president of Mexico says that Donald Trump has, quote, "agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue."

And so what happens today when Donald Trump was asked in a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May about the Trump war with Mexico and his phone conversation with the Mexican president?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will say that we had a very good call. I have been very strong on Mexico. I`ve great respect for Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I work with the Mexican people all the time. Great relationships. But, as you know, Mexico with the United States has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders. They have made us look foolish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yes, they made us look foolish this week, or more specifically Enrique Pena Nieto made little Donald look foolish this week.

Donald Trump`s answer about his war with Mexico in which he is obviously now desperately trying to negotiate a peace, went on for another 265 words and not one of those words was the word wall. Not one of those sentences was, "Mexico will pay for," anything. Enrique Pena Nieto made little Donald shut up about the wall and he made little Donald shut up about Mexico paying for little Donald`s wall.

Now forgive me but I`m using Trump world language here to make a point. It`s not language that I like. I don`t tell people to shut up. I don`t create demeaning nicknames for people. Donald Trump does that. Little Marco. Steve Bannon does that. Shut up.

That`s what Steve Bannon called up the "New York Times" to tell them to do this week. Shut up. I`m using Trump-Bannon language here so that the Trump-Bannon White House can understand what has happened to them this week because it`s very obvious that with the president of the United States provoking a crisis with our friendly neighbor, who is our third biggest trading partner, and while a White House adviser to the president calling up a newspaper and telling that newspaper to shut up, and telling the rest of the American news media to shut up through that newspaper, that we have a White House out of control.

With absolutely no idea of what it is doing. Floating ideas for a border tax with Mexico to pay for the wall and then abandoning the idea an hour later. And when the president stood beside the British prime minister today and was asked about his position on sanctions against Russia, he said it was, quote, "very early to be talking about that." That`s it. That`s all he said about sanctions on Russia.

Steve Bannon and Donald Trump surely in their dizziness of crisis this week had no idea that in the moment right after that, the president of the United States was once again being fully humiliated by a foreign leader when Prime Minister May completely disagreed with Donald Trump. It was not too early for her to talk about sanctions on Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAY: As far as the UK is concerned on sanctions for Russia in relation to their activities in the Ukraine, we have been very clear that we want to see the Minsk Agreement fully implemented. We believe the sanctions should continue until we see that Minsk Agreement fully implements. And we`ve been continuing to argue that inside the European Union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Another day, another humiliation of the president of the United States by a foreign leader and today, in fact, two humiliations of the president of the United States by two different foreign leaders.

And this weekend Donald Trump has a phone call scheduled with Vladimir Putin. And by tonight, Vladimir Putin is no doubt betting that the only thing he has to do for Donald Trump to remove sanctions is to compliment Donald Trump for having the biggest inauguration crowd in history.

We`ll be right back after a quick break with our panel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:16:44] TRUMP: We have a great general who has just been appointed secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, and he has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture. I happen to feel that it does work. I have been open about that for a long period of time but I`m going with our leaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the "New York Times," E.J. Dionne, columnist for "Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst, and co-author of "We are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama." And I think the other co-author is someone named Joy Ann Reid of that particular book. Also with us Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist for the "Washington Post."

Nick, when we hear him talk about torture and last night talking to Sean Hannity he said that very, very high-level people tell him that it does work. It seems it`s his obligation to tell us who those people are. We know what his Defense secretary says.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I mean, you know, he gets these hunches. And I mean, I hate to think where they come from. But I am somewhat relieved that he seems to be listening to Mattis on this. I mean, Mattis is really kind of the grownup in the Cabinet to some degree with John Kelly. I hope that he`ll listen to Mattis, to Kelly and perhaps Tillerson, you know, as well.

O`DONNELL: Catherine, we have stumbled to the end of week one of the Trump administration. The business days, thereof anyway. And there he was standing beside the prime minister who completely disagrees with him about sanctions. She doesn`t think it`s too early to talk about holding sanctions.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, she`s also been in office a little longer than he has, to be fair.

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, he`s been asked about sanctions for a couple of years now. And he still hasn`t figured out apparently what he thinks about them.

RAMPELL: He hasn`t figured out what he thinks about sanctions, he hasn`t figured out what terrific things he`s going to replace Obamacare with either. Yes, there are a lot of blanks still dotting the policy slate for our newly sworn in president.

O`DONNELL: Yes. E.J., the president and the White House woke up to a scathing editorial in the "Wall Street Journal" attacking Donald Trump for what they call his little -- Trump`s little Mexican war. And then suddenly there`s this day that certainly feels like reversal by the Trump administration and a panicked attempt to do some kind of repair work with Mexico.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I mean, I think what you saw this week is the wreckage that government by impulse can create. You know, first saying what he said about the wall, then we have a 20 percent import tax that they immediately abandoned when as many, including you, pointed out that`s not a tax on Mexicans, it`s a tax on us. And the really appalling thing here is that we have fouled up a relationship with one of our two immediate neighbors over what is a purely symbolic promise to build this wall that will cost us a lot of money and an absolutely unfulfillable promise that Mexico is going to pay for it.

[22:20:09] So as nick would say, the grownups in the White House grabbed the Mexico file and said we can`t go down this road. I`m sure they heard besides from the general from a lot of business people and a lot of other people saying, what are you doing to this relationship?

O`DONNELL: Yes. And E.J., if you were to impose that tax, which will never happen because the Congress hasn`t completely lost its mind, but what you`re doing is you`re charging the -- you`re saying the American taxpayer will pay for the wall and then the American taxpayer will be penalized for paying for the wall by also having to pay higher prices for all goods that the American taxpayer buys for Mexico.

DIONNE: And that`s kind of why I use that phrase government by impulse because what you clearly have is Trump blurting out this policy, repeating this policy of his because he really hasn`t adjusted at all to being president from being a candidate. And then all his people have to scramble around and say, well, how in the world can we justify what he just said? And that`s where this policy came from.

When you talk about taxes, when you talk about essentially tariffs, you`d like to have somebody somewhere in the White House do a little bit of analysis before the idea is thrown out. And you wonder how often is this going to happen in a Trump presidency that a formal position will be put out by the White House that they have to abandon within minutes, hours.

(CROSSTALK)

RAMPELL: It wasn`t -- it wasn`t even clear that they were talking about a Mexico specific tariff. And it kind of sounded like Spicer was instead alluding to a border adjustment tax which would not only befall Mexican imports that has to do -- it`s like a complicated accounting thing that has to do with basically all imports and exports.

O`DONNELL: Which is even worse.

RAMPELL: Well, I mean, it`s more technical than I think we have time to get into now. But it would not befall the Mexican people certainly.

O`DONNELL: No. There`s absolutely nothing in -- and I don`t think any of them understood that.

Nick, I suspect that people in Trump world think if you put a tariff on Mexican goods, Mexicans pay the tariff.

KRISTOF: But I think it`s useful to distinguish between the politics and the policy. I mean, this has been an incredibly chaotic week with daily -- the "Washington Post" fact-checker said that today every day of his first week President Trump has expressed something that is completely not true. And -- but I think that we as journalists should be pretty cautious after what happened last year in predicting how this is going to play out politically with voters. I mean, at the end of the day for people who were watching MSNBC or who are reading the "New York Times" or "Washington Post" I think they might have had a different view about how things would have played out on election day. So I think we need to be cautious about that.

On policy, though, there`s just no doubt that the effects have been devastating for the U.S.-Mexico relationship. You look at the global gag rule which was intended to reduce the number of abortions and in fact will increase abortions dramatically and increase the number of women dying globally in childbirth and of other -- all kinds of other ailments. And so I think it`s been a catastrophic week for policy. I hope that it will be catastrophic politically but I just think we need to be cautious about that.

O`DONNELL: Well, we have never seen in our politics a voting public that appreciates a chaotic White House. No polling has ever gone up as a result of a White House appearing to be chaotic.

And Catherine, one of the extreme issues for Donald Trump`s polling is he is going to a Republican Congress and asking them to do things that they have been opposed to until inauguration day of 2017. He is asking them to do things in health care that they clearly don`t know how to do. And we`re going to be talking about that later with this leaked audio today of the mass confusion that is really happening behind closed doors with Republicans.

He is asking them to do things legislatively they don`t know how to do, they don`t have answers to yet. And they are always watching the president`s popularity poll numbers to decide just how hard they want to work for a president.

RAMPELL: Well, credit where credit is due. Trump did say he would be a uniter and not a divider. And he has certainly united the people of Mexico against him. As for what`s going to happen with his relationship with Republicans on the Hill, it`s -- they are in a really tricky position. Because a lot of the things that Trump has said that he wanted, they have said that they wanted. Not on trade per se, but on the Affordable Care Act and they have been plotting and scheming supposedly for years now to try to replace it with something and I guess they will be talking about it later today. They still don`t know what that something is. Because if you look at the guts of the legislation that they want to repeal, it`s for the most part quite popular. So getting rid of it is not going to endear them to their voters.

O`DONNELL: As -- go ahead, Nick.

KRISTOF: Yes, I mean, just to Catherine`s point about managing Mexico.

[22:25:05] I mean, I think the concern in the foreign policy community is that at the end of the day, managing the U.S.-Mexican relationship, you know, that`s nursery school.

O`DONNELL: Right.

KRISTOF: Managing China is a university.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

KRISTOF: Managing North Korea, I mean, that`s a PhD.

O`DONNELL: Right. Yes. E.J., in foreign policy terms Canada is the easiest thing you have to deal with, Mexico is the second easiest, and everything gets complicated after that.

DIONNE: Right. Which is kind of petrifying about what that phone call with Putin will be like tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Oh boy.

DIONNE: Because I think that`s also maybe PhD plus post-grad, post-doc, or something. I tell you one other thing, though, that I really am worried about a policy. Trump is going to propose these massive cuts in programs for low-income people and we won`t pay any attention because it will be him in the fog of all of this impulse control talk. We do have to pay attention to policy.

O`DONNELL: Good reminder. Nicholas Kristof, E.J. Dionne, Catherine Rampell, thank you all for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

DIONNE: Thank you.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you.

RAMPELL: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what Republicans say about Obamacare in private and what it proves is that Republicans are not crazy. They get it. They understand what they have gotten themselves into.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: This thing changed police work in America. Now every police officer in the country knows that everyone near them has a video recorder in their pockets and these things are about to change governing as we know it in Washington.

Today the "Washington Post" obtained a stunning voice recording of what was said in the room when Republican senators and House members closed the door to talk privately. They thought about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. They talked about it and the audio recording reveals that not all Republicans are crazy. That`s the good news of this audio recording. Some of them actually understand just how politically dangerous it is to be repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Some of them understand how legislatively complex it is. Some of them clearly understand how health insurance markets work and how insurance markets can be destroyed by government, and the audio clearly reveals that even in private Republicans are still nowhere close to a real plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The "Washington Post" reporter who revealed this explosive recording will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:32:47] REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Good news is we had a plan we ran on all of 2016. That is the plan that we are working off of right now as we implement on the solutions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s Paul Ryan today talking about the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the only problem with what he said is that today a secret audio recording has revealed exactly what everyone suspected, the Republicans have no plan and are not close to having a plan.

Joining us now is Mike DeBonis, a congressional reporter for the "Washington Post" who revealed that recording today about the Republicans` private comments. Also joining us, Eli Stokols, White House correspondent for "Politico."

Mike, this is an extraordinary recording. It`s absolutely stunning. And I`m sure it`s the first of many since everyone in these rooms now has a recording device in their pockets. And what we discovered as we read through your report of what was said in that room is that there`s clearly no plan. The Republicans are not close to that plan and more interestingly there are plenty of Republicans worried, not ready to go forward with anything that`s being suggested.

MIKE DEBONIS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Lawrence. And we can only hope that there are more of these and we encourage anyone in the position to make these sorts of recordings to do so.

O`DONNELL: Hey, Mike, while you`re on that, tell us exactly what the "Washington Post" set up for people to feed you anonymous source material like this, which is what this is.

DEBONIS: We do have on our Web site a way to anonymously and securely provide us with tips. I wish I could give you a Web address but if you go to WashingtonPost.com --

O`DONNELL: All right. That`s good enough.

DEBONIS: You can do that.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

DEBONIS: What you saw on the tape, Lawrence, was, you know, Republicans have had principles around health care but they have not had a plan. Even though they say they have a plan, they have principles. And, you know, turning principles into a plan is a messy business and it was certainly messy inside that room. You had folks asking very tough questions about how exactly you`re going to transition from the system we have now, repeal that and then replace it when you don`t have the support you need in the Senate to pass a fully formed replacement plan.

[22:35:07] And that bothers a lot of Republican lawmakers, rank-and-file Republican lawmakers and the answers that the leadership is giving that we`re just going to move down all of these different paths all at once. Do the fast track reconciliation, they`ll do the executive actions, do some smaller bills, that doesn`t necessarily add up to a replacement for Obamacare.

O`DONNELL: Well, I`ll tell you, I have been in the room like this when I was working in the Senate and when people are this shaky about what you`re trying to do it usually just gets worse from there. I`ve never seen either party make one of these things gel when the members are this shaky. And I just want to read what Tom MacArthur, a Republican from New Jersey, said when you talk about principles, Mike. He -- he reminds everyone of one of their principles and says they can`t do it.

He says, "We`re telling those people that we`re not going to pull the rug out from under them and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them."

And Eli, that`s what analysts like me and everyone who knows anything about health care has been saying from the start.

ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: Right. But this is one of those glaring places where the policy and the politics have never been in alignment. Republicans can`t say this on the stage with Paul Ryan as they have to say this in a private room because they have been campaigning for six years telling people they`re going to repeal and replace it. Donald Trump has been telling people that it`s as easy as sort of just snap your fingers and we`ll pick something and it will be beautiful.

It doesn`t work like that. I think even Donald Trump understands, maybe better than some Republicans, that Obamacare has really shifted the paradigm because now people have this health care and you can`t just take it away from them. That`s why he`s out there saying that we`re going to have coverage for everyone whereas the Republicans and Paul Ryan are really out there just trying to temper expectation and say, well, everyone will have access to coverage. So the White House and the Republicans Congress are certainly not in alignment on this either.

O`DONNELL: Some fascinating quotes from Tom McClintock, California congressman who I have been following since his career in the state legislature. He ran a gubernatorial campaign that he didn`t win but he knows policy better than most Republican California members. He said this, "We better be sure that we`re prepared to live with the market we`ve created. That`s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel and will be judged in the election less than two years away."

And Mike, I got to tell you, when you`re in the room and you hear somebody say something like that you mark them down in pencil as a no vote.

DEBONIS: Yes -- I mean, those are pretty serious concerns he`s raising. That`s really the key -- the key issue here is that this simultaneous replace and repeal that Donald Trump has referred to just can`t happen. It`s not going to happen unless remarkably they get some magic potion that convinces Democrats to go on with their plans. But even beyond that, inside the Republican conference there`s significant divisions about how to do a replacement effort. Even if they have -- they didn`t have to deal with the Democratic filibuster it would be hard to get them united around one single plan when you have a range of ideologies and a range of policy preferences that can`t necessarily be neatly accommodated in one single plan.

O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s what is so clear here. It`s a very important point, Mike, that what we`re seeing here is in the governing party, the majority party, they don`t have an agreement and they are not close.

John (INAUDIBLE), Republican of New York, is worried about what they are doing with Planned Parenthood. He said, "We are just walking in to a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill. If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves House and Senate."

And Eli, you would never get a whiff of that if you were outside of that room. This is a massive revelation about what Republicans are really thinking.

STOKOLS: Yes, that`s right. And they`re going to have to reconcile what they`re thinking, you know, for real and what they`re saying publicly. Because they`re clearly very different. I think Donald Trump`s administration is going to really have to figure out how to play this because they have made this a big -- you know, this is at the top of their list. First thing they`re going to do and there`s clearly a lot of problems with it.

O`DONNELL: These recording devices that everybody has on their phone have just changed Washington forever starting today.

Mike DeBonis and Eli Stokols, thank you both for joining us. I really appreciate it.

DEBONIS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the normalization of Steve Bannon which must not happen because there is nothing normal about Steve Bannon working in the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:42:44] O`DONNELL: And now for tonight`s "Tweet Report" and a tweet from one of you. Last night I tweeted, "Normalization patrol. Bannon would be fired by any previous president for calling media opposition and telling them to shut up." And @traceysullivan22 replied, "Bannon would never have been hired by any previous president nor would he have been hired by any decent human being."

Well, I don`t know where else Steve Bannon would be hired but it`s right. It`s absolutely true to say that no other White House ever would have hired Steve Bannon, and surely there are people who`ve worked in the White House before who have felt very angry with the news media to put it mildly and surely there are many people who have worked in the White House before who have felt that the news media is an opposition party.

What is wild and out of control about Steve Bannon is that he actually called up the most important newspaper in the world, the "New York Times," to say directly to the "New York Times" and then to the world in effect that he wants them to shut up. And he did it with what is always the mark of a mad man in dealing with the press. They always tell you angrily how they want to be quoted.

Bannon said to "The Times," "I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don`t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States." And he said the media should be embarrassed and humiliated, and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.

Now surely people in the Nixon White House felt that way when Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward at the "Washington Post" were closing in on their crimes and impeachment hearings began in the house which drove the president to resign but at no time did anyone, even in the Nixon White House call up a newspaper and say something crazy like that, and if anyone did, everyone in the Nixon White House would just assume that that person just had a nervous breakdown and needed help and they`d probably rush him to the hospital.

This is not normal. Steve Bannon`s employment in the White House is not normal. One of the many things to resist about the Trump White House is any tendency in the news media and elsewhere to normalize Steve Bannon. Not normal.

[22:45:08] Coming up, as everyone in politics knows, mayors are tougher than senators and when the mayor of Boston stood up to Donald Trump this week and just said no, he proved that once again. Mayor Marty Walsh will be our next guest.

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WALSH: I think this is the beginning today. I think you`re going to see cities around America step up and say enough is enough.

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O`DONNELL: Marty Walsh is mad. He`s mad at Donald Trump but he never said the word Trump in his press conference in Boston`s city hall. Mayor Martin Walsh is the son of immigrants from Ireland, and when Donald Trump announced this week that he was issuing an executive order to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities, cities that refuse to actively partner with federal agencies in the enforcement of federal immigration law Marty Walsh squeezed as many news cameras and microphones as he could into city hall to make sure that what he had to say would be heard in the White House.

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WALSH: We will not waste vital police resources on misguided federal actions. We will not be intimidated by the threat to federal funding. We have each other`s backs and we have the Constitution of the United States of America on our side.

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O`DONNELL: And that was the day that the amateurs in the White House discovered what everyone else in politics has always known that mayors are tougher than senators.

Now you might find the occasional exception to that rule but in our political history, you can count more tough mayors than tough senators. Some people have been disappointed in the amount and style of resistance that congressional Democrats have shown so far to the Trump agenda. I would just say to that, don`t judge them too early. In general, senators are slower to come to a boil and right now most of them have a long way to go to catch up to Marty Walsh.

When is the last time you heard a senator say that he or she would use their own office to provide sanctuary for the people Donald Trump wants to hunt down and deport?

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[22:50:11] WALSH: I want to say directly to anyone who feels threatened today, or vulnerable, USAID and Boston, we will do everything lawful in our power to protect you. If necessary we will use city hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who`s targeted unjustly.

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O`DONNELL: And so when a reporter then asked the mayor what he meant by using city hall to shelter people and he said this.

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WALSH: That means if people want to live here, they`ll live here. They can use my office. They can use any office in this building. Any place they want to use they will be able to use this building as a safe space.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you stop federal authorities from coming in, if they so choose?

WALSH: We`ll see what happens.

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O`DONNELL: "We`ll see what happens." That`s the mayor of Boston saying to the president of the United States, you send whoever you want to my city hall to pull people seeking sanctuary out of there. You send in your army to get them and we`ll see what happens.

Donald Trump has not met a politician tougher than Marty Walsh. Oh, did I mention that Marty Walsh is from Dorchester, the same neighborhood that Mark Wahlberg is from? Where Marty Walsh grew up, toughness is in the air. It`s a toughness formed from strength and a confidence about who you are and where you stand. And in Marty Walsh`s case it is framed with generosity and compassion for people who might need your help.

The mayor stood before those microphones until the reporters ran out of questions, something you will never see Donald Trump do. And then after thanking everyone for coming, these were the mayor`s last words.

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WALSH: One quick story. I was a young man that came to my office not too long ago and his mother is undocumented. And he`s fearful of his mother being thrown out of the country. And he was born here. And he`s about 7 years old. And I saw him the other day, and actually I saw him two months ago. He wrote me a note and the note was -- I have been carrying this note around in my pocket the last 2 1/2 months.

"Dear Mr. Walsh, I`m thankful for you because you protect our city from a mad man and you will make me and my family feel safe. Your man, Brian." That`s why I stand here with my colleagues any day to protect the people who can`t protect themselves. Thank you.

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O`DONNELL: The mayor of Boston, the Honorable Martin J. Walsh will join us next.

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WALSH: The latest executive orders and statements by the president about immigrants are a direct attack on Boston`s people, on Boston`s strength and Boston`s values.

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[22:55:02] O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. I just wonder if you got a chance to speak directly to Donald Trump about this, what do you think he doesn`t understand about this that he needs to know?

WALSH: I think he doesn`t understand that there`s fear in the country and the country doesn`t fully agree with him. And I think if we had a chance to explain it to people and talk about what we really need in this country is immigration reform and that Republicans and Democrats the last seven years haven`t been able to agree on things, that there`s another way of doing things.

I mean, as the leader of a free nation, it`s about compromise and moving agendas forward and this is not doing it. I have been in two schools since the press conference and kids are afraid. And that`s not what the president of the United States of America should be symbolizing to young people. That little boy Brian who wrote that letter was 7 years old, and that was his assessment. That`s not the way it should be in our country.

O`DONNELL: And Mr. Mayor, this is personal for you with your own close personal history of your parents being immigrants. But I know that a lot of the people who are surrounding you at that press conference do not -- are not of recent immigrant families and some of them are. And that, as you said, is the real picture of Boston, the real picture of America. And so you don`t have to be of a recent immigrant family to understand this.

WALSH: No, you don`t have to be at all. And when I went to my office right after that press conference, there were people crying, saying thank you for doing that. Thank you for defending us. Defending our city, defending our country. And I think that, you know, this goes too far. I mean, I think about the end of the first week of the administration, you know, our relations with countries are getting worse. We are having internal turmoil. We are talking all these things that really aren`t focused about making America great again.

If we want to make America great again, and I don`t agree with that, we already are great but if we want to continue to make America great again let`s talk about reaching out and building opportunity and bridges. Let`s not talk about isolating and picking a fight with every single leader in the world. That`s not how we move as a country.

I think of Boston, in our city, yes, we`re made up of a whole bunch of different types of people with different political philosophies, but my job as mayor to do is not necessarily agree with everyone, and everyone shouldn`t agree with me, but some of our city forward. And this is what we`re doing here in the city of Boston. And this goes counterproductive to who we are as a country, what happened this week.

O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, the CEO of the Trump Hotels operation has said this week that he wants to at least triple the number of Trump Hotels in the country, expanding to every major city in the country. Is the Trump Hotel a welcome building project in Boston?

WALSH: Because we are open minded we absolutely would sit down and talk to them. Because we`re open minded. We don`t -- we`re not bullies saying, we`re not going to let you in our city. But certainly there`d a lot of conversation before that because I`m willing to bet there`s an awful lot of immigrants in Trump Hotels around this country tonight making beds and serving food in their hotels and there`s no talk of what`s happening there.

O`DONNELL: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, thank you very for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

WALSH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.

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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Next week President Donald Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee who will uphold the God- given liberties enshrined in our Constitution in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia.

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O`DONNELL: And so the biggest challenge facing the Democrats in the Senate lands on them next week.

Chris Hayes is up next.

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