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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 3/7/2017

Guests: Rick Wilson, Evelyn Farkas, Nicholas Confessore, Al Franken, Jared Bernstein, Eve Ensler, Saru Jayaraman, Sean Spicer

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'DonnellDate: March 7, 2017Guest: Rick Wilson, Evelyn Farkas, Nicholas Confessore, Al Franken, Jared Bernstein, Eve Ensler, Saru Jayaraman, Sean Spicer RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Intelligence committee -- I don`t want to leave -- I`m going hand-off here to Lawrence O`Donnell. I want to mention one thing as we go, something that`s happened on this show tonight that we made some news. Congressman Adam Schiff is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. I just don`t want to leave without noting here that he just told us that he`s determined that the House Intelligence Committee that`s investigating the Trump campaign and its ties to Russia, he`s determined that they should talk to the British former MI-6 officer who compiled that dossier of alleged Russian dirt on Donald Trump. The author of that dossier has been in hiding since January. Today, he surfaced in London, and apparently, at least the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee which is leading that investigation into Trump and Russia. He says he will go to London. He`ll do whatever it takes to make sure they get his testimony -- oh, really? 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, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, we have an open invitation to Jeff Sessions to come on the program. He has not made it yet, but tonight we do have Senator Al Franken whose question created this gigantic Jeff Sessions controversy. Is it perjury? We`ll ask Senator Franken if he believes it`s perjury, we will roll the tape of exactly what was said. Which today, as you know, in the judiciary committee, they had a fight, the chairman arguing about what was actually said in the video where Al Franken asked that question -- MADDOW: As if we don`t have a record of it, as if we can`t all check it -- O`DONNELL: Yes, and in the hearings, Senator Franken said to the chairman, showed -- just check the video. Of course, they don`t have video at the hearings, but we have video here. So, it will all -- this is how -- we will complete the judiciary committee hearing here tonight with judiciary committee member Al Franken. MADDOW: Earning your Senate pension. O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly -- MADDOW: Well done, my friend, well done. O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel -- MADDOW: Well done. O`DONNELL: Well, tonight, as I say, we will ask Senator Al Franken if Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself at his confirmation hearing. And Congressional Republicans and conservatives are in revolt, open revolt over the new Trumpcare bill which ran into fierce conservative resistance on its first day on Capitol Hill. But first, is Donald Trump fit to serve as president of the United States? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: What is the point of wiretapping Donald Trump? Every crazy thought he has he puts on Twitter. (LAUGHTER) He`s wiretapping himself. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the White House come up with any evidence whatsoever? SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We were asking the House and the Senate Intelligence Committee to look into this concern. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think that the president of the United States should come forward with the information that led him to that conclusion. STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: So where did Trump get his info? From the CIA? From the FBI, out of his a-s-s? (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no one that he is willing to spare and defending to distract us from the uncomfortable questions around Russia? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senate Democrats press for answers from Sessions. SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I don`t understand how we`re supposed to draw any other conclusion than he was lying under oath. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: This bill, the American Health Care Act, it keeps our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We are divided on replacement. We are united on repeal, but we`re divided on replacement. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans know it`s a disaster. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Trumpcare is a mess for the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: There are two ways to remove the president of the United States. We have already more than once on this program examined the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president to remove the president with the support of a majority of the cabinet in writing. The vice president then becomes the acting president. The vice president can initiate this action whenever he believes the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." The president can appeal that action only to the Congress and then a vote of the House and Senate will settle the matter. The 25th Amendment does not specify what it means for the president to be unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. It could obviously be for health reasons, the president has fallen into a coma or is otherwise physically ill. The 25th Amendment was actually used to make Dick Cheney the acting president for a matter of hours when George W. Bush got a colonoscopy. The 25th Amendment could obviously be used to remove a president whose mental health is in doubt. And as the world knows now, that is the current condition of the American presidency. The president`s mental health is in doubt here and around the world for the most inexplicable statements any president has ever made. Mike Pence could invoke the 25th Amendment because the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The vice president and the majority of the cabinet can remove the president for any reason. This could be that reason. Here you have a deranged president or a pathologically lying president lying about the operations of the American government and lying about the previous president of the United States. That`s enough to invoke the 25th Amendment. But Mike Pence and the cabinet are not there yet. That tweet is also enough to impeach the president of the United States. The last time a Republican Congress impeached a president, it was for lying under oath in a civil deposition unrelated to the governing of the United States. Perjury. President Clinton was disbarred as a lawyer for that perjury, but he was not convicted in the United States Senate and removed from office. Many of the Democratic senators who voted against removal of the president conceded that he was actually guilty of that perjury. But they felt that the president`s lie did not merit removal from office because it had nothing to do with the governing of the United States. The most simplistic version of President Clinton`s defense that you would hear from Democrats in those days was that he was only lying about sex. Look at what Donald Trump was lying about in that tweet. He was lying about the activities of the branch of the government that he now heads, the executive branch. He was lying about the former president of the United States. He was lying about the FBI. He was lying about the surveillance systems of the government that he now heads and he was lying under oath. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear -- ROBERTS: That I will faithfully execute -- TRUMP: That I will faithfully execute -- ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States. TRUMP: The office of president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The president of the United States is under oath 24 hours a day. He was lying under that oath. Faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States. He was unfaithfully manipulating the office of the president of the United States. He was violating that oath. He was defying that oath. He was disgracing that oath. He was disgracing the office of the presidency and he finds new ways to do that virtually every day. And in lying under that solemn oath, Donald Trump accused President Obama of committing a crime. The founding fathers put the impeachment process in the constitution to deal with violators of that oath, people who do not faithfully execute the office of the president. The tweeting fool now living in the White House violated that oath with that tweet Saturday morning. That tweet fits the Republican definition of an impeachable offense more fully than what Bill Clinton was actually impeached for by a Republican Congress, lying under oath. The president isn`t the only one who takes an oath of office. The vice president does. Every member of the House and Senate does. Every member of the House and Senate staff takes the same oath of office as a member of those bodies. I took that oath when I worked on the Senate staff. The receptionists in the Senate take the same oath of office as a senator. They all raise their right hands and solemnly swear that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God. What Donald Trump did on Saturday morning was an offense to anyone who has ever taken an oath of office, and it should be an offense to everyone else. Whether he lied about President Obama because he is simply a buffoon, whether he accused President Obama of committing a crime because he is a mad man. Whether he sent that tweet just to have fun does not matter. Each of those reasons amounts to the same thing in the words of the 25th Amendment. Donald Trump is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. In the words of his oath, Donald Trump is clearly unable to faithfully execute the office of the president. Donald Trump clearly has no idea what it means to solemnly swear. The word faithfully means nothing to him. Violating his oath of office is no longer enough for a Republican Congress to impeach a president. Lying under oath is no longer enough. Not yet. How long? How long will it take before the Republicans in Congress realize that something has to be done about a president who violates his oath of office publicly? The oath that members of Congress take themselves. That oath that says, "I will well and faithfully discharge the duties in office on which I am about to enter." Those officers, those Congressional officers with that oath have been entrusted by the constitution with the impeachment process. How long will it take for them to well and faithfully discharge that duty? We are 46 days into the Trump presidency. We`ve already seen a national security adviser forced to resign because of lying. We now have an attorney general caught in apparent lie in his Senate confirmation hearing by Senator Al Franken, who will be joining us in a moment. We have multiple investigations of Donald Trump`s connections to Russia, of his campaign`s connections to Russia. We have never discussed the 25th Amendment or impeachment in the first 46 days of a presidency. That`s where we are now, 46 days. The Republicans are as baffled by what they`re seeing as the rest of the world is. They are just pretending to be keeping calm and carrying on. We don`t know how long the Republicans in Congress can continue to defend the indefensible, and they don`t know how long they can keep doing that either. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: I think that the president of the United States who has stated categorically that Trump Tower was wiretapped. That he should come forward with the information that led him to that conclusion. It`s a very serious charge against the previous president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Senator John McCain today. That is what hope looks like. The cracks in the Republican wall are already there. They will only get bigger. Joining us now Rick Wilson; Republican strategist and contributor to "The Daily Beast". Also with us, Nicholas Confessore; Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter for the "New York Times" and an Msnbc contributor. And Evelyn Farkas; Senior Fellow at the The Atlantic Council and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense responsible for policy toward Russia. She`s also now an Msnbc security analyst. And Rick, I want to go to you as someone with our best contacts here among Republicans. And just for a moment, we all know the face that they`re putting on this. We all know the kind of spin that members of the House and others do when they`re forced to answer a question about this and how they try to side-step it. What are you hearing from Republicans about just how chaotic their lives have become when they wake up on Saturday mornings to these kinds of tweets that they know are going to rock their world because they`re going to have to come up with some kind of response to it? RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, this is a ride. This is a roller coaster ride that doesn`t end. And a lot of these guys, particularly in the leadership live in absolute terror every day that Donald Trump is going to say the thing that blows up their holy grail agenda items. They`re terrified he`s going to blow up something on the tax cut. They`re already looking at today with the Obamacare repeal bill. They`re dreading the tweet that goes wrong. They`re terrified that they`ll get way out on this issue and that he`ll pull a rug out from under them. So, every single day is a stress test for these guys. And yes, you`re right. Most of them now are living in absolute terror. They know this train is headed towards the cliff. They`re probably 60 members of the house and a half a dozen in the Senate, you know, who would strap on a bomb vest for this guy still. But most of them and certainly almost all the ones in leadership, they recognize that Donald Trump is a guy who is unstable and who is mentally unfit and who is a danger to the republic. They recognize that. They won`t give it up. They don`t understand what else to do. They have boxed themselves into a -- into a dead-end here with Trump. And, you know, it`s -- the problem is, you know, that Donald Trump isn`t -- they`re not trapped in here with Donald Trump. He`s trapped in there with them, and they are the ones who have to make a decision on something to do about how to respond to this. O`DONNELL: Evelyn, how is the defense community, the intelligence committee, responding to this part of the Trump presidency? The wild tweeting about their activities? I mean, this notion of this wiretapping would certainly involve at least the FBI, possibly more than that. EVELYN FARKAS, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, first of all, it`s a continuation of the assault that Donald Trump, that president Trump has essentially committed against the intelligence community since the day he became a candidate almost when he was disparaging the professionals, saying he didn`t want to listen to their intelligence briefings, et cetera. But the bigger problem is that there`s a national security issue here. Russia is our adversary. They do not mean the United States well. And the first thing that the congressional Republicans can do is do a real investigation, start a real investigation on the Hill -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely -- FARKAS: On what Russia did to interfere in our elections. They can set up a select committee or an independent bipartisan commission, but they`ve got to do it fast because this is not going away. O`DONNELL: Nick, Donald Trump did not get a majority of the vote when he ran for president. Presidents normally, their political calculation is the majority. They`re always looking for the majority. When they`re under the majority in polling, they don`t like that. Did the Republican Congress notice that he is not close to a majority in polling? He has not -- he hasn`t converted anyone since the election, and therefore the health of this presidency going forward is not good. NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, NEW YORK TIMES: Absolutely. Look, his entire agenda and their agenda all rest on his ability to be a tent pole for the party. To persuade the wavering members on something complicated and dangerous like ACA repeal or tax reform. And if the president is unpopular so early, it`s very hard for the president to coax these members into doing things that are risky and half the things that he wants them to do are risky -- O`DONNELL: So, for example -- which we are going to get to later in the program. The -- I was surprised that the number of Republicans who came out on day one of this healthcare bill today opposing it and opposing it very specifically. And you could see there wasn`t a bit of fear of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and them coming out here and saying, you know, this is disastrous for the deficit. You`re saying this -- that will infect more of the legislative process. CONFESSORE: Well, ACA reform is an elbow of wax. O`DONNELL: Yes -- CONFESSORE: Yes, there`s different camps of lawmakers -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: I mean, I don`t mean to get into it specifically -- CONFESSORE: Right -- O`DONNELL: But there are so many other things coming along that you`re going to need -- Paul Ryan is going to need to call up the president -- CONFESSORE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And say, hey, I need you to lean on Joe from -- you know, wherever because -- CONFESSORE: Right. Think of how you pass a big piece of legislation, right? O`DONNELL: Yes -- CONFESSORE: You have a coordinated attack by the President`s Office of Legislative Affairs. You have him lobbying people. You have his people lobbying people. It`s very difficult. It takes a lot of energy and capital. And if you`re squandering your capital and efforts every day on responding to tweets, on moving the entire federal government around to justify something you came up with on a Saturday morning, you can`t get anything else done. O`DONNELL: Yes, so -- CONFESSORE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson -- WILSON: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: The way this -- maybe some people in the Republican Congress thought that it was going to work is if Congressman X gets out of line on this bill, he has to live in fear of a Donald Trump tweet flying through his district, saying something nasty about him. But does he have to live in fear of that tweet now, now that the madness of Donald Trump is flying out in tweets constantly against in every direction. Lying about President Obama. The currency, the political currency of these tweets has been able to damage people seems to me to have declined. WILSON: Look, a lot of these guys still live in fear of the mean tweet from Donald Trump. A lot of them still conform their behavior accordingly. But the difficulty is the dynamic in the Congress and House specifically is in order to get things done in this large set of complicated legislative agenda items Paul Ryan wants to do, he has to have Donald Trump basically stay in a lane where he`s not completely acting like a raging lunatic every day. The problem is about 60 members of Paul Ryan`s caucus want Donald Trump to go out and set Washington on fire and dance in the rubble. And those guys want to see -- you know, they want to see the stunts and the yelling and the screaming and the crazy talk and the accusations. They want that. That`s their idea of what the Republican base has become, and there`s a big part of it that has become that, frankly. But in order to achieve these things and then move things and past them to them in the Senate, you have to have the adults in the room actually keep Donald Trump locked in his skinner box for a while and try to train him into being a more presidential character. Which is the best-case scenario they have. I mean, the worst case scenario is he`s dragged out in a white suit. The best-case scenario is they can train him somehow to not blow everything up. It`s a difficult path, and I think Paul Ryan is the heart of shoving in Washington right now because of it. O`DONNELL: Evelyn, Donald Trump has said in the past that he loves Wikileaks. He said that during the campaign. Thought WikiLeaks was doing a great job as it was leaking material about Democrats. Today, we have a report indicating WikiLeaks is leaking material about the CIA, about the CIA`s current methodologies involving things like their ability to surveil people, listen to things through their smart televisions at home. And Donald Trump now, the organizational head of the CIA, the head of the CIA reports to him within the executive branch. This is his agency to protect. No reaction from Donald Trump yet about that. What`s the reaction in the community? FARKAS: I mean, I think the reaction in the community is if you say you love WikiLeaks, you might as well say you love Vladimir Putin again. I mean, WikiLeaks has become an arm -- whether it started that way or not is irrelevant. It`s become an arm of the Kremlin. And when they publish something, you notice they don`t publish disparaging, you know, secret information about what Russia is doing or for that matter what China is doing. Although maybe one day the Kremlin will want to. You know, it`s just about us, and you know, throwing out there the CIA tool is a very negative thing because it`s not just giving away our secrets to the world. But you`ll see, they`ll start to turn it around and try to divide us from our allies, the Europeans, the Japanese, others. They`ll try to show somehow that maybe the CIA used these tools against our friends or God forbid the American people, which I don`t believe again because that would be breaking the law. But unfortunately, you see the Russians spreading this information and it`s done willfully or not together with the president. O`DONNELL: Evelyn Farkas, Nick Confessore, Rick Wilson, thank you all for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it. CONFESSORE: Thank you. FARKAS: Thank you. WILSON: Thanks, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: Coming up, our next guest Senator Al Franken, he will complete some of the points he was making in the judiciary committee today. And later, how much trouble is the Republican healthcare bill in? It looks like a lot. And tomorrow, Donald Trump might see the biggest protest since the inauguration protest. Eve Ensler(ph) will join us tonight with what`s happening tomorrow, tomorrow`s women`s protest. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANKEN: I think Senator Sessions should come back. I think he owes it to this committee to come back and to explain himself. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Senator Al Franken is back. He will join us next here on this program, but he`s been around TV long enough to know the commercials come first. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Our next guest is Senator Al Franken who is at the center of the controversy surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions` testimony during his confirmation hearing in which he clearly did not tell the full truth about his contact with Russian officials. In fact, Senator Franken`s question to Jeff Sessions created this controversy. Here`s what Senator Franken had to say today after the confirmation hearing for the deputy attorney general who will now supervise any investigations of the Trump campaign now that Jeff Sessions has recused himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that he perjured himself in the hearings? FRANKEN: I said that it`s hard to come up with any other conclusion. He said that he didn`t correct the record in regards to the ambassador from Russia because that wasn`t in the question. He answered a question I didn`t ask. If there`s a gotcha question, it`s the question he invented to ask himself. What I believe is that he should come before the committee. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it is hard to come to any other conclusion then that he has been -- that he was deliberately not telling us the truth at that time. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. FRANKEN: You bet, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: To the controversy as it was described today in your hearing -- and I say this almost every night, I`ve never seen anything like it. A judiciary committee hearing that -- just for the audience, senators do not commonly characterize other senators` questions or behavior in hearings. We seem to be seeing a lot more of it nowadays. But Senator Grassley, the chairman today, accused you of using a gotcha question to try to trap Jeff Sessions. You insisted it wasn`t a gotcha question that started off this whole thing. What does it matter whether it was a gotcha question or not? Sometimes in the hearing, people are trying to get you and you`ve got to tell the truth. FRANKEN: At the time I asked that question, I asked him what he would do if it turned out that it were true that members of the Trump campaign had met with Russians. What would he do as attorney general? And he didn`t answer that question. What he did say was that he had not met with the Russians and that wasn`t true. And -- but it was hardly -- as they say, if it`s a gotcha question, it`s a question he asked himself that he answered. O`DONNELL: Yes, so, that`s your point that you`ve been making is that, that notion of he -- the question he answered was one that he asked himself because he didn`t directly answer your question. And in the hearing today, when your conflict erupted with Chairman Grassley, I saw you say at a certain point, well, just show the tape of what you actually said. And in the middle of your question, you actually say to Jeff Sessions, I know you aren`t prepared on this new material because it just came out. FRANKEN: Right. O`DONNELL: And we now admit we have the capacity to show the tape. And so -- FRANKEN: Really? O`DONNELL: What I`d like to do now is actually show that tape -- FRANKEN: OK -- O`DONNELL: You with Chairman Grassley, accuses you of an unfair gotcha question, blind-siding the witness. However he wants -- FRANKEN: Yes -- O`DONNELL: To put it. We will show your question and Jeff Sessions` answer and we will -- FRANKEN: OK -- O`DONNELL: Work off of that on the issue of did -- is what we just heard perjury. Let`s watch this now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANKEN: CNN has just published a story -- and I`m telling you this about a news story that`s just been published, so I`m not expecting you to know whether or not it`s true or not. But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that, "Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." These documents also allegedly stated, "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump`s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government." Now again, I`m telling you this as it`s coming out, so you know -- but if it`s true, it`s obviously extremely serious. And if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator Franken, I`m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians and I`m unable to comment on it. FRANKEN: Very well. (END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Was Jeff Sessions` response to you perjury? FRANKEN: It is hard for me to draw any other conclusion given the letter that he wrote. We asked him, the democrats on the committee, asked him why he didn`t in the seven weeks after he misled us there, why he didn`t correct it. And the response is absurd. He said having considered my answer responsive and no one having suggested otherwise, there was no need for a supplemental answer. We, of course, didn`t know he was giving us misinformation, so of course we wouldn`t have asked for a supplemental response. Look, this is very, very serious stuff. He`s the second administration official who has lied about contact with the Russians, and this all goes to the fact that the Russians interfered with our elections. And the question here is did the Trump campaign and their people collude with the Russians, and this is extremely serious stuff. What do the Russians have on Trump? Why did Trump continually say all these good things about Putin? What is in his taxes that he`s so afraid of releasing and why does he lie about his taxes? As you have said on your show, you can release your taxes if you are under audit. And we don`t know if he is under audit because he hasn`t released any letter from the IRS saying you`re under audit. This is getting more and more disturbing all the time, and this is very serious. And I -- you know, I don`t think that was a gotcha question. In fact, I thought I was -- set that up in a way that he could have responded which would have -- what I was asking him is if you were attorney general, would you recuse yourself is really basically where I was going. And Instead he chose to answer his own question which is, no, I haven`t met the Russians, and of course it turns out he has. I would like him to come and talk to the committee. Testify again in front of the committee. And I think maybe chairman Grassley was feeling defensive about the fact that he won`t call him to do that because it`s -- I think, pretty clear now that there`s something wrong here, something desperately wrong. O`DONNELL: In Jeff Sessions` letter to the committee, he said my answer was correct. Now that means that if he was lying in his answer, then he`s lying again in his letter? FRANKEN: Yes. The letter really is just sort of insults your intelligence in a way that is just mind boggling. He -- that`s why I say there`s no other conclusion that can you can come to other than that he was lying and was committing perjury. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt. I was giving him the benefit -- this weekend, I was on a Sunday show and I was asked is he lying? I`d say, well, he should come and talk to us. I hope he isn`t. I hope he wasn`t, but I don`t know how to conclude from his letter the same thing. But the main thing to focus on here is that this is about whether the Trump campaign collaborated with the Russians, a foreign power, to interfere with our elections and undercut our democracy, which is the fundamental -- fundamental basis of our democracy, of our republic. O`DONNELL: So just to clarify your own thinking on Jeff Sessions` testimony, you were given reason to suspect that there was perjury once it came out that he indeed had contacts with Russian officials, but it`s his letter to the committee combined with his testimony that then leads you to the actual conclusion that he committed perjury? FRANKEN: Yes. I can`t come up with any other conclusion, but I would like him to come and testify before the committee, before -- so he can at least explain this, but this letter is just ridiculous and insulting to anyone`s intelligence. I mean, he says, I did not mention communications I had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them. I didn`t ask about the Russian ambassador. I have nothing -- there was nothing in my head about a Russian ambassador. He`s the one who brought up that he did meet the Russians. I was asking what he would do as attorney general. O`DONNELL: He brought it up under oath of his own volition. He made it material in the hearing, and he was under oath when he did that and you discovered after the fact it was not true. FRANKEN: Yes. And then he had seven weeks in which to correct the record. And this explanation about why he didn`t correct the record makes no sense whatsoever, so this is just getting stranger and stranger. And we are -- this is -- the plot thickens. Was the Trump campaign colluding with -- with the Russians to change our election or to interfere with our election? O`DONNELL: We will all be pursuing the answer to that question. Senator Al Franken, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. FRANKEN: Thank you Lawrence. It is Lawrence, right? O`DONNELL: Yes, it is. Thank you. Coming up, how conservatives and congressional republicans reacted today to the new Trumpcare bill. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The republican leadership has introduced their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump`s secretary of health and human services proudly described the bill to the White House press Corps today right up until he was asked if he actually supports everything in the bill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Do you support everything that`s in the bill that`s on sitting on the table, sir? TOM PRICE, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES: Well this is a work in progress. And we work -- we`ll work with the house and the senate in this process as you know, it is a legislative process that occurs. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Best question of the day. That`s how to ask a question in the White House press briefing room, and you can take that answer as a, no, he does not support everything in the bill. Apparently no republican does. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM JORDAN, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: There`s a leadership plan that was brought forward, which I believe when you look through it is Obamacare in a different form. MIKE LEE, UNITED STATES SENATOR: What`s been introduced in the house in the last 24 hours is not the Obamacare replacement plan, not the Obamacare repeal plan we`ve been hoping for. This is instead a step in the wrong direction. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The conservative groups Heritage Action, The Club for Growth, Freedom Partners, and Americans for Prosperity all came out against the house republican bill today. Breitbart called it -- and this is Breitbart -- Obamacare 2.0. Breitbart, the place that takes dictation from the White House and enough republicans have come out against the bill to kill it in the senate, which will have a contagious effect on the House of Representatives. Republican house members will not want to vote for a dangerous piece of legislation that is only going to die in the senate. Then republican house members alone would have to answer for it in their re-election campaigns. So if you have health insurance through the affordable care act now, how worried should you be about losing it? We will answer that question next. How much trouble is the republican health care bill in? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MO BROOKS, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: There are a lot of things that have to be looked through. In short though it appears to be the largest welfare program ever proposed in the history of Republicans in our country. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And that`s Republican Congressman Mo Brooks review of the new House Republican Healthcare Plan. Joining us now Jared Bernstein Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and MSNBC Contributor. Jared, I have a feeling you have a different view of what the Republicans released tonight. But you probably agree with some of these Conservative Republicans on several points including the explosion in the deficit this would be and the increasing debt. Go ahead. JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. You know one thing that hasn`t really been appreciated is that in cutting all of the taxes that support the Affordable Care Act these are very progressive taxes. And you`re talking about a transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from moderate and low-income people who benefit from the premium subsidies that are part of the ACA, a critical part. Their taxes go up under this plan because they take those subsidies away while tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires are in the hundreds of thousands. So yes, this is robin hood in reverse big time. But, you know, I think the key here, Lawrence, is that the Republicans are struggling with a very concrete problem. Say what you want about Obamacare. But Obamacare has set a health care baseline. It is now the benchmark against which all these other plans are going to be judged. And the President Donald Trump consistently said we`re not just going to hit that benchmark. We`re going to improve upon it. So when they cut -- as they come out with plans that increase the cost sharing, increase the burden, lower coverage, get rid Medicaid. That`s not hitting the baseline. That`s coming in way below it. O`DONNELL: And there was a lot today that I heard from the Republicans in the House who are trying to push this bill about Medicaid and every word they said about Medicaid was as if it was this dysfunctional program that didn`t work for anyone. The Republican Senator -- some republican senators who are opposing this bill are opposing it in defence of Medicaid and that`s when you see a collision that is not solvable. BERNSTEIN: Yes, that`s a really important and pretty fascinating point. There`s something like 20 Republican Senators who come from states that took the Medicaid expansion, OK? That`s 11 million people with coverage now, and you can say what you want about Medicaid. It`s a very valuable insurance program for these folks. O`DONNELL: And it works in a very simple and understandable way for them. Jared Bernstein, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. BERNSTEIN: Exactly -- my pleasure. O`DONNELL: Tomorrow is International Women`s Day. For Donald Trump, that could mean the biggest day of protests since the Women`s March, the day after his inauguration, the biggest inauguration protest in history. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Women made history the day after Donald Trump took office with the biggest inauguration protest in history. Tomorrow on International Women`s Day organizers of January`s women`s march are planning a day without women. Women will be asked to take part in a general strike to stay away from work and avoid shopping in stores and online. Also tomorrow one billion rising, the organization founded by Tony Award Winning Playwright Eve Ensler is holding a women workers rising rally to call attention to the working rights of women including a protest at the Labor Department in Washington. And joining us now Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues along with Saru Jayaraman and the co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which is a cosponsor of tomorrow`s rally. Eve, what are you expecting tomorrow? EVE ENSLER, PLAYWRIGHT: Well, I`m very, very excited. O`DONNELL: You`re easily excited. ENSLER: No, no, I`m very excited because I think we`re going to see stage two of this ever evolving burgeoning women`s movement and focusing on workers, which is where we need to be focusing. I think with 1 billion rising we`ve been really thinking this year and focusing on solidarity against the exploitation of women really looking at women workers. And we`ve been working for six months and a wonderful coalition of labor rights group, union work advocates and artists. Saru being one of the people we`ve been working with -- with restaurant workers looking at what`s really going on with women workers and the violence they are suffering for example at the workplace. It turns out one out of three women, just like one out of three women in the world report they have suffered rape or battery. One out of three women in the workplace report or don`t report. But have suffered sexual intimidation, sexual assault, unwanted touching, and it`s a serious, serious issue in the workplace. And I was looking at, you know, looking at the members of our coalition, whether they be nurses, where I think it`s 88 percent of them suffer from verbal violence, 74 percent physical violent. Restaurant workers 90 percent of them suffer sexual harassment because they rely on tips. You can go through migrant workers, farmers. across the board what women are facing in the workplace in terms of violence is outrageous. And I think one of the exciting things that`s going to be happening at our rally at the Department of Labor tomorrow, not only are we going to encircle the building and how that it belongs to the workers. It is the workers building. But at our rally women workers have prepared skits and performances and videos and songs and dances that represent the struggles they`re going through and what they would like to see changed. O`DONNELL: Saru, what about women who for whatever reason cannot take off work, cannot miss work tomorrow? How could they participate in the spirit of what`s going on? SARU JAYARAMAN, INDIAN AMERICAN ATTORNEY: Well we represent 12 million restaurant workers across America. A majority of them are actually women working for the tip minimum wage of $2.13 an hour still the federal minimum wage for tipped workers suffering from terrible sexual harassment. Most of them aren`t going to be able to participate because they have to go to work to actually earn their income entirely in tips. They don`t actually get wages from their employer, and they can participate still by sharing their stories online. Many workers are wearing red tomorrow to show their support. Many workers are sharing their stories on social media or on the women workers rising website. We`re lifting up the stories of restaurant workers, servers, tipped workers, servers across America. There are lots of ways for people to participate. But I will say despite all of the difficulties, we have hundreds of restaurant workers who are here in D.C. tonight preparing to be with us tomorrow afternoon at the Department of Labor speaking up for one fair wage, the elimination of the lower wage for tipped workers, and to resist the Trump agenda. O`DONNELL: Saru Jayaraman and Eve Ensler thank you both for joining us tonight and good luck tomorrow at the Labor Department. Thanks for being here. JAYARAMAN: Thank you. ENSLER: thank you. O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: breaking news tonight. Hawaii is the first state to challenge President Trump`s revised travel ban in court. Hawaii will file its complaint in court and seek a temporary restraining order tomorrow. Arguments are expected in court next week. We`ll be right back with tonight`s Last Words. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: And at the Whitehouse today Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained the single most important difference between the Republicans new health care bill and that old Affordable Care Act the Democrats passed. SEAN SPICER, PRESS SECRETARY: Look at the size. This is the Democrats. This is us. You can`t get any clearer. O`DONNELL: Size matters. In the Trump Whitehouse nothing else does. The Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams END Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.