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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 3/27/2017

Guests: Eli Lake, Tim Max, David Corn, George Will, Ted Lieu, David Corn, David Rothkopf

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: March 27, 2017 Guest: Eli Lake, Tim Max, David Corn, George Will, Ted Lieu, David Corn, David Rothkopf

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: This is the kind -- election presumably with expectations of what Carl Icahn is going to be able to do for that company.

This is the kind of thing we point and laugh at in other countries when we explain like why it`s frowned upon for Americans to do business there, because they`re so flagrantly corrupt.

But we are not immune to this kind of thing, not now. Today, seven Democrats sent a letter to Carl Icahn citing concerns about his role within the administration, suggesting he may be breaking federal conflict of interest laws.

We`ll see where this goes. Maybe he will decide that they`re right, he shouldn`t be in this position of making all this money from pushing a rule change that lines his pockets.

That might happen, it might. We don`t know, watch this space. That does it for us tonight, we will 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, while you`ve been working, Donald Trump has too. He`s been tweeting --


O`DONNELL: Yes, because I`m just saving you because I know you`re going run off the set and immediately check Twitter to see what Donald Trump -- no?

MADDOW: No, it burns my eyes.

O`DONNELL: OK, so --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Many tweets in the last hour, including one where he is attacking once again the Republican house freedom caucus for basically defeating his healthcare bill.

And when he did that this weekend, I kind of tweeted a reply to him saying, please keep doing this because these are the people you need to pass legislation.

Who does he think -- who does he think he is going to get if he can`t get these guys?

MADDOW: He could possibly just be trying to keep you happy.

O`DONNELL: He`s -- oh, man, on these tweets, he`s done a fine job of it. A fine job, thank you, Rachel --

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Well, as I said, the president is awake at this hour, and he is very busy tweeting. He appears to be very angry at the conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives who he was -- still needs to pass any future legislation, and he is still angry in his tweets tonight at Bill and Hillary Clinton.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I really think it will be best if he were to step aside and let someone else handle this investigation.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Well, I`m sure that the Democrats do want me to quit because they know that I`m quite effective.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Chairman Nunes seems to be more of a partisan for the president than an impartial actor.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Now we know he went to the White House to get that alleged information.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: You can`t make this stuff up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m bouncing around the room a little bit with all of his explanations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People don`t get on the White House grounds by accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go into a secret room and log on to a computer unless somebody on the White House staff allows you to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You remember President Trump said that he felt in part vindicated by the revelations by Devin Nunes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either they don`t know what they`re doing or they`re engaging in some kind of massive cover-up.

WARNER: If this was a movie, you turn it off because you wouldn`t believe it`s believable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say factually that it is not possible that Chairman Nunes came to brief the president on something that he obtained from the White House in the investigation?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, I can`t say 100 percent that I know anything what he briefed him on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But is it possible?

SPICER: Anything is possible.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking Twitter news tonight, which is the principled way that Donald Trump likes to make news. He has just tweeted in the last hour "why isn`t the House Intelligence Committee looking into Bill and Hillary deal that allowed big uranium to go to Russia?

Russian speech money to Bill, the Hillary-Russian reset, praise of Russia by Hillary or Podesta-Russian company? Trump-Russia story is a hoax."

These two e-mails plus an additional e-mail that will go to later on one on healthcare just issued within the last hour clearly the president trying to change the subject of what the news today has been, about the House Intelligence Committee.

We will come back to these tweets in a moment. There is an open revolt now on the House Intelligence Committee. The Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, the leading Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff called for the Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself.


SCHIFF: I just think enough question has been raised in the public about whether he can lead a credible investigation in this, given the severity of the issues, the importance of the issues.

Everything would be best if he were to step aside and let someone else handle this investigation, given his role in the transition team and the events of the past week.

It just has too much called into question whether he has the objectivity necessary to oversee this investigation.


O`DONNELL: Four other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee now, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Joaquin Castro and Jim Himes have also called on Chairman Nunes to recuse himself.

The calls for recusal came after Chairman Nunes confirmed reports that he met with a source at the White House the day before he went public with the information that members of the president`s transition team were swept up in incidental surveillance of foreign officials.

His spokesperson told "Nbc News", Chairman Nunes met with the source of that information at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source.

Congressman Schiff says Chairman Nunes still has not shared that information with anyone else on the Intelligence Committee.


SCHIFF: There is nothing normal about what`s taken place over the last week. It`s certainly not normal to go and receive information as the Chairman of a Committee that you can`t share with your own committee members, but you go and share with the president.

Particularly if the investigation involves associates of the president. And it`s not just an unwillingness to share with Democrats.

None of the committee members, Democrats or Republicans have seen what the Chairman is referring to.


O`DONNELL: In an interview today with Eli Lake of "Bloomberg" who will join us in a moment, Devin Nunes defended meeting his source at the White House, saying that the White House was the most convenient, secured location with a computer connected to the system that included the reports.

He added that his source was not a White House staffer and was an intelligence official. But Senator Mark Warner, the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Devin Nunes` explanation is more than suspicious.


WARNER: I, and I know both Chairman Burr on the Senate side and Democrats, Republicans. We don`t know what Mr. Nunes is talking about, what kind of information.

We`ve queried the Intel community, I don`t think they know what he is talking about. And it seems more than suspicious that he is somehow going to the White House.

And anybody who knows anywhere in the White House complex, whether in the Eisenhower building or the White House itself, you have to be escorted. Who is he meeting with?

Was it a source or was it somebody from the administration?


O`DONNELL: And here is what Devin Nunes had to say about recusal tonight on "Fox News".


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: He wants you to quit the investigation. You`re not going to do that?

NUNES: Yes, well, I`m sure that the Democrats do want me to quit because they know that I`m quite effective.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Also with us Eli Lake; columnist for "Bloomberg View" who spoke -- interviewed Devin Nunes today. And Tim Max; senior correspondent for "The Daily Beast".

Eli, let me just go straight to you. You are the only one who has spoken to the chairman today among us, anyway. Did -- was -- did he know that these calls for his recusal would be coming today?

ELI LAKE, COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG VIEW: He did not mention that on the phone with me when I interviewed him. But we certainly have seen a kind of drum- beat, you know, of Democrats who for the last week have been kind of horrified that they weren`t briefed about it.

Then they say it`s very unusual that he would brief the president before -- and the press before they -- he`d brief his ranking members.

So, I think these kind of -- these calls have been coming, and -- but we didn`t talk about it in the conversation.

O`DONNELL: But in your interview, you got --

LAKE: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Some specificity about the behavior that he describes and the way that he reviewed this material, saying that he went to the White House.

And saw it there because there was no place for him to do that back at the intelligence committee.

And yet the person who he was meeting with showing him this didn`t work at the White House. How did both of them get access to the White House grounds?

LAKE: You know, I don`t know, I think it`s a good question. But I would just add some context here that, you know, the Congressman Nunes has been talking about the issue of unmasking and inappropriate reporting on this incidentally collected information now for more than a month.

And it`s something that I think he`s heard from other people. And he has a reputation for cultivating independent sources within the intelligence community as opposed to kind of going through the normal channels.

And he`s been doing that since before he was chairman. So I just -- I would say that he`s had a few people who have come up to him about this, and I think this was sort of the last piece of that puzzle.

O`DONNELL: Tim Max, you got some information on the puzzle as it was developing at the end of last week where this scene of Devin Nunes in an Uber vehicle with a staff member suddenly gets a message and jumps out.

How does the information that Eli got from the chairman today and the other information that`s developed over the weekend. How does that fit with what you were reporting about his suddenly interrupted Uber ride?

TIM MAX, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, DAILY BEAST: Look, I think what it shows is that there is a lot of confusion I think maybe even in the chairman`s own mind about what he saw and what he knows.

What`s been so unusual over the last week, especially in that night before he held that press conference was that senior -- very senior members of his staff were kept in the dark, didn`t understand what the chairman was doing.

And we`re talking folks with years and years of experience in the intelligence committee, people who you usually rely on if you`re the chairman of the committee, they didn`t know what the chairman was up to.

Now, we have a situation where there`s a lot of confusion the chairman said in his initial press conference that he might have been surveilled.

Then he walked that back. He has said that there might have been incidental collection of information about Trump transition teams through surveillance.

Now that`s unclear. He hasn`t been clear about what exactly he has, whether something actually improper has occurred.

And now we`re all talking about this issue, instead of what we were talking about before he held his press conference last Wednesday, which was the FBI is undertaking an ongoing criminal investigation, an ongoing investigation into Trump associates in Russia.

O`DONNELL: Eli, quickly, before I go to David again, when you were talking to him today, which version did he land on today?

Because he has said at certain points, it wasn`t clear to him exactly who was being referred to in these report, and that others he has very specifically -- other moments very specifically said, yes, the president was one of the people referred to.

And that he -- it was very clear to him who they were. Did he tell you that the president is identified in these reports?

LAKE: No, what he said was that there were reports, and some of this could be conversations between two foreign officials about meetings or you know, the Trump transition.

And he said that this was, you know, about the senior staff and, you know, and people within that Trump transition that appeared in reports that were -- you know, widely distributed, including sent to the White House.

And so, I think his issue is not so much the collection as it is how widely it was distributed and what intelligence products it ended up in.

And I would just add that a lot of this mystery will be solved, at least for the committee, because he also has told me that he intends or expects that they will be -- that these documents will be made available to Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee this week.

And they probably will have to go to another location. But that`s -- he did say he expected to see all that this week.

O`DONNELL: In the meantime, David Corn --


O`DONNELL: The president has a suggestion for the committee by Twitter tonight, saying "why isn`t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the bill and Hillary deal that allowed big uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech money to Bill.

The Hillary-Russian reset praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta-Russian company, Trump-Russia story is a hoax."

It`s not clear that Donald Trump`s defense lawyer was involved in the writing of that tweet. But it certainly is his attempt --

CORN: Or that there was --

O`DONNELL: At this tonight --

CORN: Or that there was any adult supervision. I don`t know who lets -- you know, who let him alone tonight because he went on a tweet storm.

It`s an absurd tweet because it`s not a hoax. We know that Michael Flynn talked to the ambassador, the Russian ambassador even before the election.

We know the people who worked with Trump, Manafort and others had Russian connections. We know that Russia attacked the election to help Donald Trump.

There is nothing hoax about this. So that if I could be --

LAKE: David, I have spoken to the Russian ambassador before. Am I part of rigging the election?

CORN: I`m glad you brought that up. Because --


CORN: This will allow me to explain why this would be wrong. Starting in June, there were media reports that the Russians had hacked the election and were mocking about.

By mid-August, Trump and Flynn were briefed that Russians were behind the hacks, and that the intent was to throw the election in his direction, OK?

So now the question I have for you, Eli -- and maybe you can get an answer from Michael Flynn or anyone connected to the Trump world, OK?

You`re talking to the Russian ambassador or any Russian after that point in time. What are you saying to them? Are you telling them to knock it off?

Or are you saying to them -- and I`m just speculating here, you`ll get a better deal with us than you will with Hillary Clinton.

And if so, then you are knowingly encouraging them to continue their covert political warfare against the United States.

Now I know you wouldn`t do that, Eli, you`re an honorable person. But we know Michael Flynn who talks about kidnapping people, who lied to the vice president is not an honorable person.

We know that Donald Trump doesn`t take this Russia stuff seriously. So no, I don`t think you would do something wrong.

But I want to know what they were telling the Russian ambassador before the election when they had reason to know Putin was targeting our electoral process.

I think that`s a pretty fair question and a basic question, and until Trump can answer that, he has no right to call this thing a hoax.

O`DONNELL: Tim Max, let me just go to Tim for a second here. Tim -- and this is what I`m about to say is true on all committees.

The staff is more knowledgeable about everything the committee does than any member of the committee including the chairman.

There are staff members on the intelligence committee who have much more experience than Devin Nunes ever will with this kind of material.

To ignore them in this process is one of the most inexplicable elements of it, even more so, more inexplicable than ignoring his leading Democratic member on the committee.

And as more inexplicable than him running first to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan which is the single most under reported stop on Devin Nunes` tour that day on his way to the White House.

Is there anything that you`ve heard from Devin Nunes about this that makes sense about why he would not confer with any staff about this?

MAX: No, it`s not clear to me. I mean, there is nothing to suggest that Devin Nunes has done anything improper.

But he has certainly acted in a very unusual way over the course of this week. And if you analyze what`s happened, he simply disappeared on Tuesday evening from the perspective of his staff.

And they didn`t understand what was happening, even until, you know, the last minute before at his press conference on Wednesday.

These are like I said, folks with a lot of experience. And they could provide a lot of guidance for the chairman that would have led him perhaps not to hold a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Perhaps not to make these kinds of allegations which ultimately he had to walk back or create a lot of confusion. Or to kind of destroy whatever hope there was left for bipartisan investigation on the committee.

O`DONNELL: Eli, did you get the chance to ask Devin Nunes about his first stop with Speaker Ryan before going to the White House and what Ryan said to him, what he told him to do?

LAKE: I did not ask him about Speaker Ryan. I have to tell you that it was one of these situations where the "Cnn" story was breaking, and I -- you know, kind of went for the interview and wanted to focus on the White House visit on that.

O`DONNELL: Great, Eli Lake, thank you very much for joining us --

LAKE: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Tonight, Tim Max, thank you for joining us. David, we`re going to need you in another segment up here. Coming up, Congressman Ted Lieu just over the weekend said that Donald Trump is an evil man.

That is a line that no other member of Congress has yet crossed -- "the evil man" description. And George Will will join us with what to expect next from the conservatives in the House of Representatives who George Will predicted on this program would be President Trump`s biggest problem in passing his healthcare bill.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My two sons who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner.

They`re not going to discuss it with me.



O`DONNELL: We`ve got another tweet from Donald Trump that just came in about healthcare. Donald Trump has been tweeting angrily tonight, about people he is going to need to pass any future legislation.

He is still mad at them for not passing his first big bill last week. Tonight at 9:40 p.m., he tweeted "the Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after so many bad years. They were ready for a win."

But on Friday, the day Donald Trump surrendered to Congress and gave up his promise to his voters that he would repeal and replace Obamacare, the president knew exactly who to blame for his own surrender.


TRUMP: With no Democrats` support, we couldn`t quite get there. We`re just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed.

And I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. They own it, 100 percent own it.


O`DONNELL: The president couldn`t find a single Republican to blame on Friday for the failure of his bill, including the dozens of Republicans who pledged to vote against his bill.

A pledge that forced the president to give up on the idea of even having a vote on it. But as so often happens, when the president woke up on Sunday morning, he was in a different world.

Now, it was time to blame the Freedom Caucus. The conservative Republicans who blocked the Trump bill.

Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus with the help of club for growth and heritage have saved Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.

That was Sunday morning. The conservative Republicans who blocked the president`s bill are professional politicians.

Therefore, they never give up. Meaning, they never publicly give up the way Donald Trump did on Friday. Professional politicians always at least pretend that they`re still in the fight. They`re still trying to get this done.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I can tell you that conversations over the last 48 hours are really about how we can come together in the Republican conference and try to get this over the finish line.


O`DONNELL: That`s the leader of the group of conservative Republicans who killed the president`s bill. Nothing can get him to give up publicly.

Here is the impossible dream that conservative Republicans and all Republicans say they are pursuing on healthcare reform.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s bring down the cost of premiums so that middle class people will be able to afford a plan in the private sector that actually fits their families` needs.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: Until we get a bill that actually brings down the cost of healthcare for hardworking Americans, we`re not going get something that passes.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post". George, welcome, you predicted this in your first appearance on this program to -- you told us all to keep an eye on Mark Meadows as the president`s agenda moves forward.

Because you had trouble then imagining Mark Meadows going along with the kind of thing that Paul Ryan and the president were trying to do in the healthcare bill.

And here we have the president attacking Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus, who he is going to need on every future vote.

GEORGE WILL, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Well, he`s going to need them, unless his plan is to find 25 or 30 what? Centrist Democrats who will take their place.

I don`t know where he is going to find six of them, let alone 26 or 7 or 8 or more. At one -- on this one point, Mr. Trump and Washington, which he cordially detests are of the same mind.

Washington generally finds the Freedom Caucus eccentric because it`s composed entirely of men and women who say what they mean and mean what they say.

And the president who himself does not have a lot of philosophic ballast finds them load down to the -- to the pencil line as they are with ballast of ideas and convictions. He finds them just hard to accommodate in his free-wheeling transactional approach to politics.

O`DONNELL: The marker that we`re hearing from both the conservative Republicans and the Freedom Caucus, and the marginally less conservative Republicans in the House is that whatever they do in healthcare, whatever they had intended to do in healthcare must bring the costs down.

Healthcare must become cheaper for the American people. And when a Republican says or any member says I`m not going to vote for a bill unless it does that, whether they know it or not, they`re saying they`re never going to vote for a bill because that is in effect impossible to do.

WILL: It is very difficult to bring the cost of healthcare down when you have attached the most rapidly-growing portion of our population, the elderly as a matter of entitlement to this extremely dynamic science of medicine.

But before we say that this is a blind spot just on the part of the Freedom Caucus, turn your attention to Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, he`s been in Congress now I believe what? Twelve terms.

This is his 12th term now. He is not a simple back bencher. He`s a complicated, experienced man who happens to be chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

And he too said he could not support this bill for reasons having to do with the interests of his New Jersey constituents.

So the idea that you can caricature this as a kind of arch-conservative, a phrase that I do wish even the "New York Times" would get tired of using, the arch-conservative rebellion on the part of the freedom caucus is just mistaken.

O`DONNELL: Yes, there was an attempt here by Republicans to basically move into a legislative arena in which the Democrats have a very clear philosophy that embraces these kinds of interventions in the healthcare market.

And there is no Republican philosophy that could be pointed to prior to the inauguration of President Trump that would say this is why we`re doing it.

I`d never heard a Republican make the case for subsidizing the purchase of healthcare before in the Congress.

WILL: Well, that`s not quite fair. I think Paul Ryan for years has talked about premium support that you give people health savings accounts.

You allow them to shop across state lines to create a continental market. And for those who can`t afford the premiums, you give them premium support, another entitlement, frankly, that they`re willing to embrace.

So, I think there is a Republican plan. This plan, however, that was broke or even rococo in its complexity that was drafted in secret, presented as a binary choice except by Mr. Bannon who went to the house caucus and said you have no choice, you have to support this.

These are grown men and women who worked hard to get to the House and they didn`t come here to be talked to like that.

The latest tweet by the president just occurred after this program started. He said "the Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as Obamacare folds not long, do not worry, we are in very good shape."

And so there he is telling the Republican Party that he`s eager to make a deal with the Democrats on this. This couldn`t be nuttier since the Democrats would never make a deal with him on this.

And so, all he is doing is kind of openly saying to his own party, I`m ready to abandon you if they will only -- if the Democrats will only help me abandon you.

WILL: Well, remember, this is a president who as a candidate last year said pointedly it`s called the Republican Party, not the conservative party.

This is a man who as a candidate said the single-payer system works great in Scotland and elsewhere. This is a man who as a candidate said I`m going to take care of everybody, the government is going to pay for it, and we`re going to cover everybody.

So, again, this is not a man who has been exactly congruent with the conservative base, which is most of the party he has (inaudible).

O`DONNELL: George, your reading on the direct issuance of threats by Steve Bannon, and then this image that the president had going into this that he was going to be the tough guy who would tweet these members to death if they crossed him.

And we saw absolutely no enforcement power, no sense of intimidation by anyone. You couldn`t find a member of Congress who even hinted at being afraid of the White House on this.

What does that do to this White House`s ability to deal with negotiations in the future?

WILL: Well, first of all, if you present yourself as the alpha male`s alpha male, this is not a good thing to happen to you, to find out the people are not afraid of you.

But beyond that, I find it frankly exhilarating to see a significant cohort in Congress who do not jump when the Executive Branch says to jump. They are I think a symptom of the slowly gathering independence of the Legislative Branch to do what in the scheme of things they`re supposed to do, which is to be jealous of their prerogatives and particularly wary of the rivalry they should have the Executive Branch.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL: MSNBC ANCHOR: Thank you for warning us to keep our eye on Mark Meadows through this story as we did. And thank you for being with us once again tonight.

WILL: Glad to be with you.

O`DONNEL: Coming up, Congressman Ted Lieu who this weekend crossed at least a rhetorical line with Donald Trump. He said that the President of the United States, these are his words, is an evil man. Ted Lieu joins us.


O`DONNEL: California Congressman Ted Lieu who will join us in a moment crossed a big line with Donald Trump this weekend, becoming the first member of Congress to call the president an evil man. Here is why.


TED LIEU, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: I`ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It is exploding right now.


O`DONNEL: After that, Ted Lieu Tweeted President Donald Trump, you truly are an evil man. Your job is to help Americans, not intentionally try to destroy their lives. Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu who serves on the house judiciary committee. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. that -- when I saw that tweet, as soon as I saw you use that word evil. I thought that`s something I haven`t seen before. And I wanted to bring you here tonight to talk about it. Did you have to think about using that word for a while before you decided to put it that way?

LIEU: I did not. I was very angry when I saw Donald Trump`s Tweet, because it suggests that he is going to sabotage Obamacare and hurt tens of millions of people out of anger and spite. That is evil. It`s also unconstitutional. Article II of the Constitution requires that the President faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. Obamacare is a law of the land. His duty is to execute it correctly.

O`DONNEL: He has tweeted tonight twice within the last hour about the Health Care Bill. This time blaming the conservatives in the house, the freedom caucus for its defeat, something he resisted doing until the weekend and also bringing up the Democrats. His most recent tweet in the last 30 minutes was the Democrats will make a deal with me on health care as soon as Obamacare folds. Not long. Do not worry. We are in very good shape. What kind of deal would you be willing to make with the President on health care?

LIEU: I am on Obamacare. I will work with different people across the aisle to make the law better. You can always improve a law. But you cannot intentionally sabotage Obamacare, which is what Donald Trump is suggesting. And keep in mind the President is now their establishment.

Republicans control Congress. If health care fails, it`s on their watch. It`s because they did it. And it`s because they need to own it. And my hope is that they do the right thing and improve the law rather than try to sabotage it.

O`DONNEL: I just want to get back to you said you are on Obamacare.

LIEU: Yes.

O`DONNEL: Meaning that`s how you`re enrolled in health insurance.

LIEU: That is correct. In fact, we`re required as members of congress to buy off the exchange. So I`m buying it off that exchange, even though my residence is in California.

O`DONNEL: Yes, a lot of people think that you -- that members of Congress and the Senate get special deals with very, very lavish health care plans. And I just want to go to the point that you`re actually users of it yourselves. That was built into the legislation, that you be users of it yourselves. As a user of it, do you see things in it that you would like to change and improve that you would like to tell the President about?

LIEU: I do. I`m more than willing to work with others to make the law better. I think we should improve the networks that are in Obamacare. But keep in mind, this law has so many provisions that help people, not just off the exchange, but with their employer-based health care plans such as the ban on lifetime coverage maximums. So if you have cancer, it used to be even your employer-based health care plan could stop paying on Obamacare that provision cannot go into effect. And we`re helping lots of cancer patients across America which again shows why Donald Trump is evil if he really wants to wreck this law.

O`DONNEL: did you get any response from the Whitehouse, from the President or from Steve Bannon or anyone there about your Tweet saying that the President is an evil man?

LIEU: I have not. And by the way, I think Bannon evil is well. But I have not.

O`DONNEL: Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

LIEU: Thank you.

O`DONNEL: Up next, Donald Trump promised he would not talk to his sons about his businesses as President as a matter of simple ethics. One of his sons has turned him in. One of his sons confirmed that Donald Trump lied about that. That`s Next.



Donald trump, president of the United States Of America: I have wonderful children that are in the business. I have wonderful executives. They run it. I would not even think about this business. I`m going to have nothing to do it. And I`ll be honest with you. I don`t care about it anymore.

I`m so focused on doing a great job as president. My two sons who are right here don and Eric are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They`re not going to discussed it with me


O`DONNEL: As it turns out he is interested, and he doesn`t trust those two little boys to run the company. Just over two months after taking office, Donald Trump has broken that promise. His son Eric told Forbes he gives his father financial details about the Trump Organization on the bottom line profitability reports and stuff like that. But, you know, that`s about it, probably quarterly. David Corn is back with us. David, you have a feeling it might be more than quarterly? It might be more than four times a year?

DAVID CORN, JOURNALIST: Like I said probably quarterly, maybe every day. You know, we could literally do a show a night, Lawrence, on the conflicts of interests in Trump Town, in Trump World. They don`t go away. Trump didn`t separate himself from his business. So he knows if people are or countries are booking hotel rooms or big blocks in Trump Hotel downtown here in D.C.

He knows he is getting that money directly. We did a story a week or two back, and Mother Jones about a Chinese American woman who is connected to the Chinese elite, and even connected to Chinese military intelligence, buying a $15 million penthouse in one of his New York City apartments. He knows that`s happening.

They`re not even vetting these deals. So they promise they`d would vet. He said he would take care of this issue. None of this is happening. And of course there are already a couple of lawsuits out there on various fronts. You know this is Klepto-Cronyism. That`s what you have. And it`s not going to stop.

O`DONNEL: And in itself, it would be the most major scandal facing a Presidency in who knows how long. And yet it`s scandal number ten in the daily list.

CORN: On a good day we know we`re talking about Jared Kushner talking to Russians bank that was sanctioned and everything else. And his family is conflicted with deals with China and everything else. Everywhere you turn, there is financial interests overlapping policy interests.

O`DONNEL: And all of it distracting us from other more important things that we could be covering if we weren`t on the scandal beat. David Corn, thank you very much for joining us, really appreciate it.

CORN: Sure thing.

Coming up next the Author of the article in Foreign Policy entitled the soul sucking attention eating black hole of the Trump Presidency.


O`DONNELL: In an article for foreign policy entitled "The Soul Sucking Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump presidency," David Rothkopf writes "if you doubt that the impact of the shift to all Trump all the time news is making it hard to focus on much of what might otherwise be worthy of our attention, consider this. Since taking office, the Trump administration has ramped up military operations in Yemen and Iraq, committed to deploying over a thousand additional troops in Syria, stood by as civilian casualties have soared and watched as a strategically important province in Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, all without so much as making a ripple in the public consciousness of the United States.

Trump was very nearly mute on North Korea save for some ill considered tweeting." David Rothkopf, just off a flight from China, will join us next.



CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR: The world is freaked out right now because they see American leadership vanishing before their eyes. America just seems to be fundamentally withdrawing. You know, this is at a moment where we live in a multipolar world where frankly it`s easy to accept an offer from China or from Russia to be your pal if the United States isn`t on the playing field.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine and the author of the piece -- David I`m just doing this because I just need to say the title one more time.


O`DONNELL: -- piece entitled "the Soul Sucking Attention Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency." David, you have the floor. What is that doing to both the news media`s attention and to our relations around the world?

ROTHKOPF: I think Donald Trump`s narcissism has fed our own national narcissism, and we can`t look beyond the daily scandals that you have been rightly reporting about throughout the show. The problem is the rest of the world is going on. You know, in China right now its noontime. They are up.

They are building their country. They are having their lives. They don`t talk about Trump all the time. When they do, they are kind of mystified by it. But they are assuming a leadership role. In the Middle East, the United States is embracing a whole bunch of new policies that are producing massive civilian casualties, new kinds of divisions.

And they are not worried about our political scandals. They are worried about what`s going to happen next to them. Our European allies are worried. Russia is trying to seize the void. We`ve got a lot of problems, a lot of big things that are going on that we don`t talk about in this country because we have this reckless, out of control, inexperienced, ethically compromised television eating monster in the oval office.

O`DONNELL: When you look at the state department in this administration how are they handling the new challenges presented by a world confused by Donald Trump?

ROTHKOPF: Well, you know, I think at the top the state department isn`t doing much of anything. Rex Tillerson is kind of the phantom secretary of state. The one trip that he made to Asia was kind of a fiasco at each and every stop. He hasn`t appointed high level deputies in to the critical positions where is the policy is made at the deputy`s level.

There are good people in the state department that wish they could be doing more but right now they are staring down the barrel of 30 percent or 27 percent or whatever kind of budget cuts that are likely to eviscerate the programs that we use in order to maintain the peace around the world.

O`DONNELL: When the world looks at Trump, do they look at the rest of the government and say, well, this government is designed in a way that can survive someone like this?

ROTHKOPF: Well, you know, I don`t know if the United States government in recent years really has given off that vibe of competence since the congress hasn`t gotten much done. But you know in recent days, as investigations have begun to look like they`re getting a little bit of traction, I have started to hear people say, gee, maybe it works. Maybe those checks and balance work.

Maybe this guy, Trump is, not going to run amuck and maybe we are going to get back to the United States that at least we could depend on in the past even if we didn`t love it all the time. And -- and I think there is a little hope that that may be the case, that Trump may be a short timer. Because I got to tell you, with the exception of Russia and a couple other autocracies in the world, the people I speak to around the world are extremely disturbed at the prospect of a protracted Trump presidency.

O`DONNELL: Well on the crazy things like not shaking hands with Angela Merkel, has the world gotten to a point now where they -- they sort of get it? Like, they`ve -- the way a lot of us it took us months of watching the campaign to realize oh, this is the way this person is and is always going to be? But that doesn`t necessarily mean something is going to happen in government because he says it`s going to happen?

ROTHKOPF: Yes, well despite my youthful appearance I have been around in Washington long enough to have seen a number of presidencies. I have never seen a presidency where one of the first or second questions that I get from international leaders is, is this guy sane? Is -- you know, does this guy really have it all together?

And I -- and I have to say I think around the world they see the weird stuff, hand shakes and that kind of thing, tweet storms like you have seen in the past hour, outbursts, apparently a pathological compulsion to lie and they think, does the United States have an unhinged president. And I think there is a reason I think that by the way, because we do have an unhinged president.

O`DONNELL: Sure and -- and doesn`t that then make Rex Tillerson the most important secretary of state possibly ever in the sense that his job is to represent to the world that this government is okay whatever they think of the person in the White House?

ROTHKOPF: Well, sure, if he showed up for work --


ROTHKOPF: If he did that, if he reached out, if Mattis did that, if Kelly did that, you know, there are all these guys we called the grown ups. And we said the grownups are going to offset Trump and they`re going to send the world a different message. But as far as we`ve seen Kelly hasn`t been able to do it at the Department of Homeland Security. Certainly Tillerson hasn`t done it at the State Department.

Mattis has actually overseen a ramping up in the Middle East that`s produced some real recklessness, and we`re about to see more setbacks in Afghanistan, and possibly mistakes made in Iraq that open the door to another surge from ISIS. So, you know, I got to say, the -- the grown ups don`t look like they are showing up.

And so that -- that sort of straw that we were grasping at seems to be dematerializing in our fingers right now.

O`DONNELL: David Rothkopf, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really -- I know you just got off the flight from China. Really appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

ROTHKOPF: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.



JOE BIDEN, FRM VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t regret not running in the sense that it was the right decision for my boy, for me, for my family at the time. But do I regret not being president? Yes. No man or woman announces for president of the United States unless they honestly believe from their experience they are the best qualified person to do that.

And at the time, I thought that the circumstances were such that I was the best qualified.


O`DONNELL: That was Joe Biden yesterday in upstate New York speaking to college students. That`s it for the Last Word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams is next.


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