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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 4/3/2017

Guests: Ned Price, David Corn, Eli Stokols, Kurt Andersen, Nicholas Goldberg, Gabriel Sherman, Nancy Giles, Erin Gloria Ryan

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: April 3, 2017 Guest: Ned Price, David Corn, Eli Stokols, Kurt Andersen, Nicholas Goldberg, Gabriel Sherman, Nancy Giles, Erin Gloria Ryan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Stick a flag in this one. Note this one for the record. 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, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. The Gorsuch strategy is one of the more difficult ones that the Democrats have faced.

There`s always that question of if they do manage to stop it, what do they get next? Who is next --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: On that list that Gorsuch`s name was lifted off of?

MADDOW: Right, and the -- I mean, I think the only thing the Democrats know for sure is if they don`t stand united, they won`t win on anything they try to do.

That`s the secret of being in the minority. You all have to get on board, and right now that`s Chuck Schumer`s challenge to show that he can get all Democrats to do any one thing.

O`DONNELL: And when you watch the Senate in general terms, it`s always easier to keep the minority together than the majority together. It`s kind of --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Easier to gang up around a no than it is an active agenda of legislation.

MADDOW: And even on this one, they got wobblers already, yes, thanks --

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, one big advertiser is pulling out of Bill O`Reilly`s show on "Fox News" after the "New York Times`" front page expose yesterday of the $13 million that has -- at least $13 million that has been paid in sexual harassment settlements for Bill O`Reilly.

We will have that story along with the latest lawsuit filed against "Fox News" today. But first, there is a new report tonight of yet another connection between the Trump team and Russia.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Another day and another detailed report about the possible connections with the Trump associates and Russia.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The secret meeting occurred between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin.

HAYES: As part of an apparent effort to establish a back channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trouble that they went to, to try to set something up in this remote part of the Indian ocean just seems really odd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A web is now being spun out that we were told before didn`t exist, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This incredible, unusual web of relationships between Vladimir Putin and Trump associates.

MATTHEWS: It seems now to make sense why Trump is so busy over the weekend. These series of crazy tweets --

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I would tell people whenever they see the president use the word "fake", it ought to set off alarm bells.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are three investigations, these are not hoaxes invented by Democrats.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There were any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence services that were inappropriate, I want the whole world to know about it.


O`DONNELL: The newest link being reported tonight by "The Washington Post" between the Trump transition team and Moscow is Erik Prince; the founder of a company called Blackwater which no longer does business under that name after security guards working for Blackwater in Iraq killed 14 people in Baghdad in a wild shooting spree.

They injured 17 others. Four Blackwater employees were convicted in U.S. courts, one was sentenced to life in prison, the other three sentenced to 30-year terms.

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL who personally profited hugely from the Iraq war through his company Blackwater, which he has since left and has now been renamed Academi.

"The Washington Post" is reporting that the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump.

Nbc News has confirmed that Erik Prince represented Donald Trump at a secret overseas meeting. Erik Prince, who is a major contributor to Donald Trump`s campaign is the brother of the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

And tonight "BuzzFeed News" is reporting that another Trump associate, former campaign adviser Carter Page met with and passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013.

And an aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee tells Nbc News that staff level interviews have started regarding that committee`s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

And the House Intelligence Committee met behind closed doors for the first time today since the Ranking Member of that committee, Representative Adam Schiff called for Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from their Russian investigation.

Congressman Schiff told Nbc News tonight that he and Chairman Nunes are coming to an agreement on an initial witness list to interview.

That witness list may be released as early as tomorrow. Today, the White House tried to involve former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice in the controversy created by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes when he publicly made a trip to the White House claiming he was briefing the president on sensitive intelligence material that he had obtained from the White House.

The Nunes escapade has now been unmasked as a complete charade in which the White House used Devin Nunes as a third party to make public information that the White House already possessed and wanted to make public without their fingerprints on it.

Today, the Trump White House claimed that during the transition before the Trump inauguration, Susan Rice saw the intelligence reports that Devin Nunes first saw at the White House and then the next day brought back to the White House, pretending publicly that he was telling the White House something that the president did not know.

The Trump White House is now saying that Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in those raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions. "Fox News" and "Bloomberg" columnist Eli Lake reported that story today without naming their sources.

But let me just read you the opening line of Eli Lake`s story and just take your own wild guess about sources.

"White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign."

According to U.S. officials familiar with the matter -- let me remind you that those first two words were White House lawyers.

Those were the -- that`s who the article is telling you what they discovered. The article then specifies that Ezra Cohen-Watnick; the senior director of intelligence at the White House was the person who discovered this information.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick was an active participant in the Devin Nunes charade about going to the White House and he was exposed as an active participant last week.

After the White House got their story out about Susan Rice through "Fox News" and "Bloomberg", Donald Trump tweeted this: "Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by "Fox & Friends" spied on before nomination. The real story."

Joining us now David Corn; Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Also with us Ned Price, former senior director and spokesperson for the National Security Council. He resigned from the CIA when President Trump took office.

Ned Price, I just want to go to you for your general sorting out of everything that we`ve developed in this story today.

NED PRICE, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR & SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, that`s a very tough task, Lawrence. But let me first take this unmasking business.

And I think what the White House and its allies are telling us today is that we should not be focused on the underlying substance of this administration`s yet unexplained and multipronged ties with the Russian government.

We should be focused on unmasking. And if you unpack that statement, what they are saying is don`t let -- let`s not focus on the fact that lots of our associates, lots of Trump campaign types and others were apparently caught up in routine, lawful, and authorized U.S. surveillance.

Let`s not focus on all the smoke that is in this routine surveillance. Let`s instead focus on who called 911 to report this fire.

It`s absolutely astounding that they want us not to focus on these two bombshell reports, but instead to look at routine matters that any intelligence analyst or policymaker carries out on a nearly daily basis.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, Sean Spicer saying that they were not aware of any meetings that Erik Prince had and that Erik Prince had no role in the transition.

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, you know, I`m still waiting for the 3 million to 5 million illegal voters plus the 1.5 million people who made it to the inauguration that day, apparently wearing their invisible cloaks.

I mean, you can`t take -- I believe Sean Spicer was unaware. I mean, that`s probably true. But the question is whether Erik Prince was creating any back channel with the knowledge of Steve Bannon, maybe, I`m just guessing, just supposing Jared Kushner.

Maybe, maybe doing it his own. Didn`t he have a sister? Now, we`re getting into kind of iron-contra-like territory with secret meetings now in the Seychelles.

But any investigation that would look into this would have to talk to the cabinet member. The Secretary of Education appointed by Donald Trump and say the very least, did you know your brother was going to the Seychelles?

Did you have any understanding that he was doing this? He was seen in the transition office. And so the fact that he didn`t have a job in the transition doesn`t mean anything.

It`s all highly suspicious. And all I can say is that, you know, God knows what`s going on in the House Intelligence Committee. But the Senate Intelligence Committee better hire more staff.

This is just widening. They need more manpower and women power to deal with this.

O`DONNELL: I just want to go to highlighting one of the problems that Donald Trump and Devin Nunes both have.

And those are problems named Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Let`s listen --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: To what they had to say about this.


GRAHAM: Nunes, the House, they`re off in a ditch. I don`t know -- I don`t know where he -- who invited him to look at the evidence in the White House?

All I can say is why do you show it to the chairman of the Intel Committee if you`ve got it yourself? So --


That never made sense to me.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If we`re really going to get to the bottom of these things, it`s got to be done in a bipartisan fashion. And as far as I could tell, Congressman Nunes killed that.


O`DONNELL: And Ned Price, you know, if Nunes had any kind of support from people like McCain, Lindsey Graham, this would be in another place.

But to lose them instantly as he did with that trip to the White House is part of the hole that apparently he`s just not being able to dig out of.

PRICE: Well, that`s exactly right. Look, by taking part in this amateur political theater, by being the recipient of laundered intelligence that the White House provided to him after which he then took part in this charade where he held two press conferences and briefed President Trump in between.

He has removed any pretense that he is a neutral arbiter in this affair. He has clearly shown his colors. His colors that frankly should have been apparent when he was a member of the Trump transition team.

But he has again reminded us that he is unfit to lead this House inquiry. And that`s why not only Senators McCain and Graham, but also the Ranking Member Adam Schiff has called for him to recuse himself from this matter.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Susan Rice said about this on March 22nd.


SUSAN RICE, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today. I mean, let`s back up and recall where we have been.

The president of the United States accused his predecessor President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign.

Nothing of the sort occurred. So today, I really don`t know to what Chairman Nunes was referring.


O`DONNELL: And David Corn, what those reports that Devin Nunes has been talking about, he has indicated that those were intelligence reports during the transition.

During the transition --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: When there is nothing that anyone could do in the Obama administration to stop the inauguration of President Trump.

This is not a question of what were they looking at during the campaign, and so there is that distinction to be made here.

CORN: Ned can probably explain this better than I can. But unmasking with an intelligence reports based on intercepts is a pretty common thing.

There are reasons in which you can legitimately do this. And the fact -- and I don`t know -- I was out -- never been a national security adviser.

I don`t know if doing it dozens of times is suspicious or not. And they make it sound suspicious at "Fox".

But this is a common thing. These are -- you know, and we don`t know whether these are people who were picked up or whether they were just being discussed between two subjects who were being surveilled.

And so, you know, Donald Trump, as well as Nunes and everybody else trying to turn this into the scandal is very quite outrageous.

And I just go back, I mentioned iron contra a few -- you know, a few moments ago. You know, in iron contra, there are a lot of political fights, there were a lot of partisan issues, you were around back then, Lawrence.

But ultimately, I did think that the leadership, Republican and Democrats on both sides of the Hill wanted to get to the bottom.

They saw it was a serious issue, and they wanted to honestly investigate, even though some were trying to be more protective than others.

That`s just not the case now with the Republicans on Capitol Hill, except for McCain and Graham.

O`DONNELL: Ned, quickly, before we go. Assume for the moment that, that report about Susan Rice is accurate. That she was asking for unmasking on some of these things. What would that mean to you?

PRICE: Well, Lawrence, she is the -- she was the national security adviser and had an intelligence briefing every day during which she reviewed dozens of reports.

Look, speaking from my personal experience, as a former CIA analyst, I would have been derelict in my job had I read a report summarizing the conversation of two terrorists based overseas.

And these two individuals say tomorrow we are going to carry out an attack on, parenthesis (U.S. person one.) If I didn`t go to the powers that be at the National Security Agency or the originator of that report and request that, that -- the identity of that individual be unmasked so that prudent measures could be taken to stop that attack and protect that individual, I would have been derelict.

And so there are certainly legitimate reasons and very routine reasons for an analyst or for a policy maker to request unmasking.

Unmasking is not akin to leaking, and in fact it is a routine process.

O`DONNELL: Ned Price and David Corn, thank you both for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.

CORN: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president made a huge mistake. Unbelievable bad rookie mistake, and rookie Speaker Paul Ryan made the same mistake with him after their healthcare bill collapsed in the House of Representatives.

And now they`re trying to undo that mistake. And later, Bill O`Reilly and "Fox News". Big advertiser pulling out of Bill O`Reilly`s show on "Fox News" after yesterday`s expose in the "New York Times" of the $13 million that has been paid in sexual harassment claims against Bill O`Reilly.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news at this hour. The White House has just revealed that the president has spoken to Vladimir Putin today. In their read-out, the White House reveals "President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation to condemn today`s attack in St. Petersburg.

President Trump expressed his deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones and to the Russian people. President Trump offered the full support of the United States government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice.

Both President Trump and President Putin agreed that terrorism must be decisively and quickly defeated." We`ll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we`re having a great discussions with representatives of Egypt and with the president --

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: They`ve laid out a plan that we`re waiting to see what the legislative text actually outlines. But we remain open-minded and willing to look in detail at the details of the plan.

And so we`re hopeful that we`ll get the legislative text within the next 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a deal in principle?

MEADOWS: There is no deal in principle.


O`DONNELL: That was Congressman Mark Meadows tonight. He is the leader of the group of conservative Republicans who killed the Trump and Paul Ryan healthcare bill.

They`re talking about reviving something in that territory. After Donald Trump`s healthcare bill collapsed in the House of Representatives without even coming to a vote, the president said the stupidest possible thing he could say.


TRUMP: We`ll probably be going right now for tax reform. I think we have to let Obamacare go its way for a little while and we`ll see how things go.

I`d love to see it do well, but it can`t -- that it can`t. It`s imploding and soon will explode. And it`s not going to be pretty.


O`DONNELL: And Paul Ryan actually said something equally stupid.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don`t know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It`s going to remain the law of the land until it`s replaced.

We did not have quite the votes to replace this law. And so, yes, we`re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.


O`DONNELL: So the president and Paul Ryan completely, publicly gave up on their quest to repeal Obamacare. It`s OK to give up but legislators, they give up all the time, they just never publicly admit it.

They always pretend they`re going to keep working at it. And after I immediately identified that night how unprecedented it was for the president and the speaker of the House to just publicly give up on promised legislation, the amateurs involved in that effort have finally come back to pretending they haven`t given up.

Vice President Mike Pence just finished a meeting tonight with the most conservative Republicans in the House who call themselves the Freedom Caucus in which they all claim to be discussing a new attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Donald Trump has been all over the place since he realized he is not supposed to admit that he has given up on repealing Obamacare. He began in his customary style by pretending that the impossible was possible.


TRUMP: And I know that we`re all going to make a deal on health care, that`s such an easy one. So I have no doubt that, that`s going to happen very quickly. I think it will, actually, I think it`s going happen.

Hopefully it will start being bipartisan, because everybody really wants the same thing. We want greatness for this country that we love.


O`DONNELL: And he told the "Financial Times" yesterday, quote, "if we don`t get what we want, we will make a deal with the Democrats, and we will have in my opinion, not as good a form of healthcare, but we are going to have a very good form of healthcare, and it will be a bipartisan form of health care."

And then tonight, the deal with the Democrats is off. It`s just off before it even got started. President Trump told Nbc`s Kristen Welker that he thinks he can make a deal with moderate and conservative Republicans.

And when Kristen Welker asked if President Trump is still currently looking to Democrats to build a coalition, the president said not at this time.

Joining us now, Eli Stokols; White House correspondent for the "Wall Street Journal". Also joining us Kurt Andersen; host of the public radio program "Studio 360".

Eli, the latest state of play on this as far as I can tell is let`s just pretend we haven`t given up.

ELI STOKOLS, WALL STREET JOURNAL: That is what it looks like. I mean, you can -- one take away from all those clips that you just played and we`ve known this for some time is that the president`s words just don`t hold much meaning.

Certainly not much lasting meaning. And so, you know, before -- the day before the vote, he said you`re going to vote whether we like it or not, up or down, I don`t care.

And then in the interview with the "Financial Times", he said well, I`ve pulled the bill because you know, I didn`t want it to vote -- I didn`t want them to vote on it.

I mean, it`s just sort of completely and constantly revising history and talking about doing a deal with Democrats, I think it`s clear, and the president, if he doesn`t know this, his people know this, that he just has no -- that the Democrats are not going to give him an olive branch when he is drowning here.

They`re not going to throw him, you know, a life raft and say OK, we`re going to help you out on healthcare because you just embarrassed yourself.

He lost political capital on that and they`re not about to help him and the politics in the Republican caucus probably didn`t change either.

That if he moves too far to appease the Freedom Caucus, he`s going to lose votes in the middle. There is a reason that this is not very easy like the president said it would be during the campaign.

And you`re right, I think this is largely sort of an effort in -- you know, making it look like they`re still working on this, when really, it seems pretty unlikely to actually materialize.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, the Freedom Caucus handled this in the most professional manner. They all said oh, we still want to work on it. Like there`s -- when they were denied the vote that day, they were all saying, hey, we`re ready to go, we`re ready to work tomorrow.

Here is this great quote that Eli was just referring to in the "Financial Times". This is the most beautiful Trumpian thing I think we`re going to have in this segment.

He said "I didn`t want to take a vote, it was my idea. I said why should I take a vote? Yes, I don`t lose. I don`t like to lose."

Now, that would be the equivalent of his friend Tom Brady saying we didn`t lose because we decided not to show up for the Super Bowl --


O`DONNELL: We decided to simply not show up.

ANDERSEN: Well, and all this back and forth and entirely incredible -- I didn`t want to vote, oh, we`re going to go back. We`re talking to the Democrats -- we`re not.

Let`s leave the deal making aside. Let`s remember that bill they didn`t vote on was going to be a political disaster if it was passed. It was going to -- if it was enacted into law, it was going to immediately deprive many millions of voters, many of them Trump voters and Republican voters of their health care.

And 24 million over not very many years. So at the time, it looked to me for all of the wacky, you know, talking out of both sides of their mouths that they did, including Donald Trump, that oh my God, it`s a relief.

This is a disaster, but it`s a political disaster as opposed to the political catastrophe that enacting that bill into law would make.

O`DONNELL: Now the -- Eli, the way this stuff normally plays out is that Mike Pence does that meeting, and then over the course of the next two weeks or so, they show a couple of other meetings, and you have reporters outside of a closed door.

Eventually those meetings just peter out. And no one ever announces we`re not having another one, and the media doesn`t notice and it all just kind of evaporates.

And that may take them another week or two.

ANDERSEN: Yes, I mean, they must be feeling a lot of pressure from the base to some degree. But it just -- it does sort of reflect the sort of ADD that you see from this administration.

There`s a lot on the White House`s plate this week with the meeting today with the Egyptian president.

They have a big summit this weekend down at Mar-a-Lago with the leader of China. I mean, there is a lot of consequential stuff happening at the White House.

And for them to go and just sort of bring this back and say, oh, we`re not done with health care yet. What about healthcare? Let`s talk about health care, we might get a deal done.

I mean, it just shows this inability to focus on what`s in front of them and on anything really for any length of time and that is difficult.

And to continue to do the misdirection on Obamacare and on everything else, you know, it`s worked for the president back when he was just a real estate person, he was a reality TV star to leave everyone guessing.

I don`t know that it`s going work very well with foreign policy or with dealing with Congress going forward. It hasn`t so far in the first three months.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, to your point of "it was a bad bill". This would hurt you if it passed. Steve Bannon`s "Breitbart" was working really hard against the bill the whole time.

And so it was clearly a very big segment inside that White House that was saying it`s not good for us for this thing to pass.

Eventually they can have it both ways which is it didn`t pass, no damage done. And we looked like we worked on it --

ANDERSEN: We tried --

O`DONNELL: For a while, we tried --

ANDERSEN: Yes -- no, not just "Breitbart", but Chris Ruddy; the "Newsmax" guy who is Trump`s big friend.

Oh, good, get rid of this, actually, some kind of single-payer thing is what we should do.


ANDERSEN: And then I thought finally perhaps when Trump started saying, oh, we can work with the Democrats. I thought maybe he is going to make good on the theoretical Trump lefty populist single-payer infrastructure thing.

Which could be a brilliant move for him but -- but then that lasted a day and a half, right? So the problem is he`s stupid. He just is ignorant of the issues involved.

So when he talks about, oh maybe I`ll make a deal with the democrats, no, I won`t. He doesn`t even know what that means. It`s to him it`s like making a deal to sell this piece of real estate and build this garage there where there aren`t underlying beliefs rather than just transactional interests.

O`DONNELL: And he also seems to believe that nothing he has ever said publicly would in any way inhibit a democrat from going into a room with him to make a deal.

ANDERSEN: Well and of course he`s had a career. But certainly a campaign where what he said three days ago, or a week ago or a month ago didn`t have consequences.


ANDERSEN: But perhaps now as president it will.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Kurt Andersen, Eli Stokols, thank you both for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. Coming up, the "Los Angeles Times" is now publishing a series of extraordinary editorials about the president`s dishonesty. Sunday`s lead editorial was entitled our dishonest president.

And today`s was titled "Why Trump Lies?" Nick Goldberg from the LA Times will join us.


O`DONNELL: Yesterday, "The Los Angeles Times" lead editorial was entitled Our Dishonest President. It began "it was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissistic demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters." The Times called him unprepared and uncertain for the job he was seeking.

And said his election would be a catastrophe. Still nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Joining us now Nicholas Goldberg, editorial page editor for "The Los Angeles Times." Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Nick. You`re in now the middle of an extraordinary series of interviews. How did you decide to do this?

NICHOLAS GOLDBERG, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR FOR LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, you know, we`ve been obviously like every other editorial page in the country, we`ve been writing about Trump nonstop for months. We wrote a year ago we wrote our first big piece saying that he was unfit and unsuited for the job. So it`s not really a surprise to anyone that we have negative feelings about the new president.

But, you know, we -- we hoped for the best when he took office. We hoped maybe he would be constrained by the people around him or the magnitude and the enormity of the responsibility would make him come to his senses. And we don`t think he has so far. And we decided that rather than keep writing one-off articles about mini scandals or bad appointments or, you know, bad executive orders, we thought it was time, even though it`s early still, we thought it was time to sum it all up and try to put the pieces together and say what we`ve seen so far.

O`DONNELL: I want to read passage from your second editorial, today`s editorial entitled "Why Trump Lie?" And it says he is dangerous. His choice of falsehoods and his methods of spewing them often in tweets as -- as if he spent his days and nights glued to his bedside radio and was periodically set off by some drivel uttered by a talk show host who repeated something he had read on some fringe blog are a clue to Trump`s thought processes and perhaps his lack of agency.

He gives every indication that he is as much the gullible tool of liars as he is the liar in chief.


O`DONNELL: Nick, is this a team effort going into these? These are major editorials.

GOLDBERG: Sure. This is a team effort. This represents the -- the opinion of the editorial board of the L.A. Times. There are eight or nine of us. And we -- we discussed this for a long time. There are people of varying political persuasions on the editorial board. Some of them are more conservative. Some are a little bit more to the left. And we have to argue out what the tone should be.

Not everyone is -- is always in agreement. But there was -- there was pretty much unanimity that we wanted to write this series, and that we wanted it to be -- we wanted it to be tough, which it is.

O`DONNELL: I remember -- I believe I remember the first time "The L.A. Times" used the word "lie" in relation to Donald Trump, which to my memory felt to be around a September of 2016 before the election. That`s the first time I remember picking it up in my front yard and seeing it on the front page. But -- but talk just for before we go, about the evolution at "The L.A. Times" of the use of that word to where it is now, what these editorials are -- is -- are all about?

GOLDBERG: Well, it`s true that we`ve used the word lies a few times in the news pages to describe something Donald Trump has said. I think you know you have to remember there is a distinction between the news pages and the opinion pages. On the news pages they have to be very careful about, you know, they don`t want to suggest that he is lying if they don`t know that it`s a lie. If it`s just a misstatement or untruth or a mistake or something he wrongly believes, you don`t want to call it a lie.

And I think it took us a while to get around to calling certain things lies. But some undeniably are like the -- the birther comments about President Obama.

O`DONNELL: Nick Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight with these important editorials. We really appreciate it.

GOLDBERG: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, big advertiser pulls out of Bill O`Reilly`s show on Fox news after yesterday`s massive expose in "The New York Times." Massive front page story about the $13 million that has been paid in sexual harassment settlements for Bill O`Reilly to keep him on television, that`s next.


O`DONNELL: In breaking Fox News tonight, Mercedes Benz wants nothing to do with Bill O`Reilly. Mercedes-Benz is the first major advertiser to pull out all of their advertising from Bill O`Reilly`s show. The company issued this statement. Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don`t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.

The Mercedes statement said that the front page report in "The New York Times" yesterday was, "disturbing." "The New York Times" reported that at least $13 million has been paid by Fox News and Bill O`Reilly to women in sexual harassment claims against Bill O`Reilly. The most prominent of those claims became public in 2004 when one woman settled for a reported $9 million.

Her claim included taped telephone calls with Bill O`Reilly in which the audio recordings reportedly indicate that O`Reilly was doing more than just speaking on the phone. The Times report includes the story of seven women. Wendy Walsh, who has not filed a claim against O`Reilly told the times that O`Reilly blocked her appearances on fox news after she refused to join him in his hotel room.

Here is what she said in a press conference today.


WENDY WALSH: And so he caught up with me and said no, no, come back to my suite. At that point, you know, I`m a woman of a certain age. I`ve had situations like this in my life. I knew how to behave. And I simply said I`m sorry, I can`t do that. And he immediately got defensive and said what do you mean?

You think I`m going to attack you or something? He got very hostile very quickly. He told me flat-out forget any career advice I gave you.


O`DONNELL: And that was immediately after Bill O`Reilly had promised her help in her dealings with Fox News. In a statement this weekend, Bill O`Reilly said "in my more than 20 years at Fox News channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the human resources department, even on the anonymous hotline." O`Reilly apparently did not realize what an indictment that is of the Fox News complaint system and the Fox News hotline if no one would have used it in the 20 years with all of these claims against Bill O`Reilly.

Today fox news was hit with yet another lawsuit. This one by Julie Roginsky, current Fox News Contributor who says she was sexually harassed by former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes has been accused of this by now countless, countless women working at Fox News, including Megyn Kelly. Roger Ailes was let go by the company because of all of the accusation as of sexual harassment against him.

Roger Ailes has a lawyer who did not offer any substantive claim of defense against this latest accusation. When we come back, we`ll be joined by Gabriel Sherman who literally wrote the book on Fox News. He`ll tell us about this latest case against Roger Ailes and everything Bill O`reilly said about this tonight on his show.


O`DONNELL: We`re joined now on the Bill O`Reilly Story by Gabriel Sherman, the National Affairs editor at New York Magazine and MSNBC contributor. He is the author of The loudest voice in the room: how the brilliant bombastic Roger Ailes built Fox News and divided a country. Gab, so what did Bill O`reilly say on his show about this tonight?

GABRIEL SHERMAN, AUTHOR: It was crickets. He did not want to address --

O`DONNELL: Not a word.

SHERMAN: Yes, which is surprising to me because in the past he mentioned the Andrea Mackris case. The first night that scandal broke he addressed it head on and really leaned into it until he was called off by Roger Ailes and told not to talk about it. His silence tonight to me is striking, that he does not want to inflame and accelerate this scandal.

O`DONNELL: And that`s hard for him when he sees this big picture of himself on the front page of the New York Times. he hates them. He`s filled with hatred about this. It was an exhaustive report that detailed every single thing that is out there and discovered more.


O`DONNELL: And so O`Reilly is just going to swallow it? He`s going to lose the going to lose the Mercedes-Benz advertising, say nothing in the hopes that he doesn`t loose another advertiser.

SHERMAN: Well yes, clearly this is a case where he knows that perhaps we don`t know yet but his job could be on the line. So he doesn`t want to do a misstep that could be seen as the first step in him losing his job.

O`DONNELL: Yes, if he does say anything, he creates a big -- a piece of video that everyone is going to start using every.

SHERMAN: of course. yeah, exactly?

O`DONNELL: the latest filing today, what`s new about that?

SHERMAN: Julie Roginsky at Fox News. She is a current contributor. A couple things new, A Fox`s current leadership team, the post Roger Ailes leadership team is implemented in this lawsuit that they were enabling the culture of sexual harassment. that`s new.

What else is new is that is Julie is a Fox News Contributor. as a legal matter she is not bound by arbitration rules meaning this could go to trial, Roger Ailes, Bill Shine, all the Fox News personalities could be deposed and if this goes to trial, be in open court. So this could all be aired in public which has to be Fox News`s worst nightmare.

O`DONNELL: How does that relate to the criminal investigation into Fox`s covering up the payments hiding them from share holders?

SHERMAN: It provides ammunition and gives prosecutors and FBI agents more people to subpoena. So again, this is the kind of story that starts to snowball. If you are Rupert Murdoch who controls Fox News you have to say what is my line, where do I want to try to draw a line and stop this scandal.

O`DONNELL: one of those lines would be Bill O`Reilly`s last day of work.

SHERMAN: It could be.

O`DONNELL: Gab Sherman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: up next, Nancy Giles and Aaron Gloria Ryan will join us with their reaction to this news about Bill O`Reilly, which is not as surprised as you might want it to be.



BILL O`REILLY, TELEVISION HOST: Here`s the deal. if somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance. If you don`t like what is happening in the workplace go to human resources, or leave.



O`DONNELL: Here is Bill O`Reilly talking about the sexual harassment suit former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson filed last year, which Fox News settled for millions of dollars. She filed that suit last year against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: In this country every famous, powerful or wealthy person is target. I`m a target. Any time somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press or anything like that. I stand behind Roger 100 percent.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Nancy Giles, contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and the host of the Giles Files Podcast, also with us Erin Gloria Ryan, Senior Editor for the Daily Beast.

Nancy, the everybody -- happens to everybody defense. There`s -- I have a two-word problem for Bill O`Reilly in that defense. Those two words are Sean Hannity, never been accused of anything, been at fox news as long. He`s almost as rich as Bill O`Reilly. He is absolutely as prominent --


O`DONNELL: It happens to everybody -- doesn`t happen to Sean Hannity.

GILES: No and it doesn`t happen five times, and it`s always a lie. It just can`t. Not with the kind of specificity of detail that each lawsuit has brought out.

O`DONNELL: And we`re way over five now.

GILES: Oh yes -- well, yes and then -- I`m. not eve talking about Ailes. Yes, are we up to seven? I think it`s -- can I just say if I ruled the world when things like this happen not only with the aggressors have to pay big fines, big penalties but they would also have to admit their guilt because this is the part that really kills me, as a woman, being attacked in this way, your only option to get attention or to get notice is to go after them financially. And so O`Reilly and Fox have fallen back and help support these kind of horrible actions without admitting guilt. It just drives me nuts.

ERIN GLORIA RYAN, SENIOR EDITOR FOR THE DAILY BEAST: And Nancy, there is a survey from two years ago in a cosmopolitan conducted found that 71 percent of women who experienced workplace harassment do not report it. I wonder why. it`s sort of like where there is smoke, there is fire. When there are flames shooting out of the windows, there is definitely fire.

GILES: And when you feel like human resources is in pocket of the corporation.

O`DONNELL: Which for some reason at Fox News people get that feeling.

GILES: Isn`t that odd?

RYAN: Right. I think then, you know, a company is going to be in the image of whoever is in charge of it. Look who is in charge of Fox News.

GILES: Birds of a feather.

RYAN: And it`s also is funny to me looking back, the 20/20 benefit of hindsight and seeing that they kind of made nothing out of the Trump harassment claims.

GILES: Isn`t that strange?

RYAN: It sort of seems this is all maybe part of a pattern, this seems to fit into something that maybe is cultural. Maybe it is a symptom of the same disease.

GILES: I wonder, going along with what you said, Erin, why does fox have any woman fans? Just like why did any woman vote for Trump just on the basis of the sexual harassment -- not only accusations, but we heard it on tape. Some of the things that Bill O`Reilly did while he was mastering his domain while talking to a female employee on other end, it`s horrible.

O`DONNELL: For Fox News and O`Reilly, who is the next big advertiser. They lost Mercedes-Benz tonight. That is a big one. And the question is are the rest of the advertisers going to hang in there for that hour.

RYAN: Right, I think that numbers don`t matter to fox unless there is a dollar sign in front of it.

GILES: So maybe a big advertiser that maybe appeals to women which are cars, financial

O`DONNELL: Which is every advertiser.

GILES: Anyone could be next, I would think

O`DONNELL: The O`Reilly strategy of absolute silence, is it going the work?

GILES: That, I find actually bizarre.

RYAN: Did it work for Bill Cosby?


RYAN: No, it sure didn`t. Once it`s out -- we are in a post Cosby era now and so once things like this are out you don`t -- it doesn`t really matter if you talk, your silence speaks volumes.

GILES: Well and there are some similarities in attacking the accuser. I mean O`Reilly had Bo Dietl among other people as privately investigating Wendy Mackley`s was that the first and trying to dig up dirt on her. By the way I wouldn`t vote vote for Bo Dietl for Mayor of New York. But in any case, that same thing happens when guys are caught in a corner.

O`DONNELL: Nancy Giles gets the last word. And you do rule the world here. Let`s get that straight. Erin Gloria Ryan thank you for joining us too.

RYAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC`s Live Coverage continues into "THE 11TH HOUR" now with Brian Williams.


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