Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: April 4, 2017 Guest: John McLaughlin, Evan McMullin, Josh Marshall, Sabrina Siddiqui, Gabriel Sherman
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: And you are about to hear from him right now on this subject because he is joining Lawrence O`Donnell on THE LAST WORD right here on MSNBC which starts right now, Lawrence, good evening.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, when you were saying all that, I was sitting here getting ready to go. And Rachel, guess who my first guest is? I was -- I thought, oh, my -- this is going to be -- she`s going to love this when she hears who we`ve got for the first guest.
MADDOW: I`m inside your brain --
O`DONNELL: You are --
MADDOW: Right now --
O`DONNELL: You are --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Great. Another great Rachel and Andrea segment.
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: And if you could just keep those coming? Is that too much ask? Could you just --
MADDOW: For the rest of my life is the plan --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: Well, with another missile launch in North Korea and the worst chemical weapons attack yet in Syria, the Trump administration has taken no action about either of those things.
The president has had nothing to say about them because the administration is very busy trying to prove a lie that Donald Trump tweeted a month ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN RICE, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that`s absolutely false.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I believe Susan Rice abused this system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was doing her job.
RICE: Let me --
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: You leaked the name of Mike Flynn.
RICE: I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have and never would.
PAUL: She needs to be brought in and questioned --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK --
PAUL: Under oath --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You believe -- is this chaos sustainable especially when we are facing the threat of North Korea?
LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: There`s breaking news here in South Korea. Word that North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile into the sea.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m meeting with the president of China and we`re going to talk about a lot of things including of course, North Korea, a problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Korean peninsula is a tinderbox. Any miscalculation could result in a conflict that affects American troops.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, any comments on the chemical attack in Syria?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even on the scale of atrocities in Syria, this seems to be uniquely horrific.
TRUMP: I am not and I don`t want to be the president of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It has now been exactly one month since Donald Trump sent the most disruptive tweet of his presidency.
It said "terrible, just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found, this is McCarthyism."
The most disruptive and the most insane tweet of his presidency. That tweet has provoked investigative action by the House Intelligence Committee which is in the hands of Chairman Devin Nunes.
He has turned that into a corrupting -- corrupt-looking gang that couldn`t shoot straight farce which would be funny if the underlying issues weren`t so serious.
A president of the United States and/or his campaign team and/or his transition team being compromised by the Russian government or Russian agents.
That is the issue that was behind that Trump tweet. That is the issue the House Intelligence Committee is supposed to be investigating.
That is the issue, the Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating. And most troubling for the Trump White House, it is the issue the FBI is investigating.
The Trump tweet was then publicly proven untrue by the director of the FBI and the director of the NSA.
And all the president`s men, which now includes Devin Nunes, everyone at "Fox News" on this particular issue, Rand Paul.
They all are now trying to say that Susan Rice did something wrong in her job as national security adviser when and if she examined intelligence reports on the Trump team`s interactions with foreign governments or foreign agents.
Here`s what Susan Rice said about this on "ANDREA MITCHELL`S REPORT" at 12 noon today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That`s absolutely false.
I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have and never would. There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to, name not provided, just U.S. person.
And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out or request the information as to who that U.S. official was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There was not one moment in the Trump presidential campaign where Donald Trump gave the slightest hint that he`s capable of faithfully executing any of the duties of the presidency.
And there was no moment when Donald Trump said anything to indicate he understood the challenges an American president faces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Aleppo was a disaster. It`s a humanitarian nightmare, but it has fallen from any standpoint. I mean, what do you need, a signed document? Take a look at Aleppo, it is so sad when you see what`s happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, it took the Trump White House about 15 hours to issue a written statement about the worst chemical attack in Syria in the six years of the civil war.
At least 83 people, including 25 children died, and at least 350 others were injured in the incident. A senior State Department official said the attack looks like a war crime.
The attack comes less than one week after the Trump administration said that President Trump accepts the reality of President Assad`s continued control of the government in Syria.
Here is what the Trump White House said when it finally released a statement. "Today`s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people including women and children is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world.
These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration`s weakness and irresolution.
President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing.
The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack." In 2013, Donald Trump repeatedly tweeted that President Obama should do nothing in Syria.
"President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous down side. Save your powder for another and more important day."
In the last hour Rachel read you tweet upon tweet upon tweet from Donald Trump saying do not go into Syria, do not go into Syria.
And of course the president was prepared to use force in Syria, it was Congress that refused to authorize it. The president had plenty of free time on his hands today to actually speak about Syria, say something or even tweet about it, but this is what he was doing instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They would say, there`s no way to 270. But there was a way to 306. But wasn`t that an exciting one? Huge disadvantage, the electoral college is very tough. They said almost impossible for a Republican to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is what candidate Trump said about containing North Korea`s nuclear ambitions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You look at North Korea, we`re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea.
China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea. When they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Of course, he`ll be saying all that this weekend in his summit with Chinese president. A senior North Korean defector has told Nbc News that North Korea`s dictator Kim Jong-un is desperate in maintaining his rule.
Tonight, North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile into the sea off the Korean peninsula according to South Korea`s military.
This weekend, the president will be meeting with the president of China starting on Thursday. President Trump recently told the "Financial Times" "if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."
Meanwhile, ISIS has made its first official reference to President Trump. An ISIS spokesman released this statement: "America, you have drowned and there is no savior.
There is no more evidence than the fact that you are being run by an idiot who does not know what Syria or Iraq or Islam is."
Joining us now, John McLaughlin; former acting director of the CIA. Thank you very much for joining us tonight Mr. McLaughlin.
I just wanted to go first of all to the Susan Rice situation. And is there anything that you`ve heard in that story as it`s unfolded today including what Susan Rice had to say about it.
That gives you any concern or is there any point that you think we should be focusing on or elaborating on in that story?
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, Lawrence, what I would say based on Susan`s remarks today and it certainly accords with my experience in government on this issue is that she was merely doing her job.
What happens there is that she`s delivered each morning a series of reports, occasionally they referred to foreigners contacting Americans about something.
And she has the option of asking the FBI or the National Security Agency to -- if it can be justified to let her know who those people are and often to protect them.
Sometimes you want to go to an American and say, you should know who you`ve been in contact with, do that quietly.
At least not spread around the government, but essentially, this is -- and it`s something that isn`t done casually. The people who make decisions about as they say unmasking someone have a very high bar for doing that.
So, I think she was basically just doing her job as she should have been doing it.
O`DONNELL: The -- there seems to be something about Susan Rice with Republicans in Washington. We saw Lindsey Graham today come out and say we really should find out what it is that Susan Rice was up to here.
Lindsey Graham whose comments up to now about this have been pretty reasonable. As soon as the name Susan Rice gets mentioned, there`s a different reaction.
Rand Paul is suddenly jumping in and saying there`s something suspicious about this because the name Susan Rice is involved. Do you have any guidance you can give us about why that name sets off Republican Washington the way it does?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think -- you know, I don`t have to tell you, Lawrence, that we`re living through an extraordinary partisan time.
And if anything, the partisanship has just deepened in the Trump administration as a result of all these controversies.
You know, it may be related to the lingering controversy over Benghazi. Who knows exactly why she sets off these reactions?
But what I can tell you is that in this case she was simply doing her job and it would have been, frankly, irresponsible to not take a look at some of these communications in part to -- remember this, too.
We only have one president at a time. And during this period of time, the Obama administration was still in charge and in an unusual transition, the Trump administration to be, was actually conducting foreign policy.
Recall the phone call that Trump made to the leader of Taiwan basically breaking with the one China policy that had been followed for years, and now that`s been repaired of course.
But they were essentially moving into making foreign policy which typically doesn`t happen in the transition. So for that reason alone, someone in the White House might want to know, is there something going on here that affects our conduct of American foreign policy.
But to return to my basic point, she was just doing her job here. Is what any national security adviser would have done in the same circumstance.
O`DONNELL: One of the statements that Rex Tillerson has issued tonight about the North Korean launch --
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Secretary of State`s statement says "North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile.
The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment." And that is the single most extraordinary comment I`ve ever heard a Secretary of State make.
I did not know that there was a limit to what should be said about a particular country, especially one at this particular point of tension.
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, I think North Korea is something I followed for years. They`ve done five nuclear tests, three of them under the current leader.
Last one in September had he yielded about the same blast that went off in Hiroshima in World War II. They probably have somewhere between 12 and 20 nuclear weapons.
And as I followed it, they`ve been working since 1995 or thereabouts on an ICBN that could reach the United States, and they`ve made enough progress on that.
You`ve got two satellites that they`ve been able to launch with multi-stage missiles. So I think it`s fair. I have said and written that it`s likely, more than likely, almost certain that within the term of this president, the first -- the four-year term, this president will have to deal with something that no previous president has had to deal with.
And that is an intercontinental ballistic missile in the hands of the North Korean leader, who in this case, by the way is a much less stable leader than his predecessor or his predecessor.
Kim Jong-il, his father was no friend of ours. The people who met him, no American official has yet to meet the current leader. People who met the father say he was able to understand the world and had a fairly good understanding of what was going on internationally and if not rational was certainly not mad man.
This current one is an ill-disciplined person who doesn`t work very hard. Who is emotional, who has carried out purges at a level exceeding anything we`ve seen in North Korea before.
So I think it deserves not only a comment, but careful consideration of policy because we`re going to have to deal with it.
O`DONNELL: When you look at the overall state of the information that`s available now about what was going on between the Russians, Russian agents and their attempts to influence our election.
There`s -- especially what could be their contacts with people representing the Trump campaign or close to the Trump campaign. Do you have an overall assessment of what you think we`re looking at?
MCLAUGHLIN: You know, in truth, Lawrence, it would be irresponsible for me to sort of speculate about the level of collusion or not in this case.
And people who have looked at it who are privy to all of the classified information are hesitant to draw conclusions about that as you`ve seen in comments from the Senate and comments from the Director of National Intelligence Clapper before he retired.
But what you see here, though, is we have to remember, this is the core of the problem. This is why we have all of this controversy now.
We would not be talking about 80 percent of what we`re talking about here in terms of controversy regarding the Trump administration had these things not happened.
And what happened? Well, the Russians without question hacked into the DNC server and strategically placed information that was detrimental to the Clinton campaign using WikiLeaks as its intermediary.
And it hacked into the e-mail of John Podesta and released those things strategically as well. So, I think it`s fair to say that what`s going on here is something that Russia has always done but now has new tools to do.
Years ago, they would have had to do this through access agents and physical presence. But now, they have the marvelous tool of the internet and social media and flotilla of trolls that they use to market this material around the world.
And so -- and also they have an administration that seems more vulnerable to it than in the past. Remember, they tried to do this in the dander era. They tried to do this during the Reagan administration.
They tried to do it during the 2008 election campaign here. But they didn`t have the same tools and they didn`t have what seems to be a vulnerability on the part of the Trump campaign.
So I can`t say whether any -- this is what the investigations -- the investigations have to determine two things. First, what did the Russians actually do here? And were there Americans, any Americans complicit in what they were doing.
And we need to get the focus back on that as opposed to all of these other things that have arisen, largely flowing from the president`s foolish tweets some weeks ago.
O`DONNELL: I think --
MCLAUGHLIN: There`s a seeming inability in this -- I was thinking today, what is it that`s striking about this administration. There are three or four things that hit me.
One of them though is the seeming inability to connect one thing to another. I mean when he did that tweet, I immediately called a friend and said, OK, we`re looking now at weeks, possibly months of turmoil based on something that was a foolish action.
And that has in turn deepened partisanship between the two parties, and I don`t think it`s much of a stretch to say it`s made it harder for the administration to do everything else it wants to do in domestic areas such as healthcare and tax reform.
So this failure to -- this inability to connect one action to another is kind of astonishing.
O`DONNELL: Before you go, could you just give us one more incite into that reference you made to the Soviet -- back when it was the Soviet Union.
They`re trying to do this back in the Reagan administration. What were the examples of what they were trying to do then in our elective process.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, all they were trying to do then was portray Reagan as a warmonger. They were basically trying to say, if he`s elected, this will be bad for the world because we will be edging towards war.
And that`s essentially what they were doing with Hillary Clinton as well. I was in Russia in October before the election.
And if you were to look at the press then or the media, the message going to the Russian public was if Hillary Clinton is elected, get ready for war, prepare your bomb shelter, and I`m not really exaggerating.
O`DONNELL: John McLaughlin, thank you very much for joining us again tonight with your invaluable insights on this, really appreciate it.
MCLAUGHLIN: Good to see you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, Donald Trump`s polling hits an all-time low. And the poll indicates among other things, for some reason people just don`t believe the guy.
And Trump best friend Bill O`Reilly lost some crucial support today with at least 14 advertisers removing their ads from O`Reilly show after more information continues to come out about Bill O`Reilly`s history of sexual harassment settlements which amount now to at least $13 million.
I`m going to ask for your help later in the program to help communicate to Bill O`Reilly and "Fox News", how you feel about that. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Now, we`re throwing the wrong concepts to improve the bill that`s occurring right now.
But that is not to say that we are ready to go because we want to make sure that when we go, we have the votes to pass this bill. We`ve got the consensus that we`ve long been looking for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: For whatever reason the hard right has always chosen Susan Rice to be their villain. This is yet another attempt to distract attention from the Russia probe, which they obviously want to defer and deflect as much as they can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here`s something that the president and Republicans are trying to distract attention from.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: I guess I would say this, that my impression is I wouldn`t be surprised after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: You are confident that at least some Trump associates will wind up in jail?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I was betting, I would say yes.
REP. DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: And I want to respectfully disagree with my dear friend Joaquin Castro next to whom I sit on the Intelligence Committee.
He said he would not be surprised if people ended up going to jail. I will be surprised if people don`t end up going to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Josh Marshall; the founder and editor of "Talking Points Memo". Also with us, Evan McMullin; former CIA operative and a former independent presidential candidate.
He is the cofounder of "Stand Up Republic". Evan, what do you make of the situation as it is today and now we have Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee saying that based on what they know, they smell criminality, to put it mildly.
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, I would stop short of going that far. They have access to information that I don`t, obviously. But I think those are the kind of statements that -- those are big statements.
And they may be true and I guess I wouldn`t be surprised either. But I think we just need a serious investigation and we need to go where the facts lead us or the investigators need to go where the facts lead them.
I as I`ve said many times do not believe that the congressional investigations so far are serious.
O`DONNELL: Why are they not serious?
MCMULLIN: Well, because neither of the Intelligence Committees have received any additional resources. They have no additional staff. They have no additional funding.
For example, if we take back to the Benghazi Committee, there were about 40 staffers, millions of dollars spent on that. This Russia intervention in our democracy and Trump ties to the Russian government, they are very serious issues and they require a lot of investigation.
And both of the Intel Committees are extremely busy and very short-staffed already. I mean, you just think about what`s going on in the world these days.
And they`ve got very full plates, and so to put this on top of that and expect it to be a serious investigation, I think it`s imagination. I just don`t think it is.
O`DONNELL: I want to take a look at what`s happened to the polling, Quinnipiac poll for Donald Trump`s approval and disapproval.
He has a 35 percent approval now, 57 percent disapprove and then there`s this question, how often do you think that President Trump and his administration make statements without evidence to support them?
Very often, somewhat often, only 73 percent. Not so often at all, 24 percent. And Josh, these numbers are very important to have as kind of the wallpaper of this investigation that we`re talking about.
And you can sense that on the Democratic side, what I heard those comments to be when they start talking about people going to jail is impatience.
JOSH MARSHALL, FOUNDER & EDITOR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Yes --
O`DONNELL: They are impatient with the way this process is going. And so they`re kind of leaping ahead of the story.
MARSHALL: Yes, I think that`s right. I mean, and the president has very - - you know, demonstrably very little credibility now with the public.
My sense is that there is a lot there, I think it makes sense not to get -- you know, not to speculate too much. But when there`s a lot there, it will come out.
The president can kick up a lot of dust, he can do all sorts of things, we can have diversions. But it keeps coming back to the essential story. So, I`m pretty optimistic that it`s all going to come out, it`s just a matter of when?
O`DONNELL: Evan, clearly the most empowered investigation is the FBI and they`re reporting tonight that they have set up a special unit with extra resources, as you were talking about the committees don`t have and the committees never have in these situations.
And so -- but that one is the one from which there are no leaks so far, there will be no public moments other than indictments. And if there aren`t indictments, we are not sure if there will be any public moments from the FBI investigation.
MCMULLIN: Well, and see, there in lies the problem with just putting all of our eggs in that basket. I have confidence that the FBI will conduct a thorough investigation.
But the FBI is going to be looking at this from a criminal perspective. And so they may reach a situation in which they`re not going to move forward with any criminal charges or they may.
I mean, there`s a lot of smoke here and it`s very dark and very thick, so, I`m not prejudging at all. I think, you know, there`s a lot of work for them to do and they`ll be busy for a while likely.
But we need a more -- a broader investigation that isn`t only focused on activity that may have been criminal. But just as important for the American people to know, how did the Russians engage to influence our election?
We know a lot about it, but there`s a lot more to learn. We need to know what kind of activities any Americans may have, what kind of role any Americans may have played, even if it doesn`t rise to criminal activity, it may be politically significant as Americans weigh in future elections.
Who they want to support as leaders in our country. So, we need a -- we need a broader investigation and that`s the kind of investigation that Congress needs to offer, I think through a special select committee.
O`DONNELL: Evan McMullin gets the last word in this segment. Josh Marshall, we`re going to need you in another one. Thank you Evan, thank you for joining us tonight, I appreciate it.
And coming up, some Republicans continue to pretend that they`re actually going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Paul Ryan, he`s not really pretending that good. He`s not -- he`s the worst pretender in all pretenders on this story.
And later, on this day in history, Martin Luther King Jr. will get tonight`s last word.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence and senior administration officials are on Capitol Hill, once again, meeting with republican house members in an effort to revive legislation to repeal and replace Obama care, they say. It is unlikely anything will be done before congress leaves for its Easter recess later this week, unlikely, meaning absolutely impossible. Here is what house speaker Paul Ryan said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Right now we`re just at that conceptual stage about how to move forward in a way to get everybody to 216. It`s important that we don`t just win the vote of one caucus or one group but that we get the votes in the consensus of 216 our members. And that`s kind of where we are right now. We don`t have a bill text or an agreement yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Oh, no bill. Just the conceptual stage, a new gallop poll shows that 55 percent of Americans now approve of Obama care, up for 42 percent right after the 2016 election. This is also the first time a majority of Americans have approved of the health care law since Gallop first asked about it in November 2012. As republican lawmakers try to come up replacement health care law, a new Quinnipiac Poll shows that 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way of republicans and congress are handling their job.
Joining us now, Sabrina Siddiqui political reporter for The Guardian, back with us, Josh Marshall, so Sabrina only 70 percent disapprove of the way congress has been handling their jobs and now they want to be kind of secretly in the back room pretending they`re coming up with a new Obamacare repeal and replace.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORT FOR THE GUARDIAN: Well, nothing has really changed with respect to the reality that it doesn`t look like there`s any agreement on bringing both moderate republicans, as well as members of the house Freedom Caucus on the same page when it comes to a plan. So, the conversation from the White House is very much they`re looking at a potential proposal that will weaken protections for pre- existing conditions under Obamacare, allow states to opt out of essential health benefits under the health care law.
All of which is to try and corral the House Freedom Caucus behind a piece of legislation. But all of that, once again, would be a nonstarter for moderate members of the republican conference. It`s very hard to see that there`s a realistic effort here to really get to 216 votes.
O`DONNELL: Well, the reports we`re getting right now. Breaking news reports saying that the meeting just ended and that no text of any legislation was handed out, Josh, to any of the people at that meeting. So Paul Ryan was right. Conceptual stage, there is not bill.
JOSH MARSHALL, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: He`s trying to say, Paul Ryan`s trying to say there`s nothing to talk about. I think because Ryan knows you can only move one train on the tracks at one time. He wants to move taxes.
O`DONNELL: The big tax cut, which they will call "reform". And he needs these people to get over this stuff. But Trump of course wants to pretend, I haven`t quit yet, I haven`t quit yet after the day he publicly quit.
MARSHALL: Yes, I can`t figure out whether they`re trying to fool us or Trump is fooling himself here.
MARSHALL: Because it`s - you know there are three moving parts for them to do this, there`s the -- the right wingers and the GOP House Caucus, there`s the moderates and then there`s the senate. There`s this other house -
O`DONNELL: Yeah, they never allowed to mention the senate.
O`DONNELL: Pretend it doesn`t exist.
MARSHALL: Right, exactly.
MARSHALL: Well that - that sort of what they - what they need to do here. And it`s no easy -- if anything, it`s probably harder to put it together than it was -
MARSHALL: -- a couple of weeks ago because the bill is actually getting more popular. So -- and there`s lots of - lots of people -
O`DONNELL: Meaning the affordable care act before replace.
O`DONNELL: I mean polling low over 50, we haven`t seen that.
MARSHALL: Exactly. And there are a lot of republicans in swing districts who are like we`re not doing that again. We`re done. So I don`t -- I don`t know what they`re thinking. I think it`s - I -- the best I can figure. This is an attempt.
It`s very damaging for Trump that he, after, you know, all of this, he failed to repeal Obamacare. He controls the entire government, what happened. If you look at the fall in his leadership numbers, I think it`s that. So, I think to some extent this is what they`re trying the to do here, say we didn`t fail. We`re still working on it.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.
MARSHALL: He didn`t realized that.
O`DONNELL: Well that - that is Sabrina that`s what you`re suppose to do. You never suppose to admit that you quit on legislation unless congress runs out and it`s election time. And so whenever these things happen, no one ever gives the, "i quit" statement the way Trump did on the day they - that he quit and the way Paul Ryan did. They always pretend we`re going to keep trying and then they just stop talking about it and no one ever catches them quitting.
SIDDIQUI: Right and I think that Josh`s point is important, because the fact of the matter is, that the more time that passes by, the more popular the affordable care act becomes. There`s actually a new poll out this evening from Kaiser Health, showing that three quarters of the American public believe that the republicans and Donald Trump should just work with the existing health care law. And that includes a slim majority of 51 percent of republicans.
So, that`s striking when you think about how much republicans have made repealing and replacing Obamacare, a centerpiece of their agenda. Where they`re actually losing their own constituents when it comes to meeting that goal and then you have the fact, you know, the White House has kind of come back into the table after Donald Trump was threatening members of the house Freedom Caucus just days ago on twitter.
So he doesn`t exactly have public opinion on his side nor has he really built relationships on Capitol Hill to actually have the kind of support that he would need to move something this big as with healthcare.
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s look at what happened to his leadership polling, Quinnipiac Poll all voters, 40 percent, now, only 40 percent say that he has good leadership skills, 55 percent no. That`s basically reversal of back when he was a candidate, December 2015 58 percent said he had strong leadership skills. 39 percent said that he didn`t and certainly losing the healthcare bill is part of the collapse of those leadership skills. Josh Marshall and Sabrina Siddiqui thank you both for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.I
SIDDIQUI: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank You.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, more advertisers banning -- abandoning Bill O`Reilly amidst this flood of accusations about sexual harassment cases and how FOX News and Bill O`Reilly Have combined to pay at least - at least $13 Million in settlements to his accusers. And now O`Reilly is threatening one of those accusers. We`ll see how you feel about that.
O`DONNELL: 38 years before Kelly Anne Conway got the title of Trump campaign manager. Susan Estrich became the first woman in a major party presidential campaign to get the title campaign manager. And unlike Kellyanne Conway, she actually was the campaign manager of Michael Dukakis, 1988. Susan Estrich ran an honorable campaign for an honorable candidate.
Now she`s doing something else. She is running the campaign to keep Roger Ailes out of jail. She is one of the lawyers representing Roger Ailes who was fired from FOX News because Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment and won a quick settlement from FOX News of $20 million. Susan Estrich called Gretchen Carlson`s accusations baseless.
Fox News is now being investigated by the justice department for possible criminal violations in disguising millions of dollars in settlement payments in sexual harassment cases against Roger Ailes and Bill O`Reilly. Susan Estrich`s job now is to say things that she cannot prove about women who make sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes. She uses words like "hogwash" to describe those claims even though she wasn`t in the room when these incidents occurred.
She could reasonably provide public statements made by Roger Ailes himself denying the charges, but Susan Estrich goes way beyond that. She claims personal knowledge that she does not have, that the charges are untrue. When Megyn Kelly said that she was harassed by Roger Ailes, Susan Estrich said Roger Ailes has never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly.
Susan Estrich does not know that. Mark Fabiani a former Clinton White House laywer is now one of the lawyers defending Bill O`Reilly against his many accusers, another proof that sooner or later most political operatives are for sale. Wendy Walsh told her story of harassment by Bill O`Reilly to the "New York Times" on Sunday because she has not sued Bill O`Reilly and therefore it has not signed a settlement agreement for millions of dollars that prevents her from speaking about O`Reilly.
Today another O`Reilly lawyer tried to shut her up. Attorney Frederick Newman threatened to sue Wendy Walsh for "defamation of mr. O`Reilly`s character." As if mr. O`Reilly had not already defamed his character enough on television, as if mr. O`Reilly had never been accused of brutality by his wife in divorce proceedings.
Let`s send O`Reilly`s lawyer a message about what the jury pool might look like if he ever wants to put Bill O`Reilly`s character on trial. I`m going to send a Tweet right now, ready to go, that I`d like you all to retweet so that O`Reilly gets the message. It`s going to say hey, O`Reilly, please, please sue me, too because I nelieve Wendy Walsh.
Retweet this, if you agree. all right, here it goes. There it is.
Gabriel Sherman is going to join us next with the latest case filed against Fox News today.
O`DONNELL: Well you`re really moving this thing. We`ve got 12,000 retweets in three minutes on this tweet that I just sent, which is hey, Bill O`Reilly please sue me, too, because I believe Wendy Walsh retweet if you agree. Keep that moving. We have the O`Reilly factor on that Tweet.
It will get to Bill O`Reilly. He`s going to see that number. And Bill O`Reilly is running scared tonight and advertisers are running scared from O`Reilly show. The latest count is at least 15 advertisers have abandoned Bill O`Reilly`s show on Fox News after the New York Times expose this week, about the $13 million in settlements paid by Fox News and Bill O`Reilly in sexual harassment cases brought against O`Reilly.
The National Organization for women is calling on Fox News to fire O`Reilly and for the network to launch an independent investigation into its culture of sexual harassment. For the second night in a row, the famously combative thin-skinned O`Reilly was too terrified to say a word about the two days of extensive reporting in the New York Times about his costly behavior in the workplace. Joining us now, the man who wrote the book on Fox News, Gabriel Sherman, National Affairs Editor at New York Magazine and MSNBC contributor. He`s the author of the loudest voice in the room, How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and divided a country. Gab, quickly the new legal filings today.
GABRIEL SHERMAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well there was amended court filing where a third African-American employee at Fox News joined a racial discrimination case against Fox News. And what was so explosive about this the case against Fox News. In this filing, Monica Douglas, the employee, alleges that Diane Brandy, the Fox News General Counsel knew of this racial discrimination taking place and instead of firing the supervisor who was doing it she told the employee we can`t fire her she "knows too much".
This was a case where the General Counsel of Fox News was not pursuing action against an employee to protect her, ultimately to protect Roger Ailes when he was the CEO of the network. This was a case where the culture of Fox News allowed allegedly as this lawsuit shows bias and discrimination to take place in order to protect Roger Ailes at the top.
O`DONNELL: And this is a sidebar from the sexual harassment enterprise that was running over there. And it looks like Bill O`Reilly and Roger Ailes were the biggest participants in the sex harassment settlements that Fox News was constantly paying out.
SHERMAN: Yes and that as you pointed earlier that is what the Justice Department is looking at. You know Fox News is a public company and if their executives and anchors are paying women to settle these claims and not disclosing them to shareholders that could be a potential violation. And this to me speaks about a larger culture where the men at Fox News thought that they could act with impunity.
Women felt they had to conform to the male dominated culture. And now we are seeing the consequence of that almost a year after Roger Ailes`s ouster we have not seen a wholesale housecleaning or culture change at Fox News.
O`DONNELL: And O`Reilly going with the Trump technique of threaten the women. threaten the women. He is now threatening Wendy Walsh. She is one of the only people in the story who has not sued Donald Rrump, therefore she was legally free to speak. The others are bound by their multimillion dollar settlement agreements not to say anything. And so now Trump and his lawyers - I mean sorry. O`Reilly, although I`m not sure what the difference is. O`Reilly and his lawyers trying to threaten Wendy Walsh, scare her into staying quiet.
SHERMAN: That is true. But what I find so striking is while O`Reilly is making noises the network is not necessarily standing lock step behind him. You know we`ve sort of luke warm defenses of O`Reilly. Rupert Murdoch and the parent company at Fox News, 21st Century Fox has not rallied behind him. So I think you see and I`m writing a piece about this now where you see the network hedging and they want to see where this is going.
O`DONNELL: When a guy is making $18 million a year every day that you don`t fire him is rallying behind him. That`s what his bank account thinks. Gabe Sherman thank you for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Martin Luther Jr. will get tonight`s Last Word.
O`DONNELL: Another few minutes, another $10,000 retweets. We now have over 20,000 retweets of my tweet saying hey, Bill O`Reilly, please sue me too, because I believe Wendy Walsh Retweet if you agree. Wendy Walsh needs this kind of support, and I really appreciate you showing her this.
This is an O`Reilly tactic, threatening her with suing for talking about his sexual harassment of her, keep this public support going. That tweet is going directly to bill O`Reilly. He`s on that tweet. He`s going to see it. He`s going to see exactly how many of you deliver this message to him. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: Robert Walker and Eckel Cole were sheltering from a pounding rainstorm the only way they could. They huddled inside the scoop of the garbage truck they were riding on. That`s not them.
But that`s a photograph of the way that sanitation workers in Memphis dealt with the rain in those days. But the compressor suddenly malfunctioned and Robert Walker and Eckel Cole were swallowed in the belly of the truck. Their bodies were crushed and broken up amid all of the garbage that they had thrown into that truck.
They were killed. The horror and degradation were unbearable for their coworkers. They all walked off the job. They demanded the right to join a union. Their slogan resonated with Black and poor Americans everywhere.
It was simply, I am a man. That`s why Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis on this very day in 1968, the last day of his life. Dr. King flew in and out of Memphis several times during the sanitation workers` strike. The day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Dr. King returned to Memphis to lead a protest march with the strikers.
He told the story that night before his last day -- he told the story of how he almost died years earlier when he was stabbed at book signing in New York City. He spoke to a huge audience that night, and he told them about the airline pilot on his flight from Atlanta that morning who told Dr. King that the plane had been thoroughly searched for bombs because they knew he was reserved on that flight.
The pilot told Dr. King the plane was guarded all night. And then, the night before the last day of his life, Dr. King spoke his final public words.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, MINISTER: We as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I`m happy tonight. I`m not worried about anything. I`m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. 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 ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.