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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 4/10/2017

Guests: Malcolm Nance, Steve Clemons, Joan Walsh, George Will

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: April 10, 2017 Guest: Malcolm Nance, Steve Clemons, Joan Walsh, George Will

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Unlikely Republican to just -- to the granular level. They`ve been tracking these races from day-to-day, predicting how likely they are to tip in a certain direction.

Today, Cook moved this Kansas race tomorrow towards the Democrats. Moved it from likely Republican to just lean Republican.

They moved the Georgia race to a toss-up. That seat hasn`t been held by a Democrat in nearly 40 years. No Democrat has held that seat since it went to Newt Gingrich in 1979.

Now Georgia says it`s a jump ball, toss-up. Early voting is already happening in that Georgia race. Polls open tomorrow morning at 7:00 in the Kansas special election.

This is going to be fascinating to watch. We will bring you the Kansas returns tomorrow as we get them. That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey, Rachel, so do American governors understand that when Rachel Maddow starts talking about them, they have like days left -- like the clock starts ticking on --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: The courthouse?

MADDOW: It`s been a little weird over the years.

O`DONNELL: And Bob McDonald --


O`DONNELL: I wasn`t paying attention to Bob McDonald. You`re on it and suddenly he is on trial. Here we have everything I know, everything I know about Governor Bentley in Alabama.

I have learnt from you because you`re on TV the hour before me. Everything I know. I haven`t read a single article about it, everything came from you.

And tonight I watch him plead guilty on your show, surrender to the lieutenant governor.

MADDOW: I know. You know, Lawrence, I promised tonight on the air that -- well, I didn`t promise. But I indicated that I`m likely to never play his super gross-out sex tape again.

But if you would like to borrow it, I am no longer going to use it.

O`DONNELL: No, I`m just -- I still have your version of it --


O`DONNELL: On a loop --

MADDOW: Oh, yes --

O`DONNELL: In the office. But Rachel -- but seriously, the next time you start talking about a governor, can you in the first report give us your best guess about when that governor will be going to court? Like exactly how long it will take.

MADDOW: It`s a weird class picture that we`ve got up on the wall. And like -- it`s like, you know, Kitzhaber in Oregon and Blagojevich in Illinois and McDonnell and Chris Christie in bridgegate and now Bob Bentley, I know, it`s --

O`DONNELL: But you alone were on Bentley. You alone. No one else saw anything there that was yours.

MADDOW: I just think he`s cute.


O`DONNELL: There had to be a reason, thanks, Rachel.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Lawrence. Well, Donald Trump`s national security adviser wants to know what did Vladimir Putin know and when did he know it? .


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what the Trump doctrine is on foreign policy?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I think the Trump doctrine is America is first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anything, the doctrine would be impulsiveness.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you`re an adversary of the United States and you don`t worry about what Trump may do on any given day --


GRAHAM: Then you`re crazy.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: It`s really unclear now what the U.S. policy is going forward.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We`re hopeful the Syrian people in fact will determine Bashar al Assad`s fate.

NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad as the head of the Syrian government.

SPICER: If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people, I think you`d see a response from this president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The air base that Donald Trump hit on Thursday, the Syrian regime has already flown a couple of planes out of it.

GRAHAM: What I think Assad is telling Trump by flying from this base -- f- you.

TILLERSON: We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.

HERBERT RAYMOND MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: Ask Russia, how could it be that you didn`t know that the Syrian Air Force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?


O`DONNELL: The "Associated Press" tonight has dueling anonymous statements from the White House in the same article.

One saying that the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria`s chemical weapons attack.

And the other source saying "no final American determination has been made that Russia knew ahead of time that chemical weapons would be used."

There is no way to know which one of those statements is true. What no one in the White House is saying anonymously or otherwise is that we know that Russia did not know about the chemical attack before it occurred.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster sounds like he doesn`t believe it is even possible that Russia did not know about the chemical attack ahead of time.


MCMASTER: What we should do is ask Russia how could it be if you have advisors at that airfield that you didn`t know that the Syrian Air Force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?


O`DONNELL: That`s the question that I asked on this program Friday night. How could it possibly be that Vladimir Putin did not know that his client, Bashar al Assad was going to use chemical weapons?

Chemical weapons that Vladimir Putin had promised the world no longer existed in Syria. How could Assad dare to expose the fact that he still had chemical weapons without Vladimir Putin`s permission to do that?

General McMaster`s question then raises another question. Why? Why would Vladimir Putin authorize the use of chemical weapons in Syria?

Why would President Assad use chemical weapons when he was doing a perfectly good job of killing people, bombing hospitals, killing babies without chemical weapons?

Another vitally important question is did the Trump administration do anything to indicate to President Assad and President Putin that they were so intent on not intervening in Syria in any way that Putin and Assad could get away with anything.

A week before the attacks, Rex Tillerson was saying that President Assad`s future should be decided by the Syrian people.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, JOURNALIST: Are you worried at all that was taken as a green light by Assad to launch that chemical attack?

TILLERSON: George, I don`t -- I don`t see how that could be the case. You know, this is not the first chemical attack launched by Assad.

In fact, there were two other chemical attacks. So this was just the latest of a series of violations.


O`DONNELL: The other two attacks were minor compared to last week`s attack. And they occurred before Rex Tillerson publicly said that in effect he had no problem with anything Assad was doing in Syria.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Assad, should he stay or should he go?

TILLERSON: I think the status and the longer term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.


O`DONNELL: Senator John McCain believes that saying things like that was a deadly mistake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the administration did anything to encourage this behavior by the Syrians by saying that the Syrian people would determine Assad`s fate, and that removing him is not a priority.

Things that were said before the use of chemical weapons?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think it probably was partially to blame. And I -- and Secretary Tillerson basically saying the same thing after kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy.


O`DONNELL: So how does the Trump administration really feel about regime change in Syria?


HALEY: A regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.

In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad as the head of the Syrian government.


O`DONNELL: And so tonight, the Trump doctrine of foreign policy is finally clear. It was enunciated today by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Italy and Sean Spicer at the White House.


TILLERSON: We`re going rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.

SPICER: We`re not just going to become the world`s policeman running around the country -- running around the world.

But that we have to have a clear and defined national interest wherever we act. And that it`s our national security first and foremost that has to deal with how we act.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Steve Clemons; editor-at-large at "The Atlantic" and an Msnbc contributor.

Also with us Malcolm Nance; Msnbc counterterrorism and intelligence analyst and Joan Walsh; national affairs correspondent at "The Nation" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Malcolm, first to you on the question of what did Vladimir Putin know and when did he know it?

Do you share General McMaster`s feeling that it seems to him very hard to believe that Assad would have used chemical weapons without Putin knowing it ahead of time?

MALCOLM NANCE, MEDIA COMMENTATOR ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, INTELLIGENCE, INSURGENCY & TORTURE: Yes, I share his point of view. And there`s a reason that I do so. Principally because Shayrat Airfield is a very small airfield.

It has two runways, it has 25, you know, hardened revetments. When you use a chemical weapon and you put it onto an aircraft, you actually have to do very special handling.

You have to have decontamination units that follow the aircraft, everybody has to be wearing gas masks.

You do not want to be on the flight line if one of these things exposes, right? So the Russians would see all of this coming from the arsenal, move on to the aircraft, go to a special handling area, use special aircraft controls for it to take off, and then fly off on to its target and delivery.

There is no way Russia could not have known that. Also, we may have intelligence that comes from the ground on that base from the Syrian level that indicates that they were either operating with the Russians, maybe the Russians were operating the decon units, decontamination units, but there is just no way.

We have -- probably have very good intelligence. And I`m certain that comes from the McMaster side. The political side is saying we don`t know.

So I`m going to go with the McMaster camp on this one.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, if you go to the spot where Vladimir Putin was aware of the chemical weapon attack ahead of time, told Assad it was OK in effect.

Both of those men, Putin and Assad had to think then what? Then what happens? What does the United States do? What does President Trump do?

STEVE CLEMONS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE ATLANTIC: I think Vladimir Putin had - - if he knew, and we`re speculating here. But if he knew he had one of two things on his mind.

One was to test the Trump administration. I think there are a lot of players out in the world that want to test the Trump administration and see what he`ll do or to change the conversation in the United States, and that gets very creepy if you go down that road.

But I think that to some degree, you know, I agree with everything Malcolm said, but perhaps more fervently, Syria is a wholly-owned Russian, you know, subsidiary. Nothing --

O`DONNELL: Right --

CLEMONS: Happens in that country without Vladimir Putin really signing off and knowing -- you know, Assad doing what he did is an embarrassment to Russia if Russia were in fact concerned with the notion that they were supposed to have rid Syria of all of its chemical weapons.

So in my view, Putin was either changing the conversation here in this country on the Russia investigation of things or he was testing Trump.

And that takes it down this course. Because if you look at the attack that we made with those tomahawk missiles, it was a polite attack.

We didn`t crater the runway, we used excuses of the cost of the tomahawk missiles as an excuse for that.

We made sure that most everyone was out of the way. It was a polite attack. It was a pinprick. And so it -- you know, if it was in fact supposed to be a deterring effect to preempt any further use of chemical weapons or the kinds of assaults against civilians that Bashar al Assad was launching, then I think it was a failure.

And so we`re left with this conundrum.

O`DONNELL: And Joan, everything Steve just said, I was raising Friday night on this program --


O`DONNELL: And the next day, "The Washington Post" was absolutely outraged that the question could even be asked.

They did this story, I don`t know if it was in the print edition or online, saying that I was advancing a conspiracy theory when I was asking a conspiracy question.

WALSH: Right.

O`DONNELL: Which is a different thing. Steve just took a stronger position on it than I did. So Steve, I`m warning you --

CLEMONS: I was speculating -- I was saying in speculation --

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly --

WALSH: Right --

O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" is --

NANCE: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Coming to get you because apparently --

CLEMONS: I`m not saying that happened.

O`DONNELL: I understand, I understand. But apparently as of Saturday morning, "The Washington Post" and others in the media were not even slightly interested in the question --

WALSH: Right --

O`DONNELL: That General McMaster raised. Without him raising it, I`m not sure anybody --

WALSH: Would take it through --

O`DONNELL: Would have gotten into the question of what did Vladimir Putin know in advance of this attack?

And I have to say from the start, as I was watching the attack, it was inconceivable to me that Vladimir Putin would not know before Assad did this, which then raises that question of motivation.

And I think the lines that Steve just drew are the hypothetical lines from that motivation made perfect sense.

WALSH: They do. I mean --

O`DONNELL: It`s just a tragic sense.

WALSH: A tragic sense and we are speculating. But otherwise, this makes no sense.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s your alternative --

WALSH: I mean, this makes no sense. The facts that we have -- putting them together, it makes no sense.

If it`s not an air strike, it was like a Facebook poke back in the old days. They could use the -- they could use the airstrip within 36 hours.

They`re using -- and they are already using it. We don`t know if our policy has changed. Nikki Haley says one thing, yes, we`ve got to get him out.

And Rex Tillerson says something very different. Says the policy hasn`t changed, then says we are going to go around the world protecting people.

In this last clip you showed, which I hadn`t even seen.

O`DONNELL: It`s stunning. Yes, Steve, to that point, Rex Tillerson today saying that we rededicate ourselves to basically -- to rededicating ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against innocents anywhere in the world.

And then Sean Spicer says we`re not going to be the policeman of the world.

CLEMONS: No, it`s -- I mean, you know, in a certain sense, the explanation that Putin is testing this White House could very well be true because you`re seeing such odd, strange conflicting behavior and comments from people within, around Donald Trump.

And you`re seeing people like H.R. McMaster really rise. You`re seeing Nikki Haley as the Secretary of State we ought to have.

And Rex Tillerson perhaps should be sent to another, you know, embassy near Singapore. I mean, it`s one of these things when you sort of look at the demeanor and the posture, the comments from those around the president.

It`s clearly not being scripted. McMaster is asking exactly the right questions. He is putting forth exactly the right things.

And you see an independence of mind and critical thinking and asking all the right things. So I`m heartened by that.

I`m heartened by Nikki Haley and how she has done this. But I`m not -- you know, I have to say, you know, Tillerson to some degree, and he is going to be in Moscow, right?

He is going to be --


CLEMONS: Talking to Vladimir Putin which is another odd moment in all this, it is bizarre.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s as if they were basically being given oral exams about foreign policy. And Tillerson is just picking, you know, questions out of multiple choice possibilities.

Malcolm, what have the Russians learned about the Trump administration? What did Assad learn about the Trump administration last week?

NANCE: Well, I`ll tell you, they`ve gotten a lesson in futility out of this administration. That cruise missile attack, you know, and I`ve taken part in attacks, I`ve taken part in attack planning.

We fired off the missiles, we hit the targets we aimed at. It was the targets that we aimed at were -- had zero effect to disable or destroy that air base.

It had zero effect in killing or injuring any of the handling crews that actually affected that weapons attack.

And it did not kill anybody related to the launch and recovery of those aircraft. That`s a mission failure.

If you planned it that way, you planned for failure. Oh, finally, one other thing, we did not strike the chemical weapons.

We didn`t use any of the weapon systems we have in our inventory designed to destroy and consume chemical weapons with thermobaric effect.

We didn`t even try that. So the effect of that was to show that we have the ability to launch cruise missiles.

Which is ridiculous because we`ve launched thousands of cruise missiles in the last 15 years. But for the Russians and the Syrians, they see that Trump is just not playing serious.

And one other thing -- if I could just make one last point. When the Russians -- when the Syrians launched that chemical weapons strike using an aircraft, what did they intend to do other than to show -- project a message to the Trump administration via the Russians also that they have chemical weapons?

It had no tactical effect on the ground. It just killed civilians. They could have done that with regular bombs. That`s a strategic decision made by Assad and Assad can`t make that decision without Vladimir Putin.

They coordinated it, they tested it and then Trump responds by one, warning them that he was going to attack.

Letting them get off the base and not doing anything other than breaking up some concrete revetments --


NANCE: Mission failure.

O`DONNELL: And at the end of all of that, Donald Trump comes out on the right end of a poll. "Washington Post"-"Abc News" poll, do you support President Trump`s missile strike in Syria?

Fifty one percent support, 40 percent oppose. And Joan Walsh, when you`re writing the full story, that is one of the spots where it ends is that Donald Trump was able --

WALSH: Right --

O`DONNELL: To do something that the polls responded to in a positive way.

WALSH: And that, you know, pundits responded to for -- not all of us, but many of us in a positive way. Even some Democrats responded to it in a positive way.

It`s like there was this pent-up demand, Barack Obama didn`t do it, people were happy to see him do it.

Even though it makes no sense and there is absolutely no strategy, apparent strategy behind it. But people have such a low bar now for -- and seem to be invested in Donald Trump either making a pivot or appearing presidential.

That simply when he does a thing that other presidents have done like using missiles, he becomes presidential.

The real presidential thing in my opinion is often restraint and would have been in this case. But this poll -- you know, he`s got good poll numbers. That`s great.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to work on a break here, Steve Clemons, thank you very much for joining us --

CLEMONS: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Tonight. And Steve, let`s just double underline. You were not asserting facts or in your first answer tonight.

You were taking motivations and saying --

CLEMONS: Exactly --

O`DONNELL: Here is a logic set to apply to these possible motivations. We have to clarify that --

CLEMONS: Absolutely, thank you, Lawrence, for making that absolutely clear.

O`DONNELL: Apparently not all of our viewers in the press get that. Thank you, Steve. Coming up --

CLEMONS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Big news in the investigation into the 2016 hacking of our election. A hacker who could know a lot about it was arrested in Spain.

Malcolm Nance says that is a very big deal, and that`s why we`re going to cover it closely in the show with Malcolm Nance because when he says something is a big deal, it`s a big deal.

And President Trump promised that he would confront China on day one. This weekend, it wasn`t exactly a confrontation.

George Will will join us on the Trump presidency meeting reality once again.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For me, it`s been a very interesting experience. But in the end, I think it`s going to be an experience at least toward even better healthcare plan.

We`re going to go for a tax reform which I`ve always liked.



O`DONNELL: Here is how Donald Trump promised to deal with China during his presidential campaign.


TRUMP: I`ll bring back our jobs from China. We give state dinners to the heads of China. I said why are you doing state dinners for them?

They`re ripping us left and right. Just take them to McDonald`s and go back to the negotiating table, seriously.

I`m going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take unfair advantage of the United States and all of its companies who can`t compete will face tariffs and taxes to stop the cheating.


O`DONNELL: Well, the one thing he stuck to is he didn`t have a state dinner for the Chinese president but he didn`t bring him to McDonald`s either.

And he didn`t even have a negotiating table. He brought him to a restaurant owned by Donald Trump so that President Trump could make a profit while talking to the Chinese president during a dinner paid for by the United States government.

There was no announcement after the dinner about how many jobs the president of China was sending back to the United States, and President Trump did not declare China to be a currency manipulator.

There is no indication that President Trump came out of his meetings with the president of China with any change in United States policy toward China.


TRUMP: The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding. We look forward to being together many times in the future.

And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, George F. Will, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post."

We just heard the president say that a lot of very potentially bad problems will be going away. Does that take care of it for Trump voters that China has now been dealt with and the problems will be silently going away?

GEORGE WILL, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it`s not clear what you do to deal with China. Let`s say China keeps sending us inexpensive apparel, T-shirts, tennis shoes, et cetera.

Now you can slap, as he promised to do during the campaign a 45 percent tariff on that, but that raises prices for American consumers.

There are about 135,000 Americans in the apparel industry. There are about 45 million Americans living near or below the poverty line whose cost of living would go up if you did that.

Furthermore, if this is not a commodity specific tariff, but a national specific one that is directed at China specifically, then the apparel no doubt would no longer be made there.

It would be made in Bangladesh or in Vietnam or some other place. It would change the flow of goods into this country not at all.

O`DONNELL: Is there -- is there anything you`ve seen in the Trump administration that will -- that indicates any kind of change in policy with China?

WILL: Not that I`ve seen, other than if he says they`re manipulating the currency, they can always say they`ve stopped.

"They" meaning the Chinese or the American officials could say the Chinese have stopped. It is not entirely clear what constitutes manipulating the currency and how you prove it and how you prove that it has stopped.

O`DONNELL: This is another chapter of the Trump presidency meets reality. And in the reality of meeting with China, apparently President Trump couldn`t come up with any of the things or wasn`t capable of executing any of the promises that he made during the campaign.

We`re also seeing the discussion anyway of a possible revival after this congressional recess of the Republicans going back and trying to revive a healthcare reform bill again. Do you see any possibility there?

WILL: I do, because the freedom caucus, which is blamed not entirely accurately for the failure of the first version, believes that there are differences with the elite of their party, Paul Ryan and the rest and Kevin Brady that the differences are splittable differences in this case.

This isn`t like an issue like abortion where you`re either pro-life or pro- choice. These are splittable differences on subsidies, mandates, taxes, et cetera.

They didn`t like being blamed for this, the freedom caucus didn`t, and they`re -- I think they`re ready to deal.

And in fact, I have a feeling that if you took them into a dark room and said whisper what you really believe, that the leadership of the Republican Party would feel fortunate that the House Freedom Caucus with the complicity of a large number of moderate Republicans, Rodney Frelinghuysen; the chairman of the Appropriations Committee being the most conspicuous was just as glad that they got rid of what now turns out to have been an imperfect, immensely unpopular first draft of a repeal and replace piece of legislation.

O`DONNELL: It reminds me of a situation when I was working in the Senate where the House Ways and Means Committee was trying -- working mightily to get a bill moved out of the committee, and they finally did.

And the staff director of the committee said to me, I was just really glad to get this dead cat off my doorstep.

And it wasn`t going anywhere and it never did. But they really looked like they were working hard.

The tax reform crusade is high on the list. It`s a Paul Ryan favorite. President Trump had his own ideas about what they call tax reform.

It`s not clear at this juncture whether what we`re really talking about is a tax cut or a Reagan-style tax reform which actually didn`t cost the Treasury any money. What do you -- what do you see as possible there?

WILL: Well, first, what is not possible, Secretary Mnuchin and the Treasury Secretary has said he wants to get this done by August.

Now, there aren`t there many legislative days left that is when the actual Congress is in session between now and August.

There is a reason why it has been 31 years since there was comprehensive tax reform, 1986.

And the reason is that you`re not just picking one fight with the Americans, you`re picking lots of fights with lots of muscular factions.

Who are organized in defense of the wrinkles in the tax code, the various complexities that the factions either put in place or that were put in place to generate a faction that would be pleased and would therefore die in the last ditch in defense of that when the time came for the so-called simplification, that is the rationale for most tax reform.

Furthermore, the original proposal was the border adjustment tax, that meant that imports would be more expensive. So the first thing you do when you suggest the border adjustment tax, you pick a fight with world`s largest private sector employer Walmart.

Now the answer that was given by Paul Ryan and Brady and the others who support a border adjustment tax is don`t worry because the cost of goods might go up, but the dollar will appreciate in value 25 percent. So it will be a wash. And everyone will be made whole.

The problem with this is there are thousands of extremely bright people around the world engaged in currency speculation because it`s complicated. And you can`t be sure. If it were as simple as this, do this and the currency value will increase 25 percent. There would only be 10 people around the world doing this. In fact it`s complicate and no one knows.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I`ve never heard a legislative proposal`s success busy based on what will the future value of the dollar be, which you`d have to be able to predict for as listening as the existence of that border tax would be there. George Will, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

WILL: Glad to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a Russian hacker has been arrested, and his wife says it`s in connection with, quote, her words, "Trump`s victory". Malcolm Nance says this is a very big deal. and he is going to decode it for us.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.


O`DONNELL: Sounds like Russia was listening, an alleged Russian hacker described as one of the most wanted cybercriminals has been arrested in Spain at the request of authorities in the United States. Pyotr Levashov was detained over the weekend in Barcelona on charges related to scamming and data theft. U.S. officials have yet to link him directly to Russian interference in the November Presidential Election.

But he is the latest suspect to be caught in a global operation to gather intelligence about that interference. That investigation continues as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes his first diplomatic trip to Moscow tomorrow. Here is what Secretary Tillerson said yesterday about whether he will bring up Russia`s role in the election.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATES, UNITED STATES AMERICA: We will continue to talk with them about how this undermines any hope of improving relations not just with the united states, but it`s pretty evident that they are taking similar tactics into electoral processes throughout Europe.


O`DONNELL: Malcolm Nance is back with us. Malcolm, you are now in effect a producer of the show because what I heard today was Malcolm really wants to talk about this. He said it`s a really big deal. So go ahead. Take us through it.

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, every once in a while it`s good to get into the minutia of the Cybersecurity and Cyber Intelligence world. And most of the time we just want to talk about the big picture but every once in a while there is a key point of intelligence that comes up. And today one of the -- I think one of those key points of intelligence has come up.

The Department of Justice had the Spanish arrest a King of Spam, a Russian by the name of Pyotr Levashov. And he mastered what are called botnets. And botnets are the things that send out billions upon billions of spam messages all throughout the internet.

And they arrested him today. But the way it looks is his wife made a statement to the effect that he developed a virus which may have been related to using this botnet work to send out spam or deny messages to go around through the use of these botnets during the Trump campaign and possibly related to Trump campaign itself. We don`t know that. However, it`s very much akin to how Elliot Ness went after the untouchable, right?

They didn`t go after, you know, Al Capone himself after he eluded them for so long. They went after his accountant. So by getting this Spam King, this Russian Spam King and at least four other of his associates around the world, this is where I`ve said for a very long time that intelligence turns into evidence.

And we are now at the point where the Department of Justice and the U.S. Intelligence Community appear to have started to dismantle this Russian cybercriminal network around the world which in fact may have been the facilitators for the Russian hacking of the U.S. Election. And that means they`re going to get evidence.

O`DONNELL: But Malcolm, they arrested this guy in Spain today. That`s not an action that the United States takes lightly. It`s not an action that they can easily convince other countries to do, just reflectively because the United States would like to it happen. Tell us what the seriousness indicator is just of the very fact that the united states reached into Spain to get this guy.

NANCE: Well, actually, they`ve been going after him for some time. And he wasn`t leaving Russia. They saw an opportunity this time. However, there appears to have been a lot more impetus to get him now, him and at least four other associates who run these global cybercriminal enterprises around the world.

What I call the criminal bearers, right? They tend to be the principle subcontractors for Russian intelligence. Vladimir Putin allows them to do whatever they want, steal whatever they want from credit card numbers to billions of accounts and make money off of it so long as when mother Russia calls, they actually come and do the bidding of Russia. This guy Levashov, he actually was responsible for taking down part of the Estonian Internet as one of the first major Cyberwarfare operations just because of his loyalty to Russia several years ago.

And since then, he has just turned into a global cybercriminal. But now since the investigation of the U.S. Intelligence Community over the Russian hacking, it appears that we are accelerating raking up all of these cybercriminals around the world. So that is very, very significant. And the only thing you can do now is when they`re extradited back to the United States, they`re not going to have the protection of Russia anymore. Which means they`re going to have to talk to us and start cutting deals with us to let us know precisely what they know about this election hacking.

O`DONNELL: Malcolm Nance, you had me at Al Capone`s accountant. You`re right. This is a very big deal. Thank you very much for bringing it to our attention. And thanks again, Malcolm.

NANCE: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, big update in the Bill O`Reilly sexual harassment crisis at FOX News. Fox news is now officially investigating Bill O`Reilly.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In one or two sentences could you please give me the primary reason for your report?

WENDY WALSH, AMERICAN RADIO HOST: Yes, in 2013 I experienced sexual harassment as a job applicant at Fox News channel by an employee named Mr. Bill O`Reilly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The person that you`re wishing to report is first name Bill, B-I-L-L?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: how do you spell his last name?

WALSH: Capital O apostrophe, capital R-E-I-L-L-Y.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you and what is his title?

WALSH: He is a television host.


O`DONNELL: That was Wendy Walsh and her attorney Lisa Bloom. And now Fox News has announced that it is officially investigating sexual harassment complaints against Bill O`Reilly. The company is using the same law firm that conducted investigations on multiple sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes, including Gretchen Carlson`s claim that led to a $20 million settlement for what Gretchen Carlson had to endure with Roger Ailes at Fox News.

As a result of that investigation, Roger Ailes was fired from fox news. 80 companies now, 80, have dropped their advertising from Bill O`Reilly`s show. Once again tonight, Bill O`Reilly had nothing to say about the sexual harassment allegations on his show. Fox News has not made public the findings of its investigations of Roger Ailes and has made no promises to make public its investigation of Bill O`Reilly.

When Wendy Walsh told her story of being sexually harassed by Bill O`Reilly to "The New York Times," O`Reilly`s lawyer then threatened to sue Wendy Walsh. I then immediately tweeted, "Hey, Bill O`Reilly, please sue me too because I believe Wendy Walsh." I asked for people to retweet that. And well over 55,000 of you did that. Looks like Fox News got that message.

And we have not heard another word from Bill O`Reilly`s lawyer about suing Wendy Walsh, even though she continued to tell her story last week on this program and other news networks. So how long can Fox News hang on to Bill O`Reilly? Or how long can Bill O`Reilly hang on to Fox News? That`s next.



ALEC BALDWIN, AMERICAN ACTOR: I actually see a lot of myself in you, Bill.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for coming to my defense last week, even though no one asked you to. And you even went as far as saying, quote, Bill O`Reilly did nothing wrong.

BALDWIN: That`s correct.

BALDWIN: That`s based upon?

BALDWIN: Hunch. Just a loose hunch.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Angelo Carusone, president of media matters and organizers of the stop O`Reilly campaign, and back with us, Joan Walsh. First of all, Alec Baldwin`s O`Reilly is amazing. That is just -- it was incredible.

JOAN WALSH: AMERICAN AUTHOR: It might be better than Trump.

O`DONNELL: But -- but it was such a good point that Donald Trump rushed to Bill O`Reilly`s defense last week, saying among other things he didn`t think O`Reilly had done anything wrong. And I think that`s probably -- that is true, right?

WALSH: True, yes.

O`DONNELL: Of course Trump doesn`t think there is anything wrong in what he read?

WALSH: This is what you do, you`re a star and you get to grab people and you get to harass them and or you know not harass they -- they`re are probably happy that you are doing it. No and I think it`s so interesting that it`s Ailes and O`Reilly and Trump who we now know have done these hideous things. Facing off against Hillary Clinton, you know, the -- the trauma.

O`DONNELL: All best buddies those three.

WALSH: Right the three of them best buddies. Facing off, destroying this women, the trauma for so many American women watching this. And -- but also the really great sense of pleasure we have now that 52 advertisers have bailed is -- is tremendous. So I want to thank Angelo for all the work that he has done to make this happen.

O`DONNELL: Angelo what is the number now of -- of advertisers that bailed out.

ANGELO CARUSONE, MEDIA MATTERS PRESIDENT: So the number that have given public statements is 82. And the reason why I say public statements is because there are many, many more that have actually withdrawn their ads but just haven`t given public statements yet. And that`s reflected in the fact that right he only has a quarter of the commercials that he typically has during a typical evening.

Usually he has about 40 ads. He has 10 or 11 right now and they are very low quality.

O`DONNELL: So Angelo what are they -- what are they doing in the ad space? Are they running promos for Fox News shows?

CARUSONE: Yes, they are. They`re just running a lot of promos and my favorite one is they often run multiple times how Bill O`Reilly dominates cable news. And so you will get a commercial for an ear wax you know cleaner and then a bunch of random Fox promos some of which are cobbled together and it`s in the even the full promo and then them bragging about how Bill O`Reilly dominates cable.

O`DONNELL: So Angelo take us through the business of this. How -- how this affects Fox, how long can this go on? What do you see on horizon.

CARUSONE: So I think the -- the big thing right now is that there is this notion out there that starts to percolate that somehow this has no effect. And I had worked on a campaign similar against Glen Beck and was able to acquire all of the advertiser data for the years after the advertiser losses started there to see exactly what happened on the inside and the result of that is Glen Beck never recovered.

The advertisers never returned. And most importantly, his ad rates were actually driven down. So the advertises that stayed with him like the famous Gold Line was paying a fraction of what it would have paid you know had none of that ever happened in the first place. And the result of that is they lost lots of money on Glen Beck. I did some of the back of the napkin math based off this recent numbers in my own sort of understanding of the data on the backend.

And I think where it stands right now, this year alone Bill O`Reilly is on track to lose somewhere between 37 and $42 million in advertising revenue for Fox News. Right away they are going to lose some serious money. And his program will never recover. The ads that come back will not pay the rates that they made. And I think that Fox News will try to sweep this under the rug like they`re doing with this investigation.

And that they are trying to make it seem like they got the handle on it. But at the end of the day there hasn`t been any accountability. They have a deeper -- deeper culture there and that`s what advertisers are reacting to. The worry and the fear that Fox has mismanaged this and that there`s more to come, it`s a real business risk decision and it`s also deeply inconsistent with core values of any business.

This cannot be tolerated in a workplace, period.

O`DONNELL: Joan, Mark Fabiani who used to work in the Clinton White House is now one of the lawyers for Bill O`Reilly proving that with political hacks if you watch them long enough, they will do -- they will do anything for money. He gave this -- Fabiani put out this statement today. Paul Weiss is already retained by company to look into all hotline calls. So it`s inaccurate to say that Paul Weiss has been brought in specifically for this matter.

In short, there is nothing special about the way this hot line call is now being handled. And so the question is how will it be handled? How will this investigation be handled? And what does the public have a right to demand from this investigation?

WALSH: I don`t know that the public has a right to demand anything with these people. They -- they don`t care about our values. So I don`t feel really optimistic that we are going to find anything out. But you know what I really don`t understand, Lawrence, how things moved so quickly for Roger Ailes but they are really not moving at all for Bill O`Reilly.

Is it that his ratings are just so, you know, stupendous. We are hearing that he`s keeping his audience, which is -- which kind of sadly makes sense.

O`DONNELL: When he gets caught in these sex scandals his audience actually goes up --

WALSH: It goes up.

O`DONNELL: -- in the first week always. Because they want to see what he is going to say. I think he`s now proven to them he is too afraid to say a word.

WALSH: Right so maybe --

O`DONNELL: -- so -- so that curiosity factor will level off.

WALSH: Right but there is a certain loyalty to him. And he has been you now grandpa scold and Mr. Morals for so long you know coming into your consciousness by attacking Bill Clinton for his bad behavior. It`s just really juicy to watch. But I don`t know -- and I don`t know how Fox avoids making some kind of move -- move at this point. I agree --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Angelo.

CARUSONE: No I was going to say, you know these investigations are actually really -- they are actually rather disgusting because Paul Weiss is not just there to do the -- to sort of create this place where they can then get to the bottom this thing. But just like with the Roger Ailes thing they are representing Fox News legally which means this is not an open forum for people to come forward. And that`s why Fox News is under investigation, not just because they didn`t disclose all of the settlements because of Roger Ailes, they didn`t do what they need to do, their obligations to their shareholders. I think this is a risky business for them.

O DONNELL: Sounds like a criminal investigation is the best hope for finding out what has really gone on at Fox News. Joanne Walsh and Angel Carusone thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

JOANNE WALSH: Thank you Lawrence.

CARUSONE thank you.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.



TED Yoho, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I don`t believe the Federal Government should have a role in providing health care for everybody. I understand that.



O`DONNELL: President Donald Trump is way, way ahead of President Barack Obama On the one thing that Donald Trump cares about most but he doesn`t even know that he is way ahead of President Obama on it.


TRUMP: Obama -- it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf, 250 round, that`s more than a guy who plays on the PGA tours plays. He played more government that is year than tiger woods.


O`DONNELL: He was lying, of course, because he was speaking. President Obama averaged about 35 rounds of golf per year.


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