Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Date: April 12, 2017 Guest: David Nir, Wesley Clark, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Michael Crowley, Tim Mak, Eli Stokols, Ana Marie Cox, Lisa Bloom, Wend Walsh
DAVID NIR, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, KOS MEDIA: Sanction and it`s been this amazing -- "Daily Kos", we like to lead by example. And that`s why we made these endorsements especially the early endorsement of Jon Ossoff where we infused a whole bunch of money into his campaign and got him a lot of attention.
And it`s been this amazing feedback loop leading to that $8 million haul that you mentioned. And I think that people are taking what we do seriously and taking what the grassroots is doing seriously.
And I feel surprisingly unified for the Democratic Party for sure.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: David Nir; political director for "Daily Kos", publisher of "Daily Kos" elections, Dave, it`s nice to see you, thanks for being here --
NIR: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right, that does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, as I was sitting here, thinking of buying the rights to the folk singer running for office movie.
I realize they made it. It`s called "Bob Roberts" --
MADDOW: Oh --
O`DONNELL: I don`t have time to check IMDB but it was the folk singer runs for office movie.
MADDOW: You know --
O`DONNELL: I figured which office --
MADDOW: And you know what? You can remake it even as like a high school drama level --
Somebody in the hat --
O`DONNELL: Right, everyone has forgotten the movie. So whom am I kidding? I`ve got to get those rights. Thanks, Rachel --
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump picked up some new converts today to the idea that he is presidential.
The converts had to overlook a couple of things he said today to reach their conversion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, we`re not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: I was here during the cold war that was pretty low.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: There is a low level of trust between our two countries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin and his government don`t even recognize there was a chemical weapons attack.
TRUMP: Young children dying, babies dying, fathers holding children in their arms that were dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putin asking --
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Where is the proof that the Syrian army used chemical weapons? There is none.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea that Russia now is going to see the light about Mr. Assad and remove him.
TRUMP: That`s a butcher, that`s a butcher.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is fanciful.
TRUMP: Right now, the world is a mess. By the time I`m finished, it`s going to be a lot better place to live in because right now it`s nasty.
We had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you`ve ever seen. And President Xi was enjoying it, and I said we`ve just fired 59 missiles - - this is during dessert.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: They`re doing it again. They do it every time. Donald Trump does not fall on his face as president of the United States.
And so today because Donald Trump stood beside the NATO Secretary General and said perfectly reasonable things about NATO that were of course badly phrased, the media is once again saying that Donald Trump is finally being presidential about foreign policy.
And they said that on the very same day that the most unpresidential elected official in American history said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to give everybody a good, fair chance. Director Comey was very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren`t, she would be right now going to trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The mad man is still loose in the White House, accusing President Obama of crimes, accusing Susan Rice of crimes, still accusing Hillary Clinton of crimes.
Crimes in Hillary Clinton`s case that the director of the FBI said could not be proved. Director James Comey studied Hillary Clinton`s State Department e-mail arrangement and could not find a crime that he believed she could be successfully prosecuted for.
He could not find any precedent for a prosecution. That`s what the FBI director said publicly. The FBI director is appointed to a ten-year term, but the president can fire him.
And there is the president of the United States today saying that FBI Director James Comey deliberately let Hillary Clinton get away with federal crimes.
And the president who says that is not firing that obviously criminal FBI director. That is madness from start to finish.
But there is more. In that same interview, Donald Trump said this about James Comey -- "I have confidence in him."
Of course, the president of the United States saying the FBI director let a Secretary of State get away with crimes would be the most massive story of most previous years of the American presidency.
But today it`s ignored because the miracle happened. Donald Trump stood at a podium and didn`t fall on his face.
He said nothing outright stupid about NATO, which means he did not say one word about NATO that he said every day on the campaign trail about NATO.
In his press conference with the NATO Secretary General, the president was asked the key question about last week`s chemical attack in Syria.
"Did Vladimir Putin know about the attack before it occurred?" And of course, of course Donald Trump gave Vladimir Putin the benefit of the doubt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you think it`s conceivable, what`s your instinct? Was it possible that Syrian forces could have launched that attack in Italy of last week without the Russians knowing?
And have you been disappointed, surprised by Vladimir Putin`s reaction since then? Thank you very much.
TRUMP: I think it`s certainly possible. I think it`s probably unlikely. And I know they`re doing investigations into that right now.
I would like to think that they didn`t know, but certainly they could have, they were there. So we`ll find out.
General Mattis is looking into it with the entire Pentagon group that does that kind of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Just take out the words "probably unlikely" from that answer. Donald Trump gave a good answer. I think it`s certainly possible, and I know they`re doing investigations into that right now.
You can even say I hope they didn`t know about it. But if you take out the "I think it`s probably unlikely", you end up with a perfectly normal answer.
I think it`s probably unlikely makes it the most pro-Putin answer that a president could give in response to that question today.
Those press conferences don`t allow follow-ups like why do you think it`s probably unlikely? Because to think it`s probably unlikely, someone has to give you some information about that.
Donald Trump insists he does not know Vladimir Putin. So it can`t be based on knowing that Putin`s not a bad guy or knowing that Putin is a bad guy when it comes to everything except chemical weapons.
Donald Trump doesn`t know that. Donald Trump said today that he changed his position to suddenly be in favor of launching a harmless missile strike that was guaranteed to do no damage in Syria in response to a chemical attack because he saw the victims of the chemical attack on TV.
Now that must mean he never saw the victims of any of the previous chemical attacks in Syria on TV when he was urging President Obama to not fire any missiles at Syria for anything that the Assad regime did, including using chemical weapons.
Here is the president of the United States outlining the Trump doctrine of "if you see it on TV, you got to do something."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everybody in this room saw it all too many times over the last three or four days, young children dying, babies dying, fathers holding children in their arms that were dead, dead children.
There can`t be a worst sight and it shouldn`t be allowed. That`s a butcher. That`s a butcher. So I felt we had to do something about it.
I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing. And it was very successfully done as you well know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Very successfully done. The missile attack did no damage. The Russians and therefore Syria were warned at least 90 minutes ahead of time where the missiles would be coming, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do once you have decided to fire those harmless missiles in this situation.
The warning was a very reasonable part of that mission. But the warning was given by the president who said he was never going to warn anybody what he was going to do militarily.
He still hasn`t told us what his secret military plan is to defeat ISIS, because he never tips his hand, never, unless he is going to fire missiles in the direction of any Russians who might be stationed at a Syrian air base.
Then he tips his hand only to them. The president`s most vivid memory now of that night when he ordered his first missile strike is of a piece of chocolate cake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was sitting at the table, we had finished dinner, we`re now having dessert, and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you`ve ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I just need to stop right here at this point to point out that a pathological liar lies when he is breathing.
There is simply nothing too small to lie about. And there is a language of pathological lying that always goes much further than it needs to go to make a point.
We believe that the chocolate cake at the Trump hotel that Donald Trump was making a profit on that night by having a United States government pay for it is very likely a nice piece of chocolate cake.
For a pathological liar, that`s not good enough. It has to be the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake.
But for a Trumpian pathological liar, that`s not good enough either. It`s not good enough that it`s the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that Donald Trump has ever seen.
Which is the most superlative way he could possibly have described that cake. The pathological liar isn`t satisfied with that. The pathological liar can`t be satisfied.
And so the pathological liar has to control your mind. The pathological liar has to tell you what you think.
And so the pathological liar will sit there and tell you that this piece of chocolate cake that you`ve never seen is the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you`ve ever seen.
Meaning that if you got a chance to see it, if you were lucky enough to see that Trump chocolate cake, you would agree.
I know you think this is nitpicking. This is a man whose brain cannot process the proper reaction to anything.
He cannot look at a piece of chocolate cake and put it in its proper place in the firmament of chocolate cake, wherever that is.
He cannot look at dying babies and react as a president must. A president must be able to turn away from the dying babies and make a presidential decision about what to do about the dying babies.
And every single president of the United States has had babies being murdered by horrible regimes around the world.
And the president, unlike the rest of us, has to decide what to do about that because the president is uniquely empowered to take actions that the rest of us cannot.
There are babies starving to death right now as we speak in the world tonight, but Donald Trump hasn`t seen pictures of them.
And so it hasn`t occurred to Donald Trump to offer any of the starving babies in the world even a crumb off of his plate of the most beautiful chocolate cake they have ever seen. They`ve never seen chocolate cake. They never will and Donald Trump will never see them.
Joining us now, General Wesley Clark; former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Senior Fellow at UCLA Berkeley Center.
Also Katrina Vanden Heuvel; editor and publisher of "The Nation" magazine.
And General, he stood up straight at the meeting with the NATO leader and said as far as I could tell, everything a president is supposed to say.
WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Now, I thought it was great that he said it. But I do have to say this, Lawrence, that when you change positions like this, and you`re the president of the United States, and after what was said during the campaign, the Europeans, they don`t really know what to think.
But over the last several months, what we`ve seen in Europe is shifts in the domestic politics of many of these countries where there are always some people who have had better relations with Russia through business or through personal ties or whatever.
And they`ve been strengthened. And those who cast their lot with the United States, they`ve been dubious and they`ve been pushed out.
And this is true all through eastern Europe, because what the United States president said -- says, it matters a lot.
And consistency and reliability by the United States, that`s what really counts. What do we say and then what do we do?
Policy is not -- it`s not a whiplash action. It`s not a statement at a press conference. It`s not standing up straight and sounding like the president.
It`s a well thought out program of statement, actions, relationships that`s built over a period of time that brings nations together.
And the thing about the United States is we`ve actually had -- with respect to Europe at least in the post cold war period in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Pretty consistent policy. And we`ve enlarged NATO because we knew that if we didn`t bring these countries in, we`d be creating a zone of instability between Russia and the traditional NATO allies.
And so step-by-step we did it. They joined the European Union. They wanted the protection of NATO to develop their economies through the European Union.
And that`s essentially where we`ve gone now. All that discussion during the campaign was lost on President Trump.
He never played in that. What he said was NATO was obsolete. The European Union wasn`t so good, Germany was taking advantages.
A lot of things that sowed a lot of doubt in the minds of the Europeans. So, he was in favor of Brexit, et cetera.
All of these things undercut the strength of America, the strength of our values, our consistency, our reliabilities now. And they empower Mr. Putin.
O`DONNELL: Katrina, what did we learn today about the Trump posture toward NATO and the Trump posture towards Syria?
What`s tomorrow in both or two weeks from now or two months from now in both of those cases?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, THE NATION: Very tough to tell. But you know, Wesley Clark understands that at the end of the cold war, the first cold war, think tanks around Washington had to --
O`DONNELL: Are you saying we`re now in the second cold war?
HEUVEL: We are. But the think tanks around Washington had debates about what is NATO`s mission now?
And I think it`s important to remember that people like Senator Nunn, Bradley, Gary Hart, many George Ken(ph) and the great diplomats opposed the expansion of NATO.
The alternative was an inclusionary European security architecture, not an exclusionary one. I would argue that it has led to more division.
Whatever Trump said as he stood by the leader of NATO, we are in an exceedingly dangerous moment, Lawrence.
We are facing three cold war fronts. A militarized Baltics, a Ukraine which is a proxy war and Syria, which we are now seeing there is no military resolution to Syria.
But I -- let me just say something which may sound theoretical. But it is neither pro Trump nor pro Putin and I am neither.
I`ve reported from Moscow for more than 30 years, stood with independent journalists, worked with NGOs to say that it is in the United States` national security interest to have a working partnership with Russia on nuclear issues, on a host -- on resolving the Syria conflict --
O`DONNELL: Anything even slightly discordant about that until this era of Trump --
HEUVEL: But there`s a --
O`DONNELL: Where he made everything Russian very strange in this country.
HEUVEL: But Lawrence, there is a demonization of those in this country today who argue that we need a de-escalation of conflict with Russia.
It is not pro-Trump nor pro-Putin. The Iran nuclear agreement, which I know your show has championed and which we must salvage from Trump and his generals who see Iran in the crosshairs would not have happened without Russia`s partnership.
So I just wanted to register that because it`s not crazy man Trump, it`s not authoritarian leader Putin. It`s about really the security of this country.
O`DONNELL: General Clark, the relationship with Russia that Katrina said we should be aiming for is what everyone agreed on right through the 1990s, well into --
O`DONNELL: Right up until the era of Trump where Russia then became this scandal section of our reporting which left almost no air for the kind of comment that we just heard.
That like let`s just remember, these personalities aside, the interference with this election aside, there is still a world in which we have plenty of interests with Russia that we need to have strong relations with them.
CLARK: We absolutely do need strong relations with Russia. But I do want to say this, Lawrence, that at the end of the cold war, I was there in `94 in the Pentagon and watching this.
And I went to eastern Europe and I had staff talks with the Russians. And the Russians made no bones about it.
They want eastern Europe back under their control. Now, this is a Russian military. I met with the top leaders in the Russian military in `94 and they told me what they wanted.
They wanted Latvia back under their control, that`s their port. In `98, I was in Moscow and the chief of the Russian general said we want our countries back.
These countries like Czech Republic, they belong to us, they`re our weapons. I was shocked by what he said because what it meant was that even before we ever decided that we would have to enlarge NATO, we never went through the real process when the iron curtain collapsed of reaching out to the Russians at all levels and trying to understand and bridge the gap.
We just didn`t do it.
O`DONNELL: Well, part of that understanding, Katrina, would have included the Russian view of NATO and how the expansion could feel threatening to Russia any way.
How much do we want them to feel threatened? How much do we want them to feel --
HEUVEL: But absolutely --
O`DONNELL: A partner.
HEUVEL: So Mikhail Gorbachev; the former leader of the Soviet Union is still alive. He was a visionary. He had a different idea for a united Europe.
A united Europe that -- NATO is a military alliance. NATO is not a tea party which requires a different residence in this country.
So the -- what was NATO`s purpose at the end of the first cold war? Its purpose became expanding to Russia`s borders.
But step aside. We are at an exceedingly dangerous moment, the Syrian air strikes which don`t seem to have any real coherence.
This president has not stated any coherent outcome. Has led Dmitry Medvedev the pro western leader in Russia to say that we`re on the verge of a military clash.
I think we need some sobriety because what you see with Trump is incoherence, chaos, crudity, contradiction.
And I think it`s incumbent upon particularly progressives to lay out a common sense security foreign policy that is not about an indispensable nation or policing the world.
I think we can do better with non-military solutions. Look at the front page of "The Times" today, famine, drought, refugees.
These are not going to be solved by military solutions.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to get a break in here now. Wesley Clark and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, thank you both --
HEUVEL: Thank you --
O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, new developments in the investigation into the Trump team`s connections to Russia especially Paul Manafort. Big developments on that front.
And what lessons will Republicans learn from last night`s congressional election in Kansas? Nate Silver says if the Republicans keep going like this, the Democrats will win over a 100 house seats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Speaking for the FBI, we`ll do everything we can to identify, investigate, and call out foreign efforts to influence our electoral process.
One of the most important things we can do is be transparent about efforts to interfere with our process because then those interference efforts lose some of their force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you present to President Putin or the foreign minister specific evidence the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election?
TILLERSON: As to the question of the interference with the election, that is fairly well established in the United States.
And I think that has been spoken to on the Hill as well with the Congress and it is a serious issue.
It`s one that we know is serious enough to attract additional sanctions. And so we are mindful of the seriousness of that particular interference in our elections.
And I`m sure that Russia is mindful of it as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s the front-runner for worst Secretary of State of all time, Rex Tillerson publicly admitting that he was afraid to discuss Russian interference in the U.S. election with the Russian foreign minister or with Vladimir Putin, or he wasn`t afraid to discuss it, he was ordered not to bring it up by -- I don`t know, his boss.
Or he just forgot to bring it up. Today, we learn from the "Associated Press" that former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is registering retroactively, years retroactively as a foreign agent for his work representing the pro-Putin government of Ukraine between 2012 and 2014.
Joining us now, Tim Mak; senior correspondent for "The Daily Beast" and Michael Crowley; senior foreign affairs correspondent at "Politico".
Michael, you`ve been mapping the Russian scandal map and all of the players. The Manafort news now is getting more complex by the minute.
Also the "Associated Press" reporting the off-the-books cash payments that we had already known something about.
They believe they`ve now got that locked down over a million dollars in that. And then there is of course the "New York Times" reporting that Paul Manafort recorded on the same day that he left the Trump campaign a shell company controlled by Manafort would receive $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Donald Trump.
I could go on and on, but Michael, where should the -- where should people be focused right now?
MICHAEL CROWLEY, SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, as you say, I mean I`ve mapped the connections between Trump and Putin, and it`s a whole spider web.
You could do just Manafort`s connections to Russia, Ukraine, these oligarchs, Cyprus banks, I mean it goes on and on.
I think the real focus is look, we -- it appears clear now he took cash payments from the Ukraine. But Ukraine isn`t the country that tried to influence our elections.
So what were his ties to the Kremlin? He does seem to have some connections to oligarchs who are very close to Vladimir Putin.
That`s what I would focus on for the purposes of this Russia investigation. Manafort has a lot of questions to answer to law enforcement in general.
I would say maybe the IRS, but when it comes to this Russia interference in the election, what are his ties to these -- particularly these oligarchs who have a relationship with Vladimir Putin.
O`DONNELL: And Tim Mak, whenever a story comes up focusing on an individual like Carter Page, Paul Manafort, people look at it and say who - - if the FBI closes in on this person, who might this person have to point to?
Whether they`re pointing to criminal conduct or just the FBI`s next lead to explore? And it seems like Manafort can point in a bunch of directions and Carter Page can too.
TIM MAK, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, DAILY BEAST: Yes, Paul Manafort has said, hey, I want to get in front of these investigations in the House and Senate and try to put out my side of the story.
And he certainly has a lot to explain. I mean, the narrative of his career over decades in Washington is not just these newest revelations about Ukraine.
I mean, he has a long history working in a firm and lobbying for various foreign governments that include despots, dictators, guerrilla groups, people like the government of Angola during a very violent time in that country`s history.
He has this whole career to explain with regards to lobbying for foreign governments.
O`DONNELL: And Michael, the -- Carter Page today saying that he refused to answer a question about whether he has been questioned by the FBI.
But if there was a FISA warrant that was aimed at him, we can certainly assume, can`t we, that the FBI has wanted to talk to him?
CROWLEY: Yes, I mean certainly that there is high interest in him. It would be surprising if they hadn`t questioned him.
You know, Carter Page here, I don`t know if people remember the movie "The Usual Suspects", my question is whether he is Verbal Kint or Keyser Soze.
He comes across as this -- and even looks a little bit like Kevin Spacey. He comes across as kind of this hapless figure and I don`t know anything and I got swept up from this whirlwind.
But then there are these intimations including this FISA warrant, the only one we know about so extraordinary that suggest he may be the key to everything if there was some elaborate conspiracy here.
Maybe this is the guy who is the link to Moscow. Right now it`s all unproven allegations, of course, but that`s what`s so fascinating.
He`s either kind of a nobody who has been in this hilarious way blown way out of proportion, or really may be the key to this whole thing in a very kind of sinister way.
O`DONNELL: Tim, why does Carter Page do interviews? He is really bad at it, as Chris Hayes showed here on this network.
Is it some ego thing where he actually thinks he does a good job in these interviews?
MAK: He doesn`t strike me as kind of a narcissistic individual. You know, but the weird thing is that he doesn`t want to stay silent.
He`s very easy to reach, it`s very easy to kind of shoot him a note or shoot him a text or give him a call.
He is very responsive to reporters despite all the heat that is on him. And that`s -- it`s really funny. I mean, at "The Daily Beast", we just reported that, you know, after the U.S. strikes in Syria, Carter Page sent a long e-mail saying that, you know, what will really solve this is closer U.S.-- Russia relations that he still despite all the heat that son him, he is still advocating for closer ties between America and Russia.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL: MSNBC HOST: Tim Mak, Michael Crowley, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
Coming up, Wendy Walsh will join us again on what is the first day of bill O`Reilly`s vacation, a vacation forced in large part because Wendy Walsh came forward to tell her story about sexual harassment by Bill O`Reilly. Advertisers have fled his show since then. And now looks like O`Reilly has left town. Wendy Walsh will join us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Republicans hung on this special election in Kansas last night, a Congressional election. By 7 points they won a congressional district that Donald Trump won by 27 points. Here is Nate Silver`s interpretation of that. If every district behaved like that, Democrats would gain 122 house seats next November.
That would mean the Democrats would have 316 members of the house to the Republicans` 119. We`ll know how soon the Republicans take the lesson of last`s election when they come back from their hard earned two-week recess. We`ll see if they continue to try to take health insurance away from 24 million people. The President told Fox News today that he`s still trying to do that, even though he publicly admitted defeat when he couldn`t get a vote on his bill this House of Representatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s been very much misreported that we failed with health care. We haven`t failed. We`re negotiating. and we continue to negotiate.
And we have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform. So we`re going to have a phenomenal tax reform. But I have to do health care first. I want to do it first to really do it right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`ll see what lessons the Republicans learned from last night`s election when they propose a budget. according to last night`s election results, the public has continued to do what they`ve been doing, in the immortal words of Richard Nixon, We will not have Republicans to kick around anymore. An anonymous republican staffer said this about Republican Health Care Bill that would get the support of most conservative republicans.
If we`re going let the freedom caucus get rid of coverage for preexisting conditions, we might as well give up the House right now. Those TV ads could be deadly. Not to mention how deadly it could be for people who currently have health insurance in this country. Ana Marie Cox, Eli Stokols will join us on what will the Republicans do next.
O`DONNELL: Here is something Donald Trump said he would do on day one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator. China is a currency manipulator. What they have done to us by playing currency is very sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Of course he did not do that on day one. Here is what Donald Trump said about China to the financial times ten days ago. When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, they are world champions. And then here is what Donald Trump said today on day 83 about China to The Wall Street "they`re not currency manipulators." Joining us now, Eli Stokols, Whitehouse Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
Also joining us Ana Marie Cox, MTV News, Senior Political Correspondent and host of the podcast With Friends Like These. Eli so, The Wall Street Journal has Donald Trump saying they`re not currency manipulators. As I understand it, he had this amazingly beautiful piece of chocolate cake with the President of China, and somewhere in that moment the President of China after the missile thing was discussed said oh, by the way, we`re not currency manipulators.
ELI STOKOLS, REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, you know, it was easy to scapegoat China last year when china need to convince blue collar workers across the rust belt that somebody was stealing their jobs and that he was going to fix it. Now he needs China to be an ally against North Korea. And so he is singing a different tune.
You had also today in the same interview with the Wall Street Journal with my colleagues he reversed his position on the export-import bank. Hours later, he went to the Whitehouse and stood up with the NATO Secretary you know how I said NATO was obsolete? Never Mind. NATO is not obsolete anymore.
So what you have after about 83 days is a President who campaigned very much as an anti-establishment disruptive force slowly adopting the conventional wisdom of Washington. And the posture of a much more establishment President here as he recognizes I think that all he really has to show for his first three months in office is a new Supreme Court Justice.
Didn`t get health care done. Didn`t get the travel ban done. And, you know, really going forward, he wants to move the ball forward. And so there is a real recalibration going on at the Whitehouse both on policy and internally as it relates to the team.
O`DONNELL: And just for the record, most foreign exchange experts agree with him now that China is actually not a currency manipulator. They have been in the past. there was a general agreement in the past that they were, but they haven`t been for a while. Let`s listen to Donald Trump`s very fair-minded, careful evaluation of his first 100 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have done so much for so many people. I don`t think that there is a Presidential period of time in the first 100 days where everyone has done nearly what we`ve been able to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Ana, he`s got 17 more days before he even gets to 100 days.
ANA MARIE COX, MTV NEWS, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I just wonder what a Presidential period of time means. I think that must be something like dog years, you know. You know, I don`t know how much he has gotten done during this time. But certainly a lot has happened.
That is for sure. And I think all Americans can agree it seems like it`s been a lot longer than 83 days. And we`re all, you know, pretty terrified about what can happen in next 17. You know what I think is really interesting, for a long time people were saying that the most important person, the most important adviser to Donald Trump was the person he spoke to last. I didn`t realize that also included the President of China.
COX: Literally, whoever spoke to him last is the most important adviser. No wonder according to reports this week I think there was one report that said aides are afraid to leave him alone. I think I get that now.
O`DONNELL: Eli, what do you expect the white house to take out of that election in Kansas last night?
STOKOLS: Well I mean the President claimed victory on Twitter their morning and congratulated the Republican who won by 7 points. This is a district that Trump won by 27 points. And so while publicly the message is all is well, they have to understand that there is a problem when Republican outside groups are having to pour millions of dollars at the very last minute in races in districts that should be a slam-dunk for republican candidates.
You`re seeing it play out again now in Georgia where a no name 30-year-old Democrat has raised $8.3 million without self-funding. That`s incredible. That`s a record. And it just shows you that 83 days into this presidency whereas the enthusiasm gap favored Donald Trump and republicans last fall perhaps, it is now clearly on the side of democrats as you pointed out earlier in the segment.
O`DONNELL: Eli Stokols, thank you very much for joining us. Ana Marie, please stay with us. I`d like you to join the discussion with Wendy Walsh when we come back to talk about the Bill O`reilly sudden vacation that looks like it was forced By Wendy Walsh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PERINO, FMR WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Hi I`m Dana Perino, in for Bill O`Reilly who is on vacation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When is the last time you started your April vacation on a Wednesday? When is the last time you had an April vacation? I mean I know people who do. I - I know it happens. But it`s unusual. Okay.
So how about this, when is the last time you had a big book coming out, debuting on the best-seller list, and you left town instead of doing every TV show you could to promote that book the way Bill O`Reilly does whenever one of his books comes out. You see him everywhere, the morning shows, the late night comedy shows. He does some of the political talk shows of the day.
And then he changes the subject on those shows to his books. And he sells enormous number of books every time. His new book is called "Old School" and it`s about how great the world used to be when everyone lived with old school values. It`s within of the books that believes the 1950s was the peak of civilization on earth. It`s one of the books that doesn`t know that civil rights wasn`t an old school value.
It`s one of the books that doesn`t realize that segregation was an old school value. The book actually lectures young men about taking no for an answer from young women, something there is no evidence that Bill O`Reilly has ever done. Not one woman Bill O`Reilly has ever known has come forward publicly for him in this point of crisis in his career and said Bill O`Reilly asked me out on a date once in the workplace, and I said no, and he was completely cool with it, and then he helped me get a promotion.
Not one woman has stepped forward publicly and said I know Bill O`Reilly, and Bill O`Reilly would never do what he has been accused of. Not one woman has said that. And what he has been accused of is harassing women to the cost of a minimum of $13 million in settlements paid for by O`Reilly and Fox news including an allegation that he called one woman at home while he was in his tub taking a bath, and he tried to engage her in sex talk, all caught on audio recordings.
That like good radio storytelling gives you a terribly vivid idea of what is going on in that room that you can`t see where the bathtub is. Wendy Walsh is the new element in the package of accusations against Bill O`Reilly should told her story recently to the New York Times and it changed Bill O`Reilly`s world. Advertisers have fled the show. He has lost more than 80 of them now.
Wendy Walsh was able to tell her story because she has not sued Bill O`Reilly. She has not entered in to a legal settlement with Bill O`Reilly for millions and millions of dollars that then prevents her from speaking publicly. Wendy Walsh`s story is the big new element in the case against Bill O`Reilly.
Much of the rest of that case was already publicly known. He survived it all until Wendy Walsh drove his ads away from that show and apparently drove Bill O`Reilly to a midweek vacation. Wendy Walsh and Ana Marie Cox will join us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Lisa is one of your messages for the Murdoch`s that there will be more women coming out publicly against Bill O`Reilly either filing lawsuits or doing interviews as Wendy Walsh has done.
LISA BLOOM, AMERICAN LAWYER: I think that that is likely Lawrence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Lisa Bloom, Wendy Walsh`s attorney. Joining us now Wendy Walsh a psychologist and radio host who used to appear on Fox News. She has accused Bill O`Reilly of sexual harassment. Back with us Ana Marie Cox. Wendy the - the vacation announcement came at a very surprising moment.
This when Bill O`Reilly would normally be doing the big promotion for his new book, which is maybe the most absurd book he`s ever released about the so-called old school values. As you`ve watched this, since the day your story came up in "The New York Times," it`s just now about two weeks ago, is this about where it felt like this was going?
WEND WALSH, AMERICAN RADIO HOST: No. I mean, the whole thing is surreal to me. I expected to have a quote in "The New York Times," and have then Trump do a tweet about something unrelated the next day and that the news media would turn towards that and it would be over. I certainly don`t have a dog in this race. And I want to say it over and over.
This is not me being vindictive against Mr. O`Reilly or Fox News. It`s just telling a simple truth, a simple authentic story of something that happened to me so that we as a nation can start to have some discourse about how to make workplaces safer for our daughters. So that we can teach young women, and young men, how to report sexual harassment.
To not be afraid to go to human resources. To have these things be taken seriously. Because I didn`t even know that I could report as a job applicant.
O`DONNELL: Wendy, I want to play something that Gretchen Carlson`s lawyer said about going to human resources. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should a woman immediately pick up the phone and call HR, and get it on the record on hello?
NANCY ERIKA SMITH, ATTORNEY FOR GRETCHEN CARLSON. Only if you think it would be good to call the KGB to complain about Putin. HR is not your friend. HR will not help you. The first call you make is to an attorney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Wendy, apparently you`re the first person to call Fox News HR about Bill O`Reilly. And you showed us the video of that just last week. And in all these years, no one`s -- according to Fox News -- made a call or made any complaint to hr about Bill O`Reilly.
WALSH: Well I`m also not clear how available that phone number was, or whether people were informed that there is no statute of limitations for an internal complaint. And that it can be done anonymously. So I did place the complaint along with my attorney Lisa Bloom helping me. And this past Monday was grilled for two hours by a cadre of Fox attorneys.
I didn`t think they were there to protect me, but they were very thorough. And they got lots of details out of me. And now they`re working to corroborate what happened.
O`DONNELL: Ana, I have to say, I agree with Wendy in the sense that I certainly wasn`t sure where this story was going when I saw the size of it. That "The new York Times" revealed it was an enormous story. And I thought, okay, this definitely dominates for the next 24 hours or so. But it looks like the -- the advertisers are the ones who, by leaving in significant numbers, every single day.
The advertisers are the ones who made this story continue to live. And it was people on twitter and social media talking to those advertisers who were pushing them to do that.
COX: Yes. I was going to say, the sleeping giant`s account on twitter that -- that was involved in getting advertisers off and congratulate them. They`re also working on Breitbart. And I just want to say I`m really glad that Wendy recognizes this as sort of - I mean I hate the term teachable moment, but this is a teachable moment. And it`s not just about reporting.
It`s about taking accusations seriously as a country taking them seriously in the media. Because I talked about this before on the show but one of the worst things that this kind of experience can do to a young person, or an older person, is teach you that what happened to you doesn`t matter. That you don`t matter. That your experience is not meaningful. And that you have no power.
So i just think it`s really important just to see this happening for anyone out there that`s had the same experience, that they`re not crazy, right? That this happened to you, and it`s important that it happened to you. And you are a worthwhile person that if it hurt you, your hurt matters. And I -- I just really want to thank Wendy for coming out and saying that. And I want to thank the way that you know the people have been covering it, and paying attention to that part of this story.
That women`s experience matters and is real.
O`DONNELL: Wendy, your last word on it for tonight?
WALSH: I want to thank all the amazing people in America who have tweeted me, posted on Facebook, gave me support, really it`s 98 percent of what I received. And I want to tell you one last thing, Lawrence, today I did speak with a woman who claims she was a victim. I tried to convince her it would be safe to come out. And at this point she`s just too afraid.
O`DONNELL: This is what Lisa Bloom has been telling us about, that there are other people out there who might be coming out. Wendy Walsh, thank you again very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. Ana Marie Cox, thank you for joining us tonight too.
WALSH: Thank you.
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