Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: June 26, 2017 Guest: Jay Michaelson, Evelyn Farkas, Stuart Thompson, Kurt Anderson
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: And the State Department trying to chase this done, but -- again, we do not know what this is about. The White House has not put out any supporting information nor have they made any officials available to explain this. Our producers at the Pentagon and the State Department are trying to chase this down but they can`t at this point get any supporting information yet either.
We`ll let you know as we learn more. That April 4th chemical weapons attack referenced in the statement of course was followed on April 6th by President Trump ordering 59 tomahawk missiles to be shot into Syria.
I don`t know if that`s what they`re sort of -- if that`s what they`re implicitly referencing here. But again, an unusual statement just moments ago from the White House Press Secretary.
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: Good evening Rachel. I`m hearing that statement as you read it, and this is one of those times where credibility in a White House really matters.
Credibility in the president really matters. Credibility in the president`s communications staff matters --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: And we have none of that --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: As we read a statement like that.
MADDOW: Yes, and it`s with something this serious, with something that is -- it`s hinting at some sort of military action that may be taken or at least is being threatened with this public -- I mean, you would usually expect there to be evidence rolled out with that.
You would expect there to be officials speaking on the record or in background to explain it, to help us give context, so we`re just not reading words where we have no idea what they`re about.
But in this case, all they`ve put out is the statement with no supporting information to anybody as far as we can tell.
So this is -- this is a weird way to do something that is this serious- sounding. But this is what they`re doing.
O`DONNELL: Well, another thing that it`s definitely hinting at is that if there is not a chemical attack in Syria, President Trump will take credit - -
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: For there not being a chemical attack in Syria.
MADDOW: Yes, I don`t know. I`m hoping that this develops further over the course of this evening. This is the kind of stuff that you don`t -- you don`t want people messing about and being imprecise with.
So this feels very random and unconnected to anything else that we understand here. I hope this gets cleared up tonight.
O`DONNELL: We`ll report more as soon as we get it, thank you Rachel --
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, we will be joined by one of the authors of the official "New York Times" catalog of President Trump`s lies.
Every Trump -- every lie Donald Trump has told as president. And one of Donald Trump`s new lies is that President Obama did nothing to try to stop Russian interference in our election.
We will consider that. But first, the United States Senate is on the verge of making history, on the verge of going --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You actually track the logic of the tweets, you will get a blinding headache.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: He says things all the time that aren`t true. So, you know, why would today be any different or yesterday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is throwing back the terms that he has been accused of, and it`s a defense that frankly has no basis.
And that`s because his actions have been indefensible.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: It`s the congressional budget office, today, estimates the Senate bill which strip health insurance from 22 million Americans.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: That explains a lot about why so many Republicans have been having trouble defending this law.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you`re on the fence, I`m not so sure this report helps you much.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This CBO report should be the end of the road for Trumpcare. Republicans would be wise to read it like a giant stop sign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: With healthcare, the American government has only gone forward, never backward. It provided first Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare coverage for people over 65.
Healthcare coverage for poor people, later -- much later expanding that coverage under Obamacare for a wider range of beneficiary.
Never taken anything away. Now, Republicans in Washington are on the verge of taking healthcare coverage and healthcare itself away from a minimum of 22 million people.
And the most important statement any Republican in Washington has made about the Republican health care bill was made today by the most important Republican that America has never heard of.
Here he is. Nothing President Trump says about the Republican health care bill is as important this week as what this guy says.
Nothing Mitch McConnell says, nothing Paul Ryan says. This week is as important as what this guy said today.
And for that matter, nothing any Democrats say is as important as what this guy said today. When it comes to the health care bill, this guy is the most honest Republican in Washington, or at least he`s trying to be the most honest Republican in Washington.
This guy is Keith Hall; he`s the head of the Congressional Budget Office. Keith Hall has the typical academic credentials a CBO head would have.
He has a PHD in economics from Purdue University, but he has a more political history than many CBO directors.
He was on President George W. Bush`s Council of Economic Advisors, which is not an unusual resume item for a CBO director.
But during the Obama administration, Keith Hall became a public critic of the Affordable Care Act, and that disturbed some Democrats, many Democrats, when the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee chose Keith Hall to run the CBO in 2015.
Democrats knew that Keith Hall would be evaluating Republican bills, repealing the Affordable Care Act. They thought he might be prejudiced about that.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee in the House and the Senate said when Keith Hall was named director of the CBO, his opposition to increasing the minimum wage and his resistance to sound strategies for eliminating poverty place him outside the mainstream.
The Republican House Budget Committee Chairman who chose Keith Hall to run the CBO was Tom Price; who is now the Trump administration`s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
And Tonight the Trump administration wants you to believe that the Republican director of the Congressional Budget Office, who has been a public opponent of Obamacare is wrong in his evaluation of the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Keith Hall`s CBO report says that the slightly new Senate version of the bill will take health coverage away from 22 million people.
And in the process make health care more expensive for the people who will be able to keep it. There is only one line in today`s CBO report that matters to health care consumers.
It says, "most people would have higher out-of-pocket spending on health care under this than under the current law."
Some Republican senators think the bill is too generous and does not repeal enough of Obamacare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I won`t vote to proceed to it unless the bill changes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a hard time believing Wisconsin constituents or even myself will have enough time to properly evaluate this for me to vote for a motion to proceed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The big vote news of the night is that Maine Senator Susan Collins announced she will vote no on the Senate bill and she will not even vote for the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill.
With Nevada Republican Dean Heller opposed, that means Republicans cannot lose one more vote in the Senate. But this weekend, on "Fox News", the president said he thinks his good friends in the Senate will come through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think so. You know, I have great relationships with most of the people in the Senate with, as you know, most of the people in the House.
I think I really -- I work very hard. I made a lot of great friendships with the people in the House, a lot of them. Same thing in the Senate.
They`re four very good people. They`re friends of mine. And I don`t think they`re that far off. I don`t think they`re that far off, you know, famous last words, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is what one of President Trump`s dear friends in the Senate said today about President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the House bill was, you know, mean according to the president at 23 million, what`s the Senate bill?
GRAHAM: Here`s what I would tell any senator. If you`re counting on the president to have your back, you need to watch it. So --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Jolly; former Republican member of Congress from Florida and Ezra Klein; editor-in-chief of Vox.com.
Ezra, the CBO report today, what are the -- what for you are the highlights of it? What do you think are the points that we`ll be hearing the most about between now and the vote?
EZRA KLEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOX.COM: Highlights isn`t the word I`d choose, but there`s a lot in there. The part of the CBO report that I could not get over came I think it was on page eight.
And what they said there was remarkable. They went through the numbers of the House bill -- of the Senate bill, and they went through how it worked.
And they said basically that because of how high the deductibles would be on the plans the Senate bill would help people buy, they do not expect low- income people for the most part to buy any plan at all.
So what they are saying is that the Senate health care bill would push people who don`t have very much money into plans with such high deductibles, those plans would not be worth it for those people to buy even with subsidies.
So this would not buy a plan at all. Later, they go through the premium comparisons and this stuff gets kind of complicated because the plans are different and different versions of the bill.
But Kaiser went into that and they looked at what a premium would be like for an apples to apples plan. The kind of plan people are getting under Obamacare, how much would it cost them under the Senate health bill, and the premium rise is 74 percent.
Seventy four percent. So these are much higher deductibles for good healthcare, it`s much higher premiums. It`s a very large drop in the number of people who would be insured.
I mean this is a catastrophic report, and that`s why you`ve seen in the aftermath of it so many Republicans, so many Senate Republicans saying they can`t even vote for the motion to proceed to go forward with the bill.
O`DONNELL: David Jolly, what`s your reading of the state of play in the Senate on this?
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: So, look, Ezra is right. Listen, the Obamacare picked winners and losers, right? If you were uninsured, if you were sick, if you were lower income, you were a winner.
If you are healthy or wealthy, you`re a loser, you lost your plan and you lost your doctor. This reverses that. And what is very telling is why isn`t Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or Donald Trump trying to sell this plan to the American people?
We haven`t heard U.S. senators or House members trying to sell the details of this plan to the American people. Mitch McConnell is trying to sell three undecided U.S. senators, but he won`t fess up to 300 million Americans.
And it`s because the losers lose a lot more under this plan than the winners win.
O`DONNELL: Ezra, that description that David just gave of Obamacare, of the reason we`re here tonight, which is the repeal of it in effect.
That there were winners and losers, and the description of the losers, the idea that everyone apparently who already had a doctor could no longer go to see their doctor under Obamacare.
That, that somehow changed the world for all health consumers. That`s the burden of health legislation is that you get to accuse whoever is moving the health legislation of having affected everyone`s policy and everyone`s relationship to the health care system.
KLEIN: Right, I mean that`s just absurd, right? Wealthy people for one thing do not for the most part or really for anybody lose their doctors.
Now, there`s something the congressman is right about. Wealthy people under Obamacare did have to pay higher taxes.
They did lose under the bill in that way. They had higher capital gains taxes, there were taxes on different parts of the health care industry.
If you want to understand what the Republican bill is doing, there`s a very simple arithmetic at its heart. It`s about $590 billion of tax cuts in the bill.
These cuts overwhelmingly go to the richest folks. I think the number I saw from the tax policy center is the top 1 percent get 45 percent of the tax cuts in this bill.
And in order to pay for those $590 billion of tax cuts, they`re taking a lot of health insurance subsidies away from poor people.
So you really have to ask yourself, is the problem America faces that the top 1 percent do not have enough money? Is that really a worse problem than the people at the bottom of the income distribution not having health insurance?
Because that is the vision of America`s problems that is encoded in this bill. This bill is flatly saying, it is worse that rich people have to pay slightly higher taxes than that 20 million people who are mostly low income wouldn`t have health insurance going forward in the future.
O`DONNELL: David, what`s going to happen to Keith Hall this week? Are they going to attack -- Republicans going to attack the CBO, Tom Price`s hand- picked director of CBO? --
JOLLY: They probably will because they have nowhere else to go. But let`s call balls and strikes here. Obamacare did raise taxes on the wealthy, and this bill rolls it back.
But it wasn`t just the wealthy that lost their doctors and their plans. Listen, I`m a tale of two patients. Now prior to Congress, I lost my doctor. I lost my plan under Obamacare, and it was part by subsidizing those who needed additional coverage.
But Lawrence, I`m going to share something with you and the American people tonight that most people probably don`t know.
Here`s the other patient that David Jolly is. On January 4th, I was a former member of Congress, unemployed, with no health insurance, and a pre- existing condition.
And while I ultimately chose a private sector plan, I also knew in 2017, Obamacare provided an exchange that was a safety net that wasn`t there before.
And to be honest with you, if I had had to rely on it, I knew it was there. And that`s why the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different than 2013.
I lost my doctor and I lost my plan in 2013, and I was angry about Obamacare and I ran for Congress. But in 2017 as an unemployed person with a pre-existing condition, I knew Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.
O`DONNELL: Ezra, a quick last word.
KLEIN: I don`t think that`s actually how the Affordable Care Act in general works, but I think the congressman is right on the other piece of this.
Medicaid in particular is incredibly important safety net in this country. The core of this bill`s cuts go to Medicaid both now and in the future.
And the number of people who will be hurt by that is really tremendous in order to give a fairly small number of Americans a tax cut.
O`DONNELL: David Jolly, Ezra Klein, thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it.
KLEIN: Thank you.
JOLLY: Good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up next, the Trump defense team is already working out a strategy to deal with any possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Just change the meaning of the word "colluded". And an analysis by the "New York Times" reveals the president lies -- that the president lies -- well, he lies a lot.
O`DONNELL: On Friday, "The Washington Post" published a massive story detailing the Obama administration`s reaction last year to the discovery that Russia was interfering in our presidential campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump.
The article included, "as all such articles do, one unnamed source inside the Obama administration who was not satisfied with the steps President Obama took in defending the United States against the Russia threat."
That unnamed official was quoted in "The Washington Post" as saying, "I feel like we sort of choked." The article was obviously way too long for President Trump to read, but there was enough TV talk about it and enough tweets of the quote, I feel like we sort of choked for the president to take a public position on this.
He got to think about it while he was playing golf this weekend. He took the whole weekend and then today the president publicly announced that even though the article is from "The Washington Post" and "The Washington Post" is fake news, and even though the article relies on many unnamed sources, and of course you should never believe unnamed sources, including the unnamed source who said "I feel like we sort of choked".
Even with all of that, President Trump has decided that the article is completely true. A perfect history of Russian interference in our presidential election and the Obama administration`s response to it.
He announced that in a series of tweets this morning, saying, "the reason that President Obama did nothing about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to rock the boat.
He didn`t choke. He colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and cooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did nothing after being informed in August about Russian meddling with four months of looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero tapes of T people colluding.
There is no collusion and no obstruction, I should be given apology." Each time the president says President Obama did nothing about Russia, he capitalizes the word "nothing".
It seems he`s now just trying to make it easier to find the lie. The capitalization really helps. The truth is President Obama did several things, including speaking directly to Vladimir Putin about it and giving Putin a warning of retribution that, according to "The Washington Post" article, which the president says is true, quote, "prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems."
President Trump of course famously and proudly has done absolutely nothing about Russia interference in the election. I mean, nothing to penalize Russia for that interference.
But the president has done everything he possibly could to penalize former FBI Director James Comey for investigating that interference.
Joining us now, Nick Akerman, who served as assistant special Watergate prosecutor, he was also an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.
And with us, Ken Vogel; now reporter for the "New York Times". Nick, your reaction to the president`s tweets here, saying first of all that the Obama administration did nothing.
We know that`s not true if you read this massive article. But the idea of him trying to suggest that there was something that the president was colluding. He`s using the word "collusion" and obstruction now and aiming it at Obama.
NICK AKERMAN, LAWYER: Well, first of all, it is absolutely crystal clear he did not read that entire article --
O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, oh, we know about it.
AKERMAN: Because if he read that article, he`d realize that he was the but-for cause of all these problems.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
AKERMAN: I mean he was the person that was touting Russia to go violate federal criminal law and hack Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.
He was the one that was touting WikiLeaks and saying how great they were. He was doing everything that Vladimir Putin would have wanted him to do if Vladimir Putin were simply holding the strings of a puppet and trying to get a candidate for president of the United States to undermine our electoral process. He was perfect.
O`DONNELL: And let`s listen to something that Sean Hannity said on Friday on his radio show because this seems to be what could be a new set of defensive talking points about this. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: What was the collusion? That maybe somebody in the Trump campaign talked to somebody in Russia because Russia supposedly had the information that Hillary Clinton had destroyed on her server when she committed a felony and tried to cover up her crimes?
And that they might say, as the Trump campaign representative, wow, you have that? Tell the American people the truth. Let them see it themselves, release it. Is that a crime to say release it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Ken, so the new line might turn out to be, if Sean Hannity is ahead of the curve here, what`s wrong with what they did?
KEN VOGEL, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, this is a puzzling defense to say the least. I mean they actually do have some sound defenses to fall back on.
Which is that Russia did in fact, as Trump is increasingly admitting, try to meddle in the election and try to help him, but that it didn`t have any effect and that there was no collusion.
Stick to that. The idea that somehow there`s nothing wrong with encouraging Russia to hack or to release hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton, that`s not a good defense as -- nor is the idea that he obstructed.
That President Obama, rather, obstructed the investigation or colluded with someone to somehow hide the ball here.
However, that said, Trump`s other questions about whether, in fact, Obama did enough to stave off the hacking or --
O`DONNELL: Oh, no --
VOGEL: To penalize Russia, those are valid questions.
O`DONNELL: Other people are asking did he do enough? Trump is saying he did absolutely nothing because, of course, Trump isn`t satisfied with the - -
VOGEL: But he also -- he also suggests that perhaps the reason why he didn`t do it is because he didn`t want to rock the boat because he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win, and it might look like he was putting his thumb on the scale.
I think that too is actually a valid point. But obstruction, collusion, hacking or releasing Hillary Clinton`s e-mail is a good thing, all bad arguments.
O`DONNELL: Go to -- Nick, go to Sean Hannity`s legal question of what he just described which would be the Trump`s campaign saying to the Russians, release it, release what you found. And Sean Hannity asked the question, is that a crime?
AKERMAN: There`s -- he`s basically not looking at what the criminal conduct is here. First of all, you`ve got all of these contacts between Trump`s -- one of his main campaign people, Roger Stone and Goosifer who was the person from Russia who was hacking into the Democratic National Committee and providing all of this information to WikiLeaks.
At a minimum, there could be a conspiracy to commit hacking here under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, title 18, U.S. code, 1.1030, there`s conspiracy.
There`s also the question of the collusion between the campaign and Russia with this micro targeting, whether or not they actually used Russia as a means to get to Clinton voters to suppress the vote.
VOGEL: You know, that--
AKERMAN: That could be a crime in itself, using campaign funds from a foreigner --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
AKERMAN: To fund what was in effect, an effort to suppress the Clinton vote.
VOGEL: I`ll give you another emerging defense that I`m hearing from my sources. You`ve heard Sean Spicer allude to this in the off-camera briefing today, where he said that, yes, Trump has acknowledged that Russia had meddled.
But other countries may have as well. My understanding is what Spicer may have been referring to and what he and the White House are being encouraged to hit on is a story that we did that showed that Ukraine did in fact work with a DNC operative to try to get out dirt on Paul Manafort about his dealings in Ukraine.
Obviously, that`s of a far different scale than hacking into John Podesta`s e-mails or the DNC`s e-mails. Nonetheless, it`s yet another example of the way that they`re sort of reaching for defenses that might answer back against some of this mounting criticism.
O`DONNELL: We now have "Associated Press" reporting that President Trump is eager to meet with Putin next month when they`re going to be at the summit.
And Nick, if you were his criminal defense lawyer here, wouldn`t you advise him to at least publicly play it very tough with Vladimir Putin? --
AKERMAN: Oh, sure, I mean, I would try and do that. I mean everything he has done up to this point makes it look like he`s an inside spy for the Russians.
He meets with the Russians in the Oval Office today after he fires Comey and winds up giving up classified information.
If I were writing the perfect spy novel, that`s exactly what I would have happen. Why not do it in public? Give them the information they want in public, and no one will suspect anything.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to break it there tonight. Nick Akerman and Ken Vogel, thank you both for joining us, I really appreciate it --
VOGEL: Well, thanks --
O`DONNELL: Coming up, a legal expert will explain how today the Supreme Court put Trump`s travel ban on life support. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The Supreme Court announced today that it has decided to decide on the Trump travel ban. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in October on the two lawsuits filed against the Trump Administration ban, both of which were successful in the lower courts in large part because of comments like this from candidate Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jay Michaelson, a former clerk for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and legal columnist for "The Daily Beast." And also with us, Evelyn Farkas, a former executive director of the commission on the prevention of weapons of mass destruction, proliferation and terrorism. Jay, what did the court decide to do?
Well, well, it did a few things today while it was putting off the final decision. Tell us what happened?
JAY MICHAELSON, LEGAL COLUMIST FOR THE DAILY BEAST: Right. So it agreed to hear the case in the October term, and the real question is what happens in the meantime. So the injunctions that had been in place basically staying the ban were partly left in place and partly overturned. That was the kind of surprise.
I think most people thought that the injunctions would stay in place, meaning the ban has no effect. But instead the court actually allowed the ban to take effect for some people while restricting it for others.
O`DONNELL: And this is not uncommon in many cases like this, there are no injunctions at all. They allow whatever the president is trying to do to continue, and then they`ll just decide what happens to it after the court actually takes action. But in these cases, there were several injunctions put out there basically blocking the president from doing anything that he wanted to do.
And so now the supreme court has allowed some of what --
MICHAELSON: And the (INAUDIBLE) chair probably remain in effect. The injunctions remain in effect. If you have any bona fide relationship to a U.S.individual or institution or to an institution so if you`ve been accepted to college or if you have a job offer or if you have a direct relative in the United States, the ban does not apply. It`s only for people who have no connection to the United States.
So, you know, it was interesting to see the president call this a victory. 9-0 victory is really more of a 6-3 loss because the majority of the ban remains blocked, and I think the Supreme Court really telegraphed in this opinion, this unsigned opinion where they want to go with this, which is that this ban has really expired. That`s why I said I think they put it on life support.
O`DONNELL: So it`s a temporary ban that has an end date on it, and -- and the end date will hit before the court actually reaches --
MICHAELSON: The end date has already passed. It`s a three-month ban, and the ostensible reason for it, which you know we can debate whether that`s the real reason, but the ostensible reason is well, we need time to figure out what the hell is going on, just like candidate Trump said. And they said they needed three months. That period ended on June 14th.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn, what is the actual security value of whatever it is the president`s trying to do here?
EVELYN FARKAS, ATLANTIC COUNCIL SENIOR FELLOW: Yes, so, Lawrence, I will tell you what the hell is going on. The security threat is not coming from the outside. The new America foundation and a number of other experts have looked at the terrorist attacks that have occurred, the ones that have been lethal.
None of them have come from the outside. They`ve all been from people who are American Citizens or have been residents living here for a long time. Even of the non-lethal cases, you know where they were thwarted or nobody was hurt, those also have been almost all of them Americans or residents. So it`s a misplaced -- the whole measure actually is a misplaced kind of out-of-date idea because we haven`t seen, since 9/11, a successful, thank god, lethal attack coming from the outside.
We saw some attempts since then, the most recent being 2009 with the underwear bomber, the Nigerian who got on the plane on Christmas Eve and tried to blow up the plane. That was thwarted. So the real issue is radicalization inside the United States, and that`s what we have to attack. And a lot of it is happening through the internet, through social media.
Very quickly, its individuals actually not even being recruited they`re sort of going in and enlisting if you will.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn, I want to go back to something that Rachel and I talked about at the beginning of the show tonight, and that is this very unusual statement by the press secretary at the White House. And it`s saying simply that the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians including innocent children.
And it goes on to say if Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will have a heavy -- will pay a heavy price. It`s not a press release like anything we`ve seen from a White House before. How do you read that?
FARKAS: Not recently at least. Well, first of all, I mean I applaud the president if this is true for trying to deter the Syrians from taking this action. It`s completely appalling that they would use chemical weapons again. However, if they don`t pay attention to this very public attempt to deter them, then I worry about what he means by the military, the Syrian military will pay a heavy price if I got the quote right because I don`t believe -- we haven`t seen evidence that this administration has a strategy.
So they can exact a price by bombing or who knows what kind of attack we could commit against the Syrian Military. But what is the strategy that that`s tied to? So, again, I`m all for trying to deter the Syrians from using chemical weapons again, trying to save lives in Syria, but we need an overall Syria strategy. So anything we do militarily needs to be tied to that strategy.
O`DONNELL: Jay, apparently the president he might be watching you at the moment because he just tweeted during this discussion, he just tweeted, great day for America`s Future, security, and safety courtesy of the U.S. Supreme court. I will keep fighting for the American people and win.
So he thinks he`s going to win. He doesn`t think his executive order is on life support.
MICHAELSON: Well we can bet it, make a friendly bet on that. I`ll see his casino and -- and double it.
O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to leave it there, Jay Michaelson and Evelyn Farkas, thank you both for joining us tonight.
FARKAS: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Thank you. Coming up next, an analysis from "The New York Times" shows every lie, every single lie that Donald Trump has told as president. It took a full page of "The New York Times" in tiny print to include every lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have been on their cover like 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of "Time Magazine". The audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan. Obamacare covers very few people. The fake media goes Donald Trump has changed his stance on China. I haven`t changed my stance. Now, the Paris agreement, they all say it`s nonbinding. Like hell it`s nonbinding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: From the trivial to the important, those are just some of the lies that "The New York Times" included in its massive new list of every lie Donald Trump has told in the first 154 days of the Trump presidency. The list of Trump lies filled an entire page of "The New York Times," yesterday`s print edition of "The New York Times."
It includes only what the times calls demonstrably false statements. The times reports that Donald Trump publicly told a lie on 20 of his first 40 days in office when the times used what it called a broader standard, one that includes his many misleading statements, it found that he said something untrue every day for the first 40 days of his presidency and on 74 out of 113 days after that.
An example of what the times called misleading was the president exaggerating military spending in the Middle East. Joining us now, Stuart Thompson, who co-wrote the piece on Trump`s Lies, he is the graphics director for the opinion section of "The New York Times." And Stuart, first of all thank you because just right on one piece of paper I can just carry around the first --
STUART THOMPSON, GRAPHICS EDITOR FOR THE OPINION SECTION OF THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes.
O`DONNELL: The firs -- the first I don`t know a few hundred days. So this we have to hope is a recurring feature of "The New York Times" every two, three months, something like that please?
It might be. Yes.
O`DONNELL: You can raise my subscription personally to cover whatever this costs, okay? I will personally kick that in. When did the idea come from to put it all down?
THOMPSON: Well David Leonhardt a columnist in "The New York Times" had written about lies several times, and he had included in one of his columns, a paragraph where he listed a bunch of lies. And I talked to him about that and thought maybe if we looked at the whole universe of statements that he made, we could put together a big list and sort of give a nice crystal view of the entire list of lies he`s made since his inauguration.
O`DONNELL: This is an especially fascinating moment for me because I have been saying Trump and lie in the same sentence since, I guess, 2011 when he first opened his mouth about the president`s birth certificate. The rest of the news media was very reluctant to do that. "The New York Times" did not say the word lie with the word Trump until September of 2016. Is that correct?
THOMPSON: That sounds right. Yes.
O`DONNELL: Yes. So like in the -- basically in the closing section of the presidential campaign, are there any regrets at the Times about that? I mean I understand the struggle that the major newspapers went through on this question, but I noticed at that time, New York Times, L.A. Times, everybody kind of broke out at the same time it seems?
THOMPSON: Yes, it seemed like there was a bit of a tunnel shift in the coverage around that time. I think what`s unique about this piece is that it`s an opinion piece, and it`s the subjective view of David and I to evaluate those claims. But we have seen, you know, the news section call occasionally something a lie. But we can use a sort of broader standard in opinion.
O`DONNELL: Right. But this -- I mean this also could have been done during the campaign. I mean at any point during the campaign for the last month, you know this could have been done.
THOMPSON: Yes, definitely. And you know we only picked it up since the inauguration. We got a lot of comments from people saying you know you could extend that back like you said back to the birther movement.
O`DONNELL: What was the response to this? It went online. This appears in the Sunday opinion section, so when print appears yesterday, but I think I first saw it on Friday.
THOMPSON: Yes, it went up on Friday afternoon and very quickly was -- I think it was the top article all weekend, top opinion piece. And yes, it was a very popular thing on social media as well.
O`DONNELL: And when you and David studied this, were there moments where you just started to be -- you probably thought you knew what you were getting into. Did your understanding of what you were doing change by the time you got to the end of it?
THOMPSON: Yes. It was -- it was difficult to put together. We had over 400, you know, false statements that we are able to fact-check, and we had to cull that list down. And that took a lot of debate to really decide what we thought was you know qualified as a lie versus just some kind of falsehood.
O`DONNELL: When you came across something where you thought, well, you know, he might believe this, it`s completely wrong. The earth is flat, but he might believe the earth is flat, what would you do with one of those?
THOMPSON: Yes, I think that`s sort of a theme of his lying. He doesn`t necessarily know what the facts are. But, you know, in a traditional lie you sort of willfully deceive people. But he`s pretty flippant with the truth so I think we were able to you know categorize a lot of those as lies.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Thompson, it`s a public service. Trump lies. We`ve got to keep it going. And as I say whatever you want to do to my personal subscription price to keep this going, go ahead. Thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
THOMPSON: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Coming up, President Trump is losing some supporters, not a lot. But the most important thing is he isn`t gaining any new ones. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, can we ask you about the CBO report?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you very much everybody. I appreciate it. Thank you.
REPORTER: Mr. President on healthcare 22 million more uninsured sir. That main also.
REPORTER: Does the senate bill have enough heart, Mr. President?
REPORTER: Mr. president are you reversing your promise not to cut Medicaid, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now Kurt Anderson the host of public radio program Studio 360 and the author of the forthcoming book: Fantasy Land, how America went haywire. And you`re going to have to wait till September to buy that
KURT ANDERSON, AUTHOR: Labor Day.
O`DONNELL: And you`ll be back to talk about it from time to time.
O`DONNELL: So there`s the president today, his big opportunity to sell his health care bill in the senate. He won`t even answer a question about it. He won`t say one word about it.
ANDERSON: because it`s mean
O`DONNELL: Well, he apparently is not in the business today anyway of trying to convert anyone to seeing it his way, which means he is not functioning as a politician.
ANDERSON: No, and it`s interesting. I mean I look at the aggregate poll approval ratings everyday and see where they`re going. And they`ve been steady. I mean he can -- and I`m sure that he takes solace in this, that for six weeks, it`s been at 40 percent. Well 40 percent doesn`t win you reelection.
ANDERSON: And so I believe it`s -- so the 40 percent love him no matter what. or at least no matter what so far. And he just -- that`s all he needs. All he wants is the love of the 40 percent or maybe it will get down to 30 percent.
But that`s what he wants. He does not think ahead. He does not think to 2020 and what do I need. I need 48 or 51 or whatever I need. He is just going for the love of the true believers.
O`DONNELL: And it also seems that polls to him are mythical people because he can`t see them. They`re not in front of him.
O`DONNELL: Like the people that matter are the ones who show up at the rally and they love him.
O`DONNELL: So they must all love him.
ANDERSON: Right, exactly. And so -- and of course when he sees the occasional outlier poll, that is to say Rasmussen have him at 50 percent.
ANDERSON: Then that backs the real poll numbers. and you know, it is so strange and of course if they pass the Senate Health Care Bill, which you know I guess if we`re guessing they`re not going to -- but if they do, then he begins to see what really happens when he doesn`t try to appeal to a majority. Because that`s when it starts -- it seems to me his numbers start going down toward 30. And we`ll see if he reacts then.
Because so far he has never -- you know before -- since he was first running for President he has not had the experience of having poll numbers that low. And I mean they`re not high enough to be re-elected but still 40 percent and he got nominated and elected at that.
O`DONNELL: He is dipping a little bit on the honest side. I mean if in January you were one of the 39 percent who thought Donald Trump was honest in January, for you actually not much has happened to change that because all the evidence was in then about how honest he is. That`s gone down to 36 people thinking he`s not honest went from 56 now up to 59. But those are in American politics prohibitive poll numbers for the future of a politician who -- who won`t be running against someone he has already beaten.
ANDERSON: Right and well and also look at his -- in terms of how he can even reassure and keep the love of those who support him, his Tweets when he goes on the crazy Tweet storm, six in 45 minutes first thing in the morning. He is reusing the same the stick. he doesn`t have new ones. It`s still the same -- they`re doing it because they lost the election or this is the real story.
And I just think that`s going to cease keeping people entertained after a certain point. The other thing he is doing or surrogates like Sean Hannity are doing are beginning redefine it`s not true or false is it a crime or not?
It`s the defendants` version of the truth. Can you convict me on this? I don`t think so. And I think he will get there himself I believe.
O`DONNELL: I am among those not terribly upset about what the Whitehouse is doing to the Whitehouse Press Corps in terms of don`t use cameras and don`t use this. Because I have never seen anything important come out of the Whitehouse Press Corps ever. The most important they get is someone there gets a leak about something you`re going to all know publicly in six hours.
They might get it six hours earlier. I do not understand what the value is of turning the cameras on for Sean Spicer. I mean, wouldn`t the proper journalistic protest be we`re not turning on cameras today because it`s such nonsense in this room, we`re not even put going on T.V.
ANDERSON: I agree with you. it is another violation of norms but not the most serious or egregious ones just that he has done. And to me and if this goes -- to the degree this goes on that violation of norms will begin being -- striking some fraction of the 40 percent who just support him as that`s just weird. And that`s -- he is being -- they`re being cowards and they`re not play going the way it`s supposed to be played. Yes , I don`t see what that gets other than the hilarious interaction with Sean Spicer for a day.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean it`s impossible for them to win in that room. And they don`t have answer to any of the most important questions. So it`s the one thing strategically from their side they are doing right when all the answers are bad then avoid as much exposure to the questions as possible.
ANDERSON: Right, right but again, is that sustainable? Maybe. I don`t think so.
O`DONNELL: all right we`ll have to break it there. Kurt Anderson thank you for joining us tonight.
ANDERSON: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: The Last Word is next
O`DONNELL: After watching coverage of Capitol Hill Security dragging protestors in wheelchairs out of Congressional hallways on MSNBC Thursday, Mike Phillips Tweeted at his Senator, Marko Rubio and to House and Senate Republicans leaders asking hey Marko Rubio would you drag me out of your office if I stopped by? Mike Phillips lives with his spinal muscular atrophy and like the protestors he is worried about Republican cuts to Medicaid. He explained why on the Last Word on Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PHILLIPS, MEDICAID DEPENDENT: well I`m quite disabled. Medicaid services allow me to live a full productive life, interacting with the community, being cared for at home. I live at home. I have a personal care assistant.
She takes me anywhere I want to go. The movies, Starbucks, dinner with friends.. the tattoo shop when the mood takes me which is often enough. I`m not exactly Ryan Gosling. But I lead a good life. Losing Medicaid, being forced into an institution, I`d lose everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now Ryan Gosling has responded Tweeting at Mike living such an honorable and courageous life having the courage of convictions, actors only play heroes. You really are one. Mike wrote a new blog post about all of this over the weekend saying being on the Last Word was one of the top seven coolest experiences of my really, really, really, really unusual