The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 7/25/2017 Repeal & Replace fails

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Ron Klain, Betsy Woodruff, David Jolly

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: July 25, 2017 Guest: Eugene Robinson, Ron Klain, Betsy Woodruff, David Jolly

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: In the United States Senate -- it was the Republicans first effort tonight to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

They needed 60 votes, they didn`t get anywhere near it, they got I think 43 votes for this first effort that they took. They didn`t get anywhere close.

That said, they are expecting at least a couple more tries at trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act by tomorrow. One of those may not have a 60-vote threshold, it may have a 50-vote threshold.

And that will be the best chance they have had yet to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to take away health insurance from anywhere between 15 and 30 million Americans.

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. First of all, congratulations, double congratulations on your two, count them, two - -

MADDOW: No --

O`DONNELL: Emmy nominations today.

MADDOW: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: One little Emmy nomination here, two at my -- and two at 8:00 - -

MADDOW: Per crusade --

O`DONNELL: Per crusade --

MADDOW: Right --

O`DONNELL: Just a great night, a great day for all of us --

MADDOW: It embarrasses me to talk about that stuff. You are much better - -

O`DONNELL: All right --

MADDOW: Talking about this thing --

O`DONNELL: So, let`s stop talking about it, we`re done with that. John McCain is now this -- I don`t know, to me, a mysterious figure because he gave a speech this afternoon that indicated he couldn`t vote for anything that Mitch McConnell was going to bring to the floor.

But tonight, he did vote with McConnell, but you could argue that it was only a procedural vote, that it wasn`t technically on the substance.

But what he meant personally about how he is going to conduct himself in these healthcare votes is not as clear as it sounded this afternoon.

MADDOW: No, I think -- I think that`s the right way to put it. And I think that speech sort of stood alone, I`m not sure that it was even a predictor of his own behavior, let alone of any other Republican senator`s behavior.

Certainly, on this vote that they just took a few moments ago, this vote that they took tonight, there was a 60-vote -- 60-vote threshold on that.

They knew they weren`t going to get anywhere near 60 votes. That may -- kind of a free spin in terms of who voted for it or not, and as far as I know, at least, last count, unless he`s changed his vote.

Senator McCain voted yes, voted with Mitch McConnell on that. That was not what it sounded like he was going to do when he gave that very moving speech today, so I don`t know what we do with that.

O`DONNELL: But this -- and this was a vote to basically override the budget rules on the Senate floor to allow them to have proceeded to have a vote on this bill that is the McConnell bill plus the Cruz edition to the McConnell bill and plus the Portman addition to all of that.

So, this is actually the most -- you could say generous of all of the --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Concepts that have been advanced by the Republicans. And they lost ten Republicans on this vote.

MADDOW: Yes, and this is something even with what you describe as its generous provisions, which is kind of like -- you know, I don`t know, it`s like being the smartest cable news host. I don`t know, it`s not a really tough competition.

It`s -- even with that, they weren`t willing to hold any public hearings to have any public real discussion. They`ve had you know, fake Senate debate time for it.

But they had no actual debate or discussion on the merits. It will be interesting to me to see if the Democrats are able to get anywhere with this plan they have to put, you know, dozens or hundreds of amendments up for consideration, given the fact that McConnell has said that he might allow that.

O`DONNELL: Well, I have someone I`m going to ask about that. Senator Al Franken, we`ll find out from him what`s going on on the Democratic strategy on the Senate floor on healthcare.

And he`s in the thick of the Sessions controversy in the Senate, so we are going to cover a lot of ground with that --

MADDOW: Great, excellent, thanks my friend --

O`DONNELL: Thank you to the smartest cable news host, now that you`ve mentioned that. Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Stop it, thank you, Lawrence, stop it.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: I love doing that --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: It`s my favorite thing --

MADDOW: Good night --

O`DONNELL: Rachel blushing --

MADDOW: Good night --

O`DONNELL: Keep the camera on her, don`t take -- don`t cut away tonight --

MADDOW: Bye-bye --

O`DONNELL: OK --

MADDOW: I have to go, see you.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. So, will the president fire the attorney general? Will the attorney general quit? The attorney general who Al Franken says may have committed perjury in his confirmation hearing, will the Democrats come up with a strategy to stop the Republican healthcare bill on the Senate floor?

Al Franken is here to discuss all of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE: I ask the yays and the nays --

PROTESTERS: Kill the bill! Don`t kill us!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serjeant-at-arms to restore order in the chamber?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They ended up with 51 votes, 51 to whatever.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: They didn`t know what they were voting for.

TRUMP: I want to thank Senator John McCain, a very brave man, he made a tough trip to get here and vote.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It`s a shell of a bill right now, we all know that.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It`s crazy. It`s ridiculous. It`s awful.

MCCAIN: I voted for the motion to proceed, I will not vote for this bill as it is today.

TRUMP: You have to weave a very narrow path, like a quarter of an inch wide. It is a very tiny little road, it`s about two feet wide. It is a very complex and difficult task. It`s going to be so easy. But it`s something I actually know quite a bit about. Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.

We will not fail! We cannot fail!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Trump obviously knows nothing about history and he knows less than nothing about the history of the United States Senate or legislative history.

And from that deep well of sheer ignorance, after the vote in the Senate this afternoon to proceed to debate on healthcare bill, the president said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I am extremely happy that we got this vote. This is -- they say, if you look historically, this is the tough vote to get.

Now we`re all going to sit together and we`re going to try and come up with something that`s really spectacular.

We have a lot of options and a lot of great options. We ended up with 51 votes, 51 to whatever. I don`t know what it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Fifty one to fifty. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie- breaking vote as the vice president is allowed to do in 50-50 ties in the Senate.

The president is completely wrong when he says if you look historically, this is the toughest vote to get. If you look historically and I mean, recently historically, this vote didn`t used to exist.

The Senate used to automatically proceed to debate on bills. This used to be the easiest vote in the Senate, almost an invisible vote.

It was hidden in the unnoticed language that the majority leader would say before proceeding to a bill, there would be a request for unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to debate on a bill and the Senate always gave its unanimous consent.

Even the opponents of the bill gave unanimous consent to debate the bill. No one was afraid of debating bills. That is technically a vote, the unanimous consent vote, but it happened to fast that no one even notices it.

Senator John McCain was in the Senate in 1994 when Hillary Clinton`s extremely controversial Health Security Act was debated on the Senate floor and John McCain, like every other Republican senator, gave his unanimous consent to the motion to proceed to debate on that bill.

Knowing that they were all opposed to the actual bill. It was a motion that no one in the Senate even noticed had occurred.

It was Mitch McConnell who created today`s dramatic moment in the Senate which led to John McCain`s most dramatic vote of his career on healthcare.

Mitch McConnell became the minority leader and the Senate in 2007 and he introduced the tactic of refusing to give unanimous consent to proceed to debate on bills.

It used to be, as I said that opponents of bills gave their unanimous consent to proceed to debate on a bill on the principle that all legislation deserved at least a debate and then the opponents of the bill would simply vote against it.

Mitch McConnell ended all that. And today after voting to proceed to the bill, Senator John McCain harkened back to those days before Mitch McConnell became the Republican leader of the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: Let`s return to regular order. We`ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle.

We are getting nothing done, my friends, we`re getting nothing done!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Regular order means a bill is introduced in the Senate, the parliamentarian refers that bill to the committee with jurisdiction over it, which in this case of healthcare would be the Senate Finance Committee.

That committee then holds hearings on the legislation which usually takes at least a few months. then the committee has what they call a mark-up of the bill in which all of the members of the committee, both parties are allowed to offer amendments and get votes on those amendments to the bill.

And then that bill, the final version of it is voted out of the committee and then brought to the Senate floor and then the majority leader calls for debate on the Senate floor of the bill that came out of the committee and on the Senate floor, everyone gives their unanimous consent to just debate the bill.

And then that bill is debated on the Senate floor, it is amended on the Senate floor and then there is a final vote on it, on the Senate floor.

That is what regular order is. And what I have just described usually takes about nine months. At least on a complex healthcare legislation like this.

That is what senators mean when they say regular order. When John McCain said last week it was time to return to regular order on healthcare legislation, that seemed to mean that he would vote against the bill that Mitch McConnell was dictating to the Senate from the top down.

Last week, Senator McCain said the Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties and heed the recommendations of our nation`s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable healthcare.

President Trump doesn`t understand what happened in the Senate today. And his thanks to Senator John McCain might be premature.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want to thank Senator John McCain, a very brave man. He made a tough trip to get here and vote. So we want to thanks Senator McCain and all of the Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator McCain voting to proceed to the debate today does not mean that he will vote for whatever is that final bill that Mitch McConnell really does try to pass on the Senate floor.

John McCain made it very clear, that he might not vote for some of these bills. Tonight, he voted for a procedural vote to advance -- to advance one of these bills. But it`s not clear what else he might vote for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: I voted for the motion to proceed to allow the debate to continue and amendment we offer. I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It`s a shell of a bill right now, we all know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Senator McCain publicly bet that the Republicans would end up passing nothing in the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let`s return to regular order. Let the health education labor and pensions committee under Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray hold hearings, try to report a bill out of committee with contributions from both sides.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator McCain voted to proceed to a debate that he expects to fail. That he expects will lead to no bill in the Senate.

Expects to be defeated. And Senator McCain laid down principles that in effect demand that he vote against what Mitch McConnell is trying to do.

If John McCain is going to live by the principles that he advocated today on the Senate floor to return to regular order.

Senator McCain received a standing ovation from his fellow senators when he arrived on the Senate floor today after announcing last week that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

If John McCain joins Republican opponents of the bill, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and others, then the Trump, Ryan, McConnell healthcare attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act will be defeated on the Senate floor.

And Mitch McConnell will then give up on healthcare legislation and put the Senate in recess. Mitch McConnell might already know tonight that he does not have the votes to pass any form of healthcare legislation in the Senate and he simply needs to go through these motions publicly.

In order to justify sending the Senate into recess and once the Senate is in recess, the president of the United States might then repeal and replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions with the recess appointment of a new attorney general who would be allowed to serve without being confirmed by the Senate for the rest of the year.

That would be enough time for a new attorney general to fire special prosecutor Bob Mueller and end any investigation of the Trump-Russia connections.

Joining us now, a senator in the center of all of this, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight on this very busy night. Give us the state of play on the Senate floor now.

We saw these nine defections from Mitch McConnell on this first vote.

FRANKEN: Yes, this was a bill or a vote on -- I mean, basically, a vote to go to this bill that has the Cruz amendment which will allow insurance companies to put out junk plans.

I`m sure some of the defections were about that. It also score to lose about 22 million people who would lose their healthcare.

People with pre-existing conditions because of the Cruz amendment, especially, but also because of the waiver estates can give to insurance companies.

People with pre-existing conditions lose their protection. This is just one of the many terrible Republican bills that we`ve seen.

They`ve had seven years to come up with something to repeal and replace this. They have not been able to come up with anything that isn`t just terrible.

The latest polls have about a 17 percent approval rating on their latest bill.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to something else that Senator John McCain said on the Senate floor today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: We tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration and springing it on skeptical members trying to convince them that it`s better than nothing.

That it`s better than nothing? Asking us to swallow our doubts and force it passed a unified opposition? I don`t think that`s going to work in the end and probably shouldn`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And after that, some people are struggling tonight to make sense of John McCain`s vote with Mitch McConnell.

But technically, it was a procedural vote to then go to the issue and I suppose it`s conceivable John McCain would have voted against the actual bill once you got to that vote. But he certainly is confusing people.

FRANKEN: Well, yes, I think someone giving that speech could have -- would have normally voted against this and gone to regular order.

Gone to the health committee on which I sit, the Health Education and Labor and Pensions Committee and done this through regular order.

The main thing is we can`t -- we have to do everything to make sure that Mitch McConnell is not successful, and we need your audience to make their voices heard.

Make your voices heard. Everybody listening or watching this show, please, please do everything you can to make your voices heard.

O`DONNELL: Senator, talk to us about what difference that has made so far in this process. I saw you were out in front of the Capitol today speaking to a crowd out there and you were using that phrase regular order that John McCain had used on the Senate floor.

But tell us what it has meant to you as senators and what you can feel in the chamber from the input from voters out there who have been going to the town halls and gathering -- and including, by the way, this protest in the Senate chamber today.

The likes of which I have never seen --

FRANKEN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Mitch McConnell trying to bring this to a vote and getting shouted down by people in the gallery.

FRANKEN: Well, I think it makes a very big difference when senators believe that they will lose the next election if they vote for this.

And we need one more defection, including Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to defeat whatever comes this way.

And that`s -- it`s just so important. And there`s a number of senators who are -- they hear these messages loud and clear.

Is anyone talking to Senator McCain about what he meant today. Any Democrats saying where -- what are you going to do on these -- on the rest of these votes as they come up?

FRANKEN: You know, today, we were sort of just signaling our respect and love for him, I think tomorrow or maybe asking tougher questions.

O`DONNELL: To Attorney General Jeff Sessions obviously were at a cross- roads with the president and attorney general unlike anything we`ve ever seen before.

What do Democrats want in this? Do Democrats who voted against Jeff Sessions` confirmation want him to resign?

Is Jeff Sessions now the Attorney General that the Democrats want, given the possible alternatives?

FRANKEN: Well, I voted against Jeff Sessions and I think as a lot of your viewers know, I wasn`t happy with some of the answers he gave to my questions, including one that, where he -- his answer is untruthful.

Senator Grassley, Chairman of the committee and all of the Democrats on the committee want him to come and testify before us.

He is the head of the Justice Department or the Judiciary Committee -- we have oversight. He should come back and explain himself.

But this idea of the president firing him so that he can -- so he can appoint, do a recess appointment of attorney general who can then fire Mueller, that`s a constitutional crisis. That would create a constitutional crisis.

O`DONNELL: What do you think the Republican Senate reaction would be to that?

FRANKEN: I hope that it would be outrage and I would hope that Congress would rise to the moment and do a new special counsel or a special prosecutor law and re-appoint Bob Mueller to head that.

O`DONNELL: What do you -- what do you expect to -- when is the next time you expect the Judiciary Committee to hear from Jeff Sessions?

Is he refusing to testify to the committee that has jurisdiction over his department?

FRANKEN: I don`t know the answer to that. I did talk to Chairman Grassley today, and we agreed that we want him to appear before us.

I didn`t get into the timing or the request.

O`DONNELL: It seems that some Republican senators have stepped forward in what sounds like defense of Jeff Sessions and kind of indirectly some of the more directly warning the president that he should not fire Jeff Sessions.

Do you expect if that moment comes, more senators, more Republican senators to stand with Jeff Sessions than the president?

FRANKEN: I did hear in Judiciary Committee today, a couple of members, Republican members express their support for the attorney general and it sounded like warnings to the president.

That`s why I believe that if he does this, it will be a constitutional crisis and that Republicans will rise to the occasion, at least, I certainly hope so.

O`DONNELL: Senator Al Franken, thank you very much for joining us on this important night, I really appreciate it.

FRANKEN: Well, you`re very welcome, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks.

FRANKEN: Coming up, a "New York Times" reporter asked White House -- the White House why the president is berating Jeff Sessions publicly, and the response was, quote "because he can." That`s next.

And what congressional investigators want to hear from Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: President Trump is very disappointed in himself for the mistake he made in nominating Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.

But when he speaks about it publicly, he always forgets to blame himself for choosing Jeff Sessions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office.

And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have quite simply picked somebody else.

So I think that`s a bad thing not for the president but for the presidency. I think it`s unfair to the presidency and that`s the way I feel.

Very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The presidency? OK, in an interview with the "Wall Street Journal" today, Donald Trump also forgot to express any gratitude to Jeff Sessions for being the first senator to endorse candidate Donald Trump.

Quote, "he was a senator from Alabama, I won the state by a lot, massive numbers." Of course, he endorsed you before he won the state.

"A lot of the states I won by massive numbers. But he was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says what do I have to lose?

And he endorsed me, so it`s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. "The Washington Post" reports tonight in a recent conversation, Sessions is chief of staff, Jody Hunt told Trump`s chief of staff Reince Priebus that the attorney general had no intention of stepping down.

Hunt, according to people familiar with the conversation made it clear to Priebus that Sessions plans to move forward with his agenda in the department and he has no plans for resigning.

According to one person familiar with the exchange, Priebus for his part did not say Trump plan to fire Sessions if he did not leave these people, said.

Joining us now, Eugene Robinson; Pulitzer-Prize winning opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an Msnbc political analyst. And Ron Klain; former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore.

A former senior aide to President Obama, he`s also a former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the place that confirms attorneys general and he was the chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno.

Eugene Robinson, the president could have asked Jeff Sessions if he was going to recuse himself before he nominated him.

EUGENE ROBINSON, OPINION WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, he could have --

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, I don`t know --

O`DONNELL: But then -- but then he would have to blame himself, Eugene, he has to blame himself then if he did that --

ROBINSON: If he would -- and how would Jeff Sessions know that all the events would happen in between his being named and his recusal that would help submit his decision to recuse himself.

He would have to have been able to see the future. But look, this was in an appalling spectacle today. All day. Starting with statements on Twitter, first in the morning, and then appearance before the cameras and also in that interview with the "Wall Street Journal".

He totally just excoriated and dissed Jeff Sessions who has been arguably his most loyal soldier. He was certainly was the first senator to endorse him.

He -- I would -- I would say is perhaps his most effective cabinet member. I don`t like the stuff he is doing, but he is out there doing it and fulfilling Donald Trump`s agenda and this is the thanks he gets.

It is -- it`s just extraordinary and we`ve never seen anything like this.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the president said in the Rose Garden today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level.

These are intelligence agencies, we cannot have that happen. You know, many of my views in addition to that, but I think that`s one of the very important things that they have to get on with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Full context there, standing beside him was the Prime Minister of Lebanon and Ron Klain, this was presumably televised in Lebanon where they now know that the president of the United States, his biggest problem in life now is his own attorney general.

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO JOE BIDEN & AL GORE: Yes, look, I mean, there`s a lot of talk about how mean Trump was to sessions.

I could care less if he is mean to Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions didn`t recuse because he is a nice guy. He is not a nice guy.

He recused because there`s a federal statute, title 28 of U.S. code, section 528 that requires the Justice Department to have rules that recuse officers who have a political conflict or an apparent political conflict.

And that`s why Jeff Sessions did it. And Donald Trump is out there saying this stuff, he is criticizing Jeff Sessions for simply obeying the law.

And he is trying to get him out so he can get in an attorney general who will thwart this Russian investigation and obstruct justice.

So this isn`t about some personal relationship between these two men. This is really about preserving the rule of law in our country.

O`DONNELL: Ron, walk us through this part of it. If Jeff Sessions did not comply with that law and did not recuse himself, what would have happened?

KLAIN: Well, I mean, someone would have certainly brought an ethical complaint against him and the appropriate offices of the Justice Department would have reviewed that.

But you know, it goes back to your earlier guests on the show, Senator Franken. Senator Franken asked Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing about his meetings with Russian officials.

Sessions denied having any during the confirmation hearing, and then they had to later go back and say, oh, yes, I did and they had to go back a second time and say oh, yes, I did a second time.

And it was after that, after "The Washington Post" broke that story that Sessions held a quick news conference and announced he was recusing himself.

So this was something he had to do, he obeyed the law, he did it, and now Trump is mad at him for being a lawful attorney general.

O`DONNELL: And Gene, in most of the discussion now because we`re conducting them at such high speed and so frequently, we are gliding over the point that Ron just made that the president`s disappointment in Jeff Sessions is that Jeff Sessions did not violate the law --

ROBINSON: Very good --

O`DONNELL: On recusal. We have a president who publicly wants his attorney general to violate the law on recusal.

ROBINSON: And not only that. The President also complains that Jeff Sessions did not launch a political motivated investigation of Donald Trump`s opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton. And why isn`t he doing that? And he is very weak on the leaks and weak on Hillary Clinton.

And it`s just, you know, extraordinary, the phrase rule of law, means absolutely nothing to Donald Trump. Rod Klain is right. He wants it get rid of sessions because he doesn`t think he will good along with any plan it fire Mueller and he wants it get rid of Mueller because he wants to stop this investigation.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, Were going to have to leave it there for a quick break. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, (INAUDIBLE) appreciate it. Coming up, Senate Judiciary Committee issuing subpoena to Paul Manafort. And then Paul Manafort started cooperating with the committee. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the Russia investigation, a subpoena to force former campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify in public tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been withdrawn. Tonight Committee Chairman Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein issued this statement. Faced with issuance of a subpoena, we are happy that Mr. Manafort started producing documents to the committee and we have agreed to continue negotiating over a transcribed interview. We intend to get the answers that we need one way or the other. This agreement does not prejudice the committee`s right to compel his testimony in the future.

Paul Manafort was on Capitol Hill earlier today for a closed-door session with Senate Intelligence Committee Investigators to discuss the June 2016 and discussing the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and several Russians including a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin. He also turned over his notes from that meeting and Donald Trump`s son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner came to Capitol Hill again to answer questions under oath from the House Intelligence Committee and some of the members about that same June 2016 meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE CONAWAY, REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE: I found him to be straight forward, forthcoming. I wanted to answer every question we had.

ADAM SCHIFF, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: he expressed and his counsel receptivity to coming back for further questions but it was a very productive session.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today the House voted 419-3 for new sanctions to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. The bill prohibits President Trump from removing any of the penalties without Congressional approval. It`ll now go to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

Joining us now, Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter for the Daily Beast. And Ron Klain back with us. He was the chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ron, what do you make of this exchange tonight where subpoenas from your old Committee, Judiciary Committee, Manafort gets subpoenas and starts complying by producing documents at least at this stage?

RON KLAIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Lawrence, something we see on Capitol Hill through the years. You saw it when you worked up there. You know it`s a frustrating process. I think to the public because it is slow. And people want to see Paul Manafort. They want to see him in public answering these questions.

But I think the committee is taking it step by step. And the first is trying get information, get some questions answered privately and I hope the committee will stay on them and make a legally bind demand for his documents, his e-mails too and hopefully have him testify in public.

O`DONNELL: Let`s see what Joaquin Castro said about Jared Kushner`s testimony today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOAQUIN CASTRO, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Two things were clear to me, first that the President puts a lot of trust in Jared Kushner. I think perhaps more than anyone else in his immediate family. And also that Jared Kushner very much wants to protect the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Betsy Woodruff, we knew that. But for that to be the impression of a member of Congress who was in that House Hearing, meeting with Jared Kushner today, seems to indicate that this Democratic member of the Committee anyway, is seeing someone who is there to protect in his testimony more than reveal possibly.

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR : I think what`s important about understanding Kushner`s interaction with Congress is that he arguably has the best legal team of anyone involved in the Russia situation. It is not surprising that the comments he made to this committee seem informed by some sort of understanding of what direction this investigation could move in. I`ve been speaking with a number of folks in the D.C. Legal community about the different attorneys that these folks have brought on to represent them as they are dealing with the Russia investigation.

The man you see next to Jared Kushner and all this footage and the photos is Abbey Lowell, a long time D.C. Insider lawyer. He knows what he is doing. He is very familiar with the way that these investigations can go down.

Before working with Abbey Lowell, Jared Kushner was actually was working with Jamie Gorelick , formerly the number two person at the Justice Department. She helped him navigate I believe and is still helping him navigate the security clearance question and based on speaking about former federal prosecutors and other D.C. Attorneys Kushner as far as bang for buck has the best legal team even compared to Donald Trump himself and especially compared to Donald Trump Jr. Who made some unusual choices for his legal representation and it seems like that is reflecting it itself in his testimony that he gave on the hill today.

O`DONNELL: Yes Betsy that`s such a good point. And Ron with lawyer like Abbey Lowell, who is clearly the most experience of any of them involved in this case on the Trump family side of it. He could pretty well I imagine estimate just about every question that Committee Members would ask Jared Kushner based on Abbey Lowell`s own understanding of what the committee already knew. That`s a tremendous advantage going into the discussions.

KLAIN: It is. You know Betsy is right Trump has -- Kushner has a great legal team but all of the king`s horses and all the king`s men. I mean I think the question is, has been said on this program time and again, old Washington Chestnut, you know, it`s not the crime, the cover-up, needs to be turned inside out here. I mean at some point we have to get to what actually happened. All of these people are working hard it keep us from finding out what happened, there must be something very bad that happened.

I don`t think great layering or great preparation is covering you the fact that something happened. Donald trump wouldn`t be out there trashing around everyday talking about firing Jeff Sessions, talking about firing Bob Mueller if there wasn`t something to hide.

O`DONNELL: Senator Ron Wyden won`t remain content with Jared Kushner meeting with committees behind closed doors. Let`s listen to what he had to say today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON WYDEN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: With respect to Mr. Kushner, I can tell you, it`s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. I`m going to insist that he have to respond to those questions in public before the senate select committee on intelligence. The public has a right to see Mr. Kushner in front of the Committee answering questions from Democrats and Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Betsy, there is a big difference between the version of having the doors closed today and yesterday and doing it in public with the country watching.

WOODRUFF: Exactly and Wyden of all people knows that. He is the master of asking questions in these committee hearings that gets his witnesses to sort of drop Easter eggs, drop hints to the general public about what more information they might know. Of course, as an important Democrat on the Intel committee, he`s been able to do this with actual members of the intelligence community, getting Senior Intel officials to refer to dynamics particularly in terms of surveillance policy in ways that have tipped reporters off to information that otherwise would be held back because of classification rules.

Perhaps more than anyone, Wyden has the gift for getting people in interviews before the Senate Intel Committee to say more than they intended to say so it is not a surprise at all that he is excited to get a chance to drill Jared Kushner on whatever Kushner might know about the way that this investigation is played out. And perhaps more than anyone he will have good questions to ask.

O`DONNELL: We will have to leave it there for tonight. Betsy Woodruff and Ron Klain, thank you both for joining us tonight, I appreciate it.

KLAIN: Thank Lawrence.

WOODRUFF: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, this is not OK. That was the tile of the lead editorial in Washington Post today. And guess who they were talking about?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yeah, that`s the President of the United States getting Boy Scouts to boo the previous President of the United States. This is not okay. That was the title of the Washington Post lead editorial today about the Presidency of Donald Trump.

In it, the editorial says leaders are expected to speak truthfully to their citizens. They respect the essential nonpartisan nature of law enforcement and the military and key civic organization such as the Boy Scouts of America. They show respect, too, for the political opposition, to list those basic expectations is to understand how low Mr. Trump is bringing his office. Senator John McCain reminded his Republican colleagues in the Senate today of their constitutional standing in relation to the presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: We are an important check on the powers of the executive. Our consent is necessary. For the President to appoint Juris and powerful government officials and in many respects to conduct policy, whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President`s subordinates. We are his equal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What will that McCain moment in the Senate today mean for the Trump presidency? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The least Presidential person in the history of the word Presidential said this tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: With the exception of the late, great, Abraham Lincoln, I can be more Presidential than any President that`s ever held this office that I could tell you. It`s really easy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now former Republican Congressman David Jolly. David, I`m trying to think how many Presidents did he forget when he was.

DAVID JOLLY, FMR. REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Lawrence, this is the humor segment, right.

O`DONNELL: Something over 40. Well it hasn`t been a funny week in watching the indignity of this presidency and what the Washington Post was pushed to with the this is not editorial which is an editorial that papers like the Washington Post are going to have to do on a monthly basis at least before or to prevent people from getting accustomed to all of this.

JOLLY: Right, look, I think the anxiety many of us feel including a lot of Republicans who should be speaking up louder are regarding the President`s narcissism and lack of accountability. Listen if you -- if you think you are always right and you grew up thinking there are no consequence to your decisions then you`re necessarily incapable of making critical decisions, of listening to subject matter experts.

Lawrence, look, you understand history. Could you picture this President in a matter of national crisis delivering FDR`S Day of Infamy Speech or Kennedy`s Cuban missile speech or Reagan`s Berlin speech or LBJ after (INAUDIBLE) saying I`m speak speaking to the dignity and destiny of democracy.

This President speaks to his own ego, his family`s interest and business interests. That`s the anxiety we feel. That`s why more Republican need to be to begin to be critical of the President`s false motivations.

O`DONNELL: David we saw nine Republicans defect from Mitch McConnell on the first round.

JOLLY: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: Of what will be voting on this health care bill. What do you expect to see from this point on?

JOLLY: Well, it says the BCRA was dead to begin with. You know I think McCain`s vote rightfully should be questioned. He gave an honorable speech. He`s were not subordinates. We are equals but then he actually voted for the very bill that he said in that same speech he wasn`t going to support.

In some way look motions to precede that`s good whether you like Republicans or not, the Senate should work and govern. We`ll see what comes out of it. I don`t know they can get to 50 votes or 51 votes on a final bill and conference it with the House.

O`DONNELL: And what about that the? I mean if they pass something in the Senate isn`t in one of the situations where the house has nothing to say? They`re just going to have to take that up and pass it or there will be no bill?

JOLLY: Which will, so some -- some house colleagues toll me they`re going to adjourn in August likely with the 72 hour rule subject to the call of the chair and actually prepare Paul Ryan said to conference this bill. But again they`re threading the needle the President said. And whether they can do it I don`t know how you keep the moderates and freedom caucus and conservatives.

It`s the reason the BCRA didn`t work and that was McConnell`s best effort. I do think McCain is right. You`re going to having to back to some committee and have open order. The bill while it may pass is historically unpopular. And frankly Republicans could lose the house in `18 if they jam it.

O`DONNELL: What is the Republican feeling now about what this would do to enemy in the house politically if they pass something? I mean I`ve seen a lot of situations where in the congress where they are trying -- "trying to pass the bill where maybe most of the party that`s trying to pass the bill is hoping it doesn`t pass because they think it hurts them in the election."

JOLLY: Sure, vote no hope yes or vote yes hope no.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

JOLLY: Look, this all comes down to districts, right? If you have a super red district where truly families were disrupted as a result of Obamacare in the early years rising premiums and so forth. That`s the constituents that you`re listening to but Republican are ignore the other two constituencies.

Those who received expanded coverage and those who received financial assistance. And that`s why this bill never gets the support of the majority Americans. It might protect Republicans in super red districts and they want to pass something. But in the end it is a black mark for Republicans if they move ahead with the bill in the current form.

O`DONNELL: Former republican congressman David Jolly thank you for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

JOLLY: You got it. Good to be with you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Tonight`s last word is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want to thank Senator John McCain, very brave man. He made a tough trip to get here and vote. So we want to thank Senator McCain and all of the Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was the President today. And here was the very first thing that candidate Donald Trump had to say about Senator John McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I supported him for President. I raised a million dollars for him. That`s a lot of money. I supported him he lost.

Let us down. But you know he lost so I never liked him as much after that because he I don`t like losers but Frank let me get you he is not a war hero.

FRANK LUNTZ, AMERICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: He is a war hero.

TRUMP: He is he is a war hero --

LUNTZ: Five and half years --

TRUMP: He is he is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, okay? I hate it tell you.

LUNTZ: Do you agree with that? He`s a war hero because he was captured.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I want to thank Senator John McCain, very brave man. That`s what the President said today. Not one word, not one word Donald Trump says has any meaning at all ever. That`s tonight`s Last Word, the 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11TH HOUR ANCHOR: Tonight another one of those things we`ve never seen before as a sitting American President stepped up his public criticism

END