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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 8/29/17 Historic Harvey & Trump response

Guests: Jill Wine-Banks, Christopher Dickey, Max Boots, Paul Penzone


Guest: Jill Wine-Banks, Christopher Dickey, Max Boots, Paul Penzone

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: 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: Good evening, Rachel. Such a tough situation in Texas --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: The devastation just incredible. Such a sad kind of loss. People losing everything that they`ve held dear.

I mean, objects that they`ve held dear, souvenirs, all that kind of stuff just floated away. It`s just -- it`s such an impossible thing to imagine going through.

MADDOW: And flooding is always a persistent disaster anyway. Anything that gets flooded is a disaster for a long time.


MADDOW: But for them to be in day five of this storm looking ahead tonight to a second landfall, to more rain, to further flooding but the water is not yet receding, it`s just -- the duration of this one is particularly cruel and this is going to be a long time digging out.

O`DONNELL: Yes, you`re one of the thousands of people in a shelter in and around Houston tonight and no one can tell you, no one can tell you how long you might expect to be there --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: When you might next have something -- next have something that you will call a home.

MADDOW: That`s right. Because I mean, as you know, flooding is hard anyway, but Houston with flooding this widespread in such a gigantic metropolitan area, is this going to change -- it`s going to change Houston forever.

It`s going to change that region for a long time to come. This is something we`ve got to -- we have to take very seriously as terms of a national sized emergency.

That`s going to go on for a really long time.

O`DONNELL: Hey, Rachel, later on --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: In the show, we have Michael Isikoff, he`s reporting tonight that there`s a movement developing in the House Intelligence Committee to possibly get President Trump eventually as a witness testifying to that committee. It`s going to be interesting.

MADDOW: I would love to follow the course of that subpoena.

O`DONNELL: Yes, we`ll see how that one goes, thank you, Rachel --

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, today, President Trump visited Texas but he forgot to bring any empathy with him but he did bring a hat, a hat that is for sale.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought I was going to die. I felt like -- I felt like this was the last day I was going to live, the last day I was going to see my son, last day I was going to breathe, like I felt like this was the end.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We won`t say congratulations, we don`t want to do that. We don`t want to congratulate. We`ll congratulate each other when it`s all finished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it seems to me, he`s just concerned about optics. He`s just concerned about optics. And I want to be -- I want to wish they would be concerned about people.

TRUMP: We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years and ten years from now as this is the way to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn`t hug a mom or hold a baby or shake someone`s hand or ask a senior how they were doing. It was typical Donald Trump without an ounce of empathy.

CHUCK TOOD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Had there not been for Harvey, there`s no doubt in my mind the president is tweeting about the various Russia stories that have broken in the last two days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mueller is going after this case like he`s investigating the Gambino crime family. There are no holds bar. This is illustrative why you don`t put family businesses in the White House.

It clouds your judgment and makes you choose between family and your country.


O`DONNELL: So the president went to Texas today and as "Politico" reports, he did not meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.

Perhaps, the president`s aversion to getting his feet wet is explained by what he said in a tweet in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy.

"Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real president. Don`t fall for it."

So no standing in water and rain for Donald Trump today. Twelve years ago today, thousands and thousands of people from New Orleans found salvation in Houston as they fled Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans is still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina and now Houston is flooded as it has never been before from Hurricane Harvey, which has killed at least eight people now.

We don`t know what the final death toll will be. It is likely to be higher. There may be some people who may have drowned, who will not be found for weeks.

The fourth largest city in America is under water tonight and we don`t know when we will see it again. We don`t know how long it will take for the waters to subside.

We don`t know how long it will be before we see the highways and the houses and the buses and the bicycles and the televisions and the toys that are now under water.

Nine thousand people have taken shelter in the Houston Civic Center. Many of them have lost every single thing.

Every object that mattered to them. Every single thing that they loved. Children`s artwork on their refrigerators washed away forever.

Laptops with family photographs on them destroyed. Deeply important momentous lost forever.

The luckier ones did not lose any loved ones but they`ve all lost a lot. This is the stuff of human tragedy.

Yes, there are bright spots of heroism in Houston today but it is heroism born in horrific disaster and tragedy, and into that tragedy today stepped the president of the United States.


TRUMP: We won`t say congratulations. We don`t want to do that. We don`t want to congratulate.

We`ll congratulate each other when it`s all finished. We have had a tremendous group of folks, our acting director, Elaine(ph), thank you very much for the job you`ve done, and a man who`s really become very famous on television over the last couple of days, Mr. Long(ph).

What a crowd. What a turnout.


O`DONNELL: If you think the president`s language was a little too celebratory about the sudden fame that can happen to people during hurricane coverage, a fame no one should welcome.

If you think the president`s language missed the mark emotionally, internally(ph). If you think the president was undignified, then you might also want to think about what the president was wearing.

That hat is for sale on a Trump website. So the president used today`s hurricane coverage to promote Trump merchandise.

Just as he uses the presidency every day to promote all things Trump that have a price tag on them.

Hotel rooms, restaurant meals, golf courses, that hat is for sale on the president`s campaign website.

The $40 that you send to the campaign to buy that hat will be used to pay for some of the costs of Donald Trump`s next rally or it can be used to pay for Donald Trump`s criminal defense lawyers who are representing him in special prosecutor`s investigation.

Which according to one report we will be discussing tonight is getting closer and closer to the president himself.

One of the deaths in Houston that was ignored by President Trump is police Sergeant Steve Perez who had been missing since Sunday morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can`t find him and once our dive team got there, it was too treacherous to go under and look for him.

So we made a decision to leave officers there waiting until the morning because as much as we wanted to recover him last night, we could not put another one officer at risk for what we knew in our hearts was going to be a recovery mission.


O`DONNELL: President Trump did not mention Sergeant Perez today. And he has not tweeted about Sergeant Perez today and he has tweeted about some unrelated, idiotic Trumpian things.

Hurricane Harvey now a tropical storm has broken the record for the most rain of any storm in the continental United States ever.

Harvey could make a second landfall near Houston tomorrow morning. The red cross says 17,000 people are in shelters across Texas tonight. Here`s Houston`s Mayor Sylvester Turner this afternoon.


MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: With respect to shelters, of course at the George R. Brown now, we have -- we have expanded our capacity.

The reality is, is that not only are we providing shelter for Houstonians, but we are also providing shelters for people who are coming outside the city of Houston who have been directly impacted by the storm.

We`re not turning anyone away.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now James Fellow; national correspondent for "The Atlantic" and a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.

Also with us, Josh Earnest, a former White House Press Secretary for President Obama, he`s an Msnbc political analyst.

And Josh, I wanted to get your reaction to the way the president handled himself in Texas today.

JOSH EARNEST, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, Lawrence, let me start by saying that as an 18-year-old young man in 1993, I moved to the city of Houston, Texas to attend college.

And I`ve lived in Houston for a couple of years after I graduated from college. The first job I ever had in politics was actually the Houston`s mayor`s race in 1997.

So I can tell you the specific issues from that community is one that I know well. I have loved ones there today and that is a city that is struggling and tonight we`re praying for the people in that city and as we have been for the last several days.

When it comes to the president`s conduct, you know, Lawrence, I had an opportunity to travel with President Obama on numerous occasions.

Unfortunately, to communities across this country that had sustained significant damage from a storm.

Just over a year ago, President Obama was actually on the ground in a suburb outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, surveying a community that had recently sustained some terrible flood damage.

And what I can tell you is that everybody who observed President Obama on that trip watched him interact with the local officials, watched him interact with local first responders.

Watched him interact with people whose lives had been upended by tragedy, recognized that that trip was not about Barack Obama.

That trip was about the president of the United States, the person holding that office offering support and ongoing resilience to that community.

To make sure that they understood that the rest of the country stood with them in their darkest hour.

And I hope that in spite of President Trump`s refusal or at least mistake in omitting a reference to those who have lost so much in this tragedy, that the people of Houston understand that the rest of this country, as symbolized by the president`s visit, are standing with them in this dark hour and are going to be standing with them long after the television cameras leave and we`re ready.

We`ve got your back and we`re going to be there with you as you recover from this terrible tragedy.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to another Press Secretary Ari Fleischer who was George W. Bush`s press secretary. Let`s listen to what he had to say about this today.


ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was something missing from what President Trump said.

I hope he will say it later today, but that`s the empathy for the people who suffer. That in my opinion should have been the first thing he should have said, was that his heart goes out to those people in Houston who are going through this and that the government is here to help them to recover from this.

And then secondly, the job of the president is to thank those who are the first responders.


O`DONNELL: James Fallows, you worked for President Carter and these are the nights when we`re talking about how a presidency is conducted, it`s really invaluable to have people who worked in the White House for a president.

Can you imagine Jimmy Carter or any other president complimenting someone about how much time they`ve spent in television coverage and how famous they`re getting as a result of this kind of coverage of a tragedy?

JAMES FALLOWS, JOURNALIST: It is extraordinary, as josh was pointing out, and you, too. And I think of it as sort of three layers of tasks that a president faces with this kind of disaster.

The first is the very long-term effort of rebuilding a city and industry or whatever. That is going to take a long time, years, maybe even decades, and that`s the hardest of all to do.

We`ll see how the Trump administration fairs with that. The second, which most presidents would have done today or in the last two or three days, is to speak for the nation.

As Josh Earnest was saying, there`s a responsibility the president has to express the wishes of the entire country in solidarity and sympathy and support and long-term hope.

We saw even George W. Bush was just interviewed informally today and he in 30 seconds sort of rattled off from the top of his head that kind of supportive message that Ronald Reagan gave after the challenger explosion and that Barack Obama gave after many disasters and that George W. Bush gave after 9/11.

The third thing that presidents usually do and human beings do is just have some kind of human empathy and warmth for people who have lost everything.

And you know, politicians do things for stage reasons, but just as people, most of them who hold this office have that vibe of just fueling, as Bill Clinton put it, feeling your pain, of just wanting to hold people and see them and bear witness and say that I am the representative of the country, but I also I`m a person.

And I`m here to say you`ve been through something terrible and I`m here to offer support and sympathy and people are better and worse at that.

Richard Nixon wasn`t so great. But the fact that Donald Trump didn`t even try either of these one or two things to speak for the country or to deal with individuals.

There`s something unusual about him as a person that I think we saw today.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what James just mentioned that George W. Bush, and what he had to say today.


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there`s some people from Houston here and in the Houston area.

And I know you`re going through a really tough time. And just know that there will be a lot of people that are going to help you, help people down there, a lot.

The country -- right now, they`re recovering and so the key thing on the recovery is to keep people safe.

And there`s going to be rebuilding and if you`re from that area, you`d be amazed at the people who come down there to help.

All kinds of people. And so the days are dark now but they`re going to get better.


O`DONNELL: And Josh Earnest, that was not news footage, that was not President Bush going somewhere where he was expecting to be make a public statement to Texas for the nation, that was just captured on personal video at that football field.

EARNEST: Yes, look, I think it`s a natural human response and I also think those are the kinds of leadership qualities that we typically look for in a president.

And I think this is evident that these are the kinds of things that transcend party. This is what we expect of Democratic and Republican presidents, is what we expert of American presidents.

And look, Lawrence, I think the other part of this that`s important for people to understand is, it`s easy to dismiss these sorts of visits as mere photo ops.

And let`s be honest, that`s what they are. But it`s important as the president of the United States whether that`s George W. Bush or Barack Obama puts their arm around a police officer or puts their arm around somebody whose home has been destroyed in a flood.

That is sending a signal to all of the millions of other people who live in southeast Texas that the country stands with you.

The country won`t forget about you. The country understands that what you`re going through is arduous and painful and will take a long time to recover and that we will stand with you as you do.

These -- this is a situation where that image is every bit as powerful as the words and, unfortunately, during President Trump`s day-long visit today, we didn`t see either the image or the words expressing that important sentiment.

O`DONNELL: And James, perhaps -- it`s definitely more important than all of this. There`s absolutely no evidence that President Trump has the vaguest idea of how to put the machinery of government to work for those people.

FALLOWS: Indeed. And there`s been both a rhetorical emphasis on government just being bad and I mean -- and you have to starve it in the cradle, et cetera and over the past decade or more from his party.

But also, in the past now eight months of his refusal to staff up the government who imagine is -- imagine is better to have all these posts standing vacant.

And so, this is the time when we see a local government, we see these brave policemen, we saw the police ship, we saw the firefighters, we see the local news organizations, we see citizens.

We see the way in which a public infrastructure actually matters and will for years to come. It matters at the federal level, too.

And so we`ll see whether people around him are able to, we hope, get the machine moving.

O`DONNELL: James Fallows and Josh Earnest, thank you both for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.

EARNEST: Thanks, Lawrence --

FALLOWS: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, is Donald Trump going to be called to testify to Congress? Michael Isikoff has the latest on that.


O`DONNELL: "Yahoo News" investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reports tonight that, quote, "a key Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said the panel needs to seek testimony from Felix Sater; a business associate of President Trump and may ultimately have to call the president himself in light of newly disclosed e-mails about a prospective Trump Tower project in Moscow that was being pursued during the early stages of last year`s presidential campaign.

This is a bright light in an ever-growing constellation of contacts between Donald Trump and Russia.

Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California told "Yahoo News". Swalwell also told "Yahoo News" that Sater; a Russian-born convicted felon- turned FBI informant is a relevant witness who may have been a pivotal player in the relationship between Trump and the Russian government.

But the committee will likely need to go further to resolve all the questions around this issue including seeking testimony directly from the president.

We don`t want to be reckless, says Swalwell, but that should be on the table. My believe is, we have to hear from all relevant witnesses and it does look like he, President Trump is likely relevant.

Also tonight, the Senate Judiciary Committee and Donald Trump Jr. have agreed to a date for a transcribed interview behind closed doors about his meeting with a Russian lawyer and several other people, including other Russians at Trump Tower, including a man suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

The president`s son will not be under oath and we do not know the exact date of that interview.

But "Politico" reports tonight that a source familiar with the matter said the testimony would likely occur in the next few weeks.

Joining us now, Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for "Yahoo News" and Jill Wine-Banks; former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an Msnbc contributor.

Michael, this report that you have from Eric Swalwell saying it looks like the evidence is closing in on the president such that it will make logical sense to include him on the witness list.

That will -- will that require the cooperation of Republicans on the committee in order to get President Trump to testify?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. And there`s inevitably going to be conflict about that.

Look, to some extent, Swalwell is stating the obvious. This entire investigation is about potential links between Trump associates and the Russian government.

The central question is ultimately going to be what did the president know about such contacts and when did he know them?

And the only way ultimately you can get responses to those questions is to -- is to question the president himself.

Now, whether politically you can pull it off, you know, that`s a whole other question. Obviously, to the extent that Republicans remain behind the president, they would resist.

Right now they control the House and the Senate. So it`s not likely. But as the pressure builds and as more and more evidence comes out, and if you get conflicts in the testimony that the committee gets from some of the participants, it`s hard to see how they -- at the end of the day don`t try to get the president`s testimony.

O`DONNELL: And Jill, isn`t that the point that it`s going to be a matter of how the evidence develops and if it develops to the point of -- as Michael says, conflict in the testimony or incriminating testimony about the president that only he can resolve, that`s when you could develop a momentum where it becomes difficult to resist the demand that the president testify.

I`m not saying the president couldn`t resist it, but that the Republican members of Congress at some point may have to say, yes, this testimony is required.

JILL WINE-BANKS, LAWYER: Every time I ask when is enough sufficient, I am surprised by how much the president can get away with.

So, yes, he may not ever really have to testify because the Republicans may not have the courage to force them to, but it is a logical next step we definitely need to know.

And the difference between when he says something in public, even if he`s lying and many of the statements he`s made seem to be lies, they`re in conflict with other people`s testimony, that`s not a crime.

But if he says it under oath, then it is a crime. So he either has to contradict what he`s said in the past or he has to repeat things that are in conflict with other testimony.

So that`s the danger for him in testifying and it`s exactly why everybody would like him to testify under oath.

O`DONNELL: Yes, on the under oath piece with Donald Trump Jr., I just want to point out, it is -- it is a crime to lie to the Congress in any investigative session that they`re doing, whether it`s under oath or not.

And so whether he`s under oath or not, he is still exposed to what is in effect a possible perjury charge, even though it`s technically called something else.

If he`s not under oath, lying to Congress is similar to lying to an FBI agent. I want to listen to what Representative Adam Schiff said about this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The president had a financial interest, a potential financial interest in doing business with Russia during the course of the presidential campaign and that financial interest may have caused the president to have a pro-Russian foreign policy during the campaign.

The president was being less than truthful about pursing business with Russia during the campaign.

This is part of a pattern we have seen not only with the president, but with his son and with others are being less than truthful when it comes to Russian ties.


O`DONNELL: And Michael, that`s the case. That -- the question is, will that -- will that pressure continue to build in that direction?

ISIKOFF: Well, if you just look at the record here on what Trump has said about the various issues that relate to these e-mails, Trump, of course, you know, famously said in the interview with Lester Holt last year, I have zero interest this year, zero interest nothing to do with Russia.

He actually did respond to questions under oath in a deposition about Felix Sater, the twice convicted felon who actually pitched the whole Trump Tower in Moscow idea and he said I wouldn`t know him if he walked into the room.

And this is a guy who -- there`s multiple pictures of Trump with him, breaking of -- breaking ground for Trump SoHo.

He had -- Sater had a business card that listed his office at Trump Tower and identifying him as a senior adviser to Donald Trump when Alan Garten; the chief counsel for the Trump organization was asked about this last year, he said the business card was in 2010 and the arrangement that Sater had with the Trump organization ended six months later.

Well, these e-mails show Sater pitching a project in late 2015 and early 2016 to the Trump organization.

So there are a lot of reasons to question the credibility of the statements that the president and his top people have made about this for quite some time.

O`DONNELL: Jill, I`ve got an important question tonight about a report on subpoenas from the special prosecutor`s office.

Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a spokesman for the Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort; a former spokesman for Paul Manafort demanding records related to his work with Manafort, seeking that testimony.

Also subpoenaing a former lawyer for Mr. Manafort has also received the subpoena. Now, this goes straight, you know, in everyone`s mind to the attorney-client privilege.

And Jill, what are the exceptions in the attorney-client privilege that allow a former lawyer of Paul Manafort to be subpoenaed.

WINE-BANKS: There are a few, not very many and that attorney-client privilege is really a bond that is hard to break.

But for example, if they were engaged in a business deal together, outside their attorney-client relationship, which it does seem that some of Trump`s lawyers were also business partners or business employees of his, that would not be covered by the privilege.

If they were conspiring to commit a crime, even if the attorney was acting as an attorney, that would not be covered.

If they were plotting something that violated federal law or state law, that wouldn`t be covered.

So there are a few things that could be, but without any more information, it`s really speculation as to whether the attorney for anybody could ever be forced to testify against that client.

O`DONNELL: So just getting this out for us a little bit, this is one of Paul Manafort`s former lawyers. If that lawyer resists the subpoena, do they end up in some kind of evidentiary hearing in court where it is revealed or revealed to us publicly why that lawyer is actually being subpoenaed?

WINE-BANKS: It could be. And, of course, there is a lot of pressure now to have some of these witnesses who are cooperating in closed-door sessions to be public in their testimony because the public has a right to know before the elections what is going on.

We shouldn`t jump to the conclusion that something criminal has happened, but there`s enough suspicion that you can`t help but do that.

They are acting guilty. The president does everything that makes him look guilty. His son looks guilty. That`s just something that can only be taken care of if they testify in public and can explain themselves in some way.

So, yes, it`s quite possible that we could possibly find out exactly why the attorney is being questioned.

O`DONNELL: And Michael, we have at the same time the Democrats are developing the possibility of demanding President`s Trump testimony. We have at least one Republican in Congress trying to pass an amendment basically throw an amendment on a budget bill to limit the Special Prosecutor`s investigation, say that it must end in six months, saying that it can`t investigate anything that happened before the presidential campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. I don`t think that has much prospect of passing even if House Republicans were going to go down the line and keep that in the house bill. I can`t imagine the Senate doing the same, especially given the frosty relationship that the President has with Republican Senators at the moment.

O`DONNELL: Yeas. And it remains to be seen how many votes it would get in the House at that point.


O`DONNELL: Michael, Jill Wine-Banks, thank you for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

WINE-BANKS: thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the new sheriff in town, the Sheriff who beat Joe Arpaio in his last election.



REPORTER: Mr. President, what are you going to do about North Korea?



O`DONNELL: That was the President at the Whitehouse at 8:00 A.M. this morning on his way to Texas. Tonight, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un issued a new threat in remarks delivered by the Korean Central News Agency. Kim Jong-un called North Korea`s missile test over Japan "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam." Tonight, the United Nations 15 member Security Council held an emergency meeting and condemned the missile strike over Japan as an outrageous threat demanded that Pyongyang not launch any more missiles and abandon all nuclear weapons and programs.

At his rally last week in Phoenix, the President seemed to believe that Kim Jong-Un had a new found respect for the United States and presumably President Trump.


TRUMP: Kim Jong-Un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Christopher Dickey, the World News Editor for Daily Beast and an MSNBC Contributor and Max Boots, senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council in Foreign Relations and a former Foreign Policy Adviser for Presidential Campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio. And Chris Dickey, there he was a week ago thinking there was a new found respect.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Max is laughing. Well, in fact, it`s almost funny. I mean, it`s sad. I think if you look at the pictures that Kim Jong-Un`s press people have put out of him laughing, joyously as these missiles are going up, I don`t think they -

O`DONNELL: There`s the picture. Go ahead

DICKEY: Yes, I don`t think that shows him looking particularly intimidated by Donald Trump or Rex Tillerson or American policy. I think he understands perfectly well that unless Russia and China were to get on board with the United States for much harsher measures than they have ever been willing to do or show any signs of willingness to do, not much is going to happen to him to change his mind. And in the meantime, he`s at the center of the world attention. He is making little North Korea this cruddy little country with no resources virtually, the world figure on the world stage. So of course he`s laughing.

O`DONNELL: There was a North Korean news publication that released that photo tonight. I want to go back to what Rex Tillerson said about the North Korean situation last week. Listen to this.


REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it is worth noting that we have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of North Korea since the unanimous adoption of the U.N. Security Resolution. I want to take note of that, I want to acknowledge it. I am pleased to see that the regime and Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we`ve not seen in the past.


O`DONNELL: Max, it almost seems like that was taken in North Korea as a challenge.

MAX BOOTS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s kind of pathetic that this administration is so desperate for its mission accomplishment moment that, you know, if two days go and North Korea doesn`t do anything provocative they say oh North Korea is behaving and pretty obviously that is not the case at all. And I mean this is really just showing how hallow, you know, Trump has rolled out this artillery of alliteration, you know, fire and fury and lock and loaded.

And guess what Kim Jong-Un is not scared about that because he understands he has nuclear weapons. He has a formidable convention of force. He has 10,000 artillery troops trained on Seoul and we don`t have any great military options. I mean Steve Bannon acknowledged as he was going out the door it`s pretty obvious to anybody who understands the situation and Kim Jong-Un understands the situation.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Chris, the Bannon comments were essentially from deep inside the Trump Whitehouse saying there`s absolutely no military option there that doesn`t get too many South Koreans killed instantly. Therefore, there`s no military option.

DICKEY: Well there`s no military option that doesn`t get a lot of South Koreans killed and a hello a lot of Americans who are based in South Korea killed. There`s really no question about that. But that doesn`t mean that Donald Trump will eventually accept the idea that North Korea is a nuclear power within the intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit the continental, the (INAUDIBLE) United States.

Is Donald Trump the kind of man who can accept that? Can he say - can he listen to the people or really listen to the people and say who lost North Korea? Who put us in a position we`re endangered by this madman, Kim Jong- Un? I`m not sure he will and that creates an incredibly dangerous situation.

O`DONNELL: Max, what is the reasonable counsel now to the President in this situation?

BOOTS: Well I think the only thing we can do reasonably at this point is to do the same thing that we did with the Soviet Union. I mean remember, we`re very alarmed right now that the North Koreans have maybe a dozen, two dozen nuclear weapons at moast and they are about to acquire the ability to put a nuclear weapon on ICBM that can hit the United States. But remember I mean the Soviets had that capability for decades and nobody in his right mind talked about a pre-emptive strike on Moscow to wipe out the threat.

What we relied on was deterrence. I`m convinced we don`t have any other option with North Korea. I mean it`s not a great option because you`re seeing now with the ballistic missile test over Japan, North Korea is a scary place.

They are dangerous. They are unpredictable. At the end of the day, I don`t see anything to indicate that they are suicidal. Kim Jong-Un does not have any desire to become a martyr. He just wants to stay in power and enjoy his ill-gotten gains, basically, and I think he understands he may have a few dozen nuclear weapons and that`ll give him the strong hand. But we have thousands of nuclear weapons. If he attacks South Korea or Japan, we have the capability to wipe him from the face of the earth.

And I think he`s smart enough not to do that. I think he`s basically playing a game of brinkmanship to try to get as much as he can as Christopher said. I mean, it`s this rinky-dink country with no other resources. All they can do is exploit their military arsenal. And he`s trying to do that.

And I think we need to be sure we don`t get carried away. We don`t overreact. And we don`t put ourselves out on a ledge the way Trump has done with all of this over the top rhetoric saying he`s going to stop them from getting nuclear weapons that can hit us, you know locked and loaded, fire and fury, all those kind of stuff that just escalates this war of words and does not help us in any way.

O`DONNELL: Chris, a quick last word. Kim Jong-Un is trying to do what, is the question, because as he does these things, he gets more sanctions and life becomes more difficult in North Korea.

DICKEY: Well, I think eventually he believes the world will have to come around. It will accept that he has this arsenal. That he can be deterred so he doesn`t have to be completely eliminated and then he`s in a much more powerful position to negotiate and also to intimidate South Korea. Once we accept that North Korea has a nuclear arsenal and we live with that, how does South Korea live with that?

He can start to put pressure on them as he`s never put pressure on them before. And I think South Korea is really his goal, much more than anything else.

O`DONNELL: We`ll leave it there for tonight. Max Boot and Christopher Dickey, thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it.

DICKEY: Thank you.

BOOTS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what a former speechwriter for George W. Bush calls the, "most forthright incitement of the trump era."



JOHN ROBERTS, CANADIAN JOURNALIST: What do you say to your critics, even some in your own party, who say it was the wrong thing to do?

TRUMP: Well, a lot of people think it was the right thing to do, John. Sheriff Joe is a patriot. . Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama Administration.


O`DONNELL: In the Washington Post today former Bush speech Michael Gerson addressed his column to Republicans saying the Arpaio Pardon constitutes the most forthright racist incitement of the Trump Era. Complacency is permission. Resistance is required.

Any party that swallows the Trump/Arpaio ethic will be poisoned. Still, most Congressional Republicans remain silent on the Joe Arpaio Pardon. But some have spoken out. Yesterday Senator Dean Heller of Nevada joined both Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake in disagreeing with the Joe Arpaio Pardon.


DEAN HELLER, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I don`t believe anybody is above the law. I don`t believe anybody is above the law. I don`t like it when Bush did it. I didn`t like it when Obama did it and I certainly don`t like it now.


O`DONNELL: The people of Maricopa County, Arizona, made their opinion of Joe Arpaio clear in last year`s election. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was defeated by almost 13 points in his re-election campaign. The new sheriff who defeated Joe Arpaio promised to bring a new approach to law enforcement and to end what he calls "the costly disgraceful practice of using our badges to harass and intimidate people of color." The new sheriff of Maricopa County who beat Joe Arpaio joins us next.


O`DONNELL: There`s a new sheriff in town. And He joins us now. Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County Arizona who defeated Sheriff Arpaio in the election last November. Sheriff thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. I want to you listen to something that President Trump said yesterday about Joe Arpaio and I want to get your reaction to this.



TRUMP: When I mentioned him the other day. You saw the massive crowd we had. The people went crazy when I said what do you think of Sheriff Joe. The place went absolutely crazy when I was in Arizona last week. So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe. And I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me.


O`DONNELL: Sheriff, the President seems to think Joe Arpaio is the most popular guy in Arizona. How did you beat him by 13 points if the people of Arizona are such fans of Joe Arpaio?

PENZONE: Well obviously our community felt otherwise. The victory in November was considerable and it was because of the actions that have gone on for many years. This was not a popularity contest.

This was a contest to determine who was best suited to lead public safety on behalf of the community we have and although that room may have been supportive of this decision. This community is not because there`s still a lot of healing to do, a lot of losses both financial and otherwise that have affected us adversely.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I think that`s the mistake the President makes all the time is if the people gather in this room are all Trump fans agree with President Trump then the world agrees or the whole state of Arizona. Talk about what the voters were in effect revolting against in the last election during the Arpaio experience. It was a very expensive experience for these voters, wasn`t it?

PENZONE: It was. The contempt hearing was really the conclusion of a lot of just bad policing, politically driven decisions. And what turned out to be not public safety but political agendas. Over the course of the final few terms we had cases nearly 400 that were crimes against children that were not properly investigated under my predecessor.

Additionally it cost us over $70 million to the taxpayers to address lawsuits and legal fees due to the civil rights violations which under any terms are unacceptable. We in law enforcement have an obligation. And that`s to ensure that we stand and define the constitution and laws and what they are and never ever violate those because if we do we lose the public trust.

So this litany of things he did which was more about politics than police policing led to the ultimate outcome which was a community that had enough and was ready to move forward. And again it wasn`t about the person whether you like that person or not. It was about the person who was inept at the job of being sheriff which for all of us is far too important.

O`DONNELL: And some of the points you made since you`ve taken office is that there is two things, what Joe Arpaio was doing wrong and that was unconstitutional. And that`s been fairly well publicized. And then there`re all the things he wasn`t doing, all the normal pursuits of law enforcement that he was not doing or wasn`t doing adequately. Talk about some of those.

PENZONE: Well, the problem is this. Law enforcement is a very serious job. The community is dependent on us for safety. So smoke and mirrors that is dedicated solely are for misdirecting issues or political agendas is never acceptable.

As I spoke of before we had 400 cases of crimes against children that were not properly investigated. At the same time my predecessor created a squad that was specifically designed to investigate and attack political adversaries. He had sent people to Hawaii to investigate the Birther investigation.

At the same time we had patrol division that is were understaffed or challenged with every day investigations without having enough deputies on the street to keep them safe. So we have to be fundamentally sound. Politics has no place in law enforcement.

And at the end of the day this community expects we`re going to be the stable force that no matter who you are what you look like where you come from that our job is to keep you safe and to enforce the laws based off of behaviors and not off the color of the skin or any of the other factors. So it was time to remove the nonsense from the office and get back to a stable legitimate law enforcement agency that was professional ethical and led with integrity.

O`DONNELL: Sheriff Paul Penzone thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

PENZONE: It`s my honor. Thank you, sir.

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


O`DONNELL: Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo described a conversation he had the widow of Houston Police Sergeant Steve Perez who was publicly announced as one of the fatalities in Hurricane Harvey today.


ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF: I told his wife, let me ask me something ma`am you`re a person of faith if the Lord is going to take him today how do you think he would want to go laying in bed watching a disaster or doing what he has done for 34 years. And the smile that overcame that woman`s face, his beautiful wife said it all. That if it was his turn to go she said this is the way he would have wanted to go.


O`DONNELL: Houston Police Chief gets tonight`s last word. The 11th Hour starts now.


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