Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 13, 2017
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Craziest campaign in American history, I have --
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: Without journalists, it`s just propaganda.
MADDOW: Katy Tur`s new book is called "Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History". I have read a lot of campaign books, this one I think is important because of the way that you were able to put the people who were there who were trying to get such a rise out of you at the center of the empathy in your narrative.
And I learned a lot, and you`re great, thanks, congratulations --
TUR: Thank you --
MADDOW: Thanks, all right --
TUR: Appreciate it --
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, and right here in this very studio, sitting where Katy Tur is right now will be Hillary Clinton.
She will be here for a live interview that I`m very excited about. 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 have breaking news for you, I have the statement from -- joint statement from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about their dinner at the White House tonight. Would you like to hear it and try to help me figure it out?
O`DONNELL: It says "we had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president. The discussion focused on DACA, we agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall that`s acceptable to both sides.
We also urged the president to make permanent the cost-sharing, reduction payments and those discussions will continue."
Of course, the last line refers to the Affordable Care Act. But it reads there as if the president agreed to an enshrining DACA in law along with some border security, but not the wall.
The president --
According to this caved on the wall.
MADDOW: They said -- and the phrasing there is we came to an agreement?
O`DONNELL: Yes! an agreement, yes, well, it`s worth going over again, OK? We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president.
The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed --
MADDOW: We agreed --
O`DONNELL: To enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall.
MADDOW: Well, unless they`re talking about we, meaning --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
MADDOW: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, in which case that`s not much news. This could potentially be a big deal.
Now, I am disinclined to believe anything that Donald Trump says about his own future behavior or that anybody else says that Donald Trump has committed to anything about his own future behavior until I actually see the behavior.
O`DONNELL: OK, but --
MADDOW: If they`re right, that`s a big deal.
O`DONNELL: Yes, what I am completely willing to believe if true is that Donald Trump agreed to it at that table with those people.
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: He may never agree to it again --
MADDOW: You`re right --
O`DONNELL: May not agree to it right now when he sees this.
MADDOW: Right --
O`DONNELL: Right here --
MADDOW: And will -- and will congressional Republicans agree to what he agreed to and will he agree with himself tomorrow?
O`DONNELL: Well, dropping the wall is something he could get a huge majority votes --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: For in both bodies, so that`s easy to drop if the king of the wall Donald Trump wants to drop it.
MADDOW: I mean, the fact is, even if you drop all of the proper nouns from this, they have also just described the fact that they are moving toward passing the first legislation of this presidency.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
MADDOW: No other significant legislation has passed of any kind. So if they do have an agreement to pass anything, that itself is a scoop.
O`DONNELL: Of course, the only problem here is that neither Nancy Pelosi nor Chuck Schumer, neither of them are actually empowered to bring up that legislation --
MADDOW: Right --
O`DONNELL: In either of the bodies. So having this meeting without the Republicans -- from their counterparts from the Republican Party makes it - - I don`t know, I don`t know what it means.
MADDOW: We`ll see if it`s still true when we wake up in the morning.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel --
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, Senator Al Franken is here tonight, and he`s in the thick of it in the Senate as part of the judiciary committee`s investigation of the Trump Russia connections.
We`ll get Senator Franken`s reaction to his leader Chuck Schumer`s dinner tonight at the White House with President Trump and Nancy Pelosi and what this statement might mean that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have just released.
And we`ll find out if Al Franken`s co-sponsoring of Bernie Sanders`s Medicare for all bill means that Senator Franken might be running for president.
And we`ll be joined by a reporter who has just returned from the U.S. Virgin Islands and has seen the devastation there up close.
We`ll get a report on what the American citizens in the Virgin Islands would like to say to Donald Trump.
And there is now a criminal investigation of the deaths of eight patients in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
But first, today Nbc News exclusively reported that Michael G. Flynn; son of former Trump national security adviser General Michael Flynn is a subject in the Russia investigation according to four current and former government officials.
Michael G. Flynn is now the third person reported to be a subject in the Mueller investigation. The other two are his father, General Flynn and former Trump campaign Chair Paul Manafort.
Officials tell Nbc News that the inquiry into the younger Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father`s lobbying firm Flynn Intel Group.
The father and son worked closely together, both traveled to Russia back in 2015 when General Flynn gave a paid speech for the Russian television and had dinner with Vladimir Putin.
The younger Flynn called the report a "nothing burger". That was his term. A "nothing burger" in a tweet tonight.
And President Trump`s lawyer said, quote, "this does not impact the White House to any extent with regard to its continuing cooperation with the special counsel."
Why the focus on Flynn`s son? Possibly to get General Flynn to tell investigators anything he might know about collusion involving the Trump campaign.
Legal experts tell Nbc News Mueller brought on to his team a federal prosecutor known for convincing subjects to turn on associates.
Any potential criminal liability for Michael G. Flynn could put added pressure on his father. One former federal prosecutor said `the last thing any parent would want is for their child to get in trouble for something they initiated."`
And in the meantime, more problems for General Michael Flynn today as the "Wall Street Journal" reports that the former national security adviser to President Trump promoted a controversial private sector nuclear power plan in the Middle East that had once involved Russian companies while General Flynn was working in the Trump White House.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee want to know more. They say that based on information they received from General Flynn`s former business partners, General Flynn did not include meetings and travel dealing with the nuclear plan in his security clearance form.
In a letter to General Flynn`s former business partners asking for more information, the Democrats write, "it appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts since these violations carry criminal penalties.
We are providing your responses to special counsel Robert Mueller." "Axios" reports today that "President Trump continues to rant and brood about former FBI Director Jim Comey and the Russia investigation that got him fired."
Today, the White House press secretary said this about James Comey`s release of his memos of his conversations with President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, the memos that Comey leaked were created on an FBI computer while he was the director.
He claims they were private property, but they clearly follow the protocol of an official FBI document, leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case regardless of classification violates federal laws including the Privacy Act, standard FBI employment agreement and non-disclosure agreement, all personnel must sign.
I think that`s pretty clean and clear that that would be a violation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And tonight, we now have more details about why Obama national security adviser Susan Rice unmasked senior Trump campaign officials.
"Cnn" reports that she was trying to understand in intelligence reports why the crowned prince of the United Arab Emirates visited New York late last year without giving the Obama administration a customary notification of such a visit.
The crowned prince met with General Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon at Trump Tower. That meeting came before a separate effort by the United Arab Emirates to facilitate a back channel communication between Russia and the incoming Trump White House.
Joining us now, Ron Klain; a former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a former chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno and a former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore.
Also with us, Matt Miller, a former spokesman of Attorney General Eric Holder and a Msnbc contributor. And Ron, I want to go first of all -- I want to get both of your opinions about what the White House press secretary said today about James Comey and was there a possible crime, a violation of law committed by James Comey in the release of his memos of his conversations with the president? Ron, you first on that one.
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO JOE BIDEN & AL GORE: Yes, you know, I worked in two White Houses and two administrations.
I worked at the Justice Department. And I can tell you, in any other administration, the Attorney General would have been on the phone with the president demanding the firing of the White House press secretary and that would have only been exceeded with the speed with which the White House counsel would have insisted on the firing of the White House press secretary.
It is not the job of the White House press secretary to stand at that podium and suggest that the Justice Department launched criminal investigations against people that the president doesn`t like.
In fact, that`s not the job of any political official in our democracy, and it`s not the way a democracy works. And there can`t be anything more disgraceful than what we saw from Sarah Sanders in the White House briefing room today.
O`DONNELL: But Matt Miller, what about the criminal -- the possible criminal liability for James Comey?
MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR ERIC HOLDER: There`s absolutely no criminal liability for him. Those memos were not classified, he made clear in his public testimony that he wrote them in an unclassified fashion.
The suggestion that they violated the Privacy Act is frankly absurd. I suppose the argument is that it violated Donald Trump`s privacy.
You would find no lawyer, no government official I think that would back that up. Ron is exactly right, that I think you would see an attorney general demand that the White House press secretary be fired.
But I think it`s pretty clear Sarah Sanders didn`t come up with this on her own. She`s not the one that came up with the idea of the Privacy Act.
This goes beyond just what Sarah Sanders is saying, it`s clearly other people in the White House that are suggesting that she do this.
And look this is -- this is an absolute -- it`s crossing a red line for the White House to do this. James Comey is a witness in a criminal investigation against the president and the White House is coming out and suggesting that the Justice Department investigate him and prosecute him when there is no basis to do so.
It is an absolute abuse of power on their part.
O`DONNELL: And Ron, to move back through some of these stories that we have just --
KLAIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Covered in this introduction, the "Wall Street" journal reporting tonight that "General Flynn remained involved in the project."
This is that nuclear reactors deal -- "remained involved in the project once he joined the Trump administration in January, discussing the plan and directing his National Security Council staff to meet with the companies involved, the former staffer said.
His actions were highly abnormal and not the way things were supposed to go, said one former NSC staff member." What are the problems for General Flynn in that story?
KLAIN: Well, this story and the other one about General Flynn`s son show that the facts increasingly finger the Flynn family for Flynn flummery.
This is outrageous behavior by the national security adviser too while he is on the president`s staff, trying to advance a deal that his company that his son also worked for was trying to make money off of.
And it reminds us that the very first scandal in this administration was the fact that the attorney general had to go to the White House and say, hey, you have a compromised official as your chief national security adviser.
And the White House refused to fire him until that became a matter of public record from the press uncovering it.
And so, Mike Flynn is a problem for this administration and the problems just continue to mount.
O`DONNELL: I want to put up a list, I want to call it Rachel`s list. This is a list that Rachel put up on the screen in the last hour about all the things that General Michael Flynn did do -- I should say, did not do.
These are all sins of omission and maybe crimes. I just want to consider them all here at once. It was kind of stunning to see them on the screen when Rachel put them up there.
Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn did not disclose Russian air cargo company payments, disclose Russian software company payments, disclose free Moscow trip and payment from Russian media.
Obtain permission to visit Moscow and meet Putin. Disclose Turkish- government-linked payments.
Disclose Russian government contacts. Disclose Russian sanctions conversations. Disclose payment for promoting Russian nuclear deal.
And Matt Miller, those disclosures were required by law. Is there -- is there any way as you -- it`s just hard to stare at that list and think that there`s a way for General Flynn to escape legal consequences of this.
MILLER: Yes, I think you are absolutely right. Look, Michael Flynn was a walking ethics, legal and national security liability from the day Donald Trump was elected and he joined the transition until he was finally fired in February after it became public that Sally Yates had given a warning about him being subject to blackmail.
The number of charges that he is potentially subject to, first, you have potentially lied to investigators when he talked to the FBI.
You have failure to disclose income that he received in his -- on his national security clearance applications.
You have failure to disclose income he received as a foreign agent. It`s clear that Bob Mueller has him, not just as a subject of the investigation.
But I think it`s obvious he`s edged into target status. He has his own legal liability and he has two ways out of this.
One, he turns and cooperates with Bob Mueller and tells him something he knows about the president, or two, he goes to the White House and begs for a pardon.
I don`t see any other way out of this for him.
O`DONNELL: And Ron Klain, General Flynn`s lawyer publicly in a really quite an unprecedented move, publicly months ago said the general is absolutely happy to testify about all of this.
He just needs immunity. He publicly begged --
KLAIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: For immunity.
KLAIN: Well, you know, I think Matt is exactly right here. The Flynn camp really has only two plays. A deal with the special prosecutor where he somehow gets immunity for telling facts about President Trump or perhaps Don Jr. or perhaps Jared Kushner.
Or, you know, just hoping Donald Trump pardons him, and commits the outrageous act of basically extending the presidential power to try to insulate himself from investigation.
The list of things that Mike Flynn didn`t do is only perhaps exceeded by the list of things that Mike Flynn did do and both lists are going to get him in very serious trouble before this is over.
O`DONNELL: But Matt, the trouble is, if the president were to pardon General Flynn now, General Flynn then must testify about everything he knows because it`s impossible for him to self incriminate himself.
MILLER: Yes, that`s right but there`s a very -- any prosecutor will tell you, there`s a very big difference between a reluctant witness who conveniently can`t remember a number of things because --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
MILLER: They`re -- because they don`t want to implicate someone, and a cooperating witness who`s looking to save themselves from jail time. I think it`s a very different situation.
O`DONNELL: And Ron, what about the possibility that the president communicates to General Flynn, look, we are going to let your cases run their course, whatever happens but don`t worry, in the end, there will be a pardon?
KLAIN: You know, Lawrence, I think that`s already happened. I mean, I think that we saw over the course of the disclosures about the president`s firing of Jim Comey that he basically told Comey, hey, let Flynn go, he`s a good guy --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KLAIN: He`s probably tweeted Flynn`s a good guy, he`s a patriot. So you know, I think he is communicating that about his -- the only way you can communicate that more clearly is if he came on your show and talked about it, Lawrence.
He is sending that message to Mike Flynn, that is part of the Trump strategy here, no question about it.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there for the moment. Matt Miller, thank you very much for joining tonight, really appreciate it.
KLAIN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Senator Al Franken is here, he is blocking a Trump nominee and getting attacked for that.
He`s supporting Bernie Sanders` Medicare for all bill and he`s on the judiciary committee overseeing the investigation of the Russia connections with the Trump team.
And also tonight, the Americans who are in danger, still in danger after Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life will never be the same for a lot of people in Florida and the Caribbean.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in shock. Everything was -- you know, devastating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every door is gone, the roof is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mobile homes is tossed over fences and demolished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot of people stranded out without power, food, phone.
LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: Virtually entire island obliterated by the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a place that was once completely green and lush, everything now looks dead and bleak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Tortola, 90 percent of homes and businesses gone. For some, it may be gone for good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m dealing with well over 100 people being evacuated from a nursing facility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today 115 patients evacuated in wheelchairs and stretchers from a sweltering nursing home in Hollywood, Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight residents are dead, possibly overcome by the heat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time we`re conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The facility should have transferred people yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m calling all of my fellow mayors to invest their welfare check on elderly residents that you might know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are all concerned and we need to find out what happened.
O`DONNELL: Police are investigating what led to the deaths of eight patients at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. Investigators say the nursing homes` air conditioning wasn`t working properly after Hurricane Irma and the nursing home was using portable air conditioners.
But those portable units weren`t enough to sufficiently cool the nursing home. No official cause of death has been given, but they`re all believed to be heat related.
A hundred and fifty eight patients at the nursing home were also evacuated to several hospitals including a hospital that was a block away.
More than 3 million people are still without power in Florida. Today, the White House announced the president will visit the Naples and Fort Myers areas tomorrow.
Governor Kenneth Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands says the president told him he will visit the Virgin Island soon to survey the federal government`s response to the devastation there.
At least four people were killed in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today, a Norwegian cruise ship evacuated 2,000 stranded tourists from St. Thomas.
A Royal Caribbean cruise ship evacuated 2,000 tourists yesterday. Joining us now, just back from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jordyn Holman; a business reporter for Bloomberg.
Jordan, tell me, how long were you there? What did you get to see? St. John`s, St. Thomas, both of the islands?
JORDYN HOLMAN, BUSINESS REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Both of the islands. I just got back this morning, I was there for about 36 hours.
We flew in to St. Croix which didn`t get us much damage as St. Thomas and St. John. But when we did get to St. John, it was this very barren, a lot of trees pulled from its roots, houses without roofs, utility poles on top of cars is not like the ideal tourist spot that is known for.
O`DONNELL: And St. John is mostly park land for the most part.
O`DONNELL: It`s mostly unsettled. There`s one town -- there`s only 10,000 people on the whole island.
HOLMAN: Sure --
O`DONNELL: And so there are vast stretches where no one lives on this island. But St. Thomas is a thickly settled, much larger place. What`s it like on St. Thomas?
HOLMAN: So in St. Thomas is marketed for tourism, so there`s a lot of people there, a lot of people who work in the restaurant and hotel business for tourists so they are without jobs right now.
A lot of them are without electricity. So it`s a lot of waiting for help and aid, clean water because they don`t have running water.
And then also because their homes are empty, it`s a safety factor. You know, they`re in the dark at night with kids and elderly people, so it`s just a lot of waiting and trying to figure out where to go next.
O`DONNELL: And these people are American citizens, just as the --
HOLMAN: Correct --
O`DONNELL: Residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens. They think of themselves as Americans, they are. They have American passports, many of them move back and forth from residents in the United States.
What do they have to say if they have a chance to say to President Trump if he does make it down there?
HOLMAN: A lot of them just wanted to stress that they are part of the United States. You know, a lot of the coverage it felt like was on Florida and what happened in Texas and not so much in the Caribbean and what`s happening down there.
So they just want quicker federal aid and just also acknowledgment that they`re going through a lot and it`s going to be years long recovery.
O`DONNELL: And we talked last night to the congresswoman who represents the islands, and there`s the problem of the school year is starting now.
O`DONNELL: The schools are wiped out. Did you see any schools there that could possibly be operational any time soon?
HOLMAN: No, the schools are flattened. Honestly, when you walk into the school, you see, you know, desks and what could be a school but it was all demolished, trees everywhere.
And the Virgin Islands government is encouraging parents to send their skids to St. Croix which is about a two-hour ferry away --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
HOLMAN: So that`s also another challenge that parents are facing right now.
O`DONNELL: And then, if the kids are able to go to school in St. Croix and St. Croix isn`t ready for that. I mean, this is a small island itself, how can --
HOLMAN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: It absorb all the kids from the much larger island of St. Thomas? Let me know, is there -- how is St. Croix preparing for that?
HOLMAN: So the Governor Kenneth Mapp lives in St. Croix. You know, he`s just really stressing people helping out one another, people being patient.
He knows it`s a long recovery and just, you know, if you have family, a lot of people are sending people to other family members or even to the U.S. mainland to help out with that process.
O`DONNELL: And I think there is a specific way to contribute to the Virgin Islands recovery. I thought -- I think we have that up on the screen earlier and we will have more of that on our website.
Jordyn Holman, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
HOLMAN: Thank you --
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, Senator Al Franken, he`s holding up one of Donald Trump`s nominees and Donald Trump doesn`t like that and the "Wall Street Journal" is now attacking Senator Franken for that.
And he`ll tell us why he is now in favor of Medicare for all which was Bernie Sanders` message for Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: I am just very excited about the kind of support our Medicare for all legislation is receiving all across this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Al Franken is in the thick of the action in Washington as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He has a role in investigating Russian influence in the Trump campaign and possible obstruction of justice in the Trump White House.
He is a co-sponsor of Senator Bernie Sanders` Medicare for all bill which was introduced today in the Senate which makes him one of several possible future candidates for president who have signed on to that bill.
And now the conservative "Wall Street Journal" editorial board is attacking Senator Franken. You know the Wall Street Journal is really mad at Al Franken when they call him a comedian. Today`s Wall Street Journal Editorial says the Senate comedian is aiming to establish a new standard for what counts for disqualifying for the judiciary
And that`s because Senator Franken is blocking the confirmation to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of Minnesota`s Supreme Court Justice David Strauss. Senator Franken is using a power granted to members of the Judiciary Committee to block the nomination of Federal Judges from their home states. Tonight, former Vice President Walter Mondale who is also a former Democratic Senator of Minnesota defended Al Franken in an opt ed piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Walter Mondale points out that President Trump had violated the tradition of consulting with the senators where the President is making a judicial nomination, The former Vice President wrote, the best interests of this state are not served when its Senators are rubber stamps for Judicial nominations. Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota, and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joins us now. Senator Franken thank you very for joining us tonight and first of all, your response to the Wall Street Journal calling you a comedian?
AL FRANKEN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I plead guilty for that. Yes.
O`DONNELL: All right. Tell us what`s this fight all about? Why are you blocking this judge?
FRANKEN: Well, a life time appointment to the Federal Judiciary is very -- makes a man very powerful. A judge very powerful and they`ll have make decisions involve voting rights and civil rights and clean air and clean water and voting rights. , really affects the people of Minnesota and the country. I have concerns about Justice Strauss because he really has a judicial philosophy that is extremely conservative.
He clerked with Clarence Thomas. He said Clarence Thomas was his mentor. You know what Clarence Thomas` record on the Supreme Court is. There was no consultation here.
This is something that has -- that President Obama did. There was no appointee or nominee by the Obama Administration that got a hearing who didn`t have both blue slips from the senators. We had no consultation.
I didn`t expect a - them to nominate a liberal judge but they basically said this is it. And what normally happens here and the reason for this is that if you do some consultation, you come up with a consensus person. Somebody that`s in the mainstream, someone that is a consensus between the Democratic Senators in the State and the Whitehouse, the Republican Whitehouse, here and that -- those kind of consensus people create trust in the judiciary.
President Trump does not have any respect for the Federal Judiciary. You saw that with Judge Curiel. He couldn`t make a decision he said in a case because his parents were born in Mexico he couldn`t make a decision in a case. He in the Muslim ban decision he accused the Federal Judge of being weak and said that if there`s any terrorist attacks the blood will be on his hands.
This is not something that we should in the Senate, we should cede more authority to the executive branch, especially not to Donald Trump. So I`m doing the right thing for the people of Minnesota and I think the people of this nation.
O`DONNELL: I wanted to talk to you about your co-sponsoring, last night you decided to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders` Medicare for all bill which was introduced in the Senate today. And one thing we`ve noticed that many of the names starting with Kamala Harris who was the first to co-sponsor followed by Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Many of the names are the names that people are penciling in to the potential Presidential candidate list next time around. And the name Al Franken is on that list in pencil, at least. Is this an indicator that Al Franken is thinking about running for President?
FRANKEN: Get your eraser out.
FRANKEN: No. Look. I believe that everyone has a right to health care. And this is a good day because a lot of Democrats got behind Bernie Sanders Medicare for all bill. and other, you know, other -- all developed countries cover everyone in the country. And by the way they do it for a lot less than we do it. And they have as good or better outcomes.
So this is an aspirational thing. We`re not going to get this. We don`t have 60 votes now and we are going to right now keep our eye on what we all agree on, every Democrat agreed on, we have to make the Affordable Care Act stronger.
And actually a lot of Republicans agree with that, too, including Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Health Committee and we will have another hearing tomorrow, a fourth in a series of hearings and we are going to make the exchanges stronger. We are going to bring down the cost of premiums, bring down the co-pays and we are going to do that in a bipartisan way. And that`s what we need to focus on right now.
O`DONNELL: That apparently is a subject that your Senate Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to the President tonight, spoke in that dinner he had with the President and Nancy Pelosi. In the Schumer/Pelosi joint statement they said we urged the President to make permanent the cost sharing reduction payments. And those discussion will continue.
So it didn`t sound like there`s any agreement there. But I just want to go over with you the wording of the Schumer/Pelosi statement after the dinner that does indicate that there`s an agreement to drop any proposal for funding the Trump Wall. It`s the joint statement says, we had a very productive meeting at the Whitehouse with the President.
The discussion to focus on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall. Your reaction to that, senator?
FRANKEN: The DACA piece of that is very heartening. There are 800,000 dreamers who are hanging on this and many in Minnesota. These are people who came to the United States as a child. Their parents brought them. Many, many cases, most cases, this is the only country they know.
This is a very good development. And I would give the President some credit for that. I thought it was terrible that he went the way he went on this. But he did say Congress should act on it.
And I think we should and I think there`s bipartisan support for that. So that`s very heartening. And on the wall, I believe the President during the campaign said another country was going to pay for that. And I can`t remember what it was.
O`DONNELL: Oh, cut it out with that comedian stuff. The Wall Street Journal is on to you.
FRANKEN: Oh that`s right. Mexico, we know that.
O`DONNELL: Yes. So we are handed somewhere here on my desk is a statement by the White House Press Secretary saying oh no, no, no. the President did not agree to exclude funding for the wall. So, we know what that means is he may very well have agreed to that with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. But he`s told after the fact that he cannot agree to that and so now the Whitehouse is putting out a statement saying he cannot agree to that.
FRANKEN: I was going to end and saying about what we heard was, just remember this is President Trump.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.
FRANKEN: And so, you can`t necessarily bank on something that he`s saying one moment that will hold true the next. But I don`t think there`s -- with these terrible hurricanes and the loss of life and the costs of those, I don`t think there`s any appetite in Congress to be paying for a wall that Mexico is supposed to pay for.
O`DONNELL: And there`s a lot of pulling to be done in this country and U.S. Virgin Islands at government expense, the building for the wall is a hard one to fit into the budget.
O`DONNELL: Senator Al Franken, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it.
FRANKEN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, another strange night at the Whitehouse. President Trump has dinner with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and appears to have completely surrendered to them on the Trump Wall or did he?
O`DONNELL: Tonight, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi reports striking a deal of sorts with Donald Trump at dinner at the Whitehouse. But now the Whitehouse is disputing at least part of that deal. President trump has been falsely reported to have made a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to extend the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months.
The false part of the report is that it was a deal. It was a surrender by Donald Trump. He did not make a deal. He simply accepted what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi offered. That`s not a deal.
If you walk into McDonald`s and the price of a Big Mac is listed $5.30 and you buy it for $5.30, you did not make a deal on a Big Mac. If you buy it for five bucks then maybe you made a deal on the Big Mac. There`s a word in Washington for what happened in Donald Trump`s meeting with Chuck Summer and Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan about the debt ceiling and the budget.
And that term is rolled. Donald Trump got rolled by Chuck Summer and Nancy Pelosi. That`s what they call it in Washington when you go into a meeting with the other side and the other side gets everything they want and you get nothing. Donald Trump had another meeting with the other side tonight inviting Chuck Summer and Nancy Pelosi to dinner at the Whitehouse without their Republican counterparts, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
The most conservative right wing President in history with no history in government meets with Liberal Nancy Pelosi and Liberal Chuck Schumer with decades of experience in government. And now we have dueling statements from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi versus Whitehouse spokesperson about what actually happened during that dinner. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement tonight about their dinner with Donald Trump at the White House. We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president. The discussion focused on DACA.
We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall. That`s acceptable to both sides. Joining us now, Jonathan Capeheart an opinion writer for the Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor and back with us Ron Klaine and the amendment to this, Jonathan, comes from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeting, while DACA and border security were both discussed excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.
Who are we going to believe?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I mean, the White House has no credibility when it comes to like believing anything that comes out of there. But it`s interesting that that comes out because when the news broke that there was a deal on DACA and other things with no mention of the wall and that it was another Chuck and Nancy deal, part of me wondered, wait, are they trying to jam the president to ensure that he does do a deal on DACA that also doesn`t include the border wall?
I wonder if this is some very, like, superb Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi negotiating in public because now the White House is now on the defensive trying to defend -- trying to say, no, no, no. We are going to do the border wall. But are they really?
O`DONNELL: Well you know Ron, in my experience the - the experience players like Schumer and Pelosi do not mischaracterize -
O`DONNELL: -- what is actually said because they want to continue to have credible meetings with their counterparts in government. And so I mean to Jonathan`s point of wouldn`t it be smart for them to say this even if Trump maybe did that specifically agree to it, my reading of it based on these players is that Trump did agree to this at the table. And now after the dinner and after that statement came up from Schumer and Pelosi, everybody in the White House is telling him you`ve got to run away from this.
KLAINE: Yes, just more evidence that the White House staff can`t leave President Trump unsupervised. I absolutely believe Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, they are experienced, they have credibility, they are not going to see the president - they`re not going to say the president agreed to something unless the president agreed to it. But clearly he left that meeting, he told the staff what they agreed to.
And it took only 17 minutes from the time Chuck and Nancy put out the statement to Sarah Sanders put out a statement saying no, no, no. So you know now the White House has no credibility. The president has backed off that. But that`s half of the -- I think the other thing, Lawrence, we`re going to have to dig into is what exactly was agreed to for the Dreamers. Did the president support the DREAM Act which not only let`s the dreamers stay in the country but gives them a path to citizenship.
So there`s a lot of questions unanswered tonight. The one thing we know for sure is that once again you put two experienced people in the room with Donald Trump and he`s not going to come out of that in good shape.
O`DONNELL: And the president did not go directly to bed after dinner. And I know that because I`m reading two tweets now that he has tweeted. And they`re completely unrelated. One says china has a business tax rate of 15 percent. We should do everything possible to match them in order to win our economy, jobs and wages. The other one is about crooked Hillary Clinton blames everybody and everything but herself for election loss.
She lost the debate, she lost direction. Now Jonathan the reason this is relevant is that Donald Trump got the twitter machine right there in his hands. He can back up Sarah Sanders tweet right now and say Chuck and Nancy are lying, I never agreed to this wall thing.
CAPEHART: You`re absolutely right. He could do that. And in fact you remind me that President Trump, we`ve seen this pattern before, where people will say something like Chuck and Nancy are doing. He agreed to DACA, agreed to this, no border wall. And then the administration sees, oh, my god, what have you done and then they try to back fill it but the die is cast. We know what`s happening.
We saw what happened when the original DACA thing happened. Sessions goes out there, makes this announcement and then the president goes and tweets and says I`ll revisit if congress doesn`t do it. But if the president really didn`t agree to the border wall, Mr. President, I`m assuming you might be watching, now is the time to do what Lawrence says is tweet it out saying, no, absolutely Sarah Sanders is right. I`m waiting.
O`DONNELL: OK, would you monitor that for us? Ron so let`s just assume for that within the next 24 hours Trump himself tweet something about not agreeing. And apparently - he`s just told in my ear he just tweeted again, this one`s not about the border wall. (INAUDIBLE) like Hillary OK, great you can get rid of that. So Ron, let`s say he eventually gets around to tweeting, no, I didn`t make it about the wall. What Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer saw tonight as they`ve seen already is how easy it is to get this president to cave, to completely surrender.
And they know no matter how tough he wants to pretend to play it on the Border wall in the future, he is not tough and doesn`t know how to play tough in the White House.
KLAINE: Well, that`s true, Lawrence. But it`s a problem if President Trump takes this back. Because the only hope he has left of saving his presidency is an art of a deal presidency. And if he looks the two democratic leaders in the eye and over dinner and tolt it was Chinese food because he though they would agree on Chinese trade. If that`s what he did tonight and tries to take that back tonight, who will he possibly deal with? He`s flamed out relationships with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
He has flamed out his relationship with other republicans in the congress. He made this one successful deal with Chuck and Nancy. He made a deal tonight. He`s going to have to honor that deal.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart I don`t think there`s anyone in the White House who`s saying to him you have to honor what you said at this dinner tonight.
CAPEHART: Yes, and what`s interesting here is like we`re (INAUDIBLE) this - this deal or whatever it is, but we`re not talking about the very people who are going to have to make sure that the deal is honored. And that is House Speaker Paul Ryan.
CAPEHART: And senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
CAPEHART: Where are they on this? What are they going to say? And then especially for Speaker Ryan, how on earth is he going to get his raucous caucus to pass a bill that would honor this deal?
O`DONNELL: And Ron, what we know within the culture of the congress is that Paul Ryan tonight is feeling absolutely no obligation to lift a finger to anything that was discussed where he was not present.
CAPEHART: That`s true, Lawrence. But I would say this. Paul Ryan also has reported this week to have privately told republican supporters that even he thinks the wall is stupid. I mean the wall is a classically stupid idea. Unless Donald Trump has a plan to ban ladders in North America, the wall is not going to work. And so maybe this is just an opportunity for them to finally bury this Trump idea that doesn`t work as you said earlier. We`ve got a lot of needs in our country to rebuild from these disasters. Spending $20 billion on a wall is just nuts.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan you`re going to continue to monitor that twitter machine.
O`DONNELL: If anything happens. Jonathan Capehart and Ron Klaine thank you both for joining us.
CAPEHART: Thanks Lawrence.
KLAINE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Tonight`s "last word" is next.
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