Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 14, 2017 Guest: David Frum, Matt Miller, Jed Shugerman, Tim O`Brien
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: And I think the secretary`s comments -- now their own algorithms, their own operations preclude them from answering anybody else`s questions.
Well, at this point it`s a matter not just of international diplomacy, it`s a matter of national security in terms of what Russia did.
And I think the secretary`s comments tonight about Facebook -- well, I`ll just say I would like to underscore them.
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, a riveting hour and I want you to just take a deep breath or a short breath, and I want to hear from Rachel Maddow what your reaction to the last hour of that discussion is.
MADDOW: Well, I mean, the Facebook thing that I was just discussing right there, I think just as a -- as a point of focus in terms of what`s likely to happen next about the Russia investigations, I was not expecting the secretary to talk about Facebook in those terms.
And I think that`s interesting and important and deserves some reflection. I think that Facebook should also answer to what she said.
So that`s kind of top line. I guess overall, I`m probably still too much in the middle of it. I have to say at a personal level, I`m happy to see her doing well.
When you`re seeing somebody who`s been a lifetime public servant, who`s been through the kind of wringer that she`s been through, we all imagine the kind of personal toll that takes.
And so I was happy to read the book and think that it`s a good book and recognize her voice in it and know that she`s doing this good work to produce this thing.
Because I`m also happy to see her in person and see that she is well. She is definitely still in the arena, though.
Combative on the Trump administration in -- without mincing words at all and very straightforward and very -- not aggressive is the right word but assertive and well informed on the Russia stuff.
So, she`s -- this is not a retired politician. I know she said she`s not going to run again, but this is definitely somebody who is still very much in the arena, given the circumstances of her election and who won against her.
I think that`s an incredibly interesting dynamic for the country moving forward, we`ve never really had this before.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, I have always found that politicians who have run for office, once they`ve decided and publicly announced that she now has, they`re not going to run for office again.
But talking to them is a different thing.
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: There`s a different vibe from it. You talked to her, you interviewed her when she was running for president.
You`ve interviewed her several times before this. This is a different person.
O`DONNELL: Occupationally who you`re interviewing tonight, someone who is setting off in a different kind of direction.
And I have to say I felt from the audience that there was a different feel to listening to her that you didn`t get that sense of candidate caution and feeling --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: The boundaries of what she can say about this and not wanting to disturb certain constituencies.
You could just feel a confidence in, whether you like it or not, this is what she thinks about this and this is what she has to say.
MADDOW: Yes, and I think that`s right. You know, she writes about the cautiousness and guardedness of her public persona in the book and actually gets some pretty good insight into its development and the pluses and minuses.
But my feeling when I had talked to her when she was running for president was that her cautiousness and her measuredness with her words was because she was somebody who was probably about to be president.
And so, she was preparing to be president and trying not to tie herself up both in terms of somebody who ought to answer for something on the campaign trail.
But also for somebody who wouldn`t want to tie herself up with stuff that was going to follow her into the presidency.
A job that she knows very well and took very seriously. I always felt like talking -- she was the only non president I`d talked to whoever seemed like a president.
Now she really doesn`t seem that way at all. She knows that she is not going to be president, she`s not going to run for office again.
She doesn`t have to answer for those things either as a candidate or as a public official. And she is being absolutely blunt.
And I mean, if you -- if you don`t like her or you probably find it to be pushy. If you do like her, you probably find it to be refreshing.
But you`re right, there`s a big change from what it was to talk to her this time last year.
O`DONNELL: My long-term prediction is Hillary Clinton approval numbers go up. And they tend to always do when a politician says I`m not running again --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Because the public has a different relationship to that person, that person is not asking anything from them anymore.
And they kind of have a -- you know, I think actually a clearer view of who that person is.
MADDOW: Yes, and some of that will depend on what happens inside the Democratic Party. I think the Democratic Party needs to figure out who it is now, and, you know, if it`s not going to be the Barack Obama party and it`s not going to be the Hillary Clinton party, I think there`s a lot of competition for whose party it`s going to be.
And how she fits into that will be part of how Democrats see her, but I think independents and people writ large I think you`re right.
I think those numbers start going up and I think the fact that the book is actually a good book will help with that.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, thank you for another great hour and an important interview --
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence, appreciate it --
O`DONNELL: Thank you, thanks Rachel --
O`DONNELL: Well, we have new reporting from the "New York Times" today that gives us new, dramatic details about President Trump`s unpresidential, very unpresidential reaction to the Justice Department`s appointment of the special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump and his family and his campaign associates.
The short version of it is that an out-of-control, livid president called the Attorney General, sitting there in the Oval Office with him an idiot, and demanded his resignation on the spot.
And the Attorney General called an idiot shook with emotion and then later that day handed over his written resignation.
Here`s how it played out. Fade in on interior Oval Office day, May 17th, 2017. In the room, the president, the vice president, the Attorney General, White House Counsel Don McGahn and other aides not named in the "New York Times" reporting today which puts them high on the list of suspects as sources for the "New York Times" article.
The "New York Times" credits their inside information on this story to current and former administration officials.
That`s the phrase they used and others briefed on the matter. Now, some of the former administration officials who were probably in that room are fired White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and fired senior adviser Steve Bannon.
Now, coincidentally in the story told to the "New York Times", Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon do and say nothing wrong.
They`re the smart guys in the story. So if you`re betting on who the sources of this article, who the sources of this dramatic scene might be, high on your list should be Reince Priebus and especially Steve Bannon.
The man who pledged on Sunday night on national television that he would be loyal to Trump forever. Steve Bannon is newly liberated from the White House to tell whatever stories he feels like telling.
With his name on those stories or his name hidden in the credits, the unnamed credits of those stories.
So the meeting in the Oval Office is to discuss the appointment of a new FBI director and a replacement for James Comey who the president had fired eight days before.
And in the middle of the meeting, White House Counsel Don McGahn received a phone call, it`s not clear the "New York Times" reporting, whether he took the phone call in the Oval Office or left the room.
On the other end of the phone was deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein telling Don McGahn that he was going to appoint a special prosecutor.
Don McGahn then announces that news in the Oval Office. Almost immediately, Mr. Trump lobbed a volley of insults at Mr. Sessions.
This is from the "New York Times" account telling the attorney general it was his fault they were in the current situation.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was one of the worst decisions he had made.
Called him an idiot and said that he should resign. Ashen and emotional, Mr. Sessions told the president he would quit and sent a resignation letter to the White House.
According to four people who were told details of the meeting, Mr. Sessions would later tell associates that the demeaning way the president addressed him was the most humiliating experience in decades of public life.
And that`s coming from a guy who was humiliated by the United States Senate when the Senate refused to confirm him as a federal judge in 1986.
It was after that that Jeff Sessions got his revenge on the Senate by running for a Senate seat and winning.
Mr. Trump ended up rejecting Mr. Sessions` May resignation letter after senior members of his administration argued that dismissing the attorney general would only create more problems for a president who had already fired an FBI director, a national security adviser.
Mr. Trump once again in July told aides he wanted to remove Mr. Sessions but for a second time didn`t take action.
Mr. Pence, Steven K. Bannon, the president`s chief strategist at the time and Reince Priebus, his chief of staff all advised that accepting Mr. Sessions` resignation would only sow more chaos inside the administration and rally Republicans in Congress against the president.
The president relented and eventually returned the resignation letter to Mr. Sessions with a handwritten response on it.
That resignation letter with that handwritten response will now become an exhibit if it hasn`t already in the special prosecutor`s investigation.
Joining us now, David Frum; senior editor for "The Atlantic", Matt Miller; the former spokesman for former Attorney General Eric Holder and an Msnbc contributor.
Jed Shugerman; a professor of law at Fordham University. David Frum, your reaction to this news today from deep inside the Trump administration which remains the leakiest White House in history, even after General Kelly came in there to stop the leaks.
The "New York Times" has apparently when you look at it, more sources than they needed to construct this dramatic scene for us today.
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: It`s important I think if we give credit to Attorney General Sessions who has held fast -- he`s been obviously as you can see here under ferocious presidential pressure who wanted this investigation stopped.
It was Jeff Sessions who stepped out of the way to allow Rod Rosenstein to make this decision. He has been under unrelenting pressure ever since and he has -- he has stayed the course.
Sessions is a very conservative person. But he is an institutionalist. He was put in a position before his nomination where I think for reasons of self preservation, he said things that were not true in front of a Senate committee.
And I think that must rankle him because he is not an untruthful person by character. He may -- he`s very conservative, he`s not an untruthful person, he`s an institutionalist.
And he has been holding the line, he is one of the most important defenders of the institution the country has right now and we just got a closer view of what has been brought to bear against him.
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, your reaction to this scene with the Attorney General. The president of the United States immediately calling the Attorney General an idiot when he gets this news about a special prosecutor?
MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR ERIC HOLDER: Yes, I think the president`s conduct is abhorrent.
I think one of the words that really struck me is that he accused Jeff Sessions of disloyalty. The Jeff Sessions decision to recuse himself from this case was not a discretionary choice on his part.
It was a black and white requirement under Department of Justice conflict of interest rules. And what the president was asking him to do was put -- was put loyalty to him, loyalty to Donald Trump over Jeff Sessions adherence to the rule of law.
Over his requirement to follow the rules, follow the regulations as they were laid out. And you can only think there`s one reason why Donald Trump would him to do that.
Why would Jeff Sessions -- why would Donald Trump care who is in charge of this investigation?
If he wasn`t worried about where it would go. He wanted Jeff Sessions in that job still overseeing that investigation I believe because he wanted to steer it in a way that was helpful to him just as he wanted Jeff Sessions there at the Justice Department to help him to sign off on the firing of Jim Comey.
One of the acts is now been investigated as obstruction of justice.
O`DONNELL: Professor Shugerman, what`s your reading of the evidentiary value to the special prosecutor, for example, of this account as presented in the "New York Times" today?
JED SHUGERMAN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Where I want to pick right up where Matthew Miller left off with obstruction of justice because you know, Robert Mueller is reading the story and he is going to add this to his list of questions because this ties directly into one of the key components of an obstruction of justice case.
Under 18 USC 1512, one of the questions is whether the effort is to corruptly impede, influence or obstruct justice.
And I think the scene that we have here helps establish -- it`s one extra piece to establishing a corrupt intent.
Why was Trump so angry about the Mueller`s appointment and Sessions` role? Because one, he expected Sessions to help him obstruct that investigation by firing Comey.
And you see his fear and anger about this appointment. Why was he so fearful and angry? It paints a picture.
And by itself it doesn`t establish corrupt intent, but with all the other evidence that keeps building, it`s another set of witnesses.
And the possibility of being able to flip Sessions because he now has some questions about his criminal liability. He may be another witness in this case.
O`DONNELL: In light of this story and the possible sourcing of it for the "New York Times", I think it`s worth listening once again to what Steve Bannon said to Charlie Rose on "60 Minutes" about the firing of James Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE, JOURNALIST: Someone said to me that you described the firing of James Comey -- you`re a student of history, as the biggest mistake in political history.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: That would be probably -- that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.
ROSE: So the firing of James Comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history?
BANNON: If you`re saying that that`s associated with me, then I`ll leave it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And David Frum, days later we have this dramatic account from inside the Oval Office, something Steve Bannon would have been able to provide to the "New York Times".
And now that Steve Bannon is a fired former Trump White House player. David? --
FRUM: I`m sorry -- sorry --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
FRUM: I`m very -- right now.
O`DONNELL: I wanted your reaction to the coincidence of --
FRUM: Well --
O`DONNELL: Of Steve Bannon being fired out of the White House and now stories like this start to come out.
FRUM: Well, when Steve Bannon says that the firing of James Comey was such a terrible mistake, the question is, we`re back in this territory where the claim is the cover-up is worse than the crime.
But Donald Trump may well have feared that he had no other choice, that the consequences of leaving Comey in place were even worse.
That when you are, you know -- when you`re in the cross fires like this, you have a diminishing menu of choices.
And there is not -- the suggestion by Steve Bannon, there were some innocent way out. He could -- he could -- if he had left Comey in place, everything would have been fine.
That suggested that there isn`t a big secret behind the door when I think it smells stronger and stronger that there`s a big secret behind the door.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton said to Rachel Maddow about this story tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the goal might well have been psychologically to really make Jeff Sessions who`s a very proud man, I served with him in the Senate, didn`t agree with him on anything, but I did serve with him.
To make him just be more dependent on pleasing the president. Whatever he could do, delivering that speech about DACA, only to have Trump a few days later say, hey, just kidding, we`re going to do something that will keep these young strivers in our country.
It`s all part of his manipulation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, with your experience in government, your reading of Hillary Clinton`s interpretation of the scene?
MILLER: I think Secretary Clinton is right, and especially if you look at the time line here. So this meeting happened on May 17th, that`s the day that Bob Mueller was appointed.
The president demanded Jeff Sessions` resignation, he got it and he turned it down. It was two months later in late July where the president started going -- railing publicly against Jeff Sessions first on Twitter, then in interviews.
I criticized him as weak, and at the time everyone interpreted his behavior as trying to push Sessions out the door.
I think we now have learned that he wasn`t trying to push Sessions out the door. He`d already turned down his resignation.
So you have to ask what he was doing with that public belittling of the Attorney General. I think it`s very clear he was trying to bend him to his will.
He accused him once of disloyalty and he wanted Sessions to know, if you`re going to continue to be my Attorney General, you cannot do this again.
Look, the Russian investigation of Jeff Sessions is recused from. But this is not the last time this White House is going to ask this Justice Department to do something inappropriate.
We`ve seen Sarah Sanders do it from the White House podium the last three days, and asking the department to investigate Jim Comey.
So I think what the president very publicly was signaling to Sessions was, I expect you to do what I want you to do, whether it`s the right thing to do or not.
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller and Jed Shugerman, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks --
SHUGERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Republicans are openly attacking the president after he agreed to work on immigration legislation with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
To try to save the dreamers, find a legal framework for them. And the president blamed the violence in Charlottesville on both sides once again today.
O`DONNELL: The reviews are in on Donald Trump`s dinner with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi last night and the right wing hates it.
"Breitbart`s" headline today read, "Trump caves on DACA, wants quick amnesty for 800,000 illegal aliens."
Ann Coulter tweeted, "put a fork in Trump, he`s dead. At this point, who doesn`t want Trump impeached?"
The bad news for Trump supporters came last night and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer`s statement about the dinner.
"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."
The president got nervous about the right wing rebellion this morning and tweeted, "no deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent, would be subject to vote."
That provoked a response statement from Pelosi and Schumer. "President Trump`s tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.
As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following: we agreed that the president would support enshrining DACA protections into law and encourage the House and Senate to act.
What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security with our mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible.
While both sides agreed that the wall would not be part -- any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it."
This morning, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we`re working on a plan subject to getting massive border control.
We`re working on a plan for DACA, people want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own and I think something can happen.
We`ll see what happens but something will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: As to the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The wall will come later. We`re right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new.
We`re doing a lot of renovation. We`re building four different samples of the wall to see which one we`re going to choose and the wall is going to be built. It will be funded a little bit later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Remember Donald Trump leading the chants, renovate the wall? Renovate the wall during the campaign? No, I don`t either.
Rush Limbaugh made it very clear on his show today that he is ready to turn on Donald Trump if and when his audience turns on Donald Trump.
Rush Limbaugh has never been one to lead his audience. He always waits to see where they`re going and then follows them as he did in his support for the Trump candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I stopped and I ask myself, would Trump really do this? Does Trump not know how he would blow up the entire support base he has by making a deal with Chuck and Nancy and taking the wall off the table while granting amnesty to anybody?
I don`t care if it`s children, if it`s seasoned citizens -- and I`m asking my -- would Trump really do that? Is he that -- what? Fill in the blank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t care if it`s children -- oh, did I mention that Rush Limbaugh has never had any children?
Joining us now is Tim O`Brien; the executive editor of "Bloomberg View" and author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald".
He`s an Msnbc contributor. And back with us is David Frum. And Tim, I know a lot of people look at Trump maneuvers and think, oh, what`s he thinking? What`s he up to?
My first approach to Trump is always, he has no idea what he`s talking about and no idea what he`s doing.
TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: He`s a profoundly ill- informed executive --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
O`BRIEN: He doesn`t know the nuts and bolts of most of the policies that have come across his desk so far.
We saw it in spades on healthcare, and I think we`re seeing it now in immigration policy, and I don`t think it bothers him that he is not familiar with the details of the policy.
Because his first goal in all of this is self aggrandizement. And I think he got a little bit intoxicated last week with the debt ceiling talks because he finally got good press around the notion that this is a White House that can push some kind of policy out the door.
But I think he was mistaken in his assessment of that because it was a policy that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan had to get on board with.
I don`t think they`re going to get on board with him on DACA and certainly not on Dreamers, and I don`t think he knows the difference between the DACA Act and the Dreamers Act --
O`DONNELL: Right --
O`BRIEN: And I think Pelosi --
O`DONNELL: Right --
O`BRIEN: Schumer tried to roll him.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and so there`s this argument tonight, David Frum, where the president is saying, you know, citizenship, absolutely not.
There`s no possibility of citizenship, but of course citizenship is in the democratic approach to this as the end game for the Dreamers.
But that`s just another example of the president doesn`t know what they are actually talking about whenever they`re talking about legislation.
FRUM: And he doesn`t know what he has been talking about, he doesn`t know what his supporters want.
Immigration restrictionists in the Republican Party, and I`m one of them, had in mind that immigration policy should look something like this.
That the things that we most cared about were enforcement at the workplace and a reduction in overall numbers entering the country.
In order to get that, you had to trade something, and the thing that we always had in mind to trade was some kind of coverage for people who are brought into the country as children.
So that was a concession that you would trade for other things that were important. One of the things that no one who is serious of an immigration has ever cared about at all is this stupid wall idea.
Enforcement takes place at the work force -- at the work place, and that is what all of those -- Tom Cotton, the intellectual community around this have always cared about.
So Trump unaware of the things that his immigration supporters wanted doesn`t even talk about those. He gave away the DACA concession for free, and in order to chase this dream of a wall that actually people care about immigration don`t care about it very much at all.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Nancy Pelosi said about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the word citizenship come up in the meeting?
And does the president understand that Dreamers includes a path to citizenship?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Well, I`m not here to speak about what the president understands.
But I -- you know, I do believe that there is an understanding that down the road there`s an eventual path to citizenship in the Dream Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And there`s a report tonight about -- from "Politico" about Donald Trump`s attitude toward the congressional leaders.
It says "in recent weeks, Trump has complained in private that it`s difficult to have any sort of relationship or even make small talk with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.
He`s told staff that he finds Speaker Paul Ryan whom he`s dubbed `a boy scout dry, as well`, but the two have some rapport.
By contrast, Trump can relate to Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi who talk more in non-Washington terms that he understands."
According to people familiar with their meetings and Tim O`Brien, I think we know what we`ve got going on there. Chuck Schumer knows exactly how to play this guy.
O`BRIEN: He does, and the mystery here is that -- is that Trump needs McConnell and Ryan --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
O`BRIEN: Ultimately much more than he needs --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
O`BRIEN: Pelosi and Schumer. But because he deals at this very shallow, superficial level of can I talk to you or do you look like a boy --
O`DONNELL: Right --
O`BRIEN: Scout --
O`DONNELL: Right --
O`BRIEN: He`s going to run into serious problems getting his legislative agenda pushed through.
O`DONNELL: Yes, David, it seems that the president loses sight of the fact that Nancy Pelosi doesn`t have the ability to advance legislation in the House of Representatives.
There really isn`t even a process for her to have a bill brought up and get a vote on anything. Almost a similar constraint on Chuck Schumer in the Senate.
He can try to throw amendments onto things, but he can`t bring up bills. And you can`t move anything without those Republican leaders.
FRUM: You know what? Neither can Paul Ryan. That -- Paul Ryan -- I think one of the reasons the president is so disrespectful of Paul Ryan is the discovery that Paul Ryan does not have power either because he also does not control the majority of the House of Representatives.
He controls a majority of the Republican faction within the Republican Party within the House of Representatives but not enough to pass bills.
So he -- Ryan`s position is more analogous to that of Nancy Pelosi than the traditional majority leader versus minority leader.
But it is amazing that Donald Trump thinks -- I mean, of course, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are jolly with him.
They have his watch, they have his wallet. Why wouldn`t they be pleased?
O`DONNELL: Right, let`s listen to what Steve King said about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If there`s amnesty delivered into this package, then I don`t know that any candidate could run for president again and make a promise and expect the people to accept that promise.
I think that the truth -- a reelection in 2020 will be very difficult for the president if amnesty goes with DACA, and especially -- if amnesty goes with DACA and if a wall is not at least under robust construction by then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tim, so there`s the terms of the most fervent Trump supporters. You`ve got to have the wall under construction and there can be nothing that they call amnesty.
O`BRIEN: In fact, that was a very sober moment with Steve King because on twitter today he actually said if Trump pursues this course he`s going to blow up his relationship with the base ad he`s done. And that everyone will realize that none of his promises are reliable. That`s the dangerous ground he`s on right now.
Rush Limbaugh adjusted at that and Coultes, the Daily Collar put out a story tonight, 39 instances of Trump trashed amnesty reminding him that he has a long history of the other side of this issue. He`s in trouble with the base around this stuff.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien and David Frum, thanks for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Up next, the President just brought all of his problems with White Supremacists crashing back on top of him once again. The President got into it again today and he sees the same problems on what he calls both sides.
O`DONNELL: Tonight Donald Trump signed a joint resolution passed by Congress Tuesday "condemning the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place during events between August 11th and August 12th, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia and rejecting White Nationalists, White Supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups." The resolution signed by the President calls the murder of Heather Heyer a "domestic terror attack and urges the President and administration to speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, uniphobia, anti- Semitism and white supremacy.:" Yesterday, the President met with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina in the Whitehouse to discuss these issues. Today, the President was asked about that meeting with the Republican`s only African-American Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of the ANTIFA, if you look at when`s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side, also. And essentially, that`s what I said. Now, because of what`s happened since then, with ANTIFA, you look at, you know, really, when`s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying, in fact, a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. I said, you have some very bad people on the other side, also, which is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Congressional resolution did not ask the President to speak out against ANTIFA and the day the President signs that resolution the only group, the only group he speaks about is ANTIFA, the group that was there to protect the people who were protesting White Supremacy and Nazis. We`ll have more on President Trump and the other side next.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what the President had to say in the aftermath of the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville and Congress now called a terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. I do think there`s blame on both sides. You look at -- you look at both sides, I think there`s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it. And you don`t have any doubt about it either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Eddie Glaude, Chairman for the Center of African-American Studies at Princeton University and Reverend Mark Thompson, host of make it plain on SiriusXM Progress 127. Eddie, we are back to many sides or both sides or what the President today just called the other side and when asked to comment about this today after the Congressional Resolution naming the KKK and others, the only group he could name was ANTIFA.
EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I guess this is a sense of his deafness to this issue. I mean one of the things we do know is there are kinds of sensibilities that evidence themselves in these sorts of moments. And it seems to me that President Trump finds it very difficult to not engage in this false equivalence because he`s in some ways engaging in a slight of hand. Right?
That is to kind of get us to see that there is a lot of blame to pass around. So that we don`t really focus on the fact that White Supremacist were at the core of what happened in Charlottesville and the core of some people who support him in some ways.
O`DONNELL: Mark, when you look at this Congressional Resolution, there`s nothing ambiguous about it. There`s no Trumpian piece of this Congressional Resolution. It goes straight at the real problem.
MARK THOMPSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTIOR: Thanks as always for having me, Lawrence. Need not reinvent the wheel, I think you said this is the stupidest and most ignorant President in history. Jemele Hill of ESPN has called him a White Supremacist. And better not hear upon her he had been touched by this Whitehouse. If you put that together this is the stupidest White Supremacist in history.
People were marching against the confederacy and those statues. He comes out and suggests, well, what if they take down statues of Presidents who owned slaves? Nobody even had that idea. Even White Supremacist say why would you suggest that?
Even when Woodrow Wilson premiered birth of a nation in the Whitehouse the movie depicted this racist fantasy of an African-American causing the death of a young white woman, the White Supremacists Donald Trump is defending and minimizing their actions killed a white woman. So it`s not many sides, many sides. He keeps saying that. It is one side. And he needs to speak out against it.
O`DONNELL: So this -- it`s today a question about his meeting yesterday with Tim Scott, the Republican Senator, the only African-American Republican Senator and Tim Scott put out this statement today about what the President said today. He said, in yesterday`s meeting, this is from his office, in yesterday`s meeting, Senator Scott was very, very clear about the brutal history surrounding the White Supremacist Movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.
Rome wasn`t built in a day and to expect the President`s rhetoric to change based on one 30-minute conversation is unrealistic. ANTIFA is bad and should be condemned, yes. But The KKK is killing and tormenting Black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. period.
GLAUDEL: I think that`s absolutely right. So we can`t expect Donald Trump to change because of the photo opportunity that he orchestrated with Senator Scott. That`s the first thing. The second thing we need to suggest or say very clearly, Lawrence, is this. It is a longstanding practice in the United States when confronting racist organizations that are violent to in some ways castigate those who resist the organizations.
So there`s a reason why we often associate law and order with Nixon when, in fact, law and order was invoked over and against Dr. King in those nonviolent protesters. We need to understand that the NAACP was likened to the KKK. Alabama banned that organization.
GLAUDEL: So the argument to equate ANTIFA, Cornel West was there with clergy protesting in Charlottesville and said they would have been fundamentally harmed if ANTIFA didn`t show up. They would have been hurt. He said, in fact, they would be dead.
So this false equivalency is really the slight of hand, really to hide what Trump truly believes. Trump truly believes that those folk who side with him, right, actually reflect views that animate his own position. That`s what we need to be clear.
O`DONNELL: And Mark, the whole point of arranging this meeting for Senator Tim Scott and the photo opportunity sitting there with the Black Senator to get the problem behind him.
THOMPSON: Well you said. He changes that everyday. He meets with congressmen and talks about DACA and then he says we didn`t have a deal. So he changes all the time. He may say something -- he may come back tomorrow and say something different from what he said before that. That`s what he does.
But you know Senator Scott said is -- is you can`t expect him to change in a day. He`s got a lifetime to change. His father discriminated in housing. He called for the central park five to be executed. He`s been called out for his racism all his life. It`s time he wake up and grow up.
O`DONNELL: The first time his name ever appeared in "The New York Times" Donald Trump was in a case of racial discrimination in the housing practices --
O`DONNELL: -- of the Trump company. Professor Eddie Glaude and Mark Thompson, thank you both for joining us tonight.
THOMPSON: Thank you -- thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up the latest threat from North Korea.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news tonight. North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile eastward from the capital at 6:27 p.m. Eastern Standard Time this evening. The ballistic missile flew over Japan and traveled 2,300 miles before landing in the pacific ocean east of Japan. This is the second missile launched by North Korea over Japan in three weeks. According to U.S. Pacific Command, the latest North Korean missile launch did not pose a threat to North America or to the island of Guam.
The White House says that the -- President Trump has been briefed on the situation by Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued this statement tonight saying "we call on all nation to take new measures against the Kim regime. China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own."
In response to North Korea`s latest missile launch, the U.N. Security Council will have a closed meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. In that last hour this evening with Rachel, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: Diplomacy with North Korea is complicated. It requires people who know the language, the customs, the history. We have decimated our State Department; Foreign Service officers with decades of experience have either been ignored or in some cases pushed so hard that they have resigned. Right now, we need the best people we can possibly muster to have -- and full-court press on diplomacy, and then we can see realistically where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now from Tokyo is NBC News correspondent Matt Bradley. Matt Bradley what has been Japan`s official reaction to this?
MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Lawrence. You know, there was no injuries or deaths here on the ground in Japan because of this missile test, but it did really cause the Japanese government and the Japanese public to sit up and take notice. Now, of course, the Japanese, they launched this over the northernmost island of Hokkaido, as you mentioned.
And they were able to alert their citizens via the J-Alert System. Now this is something that`s commonly used here. It actually sends out alerts via text message and puts alerts on television telling people here to take cover. Now this was, as you mentioned, the second time that the North Koreans have launched a weapon over the Japanese.
And you know this is a lot like when they did it in late August. And that was when they used their so-called Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile. That`s distinct from the intercontinental ballistic missile or the ICBM. And it was a lot like that. You know it landed about 1,200 kilometers east of the Japanese islands. But this latest test was clearly a response to a set of United Nations sanctions that came just this earlier this week.
Now, that really enraged the North Koreans, Lawrence, because those sanctions were actually meant to dock the oil imports to North Korea which are crucial to their economy by about 30 percent and it also blocked their exports of textiles which are a huge source of foreign currency for the North Koreans. And this test -- it was actually very anticipated by intelligence sources. They`ve seen for the past day the North Koreans fueling this rocket on a platform in North Korea just outside of Seoul.
And, you know, just in the past several hours, we`ve been waiting for this attack. And the Japanese they decided that they weren`t going to actually shoot this down once they realized the trajectory, once they realized that it wasn`t going to be going towards the island of Guam which, of course, Kim Jong-Un had earlier in the past several weeks said that he would encircle with flame.
But this launch did come about a day after the North Koreans said threaten Japan, saying they would sink the Japanese archipelago, and in that same statement said that they would reduce the United States to ashes and beat it like a rabid dog. That`s the kind of florid threats that we`ve really gotten used to hearing from here from the North Koreans over the past several years. But this was also very significant because it was the first major missile test since the North Koreans tested a thermonuclear weapon.
Now that`s something about ten times the size of the nuclear missile that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. Now we`re waiting to see if they`re going to be able to marry that ICBM technology with the nuclear technology. And that`s the next big threat that we have to look forward to here, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Matt Bradley, thank you for that report tonight, really appreciate it. Up next a report on the situation on the U.S. Virgin islands tonight after the devastation inflicted there by hurricane Irma. It is still a very difficult, very hard situation there.
O`DONNELL: Today the president surveyed the damage in Naples, Florida, nearly one in four homes and businesses in Florida are still without power. The president said he`s going to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands next week. MSNBC`s Stephanie Ruhle is in St. John in the U.S. Virgin islands with the latest on the recovery efforts.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Lawrence, anyone thinking hurricane Irma is over, it`s not, and remember, it didn`t just hit the continental United States. I`m here in the U.S. Virgin islands in the island of St. John in Cruz Bay. Look at these boats behind me, destroyed. This Island here -- every person has been affected whether they lost their home, their roof or their job.
Remember the Virgin Islands which we all say are like this paradise we visit. Tourism is their number one industry some say it accounts for 60 percent of their GDP, it`s more like l 80 percent. These hotels will not be open any time soon. It`s raining so hard they risk landslides. And yes, FEMA has arrived but I have to say it`s on a limited basis. From people I have spoken to in the streets, they haven`t seen a huge military presence. FEMA came, they looked at some houses but they didn`t mark them.
They haven`t gone through homes. Many left because they thought Jose was coming. We`ve seen some aid come, Mike Bloomberg brought quite a bit. There`s been some NGOs and FEMA delivered 400,000 meals and 270,000 liters of water but infrastructure is the name of the game here. They don`t have steel, they don`t have concrete. Most of the island has no cell service. This is going to be a long-term, multi-year problem for this region.
A problem that this administration needs to face.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie Ruhle is going to continue to be reporting from the U.S. Virgin Islands for us tomorrow. The 11th hour with Brian Williams is next.
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