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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 9/22/17 Trump Alabama Speech

Guests: Karine Jean-Pierre, Kurt Bardella, E.J. Dionne, Jr., Natasha Bertrand, Paul Butler, Max Boot, Neera Tanden

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 22, 2017 Guest: Karine Jean-Pierre, Kurt Bardella, E.J. Dionne, Jr., Natasha Bertrand, Paul Butler, Max Boot, Neera Tanden

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD where Joy Reid is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Joy.

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. OK. So just from your last block, I wrote down what I think -- and you can correct me if I`m wrong --


REID: -- the three ways that you can afford to work for the Trump administration for me. Be a millionaire so you can afford to pay for your lawyer on retainer. Sell your plasma.


REID: Or be a Trump so that the RNC and all the re-elect will pay for your legal -- is that -- do I have that right, I think?

MADDOW: My favorite detail in all of this is that, so far, when you looking at the re-elect, they seem to have a rule about who can have their legal fees paid for by campaign donors.

REID: Right.

MADDOW: The rule is you have to be named Donald Trump.


MADDOW: The good thing for the Trump family is that they`ve got two of those guys.

REID: Two people. And you --

MADDOW: So you -- Junior and Senior. But like, if Ivanka needs anything, uh-uh.

REID: Yes. What if your last name is Kushner, do you get any money?

MADDOW: Exactly. Poor Mike Pence. Next week, he`s going to be raising money for the Trump re-election fund. He`s raised money for his own PAC and then donated that money to the Trump re-election fund. That`s paying for Junior`s legal fees while Mike Pence has to pay for his own.

REID: You know the funniest part about it is? That at some point, he`s going to have to then sell his plasma to help Jared and the other non- Donald Trump family members also pay their legal fees.


REID: He`s not -- he`s going to run out of blood.

MADDOW: Yes because you know that --


MADDOW: You know the President`s going to volunteer him. Tap Mike. He`s healthy.

REID: The paler he looks --

MADDOW: Oh my God.

REID: -- the more you know that he is pumping into the Trump family legal fees. Thank you, Rachel. Have a great weekend.

MADDOW: Thank you, Joy. You too. Thank you, my dear.

REID: OK, bye. All right, everyone. Good evening. This is Joy Reid, and I am in for Lawrence O`Donnell.

So at a rally tonight in Alabama, Donald Trump talked about how he can`t seem to close the deal with Republican senators on healthcare repeal and why Trump voters won`t be getting the wall they`ve been promised.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: John McCain has gone full maverick this afternoon.

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: -- announcing moments ago that he is a No on the Graham/Cassidy healthcare bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- saying this process is garbage. I`m not doing this on a partisan basis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully now, make it stop stupid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the knockout blow may not be far off.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I obviously have very serious reservations about the bill. I do want to wait until I get the CBO analysis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- which is basically her saying, I`m waiting until they come out and say this is a terrible bill before I vote against it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this thing`s dead as a cucumber. Dead as what? A doornail.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They finally get a president who will sign the legislation, and they don`t have the guts to vote for it. OK?

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I think it`s officially called the Screw You Billy Kimmel Act of 2017.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: Is that what they`re calling it?

Their argument is that it`s better to put these decisions in the hands of the states. If Florida could make their own decisions, it will be legal to bring an alligator to a strip club. OK?


REID: The Republican quest to repeal and replace ObamaCare is on the brink of failure once again tonight, hours after Senator John McCain announced his opposition to his best friend, Lindsey Graham`s bill. Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Alabama tonight where he attacked McCain over his opposition to the Republican plan.


TRUMP: They gave me a list of 10 people that were absolute no`s. These are 10 Republican senators. Now, John McCain`s -- John McCain`s list --


TRUMP: John McCain was not on the list so that was a totally unexpected thing. Terrible. Honestly, terrible.

You know, John McCain came in and he went thumbs down at 3:00 in the morning and everybody --


TRUMP: That was a horrible, horrible thing that happened to the Republican Party. That was a horrible thing.


REID: And Donald Trump said this about Senator Rand Paul who had already announced that he opposes the Republican healthcare bill.


TRUMP: By the way, in all fairness, Rand Paul was on that list. They said, don`t even waste your time calling him. He voted twice yes, OK? He was very good. And I haven`t given up on him because I think he may come around, OK?

Wouldn`t it be ironic if he took John McCain`s place and they definitely do not like each other? Wouldn`t that be ironic?


TRUMP: That would be very ironic for those of you that know the inner workings of the Senate.


REID: Now, this comes after a third straight night of scathing criticism of the repeal effort from late night T.V. host Jimmy Kimmel.


KIMMEL: I see these comments from these angry people. They say, what qualifies you to talk about this stuff? You`re a comedian. Go back to being not funny.

And I feel like it`s my duty to remind these people who are so concerned about my qualifications, the guy you voted for, for President, his job qualification was this.

TRUMP: Meatloaf, you`re fired.


KIMMEL: OK? He fired Meatloaf on television. Then you put him in the White House.


KIMMEL: So I`m going to say it again, it`s more important than ever to call your senators and tell them not to gut American healthcare.


REID: It`s an excellent point. After McCain came out against the bill, saying that he will continue to insist on regular order, Kimmel tweeted this, this afternoon.

Thank you, Senator John McCain, for being a hero again and again and now again.

Joining us now, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. And she was an adviser on the Affordable Care Act.

Also joining us, E.J. Dionne, an opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst. And co-author of the new book, "One Nation Under Trump." Can`t wait to read that.

And Karine Jean-Pierre. She`s a senior adviser and national spokesperson for

I`m going to with you first since you`re here at the table with me, Karine. First of all, the irony of Republicans saying that the reason that Jimmy Kimmel should not be allowed to speak about the bill is because he`s a T.V. personality when the T.V. personality is in the White House.


REID: Jimmy Kimmel tweeted out the reason he actually is qualified to talk about this, and this is an adorable picture.


REID: We`re going to put it up on the screen too. I have it in front of me.

And he tweeted, thank -- hey, Senator John McCain. Thanks for fighting for kids like me. Senator Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski, you`re up.

And that`s from Billy, his son. Adorable.

JEAN-PIERRE: Adorable.

REID: But isn`t that more powerful, the fact that he`s a dad --

JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely, Joy. Absolutely.

REID: -- than the fact that he is not a healthcare guy.

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, Jimmy Kimmel has become this powerful spokesperson for what`s going on right now with ACA, the repeal of ACA. And the thing to remember as we`re looking that this photo is that his child has a pre- existing condition.

REID: Right.

JEAN-PIERRE: Right? And in this bill, by the time his kid would have turned 1 years old, he would have reached a lifetime cap.

REID: Right, right.

JEAN-PIERRE: So Jimmy Kimmel understands this. And he -- while he will be fine because he`s wealthy and can afford the surgeries that his son was going to need --

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: -- he understands that there are people out there who cannot afford that. And so he has decided to really take the mantle and fight for people.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And, Neera, you know, one does wonder because, you know, Jimmy does set up -- Jimmy Kimmel does set up -- Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Collins, you`re up.

They were so opposed to the other bill based on the substance, based on the potential it would hurt their state. So one wonders about their hesitation this time around.

Let`s listen to Donald Trump tonight trying to woo Lisa Murkowski.


TRUMP: Your premiums are surging. Your deductibles are through the roof. We have one state, the state of Alaska, it`s up more than 200 percent. And I`m having a hard time getting a certain vote, but she`s a good person and I think she`s going to come through.

I mean, if you look, Alaska is up over 200 percent. So that means ObamaCare`s no good. So we shouldn`t have a hard time getting her vote, and I think she is going to come through. I hope so.


REID: And before I go to your answer, I just want to let people know that that was actually Jimmy Kimmel`s wife who tweeted that tweet out of their adorable son. He retweeted it. Just to make -- so we can be accurate.

But I mean, Neera, you know, the point -- the case that Trump is trying to make to Lisa Murkowski is that ObamaCare is so horrible, but the deal they`re supposedly offering to woo her is to let Alaska keep ObamaCare. Does that make any coherent sense to you?

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: No. It shows that ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, is actually what real people want in Alaska. The Governor is happy with the Affordable Care Act. Senator Murkowski has said she basically wants to keep the elements of it.

You know, what`s crazy about this is that Lisa Murkowski, I`m sure, knows healthcare better than, at this point, Donald Trump, Cassidy or Graham. She`s actually weighing this bill. And if she does hold to the word she said before, which is that she wants a good deal for Alaska and she wants a good deal for the country, she will vote no.

The crazy part of the President`s rants tonight is that the person who is driving up costs in Alaska is Donald Trump. It`s his actions that are causing it. She wants a stable bill. She wants a bipartisan bill.

The Republicans scuttled a bipartisan bill in order to get that into -- in order to jam through this partisan effort, and so Lisa Murkowski knows that. If she holds true to anything she said in June, July, then she will vote no. And I hope that we`ll see that she`ll vote no in the days to come.

But I have to say about healthcare, this whole bill is like the crazy ending of the horror movie. You think it`s dead. It`s like, it`s in the bathtub. It`s underwater.

You think it`s dead, and it rises again. So people still need to make their calls. You still need to go to protests this weekend. You still need to have your voice heard.

REID: Yes. If you watched "The Walking Dead," when you go into the abandoned store looking for supplies, there`s always a walker in there! They`re never all dead.

E.J., you know, the other person that seems to be on the fence is Susan Collins who, again, had a principle objection to the bill last time. Here she is today talking about this bill.


COLLINS: I obviously have very serious reservations about the bill. I do want to wait until I get the CBO analysis.


REID: I mean, E.J., the thing is that, you know, even without the CBO weighing in, there`s plenty of analysis out there that talk about the fact that this bill will punish states that expanded Medicaid, take the money from them, give it to states that failed to expand Medicaid. That some 30 million will go away. Do you understand why Susan Collins is hesitating to just say no?

E.J. DIONNE, JR., OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think she is hesitating to say no just to say, I`m a Republican, I`ll give my leadership a little time. I`d be really surprised if Susan Collins votes for this bill. I think all the signals she is sending is she`ll vote no.

And as you say, two of the states that lose money under this formula are Maine and Alaska, which is why they will try to cook up, apparently, this special deal for Lisa Murkowski. And if you`re going to let Alaska keep ObamaCare because Murkowski wants that, you could let every state keep ObamaCare just by scuttling the whole bill, and that would be simpler.


REID: Right! Exactly. That`s exactly it.


REID: And you know -- OK. So, Karine, so Politico has a headline out today saying that Trump, while he`s publicly backing the effort, privately, the White House is harboring doubts, again, sending these with mixed signals.


REID: And one administration official actually told Politico, then she said this out loud, we really aren`t sure what the impact will be of passing the bill.

If they don`t know what the bill does and it`s not about policy, right?


REID: It can`t be about policy. And meanwhile, "The New York Times" is reporting the same thing I was hearing from Republicans that I was texting yesterday, that it is donors.


REID: GOP donors are furious, according to the report, Senator Cory Gardner, who`s the head of the NRSC, the Republican re-elect committee, told GOP senators, we haven`t kept our promise. The donors are mad.

JEAN-PIERRE: That`s exactly right.

REID: This isn`t policy. It`s about donors.

JEAN-PIERRE: That`s exactly right. It`s about this awful rhetoric that they had for eight years about repealing ObamaCare. And this bill is like the worst of all of the bills put into one, and it`s not repealing and replacing. It is repealing and, hey, you guys are on your own.

REID: Right.

JEAN-PIERRE: But, yes, this is what`s the problem here. You remember we had Donald Trump say the House bill was mean, but they just don`t care about the impact of tens of millions of people. They just don`t. It`s all about, like you said, their donors and keeping that awful rhetoric that they ran with.

REID: Yes. And you know -- I`ll go with you on this one, E.J. -- this is Donald Trump tonight actually admitting that, saying that the reason to pass the bill is because you said you`d pass the bill. This is Donald Trump tonight.


TRUMP: So there we`re getting all these great votes. You know, like, I think they voted -- what, 61 times? Like 61 times to repeal or replace!

They finally get a president who will sign the legislation, and they don`t have the guts to vote for it. OK? They don`t have the guts to vote for it.


REID: You know, E.J., you`ve written a lot about the Republican Party and its evolution since, you know, really going back to the Goldwater era.

How do we get to a point where the point of public policy is not the policy at all? It is simply because the donors are demanding their tax cut, they want their money, and you said you`d do it. How did we get here?

DIONNE: Well, I think it`s been -- and we talk about this in our book. It`s been an evolution in the Republican Party that the right wing took over the party. The donors played a big role in that. They drove out all sorts of liberals.

I mean, think back to somebody like John Chafee of Rhode Island, a Republican. And President Clinton tangled with him, but Chafee was very serious about healthcare and introduced a fairly progressive bill.

All those people are gone right now, but we are at an even worse stage here because it`s as if nobody cares about the policy. They just want a win. It doesn`t matter what the win looks like. It doesn`t matter what`s in the bill.

The Republicans haven`t been able to pass anything because they`ve given the right wing of their party veto over every issue because they`re unwilling to deal with the Democrats. And so that`s why they are stuck with no legislation, and we are stuck confronting this healthcare horror show if this bill ever passed.

REID: Yes. And you know, Neera, you know, the one person who does cares about the policy is Rand Paul, who essentially believe the federal government should withdraw entirely from assisting anyone with healthcare. So he`s at least being honest about the fact he wants no one to get help getting healthcare at all.

People like McCain are upset about process. At this point, Murkowski and others are concerned about their states, which is legitimate.

You helped write this Affordable Care Act. And at the time, it is closer to the Bob Dole rebuttal to HillaryCare than -- it is -- are you as shocked as I am that the Republican Party has devolved to the point where it`s just about handing cash to their donors and nothing about policy?

TANDEN: I mean, what`s insane about this proposal, about this legislation, is it is the most radical rewriting of healthcare in decades. We might have one hearing on it on Monday. This bill is far to the right of what the House passed. It`s far to the right of what the Senate was considering just a month ago, a month and a half ago.

The idea here is -- will create chaos. Medicaid directors across the country have said it will create chaos throughout the system.

Don`t take it from me. Take it from insurers, hospitals, doctors. The idea that we`re going to rip up people`s healthcare and just send it to the states and the states will just create healthcare programs they`ve never created before, it`s a level of disruption.

And the fact that no -- so few senators -- I`d be surprised if 20 Republican senators even know what`s in this bill as of now. And they`re supposed to vote on it next week.

REID: Yes.

TANDEN: The idea -- this is what feeds cynicism in America. This is what makes people hate Congress.

REID: Yes, yes.


TANDEN: That people literally say out loud, my donors are why I want to throw 30 million people`s healthcare away. That is why people are angry.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And you know who does seem to really understand this bill? Jimmy Kimmel!

TANDEN: Yes. Exactly.

JEAN-PIERRE: He knows more about it.

DIONNE: That`s right.

REID: Jimmy Kimmel knows about more this policy than the two people whose names are on the bill, from what we can tell so far.

Neera Tanden, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Coming up tonight, at his rally, Donald Trump was asking questions about Russians after the tweet tantrum about Russia earlier today.

But up next, Trump campaigns for incumbent Senator Luther Strange by telling the voters, it might have been a mistake to endorse him at all.



TRUMP: I might have made a mistake, and I`ll be honest. I might have made a mistake.


REID: Since when does Donald Trump ever admit to making a mistake? And mistake that Trump might have made is picking Luther Strange as his candidate of choice in the Alabama Republican runoff to fill the U.S. Senate state vacated current Attorney General Jefferson Sessions. That race is pitting Trump against his very own base.

Next Tuesday, Trump -- Trump-backed interim Senator Strange will face former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is being backed by high-profile Trump supporters like Steve Bannon, Ben Carson, and Sarah Palin.

The latest polling finds Moore up by eight points, leading 54 percent to Strange`s 46 percent. According to Donald Trump, Luther Strange isn`t part of the dreaded establishment like Moore`s -- a fault like Moore supporters fear. In fact, Trump says Strange doesn`t even know the Senate majority leader.


TRUMP: People are saying he`s friendly. Whether you like Mitch McConnell or not, it doesn`t matter, but they`re saying he`s friendly with Mitch. He doesn`t know Mitch McConnell.

He was just there for a few months, and they`ve put that mantle around his neck. And I told Mitch, I`d like to say this, you know I don`t like you. But I`m telling you, he doesn`t know Mitch McConnell at all.


REID: He`s never ever seen Mitch McConnell. How would he ever see him in the Senate?

Joining us now, Kurt Bardella, the president of Endeavor Strategies and former spokesperson for Breitbart News.

And back with us, E.J. Dionne and Karine Jean-Pierre.

Kurt, so Luther Strange doesn`t even know Mitch McConnell at all.


REID: Like, he`s actually never met him at all. And it`s interesting that Donald Trump is doing this thing where he`s trying to have it both ways, right? Because the base -- the Breitbart base wants hay Roy Moore. Trump has come out for Luther Strange.

Here is Donald Trump actually telling the base you must do this because it`s about Donald Trump. Take a listen.


TRUMP: If Luther doesn`t win, they`re not going to say we picked up 25 points in a very short period of time. They`re going to say, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, was unable to pull his candidate across the line.

And by the way, both good men. Both good men. And you know what? And I told Luther, I have to say this. If his opponent wins, I`m going to be here campaigning like hell for him.


REID: What a friend. Kurt, for the base that, you know, reads Breitbart daily, that, you know, is getting their news from the far right, is it possible to pull them over, pull them away from Roy Moore, based on their loyalty to Donald Trump?

KURT BARDELLA, FOUNDER AND CEO, ENDEAVOR STRATEGIES: No, I don`t think it is because, at this point, if you read Breitbart and that`s your only source of information, then you`re being led to believe that Donald Trump is being tricked into supporting, you know, the candidate he`s gotten behind.

That he`s been co-opted by the West Wing globalists who have told him to get behind Luther Strange. That he`s doing it almost unwillingly.

And I think that`s part of the posturing that you saw tonight. I`ve never seen an endorsement where the person giving the endorsement advocates for the other guy.


REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: I mean, with friends like that, my God!


BARDELLA: You know, Donald Trump did the job for Moore right there tonight and basically gave an endorsement that was really supportive of the other guy and even said he`ll campaign with his opponent should he win.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: That`s -- you know, and it just showed, though, how concerned Donald Trump is about the headlines that will inevitably happen which will be, Trump loses in Alabama, Bannon beats Trump.

He is so preoccupied with how he will look and so worried about looking weak and looking like a, quote/unquote, loser that he is trying to preempt that already while sitting next to the guy, saying he supports him.

REID: Yes. You know, E.J., it kind of reminds me of what he did in the French election, where he obviously supported far right candidate, Marine Le Pen. And then when she lost, he said, you know what, I was always behind you to the guy that won. It is really odd.


DIONNE: Yes, don`t seek an endorsement from Donald Trump. What`s really interesting here is that this is the Donald Trump/Steve Bannon primary. As Ed Luce of "The Financial Times" put it, Steve Bannon would like to show Trump that his people are for him not because he`s Trump.

He can`t do anything. They won`t follow him anywhere. They`re for him because of far right nationalist, Christian views.

And so if Moore wins, it will be seen, certainly by Breitbart and Steve Bannon, as a victory for their strategy. And if Strange actually pulls this out, then Trump will be able to say, well, they`re really with me. I can pull anybody over the line.

So this has some real implications for the internal workings of Donald Trump`s head --

REID: Yes.

DIONNE: -- but also the internal workings of the Trump operation. It will empower the Bannonites. You know, he is there. Sebastian Gorka`s there. They really want to show something to Trump.

REID: Yes. I mean, if you ask the question -- NBC News did a poll to Republicans -- are you more of a Trump supporter or a Republican Party supporter? Actually, 58 percent told our poll that they are a Trump supporter more than a Republican Party supporter. So it will be very interesting if he is not to pull Luther Strange across the line. You know, whose party is it anyway?

I want to move on to other thing that Donald Trump said that was -- well, he said a lot tonight, but let`s listen to one of these other things he said. And this is when he went after, without saying his name, Colin Kaepernick. Take a look.


TRUMP: Wouldn`t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a (INAUDIBLE) off the field right now. Out. He`s fired! He`s fired!


TRUMP: When people like yourselves turn on television and you see people those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem --


TRUMP: -- the only thing you could do better is, if you see it, even if it`s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave.


REID: And, Karine, Jemele Hill, who, you know, a lot of this recently was about when the White House demanded that she be fired by ESPN for saying that Donald Trump is a White supremacist, she tweeted tonight.

Prediction: Not one NFL owner, not Roger Goodell, will say one word about what he said about Kaep or other NFL players. Not. A. One.

Why are you even bringing up Kaepernick`s name at a political rally in Alabama? Never mind. I know the answer.

Your thoughts?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, good for her for still speaking up.

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: Amen to her. Look, so much for the President for promoting the constitution and the First Amendment, right? I mean, that`s what he`s supposed to be doing.

At the end of the day, not only is Donald Trump a petulant child, he is a racist. He was a racist in the `70s. He was one in the `80s. He was one in the `90s. He was one when he first stepped into the political arena. He was one when he kicked off his presidential campaign.

And now, unfortunately, he`s using this bullhorn to really push racism further and further, and he is the President of the United States. He is the person who is sitting in the Oval Office signing, you know, executive orders behind the resolute desk.

REID: Yes, yes. Absolutely. And you know, but, at the same time, Kurt, he`s also somebody who knows his audience, right?

I mean, he is a guy who is selling $40 hats to a certain audience. He is tweeting out, $29, you can have this gold card with Donald Trump`s face on it. He knows who his audience is and that is exactly what they want to hear, right?

BARDELLA: It`s the same audience that was infuriated by his working with Democrats to try to find a solution to DACA. It`s also the same audience that he catered to when he pardoned someone who believed it was standard operating procedure for law enforcement to racially profile people.

You know, really, when something like this happens, I think this is where we have to look at the NFL, at the owners, at the players to make a stand this weekend.

You know, some of these owners gave a million dollars to Donald Trump. Dan Snyder here in Washington, D.C. who owns the Washington Redskins, Jerry Jones in the -- in Dallas and the Dallas Cowboys, Bob Kraft, New England.

There is going to be a lot of eyeballs on the NFL this weekend to see how they react to it. Will the league step in and say, you know what? No, it`s not right to terminate someone because they exercised their First Amendment to speak. It`s not right to try to take someone`s employment away because they are exercising their belief and demonstrating that they are discriminated against as a class in this country. And that`s a way that they`re going to show that.

How the players respond will also be interesting, people like Russell Wilson. Leaders in this league, Aaron Rodgers. I don`t care if you`re White or Black or Hispanic. If you play in the NFL, and you have heard what the President said tonight, you have an obligation to stand up and speak out against it.

REID: Yes. And meanwhile, E.J., you know, in doubling down on the marketing that he does, essentially, to the base that he sells hats to, Donald Trump led a familiar chant at this rally tonight. Let`s take a listen to that.


CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.

TRUMP: You got to speak to Jeff Sessions about that.


REID: And, of course, E.J., that is, again, lock her up, about Hillary Clinton. Somebody who is not in public office, is not running against him anymore. But there`s still a saliency to that sort of guttural chant against a woman who dared to run against him for president.

DIONNE: No, that`s right. And the main reason he ended up passing Clinton in those key states is because of -- that he played on anti-Clinton feelings. And he has always done his politics by attacking someone. The biggest target is Hillary Clinton, but there was also Little Marco. There was also Lying Ted.

Donald Trump doesn`t know how to do politics without an enemy. What`s inconvenient for him, as you say, is she`s not running against him. She`s not going to run against him again.

He has tried to take runs at former President Obama. That didn`t work well. But I think with Donald Trump, he is going to be at Hillary Clinton for the next three years because he doesn`t know what to do without her.

REID: Yes. And I mean, Karine, it`s hard not to feel that, you know, when you combine that with go right back to those buttons, those T-shirts, the vile things that people were wearing on their bodies, including women --


REID: -- about her, this resonance of racial and misogynistic imagery among his base says something not just about Donald Trump but about a chunk --


REID: -- of the American electorate that follows him and that loves this stuff and passionate about it.

JEAN-PIERRE: That`s exactly right. It is a sweet spot, if you will, for him. It`s been more than 300 days since the election, but he still uses Hillary Clinton as a foil. And he will for a very, very long time. That`s all that he knows.

Instead of focusing on North Korea and instead of focusing on the territories and the states that were impacted by hurricanes, instead of being presidential, he goes back to that sweet spot of his, especially in front of the -- of this rally. And he doesn`t know anything else.

And let`s not forget, what did we find out this week about Russia? We found out that Mueller is -- and the top investigators are zeroing in on Donald Trump.

REID: Closing in. Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: So this is him feeling backed into a corner and reacting. So there`s a lot here, I think, that`s playing into this behavior that we continue to see.

REID: Yes. And, Kurt, you know --


REID: -- to Karine`s point, this is also a time when Puerto Rico is suffering mightily, when Mexico is now also suffering, you know, after natural disasters. And here is Donald Trump brining back yet another classic from his campaign, something that we all know now is not going to happen and that, of course, is the wall that he claimed Mexico was going to pay for. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, the wall is happening, folks. You know, it has to be a see-through wall. We`re renovating the existing wall and we are going to have as much wall as we need. You don`t need it all the way.

Somebody said, well, what are you going to do? You`re going to build that wall in the middle of the river? Are you going to -- that nobody can go in? Are you going to build that wall on the mountain?

They said you don`t the wall. You know, you have a mountain which is a wall. But we are going to build the wall.


REID: It`s quite a climb down, Kurt, but he is still saying it. Why do Donald Trump`s fans still believe that?

BARDELLA: You know, Trump spent his entire campaign talking about how he`s going to build a wall and, by the way, that Mexico was going to pay for it, not the American taxpayers. And, again, he kind of walked away from that a little bit when he made the DACA deal potentially with the Democrats.

His base went crazy. They started burning the hats, the "Make America Great" hats and everything. And so now, he`s back to try to throw them some red meat and to talk -- I mean, what the hell is a see-through wall, by the way? I don`t even know what he is talking about.


REID: I was, like, what?


REID: You know, a window?

DIONNE: Pure glass.

REID: I guess it`s a window.

BARDELLA: So, yes, build what kind of a wall? I mean --

REID: Build a window. Yes.

BARDELLA: And so he doesn`t even know what he`s talking --

REID: Yes.


BARDELLA: -- you know, is the point. He is just -- it`s verbal diarrhea.

DIONNE: I think, you know, he --



DIONNE: He gave away about three quarters of the wall in that speech.

REID: He did.


DIONNE: If you heard all of the places we are not building a wall and we`re renovating an existing wall.


REID: It`s a Renaud. It`s a Renaud. It`s HGTV. Kurt Bardella, Karine Jean-Pierre, E.J. Dionne, thank you all. I appreciate it.

DIONNE: Great to be with you.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Joy.

REID: All right. And coming up, what Donald Trump said about Russia and the election tonight.



TRUMP: And by the way, folks, just in case you`re, like, curious, no, Russia did not help me. OK? I call it the Russian hoax.

They needed an excuse, so they said, Russia. And then they said, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Russia and Trump.

No, Russia did not help me. That I can tell you, OK?


REID: Breaking news. Nearly nine months after taking over the federal government, the Trump administration has finally confirmed to the Associated Press that, today, it told election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their voting systems last year.

The A.P. reports that, for many states, the calls Friday from the Department of Homeland Security were the first official confirmation of whether their states were on the list. The government did not say who was behind the hacking attempts, but officials in three states said Friday the attempts could be linked to Russia.

Joining me now, Natasha Bertrand, a political correspondent at "Business Insider" and Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown University and former federal prosecutor and MSNBC contributor.

And, Tasha, first, I`ll ask you for your reaction to the idea that it took this long for the Trump administration to inform these states, these 21 states, that their election systems might have been hacked.

NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, this is something that the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, has really been on top of over the last couple of months. He has really been encouraging the government to take a stronger stance on this, you know, this news that, you know, the Russians did try to infiltrate these voter registration systems.

It`s an extremely big deal. And even if they didn`t necessarily change vote tallies, which there is, of course, no evidence that they did that, the fact that they were able to infiltrate these systems, that they were even scanning them in the first place, should have been something that the government was, you know, informing these states of long ago.

REID: And the reporting that you were doing was specifically about probably the most vulnerable member, at least, at the moment -- it seems to change every week -- within the Trump camp. And that would be Paul Manafort.

Talk a little bit about it. In your reporting, Manafort allegedly, in your view -- in your reporting, disappeared with Deripaska`s money and not vice versa. Can you explain what that means?

BERTRAND: Right. So something that was interesting about one of the e- mails that Manafort sent to his protege last year regarding, you know, this private briefing that he wanted to give to this Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, was that, you know, Trump`s -- Manafort`s spokesman actually came out and said, well, Manafort was just trying to get money that he was owed from past clients in Ukraine.

But what was interesting is that Deripaska actually has alleged that Manafort owes him money. Deripaska filed a lawsuit essentially saying that Manafort stole $19 million from him as part of an investment that went south. He filed these claims in 2014.

And they had a falling out, and they really haven`t spoken since then. But the fact that, now, Manafort was reaching out and he was asking if Deripaska would want these briefings makes you really wonder, well, was this an agreement that has to do with debt cancelation?

REID: Yes. And so, Paul, you know, if you are our Bob Mueller and you`re looking at somebody like Paul Manafort who is in debt to Russian oligarchs, who joins the Trump campaign in August, who then seems to continue to have contact with Russian oligarchs to whom he is indebted, walk us through what you are -- end up doing.

Are you more interested in prosecuting Paul Manafort or flipping Paul Manafort?

PAUL BUTLER, ALBERT BRICK PROFESSOR IN LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: You know, we think of these as pyramid prosecutions, so you start on the bottom and you work your way to the top. But when we look at who the bottom is, it`s high-level guys like Paul Manafort who was the campaign chairman and Michael Flynn who was the national security adviser.

And Special Counsel Mueller is going in on those guys. He is treating them like drug kingpins or organized crime dudes with a no knock warrant, with a search of the wife at the crack of dawn. And so, again, if this is the bottom, it sounds like somebody higher up is at the top. And so that`s President Trump and his even higher-level officials.

REID: And, Paul, is it too much of leap to think that investigators would then start put together dots that are, you know, sort of separated as Paul Manafort`s ties to Russian oligarchs and the fact that we now know that, probably, the Russians, most likely the Russians, breached 21 election systems?

Do those things wind up getting put together inside Mueller`s investigation? Or is that more a matter for the national security investigation, in your opinion?

BUTLER: No, they`re absolutely part of this investigation. And this is why, Joy, we have conclusive evidence that the Russians tried to hijack our election. And President Trump is not mad at the Russians. He`s mad at the media for reporting that news.

And so the question that Special Counsel Mueller asked is, does President Trump and the men who work for him, including Paul Manafort, do they seem like the type who, if the Russians offered help at him beating Hillary, do they seem like the type of people who will turn it down?

And the evidence suggests no. They`re very open to all kinds of overtures from the Russians, so why turn down help about the campaign?

REID: Yes. And this what we`re -- and we`re also seeing, Natasha, is that there is an attempt, obviously, by the administration to try to undermine, further undermine, the Mueller investigation from "Vanity Fair."

That leaks that we`re hearing could be coming from Capitol Hill but sometimes point to the Trump and Manafort side in service of two tactical goals: undermining the motives and credibility of Mueller`s work and shifting blame to President Barack Obama whose Justice Department apparently renewed the wiretapping of Manafort`s phones.

This is becoming, essentially, a credibility contest between Manafort, the White House, and Mueller.

BERTRAND: And look, this is not the first time that we`ve seen the White House try to undermine Mueller if this "Vanity Fair" report is true. We don`t know for sure who leaked these details. It could have been from Capitol Hill, but it would not surprising if the President and the White House were leaking these details to try to shift the blame on to the Obama administration for a wiretapping.

That, by the way, would require a warrant. There`s a very lengthy process that the Obama administration, the Justice Department under the Obama administration, would have had to go through in order to obtain this FISA warrant. And I would also note that it was the second time that that a FISA warrant was approved on Paul Manafort.

REID: And, Paul Butler, really quickly, you need probable cause, I`m assuming, to get that warrant.

BUTLER: Probable cause, which means that there has to be a fair probability that evidence of a crime is in Paul Manafort`s apartment for, one, search and for the eavesdropping that he is going around having conversations about illegal matters.

REID: All right. The plot thickens. Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

And coming up, the man who spent his congressional career decrying waste, fraud, and abuse in government is reportedly abusing his cabinet position - - shocking -- footing taxpayers with the bill.


REID: The Health and Human Services Inspector General is investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price`s use of private jets that have reportedly cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Five House and Senate Democrats requested the investigation after Politico reported earlier this week Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers` expense since early May.

The cost of the trips identified by Politico exceeds $300,000, according to a review of contracts and similar trip itineraries. Here`s how a Health and Human Services spokesperson defended Price`s travel to Politico.

Quote, when commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.

Coming up, we`ll hear from then Congressman Tom Price chastising congressional leaders in 2009 for, wait for it, using private jets.



DENNIS KNEALE, CNBC ANCHOR: Let`s get back, folks, to Congress and the private planes. House leaders are scaling back their spending for Air Force.

Yes. Congressman Price, where were you in the original vote on $550 million and where are you on the issue tonight?

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA (via telephone): Hey, Dennis, good to talk with you. Thank you so much. I think we`ve made it halfway where we ought to, and that is cut it from eight to four jets. Now, we need to cut it from four jets to zero jets. This is just another example of fiscal irresponsibility run amok in Congress right now.


REID: That was then Congressman Tom Price in 2009 speaking out against members of Congress using private jets.

Joining us now, Max Boot, a former foreign policy adviser for McCain 2008, Romney 2012, and Rubio 2016. And Paul Butler is also back with us.

So, Max, let`s take a look from a tweet from Dan Diamond who is one of the Politico reporters on this story.

Here is the 30-seat chartered jet that Tom Price, Kellyanne Conway -- Tom Price and Kellyanne Conway took for their $25,000 D.C. to Philly roundtrip.

I think a ticket there could cost like $200. That`s what they took. What happened to Tom Price?

MAX BOOT, FORMER FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR TO JOHN MCCAIN AND MITT ROMNEY: Well, obviously, you know, Tom Price was living up the good life and flying a chartered plane from D.C. to Philadelphia where it would`ve actually probably went faster for him to take Amtrak`s.

REID: Yes.

BOOT: But I mean, this is just, you know, incredible on so many levels that this -- I mean, it`s kind of -- in some ways, it`s kind of the oldest story in Washington. They come to Washington, drain the swamp, and find that you actually kind of like living in the swamp.

REID: Yes.

BOOT: And it`s -- the water is nice. Come on in. I mean, this is kind of a classic example of that.

REID: And the "San Diego Union Tribune" wrote an article back in June, in which -- that was titled, "The Nation`s Top Health Official Vows Attack on Wasteful Spending."

That little piece, by the way, says the nation`s top health policy official told an audience in San Diego on Saturday that he`s committed to wringing out wasteful spending, regardless of what happens with efforts by President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress to reshape ObamaCare.

You know, Republicans perennially talk about waste, fraud, and abuse, wringing the waste out of Medicaid and Medicare and cutting spending.

Is it just something about the intoxication of Washington and, you know, being around wealthy donors and wealthy lobbyists that is just so enticing, or is it just straight up hypocrisy and they`re just lying when they say they want to get rid of waste?

BOOT: Well, those two things are not mutually exclusive. I mean, I think once they get to Washington, they discover that they kind of like it there, and they become part of this culture, which they decry.

And that`s true even of these tea party -- the most extreme folks like Tom Price who have been waging the greatest war on what he perceives as waste, fraud and abuse. And of course, particularly egregious on his case because he is determined to take away health insurance from a lot of ordinary people.

REID: That`s right. Yes.

BOOT: But I mean this is why people are very cynical about Washington. I think a lot of people imagine, oh, well, you know, Donald Trump, he is an outsider. Well, anybody who has followed his career could have said, no, he`s a guy who has actually been deeply compromised by the political process for decades.

That he`s been one of these people who has been cutting the deals, signing the checks during these shady looking deals. And somehow, this triumph of hope over experienced people expected that despite this long history, he would somehow clean out this swamp. And instead, you see that it`s not only Tom Price, it`s Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary.

REID: Yes.

BOOT: They`re all kind of enjoying the benefits of government service.

REID: And, you know, Paul, at what point does this wander from -- over from distasteful and hypocritical to actually a violation that could get a person in trouble?

BUTLER: So it`s not a crime to do something like this, but it is against the rules that are kind of in the employee handbook. It`s against the regulations of the federal government.

The standard is kind of loosey goosey -- you`re not supposed to spend more than necessary. But even by that lax standard, what Secretary Price does exceeds that. And so the Office of Inspector General is investigating. They have the power to sanction, to issue sanctions, and also to tell him to stop.

But I`m looking at this not so much from a former prosecutor but from a former government employee. Joy, if I do something like that, I would have gotten fired fast, quick, and in a hurry.

And so it will be interesting to see if there`s a double standard because this man happens to be the Secretary. He still literally lost and wasted hundreds of thousands of government money.

What I remember is, this trip he took from D.C. to Philly on a private plane for $25,000, that`s a three-hour train ride -- actually, it`s an hour and a half train ride. It`s a three-hour car ride. So give me a break.

REID: Yes, absolutely. The other thing that happened tonight, let`s listen -- we were talking about Donald Trump`s speech in Alabama. He also talked about North Korea, to make the hell of a turn. This is Donald Trump on North Korea.


TRUMP: We can`t have madmen out there shooting rockets all over the place. By the way, Rocket Man should have been handled a long time ago.

Maybe something gets worked out and maybe it doesn`t. Personally, I`m not sure that it will. But I can tell you one thing, you are protected, OK? You are protected.


TRUMP: Nobody is going to mess with our people. Nobody is going to play games. Nobody is going to put our people in that kind of danger.


REID: You know, Max, I don`t think I`ll ever get used to the President of the United States using cutesy nicknames for foreign dictators.

BOOT: Well, it`s never happened before. I mean, you can imagine during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, you know, John F. Kennedy saying -- you know, calling Nikita Khrushchev, "rocket man."

REID: Yes.

BOOT: I mean, this has no place in politics, and it certainly has no place in a confrontation between nuclear-armed states. I mean, this is very dangerous.

REID: Yes.

BOOT: I mean, some of Trump`s policies are actually fairly sensible, including the sanctions on North Korea. That`s something we ought to be doing, but he is distracting attention from that.

And weirdly enough, I mean, North Korea is one of the most repugnant regimes in the planet, and Donald Trump is starting to make them look sympathetic or at least putting us on a par with North Korea in this war of words. That`s not where the President of the United States ought to be.

REID: Yes. Hear, hear. All right. Max Boot and Paul Butler, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Tonight`s last word is next.


REID: And tonight`s last word is tomorrow! You can watch my interview with former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on "A.M. JOY," 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

And after you get caught up on the day`s news, join Chris Hayes and me for the "GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL," featuring Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Killers, and more. That starts at 3:00 p.m. Eastern only right here on MSNBC.

Thanks for watching. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams is next.


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