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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 9/25/17 Jimmy Kimmel thanks Sen. Collins

Guests: John Heilemann, Jason Johnson, Julie Rovner

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 25, 2017 Guest: John Heilemann, Jason Johnson, Julie Rovner

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Will need the full support of the U.S. government -- making basically just an urgent plea for more help and attention, "we will need the full support of the U.S. government. People cannot forget we are U.S. citizens."

Dispatches from reporters across the island today paint a picture of many areas of Puerto Rico that are still utterly cut off.

Many places on the island that have yet to see any aid or any assistance whatsoever. And as I say, this is the sixth night of this thus far.

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, and it`s good to know that the president spent the entire weekend concentrating on how to help Puerto Rico --

MADDOW: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Right? I mean, it`s really good that we could see that presidential attention being paid to it.

And Rachel, Puerto Rico doesn`t have as you know an elected -- a member of Congress with voting rights.

MADDOW: Right.

O`DONNELL: A member of the United States Senate with a voting rights, they don`t have that. They rely on the kindness of United States senators who just -- who take an interest in it which is almost random.

New York senators historically have taken a stronger interest than others, but to get their voices heard when they need it in Washington is not easy.

MADDOW: No, and it`s interesting where there are concentrations of Puerto Rican population Diaspora in the United States -- you`re starting to see local officials like where I live out in western Massachusetts, there`s a lot of Puerto Rican communities out there and used to local officials and state officials in Massachusetts taking an interest.

You see Governor Cuomo of New York taking an interest because the large numbers of Puerto Ricans people and people of Puerto Rican descent who live in New York, it`s become this hopscotch thing depending on where the Puerto Rican Diaspora is in -- is in this country.

But in terms of the U.S. federal response to taking care of this problem, we`re really far into this for there to be 40 percent of households with running water and zero percent power.

That`s -- this response is -- something is not working here.

O`DONNELL: And the whole world is watching, and Puerto Rico historically has had an image issue with the world.

Fidel Castro used to taunt Puerto Rico, calling it -- telling them you`re just a colony, you`re just an American colony and they would insist, no, we have our rights, we have citizenship and this is what we want.

We want commonwealth, we don`t want statehood and all that. And Castro would always say, when you need them they won`t be there, and so there`s so much at stake here.

MADDOW: There`s so much at stake, and honestly I feel like the tip -- the actual logistical ways in which things have broken down in Puerto Rico, particularly the lack of power and communications has made it hard to tell the story.


MADDOW: As well as hard to -- making it hard for the response thus far, but the response this far is absolutely inadequate.

O`DONNELL: Thank you Rachel --

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Bill Moyers will join us, he was working in Lyndon Johnson`s White House when Mohammed Ali defied the draft and was convicted of a federal crime because of it.

Bill Moyers will tell us what President Johnson had to say publicly about that, and what President Johnson had to say publicly about other protests by athletes at that time including at the Olympics in 1968.

And once again tonight, NFL players stood in solidarity against President Trump`s comments, and we have learned just how widespread the use of private e-mail is and has been in the Trump White House.

And maybe that -- maybe that`s the story the president doesn`t want us talking about.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a dire situation in Puerto Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Everything is destroyed, she says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Distraught residents are calling on the federal government, begging them to step up its response.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message is the president sending by emphasizing sports right now and not a big crisis affecting so many --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn`t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he`s fired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not SOBs, they`re smart, thoughtful guys, they really are.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t think it`s too much to ask to stand for our national anthem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No! Pass the Medicaid, save our liberty!

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: This proposal is about as popular as prolonged root canal work.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last-ditch Republican effort to repeal Obamacare apparently dead tonight.

TRUMP: By the way, rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now the foreign minister of North Korea is saying President Trump`s weakened threats are in fact a declaration of war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at such a high level of potential escalation to full-blown war because of the relative inexperience of the leader in Pyongyang and the leader in Washington.

TRUMP: Little rocket man, we`re going to do it because we really have no choice.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight in the war between Donald Trump and the NFL. At tonight`s Monday night football game, the teams and coaches once again took a stand against the president`s comments about firing NFL players who dare to exercise their first amendment rights during the playing of the national anthem.

And this war of presidential words versus protests symbolism is happening at a time when it may be that we have never been closer to nuclear war.

North Korea says they believe we have declared war on them. They think the president of the United States has declared war on them.

At the same time, the president has an unprecedented disaster as Rachel was just talking about. An unprecedented disaster to deal with in the island territories of the United States and the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico`s economy was already in disastrous condition and now the island has been wiped out. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have always had the guarantee that if anything like this happens they have an advantage that other Caribbean islands don`t.

They have the full support of the United States of America. They have always believed that they could count on the commander-in-chief commanding the resources and aid that the islands need until now.

This weekend, the president`s attention was not devoted to the deadly disaster that hit the American citizens on our Caribbean islands, he was too busy talking about football, talking about knees and flags.


TRUMP: Wouldn`t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he`s fired.


He`s fired! When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they`re playing our great national anthem --


O`DONNELL: The president is also very angry about the NFL`s lack of respect for the beauty of the violence of the game.


TRUMP: You know, today if you hit too hard, right? They hit too hard, 15 yards throw him out of the game.

They had that last week, I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys just really beautiful tackle -- boom, 15 yards, the referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she`s so proud of him, they`re ruining the game, right?


O`DONNELL: The president was not content to say that the referee is ruining the game by enforcing the NFL rules.

He had to extend that attack on NFL referees to say that the referees are doing that to impress their wives.

He felt the need to squeeze in that bit of misogyny, that bit of blame the woman somehow for what happens on an NFL field.

The president spoke of the lost glory of the violence of the NFL the day after it was revealed that former Patriots tight-end, 27-year-old Aaron Hernandez had the kind of brain damage that had previously only been seen in NFL players in their 60s.

The "New York Times" reported, quote, "the brain damage was so severe that scientists all but gasped." Here`s a picture of Aaron Hernandez in the courtroom where he was found guilty of murder.

We don`t have a picture of Aaron Hernandez in the prison cell where he killed himself. But we do know that on his Sundays in prison in Walpole, Massachusetts, he could hear the roar of the crowd at the Patriots games in nearby Foxborough.

In the president of the United States -- if the president of the United States was going to speak about football on Friday, you could expect it to be possibly something in reaction to the Aaron Hernandez autopsy findings, something about the public health crisis facing football, the concussion crisis.

You might expect the president to say something to worried parents not sure whether they should allow their kids to play football now that we know the younger the brain, the higher the risk of damage during the normal patterns of contact in football.

But this president wanted to make the violence of football a Trump campaign agenda, a Trump agenda item, put it right up there with building the wall.

Violence in football? Donald Trump is in favor. There is beauty in football. Most of it is in the halftime show, but there is genuine athletic beauty in pass plays, especially the long pass plays.

We have some of them recorded in our brains for the rest of our lives. Some of them are miraculously beautiful.

Doug Flutie`s name will live forever in football on the basis of exactly one pass play because it was so dramatic with one second left on the clock and so very beautiful.

I`ve heard a lot of words to describe the hitting in football, the tackling including from my high school football coach, but beautiful wasn`t one of them.

This president of the United States thinks the violence is one of the beautiful things about football.

And that is the president of the United States who has brought us closer to nuclear war with his rhetoric than any president in history.

There`s a straight line from Donald Trump`s violence in football rhetoric to his rocket man rhetoric. The president may have said those things because he knew that reporting by "Politico" was about to reveal that his son-in-law Jared Kushner did something that Trump voters were taught to believe you should be locked up for.

Under the headline, Kushner used private e-mail to conduct White House business. And that has led to the breaking news report tonight that Trump used private e-mail to conduct White House business -- Ivanka Trump.

The "New York Times" is reporting that at least six of President Trump`s closest advisors occasionally used private e-mail addresses to discuss White House matters current and former officials said on Monday.

The officials include Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, economic adviser Gary Cohen and of course Ivanka Trump.

If the president knew that those reports were coming, he might do or say something to get the American news media talking about something else.

It worked. But it might be a surprise tonight to the president that the NFL including the owners and coaches are standing so strongly against his comments.

Tonight, the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones linked arms and knelt before the national anthem in what they say was a statement of equality and unity.

The Cowboys who are playing the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona were booed by the crowd. Joining us now, John Heilemann; national affairs analyst for Nbc News and Msnbc.

And Jason Johnson; politics editor at the Root.Com and an Msnbc contributor. And John, we now do fairly have the headline, "Trump uses private e-mail in the White House -- Ivanka Trump."

JOHN HEILEMANN, NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, NBC NEWS: Yes, well, and it is - - you knew this was coming, right?

O`DONNELL: I didn`t know this was coming --

HEILEMANN: You knew it was coming --

O`DONNELL: I did not know, I could not have --

HEILEMANN: You know --

O`DONNELL: Predicted for you the Trump White House will be found in a widespread pattern --


O`DONNELL: To be using private e-mail after the "lock her up" campaign.

HEILEMANN: It speaks to the profound cynicism of so many of the things that were said on the campaign trail. Just like it speaks -- this is the other -- this is the straight line I`d like to draw.

The straight line --


HEILEMANN: Between the cynicism of the way issues were deployed in the campaign that Trump did not really have been able to believe in.

And certainly that he was not carrying -- having made a case of them, he would not carry in and then say we`ll now do policy in a different way than our opponent did.

That cynicism, the same cynicism on display of this attack on Steph Curry and on Colin Kaepernick and on the NFL and these players were protesting.

The cynicism is staggering and the hypocrisy is staggering. I can`t tell in this instance whether what`s worse, the race baiting, the profound attack on the value of free speech in the -- what he did on Friday night.

The cynicism of it, the hypocrisy of it or the stupidity of it because -- and this is the last thing I`ll say, although been talking about this all night, the stupidity of it in this sense.

What you just showed -- there`s sometimes when biting culture wars works for Republicans. It`s -- well, Republicans --


HEILEMANN: Have fought a lot of culture wars and have won them --


HEILEMANN: But you know what you can`t win a culture war on? When you`re fighting with the NFL --


HEILEMANN: Because the NFL is America`s religion, it`s its past time, it`s its game, it`s the heart of popular culture in America, and if you`re going to wage war on the NFL which I`m sure Trump didn`t realize he was about to do, you`re going to lose that war.

O`DONNELL: Jason, go ahead.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, ROOT.COM: Well, yes, I mean, part of the issue here is that, you know, there`s always -- and then you were hearing this from "Espn", you were hearing this from "Fox", there`s a confusion about who actually watches football.

You know, Colin Kaepernick had the number one selling jersey in the country last year, and that wasn`t just because a bunch of liberals bought it.

People who watch the NFL are all over the political spectrum. So there`s assumption that you can just dog-whistle and say all this racist stuff and the base of the NFL will rally around you completely ignores the actual diversity of the people who watch the show.

But I think, Lawrence, and you mentioned this at the beginning and I think this is sort of a key thing.

To sort of quote, you know, Kanye West from 10-12 years ago, "Donald Trump doesn`t care about Puerto Rican people."

The fact that he could spend his whole weekend arguing about football and ignoring the fact that you got hundreds of thousands of American citizens who are without power and will be without power for months is a reflection of his despicable focus on only those racial and cultural things that lead to his anger and his base and not what actually matters to people in this country.

O`DONNELL: John, do you have a guess about when -- and I mean a guess about when Donald Trump discovered that Puerto Rico is part of the United States of America?

I mean, is that something you think he knew before running for president or before inauguration?

HEILEMANN: Your question supposes that he knows it now.


HEILEMANN: I mean, it`s not clear to me that --

O`DONNELL: I think he knows it now.

HEILEMANN: Probably --


HEILEMANN: I would -- you know, I don`t have a guess, I don`t have a speculation, but I mean his -- you know, there`s a -- there are so many instances in which he is learning things --


HEILEMANN: Basic, fundamental things that we see as revelations to him every day --


HEILEMANN: I do think that this thing about the NFL is really important point because what you see, Trump`s playbook now is if you were a football team that had the kind of playbook that Trump had, you would be -- you would lose every regular --


HEILEMANN: Season game because --


HEILEMANN: It`s so predictable now, right? --

O`DONNELL: Yes ---

HEILEMANN: When there`s going to be -- that there`s trouble on some other front, you go to the playbook, right? The playbook is launch a culture war.

John Podhoretz wrote this thing on Twitter over the weekend, "we are Pavlov -- Trump is Pavlov, we are the dogs."

He knows exactly what he`s going to get or at least he thinks he did. Again, in this instance though, when he`s misunderstood and this is an important thing is that a lot of what he`s playing to is generational.

It`s not just racial.

JOHNSON: Right --

HEILEMANN: There is a racial component --


HEILEMANN: But of course for sure, obviously --


HEILEMANN: Race baiting like crazy. But it`s old white men, right? Because the --


HEILEMANN: Truth is that a lot of these NFL fans who -- a lot of these NFL players and owners were now standing against Trump are just -- they`re just -- they`re white.

But they`re young whites who have a different set of attitudes than the kind of things appeal to when he talks about the violence.

When he talks about the inappropriateness of these athletes and what they`re doing. He`s talking to old white men, men like him who have a kind of crazy nostalgic view about what the country was like and what sports were like back when they were kids.

O`DONNELL: And Jason, you obviously have the surprise of one of the old white men Bob Kraft, Patriots owner, who`s been a real Trump devotee, actually turning against him to the extent that he was willing to say he was disappointed in what the president said.

But it strikes me that this is happening when it`s happening. That this particular weekend occurs when you have this crisis in Puerto Rico which is a matter of extreme presidential attention in which presidential attention can make all the difference.

And we also are in this -- astonishing, inching toward confrontation with North Korea because of the president of the United States rhetoric.

Also because of what North Korea is doing, but for the very first time the rhetoric of the president of the United States is part of what`s moving us there.

JOHNSON: And Lawrence, this speaks to what has always been one of the most damaging things about this president.

Because he`s president of the United States, we have to actually pay attention to what he says, but he has no focus and no real notion of priorities outside of those things that feed his own ego.

You`ve got Republicans trying to work on repealing health care. You have a potential war with North Korea.

You have a crisis for American citizens in Puerto Rico, and these are not things that are receiving the bulk of his time, the bulk of his attention and the bulk of what this government seems to be concerned with.

But I also say this, and I think this is really important to understand about what we saw on Sunday.

That was just a bunch of rich guys arguing with each other. Look, when Bob Kraft takes a knee or Jerry Jones takes a knee, they don`t care about police brutality.

Jerry Jones went and hired a guy -- you know, a hardee(ph) last year who was beating women to death. Most of these owners don`t care about any of these moral issues.

They were protesting because they didn`t like another rich guy telling them how to run their businesses.

So we`ve got to make sure that we also stay focused on the fact that the players who will be doing this all along, they were the ones speaking up for justice.

The people doing it now think a lot of them are just followers.

O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson gets the last word on this tonight, Jason, thank you very much for joining us.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, more than a 100 people were arrested today at a Senate Finance Committee hearing and I personally believe that in the history of the United States Senate Finance Committee, those are the very firsts arrests ever.

And Bill Moyers is here tonight to talk about President Trump and his reaction to protests -- first amendment protected protests.


O`DONNELL: Jimmy Kimmel has spoken out once again tonight on the taping of his show. We have just obtained some of that tape and we`re trying to turn it around for you, we will have it in a couple of minutes.

Even before Republican Senator Susan Collins announced her opposition to the Republican health care bill late this afternoon, President Trump sounded like he had already given up this morning when he said this.


TRUMP: McCain votes against and we have others, a couple of others that are going to vote, looks like Susan Collins and some others will vote against.

We`ve got -- as I told you, we have 52 votes and we can`t lose any votes, I mean, practically. So we`re going to lose two or three votes and that`s the end of that.


O`DONNELL: And that`s the end of that, he sounds ready to move on. Susan Collins is the third Republican senator to announce her opposition to the Republican health care bill.

Susan Collins joins John McCain and Rand Paul in opposing the Graham- Cassidy bill, meaning that as of tonight it does not have enough votes to pass the Senate.

Senator Collins announced her decision after the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary report today, stating that millions would lose health insurance as a result of the Graham-Cassidy bill.

The CBO cannot give a specific number until it finishes its complete analysis of the bill which would take several weeks if it does complete it.

In its preliminary report, the CBO says "the number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high cost medical events would be reduced by millions."

And that is CBO`s official declaration that this legislation fails the Jimmy Kimmel test that any family in America would be able to get the high cost health care that Jimmy Kimmel`s son Billy needed when he was born this year with a health condition.

Susan Collins tonight said this.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I wanted to wait until the CBO analysis came out. And it found as I expected would be the case, that it would have a negative impact on millions of Americans who are now insured.

I have to do what I think is right. I have to do what I think is right for the people of Maine and the people of this country. And that is what has led me to my decision today.


O`DONNELL: Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, "thank you Senator Collins for putting people ahead of party, we are all in your debt."

And as I said, we`re going to have more from Jimmy Kimmel`s tape from his show tonight, we`re going to have that for you in a moment.

Senator Collins` statement came after hundreds of disability rights protesters went to Capitol Hill today and interrupted the Senate Finance Committee`s hearing on the Republican health care bill.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want a hearing --


If you want a hearing you better shut up.


OK, the committee is in recess, the committee will be in recess until we get order.



O`DONNELL: There has never been anything like that in the 201-year history in the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

In fact, that may be the only real protest that`s ever happened in that committee room. Here now is the Jimmy Kimmel -- some of the Jimmy Kimmel tape that will be on his program later tonight.


JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: This weekend, I was in three cities over the weekend and also at a charity event on Saturday night. I met so many people who came up to me, strangers, almost every one of them was a stranger -- wanting to tell me that the Affordable Care Act that our president and half our senators are so desperately trying to kill saved or drastically improved their lives, members of their families` lives and/or their children`s lives.

They came up to me, they said, "Mr. Fallon, thank you for speaking out.


And I just let it go because I talked to probably 200 people and I heard these stories over and over again.

I saw pictures of children who are not well, people got teared-up, quite a few of these people told me they`re Republicans, Republican people, not politicians, there`s a very big difference.


O`DONNELL: John Heilemann is still with us, and joining us now is Julie Rovner; chief Washington correspondent at "Kaiser Health News".

And Julie, I was actually at that Saturday charity event that Jimmy Kimmel mentioned with him. And it was astonishing to see the response he got there.

But I have to say, Julie, I wasn`t surprised because I have never seen someone outside the Senate affect a Senate debate the way Jimmy Kimmel did in a week.

JULIE ROVNER, KAISER HEALTH NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he really had an amazing impact. You know, and I think we`ve been hearing that a lot of the advocates are tired.

I mean, they`ve been doing this, this bill keeps coming back to life and everybody keeps saying, oh, you`ve got to go start calling and going again.

And I think this time, you know, people are starting to flag a little bit, they thought it was over in July.

And I think Jimmy Kimmel really did sort of shine a spotlight on it and kind of help rouse some of the people, you know, back up to realize that this is something that really could have happened.

O`DONNELL: And Julie, you spent the day trying to cover this Senate Finance Committee hearing. It was unlike any that the committee has ever had before with that protest.

But it was also unlike any because it`s a serious legislative committee and this was not as serious as John McCain would call it, "a regular order attempt to consider a real health care bill by that committee."

ROVNER: You know, I watched the hearings that the Senate Health Committee earlier this month where they were trying to put together a bipartisan proposal.

And many -- it was many of the same senators and yet those were serious -- they were serious discussions to get to a serious conclusion.

Today`s hearings were really about members of each party basically, you know, reiterating their talking points, there was not much accomplished.

So I think at the hearing nobody heard anything that they hadn`t heard 50 times before.

O`DONNELL: John, I can tell you that those members of the Senate Finance Committee who were -- who are planning to vote for this are running scared now.

They`ve never seen anything like that in that room and following the week of Jimmy Kimmel, I can`t say for sure how much that affected Orrin Hatch; the chairman of the committee and some of the other Republicans.

But what they witnessed in that room today was the most powerful message they`ve received on this.

HEILEMANN: There`s -- I can`t imagine that`s not true. As you say, it`s not only that there`s nobody arrested in the 200-year history of the committee.

But you usually don`t see that kind of thing at the Senate --

O`DONNELL: Right --

HEILEMANN: Finance committee. And although, they`re not all brilliant men and women, they`re not all --

O`DONNELL: You`re talking about the members of the Finance Committee?

HEILEMANN: I`m saying they`re not all --

O`DONNELL: Not all --

HEILEMANN: Not all --


HEILEMANN: But that is --

O`DONNELL: I`ll accept that.

HEILEMANN: But it is a savvy committee though --

O`DONNELL: It is --

HEILEMANN: And those -- and so I think even for the -- a lot of those Republican members who word if they had to would vote for this.

They have been reading the wind and weather on this --

O`DONNELL: Right --

HEILEMANN: For some of them per day. So most of them went into this hearing knowing this thing is dead before the hearing took place.

And then they walked out thinking, man, that`s really dead. So, look, you see what`s happening here, the whole thing is just unraveling at this point.

Not only you got these hard "nos" that we`ve seen, although I`m not sure Rand Paul is really a hard "no" --

O`DONNELL: Right --

HEILEMANN: Where he could probably be moved. But you got Ted Cruz out there, you got Mike Lee out there who are not on the side of the bill.

You still got Murkowski, you got a probably really 10, 12 Republican senators who are really not fully for the bill, either hard "nos" or maybe "no", given everything else that`s wrong with this bill.

The substantive defects, the procedural defects and the deadline?

O`DONNELL: This --

HEILEMANN: Sayonara --

O`DONNELL: And as we`ve all seen, and Julie, you`ve seen them covering this over the years. There are two things that are absolutely necessary to pass a major health care bill in the Senate or in the Congress and that is enthusiasm and party discipline.


O`DONNELL: And you don`t have either one of those things, there`s no enthusiasm for this bill.

ROVNER: This has been, you know, sort of the dirty little secret of this entire process, which is that the Republicans are just as divided over health care as the Democrats are --


ROVNER: In fact, in some ways, the Republicans are more divided over healthcare than the Democrats are.

And what the sponsor of this bill doesn`t have to discover is that every time they try to move it sort of more moderate to pick up the Collins and the Murkowskis than they irritate the Rand Pauls and the Ted Cruzs, and if they move it back that way, they can`t get the moderates.

It`s very hard to get -- you know, 50 votes for something even if you`re only having 50 in the Senate when you only have 52 Republicans.

O`DONNELL: And John, the president -- we heard him this morning on a radio show --


O`DONNELL: You know, as in that walk away mode that he has --


O`DONNELL: As he did the very first time when it went down in the House the first time, he just said, that`s it, forget it.

HEILEMANN: Yes, and then he came back.

O`DONNELL: And then he came back --


O`DONNELL: And he`s back in the walk-away mode it sounds.

HEILEMANN: Well at least for now. And you know maybe tomorrow he`ll see some political upside of beading up on Republicans who he considers are feckless and ridiculous for not being able to pass something as he said I thought I would get to the Whitehouse and take the Oval Office and a bill on the desk the first day.

Have you not been paying attention to the healthcare debate through your entire adult life? Anybody who thought that was just completely out to lunch. So he may find it in the best interest at some point shortly to start agitating again for a health care bill and beat up on Republicans. But I can`t believe at this point that in his heart of heart he doesn`t know that the -- whatever the politics of this now are is not about passing a bill anymore. It`s going to be about trying to gain political benefit by who to blame, who to beat up, who to kick while they`re down.

O`DONNELL: Julie, does Mitch McConnell have to prove that he`s really trying even if it`s a losing vote?

JULIE ROVNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s what I`m trying to figure out. He certainly doesn`t have to and what he said pulling the bill in July is that if someone were to come to him with 50 votes he would bring the bill back up. They clearly don`t have 50 votes. Senator Graham said he hopes they have vote anyway.

It`s complicated to have to do with budget reconciliation. I think they`re going to vote a Rama. I don`t think he could pull it after one vote so I think we`ll know more tomorrow about what Senator McConnell wants to do.

O`DONNELL: In a normal universe he would never bring a bill to a vote that was going to lose but this is not a normal universe. And if he doesn`t bring it to a vote then the bill dies in his hands and he`s trying to get that thing out of his hands and have it die in the Senate floor. John Heilemann, JULIE ROVNER, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

HEILEMANN: Thank you Lawrence.

ROVNER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the President was, of course, busy Tweeting about football players and knees this weekend while Puerto Rico was struggling through an astonishing disaster. The likes of which the island has not seen and what should have been happening inside the Whitehouse. Bill Moyers who worked in Lyndon Johnson`s Whitehouse will join us next and tell us.


O`DONNELL: In 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico City, this happened. Tommy Smith, the first place winner in the men`s 200 meter race with third place winner John Carlos raised their fists in what had become the symbol of the black power movement and the President of the United States Lyndon Johnson said nothing. That came after Mohammed Ali`s 1966 defiance of the draft which got him convicted of a federal crime and the President of the united states Lyndon Johnson said nothing.

And in 1971 when Ali won the case on appeal, the President of the United States Richard Nixon said nothing. In 1972, after his major league playing days were over, baseball`s first black player Jackie Robinson said in his autobiography, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world. Bill Moyers is a Peabody award winning journalist, served as the White House Press Secretary in the Johnson Administration from 1965 to 1967 and we have the honor of bill joining us now.


O`DONNELL: Bill, thank you very much. Thank you for being here and so take us back to this -- you were in the Whitehouse when Mohammed Ali defied the draft. Vietnam was the biggest issue in the country at the time in terms of the tensions of the country which was just almost coming out of but not quite coming out of the tensions in the civil rights movement and still very active.

MOYERS: He was -- he was -- let`s say protocol conscious in terms of attacking dissenters, publicly or people who disagreed with him. Privately he often said very harsh things about them, particularly as the war in Vietnam escalated and as it then became a quagmire.


MOYERS: He felt they were communists on the left. He said privately, I don`t know if he thought it and would say privately on telephone tapes, communists stirring up trouble. They don`t want us to win in Vietnam and rarely did the public who hostility -- did the hostility become publicly. The Vietnam series quoted as being very harsh about protesters outside of the White House and draft dodgers. And that was one of the rare times that he said in it a way that more than a few people in the room could hear it.

O`DONNELL: And this is a President who had two son-in-laws, sons-in-law serving in Vietnam.

MOYERS: I think the presence there is what finally triggered his deep resignation to the fact that he had to get out.

O`DONNELL: yeah, yeah. That actual part of his move which was really executed in 1968 where he really started moving Johnson started moving toward trying to get peace talks was a matter of what he was hearing from his sons-in-law?

MOYERS: I don`t know if it was what he was hearing but I wasn`t there in `68. I left in `65. He and Lucy, his youngest daughter after the boys went to Vietnam they would go to midnight mass in the local Catholic Church. She was a catholic and they would feel and sense the danger. When that danger is that close, affects any President to lose young men in war and when it`s your own as it was Roosevelt and the war is made very personal.

O`DONNELL: And we have no record of anyone in the Trump family ever serving in one of our wars. And this is a president who talks about that the soldiers have given their lives for the flag. These soldiers -- it is for our fallen soldiers that we are standing and behaving as we do in the national anthem.

MOYERS: Some Presidents feel more deeply than others do and some people -- some Presidents build a guard between them and the consequences of their decisions. Johnson tried that but he could not do it. He did not like war.

He did not like going to war but after he went to war he pursued it with a passion. And -- but he never was unconscious of the fact that people were suffering. I don`t say that out of loyalty to him. I just saw him. I just knew it was wearing on his spirit that he was doing what he didn`t want to do and did it anyway, fighting this war and with young men whom he drafted.

We drafted about 2.2 million, maybe 2.5 million young men in that period. And only 25 percent of them wound up in combat but he was aware as he said when he escalated the war in July of 1965, he was kind of spoke to mothers about the need for their sacrifice. It was that kind of rationalization that tore at him.

O`DONNELL: And when you see this President who managed to get himself a doctor`s note to keep himself out of the draft, talking about lecturing as he was this weekend about what the national anthem is supposed to mean to everyone else, and doing so as you say without any concern that President Johnson and predecessors had about measuring their words.

MOYERS: Well, this -- this is an alien in the Whitehouse. We have never had this kind of President. We have had bad presidents. We have had vulgar men in the presidency. But we`ve never had someone who suffers from the kind of malignant -- all politicians narcissistic. But some of the malignancy of politicians, the presidents do not spread down into the country and the culture.

This one is happening very fast. It`s almost a campaign to chill free speech. There`s an opt to use it to divide and polarize the country. He`s turned the Oval Office I`m sorry to say into a mush pit of bodily and verbal rhetorical conflict. He is a very angry man and all the weekend he was angry at -- in Alabama and Hillary Clinton again. He was angry at the football players. He was angry at North Korea and his anger`s getting the best of him.

O`DONNELL: Just quickly before we go. Lyndon Johnson or any previous president, I imagine the reaction of this President of the United States just call this dangerous dictator in North Korea Rocket Man.

MOYERS: That`s far more dangerous than when`s happening with the NFL. He`s brought the NFL to its knees effectively in reverence toward the ideals he`s betrayed but the issue of Korea is the deadliest issued we faced in a long time.

O`DONNELL: Bill Moyers, thank you for joining us. It`s a real honor to have you. Thank you Bill.

Coming up, North Korea reacts to President Trump`s Twitter threats and name calling.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. By the way, Rocket Man should have been handled a long time ago.


O`DONNELL: This week, President Trump Tweeted just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N.. If he echoes thoughts of little Rocket Man they won`t be around much longer. Today, North Korea`s Foreign Minister said that Tweet was a declaration of war and said that North Korea has every right to make counter measures. Including, shooting down American Military Planes if they are outside of North Korea`s Air Space. Here`s how the Whitehouse responded.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE PRESS SECRETARY: We have not declared war on North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd. It`s never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country`s aircraft when it is over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


O`DONNELL: But president trump sounds tired of peace.


TRUMP: Other people like to say, oh, we want peace. They have been saying for now 25 years, oh, we want peace. We want peace. And then he goes just and keeps going, going, going. There`s the President of the United States making it clear he doesn`t understand why for 25 years people have been saying we want peace with North Korea. David Frum joins us next on the North Korea crisis.



TRUMP: Little Rocket Man, we`re going to do it because we really have no choice. We really have no choice.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Frum, Senior Editor for the Atlantic. and David, for the President of the United States in a confrontation, crisis, whatever we want to call this with North Korea, to stay we have no choice.


O`DONNELL: Is just the most inconceivable choice of Presidential language prior to now, of course.

FRUM: I was involved with President Bush`s axis of evil speech a long time ago now. One of the things, people say a lot of things about the speech. One of the things I invite people to go back and read it and you`ll see no threats. The idea of provocatively reaching out and making a threat to somebody, a vague threat, a nonspecific threat, a threat not connected with anything the other party can do to mitigate the threat, a threat, by the way, that is empty, we`re not going do anything to honor it, that is a dangerous thing.

O`DONNELL: And I`m so glad you mentioned the axis of evil speech, David, because that would be if we were looking at our presidential history the previous kind of strongest comment by the president directly about North Korea then of course this president goes to the U.N. Says we`re going to totally destroy North Korea, goes to the U.N. and calls him rocket man which then provoked North Korea at the U.N. to respond to the totally destroying and to say that they will visit things upon Donald Trump that he can`t imagine. And actually use the Trump phrase of suicide mission. Foreign minister said at the U.N. On Saturday, none other than Trump, himself, is on a suicide mission. So they`ve -- they`re now using trump`s language which sounds like North Korean language.

FRUM: Well, the axis of evil speech was delivered in 2002, four years before North Korea became a nuclear power and marker of the United States` unsuccessful attempt to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear power. Once they`re a nuclear weapon state, different things are in order. The later part of the bush administration had to deal diplomatically with North Korea because they were a nuclear weapon state. The Obama Administration followed a policy of sanctions and isolation that is more or less the same policy that Donald Trump is carrying out now, but he`s doing it -- this -- the Obama policy, but with his new provocative rhetoric that leads people to think there`s something there. It`s strong talk, but it`s the same action.

O`DONNELL: and David, the most recent lock her up rhetoric at a Trump rally was actually Friday in Alabama. And now we know, as we hit here tonight, that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, all using private e-mail while working in the Whitehouse.

FRUM: You know, if you`ve campaigned against your opponent accusing your opponent of being mean to animals, you`re going to make sure to the white house staff, look, everybody here, nobody be photographed being mean to animals because that was our central message. But in the political story that we`re all reading tonight, note that when this advice was given to the white house staff, they literally laughed.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and so this is also a test, isn`t it, of a Trump voter, and how serious the trump voter was about the need to lock someone up for using private e-mail.

FRUM: look, there are some differences, I mean, Hillary Clinton used a private e-mail exclusively and that`s a different thing, but it`s not so different that you get then a lifetime pass to do some of the behaviors you condemned as, you know, not inappropriate or not insecure, but actually felonious. I mean the knock on what Hillary Clinton was doing was she was probably trying to defeat Foya requests and she was exposing her communications, important public communications, to some risk. That was turned into a felony, a criminal event. And the trump people repeat it. I mean, it invites all of us to marvel at their cynicism and to think, you know, this last election, not sure it was entirely on the level.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. To put it mildly. DAVID FRUM, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

FRUM: Thank You.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have more of what Jimmy Kimmel has to say tonight. We`re going to show you that next.


O`DONNELL: Here`s more of what Jimmy Kimmel has to say on his show tonight.


JIMMY KIMMEL, TELEVISION HOST: All day today, the Senate Finance Committee was holding hearing -- had a hearing on this bill. There were protests in the hallways. There were heated exchanges, the whole thing. At the end o the day just about an hour and a half ago, one of the two key Republican holdouts, Susan Collins, a senator from Maine said she would not support Graham/Cassidy which means this bill is almost certainly dead or at the very least, it`s on life support which isn`t covered. So, we will -- that`s great news. Thank you, Senator Collins.


O`DONNELL: And once again, Jimmy Kimmel gets tonight`s last word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.


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