Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 27, 2017 Guest: Glenn Flush, David Jolly, Colin Allred, Jason Johnson, Michael Isikoff
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll 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, I have a feeling that Bob Mueller could find him there. I think it`s -- might not work out for the perfect hideout.
MADDOW: I mean, if you are trying to avoid arraignment, northern Iraq wouldn`t be the worst place in the world to hide out, but, you know, maybe the Kurds will hook him -- I don`t know -- I don`t know -- I don`t know.
O`DONNELL: Well, certainly, if you wanted a little more time --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: To think about how cooperative you might want to be with the special prosecutor, this could definitely buy him some of that time.
MADDOW: I like the fact that he is in the middle of -- he is in the middle of this gigantic counter intelligence investigation about a foreign power undermining the United States.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
MADDOW: And he manages to squeeze in one more consulting gig to get paid to work against the interests of the United States before he gets indicted.
O`DONNELL: He is supposed to be doing the kinds of things that you look at and you say, well, a man who would do that would never do that other thing.
MADDOW: Would never do anything to hurt his country.
O`DONNELL: Instead, he is doing a thing like exactly like what he`s suspected of maybe having done.
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: That`s the way it is. Thank you Rachel --
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, fresh off his humiliating and total defeat in trying to convince the Senate to pass any form of repeal of Obamacare, President Trump began his big push today in his next legislative crusade and he proved once again why he is the worst possible partner in crime for congressional Republicans.
And of course, I mean the phrase partner in crime simply as a figure of speech. Donald Trump confessed to the crime in the first words that he spoke today about the Republican tax crusade.
The only reason the Democrats can hope that the Republican tax crusade might fail is because Donald Trump is president.
If any other Republican had been elected president, the Republican Congress already would have passed a tax cut for that Republican president to sign.
As they did for George W. Bush on June 7th, there`s the last Republican president signing a tax cut into law on June 7th of his first year in office.
On June 7th of this year, the president was in Cincinnati having one of those raucous Trump rallies promising to repeal and replace Obamacare any minute now and unveiling the Trump infrastructure plan.
Remember that? The Trump infrastructure plan which has gone absolutely nowhere since that day because it is the Trump infrastructure plan.
And Trump plans go nowhere in Congress. There are a few reasons why Donald Trump has failed to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The most important is that the country doesn`t want him to do it. The polling is overwhelmingly against it, it is a very bad policy idea.
But it was made all the more impossible by Donald Trump`s total ignorance of health care policy and inability to stay on message.
Every version of the Republican health care bill was another attempt to take health care coverage away from tens of millions of people, every Republican in Congress knew that.
Every Republican knew that Democrats would say that the Republicans were being mean for voting for such a bill.
But when the House Republicans voted to pass a version of the bill, they actually got it passed, none of them knew that Donald Trump was going to call them mean which he did.
Not long after they voted for that bill, he called them mean for voting for it. With a legislative team leader like that, who needs opponents?
During the presidential campaign, candidate Trump constantly promised to provide health care coverage for everyone.
Total and complete universal coverage every person in America and it would be better, everyone would have better health care coverage, thanks to President Trump.
And every time he said that, every congressional Republican knew that that was a lie. They all knew that repealing and replacing Obamacare would mean the opposite.
It would mean taking health care coverage away from tens of millions of people. And so Donald Trump made a very difficult legislative crusade impossible.
And so, it is now with zero confidence in Donald Trump`s ability to lead the legislative crusade that the Republicans today began doing what they love to do, the thing they know how to do -- cut taxes.
But if you listen to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, they are not proposing a tax cut. They are proposing something much more high-minded.
Not a tax cut, not a giveaway to the rich, they`re proposing tax reform. They are following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan who led the Congress on what turned out to be successful tax reform in 1986.
In which income tax rates were lowered but many deductions were eliminated so that the government took in about the same amount of revenue.
It was a genuine attempt to make the tax code less complex and more fair. President Trump`s speechwriters gave him a speech today that stuck to the tax reform ideal in the talking points -- a tax reform ideal that echoes Ronald Reagan.
And that the talking points that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell stick with, with discipline because they do not want to get caught proposing a massive tax cut for the rich.
But the problem you have when you send Donald Trump out on stage is what is he going to say that`s not in the teleprompter?
And in the very first words he spoke before reading that teleprompter, Donald Trump went way off message and he gave away the game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. You just want massive tax cuts, that`s what you want. That`s the only reason you`re going so wild.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And he`s right, massive tax cuts. That`s what he`s proposing. Massive tax cuts. That`s what this is about, not tax reform.
And the massive tax cuts are going to the people with the massive incomes and the massive wealth. And that`s not what the speechwriters put in Donald Trump`s teleprompter.
Here is what they wanted him to say -- apparently, we don`t have that part of it. Let me see if I have it on tape here and I can read it to you.
What they wanted him to say was, "our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low and middle income households, not the wealthy and well-connected.
They can call me all they want, it`s not going to help, I`m doing the right thing, and this is the important part, and it`s not good for me, believe me."
Do not believe him. There are massive gifts to Donald Trump and his family in the massive tax cuts that Trump and the Republicans are proposing.
They would eliminate the inheritance tax so that Ivanka Trump and her brothers would not have to suffer one penny of taxation when their father`s estate passes to them.
Trump and the Republicans are proposing a massive tax cut for the very wealthy by cutting the tax rate that is most important to them -- the capital gains tax rate.
Because we`re not allowed to see Donald Trump`s tax returns, we can`t give you exact numbers on just how giant a tax gift this is to Donald Trump himself.
Donald Trump is the first president in history who when unveiling a tax proposal has said, it`s not good for me, believe me.
And he is also the first president in history who we have reason to believe is pushing a tax cut specifically because it is good for him.
It is great for him. No president before Donald Trump was ever vulnerable to the accusation that he was trying to cut taxes for his own personal benefit.
When we watched President Reagan and President Clinton and President Bush and President Obama pushing tax legislation, we`d already looked at their personal income tax returns which they made public.
Donald Trump is never going to voluntarily let us see his tax returns and so whenever he tries that line about this tax cut not being good for him, he will always have to follow it with that catchphrase of his, "believe me".
But he will never, ever give anyone a reason to believe him about taxes. Joining us now, Bruce Bartlett; an economist who was a former deputy assistant secretary at the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush.
Also with us, David Cay Johnson; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who founded D.C.Report.Org; a nonprofit news organization that covers the Trump administration.
David is a former tax reporter for the "New York Times". And Bruce, we want to start with you because you were there at the revolution, at the tax revolution that began in Republican governance during the Reagan administration where there came the notion that the tax reform as done by President Reagan and the Congress would actually improve things for everyone by achieving some simplification.
But not losing any revenue to the Treasury and in order to do that, of course, you had to clear out some of the deductions that were losing revenue. What is your reading of what you see in this Republican tax plan today?
BRUCE BARTLETT, ECONOMIST: Well, first of all, keep in mind that the Reagan effort in 1986 was a very serious and long-term effort.
They didn`t just send out, you know, brief documents of talking points. There was a three-volume Treasury Department study that was very detailed in its recommendations and then the White House itself sent a large document of several hundred pages to the Capitol Hill with very specific recommendations of what to do and how to do it and why to do it.
And Capitol -- when it got to Capitol Hill, it was a totally bipartisan process. Democrat Dan Rostenkowski who chaired the House Ways and Means Committee was deeply involved in the legislative process.
Many days of hearings were held and Senator Bob Packwood; the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was equally involved and the president himself was very involved.
And believe me, Ronald Reagan could rattle off fine details about his tax legislation. I seriously doubt that Donald Trump has the faintest idea what is in the package that he just proposed today.
O`DONNELL: Bruce, you recently said that everything Republicans now say about taxation is wrong. What happened?
BARTLETT: Well, I think that they took a good idea of lowering marginal tax rates and doing tax reform and they simply got carried away.
They started making exaggerated arguments, saying these tax cuts will pay for themselves with no loss of revenue.
And that`s just hogwash. That`s just a lie. And anybody who says it is a liar. And I think that -- and the people who say it know that they`re lying.
There`s not a single serious study -- there`s no serious studies of anything by this administration or anybody on the right these days that would back up in the slightest possible way the talking points that they just continually throw out there as just propaganda.
O`DONNELL: David, the polling on this is looking strikingly similar to the polling on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Nbc-"Wall Street Journal" polls says how should we tax corporations? Fifty five percent want increased taxation on the corporations.
Decrease them which is the Republican and Trump position is, supported by 16 percent and then keeping them about the same is 25 percent proposition.
And so this begins as an unpopular legislative crusade based on what`s actually in this.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST: Well, when people realize what`s happening to their individual tax rates, they`re really going to go crazy.
Instead of 10 percent and then 15 percent, it`s going to be 12 percent and then more than double to 25 percent -- I`m sorry, this is a middle class tax cut?
Now, they didn`t give us any numbers on where these would apply, but they keep saying $24,000 of income for a married couple, you won`t pay any tax on it.
Well, currently, you don`t pay any on 19,000, so that`s not much of a shift. This is, Lawrence, absolutely a massive give-away program for Donald Trump and had it been in effect the year that I got his tax return for, 2005, it would be an 85 percent reduction in Donald Trump`s taxes.
O`DONNELL: And Bruce, the last time Republicans did this kind of massive tax cutting, President George W. Bush actually took the bottom tax bracket down, the bottom bracket was 15 percent and he took it down to 10 percent which was politically a brilliant stroke because it helped what they call the distribution chart who benefits by how much over the income ranges.
To see the bottom tax bracket actually increase is really a stunning tone deaf note that`s in this plan.
BARTLETT: Well, almost everything this administration does is politically tone deaf. The problem they have is that they want to massively cut the corporate tax rate and there isn`t enough -- there aren`t enough tax loopholes on the corporate side that just pay for it honestly by getting rid of those loopholes.
They have to find some additional revenue and so they`re squeezing the individual side which is actually the opposite of the Tax Reform Act of `86 which raised taxes on corporations and used that revenue to cut taxes for individuals.
O`DONNELL: And John McCain said the magic words today about this tax plan, he said, "we need to do in it a bipartisan fashion."
And David, if they do that, the way Bruce was saying they did it in 1986 with Bill Bradley on the Democratic side in the Senate and many other players, Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate, then you`re not going do get a plan that looks anything like what the president was talking about today.
JOHNSTON: Oh not at all. This is -- this plan is welfare for billionaires. No estate tax as you pointed out earlier, eliminating the AMT which is probably generally a good thing to do but you have to do it in context.
But lowering the top rate to 35 percent and then this provision that if you incorporate yourself, you`re going to pay no more than 20 percent.
This is entirely designed exactly as Donald Trump said today, massive tax cuts for the people who were applauding him and this is not going to go anywhere.
It doesn`t have the intellectual firepower behind it, you know, they say it`s a nine-page memo. You know, if a student of mine gave me that, I would say no, that`s four pages, go back and fulfill your assignment.
And you need hundreds of pages of serious intellectual firepower if you`re going to fix our tax system which we need to do, Lawrence.
We very much need to fix our tax system. This isn`t fixing it and Donald doesn`t have a clue about what it means.
O`DONNELL: Bruce, quickly before we go, Lindsey Graham said today that what`s at stake in this is simply the future of the party in Congress.
He believes if they do not pass this, they will lose their majority. What`s your reaction to that?
BARTLETT: He may be right about that. There`s a deep frustration in the Republican Party that we saw yesterday in Alabama where Trump`s candidate was defeated where the activists are upset that they didn`t get all the stuff that Trump promised them that they were going to get on day one.
And so, I think if they continue to fail in their efforts, people -- there`s simply not going to see any point in keeping them around.
O`DONNELL: THE LAST WORD tax experts Bruce Bartlett and David Cay Johnston, thank you both for joining us on this important night, really appreciate you being here.
BARTLETT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Up next, how Donald Trump is handling what he called -- these are his words, a total embarrassment.
O`DONNELL: When the House of Representatives failed to pass a health care bill in March, President Trump publicly surrendered, he just gave up, he quit, he did not yet know that you never have to publicly admit defeat with legislation.
You can always pretend that you`ll try again. Here`s what the president said in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We couldn`t quite get there. We`re just a very small number of votes short. In terms of getting our bill passed, I think what will happen is Obamacare unfortunately will explode.
We`ll probably be going right now for tax reform. Oh, I think we have to let Obamacare go its way for a little while and we`ll see how things go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He gave up. And here is what the president who has absolutely no chance of ever passing a health care bill said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just wanted to say, though, on health care, we have the votes for health care. We have one senator that`s in the hospital.
He can`t vote because he`s in the hospital. He can`t vote because he`s in the hospital. We have two other votes that are coming and we will have them.
But the problem is we can`t have them by Friday because of reconciliation ends on Friday. So we`ll have to do it in January or February.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Republicans in the Senate don`t have the votes for repealing Obamacare now, it is over, it is not going to get better.
And nothing the president said today can change that. One report indicates that after the Trump-backed candidate lost the Alabama Senate race last night, the president was embarrassed and angry according to a person familiar with his mindset.
Donald Trump has deleted three of his tweets urging Alabama voters to support his losing candidate, Luther Strange including the tweet claiming Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement.
Donald Trump predicted last week what would happen if Luther Strange lost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ll be honest. I might have made a mistake. 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. It is a terrible moment for Trump. This is total embarrassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And here`s how the president handled his total embarrassment today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, we have a man who is going to be a great senator and I`m very happy with that. I spoke to him last night, I never met him, I never spoke to him, I`m very happy with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Glenn Thrush; White House correspondent for the "New York Times" and an Msnbc contributor.
Also joining us, former Republican Congressman David Jolly from Florida. David, I want to get your reading on the president pretending that there`s a future for this in the Senate now that he`s supporting a new Alabama Senate candidate --
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Sure --
O`DONNELL: Who is opposed to it.
JOLLY: Lawrence, he doesn`t have the votes and that was a lie today.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
JOLLY: Outright lie. The president has been redefining two major losses in the last 24 hours. One on health care, he`s suggesting now it`s a matter of the calendar, and that`s all.
And in Alabama, he is clearly stepping back from his endorsement of Luther Strange, and I think he was led to perhaps by the establishment and made a decision against his own political compass.
But you hit on something else interesting, just now Lawrence. Which was comments that comments in March after the house pulled their healthcare bill.
One of the things that Donald Trump said in March is they were just going to let healthcare fail and Democrats were going to come groveling to him --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
JOLLY: To say, let`s work together. What did he do today walking towards Marine One? He said, I`m going to have to work with Democrats.
He had his tail between his legs, he was the one groveling, saying now he has to reach out to Democrats.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and Glenn, I want to get your reading of the Trump reaction in the White House meaning the president`s personal reaction to Luther Strange losing.
But first, I want to read this comment from Congressman Thomas Massie, Republican who was elected with tea party support.
And he said this to the "Washington Examiner" about Republican voters in explaining what happened in Alabama. He said, "after some soul searching, I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron Paul and me in these primaries, they weren`t voting for libertarian ideas, they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race, and Donald Trump won best in class."
And Glenn, so that`s what they seem to have been voting for in Alabama and nothing Donald Trump said could get them to go in any other direction.
GLENN THRUSH, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you totally ambushed me with the best quote of the year there, Lawrence --
O`DONNELL: I am so sorry, we should have given you this ahead of time.
THRUSH: Well, that is awesome. And I started my career covering Alabama politics and I can verify --
THRUSH: From first person experience it is absolutely true. Look, and it really is true. I mean, this is a really angry electorate.
And they hopscotch from issue to issue, you know? Weren`t we told -- correct me if I`m wrong, five, six, seven years ago that the sole focus of this particular electorate was deficit reduction, remember that one?
And didn`t we today just essentially unveil a tax reform or tax-cut proposal and you`re totally dead on by the way about the president just completely blowing the line right out of the box today.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
THRUSH: I mean, we`re talking about who -- we don`t even know what the estimate of how many trillions of dollars this will add ultimately to the deficit, right?
So we`re dealing with a visceral feeling and the way that he is able to redefine -- this really is -- I mean, apart from what the former congressman said about the veracity of the president`s statement, the chutzpah and the sort of political genius of declaring everything a victory even if it`s a loss, you know, I just wonder if I can wind up saying that my beloved New York Mets won the national league east this year.
O`DONNELL: You can in Trump world, apparently. And David, we`re also getting this report of Trump behavior and attitude inside the White House.
"Axios" saying in private, "President Trump has taken to physically mocking --
THRUSH: Sure --
O`DONNELL: Mitch McConnell and slumping his shoulders and mocking Senator John McCain, imitating a thumbs down --
THRUSH: Sure --
O`DONNELL: Of this historic healthcare vote. And David, we know this is not the way for a president to find his way to legislative success.
JOLLY: No, nor to build a majority on the votes he needs. Listen, you talked about Massie`s quote. Roy Moore is likely the next senator from Alabama, and he actually said in the past few weeks that he is not going to let trans-gendered soldiers into your bathroom.
That is the next United States senator from Alabama that Donald Trump is now supporting and the establishment is now behind.
I think what`s happened with Donald Trump, and listen, he ended up supporting Luther Strange in the middle of this weird detente with Mitch McConnell.
They were fighting, they weren`t, they were fighting, they weren`t. I think McConnell and the establishment, Corker and others convinced Trump to go in for Strange and he has never forgotten that, and now he`s lost.
What does Donald Trump have the hardest time doing? It`s losing. Now, you`re seeing him delete tweets saying he was ever associated with Luther Strange.
I don`t think he`s going to let this one go with Mitch McConnell. It was against his own moral compass, he is a Steve Bannon-type president.
Bannon knew Roy Moore was the Donald Trump candidate, the Donald Trump candidate won last night, and I think at the end of the day, Donald Trump is going to be happy with Roy Moore, unfortunately.
O`DONNELL: But what was the president or Mitch McConnell supposed to do with a sitting senator from Alabama who`s running for re-election or election since he was appointed?
He`s a vote on health care. What are they supposed to do? Campaign against him while he`s a vote on health care?
I don`t see the choice they had. Glenn, I want to go to the Puerto Rico situation, we have reports indicating that thanks to the president`s obsession with watching cable news and seeing how much criticism that he was getting on this program and elsewhere, that is what finally got him to want to at least get out there publicly and say something about it and plan a trip to Puerto Rico and try to -- and actually pay some attention finally to the issue.
THRUSH: Yes, look, he was getting hammered on this and, you know, you can argue that sort of the most proactive he`s been in terms of planning were for these disasters.
He really did seem to kick it into high gear with Texas and Florida and then took his eye off the ball somewhat with Puerto Rico.
And I can tell you from my reporting yesterday, he took a lot of his own people by surprise, by telling them that he was going to make this trip to Puerto Rico.
But even in the way that he has articulated this, Lawrence, he -- it was really one of the strangest interactions yesterday during that two and two with the president of -- I`m sorry, the prime minister of Spain in which he essentially talked less about the condition on the ground in Puerto Rico.
Less empathetic about what the horrible circumstances these folks are dealing with, and more about the praise he claims was lavished upon him by local officials for the competency of the response.
And you know, I think it just goes to show you how sensitive he is to that sort of criticism and how acutely aware he is, particularly when you`re dealing with a Spanish-speaking protectorate of the United States.
And I think he was told by people around him, particularly General Kelly, his new chief of staff that he needed to really step up on this.
And I guess the question really is, how significant will the follow-through be? You can already hear the president hedging his bets on this by saying that the infrastructure of Puerto Rico is already degraded, that they`re in a bad financial situation.
Again, it is not dissimilar to the way that he handled the Luther Strange situation. He builds in the potential for defeat by claiming it was someone else`s problem in the first place.
O`DONNELL: David, I want to get a quick response to you on this Jones Act issue. The president --
JOLLY: Sure --
O`DONNELL: The president was asked if he would issue a waiver on the Jones Act so that shippers who are not U.S. based could help deliver relief to Puerto Rico and he said that he`d heard from shipping companies who were opposed to it and so he wasn`t doing it and issue that kind of waver for Texas, for Hurricane Harvey, also for Florida, for Irma. He`s issued two of them in the n a row for two other hurricanes and won`t do it apparently for Puerto Rico. By the way worth noting the AFL-CIO opposed to the wavers because the sea farers union opposes allowing even in situations like this foreign flagged vessels to help out.
DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: listen, Lawrence. I`m a rare Republican supporting the Jones Act. It is a relatively protectionist measure and support a waver for national emergency and preservation of life which is right now. give the captain of the port full discretion and full flexibility to decide how to bring in ship-board aid, U.S. Ship or foreign flagged vessel. The President`s gaffe today is remarkable, it was almost a Brownie`s doing a great job moment when he said industry`s opposed. The people of Puerto Rico are begging for a waver for the Jones Act. At the end of the day, Donald Trump needs to get on the phone with governors tonight and mobilize national guard units to go to Puerto Rico to preserve life.
O`DONNELL: And members of the AFL-CIO should be asking about why they don`t support the waver. Glenn Flush, David Jolly thank you for joining us tonight.
JOLLY: Thank you Lawrence.
FLUSH: You got it.
O`DONNELL: Up next, the president could not help himself. he had to talk about football again today.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump famously failed at running a football business in the 1980s. You remember the United States Football League, right? Well, football business expert Donald Trump said this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: You cannot have people disrespecting our national anthem, our flag, our country and that`s what they`re doing and in my opinion the NFL has to change or you know what`s going to happen? Their business is going to go to hell. And most importantly, the fans agree with me. I mean largely, the fans agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Yeah, largely. The fans agree. A Reuters poll finds that most Americans, of course, do not agree with the President. 57 percent say the NFL should not fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Only 29 percent agree with the President. And joining us now, Colin Allred, a civil rights attorney and a former line backer who is currently running for Congress in Texas and also with us Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at the root.com and MSNBC Contributor and Colin Allred, you reaction to what the president had to say today and this week?
COLIN ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hey, Lawrence. Thanks for having me. You know there`s many left but I played with some of the guys who chosen to take a knee and they`re not S.O.B.S. they`re thoughtful guys, guys who have done a lot of good work in the community and I think whether we agree with their decision to kneel or not, we all should agree as Americans about their right to do that.
I don`t think we want the President of the United States going around picking what kind of speech is acceptable and not. And so, I`ve been appalled by the comments and i think it`s just a pattern of divisiveness of president trump.
O`DONNELL: The New York Times reports that the President`s advisers are not particularly happy about this and they then -- the Trump responded to his advisers by telling people that it was a huge hit with his base, making it clear that he did not mind alienating his critics if it meant solidifying his core support. And Jason, this is a politician who simply cannot do basic arithmetic. His core support is down in the 30 percent area somewhere, somewhere in the middle of the 30s at a maximum and working to hold on to them, doing anything to hold on to them. is a complete waste of his time.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s a waste of his time. It`s a waste of his time three years out from a re-election campaign. It`s a waste of his time when he should be negotiating in the Senate. But, Lawrence, here`s the other thing. it is an absolute repudiation of his two-year campaign where he claimed that he was an American President who would care about business. He is attacking the most popular sport in America and turning it into a dividing line at a time when it`s should be providing people with joy and money for vendors and everybody else like that.
If you look at the list of companies attacked, Macy`s, the New York Times, Amazon, Apple. All those things tend do better after he attacks them. So if he thinks he`ll rally the base, that`s fine and rallying people to watch football in defiance of him.
O`DONNELL: And, Colin, the American Sports Entertainment Complex and American Professional Sports has built giant TV networks in support of it, ESPN and others, that is a massive business, a massive industry in which no element of it can be sold off to another country. You can`t move those National Football League jobs to China as Donald Trump is so fond of telling people to be afraid of. Here is a domestic industry that is hugely popular and as Jason says there`s the President attacking it.
ALLRED: yeah. I think it is hugely popular and popular because it does have a potential to unite folks. We come together to watch sports. We enjoy having kind of a common comradely while we`re watching our sports.
And I actually think that Trump could learn a lot from football players because we believe in self discipline. We believe in team work. We believe in putting the team above yourself and I think that I actually is kind of an antithesis of football at the best and he could learn a lot from these guys.
O`DONNELL: I think ten days ago if you said how many people will be taking a knee at a NFL game and the coming weekend, it wouldn`t have been a big number. Here`s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote, it`s a shift in the sports and entertainment industry`s role in political resistance to the Trump Administration`s assault on American values and constitutional civil liberties. And, Jason, no one saw this shift, this moment that Kareem described so well there. Saw it coming. Donald Trump created this.
JOHNSON: Yeah. He created it and pushed people off the bench. if you told me that a rich, old, racist man change the league, I would have said we already had Donald Sterling. But no, Donald Trump has repeated the action and made it a national issue for everybody to be involved in. And here`s the thing. once people get involved in activism and they recognize the actual change that is they can make, yes, you`re going to have the racist attack Mike Calm and the Pittsburgh. That happens all the time anyway. But your average every day player whose like wait a minute, I took a knee, I stood for something and didn`t lose my job. I didn`t loose endorsements. It`s going to make them more active in the future. And that`s exactly what Donald Trump didn`t think was going to happen.
O`DONNELL: Colin Allred quickly before we go. Are voters talking to you about this in your campaign for Congress in Texas?
ALLRED: no. they`re really not, Lawrence. I mean I think people have so many other concerns right now. Especially down here in Texas with what we had happen in Houston with the hurricane coming through. People are worried about health care this week and worried of wage growth and education and not top of mind for most folks.
O`DONNELL: Colin Allred and Jason Johnson, thank you both for joining us tonight.
JOHNSON: thanks, Lawrence
ALLRED: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, a Republican Senator on the Intelligence Committee says Russian operatives are using the NFL controversy right now to stir up trouble and passions online.
O`DONNELL: The Senate Intelligence Committee staff and the House Intelligence Committee Staff will meet with representatives of Twitter in two separate closed door meetings tomorrow. Tonight the New York Times reports Twitter accounts with suspected ties to Russia are tweeting about the President`s feud with NFL players with hash tags such as boycott NFL, stand for our anthem and take a knee. The Times goes on to write there is evidence that Twitter may have been used even more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign last year. The platform was also used for large-scale automated messaging using bot accounts to spread false stories and promote news articles about e-mails from democratic operatives that had been obtained by Russian hackers.
Today multiple sources told NBC News the Senate Intelligence Committee invited senior officials from Facebook, Twitter and Google to publicly testify before the committee on November 1st. Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat, says he is looking forward to Facebook testifying in an open hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: I have concerns about how long it took Facebook to realize the Russians were advertising on their platform, as recently as July they didn`t think that was going on and most particular interest is the question of whether the targeting of these advertisements or the targeting of how they were pushing out negative news, organizing rallies somehow coordinated with the campaign. I`d like to see, frankly, us have the opportunity to display these ads for the public because you really need to see them. I`m convinced to recognize how cynical an effort by the Kremlin. As the Russians may do this again, exposing it to public light is the best way to combat it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Up next, what Mark Zuckerberg regrets saying about Russia`s use of Facebook during the election campaign.
O`DONNELL: Today the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said this statement. after the election I made a comment that I thought the idea of misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive, and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissed. Joining us now Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo News and Michael, it turns out it was not a crazy idea.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: No, it wasn`t. And it took him a long time to figure this out or at least to come clean on what happened it its network. But even today with all that they`ve acknowledged and has come out about the way about Russian trolls were using Facebook to influence American public opinion, we still haven`t seen the ads.
Why hasn`t Facebook disclosed the ads that were run on its platform? When I first pushed them on this a few weeks ago, when it first became clear that foreign money had been used to pay, to buy these ads, Facebook said, well, we can`t release them because we have our privacy policies, and we need to protect users accounts. These were fake user accounts.
O`DONNELL: Might all that become public through the congressional investigations? They`re meeting with them privately with a staffer.
ISIKOFF: Well, we`ll see. And why are they meeting with them privately? Why isn`t this public testimony? You know Schiff and Conway and the House said they will have a public hearing. But I think you just reported the Senate is going to meet behind closed doors with them tomorrow. And I don`t understand why that`s behind closed doors, why this isn`t public testimony. But that gets to the large question of why much of what`s been going on in the intelligence community has been behind closed doors instead of public.
O`DONNELL: What do Twitter and Facebook, what do they fear in terms of just opening the books?
ISIKOFF: They don`t want to go down a slippery slope of disclosing information to the government, to the public about their users and the way they do business. and one can understand that perspective, but when you have the kind of attack on our democratic system and the manipulation of these social media platforms, you know, by the people conducting that attack, I think, you know, some of the rules that they have tried to stand by can be -
O`DONNELL: But each of them, Twitter and Facebook, have rules about their users. And Twitter is prepared to kick you off if you say certain things on twitter. And Facebook says you must disclose who you are. They don`t want people to have fake accounts on Facebook.
ISIKOFF: But these were fake accounts. They were impostor accounts. They acknowledged that. So, you know, it is a bit head scratching why they`ve stuck to this refusal to publicly disclose. Now they say it`s the government`s obligation to do so.
And you know they`re all legitimate questions about why are the intelligence agencies or the FBI or the State Department or others weren`t onto this earlier. We have, what, a $7 billion intelligence budget, and yet nobody saw this coming? Nobody in the U.S. Government understood what the Russians were doing and the way they were using our social media platforms to influence American public opinion? You know, there are some hard and tough questions for the intelligence community.
O`DONNELL: Yeah, and here they are tonight. The New York Times reporting tonight that the Russians are out there trying to push the respect for the American National Anthem. They`re in the NFL fight saying boycott the NFL, respect the national anthem.
ISIKOFF: Yeah, and Vladimir Putin is standing up for the national anthem. you know, that`s a head scratcher right there.
O`DONNELL: Michael Isikoff thank you very much for joining us, really appreciate it. The last word is next.
O`DONNELL: And tonight`s last word goes to Stephen Colbert who had a few things to say about former Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Moore`s long history of homophobia, he once wrote in a custody decision homosexual behavior is grounds for divorce and act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama a crime against nature, an inherit evil and an act so heinous that it defies one`s own ability to describe it. If you`re doing it right. It would be crazy. And if all goes as planned he`ll be like what the hell just happened?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: STEPHEN COLBERT gets the tonight`s last word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams is next.
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