The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/6/17 AXIOS: Trump wants to replace Tillerson

Guests: Neera Tanden, E.J. Dionne, Daniel Dale, Maura Healey, Jill Wine-Banks, Kara Swisher, Kathleen Clark

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 6, 2017 Guest: Neera Tanden, E.J. Dionne, Daniel Dale, Maura Healey, Jill Wine- Banks, Kara Swisher, Kathleen Clark

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight. Thanks for being with us. We`ll see you again Monday. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD where Ari Melber is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Ari. I`m sorry I ate a little bit of your first minute.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Don`t worry, Rachel, but I do need to speak to you for just a minute.

MADDOW: OK.

MELBER: And since I know you a little bit, I know you might not like it. But I want to wish you congratulations --

MADDOW: Oh.

MELBER: -- for two Emmy Awards last night.

MADDOW: Thank you.

MELBER: I know you`re not big about victory laps on awards.

MADDOW: Yes.

MELBER: But I will add, you know, I went to school in Michigan. And I think the award on the Flint coverage, the reporting you did from here and from the ground, meant a lot to a lot of people out there. So congratulations on that.

MADDOW: Oh. Well, thank you for saying it. You -- it drives me crazy to have this conversation with you, but for Flint, especially, for that award, is -- you know, if it gets a little more attention back to Flint even now, it`s all we can do. Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Absolutely.

MADDOW: Sure.

MELBER: Congratulations. Have a good weekend, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks.

MELBER: Donald Trump has been ad libbing a warning that we are now in a calm before the storm, which may not mean anything, but it does come as Trump is in open war with his own Secretary of State, which means it may mean something.

In fact, it was just last Friday, you may recall, when Trump ousted his healthcare chief. Rex Tillerson did make it through this Friday evening, which wasn`t certain.

According to Axios reporting today, Trump was seething when he returned from his Las Vegas trip and then, quote, saw Tillerson`s gaffe dominating cable news coverage. Everywhere he flipped, there was Tillerson`s face instead of his.

The relationship is so toxic, few in the White House think it can be rebuilt. Trump is considering firing Tillerson and giving Mike Pompeo the job, which would leave a vacancy, of course, at the CIA.

But apparently, quote, Trump recognizes a cabinet shuffle would bring bad press. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wants stability, they write, and so is discouraging high-level departures before next year.

Today, in Puerto Rico, Vice President Mike Pence was asked by NBC News about his confidence in Tillerson. He said, quote, oh, sure, and then reported that phrase when pressed about his confidence in Tillerson.

So that`s the staff drama. Then, of course, there is the Trump drama. Today, reporters asking Trump about his bizarre reference to the calm before the storm, and he winked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what did you mean by calm before the storm?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday, what did you mean by that?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. We`ll answer the questions.

TRUMP: You`ll find out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What was that? I mean, we don`t know. And a lot of people asked the White House spokesperson who didn`t have an answer and instead, tried to flip the scrip and argue this is all part of Trump`s mysterious wait and see approach to foreign policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he referring to military action when he said calm before the storm?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As we have said many times before -- I know the President has, as I have from this podium, on quite a few occasions -- we`re never going to say in advance what the President`s going to do. And as he said last night, in addition to those comments, you`ll have to wait and see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, there could be a good chance that Trump didn`t actually mean anything by it. Maybe he was ad libbing or just trying to stir up drama. But when it comes at the very time that he is publicly undercutting his chief diplomat`s efforts to defuse this nuclear-related feud with North Korea, what do we do with the chance that Trump did mean something by it?

And then there`s the over-organizing question, the one that comes up a lot when you talk politics these days. Does any of this matter?

There is a cliche. I know I hear from people sometimes that, well, Trump supporters just stick with him no matter what. But a lot of cliches, they`re just not true.

Look at today`s new A.P. poll. Donald Trump, right now, after all this, hitting his lowest approval marks ever. Sixty-seven percent of Americans approve -- disapprove. Only 32 percent, I should say, approve.

And on a day when Trump issued a new rule limiting healthcare coverage for women, note, those numbers do have a major gender gap. His approval among women, even lower. A recent CNN poll puts it at just 27 percent, far lower than how he rates with men.

Joining me now is E.J. Dionne, opinion writer of "The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst and co-author of the new book, "One Nation after Trump." Neera Tanden, president at Center for American Progress and a former aide to Hillary Clinton. And Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star."

So much to get to. Neera, I give you open season both on the gender gap, and please speak, if you would, to this approach to foreign policy, these dramatic comments and the Tillerson feud.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You know, I actually think these two issues are related. I think they`re a lot of women who are fearful. Fearful about what the Trump administration is doing, fearful about what the Trump -- what Donald Trump himself is just rattling off at any given time on a weekend.

You could be out with your kids and you come back home, and all of a sudden, he seems to have threatened war with North Korea. He seems to be taking joy in the idea that we`d all be worried about him having with a war with somebody.

I think a lot of women look at this administration and say, it`s attacking the issues that they -- that we care about, but also that he`s completely unstable. And that is a national security threat. It`s an issue of security. And I think his comments yesterday only give rise to the idea that this is entirely dysfunctional in every way, shape and form.

MELBER: E.J., Neera is suggesting that there is a type of enjoyment in the way the President can keep everyone in the suspended animation, which is especially bizarre when you have the powers of the presidency because, by definition, everyone is in that suspended animation.

The fact that he feels the need to stir it up, as we saw, and not walk back the comments, what do you make of it?

E.J. DIONNE, JR., OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think you said it right earlier on when you were talking about Tillerson and the trouble he is in.

The President was upset with Tillerson because he wanted to save face from Tillerson calling him a moron, which Tillerson himself has not denied. And he worried about not seeing his face, Trump, on television instead of -- Tillerson was there instead.

And so what you are seeing, I think, in these poll numbers is a sense from Americans that this guy just doesn`t take this job seriously. He thinks about ratings. He thinks about how he looks.

He says stuff that could tank markets, you know, the calm before the storm. He says stuff that every other president of either party would never think of saying because the president is supposed to be the guardian of stability.

And so I think the country is very nervous. And I`m really glad you made that point at the beginning about the cliche that Trump`s people won`t leave him. Forty-six percent of people voted for him. He`s down to 32 percent. Americans are paying attention to all this.

MELBER: Americans are paying attention. They`re making assessments. Women are clearly out the door. A lot of other groups. I mean, we sometimes slice the groups in different ways.

And, Daniel Dale, I`ll show the Republicans number for you. Trump job approval among people who self-identify as Republicans -- and by the way, we all know he`s driven some people to stop self-identifying. But even among those who do, now, a third disapprove, Daniel.

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE TORONTO STAR: Yes. I think the country can be overly fixated on the continued existence of any base for Donald Trump. So people see that, you know, there`s a 30 percent that does stick with him.

MELBER: Right.

DALE: And they say, oh, my gosh, how could that be? But, you know, he has been overwhelmingly unpopular from the minute he took office, and he`s become more so.

So I think, in sort of puzzling anthropologically about, you know, who these people and why they think how they do, we can miss the forest here, which is that this is a historically unpopular president, and he is bleeding support slowly but surely.

MELBER: I want to point you, Neera, as a former Hillary aide to a "Politico" article about something that I think people forget. At least, you tell me if I`m wrong with something I have noticed in talking to folks who work in Washington and across administrations, is, on substance and on policy, not on the politics --

TANDEN: Yes.

MELBER: -- there`s a desire sometimes to try to be supportive of other people who are serving in the government, right? So you might not serve to -- choose to serve Donald Trump, but there`s a sort of a camaraderie around the service to the nation.

And I say that in teeing up what I`m going to read to you, which is John Kelly was named White House Chief of Staff in July. His predecessor in the job, Rahm Emanuel, who you know, called the office to wish him luck and offer himself as a resource.

Bill Daley, a former chief to President Obama, as well as other administrations, sent him a note with the same message. Kelly didn`t return either, Neera.

TANDEN: Look, I think this administration, at every moment, this White House, this administration, every element of it, has basically said that they`re the administration of what they think is half the country.

When Democrats have reached out, they`ve been rebuked. When Rahm Emanuel reaches out, he`s rebuked. When -- in every legislative attempt, they only want to use Republicans. They`ve never reached out.

They have the most right wing extreme positions on every issue. Today`s contraception ruling is just part of that, but it`s part and parcel of their tax plan and their healthcare plan and everything else, which is to govern for the hard right of this country.

And I`m so glad you`ve mentioned the fact that he has actually bled support from his base. He had a high watermark just after the election of 46 percent, 45/45 support, oppose. He`s now at 32 percent.

So Americans are waking up. A lot of American women are waking up. A lot of this non-college women who voted for him are moving away from him because I think they see his policies as against their interest.

MELBER: And to broaden that out, E.J., you know, Ta-Nehisi Coates was on earlier with my colleague, Chris Hayes. And Rachel`s show, tonight, was looking back at the year ago that was in October, leading up to the campaign.

Elections are scheduled. They`re scheduled in the constitution. But when they occur, it can also feel a bit like an accident.

When you look at the wrong track numbers today -- you mentioned if this election were held now or if we had a parliamentary system where you can have a snap election, which we don`t, but if you look at it now, 74 percent of Americans say we are on the wrong track.

I wonder, E.J., if -- you`re our -- you know, you`re our -- I want to say this without calling you old, but you are our most experienced commentator.

DIONNE: I`ve been around a while. It`s OK. I accept that.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: So I want to ask you, as we take a step back --

TANDEN: He`s a very young pundit.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: As we --

DIONNE: Bless you, Neera.

MELBER: As we take a step back on a Friday night and go just beyond the politics of it, what do you see when you see 74 percent one year in? Do you see a cultural assessment? Do you see a Watergate level assessment?

Or point us to how you look at something like this because we`re not usually at three quarters of the country, even higher, I should note, than the disapproval numbers, saying this whole country of America right now is on the wrong track.

DIONNE: Well, you know, I`ve been saying a lot over the last several months that when people compare Donald Trump to Richard Nixon, I actually think it`s unfair to Richard Nixon.

And the reason I say that is because Richard Nixon had some degree of seriousness about policy. He even signed bills -- to go to Neera`s point about working with Democrats, he signed a lot of bills that Democrats put on his desk, like to create the EPA.

With Donald Trump, there is nothing like that. There is no seriousness about the job or about policy. He`s gone on both sides of DACA within a few days. On some days, he wants to expand healthcare beyond ObamaCare. On other days, he doesn`t care as long as ObamaCare is repealed.

And so I think he is somebody who even -- it`s said that he has this solid base, but nobody out there really knows if he stands for anything. So he may be able to fall even lower than Richard Nixon did who, after all, had about -- I think it was 24 percent when he left office. And you wonder, given his inconsistency, if he will even hit that if he keeps going down.

MELBER: Well, E.J., didn`t Nixon also have a sense of shame?

(LAUGHTER)

DIONNE: He has some sense of shame. He had some -- he was introspective in a lot of ways, sometimes gloomily so. And you don`t sense a lot of introspection in Donald Trump.

MELBER: Daniel, go ahead.

DALE: Yes. You know, I don`t know what the low point is for Trump. We know that he`s done a whole lot and still has retained, you know, that core, but there`s a lot still to come.

I think what will be interesting to see is whether he can pivot to campaigning for Republican congressional candidates after he`s been savaging them, the guys he calls Mitch and Paul and their band there in the House and Senate.

You know, he has been mocking them, chiding them, publicly embarrassing them, and he`s going to have to depend on that group getting re-elected in order for him to achieve anything.

So can he succeed at doing both of those same things? You know, both of those things at once, raging at them while also helping them get elected by his voters. It really remains to be seen.

MELBER: Daniel Dale and E.J. Dionne, thank you both. I really appreciate it. Food for thought.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

MELBER: And, Neera, I`ll be speaking with you again.

Coming up. In a new interview, the head of Donald Trump`s digital campaign, breaking tonight, is talking about embeds from Facebook that he recruited on a partisan basis working in the Trump campaign. It`s turning some heads.

We`ll show you exactly what he said, but, first, Donald Trump getting sued again. This time, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is suing the Trump administration over those new rules rolling back contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: This weekend marks the anniversary of Donald Trump`s "Access Hollywood" tape leaking, which women`s groups commemorated by playing it on a loop at the National Mall today in Washington. And today is the day the Trump administration picked to issue this new rule limiting women`s healthcare.

The Attorney General of Massachusetts is already filing a suit against it, along with the ACLU, arguing the new Trump rule illegally limits women`s healthcare by enabling employers to back out of contraception requirements they would, otherwise, have under current federal law.

The Trump administration, offering a new broader religious exception. The rule is an attack on women`s health, says Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, adding, I`m suing today to defend these critical protections.

And the Attorney General joins us now.

Thank you for making time tonight. I`m going to speak with Neera Tanden in a moment, but, Attorney General, how do you win this case?

MAURA HEALEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS: Well, it`s great to be with you, Ari.

Today, what we see from the Trump administration is a direct attack, a direct assault, on women in this country, and under the guise of religious freedom, which already existed under the law. And the Supreme Court had already made that clear.

Nevertheless, Trump and the administration have sought to deny women access to affordable and reliable birth control. As a result, over 55 million women in America today are at risk. That`s just wrong.

We sued today in court to stop this rule from going forward because it`s unconstitutional. It violates the constitution in any number of ways, and it needs to be stopped.

MELBER: And, briefly, what are one or two of those ways?

HEALEY: Well, the first thing it does it`s a violation of the equal protection clause. You have a situation where the administration has offered a rule that discriminates against women. It only affects women. Therefore, it violates equal protection.

Ari, you`re a lawyer. You understand the establishment clause. Here we have a situation where it`s the boss getting to impose his religious beliefs on his workers, a woman and her family. That`s wrong.

MELBER: Let`s --

HEALEY: Women should be able to exercise the freedom to make the choice.

MELBER: Let`s pause on that because that`s such a great point. I want to get one more thought from you on that, then we`re going to bring in Neera.

The religious freedom part is something that appeals to people on paper. For the reasons you just mentioned, though, it makes no sense here because if you say, well, what do I get to do with my own healthcare or my prayer or my choice not to pray?

All of those go under religious freedom. But what it seems like here is, as you`re arguing, you can go to court and say, wait, we have employers or men deciding that religious freedom enables them to change their employees` behavior?

HEALEY: Yes, and that`s why this is unconstitutional and just so wrong. But are you surprised? Was I surprised today? No. It`s a shameful act, and women across America are rightly scared by today`s actions and the continued actions from this administration.

But here`s why we`re going to win. It`s -- you can`t do that. The basic principles say that we get to exercise religious freedom, of course, and the law and the Supreme Court recently set this clear in Hobby Lobby. There are already existing protections for religious freedom under the law that protect religious institutions and the like.

But that`s not what this is about. This is about a systematic effort to eviscerate and undermine, completely, women`s access to healthcare. And I`ll tell you why not only are they offering religious objection, Ari, as a reason, they offered a separate rule today that said the boss gets to, basically, lob a moral objection that would allow the boss to deny care to women or to other employees.

That`s just wrong, and that`s what`s really scary. The idea that somebody, an employer, could make a moral objection that would deny women access to needed healthcare really opens up, to a scary degree, any number of options. And again, it`s why I sought to file directly in court this afternoon and to seek an immediate order to stop this rule from going forward.

As I say, President Trump is, once again, showing to be at war with women in this country. He needs to be stopped, and we`re going to look to do it through the courts here through this action.

MELBER: And, Neera, go ahead.

TANDEN: I think the challenge here is that this isn`t the first thing the President has done, that Donald Trump has done, regarding women.

He has -- from the moment this administration started, he announced and has pushed forward a plan to defund Planned Parenthood. He`s rolled back rules on paid leave, rolled back protections around equal pay.

From beginning to end, this administration has been, it seems, at war with women. They`re really, fundamentally, attacking basic core protections.

Let me just say, this contraceptive rule has been incredibly impactful. It`s helped women, but it`s dropped the teen pregnancy rate in this country. We`ve had the biggest decline in teen pregnancy in decades. Why? Because of access to contraception.

Why people want to get rid of that is really just a reason, they just want to undermine women`s rights. And that`s what`s at stake here.

MELBER: So, I mean, that`s the law and the policy and some of the constitutional footing. Neera, I`m also going to ask you about the politics.

Senator Sherrod Brown suggesting today that this is not a winning path for Republicans if, in addition to the government and your medical office, they should add your boss. Healthcare decisions, he says, should be between you and your doctor, not the government and your boss, Neera.

TANDEN: Access to contraception is not a 50/50 issue or a 60/40 issue or a 70/30 issues. It`s an 80/20, 90/10. There is almost unanimity on this country in the country. But once again, Donald Trump is appeasing the most extreme elements of his base.

And you know, as you discussed earlier in the show, his support now is at 32 percent. The group he`s losing is women. Women of all stripes. And I think this is the reason why. They see that Donald Trump stands on one side, Jeff Sessions starts -- stands on one side, HHS stands on one side, and they stand on another.

MELBER: Attorney General, final thoughts on the road ahead? You obviously acted quickly. I wonder if you could share with our viewers how that works, how prepped and ready, how long ago did you start drafting this plan.

HEALEY: Well, you know, Ari, we have been contemplating this for a while because, unfortunately, this is a president who, time and time again, has sought to make good on any number of unconstitutional campaign promises. So we were ready to go today because we know how high the stakes are, how serious this is.

You`re talking about women`s access to preventative healthcare services that, as Neera says, are so effective and so important and so widely used by Democrats and Republicans alike. This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is about healthcare.

So look, we have sued the Trump administration before. We`ve been successful. We`re going to continue to make our case every day.

This is about the constitution. And once again, we have a president who doesn`t seem to think that the rule of law applies to him, doesn`t seem to think that his administration needs to abide by or respect basic constitutional principles. But as a state attorney general, that`s my job to make sure he does.

MELBER: Attorney General Maura Healey and Neera Tanden, thank you both.

TANDEN: Thank you.

HEALEY: Thank you. Good to be with you.

MELBER: Excellent. Have a good weekend.

Now coming up, we know investigators are looking into how Facebook was used in the election. The Trump campaign`s digital director, though, speaking out in remarks that are leaking tonight about how the campaign worked with, he says, embedded Facebook staff. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: New developments in the role of social media in the 2016 election today. Facebook announcing some Russian political ads also showed up on Instagram, making it the latest platform implicated. And reports finding Russia bought ads targeting about a dozen specific states.

And then tonight, "60 Minutes" is releasing this brand new clip from its forthcoming interview with the Trump campaign`s digital director, Brad Parscale.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD PARSCALE, FORMER DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR FOR DONALD TRUMP`S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: We took opportunities that, I think, the other side didn`t.

LESLEY STAHL, CBS NEWS HOST: Like what?

PARSCALE: Well, we had our -- their staff embedded inside our offices.

STAHL: What?

PARSCALE: Yes. Facebook employees would show up for work every day in our offices.

STAHL: Whoa, wait a minute. Facebook employees showed up at the Trump headquarters?

PARSCALE: Google employees and Twitter employees.

STAHL: They were embedded in your campaign?

PARSCALE: I mean, they were there multiple days a week. Three or four days a week, two days a week probably.

STAHL: What were they doing inside? You mean --

PARSCALE: Helping teach us how to use the platform. I want to get --

STAHL: Helping you get elected?

PARSCALE: I asked each one by e-mail, I want to know every single secret button, click, technology you have. I want to know everything you would tell Hillary`s campaign, plus some. And I want your people here to teach me how to use it.

STAHL: Inside?

PARSCALE: Yes. I want them sitting right next to us.

STAHL: How do you know they weren`t Trojan horses?

PARSCALE: Because I had asked them to be Republicans, and I would talk to them.

STAHL: Oh, you only wanted Republicans?

PARSCALE: I wanted people who supported Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Trump`s digital director bragging about this close coordination is, number one, at odds with President Trump`s recent tweets that Facebook was always, quote, anti-Trump.

And while it does echo a line that Parscale used when he announced that he would speak to the House Intel Committee about, quote, staff it provided to the Trump campaign, by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, it would certainly be odd if Facebook was part of screening its own full-time employees for their partisan loyalty before, quote, embedding them with the Trump campaign.

As a campaign claim, coming now amidst the Russia inquiry, this certainly raises as many questions as answers.

Joining me now is Ken Dilanian, the intelligence and national security reporter for NBC News, and Jill Wine-Banks, a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor.

Jill, your reaction?

JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I`m reminded of something that I learned that I thought was fascinating from a University of Chicago professor, who pointed out that the micro-targeting that we`re now seeing through Facebook is something similar to the use of radio versus television in the Nixon/Kennedy debates.

People who saw him on television, saw the debate on television, thought that Kennedy won. People who heard it on radio thought Nixon won.

And we always assumed it was because of the sweating Nixon on television, but according to studies that he cited to me, it`s because it was a rural audience listening on the radio and an urban audience, that tended Democratic, that saw it on television. The rural people did not yet have televisions in the `60s.

And so I think there`s something similar going on here with the targeting of rural populations with specific ads that could only reach them through something like Facebook. It would be too expensive to do it any other way. So I think it`s really interesting and very scary.

MELBER: And there`s two threads here, Ken, the pull on. One is, as Jill says, whether that was crucial targeting and was that simply effectively done, or was it a type of expertise that was shared somehow by Americans with Russian hackers or other Russian supporters?

And then two, whether Mr. Parscale here is simply is ginning up an old talking point in a dramatic way, or whether he is suggesting a type of embedded, full-time corporate expertise screened by party affiliation that might somehow be more concerning.

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, I think there`s a couple of things going on here, Ari. One thing is that these embeds, this is actually not a new thing. Those of us who are following every jot and tittle of this were aware that not only Facebook, but Google and Twitter, had employees -- because this is something they offer all their major advertisers.

And it so happened that the Trump campaign seems to have made better use of them than the Clinton campaign and other campaigns. Now, whether they were tailored to be Republicans, that sounds like a little bit of a stretch, but it`s --

MELBER: A stretch, meaning you don`t really buy the way he`s putting it now?

DILANIAN: I`m not sure I buy it. I guess anything`s possible. I`m not sure that it`s even material. The bottom line is that they -- Parscale did have an effective Facebook operation. He was running 50,000 tailored ads a day, according to him. But the big question is, so did the Russians.

You know, the Facebook turned over 3,000 ads to the intelligence committees this week that were from a Russian propaganda effort, and that`s only the tip of the iceberg. And so the big question is, did this sophisticated Russian social media propaganda at work -- network interact --

MELBER: Right.

DILANIAN: -- coordinate, collude, in any way, with this successful Trump social media effort.

MELBER: Right. And not to put too many threads here on a Friday night, but that goes to the reporting you`ve been doing all week about also what`s in the dossier and what overlaps with that and what has been publicly verified, which I want to ask you about.

So both of you, please hang with me, but to finish out some of the expertise and give context on these new claims, I want to also bring in a very special guest, which is Kara Swisher. She`s the executive editor of "Recode," which is a partner of ours at NBC and our digital experts.

So, Kara, what do you see in all of this?

KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RECORD (via telephone): Well, I think Brad -- as Ken was saying just briefly, I think they were screening them for their political affiliations sounds suspect to me. And I`ve called Facebook. I`m going to ask them is that`s the case. It seems unusual.

But then again, these embeds are usually used in lots of advertisers. They bring them in to show them how to use things. They brought them in to -- when I was working at Dow Jones. They brought them in, you know?

They used -- they bring them in to show or you get lessons from Twitter, how to use them. And they`ll bring people at your office and give you -- so it`s very common.

MELBER: Right. And then --

SWISHER (via telephone): It`s not uncommon and --

MELBER: Let me ask you about that because that goes to the coordination.

SWISHER (via telephone): Sure.

MELBER: I mean, the question is whether those people, when they come in to Dow Jones, then become Dow Jones employees and are seen as all one team?

SWISHER (via telephone): No. No.

MELBER: Because he is --

SWISHER (via telephone): No, no, no, no. They just --

MELBER: Go ahead.

SWISHER (via telephone): No. They just give you lessons, like in how to use these technologies. And they -- you know, I have had one. I`ve had -- Twitter has come in and thought reporters how to use Twitter better and things like that. So I don`t think that`s what the unusual part.

I think the issue is, you know, how much -- how effectively the Trump campaign used Facebook over other campaigns and how ineffectively the Clinton campaign did.

I mean, everybody was using these social media platforms. And as I`ve said many times, they became weaponized, really, for whatever side managed to use the weapons better. Whether it was Twitter or -- and Facebook was highly effective, obviously.

And then, on top of it is these inventions that were created in the United States of America were used and abused by Russian -- different parts or different influential people, influences in Russia, to create problems in our election system.

And so it`s kind of ironic that we invented everything, and then they turned around and used it to our detriment.

MELBER: Right. Ironic, indeed, and something investigators are probably looking at.

Kara Swisher, thank you for adding your expertise to this.

Ken, I want to go, as promised, then to the other piece of this. The dossier, an explosive document.

Its author has been pursued, and we`re told Mueller`s talked to him. And your reporting suggests the negotiations continue with the Senate Intel Committee, which has said they`d hit a wall.

Let me read the latest. Senator Burr and Mark Warner, saying the Committee has made these multiple requests to meet with Steele over last nine months, including his attorneys. We remain open to, quote, any credible offer to meet with Mr. Steele.

What can you tell us about this?

DILANIAN: Yes. So I think what that reflects is that there is a sort of a dance going on here, Ari. Even though Senator Richard Burr, as you`ve been reporting, said earlier in the week, look, we have asked Steele to come in and he has basically refused, it`s more complicated than that.

Steele has offered to come in, but he doesn`t want to do some things that the Senate Intelligence Committee apparently wants him to do -- for example, reveal who paid for the dossier, the work that he was doing -- and maybe reveal some of his sources.

So that is ongoing. But, you know, as we have also reported, Mueller`s team has gone to interview him, and I find that significant, you know, nearly a -- more than a year, actually, after the FBI first got parts of this dossier.

So they`ve had a long time to investigate these claims. They are still going back to talk to Mr. Steele to ask more questions, which tells me it`s still in play and there`s still some things in there that they`re trying to vet and verify, Ari.

MELBER: Jill, how do prosecutors look at something like that?

WINE-BANKS: Well, there are two things happening here. One is the public disclosure by Senators Burr and Warner, which, I have to say, sounds very misleading to me, listening to it, versus what we`re hearing about the willingness to cooperate.

The other part is I think that Mr. Steele is quite justified in some of his concerns. He doesn`t want to reveal his sources, and he doesn`t want to reveal who hired him because his business depends on confidentiality and because of the risk of leaks. Not from the FBI and not from Mueller, but the risk of leaks from Congress, which seems to be the source.

MELBER: So, Jill, what should the Republican Chair Burr have said? Should he have just said, we can`t agree on terms for our interview, instead of, I hit a wall? Because he certainly left the world with a different impression, as you allude to.

WINE-BANKS: Yes. I mean, I think the honest answer is, we are negotiating the terms of cooperation. And if the problem was that Mr. Mueller wanted them not to talk because that would be a problem, he should have said that, but it seems like it really is the terms.

And honestly, Michael Steele`s terms do not seem outrageous to me. He seems quite justified in saying, I don`t want to reveal my sources.

And we`re getting diverted from the real fact, which is, what are the facts? It doesn`t matter who hired him. It doesn`t matter who paid him. Did he discover things that are true? And some of his report has clearly been verified.

The willingness of the Russians to provide negative information on Hillary to help the Trump campaign seems to be true. The fact of the Trump Tower in construction in Russia, that`s something we didn`t know about that is definitely true. So --

MELBER: Right, or you might care who paid for it because it goes to incentive, motive, and the original context of the gathered information. Mueller might ultimately try to determine that.

But the notion that the Republican Chair says, well, I don`t even want to sit down with you to get some of what is true or allegedly true, I don`t want to -- I don`t even want to talk to you until I can know everything, that doesn`t strike me as a normal investigative process.

WINE-BANKS: I agree with you. And again, who hired them may determine whether they were looking for a certain point of view, but we already know that.

MELBER: Right.

WINE-BANKS: We know that this was done for opposition research. We know it was anti-Trump, so we already know that the bias was to find negative things. That doesn`t mean what they found isn`t true. We ought to be looking at, is it true? Not who hired them.

MELBER: Right. And all I`ll say, as a reporter, is we don`t know whether the whole dossier is true. We do know a lot of credible people, including the former Republican FBI Director Robert Mueller, are very interested in this explosive dossier. Not the last we`re going to hear about it.

Jill Wine-Banks and Ken Dilanian, thanks for joining me on a Friday night.

WINE-BANKS: Thank you.

DILANIAN: Thanks so much, Ari.

MELBER: Up next, the Trump cabinet secretary whose wife took heat for posting those selfies describing her expensive wardrobe, her terminology, aboard private government jets. Well, that cabinet secretary has been taking even more trips on government planes. We`ll explain, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It was just last Friday that Donald Trump ousted his healthcare chief over private jet travel. This Friday, his Treasury chief now under fire for spending close to a million dollars on private military jet travel. We know this because of a new internal watchdog report as travel spending by three other top Trump officials is also under review.

Now, Mnuchin`s flights include $27,000 on a trip to Kentucky, first exposed by his wife in that Instagram post. Another 15k trip from Washington to New York to go to Trump Tower. And $43,000 flight to Miami.

When a nonpartisan career official at the Treasury saw that bill before they booked the flight, he told Mnuchin, in writing, it was over 60 times the cost of just hopping a normal flight. Quote, for your awareness, the official wrote, the cost on commercial air is $688 round trip.

Now, this new watchdog report raises, quote, a disconnect between the standard of proof called for and the actual amount of proof provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these trip requests.

Now, if you`re thinking this is not normal, that`s because it isn`t. Here`s Obama`s former Treasury Secretary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOB LEW, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I never used military aircraft for domestic travel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Joining us now is Kathleen Clark, a professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert on government ethics.

How bad?

KATHLEEN CLARK, PROFESSOR OF LAW, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS: This is very bad. And it`s bad not just for Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, but it`s bad for the Trump White House because the problems with Trump cabinet secretary travel is widespread, and it really points to a lack of controls on the part of this administration.

MELBER: Also, a lack of regret. My colleague, Chuck Todd, spoke to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin about this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Do you regret doing that?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I don`t, and let me tell you why. First of all, all of our travel went through the same process as previous secretaries of the Treasury. Every single one of my trips was approved by the White House.

And the only time I`ve ever used or would use a private plane for government purposes, if either there was a national security issue or we couldn`t get somewhere. And that`s what this is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is he lying?

CLARK: No, but he is deflecting what the problem is. The problem isn`t necessarily what the process was, they -- using the same process as was used in the Obama administration, but the outcome, I think, is quite different. Or at the very least, the outcome here is bad for the Trump administration.

It looks terrible, not just with Mnuchin`s flight but also the other cabinet secretary -- secretaries` flights. And so something went wrong. The fact that Mnuchin can`t admit error or identify error at this stage is, in itself, troubling.

MELBER: You know, a lot of conservative thought leaders and commentators talk a lot about culture and personal responsibility. You`re an expert on ethics, which is not about, just as you say, process or the rules. It`s also about the ethical culture of an institution.

Do you see indications here that these individuals, because this is more than one person in the administration, seem to have some view of themselves as the rules don`t apply, or this is some sort of taxpayer-funded party?

I mean, Steve Mnuchin is someone who got rich foreclosing on people`s homes because they missed a few payments, but seems to think that he can rack up these enormous bills paid for by taxpayers.

CLARK: Yes. The practice of the Trump cabinet secretaries traveling by military jet, BY government jet, or private charter, really demonstrates a lack of sensitivity, a lack of judgment. But again, this is a problem that may well start at the top.

Since we -- I believe that Donald Trump`s own personal travel to his various resorts and golf courses has cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, far outstripping what was budgeted for the Secret Service and other budgets.

So this is a widespread problem. And the one thing that Mnuchin said that, I think, we should pay close to attention to is he`s blaming the White House. And it may well be that part of the blame belongs there, on the White House.

MELBER: Right.

CLARK: But that`s not the only place the problem is.

MELBER: Well, and Trump reportedly removed Tom Price over this same private jet travel. So if what you say is true, for accountability, the President, ultimately, would have to, by that standard, remove himself. We`ll keep an eye on that.

CLARK: If I could, I just want to clarify. Mnuchin traveled by government jet, and I believe that Price, many of his flights, were actually by private jet. So similar problem, but just technically a different mechanism was used.

MELBER: Right. No, I mentioned in the set-up of our discussion that a lot of this was military jets. And that`s why, again, when you see a former Treasury official say, we never did that, I mean, not once --

CLARK: Yes.

MELBER: -- in his entire tenure did they ever do that. For the obvious reason that, with all due respect to the important role that the Treasury Secretary plays over the capital markets, he can be in the air for an hour or two and pick up phone calls when he lands. He is not the President.

CLARK: Correct.

MELBER: I mean, that`s just what we know from the history. Kathleen Clark, as always, thank you for your ethical acumen.

CLARK: Thank you very much.

MELBER: Coming up, new clues offer, indeed, more questions than answers for FBI investigators on this important case. What do authorities know about the Las Vegas shooter`s motive? The latest on that story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It has been five days now since that deadly shooting attack on a country music festival in Las Vegas. All 58 victims have now been identified. And we can tell you, today, investigators emphasizing their belief there was, as previously reported, one shooter.

But after chasing down more than a thousand clues and combing through this gunman`s life, police say they`re really no closer to explaining what drove this 64-year-old reclusive but wealthy gambler to commit those horrific mass murders.

I want to show you, now, NBC National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer with more from Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Replacing the windows where Steven Paddock unleashed the murder, the nightmare, investigators have now scoured multiple crime scenes, the hotel, the concert turned killing field, and the homes where he lived.

What can you tell us about motive?

KEVIN MCMAHILL, UNDERSHERIFF, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I can tell you that I really don`t have an answer for you about motive. I`m confident telling you today that we had one shooter, and he`s deceased. We`re confident he did it alone, but did anybody else know what he was planning and why? That is the main focus of our investigation today.

ALMAGUER: IRS records show Paddock earned at least $5 million gambling in 2015. Two sources say the gunman bought some ammo from a recent gun show in Phoenix and sought to purchase tracer rounds, bullets that leave a visible trail in the dark.

Shot four times, Samantha Faranda was finally able to go home today.

SAMANTHA FARANDA, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I`m just grateful I didn`t have to completely say goodbye to all the people that I love.

ALMAGUER: What happened in Vegas is being felt nationwide. Today, in Chicago and Austin, stepped up security as thousands gather for concerts and baseball games.

Tonight, we now know the names of all 58 victims, 30 with ties to southern California. The youngest, just 20, Bailey Schweitzer. The oldest, 67- year-old Pati Mestas, loved life and her eight grandchildren. Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield served 16 years in the military, dying on a battlefield at home, in the city he loved.

Tonight, growing memorials in Las Vegas as 58 families began to plan funerals.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALMAGUER: As investigators pore over the crime scene behind me, they say they are certain the gunman acted alone. What is unclear after weeks, months, possibly even years of meticulous planning, how could no one else know about the murderous plan.

Ari, back to you.

MELBER: Thanks, Miguel, for that report. Tonight`s last word is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: The very talented Lin-Manuel Miranda made some headlines this weekend when he was calling out President Trump`s disparaging comments about the Mayor of San Juan in the wake of the hurricane.

Miranda tweeting, quote, you`re going straight to hell, Donald Trump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, "Right this way, sir." They`ll clear a path.

Unusual because he is usually such a positive type of communicator. Well, tonight, Lin-Manuel Miranda had this to say on "ALL IN."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, CREATOR, HAMILTON: It`s the definition of adding insult to injury. And at the same time, it`s jaw dropping. This has been an unprecedented disaster, and it deserves an unprecedented response. And -- or at least commensurate with the two other hurricanes that have also ravaged the United States of America. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States of America.

END

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