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Trump calls on DOJ to investigate Clinton Transcript 11/3/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Nick Akerman, E.J. Dionne, Daniel Dale, Thomas Friedman, Nadya Tolokonnikova

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 3, 2017 Guest: Nick Akerman, E.J. Dionne, Daniel Dale, Thomas Friedman, Nadya Tolokonnikova

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I don`t know if you, maybe, forgot and made other plans, but Tuesday night is -- election night. Election night all over the country, with big marquee governor`s races in New Jersey and Virginia.

You need to check now to see if you need to be voting where you live on Tuesday in any state or local elections. But then, make your plans for Tuesday night to watch all the returns.

Again, sit tight now. Here comes Lawrence, but plan ahead for Tuesday night. There`s going to be special live election night coverage all night, Tuesday night, right here. You need to cancel whatever else you were planning on doing it.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with the great Lawrence O`Donnell.

Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. And so, Friday night, of course, there is breaking Russia news. And this time, starring Carter Page.

MADDOW: Well, starring Carter Page notifying the Trump campaign of something they have, up and down, denied ever knowing about.

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly.

MADDOW: It`s a big deal.

O`DONNELL: And that he has always sidestepped and said, you know, I -- have you -- did you meet with, did you talk with government officials, Russian government officials? He never gave any kind of clean answer to that, but, I guess, seven hours under oath to the House Intelligence Committee might change things.

MADDOW: Yes. And not telling the truth about that to, you know, jerks like us is one thing. Not telling the truth about that either under oath or to federal investigators, that`s -- you know, that`s a different matter.

O`DONNELL: Rachel, I know you have to run out of the building because it`s Friday night. And by 10:15, Friday night, you are deep in New York nightlife, I know, and I got to let you go.

But this is a special Russian night for THE LAST WORD because we have, coming up in the show, Vladimir Putin`s worst nightmare. Pussy Riot is here --

MADDOW: Oh, my god.

O`DONNELL: -- in New York, live in studio, here, tonight.



MADDOW: Are you serious?

O`DONNELL: Say hello before you leave the building.


O`DONNELL: They`re right there, down on your floor.

MADDOW: Bye! I`ll be right there. Bye!

O`DONNELL: OK. Bye, Rachel.


O`DONNELL: The President of the United States has reopened his public battle with the Department of Justice.

He objects to the Department of Justice pursuing justice, instead of pursuing Donald Trump`s grudge matches with Hillary Clinton who got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump did in the election.

And also tonight, John Kelly is on his way out of the country, stopping in Hawaii on his way to an Asian trip with the President, who must be so very proud of John Kelly for doing exactly what Donald Trump would do if he was caught telling a stream of angry lies about a Black woman member of Congress.

John Kelly has completed two full weeks now of refusing to apologize to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson after the proof that he lied about her was revealed on videotape two weeks ago.

Now, when you find yourself in a test of character, no matter how big or small, and you choose to do exactly what Donald Trump would do, you are living in a very dark place, and you are not the adult in any room.

It turns out the only adult in the room in the Trump White House is Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who is haunting every room of that White House now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.

NICK CONFESSORE, POLITICAL AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sessions is now the guy who may implicate him in a very dire way in the actual Russia investigation.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: But what you are seeing here is a test of whether authoritarianism can survive in the United States. And so far, the answer is, no, it cannot.

MATTHEW MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: We never hear anything from either Jeff Sessions or his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, defending the Department`s independence. You have to wonder, does he eventually cave to this intense pressure of the President is putting him under?

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: For someone who`s boasted about how great his memory is, there`s a whole lot of amnesia going on when it comes to the Trump campaign and the meetings with Russians.

TRUMP: I don`t remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time. Don`t remember much about it.

One of the great memories of all time.

MATT APUZZO, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We just know that every time people ask about it, the stories keep changing.

TRUMP: Because I`m going to Vietnam.


O`DONNELL: So Donald Trump is finally going to Vietnam. I hope that that bone spur that kept him out of Vietnam and out of the U.S. military during the Vietnam War doesn`t act up on him when he`s in Vietnam.

Maybe he can take a tour of the prison museum in Hanoi and imagine what it was like for John McCain to be a prisoner of war there for 5-1/2 years. And maybe then Donald Trump will apologize for this.


TRUMP: He`s not a war hero.

FRANK LUNTZ, HOST, FAMILY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: He`s a war hero. Five and a half years in a Vietnamese --

TRUMP: He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.


O`DONNELL: No. Like John Kelly, Donald Trump is never going to apologize. Donald Trump`s never going to apologize for saying not just the worst thing I have ever heard anyone say about an American prisoner of war, but the only bad thing I`ve ever heard anyone say about an American prisoner of war.

American prisoners of war really are sacred, as John Kelly would say. And isn`t that curious that John Kelly did not demand an apology from Donald Trump for insulting an American prisoner of war before John Kelly would agree to go to work for Donald Trump and support everything Donald Trump says and does every day of Donald Trump`s life?

In my lifetime, I have heard exactly one person insult exactly one American prisoner of war. One.

Donald Trump attacks people and things when he is afraid. Donald Trump is attacking the Department of Justice tonight as if he was a drug kingpin under constant surveillance and investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department prosecutors, instead of the President of the United States who appointed the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Donald Trump`s history tells us very clearly that he launches these public attacks that seem to come out of the blue when he is worried, when he is afraid, when feels threatened by whoever he is attacking.

He will, for the rest of his life, be haunted and threatened by the simple fact that 3 million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton for president than Donald Trump. And so he will be attacking Hillary Clinton for the rest of his life, including demanding that she be investigated.

The Donald Trump who attacks Hillary Clinton is the childish and nasty sore loser Donald Trump. The Donald Trump who attacks the Department of Justice is the constitutional crisis Donald Trump.

We have never seen this before, a President publicly attacking his own Department of Justice.

We do not know what President Trump is capable of doing or trying to do to the Department of Justice to stop it from pursuing justice in the Russia investigation.

And we do not know what the other branches of government, the congressional and the judicial branch, might do or might be able to do in reaction to an executive branch out of control, if the President tries to interfere with that simple one-word mission of the Department of Justice. Which is, of course, justice.

We will study this conflict in detail tonight. The first question that must be asked about this conflict between the President and the Department of Justice is very simple. Do you believe Donald Trump?

Polls show that most people don`t believe Donald Trump. Donald Trump knows that most people don`t believe him.

He has known all of his life that most people don`t believe him most of the time, and that is why he constantly says, believe me. Says it all time. It is a habitual verbal tick of his, a desperate plea to be believed when he knows he shouldn`t be believed. Believe me.

Liars like Donald Trump know better than anyone that they should not be believed. That they should not actually say those words, believe me. And they have a very high level of anxiety that you do not believe them, and that anxiety produces these repeated, uncontrollable eruptions of "believe me" in the middle of a string of lies.

Several weeks ago, I asked THE LAST WORD staff to do a Google search, and all other resources we could bring to it, to find how many times President Barack Obama publicly said, believe me.

And I invite you all to do this tonight. We need your help because we could not find one. We found zero. None.

In an eight-year presidency and in presidential campaigns, Barack Obama never felt the need to say, believe me. He never felt the need to beg that you believe him.

In the 200-year history of this program, I have never said, believe me, when I am trying to convince you to see something the way I see it.

Instead of begging you to believe me, I bring in whatever facts and perspectives and sometimes emotions that might get you to see it my way, but I do not beg you to believe me. I do not say, believe me.

"Believe me" is a liar`s tell, and everyone knows it. Whenever you`re in a car dealership and the salesman says, believe me, you know whatever I -- whatever he`s saying after says, believe me, is not true.

Like, believe me, I`m losing money on this car sell when I sell it to you at this price. Every time you hear that, you know that`s a lie. If you believe that, you just might be one of the minority of Americans who believe Donald Trump.


TRUMP: I am truly not involved at any form of collusion with Russia. Believe me.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump usually puts the "believe me" right there, right after a big lie. Now, I`m not saying that he was lying right there. I don`t know that. I`m just saying that he does have a pattern, and he`s usually lying in whatever words he`s saying that ramp into one of those desperate "believe me`s" at the end.

In that same interview with Sharyl Attkisson that will be shown in its entirety on Sunday, portions of which were released today, the President insisted that he is not under investigation. But this time, he didn`t use the old device of "James Comey told me that I`m not under investigation" because he knows that time has run out on that one since he fired James Comey in May.

And so to accept that Donald Trump is not under investigation now by a Special Prosecutor who is investigating everyone from Donald Trump`s campaign chairman, who is now indicted, to a mid-level foreign adviser who secretly pleaded guilty weeks ago, you have to just believe Donald Trump.


SHARYL ATTKISSON, "FULL MEASURE WITH SHARYL ATTKISSON" HOST: Have you been told to expect to be questioned by the Special Counsel? Are you prepared for that?

TRUMP: No, nobody`s told me.

ATTKISSON: Because --

TRUMP: As far as I`m concerned, I haven`t been told that we`re under investigation. I`m not under investigation.


O`DONNELL: OK, so that`s settled. Donald Trump is not under investigation. Only if you believe Donald Trump.

It`s every man for himself in Trump world. That`s not me saying that. That is what one unnamed source who`s under investigation by the Special Prosecutor told CBS News today.

It`s every man for himself. The source also added, I do believe the Russians interfered or tried to interfere. He said -- but he pointed to others associated with the campaign -- I don`t know what they were doing and whatever those people did, that`s on them.

Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst. He`s the co-author of the new book, "One Nation after Trump."

Also with us, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star."

And here in New York, Nick Akerman, former federal prosecutor and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor. He`s an MSNBC contributor.

Nick, so there`s the President saying, I`m not under investigation. And, of course, believe me. But I see his campaign chairman indicted. I see a mid-level staffer, who`s there in pictures with Donald Trump, indicted and self-convicted with a guilty plea.

Is it conceivable, look, the Special Prosecutor is doing all of this and just not looking across that line to Donald Trump?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Oh, I think it`s inconceivable. I think this whole thing is heading directly towards Donald Trump. I mean, you`ve got two shots over the bow here.

One, you`ve got the campaign manager. And everything about that indictment screams out Russia, connection to Russia, connection to all of the various people around Putin.

And then you`ve got Papadopoulos, who is all part of this collusion. It fits right in with what happened on June 9th at the Trump Tower meeting.

And this is the tip of the iceberg. This is how a normal investigation starts.

Papadopoulos is not going to be the first person to come in and sing like a canary. You`re going to see a whole series of other people, people`s names that are not household names, names that we don`t recognize that are going to be coming forward in the course of this. People who are going to be indicted additionally to the first one with Manafort and his sidekick.

You`re going to see a whole series of these indictments and a whole series of other people throwing in the towel and telling the truth as to what happened.

O`DONNELL: And, E.J., we are seeing stories change along the way over the weeks and the months. Carter Page`s story kind of changed dramatically tonight, and this is new report.

But the President lashing out and lashing out at the Justice Department, that usually -- if we follow his pattern of lashing out in the past, that usually means there`s something he`s worried about.

E.J. DIONNE, JR., OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I think there are two scientific rules in this inquiry. Scientific rule one is what you just said. Whenever he`s attacking the Justice Department, he`s in a lot of trouble.

And scientific rule two is, you can determine the depth of that trouble by how often he says the words, Hillary Clinton. And we have had a cascade of attacks on Hillary Clinton over the last week.

And it is a classic Trump technique, which is he doesn`t really know how to win on his own. He wins -- he can only win by attacking some adversary. He can live without friends, but not without enemies.

And I agree that this investigation is moving in a way that`s very dangerous because Robert Mueller`s running this like a mob investigation, which is appropriate where money and power are concerned. And he is really looking into the money involved in the Trump empire. And that`s, I think, what Trump is most afraid of. And I think that`s where this -- part of where this investigation is going to end up.

O`DONNELL: Let`s look at the President this morning when he was asked about his memory of that meeting with George Papadopoulos.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you remember George Papadopoulos during that March meeting floating the idea of a meeting with Putin?

TRUMP: I don`t remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time. Don`t remember much about it.


O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, he is in a bit of a bind there, having claimed to have a perfect memory and that`s why his version of the phone call, the condolence phone call to Sergeant La David Johnson`s widow, is accurate and the widow`s version of it is inaccurate.

But when he needed that memory today on the Papadopoulos meeting, he doesn`t have it. But he knows he`s in a photograph with Papadopoulos in that meeting, so he couldn`t completely deny knowledge of it.

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE TORONTO STAR: He couldn`t. I think we have learned over the past couple of years that Donald Trump will say whatever he needs to say to get out of a jam in that given moment. No matter what he has said 10 minutes prior or a day prior or what he will say 10 minutes in the future.

We had this amazing moment in his latest interview on Fox yesterday where he`s -- he decried the false reporting that he`s been angry about things. That was his quote, it`s false that I have been angry about things.

Literally, under 10 seconds later, he said, I have a certain anger about the media. And so he doesn`t -- he lives his life and he makes public statements in a way that does not suggest he has given them a lot of thought.

And I think, you know, we can think of him as a strategist when he attacks the Justice Department, for example, think that he is playing a sort of chess trying to discredit this institution that challenges him. But I think he is often acting on pure impulse. He is scrambling without thinking of what the impact will be on him in the days and weeks to come.

O`DONNELL: Nick Akerman, we have a report tonight from "The Washington Post" that Keith Schiller is going to speak to House Intelligence Committee investigators.

He is a longtime Trump bodyguard who predates the campaign by many, many years. They intend to ask him about some of the allegations in the Russian dossier, which means they intend to ask him about Donald Trump`s personal behavior in Moscow in 2013.

And it seems that that would be territory that the Special Prosecutor would want to go over with Keith Schiller, also. And Keith Schiller knows more about what Donald Trump has done in his personal life in the last 15 years or so than anyone alive, including probably anyone who`s ever been married to Donald Trump.

AKERMAN: I totally agree. And this is, again, the same analogy that was brought up about the mob investigation.

I mean, if I were looking to find out what the boss was doing, who the boss was sleeping with, where the boss was, I`d go for a chauffeur. I`d go for his bodyguard. That`s exactly what they`re doing.

O`DONNELL: And federal prosecutors have turned guys like that, specifically in mob cases like that.

AKERMAN: I used to do it all the time.


AKERMAN: I had a whole series of people like that in the witness protection program.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.

AKERMAN: I mean, you go for the people that know the most, that are closely aligned with the person, with them every day, joke with the person. They talk about all kinds of things, and those are the people that really know what`s going on. Now, whether or not he`s going to tell the truth, that`s a whole different story.

O`DONNELL: We got to fit a break in here. Nick Akerman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump publicly talked about firing the Attorney General today again. I`ll discuss that next.

And later, direct from Moscow and right here in the studio, Pussy Riot will join us here tonight. Here is a first peek at Pussy Riot`s new video that will premier next week.


O`DONNELL: The President of the United States is publicly talking about firing the Attorney General. Again. Donald Trump left open the possibility of firing Jeff Sessions this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you fire Jeff Sessions if the Justice Department doesn`t take action against Hillary Clinton?

TRUMP: I don`t know. I`m really not involved with the Justice Department. I`d like to let it run itself, but, honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things.

And a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.


O`DONNELL: Not surprisingly, Republican Senator Bob Corker objected to the President`s attack on the Justice Department. Senator Corker said in a statement that Trump`s comments are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people`s confidence in our institutions.

Now that Donald Trump knows just a tiny bit more about government than he did when he was campaigning for president, he now sounds like he`d rather be Attorney General.


TRUMP: You know, the saddest thing is that because I`m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I`m not supposed to be involved with the FBI.

I`m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing, and I`m very frustrated by it. I look at what`s happening with the Justice Department. Why aren`t they going after Hillary Clinton with her e-mails and with her -- the dossier and the kind of money?


O`DONNELL: Back with us, E.J. Dionne and Daniel Dale.

So there`s the President saying, will you fire -- the question, will you fire Jeff Sessions if the Justice Department doesn`t take action against Hillary Clinton? And the President`s answer is, I don`t know. Then he goes on to throw some words at it after that.

E.J., when you just heard the President talking about how he really wishes he could direct prosecutions in the Justice Department, no doubt direct tax audits in the IRS, can you explain to him, and perhaps some of the younger viewers, what happens to presidents, the last one we know, who actually did try to do things like that?

DIONNE: Yes, he resigned in disgrace after being impeached. And you know what Donald Trump is frustrated by, is that he is the leader of a free country with judicial independence. And our country has spent years criticizing foreign dictatorships for politicized judiciary.

I actually looked at the State Department human rights report. And the 2016 human rights report on Belarus says, I quote, the judiciary experienced political interference. In a lack of independence, trial outcomes often appeared predetermined.

That is exactly what Donald Trump is proposing. I don`t think he read the State Department report on Belarus. But that`s exactly what we don`t want in the United States.

O`DONNELL: And, Daniel, if Barack Obama had been caught in someone`s memo, if someone somehow captured him saying that he wanted the Justice Department to investigate his political rivals or investigate Mitt Romney, investigate John McCain, Barack Obama would have been, without question, impeached for exactly that by the Republican House of Representatives.

If he had just said he wanted to do it, and even if the Justice Department didn`t do it. And that`s, of course, the thought exercise that Trump supporters are not putting themselves through.

DALE: Well, I don`t know about impeach, but it would have been big trouble for him, for sure. I think Trump has this extraordinary kind of trick, which is to do the impropriety publicly --


DALE: -- rather than getting caught doing it privately. And so I completely agree with your general point.

You know, Trump, during the campaign when he said, hey, Russia, if you`re listening, you know, how about you get me those e-mails? If had been caught, you know, in memo or some sort of other communication in private saying that, that that would have been a scandal.

But because he does it with glee for everyone to see, I think people see that and say, well, it can`t be that bad if he`s doing it before my eyes. But in fact, a lot of these things, you know, according to, you know, experts are bad.

You know, he is damaging the rule of law. He is undermining faith in democratic institutions. And so I think we need to do a better job separating Trump`s manner and the ease with which he does these things from the seriousness of what he`s actually doing.

O`DONNELL: And, E.J., what about this -- that Jeff Sessions now is back on the "I don`t know" list on the question of, is Donald Trump going to fire him?

DIONNE: Well, I wonder -- by the way, I want to correct the record. Nixon, the articles of impeachment were voted by the Judiciary Committee.

But I think that Donald Trump may be preparing the way to pressure Sessions to give him a choice -- either you cooperate in some way in firing Mueller or in stopping Mueller or in obstructing Mueller, or I am going to be ready to fire you this time.

I mean, the very thing that Trump was upset with Sessions about was Sessions` decision to recuse himself because he knew he should not be part of this inquiry. Now, Sessions may be a problem for Trump because he may have misstated a lot of things, possibly to the point of perjury, when he testified before the Senate.

So I think Trump has two grounds for going this direction. One is to pressure him, and the other is there may come a point when he is going to have to throw him overboard.

O`DONNELL: And, Daniel, of course, the President wants an -- the Justice Department and the FBI to do an investigation that they already did, which was the investigation of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.

There is some independent analysis among pollsters that James Comey`s intervention, public intervention in that case and comments about it, especially his last comments about it involving Anthony Weiner`s laptop, were the thing that tipped the election to Donald Trump.

He is not satisfied with that outcome. He wants a new investigation of the same thing.

DALE: He does, or he wants to make noise about doing that, you know, to muddy the waters for the inevitable trouble that he is going to face. You know, we have seen him make this long-running effort to redefine words by simply using them to attack his opponents, even when they don`t apply.

So, for example, in responding to this DNC controversy the other day, Trump said that`s money laundering. Why isn`t the Justice Department and the FBI investigating money laundering?

Whatever that was, whatever you think of that controversy, it was not money laundering. That, of course, is what his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is charged with.

And so I think Trump is very good, at least with a certain segment of the population inclined to believe him, of muddying the waters by accusing Democrats of the things that he is more seriously accused of.

O`DONNELL: He is very good at getting a minority of people who are devoted to him to continue to be devoted to him. He hasn`t changed a single mind in his favor since election night.

E.J. Dionne and Daniel Dale, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

DALE: Thank you.

DIONNE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Pulitzer Prize winning "New York Times" columnist, Thomas Friedman explains why he calls Trump a chump.

And Pussy Riot will join us to talk about the similarities between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: Last night, on the eve of the President`s trip to Asia, the President was asked why he has left so many positions unfilled at the State Department.


TRUMP: Let me tell you. The one that matters is me. I`m the only one that matters because when it comes to it, that`s what the policy is going to be.


O`DONNELL: And so the most ignorant president in history has embarked on a 13-day, five-country trip, the longest of his presidency, without anything like the State Department support that every president before him has had.

What could possibly go wrong? Yesterday, H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser who was accompanying the President on the trip was asked if the President would continue using his fire and fury rhetoric of up North Korea when he is visiting South Korea.

You remember that fire and fury came out of the President`s mouth when he was left to his own rhetorical devices and not reading a speech written for him.


TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


O`DONNELL: The President`s national security adviser admitted that there is no way to control what the President says.


LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: OK, so the President will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously.

And what the President has done is clarified in all of his -- all of his discussions, his statements on North Korea, our determination to ensure that North Korea`s unable to threaten our allies and our partners and certainly, the United States. So he`s done that with a great deal of clarity in the past, and I`m sure he`ll do that during the trip, as well.


O`DONNELL: A great deal of clarity. So here`s an example of the great deal of clarity that H.R. McMaster was talking about.


TRUMP: You guys know what this represents?


TRUMP: I don`t know. Maybe it`s the calm before the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the storm?

TRUMP: It could be the calm -- the calm before the storm.


O`DONNELL: The world is still wondering what the calm before the storm meant. In his "New York Times" column this week, Thomas Friedman writes, nothing Trump ever says has a second photograph. His whole shtick is just the first paragraph, build a wall, tear up the Iran deal, tear up TPP, defeat ISIS, send troops to Niger and Afghanistan to kill terrorists, kill climate policy, kill family planning, cut taxes, raise military spending. Every box just marks an applause line he needed somewhere to get elected. Nothing connects, and we will pay for that.

Joining us now, Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The New York Times." His latest best-selling book, "Thank You for Being Late, an Optimist`s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations" is now available in paperback.

Tom Friedman, you know Asia. You know where the President`s going. What could possibly go wrong if the President speaks his mind as H.R. McMaster would put it?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Lawrence, let me just start at 30,000 feet with you. If you think about where we are in the world right now -- and this is, you know, the argument of my book -- we`re in the middle of three climate changes at once.

We`re in the middle of changes to the climate, the climate. We`re in the middle of changes to the climate of globalization. We`re going from the interconnected world to an interdependent world. And we`re in the middle in changes to the climate of technology with big data and A.I.

So let`s ask, how is China approaching that? On climate, they want to leave the world in clean energy. On globalization, they`ve got "One Belt, One Road." They`re basically trying to integrate with all of their neighbors. And on technology, they`ve got a plan that`s called the "Made in China 2025" to lead, basically, all the key strategic industries of the 21st century.

What do we have with President Trump? He`s denying climate change. He is trying to -- he has already pulled us out of TPP, the Asian trade alliance. And we don`t know what the future of NAFTA is, basically.

And on technology, this administration really has no plan other than a tax bill that is designed purely to get any kind of tax -- corporate tax cut out, so he`d claim credit for it, without embedding it in any kind of strategic plan for how we would reform our tax code to actually incentivize and enable stronger investment in these 21st century technologies.

So that`s what I find most appalling. China is waking up every day and saying, what world our we in? How do we align ourselves with the trends in this world to cushion the worst and get the most out of it?

And we have a leader, basically, who is literally tweeting, you know, 24/7 and scrambling around for any tax bill he can hold up to get him through the next election. That is the real long-term, I think, threat to our country.

O`DONNELL: What are the dots that you would like to see the President connect on this plane on his way to Asia?

FRIEDMAN: Well, let`s go back to TPP, for instance. Obama negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It had 12 other -- 12 countries in it. Those countries control 40 percent of global GDP.

And I think the importance of TPP was it made up for a lot of the mistakes that were in NAFTA in terms of labor rights, labor organization, and other things that were seen as weaknesses in NAFTA.

So what does Trump do? Think about this, Lawrence. He comes into office and, literally, I think, Day One, he tears up that agreement and throws it off the window.

Now, how would you like to be negotiating with Xi Jinping, the President of China? He -- Trump could have gone into this negotiation, saying, Mr. Xi, I am at the head of a 12-nation trading block that you`re not in, that controls 40 percent of GDP, that`s based on our interest and our values. That`s called leverage.

Instead, he tears that up, and he`s basically been going to Xi, begging for crumbs. The Chinese will sell us carpets. They`re sold us multiple times on trade. Because he doesn`t have the leverage.

That`s why Trump is a chump, OK? He presents himself as Mr. Smart and Mr. Tough. He`s actually a chump. Trump is a chump because he doesn`t know anything.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to something that`s also in your column this week. We`ve seen the tragic deaths of four soldiers in combat in Niger, but you have highlighted something that no one else has been talking about in that incident.

And you say that Niger highlights a much larger problem, just how foolish, how flat-out dumb President Trump is behaving. And I have to say, Tom, you connected dots for me in that that I had not considered.

FRIEDMAN: Well, I happen to know something about Niger because I did a documentary there last year for the "Years of Living Dangerously" series. And Niger is basically -- the problem of Niger -- the whole problem of that sub-Saharan region of Africa, four things have come together.

One is dramatic climate change. That region is heating up much faster than any other region, and so the desert is coming down.

We`ve got a huge population explosion going on there. The average woman in Niger has 7.6 kids. I met men there who boasted of 17 children.

Then you have misgovernance, OK? And then you have the rise of these ISIS and al Qaeda groups coming there because men will join them for $50 a month.

So what are we doing? We`re sending troops there, we discovered. Four of them get killed fighting these ISIS or al Qaeda types.

At the same time we`re doing that, same time we`re sending our best, you know, young men and women to a place like Niger, the President is wiping out all climate change policy from his government, even mention of climate change. So any effort to mitigate the forces that are really driving the problem there.

And at the same time, he is taking the United States out of all support from global family planning and contraception.

That`s nuts, Lawrence. That`s flat-out nuts. And if somebody comes to send your kid to Niger, OK, and the President, the same time, is wiping out all the things that would actually mitigate the problem there, that is a travesty.

O`DONNELL: Tom Friedman. The book is "Thank You for Being Late." And, Tom, thank you for joining us, and thank you for being on time.

FRIEDMAN: A pleasure. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up next, Vladimir Putin`s worst nightmare right here in the studio. Nadya from Pussy Riot here on a rare visit from Russia. She`ll join us.


O`DONNELL: The riot has already started here on the set. The group Pussy Riot burst onto the world stage five years ago when they performed the anti-Putin protest song, "Punk Prayer," at a Moscow cathedral. Three of them spent two years in a Russian prison for that after being convicted in a Russian court of hooliganism.

Pussy Riot has seen enough of the Trump presidency to compare Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin. Eight months into the Trump presidency, founding member Nadya said this.

Democracy is being eroded by authoritarian or pro-authoritarian leaders like Putin and Donald Trump.

And Nadya from Pussy Riot joins us now here in the studio.

Thank you very much for doing this. It`s very rare for you to be in the United States and to join us on television, so we really appreciate it.



TOLOKONNIKOVA: And far as I know, you`re -- punk is not a big part of your program --

O`DONNELL: This might be -- I`m going to --

TOLOKONNIKOVA: -- so I`m glad to be here.

O`DONNELL: I`m going to check our files. This might be our first segment on punk. It might be. I`m not sure. We may have done many that I can`t remember. So --

TOLOKONNIKOVA: It is my job to share punk music.

O`DONNELL: Exactly, you are spreading the word. And so you have a unique perspective on these two men that are kind of an obsession now with the world, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. How do you see the two of them, and how do you see the similarities?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: I would like to send them both to the moon, but I`m really concerned with the way how moon will feel like.


TOLOKONNIKOVA: So I wouldn`t do that just because I`m compassionate to the moon. You know, they are both are eroding our institutions, and our job here is to protect these institutions.

I think they make us forget that citizenship is not just using things that your government is giving to you, but giving back to your government and protecting those institutions like democracy, for example.

They both hate critics. And they have the same attitude to media, which is concerning to me. And I`ve seen how badly it can turn.

I`ve seen it in front of my eyes for the last 17 years. And I hear it from Donald Trump, the same words about media that Putin was using for 17 years. That it`s fake news that are paid -- that they are paid by foreign governments and whoever.

O`DONNELL: So Donald Trump believes that Vladimir Putin likes him. What do you think Vladimir Putin really thinks about Donald Trump?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: So the thing about Vladimir Putin is that he separates people, on people who are comfortable for him and people who are uncomfortable. And you`re speaking with one of those who is uncomfortable.

And people who do have real beliefs, they are uncomfortable for Vladimir Putin. Including foreign leaders. That`s why he doesn`t like people who do -- who really do believe in democracy and really believe in freedom of speech and human rights.

Donald Trump doesn`t have any real political beliefs. He is really concerned with himself, with his fame, and his wealth. And that`s perfectly understandable for Putin as KGB agent. He knows how to deal with people who are easy to understand or easy to bribe.

O`DONNELL: So -- all right. We`re going to squeeze in a quick break here, and we can just keep talking for hours. We`re going to be right back with Nadya.



TRUMP: Media is bad. They`re really dishonest people. These are very, very dishonest people.

It`s totally fake news. It`s just fake. It`s fake. It`s made-up stuff. And it`s disgraceful, what happens, but that happens into -- that happens in the world of politics.


O`DONNELL: Nadya, founding member of the Russian protest punk rock band, Pussy Riot, is with us.

Nadya, does that sound like Vladimir Putin?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: It does sound how it starts. Then you have arrests and occupation of leading independent media outlets.

O`DONNELL: So that`s how it began --

TOLOKONNIKOVA: And then you have arrests of political activists.

O`DONNELL: -- it began in Russia, with Putin at that verbal level before taking action against people?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: In the start, when he came to power, he definitely didn`t like the amount of critics that he faced. Obviously, as KGB agent, people could predict that he would want to bring his country back to subjugation and start oppression, so they started to criticize him.

And then the next thing they knew, that people in balaclavas -- but not in bright ones as we use, but in black balaclavas with police badges came to their studio like this studio and just took over. And now, everything -- every media channel in Russia is Russian T.V. propaganda channel.

And the worst thing about it is it`s paid by Russian taxpayer`s money. So we are paying for them telling us bullshit, so, yes.

O`DONNELL: And you did two years in a Russian prison and yet -- and you stay at this. The chances of you ending up in a Russian prison again is very possible.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: They are pretty high, it`s true. But, I mean, we`re trying to treat it as -- you know, as a joke, I would say.

O`DONNELL: Really? Prison a joke?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: Prison is not really a joke. But, you know, every time when you`re waking up in prison, you try to find things to make fun of and to take -- bring back joy that you`re government is trying to steal from you.

Because we want to live according to our values and -- right now. And we want to live joyful lives right now, even when we are surrounded by politicians that are not really healthy, I would say. So the same thing in prison, the same thing when you are facing prison.

You -- like, you know, I am writing my script for my music video, and I`m joking with my friends. Do you understand that this can be in your criminal case? And they`re, ha ha. So when it will happen, we will be like, oh, we knew. Yes, we knew. We saw it coming.

O`DONNELL: But I have to tell you how brave it looks from where we are because the resistance in the United States does not involve that kind of risk because very few people are going to take that kind of risk here.

And even here, it`s hard for the resistance to maintain their energy in the resistance against Donald Trump. And you have a much more difficult fight in Russia, and yet you seem more determined.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: I don`t really know why it happens but, again, I am trying to find joy in what I`m doing.

And I think doing -- if we can look back at the history, let`s say, in `60s in America, they knew really how to live a fun life and combine it with a political determination and political protest. And that`s why they really changed the whole political landscape and created civil rights that we are enjoying today.

So I think we need to reconnect our everyday lives with politics again and stop to separate it. Because I believe that the main problem right now about political actors is that people treat it as a boring duty that they have to do, I don`t know, to -- like part-time thing. I believe that if politics will become important and joyful part of your life, then things, maybe, change.

O`DONNELL: Before you go, I have a birthday present for you because I know your birthday is coming up next weekend. On your birthday, my second book, first one in a long time, will be published.

This is your birthday gift. I`ll sign it after the show. And this is about the protest of the 1960s and the activism in the 1960s that you`re saying inspired you.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: They definitely did. I think 1968 is the -- my favorite year in history.

O`DONNELL: Oh, this is not -- the audience is going to think this is rehearsed --



O`DONNELL: -- because they already know that this book is about 1968. This is not -- we`re just talking for the first time. We`ve never talked - -

TOLOKONNIKOVA: And we are sharing birthday and by the ways --

O`DONNELL: That`s my secret.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: -- they have fashioned revolution.

O`DONNELL: My birthday is my secret from them. Anyway, that`s right, we have the same birthday. Nadya of Pussy Riot. Happy birthday.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: Happy birthday to you, too.

O`DONNELL: Here`s your first birthday present. Thank you very much for joining us.


O`DONNELL: We really, really appreciate it. The Pussy Riot new video premiers next week. Here is a bit more of how it sounds.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: Trump called a "New York Times" reporter to project an air of calm over the charges.

Hello, failing "New York Times," I just wanted you to know that I am not at all worried about the thing I called you up to tell you that I`m not even thinking about.


COLBERT: Adding, and this is true, I`m not under investigation, as you know. Yes, they`re just rounding up all your friends and family and asking them questions about you. Maybe Robert Mueller`s planning you a surprise party.


COLBERT: They`re going to give you an orange jump suit and a new pair of bracelets.


O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s LAST WORD. And he will surely get the LAST WORD on me on Monday night when I appear on Stephen Colbert`s show to discuss my new book, which will be published next week, "Playing with Fire." Available in bookstores Tuesday. You can pre-order it this weekend.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" starts now.


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