Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 6, 2017 Guest: John Heilemann, David Rothkopf, Chris Murphy
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Great to see you again so quickly.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Indeed.
O`DONNELL: So, we have Julia Ainsley from NBC News, national security reporter, who`s been studying this transcript.
MADDOW: Oh good.
O`DONNELL: So, we`re going to get her report.
But, you know, what about -- what about say, you come over here and read Carter Page, I read Trey Gowdy, because I haven`t read them either. A cold reading for both of us.
O`DONNELL: You`d do such a good Carter Page, that was such a good Carter Page.
MADDOW: I want to marinate myself in all 243 pages before I decide which part I want to play.
O`DONNELL: OK. But, you know, you have got Carter Page down. I mean, that is -- that is so good.
MADDOW: It`s the hair, I know. Yes.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, a week ago at this hour, we registered some real surprise that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was not among the first three publicly announced people associated with the Trump campaign to be indicted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, one of whom has already pleaded guilty, because Michael Flynn obviously broke the law. There`s absolutely no doubt about that. He did not register as a foreign agent working on behalf of the Turkish government during the Trump campaign in 2016 and that is a felony. Punishment can include prison time.
The government doesn`t usually prosecute these cases when it seems to have just been an oversight. Government can be kind of understanding about that. But when prosecutors are playing tough as Robert Mueller is, this is the kind of thing that can and will get you indicted as it did for Paul Manafort and his junior partner Richard Gates.
Count ten of the indictment of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates says the defendants Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III knowingly and willfully without registering with the attorney general as required by law, acted as agents of a foreign principle, to wit, the government of Ukraine.
Count 11 of that same indictment says that Manafort and Gates knowingly and willfully caused to be made a false statement of a material fact and omitted a material fact necessary to make the statements therein not misleading in a document filed with and furnished to the attorney general under the provisions of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Hitting Michael Flynn with those two counts of an indictment has been from the start the easiest thing that Robert Mueller could possibly do, because Michael Flynn did not register as a foreign agent. But after he was fired from the Trump White House, when this kind of deception became public, Michael Flynn filed as a foreign agent in March of 2017 for work he had done the previous year. So, that means Michael Flynn gave up any kind of hope of claiming he wasn`t a foreign agent. That would be one way of defending himself. But he gave that up.
But filing after you`ve done the work, especially when you`re also working on a presidential campaign when you did that work, is like stopping the car ten miles after you went through a stop sign.
And so, tonight`s news which we have seen coming for most of the year is that NBC news is reporting that Robert Mueller has gathered enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son and it is unclear just how much legal trouble Michael Flynn`s son is in.
But the father and son worked very closely together in Michael Flynn`s company called Flynn Intel Group. And indictment would make Michael Flynn the first Trump White House official accused of a crime by Robert Mueller`s team.
Michael Flynn was fired after just 24 days as president Trump`s national security aid visor. The administration insisted that it was for misleading the white house, in particular, misleading poor Mike Pence about Michael Flynn`s Russia contacts during the transition. But it has been documented that the White House had been warned about those contacts by Michael Flynn weeks before Michael Flynn was fired.
So, Michael Flynn was fired not because of what he did. No, no, no. Michael Flynn was fired only because what he did became public, or some, some of what he did became public. NBC News reports investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn`s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.
Mueller`s team is also examining whether Flynn attempted to orchestrate the removal of a chief rival of Turkish President Erdogan from the U.S. to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars. NBC News reported two months ago that Michael Flynn`s son, Michael G. Flynn, who is irritatingly enough not a junior, Michael G. Flynn, he is also subject to Robert Mueller`s investigation.
Quote: The inquiry into the younger Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father`s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group. Both traveled to Russia in December 2015 when General Flynn gave a paid speech to the Russian propaganda network RT, and had dinner with Vladimir Putin.
Three sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC News, Mueller`s applying renewed pressure on Flynn following his indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June. Former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath that president Trump directed him to drop what was then the FBI`s investigation into Michael Flynn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope this is the president speaking, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He`s a good guy. I hope you can let this go.
Now, those are his exact words. Is that correct?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Correct. This is a president of the United States with me alone saying I hope this. I took it as this is what he wants me to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC News reports if the elder Flynn is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to help his son, two of the sources said it could also change his own fate, potentially limiting any legal consequences.
Joining us now, Julia Ainsley, national security and justice reporter for NBC News. She`s one of the reporters who broke the Flynn news.
Also with us, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for "The Washington Post", and an MSNBC political analyst, and Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and al Gore, and a former senior aide to President Obama. He`s also a former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And, Julia Ainsley, first to your reporting on the Flynn case and I should say the Flynn cases, Michael Flynn, the father, Michael Flynn, the son.
JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, what we`re seeing here is a ramped up pressure on Michael T. Flynn, the father, because he`s a very important part of this investigation for Robert Mueller. If you think about all of the work that Mueller`s investigation has done over the past few months, pulling documents, all of the data and figures they need, they need people who can fill in these gaps, who can tell narrative of how closely the Trump campaign may have worked with Russia leading up this election. And Michael T. Flynn, the father, can do that, because he worked on the campaign and he also was the national security adviser.
So, he`s in a position almost more so than someone like Paul Manafort would be or George Papadopoulos to be able to give the key information. And this pressure is ramping up on him because of the charges, because of the things that they`re looking into like you just read, Lawrence, and because his son is now involved. His son was his partner, worked with him when he was lobbying and as he was national security adviser. And so, he has the same information, the father would.
And so, we`re thinking here that Mueller is trying to apply pressure to Flynn to get him to cooperate, to give him the details he needs to flush out this narrative by putting pressure on both him and his son. It`s a very smart prosecutorial move if you think about it, if you`re trying to get a witness to cooperate.
The other key piece of this, of course, is whether or not Flynn used his position as national security adviser to push for the removal of Gulen. That, of course, is Fetullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric who was an opponent of Turkish President Erdogan. That, of course, would be a huge breach and completely illegal to allow another country to bribe -- we understand that he may have been offered millions of dollars -- to allow another country to bribe someone in a position to influence that policy.
Those decisions, whether it`d be extradition or other means, are not supposed to come from someone at the White House. They`re supposed to come through diplomatic, non-political channels.
O`DONNELL: Julia, I want you to keep reading the carter page transcript which I know you have in front of you. We`re going to come back to you on that in just a moment.
I want to go to Gene Robinson, Gene, to talk about where the jury that really matters is on this and that is, of course, American voters. We have a very important new poll out tonight, a CNN poll showing that 64 percent view the Russia investigation as a serious matter, 32 percent see it as an attempt to discredit Donald Trump. I think we know exactly who those 32 percent are.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And who they might have voted for for president.
O`DONNELL: And another piece of this poll I want you to consider, Gene, which is 59 percent say they believe that Trump knew that his associates were in contact with Russians during the campaign. Fifty-nine percent think that Donald Trump knew that, 35 percent say, no, 6 percent have no opinion. But those are pretty powerful numbers, Gene, politically for the way that the story is unfolding.
ROBINSON: Yes. What those numbers tell me, Lawrence, is that this Russia story is getting through. It`s somehow making its way through all the noise and the blizzard of tweets and, you know, we`re in the news cycle where 15 things seem to happen every day and you do wonder if anything really sticks, if anything really cuts through the noise.
And I think it`s clear that the -- that people get the Russia story. That people understand there were these untoward contacts, a lot we don`t know, but a lot that`s very suspicious. We know that Donald Trump Jr. at the very least tried his damnedest to collude with the Russians.
And so, I think this is all pretty bad news for the president.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, talk about this father/son investigation and how prosecutors approach a situation like this where the father is clearly the principal, but the son might have some criminal liability there and you want to try to use the emotional pressures that could exist on this for both of them.
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, there`s no question that Bob Mueller is going to use the fact that -- I mean, let`s not get sympathetic. Michael Flynn the son engaged in criminal acts and so, he has criminal exposure because he did bad things and Bob Mueller`s going to use to that to try to exert pressure on his father to cooperate.
You know, one fact out of that poll, Lawrence, is that 100 percent of the people named Donald Trump should be scared to death of Michael Flynn`s indictment because he really brings this to the White House steps in three important ways.
I mean, first, it is the first time a senior White House aide will be indicted since Watergate. That`s a historically sad event. Second, Trump cut off the other people he says but he was still communicating with and praising on Twitter Mike Flynn after he fired him. And third, most importantly, if you`re going to make an obstruction case against Donald Trump for firing Jim Comey, what was the crime that investigation that Trump was trying to obstruct?
And once you indict Michael Flynn, that`s the crime that Donald Trump, the investigation of which Donald Trump was trying to obstruct, when he refuse -- directed Comey to stop and then fired him for not stopping the investigation.
O`DONNELL: So, Ron, from the President Trump perspective, Michael Flynn really is possibly the most important player in this whole thing because that is where an obstruction of justice case would reside?
KLAIN: Exactly. I mean, I think the only thing scary would be Mueller coming after Jared Kushner, because he has a lot of the same exposure.
ROBINSON: That`s right.
KLAIN: And he is his family. But I think other than family, this is the most perilous indictment for Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Julia, we need your speed reading assessments of the Carter Page transcript. This is a House Intelligence Committee interview conducted of Carter Page on Thursday. What do we know at this point? I know it`s hundreds of pages long. So, I --
AINSLEY: It is. Luckily, I have the help of a lot of my colleagues here at NBC. We are all sort of piecing this apart and going through it and sharing with each other sort of the first things that are standing out. And right now, I can tell you the first thing that`s jumping out are how many people on the Trump campaign knew that Carter Page was going to Russia in July of 2016.
So far, that looks like Corey Lewandowski, J.D. Gordon, Hope Hicks, Sam Clovis and Jeff Sessions. A piece I was charged with looking over showed that Jeff Sessions heard that Carter Page was going, of course, in passing. Every conversation Carter Page had in the year of 2016 was in passing. If you look at some of these -- if you look at the interview that he had with the House Intelligence Committee.
But it seems clear that a lot of these people, including people like Sessions who said that they had no knowledge of anyone on the campaign ever talking to Russians, it`s clear that that`s going to be a harder position to defend based on this transcript.
O`DONNELL: And, Gene Robinson, this is one of those characters in this story that is hard to imagine, that fiction writers would have trouble coming up with this particular character, the one so strangely talkative in television interviews when everyone thinks he should be quiet and turns out he does have to adjust his story as things move along.
ROBINSON: Yes. He does. It`s -- this is very weird and never invent this character as you said and you always want to -- when I listen to him, I always wonder, is he playing some sort of ultra sophisticated four- dimensional chess or is he an idiot? And I mean --
O`DONNELL: Those are the choices. OK? That`s it? All right.
Let me think. I have to think about it. All right.
Go ahead, Gene. Sorry.
ROBINSON: No, I mean, I`m leaning toward the latter but we`ll see. You know? We`ll see. This is -- Ron mentioned one thing, though, that I think we are all keeping our eye on and because obviously the step beyond Michael Flynn that could indeed be closer to the president is Jared Kushner. He after all was at the meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort.
And he was in charge of the data operation of the Trump campaign. The Russians -- sophisticated way targeted voters. How do they know how who to target? You know?
So, this is a question I think Bob Mueller will try to answer for us.
O`DONNELL: I want to go to a moment of Michael Flynn at the Republican convention actually saying lock her up about Hillary Clinton because I actually think it is an important factor in how prosecutors view him. Let`s watch this one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Lock her up. That`s right. Yes, that`s right. Lock her up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And he went on, Ron, and, of course, he famously said if he did one tenth of what she did, that he would be in prison already. Now, this is someone who the FBI had investigated, concluded as Director Comey said publicly that there was not a prosecutable case there, so that is an attack on the judgment of the Justice Department and the FBI when he`s saying it. That`s who`s investigating him now.
How do they feel about something like that when they look at that?
KLAIN: Well, I think it`s certainly not going to help him. I think that his defiance and direct criticism of federal law enforcement in that clip certainly doesn`t help him. But, you know, these people are professionals. They`re not going out of Mike Flynn out of a grudge or some kind of revenge play. They`re going after Mike Flynn because he broke the law and he probably multiple laws and he knew he had done it when he was giving that speech, and that`s really unbelievably offensive.
And I hope that when he is on house arrest after he`s arrested and he doesn`t make bail, they make him watch that clip over and over and over again in his living room while he`s awaiting the meeting out of justice here.
O`DONNELL: Such a good point, Ron. I just want to remind the audience of that, too. Whenever you see those clips of Michael Flynn with the lock her up, always remember, he knew, he knew that as he stood there that night saying those things, he himself was in violation of federal law. He absolutely knew that.
Julia Ainsley, Eugene Robinson, Ron Klain, thank you all very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, we have new revelations about Russian ties for Donald Trump Jr. and very importantly, for Jared Kushner, a direct, a direct contradiction of what Jared Kushner has said in the past about Russian money in his businesses.
And, President Trump will be landing in South Korea tonight. Actually, he has just landed I`m told. And we`ll see if he has any comments.
O`DONNELL: OK. Grab your remote because you might have to turn up the volume because Jared Kushner is about to speak and Jared Kushner is one of the most unqualified White House staff members full of unqualified White House staff members. But he is without question, without question, publicly the shyest member of the Trump team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What was that? I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses. He was reading that. That was written for him by his lawyers.
That is one of the three sentences that you just heard, the other one was I had no improper contacts and the other one us I did not collude with Russia nor did I know anyone else in the campaign who colluded with Russia.
And we now have proof that one of those three sentences written by his lawyer is completely untrue. One out of three sentences from Jared Kushner`s I did not collude with Russia statement is not true. Documents leaked this weekend reveal that Kushner did rely on Russian funds for his start-up business he created with his brother received $850,000 in funding from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.
Leaked documents from the so-called Paradise Papers also reveal that Yuri Milner invested in both Facebook and Twitter with the help of money from state-run banks in Russia. This revelation comes as investigators try to figure out the role of social media played in spreading Russian generated fake information during the 2016 election.
Yuri Milner`s company released a statement saying its investments in Facebook and Twitter occurred in 2009 and 2011, when U.S./Russia relations were better and said it divested its position in Facebook in 2013 and twitter in 2014 well before the 2016 U.S. elections.
In an interview with "Bloomberg", Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower in June of 2016 says that Donald Trump Jr. indicated that a law targeting Russia could be reexamined if his father won the election and asked for her written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton`s campaign. This is similar to what she told NBC news this summer.
In response to the report, a White House lawyer tells NBC News this is yet another in a series of versions of the meeting from her, all of which confirm nothing was exchanged and there was no collusion.
Joining us now, John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, also with us, Max Boot, senior fellow for national security studies at Council on Foreign Relations, and a former foreign policy adviser for McCain, Romney and Rubio.
And, John Heilemann, you covered the Trump action and Trump world closely during the campaign. That`s Jared Kushner`s first step anywhere near politics. He`s in the White House driveway, reading a statement written by his lawyer. It says my businesses never relied on any Russian money, today, $850,000 of Russian money.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NBC NEWS AND MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. It`s an amazing thing. You think about -- you know, you talk to people close to the Trump campaign and there`s a whole constituency for Kushner that says the untold story of the campaign is just how influential Kushner was. They`ll lobby you on this point because you have people like Bannon, you have people like Brad Parscale, out on television saying, you know, I`m really the one who won this for Donald Trump.
People close for Kushner say, you know, for a guy who didn`t know anything about politics, he was really influential. In a way, I think it`s a --
O`DONNELL: What he did is just that word influence?
HEILEMANN: In the notion of, he always contacts in the digital world, he helped to design our targeting strategies, he helped win in the states we couldn`t help to win in. But the point I want to make about it is that they walk into these traps where normal people would be like, let`s distance ourselves from this, because this is a little hairy now. Instead, there`s a lot of braggadocio about how influential Kushner and sort of sets up these questions, as this whole thing now starts to focus more and more on him, I believe Ron Klain said in a previous segment that Flynn and Kushner would be the most dangerous indictments for Donald Trump.
The camera, we have -- we already settled the Flynn thing. He is getting indicted, right? So, now, the camera starts to focus on Kushner, and the people around him are constantly walking into traps of look at me, look at me. How influential I was. He goes to the White House lawn and says these things that no sensible person would say when you know probably by looking at your investment statements that you had that Russian money.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Max Boot, this indicates that Kushner is like his father-in-law, a terrible client because Kushner has solid Washington lawyers who would not write that statement for him if they knew that anything like this document existed that was revealed this weekend, $850,000 in Russian money.
MAX BOOT, FORMER ROMNEY FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR: Well, it`s quite probable, in fact, that the lawyers in this case are making the mistake of listening to their client just like Donald Trump`s lawyers are making the mistake of listening to him and so, you know, you hear this nonsense coming from Ty Cobb and the White House saying to get the facts throughout as quickly as possible. This investigation will be over in very short order once, you know, Mueller knows everything that we know. He will give us a clean bill of health and that will be it.
And I`m setting here thinking like, what is this guy smoking? I mean, there`s a good reason why Donald Trump is not being forthcoming in terms of all these connections to Russia, because he has stuff to hide. I mean, this is a headline of "The Washington Post" I was reading from yesterday saying at least nine people in Trump`s orbit has contacts with Russians in the campaign and transition, and that actually may be a low figure.
I think it may actually be more like 11 or 12. But almost everybody in the senior position of the Trump campaign had shady ties to Russia, while the campaign was going on. I mean, this is unprecedented.
Is there any other country to which they had these connections? Are they all tied to the Netherlands? To Great Britain? To Japan? To Brazil?
No. It`s all Russia. It all comes back do Russia. And, oh, lo and behold, Donald Trump is the most pro-Russian presidential candidate in American history. I mean, is this just a coincidence?
HEILEMANN: And now, we find out about Wilbur Ross, who`s not really particularly tied to the Trump campaign, but now we have cabinet secretaries who had very little connection to the campaign, but they`re now cabinet secretaries who turn out to have been lying about their connections of Russia.
O`DONNELL: Right. But we certainly knew that Wilbur Ross had massive worldwide holdings in all sorts of important industrial sectors. I want to go back to -- we have a father/son story in the Flynns. We have a president and son-in-law, father-in-law/son-in-law story in Donald Trump and Jared Kushner.
Talk about the dynamics of those two things, John, because it`s an odd thing for Donald Trump. Up until very recently, when they`re came this story that, oh, now, Donald Trump is blaming Jared Kushner for the bad advice on firing Comey, that it seemed like that it was only one person on earth who Donald Trump thought actually knew something and actually was worthy of his respect and worth listening to and oddly enough it was his son-in-law.
You don`t see that same kind of regard given to his own sons. You don`t feel it from our distance. Was that true during the campaign? And what could shake that if it was true?
HEILEMANN: Well, largely true during the campaign. I think you saw it earlier in the administration a little bit of the distance, too, when there was the war of Bannon and Kushner, where Trump did not fully side with Kushner. He basically went to both of them saying cut this out. This is not good for us. He didn`t sort of -- but eventually, obviously, Bannon left.
But there was a moment there where you sort of saw a shake, a tremor in the bonds of loyalty. I think in the end, there`s no one who`s not related by blood to Donald Trump who`s safe, and Jared Kushner is very safe until he`s not safe anymore and I mean, certain circumstances if it`s Donald Trump in his well being, his future in the office, and he had to throw his son-in- law under the bus, I don`t think he would hesitate.
LAWRENC O`DONNELL, MSNCB ANCHOR: Yes, if you want to know about Donald Trump`s loyalty to people through marriage, you have just two previous wives. You can ask about it. Max Boot and John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
Coming up, President Trump`s trip to Asia, what happens when President Trump asks the Japanese to please, please start manufacturing cars in the united states? Is anyone going to tell him that they already do? This is a live shot of the President`s plane landing in South Korea.
O`DONNELL: The President has just arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea as he continues the trip through Asia. President Trump will visit American troops in South Korea and meet South Korea`s President on Tuesday. North Korea`s state-run media issued a statement today saying no one can predict when the lunatic old man of the Whitehouse lost two senses, will start a nuclear war. Before leaving Japan today, President Trump said this about North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience is over. Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong. But look what`s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: According to Japanese media, Donald Trump has questioned Japan in conversations with other Asian leaders for not shooting down the North Korean missile that flew over Japan in August. According to the report, the President said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles. Japan`s Prime Minister was asked about that report today. But President Trump interrupted and spoke for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I could just take a piece of the Prime Minister`s answer. He will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States. He will easily shoot them out of the sky and we make the best military equipment by far. It`s a lot of jobs for us and a lot of safety for Japan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Rothkopf, Host of Deep State Radio and a visiting scholar at a Carnegie endowment for international peace. David, so much to talk about here but first of all, that comment of the era of strategic patience is over with North Korea, what is the alternative to patience?
DAVID ROTHKOPF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there is no alternative to patience. And I think one of the most interesting things was that the President`s own National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster, took the time to say just as the President was delivering remarks like these that he didn`t think that preemptive strikes against North Korea were a possibility. So if you can`t do preemptive strikes, you actually can`t have an alternative to strategic patience.
At the same time, by the way, we should note that a couple days ago the Department of Defense said that in order to deal with the North Korean nuclear weapons, we`d have to launch a land war which would cost hundreds of thousands of lives so it seems to me like the Department of Defense and the National Security Adviser are reining in the President because they`re afraid he`s going to say something reckless and insane because he keeps doing that.
O`DONNELL: David, apparently no one`s explained to the President why the nation of samurai warriors has not been shooting down missiles.
ROTHKOPF: Yeah. Well, there are a couple of problems with the President`s statement on this. Not the least of which is that shooting down these missiles doesn`t work very often and takes a lot of missiles to do it typically. And, you know, I just don`t think he really quite understands the technical issues that are involved here.
O`DONNELL: Not to mention that the historic demilitarization of Japan is something that the United States wanted after World War II. This was a region that we very deliberately wanted to keep demilitarized as long as possible.
ROTHKOPF: Yeah. Well, you know, I mean, remember, you know, Candidate Trump suggesting that perhaps the best thing would be for the Japanese to have their own nuclear capability so he`s not really grounded in history or reason.
O`DONNELL: But it`s so odd to me that these are index card sized talking points that you have time for on Air Force One flying across the pacific. if you didn`t know that it was the united states idea for Japan basically to not have a military, that`s something you could have learned somewhere between Hawaii and Japan. Go ahead, David.
ROTHKOPF: No, no. I was just going to say this has got to be the worst briefed President in history or he is the one who makes the least use of his briefings. This notion he offered up earlier today that maybe the Japanese ought to manufacture cars in the United States is one that actually came up, I don`t know, 30 years ago.
I was a trade official in the Clinton Administration 25 years ago. I know that it came up then. And the Japanese auto manufacturers have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States doing just that. You would think someone might have told him.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to his confusion about this today. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we love it when you build cars, if you`re Japanese firm, we love it. Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. That`s possible to ask? Is that rude? I don`t think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So David try building them there as if they have absolutely no idea how to do that. And of course, let`s remember what he`s doing. He`s in Japan and he`s saying, send your jobs to the United States. What if anyone from any foreign country came to the United States and said to Detroit, said to auto manufacturers in America, please make your cars in our country instead of here in the United States? Wouldn`t Donald Trump pull out -- turn off the microphone?
ROTHKOPF: I don`t know if anything could make him turn off his microphone but I certainly think we should try everything that might work like that. You know I think in terms of this particular issue, not only have the Japanese companies been trying this, but the data doesn`t work to support what the President is saying. In terms of jobs lost, manufacturing jobs lost, about 90 percent of the manufacturing jobs lost have gone to productivity, not to trade.
He is just talking to this very narrow slice of Americans that are his base who don`t care about facts. And it may seem very confusing to foreign leaders because he doesn`t make any sense. But he`s talking to a few Americans who live in a make believe world that dovetails with his interests and their interests and is about emotions and where facts play no role in it at all.
O`DONNELL: David, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
ROTHKOPF: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy responds to the National Rifle Association`s dismissal of the plague of mass murder in the United States.
O`DONNELL: Tonight Federal authorities are saying that the gunman who carried out this nation`s latest mass shooting this one in Texas was able to buy the weapons because the Air Force failed to report his 2012 domestic violence court-martial to a Federal Database used for background checks. The suspect was found guilty while in the Air Force of fracturing his baby stepson`s skull and an assaulting his first wife.
He was confined for a year and given a bad conduct discharge in 2014. The same year that he bought the first of four weapons. A former airman used one of those weapons to kill 26 people Sunday at a church in Sutherland springs, Texas. Here`s what president trump said today.
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TRUMP: We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn`t a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It`s a very, very sad event. It`s a -- these are great people. And a very, very sad event but that`s the way I view it.
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O`DONNELL: This is a mental health problem at the highest level. Yes, it is. In February President Trump signed a bill that made it easier for people with mental illnesses to buy guns. The new law nullified a regulation signed by President Obama that would have prevented about 75,000 people with mental health problems from buying guns. President Obama signed that resolution after the massacre of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut issued this statement after the shootings in Texas. The paralysis you feel right now, the impotent, helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen isn`t real. It`s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits. Senator Chris Murphy joins us next.
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TED CRUZ, UNITED STATES SENATOR: It is an unfortunate thing that the immediate place the media goes after any tragedy, any murder is politicizing it. We don`t need politics right now. You know, I would note in New York, we saw a terror attack just this week with a truck. Evil is evil is evil.
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O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Senator Chris Murphy. Senator Murphy, what`s your response to Senator Cruz?
CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR: Well, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Republicans were immediately talking about policy change in the wake of that attack in New York. It didn`t take Donald Trump more than a couple hours before he was telling us that we needed to change our immigration laws in order to protect our country. So there is a pretty tremendous double standard when it comes to the ability to talk about policy change in the wake of these attacks.
If you`re an immigrant, who attacks Americans, then we talk about policy change. If you`re born here in the United States, it doesn`t seem that we`re allowed to talk about how we make our country safer. The fact of the matter is, as you know, well, these epic scale mass shootings are the ones that capture the nation`s attention, there is on average a mass shooting every single day in this country.
There are 90 people who lose their lives from guns every single day. And so if this rule applied that Ted Cruz is trying to tell us about, that you can`t talk about policy change the day after a mass shooting, then you could never talk about policy change in this country. It`s absurd.
O`DONNELL: And everyone is in favor of some form of gun control. Ted Cruz agrees that machine guns should be banned, for example, and you know not everyone should be able to go out and buy antiaircraft weapons. So the gun control is not even a philosophical difference between the parties It`s what do you do within the possible regulations and restrictions, what do you restrict and what should you
MURPHY: Well, we`re talking about weapons, these Ar-15s that were designed for the military, designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. It`s not that these weapons just look different. They operate differently. The bullets coming out of the barrel travel sometimes at three times the speed of bullets that are coming out of a common pistol.
That does something to the inside of your body that is fundamentally different when it hits you. That`s the reason why not a single child in that school in Sandy Hook survived. And so it seems to me that for these guns that are designed to kill, that are designed for the military, they should be stay in the military`s hands. And you re right, we have always accepted common sense limitations, and accepted the idea behind these laws is not to completely guarantee that every single murder will be prevented by a piece of legislation.
It`s to reduce harm. Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz try to set up a standard for legislation which we don`t hold any other areas of law too. If you pass these common sense restrictions, background checks, bans on assault weapons, you would dramatically reduce the number of people who killed by guns.
O`DONNELL: And what about the Republican argument that you always keep coming up against, which is, you just mentioned it, that if it`s not perfect, if you do something where it doesn`t prevent every one of these problems, why try to prevent any of them. When you talk to your colleagues and they`re not on the Senate Floor and they`re not in a hearing room and they don`t have microphones in front of them, what is their real feeling about that?
MURPHY: So, you know, half of the Republicans I would say are real radicals on this issue. They really are, you know, gun control Darwinists. They essentially believe if you flood the country with guns, eventually the good guys will shoot the bad guys. But the other half of them do understand what the data tells you irrefutably, that in states and jurisdictions to make sure criminals don`t get guns,
That people with serious mental illness don`t get guns. They`re not willing to move in that direction because they`re afraid of the gun lobby which is why I keep on telling people, we`re engaged in a long-term social change movement. We have to become as strong as the gun lobby that won`t happen next year or the year after but five years from now, we`ll cause these Republicans who are voting against 90 percent of their constituents to pay a price at the polls. But that`s what`s going to take.
O`DONNELL: How do you get to there?
MURPHY: By making sure people stick with this movement. When I travel the country, supporting candidates that are in favor of background checks, I now see more and more volunteers coming down to headquarters that are motivated by this issue than ever before. The groups that work on this issue have more money to spend in races than ever before.
And so in 2016, one of the silver lings is that the races where the anti- gun violence movement was spending money, and pushing volunteers, we won the majority of the races that we played in. we just only had the resources to compete in about half as many races as the gun lobby did. We`ll get stronger year after year. But we need to make sure that people don`t get discouraged, that they understand that like many of these other major social change movements. There is failure, lots of them, before you achieve success.
O`DONNELL: Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it Senator.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Last Word.
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STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: A big 12-day diplomatic trip through Asia. He`ll be going to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam because I think those bone spurs have finally healed up. This is going to -- we don`t know. But have to cancel at the last moment.
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O`DONNELL: Now, that was Stephen`s Friday night show. Tonight`s Show, way better show, much, much, much better show, because Josh Gad is on, and my friend derek DelGaudio is on, great magician and I`m on Stephen Colbert`s Show tonight talking about my book of course. I got to run over there right now. That`s tonight`s Last Word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams is on right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11th HOUR ANCHOR: Tonight, developments on the Russia front involving Mueller, Flynn, Manafort and Gates. What they mean for a President facing new record low approval ratings. Plus Donald Trump in South Korea at this hour.
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