Trump called Sen. Warren "Pocahantas" Transcript 11/27/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Dan Rather. Joyce Vance, David Frum, Barney Frank

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 27, 2017 Guest: Dan Rather. Joyce Vance, David Frum, Barney Frank

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.

You know, Chris Hayes told me earlier tonight he believes he is now in charge of the 9:00 p.m. hour at MSNBC. But I believe it is written in law that you are in charge of the 9:00 p.m. hour --

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Yes.

O`DONNELL: -- at MSNBC.

MADDOW: And, you know, when Chris Hayes shows up here tomorrow at 9:00, I will tell you this I`m not going to leave him the office --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: I think Chris actually -- I think Chris can actually read that law that says that you are in charge of the 9:00 p.m. hour and I understand that he`s actually very happy in the 8:00 p.m. hour.

MADDOW: I got you to -- well, you know, I think that`s fair. A, I appreciate you starting this fight. B, I appreciate you taking my side.

But looking ahead to the thing tomorrow like, I got to say, if I thought I was running an agency and somebody else showed up and said they were running it, first of all, I would never leave the building. And second of all, I would make sure that I was there earlier than the next guy. Like, if I was Leandra English, I`d be at the CFPB tomorrow at 4:00 a.m.

O`DONNELL: Yes, as a former federal worker in Washington, I was wondering things like, so how did Mulvaney get an ID that get him into the building and unto the elevator? It is only Donald Trump`s Washington. We`ve never seen this one before.

MADDOW: It all gets weird in new ways every day.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: I expect to see you again tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m., which I believe you own here on MSNBC.

MADDOW: Dukes up, I`ll be there.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, man.

O`DONNELL: Well, we have known all that year that Michael Flynn has a story to tell and now one of the lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn met this morning with members of special prosecutor Robert Mueller`s team according to ABC News. The ABC news report did not actually cite any sources.

Now, if this report is true, this is very big development in the investigation. NBC News has not verified that report. That ABC report follows a report from "The New York Times" on Thanksgiving Day saying lawyers from Michael T. Flynn notified the president`s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel`s investigation, according to four people involved in the case, an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal.

Michael Flynn`s legal team had been sharing information with President Trump`s lawyers about the Mueller investigation as "The New York Times" explains, this is a common thing. Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.

"The Times" reports that President Trump`s lawyers now believe that, quote, Mr. Flynn who along with his son is seen as having significant criminal exposure has at the least begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating. In March of this year, Michael Flynn`s lawyer publicly advertised that Michael Flynn was willing to tell his story if he could get an immunity deal.

And once the special prosecutor appointed in May, the only immunity deal that mattered was an immunity deal with the special prosecutor. In March, Michael Flynn`s lawyer said General Flynn certainly has a story to tell. And he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.

And so, the question tonight is, do the circumstances now permit Michael Flynn to tell that story to special prosecutor Robert Mueller?

During the presidential campaign, Michael Flynn offered this insight as to what he thinks an immunity deal means.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When you are given immunity, that means that you have probably committed a crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Robert Mueller is investigating a private meeting Michael Flynn had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Jared Kushner during the presidential transition. Robert Mueller is also investigating other conversations between Michael Flynn and Russians, including one with the Russian ambassador as the Obama administration was unveiling sanctions in December against Russia in retaliation for interfering in the 2016 election.

Months after President Trump fired Michael Flynn, Trump was still praising him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This man has served for many years. He`s a general. He`s -- in my opinion, a very good person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, "The Washington Post" reports that Michael Flynn`s legal issues could be further complicated by a June 2015 trip to Egypt and Israel paid for by a U.S. company that hoped to build nuclear plants in the region in partnership with Russian interests.

Michael Flynn was advising that company. As "The Post" reports he apparently failed to disclose his ties to that effort. Quote: Congressional Democrats say that Flynn may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the Middle Eastern trip in his security clearance renewal application in 2016.

Joining us now, Joyce Vance, professor of University of Alabama School of Law and a former federal prosecutor. Also with us, David Frum, senior editor for "The Atlantic."

And, Professor Vance, what do you make of the new report of Michael Flynn`s counsel no longer cooperating with other defense counsel and the ABC report indicating that Michael Flynn`s counsel actually met today with special prosecutor Mueller`s team?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, taken together and if true, those two reports would seem to signal that Flynn has definitely withdrawn from a joint defense agreement. In fact, we hear from Trump`s lawyers that that joint defense agreement, which is an agreement that targets or subjects of an investigation, a conspiracy, will form together so that they can share information but retain its shielding from disclosure to the prosecution via the attorney/client privilege, typically, you have to withdraw from that type of an agreement once you begin to negotiate a plea deal, a cooperation deal, with prosecutors.

It looks like that`s what`s going on here. It`s just difficult to know whether it`s still being negotiated or whether it`s been firmed up.

O`DONNELL: And, David Frum, we have a report from "The New York Times" that indicates Michael Flynn may be more concerned with his son than is safe for the Trump administration. It says, Mr. Flynn is regarded as loyal to Mr. Trump but he has in recent weeks expressed serious concerns to friends that prosecutors will bring charges against his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who served as his father`s chief of staff and was part of several financial deals involving the elder Mr. Flynn that Mr. Mueller is scrutinizing.

And, David Frum, I don`t think you want someone trying to choose between his son and Donald Trump if you`re Donald Trump.

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Though Donald Trump might make a difference choice about his children.

O`DONNELL: Sure would.

FRUM: Here, the Flynn and Flynn Jr. relationship is very transparent. One of the things I -- I think a lot of people have had this question. The Trump/Flynn relationship is really baffling.

Think of this. Have you ever heard Donald Trump say anything nice about his Vice President m Michael Pence? Have you heard him say anything nice about his -- about any member of his cabinet? He sometimes has some nice things to say about James Mattis but not since he become as secretary. He doesn`t have anything nice to say about the secretary of state, he never has anything very nice to say even about the first lady of the United States, his wife.

And yet, for Michael Flynn, there`s praise after praise after praise. Now, maybe this is an exception to the rule that Donald Trump does not have warm, human feelings, but there is -- this is the big sort of pirate`s chest of mystery, the Trump/Flynn relationship. What is going on there? Because it`s something obviously, to borrow the president`s language, very, very special.

O`DONNELL: And, Professor Vance, I want to go to your experience as prosecutor. This is something, David just isolated something said I know prosecutors do pay attention to because there`s a certain assumption that there`s limited or no communication at this time like this between possible defendants, say possibly Donald Trump and Michael Flynn. But you become very interested in what communication you actually can pick up and it is very smart of Donald Trump in this limited context to be constantly praiseful of Michael Flynn -- in other words, to say nothing, to do nothing to in any way alienate Michael Flynn?

VANCE: What`s most interesting about the president`s efforts to keep Flynn on board is that he`s done it in a very public way. I don`t have any doubt that Bob Mueller has someone on his team who track these sorts of communications, whether they`re on Twitter or other kinds of public pronouncements and could they ultimately provide some evidence of intent, state of mind, even of obstruction? I think it`s premature to tell.

But certainly, this level of interaction has to be something that the president`s lawyers are telling him to avoid doing, because it really could come back to haunt him, and yet he seems drawn to do it again and again.

O`DONNELL: David Frum, from the very beginning of the year, say, starting in March, when this issue started to get worthy of serious investigation, it seemed very clear that Michael Flynn was the most vulnerable person in the Trump administration to possible criminal investigation, criminal indictment. And yet, here we are at this distance into it and it does seem as though this White House gets surprised by the obvious -- the ultimate indictment of Paul Manafort after there was a raid at his home which indicated this was imminent. They still seem surprised when what seems inevitable actually happens.

FRUM: Well, their lawyer Ty Cobb is endlessly assuring them that this investigation doesn`t have much longer to go, that everything at a happy resolution for them. And I don`t know what Ty Cobb -- whether that`s Ty Cobb`s client management or whether Ty Cobb believes it or whether maybe he does have information, although federal prosecutors are not normally in the habit we`re not about to indict you or we are on the verge of closing the investigation.

But I want to point to something and this is a point you have often made, Lawrence, about remember -- this all started with Michael Flynn having a conversation with Russian ambassador but not renewing sanctions in a Trump administration. The Senate has voted overwhelmingly. The Congress voted overwhelmingly to re-impose the sanctions, and yet, the president used the discretion to not allow them to go forward, to prevent them. They are not in effect even now, at almost at the beginning of December.

Michael Flynn`s promise to the Russian ambassador was honored. There is something here that is more than just a legal story. There`s also a big foreign policy story.

O`DONNELL: Joyce, that`s such an interesting point that David makes. Are prosecutors looking at that? Are they actually looking at the policy choices that the president is making that are within his legal discretion but do seem to favor Russia? Do they look at that as they`re investigating the possibility of Russian influence?

VANCE: They have to be doing that. David makes a really good point and I think the ultimate impact of what he`s saying is, are we looking with Flynn just at a failure to register or is there something far more involved, more detrimental to U.S. interests here? Could there, in fact, be some sort of a quid pro quo that impacted policy in the United States?

You know, one place that Mueller`s team starts I suspect is Sally Yates` very carefully tailored public testimony in which she bent over backwards to avoid disclosing anything that was classified but repeatedly referred to Flynn as being compromised. And that suggests that there`s something here to look at and that that those policy choices may, in fact, be evidence of an agreement that was previously made with a foreign government.

O`DONNELL: And, David Frum, should Donald Trump be questioned about this by the special prosecutor at some point he would be -- could be asked about his conversations with Barack Obama who as president was saying to Donald Trump, don`t hire this guy. The one piece of personnel advice is, do not hire Michael Flynn.

FRUM: Well, Gerald Ford volunteered to testify to Congress. George W. Bush spoke voluntarily to the 9/11 Commission. It`s always a complicated question whether you can force a president to talk, but presidents have historically when it came time volunteered to talk and it will be an interesting question whether Donald Trump volunteers.

O`DONNELL: David Frum and Joyce Vance, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

FRUM: Thank you.

VANCE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, only in Donald Trump`s Washington could you have two people thinking they were in charge of the same federal agency on the same day. Barney Frank, whose legislation created that agency, joins us next.

And, President Trump has managed to revive the "Access Hollywood" video that came out during the campaign showing him boasting about his favorite methods of sexual assault and even "Access Hollywood" had to do a special comment on their show tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Only in Donald Trump`s Washington could two people each believe that each of them is the head of the same federal agency on the same day. That happened today when the president sent his budget director to work as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is in the business of doing what its title suggests -- protecting consumers. The job became vacant on Friday when the director Obama appointee Richard Cordray suddenly resigned in what appears to be preparations for a campaign for governor of Ohio.

According to the law that established the Consumer Protection Bureau, such a vacancy should be filled by the deputy director, Leandra English, just before resigning on Friday, Cordray promoted Leandra English to the position of deputy director, with the expectation that she would become acting director when he left. The Trump administration is citing a 1998 law that allows the president in some cases to designate acting directors of federal agencies simply by choosing virtually anyone who is already working in the administration.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was an original advocate of the very idea of a consumer protection bureau, said this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Dodd/Frank was written to provide its own succession plan and that was a decision for Congress to make. Not for the president to make, but for Congress to make. So, the statute is very clear. It says that there`s a director and if the director is unavailable, the deputy director becomes the acting director. Done. There`s no vacancy here for the president to be able to fill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Joining us now, the co-author of Dodd/Frank, Barney Frank, former congressman of Massachusetts, former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

So, can you settle this for us? Who`s right? Whose job is this?

BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, we clearly intended it to be -- I think English at this point. The context is very important. When we created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we took consumer protection from all the other bank agencies, consumer protection was an afterthought to the main issue of every other bank agency. Counter- intuitively, the federal bank regulator that had the most statute authority was the Federal Reserve. I think highly of what they have done in many areas but no, they`re not up there to protect the people from being diddled by Wells Fargo. That`s not what motivates them.

O`DONNELL: They don`t have contact with consumers.

FRANK: Well, they have a consumer bureau but it`s -- look, we asked them at one hearing when some of them contesting this, we tried to review the record. There was no evidence that consumer matters have ever been discussed at a meeting of the Federal Reserve board of governors. This seemed fairly conclusive.

O`DONNELL: Right.

FRANK: So, we wanted to set up this agency, but we understood that it would be facing enormous political pressures. And, by the way, we were following a precedent.

The fact is that the right wing just hates the idea of consumer protection. They hate it because of what it does, but they exaggerate it. It`s ideological with them, Lawrence. It`s -- these are people to whom the idea that there could be flaws in capitalism is deeply disturbing.

Dick Durbin, who`s been a great leader on the issue, said they hate it like the devil hates holy water. That`s a very good analogy.

O`DONNELL: Do they believe in your private conversations with them that bankers are honorable men?

FRANK: Yes. They want to do well. They are trying. And they also believe that you`re paid too high a price if you try to stop the mistakes because good things won`t happen.

But that, by the way -- so, all of the bank agencies have this independence. The control of the currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve. None of them are subject to appropriation and none of them are headed by people who go out of office when the president changes.

Despite that, the right wing, they have never in all the years I know complained about the control of the currency which is structured very much like the consumer bureau. This is cover for their dislike of the consumer bureau.

So, then they argue, you know what? Because it`s not subject to appropriation, it`s out of control. You heard that.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Out of control.

FRANK: What you haven`t heard, I worked hard for this, is a single example that they give of misbehavior by that agency. They cannot give you a single horror story. You know. You have been in the business a long time.

When you`re trying to make change, you give examples of why change is needed. There was not a single example they have given of misbehavior by the consumer bureau and the reason is that anything they would bring up about the consumer bureau would be overwhelmingly popular, whether it`s credit card abuse or overcharging people on the student loans and that`s what`s here.

You know, I`m thinking about this more and talking about it all day, and this is the key piece. Yes, it is true that Richard Cordray would be replaced if he stayed on in April. But people said is this a fight about a few months?

No. Here`s the deal. Under the statute -- we wrote the statute to give it some independence. We wrote the statute so that it could not be pulled apart by bank pressures. And it said that if there is a vacancy, there would be a vacancy after five years when the term expires, the president fill it at that point but only if he appointed someone who was confirmed by the Senate. That`s the key.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

FRANK: The fact -- the fight is whether there should be an acting director to go on forever without Senate confirmation. And here`s the point. The Senate Republicans have been willing -- confirmed Ben Carson, you would confirm anybody almost you would think, except the consumer bureau is too popular. It`s not just that no Democrat would vote to confirm someone against it. Senator Susan Collins, Republican, voted for the bureau.

I don`t think Senate Republicans want to vote for a Mick Mulvaney type to destroy the agency. So, that`s what`s at stake here.

O`DONNELL: So, you see this as a play not temporary. You see this as the Trump administration has no intention of actually trying to get someone confirmed to this?

FRANK: I think they accept the fact that getting -- just thought about this as I was -- as I was talking about this during the day. That`s why it`s such a ferocious fight.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

FRANK: If it is our way, there`s an acting director until the Senate confirms a replacement. The Trump way is that he can nominate someone who would be unacceptable and not be confirmed and that would be OK because he can have the acting director there.

So, this is a fight as to whether or not the president can put a dedicated opponent, Mulvaney hates the bureau (ph) -- by the way, as you know, now trying to do the budget. They`re trying to -- the notion that the budget director on his lunch hour wants to --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Right.

FRANK: It just shows how little they think of it. But the key point was this. What they are fighting for is the right to have their acting director not subject to Senate confirmation for the rest of this term because they -- I think, understand that they could not get confirmed the kind of chairman, the director they want.

O`DONNELL: That makes terrible sense to me. We`re going to have to leave it there. So, it`s in court and see what the federal court in Washington says about who really is the director.

Barney Frank, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

FRANK: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it.

Coming up, Donald Trump is trying to tell some people they did not see what they did see and they did not hear what they did hear on the "Access Hollywood" video in which he boasts about his favorite methods of sexual assault.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: There are only 15 days left in the campaign for special election for Senate seat in Alabama and so for, of course, the candidates want to use every one of those precious days. But for the last 11 days, the Republican Party`s nominee Roy Moore has not said a word in public. Eleven precious campaign days and the special election campaign spent in fearful silence now that he`s been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, among other things.

But tonight, in Alabama, Roy Moore finally took his campaign public once again and he sounded like a campaigner in need of a speechwriter. One hint to Roy Moore: Do not -- do not make any reference to taking off any clothes and I mean any clothes at all including your gloves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m going to take off some gloves and show the truth in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

I`m a fighter. I don`t hesitate to say that. That`s what I did all my life. I fight not only physically, boxing and karate and full contact, I fought in political arenas in a different way. Now, I`m having to fight a spiritual battle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Full contact.

If you`re hoping for a Roy Moore policy speech, tonight was not the night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: This is simply dirty politics. And it`s a sign of the immorality - -

(APPLAUSE)

It`s a sign of the immorality of our time.

They certainly don`t know how to talk about morality. That`s why we`re having dirtiness in campaigns. To be great again, we got to be good again. To be good again, we have to talk about something that politicians don`t talk about and that`s morality, the definition of right and wrong.

(END VIDOE CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Actually, a lot of politicians have been talking about the definition of right and wrong and most of the Republican politicians who have talked about the Alabama campaign say that Roy Moore is wrong.

And one Republican Senator Jeff Flake has said that he would vote for the Democratic candidate Doug Jones if he was forced to make that choice.

But now, Alabama has a third option, retired Marine Colonel Lee Busby says he is launching a write-in campaign. Lee Busby was Vice Chief of staff to President Trump`s current Chief of Staff, the Former General John Kelly.

Lee Busby says that he is a Trump voter who doesn`t believe that either of the current candidates are qualified to serve in the Senate. He told Washington Post, I think you can flip this thing. If this is a military option, the right and left flank are heavily guarded. I think that gives you an opportunity to run straight up the middle and Lee Busby said this about the allegations against Roy Moore.

It has created enough distaste in my mind, he said, as a voter, I don`t need to get to the bottom of it. Donald Trump is supporting Roy Moore by Tweeting as many lies as he can think of about Democratic challenger Doug Jones. a New York Times report says that President Trump sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now famous Access Hollywood tape of which he boasted about grabbing women`s genetelia and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after.

He suggested to a Senator earlier this year that it was not authentic and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently. In the hours after it was revealed in October 2016, Mr. Trump acknowledged that the voice was his and he apologized. The only thing Donald Trump has ever apologized for was what he was caught saying on the Access Hollywood video. And in his apology he confirmed what we all saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears and that was Donald Trump talking. He then said that it was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago and then he released a video saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I`ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There he is admitting his words. Access Hollywood actually addressed the tape on their show tonight saying let us make this perfectly clear. The tape is very real. Remember his excuse at the time was locker room talk.

He said every one of those words. Up next, Dan Rather joins us after the strangest Thanksgiving weekend in Presidential History

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Here`s candidate Donald Trump apologizing for the Access Hollywood video which he is now trying to tell some people is fake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This was locker room talk. I`m not proud of it. I apologized to my family. I apologized to the American people. Certainly, I`m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Dan Rather who thought he`d seen everything until this weekend. He is the former anchor of CBS Evening News. He`s currently host of the Big Interview and author of the new book What Unites Us, Reflections on Patriotism. Dan, thank you very much for being here.

DAN RATHER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: thank you.

O`DONNELL: And this is a space that is -- this takes Trumpian pathological lying to a new place the idea that he`s publicly apologized for these words --

RATHER: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Several times last year. Now, trying to say it never happened.

RATHER: Well, this is why I keep saying it`s true. This is not normal. We`re better than this. We as a people are better than this to accept this at all.

Look, previous Presidents have made big mistakes. Yes, Presidents sometimes have lied. But none has so relentlessly, consistently lies and I use the word measured as this President has done and here`s proof positive. But there`s something within Donald Trump that has convinced him no doubt the election itself that he can get away with it, that he can say a few months ago I apologized for it, locker room talk.

And then begin saying, well, you know, maybe they -- in essence they doctored the tape. I was interested that the company which put out tonight saying the tape is what the tape is. We`ve moved into at least President Trump is trying to move us into an Orwellian space where truth doesn`t matter and the opposite of truth is truth. Now for any thinking person, person who voted for Donald Trump or somebody who cannot stand the Democratic Party, whatever, and you have to see this clearly that if we ever move into completely into the post truth political era, an era where facts don`t matter, what somebody said before doesn`t matter, then we`re in deeper trouble than we imagine.

But we haven`t reached that point yet. I have such confidence in the American people, Lawrence, that I think people see through this. Now that begs the question then, why does roughly a third, better than a third of the country continue to stick with him? And I don`t have an answer to that question.

O`DONNELL: Well a lot has to do with when I talked to Trump voters because I know of Trump voters who would agree with us about the Access Hollywood video and Trump`s response to it now but would say, look. Neil Gorsuch is most important the thing the president could have done. And that`s want - I want that Supreme Court Justice. And so I`ve heard that kind of defense of him.

I want to go to something he said that I know you`re concerned about, about the news media this weekend, because takes -- he keeps finding new heights in this kind of thing. He did a tweet on Saturday saying, Fox News much more important in the United States than CNN. But outside of the U.S. CNN International is still a major source of fake news. And they represent our nation to the world very poorly.

The outside world does not see the truth from them. That provoked something that we have also never seen before. General Michael Haden, former Director of Cia and the NSA saying, if this is who we are and who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.

RATHER: This is not who we are. It is not who we`re becoming. We are better than this. It may be hard to see at this moment. But no President is stronger than the people of the country as a whole. The tone and tenor of this presidency is -- there`s no other word for it, awful.

I think the public`s aching for, even people opposed to President Trump for his political affiliation and his policy matters would say, we are looking for a president, we expect a president to be sensitive, to be knowledgeable, to be caring. You don`t get that. You call this the worst weekend for any president in the history of the country. And I haven`t checked all the way back -

O`DONNELL: Worst Thanksgiving weekend.

RATHER: The worst Thanksgiving weekend. I think that`s probably true.

O`DONNELL: When you consider what other Presidents have done, including visit troops and feed them Thanksgiving dinner, you look at what he`s doing with these crazy Tweets on that weekend.

RATHER: Well, and this business the Whitehouse today where it was designed to honor the Navajo people who helped break the code in World War II.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

RATHER: It`s supposed to be about them. Instead he takes it all and uses a child-like and derogatory term to describe a political opponent, Senator Warren. But I keep coming back Lawrence. We are better than this in.

O`DONNELL: Well the polls indicate that. There`s a vast majority disapproval for the things we are talking about tonight in the polls.

RATHER: Well, and I think that trend will continue unless he changes and I am now convinced - I had hope when he first came in that he would make at least some shift toward being President of all the people. But we are now almost a year into his presidency, not quite and it`s very obvious he is not going to change.

O`DONNELL: Can I go back to the use of the word lie because you have been at this business long enough to know how important that word is in news communication. I`m thinking to your of your coverage of the Nixon administration ending in a resignation of by the President on the verge of impeachment. I was in college I guess for the beginning of that and for the end of that. And I don`t remember the use of the word lie. I mean, I think it came out only when proven in under oath testimony of a lie. That`s the only time I can remember in the New York Times or you referring to something that the president has said as a lie

RATHER: Even during that time, I don`t recall the word lie being used. I don`t recall using it. I don`t recall anybody at CBS News using it.

O`DONNELL: Yeah.

RATHER: And I think it does tell you how the presidency that again the tone and tenor has gone down to the point now that early on I did say and without apology we should start calling a lie an outright lie. Even during the Nixon time it was words like untruth, sophistry was sometimes used. But the word lie was considered I would say most legitimate news operations steered away from it.

O`DONNELL: Well, it`s a hard word to prove except in the case of Donald Trump where it`s easy to prove.

RATHER: I was going to say. A very hard word because you can tell something is not true but if you believe it to be true it`s not a lie.

O`DONNELL: Right.

RATHER: But with President Trump, but the unrelenting, the consistent lying, commands a different standard for today.

O`DONNELL: It does. Dan Rather, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it, really great to have you here. The book is called What Unites Us in bookstores everywhere. And I know because I`m in bookstores these days and I see that book everywhere.

Coming up, how Donald Trump ruined a Whitehouse photo-op that was supposed to honor Native American soldiers and he did it by throwing in as Dan just said his favorite insult of about Elizabeth Warren.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is a country where we speak English.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Peter McDonald is 90 years old. He joined the marines when he was 15 years old and saw action in World War II in the pacific. The Whitehouse staff invited Peter McDonald to the Whitehouse today to tell his story and the story of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. It would have been a wonderful moment at the white house if Donald Trump didn`t show up and ruin it and completely drown out what could have been the coverage of Peter Mcdonald`s message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER MCDONALD, NAVAJO CODE TALKER: In the early part of World War II, the enemy was breaking every military code that was being used in the pacific. This created a huge problem for strategizing against the enemy. Eventually a suggestion was made in early 1942, February `42 essentially, to use Navajo language as a code. Marine Corps recruited 29 young Navajos. Not telling them what they are being recruited for because this was a top secret operation. They were just asked, do you want to join the marines? You want to fight the enemy? Come join the marines. So they volunteered.

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O`DONNELL: Peter McDonald was one of the Navajo Marines. With him at the Whitehouse is Fleming Begaye, the oldest veteran of World War II. He was wounded in the battle -- in battle in the pacific and spent a year in a Naval Hospital, also at the Whitehouse, Thomas Begaye who was in the battle of Iwo Jima. He reenlisted in the army during the Korean War and saw combat there. They were the three members of the Navajo Code Talkers who were at the Whitehouse today. Peter McDonald told the story of the first battle that used Navajo Code Talkers for radio communication during combat.

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MCDONALD: First marine division hit the beach on -- beaches of Guadalcanal with 15 Navajo Code Talkers. This was the first battle where the Navajo Code was to be tested in actual battle. To test, see how our memory would be under heavy enemy fire. Well, three weeks after the landing, General Vandegrift, Commander of the First Marine Division send word back to United States saying this Navajo Code is terrific. The enemy never understood it. He said we don`t understand it either but it works. Send us some more Navajos.

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O`DONNELL: All of that got lost in the media`s coverage of the Trump moment that happened after Peter McDonald finished speaking.

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TRUMP: You were here long before any of us we`re here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.

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O`DONNELL: they do not call her that. Only you call her that. That was Donald Trump`s sleazy, cowardly way of not taking ownership of his own hateful poison.

We know that`s the name that Donald Trump alone uses for the Senior Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren who is from Oklahoma and says she has a small fraction of her ancestry that is Native American. And we know that is the female Native American name that Donald Trump has ever heard. And I heard because we know Donald Trump has never read anything about Pocahontas, has never read anything about her actual place in our history in virginia.

We know Donald Trump intends to use that word as an insult. This was Elizabeth Warren`s reaction tonight on MSNBC.

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ELIZABETH WARREN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: All the President had to do was make it through this ceremony and honor these wonderful people. And instead, what did he do? He had to slow out a racial slur.

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O`DONNELL: Donald Trump did not say one sincere word at what for him was the Navajo Code Talkers Photo Opt. It should have been moment for Donald Trump to reconsider statements like this.

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TRUMP: This is a country where we speak English.

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O`DONNELL: Does Donald Trump think that Navajo is a foreign language? It`s not English and it`s not foreign. It was here before English. It was here when every one who spoke English thought that the world was flat.

Along with the savagery and genocide that the United States inflicted on the tribes, the government also tried to extinguish tribal culture, tribal religion and tribal languages. In some areas use of tribal languages was illegal. But because the spirit of the tribes could not be extinguished the language survived and the Navajo language was used to save the lives of American soldiers in World War II serving in the very same army that spent most of it`s time prior to World War I trying to wipe out the tribes.

Think of the transcendent nobility and graciousness it would take for Navajo teen-age boys to join the marines during World War II to save American soldiers` lives in battle. Peter McDonald said something today in the Whitehouse that we know the President would never say. It was unlike anything that Donald Trump, the President supported by white supremacists, the ant anti-diversity president could ever think or say.

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MCDONALD: America we know is composed of diverse community. We have different languages, different skills, different talents and different religion. But when our way of life is threatened, like the freedom and liberties that we all cherish, we come together as one. And had we come together as one, we are invincible

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DAVID LETTERMAN, TELEVISION HOST: And here I am tonight receiving this award and I ask myself how did this happen? And I`ll tell you how it happened. It wasn`t because of me. it was because of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who helped me.

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O`DONNELL: That was a bit of David Letterman`s acceptance speech for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center which I saw on PBS this weekend. And it is the perfect introduction to Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is the day when we instead of shopping for Christmas gift or deals for ourselves, we take a pause in all of that for a day and consider giving to a good cause.

MSNBC is the signature media partner for Giving Tuesday for the 4th year in a row. And we here at the Last Word had found a way to combine your holiday shopping with your charitable giving on Giving Tuesday or any other day. Faithful viewers of this program know that I`m talking about the KIND Fund, Kids in Need of Desk, the partnership I created with UNICEF to deliver desks to schools in Malawi where the kids have never seen desks.

You can go to lastworddesks.msnbc.com and give a desk in the name of any one in your holiday gift list. And UNICEF will send that person a notification of the gift that you have given in their name. You can choose to contribute any amount toward the purchase of a desk or tuition for girls to attend high school in Malawi where like most African countries public elementary school is free. But high school is not free.

And most families cannot to afford the tuition for a single child. When a family can afford to pay for high school tuition they are more likely to send a son to high school than a daughter. The high school graduation rate for boy in Malawi has double the graduation rate for girls.

So I got to spend about half hour tomorrow morning when I wake up on the laptop giving desks and tuition in the names of people on my gift list. And maybe when I think of other names when I`m doing it it`ll end up being an hour. And David Letterman has already told you exactly what that will feel like.

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LETTERMAN: I would just like to say we have to help each other or nothing will happen. And if you help someone in any way, big or small, automatically you will feel good about yourself.

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O`DONNELL: David Letterman gets tonight`s Last Word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.

END

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