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Senate votes to begin debate on tax bill Transcript 11/29/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Ron Klain, Daniel Dale, Lance Dodes, Lawrence Summers

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 29, 2017 Guest: Ron Klain, Daniel Dale, Lance Dodes, Lawrence Summers


Rachel, you know, I was in Philadelphia last night and you have a bunch of fans there and you know your name comes up whenever I`m on these book events, talking about the book.

And let me just tell you if you get to Philadelphia, you will have crowds around the corner. You are loved there.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: You know, I used to live in Philly. I had a very good time living a mostly feral existence in West Philadelphia at a time in my life. So, when I go back I`ll probably have to wear a disguise.

O`DONNELL: I don`t want to scare you, Rachel, but there are people who remember that. They remember that, and they come to my little book thing and so, I`ve got some stories.

MADDOW: All right. Witness protection is calling. Got to go.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, today, the president went to Missouri to insult a senator. Actually, his mission was to try to convince the senator to vote for his tax bill. But when you send Donald Trump to do a president`s job, do not be surprised if he has no idea what to do or what to say.

This afternoon, the Senate voted 52-48 along party lines to proceed with consideration of the Republican tax bill. That`s a procedural vote that moves it forward. The motion needed just a simple majority to pass.

The Senate will now begin a period of debate lasting up to 20 hours, then the Senate will begin a series of votes on amendments before the legislation then moves to a vote on Senate passage. After that, the Senate bill will have to be reconciled with the bill from the House of Representatives in a conference committee so we could have several weeks ahead of us in this process.

The president went to St. Charles, Missouri, today to try to put pressure on Missouri`s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to vote for the bill.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Claire McCaskill -- have you ever heard of her? -- is doing you a tremendous disservice. She wants your taxes to go up.

She`s weak on crime. She`s weak on borders. She`s weak on illegal immigration, and she`s weak on the military. Other than that I think she`s doing a fantastic job.


O`DONNELL: So, Donald Trump tries to get Claire McCaskill`s vote by lying about her, by lying that she wants taxes to go up. She does not. And then he lies that she`s weak on crime.

Claire McCaskill is a former prosecutor who specialized in among other things sex crimes -- the kind of thing Donald Trump`s candidate for Senate in Alabama is accused of doing with a fourteen-year-old girl. And there is no politician in Washington who is weaker on crime than Donald Trump, especially when it comes to sex crimes. He is the only politician in Washington who is trying to elect a man accused of sex crimes with a 14- year-old girl to the United States Senate. That`s weak on crime.

Claire McCaskill is not weak on borders or weak on illegal immigration. She is not weak on the military as Donald Trump accused her of being in his string of lies, and she is strong on resisting the lies and the policies of Donald Trump. That string of lies was supposed to persuade Claire McCaskill to vote for the worst tax legislation in history.

She voted against the Trump tax bill in the Senate Finance Committee already and that was not a politically easy thing to do in a state where Donald Trump won 57-38.

The most ignorant president in history is the most ignorant person in Washington about his own tax bill and how a bill becomes a law.


TRUMP: The big day will be either tomorrow or the next day. I would say do it now. We`re ready. I said to the Republicans, I don`t need to tell you, these are good people, they really want to and I know they get hit hard, the senators, the congressmen, but they`re all working hard.

It`s not so easy. It`s complicated stuff. It`s not so easy, but we had an incredible session yesterday and I think we`re there.

That`s why I said, let`s do -- can we do the vote today? What do I know? I`m a business guy, can we do the vote now?


O`DONNELL: What do I know? I`m a business guy. Very well put. What does he know? He doesn`t know much?

And so, he is the first president in history who actually promised not to veto his own bill.


TRUMP: If they sent it to my desk, I promise all of the people in this room, my friends, so many friends in this room it`s a great state -- I promise you I will sign it. I promise. I will not veto that bill. There will be no veto.


O`DONNELL: You can rewind that at home and show the kids presidential history being made right there, the very first president who actually thinks he has to promise not to veto his own bill.

Donald Trump is the first president in the lifetimes of most Americans who is trying to pass tax legislation without first having publicly revealed his own tax returns, so that voters can judge just how much the president is acting in his own interest. The president addressed that question today and he began with one of those repeated Trump phrases that always means the words after this will be lies, and that Trump catchphrase is of course -- in all fairness.


TRUMP: In all fairness, this is going to cost me a fortune this thing. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. This is not good for me. Me, it`s not -- so I have some very wealthy friends not so happy with me, but that`s OK.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ron Klain former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and Al Gore, and a former senior aide to President Obama. Also with us, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star". And Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.

And, Ron Klain, I just want to talk about the politics of today`s event. It was located in Missouri because there`s a Democratic senator in Missouri who you would normally, in normal political conditions, have a very good chance of getting to vote for tax cuts. And as we`ve seen in all previous Republican tax cut drives, they always pick up Democratic votes. There are always senators in states that are -- that tend to lean toward Republicans House members who could easily be unseated by a Republican, they always tend to go and vote for the Republican tax cut bill. And so far, not one Democrat and Claire McCaskill does not seem troubled by Donald Trump`s visit there today.

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Nor should she. Look, this isn`t a Republican tax bill. Republican tax bill like George Bush passed 15 years ago gave 20 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent. This gives 62 percent of the benefits from the top 1 percent.

This is the kind of tax bill that they pass in a Latin-American regime to benefit the great ruler and his family and, of course, it will. Trump will and his family will probably benefit a billion dollars from this bill. We don`t know exactly how much, we haven`t seen his tax returns. His richest friends, all the benefits go to them. There`s no pressure on Claire McCaskill to vote for this piece of garbage, and Donald Trump going to Missouri and insulting her certainly isn`t going to help that effort at all.

O`DONNELL: And we have a new poll out on this Republican tax plan. Do you support the Republican tax plan? Support 28.9 percent, oppose, 49.4 percent, and don`t know, 21.7 percent.

And, Gene Robinson, that`s the kind of poll it`s very easy for politicians to read. It`s awfully hard to put pressure on a senator to vote for that.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it`s impossible basically. You can`t -- you can`t do it.

Look, this bill is popular only among rich Republican donors. That`s who loves this bill and because they love it and because they control the purse strings, Republicans are going to vote for it. But there`s no reason any Democrats should.

So, Claire McCaskill is not moved by the president`s visit. Joe Manchin, another sort of more conservative Democrat from West Virginia, somebody would think you might have a chance to pick off on a bill like this, it`s not going to happen.

And, you know, I think my friend Ron Klain -- actually, that was a slur against banana republics. I mean, they passed better tax bill. I covered banana republics. They have better tax policy than this.

O`DONNELL: Here`s what the president said today about the half of the country, 49.4 percent of the country that opposes the tax plan.

The only people who don`t like the tax cut bill are the people who that don`t understand it or the obstructionist Democrats that know how really good it is and do not want the credit and success to go to the Republicans.

And, Daniel Dale, that`s a guy who has twenty eight point nine percent support for his idea.

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE TORONTO STAR: Yes. Well, in saying that he`s insulting many of his own voters because many of them don`t like it either. You know, I do as you know a lot of fact checking of Trump, and people ask me a lot, do facts still matter? Does truth still matter?

I think what you see in the polling of this bill, you saw in the polling of their repeal and replace plan for Obamacare, is that on policy matters, facts are getting through. So, no matter how much Trump calls a health bill or tax bill wonderful the best ever fantastic for everyone, going to put money in your pocket, you know, people just aren`t buying it. They`re seeing through his nonsense and that and the nonsense coming from much of the Republican leadership.

O`DONNELL: I want to get to some of the other extraordinary things that the president said in this speech today which leave people wondering about exactly how his mind works. We`re going to have more on that later in the program.

And here is his assessment of his first months in office and how much he has accomplished in his first months in office. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: I will tell you this in a non-braggadocios way, there has never been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished. That I can tell you, that I can tell you.



O`DONNELL: So, Ron, that`s absolutely true, there`s never 10-month president who has accomplished less.

KLAIN: You know, in all fairness, Lawrence, I have to say that there`s a lot of truth to that. I don`t know any 10-month president who`s had David Duke praised his tweets. I don`t know any 10-month president who had Theresa May today tell him he was destabilizing Western Europe.

So, there are extraordinary accomplishments of this Trump presidency, but what there aren`t, are jobs created, aren`t passing bills to actually improve health care of the country, there`s no infrastructure plan like he promised. The things he said he would do he hasn`t done, the craziness he has done, and that is an extraordinary record for ten months, in all braggadociosness.


And, Gene, there`s an insult to the audience`s intelligence in that kind of comment.

ROBINSON: Yes, there is. And look, he loves to preach to the choir. He loves to preach to his base and there, you know, much of his base knows what the facts are but might want to stick with him anyhow for various reasons and we could go into them and in another segment.

So, but he loves to speak to the people who were with him hell or high water. That`s not a majority of Americans. That`s maybe 30 percent. You know, it`s just a solid base and you don`t govern the country that way and you don`t get legislation -- meaningful legislation passed that way. You don`t build consensus that way.

And that`s why he has so few accomplishments -- basically between few and none.

O`DONNELL: And so, the speechwriters today made the mistake of putting the word rocket in the middle of a passage that the president was supposed to read about how the tax cuts are the rocket fuel of the American economy, and because they were dealing with the fragile unfocused mind of Donald Trump, look what happened when he discovered that word rocket in front of him. Let`s watch this.


TRUMP: Small business groups across our nation, retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, grocers, contractors, support this plan -- we have tremendous support for this plan, tremendous, because these massive tax cuts will be rocket fuel --


Little rocket man. Rocket fuel for the American economy.

He is a sick puppy.


O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, the sick puppy at the microphone is someone who the White House speechwriters cannot trust with the word rocket in the teleprompter. They didn`t they know that before today?

DALE: They need a list of bans -- banned words --

O`DONNELL: But so great to watch him, you can see him on the screen there where he discovers the word rocket in the teleprompter, and you watched the mind stop right there, incapable of going through the rest of the sentence.

DALE: He was having a lot of fun in that moment, Lawrence.

I think honestly what in all seriousness, what this shows is that, you know, he cannot get himself to care as much as any other president has ever cared about the things that president care about. So, he goes to make his speech the purpose of which is to sell a tax plan. But he wants to talk about everything else. He wants to insult Claire McCaskill. He wants to talk her into a Korea. He wants to tout a currently imaginary welfare reform plan that no one really knows anything about.

And so, he cannot stay focused for the length of time necessary to make a thorough, comprehensive, cogent pitch for the policy that his aides want him to be selling.

O`DONNELL: Ron, that`s such an important point. I mean, when you hear people talking so boringly in the past about presidents staying on message, your politicians staying on message, and when they`re out there selling legislation, they`re carefully choosing every word.

And Daniel makes the point that I think is quite valid that Donald Trump doesn`t have the patience for that, he absolutely demonstrably does not care, he actually does not care enough about passing this bill to discipline his language even for one speech.

KLAIN: Yes, we got to hope that the White House speech writers don`t put the phrase red button in any of those speeches any time soon. Look, I think -- you made this point earlier Lawrence he doesn`t care and more troublingly in some ways, he doesn`t really know what`s in this tax bill.

That`s why he`s so ineffective selling it. You can`t sell something if you don`t know what you`re selling and he knows in general, it`s a good deal for the rich people. He knows in general it`s a good deal for corporations, and his friends.

But there`s so many things shoved in there, so many special interest provisions, he doesn`t know what`s there. And I think that`s going to be his undoing and trying to sell this thing, as the details come out, as it works its way through the process, people will come out against it, he won`t be able to defend that and I don`t think he will be able to get it all the way to the finish line.

O`DONNELL: Ron Klain and Daniel Dale, thank you both for joining us tonight.

KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president is now lying about things that he has already admitted to, denying things he`s already admitted to publicly -- which has psychiatrists wondering what this lying is about. What are we learning about his mind now?

And later, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is breaking a tradition, a precedent of former treasury secretaries never criticizing the current treasury secretary, and he is doing that because he believes this tax legislation is the worst tax bill he`s ever seen. Professor Summers will join us.


O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" have new reports about the mind of Donald Trump which is filled with things that are not true, that he spews both publicly and privately, leaving people in the White House to wonder how his mind actually works, if we can use the word works.

According to "The Times" and "Washington Post", people who are close to the president don`t know what he believes and doesn`t believe. But they do know that he constantly says things that are provably untrue and one of the things that he has recently been going back to is the "Access Hollywood" video which shows him bragging about his preferred methods of sexual assault.

According to new reports on the president`s mental state, the president is privately telling people that the Access Hollywood video is fake -- meaning the voice you hear on this video speaking as Donald Trump is not Donald Trump.


TRUMP: And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

BILLY BUSH, TV HOST: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.

BUSH: Yes, those legs, all I can see is the legs.

TRUMP: Oh, it looks good.

BUSH: Come on, shorty.

TRUMP: Oh, nice legs, huh?

BUSH: Get out of the way, honey. Oh, that`s` good legs. Go ahead.

BUSH: It`s always good if you don`t fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford, remember?

BUSH: Down below, pull the handle.

TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi. Good seeing you.


TRUMP: Terrific.


O`DONNELL: No word on whether Donald Trump believes that that was Donald Trump who got out of that bus.

None of the people around Donald Trump who heard him say this would dare to tell him afterwards that they actually heard him very clearly speaking on the "Access Hollywood" video and that they saw and heard him apologize for every word he said on the "Access Hollywood" video.


TRUMP: I said it. I was wrong and I apologize.


O`DONNELL: "The Times" reports in January, shortly before his inauguration, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the recording that had been -- that had him boasting about grabbing women`s genitals. We don`t think that was my voice, Mr. Trump told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May was outraged by the president`s erratic behavior today when the president retweeted unverified videos posted by the leader of a British extremist group called Britain First. Prime Minister Theresa May said, it is wrong for the president to have done this.

To consider what else is wrong with the president, joining us now is Dr. Lance Dodes of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He`s a former assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

And back with us is Eugene Robinson.

Dr. Dodes, what are we seeing here in these new stories about the president telling people things that they absolutely know to be true that are on video, where they hear his voice, that`s fake, that`s not me, even after he publicly apologized for every word of it?

DR. LANCE DODES, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, well, I think it`s another example of his being close to psychosis when he is stressed, when he says things like this which are not in his interest he would be better off saying I`m sorry, that was a mistake, and let it go.

But when he goes back and then denies reality, people have trouble understanding that. The simple explanation for it which people don`t want to hear is that he`s not in control of himself. This is what we mean when we say that somebody is becoming psychotic or is briefly psychotic. So, all of his delusional ideas come up when he is stressed in some way, and then he loses track of reality because it doesn`t fit what he needs to believe.

The problem has been that we think of people as psychotic people as being folks who think that they are Napoleon and that`s easy to tell. And if you`re not that, people think you`re not psychotic. But unfortunately, the world is more complicated, and people like Donald Trump are on the border and they slip into delusional thinking when stressed. An extremely dangerous thing naturally for anybody, especially somebody who has been so wantonly discon -- unconcerned about the welfare of others and willing to do anything to promote himself.

So, he`s an enormous present danger to us from the standpoint of creating a nuclear war and even from the standpoint of doing what he can to destroy democracy, as well as attacking ethnic groups the way he`s done.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, Dr. Dodes just said something right at the beginning of that that`s so important. He said that it`s not in his interest, it is not in Donald Trump`s interest to say anything that brings up the "Access Hollywood" video again.

And here we are running it because of things that Donald Trump himself has said, and any other politician would understand exactly what the doctor said, you don`t -- he wouldn`t need a psychiatrist to tell him it is not in your interest to do this. And so, that`s where this becomes so fascinating, is the president is constantly doing things against his own interest and we`ve just heard from the doctors because he has no control over that.

ROBINSON: Yes, you know, look, as you know, Lawrence, I`ve written about Donald Trump`s mental health several times. I write about it again tomorrow. I`m a layman. I don`t have Dr. Dodes` expertise certainly, though I have been buttonholed and cornered and emailed by psychiatrists and psychologists for months, giving me their assessment of his mental health.

Here`s what I wonder. I wonder if at some point, the sort of old New York playboy Donald Trump who was in the tabloids would call up page six in the guise of some imaginary PR guy, but who was in on the joke that this Donald Trump who created this sort of fake reality, but was in on the joke and knew that he was doing it, did he at some point lose that awareness, that he at some point start believing in the fake reality that he creates?

And so, was he able to actually convince himself that that`s not him in the bus? Actually convinced himself that that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, actually convinced himself of ridiculous things. And that`s a really dangerous thing for the president of United States to be living in this sort of fantasy world.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Dodes, that goes straight back to you to react to what Gene just had to say. What is that that were seeing?

DODES: Well, again, I -- it`s -- once you start out with the idea -- what the understanding that this is a very sick man. He is truly very sick. Then nothing is surprising. And all of these delusional thoughts are not surprising.

And, you know, those of us who`ve been saying this for a long time have been able to correctly predict the things that have happened. And going forward, I will not be surprised by anything, if he were to try to dissolve the Constitution, that wouldn`t shock me, fire the Supreme Court, wage nuclear war on North Korea -- these things might seem shocking but they`re consistent. He has always been consistent in this.

Once you understand that he is about him and it`s a very deeply disturbed issue he needs to not just that he wants to, he needs to, he`s not clever at all, he has to protect himself from what he sees as a existential threat by denying reality. Once you understand that, everything else follows and it`s extremely dangerous.

O`DONNELL: So, Gene, let`s see if us amateurs can then apply what we just learned to this -- which is, this report from "The New York Times" saying Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity of President Barack Obama`s birth certificates. So, does he need to never be wrong?


O`DONNELL: Is that a reality he needs and is that what he`s reaching for in that moment?

ROBINSON: Well, that`s clearly a reality for Donald Trump and there are a hundred examples from just from his presidency really of things when he`s presented with facts. You know, he says something and it is demonstrated that is simply not true, the crowd size, for example, at the inauguration and he has to be -- he has to be shown to be right.

So, he had to send poor Sean Spicer out to lie to everyone in his first appearance before the press and insist that black was white, because Donald Trump said black was white, and he has to be right. He has this need and it`s very deep-seated.

I think that the doctor is right that it`s not cleverness or deception from his point of view. It`s something that he needs.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Dodes, I get the feeling that when you dip into any viewing of political pundits on these shows, talking about what Donald Trump did today, that you are probably feeling that the analysis is missing the point whenever it`s not turning on the notion that this is a very sick man.

DODES: Well, I think that`s true. It`s not that what they`re saying isn`t so. I mean, that many observers have accurately said that he`s ill.

But yes, I think that if -- not just the commentators, but the Congress needs to understand all those people who are now supporting Donald Trump are kidding themselves if they think that this is not extremely incapable, disordered, sick individual. They`re kidding themselves.

And no one wants this seems to want to accept that. It`s -- someone else pointed out that the worst possible case for America is to have somebody who is not grossly psychotic, which everyone would know and throw him out. But close enough with a veneer to get by.

That`s Donald Trump. He`s like the classic, you know, he`s like the classic villain in the James Bond movies or any other literature. He`s villainous because of his Sociopathy and Psychopathy but with a tremendous veneer which he is extremely good at. And people keep on looking at the veneer.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Lance Dodes thank you very much for joining us once again. It`s important to have your input. Eugene Robinson thank you as always for joining us, really appreciate it

O`DONNELL: Coming Up, Donald Trump`s lies are offensive to a lot of people. To my next guest here on this program, Donald Trump`s lies about tax cuts and economics are personal. I want you to hear from what I believe is the best source we can possibly hear from about the Trump Tax Cuts.


O`DONNELL: Former Treasury Secretaries have a tradition of not criticizing the current treasury secretary. Until now Harvard Economics Professor Lawrence Summers was Bill Clinton`s Treasury Secretary after first being confirmed by the Senate as a Clinton under Secretary of the Treasury. And in the interest of full disclosure I should note that I was the Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee when the first vote was taken in committee on Professor Summer`s first Senate confirmation.

Between the Clinton Administration and Obama Administration, Lawrence Summers served five years as President of the Harvard University. Then he served as the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama. The lies that the Trump Administration has put out about its tax bill are as offensive to Larry Summers as any lies that Donald Trump has ever told because for Larry Summers, economics is a deeply personal pursuit and for all good economists.

Its a pursuit of the fruit. For Larry Summers, economics is in his blood. He was born into the profession. His brother Robert was an economist. His mother Anita is an economist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania as his Father was. His uncle on his father`s side, Paul Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in economics. Another uncle on his mother side Kenneth Arrow also won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Larry Summers received his doctorate in economic from Harvard University in 1982 and became one of the youngest tenured Professors in Harvard`s history.

All of this goes through my mind whenever I listen to Lawrence Summers talking about economics and I wanted you to know all of that because I want you to know what are you seeing when Larry Summers joins us next. And why I think he is the person who we most want to hear from about tax legislation.

Professor Summers has decided to break the tradition of former Treasury Secretaries not criticizing the current Treasury Secretary because he is trying to do everything he can to stop Congress from passing the worst tax legislation he has ever seen. Larry Summers joins us next.


O`DONNELL: Here`s more of the President today talking about his tax cut bill.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the maim rooms and the machine shops of America the plumbers, the carpenters the cops the teachers, the truck drivers the pipe fitters the people that like me best.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Harvard Economics Professor Lawrence Summers. Professor Summers how does this tax bill help the plumbers the carpenters the cops, teachers, pipe fitters?

LAWRENCE SUMMERS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTTO: The assertion is nonsense this tax bill will principally benefit those in the top 1 percent of the population. Take the proposal in the house bill to eliminate the estate tax.

That even affects only two out of every thousand Americans, the wealthiest two. Take the corporate tax provisions, those primarily affect those who own large amounts of corporate stock. Look at the structure of these bills.

It`s quite remarkable. The provisions that benefit the wealthy, like the estate tax, are phased in and grow over time. The provisions that benefit regular people, they start out OK and they phase out over time. This is a bill that`s designed to reward a very small fraction of a population, a fraction of the population that has been very supportive of I have to say it, the Republican Party if Congress. This is not a bill that is well calculated, to help the American economy and certainly not to help the American middle class.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the man in your old job Secretary Treasury Steven Mnuchen talking about this tax cut bills effect on the deficit and the debt.


STEVEN MNUCHEN, SECRETARY TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES: Not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt that. Pay for itself comes from that projected economic growth.


O`DONNELL: Your reaction with what the secretary just said.

SUMMERS: Not something that a serious person would say. Not something that a person who had any familiarity with the experience of the tax cuts in 1981, the tax cuts at other moments would say. not something that anyone who had any awareness of the economic modeling done over many years by the treasury`s non-partisan career staff would say, not something supported by evidence of or by logic.

I don`t know whether the Treasury Secretary believes what he is saying or whether he just believes it`s politically necessary to make these assertions. And I don`t know which is worse in terms of my confidence in the way the economy is being managed.

O`DONNELL: There`s a tradition for former Treasury Secretaries to meet with the new treasury Secretary and have some informal time together. It`s usually a very supportive kind of discussion. Have you had a meeting like that with Steve Mnuchin?

SUMMERS: There was a group of Treasury Secretaries that came together and that was not an occasion for confrontational dialogue. Several of us did note that one of the most important assets that the country has in the financial arena is the correct of the Treasury Secretary and so one of the most important aspects of the job is choosing your words very carefully. So you don`t squander the asset that is your credibility.

I have to say, given the assertions that have been made about the tax cut paying for itself, given the assertions that Secretary Mnuchin has made about the appropriateness of the president`s behavior with respect to Charlottesville and NFL players kneeling, given the comments he`s made about the desirability of the President`s protectionist trade policies. I don`t think he has acted in a way that was consistent with the advice we gave to preserve credibility. And if there comes and I think there likely will some time over a few years, a moment when the Treasury Secretary`s credibility as he makes an economic or financial assertion is important I think people will look at him and see a man that believes in lab curve. See assertions beyond those that George Bush once labeled as voodoo economics. That`s got to be a concern as we look at our economic and financial future

O`DONNELL: You make an important point about Treasury Secretaries and their words. And one of the requirements in living by that is to be very careful not to comment on many things. You get as Treasury Secretary, there are questions thrown at you all day about things that don`t have with your job. That`s one of the areas you don`t want to avoid comment on. And it seems like Secretary Mnuchin has a similar inclination to the President in being willing to speak on extracurricular matters.

SUMMERS: I was very surprised to see comments on NFL players in the national anthem. I was even more surprised to see a defense of the President`s handling of Charlottesville when it seemed to me the president pretty clearly was at least missing an opportunity to reject neo-Nazis.

O`DONNELL: Professor Lawrence Summers, I still take notes when you speak. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

SUMMERS: Very good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming Up, what did you do on Giving Tuesday? I hope you helped with the KIND Fund. Thank you. We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: And lots of big news that broke inside this building, the news of Matt Lauer being fired. First a few personal words of Matt Lauer. I have known Matt Lauer only as someone I would run into occasionally at large NBC events. I`ve never had his phone number. I don`t know where he lives. I`ve never had a one-on-one meeting with him or discussion with him. So I don`t have anything or any particular insight I can add to any of the information you already know about Matt Lauer, if you`ve been following this story today.

Tonight the list of complaints of sexual misconduct against Matt Lauer is growing. According to the New York Times NBC received at least two more complaints related to Mr. Lauer according to a person briefed on the network`s handling of the matter. This morning NBC announced Matt Lauer was fired after a female colleague made a detailed complaint Monday night accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavioral. An NBC spokesperson said, we can say unequivocally prior to Monday night current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer conduct So far no comment from Matt Lauer. NBC`S Stephanie Gosk has more.


STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC REPORTER: the allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct was made Monday night. Matt Laur anchor of NBC`s Today Show for 20 years was fired. In a statement NBC News Chairman Andy Lack shared few specifics about the accusation. But wrote, it represented after serious review, a clear violation of our company`s standards while it is the first complaint of his behavior in the over 20 years he`s been at NBC news, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have any an isolated incident.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, TODAY SHOW HOST: This is a sad morning here at today and at NBC News.

GOSK: On the Today Show this morning his co-anchors reacted to the news.

GUTHRIE: For the moment all we can say we are heartbroken. I`m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I`m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any others women who have their own stories to tell.

MATT LAUER: I`m Matt Lauer in Olympic Park in Sochi.

GOSK: The alleged misconduct began at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and continued after according to an MSNBC Spokesperson. The lawyer for had the accuser had this to say in Part I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint. And to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.

Today Variety Magazine published a report laying out a pattern of alleged sexual misconduct by Lauer including exposing himself to an employee in his office and inviting women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics. Three unnamed women tell Variety they were sexually harassed. Their accounts Variety says corroborated by friends or colleagues.

The magazine also reports that several women made complaints to Executives at NBC which were ignored. In September Lauer interviewed Bill O`Reilly who had just been fired from Fox News over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Lauer: So doesn`t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given some information or given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?

BILL O`REILLY, FMR. FOX NEWS REPORTER: that`s a false assumption.

LAUER: But you don`t let your number one guy go unless you have information that you think makes him -

O`REILLY: that`s not true.

GOSK: For NBC News the star anchor`s departure is an enormous loss. Lauer has been the face of the network during pivotal events, interviewing the world`s most influential people.


O`DONNELL: That was NBC`s Stephanie Gosk reporting. And in the last hour she had a very important conversation with Rachel Maddow about she is conducting her reporting here at NBC. She is not relying on NBC sources.

She is using every resource she can as a reporter outside of NBC as well as NBC to find out everything she can to report as honestly as she can about what is happening in this case. Tonight`s Last Word is next


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Last Word. On Giving Tuesday we suggested one way to combine your giving with your Christmas shopping and holiday gift shopping was to give to the KIND Fund, Kids in Need of Desks which provides desks for kids in schools in Malawi that don`t have desks and also provide scholarships for girls to attend high school in Malawi.

And you could contribute to that and then UNICEF through its partnership here with us at MSNBC would send a notification to anyone on your gift list that a donation has been made in their names and so many of you did that. And many of you Tweeted about it.

And I`m going to read some of your Tweets now. This is from Kim Beasley. She says Lawrence, this year I decided to increase my giving to the KIND Fund on Giving Tuesday. I encourage my friends near and far to do the same.

Helping kids to attend school and be able to sit in a desk, it causes me to do the happy dance. I would do the happy dance if we had more time. Also Charlene Barnaba tweeted, we totally take something like our kids having desks in school for granted that basic necessity is not afforded to many students in Malawi. Lawrence through the KIND fund is bringing joy to these kids with desks, Giving Tuesday. Thank you very much for doing that.

The totals we have raised just this week, just having first mentioned it at close to 11:00 P.M. on Monday night. It`s the last 48 hours basically, total for this week $183,623 bringing the total amount we have raised since we began the KIND Fund when this program began to $14,619,000,092. Thank you very much.


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