Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 4, 2017 Guest: Harry Litman, Jed Shugerman, Max Boot
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And it`s about standards. It`s about the thing that the Trump administration is collapsing all over the Trump administration. Robert Mueller says there are standards, there are strict standards and you have to meet those standards to work here. That`s not -- is that happening anywhere else in the Trump administration?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: I know. A, is that happening anywhere else? B, of course the Trump administration is now using this as a cudgel to try to beat the FBI and to beat the Mueller investigation with. You did the right principled think about political bias?
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: How politically unbiased you are? Yes, of course.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Can`t win with those guys.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Well, Twitter is to Donald Trump what video cameras are to bank robbers. Have you ever wondered what happened to America`s famous bank robbers? They used to be among the most famous people in the country. John Dillinger. Machine Gun Kelly. Willie Sutton who when asked why he robbed banks famously said because that`s where the money is. And, of course, Bonnie and Clyde who were memorably portrayed on film by Fay Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
What happened to America`s famous bank robbers, career bank robbers, successful bank robber who robbed a bunch of banks and got away with it before they ever got caught or gunned down?
Video cameras. That`s what happened to them. Video cameras ended bank robbery as a career.
Bullets weren`t enough to scare bank robbers but video cameras? Video cameras did it. Video cameras in banks stacked the odds just a little too much in the cops` favor.
And so, in the 21st century, only the very stupidest criminals among us are willing to step in front of the video cameras at your local bank and try to withdraw more money than they have in their accounts.
Then came Twitter. And then came Donald Trump. On Twitter, Donald Trump is like a bank robber who looks up at the video camera to make sure the bank gets a really good picture of him.
Who else, who else would tweet a confession to obstruction of justice?
Here`s what the president of the United States tweeted on Saturday. I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide.
And as soon as I saw that tweet, I said, this is a confession to obstruction of justice. Trump knew Flynn was guilty when he urged Comey to let him go. And I wasn`t the only one who thought it was a confession to obstruction of justice.
Here`s the front page of "The New York Daily News" a day after that tweet, "Tweetle Dumb". Trump claims he fired Flynn because he lied. Legal pros call it obstruction of justice.
Of course. What else would you call it? That was an obvious interpretation. It was the first thing that would come to the mind of any lawyer or investigator reading that tweet.
James Comey was so pleased with Donald Trump`s tweet, so convinced that this proved the case of obstruction of justice against Donald Trump that James Comey posted this on Instagram. Beautiful long island sound from Westport, Connecticut, to paraphrase the Buddha, three things cannot be long hidden -- the sun, the moon and the truth.
James Comey clearly believed that Trump`s confession on Twitter was vindication and confirmation of James Comey`s version of their one on one conversation in the Oval Office about Michael Flynn and this is James Comey`s written testimony about that conversation. This has become all the more important tonight.
As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the attorney general lingered by my chair. But the president thanked him and said, he wanted to speak only with me. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The president then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.
When the door by the grandfather clock closed and we were alone, the president began by saying I want to talk about Mike Flynn. Flynn had resigned the previous day. The president began by saying Flynn hadn`t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians but he had to let him go because he had mislead the vice president. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn which he did not then specify.
Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The president waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.
The president then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn saying he is a good guy and has been through a lot. He repeated that Flynn hadn`t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians but had misled the vice president.
He then said, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.
Two things happened when Donald Trump and the White House staff and the Trump lawyers realized that the Trump tweet was a confession to obstruction of justice. They decided Trump was going to have to actually testify immediately via Twitter about what happened when he was alone in that room with James Comey. And Donald Trump was going to need someone else to blame for the tweet in which he confessed to obstruction of justice. That was the only way to pull back that confession.
And so, President Trump`s wildly incompetent lawyer stepped forward to take the blame for the tweet. Remember that the president ended up being represented in this special prosecutor`s investigation by John Dowd only because the best Washington lawyers turned Donald Trump down.
So, what would you do if your criminal defense lawyer put out a tweet that your hometown newspaper interpreted on the front page to be a confession to obstruction of justice?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THEN-REALITY STAR: Meatloaf, you`re fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No one in Donald Trump`s life has ever done anything more worthy of getting fired than his lawyer who claims to have written a tweet in which Donald Trump confesses to a crime. Meatloaf and anyone else in Donald Trump`s world that Donald Trump has ever fired never did anything that stupid. Meatloaf, never had a day that stupid.
Donald Trump fired Meatloaf and so many other people for so much less than what Donald Trump`s lawyer publicly claims he did. If by some chance, it is true that John Dowd actually did write that tweet, that makes him the worst lawyer in Washington history, the worst lawyer in the history of the presidency, the worst lawyer who has ever spoken to a president.
And maybe a worse lawyer than Meatloaf would be. Never mind a lawyer who actually tried to defend a president. This is the worst lawyer who has ever, ever tried to defend a president for anything. Donald Trump really could tonight sue his lawyer for malpractice if his lawyer actually did write that tweet.
Another reason for Donald Trump to fire his lawyer is that Donald Trump actually offered his testimony about the obstruction of justice case publicly yesterday for the first time. This was all part of trying to repair that damage. And Donald Trump offered that testimony on Twitter. And no sane lawyer would ever allow Donald Trump to testify about his conversation with James Comey on Twitter.
But that`s what Donald Trump did yesterday when he tweeted, I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more fake news covering another Comey lie.
Now, the reason that I just read to you James Comey`s detailed written description of what is maybe the most important conversation Donald Trump ever had in his life is because I wanted you to have all of that in mind, all of that detail, in James Comey`s own words and the words that James Comey put in quotation marks that Donald Trump spoke, want you to have all of that when you consider this Trump response to all of that. I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. That`s it. That`s Donald Trump`s entire defense against obstruction of justice.
And as James Comey`s account makes very clear, this is the story of two men alone in a room. And now, one of them has to be lying about what was said in that room. 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, Donald Trump says he never said that. So, who`s lying? James Comey or Donald Trump? One of them must be lying.
James Comey has already given his testimony under oath and he did it in a televised hearing where everyone could see his demeanor, his memory of details and everyone could make a judgment about James Comey`s credibility. And Donald Trump has now testified on Twitter.
I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Donald Trump said that because he knows the obstruction of justice case is closing in on him thanks to his own tweeting. And the time to offer his defense against that obstruction charge is right now. And his only defense is that James Comey is a liar.
But because Donald Trump and Donald Trump`s lawyer know that there is no American who has publicly told more famous lies than Donald Trump, they`re going to need another defense. When it comes to a question of who do you believe, James Comey or Donald Trump?
And so, the president`s lawyer has declared that it is impossible for the president to commit the crime of obstruction of justice, even if you believe James Comey because the president is justice personified. John Dowd told Mike Allen of Axios, the president cannot obstruction justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer and has every right to express his view of any case.
And, John Dowd called me ignorant and arrogant. Not the first person to do that. And actually it wasn`t specifically me, but everyone, including everyone in the news media and the legal community who took the Trump tweet to be an admission of obstruction of justice. John Dowd said the tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.
Joining us now, Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and former deputy assistant attorney general. He`s now a professor of constitutional law at UCLA. Also with us, Jed Shugerman, professor of law at Fordham University.
And, Professor Shugerman, there`s so much to unpack in what`s going on here. But first of all, your legal reading of the tweet that "The Daily News" interpreted as an admission of obstruction of justice. How would that tweet play in an obstruction of justice investigation?
JED SHUGERMAN, LAW PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, there are two pieces here. First of all, it is the third confession. It doesn`t matter if we believe Trump or Comey. We just have to believe Trump on NBC with Lester Holt on May 11th. The official transcript of what he said on May 10th that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.
But one important factor with the tweet is this excuse that Trump wrote wit the help of a lawyer, courts treat confessions written with the assistance of lawyers more damning, not less damning because a lawyer helped. If a layperson writes it by themselves, it can be interpreted as a mistake. So, this excuse they have come up with is backfired because a court will give that more credibility or it will be more damning. And so, that puts Trump in even worse shape.
O`DONNELL: Professor Litman, I want to get your reaction to this, to -- you have a choice here. Donald Trump wrote this tweet about this case or Donald Trump`s lawyer wrote this tweet about what is the essence of the obstruction of justice case against Donald Trump. Is it -- I just find it inconceivable that a lawyer would have written a public statement like this for a client in a criminal investigation.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Totally sunning. First, Jed is right in terms of the difficulty it places him in, but what they`re trying to do in getting the fingerprints off is keep it from being an admission but as Jed points out, it doesn`t matter if the lawyer wrote it. If Trump adopts it, it becomes his statement.
But to your point, it`s just inconceivable either way. I don`t care how stupid you think Dowd is. To actually have written this inculpatory and gratuitous tweet seems impossible.
But to not have written it and then to fall on his sword, you know, Mueller`s going to be all over this and we`re talking about actual criminal conspiracy liability for Dowd, almost a certain disbarment. It`s just even more inconceivable to think that he would have gone ahead and done it after the fact. Either way you look at it is just completely puzzling.
O`DONNELL: Let me go back over what you just said about disbarment. I`ve been wondering about disbarment myself. Malpractice. Tell me what would be -- what would lead to disbarment as a result of this tweet.
LITMAN: If he says that -- if it`s not true, if it`s somehow not he who wrote it, he who wrote it, stunning. If it is not he and lied about it, Mueller is going to pick it apart second by second and that turns out to be a lie, we`re talking about criminal liability. Same kind of liability that Flynn has and certainly we are talking about a bar association coming in and saying, you`re finished.
One more thing we`re talking about, by the way, is a probable change at the top for Trump`s counsel because you can`t be both a witness and a lawyer in the same proceeding. He`s made himself a witness now. It looks to me as if Dowd`s got to go and there has to be somebody else at the top.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I`m glad you got to that.
And, Professor Shugerman, I`m wondering about that because there are things lawyers can do where they step across lines that make them witnesses and they surrender attorney/client privilege under certain conditions.
And so, is this a situation of Attorney Dowd could find himself under oath with the special prosecutor about the authorship of that tweet?
SHUGERMAN: Potentially, and I think the other question here is the credibility of all of this. I mean, first, if Dowd is telling the truth here, that he wrote it and wrote it without Trump`s permission or knowledge, then why is Dowd not fired yet? I mean --
SHUGERMAN: I mean, I think the biggest problem is -- if what Dowd is saying is correct, how come he isn`t fired immediately? It`s -- the whole story here is incredible, literally not credible by anyone. Except the one thing that we know is that this tweet is consistent with a lot of reporting that it was widely known in the Trump White House during the transition that Flynn was compromised.
So, the most credible thing is what is in the tweet. If we know that McGahn knew it, probably Pence knew it and Trump knew it. And that`s part of this obstruction case that`s becoming more and more a factual mountain of evidence.
O`DONNELL: And, Harry Litman --
LITMAN: And very important point.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
LITMAN: Yates came over and explained it to McGahn. It`s very hard to imagine that that wouldn`t have been passed along to both Trump and Pence.
I`m sorry. Go ahead.
O`DONNELL: That`s right. You`re both talking about White House counsel and very clear was told that Michael Flynn had lied and lied to FBI agents, and the likelihood of the White House counsel not passing that off to the president, in any other presidency, there would be a zero percent chance of that. In Trump world, who knows?
Harry Litman and Jed Shugerman, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.
LITMAN: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, new developments in the Mueller probe and new developments in the Paul Manafort case.
And also, Roy Moore and the big turnaround in the Republican Party from Mitch McConnell to Donald Trump to the Republican National Committee. Now, they`re all on board with Roy Moore for Senate.
O`DONNELL: Special prosecutor Robert Mueller`s office says Paul Manafort has violated a court order by ghost writing an editorial about his political work in the Ukraine. According to a court filing , as late as November 30th, 2017, Manafort and a colleague ghost-writing an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine. Manafort worked on the draft with long time Russian colleague of Manafort`s based in Russia currently and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.
The filing also says on the evening of November 30th, the government alerted defense counsel to the defendant`s efforts and were assured that steps would be taken to make sure it was no longer going to be published.
The special prosecutor`s office is using the editorial in its argument against the agreement it made with Paul Manafort last week to loosen the restrictions on his bail.
Also, "The New York Times" has obtained information from some Trump transition e-mails concerning Russia. The emails from KT McFarland and who other members of Trump transition team talking about an outreach to the Russian government in the aftermath of sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
The e-mails show that KT McFarland and others in the transition team knew that Flynn would be speaking to the Russian ambassador to the United States about the sanctions.
In the e-mails, KT McFarland says President Obama was trying to box Trump in diplomatically with Russia which could limit his options with other countries including Iran and Syria, Russia is key that unlocks door, she wrote. She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to lure Trump in trap of saying something in defense of Russia and were aimed at discrediting Trump`s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference. If there is a tit for tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia which has just thrown USA election to him, she wrote.
Joining us now, Chuck Rosenberg, former counsel to Robert Mueller while he was the director of the FBI. He`s also a former chief of staff to James Comey while he was director of the FBI. Chuck Rosenberg is also an analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.
Also with us, Max Boot, senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former foreign policy adviser for McCain, Romney, Rubio.
And, Max, I want did go to you first on this last part of the KT McFarland e-mails where she says if there is a tit for tat escalation, Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia which has just thrown USA election to him.
Your interpretation of that?
MAX BOOT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I think it`s ambiguous. I mean, let`s give KT the benefit of the doubt here. I mean, it`s -- you can certainly read it as a confession of guilt that she was that she realized that the Russians had thrown the election to Trump. But if you read in the wider context, it just may be saying this is the impression that President Obama wanted to give.
So, I wouldn`t necessarily say this is a smoking gun but it certainly evidence that even in the Trump campaign, folks realized how bad this thing looked given the fact that Trump was so you obsequious towards Putin and then Putin, of course, intervened in the election to help Donald Trump. I mean, it reeks of a quid pro quo, and this email at the very least shows that even somebody like KT McFarland, who was a very close Trump aide understood how bad this whole thing looked.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and we are going to need more context on those e-mails, which "The New York Times" has not yet provided. Chuck Rosenberg, I want to go to what happened today in the Manafort case and this very unusual situation where the special prosecutor feels that there`s been some violation of their agreement about what Manafort`s behavior can and cannot include while he`s awaiting trial.
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER COUNSEL TO ROBERT MUELLER: Yes. No. It`s an interesting development, Lawrence, and here`s why. The judge was quite clear. Folks can`t try this case in the press. At least the parties can`t try the case in the press.
And so, her expectation was that no one was going to comment pursuant to her order. Very logical, we see that a lot.
And then this happened. Turns out Mr. Manafort having an article ghost written to appear in the press and to potentially influence folks about what he did or didn`t do. And so, the government did absolutely the thing that it ought to do. You bring it to the court`s attention, number one. And you move to set more stringent conditions of release.
O`DONNELL: And, Max, to go back to the e-mails, there`s -- what is very clear in those e-mails is the Trump administration, the Trump transition team was interested in having substantive communication with the Russians and other governments. Having been warned specifically by the Obama administration not to do that, not to undermine current policy.
And it doesn`t seem like a difficult constraint to live under. You`re going to have the powers in three weeks or four weeks. When`s the urgency?
BOOT: Well, exactly. And, you know, if you listen to what Trump and others say now is, it`s no big deal. It`s what every transition team does and that Flynn was well within the rights but if that`s the case then why on earth would Mike Flynn lie to these FBI investigators? I mean, is he a compulsive liar who tells the lies when the truth would serve him better?
I mean, I know Mike Flynn. I don`t think that`s the case. I don`t think he`s that stupid that he would lie for no reason. I think there`s clearly a reason and I think we all know, Lawrence, what that reason is, because clearly, we`re seeing the evidence emerging now of a quid pro quo between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and these conversations are only one small part of it.
We have seen other parts come into public view. For example, the infamous meeting in June of 2016 between the Kremlin emissary and the high command of the Trump campaign where Trump Jr. said I love it because he thought the Russians to give him dirt on Hillary Clinton.
You have seen all these data points come together and this is the latest data point of all of these highly suspicious and most likely corrupt contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. That`s why Mike Flynn is lying about it, not because it`s the normal incoming adviser doing these diplomatic outreach with other countries.
O`DONNELL: And, Chuck Rosenberg, I want to stay on that point. The president`s tweets suggesting that it`s a shame that Mike Flynn lied to the FBI because he really had nothing to lie about and everything he had done was honorable. You have a -- that leaves you with Mike Flynn did the stupidest thing you could possibly to do under the circumstances, surely, Mike Flynn knew that lying to the FBI was a crime, a very, very, very high risk choice that he was taking.
And the president is saying he took that chance for absolutely no reason.
ROSENBERG: Yes. In my experience, Lawrence, I was a prosecutor for a long time, people tend to lie for one of two reasons. Number one, protect yourself. Number two, protect someone else.
Max`s point about, you know -- and I know he`s just musing here, whether or not Mr. Flynn is a compulsive liar, that doesn`t really make sense to me. My guess in the end is reason number one or reason number two -- self or others. That`s why people lie.
O`DONNELL: But what -- Chuck, just to stay on that, you`re sitting across from FBI agents. You know that the chance you`re taking now could put you in prison. That`s the big reason people don`t lie to the FBI. At that point, they decide, whatever I`m trying to protect it isn`t worth it.
ROSENBERG: Yes, and that`s logical and that`s rational, Lawrence, but people do it all the time. A thousand and one, 18 USC 1001, the section of which Mr. Flynn pled guilty is one of the most used sections in all of the federal code. It happens all the time.
So, your point`s a fair one. Your point is a logical point. Your point`s a rational one. But that`s why people lie and that`s my guess why he did, too.
O`DONNELL: We have KT McFarland now exposed in these e-mails as having not tell the truth publicly of contacts after the hearing. Senator Corey Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, asked her in writing after confirmation hearing, did you ever discuss any of General Flynn`s contacts with Russian Kislyak directly with General Flynn? In writing, she replied: I am not aware of any issues or events described above.
We know that is a lie.
BOOT: Well, frankly, Lawrence, I think based on the KT statements, she would be well-qualified to serve in the Trump cabinet because she`s doing pretty much the exact same thing that Jeff Sessions did and, oh by the way, the same thing that everybody connected with Trump has done.
I mean, let me just read one fast quote here from CNN, an article just recently. At least 12 Trump associates had contacts with the Russians during the campaign. There were at least 19 face to face interactions with Russians or Kremlin-linked figures. There are at least 51 communications, meetings, phone calls, e-mails, et cetera.
And how many lies have there been about the meetings and communications? There is no innocent explanation for this, Lawrence. There is no innocent explanation.
They have not provided one. There`s a reason why they`re lying and everybody from Mike Flynn to Katie McFarland to Jeff Sessions to Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., to Donald Trump himself they`re all lying trying to cover something up. And we don`t know the full extent of what their trying to cover up. But it`s obvious that it`s pretty bad and it has to be pretty bat if they`re willing going to jail for five years which is the penalty for lying to a FBI agent.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, that`s what`s coming into focus. Max Booth, thank you very much for joining you. Chuck Rosenberg, thank you.
Coming up, breaking news tonight. The Republican National Committee has decided to jump back in to the Alabama Senate Race in support of alleged child molester Roy Moore.
O`DONNELL: Remember when the republicans said Roy Moore was on his own? Remember when every Republican except Steve Bannon abandoned Roy Moore? Well, that was then. And now, the president has officially re-endorsed Roy Moore.
Mitch McConnell has gone from saying Roy Moore should not be elected. That he should step aside to saying that that`s up to the people of Alabama and tonight, breaking news from the Republican National Committee. It has recommitted itself to help fund raising for Roy Moore who stands accused of child molesting by an accuser who Republicans Senator Jeff flake says is more credible than Roy Moore`s vague denial of those charges.
Today, one of the women whose story was told in the Washington Post`s original reporting on Roy Moore, the reporting about him dating high school girls when he was an Assistant District Attorney, one of the women found additional evidence that helps confirm her story. Debbie Gibson was 17 and briefly dated 34-year-old Roy Moore. Today, she says that when she was unpacking Christmas decorations last week she came across an old scrapbook from the senior year of high school.
In it was a handwritten graduation card from Roy Moore. According to the Washington Post the slanted cursive handwriting immediately reminded her of another woman, Beverly Young Nelson who claims that Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. Last month you will recall Beverly Young Nelson displayed her high school yearbook signed by Roy Moore in the same handwriting. Debbie Gibson says she wasn`t sure about making her new discovery of the handwritten card public until she heard Roy Moore say this last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY MOORE, FMR CHIEF JUSTICE: Specifically I do not know any of these women nor have I ever engaged in sexual misconduct with any woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t know any of these women. That`s the line that really upset Debbie Gibson who says that she not only openly dated Moore when she was 17. But later joined him in passing out flyers during his campaign for Circuit Court Judge in 1982 and exchanged Christmas cards with him over the years. Roy Moore made an egregious mistake to attack that one thing, my integrity. Debbie Gibson also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBBIE GIBSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: I felt like this was the first thing I have seen that I know personally for a fact to be a lie from his mouth. And he`s spewing the lie from the pulpit of a church. He did not perpetrate sexual misconduct toward me or ever claimed that. But I know now for sure that he is a liar. Beverly, if you are watching, Leigh, if you are watching, I believe both of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. And Neera, I want to first of all have you comment on the evidence that emerged today with this new card with the handwriting on it, matching the handwriting by most appearances that appeared in that high school yearbook that the -- one of the other girls obtained -- he signed her yearbook when she was in high school.
NEERA TANDEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I mean, what we see just from this clip is that Roy Moore is a liar. He said he didn`t know any of these girls at the time. He was obviously dating one of them. And -- and, you know, instead -- I mean, basically a classic response.
He lied across the board. And now we are going to have more and more evidence that he was lying. That he lied and that these women were telling the truth. You know, she`s documented evidence that he is, you know, a liar and I just -- I just want to say clearly to all Americans that what`s happening here is that you have a political party deciding to believe the person who did these horrible acts.
And we are sending a message to our daughters across this country that when something terrible happens to you like this, some politicians think you should be silent. I mean, this is beyond politics. It is truly -- I have never seen a bottom like this.
I have never seen an entire political party. I have never seen politician after politician, particularly the President of the United States, just reach for the gutter in order to get an extra vote in the Senate.
O`DONNELL: Well, it`s certainly isn`t every Republican. Mitt Romney tweeted today Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfmanand other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity. And speaking of honor and integrity let`s go to Mitch McConnell and first reaction on video first asked about should Roy Moore step aside. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I did. I think he should step aside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe these allegations to be true?
MCCONNELL: I believe the women, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And here is Mitch McConnell yesterday with George Stephanopoulos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, REPORTER, ABC: Do you believe that Judge Moore should be in the senate?
MCCONNELL: I`m going to let the people of Alabama make the call. This election is going on a long time. There`s been a lot of discussion about it They`re going to make the decision a week from Tuesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Neera, that`s quite a change.
TANDEN: Yeah. I mean, obviously, they think vote on a tax bill or a budget or any one of these things is more important than, you know, what the moral standing of folks in the Senate or what, you know, what we`re telling our daughters. Most fundamentally when the RNC decides to go back in today as it did today into this election, it`s funding the Moore Campaign, it`s funding efforts to have him win, I have to say, every single person who gives to the RNC is now supporting this campaign. There is no distance from anyone, anyone in the Republican Party who doesn`t speak out against Roy Moore.
O`DONNELL: Neera Tanden, thank you very much for joining us tonight
TANDEN: great to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump has won nothing yet, the tax bill has not passed. I suppose that`s breaking news. It was treated this weekend as if it`s a done deal but a lot of legislation has gotten as far as this tax bill and then never made into it law. We`ll be back with more on the tax bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEOPLE: Kill the bill. Don`t kill us. Kill the bill. Don`t kill us. Kill the bill. Don`t kill us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: that was today on Capitol Hill because those people know what`s really going on. Contrary to popular belief it is not over. Those protesters know that the Trump Tax Cuts have not yet passed Congress and they`re not ready for the President`s signature and, therefore, the fight is still on. On the tax cuts passed the Senate on Friday night, the Republicans and the President tried to behave as if it was all over. But the House and the Senate have now passed two very different bills.
They must now merge those two bills into a single bill and then that bill has to pass through both the House and the Senate in identical form. And so there will be two more major votes on the tax cut bill and today finally even the President seemed to realize that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We have a final step to go and I predict we`ll be very successful, talking about massive, massive tax cuts. We`re now one huge step closer to delivering to the American people the historic tax relief as a giant present for Christmas. Remember, I said we`re bringing Christmas back? Christmas is back bigger and better than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: it`s not over. And Gene Sperling, a veteran of tax fights, will join us next. He`s the former Economic Adviser to both Presidents Clinton and Obama. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, we now go into what I call the mixer, and the mixer is conference. and out of that, the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans are going to pick something that will be truly spectacular.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And that is the President of the United States not knowing what he`s talking about. Joining us now Gene Sperling, former Director of the National Economic Council for Presidents Obama and Clinton. And, Gene, President Trump has never been in the mixer. He has never had legislation dealt with in a Conference Committee between the House and Senate. This is the stage we`re in now. The House and Senate have to get together, produce a bill, but then requires two more votes, big votes.
GENE SPERLING, MSNBC CONTRINUTOR: Right.
O`DONNELL: Those protesters we saw in the halls of Congress today know that there are two big votes coming up and they`re trying to put pressure where it will be most effective not on Republican House Members and Republican Senators.
SPERLING: No, that`s right. I mean we have seen an extraordinary amount of desperation as we have seen, which does make you feel like they would do anything. They would pass anything they could call tax reform. Nonetheless, I think what you`re seeing is that the strategy of Paul Ryan and McConnell is kind of let`s rush this so fast that by the time you vote on it, nobody knows what`s in it. I think what these members are starting to realize is that`s not the issue.
The issue is when I`m up again in 2018, will they know what`s in it then? And they`re thinking twice. I`ll give you a few examples. One, you know, this is a tax legislation like I`ve never seen. They have targeted punitively several states that have lots of Republican members of Congress in them, like California, like New York. In California, 11 out of 14 House Republicans voted for a bill that specifically penalizes people in California.
It will raise taxes significantly. Tens of thousands for many middle, upper middle class people and they voted for it and those 11 Republicans have the margin to stop the whole bill. They are starting to feel that pressure.
The second thing we saw was, you know, Trump ran on drain the swamp. When you`re rushing a bill like this -- they were handwriting in provisions. There weren`t any provisions. They were for cruise ships. They were for mortgage services, they were for auto dealers.
I mean these are the last-minute lobbying things that go exactly against everything Trump said and the type of thing that outraged people. And I`ll tell you one thing that has not got enough attention. Donald Trump ran on this wanting to locate jobs in the United States. if you look at the international provisions of this tax bill, the top international experts I know think this will not only create more incentive to actually shift more profits to tax havens, it`s actually designed in a way that will encourage you to actually move jobs and operations overseas.
I mean, this is a degree of hypocrisy that the more people get to know, the more people are going to have to think twice about their votes and the more they`re going to have to fear that if they do let themselves get coerced into rushing this through, they`re going to pay a heavy price come November.
O`DONNELL: And you`ve been in the position of trying to persuade members of Congress to vote on tax bills from an administration`s perspective. You know how tough this is. What you always hear from them is what they are hearing from constituents.
They will always tell you, especially within the same party, how much pressure they`re under. And what I was getting the sense of this weekend was too many people didn`t realize that this fight was still on.
SPERLING: Yeah, people need to realize you`re going to read from pundits and strategists that they`re rushing this because they want to get a win by Christmas, or they`re rushing it because they know Roy Moore or Doug Jones might vote against our seat in January. The reason they`re rushing it is because the more people know what`s in this bill, the more outraged they are.
It already is a very unpopular bill. it just hasn`t -- the Republican Leadership and Trump know that if it hangs out long enough, if enough members of Congress and Senators have to be getting their bags in the airport and have somebody asking, hold it, why are you giving a major tax cut to corporations and I hear that 80 million Americans, by 2021, within just a few years, are either going to get their taxes increased or are going to get no tax cut?
I mean, it`s an incredible accomplishment and in a perverse way because Lawrence, I think if someone told you or I that we could play $1.5 trillion, free money, raise the deficit and we somehow did a tax cut that was going to raise taxes or not give a tax cut to 150 million Americans by the time they were -- by the time this fully implemented, at the end you`d say either that`s incredible incompetence or it`s too blatant that they are beholding to the top 1 percent of the largest companies.
O`DONNELL: And this bill gets more unpopular by the day. That`s why they have to get moving. Gene Sperling thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Tonight`s last word is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCKINNON, COMEDIAN SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: It is I Hillary Rodham Clinton. You, Donald, have given me the greatest gift of all, sexual gratification in the form of your slow demise. You have no idea how long I`ve wanted to say this. Lock him up.
ALEC BALDWIN, COMEDIAN SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Saturday Night`s Kate McKinnon gets` Monday night`s last word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams is next.
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