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Rosenstein/Mueller analysis Transcript 12/13/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Jerrold Nadler, Mieke Eoyang, Charlie Savage

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 13, 2017 Guest: Jerrold Nadler, Mieke Eoyang, Charlie Savage


And I think we all recognize that the story of a 14-year-old girl had a big impact on that race in Alabama last night. And possibly by the media anyway but certainly not by the voter that is delivered it for Doug Jones.

There were some other 14-year-old girls, three 14-year-old girls and one 11-year-old killed in the bombing in 1963 and Denise McNair was the 11- year-old. Her sister Lisa McNair will join us tonight. She got the chance this week to vote for the guy who got murder convictions against two of the men who killed her sister.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Wow. And all those years later, 2001 and 2002 to get those convictions to get that justice for those little girls, and that was Doug Jones, wow.

O`DONNELL: And those little girls would be in their 60s now, Rachel. And they are the kind that women who delivered that state last night for the Democrats.

MADDOW: God bless you, man. Well done.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, President Trump put it all on the line in Alabama and I mean he put it all on the line and he lost. He sided with the craziest, most unprofessional and hateful advisers in American politics, Steve Bannon, and the president locked himself in an embrace with an accused child molester where the president of the United States was crushed, just crushed last night by the newest face of the resistance to out of control Trumpism.


DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATOR-ELECT: We have come so far and the people of Alabama have spoken. They have said we --



O`DONNELL: Republicans now know Donald Trump can find a way to lose elections for Republicans anywhere any time. Republicans now know that Donald Trump`s support of Steve Bannon and acceptance of advice from Steve Bannon is the very fast acting cancer that can kill the Republican Party.

You couldn`t get the microphone out of Steve Bannon`s hand when he was campaigning for Roy Moore and prancing around Alabama stages as if everyone was there just to see him and to listen to him. Steve Bannon knows nothing about Alabama politics and he proved that every time he opened his mouth about Alabama politics. And last night, in the humiliating crush of defeat, here, here is what Steve Bannon had to say.


REPORTER: Mr. Bannon, this is a huge defeat for you.


O`DONNELL: Steve Bannon, who lied about Doug Jones every day of that campaign, Steve Bannon who`s always ready to attack Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon who always tries to pretend to the small cult of followers that he is the toughest guy in the room, that Steve Bannon was slapped in to a stunned silence last night by the voters of Alabama. This is the way Steve Bannon`s adventure in Alabama will always now be remembered.


REPORTER: Mr. Bannon, this is a huge defeat for you.


O`DONNELL: A stunned silence by the man who Alabama voters ignored or hated just as much as Washington Republicans hate him.

Steve Bannon was immediately attacked by Mitch McConnell last night in a statement of McConnell`s super PAC blaming Bannon for what happened in Alabama. Donald Trump`s marching orders to Alabama were ignored just as much as Steve Bannon`s.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it. Do it.


O`DONNELL: Do it. Do it. They didn`t do it.

Here is the robocall that Donald Trump made to Republican voters in Alabama.


TRUMP: Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. It is so important. We`re already making America great again. I`m going to make America safer and stronger and better than ever before. But we need that seat. We need Roy voting for us.


O`DONNELL: And it rambles on and on for another minute and that robocall did Donald Trump and Roy Moore absolutely no good. That robocall just gave Donald Trump that much more ownership of the defeat in Alabama, where it is no longer clear that Donald Trump could win an election against the right Democrat in Alabama. Exit polls actually show Donald Trump with only a 48 percent approval rating in Alabama, and exactly the same disapproval rating. That`s in a state that Donald Trump won by 28 points.

It`s because Donald Trump is collapsing. Trumpism is collapsing. A new Monmouth poll shows President Trump hitting a new low of 32 percent approval.

After what was surely a short night`s sleep, the president found a way to say, I told you so, this morning. When he tweeted: The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange and his numbers went up mightily is I said Roy Moore would not be able to win the general election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!

In Washington today, we saw a postelection reaction unlike any we`ve ever seen before. Republicans overjoyed by the defeat of a Republican candidate for Senate.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I thought it was a great night for America. So, I couldn`t be more happy. I know that I`m supposed to only cheer for people of my side of the aisle but I thought the people of Alabama did a great thing for our country last night.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Hope it sends a message that, you know, we can do better. Republicans can do better.

REPORTER: What message did the election send last night?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Alabamans didn`t want somebody who dated 14-year-old girls.


O`DONNELL: Today in Alabama, Doug Jones took questions from reporters and he said this.


JONES: This campaign has given a lot of people a reason to believe. They have a reason to hope that they know that, you know, even though things might be a long shot, it is possible and they know, too, that you can create a lot of momentum. You can create things in a positive way if you run the right campaign.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. Also with us, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and Jason Johnson, politics editor for and MSNBC contributor.

And, John Heilemann, Donald Trump took as much ownership of this thing as he possibly could have, made the trip down to Florida, said right into the camera, right into the microphone, vote for it him. Do it, do it, did the robocall. And this morning, it`s I told you so from Donald Trump.

JOHN HEILEMANN, NBC NEWS AND MNSBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. It is. And, you know, you looked at that and said I was right. I`m not sure what he meant when he said he was right, what he was right about in this instance. But, you know, the craziest thing in the world to hear Donald Trump claiming some kind of moral victory when the obvious reality is that he suffered a gargantuan political loss.

And I think it really does cut to the core, this loss. There are a million implications of this, Lawrence, which we can talk about. But the president of the United States, the fundamental political dynamic of the last year has been Republicans don`t like Donald Trump in Washington. But they fear him. They fear his supporters. They fear his 85 percent approval rating of Republicans.

They look at the falling overall approval ratings saying it doesn`t matter because within the party he`s very popular, he still has coattails, he -- you need him if you`re going to win. And right now, after New Jersey and after Virginia and particularly in Alabama, you look at it and you say, Donald Trump may be a singular figure and that his numbers may have no correspondence whatsoever to the performance of Republican candidates anywhere. And because if Donald Trump can`t win with Roy Moore problems and end up with a Democrat being elected to the Senate in Alabama, it might be that Donald Trump has a political strengths and weaknesses and nothing to do with the success or failure of Republicans elsewhere in the country.

O`DONNELL: And, Neera, we look at the exit polls. Job approval for Donald Trump inside that, we see strongly approved, 32 percent. Strongly disapprove is bigger at 41 percent. I think we can get that up on the screen. There we are. Somewhat approve, 15 percent. Somewhat disapprove, 7 percent.

But to see there`s stronger disapproval than stronger approval for Donald Trump in Alabama, how long are Republicans going to stay afraid of Donald Trump`s so-called base?

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think the reality is that Republicans who go along with Donald Trump are, you know, signing what could be a death wish. I mean, you see every House Republican, every Senate Republican, these races are ones where he`s engendering stronger and stronger opposition. Why they vote with him instead of trying to prove their independence seeing this in Alabama.

Again, we saw this similar thing in Virginia. New Jersey you can explain that away but Alabama is the heart of his support. You remember, one of the first major rallies was in Alabama, thousands of people coming out. Those same people don`t seem ready to support him.

O`DONNELL: Jason, focus on the positive vote that was cast for Doug Jones last night because this was not just a lesser of two evils.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right, right. This is what happens when Democrats realize that you got to put a candidate up there. Not just voting against the other guy. Imagine that, a real candidate.

You know, in an equal playing field, Doug Jones would have been a pretty good candidate. He has history in the state. He`s an American hero. He brought consequences of people who committed a racist terrorist act in the 1960s. So, that was a very, very good move.

I also think this, look, the only person who I spoke to, who saw Doug Jones winning, as a reporter at "The Root", OK, a guy named Michael Haret (ph) who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. And Michael told me, he`s like, look, if you look at what happened with Randall Woodfin, if you look at some of these black mayors in these small towns, people are ready for this change.

So, I think people were excited to actually see there`s a chance to make a change here and in a way they didn`t see in 2008 and 2012.

O`DONNELL: There`s nothing like local knowledge, and someone who`s actually from Birmingham looking at that will be able to tell us.

John Heilemann, generic congressional ballot now shows Democrats at 51 percent, Republicans at 36 percent. And whenever the president of a party drops below 50 percent that always suggests a significant pickup for the other party in Congress. This president is as far below 50 percent as anyone`s ever been.

HEILEMANN: Yes. We don`t have even really good historical models for this. We have models showing what happens to the in power in party when the president is below 50 at the end of the first year. Remember, this is the honeymoon year, right? This is the year when the president is supposed to be --

O`DONNELL: Yes, this was supposed to be easy.

HEILEMANN: Be in height of the popularity. Right.

So, we`re not supposed to look up. We do not have a model, antecedents, where you can look and say, what happens when a president is not just below 50 percent, but below 40 percent? And in fact, not just below 40, but closer to 30 percent than 40 percent. There`s no model for this then and then you add in the generic ballot.

The performance that he`s had in these off-year elections and generic ballot is probably the most terrifying collection of data that any party has had in modern history going into a midterm election. You are looking into the abyss.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to this senator who stood up to Donald Trump, stood up to Steve Bannon, Republican Senator Richard Shelby, and said, he was not going to vote for the Republican in this election. Let`s listen to what he had to say today.


SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: The people of Alabama spoke. Talked to Doug Jones, oh, 30, 40 minutes ago. Congratulated. I`ve known him a long time and I told him that I look forward to working with him up here for the great interest of the nation and the people of Alabama. I think basically the voters -- the majority of the voters in my state chose principle over politics.


O`DONNELL: Neera, here`s how long Richard Shelby has known Doug Jones. They were both Democrats back when --

TANDEN: Yes, no. I remember that.

O`DONNELL: Back when Doug Jones was a staffer for the other Republican Senator Howell Heflin in the Senate.

TANDEN: Yes. He goes back a long time. And I`d say, look, a big collision came out. A lot of people came out against Roy Moore and the fact is that Donald Trump wasn`t able to pull them back and his agenda, he argued that Doug Jones would be a liberal, he would vote against his agenda. He would vote against tax cuts and didn`t matter.

Doug Jones still able to assemble a coalition, a coalition that was really driven by African-American women, there was a huge gender gap, 97 percent of African-American women voted for Doug Jones and you know, close to that of African-American men and you also saw more white crossover than we have seen in previous elections.

What Republicans try to do is make it a choice of whites and blacks in Alabama. And what is hopeful about this is that Doug Jones was able to bring a coalition together that was majority people of color but also millennials, more college educated whites than Democrats have in the past. I think that`s a really hopeful sign for the future.

O`DONNELL: And, Jason, Doug Jones now has three years of incumbency to let Alabama see that if you just go back to as recently as 1993 when both of the Alabama senators were Democrats, the state won`t blow up. No disaster`s going to happen. Richard Shelby is going to be there. Doug Jones is going to be there. And he sounds like the kind of southern senator, southern Democratic senator, who could win re-election.

JOHNSON: Well, yes, the kind of Democratic southern Democrat that used to exist, Republicans up north. But I think one of the best things that Doug Jones said when he`s been talking since being elected is I hope this turns Alabama into a two-party state and benefits the voters if there`s actual competition.

One other thing that I think is so key about this. Donald Trump`s special form of magic, the special set of skills he seems to have only work for him. It`s very clear that other people can`t run this way and say offensive things and racist things and anti-Semitic things.

It caught me -- Steve Bannon insulted Mitt Romney for going on his Mormon mission trip, and he claimed that that was him skipping out on Vietnam. There`s 37,000 Mormons in Alabama. You think they heard that? About time the Republicans learned they have to run a different way to be successful.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Doug Jones had to say about the phone calls he received, some of them are pretty surprising.


JONES: I have received calls from so many well-wishers, friends and family. But also, future colleagues in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. I have received calls from Democratic senators. I have received calls from my long time friend, Senator Shelby, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer. And calls from the president of the United States, President Trump.

This election shows that people across this country, I mean, want the see people work together.


O`DONNELL: Neera, I would expect Mitch McConnell to call. It makes sense. He believes that a Democrat in Alabama can maybe come his way on some votes. Of course, Richard Shelby is going to call. That`s what senators do.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, called the Democrat who won a Senate seat. Did someone say to him, you`ve got to start lobbying him, you got to start lobbying Jones now? You might be able to get his vote on something?

TANDEN: I don`t know. I mean, these morning tweets seem to have forgotten all the tweets he had before attacking Doug Jones and maybe he made the call, forgetting the things he called him on Friday night and Saturday morning and Sunday and Monday and Tuesday.

I think that people want to talk about issues, et cetera. But what happened here is Doug Jones repudiated Trumpism.


TANDEN: He said, you know what? Alabama can rise above splitting one group against another group. That was the core of his message from the day he won the primary, through the summer until today. And I think Republicans should recognize that there is a majority forming in the country. Many of whom used to be Republicans, who are now voting for Democrats because they`re so disgusted by -- I hate to use the term but gutter politics.

O`DONNELL: Neera Tanden and Jason Johnson, thank you both for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

Coming up, African-American women made the difference in the election in Alabama last night. For one of those women, it was the chance to vote for the man who prosecuted the murderers of her sister. Denise McNair, who was killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, Denise McNair`s little sister Lisa McNair, will get tonight`s last word.



SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Our message to Mitch McConnell is simple. No vote on the Republican tax bill before Doug Jones takes his rightful seat in the United States --



O`DONNELL: That was the demand from Democrats today after Doug Jones` historic win in Alabama. Protesters chanted "no Jones, no vote", inside the Hart Senate Office Building after Republicans announced an agreement, what they`re calling an agreement in principle on compromising, merging the House and Senate tax cut bills into a final bill that they hope to pass next week.

This new bill which is something of a compromise between the two other bills cuts the top personal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. It cuts the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent instead of the 20 percent that was in both the House and Senate bills. It limits the state and local tax deductibility to $10,000 total for property taxes or state income taxes. And it limits the mortgage interest deduction to loans of $750,000 or less.

We`re joined by Gene Sperling, former director of National Economic Council of Presidents Obama and Clinton. And back with us, John Heilemann.

Gene Sperling, what do you make of the vaguely described compromise bill?

GENE SPERLING, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, it stays a lot, right? You had a bill that blew a hole in the deficit, that was tremendously tilted towards the most well off, towards foreign investors, left the middle class out, and when they get together to try to fix it, what do they do? They do nothing significant on state and local. They do nothing to really help the middle class.

But what they do do is move up the corporate tax cut a year early and they`re going to take the top rate, this will be the rate that will affect whether you`re Warren Buffett or a billionaire. They`re going to lower that tax cut -- that tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. I mean, it is kind of shocking that that`s the last thing they`re going to do. They`re not even hiding how much this tax cut is for the most well-off, for the donors.

And the thing that I just don`t understand, maybe John can explain, is they`re rushing this through at this record pace, making every compromise, everybody`s caving, showing no backbone. And it`s supposed to be because it`s good for their politics.

And yet, there`s a CBS poll that showed 69 percent thought it helped the wealthy versus 24 percent helping their own family, 55 percent thought it was more geared towards the top donors of the Republican Party versus 10 percent from average families. I am -- just can`t understand why they think passing this very unpopular bill that`s going to make the tax code less fair, more complicated is somehow going to be good politics, such good politics for them that they could pass this type of monstrosity.

O`DONNELL: John, could you help Gene and me how the Republicans voting for this see the politics of it?

HEILEMANN: Well, there`s almost nothing in the world I understand more than Gene Sperling understands everything. So, I`m not sure I can help Gene on any front. He`s been dealing with tax politics and policy for a longer than I think I have been alive.

But look, I -- Lawrence, you and I have discussed this on the show multiple occasions. The bill was really unpopular. Tax cut bills are not supposed to be unpopular. Tax cuts bills are supposed to be just kind of inherently, they`re popular. That`s how you build them. You make them popular.

This thing`s been under water from day one. So, on some basic fundamental level, it makes no sense politically, other than the following level, which is, they are so desperate, the Republicans are, to get something done. They think that something is better than nothing.

And even when something is really unpopular, they somehow think that the alternatives of that which is passing nothing. Now, we could have a discussion about how to pass a better tax bill and that horse is out of the barn door for day one. So, they`re just looking at two possibilities, an unpopular tax bill or no bill whatsoever. And entire year in which nothing has happened on the legislative front of any consequence of Washington, D.C.

And they are making the gamble that they can in the course of a year between now and the midterms in 2018 that they can turn those numbers around. I think it`s a horrible bet for them and unlikely to move the numbers but that is the bet they`re making.

O`DONNELL: Let`s step back in time to a similar situation. That`s the special election that followed the death of Senator Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts. That special election produced a Republican winner, Scott Brown, who was then awaiting to take his seat and, of course, the Obama health care bill was at stake hanging in the balance.

Let`s listen to what President Obama said at the time.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There`s one thing I know. And I just want to make sure that this is off the table. The Senate certainly shouldn`t try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. People of Massachusetts spoke. He`s got to be part of that process.


O`DONNELL: Gene, that`s not the message we are hearing from Republicans today.

SPERLING: Well, you know, and you know what else spoke eloquently about that was John McCain. You know, I think one of the -- you know, really crushing disappointment that is we have seen so much in 2017 is really that there are a lot of honorable Republicans who seem to have lost their spine, lost their principle, lost their backbone.

You know, Lawrence, I remember when you were staff direct or the of the Senate Finance Committee, you had giants, Bob Dole, Pat Moynihan who you worked for, a sense you took things seriously and tried to work together and you are seeing all of these people cave. Even on a process. Even on something as simple as waiting to the people of Alabama`s representative can be seated.

And, you know, I think John`s analysis is good on why they`re doing this but I really question it because their views -- no one`s going to know what is in the tax bill and pass it and have an accomplishment. Well, I`m here in California.

Let me tell you, there`s 11 Republicans who are voting for a bill that everyone is going to know by November 2018 punishes people from California, raises taxes significantly on middle and upper middle class people and those 11 Republicans could have stopped it and what do they do? What do they get? They get this tiny $10,000 exemption which will mean not very much. But what they get is they`re going to lower the top rate for millionaires.

So, it`s -- this is puzzling both on process and puzzling on substance, how they`re handling this final week.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to close it with all of us puzzled to some extent on the Republican view of the politics of this.

Gene Sperling, John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us tonight.

Republicans in Congress want to pretend now that FBI agents do not have the right to vote.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have some breaking news at this hour from Alabama. Roy Moore has issued another statement about his defeat last night. He has not conceded defeat. He simply says in this new statement, this has been a very close race and we are awaiting certification by the Secretary of State. There is nothing in his statement that indicates he will ask for a recount or anything involving -- that will change the outcome in this, it goes on at some point and becomes quintessential Roy Moore.

Here`s but a sample. Roy Moore said today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty. Abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That`s Roy Moore tonight in Alabama. Today, in Washington, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said this to the house intelligence committee.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, WASHINGTON, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: There are a lot of media stories, speculating about what the special counsel may or may not be doing. I know what its doing. I`m appropriately exercising my oversight responsibilities and assure you that the Special Counsel is conducting himself consistently about the scope of the investigation.


DONNELL: Now, that`s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed to that position by President Donald Trump. Today Rosenstein responded to new attacks of Republicans over the impartiality of the Special Prosecutor`s investigation after text messages of two of the investigators last year were turned over to Congress last night showing the two expressing support for one of the two major party candidates who ran for President.

In this case, it was support for Hillary Clinton. The New York Times also obtained the mess ands and reports, reported after Mr. Trump made an apparent sexual allusion related to the size of his hands. Ms. Paige wrote, this man cannot be President. In another exchange, Mr. Strzok wrote, I`m scared for our organization. That turned out to be a well placed fear. He also referred to Mr. Trump as a douche.


ROSENSTEIN: I have discussed this Director Mueller and he and I collectively have a lot of experience managing offices in the Department of Justice. We have employees with political opinions and our responsibility to make sure that those opinions do not influence their actions. Pardon me. And so, I believe that Director Mueller understands that. And that he is running that office appropriately.


DONNELL: Former House Intelligence Committee Staff member Mieke Eoyang and Mayor of (INAUDIBLE) Charlie Savage will join us next.


JERROLD NADLER, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee you said that you would only fire Special Counsel Mueller for good cause. And that you had not seen any yet. Several months have passed since then. Have you seen good cause to fire Special Counsel Mueller?


NADLER: Thank you. If you were ordered today to fire Mr. Mueller, what would you do?

ROSENSTEIN: So to explain previously I would follow the regulation. If there were good cause, I would act. If there`s no good cause, I would not.

NADLER: You have not seen good cause so far?



DONNELL: Joining the discussion, Mieke Eoyang, former House Intelligence Committee Staffer and also with us Charlie Savage, New York Times. Mieke, this -- there`s a certain assumption in this hearing that FBI Agents, people work in the Justice Department, surrender their right to vote. They surrender their right to an opinion about candidates when they take those jobs.

MIEKE EOYANG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And that`s where the Republican questioning is coming from. This suggestion that they`re not allowed to have opinions. They`re allowed to have opinions. They`re not supposed to be engaging in politics in certain ways under the Hatch Act. And they`re not supposed to act with any kind of bias in the official duties. And the question is, are they doing anything that might suggest they`re biased on behalf of or against a particular investigation.

DONNELL: And, Charlie, when - and Donald Trump in a Republican debate referred --clearly referred to the size of his -- to what he was considering a description of his own genitalia, one of these people said, this man cannot be President which was the reaction of a majority of the United States.

CHARLIE SAVAGE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that was certainly one of the Tweets that jumped or text messages that jumped out. There were a number of that suggested significant hostility to a Trump Presidency in support for Hillary Clinton`s candidacy. But the nuance that Mieke was just bringing up I think we saw repeatedly brought up by Rod Rosenstein today which is there`s a difference of political affiliation and political bias.

The fact that certain officials in the Justice Department have political affiliations and views, a, cannot be taken into account when choosing whom to hire for something like the investigation, a violation of the rules of the department. And as long as they don`t let their political views influence investigative decisions that`s OK. And so, what the Deputy Attorney General was saying was just because these people had these views does not mean that the investigation is tainted.

In any case, they have been removed from it. the takeaway from this is this swelling chorus we have seen in recent days growing out of rank and file Republicans, out of Fox News and conservative media, this sort of led to today which was this whole edifice is crumbling down. Mueller has to go, rushed in the Rosenstein today. And he unswayed by it.

He`s saying he`s seen nothing to date that would be let him - let him to the decision to remove Mueller if he were asked to do so by President Trump. And so that means the takeaway is at this point, if Trump were to decide to fire Mueller based on anything that`s happened to date, everything that we now know about what was happening inside that investigation, the complaints of Mueller`s ranging afar from just the close focus on the Russia election issue he would not do it. And that means that Trump would have to fire him or force his re resignation and in search of someone to obey his orders putting us back into a Saturday Night massacre scenario. I think that`s the important takeaway of today`s hearing.

DONNELL: Mieke, listen to some of the republican members of the judiciary committee today. You certainly -- they`re all but saying they believe the only way to be a fair investigator of Donald Trump is you have to have voted for Donald Trump and still very strongly support Donald Trump today. You have to be one of the 32 percent of Americans.

EOYANG: That`s right. Well, what you see here from the Republicans is a concerted effort to try and smear the objectivity of anyone bringing us the facts in these investigations. You see that in the attempts by Don Jr. to try to shut down the House Democrats who are speaking out about the hearing. You see this in the Republicans who are trying to accuse the Mueller team of bias.

You see this in the way that they go after the press. Anyone trying to bring the American people the facts they say they`re biased against the President because they weren`t his firm supporters.

DONNELL: It used to be that one of the definitions of a fair, special prosecutor is special prosecutor from the opposite party of the administration being investigated. Ted Lou said today, summarized some of the things he was saying today in a tweet where he said, Rosenstein agreed that no one is above the law. Fbi director raise $39,000 in donations to republicans does not mean that he can`t be impartial on a criminal investigation. And, Charlie, there`s a Fbi Director when`s contributed $39,000 to Republican candidates and Democrats are not jumping up and down saying he is unfair.

SAVAGE: That`s right. And more broadly I think a lot of the apparatus here that we have brought to bear on this starting with Director Mueller himself and Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who appointed him are Republicans. And so, the notion that they are inherently going to be biased against a Republican presidency is one that is part of why we`re in such uncharted waters here in the twerking of American politic that is this year that we have been living through.

DONNELL: Charlie Savage and Mieke Eoyang thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

Coming up, how Doug Jones got the second most important victory of his life last night. That`s next.


DONNELL: Doug Jones was born in Fairfield, Alabama, suburb of Birmingham, in 1954. Two weeks after Doug Jones was born the United States Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in Brown versus the Board of Education that segregated schools are unconstitutional. When Doug Jones was 9 years old, member of the Klu Klux Klan placed sticks of dynamite under a the steps of a church in Birmingham. Three 14 year girls and one 11 year old girl proudly wearing their best Sunday dresses were walking down the stairs of the church when the bomb went off. They were killed instantly.

Addie Mae Collins, age 14. Cynthia Wesley, age 14. Carole Robertson, age 14 and Denise McNair, age 11. We have all heard the story in the last few weeks of what happened to a 14-year-old girl who she got in Roy Moore`s car and went for that long ride to his house in the woods. That story turned a lot of Republican voters against Roy Moore.

But the story of what happened to those three 14-year-old girls and an 11- year-old girl, at the 16th Street Baptist Church, drove the Democratic voters to the polls who won this election for Doug Jones, black women. Most White women voted for Roy Moore. But 98 percent of black women voted for Doug Jones.

Doug Jones believes that the tragic deaths of Addie Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, woke up this country. They woke up a country that did not know that going to church in the south could get you killed if you were black. And so, those four little girls have taken their place in the Civil Rights Museum that is now right across the street from the spot where the bomb went off at the 16th Street Baptist Church.

And when I was in Birmingham a few years ago, I stood at the spot where the bomb was planted before touring the museum across the street where I learned more about what Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and Medger Evers and many others had done and had sacrificed in this country`s agonizing country`s awakening to a need of civil rights movement. A need so urgent at the leaders of that movement had to be willing to die to take their places at the front of those marches.

But Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair did not go to church that day to die. They went to church to pray, to sing, wear their best dresses and their best shoes. The shoes that Denise were wearing that day are now on display across the street on the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair should be in their 60`s today and they should have been standing in light to vote on Tuesday in Alabama. Instead people who knew them, people who loved them stood in line to vote for Doug Jones, the man who convicted the last two of the bombers who were charged with the murders of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair.

Denise McNair younger sister cast her vote on Tuesday. And on Tuesday night she got to watch the man who won convictions of the men who murdered her sister achieve the second most important victory of his life. Denise McNair sister Lisa McNair will join us next



DOUG JONES, UNITED STATES SENATOR-ELECT: I damn sure believe that I have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail and not the United States Senate.


DONNELL: Joining us now, Lisa McNair whose sister Denise McNair was 11 years old when she was killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Lisa McNair thank you very much for joining us tonight, It really is an honor to have you with us. I really appreciate you being here.

LISA MCNAIR, SISTER OF DENISE MCNAIR: Well, thank you very much for having me.

DONNELL: Lisa, what was it like for you last night watching Doug Jones win the second most important victory of his life?

MCNAIR: Oh, my God, it was so amazing. It was just exhilarating and exciting, and oh, wow. I don`t even think I really have words.

DONNELL: You were campaigning for him in Alabama. What did you tell voters that you thought they needed to know about Doug Jones?

MCNAIR: That he is honest and tenacious and fair, and he will work very hard for all people of the State of Alabama.

DONNELL: And Lisa, you didn`t know your older sister. You were actually born after she was killed. But she certainly, I`m sure, has been with you in life. She`s become a civil rights icon and is remembered by all of us. What is it about your sister that you were hearing from voters that was part of what moved voters in this election?

MCNAIR: People here in Alabama, particularly in Birmingham, are extremely moved by what happened to the four girls. It`s kind of part of the fabric of our city here. When I meet people who I don`t know and they identify who I am, I often get people who cry instantly about that. And so it cuts everybody deeply because everybody in the Bible belt can relate to taking everyone to church on Sunday. And the thought of your child getting killed or murdered in church is just inconceivable to everybody.

DONNELL: What is it like for you, Lisa, personally when you keep encounter thee encountering these emotion reactions? There must be an emotional weight on you, too?

MCNAIR: I really just try to be there and support them because they`re actually having the moment. And I want them to feel comfortable in being able to express themselves in whatever way they need to around me. so that`s what I try to do when I encounter people like that.

DONNELL: Did you ever expect to see a candidate like Roy Moore emerge in modern Alabama, echoing all the worst kinds of sounds that were made back at the time when your sister was killed?

MCNAIR: Well, I had hoped that most of that was gone, but, you know, I`ve lived here all my life so I know that it isn`t. But I`m just grateful that the voters of The state of Alabama decided to choose respect and love over hate and separation so -

DONNELL: I want to quote something that one of the black women who voted for Doug Jones told the New York Times. This is Ellen neighbors. She`s 55 years old. And she said we knew the world was looking at us.

She said those four little girls are on their feet tonight at the 16th Street Baptist Church celebrating -- they`re celebrating in spirit. Is that the way it felt for you?

DONNELL: Oh, that`s beautiful. That`s beautiful. Yeah, I think the four little girls and all the other people who died that are nameless or whose names are not in the history books that are out there and people don`t know about them, and they were just cheering for the good of Alabama because there is good here in Alabama. People are really good. And this is my home, and sometimes you just don`t see it. so last night it was great to be able to see that and to see that trickled over into the voting booth.

DONNELL: Lisa McNair gets tonight`s Last Word. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Lisa McNair, a real honor to have you with us, really appreciate it.

MCNAIR: Thank you very much.

DONNELL: Thank you. The 11th hour with Brian Williams is next.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11th HOUR ANCHOR: Tonight after that Roy Moore defeat and the big Democratic victory how do Trump and Bannon and the GOP now pick up the pieces? Already tonight there`s more than enough blame to go around. Plus Donald Trump, Jr. back on the hill today while on the right there was more today of this war against Mueller.


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