Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: January 4, 2018 Guest: Natasha Bertrand, Kurt Andersen
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And as I watching the storm coverage of Boston today where Boston basically went underwater basically, one of the items of -- my neighborhood mentioned by Bill Foray (ph) who runs the local newspaper in Dorchester was, where you could order delivered pizza today. How you could stay alive by ordering delivered pizza.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: It`s the only time a humane idea to have things delivered by drones.
O`DONNELL: Big thing I wanted to know and asked Bill to go out and measure and I want to know exactly how many inches of snow fell on Grayson Street in Dorchester, which is the street I grew up on, by a storm named Grayson.
O`DONNELL: Come on. We`ve got to know. Was Grayson Street hurt by this?
MADDOW: Well, with this storm, though, it`s like you have to worry about snow. You also have to worry about how much of the tide came down Grayson Street in Dorchester.
O`DONNELL: Well, Grayson Street is on a hill, so it was safe from the flooding. But, Rachel, this "New York Times" story has since been corroborated by the "A.P." during your hour. They have come out and said they found exactly the same thing about the president`s reaction to the Sessions recusal and trying to prevent it. They`re actively trying to prevent it.
O`DONNELL: Which adds to this issue, the frame, anyway, of the issue of obstruction of justice, actually saying he`s supposed to be there to protect me. This attorney general.
MADDOW: Yes. And, you know, we talked with Chuck Rosenberg. He`s the former chief of staff of the FBI about this earlier this hour and he made an important point. I asked him, you know, I don`t know enough about how recusal and just governed by, you know, mores and norms as opposed to laws. I don`t know if you could potentially obstruct justice by trying to influence somebody`s decision to recuse themselves from your case and he essentially said that it`s a gray area. And if you did it with the intention, if you took that action, you lobbied for the recusal with the intention of keeping somebody in place who would be loyal to you to protect you from prosecution, then, yes, this might look like another element of obstruction of justice for which the president might personally be liable.
I mean, all of these legal niceties to be worked out by people at a higher pay grade than us, but this is -- if this is corroborated information now, this is serious stuff for the White House.
O`DONNELL: Well, the president had the obvious, ongoing intention to tell his attorney general what to do in relation to this investigation. And so, to urge him not to recuse himself is to urge him to remain in place, so I, the president, continue to tell him what to do and might be telling him to do is obstruct justice in effect.
MADDOW: Yes. And if the president is on the record in some provable way saying the reason I want this recusal and expect this recusal and will be angry if I don`t get this recusal is because I want him unrecused so I don`t get prosecuted, well, that -- if that can be proven and corroborated, if here are contemporaneous notes from people in the White House who will testify that they saw the president say that and explain his line of thinking that way, that -- that is how you build an obstruction of justice case against anybody up to and including the president of the United States.
O`DONNELL: We`ll find out what the special prosecutor knows. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, tonight`s breaking news from "The New York Times" intersects with the breaking news being made on virtually every page of Michael Wolff`s new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." Tonight, "The New York Times" is reporting new details about the special prosecutor`s investigation of possible obstruction of justice by President Trump while Michael Wolff`s book reports that the spokesperson for Trump`s legal team resigned because he believed that he had become a witness to a likely obstruction of justice committed by the president on Air Force One.
"The New York Times" is reporting tonight, quote, President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House`s top lawyer, stop the Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Justice Department`s investigation.
Don McGahn, the White House counsel, then urged Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself but then relented when Jeff Sessions told him that on the advice of career Justice Department officials, Jeff Sessions had already decided but not yet announced that he would, indeed, recuse himself. When McGahn reported that to the president, "The Times" says, quote, the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump then asked, where`s my Roy Cohn?
Roy Cohn was the disgraced lawyer who worked for the disgraced alcoholic Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s who terrorized Washington with false accusations of communist activity in the government. Roy Cohn then went on to a life of continued disgrace and dishonor in New York City as a criminal lawyer representing such clients as mafia kingpin John Gotti and real estate kingpin Donald Trump. Roy Cohn was disbarred and banned from practicing law in 1968. And that, that is who Donald Trump wishes was still at his side tonight in the White House.
"The New York Times" is reporting tonight that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has substantiated the claims that former FBI Director James Comey, quote, made in a series of memos describing troubling interactions with the president before he was fired in May. The special counsel received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump`s former chief of staff Reince Priebus showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation.
"The New York Times" has also learned that four days before Mr. Comey was fired, one of Mr. Session`s aides asked a congressional staff member whether he had damaging information about Mr. Comey, part of an apparent effort to undermine the FBI director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.
Before firing Mr. Comey, the president spent a weekend working on a letter the president intended to send to Mr. Comey, the letter was never sent. But the special prosecutor has obtained a copy of that letter. "The Times" is reporting tonight that the first sentence of that letter said that the Russia investigation had been, quote, fabricated and politically motivated.
After the president fired James Comey, "The New York Times" reported that the president had asked James Comey to shut down the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn in the day after "The Times" reported that, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acting in the place of recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor.
According to "The Times," quote, Mr. Trump erupted at Mr. Sessions upon hearing the news in an oval office meeting. The president said the attorney general had been disloyal for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and he told Mr. Sessions to resign. Mr. Sessions sent his resignation letter to the president the following day and Mr. Trump rejected it, sending it back with a handwritten note at the top, not accepted, the note said.
Tonight`s "New York Times" reporting intersects with Michael Wolff`s new book on a central point in the investigation of obstruction of justice and that is the president`s role last summer in telling White House employees what to say to "The New York Times" when "The Times" discovered that Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting in Trump tower in the presidential campaign with Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, a meeting that was attended by the president`s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
From Air Force One, President Trump dictated what the response to "The New York Times" should be. Tonight, "The New York Times" is reporting, quote: Mr. Mueller has also been examining a false statement that the president dictated on Air Force One in July in response to an article in "The Times" about a meeting the Trump campaign officials had with Russians in 2016.
"The Times" goes on to quote portions of Michael Wolff`s book and his version of that meeting. Here`s how Michael Wolff describes the Air Force One meeting led by the president on what to say to "The New York Times": Included in the discussion on the plane were the president, Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their spokesperson Josh Raffel. Ivanka, according to the later recollection of her team, would shortly leave the meeting, take a pill and go to sleep. Jared, in the telling of his team, might have been there but he was not taking a pencil to anything. The meeting would shortly receive the special counsel`s close scrutiny with the relevant question being whether one or more federal employees had induced other federal employees to lie.
An aggrieved, unyielding and threatening president dominated the discussion, pushing into line his daughter and her husband, Hicks and Raffel. The president insisted the meeting at Trump Tower was purely and simply about Russia adoption policy. That`s what was discussed, period. It was a real-time example of denial and cover-up.
The persistent Trump idea that it is not a crime to lie to the media as at best reckless and itself regarded by the legal team as at best reckless and in itself potentially actionable, an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation`s gears, Mark Corallo, the spokesperson for the Trump legal team, was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed, not to even answer his phone. Later that week, Corallo seen no good outcome and privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice quit.
Joining us now, Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist and an MSNBC political analyst, Natasha Bertrand, a political correspondent at "Business Insider", and Matt miller, former chief spokesman for the Justice Department and MSNBC justice and security analyst.
And on Monday night, Michael Wolff will join us on this program in his first primetime cable news interview about this book and so, we will be able to go over all -- much more of the details in it.
But, Matt Miller, I want to get your reaction to what you`re reading in "The New York Times" tonight as it intersects with Michael Wolff`s book about that meeting that Mark Corallo upon reflection decided to quit because he felt he had possibly gotten too close to an obstruction of justice case.
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I think what we`re learning tonight is that the obstruction case is much more advanced than we know. One of the things that`s always most difficult in these cases is proving intent and with the president, it`s his own words. He comes out and tells you exactly what he was intending to do and makes the case that much stronger.
You know, we saw this last year when he explained, you know, two days after firing James Comey, he explained to Lester Holt, that really it was all about the Russia investigation and now we see it again when -- you know, his urging Jeff Sessions not to recuse, you could come up with some plausible, legitimate reason why he was urging that. You know, it should have been meddling and come up with some idea that, you know, he just thought that the attorney general needed to be in charge of the department`s most important investigation.
But Trump, can`t seem to help himself, tells all of his aides in a roomful of witnesses, no, what he really wants is an attorney general who would protect him. The way that Roy Cohn would or the way he thought that RFK protected his brother, a way that he mistakenly thought that my former boss Eric Holder committed or protected President Obama.
It is Trump`s own mouth, his own confession in front of roomful of witnesses that may end up sealing his case for obstruction of justice. And I think with respect to the meeting on the plane, look, Trump is right it`s not a crime to lie to the press. But if the president has obstructed justice and if people around him have entered into a conspiracy to obstruction justice, any action that he takes that furthers that he conspiracy is something that will be used in court or in the impeachment context, using it in an impeachment proceeding to prove that case and concealing the truth of that meeting in Trump Tower in 2016 seems to be exactly what they`re trying to do and it looks like we have very clear evidence and I would expect that Mark Corallo hasn`t been in to see Bob Mueller`s team already, he`s going to hear from him in a very near future.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, your reaction to this reporting tonight on the president, including this concept that what he needs in the White House is his own Roy Cohn, a disgraced, disbarred lawyer who was accused of crimes himself?
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It seems remarkable just a couple of days into the New Year when we`re looking at the speed of stories unraveling that`s happening around this president, around the Oval Office. Specifically, Lawrence, this week began with what I would call an outburst of digital McCarthy-ism, the insinuation that the Department of Justice, the intelligence communities work together in a conspiracy against the American people.
This is exactly the type of allegations and insinuations that McCarthy made. And, of course, it is also autocratic in intent because at the heart of every autocracy is this notion of conspiracy, the insidious Fifth Column working against the people who can only be protected by their leader who needs extrajudicial powers and it`s OK to violate democratic norms to put down the conspiracy. It`s frightening, frankly.
Again, we see that with the actions on the airplane, of course, whether it was a crime or not, the special counsel will determine but we know that the president of the United States was engaged in premeditatedly lying to the American people and in every instance as is always the case since they made the first representations denying that there was any involvement with Russians, every instance the administration has been found to be lying on all of these issues.
And, of course, we see in this book the chaos, the incompetence, the recklessness, the unpreparedness for duties and responsibilities around the most powerful person of the world of this entire menagerie around him. And truly, when you looking at this majestic comportment in this majestic place, the West Wing of the White House, they couldn`t be more vile than if they`re monkeys hurling excrement at each other in a cage.
O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" reporting tonight comes after an article Michael Wolff published in "The Hollywood Reporter" today explaining how he got access to the Trump White House and adding some more detail about what he picked up there. And yet, it is -- one thing he wrote this morning I think is -- makes a lot more sense as you read "The New York Times" article tonight when you see the president`s reaction in "The New York Times" article to his attacks on Jeff Sessions and so forth, what Michael Wolff wrote this morning was -- this is about people in the White House, no one expected him to survive Mueller. Whatever the substance of the Russia collusion, Trump in the estimation of his senior staff did not have the discipline to navigate a tough investigation, nor the credibility to attract the caliber of lawyers he would need to help him.
And, Natasha, in the accounts of "The New York Times" tonight, that is certainly someone who does not have the discipline to survive a close investigation.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Another thing that Wolff wrote is that Trump had recently been urging Fox News to levy attacks on Mueller, to essentially serve as his surrogate and attack Mueller where he could not.
But, look, I think this is all indicative of why James Comey never came out and said you are not under investigation because by that point by the time that he actually had spoken to Trump and by the time that he testified before Congress, Trump had already asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn. Trump had already asked him for his loyalty. So, these were all things that James Comey was considering potentially most likely when he was debating whether or not to publicly exonerate Trump, because he probably knew that sometime in the near future, he might be under investigation of obstruction of justice, because he thinks that he had been requesting for months at the time.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and, Matt, if and we`ll never know the sequence of this, if the president was not under investigation before, he asked James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, the very act of asking the FBI director to drop the Flynn investigation probably apparently put the president under investigation as of that moment. The FBI director immediately rushed off to write notes that he needed to record of that actual conversation.
MILLER: Yes. Look, I -- James Comey testified he took the notes because he thought that some point his integrity would be questioned, people would wonder what happened in those meetings, that he would need to have a contemporaneous account of that. I believe him but I have also thought that he was also after hearing these inappropriate requests from the president starting to build a case, starting to build an obstruction case of the president that very moment.
And that, you know, one of the questions people asked of Jim Comey is, well, why didn`t you do something more, why didn`t you tell the president to stop? Why -- you know, why didn`t you go to the boss which he did eventually do?
I think that, you know, he had a witness incriminating himself, committing criminal acts or potentially criminal acts and he wanted to record those and let him keep going and get as much of it as he could down and, of course, we now know that those initial conversations with James Comey were just the tip of the iceberg when you look at the other interventions with the intelligence community, to try to get them to intervene with the FBI. We now know that he had White House counsel go and intervene with the attorney general directly. Those means with Comey were one of many acts and what, you know, might end up as, you know, broad conspiracy by the president, and maybe other people inside the administration, including the attorney general to obstruct justice.
O`DONNELL: Natasha, quick last word on "The New York Times" reporting tonight?
BERTRAND: I just think that it means that Mueller still has a lot of work to do. The obstruction case is obviously building and Trump does not seem to be taking it seriously enough. As Wolff wrote in his piece for "The Hollywood Reporter" this morning, Trump doesn`t seem to have the discipline or the awareness to realize how dangerous this is for his presidency.
BERTRAND: He`s so hyper-focused on the collusion question that he doesn`t seem to understand that the obstruction question is arguably more dangerous.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it looks like the dangerous one.
Natasha Bertrand and Matt Miller, thank you for joining us tonight.
Steve, please stick around.
Coming up, Michael Wolff`s new book catches Donald Trump in the act of committing sexual harassment and we will have Michael Wolff on this program on Monday night for a full discussion of his book, how he got access to the Trump White House and more of the details. It really is every page, there`s virtually every page there`s something explosive on it. We have so far covered only the tip of the iceberg of what is in "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff.
Michael Wolff will be here Monday night.
O`DONNELL: The daughter will bring down the father. Michael Wolff quotes Steve Bannon saying exactly that about Ivanka Trump in an article that Michael Wolff wrote today in "The Hollywood Reporter" explaining how he got access to the Trump White House to write his new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House".
Michael Wolff who will join us here on this program Monday night describes the factions in the Trump White House this way: Jared and Ivanka were against Priebus and Bannon, trying to push both men out. Bannon was against Jared and Ivanka and Priebus practicing what everybody thought were dark arts against them. Priebus, everybody`s punching bag, just tried to survive another day.
By late spring, the larger political landscape seems to become almost irrelevant with everyone focused on the more lethal battles within the White House itself, this included screaming fights in the halls and in front of a bemused Trump in the Oval Office when he was not the one screaming himself.
Today, President Trump, the Trump staff, and the Trump lawyers did everything they possibly could to sell more copies of Michael Wolff`s new book, including the utterly empty threat to sue Steve Bannon for things he said in the book, to sue Michael Wolff for writing the book and to sue the book`s publisher for publishing the book.
The cease and desist letter by Donald Trump`s lawyers is the most legally empty such letter I have ever read. The most naive question of the day has been, will Donald Trump really sue Steve Bannon or Michael Wolff or the publisher?
Speaking as someone who Donald Trump has threatened to sue, I can report to America with 100 percent confidence that Donald Trump will not dare to sue Michael Wolff or the publisher or Steve Bannon.
The president`s empty legal threat was greeted by the publisher`s announcement that they`re speeding up the publication of the book so that it will be available for you to purchase tomorrow instead of next week.
Sam Nunberg, the campaign staffer who worked with Donald Trump the longest and knew him better than any other campaign staffer is quoted in Michael Wolff`s book as saying this about Donald Trump: He`s just an f-ing fool.
Today, Chuck Todd asked Sam Nunberg if he said that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I don`t remember exactly saying that but those are certainly sentiments I have said sometimes. In terms of my language, I mean, you have hung out with me before. You know, I`m a colorful guy and I`m in New York and I can tell you, too, I`ve been sued by him and I`m sure he said much worse about me. With that said, as you know, I`m a supporter of his and he`s very, very difficult person to work for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Bunch of words there and you can take that as, yes, I said that. You can take that as confirmation that Michael Wolff did, indeed, accurately quote Sam Nunberg.
Joining the discussion, Kurt Andersen, author of "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire." He`s host of "Studio 360". And Steve Schmidt is back with us.
And, Kurt, you have been studying the man named Trump for longer than rest of us.
KURT ANDERSEN, AUTHOR, "FANTASY LAND: HOW AMERICA WENT HAYWIRE": Back when he threatened to sue me.
O`DONNELL: Back when he threatened to sue you. You were a pioneer in getting journalists threatened to be sued by Trump.
Is this the Trump that you know as you read it in Michael Wolff`s book?
ANDERSEN: Well, I didn`t know just -- he didn`t seem as incomprehensibly out of control and stupid as he seems from Michael`s book. I mean, for starters, Michael is depicting this White House that is just a madhouse of chaos and incompetence. And, of course, that team letting Michael Wolff in there is a symptom of that very thing.
All you have to do is read what this man has written over the last couple of decades to know he`s probably not going to be a friendly journalist.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Steve Schmidt, Michael Wolff again writing just in today`s "Hollywood Reporter", there`s so much to cover with what he`s revealing and that`s why Monday night when he joins us with the book, we`ll be able to get into more detail in the book. But just on what Michael wrote today in "Hollywood Reporter", he said about Trump`s staff advisers and family, my indelible impression of talking to them and observing them through much of the first year of the presidency is that they all 100 percent came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.
SCHMIDT: This conspiracy of silence in the West Wing of the White House where from top to bottom they all know, this is an open secret in Washington, D.C. His manifest on fitness for the office, the worry that people have about his unfitness, the danger that they understand it poses, and yet, for their self interest, for their seat of power, they have not communicated it to the American people who certainly our republic, our government of the people, by the people, for the people.
They don`t work for the president. They serve at his pleasure. They work for the American people. And they`ve sworn an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
And we see this terrible behavior that something out of a reality show as opposed to the decorum you would expect around the most powerful seat of executive power in the world. And it is a remarkable moment to see it. And when`s clear about the book, do you think ever, Lawrence, for just one instance, one day, anyone around that West Wing and that Oval Office said, we are the trustees of a great inheritance? And our obligation is to secure a stronger country for the next generation of Americans, to make life better for the American people, to advance American ideals in the world.
For one second, do you think that that thought has crossed any of these people`s minds? It is despicable and outrageous. This is an important book because it levels fundamental questions that have to be answered about this commander-in-chief`s fitness and we have seen his recklessness, his slurring of words, we`ve seen him in action over a year and it`s time that this conversation I think come more into the public.
O`DONNELL: And, Kurt, about the credibility of the book, it has withstood all challenges. There have been no real challenges for the last 24 hours. You have experienced in book publishing, you used to be the boss and the editor of "New York Magazine" where the excerpt was published yesterday. You know there`s a layer of lawyers at the book publishers that examines this. There`s another layer of lawyers at "New York Magazine". My experience with the magazine lawyers is they`re more strict than the book lawyers, so it had to pass through both of those layers to get to publication.
ANDERSEN: Absolutely. As somebody that -- another book I published this last fall, a parody without a (INAUDIBLE) of Donald Trump`s Memoir and the lawyering on that was intense. So imagine a nonfiction book for starters. And yes, indeed, 7,000-word excerpt in New York Magazine was no doubt lawyered by the magazine`s lawyers and fact checked by the magazine`s fact Checkers. So I don`t think the credibility has been significantly challenged.
And there`s a lot of -- what I take to be kind of sour grapes envy on the part of some journalists saying we all knew that. Well to me that`s the problem. If you all knew that and understandably because you`re a beat reporter you can`t sort of go for the jugular as Michael could with this book because he doesn`t have to maintain relationships.
You should be welcoming the fact that this guy -- this thing you All knew, that he is deranged, a child, a dope, an idiot, pick whatever member of his Administration you wish, who all used those phrases and worse to describe their Commander in Chief. Everybody knew this? We reported this between the Lines. But this guy just comes out and says it. Well that`s not much of a criticism in my book.
O`DONNELL: And Steve, apparently Michael Wolff book created one big change in the Whitehouse, the new rule of banning of personal cell phones. Clearly an attempt to stop the leaking that makes Michael Wolff`s book possible and makes virtually every other report in the Washington Post and the New York times possible.
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, of course. Won`t stop the leaking at the end of the day because we`ve seen for over a year the nature of the staff in the West Wing of the Whitehouse. But, you know, there`s clearly no conversations taking place in this Whitehouse about what`s happening in Iran, the situation in North Korea. The provocations the President made towards Pakistan publicly. Not that the substance of his criticisms is wrong but should be delivered privately.
The world is boiling. here at the beginning of 2018. And the whole country is trapped in this dystopian dysfunctional reality show metastasized into a horror movie soap opera that plays out every day on the TVs. It is quite extraordinary but it`s also quite dangerous. The qualities of character that we`re seeing, the recklessness, the incompetence, the malfeasance, the self interest, in the most powerful office in the world, presents great danger to this country and frankly to free people`s everywhere.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, Kurt Anderson thank you for joining the discussion tonight, really appreciate it Coming up, according to Michael Wolff`s new book Ivanka Trump expects to be the first woman president
O`DONNELL: As we discussed earlier this hour, Michael Wolff`s book Fire and Fury describes a scene on Air Force One when Donald Trump was telling Whitehouse staff how to lie to the New York Times about Donald Trump Jr.`s Meeting with Russians in Trump Tower during the campaign which provoked one member of the Trump Legal team to quit because he thought this meeting could be obstruction Of justice. Another passage in the Michael Wolff book describes a violation of New York State Law, sexual harassment law.
Shortly after Corey Lewandowski with whom Hope Hicks had an on and off romantic relationship was fired in June 2016 for clashing with Trump family members, Hicks sat in Trump Tower with Trump and his sons worrying about Lewandowski`s treatment in the press and wondering aloud how she might help him. Trump who otherwise seemed to treat Hicks in a protective and even paternal way looked up and said, why? You`ve already done enough for him. You`re the best piece -- he`ll ever have sending Hicks running from the room.
That is textbook sexual Harassment according to New York State Law. Joining us now, Zerlina Maxwell, the Director of Progressive Programming for Series at XM Radio. She was formerly with the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign as Director of Progressive Media there. And Zerlina this book is filled with details that no one`s getting to because so many of them are so explosive.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right.
O`DONNELL: But just something like that, You know, you turn the pages of The book and watch now President Trump as Candidate Trump break the law on sexual harassment with his own staff.
MAXWELL: And certainly I think we`re seeing it in a new light because having a national reckoning right now around the issue of sexual harassment. So were understanding this in a more comprehensive way. So superior cannot comment on a subordinate`s appearance or sexualize them in this particular way. It is a violation of state law. But that goes to show how Donald Trumps sees women.
He value women based on their appearance particularly when women don`t challenge him in a political sense. So, for example, with Mika Brzezinski she criticized him. Immediately he attacks her appearance. MEGYN KELLY, immediately attacks appearance when challenged at a debate and so that`s his M.O. and he always devalues women commenting on how they look.
O`DONNELL: Another passage in Michael Wolff`s book describes the Ivanka/Jared pact and this is on which one of them gets to be President first. Jared and Ivanka had made an earnest deal between themselves. If sometime in the future the time came she`d be the one to run for President or the first one of them to take the shot. The first woman President Ivanka entertained would not be Hillary Clinton. It would be Ivanka Trump.
MAXWELL: That`s hilarious mainly because Ivanka has no qualifications or experience. Now she`s in the Whitehouse now and based on no qualifications and experience to be there doing who knows what.
O`DONNELL: her father doesn`t have qualifications to be there.
MAXWELL: Exactly so perhaps her delusions are based on the delusions of her father who was able to eke out an Electoral College win without any experience. But I don`t think that Ivanka Trump will have the same experience and here`s why. She is a woman.
And so the sexism that Hillary Clinton had to deal with trying to be the highest person -- in the highest position in the country she`s going to face that same sexism because when you challenge men and their position in authority that`s when you face sexism.
It`s not when you play the game of the Donald Trump`s of the world. Ivanka has not faced that yet and she will if she tries to go for the top job.
O`DONNELL: The President is quoted in the book as calling his wife a trophy wife including referring to her as a trophy wife to her face with her in the room. This kind of thing permeates the book so with the treatment of Hope Hicks got is not that different from the treatment that Mrs. Trump gets.
MAXWELL: Right. No. And that`s Donald Trump. It`s Trump being Trump. It is not surprising to anyone paying attention, particularly someone like me a feminist and cares very much about the equality of women and the fact that they should be able to be valued for their smarts and their ability on the job. With Donald Trump it`s not that way. He owned a beauty pageant
And those people objectified and sexualized in a very particular way. He walking in on underage beauty contestants and he valued women on how they looked and literally scored them. And they wore a crown based on how pretty they were. So that`s the world of Donald Trump comes from.
And that`s just going to be consistent even though he`s the President. He`s not going to change. And it`s very unfortunate because women are more than half of the country and should be valued because of the contributions that we bring to society and in the workplace and not based solely on the physical appearance. It`s not 1950 anymore.
O`DONNELL: Well it may be in Trump World. Zerlina Maxwell, thank you very much.
MAXWELL: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, Mitch McConnell has been hoping to break STEVE BANNON`S spell over Donald Trump. And it looks like Mitch McConnell has gotten his wish now that Trump and Bannon are each saying that the other has lost his mind.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ]
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steve Bannon in the new book Is reported to have said that the contact that is took place, the meetings between Trump associates and Russians were potentially treasonous, At least unpatriotic. Do you agree with Steve Bannon?
MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I like to associate myself with what the President said about Steve Bannon yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is Mitch McConnell`s Kentucky gentlemanly way of saying he agrees with Donald Trump that Steve Bannon lost his Mind. Pulitzer Prize winning Author George F. Will joins the discussion next
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Steve Bannon betray you, Mr. President? Any words about Steve Bannon?
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I don`t know. He called me a great man last night. So you know he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. Thank you all very much. I don`t talk to him. I don`t talk to him. I don`t talk to him. That`s just a misnomer.
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now, George F. Will, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist for the Washington Post and MSNBC Political Analyst. George, Mitch McConnell was trying to find a way to break the spell that Steve Bannon seemed to have break the President. As of tonight it seems like the spell is broken.
GEORGE F. WILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And broken by Steve Bannon. STEVE Bannon, who`s sort of the -- in politics with the New York Mets of 1962 were in baseball. That is, new parameters and ways of losing you`ve never seen before. He`s been too busy racking up losses to have red Mitch McConnell`s Memoir.
He should. The title of the memoir is a long game. And Mitch McConnell plays a long game. In this case he knew he would wait them out and your enemies will in fullness of time are up to destroy themselves. I think it was Napoleon who said when your enemy is destroying himself, do not Interfere. And Mr. Trump`s boon companion from happier days, Mr. Bannon, is fulfilling that prophecy.
O`DONNELL: And we all know that among the most behaviorally conservative people in America are Washington politicians, and they are verbally conservative. They are very, very careful in what they say and what they do, often to the point of boredom. But no one has ever gotten in trouble in Washington from being boring. And here we`re discovering the two most colorful people in the Whitehouse, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, have created this public explosion.
And the man who personifies the boring class of Washington, Mitch McConnell, seems to be the winner of where we are tonight, in terms of how Republicans move forward tomorrow in Washington.
WILL: Yes and sometimes it does pay off to be gray in Washington (INAUDIBLE) in your suit. To tell you a personal story someone -- National Review, the Conservative Magazine once wrote that one of the things that Makes Mitch McConnell good at his job is he doesn`t want another job. One of the few senators who doesn`t, while shaving in the morning, see a President in the mirror. And they said he can`t be President because he has the dower demeanor of George Will rather unkind to both of us perhaps.
But they had a point. Mitch McConnell knows what he`s doing, and he`s a man of the Senate, an institutional man, a man who was before he was a Senator and became a senator, winning in 1984, before that he was on the Senate Staff. And he worked for one of the great starts at the time John Sherman Cooper from Kentucky. So here you have a man of institutional loyalties and sensibilities up against a man whose job as he sees it, Mr. Bannon sees it, is to wreck Institutions.
O`DONNELL: Do incumbent Republican Senators and incumbent Republican House Members breathe easy to longer fearing primary challenges from Steve Bannon.
WILL: Well there`s an old saying in politics is you know there`s only two ways to run, scared or unopposed. I assume they have the normal prudential fear. But certainly the idea that this is a man who could conjure potent opponents out of thin air, that seems to have sort of evaporated. He`s a little bit like the Wizard of Oz behind the screen.
O`DONNELL: You predicted that Steve Bannon was going to lead the Republicans to defeat in the Alabama Senate Race. He did. Doug Jones is now the new Democratic Senator from Alabama. That -- it wasn`t clear to me whether that would be lesson enough about where Steve Bannon was leading people. But it seems tonight Republicans might now understand he`s not the one to follow.
WILL: Well as Mr. McConnell said it`s quite a remarkable achievement to elect a Democratic Senator in the State of Alabama, the Reddest state in union arguably. So I do think that people in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, all Kinds of places where people more or less associated with or at that point wanting to be associated with Mr. Bannon were threatening to enter Republican Primaries. I think tonight it doesn`t look like such a wonderful thing to be joined at the hip with Mr. Bannon.
O`DONNELL: We have seen Presidents abandon advisers in the past and then call them in months later, years later when they discover that no one else around them gives them satisfactory advice. Can you imagine the return of Bannon to the Trump advisory circle?
WILL: Well I can because of what the President said today. He called me a great man last night.
WILL: Well I`d say he`s three quarters on the way back in the door.
O`DONNELL: George F. Will, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
WILL: Glad to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news, during the commercial break, Donald Trump tweeted I authorized zero access to Whitehouse, actually turned him down many times for author of phony book, exclamation Point. I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don`t exist.
Look at this guy`s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve. It looks like Steve Bannon has a new nickname from the President, Sloppy Steve. You will hear Michael Wolff`s response to that tweet, and to the other criticism coming his way from the Trump Whitehouse Monday night at this hour on this program when Michael Wolff, the author of this book, Fire and Fury, inside the trump Whitehouse, joins us on this program Monday night for what will be his first cable news Primetime interview on Monday Night.
Obviously between now and then the questions and challenges about this book from Donald Trump himself and from the Whitehouse staff and possibly from People mentioned in this book, quoted in this book, might continue to mount. But so far, as of tonight, there is no serious challenge to the contents of this book.
Steve Bannon has not come forward and denied a single word that this book quotes him as saying about the President, about Jared Kushner, about Ivanka Trump, about everyone in That Whitehouse. That is tonight`s last word, the 11th hour starts now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking tonight in the New York Times, how the President tried to stop attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Russia investigation. Now it`s now in the hands of Robert Mueller.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.