Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: January 5, 2018 Guest: Daniel Dale, Jennifer Rubin, Neera Tanden, Jill Wine-Banks, Hunter Walker
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: -- by talking about the conspicuous fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not going to Camp David along with most of the rest of the cabinet and all the congressional leadership and the President and the Vice President this weekend.
That`s interesting both for Jeff Sessions` feelings and for the prospect that the President might be looking to get rid of him and how consequential that would be for, among other things, the Russia investigation.
Two Republican members of Congress this week called for Jeff Sessions to resign, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Well, tonight, we have just got a third. Chris Stewart, congressman from Utah, is now the third Republican member of Congress calling for Jeff Sessions to resign.
Again, the Attorney General, not invited to the sleepover at Camp David this weekend. Now growing calls for resignation among Republican congressmen. Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again Monday. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Katy Tur in for Lawrence this evening.
Good evening, Katy.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: In the words of Donald Trump, that is not nice to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Rachel, he was the first one that came out and endorsed him. It was a big deal.
MADDOW: Here`s one thing that might be nice about it. Alabama never gets as cold as Camp David is going to be this weekend, so it`s possible he is a delicate flower.
TUR: Well, there`s that.
MADDOW: And the President wanted to spare him.
TUR: You know, usually, I do these awkward handoffs with Ari Melber, and they can be awkward. I`m not quite sure how to throw you off your game, though.
MADDOW: Oh, there`s -- I can give you infinite possibilities. You just sit here and look at me weird for a few seconds and I crumble.
See? OK. There you go. Bye, Katy.
TUR: Rachel, thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
TUR: It is exciting for me to take it away from you. I appreciate it. And thank you, Rachel. I`m Katy Tur, in for Lawrence O`Donnell.
It is finally here, Michael Wolff`s much anticipated new book, "Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House." It officially arrived in bookstores despite and probably because of the President`s attempts to stop the publication.
The book is flying off the shelves around America, not just in New York and D.C. but also in Wichita, Kansas, where a local bookstore owner told the local paper: it`s crazy. There is a scramble right now to get as many books in retail outlets as possible, and we`re just counting on the publisher to deliver.
In Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, the owner of a small book chain -- bookstore book chain told a reporter: we clearly under-ordered, no question. I worry everyone wants it, and if they don`t get it within the next week, they`ll look for the juicy parts online.
You can find similar headlines in Lubbock, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Not to mention the bookstore downstairs here in Rockefeller Center where "Fire and Fury" is sold out.
Here is what author Michael Wolff says about Donald Trump making his tell- all the most in-demand book in America tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The President`s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter threatening legal action against you and the publisher to which you say?
MATTHEW WOLFF, AUTHOR, "FIRE AND FURY, INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE": And they sent that yesterday before they actually had read the book, but what - - actually, what I say is, wait, where do I send the box of chocolates?
GUTHRIE: You think he`s helping you sell books?
WOLFF: Absolutely, I mean. And not only is he helping me sell books, but he`s helping me prove the point of the book.
I mean, this is extraordinary that a President of the United States would try to stop the publication of a book. This doesn`t happen. Has not happened from other presidents, would not even happen from a CEO of a mid- sized company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: The President and the White House claim Wolff`s reporting is a, quote, book of lies and Trump tweeted this, this morning.
Well, now that the collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the fake news media -- mainstream -- and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad.
Wolff, who says he has audio to back up his book, responded to Trump`s attack this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTHRIE: Would you release any of those recordings since your credibility is being questioned?
WOLFF: I -- my credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Wolff also doubled down on the overall portrait of President Trump which he says is shared by 100 percent of the people around him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTHRIE: Everyone around the President, senior advisers, family members, every single one of them, questions his intelligence and fitness for office.
WOLFF: Let me put a marker in the sand here, 100 percent of the people around him. I will tell you, the one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common. They all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. It`s all about him.
I mean, this letter for -- the cease and desist letter, I mean, I still have sources in the White House, and I know everybody was going --
WOLFF: I know -- we should not be doing this, this is not smart. And he just insists. He just has to be satisfied in the moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Here is what some of the people around President Trump have said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Should Americans be concerned about the President`s mental fitness that he appears to be speaking so lightly about threats regarding nuclear button?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the President and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I`ve never questioned his mental fitness. I have no reason to question his mental fitness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Here`s the thing. It might be more noticeable what they did not say. No one from the White House has directly addressed the claims in my Michael Wolff`s book that it`s chaos inside the White House. No one from the White House has addressed directly the claims that Trump acts like a child.
Will they? It`s hard to say.
But tonight, Axios reports more than half a dozen of the more skilled White House staff are contemplating imminent departures. Many leaving are quite fearful about the next chapter of the Trump presidency.
Joining us now are Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress; Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the "Toronto Star"; and Jennifer Rubin, conservative opinion writer at "The Washington Post."
Guys, welcome. I find it noticeable that so many of Donald Trump`s sympathizers, Donald Trump supporters, are going on cable outlets and dismissing this book wholeheartedly, but they`re not really getting into many of the details.
There is one detail that really just struck out for me, one detail that I noticed, and that came from Sam Nunberg, who I had on my 2:00 p.m. show earlier today. And that was Sam Nunberg trying to explain the constitution to a man who was running to be the President of the United States. Take a listen to what Sam said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER CAMPAIGN AIDE TO DONALD TRUMP: Michael says that I went in there to teach him the constitution. I didn`t go in there to teach him the constitution.
What I went in there was, it was a week and a half before the first debate and I was scared. I go in and I try to have a brief, like, let me give you a got you question on this, got you question on that, got you question on this.
I could only get to the Fourth Amendment before four other people are walking in. He tells me, you know, it`s one --
TUR: No, that`s not what you said in the book. You didn`t say it was people walking. In the book, you`ve said his eyes rolled back in his head. You implied that he could not understand what was --
NUNBERG: Well, that`s not what I was --
TUR: -- what was in the constitution. He didn`t care enough, maybe that`s what it was.
NUNBERG: That`s what it was.
TUR: But he --
NUNBERG: I didn`t -- first of all --
TUR: So he doesn`t care about learning the constitution?
NUNBERG: No, he knows the constitution. I don`t think he cared about --
TUR: Does he know the --
NUNBERG: I don`t think he cared about preparing.
TUR: But -- hold on, hold on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: He didn`t care about preparing for that debate. He didn`t necessarily care about learning the whole constitution as Sam Nunberg was saying in that book.
Daniel, he is now in the White House. Who in the White House cares about the constitution for the President of the United States?
DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, TORONTO STAR: Well, I think, you know, everyone around him is responsible for making it appear as if he has the level of knowledge that every previous president had.
What`s curious to me is that the media in the U.S. has never -- has rarely, if ever, pressed him to demonstrate this knowledge, the kinds of got you questions that previous candidates without political experience often --
TUR: Is that a got you question, though, Daniel, what`s in the constitution?
DALE: No, I think it shouldn`t be considered, but I think candidates would consider it one. But I -- he -- you know, Trump, himself, skates away in interviews by opining on things.
But on things as diverse as the constitution, health care policy, Middle East policy, it`s not clear that he has basic knowledge. You know, where is Israel? What are its neighbors? What is Medicaid? What does ObamaCare actually do?
And so from all of those things and the constitution, we just don`t know what precisely this President actually knows.
TUR: And, Jennifer, what do you think readers are going to take away from this book once they can finally dig into it?
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, first of all, Katy, I am sorry that the President didn`t threaten to ban your book because I`m sure that would have been a big help to sales.
TUR: He did tweet about my book the day of the release, saying that I had no access.
TUR: There is that.
RUBIN: Well, there is that to fall back on. I hope the American people take away two things.
One is that the people around him are not doing the country a favor. They are misusing their power, and they are committing a horrible miscarriage of justice and miscarriage of the constitution. If he is incapable of carrying out the duties of the presidency, it`s not their job to disguise that or to run around doing the job. We didn`t elect any of them.
If he`s not fit, they need to come forward to the American people. And we have a Vice President for precisely that reason. So I think the American people should be very concerned that he is not fit for office and that these people are disguising this, hiding this from us.
The second issue, I think, that we should be very alarmed about is that there is an awful lot of evidence between this and "The New York Times" release this week in terms of obstruction of justice. And this, in fact, involves the Attorney General.
I have been one who said we shouldn`t fire the Attorney General because he was there, in essence, to protect Mueller. Now, I think he has to go.
I think there`s direct evidence that he`s implicated in an obstruction of justice in trying to cook up a phony reason to get rid of the FBI Director at the time, and I think he has to go. And I think the little component parts of a claim of obstruction of justice are coming together.
TUR: But, Jennifer, who would replace him? Who would get by a confirmation?
RUBIN: You know what? We have a Deputy Attorney General and that person can act in the Attorney General`s spot for as long as need be.
TUR: Rod Rosenstein. Neera, can you imagine a scenario where Michael Wolff would get this sort of access to any other White House?
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I mean, the whole thing is really stunning. I have to agree with Jennifer. I worked in two different White Houses, in the Obama White House and in the Clinton White House. And there were certainly books that, you know, were portrayed to be insider details, but they -- you know, they did not -- none of those authors, like, sat out in the West Wing for months at a time.
And I mean, I think what`s really stunning about this book is just the universal view of Trump`s own aides thinking he is unfit to be president. And basically, in the last 48 hours, we`ve had reporter after reporter basically sort of blindly -- like, you know, in a way basically confirm that the staffers will go on T.V. and defend the President, and then roll their eyes about him or actually confess, privately, to hold serious doubts.
And so, you know, I don`t think -- I think this is like a, you know, kind of existential moment for the country. Do we have a President who is fit to serve as leader of the free world and as leader of our country?
If you can`t read memos or read your presidential daily briefing or have no interest in doing so, it`s hard to do the hardest job in the world. And, you know, I just -- this is like a -- I think this is like a big moment for the country, actually.
TUR: Daniel, the thing about this book is that although it is shocking in its details and it`s riveting in the gossipy aspect of it, it does fall in line with a lot of the reporting that we have been seeing since Donald Trump took office about the chaos within his White House.
When you said the Axios reporting which talks about folks that are considering tendering their resignation, how much stock do you put into that?
DALE: Well, we know that. We know that`s true. I don`t know if the precise names that Axios is floating are correct, but we know, for example, that Rex Tillerson has been thinking about it for a long time. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn has been thinking about it for a long time.
This is a president who has suffered unprecedented first-year turnover for a modern president. And by all indications, once these staffers hit the one-year mark on January 20th, the pace of turnover is probably going to accelerate.
These are people who are sick and tired of dealing with this president and dealing with such a dysfunctional environment. Some of them have been determined to stick it out to get to one year as a resume item or as a -- for a sense of personal accomplishment. But by all accounts, there`s going to be an additional exodus in the coming weeks and months.
TUR: But, Jennifer, if they`re sick and tired of it and it`s -- as James Fallows puts it, it`s an open secret that there are questions about the President`s mental stability and as people within the White House say that they`re questioning it as well to reporters.
I got a text from somebody who used to work in the White House, asking me if I think the President has lost a step. And this was three months ago after my book came out and he read that and then looked at the President on television.
Given all of that, why are we not seeing resignations before now? Why are folks sticking around?
RUBIN: This is the great moral dilemma. Why did they go in and why did they stay and why did they remain quiet? And I think the real and very disappointing answer is people do this because they`re careerists, because they love the excitement of working in the White House, they love the power.
I would like to think that they`re patriots, that their conscience would move us to do something. You know there`s been exactly one person who has resigned because he thought something foul was going on, and that`s Mark Corallo who was the spokesperson for the legal team for Donald Trump.
He was on the flight on Air Force One when they were crafting and re- crafting the cover story for the famous June meeting in Trump Tower. And he apparently told Mr. Wolff, listen, I thought there was obstruction of justice. He quit.
Why don`t we have more than a single person? Well, that`s a good question, and I think part of it goes to the fact that quality attracts quality. The fish rots from the head. And very, I think, skilled, experienced people did not want to go work for this White House, and so we got what we got.
My hope is that when they leave, they`ll be more forthcoming. They`ll testify before Congress. They will come on the air. They`ll explain what they have seen. And maybe we can come up, collectively, with a short circuit for this presidency because I think we`re in a dangerous, dangerous spot right now.
TUR: So in trying to blunt this book, the White House and the President have been attacking Steve Bannon, saying this is all about Steve Bannon being crazy and spinning lies. Michael Wolff, the author, pushed back on that on "TODAY" this morning. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLFF: The President have -- has tried to put this, this book is about Steve Bannon. So let me say, very forthrightly, this book is not about Steve Bannon. This book is about Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Neera, let`s play devil`s advocate here. Could you say that this book is about Steve Bannon`s version of Donald Trump?
TANDEN: Well, I presume that Michael Wolff has a lot of sources. It seems like he has a lot of sources from his book. Obviously, I am absolutely no Steve Bannon fan. I think he`s a terrible person and has proposed terrible policies for the country and is incredibly divisive.
What I think is -- would be -- people are kind of losing sight of here is that Steve Bannon is an eyewitness to a lot of events. Jennifer referenced some of them, but, you know, he is an eyewitness to the President`s responses -- to Donald Trump`s response to the Russia investigation.
The fact that he calls the campaign that he, later, was a CEO of treasonous and unpatriotic and, you know, basically alleges that or basically argues that there`s a lot wrong going on here, then the President attacks him viciously, I think, you know, he has a lot to offer congressional investigators. And obviously, Mueller, in being a witness to what happened here, witness to possible cover-ups that happened inside the White House around what happened in the campaign.
And so, you know, I think we`re talking about two people who basically have guns to each other`s heads here. And for one to live, the other must die. And I honestly don`t know which way it will go in the end.
TUR: Listen, a lot of folks have been predicting Donald Trump`s demise now since he announced, since --
TANDEN: Yes, I`m not betting on it.
TUR: It was -- hold on.
TANDEN: I`m not betting on it.
TANDEN: I`m just saying --
TUR: But -- well, that`s what --
TANDEN: I`m just saying that --
TUR: But -- and I`m not saying you are betting on it, but when people look at this book and they say, oh, my gosh, it`s really detailing how nuts it is inside the White House, you can`t survive this.
Neera, do you think this book is going to -- or, actually, Jennifer, do you think this book is really going to leave a mark?
Is this going to last, or is this going to be another way that the President of the United States can say everybody is out to get me, the media is out to get me, the mainstream political establishment is out to get me, the deep state is out to get me? Look at all they`re doing to try to embarrass me.
RUBIN: I don`t think anything is going to end this presidency until -- Neera, you got me -- until you have a Democratic Congress. Until you have a group of people who are willing to impeach this President, Democrats are not going to sit still.
And I wonder what Republicans are going to think going into November when their Democratic opponents say, we know that you have been enabling an unfit, unbalanced president. We, Democrats, will do what is necessary to protect the country and you won`t. I don`t know what the possible response to that is.
TUR: Just to underscore --
TANDEN: I mean, the only --
TUR: Go ahead, Neera.
TANDEN: The only thing I would -- the only thing I`d add to that is, you know, this book takes place against the backdrop of a special prosecutor investigation. So my point is only that Steve Bannon in this book, other references in this book, can -- will be fodder for the Special Prosecutor to investigate.
I`m not saying that the book itself will take down Donald Trump, although I think a lot of Republicans have to recognize that it`s not me saying the President`s campaign was treasonous. It`s Steve Bannon saying that, but I`m not saying that`s going to take him then.
I`m just saying, at the end of the day, there is a legal process underway to create possible accountability for the President. And this book will be part of the record of that legal process that Mueller himself can choose to investigate. If I were on his team, I may call in Steve Bannon for a question or two.
TUR: No doubt about. Guys, stay with us.
Coming up, new NBC News reporting about the White House crusade to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia probe.
And Senate Republicans have a new target in the Russia investigation. The man who created the dossier, Christopher Steele.
And later, all the things that Trump administration did this week.
TUR: NBC News reports tonight that multiple Trump White House officials urged Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself in the Russia investigation, in addition to top White House lawyer, Don McGahn.
"The New York Times" first reported on Thursday that President Trump ordered McGahn to stop sessions from recusing himself last March and that Robert Mueller is aware of that demand.
The revelations come as Republican senators attacked one of the first sources on the Trump/Russia collusion. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, today, asked the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against Christopher Steele, the former spy who compiled the document known as the Trump Dossier.
A source familiar with the investigation tells NBC News the referral stems from at least one statement Steele made to the FBI about the timing of discussions with journalists about the content of the dossier which conflicts with what he told another source.
It`s the first criminal referral by Senate Republicans in their Russia investigation, and it drew this reaction from Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), MINORITY MEMBER, SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY: I have seen no evidence, none whatsoever, that would justify this criminal referral.
Stunningly and sadly, this first major action by the Republican leadership of the Judiciary Committee is aimed at someone who reported wrongdoing rather than committed it. It seems more like an effort to distract from the real priorities, what should be the priorities of the committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Joining us now, Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor. Also Ken Dilanian, the intelligence and national security reporter for NBC News.
Ken, let`s start with you. What more do we know about this potential investigation into Christopher Steele?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, Katy, this is a partisan referral by the Republicans only on the Judiciary Committee. And that doesn`t mean we should discount it, but it`s something our viewers should keep in mind. And the other thing to know about it is that it`s classified, so we don`t have the exact details.
But I`ve been doing some reporting and talking to some sources, and I have come away with the impression that it is essentially about what Christopher Steele said about his contacts with reporters. Apparently, something that he told the FBI contradicted with something that appeared through another source.
And it`s important to understand, too, that the Republicans are not even alleging that Christopher Steele intentionally lied here. They`re just saying that there is a material misstatement in a criminal investigation.
That`s leading a lot of Democrats to really question the whole premise of this, why this would be a criminal referral. And it sort of underscores the extent to which Charles Grassley and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have really been going after Steele and the dossier and Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele.
For months, they have been spending hours and hours of committee time investigating this matter. And this appears to be one of the results of that investigation.
TUR: Jill, is there any legal reason that you might want to go after Christopher Steele?
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: The only reason would be to divert attention from the real issue.
Congress should be looking at what the Russians did. We know they interfered with our election. We need to know before the next election how to stop it, how to prevent them from interfering once again.
And whatever Christopher Steele`s possible misstatement was -- and as you said, we don`t know what it is, we haven`t seen it -- it can`t be worthy of an investigation of any further criminal charges.
It is a disgraceful act that they have done this. I totally disapprove of it and think that we need to get focused on the people who committed crimes, not reported them. He is the one who brought it to the attention of the FBI, so this is -- it`s just wrong. It`s totally wrong.
TUR: Ken, you also have more reporting adding to "The New York Times" that it wasn`t just Don McGahn doing Donald Trump`s bidding the try and get Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself. Who else was it?
DILANIAN: There were other White House officials who called, we are told, Katy. And we don`t know who they are, but I think that`s the important strand here. Because, you know, there really was a full-court press to convince Jeff Sessions not to recuse from this investigation apparently because Donald Trump really thought that he could benefit from Sessions being in there as his protector.
He wanted an Attorney General who was loyal to him to sort of run roughshod over the investigation. And his instincts were right about that because nothing good has happened to Donald Trump in this investigation since Jeff Sessions recused himself. But I`m not sure, you know, whether -- and what that means in terms of what was good for the country, Katy.
TUR: Jill, if it`s not just Don McGahn, if it was multiple people within the White House going over to Jeff Sessions and telling him not to recuse himself, can you dismiss that as something innocent as them thinking that Jeff Sessions was doing a good job and didn`t need to, or does it prove some sort of pattern or some sort of intent?
WINE-BANKS: I think it shows consciousness of guilt on the part of Donald Trump. Why does he need a protector in the Attorney General`s seat? If he has, as he claims, done nothing wrong, why wouldn`t the investigation go forward? Why would he need any protection?
It`s clear that he knows that he`s guilty, and that`s why he wanted to keep him. And I would further suggest that he knows that the Attorney General had lied to Congress about his meetings, that he had had meetings.
And so that he may have thought that he would also be personally involved in wanting to stop the investigation, not just on behalf of Donald Trump, but on behalf of himself. So that he could be relied upon.
TUR: Jill, though, legally speaking, do you think you could actually present a concrete case to say what you just said, that you think it`s clear that he wanted to fire -- or, excuse me, wanted Jeff Sessions to protect him because he needed protecting? Legally, can you make that argument soundly?
WINE-BANKS: I think that what you have to do is take the pieces of the puzzle and put them together, and then you see a clear picture. No one fact alone says it all. But when you take everything and put it together, to me, it becomes a pretty clear picture: that he is obstructing justice and that he knew he was obstructing justice.
And, again, I want to point out that obstruction is a totally separate crime from whatever the underlying crime was. Whether he or anyone on his staff worked with the Russians to interfere in our election, it doesn`t matter. There was a legitimate investigation of the Russian misconduct and he interfered with it.
He wrote a phony statement which was intended to mislead the public and the FBI about the June meeting. He fired Comey when Comey didn`t do his bidding. He`s taken a series of steps that, all put together, say -- and he admitted to Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation.
And he has admitted that he wanted to have Sessions stay because he needed a protector. He said, where`s my Roy Cohn? And I could point out how evil Roy Cohn is as the person involved in the Army/McCarthy hearings, but Roy Cohn is a mentor to both Roger Stone and Donald Trump.
And so when he says, I want my Roy Cohn, or I want my protection, that says to me -- you put it all together -- that he has some consciousness that he`s done something wrong and needs protection.
TUR: Ken, is this an investigation now about collusion or obstruction?
DILANIAN: It`s clearly about both, Katy. And, you know, Jill`s making some very strong points. I would just say that there are many legal scholars who say that the obstruction case is a very difficult one to make. And it may hinge on this question of whether the President has the absolute right to fire his FBI Director for any reason, however evil the intent, or whether that firing could be construed as an attempt to obstruct justice, part of a conspiracy.
DILANIAN: And then all the other acts we have been hearing about were in furtherance of that conspiracy, whether they were illegal or not. The statement, the efforts to tell people to say there was no collusion, the effort to tell Comey to go easy on Mike Flynn, all that stuff is part of what Robert Mueller is looking at, Katy.
TUR: Ken Dilanian, Jill Wine-Banks, guys, thank you very much.
DILANIAN: Good to be with you.
WINE-BANKS: Thank you.
TUR: And coming up, new "Fire and Fury" book -- the new "Fire and Fury" book reveals a lot about Trump and women. It`s complicated. That`s next.
TUR: Michael Wolff`s new book, "Fire and Fury" has some shocking anecdotes about Donald Trump and women. One involves the former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates who was fired just 10 days after President Trump took office after refusing to enforce the Trump administration`s original travel ban.
We later learned that Sally Yates also had warned the White House that then national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russians and could be vulnerable to blackmail.
"Fire and Fury" details Trump`s preoccupation with Sally Yates even after he fired her and quotes Donald Trump saying Sally Yates is, quote, such a c-u-next-Tuesday. Wolff`s book says the Trump team predicted Donald Trump would take issue with Sally Yates.
Quote, the transition report said Trump wouldn`t like the 56-year-old Atlanta-born, University of Georgia, career Justice Department lawyer slated to step up to Acting Attorney General.
There was something about a particular kind of Obama person. Something about the way they walked and held themselves. Superiority. And about a certain kind of woman who would immediately rub Trump the wrong way -- Obama women being a good tip-off, Hillary women another. Later, this would be extended to, quote, DOJ women.
Back with us are Jennifer Rubin and Neera Tanden. Ladies, thanks for joining us.
Neera, you`re an Obama woman. When you read something like that, what do you think?
TANDEN: You know, I think the book actually just confirms something we`ve already seen if we just follow Trump`s Twitter feed or the things he says.
He went after Elizabeth Warren -- Senator Warren from Massachusetts with a racist remark, calling her Pocahontas which is, you know, essentially disgusting. And then attacked Kirsten Gillibrand with the worst form of sexist innuendo.
And, you know, I think Donald Trump goes after a lot of people but obviously has a problem with strong, intelligent women. And he has shown that time and time again. You don`t need the book to tell you that. You can read it his Twitter feed.
TUR: But the book also talks about how he feels closest to women. He feels like women understand him most. And you can`t deny the fact -- again, to play devil`s advocate -- that Donald Trump promoted women in the Trump Organization.
And in the White House, there are two women leading communication roles -- in leading communication roles for the first time in the White House history. There`s Sarah Huckabee Sanders who`s his spokesperson, of course, and Hope Hicks who is the communications director --
TANDEN: He has --
TUR: -- which sort of complicates things. Doesn`t it make it slightly more complicated than --
TANDEN: It`s a little -- I`d say it`s a little complicated. He has the lowest member of appointees -- women or female, appointees --
TUR: Yes, it`s also true.
TANDEN: -- in the cabinet or even in his White House overall, his U.S. attorneys. He has a very low number of appointees of women and such.
TUR: Well, they`re not directly around him, so that might be part of it.
RUBIN: But also, you know, we don`t know what the nature of those relationships are. They may coddle him and soothe him and mommy him, and so he loves it when women think he`s fabulous.
But we really do know what Donald Trump thinks about women. He said it on the "Access Hollywood" tape.
RUBIN: You know, you can`t disregard all of those 20 women or so who made allegations. And, you know, the fact that there`s a few people who have figured out how to connive, how to butter him up, doesn`t really disprove the main thesis which is that he is deeply misogynistic. He`s also deeply racist and deeply xenophobic.
But, of course, he`s not going to like Sally Yates. She is strong. She was honest. She took an allegiance to the constitution. That`s just the kind of person he hates.
TUR: And she went against him, certainly, to a degree at the very least.
TUR: When Donald Trump was talking about that stuff in the "Access Hollywood" tape or even saying what he said on Howard Stern, there was so much documentation of him saying questionable -- and that`s putting it lightly -- questionable things about women, his supporters would write it off and say, oh, he just used to be an entertainer. You can`t listen to any of that. He actually going to be different in the White House.
Here`s another anecdote from the book that I tweeted out the other day and got -- caught quite a lot of attention. I`m going to read it. This is about Trump on -- talking about his friends` wives.
TUR: Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends` wives into bed. In pursuing a friend`s wife, he would try to persuade the wife that her husband was perhaps not what she thought. Then he`d have his secretary ask the friend into his office.
Once the friend arrived, Trump would engage in what was, for him, more or less constant sexual banter.
Do you still like having sex with your wife? How often? You must have had a better blank than your wife. Tell me about it. I`ve got girls coming in from Los Angeles at 3:00. We can go upstairs and have a great time. I promise.
And all the while, Trump would have his friends` wife on the speakerphone listening in.
Do you think that`s a damning anecdote, Jennifer?
RUBIN: I think it`s sick. I think that is a twisted personality. I don`t know what is going through his mind, but that`s just the kind of bizarre personality.
Listen, the Republicans decided character didn`t matter, so they went out and they found the worst human being who has ever held office, let alone the presidency, and stuck him in there. And now, it is coming home to roost.
I think that`s a telling comment about his considerations of loyalty. Loyalty runs one way with him.
I think it`s a telling comment about how he uses women. And it`s a telling comment that it`s all about him. It has always been about him. So in some ways, that kind of wraps up the whole ball of wax when you`re talking about Donald Trump.
TUR: 2018 may be all about Donald Trump, but I`m curious to see if 2018 is going to be about the Me Too Movement.
TANDEN: Yes. I would just --
TUR: And potentially a lot more women in politics.
TANDEN: I would just add that quick point which is it is that women are reacting to Donald Trump.
TANDEN: You see women voting in high numbers. They are -- White college women are moving steadily against the Republican Party. They moved decidedly for Democrats in Virginia. A considerable number moved in Alabama.
I would say that, like, American women are looking at what`s happening in this presidency, and they are shifting their support because of him.
TUR: And we`ll see how much of this book gets trotted out in the campaign trail. Jennifer Rubin and Neera Tanden, ladies, thank you so much.
TANDEN: Thanks for having me.
TUR: Coming up, this week, the Trump administration has been busy reversing actions from the Obama presidency, but it`s Republicans in the House and Senate who are sounding the alarm. That`s next.
TUR: As Donald Trump is furiously tweet-attacking "Fire and Fury" and sloppy Steve, the Trump administration has been working on some consequential policy changes that you may not have heard about, but Republican senators in blue states certainly have.
First, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a proposal to significantly expand offshore drilling in nearly all U.S. coastal waters. All of them. The proposal would undo an Obama era ban and also give energy companies access to leases off the California coast where offshore drilling has been banned since an oil spill in 1969.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins tweeted: the plan poses significant risk to Marine and coastal resources, our economy, and our way of life.
Collins joins Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Rick Scott, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who announced their opposition yesterday.
Florida, as you know, was hit hard after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
The governors of California, Washington, Oregon, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina also oppose the proposal.
Second, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back another Obama era policy and gave federal prosecutors the go-ahead to aggressively enforce federal marijuana related charges in states where its production and sales are legal.
Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner says Jeff Sessions and President Trump went back on a promise they both made in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: We were told that states` rights would be protected and not just by the Attorney General, then the nominee to be Attorney General. We were told that by then-candidate Donald Trump.
And I call on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to explain to me why President Trump was wrong in 2016 and what changed their minds. Until he lives up to that commitment, I will be holding all nominations to the Department of Justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia allow some form of legalized marijuana, including California that began selling recreational pot on Monday.
Third, the Senate -- the State Department, excuse me, announced it`s suspending security assistance to Pakistan until the Pakistani government takes action against extremist groups including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. The move caused protests in Pakistan. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she couldn`t provide a dollar amount since the administration is still figuring out which types of aid are impacted by the decision.
And then there`s what the Trump administration did today on an anti- segregation rule. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s such a big -- such a big thing. I think medical should happen, right? Don`t we agree? I mean, I think so. And then I really believe you should leave it up to the states. It should be a state situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Joining us now, Hunter Walker, White House correspondent for Yahoo! News. And back with us, Daniel Dale.
Hunter, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump was much more about states rights than he seems to be right now, when especially with it comes to marijuana policy. But it`s interesting because so many in the -- so many people in this country want marijuana to be legalized.
Sixty-one percent of Americans say it should be legalized. That`s a lot of folks who potentially might vote on this issue in 2018. Any concern in the White House about this?
HUNTER WALKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Well, you know, the support for legalization is particularly strong among millennials.
WALKER: But the White House is, you know, I think, happy to be able to say they`re getting things done. You know the first year was not the most productive. And, you know, all this recent policy stuff in the past week that you pointed out makes this actually a week where they did get a lot done through executive order, which seems to be their favorite method, but --
TUR: But getting something done that`s -- it`s a states` rights issue, and they campaigned on letting the states have more control of things. So is that not going to -- you know, are they not going to shoot themselves in the foot with that?
WALKER: Well, you know, as someone who is in the briefing room, I can tell you that any time you bring up something where they seem to have broken a promise or there seems to be a downside, they just kind of steamroll right over that and say that it`s fine. But I can tell you that outside the White House, we`re seeing signs that a lot of people think they can capitalize on this.
I spoke with Cory Booker last night, and he thinks that this is actually going to increase momentum and support for marijuana legalization he`s proposed, and he`s also eager to work -- and he is calling it a Cory caucus -- with Republican Senator Cory Gardner who you showed earlier.
So I think, you know, critics see this as something that they can jump on, but this is not a White House that ever apologizes or admits weakness or admits even that they changed a promise.
TUR: The offshore drilling news, Daniel. It`s interesting to see Republicans like Marco Rubio and Susan Collins coming out and saying, we don`t want this to happen. I mean, even in states where they don`t want it to happen, it`s going to happen.
Does the White House have any concern about that potentially going against folks who need to vote on their agenda or potentially help vote in confirmations?
DALE: From what I`ve seen, they seem to not care very much. You know, they know that this is unpopular with people who usually support them, people like Governor Rick Scott, people like Senator Marco Rubio, but they sided with business interests as they usually do.
I think, you know, it`s fascinating, what we saw this week was the Trump administration go against local rights on marijuana, go against the wishes of local communities on oil drilling. And on the issue of housing segregation, they overturned the Obama era rule which intended to promote desegregation.
DALE: So their interest in local rights, the so-called states` rights, are very selective, shall we say.
TUR: Last question to you, Hunter, Pakistan. Who in the White House is telling Donald Trump to revoke aid to Pakistan?
WALKER: Well, you know, I think, first off, this is a policy that`s really going to appeal to the President. He came in talking about taking a real hard line against, you know, terrorists and against terrorist threats posed from Muslim nations. So I don`t know that anyone really needed -- would have needed to convince him here.
But you know, I heard -- I`ve heard diplomats say that he`s sort of outsourced the foreign policy to the military. And I think when you see a decision like this, it`s coming from his group of generals there in the White House.
But one thing really interesting is it seems like his tweet actually sped up their action on this. So this is a case where we saw the President send an inflammatory tweet and that actually dictated the way the policy took effect.
TUR: It`s a good reminder: don`t pay attention to what they say, pay attention to what they do. Daniel Dale and Hunter Walker, gentlemen, thank you very much.
WALKER: Thank you.
TUR: And coming up, tonight`s last word on the Michael Wolff book, "Fire and Fury."
TUR: Bookstores from Raleigh, North Carolina to Wichita, Kansas are been reporting that they have been selling out of Michael Wolff`s book, "Fire and Fury." Here is how some of the late night comedy shows are handling the book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": According to a new book called "Fire and Fury," Donald Trump didn`t want to be president. He didn`t want him to win. There`s a name for that. The majority of American voters.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": He sprays his hair with Just for Men and Ivanka makes fun of him for it. He`s constantly leaking information about himself and then demanding to know who leaked the information.
KIMMEL: He didn`t want to win the presidency and was horrified when he did. Melania cried -- we all cried, really, but, man!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus believed Trump to be an idiot. Gary Cohn regards Trump as dumb as -- curse word. And the President`s top national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, considers him a dope.
TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": Wow.
NOAH: Trump`s own people think that he`s dumb as a watermelon.
NOAH: I guess the country isn`t as divided as it seems.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some believed that, for all practical purposes, he was no more than semi-literate.
JORDAN KLEPPER, HOST, "THE OPPOSITION WITH JORDAN KLEPPER": Huh! Semi- literate? Sorry, haters, but that`s still literate.
COLBERT: Apparently, every night, if Trump was not having his 6:30 dinner with Steve Bannon, he was in bed by that time with a cheeseburger.
COLBERT: I`m going to hope, eating it. And --
COLBERT: I love you, hamburger. What`s that?
COLBERT: I love --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: On Monday night, the author of the book, "Fire and Fury," Michael Wolff, joins Lawrence live here at THE LAST WORD for Wolff`s first prime time interview. That`s tonight`s last word.
You can join me Monday through Friday at 2:00 p.m. here on MSNBC. And you`ll notice from those late night clips that all of them are watching MSNBC during the day, so you should too.
Meanwhile, "THE 11TH HOUR" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASEY HUNT, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the brutal week that was for President Trump. A scathing book portrayal that launched open warfare with a former top adviser. The author alleging Trump is less credible than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth.
And on the Russia front, debate over --
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