Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: January 11, 2018 Guest: Nicholas Kristof, Brian Klaas, Karine Jean-Pierre, Betsy Woodruff, Max Boot, Ned Price, Nick Kristof
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
This is one of those days of parenting in America when the president is teaching little kids a new word.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Yes.
O`DONNELL: A word they`re going to learn some point in their lives. I don`t know. I think I probably learned it in first grade, somewhere around there. But I didn`t learn it from the president, Rachel, and this is one of the parenting challenges. Kid comes home today and says, mommy, what does this mean?
MADDOW: You know, one of the -- one of the pieces of trivia that survived through the years about Richard Nixon and the way the president viewed his behavior as president in the Oval Office was that he once said that he didn`t give on a White House tape, he didn`t give a bleep about the lira, about the Italian currency. They`re talking about monetary issues. And that was an object of shock and disgust across the country that the president would say that he didn`t give a bleep about a foreign currency.
And now, I mean, does Nixon get whitewashed in retrospect because he gets contrasted to what we`re now having to report tonight? It`s just --
O`DONNELL: Well, every, every president can thank Donald Trump for making every one of them look a little better in some way --
MADDOW: Yes. Exactly.
O`DONNELL: -- by the way he conducts himself.
MADDOW: Recalibrating it. That`s right. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Well, they went to make a deal with the devil and they discovered two things. He wasn`t ready to make a deal but he really is the devil. That`s what happened when three senators went to see the president today at the White House. Republican Lindsey Graham, Democrat Dirk Durbin, Republican Tom Cotton reached a bipartisan agreement on an immigration deal that would continue, continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA, and included a token amount of money for border security, about $2 million, and make other adjustments to the rules for visas.
This would be a routine White House meeting for any other president but routine is impossible for a current president. A week after the country has been considering the new details about the president`s utter inability to process information, to understand what is being said to him, as revealed in Michael Wolff`s new book about the inside workings of the Trump White House, the president once again proved the book to be correct about him as he has done every other day this week in a variety of ways.
One of the now undeniable facts laid out in Michael Wolff`s new book is that because Donald Trump can`t comprehend what people are saying, he agrees with the last thing he hears people say. We all saw that on display for an hour in the cabinet room this week when the president did exactly that on immigration. He agreed with the Democrat and then immediately agreed with the Republican after the Republican interrupts the president to say he does not think the president thinks what the president just said he thinks. We saw Republican Kevin McCarthy do that on television after the president agreed with Senator Dianne Feinstein that they should just pass a clean DACA bill and Kevin McCarthy stopped the president and turn him back around to the Republican position.
The White House staff knew that Donald Trump could not be trusted today in a meeting with Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin and Tom Cotton. The senators thought that they were going to a meeting with the president to present the Senate`s position on this legislation. Perfectly standard Senate meeting, with the president.
When the senators got to the White House, they found they were wildly outnumbered by hard-line members of the Republican Party from the House of Representatives including Kevin McCarthy and some of the other people who had to turn the president around in the cabinet room the other day on television. There has never been a meeting like that in the White House before.
With that kind of imbalance, one Democrat against six Republicans, seven if you count Donald Trump. That`s what the White House staff decided they needed to handle the presence of one senator, one Democratic senator, Senator Dick Durbin. They needed seven on one. Because they knew Donald Trump is no match for Dick Durbin. The White House staff loaded up that room with Republicans.
That meeting was structured that way precisely because of Donald Trump`s incompetence and declining mental ability that you can read about in Michael Wolff`s book. The White House knew that the president couldn`t possible handle himself in that meeting so they had to bring in Kevin McCarthy to be the president`s brain, to tell the president what to think because the president does not think.
But the president feels. Hatred is a feeling and tonight we have a new window into the president`s feelings -- the president`s hatreds. Another piece to add to that mosaic of racism that describes Donald Trump and his father ever since his father was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan meeting in New York City before Donald Trump was born. When they were in the real estate business together, father and son were caught by the Justice Department using racist practices to prevent black people from renting apartments. Something that people who worked for the Trumps described in detail.
There has always been a stain of racism on the Trump name, a stain the president cannot wash off, because he has never tried to. Today in the White House, when the discussion turned to the details of immigration from Haiti and African countries, the president of the United States said, why are we having all of these people from shithole countries come here?
My people came from what Donald Trump would call a shithole country. No running water. No plumbing, no toilets, rampant poverty, disease and famine. That was the Ireland that my ancestors left to come here just so they could eat. That was back when Trump`s family name was still Drumpf and lived in what Donald Trump would call a shithole country.
Donald Trump doesn`t know what he comes from but he knows just enough about it that he knew he needed to lie about it. He and his father used to lie and say that they were from Swedish ancestry after World War II made them a bit uncomfortable with their Germany ancestry, as they were trying to do business in New York City. Donald Trump knows nothing about where we all came from.
And he is a man consumed by hatreds and we can see him consumed by hatreds every day, individual hatreds like his newfound hatred of Steve Bannon as well as group hatreds from Mexicans to Muslims and so, hating countries is second nature to Donald Trump. Hating is what he does.
There are 54 African countries Donald Trump surely cannot name more than two of them. But he knows what he thinks about all of them. Every country in Africa and he said that today. It`s not the first time we got a look into this poisoned section of the president`s brain. The president`s failing brain.
I say failing brain because it`s a brain that fails public intelligence tests every single day. It may also be failing for medical or other reasons, but it fails right before our eyes. Every day which is why the lead editorial "The New York Times" today is, is Mr. Trump nuts? "The New York Times" has never considered such a question about the president of the United States before. And tonight "The New York Times" has even more reason to raise that issue.
But none of us, none of us can claim to be surprised by what Donald Trump said today because he said it all before in various ways. Last year, "The New York Times" quoted the president saying this about Haitians. They all have AIDS.
And that same article, "The New York Times" quoted the president as saying this about the people who come to the United States from Nigeria. Once they had seen the United States they would never go back to their huts in Africa, recalled the two officials who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office.
Here are the huts in Africa that he was talking about. That`s Nigeria. Nigeria is one of Africa`s two richest countries. You can live a full 21st century lifestyle in Nigeria. But Nigeria, like the United States, also has extreme poverty as do all African countries. Donald Trump`s never been there, so he thinks there`s nothing but poverty there. Nothing but huts.
That was the raging ignoramus accurately depicted in Michael Wolff`s new book saying that anyone who came to the United States from Africa would never go back to their huts in Africa.
Barack Obama`s father was born in Kenya, educated in Kenya, came to the United States where he pursued graduate studies at Harvard and became more educated than Donald Trump and Donald Trump`s children. And one of the great personal pains of Barack Obama`s childhood and life is that his father did, indeed, go back to Africa to Kenya, and luckily for us for the United States, he left his son here.
And that son of that temporary immigrant from a country that Donald Trump hates became president of the United States and that has always been the unique story of the United States. We never know where greatness is coming from. We never know which country greatness is coming from.
The leak of the president`s hateful comment today was credited to a Democratic source and we know there was only one Democratic senator in the room when he said that, but Senator Durbin probably had at least one Democratic staffer in the room with him and that does not mean that Senator Durbin or his staffer leaked it directly to the press. One of them could have said it to another senator in astonishment or to several other senators or several other staffers when they got back to the Senate and then anyone could have leaked it to the press.
But the quote has been confirmed by the White House which released a statement in response to the leak which did not deny that the president said it. And none of the six Republicans in the room who witnessed the president saying that has come forward to deny that the president said that. And that is confirmation that he said it.
If he did not say those words, Lindsey Graham would have run to a microphone to denounce the leak as absolutely false and, of course, Lindsey Graham knows that the president said those words and, of course, Lindsey Graham was not surprised, could not be surprised. He`s been around Donald Trump enough. He`s been watching him enough.
Good and decent people in America and around the world are sickened by what the president said tonight but no one who`s been paying attention to who Donald Trump really is, no one who has been paying attention to that man, could possibly be surprised by what he said today. And no one who went into that room today to make a deal with the devil could be surprised to hear him sounding like the devil.
Joining us now, Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The New York Times". Also with us, Brian Klaas, Brian is a fellow of global politics at the London School of Economics and author of "Despots Apprentice: Donald Trump`s Attack on Democracy." And Karine Jean-Pierre, senior advisor and national spokesperson for moveon.org.
Karine, I want to begin with you because your country, the country you`re from, Haiti, was attacked by the president in the cruelest possible language today. And I`m -- I really am out of words about what to say about this. And I just like to go to you first for your reaction.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: Yes. Lawrence, it`s been almost 365 days since his inauguration and it`s continuously all of us being out of words because of what Donald Trump has done in the Oval Office and with his presidency. Look. I mean, what we heard today, the comments we heard today is just proves what we have known for a long time. That the man who occupies the Oval Office, the man who is supposed to be the president of the United States, who sits behind the resolute desk is indeed a racist.
And we have known that for a long time. I mean, sadly for us, this is nothing new. We have to remember, he started his business career as a racist. He started his political career as a racist. And he started the White House, went into a White House as a racist.
And he is someone who is a racist and will always be a racist. This is somebody who wanted to ban Muslim, who called Mexicans rapists, who believes that Neo-Nazis are good people, fine people.
I mean, this is a man that continues to show that he is not qualified to serve as president of the United States. And yet again, he gives us an example today, and almost every day.
But here`s something, Lawrence, I want to give a call to action here. In a couple of days, it is going to be -- we are going to be observing Dr. Martin Luther King`s birthday and as we know this is someone who gave his life for the civil rights movement and this is also someone who said there is a time when silence is also betrayal.
And I want to say this. We cannot be silent right now. We need to continue to fight. We -- because we know that Donald Trump is going to continue to betray us. We have to stand up, speak up, take to the street, protest, call your elected officials and more importantly, we have this year we have to vote if primaries and also vote in the general election.
We all need to be outraged here. This should not be a partisan issue. This should be a Republican, independent and Democratic issue. People should care about this because we all should be outraged.
We can`t allow Donald Trump`s administration to continue this. Donald Trump himself to continue this type of racist, bigoted behavior he continues to show over and over again without any, any shame.
O`DONNELL: Here`s the reaction from Republican Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah. She released this statement tonight. The president`s comments are unkind, divisive and elitist and fly in the face of our nation`s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation. My parents came from one of those countries, took an oath of allegiance to it and took on the responsibility of everything that being a citizen comes with.
They never took a thing from our federal government. They worked hard and paid taxes and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That`s the American dream.
The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.
And, Nick Kristof, Mia Love has been paying attention to this president. She has no doubt that he said that.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, it`s -- I think we owe an apology to people of those countries because, I mean, it is not only racist and bigoted and offensive but flat wrong. There are more Ethiopian doctors in America than there are in Ethiopia. They`re serving us. There are people from all of these countries who gave their lives in the American armed services, who are buried at Arlington.
And it`s not only racist and offensive and wrong, it`s also hypocritical because, indeed, when, you know, when Donald Trump`s grandfather came to the U.S. in 1885 as a 16-year-old kid who was uneducated, untrained, was looked down on by people partly, which is why he went off to the Klondike and ended up starting a restaurant/hotel, apparently slash brothel, as well, there were plenty of people looking down on them, as there were on your family, on my family of Polish Armenians.
But at the end of the day, you know, immigration is what has made this country so extraordinary. It`s a source of strength. And I think Trump has not only betraying that heritage with the offensive comments, betraying his family`s heritage and America`s heritage.
O`DONNELL: Brian, your reaction?
BRIAN KLAAS, FELLOW, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I think we -- I mean, I echo everything that`s been said. This is disgusting, racist, unpresidential and wrong. But in addition to that, I think we have to understand how much the president`s words matter overseas.
This is the top story on the BBC. This is the top story around the world and African countries are not going to forget this. This might be a two or three-day story before Trump shocks us again here, but it doesn`t become a two or three-day in Africa. And when we need those countries to cooperate with us in counterterrorism, it`s an emerging threat, or we have alliances in the African continent that are important for our geo-strategy, they`re not going to forget this comment.
And so, I think, you know, the same thing happened when Trump retweeted neo-fascist in Britain. It was a one day story. It damaged the relationship that is so critical to our security and our prosperity of this country, and it`s reflective of who Trump is on the world stage.
I mean, I think I live in London and the president represents Americans to the rest of the world. Nobody else does. They`re not seeing the dissent. They`re seeing the president`s remarks and thinking this is what America stands for.
And that`s why I echo that call to action. If this is not what you stand for, make sure that there`s another message sent to the world in November.
O`DONNELL: Karine, what do you make of Mia Love`s demand that the president apologize? Here`s a Republican congresswoman saying the president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I`m glad that she said tat. But he is not going to apologize. This is not the first racist bigoted thing that Donald Trump has said. He`s saying racist, bigoted things for decades.
And when he jumped into the political arena, he went after the president of the United States at that time which was Barack Obama and was the grand wizard of birtherism. He doesn`t care. He`s not going to apologize. It is up to us in November. It`s up to independents, Democrats and Republicans to really make a loud noise by voting in December -- I mean, sorry, in November. And that is the only way we`re going to be able to stop this, because Republicans leadership on the hill certainly don`t care. They`re allowing this over and over again.
Look, you said something early on your show, top of your show, Lawrence, about your kids and about kids, who do we talk to our kids?
This is the thing that bothers me all the time. I have a young toddler and what do we say to our young people who are growing up and watching this, you know? I feel like I`m everything that Donald Trump hates. Every literally every ism that Donald Trump hates I am that.
And so, I just don`t -- I don`t -- I don`t understand how we cannot stand up and speak against this. We have to take to the streets. We have to call our elected officials and we have to push back on this -- every way that we can.
O`DONNELL: We`ll see if the Democrats agree to any further discussions with the president about this subject until he apologizes, demanding the apology could be a first stage demand for Democrats.
Nick, quickly, another geo-political issue here. As you know, the Chinese are very active in Africa, in all sorts of development projects in Africa. They take Africa very seriously. This is the United States biggest emerging rival on the planet, the Chinese, and rival as a sphere of influence.
And here we have the president of the United States simply referring to Africa as this kind of place with his kind of language that he -- it`s a hateful, nothing to do with it. Just hates everything about it. And the Chinese are in there doing business. Good day for the Chinese.
KRISTOF: It is, indeed. I mean, China essentially in competing for these countries offers infrastructure investments and what the U.S. is offered in part has been our soft power. Our culture, our democracy, our history, that people truly admire, and we just took a bludgeon to our soft power in Africa and indeed in many other countries around the world.
O`DONNELL: Brian, talk about that for a moment because I don`t think that`s something that this White House has been able to get into the president`s head at all. Why the Chinese are so interested in Africa in a way that Donald Trump isn`t.
KLAAS: Well, it`s the emerging frontier for geo-politics. I mean, it`s the place where there is huge growth, some of the highest growth countries are in Africa. And also, you have security concerns. Right?
KLAAS: Hugely important places in Africa. The Sahil is a place of important counterterrorism interests, also in the Horn of Africa. So, you know, the U.S. has interests there and the question is what does this do to us down the road and that`s why -- I say that China is out-playing us, they`re beating us. And Trump is just giving them a gift today and making it so easy for African leaders to say you know what? We don`t want to be part of this. We`re not going to be with the United States.
In my travels in Africa, I see a huge amount of people that admire the United States. I don`t know if that`s the same thing in five or ten years if we continue to have this rhetoric come from the Oval Office unchecked.
O`DONNELL: Yes. In addition to delivering a personal message of hatred to millions of people around the world and in the United States, he delivered a gift to the Chinese today. The president did.
Brian Klaas and Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump and Steve Bannon appear to be in all-out war with each other. We`ll see what happens if it`s televised next beak when Steve Bannon appears at the House Intelligence Committee. Just how terrified should the president be of Steve Bannon tonight?
And later, one of the strangest lies Donald Trump told just this week. We`re going to take apart that lie as we take apart the pieces of the president`s brain that assembled that lie.
O`DONNELL: -- breaking Twitter news from the Trump White House.
As the president is sitting there tonight with the world enraged by his statement today about Haiti and other Caribbean countries and all 54 countries in Africa. That rage being felt around the world, the pain of that insult being felt around the world, the president has not complied with Republican Congresswoman Love`s demand that he apologize for those comments.
Instead, he has tweeted this: Democrat Dianne Feinstein should never have released secret committee testimony to the public without authorization. Very disrespectful to committee members and possibly illegal. She blamed her poor decision on the fact she had a cold. A first.
The president, of course, is lying about what Dianne Feinstein said about her decision and about the coincidence that she happened to have a cold and the Republican members of the committee all of whom know the rules of the Senate all of whom know laws that control such issues in the Senate, not one of them, not one of them believes that there was anything illegal. Not possibly illegal. Nothing illegal about it, in any way.
The president is issuing a lying tweet about Dianne Feinstein tonight to try to take the attention off his hateful poison that he`s spreading and spreading every day and spread more of today. And one of the principle spreaders of the poison for him was always Steve Bannon and now, we learn tonight that Steve Bannon has changed his mind about something that appears in the Michael Wolff book.
Steve Bannon proudly announces in Michael Wolff`s new book that he doesn`t have a lawyer. He doesn`t need a lawyer for the special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation and tonight Steve Bannon has a lawyer. "The Daily Beast" reporting that the former White House chief strategist, so-called, has retained the services of Bill Burck. Bill Burck also represents White House counsel Don McGahn and former chief of staff Reince Priebus in the Russia probe.
NBC News has confirmed tonight that Steve Bannon will be interviewed next week by the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, unfortunately for us in the TV business. That`s according to two sources who are familiar with the matter. "Reuters" reports, quote, that the interview on Tuesday will focus on Bannon`s time on the campaign, not the transition or his time in the White House.
Joining us now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter for "The Daily Beast" and an MSNBC contributor. She broke the story on Steve Bannon hiring a lawyer. Also with us, Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former foreign policy for the McCain, Romney and Rubio. He`s author of the new and important book "The Road Not Taken."
Betsy, I want to go to this issue of the other clients that Steve Bannon`s lawyer represents. There are rules about that, about possible conflict of interest in representing multiple clients in the same matter because there could come a day where Steve Bannon has criminal information about one of the other clients that this lawyer represents.
How`s that being sorted out at this stage? What do we know about that?
BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRBUTOR: That`s definitely a possible outcome and what folks told me is this type of situation where one attorney is representing multiple people who are connected to the same matter can often be upsetting or frustrating to investigators because it can send a signal - - whether or not the signal is correct -- it can send the signal or suggest that those folks are themselves colluding, if you will, to try to circumvent the investigation.
That said, our understanding right now is that Bill Burck particularly is helping Bannon prepare for his testimony next week before the House Intelligence Committee. We haven`t seen reporting yet. We have not yet reported ourselves. I don`t believe any other sites reported that there`s any imminent plan for Mueller himself to interview Bannon.
Right now, the big hurdle Bannon has to face is this grilling from House investigators and that`s what Bill Burck is helping him prepare for. That said, of course, these investigations have all sorts of twists and turns. It is anyone`s guess which investigators want to talk to Bannon. There are multiple investigations here so it`s going to really interesting story to keep an eye on and we could see the heat just get turned up.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And Max, we have Congressman Schiff on the House Committee, Intelligence Committee, saying he has dozens more people he wants to interview, including Ivanka Trump.
MAX: Well, it`s probably not going to happen, obviously. You know, I don`t know when`s going to happen with the Bannon testimony. I mean, I`m glad he`s called to testify but as we know the House Republicans are not running a serious investigation. They`re running a cover-up on behalf of the white house.
Devin Nunes is Chief Propagandist for the Whitehouse. So he going to try to do everything possible to stop any kind of tough questioning of Steve Bannon in particular about those amazing remarks he made to Michael Wolff about how this meeting that the trump high command had with the Russians was treasonous behavior. I mean that should be gone into. But it`s interesting - what interesting to me today Lawrence just to read the interview that Trump just did with the Wall Street Journal.
And to see the extent to which he is feeling the heat because I mean we`ve seen him vilify the FBI for months and he certainly does it here. He calls Director Comey and a liar and a leaker and, you know, says all the other stuff he`s saying before and then takes it up another rhetorical notch of accusing those FBI agents of treason, treason because they dared to criticize Donald Trump in their private text. I mean this is delusional. It is deranged. But I think it`s also the sign of a guilty conscience.
I mean he is just raging and raging and raging claiming like, you know, once every seven seconds that he didn`t commit collusion. He didn`t commit obstruction but oh by they way there was collusion. It was all on the part of the Democrats that they`re the ones guilty of working with the Russians. The FBI is guilty of treason.
I mean my goodness, what would you say if you saw a foreign leader saying this? or, you know, a chief executive of a company with the FBI hot on his trail. I mean, you would think that the days are numbered, right?
O`DONNELL: Yeah, Betsy, the President learned an interesting lesson today. Six Republicans in a room with him, one Democratic source in that room leaks that the President said all these things, these things about African countries and Haiti. And not one Republican in that room steps forward to defend the President. In other words, no one in that room on the President`s side was willing to lie for him. That could be a very important lesson for him to learn today.
WOODRUFF: One of the things that I think is the most important takeaway from this reporting is how little loyalty Trump has engendered from Republicans in Congress. One thing that President Trump has talked about through his entire career both in the Whitehouse and then for decades before that in the private sector is that the number one thing that he cared about, he was passionate about, was loyalty more than competence, more than intelligence, more than savvy. Donald Trump has always sought to surround himself with people who first and foremost and sometimes only distinguish themselves by being unfailingly loyal to him. And as you suggested the big lesson he is learning today is that the people surrounding him right now when he has the most power he`s ever had, facing incredibly difficult decisions, the people surrounding him in this moment are not giving off signs of loyalty. They`re not convincing the kind of devotion that Trump has always had and I imagine that`s something that makes him deeply concerned.
O`DONNELL: Max, one of the contexts for the Don Jr. meeting in Trump tower the Russians that is provided in Michael Wolff`s book was Donald Jr.`s ambition to be a bigger force in the campaign and possibly take over Corey Lewandowski`s job as campaign manager and that`s when Bannon says that he assumes that Don Jr. of course ran as fast as he could to go tell his father all about that meeting. That`s the thing to ask Bannon about in one of these discussions.
MAX BOOT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, if you were interested in a serious which and pretty clearly congressman Nunes and the House Republicans are not. I mean to me, it`s interesting pattern because I mean you can draw different lessons of that comment, the horrible shocking comment he made about immigrants in the Whitehouse. And you can say on the one hand the fact that Republicans are not rushing to defend him shows that they have little loyalty to him and other hand the fact that Republicans would sit there and not contradict them also shows they`re afraid of him and not willing to stand up to him either.
And I mean this is just shocking that people could sit here and listen to the President calling the countries shitholes and twiddle their thumbs and say this is normal. I mean this is shocking that Republicans accepted this as normal today.
O`DONNELL: Well I think the next stage of leaking about the meeting is what exactly was your reaction to the President saying that? And we know who was in the room. We know who the House members were, who the Senators. They`re all going to face these questions tomorrow. Max Boot and Betsy Woodruff, thank you both very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
WOODRUFF: Sure thing.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President trump began the day by attacking his own Whitehouse policy because his close advisers at Fox News told him to.
O`DONNELL: After consulting with his most trusted advisers this morning, the President of the United States fired off a Tweet which said house votes on controversial Fisa Act today. This is the act that may have been used with the help of the discredited and phony dossier to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump campaign by the previous administration and others? The President tweeted that at 7:33 A.M. after hearing one of his most trusted advisers tell him this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, UNITED STATES JUDGE: I don`t understand why Donald Trump is in favor of this. His woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him before he was the president of the United States and now he wants to institutionalize this. Mr. President, this is not the way to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This is once again the Whitehouse as described by Michael Wolff in his new book about the Trump Presidency. Donald Trump simply taking dictation from his most trusted advisers on Fox & Friends in the morning. When the advisers on the government payroll knew they had a major crisis on the hands. Donald Trump provoking a rebellion against the Congressional leadership`s position and the Whitehouse position on the Fisa vote this morning and so the handlers forced another tweet out of him saying with that being said I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today`s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land.
We need it! get smart! So Donald Trump was for the bill before he was against the bill before he was for the bill again which was his bill. Former CIA Analyst and Operative Ned Price will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ned Price, former Senior Director and Spokesperson for the National Security Council and former CIA Analyst. He is an MSNBC National Security Analyst. And so, Ned, we saw a crisis unlike any we`d ever seen legislatively, the President suddenly at the direction of Fox News abandoning his position on legislation, the House Speaker rushing to the House floor to calm the troops.
The President`s handlers finding him wherever he was with his twitter machine and convincing him that he was going to have to write a new Tweet basically saying I don`t know what I`m talking about and here we are tonight with the bill passed.
NED PRICE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well here we are. We are reminded of two things I think today, Lawrence. One is that the president is a deeply flawed individual who is not worthy of representing the American people. But, two, just as important in some ways is routinely shirks and even undermines his most sacred charge of Commander in Chief. And that is keeping the American people safe.
What the President did this morning, apparently spurred by this Fox & Friends segment is risk a tool that the National Security Agency, the NSA has called the most important in the arsenal and not like Donald trump did it out of a grand strategy or a plan. This was a uniquely Trumpian combination of vanity, credulity and ignorance that led the President to do that this morning, putting American lives at risk until Congress actually did the right thing and not because of but in spite of Donald Trump passed this legislation.
O`DONNELL: And what he was listening to on Fox News was a package of lies where this Napolitano guy is trying to tell him that everything that`s happened to him is a result of - is a result of unconstitutional use of intelligence apparatus against him.
PRICE: That`s right. It`s a package of lies. But, Lawrence, we have to remember that the Whitehouse helped package this in the first place. It was the Whitehouse that laundered intelligence to Devin Nunes in the spring that brought unmasking, that first introduced the American people to this here to fore unknown term unmasking to most people.
It was the Whitehouse that created this. It was the Whitehouse that packaged this in order to distract from the Russia Investigation.
This is a Whitehouse that has one tactic, whether it`s distracting from the President`s blatantly racist remarks in the oval office today, for example, or distracting from the Russia investigation, a perennial favorite. What they did was to create a distraction saying don`t look over here, look behind you. Look over there. There`s a thing called unmasking, leaks going on all around us.
That`s what we need to pay attention to, Lawrence. And they almost, almost paid the price for it today but I should say that the American people almost paid the price for it today if this legislation hadn`t of passed.
O`DONNELL: There are many republicans as we know consistently claimed that Fisa is absolutely crucial to National Security and what those Republicans saw today is that Donald Trump is a danger to national security as they interpret it. Ned Price, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
PRICE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up next, since taking the Oath of Office, President Trump has told more than 2,000 lies. That`s according to the Washington Post`s count and he may have added a lie or two today to that list about North Korea.
O`DONNELL: Another big milestone for Donald Trump tonight. Donald Trump has crossed the 2000 lie mark. The Washington Post reports Donald Trump has made 201 false or misleading claims in 355, an average of more than 5.6 claims a day. That includes Donald Trump`s lies through Tuesday. But the President has continued lying throughout the week. here`s the President on Wednesday claiming news anchors sent him letters of congratulations for holding a meeting with bipartisan group of members of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: It was a tremendous meeting. Actually, it was reported as incredibly good, and my performance, you know, some of them called it a performance. I consider it work but got great reviews by everybody other than two networks who were phenomenal for about two hours.
Then after that they were called by their bosses and said, oh, wait a minute. And unfortunately a lot of those anchors sent us letters saying that was one of the greatest meetings they`ve ever witnessed. They probably wish they didn`t send us those letters of congratulations but it was good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: These lies fly by so that we don`t always give them their due, but that deserves some consideration. Consider the workings of that very, very sick brain that you just saw there for a moment. He desperately wants praise for what he calls his performance on TV and so he gives it to himself and then he realizes it would be better if the praise came from others. And so he decides that not only did cable news anchors praise his performance, but then some of them were so excited by his performance that they sat down and wrote him letters, not e-mails, letters. They wrote him letters that they somehow sent him, those paper letters presumably very quickly by Federal Express so that he had them the next day and he read them.
And what he now finds so interesting about those letters is that those same news anchors who went on TV and criticized his performance and then he says those same news anchors wrote him those letters praising him. Then he says they probably wish they didn`t send us those letters of congratulations. And, of course, the reason they would wish that is that they, they wish they didn`t send those letters is that the President can now produce those letters.
Show us those letters. Show us the news anchors who were lying when they criticized his speech. The President has those letters from those lying news anchors. That`s what he said.
He has letters that prove that they really loved his performance. This is not a simple offhand lie of a word or a phrase or a sentence. This is a fully realized dreamscape of dementia. It is a deeply sick, deeply pathological lie that he needs to tell, an elaborate lie that he needs to tell in order to claim that he got good reviews for what he calls his performance.
That is what he lives for. And so that lie will surely be counted in the Washington Post`s next complete list of Trump lies. A lie that even the paid liars in the Whitehouse find too preposterous for even them to attempt to defend.
O`DONNELL: Here`s something that might make it onto the next list of Donald Trump`s lies. He said today to the Wall Street Journal, I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. Nick Kristof is back with us. Nick, what do you make of that?
NICK KRISTOF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I mean it`s delusional. He has no relations with Kim Jong-Un. Then the Wall Street Journal followed up and asked him, have you talked to him? And he says, well, I can`t comment.
But, you know, it reminds me of when he was claiming repeatedly in 2013, 2014, 2015 to have a relationship with Putin. And then when pushed it turned out, no, he doesn`t have any relationship at all. You know there is nothing there. His only relationship is he threatened the U.N. to totally destroy North Korea and now he`s being marginalized by some degree by North Korea reaching out to South Korea to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. We`ll see how that works.
O`DONNELL: The only President to specifically threaten North Korea with nuclear attack, saying I have a good relationship. And when he was asked about have you spoken to him, he said, I`m not saying I have or I haven`t. now, it`s always been the presidential position that speaking to the North Korean leader would be something they would only do in return for having obtained something. They would grant them that by having obtained something from North Korea.
KRISTOF: That`s Right. You know, the idea would be to some commitment that you would prepare the way toward denuclearization, you would test their intentions. And the idea that he has somehow managed to have this relationship, I mean it`s, you know, it`s comical, it`s delusional and, you know, as it was delusional for him to claim that he had a relationship with Putin.
They have a very good relationship. They`ve talked repeatedly when, in fact, they didn`t have any conversation at all. But it just kind of reflects in a larger sense, the degree to which we don`t have a North Korea policy either and we simply have a policy of two countries threatening each other.
O`DONNELL: Nick Kristof gets tonight`s last word. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Nick, really appreciate it. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.
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