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Cohn resigns, Conway violates ethics. TRANSCRIPT: 03/06/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Robert Reich, Eric Swalwell, Neera Tanden, Jennifer Rubin, McKay Coppins

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: March 6, 2018 Guest: Robert Reich, Eric Swalwell, Neera Tanden, Jennifer Rubin, McKay Coppins


What makes you think I have more details on the Stormy Daniels story? Actually, we will go into it. But not much more than what you said.

One of the big mysteries of it, is why does Donald Trump never say a word about this? Why does he never deny anything that Stormy Daniels says about him, including today?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": And even the initial denials from the initial carefully worded denials from his lawyer were so full of holes that when he eventually completely changed his story, he did so without having to backtrack completely on his earlier denials. They have never really tried to shoot this down. They think they`re just hoping people won`t cover it.

O`DONNELL: And it`s just a spectacular organization, Trump world all the way through, because whether it`s the White House where everything is chaos and a mess, or trying to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, they manage to mess that up in ways that you just couldn`t see coming.

MADDOW: You think there is probably a good way to do that, that they hadn`t figured that out.

O`DONNELL: Well -- and if anyone would know the good way to do that. You would expect the Trump team would know the good way, the way that works.

MADDOW: Yes, they`d be the pros, you know? Anyway, thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you, Rachel.

Well, a prominent member of the White House staff was actually found guilty of breaking the law today. And that`s a sentence that you hear once a decade maybe, at best. It`s supposed to be shocking. In the United States, it`s actually supposed to be earth-shattering news that someone working in the White House has broken the law.

But today it`s a story that is drowning. It`s disappearing amidst all the other White House madness, including the resignation today of Gary Cohn as President Trump`s chief economic adviser. That`s the announced resignation. And the aftermath of yesterday`s media madness from former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, who in one report is now blaming his public defiance of the special prosecutor yesterday on drugs and alcohol. The latest Nunberg update indicates that he will indeed obey the subpoena compelling him to testify to a grand jury on Friday, after which he will immediately seek treatment.

We don`t know who will be left working in the White House on Friday, because we never know and because the Trump White House staffers have a habit of announcing their resignations which might or might not be resignations, it might or might not be firings , and then hanging around the office for days or weeks.

The Hope Hicks resignation or firing, whatever that was, was announced last week. But there is no indication of when she will actually vacate the office of director of communications, just as there is no indication of exactly when Gary Cohn will actually really finally leave his job in the White House. Might be too weeks from now.

And given what we know about the ethical standards of the Trump White House, which are the lowest since the Nixon White House, Kellyanne Conway will still be at her desk in the White House on Friday. But will probably still be doing absolutely nothing for the American taxpayers who pay her salary because she has no actual governing duties in the White House. And Kellyanne Conway will probably continue to break the law.

The U.S. office of special counsel polices among other things the official conduct of federal government employees. It is a permanent office that has nothing to do with the current special prosecutor Robert Mueller who is investigating the Trump White House. The Office of Special Counsel announced today that they, quote, sent an investigative report to President Donald Trump finding that counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act in television interviews. In those two TV interviews, Kellyanne Conway, who was appearing in her official capacity, urged the defeat of Democratic candidate for Senate in Alabama Doug Jones, and that is a clear violation of the Hatch Act, which as the special counsel puts it, quote, restricts employees from using their official government position for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections.

The White House reaction today to the Office of Special Counsel`s 11-page report detailing and proving that Kellyanne Conway violated the law was simply to say we don`t believe it. This is the second time a White House employee has been found in violation of the Hatch Act. The first was Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media. The Office of Special Counsel is not empowered to discipline White House staffers who violate the Hatch Act. That discipline is left to the president. And, of course, President Trump has no discipline himself and imposes no discipline on anyone else working in the chaos White House.

The Trump White House has staffers who break the law and get caught and nothing happens to them. It has a communications director who co-wrote hugely complimentary White House statements about her boyfriend after her boyfriend was exposed as having been accused of domestic violence by both of his previous wives.

It has a chief of staff who bombastically and angrily lied about a black woman member of Congress, got caught in those lies, and refused to apologize for those lies. And after lying about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, said he had nothing to apologize for, and no member of the White House staff has ever been caught publicly lying more wildly, more recklessly than John Kelly did in that case.

But it`s the Trump White House, and working in the Trump White House means never having to say you`re sorry. Not for lying. Not for lying about a woman. Not for lying about a black woman member of Congress. And so from the top down, from Donald Trump through John Kelly and his predecessor Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon and the director of social media, all the way down to Kellyanne Conway, who has never known function in the White House, the whole team participates in and contributes to lying and chaos every single day because Donald Trump attacks and hires the very worst people for those jobs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have the most dedicated people. I have the best people. I have the best people.


O`DONNELL: That was one of the many lies that Trump voters fell for, even when he was surrounded on the presidential campaign by the least professional, least experienced presidential campaign operatives in history. Today, now that he has proven the opposite, Donald Trump tried telling that lie again.


TRUMP: I read where oh, gee, maybe people don`t want the work for Trump. Believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their resume, it`s just a great place to work.

So many people want to come in. I have a choice of anybody. I could take any position in the White House, and I`ll have a choice of the ten top people having to do with that position. Everybody wants to be there. And they love this White House because we have energy like rarely before.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Tim O`Brien, the executive editor of "Bloomberg View" and the author of "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald." He is an MSNBC contributor. Also joining us, McKay Coppins, staff writer for "The Atlantic" magazine and author of "The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party`s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House."

And, McKay, you`re one of the first people who introduced me in a sense to Sam Nunberg. I first read about him in your reporting long before this week. But you have written what I think is the definitive piece on what Sam Nunberg was up to yesterday. And in my reading of it, if I was to give the short executive summary of it, it seems you were saying this is just the way he is.

MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think that`s basically right. As he was undertaking this manic media blitz yesterday, there were all these theories what was happening. And was he suffering from some kind of personal breakdown? Was he -- you know, did he have some kind of calculated angle that he was playing? You know, there were obviously a lot of reports about alcohol abuse or drugs or was he drinking?

But the thing about Sam Nunberg, I`ve known him for many years. I`ve been kind of dealing with him in various ways as a journalist. This is really what he is like. This is his M.O.

He kind of studied under the tutelage of Roger Stone, the notorious Republican operative, and has always seen politics in some sense as performance art for its own sake, as Roger Stone once said. He really loves the attention. He loves the political stunts, the showmanship. And when I talked to Nunberg last night, he was out essentially celebrating his day of nonstop media attention.

He thought it was a great day for him.

O`DONNELL: And, McKay, I don`t want to dwell on Sam Nunberg too much other than to illustrate just how Donald Trump, in fact, doesn`t have the best people and will continue to not have the best people in the White House. But he kept complaining yesterday about this subpoena is so oppressive because he kept saying "I have a life." and he kept saying "I have other work to do."

Two questions. Does he in fact have a life? And does he have any other work to do at all? Is anyone paying him to do anything?

COPPINS: I bet he`s getting paid from someone somewhere to do something. I don`t know. I know he spends a lot of time talking to D.C. reporters and trying to settle scores with the various rivalries that he or Roger Stone or Steve Bannon have. I don`t know what job he is doing on any given day.

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien and McKay, I want to take a look at something that is a copyrighted feature of the "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW," and this is Rachel`s giant big board of the Trump administration departures which appears sometimes every night, sometimes every other night, but with a great deal of frequency. And there is obviously every week there is something added to it.

And, Tim, we have never seen -- we have never seen a graphic like that in any White House at this point. That`s kind of what that looks like at the end of four years.

TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The other thing to remember, Lawrence, is that he hasn`t filled a large chunk of federal positions. So the fact that they`ve got all of this outflow when they haven`t even managed the inflow at this point really makes you wonder whose hand is on the rudder on the ship of state.

I think the other thing that has come up with the Sam Nunberg event is it is this reminder that Trump actually doesn`t always attract the best people. In fact, he has rarely stocked his company or his administration with A-list talent. He really can`t afford to have people like Gary Cohn head for the exits because we now have a long list that includes people like Carter Page and Anthony Scaramucci and Sebastian Gorka, and a whole host of rodeo clowns who have been this constellation of advisers surrounding Trump.

They don`t give him good advice. They`re hitching their wagons to his star, usually I think for their own short-term needs. They get the attention they`re looking for. And then they`re either incompetent and he needs to fire them, or they move on.

And the ones who stay engaged with him, like Michael Cohen, also aren`t offering top flight advice. We have -- in Michael Cohen, we have Trump`s personal lawyer who apparently set out to help the president mask an alleged sexual relationship with a porn star. And he fails actually to keep it covered up. He makes various mistakes in the way he incorporates the LLC and handles the financial transactions.

So, the president now has a scandal unrelated to Mueller, but equally (AUDIO GAP) problematic for him legally because yet another one of his advisers has let him down.

O`DONNELL: Apparently, Donald Trump is trying to switch this imagery from what Jimmy Breslin`s famous book title called "The Gang that Couldn`t Shoot Straight" into Doris Kearns Goodwin`s concept of Abraham Lincoln`s "Team of Rivals" in the cabinet.

Let`s listen to how the president talked about all the energy you get from all of these rivals in the White House.


TRUMP: It`s got tremendous energy. It`s tough. I like conflict. I like having two people with different points of view, and I certainly have that, and then I make a decision.

But I like watching it. I like seeing it. And I think it`s the best way to go. I like different points of view.


O`DONNELL: McKay Coppins, he likes watching it. He likes seeing it. I wonder how much he liked seeing the Sam Nunberg version of the team of rivals on TV yesterday.

COPPINS: I can`t imagine he enjoyed that.

But actually I have heard from people inside this administration who have (AUDIO GAP) this president process information is not by reading (ph). (AUDIO GAP). But by obviously watches cable news. But also, what he likes to do is take two aides or staffers or allies and put them in a room and have them argue with each other about an issue. And then he basically kind of goes on his own gut instinct about who won the debate. And that`s often how he makes decisions and processes information.

So, it`s not necessarily, you know, a terrible idea to stock his team with a team of rivals. The problem is that the rivals have to be ultimately competent and able to get on the same page when the president makes a decision. And we haven`t seen that happening at all over the past year.

O`DONNELL: And, Tim, there is a TV quality to what McKay just described. I mean, that really is the old "Crossfire" format on the CNN show that I know Donald Trump remembers. And so that`s basically he is kind of booking a cable news show in the room with him.

O`BRIEN: Well, and that`s how he ran the Trump Organization. But we should remember the Trump Organization was a boutique tiny operation. It was not a Fortune 500 company. He had a small -- a handful of people who had been with him for decades. And he ran that tiny thing by the seat of his pants. It was not the federal government of the United States.

He`s the president of the United States. He`s clothed in immense power. He has millions of people working for him. He`s got the nuclear arsenal at his disposal.

Chaos theory doesn`t work when you`re the president of the United States. And it`s ridiculous to think that he is going to get positive outcomes of this. He had no experience running a large bureaucracy before he came to the federal government. And he`s never built strong teams. An inability to manage sophisticated processes and manage highly talented teams who actually are giving you advice you listen to and high-end feedback are not -- they`ve never been part and parcel of his own resume, and they certainly haven`t been hallmarks of this White House.

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, thank you for your valuable perspective on the history of Trump world and how things have worked and how they work today.

And, McKay Coppins, thank you for your invaluable contribution to our understanding of the Nunberg affair. Really appreciate you joining us tonight.

COPPINS: Thank you.

O`BRIEN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump`s utter ignorance about tariffs and his belief the trade wars are easy to win is not just an economic issue, it`s a national security issue. Robert Reich will tell us what the president needs to know about a trade war.

And later, Stormy Daniels is back in Donald Trump`s life. This time, Stormy Daniels is suing the president of the United States. And the president still hasn`t denied a single thing that Stormy Daniels has ever said about him.


O`DONNELL: Congress gave the president the unilateral power to increase tariffs only in defense of national security. That is the theory by which president Trump plans to put a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. But tonight "The Washington Post" is reporting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson privately warned senior trade officials on Tuesday that President Trump`s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum could endanger the U.S. national security relationship with allies, according to five people familiar with the meeting.

So much for the Trump national security justification for unilaterally raising those tariffs, Trump`s action is actually threatening national security, according to his own secretary of defense. A Congress that is alert to trying to deal with an out-of-control president could quickly remedy this situation if the Republican leadership went into high speed legislative mode and simply removed the president`s authority to do this. They would have to do it by a 2/3 vote in the House and the Senate in order to override the expected presidential veto.

But they`re not even trying to do that because, of course, the Republican leadership is afraid of Donald Trump. "The Washington Post" reports that Paul Ryan has told Republican members in closed door meeting not to bully Trump on the decision. He said it could backfire and make things even worse. Bloomberg reports that during an oval office meeting today on trade policy, president Trump asked for an update on the legal paperwork that will make the tariffs official and discussed the timing of the signing of the tariffs order. He then sought confirmation that everyone, especially Gary Cohn, was willing to stand behind him.

According to one source, with knowledge of the exchange, Trump specifically asked Cohn, we`re all on the same team, right? He then asked if Cohn was going to support the president on the issue. Cohn didn`t answer, the people said.

Just a few hours later, the White House announced Cohn was gone. According to "Politico" during an Oval Office meeting earlier this year, Gary Cohn told Trump that the tariff would cost more jobs than they would save, and presented evidence that President George W. Bush`s 2002 steel tariffs failed to achieve their goal. The president rejected Cohn`s arguments. The president told people present at the meeting that he was deeply skeptical of economists, adding that anybody can find an economist to echo their world view, according to two people familiar with the deliberations.

Once again today, the president offered the childish view that there is a form of war that only hurts one side in that war.


TRUMP: You know, when we`re behind on every single country, trade wars aren`t so bad. You understand what I mean by that? When we`re down by $30 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them. It doesn`t hurt us.


O`DONNELL: It`s called a trade war, not a trade massacre. It`s called a trade war because it inflicts casualties and grievous losses on both sides.

In a brief press conference today with the prime minister of Sweden, Donald Trump showed no awareness whatsoever that because Sweden is part of the European Union, we do not actually have a trading relationship directly with Sweden because all trade agreements with Sweden are governed by the European Union.


TRUMP: As far as our relationship with Sweden, it`s going to be only stronger, only better, both in a military sense and a trading sense, and economic sense.

That would be like the European Union pretending that they have a trading relationship with Rhode Island that is fantastic, but they have a terrible trading relationship with the United States of America.

Joining us now, Robert Reich, who was the labor secretary under President Clinton. He is currently a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His new book is "The Common Good."

Also with us, Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion writer at "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

And, Professor Reich, it seems the president has fallen into the belief that there is a kind of war in which the damage only hurts one side.

ROBERT REICH, AUTHOR, "THE COMMON GOOD": Lawrence, this is the fallacy of zero sum thinking that pervades Donald Trump`s brain and much of the White House. The idea that international relations are a matter of either they win or we win and there is no win-win possibility. This is dangerous thinking. It`s dangerous thinking in terms of foreign policy, with regard to military policy. It`s extremely dangerous with regard to trade policy because that`s not how the world actually works.

O`DONNELL: Jennifer, we have Paul Ryan telling his Republican members who by the way have the constitutional authority to prevent the president from doing this if they act quickly, Paul Ryan telling his Republican members oh, be quiet about this, be muted in what you say about it. Don`t bully Donald Trump because that will just make things worse.

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, my. Paul Ryan being spineless. Isn`t that surprise? No, it`s not a surprise. They have never stood up to him.

And, of course, Bob is exactly right. This is what Trump has done. He has bob and I bring on economics. But he is absolutely right.

You know, the way Trump talks, he has no idea what he is talking about. When he says we`re behind or we have lost billions of dollars, what is he talking about? This is not a budget deficit. This is just the difference between inputs and outputs.

By the way, those dollars that we sent overseas turn around and come back to the United States in the form of investment. And many Americans now are employed by foreign companies that have set up businesses, plants in the United States. So, it`s a complete lack of understanding.

And I am told by people who know that this has been explained to him again and again, and he just doesn`t want to deal with reality. So he makes up this very bizarre kind of mano-a-mano analysis of economics which is completely wrong. And, by the way, Gary Cohn`s exactly right. A recent study by an independent trade economist group suggests that about 146,000 jobs on net will be lost because of this.

O`DONNELL: And, Professor Reich, it`s a very common notion that Donald Trump has. It`s common among people who have never studied economics and don`t really know much about it, that you can find an economist, a trained economist to say anything about any issue. What that ignores, if it`s possible, is that there is a consensus. There is an overwhelming consensus on certain subjects as there is, say, with climate scientists on the subject of climate change.

On this subject, there is an overwhelming consensus in the economics profession of what happens if you start a trade war.

REICH: There is an overwhelming consensus, Lawrence, based on history. We know for example that in 1930, Congress through the Smoot-Hawley tariff started a trade war that made the great depression worse. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, professor and late senator said, and he said repeatedly, everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

And the fact that you have here an economic consensus that trade is essentially good -- now the rules of the game with trade, there is some contention as to exactly whether a trade treaty ought to have this much of labor protection or this much environmental protection within it. We can dispute the details. But the overall reality that trade is basically a positive sum game is absolutely undisputed around the world and among economists and here is the thing that really worries me and I think it should worry a lot of people.

If we have somebody in the White House, a president of the United States who is also commander in chief, who is that illiterate, that ignorant about fundamentals that is basically science. I mean, we`re talking about just reality, history and reality. Then what are we to do? If nobody is going to stand up to him, if even people in his own party, Republicans who have responsibility to the public are not willing to say this is wrong, stop it, change the rules. We are going to take authority back from you.

If that`s not going to be the reaction among Republicans, it`s as if we had a mad king. And all his court years and all the ministers around him refused to stand up to him because he was mad king. That just makes things worse.

O`DONNELL: And, Jennifer, we have Defense Secretary Mattis who seems to be making the right argument here. But is he making to it the right people? He is making the argument to the Trump administration trade officials. There is no reporting that he is making that argument about national security directly to the president.

RUBIN: We don`t know. And he may have. And Trump may have ignored him in this case.

But it`s absolutely the case that trade inextricably bound up with international security. That`s why you had seven or eight former secretary of defense who are in favor of TPP which was also shelved.

This is not the time where we want to have economic warfare with our neighbors. And, by the way, the number one source of our steel from foreign sources is Canada. So, unless Canada has suddenly become an enemy of the United States, and it may be under this president. He is capable of this sort of thing, there is no national security threat. If Canada is not going to go to war with the United States and withhold steel from us. So the whole thing is preposterous.

Listen, if you wanted to say China is doing X, Y, and Z, there is evidence that they are dumping in this, this, and this regard, you could actually have an intelligent conversation. But with Trump, that`s impossible. He takes everything to a level of lunacy and non-fact that it makes this kind of conversation impossible.

O`DONNELL: And even the steelworkers union says this tariff should absolutely not be applied to Canada.

RUBIN: Right.

O`DONNELL: Professor Robert Reich, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

Jennifer, please stay with us.

REICH: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Jennifer, please stay with us. Thank you. Someone tipped off a Trump lawyer about secret testimony given to the House Intelligence Committee. The Daily Beast is reporting that some people working on the Committee Investigation may be trying to covertly assist the Trump inner circle. A member of that Committee, Congressman Eric Swalwell joins us next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But are you worried about Russia trying to meddle in the midterm elections?

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: No. because we`ll counteract whatever they do. We`ll counteract it very strongly. And we are having strong backup systems. And we`ve been working actually -- we haven`t been given credit for this. But we`ve actually been working very hard on the `18 election and the `20 election coming up. Thank you very much.


O`DONNELL: President Trump doesn`t seem worried today about what the Russians might do in future American elections. And he is certainly not at all worried what they did do in the 2016 election. Today the daily beast reports Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen received inside info from a Russia probe.

According to the Daily Beast, someone leaked information about witness testimony before the House Intelligence Committee to Michael Cohen`s attorney December 2017, and the leak suggests that some people working on the committee investigation may be trying to covertly assist one of the President`s closest allies when the President`s inner circle is extensively a focus of the probe. Joining us Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California. He`s a member of that that committee, the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to this idea that the committee is leaking somehow, and leaking directly to people like Michael Cohen and Trump allies

SWALWELL: You know Lawrence first it makes me really nervous when I hear the President say we`re working on the 2018 and 20 election. I don`t know what he is working on, but it`s not defending our democracy. So if it`s something else, God knows what that will look like.

O`DONNELL: Well let me -- let`s actually stop over that for a second. We`ll come back to the investigation. I was really struck by what he was saying as we were leading into this introduction to you.

What was he talking about? Here he is saying that he is not worried at all because we`ll counteract whatever they do. We`ll counteract it very strongly. We are having strong backup systems. What did any of that mean to you?

SWALWELL: Well, it meant nothing because every person who has come before Congress, from Jeff Sessions to Mike Rogers to Director Pompeo has said that they`ve receive nod directives from the President. The State Department Has spent zero dollars to counter what Russia is doing. All we know is that Russia intends to attack us again.

So they are working to obstruct our investigation. That is a work in progress that we see every day. And going back you know to your earlier question, this isn`t -- this report and the daily beast, I`m familiar with it. I can`t say too much other than the report last week about House Intelligence Committee members on the Republican side leaking Mark Warner`s text was concerning, and it wasn`t denied by the Republicans.

Also, we have read a number of times for the first time in the Washington Examiner witnesses who were coming before our committee when we haven`t even been told. They`ve gotten the jump on us. So we owe to it the American people to take this investigation seriously, and if we`re going to work to protect the ballot box in 2018 and 2020, we should impose the sanctions that are already in place. We should devote resources to every state and county election board. And we should certainly understand who attacked us so that we defend against it again.

O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to this story in the New York Times, the breaking story that Rachel Maddow devoted a significant amount of time to it. And that is this George Nader, this adviser to the Emirati Government with ties to the trump world. he is -- George Nader cooperating with the Special Counsel`s Investigation. Is that an area of investigation that your committee is headed toward?

SWALWELL: Yes. And Lawrence, I`m also concerned about Erik Prince. You can read his transcript before the House Intelligence Committee. I don`t think he was forthcoming. if this story is true, I don`t think he was fortcoming about his relationship with Mr. Nader and who Mr. Prince was meeting with in the Seychelles.

Remember, he went there, he met with a Prince from the UAE and he also met with a Russian banker. But I don`t remember Mr. Nader`s role being described. I`m also concerned this goes to a larger issue of Trump family members trading on their relationships with foreign governments to fleece themselves and their businesses.

O`DONNELL: And we also find in the -- the special prosecutor might find in his investigation a money trail of foreign money through Mr. Nader going into the Trump campaign.

SWALWELL: Well, yes. And I meant to enrich themselves and their businesses. But what we want to know, of course, and the only way to find fought money was going into the Trump campaign is to be willing to subpoena these records. Our investigation goes like this, Lawrence. You sit in a chair. We ask you a question, and then we say well, that`s interesting.

We have no way of testing if you`re telling us the truth or not because we`re not going to subpoena your telephone logs. We`re not going to subpoena your chat records. We`re not going to subpoena your bank records.

We don`t know Erik Prince if what you did in the Seychelles is what you say you did because we`re not going to go after your travel records. All things we have access to, but we don`t want to know. That`s the Republican Intelligence Committee investigation so far.

O`DONNELL: And of course the Special Prosecutor`s Investigation is operating in exactly the opposite way with all of that subpoena power for everything they need. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight about the actress who calls herself Stormy Daniels, and the President who calls himself, like, really smart. Apparently Donald Trump is not smart enough to avoid being sued by Stormy Daniels. That`s right. Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump is coming to a courtroom near you. If you`re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight on what has officially become the case of Stormy Daniels versus the President of the United States. NBC News is reporting Donald trump never signed the nondisclosure agreement that his lawyer arranged with adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to a lawsuit filed by Daniels in Los Angeles. Tuesday and obtained by NBC News. The suit alleges that her agreement not to disclose her intimate relationship with Trump is not valid because while both Daniels and Trump`s attorneys Michael Cohen signed it, Trump never did.

According to the lawsuit, Daniels and Trump had an intimate relationship that lasted from summer 2006, well into the year 2007. Now Donald Trump married his third and current wife Melania in 2005. The third Mrs. Trump then gave birth to the President`s third son in March of 2006, just a few months before Stormy Daniels says her affair with Donald Trump began. The President`s Criminal Defense Lawyer John Dowd, whose day job is defending the President from the Special Prosecutor`s Investigation declined to comment today on the Stormy Daniels lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.

It is not clear what lawyer will actually defend Donald Trump in that civil lawsuit. The President has never denied having an extramarital affair with Stormy Daniels. The President is usually quick to deny any accusations of any questionable behavior with any woman, including many women who have credibly accused him of sexual assault and sexual harassment. But so far Stormy Daniels is the one woman who Donald Trump does not dare to contradict or condemn.

Donald Trump`s personal Lawyer Michael Cohen has managed to make an utter mess of the $130,000 settlement he believed he reached with Stormy Daniels 12 days before the 2016 Presidential Election to buy her silence about her relationship with Donald Trump. That $130,000 payment was actually flagged as a suspicious transaction by Michael Cohen`s bank and reported to the treasury department. Nothing about the project to buy Stormy Daniels` silence has worked according to the plan, and now Stormy Daniels is ready to tell her story under oath in court. And we patiently await Donald Trump`s under oath testimony about Stormy Daniels.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news at this hour. Reuters is reporting that Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, will visit Mexico tomorrow and meet with the Mexican President, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. We`re joined now by Neera Tanden, the President of the center for American Progress And Jennifer Rubin is back with us.

And Neera it is Jared to the rescue running down to Mexico to try to apparently salvage what negotiations adjustments to NAFTA. But certainly one of the big subjects is going to be putting a giant Tariff on any steel imported from Mexico?

NEERA TANDEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`ll say there was a whole -- I mean it was like a mini-scandal. It feels like it was just last week that the Mexican President`s visit is cancelled because of controversy around the wall. And I`m sure tariffs help add to that.

I don`t know. I don`t feel a lot of reassurance with the idea of Jared Kushner. He doesn`t have top security clearance. And negotiating with the Mexican President that maybe other people are reassured by Jared Kushner`s travels to Mexico.

O`DONNELL: Let`s check if Jennifer Rubin is. Jennifer, Gary cons out and there`s Jared to the rescue trying to hold on to the map, the talks and apparently say what to the Mexican President about steele?

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Who knows? You know the Mexicans imagine do not like negotiating NAFTA with a gun to their head namely the tariffs. So you know this would be a joke if it weren`t real life. But of course what we have is not only a never ending cavalcade of advisers and kind of misfits there. But of course anybody with an ounce of common sense of an ounce of understanding of economics quickly goes out the door because they can`t possibly win an argument in this Whitehouse.

So listen Gary Cohn`s doesn`t get many points in my book when he stayed for neo-Nazis but left when tariffs came into the picture. Be that as it may the people who are left behind are going to be worse. And anyone who replaces those people will be even worse. So we are in this never ending downward spiral of dysfunction, and frankly I don`t think Jared should be going anywhere talking to any foreign government unless we know a heck of a lot more about his finances.

O`DONNELL: And Jennifer what every one knows about in these foreign governments is whoever is arriving today to represent the Trump Administration might not be working in the Trump Administration tomorrow, including Jared Kushner now, whose job has been seriously threatened in the last several weeks.

RUBIN: No one speaks for Trump. Not even trump speaks for Trump because whatever he says in that moment has no resonance a day or a week or a minute later. So who did these people talk to and who do they rely on. It`s not clear at all nor is it clear thatthe United States should be sending someone who is so easily manipulated by foreign governments. And so obviously in financial strains that goodness knows what he`ll be offered when he goes around the globe.

O`DONNELL: And Neera to that point, Jared Kushner is under investigation for basically exactly these kinds of meetings in which representatives of foreign governments and their allies within their own commercial fields and their own countries are capable of dangling possibilities in front of Jared Kushner that could compromise his judgment on behalf of the United States.

TANDEN: Yes, I mean let`s be really clear about what`s being investigated. He`s being investigated for taking what amounts to bribes. I mean, they`re loans, but he`s in desperate financial shape, so they`re a form of bribes. That could influence American policy. It still doesn`t make any sense what America did, going after Qatar in the Middle East.

And it`s possibly explained by the business interests of Jared Kushner, which you know, let`s step back and recognize that this isn`t just like violating numerous laws, this is really how third world dictatorships are - - countries in places around the globe that don`t have a strong democracy function, that you can buy off the -- like son in law of the President. That`s not American rule of law. And I think we should be highly suspicious of any travel Jared Kushner takes to any part of the globe.

He has no expertise to talk about any of these issues, and he has a big red letter overrunning him right now which is a special counsel investigation into this business practices. If I were the Mexicans, I wouldn`t be welcoming his visit. He`s tainted.

O`DONNELL: And Neera from the start, Jared was the one that was supposed to fix everything with Mexico, but it`s the wall that prevents anything from being fixed. We remember the President begging in that phone call that we got a report on. Please stop embarrassing Donald Trump. Jared Kushner is going to have that wall in the room with him tomorrow.

TANDEN: He has the wall, he has tariffs, he has the fact that the President has a terrible record and immigration. That he still lies about immigration. He lies about people coming across the border, criminal gangs.

He has a whole agenda here which is frankly racist toward Mexicans. You can`t just negotiate around that. Donald trump hasn`t done anything to make the negotiations any easier. But the idea you`re sending in Jared Kushner to address these problems, I think is you know it`s frankly ridiculous.

O`DONNELL: Neera Tanden and Jennifer Rubin thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it.

RUBIN: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.



STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Nunberg took over cable news like a car chase. He was on MSNBC at 2:45, at CNN at 3:30 and CNN again at 4:00. I believe at 5:00 he called into HGTV, to incriminate himself on flip or flop. I`m pretty sure after Mueller gets through with him, it`s going to be flip.


O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last work. And coming up next it`s Kornacki Night, Steve Kornacki analyzes tonight`s election results in Texas in the 11th Hour. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.