THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL March 30, 2018 Guest: Ana Marie Cox, Jonathan Capehart, Jason Johnson, Daniel Dale, Renato Mariotti, Marq Claxton
RICHARD ENGEL, MSNBC HOST: -- Russia go too far this time? Is this going to be the turning point? That`s all from us at "ON ASSIGNMENT." Don`t forget to follow us on Twitter. We`re @oarichardengel. We`ll be back soon, but for now, thanks for watching and good night.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Lawrence O`Donnell and this is TONIGHT`S LAST WORD live from Los Angeles.
No one got fired in the White House today. No one forcefully escorted out of the building by security.
Every cabinet member who had a job at breakfast today still had that same job at sun down today because the President of the United States spent his 104th day playing golf.
And so far, the golfiest president of all time has not actually fired anyone while playing golf, except possibly some caddies who are not on the White House payroll.
Many inside the White House are reporting that this week, the White House staff has moved beyond worry to near panic that the President of the United States is now completely unleashed. That is to say, somehow measurably more unleashed than he already was.
And it`s all about the woman who had to suffer the worldwide humiliation of a public Trump kiss today -- or yesterday, actually, on her way out the door. Just watch how natural this is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope Hicks.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump reduced to sign language because he needed to keep that far away. A great distance away from reporters so that he would not be able to hear any of their shouted questions about Stormy Daniels or anything having to do with the governing of the United States of America.
The White House did not release a translation of the sign language. I, for one, have no idea what it means to stand beside a person and just point at her repeatedly. So please feel free to share any of your suggested sign language translations with us on Twitter.
The woman the President was pointing at is the youngest White House Communications Director in history and not the most incompetent only because she was preceded in the job by the unforgettable Anthony Scaramucci, who was the most unleashed White House Communications Director in history, as well as the most incompetent.
"The New York Times" reported today, there is a palpable worry among those in the West Wing about who the President will now confide in and how many other people might be able to occasionally pull him back now that Ms. Hicks is gone.
Several reports have indicated this week that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has lost whatever confidence the President had in him and is unable, therefore, to exert even the minimal amount of influence over the President that he might have had in the past.
According to POLITICO today, the President announced that he was firing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in, quote, a snap decision that surprised his own Chief of Staff and knocked the government`s second largest agency deeper into disarray.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had spoken with David Shulkin by phone Wednesday morning reassuring the now former V.A. Secretary that he wouldn`t be fired by tweet that afternoon. Hours later, Kelly had to phone Shulkin again telling him plans had changed.
David Shulkin`s firing was so chaotic and of a sudden that it is possible that Donald Trump didn`t even know that Donald Trump was going to do it earlier in the day when Donald Trump spoke with David Shulkin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: When`s the last time you spoke to him?
DAVID SHULKIN, FORMER SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: I spoke to the President yesterday.
HAYES: And what was that conversation like?
SHULKIN: We spoke about the progress that I was making, what I needed to do from a policy perspective to make sure that we were fixing the issues in the V.A. --
HAYES: Wait, that`s before you were fired?
SHULKIN: That`s correct.
HAYES: You spoke to him. He made no mention of the fact that he was about to terminate you?
SHULKIN: That`s correct.
HAYES: And then you found out via tweet?
SHULKIN: Yes. Right before that, the Chief of Staff, Kelly, gave me a call, which I appreciated, gave me a heads up. And so -- but that was much after the phone call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Trump administration has always been choosing from the bottom of the Republican barrel of talent, and there is no possibility of that changing.
According to a report in "The Washington Post" today, "The Post" reports that the Presidential Personnel Office, which is responsible for recruiting and vetting thousands of Trump administration political appointees, is being run by, quote, a college drop out with arrests for drunk and driving and bad checks and a Marine Corps reservist with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer.
"The Post" reports that the Personnel Office, quote, became something of a social hub where young staffers from throughout the administration stopped by to hang out on couches and smoke electronic cigarettes.
Leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called icing to celebrate the Deputy Director`s 30th birthday.
Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case, the Deputy Director, guzzle it. Thereby bringing a more precise definition than ever to the term, drunk with power.
But the governing style of the Trump administration, a more serious version -- is always a more serious version of drunk with power.
This week, we learned that team Trump will begin detaining pregnant undocumented immigrant women. Thanks to a Trump executive order.
It will add a question on citizenship status to the census that states -- State Attorneys General warned could lower immigrants voting and cause a population under count.
And it will roll back rules requiring cars to be cleaner and more efficient.
Donald Trump is golfing when most of these decisions are made and only becomes aware of them if they are mentioned on Fox News and only approves of them when they are mentioned approvingly on Fox News.
The Trump government from the start has behaved like a marauding horde passing a bottle of Smirnoff Ice as they reached to the bottom of the right-wing barrel of bad policy ideas and try to turn another one into the law of the land.
Hope Hicks never stopped a minute of that madness. And John Kelly is known to have encouraged some of it, especially the worst cruelties the Trump administration has inflicted on immigrants.
Each of them might, at some point, have talked the President out of an utterly insane tweet. But what Donald Trump has proven from the start, with his two White House Chiefs of Staff and his five White House Communications Directors, is that he has been unleashed since day one in the presidency but is always capable of getting much, much worse. And always does.
Joining the discussion now, Ana Marie Cox, the host of the podcast, "With Friends Like These" and a political columnist for "Fangrrls."
Also joining us, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the "Toronto Star"; Jason Johnson, politics editor at theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor; and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Ana, I want to begin with what seems to me, from my distance, the mythology of Hope Hicks created by the White House press corps which seems to believe that she is, first of all, a confidant of Donald Trump`s.
And secondly, that without her, things will be so different. That the President will be lonely and petulant, and therefore, we`re going to see something completely different without Hope Hicks there making it all make sense.
ANA MARIE COX, HOST, "WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE": Right. Because he was so not lonely and not petulant before, right?
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.
COX: I mean, if Hope Hicks is all that`s standing between us and oblivion, I mean, we`re already in oblivion, right? I mean, the abyss is looking back at us.
Really, I thought your summation of what`s been going is really -- was really spot on because, in the end, it`s not the theatrically of the dismissals. It`s not, you know, sort of the -- I don`t want to use the term on television but the blank show in the White House.
It is actually all the bureaucracy that`s kind of like tumbling apart and as it tumbles upon people sort of. The detaining of pregnant women, the questioning of citizens on the census.
They`re doing this thing where they`re rolling out the abortion reversal medicine. It`s starting to become -- they`re starting to push that in more states. And that is something that the Trump administration is behind.
There`s all these, like, minor changes in policy or what seemed like minor changes in policy. They`re all but invisible because we`re all paying attention to what`s happening in the White House. But people are suffering and hurting.
I am like everyone else. Like, I can`t take my eyes off this either. I can`t take off, you know, the spinning, the whirling dervish of Trump in the White House, but I really feel like we need to be looking at what`s happening in more cities and towns.
You know, ICE breaking people`s doors down, Black men being shot in their own backyard. These are things that are happening in part because Trump is such a terrible manager and terrible president.
That let`s not get distracted by him. Let`s pay more attention to actually -- the things that actually -- also some things that we can have some effect on because they are at the local level. I hope people can take some actual hope in that.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, the notion that the Trump White House can be more chaotic, more dangerous, I guess that`s true that it can.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: But it`s hard for me to believe that that has anything to do with who the White House personnel actually are.
CAPEHART: Oh, yes, this has nothing to do with the personnel -- well, in a sense, Lawrence, it does. The one person that we`ve been talking about since Election Day, and that`s the President.
I mean, there was so much hope put into John Kelly. Even I was one of those people who said, you know, now that John Kelly is there, he will bring order and discipline to the White House. I also said his firing of Scaramucci would be the height of his career.
But now, what we know from the Twitter firing of former Secretary Shulkin yesterday, President Trump is going to do whatever he wants to do.
The crazy that`s happening in the White House, in the West Wing, is something that would be untenable for any other president and certainly something that was unimaginable for a Republican president.
But to Ana Marie`s point, I`m separating the White House from the administration.
And those policy changes that you mentioned in your lead in, Lawrence, those are things that it`s not about the bureaucracy falling apart. It`s about the nationalist agenda that has bit -- that buoyed President Trump into office that is actually being implemented despite the chaos in the White House.
And this is where I, again, agree with Ana Marie that we have to pay attention to all these little things that the administration is doing while the dumpster fire on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is happening.
There are these people in all these agencies enforcing these rules, changing regulations that, you know, cheer the President`s 35 percent base but have real impacts on millions upon millions of everyday Americans who thought life was preceding in one way and just upended just by the stroke of a pen.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan, we all accept your Good Friday confession about having once been hopeful about John Kelly`s ability to organize this White House.
CAPEHART: Have to keep hope alive.
O`DONNELL: It was unnecessary, though. I wasn`t going to put that up there in front of your face. But let`s listen to --
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to a Republican presidential campaign operative, Steve Schmidt, giving his assessment of this personnel situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: From a personnel perspective, we`ve never quite seen the assemblage of crooks, just outright weirdos, wife beaters, drunk drivers, complete and total incompetence that`s been assembled.
If you took the 10 greatest H.R. managers in the history of the world, put them together and said, we want to form a 1927 Yankees of incompetence, it`s not possible that they would have done a better job than assembling this team. And it`s not possible that this team could have let loose more chaos than they already have.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: All right. But let me --
SCHMIDT: And Evan is exactly right, as we get -- as we get close to the hour of tragedy that will inevitably come from these type of people around an office where life and death decisions are made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson, I`d like to say he took the words right out of my mouth, but it`s much more eloquent than anything I could`ve come up with.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And, of course, wife beaters and drunk drivers is not rhetorical. It`s literal. He meant it literally.
JOHNSON: Yes, yes. I look at this administration, it`s like -- I mean, it`s like a police academy. Just there`s a level of incompetence.
I`m waiting for a guy who makes voice impressions and someone with a squeaky voice. Like, that`s the only thing left that they could put in to this administration to bring it any lower.
But here`s the thing, Lawrence, and here is the larger problem. All of the competent people in D.C. and around the country who don`t beat their spouses and don`t have criminal records and aren`t trying to abuse the body public, they don`t want to participate in this administration anymore because they don`t want it on their resume.
So it has not only caused problems in how our country will function, but it has made it more difficult to attract competent people.
Usually, a year into the administration, people have kind of figured things out. They know where the bathrooms are. They know where the copy machine is. We still got people who haven`t even settled into their offices yet and they`re already being fired for incompetence.
So this will eventually leak out not just from a policy perspective, but there will be economic and voting decisions that people are going to make because of the nonsense they see in D.C. right now.
O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, I really want to get your perspective on why the White House press corps -- I have my own ideas about it, but why the White House press corps seems to mythologize Hope Hicks as some kind of anchor in the rough sea of the Trump White House.
DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, TORONTO STAR: That`s a great question. You know, I don`t have a good answer.
I think, you know, she is young. She is glamorous. She is relatively friendly. The couple of times I`ve spoken to her, you know, she has been more pleasant than other people in the Trump administration.
I think it`s possible, Lawrence, that, you know, to some extent, she did mitigate, at least temporarily, some of Trump`s worst instincts. But I think we`ve seen a general tendency towards mythologization of many, you know, Trump aides.
I mean, we saw this at the beginning with John Kelly. We see this still with Steve Bannon who`s treated, you know, as a political genius when there`s very little evidence of that.
And so I think there`s a tendency in the press corps that covers the White House to see the people in the White House as, you know, these heroic figures in various ways when there`s very little evidence to confirm that at all.
O`DONNELL: Daniel, in your experience with the people at the White House, do people like Hope Hicks realize that, before the age of 30, she has written the first line of her obituary, and it is not a good one?
DALE: Well, let`s -- you know, I don`t know if that`s true. I think she has time to make a name for herself in some more flattering light. But it`s very possible that this will be what she is remembered, and it -- you know, it has not been a good era.
O`DONNELL: Jason, go ahead.
JOHNSON: Yes. I got to tell you no. Like, there is a difference in saying, "hey, I may have had a bad boss," and saying, "I used to work at Enron," OK? If you --
JOHNSON: You know, and this is that situation. Like, if you have White House 2016 to 2020 and beyond on your resume, ethical people don`t want to work with you. They don`t want Robert Mueller checking into their background.
Hope Hicks has severely damaged the rest of her career. Now, mind you, I have no sympathy for her. She helped write letters to help damage the reputation of women who are only speaking out against abuse they have had in the past.
But anybody who is going to be connected to this administration is going to be tainted. And I don`t think Donald Trump realizes that. But all the competent people who don`t want to work anymore, they do.
O`DONNELL: And, Daniel, what ant -- what do you expect in this infighting that we`re hearing about on the Communications Director job?
Do you think it`s possible that Donald Trump really will just leave that job empty and in effect, continue to be what he`s always been, which is his own director of communications?
DALE: Lawrence, I think anything is possible with Donald Trump. I think, though, that he values communications more than anything else, more than any policy area.
I think he wants to fill the job. We know that, you know, almost nobody wants what should be, you know, a hugely, you know, glamorous, desired position.
I think it`s possible Kellyanne Conway will get it. We saw that her husband deleted a series of anti-Trump tweets that he tweeted this week.
And so, you know, he -- what we`ve seen this week, with all of these positions, is that he`s falling back on people that he personally likes over -- you know, that`s more important to him than any qualification.
And so we saw that with John Bolton who he likes from Fox News. We saw that with Larry Kudlow who he likes from CNBC. And we saw that with Mike Pompeo, his new Secretary of State, you know, who he liked from his intel briefings.
And so my guess is that he will fill the position, and he`ll fill it with someone that he personally knows and likes.
O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, thank you very much for joining the first round tonight. Everyone else, please standby for more.
Coming up, the special prosecutor delivered a subpoena in dramatic style as the target of the subpoena stepped off a flight from London.
And Laura Ingraham continues to lose advertisers tonight, and an autopsy released today shows that Stephon Clark was shot in the back by Sacramento police.
O`DONNELL: Laura Ingraham continues to lose advertisers from her Fox News show after ridiculing mass murder survivor David Hogg, a high school senior and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Today on MSNBC, when asked if he accepted Laura Ingraham`s apology that she tweeted yesterday, David Hogg said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HOGG, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL (via telephone): No. Because realize this, in the same tweet where she apologized to me, she tried promoting her show at the same time. And just I found that sickening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Also sickening to many Catholics and other Christian Holy Week observers was Laura Ingraham`s dragging Holy Week into her apology.
She said, on reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.
That provoked me and many others to ask if Laura Ingraham would have apologized on any other of the 51 weeks of the year and to ask in what spirit was her original insulting tweet since it was also written during Holy Week.
Ana Marie Cox, Jason Johnson, and Jonathan Capehart are back with us.
Ana Marie, I want to get your assessment of where this particular controversy stands. And while you`re speaking, I would like to put up the 13 -- a graphic of the 13 companies, their names, that have pulled their ads from Fox News.
Since they`re not advertising on Fox News at this hour, America should still know that these companies are in business and would like to do business with them.
Go ahead, Ana Marie.
COX: Well, in the spirit of infrastructure week --
COX: -- I`d like to slightly change topics.
COX: I`ll just go off topic and -- no. Well, the larger issue for me is that David Hogg specifically -- the Parkland students in general but David Hogg specifically -- seems to have triggered, let`s say, all these snowflakes on the right in this extreme way.
Like, I`m fascinated that they are so activated by them and by him, in particular. I can`t quite put my finger on what it is about these children, really, these kids, these students, that is so upsetting. That they find so intimidating, quite frankly.
I wonder if it`s their idealism, or I wonder if it`s the sense that, when you see young people this motivated, this organized, you know that this is the biggest threat that there is to, you know, the standing order. These young people --
O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson --
COX: Go ahead.
JOHNSON: This is part of it --
JOHNSON: Oh, sorry.
O`DONNELL: I was going to say, Jason, do you have an answer to Ana Marie`s question about what is it that gets people like Laura Ingraham going with these kids?
JOHNSON: Because they`re young, well-spoken White kids. And then that --
JOHNSON: And these -- and they`re supposed to be -- and that`s supposed to be bailiwick of the Republican Party. They`re young -- they`re young and they`re attractive and they`re appealing.
And think about this. Wasn`t it just about a month ago that Laura Ingraham was saying, shut up and dribble and was insulting --
JOHNSON: -- you know, dozens and dozens of African-American athletes?
JOHNSON: No one was trying to boycott her then. But when she says something about young White kids who have suffered through a tragedy, suddenly everybody wants to say something.
COX: I will point --
JOHNSON: I am glad that David Hogg -- I`m glad he had the clap back. I`m glad he said I don`t accept your apology. I`m glad that she`s losing all there advertisers. My problem is, if she gets cancelled, she`ll end up in the White House so that might be worse.
COX: So I also wanted to point out, David Hogg is the one that pointed out that it was the people of color -- the students of color at Parkland that hasn`t gotten the attention he has.
JOHNSON: Right, yes. Right.
COX: That Parkland is about 25 percent minority. And the students that have gotten a lot of attention, including David Hogg, have pointed out that the media has done a disservice to these other kids who have some specific reasons for not wanting, let`s say, more armed teachers in their school.
COX: They haven`t gotten the voices that maybe David himself has. Although I think it`s not his fault.
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, yes.
CAPEHART: Of course, yes.
O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan, of course, we know if Laura Ingraham does go from Fox News to the White House, she will lose influence over Donald Trump.
CAPEHART: Oh, yes, absolutely. She`s not -- she`s never more powerful than she is right now if she wants to --
CAPEHART: -- if she wants to influence the President of the United States. Look, I think the power of David Hogg is in the responses from both Ana Marie and from Jason. And that is, here is a well-spoken White kid who cares about all of his friends.
He is not simply complaining and speaking out because he himself suffered some tragedy. He deeply cares.
I think you showed in the B roll when he came here to Washington in the run up to the March for our Lives, he went to a school here in Washington and talked about the fact that he is there and recognizes that because of his privilege and his background, a lot of attention is paid on him and the students of Parkland.
But he recognizes and knows that the kids in that room and other African- American kids and kids of color have been dealing with this for a long time, and he wants to use that power to help everyone.
And that disrupts the order that Laura Ingraham is so desperate to hang onto. But as Jason knows, as Ana Marie knows, as you know, Lawrence, as everyone who is watching the show actually knows, that America and world that Laura Ingraham is fighting so hard to maintain, it`s gone. It doesn`t exist and hasn`t for a long time now.
O`DONNELL: And, Ana, I`m wondering when --
COX: Well, I was going to say it`s gone except in --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
COX: Well, I was going to say it`s gone. Unless it can be held together with the threat of violence, I mean, quite frankly.
JOHNSON: Right. Right.
O`DONNELL: Ana, when do you think --
COX: I mean, that is what can hold the students proud together. Go ahead.
O`DONNELL: When do you think President Trump is going to get into this fight with Laura Ingraham and her sponsors?
Let`s put those sponsors up as Ana answers this again so the President can know this weekend exactly which so far 13 companies he has to attack on Twitter.
COX: I don`t actually wish this because I know it would do bad things for the lives of the students, but part of me wants him to go after the students because that`s his -- that`s classic Trump. That is Trump. That is Trump. Talk about punching down, right?
COX: Like, that is the kind of thing he would do. I bet he is itching to go in and do that. And that is, by the way, the kind of thing a good communications director would keep someone from doing.
COX: And so, you know what, maybe if he does become his own Communications Director, that`s the kind of thing he will do. He might try to get into a proxy war with the students using Laura Ingraham`s advertisers. I mean, he`ll do whatever they say on "Fox and Friends."
COX: I mean, like, honestly, honest to God, I think there was a rumor going around that one of the candidates for the V.A., like, Trump thought he would do more good on "Fox and Friends" than at the V.A.
COX: And that would -- you know what, he is correct. He is totally correct. The couch is the -- the couch is next to the Oval Office.
COX: The curvy "Fox and Friends" couch is actually adjacent to the Oval Office.
O`DONNELL: And it`s our turn to squeeze in a commercial now. Ana Marie Cox, thank you for joining the discussion.
Coming up, be careful when you step off that plane from London at Boston`s Logan Airport because you might get hit with a subpoena from the special prosecutor. But that`s only if you`re in too deep in Trump world. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller`s team handed out another subpoena this week, this time at Logan Airport in Boston, as soon as the target of the subpoena stepped off a flight from London on his way to Cleveland.
Ted Malloch is an American citizen who is a self-described Trump supporter. He is also friendly with Roger Stone and Nigel Farage, the British champion of the Brexit movement.
Ted Malloch tells NBC News that the FBI questioned him about his involvement in the Trump campaign and his connections to Roger Stone and WikiLeaks. He says they also asked whether he ever visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to which he says that he replied no.
The FBI seized his cell phone and served him with a subpoena from the Special Counsel. Ted Malloch says he will appear before Mueller`s team next month.
Joining the discussion now, Renato Mariotti, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He has prosecuted many federal obstruction justice cases.
And back with us is Jonathan Capehart.
And, Renato, what do you make of this -- the way this subpoena was served and what they obtained?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS: Well, first of all, whenever you are subpoenaing a subject of an investigation, you know, there are times where you`re going to use a little bit of intimidation. You`re going to try to find out what you can from the person.
Sometimes we would plan out carefully how agents would approach a subject. At times, we would even have evidence that we would show the person just to give them a glimpse of what we had on them.
So I think this was clearly an effort to intimidate him and potentially to get him to cooperate. Now, the fact that they were able to obtain his cell phone is because he was actually at an international boundary. There is a heightened ability for law enforcement to conduct searches there.
I suspect he may have given his consent to do that, or they would have at least sought to have his consent. But if not, what they would be hanging their hat on there would be the heightened ability to do that at the border.
But what this tells us is that he is somebody who is of very much -- you know, somebody who is of interest to Mueller. Clearly, Mueller is interested in finding out whether or not people in the Trump camp knew about the hacking of the DNC servers in advance and about the dissemination of those e-mails on WikiLeaks.
O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan Capehart, it seems like there`s a warning in there for other people in Trump world. If you are reentering this country, you better have your cell phone backed up.
CAPEHART: Yes, at a minimum. But this isn`t the first time we`ve seen Mueller go to the airport to nab a witness. He did that with George Papadopoulos way back when before anyone knew who George Papadopoulos was.
And so the message here is, one, you know, if you`re traveling, back up your cell phone. But, two, if you have any kind of connection, it seems, to the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, the Trump White House, you have to be very concerned that the knock on the door or the person approaching you is someone who is on Mueller`s team.
O`DONNELL: I want to read exactly what Ted Malloch said -- more of exactly what he said to NBC News.
He said, I am not an operative, have no Russia contacts, and aside from appearing on air and in print often to defend and congratulate our president have done nothing wrong. What message does this send?
Renato, what message does it sent?
MARIOTTI: It may -- the message it sends is that the FBI is aggressively investigating these crimes. And if you are tied to somebody or involved with somebody who is under investigation, you can expect to be questioned by the FBI.
And really, the answer there is, you know, you may not -- whether he did anything wrong or not, we don`t know.
But if you are associated with people who are subjects of a criminal investigation -- and here, you know, he is -- he was associated with a campaign who`s had -- the chairman of the campaign is under federal indictment, facing very serious charges -- you can expect the FBI to take very close notice of you.
And, frankly, I think this man, instead of talking to NBC News, should be talking to a very good criminal defense lawyer.
O`DONNELL: And with that, as we head into our next commercial break, Jonathan Capehart your weekend starts now.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much, Jonathan, for joining us. Really appreciate it, sir.
At the end of a stormy week for Donald Trump, his lawyers have managed to get him in even more trouble with Stormy Daniels.
O`DONNELL: At the end of a very stormy week for the President, he finds himself in even more legal trouble with Stormy Daniels than he did at the beginning of the week when a record high "60 Minutes" audience listened to Stormy Daniels` descriptions of spanking Donald Trump then having sex with Donald Trump and then being threatened to stay quiet about it.
Joining us now, Renato Mariotti, former U.S. attorney in Illinois.
Renato, a couple big developments legally this week for the President. One, we had David Schwartz, who actually has not filed an appearance for Michael Cohen in this case but acts as his legal spokesperson on T.V.
He said that the President knew absolutely nothing about this confidentiality agreement, had no idea it was being executed, and didn`t sign it where the provision was made for him to sign it with an alias because the President never had any idea that it even existed or that the payment was made.
What does that do to the case?
MARIOTTI: Wow. Well, it undercuts the case for Michael Cohen. I think the President`s lawyer`s lawyer needs his own lawyer.
I will say that, you know -- and I think the people at home know that you can`t agree to something if you didn`t know about it.
And that agreement between Daniels -- Stormy Daniels and D.D., who is in -- who was listed in the agreement and who is ultimately Donald Trump, that agreement -- listen, the number of things that Trump agrees to in that document where he releases claims, he makes a number of warranties and representations, he agrees to arbitration, and so on, there is no way that Donald Trump could do any of those things without informed consent, without knowing what`s in the piece of paper.
So I don`t know how Michael Cohen plans to win this lawsuit at this point. Frankly, at this point, maybe they`re going to try to delay it as long as possible. But in the end, they have a very difficult road to hold.
O`DONNELL: And we also saw another development in it, which was a ruling by the judge, a federal court judge, where Stormy Daniels` attorney had asked for a speeded up process that would allow him to conduct the deposition of the President in a much faster way, expedited.
The judge said, no, we can`t expedite this, but there is a process for doing that and basically said what you`re asking for now is premature.
What does that tell us about the future of the case?
MARIOTTI: Well, it actually suggested to me that, in the future, Stormy Daniels would get the discovery she`s looking at. If I`m in the President`s camp, I would be telling Trump, look, you`re going to get deposed if this lawsuit continues. So will Michael Cohen.
And, of course, we all know that has some very significant downsides. Paula Jones, you know, had famously -- you know, her lawyer deposed Bill Clinton and that had some obvious downsides for him.
So at this point, his team is going to try to delay as long as they could. The judge said, I think, correctly that the motion was premature until the President`s lawyers and Cohen`s lawyers filed a response to the complaints and also filed a motion to compel arbitration, which they said they would do.
But that -- you know, that`s going to have to come at some point. And once that happens, you know, this expedited discovery is going to occur.
The only way for them to avoid the expedited discovery would be to not compel arbitration, which would just make the proceedings even more open than it will be if it was in arbitration.
O`DONNELL: Renato Mariotti, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
MARIOTTI: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight -- today, an autopsy that was released today shows that Stephon Clark was shot in the back by Sacramento police officers. Stephon Clark was unarmed. We have the video of the shooting. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Lawyers representing the family of Stephon Clark today released the results of an autopsy. Attorney Benjamin Crump says that the medical findings will show that the initial statements given by the Sacramento Police Department are wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR STEPHON CLARK`S FAMILY: The narrative that had been put forth was that they had to open fire because he was charging at them. Well, obviously, based on Dr. Omalu`s findings in the family`s autopsy, it suggests all of the bullets were from behind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The autopsy conducted by a doctor hired by the family found that Stephon Clark was hit by eight bullets, and seven of those bullets struck Stephon Clark from the back.
We`re going to show you some of the police video of the shooting. This was taken from the helicopter above the shooting.
And you will see in the middle of the shooting -- after the bullets are fired, you will see Stephon Clark fall face forward to the ground, not moving. And you will see that the shooting continues after he has fallen and is not moving, face down on the ground.
This is very disturbing video to see. I just wanted you to know that. And if this is not something you want to see, this is the time to turn away. This is that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just went out -- went through the last window. One yard to the south.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone is trying to catch up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Shots fired. Shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many shots fired?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now, Marq Claxton, the director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance and a retired NYPD detective. And back with is Jason Johnson.
Marq Claxton, what do you see when you look at that video, the sequence of the shots, and you look at this autopsy drawing that we saw today of the entry wounds?
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: I see a disturbing pattern of police initiated violence against largely Black and Brown men and subsequent inexcusable actions by police officials and government officials.
I see also a denial about what really ails us in regards to police involved shootings of Black and Brown men across the nation. I see a large sense of denial. I see abandonment of proper police tactics, training.
There are so many issues and so many things that are disturbing about what has happened to Stephon Clark and what has happened, historically, in this country at the hands of what should be professional police officers to many Black and Brown men.
O`DONNELL: I want to stress again that Stephon Clark was unarmed. He did have a cellphone. Police are claiming that they mistook the cellphone for a gun.
Let`s listen to what the Dr. Omalu, who performed this autopsy, had to say about these entry wounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BENNET OMALU, CONDUCTED AUTOPSY ON STEPHON CLARK: He was shot in the back six times. The seventh gunshot wound was slightly to the side of his body but to the back of the side of his body. So you could reasonably conclude that he received seven gunshot wounds from his back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, Jason Johnson, when you see Stephon Clark face down and these bullets continuing to fly -- they fired at least 20 bullets at him. And as usual, they missed with most of their bullets. Most police bullets miss most of it time. There was no possibility of those bullets really entering the body anywhere other than the back.
JOHNSON: Right, right. And here`s the thing, Lawrence. You know, at the core issue here, we`ve seen this with Trayvon. We`ve seen this with Alton Sterling. We see this over and over again, an absolute denial of Black humanity by the police.
It is part of police training apparently to shoot first and ask questions later regardless of the race of the officers who are involved.
At the core issue here is a man who they were supposedly pursuing for breaking windows in cars. This is not someone that you needed to use lethal force.
And so to continue to shoot somebody when they`re already on the ground is not just overkill in the sort of rhetorical sense.
It`s overkill from the standpoint that the violence that they felt comfortable using in that neighborhood -- bear in mind, bullets could`ve ricocheted, hit somebody in the house, could`ve hit somebody else around. They didn`t care.
At that`s the core issue here, Lawrence, that these officers don`t care because, at the end of the day, they`re probably not going to face any real, legal consequences for this. And another Black man who was standing in his backyard with a cell phone is going to be besmirched and smeared by the police officers.
We`ve already seen that on the Sacramento Police sort of underground Facebook Web site that they`ve had. They`ve already started dragging his reputation in order to justify an unjustifiable killing.
O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, as a matter of police tactics, what disturbs me the most about this is that there is a -- there`s a second round of firing.
You can hear that there is a slight pause at the point where Stephon Clark falls and goes face down. And they decide -- they make a second decision to fire their guns again, which is a different decision from the one they made the first time.
The one they made the first time, he was standing up. When they made that second decision to fire another round of bullets at him, he`s lying face down and not moving. And that is a completely different tactical decision by the police officers than the first decision they made.
CLAXTON: Yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact, Lawrence, if you go deeper than that, there are several decisions that are made even before the firearms discharged -- subsequent to the firearms discharge.
Listen, a police officer has to really make a decision to pull his weapon. He has to make a decision to raise the firearm. He has to make a decision to put the finger on the trigger. He had then have to make a decision as to whether or not to pull that trigger.
So there is a series of decisions that need to be made. And professional police officers should be guided and are trained to be guided by what we call the use of force continuum. That means the amount of force that you, as a professional police officer, trained professional police officer, should use in particular cases.
You don`t fire a weapon for a person that`s trying to slap you. There`s an imbalance in that. And the use of force continuum is totally disregarded in this and so many other cases.
And I think something significant and substantive has happened during the course of this week that really has gone largely unreported. And that is even the comments, the acknowledgment by the Sacramento Mayor, Mayor Steinberg, that implicit -- in policing, implicit in these cases of fatal shootings by police of unarmed Black men, there is a bias.
He said there is an implied bias in law enforcement, and it`s undeniable. And I agree with that.
O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton gets tonight`s last word.
Thank you very much for joining us, Marq Claxton, Jason Johnson. Really appreciate it.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And tonight`s final word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Today, in case you haven`t seen it, the President was in Ohio. He was in Ohio talking about infrastructure. Check your calendars. It is always infrastructure week.
COLBERT: And talking about construction brought back some happy Trump memories.
TRUMP: That`s what I do, is I build. I was always very good at building. It was always my best thing. I think better than being president.
COLBERT: Don`t sell yourself short, sir.
COLBERT: You suck at both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I can`t say that. Stephen can say it. I can`t say it.
Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last word. Coming up, retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey discusses the President`s negotiations with North Korea in the "11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" which starts now.