Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: May 10, 2018 Guest: Harry Litman, Jennifer Rodgers
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ari.
And maybe we should try that. Maybe we should double-team people when we want something.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, "THE BEAT": In the hall?
O`DONNELL: In the room, you do the big ask for me. That takes care of it.
MELBER: You know, I`ll ask for anything you need around here.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have a meeting later, Ari.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Well, Rudy Giuliani tried his hand at public defender of Michael Cohen when he was trying to defend Michael Cohen`s $130,000 payments of Stormy Daniels. But Rudy Giuliani is nowhere to be seen or heard trying to defend Michael Cohen`s financial arrangements for the money that was paid to Michael Cohen by giant corporate interests trying to buy access to the president of the United States. Rudy Giuliani was willing to say anything when it came to defending Michael Cohen for what Michael Cohen said was using his own money to pay off Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about her sexual relationship with Donald Trump.
Rudy Giuliani said it`s the kind of thing he did all the time for his clients.
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RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do out of his law firm funds or whatever funds, it doesn`t matter. The president reimbursed that over a period of several months.
Michael would take care of things like this like I take care of things like this for my clients.
This is the kind of thing that I`ve settled for celebrities and famous people. Every lawyer that does that kind of work has that kind of admission to a disbarable offense was a little too much to bear for the giant law firm from which Rudy Giuliani took a leave of absence to become Donald Trump`s and Michael Cohen`s public defender.
The firm Greenberg Traurig announced today that Rudy Giuliani is no longer on a leave of absence because the firm has completely severed its relationship with Rudy Giuliani. And the law firm announced that Rudy Giuliani was not telling the truth about paying off porn stars and other women to buy their silence for celebrity clients with the law firm`s money.
Jill Perry, the law firm`s spokesperson told "The New York Times": We cannot speak for Mr. Giuliani with respect to what was intended by his remarks. Speaking for ourselves we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.
Rudy Giuliani issued a written statement about his departure from the firm today: I believe it is in everyone`s best interest that I make it a permanent resignation.
A written statement from Rudy Giuliani. When did Rudy Giuliani become so careful, so reserved, issuing a written statement instead of going on Fox News and blabbing about it? And while he`s at it, calling Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti an "ambulance chaser", his favorite phrase of last week.
Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump have not dared to say the words Michael Avenatti this week after Michael Avenatti revealed the millions of dollars in payments that Michael Cohen`s LLC has received after he used that LLC to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000, including the payment of a $500,000 inflow from a company with strong family ties and business ties to the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. That is the payment exposed by Michael Avenatti that has finally brought the Stormy Daniels story together with the Russian influence in Trump world story.
It has been Michael Avenatti`s most important moment so far and most startling revelation about Michael Cohen, and Rudy Giuliani has nothing to say about it, not a word.
This week, Rudy Giuliani has been silenced either because the president realizes how much damage Rudy Giuliani Rudy Giuliani does every time he opens his mouth, or Rudy Giuliani and the Trump team cannot think of a single thing to say about Michael Cohen pulling in multi-million dollar paychecks by selling access to Donald Trump, or both.
As expected we`re learning more about the big payments to Michael Cohen every day. But President Trump`s audience in Indiana tonight seems to have heard nothing about it, and the speechwriters for one of the most corrupt if not the most corrupt administration in history actually put these words in the president`s teleprompter tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under my administration, we`re fighting against the lobbyists the special interests and the corrupt Washington politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: One of the special interests that paid over a million dollars to Michael Cohen for the first year of the Trump presidency is now admitting that it was a big mistake. The new CEO of the pharmaceutical company Novartis who inherited the Michael Cohen deal from his predecessor sent an email to his employees today, saying, we made a mistake entering into this engagement and as a consequence are being criticized by a world that expects more from us.
One senior Novartis employee speaking on the condition of anonymity said that many who work there feel disgusted. This person added: People are angry and confused because it makes all of us look bad.
"The Daily Beast" reports today that the payment to Michael Cohen was by far the largest payment that Novartis made in its lobbying efforts. During all of 2017, Novartis formal payments to outside lobbying firms averaged under $12,000 a month less, than an eighth of what it paid Cohen for the better part of a year in which the company says he did exactly zero work. For that zero work, Novartis was paying Michael Cohen $100,000 a month.
AT&T was paying Michael Cohen $50,000 a month. And we now know, thanks to "The Washington Post", that AT&T was paying Michael Cohen, quote, for help on a wide portfolio of issues pending before the federal government including the company`s proposed merger with Time Warner, according to documents obtained by "The Washington Post". AT&T internal documents show that Michael Cohen was hired to, quote, focus on specific long-term planning initiatives, as well as the immediate issue of corporate tax reform and advised the company on matters before the Federal Communications Commission.
Michael Avenatti was met once again with terrified silence today by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump when he tweeted a copy of an email that appears to be an email sent by Michael Cohen two days after the FBI raided Michael Cohen`s home office in hotel room. In his first tweet about this today Michael Avenatti said: on April 9th, the FBI raided Mr. Cohen`s home office and hotel room. Within 48 hours, Mr. Cohen sent the below email to Mr. Davidson. Why? They had no ongoing legal matter at the time. Was it part of an attempt by Mr. Cohen to obstruct justice or worst?
Attached to the tweet was an email from Michael Cohen to Keith Davidson who was Stormy Daniels lawyer at the time she negotiated the confidentiality agreement with Donald Trump. The Cohen email says: I lost all my context as I had to get a new phone. Please send me all your contact info. Also, why did Anthony back out of -- back out on ABC to do the story? Let me know how you want to communicate. Oops. It`s signed Michael D. Cohen, esquire, personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump.
Michael Avenatti in another tweet pointed out: Mr. Giuliani claims that Mr. Cohen is no longer Mr. Trump`s lawyer as of when because as of April 11th, 2018, this year, he was still his lawyer as evidenced by the email I just posted. See also Mr. Trump`s comments on Air Force One that same month.
Michael Avenatti has not revealed today how he obtained an email from Michael Cohen to Attorney Keith Davidson.
Joining our discussion now, Harry Litman, former federal prosecutor and deputy assistant attorney general under President Clinton, Tim O`Brien, executive editor of "Bloomberg View", author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald", and an MSNBC contributor, and Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor. She is now executive director of the Center for Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School.
And, Harry Litman, that that signature block on Michael Cohen`s email is fascinating because this is the new phone that he had to get after the FBI seized all of his phones, more than a dozen of them apparently. And so, he had to deliberately type on to there after the FBI raid, personal attorney to Donald Trump. What`s your reading of that?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it`s also the title that he was very unabashed about using apparently around the world and certainly around the U.S. in order to drum up business.
Everyone`s saying you know pay-to-play, in the same old/same old, but it isn`t because one of the things he was doing, it`s ironic at the same time as he`s touting himself he was also selling a certain kind of anonymity. That`s the reason that he wasn`t registered as a lobbyist under the LDA.
And so, the companies were not simply buying access. They were buying quiet access. And that it seems that that`s how a company like Novartis could slip into paying him -- agreed to pay him a million dollars before they had even met him. There was something extra going on besides normal pay to play.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, is there a legal point? Is there something the bar association would be interested in in a lawyer who after the FBI raid, in this case, Michael Cohen, on his new phone types in there a personal attorney to Donald J. Trump. If that isn`t true, if that`s just something someone`s decided to type in there to impress people, when it`s no longer true, are there any legal ethical implications to that?
JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think the bar association will be interested in a lot of what Michael Cohen has been doing. I`m not sure this is at the top of the list. I mean yes if Trump had officially ended there relationship then yes you can`t represent that you`re the lawyer anymore.
But -- I mean, everything Michael Cohen is doing in this period of time from acting as an unregistered lobbyist to the payments to Stormy Daniels without the clients permission or maybe with the client`s permission and hiding that -- I mean, there are all sorts of things going on here that the bar association I think is going to basically end his legal career over.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, you are our Michael Cohen/Donald Trump psychiatrist here. In fact, you`ve dealt with both of them. You know them both, that you ended up getting sued by them over your book about Donald Trump, which you won that case. Is it -- is it just as innocent as Michael Cohen has no identity in his of his own without those words, personal attorney to Donald Trump?
TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I wouldn`t use the word innocent, but it could --
O`DONNELL: It`s way too strong a word for those guys.
O`BRIEN: Yes, but it`s an explanation. Donald Trump, you know, during the campaign, during the transition and for most of his business career, has been hired -- has been surrounded by people who`ve tried to hitch their star to his wagon. Michael Cohen is just the latest in a long line of those kind of people.
The email that he sent to Davidson, by the way, didn`t even have Trump Towers address on it. It was his own office at 30 Rock, I think it was.
O`DONNELL: Right, that`s also true. The address he used was the Rockefeller Plaza address, which was the office that was raided and the day, it was raided, that law firm said he`s no longer here.
O`DONNELL: So even the address is false --
O`DONNELL: -- in the email.
O`BRIEN: Right, and this is somebody who from towards from -- after Trump was elected until that point in time when he`s sending that email had been shunned by Trump largely. He didn`t get a job in Washington. He was iced out of most of the deliberations during the transition but who would get jobs down there. It wounded him. Trump actually didn`t begin reaching out to Cohen again via Twitter until after he owns office got raided because then he was worried about Cohen flipping on him I think.
All of this stuff of I`m the personal attorney to Donald Trump is somebody just hanging a shingle out I think to see if they can get money. And those payments that Michael Avenatti detailed I think are just the result of a guy lobbying -- not lobbying -- approaching big corporations and saying I can get you access.
But as we know certainly in the case of Novartis, they were only a month into the relationship until Novartis realized he couldn`t deliver and they ended it. But they kept paying him for the rest of the year because they weren`t legally allowed to end the contract and paying him. But they stopped working with him, because he actually I don`t think had that much access to Trump.
And that`s why I think of all of those payments, the more significant one is the one involving Columbus Nova, possibly Viktor Vekselberg.
O`DONNELL: That`s the one where there`s -- the Russian link lurking right in the background of that one.
O`BRIEN: Yes, and that goes I think to the heart and soul of part of what Robert Mueller`s investigating, is whether or not there were quid pro quos around policy to people in the Trump -- communicated to people in the Trump administration in exchange for money and whether or not Donald Trump himself knew about that.
O`DONNELL: So, Harry Litman, we have learned through Michael Avenatti`s revelation of these payments, and then a lot of the great reporting done by "The Washington Post" and others and following up, a bunch of information about these payments to Michael Cohen, which obviously special prosecutor Robert Mueller has known for quite a while, this is once again a revelation of how far ahead of us he is.
What do you see as the special prosecutor`s main points of interest in what we have publicly learned this week?
LITMAN: Well, look, when he finds out about this even though there -- they don`t -- unless there`s been some act and quid pro quo by an officeholder, the fact that Cohen is going around basically being a grifter doesn`t necessarily sound as a federal crime. There are things that might have been fraudulent and violation of election law in the Stormy Daniels thing and that might have incited his interest.
But, generally, if you`re a prosecutor and you find out all this mess with Essential LLC, what the hell is going on that he`s doing both the $130,000 payment, but also the repository for the -- the $4 million, there`s some reason to think that based on the contract with Stormy Daniels which has some anomalous passages that it was sort of used in other places. I think for Mueller, what he wants to know basically is every dollar that went into Essential LLC, and every dollar that came out, and what kinds of financial crimes could that -- could those describe. It`s a little hard to say.
As Tim says, there`s possibly mischief of an international nature but it`s certainly enough to get your antenna buzzing as the prosecutor.
O`DONNELL: And, Jennifer, Mueller knew all of this and more, obviously knows more than we do about all of this, including where the money went, before he -- the referral of this information was made to the Southern District of New York, before he basically handed over this file and everything he`d found on it and sent it up here to New York.
RODGERS: That`s right. We`re hearing that AT&T and Novartis spoke to Mueller`s team in November, and we know it was probably sometime between November and January when the case went to SDNY. So, they`ve been on this for a long time. They`ve definitely sorted all of this out.
You know, I`m wondering if one possibility might be actual just flat-out wire fraud here. I mean, we don`t know what representations Michael Cohen made to these companies and I think they`d be reluctant to admit that they were the victims of fraud because it makes them look bad. I mean, AT&T and Novartis are public companies after all.
But, you know, this could be just a flat-out fraud case. He could have been defrauding them for this money.
O`DONNELL: So, the elements of fraud what could simply be Michael Cohen promises AT&T, or one of these other companies, I can do X, and it turns out he could not do X and that would be it?
RODGERS: That`s right. I mean, he lies to them. It can`t just be like puffery. It can`t just be oh I`m so great and then it turns out he can`t deliver like, oh like a real lobbyist would do, but he has to promise them things that are factually untrue, and then he doesn`t do it and he takes their money and there obviously has to be some jurisdictional elements and so on. But that could have been what`s going on here.
Now, whether that becomes a case or not, I don`t know that these, quote- unquote, victims will want to play the victims in this scenario. But, you know, that might be some of what was going on here as he`s kind of trying to kind of get this money into his account.
O`DONNELL: So, Tim, for example, Michael Cohen to AT&T, just as a hypothetical -- don`t worry, I can get Trump to go along with the merger.
O`BRIEN: I can get your multibillion dollar merger and --
O`DONNELL: And that turns out to be untrue.
O`BRIEN: -- and Justice Department.
O`DONNELL: Now, does that sound like something Michael Cohen will say?
O`BRIEN: Or Michael Cohen can help you navigate Obamacare and drug price policy, or he can help you get for Korea Aerospace Air Force -- Air Force contracts.
With some reporting tonight that came out in "The Washington Post", we know in fact that AT&T specifically wanted help with its takeover of Time Warner, that that came out and documents that they got and it had to dawn on them pretty quickly that Michael Cohen knew nothing about telecommunications regulation, antitrust policy, drug pricing, or Air Force contracts and the strange thing I think that this sort of event says is that in the moment that Donald Trump got elected, K Street erupted because no one had a relationship with him.
And so, all of these firms were scrambling to find someone that they thought did, and it sort of boggles the imagination that they thought that Michael Cohen would be the guy that could deliver on these things to him.
LITMAN: One quick follow up if I could. So, Novartis, as Tim is saying there, they`re saying, we couldn`t terminate the contract. Of course they could have. If he was really doing nothing, that`s obviously cause. So he has the perfect victims in a sense because the corporation`s don`t want to have egg on their faces. They just wanted it to go away.
O`DONNELL: Well, Jennifer, what about the legal implications of that because one of the companies is said, we were afraid to end the contract because we were afraid of the president`s anger if we ended a contract with his friend?
RODGERS: Right, exactly. I mean, it -- this is what we`re talking about. This is where you might look to crimes kind of associated with that. They`re not what people are thinking of, people are thinking of quid pro quo bribery. That probably isn`t what we have. You know, we might have this fraud and you could even throw threats in there possibly if that`s kind of what they`re saying it was based on a specific comment. So, you know, we`ll see.
O`DONNELL: Whenever I hear the word threats, Michael Cohen, I have his threats memorized that have been revealed publicly in the past.
Jennifer Rodgers, Harry Litman, Tim O`Brien, thank you all for joining us in the beginning of our discussion tonight.
LITMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the most important thing in Donald Trump`s speech tonight in Indiana is what he did not say, and it means Donald Trump is very, very afraid. That`s next.
And George Will sent America rushing to the dictionary today. He had today`s most looked up word about the worst person in government. George Will will be here to reveal the winner of the George Will worst person in government award.
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TRUMP: The Democrats, they fight against the borders. They fight to raise your taxes. They want to raise you taxes. They fight for all of the things that we don`t stand for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was President Trump when he went to Mike Pence`s home state tonight with Mike Pence, of course, dutifully at his side.
And it was 2017 all over again in Indiana tonight, and I mean early 2017, back when Donald Trump was bragging about his election victory and how he won Indiana, back when there was no special prosecutor, no Stormy Daniels and no Michael Cohen scandals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How great is Coach Bobby Knight. Oh, we love our coach. Remember, he came in. He called me before I was running -- I didn`t know they said Bobby Knight`s in the phone. I said, what does he want with me?
I never announced. I was thinking but I guess he read and he said, Mr. Trump, I hope you`re going to run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And just like the good old days, the president told lies about building a wall on the southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: San Diego wants the wall. And I said to my people, here`s the bad news, if we give him the wall, we don`t have an advocate. If we don`t give him the wall, they`re going to be putting a lot of pressure on Governor Moonbeam in California, right?
I said, let`s build the wall for San Diego, so we`re building them the law. I shouldn`t have done it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: They`re not building the wall. They`re repairing the wall.
Donald Trump constantly departed from his teleprompter text and improvised long sections of his speech, but he did not dare -- dare mention the investigation swirling around him and he did not dare use the words witch- hunt the way he did just last week at the NRA Convention.
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TRUMP: I would love to speak, but I have to find that we`re going to be treated family fairly. Right now, it`s a pure witch hunt. Why don`t we have Republicans looking also? Why are we having Republican people doing what all these Democrats are doing? It is a very unfair thing. If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He was on his way to the NRA convention then.
Joining us now, Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor. And Jason Johnson, politics editor at TheRoot.com, and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Jonathan Capehart, remember Bobby Knight?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: How could I --
O`DONNELL: You couldn`t forget him tonight.
CAPEHART: No, I mean, it`s the president`s greatest hits.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it was.
CAPEHART: I thought for sure I was sitting in the theater watching "Travesties" again when they hit -- there`s a gong and the scene resets itself and everyone`s saying the same lines again.
Bobby Knight, the wall -- did he tell the story about the frog and the scorpion for good measure? I mean --
O`DONNELL: Well, here`s what he didn`t talk about, Lyin` Comey, special prosecutors, a rigged group of Democratic prosecutors trying to get him, witch-hunt -- absolutely none of that tonight.
CAPEHART: And what`s interesting that you showed him on his way to the NRA convention where he talked all about it. At the convention, at Joint Base Andrews, before he even got on the plane, he talked about it some more. That was Friday.
What happened in the interim -- Rudy Giuliani went back on television on Sunday and made a bad situation, which he was trying to clear up on Friday, made it worse. And now, we`ve heard nothing but crickets.
O`DONNELL: And, Jason, Michael Avenatti comes out Tuesday, drops a nuclear bomb into the situation with his revelations about Michael Cohen`s use of that LLC, and not a word tonight from Donald Trump about any of this.
JASON JOHNSTON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: It is -- it is a miracle. I think Michael Avenatti might be the only person is going to get Trump to shut up. It might be -- might have the --
O`DONNELL: And Stormy Daniels.
JOHNSON: He has managed to get the president to not talk about all of his massive prosecutions for this one minute. But here`s what`s interesting -- that`s part of why it was such a throwback. That`s the only thing Trump can go back to.
He`s got to go back to the election. He`s got to go back to the fact that he wish he could have picked Bobby Knight as his VP instead of Mike Pence, because he was always much more passionate about him. He`s like oh yeah I guess Mike Pence is here.
But that`s part of what was interesting about the rally. It was the president is -- it`s almost like he`s always got to go back to this safe space, to this comfort zone that he`s got of when he wasn`t in trouble and when he didn`t have to actually do his job. And Indiana`s going to give him that opportunity. They might not have given the votes that he needs, but he gave me the opportunity.
O`DONNELL: So, here`s how afraid Donald Trump is this week about what`s going on in the investigation. He has not used the word witch hunt since 9:35 a.m. on Monday when he tweeted, is this phony witch hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the midterm elections which is what the Democrats always intended? Republicans better get tough and smart before it is too late.
He`s on this way Jonathan - setting a record four days elapsed without saying I`m saying witch hunt. This is Thursday night. That`s Monday morning. It`s a long time.
CAPEHART: Hey, look, it`s Donald Trump, so any day now, he could come back to the -- I mean, this is part of his greatest hits, but as you pointed out, Michael Avenatti has given him the run for his money on this, to the point where as Jason just said, he`s shut him up on this case.
Remember we all -- all we talked about was he never mentioned the name Stormy Daniels, and that changed. Correct me if I`m wrong, has he ever said the name Michael Avenatti? Has ever mentioned it?
CAPEHART: But the president hasn`t, and that to me, I have long said that Michael Avenatti is beating president Trump at his own game in the court of appeal.
And, Jason, this is a president who has reached far below the Michael Avenatti level to attack critics.
JOHNSON: Yes, he`s attacked people at ESPN. He`s attacked everybody on the planet.
Look there are three names that you never hear out of Trump`s mouth. Michael Avenatti is one. That`s most recent. He`d never talked about Michelle Obama.
JOHNSON: And he was always very, very careful. He can talk about Nancy Pelosi. He can talk about those sorts of people but he also never mentions say the names of soldiers and people who dies. Like he has these -- he has these sacred cows that he`s not going to talk about because he knows that even among some of his base, that would seem too far.
And here`s the other thing, and I think this is -- this is a talent and skill that he has: Michael Avenatti is the good version of what people want to Trump to be, he got that tough New York attitude, he`s got this sort of style and that swagger but he seems to be fighting on the side of justice and that`s one of the reasons Trump doesn`t want to go head-to-head with a guy like that.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Jason Johnson, Jonathan Capehart, we`re going to come back to you in a moment. Stay with us. We can go to a break now.
And when we come back, according to George Will, Trump is no longer the worst person in government. George Will will tell us who is, and there`s a hint, next.
O`DONNELL: According to Miriam Webster, oleaginous is the number one searched for word today. That means our next guest, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist George F. Will sent America running to the dictionary with his first lines of his column today. The column is entitled Trump is no longer the worst person in government. And it begins with this, Donald Trump with his federal cunning, knew.
The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his Talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness could, Trump knew, become America`s most repulsive public figure. Because his is the authentic voice of today`s lickspittle Republican Party. Pence, clarifies this year`s elections. Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing.
George Will documents the vice president`s groveling and his hypocrisy.
An example, George Will writes quote "Pence has flew to Indiana for the purpose of walking out of an Indianapolis Coats football game, thereby, demonstrating that football players kneeling during the national anthem are intolerable to someone of Pence`s refined sense of right and wrong."
George Will juxtapose that with Mike Pence`s oozing up the convicted and Trump pardoned criminal Joe Arpaio. Writing quote "Pence, oozing unctuousness from every pore called Arpaio another favorite. Professed himself honored by Arpaio`s presence and praised him as a tireless champion of the rule of law."
George Will noted that that Arizona speech by Mike Pence quote "occurred eight miles from the home of Senator John McCain, who could teach Pence -- or pro perhaps not -- something about honor."
In his column, George Will quoted a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln after the murder of an anti-slavery newspaper editor by a post-slavery mob. Lincoln said, there was a Mobocratic spirit among the vicious portion of the population. So let reverence for the laws become the political religion of the nation.
George Will went on to say, Pence, one of the evangelical Christians` favorite pin-ups, genuflects at various altars, as the mobocratic spirit and the vicious portion require.
George Will sees an important difference between Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Trump is what he is, and Pence is what he has chosen to be. Here are the closing lines of George will`s column.
Trump is what he is. A floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not at all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.
George F. Will will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Tonight in Indiana, the President and vice President said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We support law and order and we support the heroes in law enforcement. They are great.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump promised to stand with those who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, George F. Will. He is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist in "the Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.
And George, it`s so striking to hear the President and vice President say that tonight when this president spends what history might show, ends up being a majority of his days attacking the FBI, which I believe is in the business of law enforcement.
GEORGE WILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. But the President has an almost cheerful disregard of contradictions. If you just keep saying things, people will not notice.
O`DONNELL: And your point about, to borrow a phrase from another setting, Donald Trump seems to have been born this way, but Mike Pence has made a choice.
WILL: Well, Donald Trump is an open book who has been reading himself to the country for 30 years. There are just no mysteries left and he is this, as I said this jumble of insecurities and partially or not at all really compensating vanities. He is a kind of mistake of nature and he is what he is.
But Mr. Pence, who has signed on to this -- the vice presidency is not an office that has a high dignity quotient at the best of times. But to sign on to this and go out to Phoenix and to praise Arpaio, just pronounce himself honored. This wouldn`t be bad if Mr. Pence weren`t the darling of the evangelicals.
Mr. Pence is a combination between (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) was the Dickens character as forever pronouncing himself humble about this and says very humble about that. If you are going to be, as Mr. Pence has decided to be, conspicuously pass and conspicuously moral then you have to watch where you plant your feet because their minds are all over the ground.
O`DONNELL: And George, you set the country rushing to the dictionary today created the most searched for the word. And so I would like you to define oleaginous for the audience and tell them why you chose that one for Mike Pence.
WILL: Oily. It is in one word. And that`s the kind of word where I would use a word with my children who are in the college application business, it`s an SAT word, look it up. And I`m glad to see that the country did this today.
Well, it means oily, kind of greasy, sort of just too smooth for comfort. Again, the sense that -- when fears that Mr. Pence by now has surfaced all the way through and it`s not a pretty picture. Again, he has signed on for this. When he first began to sign on to Mr. Trump, he used to define Mr. Trump as this good man. What would a bad man look like?
O`DONNELL: You have watched Mike Pence certainly since his congressional career. Are you surprised?
WILL: I am surprised. He was a congressman of conspicuous bravery on occasions, voted against, in spite of astonishing pressure. He voted against the Medicare part D because it was unfunded. And this was a good conservative principles he stood up for. Opposed no child left behind because he thought this was federal intrusion on the quintessential state and local responsibility. He was, in short, a person of discernable ideology.
Well, he said good-bye to all that and he is going to do whatever the audience in front of him wants and expects to have done which is why it was so shocking what he did in Arizona with Arpaio. Because when he said I`m honored to have Arpaio here, he was really saying look, politics know entirely tribal. Our tribe has Arpaio on its side therefore I`m on Arpaio`s side and it`s very, very dispiriting.
O`DONNELL: George F. Will, thank you for sending the country once again to the dictionary again for an SAT word. And thank you very much for joining us tonight.
WILL: Glad to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Trump White House, John McCain, and honor. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Kelly Sadler sounds like she is a member of the Trump family but she is only a low ranking Trump White House communications staffer. That`s what she was when she started her work day today. And the sickening thing is she still is a White House communications staffer after it was publically reported what she said today about Senator John McCain during a White House staff meeting.
In reaction to senator McCain`s announcement that he opposed the nomination of Gina Haspel as the next CIA director, Kelly Sadler said, it doesn`t matter. He is dying anyway.
The Trump White House then tried to pretend that this was somehow contrary to the example set up at top of the White House and issued a statement to Senator McCain. But Kelly Sadler was just doing here 2018 version of Donald Trump`s 2015 comments about senator McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He is a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, OK. I hate to tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: `A supporting guest this morning on the FOX Business channel said he wasn`t surprised at John McCain`s opposition to the nomination for the CIA director. And then the guest lied to the FOX audience by claiming that when John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he cooperated with his captors by giving them information that they wanted to know. This is, of course, a vile lie.
John McCain was a prisoner of war for five-and-a-half years. When offered early release by the North Vietnamese, John McCain refused unless every prisoner of war captured before him was also released. John McCain was brutally tortured and returned to the United States with injuries that left him personal incapable of raising his arms above his head. The host of FOX program this morning later apologized saying that he believed his guest`s comment about John McCain were untrue.
Jonathan Capehart and Jason Johnson are back with us.
And it is quite striking that Kelly Sadler is still employed by this Trump White House.
CAPEHART: Striking or not surprising given this White House? There is a moral void in the oval office. And I have been saying that since Charlottesville.
And so, the fact that you have a staffer who can say that, have it be made public, and is still employed by the White House is shocking. It should not happen. She should not be in that job, and yet she still is because the President of the United States is on record -- you just showed it there when he was a candidate. So if he is going to say that as a candidate, it wouldn`t even bother him in the least or make him think that, no, she should not be a part of this administration. There`s a moral void. There`s a lack of empathy. There is no class in this administration.
O`DONNELL: And so, Jason, John McCain announces his opposition to a Trump nominee. And Kelly Sadler, White House staffer, says, it doesn`t matter. He is dying anyway. Is there anyone who can say Donald Trump would never say that?
JOHNSON: No. No. And this is what`s always gotten me honestly, Lawrence, about this administration. Yes, there`s a moral void and everything else like that. But this goes back to the playground. You always believe in say it to my face. And what really bothers me about how Trump operates and the people who he has empowered is they are always talking smack about folks. But when they get caught, they lie. They hide.
He says something about Mexico, but when he`s next to Pena Nieto, he is hiding his hands. He talks about Obama for five years, seats next to him, he is tweeting his thumb like he has been taken to the principal`s office. He is next to a President from Nigeria after saying s-hole countries and he can`t blink. He can`t admit to it. And everybody in this administration has this same cowardice that they can say all sorts of nonsense but can`t face the people they`re talking about.
O`DONNELL: Senator McCain`s wife, Cindy, tweeted directly to Kelly Sadler tonight, saying, may I remind you my husband has a family, seven children, and five grandchildren?
And, Jonathan Capehart, that`s the kind of reminder that as far as we can tell means absolutely nothing to people like Donald Trump and Kelly Sadler.
CAPEHART: None. It means nothing. I mean Cindy -- Megan McCain is all over twitter. She is someone who tweets all the time. Her mother, Cindy McCain, This is -- I didn`t even know she had a twitter account. The fact that she sent out this tweet means that what Kelly Sadler said was not only harsh, insensitive, but it struck deep into the heart of this family that clearly is coming to terms with what is going to happen to their -- her husband, Megan`s father, grandfather, an American statesman, an American hero, at a time when they are desperately trying to hold things together.
JOHNSON: And here`s the thing. This is what makes it worse. No one else is saying anything. Where are the rest of these spineless Republicans? With the infrastructure for their backbone. I mean, they had nothing to say about this. And when John McCain finally passes away, and he should be honored. Look, I haven`t always agree with him, but there are some great things he`s done as a statesman. He has represents his people. They are all going to be parading around and talking about what a great guy he was and ignoring the fact that they never came to his defense when he was constantly unnecessarily attacked by this President who couldn`t go to war because he had bone spurs.
O`DONNELL: And where tonight is John Kelly, General John Kelly, the man who likes to attach his former military title to him whenever to himself, whenever convenient? John Kelly has someone working in his White House who is fireable immediately by John Kelly.
John Kelly has allowed Kelly Sadler to say about John McCain, it doesn`t matter. He`s dying anyway. And John Kelly is absolutely silent about it.
We are going to have to leave it there. Jonathan Capehart, Jason Johnson, thank you both for joining us.
Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD about Michael Cohen`s big paychecks from corporate America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: They explained they had a good reason. Essential consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration. You paid for insights into this administration? He`s a horny old racist who likes cheeseburgers more than his children. $200,000, please.
This payment was also confirmed by an official from Novartis who said, with a new administration coming in, Cohen promised access. So they paid $1.2 million for access to the same administration that let Michael Wolff just sit around writing down everything he saw? No wonder drugs cost so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s LAST WORD.
THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts now.
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