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Trump considering new pardons. TRANSCRIPT: 06/06/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Steven Brill; Ron Klain

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O'DONNELL Date: June 6, 2018 Guest: Steven Brill; Ron Klain


Now, if I were to say to you, thanks, pal, would that sound conspiratorial or just perfectly normal?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Were you saying it, thanks, pal, or were you saying it like, thanks, pal?

O'DONNELL: OK. How about this? How about -- you and I are lawyers, we're on opposite sides of the case and, let's say, one of us represents Stormy Daniels and one of us represents Donald Trump, and we say, thanks, pal, to each other --

MADDOW: Why are we even talking, first of all?

O'DONNELL: Well, because of this secrecy agreement. We're trying to make sure Stormy Daniels never tells her story about what really happened with Donald Trump. And so, we're talking --

MADDOW: But if we're lawyers on the opposite side of that fight why should we be palling around at all?

O'DONNELL: Well, that's a really good question. And that's Michael Avenatti's question but he's now putting it in the form of an accusation in a lawsuit against those two lawyers, against the lawyer who used to represent Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, who was representing Donald Trump.

And Michael Avenatti has the texts. He has the actual texts of these two guys talking to each other through texts. So you know what that means? Dramatic reading of the text right here --


MADDOW: That is awesome.


It also means Michael Avenatti is going to translate them for us.

MADDOW: That alleged collusion between Cohen and David -- between the two people supposedly on the opposite side of that fight, that has always been the worm in the middle of that rotten apple. If he's going to get to the bottom of it with this lawsuit, then more power to him, man.

O'DONNELL: Well, Michael Avenatti is here to explain it.

MADDOW: Very good. Thanks, my friend.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, pal.

MADDOW: Thanks, pal.

O'DONNELL: Had to do it. Had to do it.

But how about that? How about thanks, pal? How would you feel if you heard your lawyer saying "thanks pal" to the opposing lawyer in your case?

In the case of Stormy Daniels case, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, thinks those words "thanks, pal" are part -- just part of a pattern that show a conspiracy between Donald Trump's lawyer and the man who used to be Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Keith Davidson.

And we know about that thanks pal between them from texts -- texts that Michael Avenatti has obtained and released today as part of a lawsuit against Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels' former lawyer, Keith Davidson. He has their actual texts.

Now you will remember the shock that reportedly erupted in federal court in Manhattan in April when it was revealed in addition to calling himself Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen said he was also Sean Hannity's lawyer. Sean Hannity then, I think, very credibly insisted he had never retained Michael Cohen in any legal matter or ever paid him as a lawyer for any legal services.

And tonight, we have text messages from Michael Cohen indicating that Michael Cohen considered himself a booker for Sean Hannity's show, or at least friendly enough with Fox News that he could book a guest on the network whenever he wanted to.

I have her tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight, call me after your trial.

That's a text message from Michael Cohen on January 17th of this year, it was a text message to Keith Davidson, who was Stormy Daniels' lawyer at that time. Michael Cohen had booked Stormy Daniels on Sean Hannity's show that night so that Stormy Daniels could say she never had sex with Donald Trump.

The reason Michael Cohen wanted Stormy Daniels to say that is that an old interview she had done with "In Touch" magazine in 2011 had just been posted online by "In Touch" magazine, and in great detail. Stormy Daniels in that interview describes her night with Donald Trump, the night she spent in Donald Trump's hotel room talking with him about his fear of sharks and spanking him a bit, and having sex with him.

All of that had become public the day before when in touch magazine posted their 2011 interview with Stormy Daniels. And the last weeks of the presidential campaign, Michael Cohen negotiated a secrecy agreement with attorney Keith Davidson, in which Stormy Daniels agreed she would not ever repeat her story about having spanked and had sex with Donald Trump. Keith Davidson was surprisingly cooperative with Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's lawyer.

Now, sometimes lawyers can be very friendly, I've seen this a lot, they can be friendly even though they're on opposite sides of the case. But they always have to make absolutely sure that they are representing their own clients' interests at all times above all else. And there was nothing in Stormy Daniels' secrecy agreement with Donald Trump that required her to go on the Sean Hannity show and tell the lie that she never had sex with Donald Trump.

Both parties knew she had told "In Touch" magazine all about it in 2011, but the Stormy Daniels secrecy agreement was that she simply wouldn't talk about it again during the presidential campaign or after the presidential campaign. Keith Davidson responded to Michael Cohen's booking of Stormy Daniels' on the Sean Hannity show by saying in a texts, she cannot don't today. I think he means cannot do it today. She is flying to L.A. tomorrow. I'm trying to get her to commit tomorrow.

Now, why would Stormy Daniels' lawyer be trying to get her to commit to go on Sean Hannity's show to say she never had sex with Donald Trump. How does that help Stormy Daniels?

Michael Cohen got really nervous when Stormy Daniels couldn't do the Sean Hannity show that day, he texted, it's really important why? He got no reply from Keith Davidson for two whole minutes.

And so, he anxiously texted, can you call me, please? Then he got no reply for 20 whole minutes, and he texted please call me. And then another excruciating 32 minutes went by and Michael Cohen texted, anything?

And then finally, 11 minutes later, Keith Davidson finally texted, still trying. And then immediately, Michael Cohen replied, this is no good. We need her as by doing tomorrow, you just create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one. Keith Davidson did not reply.

And 22 nerve-wracking minutes later, Michael Cohen texted, please call me. Again, silence from Keith Davidson. And after another nine excruciating minutes, Michael Cohen texted, come on! Still, no reply from Keith Davidson for 30 whole painful minutes.

And then Michael Cohen decides that tomorrow might be better any way. He texts, let's forget tonight. They would rather tomorrow so they can promote the heck out of the show. That gets no reply from Keith Davidson.

And then, two hours and 20 minutes later, the idea is killed by the wise men, Michael Cohen texts. Keith, the wise men all believe the story is dying and don't think it's smart for her to do any interviews. Let her do her thing but no interviews with anyone.

That gets an immediate reply from Keith Davidson. He texts, 100 percent. And that gets an immediate reply from Michael Cohen. Thanks, pal.

And that's the end of that, after thanks, pal. Until the next month when suddenly Michael Avenatti replaces Keith Davidson as Stormy Daniels' lawyer and the rest is history. With Michael Avenatti on the case, suddenly on March 1st, Keith Davidson is the one trying to get in touch with Michael Cohen. He texts, call me. He gets no reply from Michael Cohen. And the next day, March 2nd, Keith Davidson texts Michael Cohen, busy?

Nine minutes later, Michael Cohen replies, 15 minutes we should speak. Keith Davidson says, call when you can.

At 3:56 p.m., Michael Cohen says he will call at exactly 4:00 p.m. and he will have another lawyer, Larry Rosen on the line. Keith Davidson immediately replies, great. But 4:00 p.m. comes and goes. And at 4:14 p.m., Keith Davidson, now the nervous one, texts, you calling? Michael Cohen immediately replies, with FLOTUS, give me a minute.

Public reports indicated that Michael Cohen and Melania were both at the Trump home in the Florida that day, March 2nd, 2018. Michael Avenatti believes he knows what Mrs. Trump and Michael Cohen were talking about that day. And Michael Avenatti also believes, along with Stormy Daniels, that Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson were colluding to deny Stormy Daniels proper legal representation in her case with Donald Trump, that Keith Davidson was working for Donald Trump's benefit and not the benefit of his client, Stormy Daniels, and Michael Cohen was a crucial part of that violation of the attorney/client relationship that Stormy Daniels was supposed to be able to have with her lawyer.

And so, Michael Avenatti has filed a lawsuit today for Stormy Daniels against Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson, charging Keith Davidson with violating his responsibilities to Stormy Daniels as her lawyer, and colluding with Michael Cohen against his own client.

Joining us now is Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels.

And, Michael, thank you for joining us tonight.

I want to begin with the last part of the text sequence in which Michael Cohen says he's with FLOTUS, he's with FLOTUS on that day in early March. You believe you know what they would have been talking about on that day. What do you think that is?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER FOR STORMY DANIELS: Well, Lawrence, thanks for having me tonight.

Here's what we know. We know the first lady landed at Palm Beach Airport in Florida around 3:00, 3:10 that day. The plane was early based on the schedule. If you look at the time of that text message, it shows approximately 4:15 that afternoon.

A prior report in the "New York Times" stated that, in fact, Michael Cohen spoke with the first lady during that trip to Palm Beach.

Lawrence, we think that it is fairly clear at this point that what happened here was Mr. Davidson tipped off Michael Cohen to me coming into the case. It's important to know, Lawrence, that at this point, I had not surfaced with Mr. Davidson directly. I had not contacted him to alert him that I was coming into the case. And I certainly had not contacted Michael Cohen.

Mr. Davidson learned that through alternative means. He tipped Michael Cohen off earlier that week, which caused Michael Cohen to run into arbitration to try to get an order against my client preventing her from speaking. And then he followed that up with telling Mr. Cohen that we were going to be filing our complaint.

So, it's pretty clear what happened, Michael Cohen wanted to try to get out in front of this with the first lady. We don't know exactly what he told her, but they were clearly talking about my client that weekend, as confirmed by the "New York Times" previously.

This whole thing, Lawrence, stinks. It shows the efforts that Michael Cohen would go to to corrupt my client's prior attorney. And it also shows that Michael Cohen and the president's prior denials in January, February, March, and April relating to my client were absolute lies.

O'DONNELL: Now, I want to go to the thanks pal and these indicators of a cooperative relationship between them. I have seen lawyers say that kind of thing to each other many, many times being on opposing sides of cases in which during the trial day, I have watched them try to destroy each other. There was absolutely no question that each side was strenuously representing, in every way they possibly could, the interests of their side.

And so actual friendliness when the bell goes off and they go back to their corners is a perfectly normal thing within the practice of law. So, you are suggesting that there's something going on here that's much more important than just hearing them say "thanks, pal" to each other?

AVENATTI: You're absolutely right, Lawrence. This isn't about a single text message. You have to look at the global facts, if you will. You have to look at all the text messages. You have to look at the relationship that these two lawyers had, not just as it related to my client, but also Ms. McDougal. The alleged Broidy settlement is occurring around this same time.

These two lawyers were entirely too close. This was not arm's length by any stretch of the imagination. And my client's attorney, Mr. Davidson, should not have been having any contact with Michael Cohen in January of this year and most certainly should not have been having any contact with Michael Cohen in late February or early March of this year.

There was no reason for him to be reaching out to Michael Cohen in late February. There was no reason for him to be getting on the phone with Michael Cohen and Larry Rosen. Mr. Rosen was at one point going to be an attorney that came in to represent Michael Cohen. My client didn't know anything about this conduct in late February or early March.

And let me tell you what's even more disturbing, Lawrence. Here's what's more disturbing. We have had to fight tooth and nail to get this information disclosed despite the fact that my client is entitled to it. I have had to ask five, six, seven times for all the documents that Mr. Davidson had, and I still don't have everything. We still don't have everything that we're entitled to.

Mr. Davidson, outright refuses to give us the text messages and the other information after March 2nd.

O'DONNELL: OK. So just to be clear. The reason you have the text messages that we can read tonight is because Davidson has handed over to you the Stormy Daniels file up to a certain point in time, which does include these text messages? He gave you these text messages?

AVENATTI: Lawrence, he gave us those text messages after months of demanding them and after serious threats by us if he didn't give them to us, there was going to be serious consequences.

He was supposed to give us everything. He then only gave us the text messages up until March 2nd, refuses to give us an explanation as to why that is. We know for a fact there were additional text messages after March 2nd. He refuses to provide them without explanation.

And the reason, Lawrence, is clear, and that is if you think these text messages are bad, those text messages I can assure you, are ugly. Well, we're going to eventually get them, and when we get them, it's our intention to publicize them so people can see exactly what happened here.

O'DONNELL: So, Keith Davidson put out a statement saying he believes he outsmarted you on this lawsuit. He welcomes the lawsuit because he says, this -- he believes that this filing constitutes a full and complete waiver of the attorney/client privilege. His spokesperson said, attorney Davidson believes the American people deserve to know the entire truth and they soon will. The lawsuit has made that happen.

So, Michael Avenatti, Keith Davidson is saying this is a legal mistake on your part because he is now free of his attorney/client privileged communication relationship with Stormy Daniels.

AVENATTI: Well, any time that Keith Davidson wants to debate the law with me, Lawrence. I'd be happy to. He's wrong yet again.

I mean, this is a guy who thinks he can be disloyal to his client and work behind her back. He's just wrong on the privilege issue. That's not the waiver issue here in California. We saw a three-page letter after we saw that ridiculous statement educating Keith Davidson and his current counsel.

They're just flat out wrong. If they continue to release my client's privileged information, they're going to make things even more difficult. You know, Lawrence, this goes hand in hand with the tapes that Michael Cohen has where he tape recorded attorney/client privileged information that he was receiving from Mr. Davidson. And this lawsuit is going to provide us an avenue to get the tapes sooner rather than later.

O'DONNELL: I want to get your tape on a few things that Rudy Giuliani said today. He was speaking in Israel at a paid speaking engagement in Israel. One thing he said about Melania Trump was, quote, she believes her husband, and she knows it's untrue, meaning the Stormy Daniels story.

Now, Donald Trump has never publically said he had sex with Stormy Daniels. So, what is Rudy Giuliani talking about there?

AVENATTI: It's an interesting question, Lawrence. I wonder when Michael Cohen met with the first lady in March, I wondered if he bothered to tell her that he had been working to put my client on Hannity some six weeks earlier? I doubt it.

I wonder if he provided all of the facts to her? I doubt it. I find it very hard to believe that the first lady has all of the facts and I actually think that if someone on her staff, or even her, if she reads these text messages, she's probably been quite a bit educated today as relates to what happened here.

O'DONNELL: What was Stormy Daniels' reaction when she heard that Michael Cohen had her booked on Sean Hannity's show?

AVENATTI: Well, she doesn't have any recollection of anybody contacting her about going on Sean Hannity's show, so this came as a surprise to her. But I will tell you, she is incredibly upset, as any client would be, to read these text messages and see the conduct of her lawyer and the conduct of Michael Cohen.

O'DONNELL: How long have you been in possession of these text messages that you released today?

AVENATTI: I've been in possession of those text messages approximately two and a half weeks, Lawrence. I should have had them three months ago.

O'DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

AVENATTI: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: Well, a mysterious resolution appeared on the Senate floor tonight about an investigation. We're going to discuss that coming up.

AVENATTI: Also, Robert Mueller is collecting everyone's cell phones. Not yours, you know who you are, the people whose cell phones he wants.


O'DONNELL: It was an odd moment in the Senate tonight. The Senate passed a resolution allowing the Senate Intelligence Committee to help the Justice Department on, quote, a pending investigation. But that resolution gave no details about the investigation. In other words it gave no details on what the Senate was voting on.

Here's the statement from the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner. The Department of Justice has sought the assistance of the committee in a pending investigation. The committee is cooperating with the department on this matter. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.

So, United States senators had to just vote blindly on having the intelligence committee help out the Department of Justice and they did. It was a unanimous vote. They didn't have a roll call vote on it.

Also today, we learned special prosecutor Robert Mueller is asking witnesses to turn over their cell phones and witnesses have reportedly complied because the alternative would be a subpoena. CNBC reports Mueller's team wants the phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs ands potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Donald Trump. Since as early as April, Mueller's team has been asking witnesses in the Russian probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust.

Investigators seemed to be convinced that the apps could be key to exposing conversations which weren't disclosed to them. This news comes two days after Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering in his federal tax and money laundering case.

According to court documents filed Monday, Manafort contacted witnesses through an encrypted app to send text messages to witnesses. One is told the FBI that Manafort was reaching out in, quote, an effort to influence the testimony of potential witnesses.

Joining us now, Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, and former senior aide to President Obama. Also with us, Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor. She's also a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and an MSNBC contributor.

And, Ron, I first want to go to you on this mysterious resolution that moved across the Senate floor tonight, and this is the kind of thing that the Intelligence Committee will do from time to time. Senators had to approve it and if they wanted to ask questions about it, I suppose they could pull aside Chairman Burr, but they were told if you want to know, ask the Justice Department what we're up to.

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VPS BIDEN AND GORE: Yes. I mean, this kind of resolution is part of Senate procedure when the Senate has information confidentially that the Justice Department wants. So I think we've got to be careful about over-reading into this. This may not be related to the Trump/Russia investigation at all. It could be another counterintelligence investigation that the Justice Department is looking into.

So, all we know is that the Senate Intelligence Committee had something the Justice Department wanted. Given separation of powers, there's no subpoenas involved you get this resolution that authorizes the committee to turn that information over to the Justice Department.

O'DONNELL: But, Joyce Vance, there is one case we know both the Justice Department through special prosecutor and the Intelligence Committee are investigating and that is the Trump/Russia investigation.

JOYCE VANCE, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: That's absolutely true. I think Ron makes the correct point here. It's an intriguing detail. We don't yet know if it's related directly to the Mueller investigation. There's a lot of leak issues pending. There are other sorts of details chasing around Mueller.

I think that we'll simply have to try to sit on this one for a day or two and see what shakes out.

O'DONNELL: So, Ron, it looks like cell phone sales have exploded in Washington in the last few months because when you turn in your cell phone to the special prosecutor, you, of course, are going to have to immediately go get another one to get through the day.

What do you make of this rounding up of cell phones?

KLAIN: Yes, it's pretty clear the Manafort who phone this defense is not working. You know, I mean, you know, I think, Lawrence, sometimes we lose sight of all -- in all the noise and Twitter attacks by the president that what is going on here is a serious investigation. Paul Manafort is accused of serious crimes, including conspiracy against the United States.

If he's not taking it seriously, Bob Mueller and his team are. If he tried to tamper with witnesses, as the special counsel alleged this week, then, of course, they are going to turn the tables over looking for evidence of that. This is a criminal investigation.

This isn't just politics. This isn't just Twitter. This isn't just a bunch of con controversy. This is a criminal investigation. And Paul Manafort is at the center of that criminal investigation.

O'DONNELL: And, Joyce Vance, they are specifically trying to crack through these encryption apps to get at what's in these phones.

VANCE: Yes, absolutely. You know, as a prosecutor, this is one of the issues increasingly that we deal with, technology, and there's some sorts of applications that just are what we call going dark, that prosecutors can't quite get to.

So, imagine how delightful it is for Mueller's team to have access to witnesses who are bringing in their cell phones and they can sit down with them and say walk me through this. Let me see what's on your encrypted apps. Let's look at Dust together and see what you got.

And the beauty of it is this -- Mueller has already sent out subpoenas to a lot of subjects and targets in this investigation and to the White House asking to see communications, e-mails, and text messages. Now, he's got a way of checking to see whether or not he's been given everything he should have been given pursuant to those subpoenas or whether items that were being exchanged on these encrypted apps have been withheld.

And if that's the case, Mueller will have hit the motherload in many ways.

O'DONNELL: Joyce, just for the people wondering about these scenes. You're sitting with the special prosecutor, they're asking how you get inside various apps on your phone, can you make a deal with them? Is it OK we don't look at certain sections of the phone? Do prosecutors generally know where they want to look?

VANCE: So, this is very situational. It depends so much on the case, the defendant, or rather the witness you're talking to, how important they are on the case. You know, typically, prosecutors don't like to ask questions they don't know the answer to, but sometimes you're rummaging around for information. And so, you might get in a situation where you would say, this is what we're interested in.

We don't want to rummage through your phone wholesale, but we'd like with your permission to voluntarily to look at these things and have you walk us through it. And that often is the best solution for both parties in this situation.

O'DONNELL: And that's why that format is better than a subpoena, where you wouldn't have any control whatsoever, or any discussion about what they do with your phone?

VANCE: Yes, there could be a lot of different nuances here. It's better for prosecutor, frankly, it can be a faster route to seeing what's on the phone. It can be a show of cooperation for a witness who wants to make clear that they should be a witness, not a subject or a target in the investigation or a way of beginning cooperation with the government. So, lots of different possibilities here.

O'DONNELL: Joyce Vance, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Ron, please stick with us.

And coming up, the Kardashian pardon office had a big success today. But would a president have issued clemency to a woman in prison today if she had not been convicted of the same crime Paul Manafort is charged with, money laundering?


O'DONNELL: The President used his pardon power today to commute the life sentence of someone who was convicted, among other things, of money laundering. The same thing Paul Manafort is now charged with. Would the President have commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson if she had only been convicted of drug charges and not money laundering charges? Would the President have commuted her sentence if a reality TV star had not intervened personally on her behalf? Of course not.

And so the Kardashians have now replaced the pardon office in the justice department as the people to go to if you want to pardon along with any FOX News show.

Today in Israel, Rudy Giuliani insisted that the President can pardon himself but he doesn't need to.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: Does he have the power to do it, yes. Is he going to do it? No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he would do it?

GIULIANI: No. He is innocent. He hasn't done anything wrong.


O'DONNELL: And today the speaker of the House of Representatives, where the impeachment process begins said he doesn't know if the President has the power to pardon himself, but it's just not done.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker, do you believe that the President has the power to pardon himself?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't know the technical answer to that question but I think obviously the answer is he shouldn't and no one is above the law.


O'DONNELL: In his comments today in Israel during a paid speaking engagement, Rudy Giuliani said that the special prosecutor is trying to frame the President of the United States.


GIULIANI: They are a group of 13 highly part Democrats that make up the Mueller team, excluding him, are trying very, very hard to frame him, to get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now Steven Brill, the co-CEO of NewsGuard. He is the author of the new book "Tailspin" also joining us David Corn, Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones' and co-author of "Russian Roulette."

And Steven, you are a lawyer, you hear a former United States attorney, former federal prosecutor saying that these people working in the justice department are trying to frame the President of the United States.

STEVEN BRILL, AUTHOR, TAILSPIN: Right. And that's why I have been saying for a while, I think that what's going to happen, if he gets a subpoena, he is going to take the Fifth Amendment.

O'DONNELL: So, isn't he going to fight the subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court?

BRILL: No, because that's a long battle of legal briefs. He doesn't have the best lawyers necessary to write the briefs. But if he takes the fifth what he says is, that the founding fathers wrote the Fifth Amendment for precisely the kind of witch-hunt, the kind of framing that Rudy is talking about, you know, and it's only three amendments away from the second amendment so his base will probably be good with it.

On a much better way to just end this whole piece. It's simple and it is entirely consistent with the narrative that they are framing which is that it was a witch-hunt. The Fifth Amendment was written for witch-hunts.

O'DONNELL: David Corn, a couple of things. First of all, this is a new theory of the case, a new theory of the approach, the Fifth Amendment, it makes perfect sense when you actually reengineer it back into what Donald Trump has been saying about witch-hunt. But Rudy Giuliani there in Israel today during a paid speaking engagement in a foreign country saying that the justice department is, through the special prosecutor, is trying to frame the President of the United States.

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: I want to pick up on what you just said when you asked Steve the question. Rudy Giuliani, best known as America's mayor for better or worse, but he was a federal prosecutor, the U.S. attorney in New York. And he worked in the justice department in the Reagan years. And this guy now is basically claiming that the U.S. judicial system, that the law enforcement system is conspiratorial, part of a deep state and out to frame Donald Trump.

This is what the far right has been saying for months, if not a year and a half. That this is all some gigantic plot with James Comey, FBI, fake news media, they tried to stop him from becoming President. There is no evidence of that. They followed Trump's lead on wiretapping, unmasking and the spy being inserted by the FBI into his own campaign. So, you know, to use the President's own terminology, it's really sad to see Giuliani sink to this level and try to discredit the justice department, the FBI without a shred of evidence.

O'DONNELL: And Steve, we remember that the special prosecutor, it's a legal construction but there's always been a political piece to it. And the political piece prior to now has always been the special prosecutor should be from the opposing party of the President. That's where most of them came from. We wouldn't believe the investigation of Bill Clinton if the special prosecutor was a Democrat. So the special prosecutor was a Republican. And that's the way it's been pretty much all the way through.

BRILL: He is a Republican. I mean, just imagine --.

O'DONNELL: I mean, Donald Trump is the first Republican President to get a Republican special prosecutor.

BRILL: Just imagine if they had appointed your prior guest, Ron Klain, he is certainly qualified for it. People would go nuts. You know, the President's position he can pardon himself. I just finished a book the protected versus the unprotected, the unaccountable. That is the ultimate in unaccountability yet he ran as the person who was going to speak up for the unprotected against the protectors in the swamp in Washington. And he is claiming now the ultimate protection which is he can pardon himself.

O'DONNELL: And David, there are reports indicating that the President is just saying bring me more pardons, bring me more pardons, that reports that there are dozens of pardons now being assembled in the White House for possible issue any minute.

CORN: Well, the absurd element of this is that he is starting a new reality TV show, celebrity pardon. Bring me not the pardons, bring me celebrities advocating pardons. You have the right celebrity advocate and you win this week. You get a pardon. The wrong celebrity advocate, maybe Meryl Streep, and you don't win.

But the other message he is sending here is that he is susceptible to lobbying for pardons and that, as he has done prior to the pardon today, often sees pardons in political terms, often to help him with his own base. So he has truly perverted the pardon system and like everything else making it about Donald Trump.

BRILL: What I would love to see if he pardons Mike Milken, what would Rudy do about that.

O'DONNELL: If he pardons people Rudy was part of prosecuting.

Go ahead, David. Quickly.

CORN: No, no. I would yes. I mean, because he has pardoned people who Jim Comey and Jim Comey's lawyer, Patrick Fitzgerald have prosecuted. But it is all about discrediting, might goes back to my first point. The entire federal prosecution system, why, because it's looking at Donald Trump and his associates.

O'DONNELL: Steven Brill, the author of the masterfully new book "Tailspin" and David Corn, thank you for joining us. Really appreciate it.

When we come back, the Republican Party got wiped out last night in California. I mean, just an amazing wipeout.


O'DONNELL: Nine percent. A Republican ran for senator in California, the state once governed by Ronald Reagan. A Republican ran for senator in California and last night as a representative of Donald Trump's party in California, the Republican running for Senate in California got nine percent of the vote. Could not get into double digits. Nine percent of the vote.

The Republican was crushed by incumbent Democratic senator Diane Feinstein who won 44 percent of the vote in the open primary in November. She will face another Democrat, a state senator, Kevin De Leon who got 11 percent of the vote.

The Republican Party got wiped out in the Senate race in California. No Republican has ever done worse running for Senate in California. And what has senator Feinstein been doing during the Trump presidency? Investigating Donald Trump on the Senate intelligence committee and investigating Donald Trump and his administration on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee she had the memorable moment in the cabinet room where she got Donald Trump to follow her lead and abandon the Republicans and join Diane Feinstein on DACA.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about a clean DACA bill now?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no problem. That's what Dick is saying. We are going to come out with DACA. We are going to do DACA and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you be amenable to that?

TRUMP: Yes I think a lot of people would like to see it. But I think we have to do DACA first.


O'DONNELL: The Republicans then rushed to get Donald Trump back on the leash and they did. They pulled him back to the Republican side and, of course, nothing has happened on DACA, but California spoke last night on what is now the two-year battle between Diane Feinstein and Donald Trump. And Donald Trump lost very, very badly.

Democratic lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom came out a frontrunner in the governor's race. He will face Republican John Cox in the November election. And today President Trump tweeted, he can win, about John Cox, about the Republican running for governor. To which Gavin Newsom replied, please come campaign for him as much as possible.

We are patiently awaiting Donald Trump's response to Gavin Newsom's tweet. Been silent so far.

Up next, I will ask Ron Klain what will happen in California if Donald Trump does actually dare go out to California to campaign against Gavin Newsom.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are engaged in an epic battle. And it looks like voters will have a real choice this November between a governor who is going to stand up to Donald Trump and a foot soldier in his war on California.


O'DONNELL: And Ron Klain is back with us.

And Ron, Gavin Newsom is now taunting Donald Trump saying please come out to California and campaign against me. That would be the best thing that could happen in my campaign.

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Yes. Well, I think his campaign is in good shape either way. But I do think if Trump goes out there to campaign, we should expect a big flu epidemic. Because every Republican running for every office of the state is going to be sick and at home that day and be nowhere near Donald Trump when he is campaigning in the state.

I mean, it's amazing, Lawrence. You and I are old enough to remember when California was a Republican state, had Republican governors, Republican senators. Last night, the Republicans were essentially a third party in California. There are eight Senate congressional races where no Republican will be on the ballot in the fall. No Republican in the Senate race. And senator Feinstein won a stunning win last night. Not as the most liberal or the youngest candidate for the U.S. Senate, but as a strongly anti-Trump candidate. That's a strong message. People are willing to get behind her, because she is standing up to Donald Trump.

O'DONNELL: And Ron, the idea that the Republican candidate for Senate in California could not get into double digits, nine percent in California for Senate.

KLAIN: Yes. I mean, it really is kind of stunning. And I think it just shows that Trump has attacked California. And Californians are voting. And what they are voting on is that they don't like President Trump. They don't think he is heading the country in the right direction. They think that the kind of policies that senator Feinstein is standing for in the Senate, Governor Jerry Brown in the state, now his lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom, that's the direction the country should go in. Policies that are inclusive, policies that are building the economy for the future, policies that are protecting the environment, fighting climate change.

You know, Californians are casting a vote. And that vote is no to Trump, no to what Trump's stands for, a big yes for Democrats.

O'DONNELL: Ron Klain, thank you once again. Really appreciate it.

KLAIN: Thank you, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Coming up, 50 years ago, the California primary was the tragic end of Bobby Kennedy's campaign for President. And 50 years ago today was the day that Bobby Kennedy's body was flown home from California. That is in tonight's LAST WORD next.


O'DONNELL: When I was writing a book about the 1968 Presidential election, I knew that the most difficult chapters to write were going to be the assassinations. First the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and then the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, who was shot the night he won the California primary.

In those chapters, I tried to get out of the way as an author and let the reader experience exactly what was said at that time. After he was shot, Bobby clung to life for about 26 hours. Then on this day, June 6th exactly 50 years ago, Frank Monkowitz who worked for Bobby Kennedy and loved Bobby Kennedy had to make the most painful announcement that any Presidential campaign press secretary has ever had to make.


I have short -- I have a short announcement to read which I will read at this time. Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died at 1:44 a.m. today June 6th, 1968. With Senator Kennedy at the time of his death were his wife Ethel, his sisters Mrs. Steven Smith, Mrs. Patricia Law Ford, his brother- in-law Steven Smith, his sister-in-law, Mrs. John F. Kennedy. He was 42 years old. Thank you.


O'DONNELL: I was in high school in Boston then and I remember everyone still fighting back tears. Hours later when on the evening news that night NBC's Chet Huntley said this.


CHET HUNTLEY, NBC NEWS REPORTER: A little before 1:00 this afternoon pacific time, senator Kennedy's body was taken to Los Angeles international airport in the cortex (ph) of relatives and close associates.

At 1:28 p.m., the White House airplane took off bearing the body of Kennedy. Even as the great jet wheeled out over the pacific to make its turn and head towards New York. The final votes were coming in from remote precincts of the state, swelling the count which the senator had established in this state only two days ago. He won the election, tasted briefly the satisfying fruits of achievement and then lost his life.


O'DONNELL: That's tonight's LAST WORD.



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