Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: June 15, 2018 Guest: John Heilemann, David Frum, John Harwood, Michael Avenatti
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: I bought it last weekend, I`m picking it up tomorrow. Unless the world ends I plan on spending as much time as humanly possible in that canoe over the weekend. Therefore I have two things to ask-tell you.
First, please make it so the world doesn`t end so I get some canoe time. And second, before I`m back here on Monday night you need to know that there`s going to be a red hot hearing on Monday afternoon in Congress. The director of the FBI and the inspector general from the Justice Department who just put out that 500-page report that made everybody so crazy yesterday. They`re both testifying mid-afternoon on Monday in the Senate.
You are going to probably want to watch that. Just so you know. Meanwhile I`ll be in the canoe, see you again on Monday night. Now it`s time now for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Thanks for ruining my Monday afternoon because I was going to take my new canoe to the Central Park.
O`DONNELL: I was.
MADDOW: If we ended up in canoes in the same place, can you imagine the conspiracy theories?
O`DONNELL: It would be something. Hey, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: As you know, Michael Cohen actually asked a federal judge to prevent Michael Avenatti from ever coming on this program again. And he cited in his pleadings things that Michael Avenatti has said on this show that should never be said publicly and asked the judge to make sure Michael Avenatti can never, ever come on this show again. You knew about that?
MADDOW: I knew. I assume it made Mr. Avenatti agree right away that he would never come on your show again and apologize --
O`DONNELL: No. So here`s -- this is the first thing. It`s the first time I personally booked him. I actually booked him last night on Twitter as soon as I saw that happen. He immediately accepted on Twitter. And so Michael Avenatti is going to be on this show tonight.
MADDOW: Gag order, schmug order.
O`DONNELL: Well, it turns out there`s reason to suspect that when Michael Cohen was in law school he was not taking notes during the First Amendment discussion. It might just be that. I don`t know.
MADDOW: Or he forgot since.
O`DONNELL: Yes. You got it.
MADDOW: You know, he`s been under pressure.
MADDOW: All right.
O`DONNELL: Who needs canoe time? Michael Cohen needs canoe time.
MADDOW: That`s true.
O`DONNELL: He got --
MADDOW: Mine`s occupied. Yes.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, the president`s campaign manager is in jail. And I`m saying that slowly because that is the sort of thing you get to say once a century, if that.
The president`s campaign manager is in jail. The last time a president`s former campaign manager went to jail was when President Richard Nixon`s campaign manager John Mitchell went to prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal and its cover-up. And the campaign, John Mitchell -- after the campaign John Mitchell actually became Richard Nixon`s attorney general. So John Mitchell is also the very first attorney general of the United States to go to jail.
And so note to Jeff Sessions, if the very worst happens at the end of all of this, if the very worst happens, at least you won`t be the first. Because every day of the Trump presidency is a variation of some form of Trump madness that we have not seen before, that it can be difficult to hold in reserve for days like today enough astonishment for the next dramatic development.
The president`s campaign manager is in jail. I don`t know how to make that as stunning as it needs to be because it comes at the end of a week of non- stop stunners.
The president`s campaign manager is in jail is today`s most dramatic development and possibly most harmful development to the Trump presidency and because we could see it coming, because a federal judge in Washington had scheduled a hearing today on whether to revoke former Trump campaign manager`s Paul Manafort bail and send him to jail to await trial, and because we knew there was at least a 50-50 chance that by this afternoon that Paul Manafort would actually be in jail.
The president of the United States this morning walked out to the White House driveway to try to create some drama and entertainment of his own to drown out the Paul Manafort news of the day, which was probably going to be very, very bad for the president. And did turn out to be bad for the president.
The president`s favorite morning show "FOX and Friends" was broadcasting from the White House lawn and the president pretended to make an impromptu decision to walk out the door of the West Wing and walk down the driveway to the "FOX and Friends" set as if it wasn`t all planned and then do what was supposedly an impromptu interview with Steve Doocy.
Now we all saw the telephone version of the -- of that same interview two months ago on "FOX and Friends" when the president called into the show. And at that time Steve Doocy actually did ask some good questions but today Steve Doocy couldn`t think of a single good question. At first it seemed like he was trying to rewrite the Trump chant of lock her up to lock him up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, "FOX AND FRIENDS" ANCHOR: From what you`ve seen so far should James Comey be locked up?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, I would never want to get involved in that. Certainly he -- they just seem like very criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal. What he did was a terrible thing to the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Justice Department inspector general`s report issued yesterday makes it very clear that James Comey and no one else in the FBI did anything criminal so the president is lying when he says that what James Comey did was criminal. But he might not be lying when he said what he did was a terrible thing to the people. There is that theory that if James Comey had followed FBI policy and remained silent about the Hillary Clinton investigation that Hillary Clinton would be president today.
And so if what James Comey did was a terrible thing to the people, the terrible thing that he did was elect Donald Trump. The inspector general`s report says that Comey used bad judgment in his decisions to comment publicly on the Hillary Clinton investigation but that everything Comey said about the Hillary Clinton investigation was true.
The inspector general`s report certified Comey`s integrity but faulted his judgment. And oddly enough even Steve Doocy actually understands that because the same guy who asked if James Comey should be locked up a few minutes later said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: From what we`ve seen, though, regarding the IG report, it sounds like Comey made some bad judgments but nothing criminal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And that was Steve Doocy`s high point. That was his finest moment in the interview. Steve Doocy and no one else at FOX News is ever going to have a problem with the president of the United States lying about the parents of soldiers who were killed in the Korean War. And as we pointed out at this hour last night, the president has already once lied on FOX News about that by saying that the parents of American soldiers who were killed in the Korean War asked him during the presidential campaign to get their children`s, their sons` remains back from North Korea.
This is a horrible lie. President Trump has never spoken to the parents of dead Korean War soldiers about that because all of those parents are well over 100 years old, which means that almost all of those parents are dead. Donald Trump has spoken to zero of those parents. Zero.
Now let`s watch the ease with which this deeply perverse liar tells this lie about those parents again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He`s giving us back our great heroes who died, as you know. We`re getting the remains back and I`ve had so many people, so many parents, so many fathers and daughters and sons asking me, please, please.
TRUMP: This was during the campaign and after.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: For this president who pretends to worship the military, that is a horrendous lie to tell within the reverence that the military holds for our lost soldiers and our Gold Star parents, it is a sacrilegious lie to tell. And the former four-star general who is now the White House chief of staff has done nothing to interrupt the president`s lying about the parents of our fallen soldiers in the Korean War.
In the president`s show this morning designed to distract from the Manafort case today and to distract from Michael Cohen`s failed attempt in court today to prevent Stormy Daniels` lawyer, Michael Avenatti, from appearing on this show tonight, which he will do, the president did more praising of the murderous North Korean dictator he is so taken with.
The president of the United States was amused. Amused at the possibility and the suggestion -- and suggested the possibility that the North Korean dictator had executed some of his high command before meeting with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: Well, just before you met with him, he cleaned house. Three of his top generals, some of the hard liners he fired.
DOOCY: Then you go over there and you got -- you took some heat over saluting one of the generals.
TRUMP: I think he fired at least -- OK. When you say he fired --
DOOCY: Three that we know of.
TRUMP: And I think maybe fired at least. Fired may be a nice word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "Fired may be a nice word," Steve laughs. Yes, maybe he just killed them. Just killed them.
Donald Trump does not even know that the president of the United States is not supposed to approve of dictators executing people around them. He is morally oblivious. He is, by an order of magnitude, the most amoral creature to ever occupy the White House.
The people who have known him the best, known the most intimately, have called him a liar and worse. His two previous wives have called him a liar, his first wife called him violent. And because he is self-centered to the point of sickness he has no idea how to even sound nice about other people, including his current wife who is still recovering from surgery of a few weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, her doctor said don`t fly for a month. But she`ll be able to very shortly.
DOOCY: And she`s on the mend.
TRUMP: She`s in great shape. She`s like perfect. She -- someone said, did she have a facelift? No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, the only person I`ve heard say, did she have a facelift, is the guy you just heard say, did she have a facelift. So Mr. Oblivious brings up the question of, did his wife have a facelift, when no one was asking it. And he did that because he doesn`t have any empathy, even for his recovering wife.
He doesn`t have any empathy for anyone, including all of his wives, and including the babies and children on our southern border who are being ripped away from their mothers, separated from their parents because Donald Trump, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has ordered that those children be separated from their parents.
That was the question that showed the world who the people in the Trump White House really are. Do you have any empathy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KAREM, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PLAYBOY: These people have nothing, they come to the border with nothing and you throw children in cages. You`re a parent. You`re a parent of young children. Don`t you have any empathy for what they go through?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Jill, go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president repeatedly lied this morning in the White House driveway and blamed the powerless Democrats in Congress for separating those children from their parents on the southern border. When he finished with "FOX and Friends" the president then held an impromptu press conference in the driveway, taking questions from reporters, trying to shout over each other. And the White House transcript of that impromptu press conference revealed something that cannot quite be heard on the audio recordings.
One reporter, one lone voice who said in response to a couple of the president`s answers, quote, "Why are you lying about it, sir? And why do you keep lying about it, sir?" The president never responded to his questions. The most important questions of the day. Why are you lying about it? But that reporter was the one lone voice directly fighting the lying.
The one lone voice who figured out that the right question to ask the pathological liar standing in the White House driveway lying this morning was why are you lying? Lying about the parents of our war dead in the Korean War, lying about the children on the southern border, lying about the inspector general`s report, lying about Robert Mueller`s investigation, lying about North Korea and lying about the liar in the White House who has actually pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I feel badly for General Flynn. He lost his house, he`s lost his life. And some people say he lied and some people say he didn`t lie. I mean, really it turned out maybe he didn`t lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The only person, only person, who says that Michael Flynn didn`t lie is the pathological liar who was standing in the White House driveway this morning. And who are some of the people who say that Michael Flynn did lie? Well, the only one you really need to mention is Michael Flynn.
Michael Flynn says Michael Flynn lied and Robert Mueller says Michael Flynn lied. And the FBI says Michael Flynn lied. And Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. But most importantly, Michael Flynn says that Michael Flynn lied. That`s what`s important here.
If Donald Trump said one true thing in that driveway this morning I would show it to you right now because it would show that he knows how to tell the truth about something, and that would mean that lying is a conscious choice for him. That it`s a conscious choice and he makes that conscious choice every time. And when you watch Donald Trump in the driveway this morning you`re seeing someone who seems to know that there is nothing in the truth that sounds good for him, absolutely nothing.
And that`s why he lies. The truth is so bad for him, he will lie and create a falsehood that his followers will believe instead of the truth. And so he lied about the inspector general`s report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here`s the good news. I did nothing wrong. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The inspector general`s report did not say that Donald Trump did nothing wrong. The inspector general`s report did not say that there was no collusion. The inspector general`s report did not say that there was no obstruction. The inspector general`s report said that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. Did not commit a prosecutable crime and James Comey was correct and followed Justice Department guidelines in reaching the conclusion that Hillary Clinton did not commit a crime.
That`s what the inspector general`s report said. It also said that James Comey should have kept that decision to himself and deferred to the attorney general about how to handle any public information about the Clinton case. The inspector general`s report said that politics did not influence the investigation of Hillary Clinton.
The inspector general`s report noted that everything that was revealed publicly by the FBI about the Clinton investigation during the presidential campaign and everything that was not revealed by the FBI about the investigation of the Trump campaign`s involvement with Russia during the presidential campaign helped the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign.
The inspector general`s report says that the FBI was not trying to help the Trump campaign but that was just the effect of their work. And, of course, knowing as the president did this morning that this could be the last morning of freedom for his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, the pathological liar in the White House driveway lied about Paul Manafort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for Bob Dole, he worked for John McCain, he worked for many other Republicans. He worked for me, what, 49 days or something? A very short period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Pay attention to this. Whenever Donald Trump uses a number, he is lying about the number. Paul Manafort did not work for the Trump campaign for 49 days. Paul Manafort worked for the Trump campaign for 144 days. So basically triple the amount of time that Donald Trump now says that Paul Manafort worked for his campaign.
Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway worked for the Trump campaign for only 84 days. Like all of Trump enterprises it was a revolving door. People were getting fired for among other things incompetence and then being replaced by more incompetence. And in the case of Paul Manafort, a criminal, or an accused criminal who a federal judge believes is so probably likely to have committed the crime of witness tampering and is so probably likely to commit that crime again if he was allowed to go home tonight with his ankle bracelets and his cell phone that the federal judge sent Paul Manafort to jail tonight.
And so when Donald Trump is trying to fall asleep tonight in the White House with the TV on, he will actually be the first president in history to be trying to fall asleep in the White House while his former campaign manager is trying to fall asleep across town in jail because Richard Nixon`s campaign manager didn`t go to jail until after he helped Richard Nixon get re-elected. And Richard Nixon`s campaign manager didn`t go to jail until after Richard Nixon had been forced to resign the presidency on the brink of impeachment, there`s something new here.
The difference between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon tonight is that Donald Trump`s campaign manager managed to get himself charged with federal crimes and in jail much faster than Richard Nixon`s did. What`s happening to Paul Manafort and Donald Trump is happening much faster than it happened to John Mitchell and Richard Nixon. And as Donald Trump gazes at the TV tonight trying to fall asleep in the White House, he has to be wondering what we`re all wondering, what does Paul Manafort know about Donald Trump that could be an indictable offense or impeachable offense.
What does Paul Manafort know that he could tell Robert Mueller that could get Paul Manafort out of jail and save him a possible prison sentence on a conviction that could -- a sentence that could then last the rest of his life. And as Paul Manafort tries to fall asleep tonight on his first night in jail, he has to be wondering what we`re all wondering, will Donald Trump pardon Paul Manafort? Will Donald Trump pardon the guy who he now says he barely knew. The guy who he now says only worked for the campaign for 49 days.
What is Paul Manafort thinking tonight about what the president said about him today? Who do you think is having an easier time falling asleep tonight? Donald Trump in the White House or Paul Manafort in jail?
We`ll ask John Heilemann, David Frum and John Harwood after this break. And we`ll dig deeper into the (INAUDIBLE) and the investigation today. We will also be joined as I said by Michael Avenatti who Michael Cohen actually tried to get a federal judge to prevent Michael Avenatti from appearing on this program tonight. And Michael Cohen put my name and this show`s name in his pleadings to a judge about trying to stop Michael Avenatti from coming on this show. And so Michael Avenatti is here to tell you how that all worked out.
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, he`s the co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus." Also with us John Harwood, editor-at-large for CNBC, and David Frum, senior editor for "The Atlantic" and author of " Trumpocracy: The corruption of the American Republic."
And John Heilemann, I know the president wants us to talk about what he said in the driveway, especially the lies about it`s the Democrats` fault those kids are at the southern border.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, NBC NEWS AND MSNBC: That was sort of the point of it. Right?
HEILEMANN: Like throw out a lot of chum on the water and distract from the rest of the day`s news? Yes.
O`DONNELL: But we don`t often have days that are scheduled to be big news. And the Manafort news was --
HEILEMANN: Right there on the calendar.
O`DONNELL: -- scheduled to be big news. We knew it was coming and tonight is the president`s campaign manager first night in jail.
HEILEMANN: It is an amazing thing. And, you know, a lot of unprecedented things happen in the Trump administration, and we should note them all, but this one, the consequence of this, the seniority, it`s not just that he`s Donald Trump`s campaign chairman, it`s not just that he played a much bigger role than Donald Trump wants to admit not just in terms of days but the role he played at the moment when Trump was trying to fend off the possibility of a broken convention, why he brought Manafort to wrangle delegates.
All the importance of the role, it`s that he`s been dealing with Paul Manafort for 30 years. Manafort and Stone, the touchstones, Roger Stone, the touchstone of his electoral life. Paul Manafort and that firm, the way in which Donald Trump understood Washington and how politics and business intersected in the world, for 30 years the man lived in Trump Tower. He is a seminal figure in Donald Trump`s life and he gets at the thing that Trump has always wanted to wall off.
What did I do in my business life that connected maybe to Russia over the course of a decade or more that led to 2015, 2016, and 2017? The two people who were in that camp, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Paul Manafort now in jail and under more pressure than he`s ever been under to cooperate with prosecutors. It is a bad, bad day for Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: David Frum, do you want to take a shot at that question of which one of them is sleeping better tonight, Donald Trump or Paul Manafort?
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, here`s something to trouble Paul Manafort`s sleep. Do you remember that weird story about Paul Manafort paying a lot of money for carpets in a Virginia carpet store?
FRUM: A lot of money? And in a way that made it look like well, maybe it was a $5,000 rug he bought and he paid $25,000 and got $20,000 reimbursed to him in some way. The reason that story is important is if that story is true and maybe there`s a perfectly innocent explanation for it, but if not, that`s a crime under Virginia law. Not under federal law.
Paul Manafort owns all kinds of real estate in New York City. If that money -- New York, before the great depression, was the center of financial regulations in the United States and all of those financial regulations from before the Great Depression at the FCC are still on the books of New York state. He can trip over all kinds of New York state laws about fair dealing and wire fraud. And the president can`t pardon those either. So that may trouble his sleep, that he has Virginia and New York state liability.
O`DONNELL: John Harwood, the president did finally talk about the inspector general`s report this morning on "FOX and Friends." he was strangely silent about it yesterday. And, of course, you had summarized it in a tweet-size executive summary for him, which I read on the show last night. Where there was no good news really for Donald Trump in the inspector general`s report but he tried to invent a version of the inspector general`s report today that was somehow favorable to him personally.
JOHN HARWOOD, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNBC: Well, there are things that unflattering to some people in the report, including James Comey, including Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. But if you look at the underlying reality of that report and what the inspector general Michael Horowitz concluded, it is that the investigation was conducted with integrity. And that the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton was also made with integrity. That is to say not influenced by bias, not influenced by improper considerations. All drawing upon the experience, the law and the past department practice.
The one thing I want to add to what David and John were saying, I think the other thing that`s going to trouble Paul Manafort`s sleep, our colleague Ken Delaney and -- this afternoon did some reporting about what the jail that we think Paul Manafort is going to, that place is crawling with cockroaches and you`ve got a guy who has been used to an incredibly comfortable lifestyle, according to Robert Mueller was financed with ill gotten gains, and he`s sleeping with cockroaches tonight.
HEILEMANN: Paul Manafort likes a high thread count, Lawrence. The thread count in this penitentiary is not going to be so high.
O`DONNELL: The cockroaches are all part of the pressure on Paul Manafort.
O`DONNELL: There`s a way out of jail.
O`DONNELL: There`s a way out of jail tonight. He doesn`t have to even spend the entire night if he gets the word to Robert Mueller that he`s willing to cooperate.
HEILEMANN: Right. Well, and I`ll say no, Harry Littman raised this when the Manafort witness tampering first came up, people speculate a lot about whether or not Trump has issued -- has offered him pardon secretly. It makes no sense. Now Trump is obviously dangling pardons for a lot of people. But if you`re Paul Manafort and if you believe really, confidently you believe that you`re going to get a pardon from Trump, why would you start tampering with witnesses? It makes no sense.
So I think everyone who knows Donald Trump well, and Paul Manafort does, just like Michael Cohen does, none of them consider him reliable on these questions. So he can dangle pardons but no one considers him reliable in any aspect of his life for reasons of character that you`ve amply outlined in the history of this show. They all know him well enough to know you can`t count on Donald Trump even if you had an ironclad contract, even if you had an ironclad promise he could still renege. And he hasn`t given out ironclad promises or contracts than anyone knows so far on this matter.
HARWOOD: That is precisely the right point, guys, because, you know, Lawrence, you talked about the void of empathy in Donald Trump which he has made clear over and over. If you`re Michael Cohen and you`re the guy who said I`ll take a bullet for Donald Trump, I`ll do anything for Donald Trump, it is obvious right now that he is feeling that Donald Trump has no intention of doing the same thing for him.
Does Paul Manafort really think that the good wishes of President Trump are going to save him? Now that doesn`t mean the president may not pardon him.
HARWOOD: But if he did it does it`s going to be not because he feels some sense of obligation or personal loyalty to Manafort or Cohen. He doesn`t seem to feel loyalty to anyone except themselves.
O`DONNELL: And of course, David Frum, the legal challenge for the president to reach out and pardon any of them now, as Rudy Giuliani is making noises about possible pardons, is that they then lose their Fifth Amendment right.
O`DONNELL: If you`re to pardon Manafort, you know, tomorrow, for some -- for everything he`s charged with right now, the next day that the special prosecutor can put Manafort under oath in the grand jury and he has no ability to claim the Fifth Amendment.
FRUM: That`s such, such an important point. And that is the structural trap the president faces. People will start testifying, because they will be exposed to the penalty for contempt of court if they do not. So dangling the pardon may be a lot more strategic for the president than ever granting a pardon.
O`DONNELL: John Harwood, John Heilemann, David Frum, thank you all for joining us on this Friday night. Really appreciate it.
FRUM: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Michael Cohen actually went to court to try to stop what you are about to see: Michael Avenatti on "The Last Word" once again.
O`DONNELL: What you are about to see is something Michael Cohen went to federal court to try to stop. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump`s former personal lawyer asked a federal judge to prevent Michael Avenatti from coming on this show again. And in his pleading filed last night in federal court, Michael Cohen actually quoted things that Michael Avenatti said on this show as examples as why Michael Avenatti should be stopped from coming on this show.
And as soon as I saw that, I immediately invited Michael Avenatti on this show tonight and he immediately accepted, and I did that because I was absolutely sure there was no way a judge was going to grant Michael Cohen`s request, and I didn`t even go to law school. And, of course, I was right and attorney Michael Cohen was wrong. Here is just one of the things that Michael Cohen quoted to that judge to try to stop Michael Avenatti from coming on this show.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I mean, this is the guy that handled all of the nonsense for the president for the better part of 12 years. OK, this is the guy that knows where the bodies are buried and I believe that he`s going to sing like a canary because he`s not going to have any choice but to save his family and the people that he care about - that he cares about and he`s going to be out of money.
O`DONNELL: OK, now no more of that. Joining us now, Michael Avenatti, the Attorney for Stormy Daniels. Now no -- no more of that where the bodies are buried stuff, OK, just let`s --
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS` ATTORNEY: Lawrence, you may -- you may not be an attorney, but you`re 10 times the attorney that Michael Cohen is, let me just say that.
O`DONNELL: I -- I -- I can`t even take that as a compliment, because 10 times the attorney that he is -- is shockingly low. So the -- this was idiotic, I knew it the second I saw it, you knew it.
I don`t think we even have to dwell on it. I want to get your reaction to what the president was asked this morning in the White House driveway about Michael Cohen possibly flipping and cooperating with the prosecutors, let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried that Michael Cohen might flip?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Look, I did nothing wrong, you have to understand this stuff would have come out a long time ago. I did nothing wrong. I don`t do anything wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) your friend?
TRUMP: I -- it`s really nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still your friend?
TRUMP: I always liked Michael, I haven`t spoken to Michael in a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still your lawyer?
TRUMP: No he`s not my lawyer anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your personal lawyer (inaudible).
TRUMP: But I always like Michael (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just want to know if you`re worried if he`s going to cooperate with federal investigators?
TRUMP: No I`m not worried because I did nothing wrong.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Should he be worried?
AVENATTI: I don`t -- I think there`s no question that he should be worried, Lawrence, because again, I mean this is the -- this was his right hand attorney for the better part of 10, 12 years, and I think of -- of all of the people on the face of the planet that have damaging information about this president, I think Michael Cohen is at the very top of that list, even above Mr. Manafort.
We know where he`s spending tonight. This is a -- a terrible development for the president, the noose is tightening on Michael Cohen, there`s no question about that. And look, I keep saying the same thing, I`m going to say it again, I don`t think this is going to end well.
I think it -- you know, what`s ironic about what we just saw, it wasn`t too long ago, Lawrence, that I was sitting in this chair and you were sitting in that chair and we had these cameras here and we were talking about Air Force One, and we were talking about this president on Air Force One in early April talking about the fact that people needed to talk to his attorney, present tense, his attorney, Michael Cohen.
Well that was only two months ago. So he says that he hasn`t talked to Michael Cohen in a long, long time, well you know I don`t think two months is a long, long time. We know that he`s spoken to him in the last two months, and in fact he`s admitted that.
So you know again he`s -- what you`re seeing here is he`s trying to distance himself from Michael Cohen today because he knows what`s coming down the pipe.
O`DONNELL: So in a federal court in Manhattan today is evaluating the evidence that was obtained in the Michael Cohen raid. All sides asked for and were -- the judge agreed to an extension of the deadline for finalizing what evidence is going to be admissible in court, what evidence would be preserved through attorney client privilege.
We learned more things about what the government is in possession of today in that session of -- that they got from Michael Cohen. What -- what do you think are the most important pieces of importation we learned about that today?
AVENATTI: So there used to be a show on A&E called "Hoarders", Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.
AVENATTI: OK, and it ran for about seven years, and -- and every show would cover one or two people that were hoarders and they would hoard things in their home usually. And they would film them.
Well it turns out that during that seven year time period, Michael Cohen was actually the star of the show but they never followed him, because we`ve now learned is, is that he hoarded a whole host of things, documents and cell phones among other things.
So one of the things that we learned today, and I -- I find this to be shocking and I think this is going to prove to be very damaging to Mr. Cohen and to Mr. Trump, is that the government was able to decrypt, if you will, over 700 pages of text messages and call logs from Signal and WhatsApp, two apps that are used for encrypted communications.
Evidently Michael Cohen never cleared out his phone log, never cleared out the text messages before the FBI seized the phones. I predict, Lawrence, that this information, this 700 plus pages that were first disclosed today is going to prove to be incredibly damaging and very, very fruitful for government investigators.
O`DONNELL: They also said that they have rebuilt material out of Michael Cohen`s shredder, so about 16 pages worth of shredded material that they put together. And as for the thing Michael Cohen tried to do to block you from coming on here, just to get it straight for the audience.
You didn`t even file an opposition to this motion of Michael Cohen`s, the judge just threw it out instantly and kind of ridiculed him for filing it and said OK, if you want to make this motion procedurally -- even procedurally correct, we`ll let you do that later in July, but that`s why you`re here is the judge wouldn`t even consider what Michael Cohen asked him to consider.
AVENATTI: That motion faces a very, very high bar, because of my first amendment rights and the like. And look, here`s the other thing that`s really important, OK, how many times have you invited Michael Cohen to come on the show or one of his representatives?
O`DONNELL: Michael Cohen, please, right now, come on the show. Many times, why?
AVENATTI: Many times. It`s not as if I`m the only person that gets invited -
AVENATTI: - on these shows. Michael Cohen could come on the show. Michael Cohen had David Schwartz on a whole host of shows early on until he put his tail between his legs and went home around the time the FBI raided Michael Cohen`s office, et cetera. So they have the opportunity to come on the show and face you and others and answer questions. They could even go on Fox & Friends, but they don`t. And there`s a reason for that, and that is they don`t want to ask - answer questions about the truth, the facts, and the evidence. Period.
O`DONNELL: The - when - how much time do you think we`re looking at here with Michael Cohen if he is going to cooperate with the prosecutors because every day he doesn`t costs him very serious money.
AVENATTI: Well, not only does it cost him money, Lawrence, but it also - he`s running a very risky game at this point, OK? If, in fact, Bob Mueller ultimately concludes that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Michael Cohen could be left with no chair to sit in when the music stops, meaning he may not have anyone to roll up on or trade or flip on, OK?
If I was advising Michael Cohen, I would have told him months ago, "we need to get you in sooner rather than later so that you actually have something potentially to trade." With each passing day and each passing week that this guy sits on the sidelines, he`s running a big risk.
O`DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, congratulations on still having your first amendment rights -
AVENATTI: I`ll be never (ph) happier to be here, Lawrence. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much. When we come back, Donald Trump`s solution to what`s happening to the children be turned away from their mother`s on the Southern border is to simply lie about the children and their mothers. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Sometimes photographs tell us more about the person looking at the photograph than the photograph can tell us about the people in the photograph. This is one of those photographs. When you look at these three people, what you feel tells us something very important about you. Who you identify with in the photograph tells us something very important about you.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who strongly supports the new Trump policy of taking that two-year-old girl away from her mother at the southern border has said that he feels the girl is going to be fine and that the officer is doing a good job. John Kelly doesn`t think there`s anything wrong with what he sees in that photo. When the White House press secretary was asked yesterday whether she has any empathy for the children like that two-year-old girl in that photograph, she refused to answer the question, which she didn`t realize was an answer.
She couldn`t possibly go to work in a White House that was doing that to children if she had any empathy at all for that girl in that photograph. Donald Trump is actually the only person in the Trump administration who even pretends to have empathy for the girl in that photograph. And Donald Trump is actually the only person in the Trump administration who we know doesn`t have any empathy at all for anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Here is the president of the United States today lying about his empathy for that two-year-old girl.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: The children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully and immediately. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children. The Democrats can come to us - as they actually are, in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, issued the order in April of this year that is now ripping children out of their mothers` arms on our southern border. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions did that. No Democrat did that. Donald Trump can stop doing it right now. Donald Trump knows enough about public relations that when he looks at that photograph, he knows most people identify with, he knows most people sympathize with, he knows who he`s supposed to emphasize (sic) with - empathize with. And that`s why he lies and pretends that he hates what is happening to that child.
What is happening to that child is child abuse and Donald Trump is doing it to her. And Donald Trump knows it. When he was questioned about this today by a gang of reporters in the White House driveway this morning, just one of them, and only one of them, can be heard very faintly asking "Why are you lying about this" as other reporters were yelling other questions. So we`re not sure if Donald Trump actually heard that important question of the day. Why are you lying about this?
When we come back, Maria Teresa Kumar will join us on the Trump policy on our southern border which the New York Times editorials now call heartless, and which this picture shows is cruel and unusual child abuse.
O`DONNELL: And once again, here is the president of the United States repeatedly lying about his deliberate policy chosen by him, a policy of child abuse on the southern border.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with children being taken away (inaudible) border?
TRUMP: No, I hate it, I hate the children being taken away. The democrats have to change their law. That`s their law. They (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) your policy.
TRUMP: That`s the democrat`s law. We can change it tonight, we can change it right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining our discussion now Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino and MSNBC contributor. And Maria, the one true thing he said is that we can change this policy tonight.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: He -- I hope that`s something (ph) he is doing right now, I hope he`s pending (ph) it and reversing his actions that he decided to do in cahoots with Jeff Sessions.
This is absolutely cruel, the more that you actually start digging into how they`re identifying individuals to separate from their families. So you actually learn that the first time you cross the border, Lawrence, it`s considered a misdemeanor. Ninety percent of the people that are passing the border are being separated from their children because they`re being charged with a misdemeanor.
You are also discovering that -- that siblings are also being separated where they could only see each other sometimes once a week. Just today, in less than 24 hours, the very first tent city housing 98 kids has opened up in Tornillo, Texas.
I was speaking with the state representative all day today, Mary Gonzalez, who has done an incredibly formidable (ph) job. She told me that it literally this contract to the -- this contract has been signed by HHS with a private contractor of $10 million.
They don`t know who the contractor is, and they`ve made is specific so that they could expand the beds from 98 beds to 200, and it`s in the middle of nowhere. It`s literally 45 minutes out of El Paso, Texas and it`s almost impossible to get -- get there.
Her feeling is that it`s purposely done so that it`s sight unseen to the American people, and it also allows for quick and easy expansion.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, the policy of separating the siblings is to take an inhumane abusive policy and find a way to make it even more inhumane and abusive.
KUMAR: And much more extreme. This has nothing to do with actually trying to -- to make any sort of deterrents. Imagine a parent having to cross not one but several countries to come to the border, seeking to most part relief, asylum from a desperate situation.
And instead of being welcomed and trying to give them -- to better understand their situation and actually give them asylum, what they`re doing is trying to be -- trying to identify the cruelest form of dehumanizing an individual.
You have children as -- as young as babies, four months, being separated from their parents, and it`s anguishing what you`re hearing. I have to say, Lawrence, just taking my -- my hat off as a political commentator but as a mother who has children around the same age of four and five, I cannot imagine not being able to actually hold my child let alone because of federal law, these children when they are found crying, by law they cannot be soothed, they cannot be embraced, because they -- no touching can actually be allowed by anybody -- by an adult.
So these children right, I can only imagine the trauma that they`re facing and this can absolutely be stopped. We need Republicans to step to the plate -- the Republicans to step up to the plate to say that this is not a policy that this -- they are actually going to pass some sort of legislation to prevent this from happening and they too can do that right now.
O`DONNELL: It seems very clear, Maria Teresa, that when people in the Trump White House and the Trump Administration look at that picture of that two-year-old girl who we were just looking at, they don`t see their children when they look at children like that.
KUMAR: They don`s see their children, but the majority of American people do and that is what is -- that`s what`s the most inspiring part of it and when people start asking, what is it that we can do?
We have to make sure that not only are we organizing, but that we`re providing services that allow, and we`re providing donations to ensure that these kids get some sort of legal relief. You have plenty of organizations on the ground. There`s an organization in Texas called Viesis(ph), right - - working right in Torneo(ph) trying to provide as much relief as possible.
When I was speaking to Mary Gonzalez earlier this afternoon, there`s just not enough resources for the demand. Her concern is that literally that they`re basically creating a space for expansion and we, as of the American people, have to be present and we have to demand that Congress acts as soon as possible.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you very much for joining us tonight on this important story. We really appreciate it. Thank you.
KUMAR: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word. Michael Cohen has told friends that he expects to be arrested any day now. According to a source close to Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: In fairness, he`s probably been expected to be arrested for years. Cohen probably RSVPs to weddings, yes unless indicted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Seth Meyers gets tonight`s last word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR: Tonight, former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in jail pending his September trial as the Mueller investigation plows forward.
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