IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hearing "devolves into spectacle." TRANSCRIPT: 07/12/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Brain Klaas; Lee Gelernt

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: July 12, 2018 Guest: Brain Klaas; Lee Gelernt


Thanks for ruining all of our weekends with that announcement.


O`DONNELL: So the interview that he gave with "The Sun," has some other gems in it, including he tells this Rupert Murdoch-owned British newspaper that his polling numbers are better than Abraham Lincoln`s.

He seems to think that -- come on, come on, you`ve got to stay with me here. He seems to think that the British will believe that there was polling on Abraham Lincoln when Abraham Lincoln was in the White House because what do the British know?

MADDOW: Yes, and, you know, it was a and smaller number, you know, because it was fewer states.

O`DONNELL: And that`s not all. He actually told this British interviewer that he has doubled, he said, that since he`s become president the GDP of the United States has doubled, and tripled. Doubling takes a minimum of 20 years.

And does he think the British, they just don`t know this stuff? They don`t know about GDP?

MADDOW: Well, because -- I mean, I know a little bit about the paper to which he gave this interview, and I think that he could safely assume that they wouldn`t do the math or fact check or call him out on this. Whether or not the average British person reading this is duped quite as easily will be hard to see. I don`t know.

I mean, it is a remarkable thing, right? So he does this interview. It`s timed to publish once he`s already on the ground in Britain. So he`s physically in the company of the prime minister of Britain when this interview is published in which he essentially tries to shove the prime minister of Britain out of office at a time when her government is at risk of falling.

An American president has never done this, certainly not for an ally before. But it is timed for when he`s there, it is timed for maximum disruption and embarrassment on both sides. This is -- this is the sort of thing that is sort of primed and designed even if it`s timing to not just explode the so-called special relationship, but to end our alliance with the U.K., which is our most overseas alliance. And he`s doing it right before he goes and meets with Putin.

It`s just -- it`s this -- it`s our lives now.

O`DONNELL: It is what it is.


O`DONNELL: We`re going to get London`s reaction later in this hour, Rachel.

MADDOW: Great. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

Well, if you did not have contempt for this Congress before today`s chaotic, dramatic, comical and important hearing in the House of Representatives, then you might be feeling just a little bit of contempt tonight.


REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Let me start by saying this is a stupid and ridiculous hearing.


O`DONNELL: Republicans in the House of Representatives today once again tried and failed to prove that the connections of the Trump campaign to Russia should never have been investigated by the FBI because one of the FBI agents involved in that investigation agreed with the majority of American voters at the time that candidate Donald Trump should not be elected president.

FBI agent Peter Strzok was the only witness in today`s spectacle in the House of Representatives because he sent private text messages expressing his opposition to candidate Trump during the campaign. Because this was a House of Representatives hearing, most of it was irrelevant. That is not unusual in House hearings.

But much of the hearing was histrionic and out of control and incoherent to a degree that we have never seen before.

Agent Strzok`s defense of his fairness and objectivity in his work as an FBI agent was this.


PETER STRZOK, FBI AGENT: I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took. Furthermore, this isn`t just me sitting here telling you. You don`t have to take my word for it.

At every step, at every investigative decision, there are multiple layers of people above me, the assistant director, executive assistant director, deputy director, and the director of the FBI, and multiple layers of people below me, section chiefs, supervisors, unit chiefs, case agents and analysts, all of whom were involved in all of these decisions. They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them. That is who we are as the FBI.

And the suggestion that I in some dark chambers somewhere in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn`t happen.

And the proposition that this is going on, that it might occur in the FBI deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission and it is deeply destructive.


O`DONNELL: The Republicans never penetrated that defense. Every word of that defense held up for the nine hours and 41 minutes of that hearing. The Republicans have never been able to identify a single action taken by Agent Strzok because of Agent Strzok`s political opinions expressed in those texts or because of anyone else`s political opinions.

Republicans in the House seem to believe that the best lawyer among them is former prosecutor Trey Gowdy. And so, they give Trey Gowdy extra questioning time today, but that just meant that Trey Gowdy ended up causing more minutes of chaos than anyone else.


REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: So your testimony --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His time is expired, Mr. Chairman, by two and a half minutes.


GOWDY: Impeachment for what, Agent Strzok? Impeachment for what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, what are the rules here?

GOWDY: The gentleman from Louisiana is recognized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the witness not going to be permitted to answer the question?

GOWDY: That`s how I read.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, you are assuming --

GOWDY: I hesitate in part -- were you under duress?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Asked and answered over and over again.

GOWDY: You don`t want it to be you and Lisa Page and you don`t want it to be the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have indulged this harassment nine minutes.


O`DONNELL: The Republicans reached many new heights of absurdity, including threatening the witness with contempt of Congress when he testified that there were questions he could not answer because the FBI`s lawyers had ordered him as an FBI employee to not answer those questions. That brought a challenge from a Democrat Eric Swalwell who pointed out that these same Republican members of Congress allowed Steve Bannon not to answer any question that he chose not to answer when they questioned him.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Chairman, I move to subpoena Steve Bannon in our House intelligence investigation. He was under subpoena. He refused a number of times to answer questions of Mr. Gowdy. Mr. Gowdy appears to have a sincere interest in getting to the bottom of what happened. So, I move under Rule 11 to bring Mr. Bannon to this committee.

So, I move now for consideration for Mr. Bannon to be subpoenaed. If he refuses, for contempt proceedings to occur.


O`DONNELL: Eric Swalwell will lead off our discussion in a moment. After that, the Republicans trying and failing to cast doubt on the honesty of Agent Strzok`s under oath testimony.

Ultimately, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert just couldn`t take it anymore, and so, he decided to do something that is actually not permitted in House hearings. He repeatedly called the under oath witness a liar and then went in for the kill in a very personal way.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You`ve embarrassed yourself, and I can`t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife`s eye and lie to her about Lisa --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, it`s outrageous!


O`DONNELL: Needles to say, Louie Gohmert has never said that Donald Trump`s multiple extramarital affairs during his multiple marriages have given Congressman Gohmert any reason to ever doubt a single word that Donald Trump has ever said.

Leading off our discussion is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell from California. He`s a member of the Judiciary and the Intelligence Committees in the House.

And, Congressman Swalwell, really appreciate you being here today. We all know how long your workday has been already. What would you say are the most important points established in this hearing today?

SWALWELL: Good evening, Lawrence.

Of course, first would be wrong hearing, wrong priorities. We should be doing all we can as the committee of jurisdiction to reunite these kids who are separated and wrong priorities if they are going to have Peter Strzok come in because he knew a lot about why the Russia investigation was launched. He was concerned about contacts that the campaign was having with the Russians, and they wanted to just focus on going back in time to Hillary Clinton`s e-mails and undermining the Mueller investigation.

But I pointed out in my questions, one, that Peter Strzok was not the only individual to close the Clinton investigation. There were a lot of people involved in that decision. And he was not the only individual to open the Trump-Russia investigation.

So, we were able to corroborate that there`s a lot of other evidence out there. So, even if you didn`t like his text messages, and I don`t, that is irrelevant to the mountain of evidence that existed that would warrant any FBI agent to be concerned about Donald Trump and his contacts with Russia.

O`DONNELL: And the Agent Strzok`s testimony today, were there any things - - was there anything in that testimony where you or anyone else in the committee learned something that you didn`t already know?

SWALWELL: No, no, Lawrence. You know, we did, however, learn that the Republicans, for them, this was more about protecting Donald Trump rather than, as I said, protecting kids who are separated from their families.

High schoolers who want us to do something about gun violence, farmers who want this committee to do something about the tariffs the president is imposing. But we learned nothing new from Mr. Strzok. We just lost precious hours where the American people are counting on us to fight for them and we were just seeing Republicans again seeking to protect the president above anything else.

O`DONNELL: And did you hear any line of questioning from Republicans that you thought was actually somehow helpful and informative to our understanding of what`s been happening here?

SWALWELL: No. But, Lawrence, I did hear Mr. Gowdy express a real interest in having Peter Strzok answer questions about an ongoing investigation. And again, this is a pattern we have seen throughout the last year, which is they want to break the safe of the FBI evidence locker and have evidence come to light so that subjects of the investigation know what is out there.

But when Peter Strzok refused to answer, now he was all of a sudden going to be held in contempt, which if that`s the case, we want to know what he has to say, that same interest should have been shown for Mr. Bannon, which is why I moved to have Mr. Bannon subpoenaed. And of course that was voted down.

But interestingly enough, Trey Gowdy did not vote yes or no on that. He actually abstained from voting when that was put before him.

O`DONNELL: Yes, there was a request for a clarification of how he was voting because I have never seen this in a roll call vote in a committee before. He used the word pass. The votes are yes or no, there`s no other response to the vote, and he said pass. And so, the Democrats insisted on a clarification. And that`s when he went silent when the roll cal was called again.

What can you make of that decision of his, to not vote at all on that question that you raised?

SWALWELL: Well, I think he knows better. He wasn`t going to give us a vote there. But I think he wasn`t going to really contradict his position at the House Intelligence Committee, which is that Bannon should have been subpoenaed. So I think his silence actually spoke volumes, that he knew it was wrong to try and pursue a contempt proceeding against Peter Strzok but not Mr. Bannon, and so many other Trump administration witnesses who refused to tell us anything.

By the way, Lawrence, we have now seen Peter Strzok and James Comey come before Congress. They raise their right hands. They went under oath and they told us what they knew about the Russia investigation. The president continues to criticize them.

However, what distinguishes them from him is that the president is unwilling to raise his right hand for special counsel. So it is his move.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have -- be joined in the discussion now by David Frum. He`s a senior editor of "The Atlantic". He`s the author of "Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic".

David Frum, you`ve got nine hours and 41 minutes of hearing testimony to react to. Take your pick.

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Look, if you`re the lawyer for the Corleone family and your clients are super, super guilty, of course, it`s your duty to attack the investigators and to find some procedural offense. And that`s your right, that`s your job and that`s right.

But it doesn`t make them honest, upright waste management specialists. The -- we are watching today, at the same time our other screen from what happened in Washington, we`re watching an attack on NATO, an attack on the U.S.-U.K. alliance, Donald Trump trying to topple friendly governments and in every way carrying out a Russian foreign policy agenda.

And the question every American has is, is he doing this because he is misinformed, because he`s impulsive or is there some darker reason? And we need to get to the bottom of that. The Republicans investigating the FBI are acting like lawyers for the Corleone family. And they are looking at some genuine, sort of genuine procedural missteps that took place.

But what they`re not interested in the question of, what`s the truth here? How are we going to defend the country? Is the president in some way compromised as we watch this wrecking ball that is happening in Europe and the prospect that 75 years of security arrangements are about to be destroyed by one man with this giant question mark hanging over his head.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, it seemed to me that the Republicans, especially Chairman Goodlatte, were not ready for some of the parliamentary procedural challenges that you and your colleagues raised on the Democratic side as they were trying to just kind of steam roll the witness and demand that the witness answer questions that FBI lawyers had said he could not answer, threaten the witness with contempt charges in that setting.

Was it your sense that the Republicans were not actually prepared to handle this hearing today and that they were surprised at how strong Peter Strzok`s responses could be when he was allowed to deliver them?

SWALWELL: They were wholly unprepared. Lawrence, when I saw Peter Strzok two weeks ago at our closed hearing deposition, I thought, oh, boy, the Republicans, this is going to backfire because he is a pretty bright guy. He did -- he made a monumental error in some of those text messages. But he`s a bright guy with a pretty sterling career and I think you saw that on display today.

But this is also the result of what`s been building up over the past year, where we have seen the chairman use this committee to just go back in time to keep revisiting the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation in every possible form. And so, I think our members you saw just kind of the release of that frustration, and we came ready to fight, ready to fight for our democracy and the rule of law.

O`DONNELL: And, David Frum, the Republicans in the committee seem to have a single rule about investigating Donald Trump. You can only be allowed to investigate Donald Trump if you enthusiastically wanted Donald Trump to become president of the United States.

FRUM: Yes. You can`t make any comment.

The chief law -- Donald Trump is, of course, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He has described members of Central American gangs as animals. And the Central American gangs are certainly very -- you know, criminal organizations.

But if the suggest is that animus by law enforcement means that the laws can`t be enforced, then I don`t know how we`re ever going to put any member of any Central American gang in jail ever gone.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell and David Frum, thank you both for starting us off tonight.

SWALWELL: Of course, my pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.

And coming up, David Corn will join us. David Corn`s name came up repeatedly in the hearing today. Congressman Jim Jordan decided that the best way for him to avoid reporters` questions about accusations that he was aware of sexual harassment and assault of members of the college wrestling team that he coached was to stay in the hearing room as long as he could asking a series of questions about David Corn. David Corn is going to answer those questions.

And President Trump has just given the craziest interview that any president not named Trump has ever given. He said his poll numbers are better than Abraham Lincoln`s and he has doubled and tripled America`s GDP, proving he has no idea what GDP is or maybe he`s willing to lie about GDP.


O`DONNELL: Here is why our next guest David Corn became a player in one of the Republicans conspiracy theories of today`s hearing.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You understand we got an e-mail from you briefing everybody on the team, all the key players, Rybicki, Baker, Page, Moffa, Priestap, and Andy McCabe, and in that e-mail, you say the dossier that you are looking at that "BuzzFeed" is printing has differences from than the ones given to us by Corn and Simpson. Earlier today, I asked you, who Corn and Simpson is, and you wouldn`t answer that.

It`s kind of funny to me because yesterday, David Corn tweeted out he`s the corn in your e-mail. So the guy himself has identified himself. We all know it is David Corn and then the other name is Simpson. So you have this -- and we`re wondering how the dossier got to -- or if -- more importantly, if the dossier got to the FBI through media sources, not just through Christopher Steele.

STRZOK: I understand your question. I understand your frustration. I understand the absurdity of something produced that you are reading that I have been directed not to answer questions about. The best I can --

JORDAN: More importantly that you wrote.

STRZOK: I would like to answer you, and I`m afraid it was an answer that would reassure you and disappoint you.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst, and also joining us to keep David Corn honest, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer of "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.

OK, David Corn, you are under oath. We swore you in during the commercial break.

The great violator of the house dress code Jim Jordan thinks there is something terribly wrong with your interactions with the FBI involving the Steele dossier. What does he need to know about this?

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Let me first say, because you and I have talked about this, we again are being distracted because Republicans engaged in these false conspiracy narratives. We have to cover it. We have to debunk it. But it covers up the big fact that Donald Trump in the last two weeks has been working with Putin, passing off Putin disinformation to cover up Putin`s attack on the United States in 2016, and this is why they`re doing this, so we don`t pay attention to that.

Turning to this, this is now the second time in four or five months that Jim Jordan has come up with a conspiracy theory to distract that involves yours truly. The first time was that the FBI gave me the Steele memos as a way to torpedo and sabotage Trump for the election. Now, he`s totally reversed himself and the conspiracy theory seems to be that I somehow gave the FBI the memos in order to sabotage Trump. Neither are true.

And I`m telling you, Lawrence, I challenge, I challenge Jim Jordan not to a duel but to a debate. I like on this show or any other show, Congressman Jordan, I`m ready to have it out with you and go over all your conspiracy nonsense. My guess is you don`t have the guts to do it.

What happened, Lawrence, is that I reported on the Steele memos before the election. I called the FBI. I had obtained the memos and I asked for a comment if they would talk to me about the memos and about their interactions with Steele.

I had learned that they were investigating the allegations in the memo. I got a no comment from them. No help, nothing.

After the election, I wanted to pursue this further, and I sent someone I know in the FBI a copy of the memos and said can you authenticate these documents? Can you now talk to me about your interactions with steel? Again I got nothing.

I did this solely as a journalist. I know it is hard for Jim Jordan to get that, but I was just trying to figure out what was the full story behind these memos as many journalists do in such cases. And for all that, he just comes up with a deep state conspiracy theory that involves me. I`m kind of flattered.

O`DONNELL: And one more small point in the Peter Strzok e-mail. He mentions that there is a difference between the version that you had and another version that the FBI had. What was that difference?

CORN: Yes. As if that really matters. I got the -- a set of documents, you know, shortly before the election. The "BuzzFeed" set that came out in January 2017 included memos that Steele kept writing after the election that I never saw until the "BuzzFeed" version came out.

So there is one really big difference. "BuzzFeed" has more because they obviously got the set of memos at a later point. What that means, I don`t know. It certainly doesn`t tell you that the deep state was doing anything notorious.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, correct me if I`m wrong, but I think we just proved how easy it is to get at the truth of these situations if you are willing to ask the right person the right question.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. But we don`t want any of that, Lawrence. What we want -- what we want is to figure out how devilishly David Corn could manage to both give the FBI the dossier and get the dossier from the FBI.

And we also have to figure out why Peter Strzok, if his whole purpose here was to defeat Donald Trump in the election, why he didn`t leak any of this or tell anybody publicly about any of this before the election when it might have had a huge impact. So, somehow he -- you know, he`s apparently really, really stupid because this was his overriding goal. Yet, he failed to do the one thing that might have achieved it.

O`DONNELL: And, Gene, you have watched an awful lot of congressional hearings in your time in Washington. Rate this one in the history of your viewing of hearings in the congress.

ROBINSON: Well, where to begin? I`ve never seen a hearing in which a member was asked if he was off his meds.


ROBINSON: Louie Gohmert, and justifiably so. I`ve never seen a moment like that.

I`ve -- it was surreal because it was all -- you know, these hearings are always, to some extent, theater. But this was all bad theater. That is all that it was.

And there was -- there was no sort of fact finding or eliciting of a legitimate narrative in this. It was all about scoring points. And as David said at the outset, obscuring the real story, obscuring what really went on.

We`re talking about Russian interference in our election, which happened according to all of our intelligence agencies, according to all the information the FBI has been able to gather. But we can`t talk about that. All we have to talk about is this nonsense.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there. David Corn, thank you for joining us on this important night.

And President Trump has given a new interview tonight to a British paper. He talked about the baby blimp and he admits the blimp is doing the job it has intended to do. It has hurt Donald Trump`s feelings.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: President Trump has just given an interview to the Rupert Murdoch newspaper "the Sun" in which he has confessed that the Trump blimp really works. The Trump blimp has really done its job. It has made Donald Trump feel unwelcome.

In his interview with "the Sun," President Trump said, I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city. I haven`t been there in a listening time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?"

It has never occurred to Donald Trump to wonder why they are making him feel unwelcome. Why don`t they like Donald Trump? That doesn`t seem to have crossed his mind. One thing the British are not going to like is the President of the United States meddling in their national affairs and in their national politics.

In the interview, Donald Trump claims that he knows how to do the impossible, negotiate a simple Brexit deal which will allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union painlessly.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn`t listen to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she say?

TRUMP: She didn`t listen. No. I told her how to do it. That will be up to her to say. But I told her how to do it. She wanted to go a different route.


O`DONNELL: And the President of the United States endorsed a rival of the current prime minister, Theresa May, to take her job as prime minister.

Boris Johnson is a big Brexit cheerleader who has no idea how to carry out Brexit and so he quit as Theresa May`s foreign secretary this week.


TRUMP: I think he`s a great representative for your country.

I`m not pitting one against the other. I`m just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he has got what it takes and I think he has got the right attitude to be a great prime minister.


O`DONNELL: In an editorial about Boris Johnson`s resignation entitled, Good riddance for Johnson, "the New York Times" details some of the lies that Boris Johnson told British voters that convince them to vote for Brexit without any details of how it would actually work.

And President Trump not only demonstrated a complete ignorance of how Brexit might work, in this interview, he told the single craziest lie he has ever told about the American economy.


TRUMP: The GDP since I have taken over has doubled and tripled.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump clearly has no idea what GDP is. Gross Domestic Product is the basic dollar measurement of the size of a country`s entire economy. Donald Trump is claiming that the size of the American economy has doubled and tripled in the first year and a half of his presidency. It takes 20 years for the GDP to double and 30 years for the GDP to triple. That`s if things are going well.

Joining us now is Brian Klaas, a fellow in global politics in London School of economic and the coauthor of "How to Rigg an Election" and Eugene Robinson is still with us.

And, Brian, I want to -- before we move on, I just want you to hear one more thing that President Trump said. He doesn`t seem to understand why we don`t use the word England anymore when we are talking about the United Kingdom. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: You don`t hear the word England as much as you should. I miss the name England. You understand that? I think England is a beautiful name. And you don`t hear it very much anymore.


O`DONNELL: Brian, do you want to explain to the President of the United States what happened to England?

BRIAN KLAAS, FELLOW, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, it`s the act of union several hundred years ago in which several countries became the United Kingdom. So England still exists. It is just part of the U.K.

You know, this entire interview is either insane, insulting or incendiary. It is insane when he talks about having better poll numbers than Abe Lincoln seven decades before polling existed. It`s insulting when he attacks our closest ally, when she -- her government is already on a cliff`s edge and he is giving her a bully`s shove towards it. And it is incendiary because the special relationship is now at risk.

And this is America`s most powerful and important ally. And Trump is insulting them during the state visit, during the visit that has been long in the making. And it is incredibly, incredibly damaging to American security interests and it just adds on to the international security damage that he did in Brussels in attacking NATO in the past couple days, too.

O`DONNELL: Gene, who else could insult Theresa May and Abraham Lincoln in the same interview? He said about the polling, he said, you know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party, 92 percent. Beating Lincoln, I beat our honest Abe.

He then went on in that discussion of the polling to say if they did an honest poll in the United Kingdom that he would do very well. The honest poll shows that in the United Kingdom Donald Trump has an 11 percent approval rating, 11 percent. Sixty-seven percent disapproval rating. And Donald Trump living in his own polling bubble there.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Hence the blimp, I think.

But you know, Theresa May is not the most sympathetic figure, really, just the way she became prime minister, the way she has tried to walk this unwalkable path on Brexit. So I don`t feel very sorry for her, but I do feel sorry for her today. Because, you know, she goes to all this trouble. She invites this incredibly unpopular man because he is President to Britain. She has to make a big deal of it. It is not a state visit, but you know, takes him out to the palace and arranges, convinces the queen to have tea with him, which I`m sure she was delighted to do.

And she goes through all of this. And then he just shives her in the most sort of vicious way, not only by saying that Boris would be a great prime minister which certainly would with that. But also, by saying that with her way of doing Brexit, which people don`t actually like, but her way of doing Brexit, there will be no great U.S.-U.K. bilateral trade deal, that that wouldn`t work out. That`s the only thing she has going for her. That`s the only piece of sort of political capital that she had to try to negotiate this thing her way. And he just pulled that rug completely out from under her. It is just extraordinary. I have never seen anything like that.

O`DONNELL: Brian, will British politics be affected by what the President has to say? And are people in Britain going to believe Donald Trump has a secret Brexit plan that is easy and simple and that he is just going to keep it a secret and let the British government struggle and try to figure out how to do what is apparently is virtually impossible?

KLAAS: Well, I think 11 percent of people might. But you know, you have a situation here where the British government and the British political system is going to be royaled by this completely. There is already a challenge, potential challenge to Theresa May`s leadership, several resignations and Donald Trump just made that way, way worse for her.

Now, to think about this in context, a British woman died last weekend from a Russian nerve agent poisoning on British soil after an attempted assassination attempt, right. So at that pivotal moment, Donald Trump is trying to push the British government off a cliff into complete disarray. It is out closest most important ally.

Seventy-four years ago in June, we had D-day, where we worked and fought together with Brit into defeat dictatorial fascism in Europe. And now, we have a U.S. President who is not just praising adversarial dictators of the United States but imposing tariffs on our closest allies and attacking the government of the United Kingdom.

It is an amazing reversal. And it is so counter productive to American interests and to the interests of international security. It is, however, extremely productive for the wish list of Vladimir Putin. And this is effectively the through line of the last several days into Helsinki is that everything on Putin`s wish list is happening because of Donald Trump.

What he has wanted for two decades is finally coming to fruition, and that should scare people who care about the idea of the west, our values and also international security that holds the west together and keeps us all safe.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, imagine if you will Donald Trump`s reaction if Theresa May were to come to the United States and then Washington say that she thinks Elizabeth Warren would make a good President or she thinks Paul Ryan someday soon would make a good President. President Trump would think that was fair comment?

ROBINSON: No. He would go totally ballistic. You know exactly what his reaction would be. And again I haven`t seen anything like that. If you read that whole interview, I really sort of recommend people who have strong stomachs read the whole thing.

There is a lot else in it, including just some incredible racism. He rails about how Europe is overrun with these immigrants and you are losing your culture and your, you know, and it`s just -- it`s really extraordinary. It`s Trump sort of unplugged.

O`DONNELL: And why don`t they call northern Ireland, Scotland whales and England just plain old England anymore?

Brain Klaas, Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

And more tonight, the Trump administration now says it will never, it will never be able to reunite all of the children and parents they have separated at the southern border.


O`DONNELL: At the beginning of today`s hearing in the House, the top Democrat on the House judiciary committee reminded his colleagues about the much more important work that they were not doing today.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Mr. Chairman, I must say before I begin my formal statement that this country has a number of emergencies right now under the jurisdiction of this committee which we are not spending any time or attention to. The leading one obviously being the fact that 3,000 children were improperly taken away from their families. And the administration seems either unwilling or out of totally incompetence unable to return the kids to their families even under court order.


O`DONNELL: The committee then spent nine hours and 41 minutes failing to find a single thig that FBI agent Peter Strzok did that was politically motivated in his investigator work involving both the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton`s email. The committee has not had one hearing about the children that President Trump has separated from their parents at the southern border.

The Trump had administration did not meet the Tuesday deadline this week to reunite all the children age four and under with their parents. Today the Trump administration claimed that 57 of the 103 migrant children age four or under have been reunified with their parents as of this morning.

The administration claimed 46 of the children are ineligible for reunification. The administration said there are safety concerns involving 11 adults who have serious criminal records that prevent them from being reunified with children. Seven other adults who traveled to the border which children were determined not to be the parents. One adult was alleged to have abused a child and the Trump administration said one adult planned to house a child with an adult charged with sexually abusing a child.

The Trump administration identified another 24 children who they say are currently not eligible for reunification because of the circumstances of the adults in those cases. Twelve of those adults have been deported. Nine of those adults are in the custody of the United States Marshall`s service for other offenses. Two adults are in custody in state jail for other offenses. One adult`s location has been unknown for over a year.

But that adult is the one who the government admits might actually be a United States citizen and whose child is still in custody might actually be a United States citizen.

We know all of this, thanks to lawsuits that have been brought in various federal courts, including one by the ACLU. The ACLU`s lead attorney on this case will be back in court tomorrow and he will join us next with more details.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government is not going to be able to meet the deadline to return these children.

TRUMP: Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That`s the solution.


O`DONNELL: In other words, the President has no solution at all for reuniting those families separated at the southern border.

Joining us now is Lee Gelernt. He is the deputy director of the American civil liberties unions immigrants rights project.

And attorney Gelernt, I just reported what you have been learning in court about these families, about these adults, can you trust the information that the government is giving you about the adults and children.

LEE GELERNT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: We are not going to trust it. We are asking for independent verification so that we need the information ourselves so we can engage in that independent verification.

What the administration is doing is saying we don`t think all these people can be reunited and we don`t believe they are apart of the lawsuit but they are unilaterally making that decision. So we are going to ask tomorrow at court for specific information about the individuals they say can`t be reunited.

But let`s just also talk about the individuals they have reunited. They missed the deadline. You know, it is one thing when you miss the deadline for, you know, the package comes late when you are ordering socks, right. These are babies and toddlers. You can`t miss a deadline when you are talking about little babies and toddlers who are desperate to see their parents. And that`s why the court said he wants to know what remedy we propose. We are going to say more oversight of the government. We anticipate the government is going to come in tomorrow and say we want less oversight. That`s ridiculous given that they just missed a deadline. We also want the government to set up a fund to pay for health professionals to examine these children who have been traumatized to no end and perhaps permanently.

O`DONNELL: And the government have been saying that some of the parents have already been deported so they can`t reunite children with parents that`s already been deported. But some of those parents were apparently told the only way they would be reunited with their child was to be deported. And the administration told NBC News today that this was their signal. That the administration is quote "under no obligation to bring people who have no lawful status in this country back into this country for reunification. Meaning, they have no obligation to try reunify parents who have been deported with children who are still here.

GELERNT: Right. Just among the children under five, there are twelve parents out of the 103 who were deported without their children. The government originally said to the court while they are not apart of the lawsuit, the court shut that argument down immediately and said of course, they are. They are in the worse situations of all. They are overseas but their kids are still here in the United States worried desperately. Now, the government is asking us to try and find these parents.

Now, whether the reunification takes place here in the United States or overseas, one way or the other, we need to find these parents and ask them, were you misled in to thinking your children would be with you on that plane going home. This is a horrendous situation if parents sitting in another country not knowing where their children are.

O`DONNELL: How can you possibly find those parents without government record in the government in fact leading you to those parents?

GELERNT: Yes. But that`s a great question. The government should have more information. But now I think it is up to us. We are going to mobilize an enormous array of NGOs both here in the United States and overseas and do what we can to find these parents. But we hope that the government will help us.

Lee Gelernt, thank you for joining us tonight on this very important story. We really appreciate it.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD.

I dropped by to chat with Steven Colbert on my way to work tonight.


O`DONNELL: Here is what`s really crazy, your first ten minutes tonight and this is an entertainment comedy show.


O`DONNELL: Could be my first ten minutes tonight and my show is supposed to be a news show about the real world. That should never be. We should never be in the situation.

COLBERT: Why don`t you just run the first ten minutes of my show on your show and you can start drinking early.

O`DONNELL: Oh yes.


O`DONNELL: That would be so great. Although I don`t drink and never have. But love to run those first ten minutes with Colbert. Let`s see if NBC and CBS can work that one out. I will be Stephen`s first guest tonight on his show.

That`s tonight`s LAST WORD.

Two former CIA and analysts will tell Brian why they are worried about the upcoming Trump-Putin meeting in the 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS which starts right now.


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.