Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 20, 2018 Guest: Ron Klain, Michael Daly
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
Well, you have done it again. I was watching and riveted through your interview with John Brennan on Friday night. And you set an agenda for the weekend on the subject of John Brennan that continues tonight. Now, this issue of, will John Brennan sue over the removal of his security clearance? And what might that mean as precedent? What John Brennan said to you his interest in it was not for himself but for the precedent that might be involved.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Yes. When he said at the very end of the interview, he said, listen, he sort of reflected and said, the first time in 38 years I haven`t had a security clearance. He didn`t say, it feels strange, but you could see that in his body language.
But then when I pressed him on whether or not he might be pursuing a legal case here, he said, if I do it, it will be to stop this president or any future president from doing this to the current generation of people who holds special clearances because they shouldn`t be revoked this way for these kinds of reasons. I mean, clearly, he`s going to get good advice and he wouldn`t bring the case unless he thought he could win it, but it is untested ground. No presidents ever done anything like this before and so, nobody has ever tried to stop a president from doing anything like this before.
O`DONNELL: And this whole issue now is fallen into the Giuliani court, the section, I should say. He`s so non-judicial, I don`t want to suggest there is any sort of court tactics involved. But he`s now jumping out there on Twitter and now challenging John Brennan, you know, please sue. Please don`t make the empty threat of suing.
But John Brennan hasn`t threatened it. He has simply said, he`s thinking about it.
MADDOW: I feel like with Mr. Giuliani at this point and his connection to the president`s legal fate, it`s a separate channel. You know what I mean? Like it`s of interest. It`s like -- it`s like when you have like a fan site, you might look there for spoilers or informed speculation about something that`s actually going to happen in the real TV show.
But really, it`s more like fan-related stuff. It is more like helpful suggests and cheering than it is anything that reflects anything that might be going on in the real case. I mean, if Emmet T. Flood was making public pronouncements about the president`s legal strategy, I would be reporting them. But with Mr. Giuliani consistently being proven to have nothing to do with anything going on in the real world related to the president --
O`DONNELL: Right, right.
MADDOW: It is kind of just like a coloring book.
O`DONNELL: It is a television circus act. I do not get it.
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, after a weekend of the Trump White House reportedly reeling in the shock of a "New York Times" report that White House counsel Don McGahn is a fully cooperating witness special prosecutor Robert Mueller, tonight, the White House is trying to turn that big story around with a very big leak from the Trump legal team to "The Washington Post".
Tonight`s "Washington Post" lead is, White House counsel Don McGahn does not believe that he implicated President Trump in any legal wrongdoing in extensive interviews he has given the special counsel, McGahn`s attorney told Trump`s legal team in recent days. That in recent days certainly sounds like it`s in reaction to this weekend`s reports by "The New York Times."
"The Washington Post" reveals that Don McGahn`s criminal defense attorney, Bill Burck, sent an e-mail to the Trump legal team in those recent days which Burck -- in which Burck writes, quote, he did not incriminate him. "The Post" reports, McGahn`s attorney Bill Burck told Trump`s lawyers this past weekend that McGahn did not assert that Trump engaged in any wrongdoing.
"The New York Times" revealed this weekend that Don McGahn submitted to at least three interviews that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months. McGahn reportedly discussed the president`s firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn and the president`s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the president`s conflicts with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "The Times" reports Mr. McGahn gave to Mr. Mueller`s investigators, the people said, a sense of the president`s mindset in the days leading to the firing of Mr. Comey, how the White House handled the firing of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and how Mr. Trump repeatedly berated Mr. Sessions, tried to get him to assert control over the investigation and threatened to fire him.
Don McGahn`s cooperation is central to the special prosecution`s investigation of possible obstruction of justice by the president. In a follow up report after its original story, "The New York Times" reported that President Trump`s lawyers don`t know how much Don McGahn told the special prosecutors. Mr. Trump`s lawyers realized on Saturday that they had not been provided a full accounting after "The New York Times" published an article describing McGahn`s extensive cooperation with Mr. Trump`s officer.
After Mr. McGahn was initially interviewed by the special counsel`s office in November, Mr. Trump`s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said, according to a person close to the president. Yesterday, in what was, for reasons we will get to later, Rudy Giuliani`s most spectacularly ridiculous TV interview ever, Giuliani actually admitted that the Trump lawyers do not know everything Don McGahn told the special prosecutor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have a good sense, obviously, of what Mr. McGahn testified to. I can figure it out.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: How do you say that, good sense? Have you debriefed him?
GIULIANI: No, no. But Mr. Dowd has a good sense of it. He talked to them at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "The Times" reports that Rudy Giuliani refused to follow Trump`s orders on television yesterday. The article set off of a scramble on Saturday among Mr. Trump`s lawyers and advisers. The president sequestered at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, solicited opinions from a small group of advisers on the possible repercussions from the article. The president ordered Giuliani to tell reporters that the article was wrong, but Mr. Giuliani did not go that far in his television appearances.
Don McGahn ignored questions about this weekend`s reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Why did you wait so long to speak to special counsel, Mr. McGahn?
REPORTER: Did you comply because you thought the president would betray you?
REPORTER: Do you regret that decision?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And like clock work, when the news media reveals details of the Mueller investigation that disturb the president, the president`s tweeting becomes even more hysterical.
This morning, the president tweeted these lies about special prosecutor Robert Mueller and his staff: Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of angry Democrat thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House counsel, misspelled by the president. Only with my approval for purposes of transparency anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian collusion is just someone looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people`s lives and refuse to look at the real corruption on the Democrat`s side, the lies, the firings, deleted e-mails and so much more. Mueller`s angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a national disgrace.
Joining us now, Ken Dilanian, intelligence and national security reporter for NBC News, Jason Johnson, politics editor at theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor, and Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore and a former senior aide to President Obama.
And, Jason Johnson, when a Trump tweet ends with "national disgrace", a tweet that includes a misspelling by the president, it reminds me of the days when misspelling was a national disgrace when done by the vice president of the United States, Dan Quayle, on the word "potato", days that no one can really remember at this point. Here is the president -- and the only reason I read the tweet is to note the level of hysteria, which increases in direct proportion, it appears, to just how disturbed the president is by the news he`s reading or being read to him in "The New York Times."
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: Lawrence, you can almost say he was unhinged.
O`DONNELL: You could, yes.
JOHNSON: By the way, he seems to be responding to these things.
O`DONNELL: I have to say I have been avoiding that word since it became a book title.
JOHNSON: Yes, yes.
O`DONNELL: But it`s a hard word to avoid.
JOHNSON: The dancing around has been very difficult given the president`s actual behavior, yes. We -- and this is a reflection of multiple things. One, again, you know, 20-something years ago, the president spelling something wrong in public and correcting a child was a week-long news story.
Now, literally, we have a new controversy. If a scandal is happening, it might be a day that ends in "y" with this administration. But the larger issue again is this, you have a president who is constantly screaming and attacking an investigation as to whether or not he tries to stop people from investigating him. That`s part of the issue. He is confirming everything that they`re trying to find out about him.
And I`ll say this very quickly about Don McGahn. Look, this is a guy with a long extensive history on Washington, D.C. The FCC and FEC, you know, he was the Abramoff case with Tom DeLay, this guy knows how to stay out of trouble. And so, he`s definitely going to reveal whatever it is he needs to reveal to Mueller because he`s got a career that he wants to extend beyond what this presidency may be able to handle.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, the most important phrase that I have read in all of this reporting about the McGahn interviews is with the special prosecutors. "The New York Times" describing that Don McGahn has given them the president`s mindset, the mindset on the firing of James Comey.
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And so, that can change what Rudy Giuliani and the president are trying to set up as a he said/he said conflict, meaning James Comey says the president said something to him about Flynn and the president denies he ever said that about Flynn. Well, what if, what if there is someone else in the White House who can actually confirm that the president did say something like what Jim Comey says the president said?
KLAIN: Yes, Lawrence. You`re absolutely right. I mean, this is a key thing.
The hardest thing about proving an obstruction of justice case is proving that what the president did was with an intent to obstruct justice, to impede the investigation. And Don McGahn had a ring side seat for that intent and was involved in these various acts that Trump did: firing Comey, demanding that Mueller be fired and actions taken against Rosenstein. So, you know, he is a critical witness here, a critical part of it.
And if you take a step back, you know, you look at Lawrence, you have got a White House counsel now talking to prosecutors. You got someone running around who taped the West Wing. You got a president with an enemy`s list.
You know, we are just Abba songs away from a remake of the 1970s. And that`s -- you know, that`s what we`re seeing. This looks like the Nixon White House all over again.
O`DONNELL: And, Ken Dilanian, I want to go to something that the president said in an interview with "Reuters" today. And the president hastily arranged this interview with "Reuters". And I think it`s fair for us to consider that it might have been arranged in direct response to "The New York Times" reporting this weekend about Don McGahn`s cooperation.
And in it, the president is echoing something that Rudy Giuliani just keeps saying relentlessly. And this is about what the so-called, what they call the possible perjury trap. This is the president talking to "Reuters". He says: So if I say something that he, Comey, and he, Comey, says something and it`s my word against his and he`s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say, well, I believe Comey. And even if I`m telling the truth, that makes me a liar, that`s no good.
Now, Ken, the Don McGahn reporting, as I say, interests me most when it comes to the possibility that Don McGahn might be able to change the Comey versus Trump story from Comey`s word versus Trump`s word to Trump`s word versus Comey`s word, plus possibly something from Don McGahn.
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: One hundred percent, Lawrence. But, first, a word about that tweet. It is inconsistent with the facts and it`s inconsistent with American values. That`s not a partisan statement. Robert Mueller volunteered for Vietnam, was wounded in combat, led the FBI after 9/11. There are prosecutors on that team with sterling records.
Greg Andres, who`s the lead prosecutor in the Manafort case, took out the Bonanno crime family in New York, got so far into their skin that they tried -- they threatened to kill him. He had 24/7 security for a year. These are public servants who have given over their careers to serving the American public and bringing people to justice. Donald Trump may not like what they are doing, but he is sounding like every politician I have ever reported on who has been under criminal investigation by the FBI.
And you are absolutely right. Don McGahn could be a crucial witness. And this story in "The Washington Post" where sources are suggesting he didn`t incriminate the president, I read that as this is the Giuliani philosophy that the president can`t obstruct justice because he can fire whoever he wants for any reason. I don`t think that Robert Mueller believes that. I don`t think a lot of legal experts believe that.
If he fired Comey for corrupt reasons, if he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn for corrupt seasons and if McGahn can help Mueller establish that, that`s obstruction of justice. Now, Mueller, I don`t think he`s going to indict the president. A Justice Department doctrine says you can`t charge a sitting president, but I think we are moving towards a comprehensive report that`s going to go to Congress that may be more damning that we can possibly imagine sitting here right now.
O`DONNELL: Ken, I`m so glad to you went back to the president`s tweet, that he begins by calling Bob Mueller disgraced and discredited, which is just the most disgraceful thing that this president could possibly say about Bob Mueller as a person. If he wants to criticize his prosecutorial work, that is one thing. But I`m so glad you went back to that.
And, also, Ken, this point that the president is -- the White House is putting out tonight, clearly coming from the White House to "The Washington Post" that, oh, no, Don McGahn`s lawyer has told us he did not incriminate the president, that could mean anything. That could mean that Don McGahn`s lawyer did not say, I saw the president commit a crime. I saw the president commit obstruction of justice.
But Don McGahn could have told them exactly what he saw the president do and the prosecutors could decide what they just heard is a crime.
DILANIAN: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, "The New York Times" seems to have a pipeline into Don McGahn and his version of events has already reported extensively on these episodes, right, that Trump insisted that McGahn help him fire Mueller. And Mueller refused -- McGahn refused to carry out that order, because he thought it was improper. That Trump was pressuring people around him to get rid of Jeff Sessions or was moving forward with a plan to fire Jeff Sessions.
All of that I think is deeply relevant. And McGahn can bring Mueller inside the Oval Office, and o those intimate conversations. And the bizarre thing about this, Lawrence, is, you know, the White House could have asserted executive privilege, and they could have at least tried to prevent some of this interview. I mean, they may have lost, but they could have strung it out. They didn`t do that.
And that went to the earlier legal strategy of Ty Cobb and John Dowd, Donald Trump`s former lawyers who no longer there, to fully cooperate with the Mueller investigation and -- and also according to "The New York Times", McGahn deciding he felt that Trump was setting him up to take the fall. So, he was going to go in there with his lawyer and tell Mueller everything, and do 30 hours of interviews.
And we heard Steve Schmidt, Republican political consultant on Nicolle Wallace`s show today who said I know Don McGahn very well. I have an office next to him. He is not going to go to jail and be disbarred for Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Yes, that seems to be the consensus from people who know Don McGahn.
Ken Dilanian, Ron Klain, Jason Johnson, thanks for starting us off tonight.
And when we come back, Michael Cohen is now reportedly being investigated for bank fraud, $20 million of bank fraud. So does that make Michael Cohen $20 million more eager to cooperate with federal prosecutors and tell them everything he knows about Donald Trump?
And later in the hour, the woman married to the biggest cyber bully in the world gave a little speaks today about cyberbullying prevention while her husband was cyber bullying. I don`t want to ruin the suspension by telling you who those two people are, so you are just going to have to stick around to find out.
O`DONNELL: Michael Cohen woke up today to a front page story in his hometown newspaper, "The New York Times", outlining the charges federal prosecutors are considering in their investigation of Michael Cohen. "The New York Times" reports that Michael Cohen could face charges of bank fraud and obtaining $20 million in loans from two obscure New York banks that most New Yorkers have never heard of.
"The Times" reports the bank loan is under scrutiny, the total of which has not been previously reported came from two financial institutions in the New York region that catered to the taxi industry, Sterling National Bank and Melrose Credit Union, according to business records and people with knowledge of the matter, including a banker, who reviewed the transactions publicly field financing statements indicate that Mr. Cohen used 32 taxi medallions as collateral for the Sterling loans. The medallions were then valued at more than $1 million each and generated $1 million a year in income.
Michael Cohen`s partner in the taxi business, you have Gene Freidman, is already a cooperating witness with federal prosecutors and an accountant who worked for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Freidman has testified before the grand jury in the Cohen case. "The New York Times" reports if Michael Cohen becomes a cooperating witness with government prosecutors, quote, a cooperation agreement would likely include a provision that Mr. Cohen also provide information to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller, III.
And joining our discussion now, Michael Daly, columnist for "The Daily Beast", who has been covering New York City for decades. He`s also a long time columnist for "The Daily News", and Ron is back with us.
And, Michael, the taxi business has been a cash business for a very long time. Yes, the one thing that can be much dirtier than commercial real estate in New York, the taxi business. So, it`s starting to feel like Michael Cohen has a 20 million more reasons now to cooperate with special prosecutors.
MICHAEL DALY, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, actually, I thought it was good news for him because if you look at the court, the application for search warrants, they talked about many crimes. I mean, this scenario narrows down to a few multimillion dollar crimes.
But, I mean, if you start looking at the taxi, I mean, the first guy who he is business partners with, well, he had a problem because he was charging fake late fees. The latest guy, Gene, he got a problem because he was raking millions of dollars that was supposed to go to the subways, he`s actually the only winner in the whole Trump Russian saga so far is Gene Freidman. It looks like he was going to go to state prison. Not federal, state prison for 25 years maybe. And all of a sudden, hey, I can give up Michael Cohen.
O`DONNELL: Because luckily for Freidman, there is something more interesting to prosecutors than Freidman because of the Trump investigation.
Ron Klain, the president of the United States could be in very big trouble because of the taxi business in New York and his buddy Michael Cohen drowning in legal problems because of it.
KLAIN: Yes. I mean, Michael Cohen turns out to be a crook. Who could have seen that coming, huh?
I mean, I think it is true, Lawrence, that he could be in trouble. But I think even truer is he may already be in a lot of trouble. That is we are focused on whether or not Michael Cohen is going to offer additional evidence to special counsel. But we need to remember that the most important evidence Michael Cohen probably has is those millions of pages of records that Bob Mueller already has.
And a special master looked at and only set aside a few things pages out of millions as being covered by the attorney-client privilege. And those records, you know, aren`t going to have reliability issues that Michael Cohen`s testimony is going to have. They`re not going to have all the different ways it could be impeached. So, I do think it is an interesting issue how much farther Michael Cohen does go, does he, quote/unquote, flip?
But Mueller may already have in his pocket most of what he wants from Michael Cohen.
O`DONNELL: And, Michael Daly, you sat in courtrooms here in New York City, watching what the world thought was the toughest guys in the world had taken La Cosa Nostra blood oath to never testify against each other.
O`DONNELL: More of those guys cracked than you can remember.
DALY: Joe Massino, toughest guy that ever lived, never be a rat. Him, him, him, him.
O`DONNELL: And here is Donald Trump today tweeting about who is going to be a rat in his world.
DALY: The thing that`s interesting is, I mean, first of all, the president of the United States is supposed to stand for justice. And, you know, rats are supposedly people who actually are leading you towards justice. So, he`s calling you a rat.
But the other thing is, how can a guy be a rat if he`s not giving up something? If there isn`t something to give up? Everybody talks about, well, Michael Cohen is going to flip.
I mean, you can stop someone in the street and say, are you going to flip on Trump? There is nothing to give. But, all of a sudden, there is this kind of implicit thing that there is something to give up.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Ron, what about that? It`s not -- you`re saying it`s not clear to you that Michael Cohen has enough of value for Robert Mueller.
KLAIN: Well, as I said, I think the files are the big thing. I think the records are the big thing. They`re reliable. They`re provable. He may well have for.
And, you know, obviously, we haven`t talked tonight about his role in the payoffs to women who like Stormy Daniels who allegedly had a relationship with Donald Trump and there is a lot of things there. Were there federal campaign finance violations involved in that and the way that helped the Trump campaign?
But, you know, what I think when you step back, what you see is, you know, we have the White House counsel offering evidence against Trump. You have now his personal lawyer offering potentially offering evidence against Trump. And these people, they wouldn`t have anything to say if there weren`t criminal activity. If there wasn`t something they were trying to protect themselves from because of what went wrong and what was wrongly done here.
And I think, you know, that`s the big picture. People coming to testify against Trump, they only have something to testify if Trump did something wrong.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, Michael Daly, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
When we come back, President Trump actually thinks he can replace Robert Mueller with himself.
O`DONNELL: Today, President Trump actually said that he could replace special prosecutor Robert Mueller with himself. In an interview with "Reuters", the president said he could take over the special prosecutor`s investigation.
Quote: I could go in and I could do whatever. I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out. I`m totally allowed to be involved if I want it to be. So far, I haven`t chosen to be involved. I`ll stay out.
And again, today, the president is back on the attack against his own attorney general who he has publicly urged to quit and privately attempted to fire.
In one tweet, the president referred to Jeff Sessions Justice Department with the word justice in quotes. In his Reuters interview today, the president did not rule out stripping Robert Mueller of his security clearance which would greatly inhibit Robert Mueller`s investigation of the Russian attack on our presidential election. The president said, "I haven`t given it a lot of thought" when asked about Mueller`s security clearance.
Today, more than 175 former government officials signed a statement in support of former CIA Director John Brennan after the president stripped his security clearance last week. Yesterday, John Brennan repeated what he told Rachel Maddow Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN: Well, I have been contacted by a number of lawyers. They have already given me their thoughts about the basis for a complaint and injunction to try to prevent them from doing this in the future. If my clearances and my reputation, as I`m being pulled through the mud now, if that`s the price we`re going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it`s a small price to pay. So I am going to to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent this abuses in the future. And if it means going to court, I will do that."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And in a footnote to "MEET THE PRESS" yesterday, just when you thought Rudy Giuliani was beyond parody, he found a way to parody himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Look, I`m not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that he should testify because he`s going to tell the truth and he shouldn`t worry, well that`s silly because it`s somebody`s version of the truth, not the truth. He didn`t have a conversation about - -
CHUCK TODD, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Truth is truth. I don`t mean to go like -
GIULIANI: No, it isn`t truth. Truth isn`t truth,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Jennifer Rubin, the conservative opinion writer at The Washington Post, an MSNBC contributor. Also joining us is David Rothkopf, CEO of the Rothkopf Group and host of Deep State Radio and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
And Jennifer, we could have a new special prosecutor of Donald Trump, that would be Donald Trump when he takes over the investigation of himself.
JENNIFER RUBIN: By the way, my favorite part of that "MEET THE PRESS" interview was Chuck Todd putting his head in his hand like I couldn`t have written this, my God, what are you saying man. Yes, this is Trump`s craziness. And on one hand, we can laugh at it because it`s so absurd and it`s so contrary to the way our government operates.
But in another way, it is very telling. We keep looking for the obvious. It`s hiding in plain sight. Trump thinks he can use the justice department as his personal lawyers to protect him. This is more corrupt intent. It`s staring us in the face every day. It comes out in his tweet, it comes out in the way he talks about Mueller and the way he talks about Jeff Sessions. So yes, it`s very amusing because it`s so crack potted and so evidently Trump. But there is a serious side to it I think.
O`DONNELL: And David, the president can fire the attorney general, he can fire the deputy attorney general, he can pretty much rip that investigation apart.
DAVID ROTHKOPF, HOST, DEEP STATE RADIO: Yes, sure, he can do that. And of course, that`s what`s troubling about having a president who is as cray as Trump is. And right now, he`s kind of created the craziest power. Abnormal has become the new normal. Every day, we have not one, not two but half a dozen things.
You didn`t list the fact that he said that he kind of likes Kim Jung today and he`d like to meet with Kim Jung. We didn`t talk about the fact that he thought Manafort was a good guy and that it was a horrible thing that was being done to him. Every single day, he violates norms.
But I think the thing that we need to keep in mind as we look forward on this thing is that someday we`re going to be looking back at all this and saying, "These were the good old days. These were the days when the pressure wasn`t high, there wasn`t a democratic congress that was running.11 investigations and looking at his books. His son wasn`t in the dock. His daughter wasn`t in the dock. His son-in-law wasn`t in the dock."
When that pressure builds upon him and God forbid, we have some kind of international crisis which we haven`t had, this kind of level of craziness is going to look good by comparison because the guy is clearly losing his grip.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, we saw the tweets get more hysterical as the pressure builds. He`s just like a machine that way almost when "The New York" times come up and reports that the White House Counsel is cooperating, we see the president today go to a new level of hysteria.
RUBIN: Yes. These tweets are the most I think helpful window into his mind, into his psychic because they are unfiltered and he cannot help himself. There is no grand strategy here, folks. The notion that he`s playing three-dimensional chess or five-dimensional chess is ridiculous. This is his impulsivity. This is his crazed confused thinking. This is his anger. This is more helpful probably than anything other than putting him under oath because it`s the real Trump.
O`DONNELL: David, John Brennan publicly allowing for the possibility that he`s considering what to do legally in terms of suing about the loss of his security clearance, not for himself as he puts it but possibly to establish the president about this. Rudy Giuliani out there tonight tweeting to say, "Please sue." The president`s taunting today saying, "We want him to sue so that we can go into discovery against him." It would be a complicated issue for John Brennan to decide to do this.
ROTHKOPF: Well, I think it might be a complicated issue but, of course, there are traditional processes that are followed for removing people`s security clearances, both within agencies and from beyond agencies and they typically involve due (INAUDIBLE) proving that there is national security issue that`s come at stake as a result of it. And I think the burden of proof on the president and the accusers of Brennan would be more difficult than it would be for Brennan who is one of the most distinguished public servants we`ve had, one of the really outstanding leaders that the intelligence community has produced and is absolutely an A political actor. This is a guy who simply has devoted himself to U.S. public service for the past 25 years.
And so I think Rudy Giuliani again, that was another unhinged tweet that`s a parody of a parody. I don`t think Rudy Giuliani wants to get into that fight because it won`t just be Brennan, it will be the entire intelligence community that`s going to line up behind him because they see this as a threat to the independence of the intelligence community which is a threat to U.S. National Security.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, John Brennan probably served three Republican presidents, three Democratic presidents and he has professionalized no partisan history whatsoever.
RUBIN: And you have a long list of people who are - everything from Congressional Medal of, not Medal of Honor but Presidential Medal of Honor recipients, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, people who have been honored by West Point in the person of Liam. He wants to take away all of their security clearances but I think this is important for another reason. And this is because it is the practice for when he decides to do this to Moore.
And it`s important right now that the intelligence community speak as one voice that Congress, if they can ever get their act together if Republicans ever decide to show any spine whatsoever, not likely, but certainly for Democrats to get their act together. Because if he goes down that route, then we really are I think in a constitutional crisis point. So it`s important to speak up now. It`s important for the intelligence community to really not tolerate this whatsoever.
And you do see just fair links (ph) of these people moving forward now, 175 people in one letter, 60 people in another. So they are certainly showing their patriotic stripes by not responding to an attack on an individual or from an individual but standing up for American principles, for democratic norms. What a concept.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin and David Rothkopf, thank you for joining us tonight.
And when we come back, Melania Trump actually said this today, "We share one goal to pave a smooth way forward for our children" but she certainly did not mean the 565 children who still remain separated from their parents because her husband ordered them to be separated from their parents.
O`DONNELL: Here is a promise that then-candidate Donald Trump made in August of 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, and by the way, they said my wife Melania might have come in illegally. Can you believe that one? No, no, no. They said headlines, maybe she came in illegally. Maybe. Let me tell you one thing. She has got it so documented so she`s going to have a little news conference over the next couple of weeks. I love it. I love it.
They said, "Melania Trump may have come into our country illegally and how would that be for Donald Trump?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: She`s going to have a little news conference over the next couple of weeks. That was two years and 11 days ago. Donald Trump knew that his campaign supporters harbored many hatreds. Some of them hated taxes, some of them hated Obama Care or thought they did, some of them like David Duke hated all people who are not white.
But the one hatred that all Trump supporters seem to share enthusiastically was hatred of illegal immigration, hatred of the people who as Donald Trump would put it come into our country illegally. And so when credible reports emerged that Melania Trump possibly working illegally in this country when she first arrived on a tourist visa, Donald Trump told his fans not to worry, she has got it so documented. He said she`s going to have a little news conference over the next couple of weeks.
And then Melania Trump remained absolutely silent about her immigration history and her immigration documents. The next couple of weeks passed and she didn`t say a word about her immigration history. But finally, today, two years and 11 days after Donald Trump made that promise, Melania Trump finally stepped up to a microphone and said this.
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MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. It is great to be here with all of you today. I`m honored to open this important summit on cyberbullying prevention. And want to start by thanking each of you for your commitment to the topic.
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O`DONNELL: And so once again, the only First Lady in history who, in Donald Trump`s words as he put it two years ago, "May have come into our country illegally" still has not had that little news conference that Donald Trump promised where she would reveal all the details of her immigration history and put out her immigration documents, show them to us, prove she did not come here illegally or work here illegally ever.
And instead today, she spoke for four whole minutes on cyberbullying prevention. She read words on the teleprompter that were written for her by her staff. And so she never mentioned the biggest cyberbully in the world. She never offered her invaluable perspective on how you bring up a 12-year-old boy in an American household with a 72-year-old father who is not just a cyber bully but is the biggest cyberbully in history.
No president in our lifetime has been better at publically ignoring the First Lady than Donald Trump. He won that title on the first day of his presidency by forgetting about his wife as soon as he arrived at the White House. And he did it again today by not just completely ignoring that his wife held a public event today, something she almost never does, but then by publically violating the principals that his wife was talking about today, by spending so much of his day after her speech trying to cyberbully everyone from a former CIA Director to the current special prosecutor to thousands of people working in the Justice Department.
And so today the First Lady read a very short statement about cyberbullying and the president spent his day cyberbullying. And neither one of them did a thing for the 565 children still in President Trump`s custody after being ripped out of their parents` arms at the southern border. Neither one of them have done a thing for those children, not one thing. They haven`t helped reunite a single child with a single parent.
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TRUMP: We share one goal, to pave a smooth way forward for our children.
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O`DONNELL: How can she say that? How can she say those words, "A smooth way forward for our children"? She supported the presidential campaign of the man who was already the world`s biggest cyberbully. She supports the presidency that has ripped thousands of children from their parents` arms at the southern border, thousands. She supports the president who ripped those families apart because he said they came here illegally. And she has never proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she first came to this country legally and worked in this country legally when she began working here. She has never proved that.
There won`t be a smooth way forward for these 565 children still in Trump custody because Melania Trump`s husband has deported 366 parents of those children. Melania Trump`s husband has completely lost track of 26 of those parents and has no idea how to reunite those parents. Melania Trump`s husband forced the 154 parents to sign away their rights to be reunited with their children when those parents did not know what they were signing.
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TRUMP: We share one goal, to pave a smooth way forward for our children.
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O`DONNELL: Melania Trump has done nothing for our children. Nothing. And Donald Trump has done far too much to our children.
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TRUMP: In today`s global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children`s daily lives. It can be used in many positive ways but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.
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O`DONNELL: And Jennifer Rubin is back with us. And Jennifer, we don`t know what was written on the back of the First Lady`s coat when she was saying that today. But we do know she wore the garment saying I don`t care when she went to the southern border. She seems to have proven that since her return. Here, she is worried about cyberbullying and not expressing one word of concern about the children who are in Trump custody.
RUBIN: Correct. And of course, as you said earlier, not paying one whit of attention to the worst cyberbullier of them all who sets an appalling example for all of us. Maybe she should go talk to Twitter and ask them to take bullies off their platform. That would be helpful and perhaps that would take care of the Trump problem. I think the problem I have with Melania is being a First Lady is a great opportunity to do good. It is to do good for others and she has done virtually nothing.
This Be Greater, Be Better kind of platform, what, it was one little White House event in the rose garden and she comes and gives this ridiculous little four-minute speech. She`s not doing anything for America. You look at all the First Ladies that preceded her, whether it was Barbara Bush, whether it was Laura Bush on literacy, whether it was the Obamas and specifically their work with Veterans and their families. Every First Lady has championed causes. Every First Lady has done good. What has she done? Virtually nothing.
And they say, "Oh, she is a private person." You know what? She now has an obligation to do good. When you get to that position, I don`t think you have a right to just stay home and have silly little press conferences like this. I think it`s time for her to get active, for her to show some public-mindedness. I will say that she did decide to take her first public trip and maybe this is a little bit of trolling, Lawrence.
She decided to go to Africa which her husband once described as a bunch of F-blank, blank, blank whole countries. So perhaps that`s a little needling on her part. But if she comes up with something that is remotely in the realm of what for example President Bush did with respect to AIDS, I would be stunned. These people are about empty gestures, they`re about themselves, they`re fundamentally selfish people.
O`DONNELL: Yes. The announcement of the trip, it was an announcement of a trip to a continent. I`m not sure the First Lady`s office knows that Africa is not a country. When these trips are announced by previous White Houses, they announce countries. They don`t say it`s a trip to Europe. They don`t say it`s a trip to Asia or South America. They announce specific countries. I`m not sure that this First lady`s office knows any countries that they could name in Africa.
Jennifer Rubin, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word.
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STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, LATE SHOW: Hundreds of newspapers denounced Trump`s attacks on the media in coordinated editorials. Oh, that will get them. This initiative was spearheaded by the "Boston Globe" which led the charge with their editorial, the free press is wicked smart. Donald Trump has gone too far. The perfect Boston accent. Perfect Boston accent.
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O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s wicked smart last word. This weekend, Rudy Giuliani changed his story about the Trump tower meeting but does he even know that he changed his own story? That is in "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" which starts now.
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