Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 2, 2018 Guest: Dahlia Lithwick, Lisa Graves
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And so, the FBI question seems to be, what will Jeff Flake accept? They are doing this investigation because of Jeff Flake, because of Susan Collins, because of Lisa Murkowski. There wouldn`t be one if Jeff Flake hadn`t insisted on it.
And so, will he accept this extremely limited apparently FBI investigation?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: And how limited is the FBI investigation? I mean, what Special Agent Montoya was saying there is that he would expect just as a human being, somebody with a lot of FBI experience, that if unreasonable constraints have been put on this investigation, that he would expect us to hear about it in one way or another. And, you know, we`ve had all this interesting reporting about whether or not the investigation is constrained, whether it`s operating under unreasonable bright lines.
I don`t -- I don`t think we know, just as I don`t think we know when this report is going to come out, we won`t know until it`s done. But this is, this is a process that I feel like we have very little window into.
O`DONNELL: But what we have seen with "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times," for example, what a difference every day makes. Every additional day "The Washington Post" or "The New York Times" seems to discover something we did not know the day before about Brett Kavanaugh.
MADDOW: Yes. And to the extent that this process is allowing for there to be more reflection, not just on the specific allegations against him, but whether or not he`s the right person for this job both in terms of his temperament and his politics, but also whether or not he was truthful with the committee, whether there was anything that he spoke to under oath that may not have been the whole truth and nothing but the truth. All of those stories, even if they don`t go to shedding more light on the original accusation that started the extension of this consideration process, they may get him in trouble in terms of whether or not he lied about stuff he didn`t -- whether he lied about stuff to Congress.
O`DONNELL: Well, Rachel, it won`t surprise you that Donald Trump got very ugly tonight on the rally stage, talking about Dr. Ford and doing his own imitation of Dr. Ford`s testimony, his patience only could go so far.
MADDOW: You know, sometimes when he talks, I can`t hear him.
O`DONNELL: No, believe me, I have the same problem. I have the same problem. I looked at this video of what he did in Mississippi tonight, and it is --
O`DONNELL: Well, as I said, of course, Donald Trump just couldn`t resist and so in a rally in Mississippi, he started mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on his rally stage and he reduced her hours of credible testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee to just one line in which she said, credibly, that she had only one beer that night.
And so, Donald Trump kept repeating that line. I had one beer, I had one beer, and in a rant against Dr. Ford.
And so if you take your children to a Trump rally now, you`re going to have to explain to them what gang rape is if they don`t already know, because Donald Trump also boomed the words "gang rape" repeatedly. The only president in history to use the words "gang rape" in a political speech, the only president in history to use the words "gang rape" to try to score political points, and we have that video of what Donald Trump said in Mississippi, and it is pure presidential pornography. It is vile. It is poison, a deeply perverted, self-confessed sexual assaulter mocking the very concept of sexual assault to a cheering crowd that includes children in Mississippi.
Some of you might want to see it. You might want to see him saying those words. You can find it online.
I don`t want to see it again. I`ve seen it once. I don`t ever want to see it again. And I have an editorial function here and I have decided to not show you the horrible words of that deeply disgraceful man and the people who cheered that man, who they have all heard describe his own favorite methods of sexual assault. And so, I will not be staining this program tonight with the poison, spewed by the president of the United States.
The country is focusing on the high school and college drinking habits of a 53-year-old man tonight because that man is now a Supreme Court nominee who stands credibly accused of criminal sexual aggressiveness in high school and in college while he was very, very drunk. In his defense, Brett Kavanaugh minimized his drinking in high school and college. There was nothing Brett Kavanaugh was more defensive about than his drinking.
Brett Kavanaugh definitively answered questions about sexual assault and said very, very clearly that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford`s accusation that he attempted to rape her in high school was absolutely true. Brett Kavanaugh was very clear about that. But he tried to stay as vague as possible about his drinking and actually refused to answer several questions about his drinking.
Dr. Ford`s description of Brett Kavanaugh`s conduct in high school and Deborah Ramirez`s description of Brett action in college both describe two parts of Brett Kavanaugh`s conduct in those situations. One of those things is extreme drunkenness, and the other is sexual aggressiveness and sexual assault.
And if you don`t think that Brett Kavanaugh`s drinking is an important part of the investigation of that conduct, if you don`t think Brett Kavanaugh`s high school and college drinking is an important part of the equation that we are all trying to solve, imagine if Brett Kavanaugh could actually say this about his high school and college drinking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never had a glass of alcohol. I`ve never had alcohol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If Donald Trump was now accused of sexual assault in high school or college, while he was stumbling drunk, Donald Trump would have a very strong first line of defense, which is, I`ve never been drunk. Therefore, half of the accusation against him is false. Half of the description of his conduct is false.
Why did Brett Kavanaugh decide before his under oath testimony last week that he absolutely could not answer questions about his drinking in an honest and straightforward way, that he would have to be evasive, that he would have to actually refuse to answer some of those questions? And it was definitely a premeditated strategy, it had to be, because it was already public information that Brett Kavanaugh`s high school friend Mark Judge who Dr. Ford says joined the attempted rape that she suffered, wrote a 2005 memoir called, "God and Man at Georgetown Prep", in which he said that their high school was, quote, positively swimming in alcohol.
And that`s not the only thing that Mark Judge wrote. He also wrote a book called "Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk", in which he described being a blackout alcoholic during high school when he was best friends with and partying with Brett Kavanaugh. In that book, Mark Judge describes a friend named Bart O`Kavanaugh who passed out and puked in a car.
In his testimony under oath last week, Brett Kavanaugh denied that he ever blacked out or passed out from drunkenness. He did allow that he fell asleep. That`s what he said, fell asleep after drinking sometimes.
Senator Patrick Leahy repeatedly asked Brett Kavanaugh if he was the Bart O`Kavanaugh described in Mark Judge`s memoir of his high school years and Brett Kavanaugh parried the question and evaded the question and rambled on in other directions and refused to answer the question, went on a long ramble about Mark Kavanaugh`s problems with alcohol and then Senator Leahy zeroed in on it for one final try.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Judge Kavanaugh, I`m trying to get a straight answer from you under oath. Are you Bart O`Kavanaugh he`s referring to, yes or no?
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: You`d have to ask him.
LEAHY: Well, I agree with you there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Are you Bart Kavanaugh, yes or no? You`d have to ask him.
The "are you Bart" question has tonight become yet another example of why Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell were desperately trying to rush the vote on the Kavanaugh nomination last week because every day that goes by, a new fact emerges that hurts the testimony of Brett -- that Brett Kavanaugh gave under oath.
And tonight, "The New York Times" has the smoking gun on the Bart question. It`s not the biggest question in the Kavanaugh investigation, but Brett Kavanaugh made it a question, a continuing question by refusing to answer the question under oath. He was afraid of that question. You`ll have to ask him.
He was afraid to answer that question and now we know why. Bart was not the pseudonym for Brett Kavanaugh that Mark Judge invented for that book so that he wouldn`t use the real names of his friends in his high school memoir. Mark Judge didn`t invent that pseudonym. Bart was his real name. That was his real name among his friends.
"The New York Times" reports tonight that Brett Kavanaugh was, quote, nicknamed Bart after a Georgetown Prep teacher garbled Brett. And you don`t have to take "The New York Times" word for that. "The New York Times" has discovered a letter Brett wrote to his friends in high school about their arrangements for beach week when they all planned to get very, very drunk for a week together at a rented condo at the beach.
He carefully explained that each of the eight of them renting the condo together, each owed another $50 to make the final payment on the condo. He explained how they were going to need their own towels, sheets, pillowcases, blankets. He explained that he was going to arrive late because he was going to be returning from a family trip to Ireland, and that handwritten letter was signed "Bart."
There it is. In his own handwriting. And so, no, we don`t have to ask Mark Judge if Brett was Bart because Brett put it in writing. His own handwriting.
What if Senator Leahy had this letter in his hands when he was asking Brett Kavanaugh, were you Bart? Five days after Pat Leahy asked that question, this letter has surfaced, five days. That is why Mitch McConnell wanted the vote last week. That is why Mitch McConnell wanted the vote yesterday. That is why Mitch McConnell wants the vote as fast as possible because every single day, something new comes out that shows Brett Kavanaugh was not telling the truth in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was provably not telling the truth about his own drinking.
And when he was in high school, Bart Kavanaugh was not so reluctant to describe his drinking, not as reluctant as he was under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee because right under Bart`s signature in that handwritten letter is a P.S., and in that P.S., he says, it would be a good idea to, quote, warn the neighbors that we`re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Bart Kavanaugh could have said under oath last week that when he was in high school, oh, yeah, by the way, they called me Bart and I was a loud obnoxious drunk, but never raped anyone.
Most loud obnoxious drunks never rape anyone. We all know plenty of loud obnoxious drunks in high school who never attempted to rape anyone. But Brett Kavanaugh, for some strange reason, is afraid to tell us the truth about his drinking.
And the trouble is he was under oath when he was supposed to be telling us the truth about his drinking. And now, he wants to be a Supreme Court justice where he will have to rule on perjury cases. He will have to rule on cases involving people who lied to the FBI.
Brett Kavanaugh told the country under oath that he was a harmless beer drinker in high school and college. He said he was a legal beer drinker in his senior year in high school because the drinking age was 18, and every bit of that has been proven to be a lie. Brett Kavanaugh never had a legal drink until he was 21. The drinking age in Maryland was not 18 when Brett Kavanaugh was a senior in high school.
Witnesses to Brett Kavanaugh`s drinking in high school and college agree with Brett Kavanaugh that Brett Kavanaugh was a loud obnoxious drunk and a prolific puker, as he put it in his own words, in writing, in high school, in that letter that we just saw.
And the only reason we`re talking about any of this now is that Brett Kavanaugh lied about it under oath last week and we don`t know why he lied about it, because Bart Kavanaugh`s high school drinking and Brett Kavanaugh`s college drinking wasn`t anything terribly strange. We all know guys who drank like that in high school and in college. I had friends who drank much more than that in high school, including one dear friend who drank himself to death in his 30s. And he started in high school like Brett Kavanaugh.
Drinking and raping are two very different things, but does Brett Kavanaugh think they`re the same thing? Does Brett Kavanaugh think they go together?
Why would he think that? Why does Brett Kavanaugh feel so guilty about his drinking that he`s willing to run the risk of lying about it under oath? You`ll notice that he was not willing to run the risk of lying to Senator Leahy and say, no, he was not Bart, because he knew there were dozens of witnesses from his high school who can testify that, oh, yes, he was Bart when he was in high school. And some of those witnesses have told that to "The New York Times" now, and "The New York Times" has Bart`s signature in writing.
And so, Brett Kavanaugh was alert enough to not perjure himself when answering the question, were you Bart? He just refused to answer it. Something he could never get away with in a courtroom, but something he could get away with again and again in that hearing room because the hearing room is not a courtroom. It does not use the rules of a courtroom.
But now, Republicans want to use the standard of a criminal courtroom to decide the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. They want to say that if you cannot prosecute a criminal case of rape against Brett Kavanaugh, then he should be a Supreme Court justice, even if there are very strong credible accusations that Brett Kavanaugh did commit the attempted rape of Dr. Ford and did commit a sexual assault against Deborah Ramirez at Yale.
The FBI has been ordered to rush its new investigation of Brett Kavanaugh. We don`t know if the FBI would have found Bart Kavanaugh`s handwritten high school letter if "The New York Times" didn`t find it for them today. We might never know what the FBI has found because normally FBI background reports on nominees are not made public. And that is the plan for this new FBI report on Brett Kavanaugh, 100 senators can read it and no one else.
"The New York Times" is reporting that the FBI report could be completed as early as tomorrow, and Mitch McConnell is still promising a vote this week, at least a procedural vote this week and every day matters for Mitch McConnell because every day is another day when we might learn something more damaging about Bart.
After a break, we`ll have more on the Kavanaugh confirmation with Jill Wine-Banks, Dahlia Lithwick and Lisa Graves.
O`DONNELL: Here is the question of the day in the United States Senate about Brett Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can I ask you if it turns out Kavanaugh lied about any --
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: That finishes everything.
REPORTER: Does it?
MANCHIN: If they can corroborate and there`s lying, I think everyone said that. Democrats, Republicans, even the president. So, I don`t think that`s a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Jill Wine-Banks former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and MSNBC legal contributor, Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate.com, and Lisa Graves, the former chief council nominations for the Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee and former assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice.
Dahlia, it sounds so simple if he lied, that`s the end of it. But isn`t there going to be a big fight about when is a lie a lie? What is a lie? How big does the lie have to be?
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR AND LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: And how are we going to know if he lied, if we can`t even figure out what this report is?
O`DONNELL: Doesn`t the FBI have to declare it a lie?
LITHWICK: One would think. We`ve been saying -- I mean, Lisa Graves has been saying for weeks and weeks, way back when we went to the Manuel Miranda (ph) documents, there were absolutely untruthful statements said under oath. It could be over. We wouldn`t even have to get to what happened last week.
But I think, yes, now we`re parsing, you know, it`s okay to lie about beer. And I guess it`s OK to lie about words in the high school yearbook. It`s not clear to me which lies are going to be disqualifying and I don`t know how we`re going to find out.
O`DONNELL: Jill, the senators are very careful not to agree that anything they`ve heard is a lie. That is to say, the under decided senators. They say lying is absolutely unacceptable and that will decide their vote if there was a lie, but then they won`t entertain any discussion of all the -- what are already provable lies that Brett Kavanaugh has told.
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: You have said it absolutely correctly because the lies are in plain sight. Anyone who has read an urban dictionary knows that the words that he defined are lies. Anyone who has listen to all of the witnesses who have come forward to testify to how drunk he has been and how frequently he drank will know that his testimony about his drinking and his insulting senators in the course of sort of evading the answers will know.
And anyone who saw his behavior as he proceeded on Thursday last week will know that he is not fit to sit on the Supreme Court. And so, it`s hard for me to imagine how someone who is undecided could possibly think that this is an appropriate choice.
The president has the right to someone who shares his viewpoints. Elections have consequences. So he gets to pick a conservative judge. But he does not get to pick someone who lies to the Senate, someone who has a long history of misbehavior in high school and college, and if the FBI weren`t handcuffed, they might also find that it continued well on into adulthood.
So I think we have a serious problem here and that the FBI investigation is never going to be complete under the current terms. It`s just not fair.
O`DONNELL: And, Lisa, it`s certainly -- with Kavanaugh defenders in the senate, they simply say that any discussion -- anything he says about drinking is off limits, it`s not to be even considered whether it`s true or false because there shouldn`t be a discussion of what they call high school drinking.
But the undecided senators, Senator Flake, Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, aren`t they going to have to say publicly what they think the truth is and what they think a lie is?
LISA GRAVES, FORMER STAFFER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think they are. And in this situation, you have someone in Brett Kavanaugh who has lied under oath. He`s misled the Senate. I believe he did it in 2004, 2006, the beginning of September, and last week.
And it`s one thing for a politician to lie. We clearly have someone in the White House who doesn`t hesitate to lie. But it`s another thing to lie under oath.
That oath is a vow. It`s actually sacred in our history. It means something. And you don`t get a free bee online just because it`s about drinking or about sex.
If you`re under oath, you have an obligation to tell the truth. It should mean something to the Senate or the Senate is just a whisper of what its role is supposed to be in our Constitution. To lie to the United States Senate under oath, to do so repeatedly as Kavanaugh has, as you have pointed out in so many ways, is contemptuous of the law, of the law that this man is being entrusted with to uphold and apply if he is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It`s dishonorable what he`s done. It`s unacceptable. And I think those senators are going to have to account for their vote. And there could be some hard accounting if they allow this man who has been so credibly accused through compelling testimony of attempted sexual assault, as well as lying, if they allow him on the court, there will be an accounting by the people of this country, and it will be a hard rain in the words of Bob Dylan that`s going to fall.
O`DONNELL: And, Dahlia, if you sat through many confirmation hearings like you have and I know Lisa has, it is shocking that the recklessness with which Brett Kavanaugh dealt with these questions under oath. He knew he was under oath and he knows the meaning of being under oath. And so, it`s -- so you have to wonder, what is it about drinking that he is so afraid of us discovering about him?
I mean, his drinking to me was a very normal kind of high school behavior. The drinking part of it I understand completely. I saw that every weekend of my life in high school and in college. I get that.
What is he so afraid of in that truth about his drinking?
LITHWICK: Well, I think probably if you triangulate back to the moment he snapped at senator Klobuchar and that she was asking, did you ever black out, and I think that the way you could conceivably reconcile the fact that he has no memory of this that affronts him that we`re talking about it is if he really did get so drunk that he simply doesn`t remember. And the way he`s cabined that story is to say, I never once in my life got that drunk. In fact, Senator Klobuchar, the fact you have the temerity to ask me that is, you know, a cardinal sin.
So I think the way in some sense the story works is if she`s credible, it could be that he simply doesn`t remember and he can`t answer questions about if he ever got into that state because then he`s really in trouble and I think that`s why he`s on a hair trigger about that issue. It`s entirely plausible there was an amazing piece in "the New York Times" in the last couple of days that black out drinkers don`t always know they`re blacked out and they can walk around and be black out drinkers.
But to just say I can`t discuss it, it`s not even possible, did you ever black out, Amy Klobuchar, is a way to saying this is off the table.
O`DONNELL: Jill, how would you advise senators on evaluating what kind of lie matters?
WINE-BANKS: Well, the first thing is I think it`s really absurd that we`re at a situation of saying, which lie is bad enough? When we have to admit that these are all lies, and that a lie under oath always matters.
So, to me, the answer is obvious. I would say to any senator that the fact that he has told a lie under oath disqualifies him completely and that it`s only a matter of what has happened to this country under the presidency of Donald Trump that we could even be debating whether it matters or not. And it isn`t the drinking. It`s much like Watergate. It`s the cover up.
The lies that he`s telling are covering up his past behavior. And who knows? Maybe he`s actually, if I`m being cynical, he`s afraid not just of what it will uncover about his possibly blacking out -- and I definitely agree with Lisa on that, it could be that, but it could also be that he still is drinking and he doesn`t want anyone to know about that, so he wants to cut off all investigation of his drinking.
And it`s just -- it`s wrong because these are things that cannot be allowed. And we should not be considering someone for a justice of the United States Supreme Court who has behaved in this manner and who is telling untruths about it. And he`s told so many, not just about his drinking, but about other things as well.
So, these are serious issues that need to be considered by the senators who are at least being willing to wait until the FBI finishes. But if the FBI can`t investigate this subject, we`re really in trouble.
O`DONNELL: And, Lisa, the Republican prosecutor who was in the hearing room and other Republicans talking about Dr. Ford`s testimony want to make a big deal about the fact that she said under oath that she has a fear of flying, and that she also sometimes gets on airplanes.
GRAVES: Well, I think that`s much ado about nothing. I have a lot of friends who are afraid to fly. They actually have some wine when they do fly to calm their nerves. But they try to avoid flying if possible. And they certainly wouldn`t want to fly, I would imagine, in Dr. Ford`s shoes while she`s facing death threats and relocating her family and being called to fly in command out to Washington if that is in fact the case.
But the reality is, is that I don`t think that is even proven in terms of her testimony. But what is proven is that Brett Kavanaugh`s statements have been contradicted over and over and over by actual documentary evidence. And we have now a situation where journalists are basically doing the work of the FBI that I fear the FBI may not be doing. And I applaud those journalists. But the truth will come out whether the FBI lets it out or not.
O`DONNELL: And my point about fear of flying is that it`s an immaterial part of the testimony that Republicans are all excited about and drunkenness by Brett Kavanaugh is a highly material part of the testimony that Republicans want to ignore.
We`re going to take a break here. Jill Wine-Banks, Lisa Graves, Dahlia Lithwick, thanks for starting us off.
When we come back, we`re going to have more on Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation and the FBI investigation that is going on now.
And we`re going to have a lot more on this stunning "New York Times" investigation, one of the longest pieces ever published by "The New York Times" about how the Trump family, Donald Trump`s mother, Donald Trump`s father, Donald Trump`s brother and sister, Donald Trump himself have all been party to tax fraud in building Donald Trump`s personal wealth.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is finally really upset about police use of deadly force against unarmed black men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I say that it`s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very -- this is a very difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No, he wasn`t talking about America`s enduring problem of police use of deadly force against unarmed black men. He was talking about himself and people he knows, like Brett Kavanaugh who get accused of sexual assault. Of course, the big difference between Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh is that Donald Trump has actually admitted that he is a sexual assaulter and he has described exactly the way he likes to grab women when he first meets them and assaults them.
So, why is it so scary for young men in America who might be accused of sexual assault when they see this is the country where you can still grow up to be president even if you are very credibly accused of sexual assault and even if you actually admit to it yourself?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something. Doesn`t necessarily have to be a woman as everybody says but somebody could accuse you of something and you`re automatically guilty. But in this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent. That is one of the very, very bad things that`s taking place right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now Jason Johnson, politics editor at theroot.com, an MSNBC contributor and Dahlia Lithwick is back with us.
And so, Jason, Donald Trump doesn`t see any of this as a teachable moment for the men of America, doesn`t see it as a teachable moment for his young son.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: Of course not because the president is a living example that you can be abusive, you can be verbally abusive to women, you can be physically abusive to women, you can be professionally abusive to women, you can be sexually abusive to women, and 53 percent of white women in America will still vote for you. That is what is he`s operating under.
And I think we need to talk about the fact that for every horrible rented thing that the president says in support of misogynistic and violent men, there are women in this country who are just as invested in that kind of patriarchy. And we have to address that as well because that is part of why men like Brett Kavanaugh have been able to skirt through in their lives, men like Donald Trump have been able to get through in their lives because there are also women that support them in this kind of behavior.
O`DONNELL: And Dahlia, it wouldn`t occur to Donald Trump just how scary the world has been, a world that has a crime called rape, that has an attack on a human being called rape, and that`s never crossed Donald Trump`s mind of what it`s like to live with that.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR & LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: It is an extraordinary lesson. First of all, the rule of Trump is, but enough about Kavanaugh, let`s talk about me, right? And immediately the narcissism kicks in and now we`re talking about him. It is an extraordinary moment if you have lived the week this country has lived where, I`m sure it`s happened to you, women I`ve known for decades are coming out and saying, "I`m now coming forward. This is killing me. I`m going to tell my truth."
And we`ve seen that explode into reality and an amazing "Washington Post" story today about why women don`t tell their fathers. And for Donald Trump to be wearing the Donald Trump Roy Moore Rob Porter headphones that are just like that poor guy, you know, all of the reality that has been materially true in a way this week that I`ve never seen, that that just eludes him completely because all he can think about is that this one in four, one in three women who are reporting sexual assault are all lying to set up men and maybe extract money.
O`DONNELL: And Jason, it is even more perverse than that with Donald Trump. He had a bunch of Republicans in the Rose Garden the other day for this discussion about trade. And he pointed to them and said, there are stories about every one of them. He -- except Mike Pence. He said, there are stories about every one of them that Donald Trump has heard. He`s lying, of course. He`s making that up.
But those buffoons, those Republican buffoons sat there and laughed and clapped when Donald Trump accused every one of them of being at least as guilty as Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
JOHNSON: Well, we hope he was kidding, right? I mean we don`t know what the president might know.
O`DONNELL: Well, he doesn`t know anything. It was like all Trump accusations. It`s based on absolutely nothing. Whether he --
O`DONNELL: -- coincidentally was correct about some of them is another matter.
JOHNSON: Right. I think, though -- and Lawrence, you point out the most dangerous thing about this, is that they all laughed. That they cosigned this kind of abusive behavior. That he`s surrounded by that kind of locker room talk that allows this president to feel that this is OK.
And I think one of the most disturbing things that we`ve seen, above and beyond the possibility of Brett Kavanaugh getting on the Supreme Court after all of this is to see an entire political party basically gaslight sexual violence survivors in this country for seven days. I have heard so many people, men and women in my life, talk about how this is traumatizing to watch.
And to see a president of the United States mock and defend this man, a man who arguably hasn`t done a good job of defending himself, Brett Kavanaugh, is doing so much damage to the mental and emotional state of this country. It is an embarrassment. I hope that anybody, any of these Republican Senators and certainly some of this wavering Democrats if they watch this president`s behavior, they watch rally tonight, they should be ashamed of themselves if they can still vote for Brett Kavanaugh or Bart Kavanaugh.
O`DONNELL: And Dahlia, my parents and the nuns who had me in elementary school scared me very clearly about my capacity as a child, to do something that I would regret for the rest of my life, to do something that would haunt me for the rest of my life, and my decision upon learning that was to not do anything like that. I didn`t live in some terror that I might.
LITHWICK: I have twin and teenage boys and I think that we have, as a country, done such extraordinary work in the last few years trying to explain to them about consent and about alcohol and about confusion and mixed signals. And Donald Trump gets a whole bunch of people in Mississippi chanting "Lock her up" about Christine Blasey Ford who did nothing other than come forward and tell, to the best of her recollection, the truth.
And the idea that we can set this back, that we can, in fact, say not just watch what you do because you can hurt someone, I like to think we`re still communicating that to our children. But that if you are a victim of something that was confusing and unclear and embarrassing and filled with laughter by the perpetrators, and you come forward, a whole bunch of people in Mississippi are going to chant, "Lock her up." You keep thinking it`s rock bottom and then there`s a basement.
O`DONNELL: Mississippi holding on to its place in the traditional very, very darkest corners of American culture.
Jason Johnson, Dahlia Lithwick, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
When we come back, "The New York Times" investigation, one of the longest investigations they`ve ever published reveals that Donald Trump fraudulently obtained his wealth through fraudulent tax violations that he and his father and his mother participated in.
O`DONNELL: One of the lawyers of President Trump hired for the Stormy Daniels case is Charles Harder who specializes in suing for libel. Charles Harder threatened "The New York Times" on behalf of Donald Trump saying, "Should The Times state or imply that President Trump participated in fraud, tax evasion, or any other crime, it will be exposing itself to substantial liability and damages for defamation."
And so, of course, "The New York Times" ignored that threat and has both stated and implied that President Trump did indeed participate in tax fraud in one of the longest investigative articles ever published by "The New York Times." Tonight, "The Times" reports President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents.
"The Times" piece based on confidential tax returns and financial records paint the clearest picture yet of the financial history of the guy who calls himself the king of debt. Mr. Trump received the equivalent today -- received what is the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father`s real estate empire starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.
Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents` real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.
"The New York Times" reveals that both father and son engaged in schemes to deceive the IRS including manipulating stated values on their real estate properties. "The Times" reports that Donald Trump`s wealth is almost entirely derived from his father`s wealth. Donald Trump is not a self-made man in any way. Donald Trump`s father used his real estate empire to create 295 revenue streams for his then five children making Donald Trump a millionaire by the age of eight.
And "The Times" details how Donald Trump`s father continued to bail out Donald Trump`s failing business ventures to avoid defaulting on his debts. CNBC has learned that New York State Tax officials are now investigating the fraud allegations made in this " New York Times" report.
Joining our discussion now, David Cay Johnston, author of the Making of Donald Trump and Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist who founded dcreport.org.
David, this takes you back to your days as a "New York Times" tax reporter. This is the kind of forensic work you`ve done before. What do you make of "The Times" report? What do you think are the most damaging elements of it?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, IT`S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THINK: This is a masterful piece where over a hundred thousand documents were somehow obtained by "The Times." Now, they`re not current. They`re apparently mostly from the `70s, `80s, and `90s but what they show is that Donald Trump is a serial tax cheat.
Under the law, if you do something one time, it`s not a crime but they did it over and over and over and over again. They even cheated poor people. They quote testimony by Robert Trump about how they inflated the prices paid for refrigerators and stoves in rent-controlled apartments and marked it up so that they could cheat poor people by making them pay more in rent. You can dislike rent control laws but there`s no moral person who steals from the poor but the Trumps see nothing wrong with this.
And these deals are egregiously large in their size. In some cases, they told the tax Authorities that properties were valued at six percent of their actual value, six percent, 94 percent discount.
O`DONNELL: And, David, what are the possible criminal implications that the New York State attorney general could be looking at here?
JOHNSTON: Well, criminal charges from the data in "The New York Times" are not likely. There is a six-year statute of limitations both federal and state. There are some exceptions, but I don`t think we`re going to see that. There is no, however, statute of limitations on civil fraud and there is no reason for the State of New York and the federal government to do anything except go after Donald Trump and his siblings for tax cheating.
And let`s keep in mind, Donald`s sister, Maryanne Trump Berry is a sitting judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She`s a senior judge. I tweeted today that I think she should immediately remove herself from the bench. We should not have a tax cheat in the White House or on the federal bench.
O`DONNELL: Because what`s very clear here is that Donald Trump and all of his siblings were clearly hands-on involved in this fraud.
JOHNSTON: Yes. Robert especially was assigned many of the details. They, as has long been suspected, got Fred Trump when he was not very compassed to sign some key papers. And this s is a pattern of behavior that goes way back to when Fred Trump was a very active businessman ripping off the taxpayers in the 1950s.
Remember, Eisenhower threw a fit in the oval office when he found out that Fred Trump was stealing from programs to help returning GIs from World War II. And the family members all were involved in this one way or another, but particularly Donald and Robert.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Donald Trump`s own explanation of how he got rich and how much he got from his father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. And, you know, I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came to Manhattan and I had to pay him back. And I had to pay him back with interest.
My father gave me a very small loan in 1975 and I built it into a company that`s worth many, many billions of dollars with some of the greatest assets in the world. And I say that only because that`s the kind of thinking that our country needs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And David, we now know his father had given him over a million dollars by the time he was 8-years-old.
JOHNSTON: Yes. And there are so many lies there. We could have a whole hour show on this.
O`DONNELL: Take your time, David.
JOHNSTON: But the single biggest fact the public hasn`t grasped, Donald the candidate told everybody he was worth more than $10 billion. Donald the President filed a statement that showed $1.4 billion. So nearly 90 percent of the wealthy claims the candidate disappeared. And I`ve shown and others have that the financial statement he filed is grossly misleading. It overstates assets left and right.
He is not required, as he himself said in 2015, to report all of his debts. There is not now and there never has been a scintilla of verifiable evidence that Donald Trump is or ever was a billionaire. He`s not a businessman. He`s a cash extractor. His father made a fortune.
Donald has been spending it, sucking money out of deals, leaving businesses in the wake where workers are unpaid, including people who are the country without permission, where vendors aren`t paid and they have to layoff workers, their businesses are sometimes destroyed. And the only known case of cheating a customer at a casino in Atlantic City was at Trump`s castle.
O`DONNELL: And, you know, David, all of this are included in all the reasons that I believe Donald Trump would never run for president because I believed all of this would come out. It`s coming out a lot slower than I had expected and hoped it would, I guess.
David Cay Johnston, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
And we have some breaking news tonight, the latest about the Kavanaugh FBI investigation next.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news on the FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh. "The Washington Post" is reporting tonight that the FBI has interviewed some high school friends of Brett Kavanaugh, including Chris Garrett, who dated Christine Blasey Ford in high school and Tim Gaudette whose house was the location of a July 1, 1982 party that Kavanaugh references on his high school calendar.
"Washington Post" investigative reporter Carol Leonnig co-wrote this article and joins us now by phone. Carol, what are the main points that we`re learning tonight about the FBI investigation?
CAROL LEONNIG, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Well, Lawrence, I think the most important things we`re learning are that actually, the FBI is doing what it does best, which is going beyond what is sort of the boilerplate and asking other questions of other people, other witnesses who haven`t been identified here before.
The most important of them, you`ve just mentioned, Tim Gaudette, who had a home where we believe one of the Kavanaugh-attended parties of most interest was mentioned, and then also Chris Garrett who -- Dr. Ford who alleged Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. She has assiduously avoided mentioning his name but he`s a person that she dated and a person that people who are close to Kavanaugh alleged is likely the person that she really is referring to.
And what`s interesting about that is we haven`t heard from either of those people. We haven`t known what is their account of what happened, gosh, 35 years ago.
O`DONNELL: And Carol, you have reporting tonight that the FBI is very concerned with how this investigation is going to look After the fact because they assume their investigation will be investigated by Congress, particularly if the Democrats win control of the House or the Senate?
LEONNIG: Absolutely. They want to be, like, clean as a whistle, that none of what they have done appears to be steered or managed, stage-managed, if you will, by President Trump. Because President Trump is the client here. The White House is the decider in the nomination about whether or not they want to know certain things about a nominee.
A background investigation is normally a very classic, typical routine event. Junior agents go out and they ask questions and find out, is this person someone we want to trust with a very secure set of secrets of the U.S. government in the course of his job or her job? But in this case, the stakes couldn`t be higher. It couldn`t be more abnormal.
And so this background investigation is a hyper-partisan one and the FBI does not want to be accused come November 10 after the election, presume for a moment that Democrats take the House, they do not want to be accused at that moment of having somehow tilted the scales here, somehow have conducted an investigation that led toward -- tilting things towards Brett Kavanaugh.
O`DONNELL: Carol Leonnig, thank you for your breaking news tonight. I appreciate it.
That is tonight`s last word. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.
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