Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 31, 2018 Guest: Stuart Stevens, Tasha Nelson
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Let me guess. That`s -- that looks like Rachel Maddow, right?
O`DONNELL: That looks like -- how am I doing on the anchorman thing tonight, Rachel?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Pretty good. You`ve got the gravitas thing. You`ve got the chiseled jaw.
O`DONNELL: I`ve got to say, the whole gravitas thing with anchorman has been seriously undermined by the simple fact that the occupation anchorman is played in the movies by Will Ferrell. And I`m sorry, but gravitas is not the Ferrell brand. It is --
MADDOW: Well --
O`DONNELL: It`s not.
MADDOW: It`s an off -- well, no. OK. That`s fair enough.
But I think, you know, when it comes to like middle-aged, potbellied, overworked lesbian cable news host, I defy anybody -- I defy anybody to be this costume.
O`DONNELL: I thought I was at the end of that sentence that began with middle-aged potbelly. I -- whoa, Rachel, I thought how can she be so hurtful on Halloween?
So, hey, Rachel, where`s the party? Where are you off to? Where am I meeting you after 11:00?
MADDOW: I`ll send you an e-mail.
O`DONNELL: Text me.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Ah, Halloween, it`s unlike any other night around here. And this one is like any other Halloween for Donald Trump before in his life because on this Halloween, Donald Trump is running scared. Donald Trump has plenty to be scared about. And so he is running scared, with a hugely successful prosecutor investigating him.
Robert Mueller`s batting average as a special prosecutor is 1,000. Every single person Robert Mueller has charged with crimes has pleaded guilty or been found guilty or, in the case of Paul Manafort, both found guilty and pleaded guilty. The only defendants Robert Mueller has charged who are not now under his control are in Russia, the Russian military officers who Vladimir Putin ordered to attack our democracy by attacking our 2016 presidential election in what Robert Mueller says was a conspiracy against the United States of America to benefit the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. That is plenty to be worried about right now for Donald Trump.
With Donald Trump already an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal case in Manhattan that Robert Mueller started and then sent up to the federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who got guilty pleas from Donald Trump`s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who knows an awful lot about Donald Trump, and he`s telling all of it to federal prosecutors. So Donald Trump has a lot to be scared of.
Donald Trump should also be scared about New York state prosecutors who are investigating him and his family as possible partners in crime. But Donald Trump has something else to be scared of this week, something even more immediate than a special prosecutor bearing down on him every day. Donald Trump is obviously scared of who is going to be in charge of the impeachment process in the House of Representatives after next Tuesday`s election. And at this time, at this time on Wednesday night next week, we will know.
And Donald Trump will know. And are the Democrats going to be in control of the impeachment process if Robert Mueller delivers a report to Congress showing that President Trump has committed impeachable crimes? We will know the answer to that at this time next week.
If the Democrats win the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, Donald Trump is going to be more terrified than he has ever been in his life, and Robert Mueller is going to be instantly more empowered knowing that a Democratic House of Representatives will not ignore his report the way a Republican House of Representatives would try to and probably succeed in ignoring it.
And today we learned more about the roadmap of Robert Mueller`s investigation that we will discuss later in this hour, including the possibility that the president of the United States is already under subpoena by the special prosecutor and is secretly fighting that subpoena in court. We will get to that later. There is something else at stake in next week`s election for Donald Trump and the country, and this one -- this one`s huge. It`s the thing that is always at stake in our elections, but Donald Trump doesn`t care about this one nearly as much as he cares about what the election means for the investigations of Donald Trump and his family.
That other thing that is at stake is nothing less than the governing of the United States of America. If the Democrats win the House of Representatives, Donald Trump will no longer be in control of the federal government. Donald Trump will no longer be able to pass a single piece of legislation through the House of Representatives, not one. And that means no legislation in the United States Senate, even if it is controlled by the Republicans, will ever become law because it won`t be able to get through the House of Representatives.
All Trump dreams of passing any legislation die on Tuesday night if the Democrats win the House of Representatives. If the Republicans manage to hold on to control of the Senate, they will still be able to squeak through Trump confirmations, but they won`t be so eager to do that because they will have seen how Donald Trump lost the House of Representatives for Republicans, and the surviving Republicans in the Senate will know that they`re next in the 2020 elections because many more vulnerable Republicans will be up for re-election in the Senate then.
And so, if the Democrats win the House of Representatives, which is something that probably won`t be decided until the final votes are counted in the California congressional districts late Tuesday night, then everything changes. Everything changes in the life of Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is scared of every one of those changes. And that`s why Donald Trump is running scared this week.
Donald Trump is running scared as a campaigner desperately trying to re- elect a Republican House of Representatives and a Republican Senate because he knows his own political future depends on it. Not just his political future, his future as an unindicted co-conspirator, his future as possibly the next impeached president of the United States. Everything is riding on Tuesday`s vote for Donald Trump, and that is why he is running scared, and running scared means trying to make his voters scared.
Donald Trump was supposed to be out there now urging his voters to not get tired of winning. They were going to get so tired of winning. All of Donald Trump`s big wins. Donald Trump promised his voters that they were going to get tired of winning because they were going to win the fight to reduce and eliminate our national debt. The $19 trillion national debt that Donald Trump talked about in every appearance as a candidate for president is now over $21 trillion because Donald Trump has not decreased the national debt, not one penny.
Instead, Donald Trump has created, through his tax cuts for the super rich, the single biggest one-year increase in the national debt in history. And Donald Trump was the self-proclaimed king of debt in his businesses. He warned us. He loved not paying those debts.
And now, he is the king of debt in government, and he`s not going to pay those debts either. Taxpayers are eventually going to pay those debts, and that doesn`t feel like winning for Trump voters. And so, Donald Trump can`t talk about the national debt now, not one word about it. And Donald Trump does not campaign as the triumphant winner of a giant tax cut for the super rich because most of Donald Trump`s supporters didn`t get in on that tax cut. They can`t feel it. And for many of them, it was actually a huge tax increase, in many cases, the biggest tax increase of their lives.
If you`re a middle class homeowner in New Jersey, in New York, in California, and many other states where your financial planning has always depended on the deductibility of state income taxes and property taxes, you can no longer do that. You don`t have those deductions anymore. Donald Trump took that away.
And the loss of those deductions means an increase in your annual tax bill of tens of thousands of dollars. And if you`re one of America`s regular rich people like, you know, a millionaire, a person who makes a million or a couple of million dollars a year, you got a huge tax increase of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because of what Donald Trump did to the deductibility of state income taxes and property taxes. That`s why I never call the Trump tax cut a tax cut for the rich. It was a tax increase for the rich and a tax cut only for the super rich.
And the super rich do not show up for Trump rallies. They just whisper what they want directly to Donald Trump on the phone late at night, that unsecured iPhone that Donald Trump likes to use to talk to his super rich friends while the Chinese and the Russians and any foreign intelligence agency that wants to can listen in. The Trump victims who are sitting there at the Trump rallies in their red hats, having gotten nothing from the Trump government do not feel like they are winning, and Donald Trump knows that.
And so because he can`t make them feel like they are winning, he needs to make them feel scared. That`s the play Donald Trump sitting there at the Trump rallies in their red hats, having gotten nothing from the Trump government do not feel like they are winning, and Donald Trump knows that. And so because he can`t make them feel like they are winning, he needs to make them feel scared. That`s the play Donald Trump knows how to run. Make them feel scared. The Mexicans are coming and they`re rapists.
That was his very first message to the very first voters who listened to him on his very first day as a presidential candidate. And now they`re coming again. They`re coming in what Donald Trump calls an invasion of our southern border.
Never mind that the people walking toward our southern border have no military equipment for this invasion. Never mind that some of them are barefoot. Some of them can`t walk because they`re babies and they haven`t learned to walk yet. Some are toddlers. Some are grandparents. Some are nursing mothers.
Donald Trump convinced a mass murderer in Pennsylvania that all of those people are dangerous invaders, all of them -- the babies, the toddlers, the mothers, the grandmothers. Donald Trump convinced a mass murder in Pennsylvania that they had to be stopped. And the mass murderer`s idea about how to stop it was to go into a synagogue and kill Jews.
As he was firing his assault weapon, he screamed "all Jews must die." he didn`t get all Jews, but he got all he could -- 11. And while he was at it, he wounded four police officers. And the mass murderer did that, did all of that because Donald Trump told him there was an invasion coming, and it had to be stopped. That`s what the mass murderer said on social media before going into the synagogue.
Donald Trump got that Pennsylvania voter scared, really scared. Voting wasn`t good enough for him anymore. He was so scared he had to kill. He didn`t go into the synagogue because he was tired of winning. He went into the synagogue because of what Donald Trump called an invasion, an invasion.
Donald Trump decided he needed to come up with something other than the word invasion after the mass murder of Jews in Pittsburgh, and so he turned to the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship and pretended that it is not written irrevocably into the United States Constitution.
And some of the news media fell for that and helped him deliver that lie directly to his voters, that Donald Trump with the stroke of a pen can get rid of a provision of the United States Constitution. It is an out and out lie told by a man who is running scared -- running scared about what happens to him when the votes are counted on Tuesday night, especially those final votes in California that will determine who will control the House of Representatives.
And now, Donald Trump is adding another lie to his big invasion lie because Donald Trump`s voters don`t feel like they`re winning. And the new lie is that he is going to send 5,000 troops to the southern border to stop the invasion. But the Trump voters don`t know that federal law prevents the U.S. military from enforcing domestic law on U.S. soil. And, yes, they`re going to stand on U.S. soil if they go down there, where they will not be able to do anything.
Military can`t do any law enforcement inside the United States. That`s why we have and pay for 17,000 police departments in this country. That`s why we have federal law enforcement agents. The United States military is not allowed to do the job of domestic law enforcement, and so Donald Trump will waste $50 million, $100 million to send a group of unarmed U.S. soldiers to the southern border to do nothing because they are legally prevented from doing anything.
If Donald Trump follows through on this political stunt, it would be a group of soldiers smaller than half, way less than half of the Chicago Police Department. And the territory that they are supposed to cover is a lot bigger than Chicago, over 2,000 miles of terrain that is very difficult to patrol, and they won`t be allowed to use their weapons in any way, for any purpose. They won`t be allowed to do anything if they are sent to the southern border for that stunt.
Donald Trump is hoping that that stunt will feel like winning for Trump voters because Trump voters know they certainly aren`t winning the wall that Donald Trump promised them. Trump voters know they didn`t win the money to build the wall from Mexico. He promised them Mexico would pay for the wall. He led them in chants that Mexico would pay for the wall, and Mexico is not paying a penny. And that sure doesn`t feel like winning.
And Donald Trump has not gotten a penny out of a Republican-controlled Congress to build one foot of the new Trump wall, not one foot of Trump wall. And that doesn`t feel like winning for Trump voters. And so there`s not a word at Trump rallies now about Mexico paying for the wall.
Those people in the red hats are not tired of winning. And so Donald Trump has to keep them scared. And if that means we see the words and ideas of Donald Trump in another mass murderer`s final social media posting before going in for the kill, then that`s the price Donald Trump seems willing to pay for keeping his voters scared. Have we now seen America`s last mass murderer to use Donald Trump`s language and ideas in his final social media posting before he kills as the mass murderer in Pittsburgh did? We don`t know.
But we do know tonight that no matter how scared Donald Trump gets, his sane supporters -- most of his supporters, no matter how scared he gets them to feel tonight, none of them, not one of them are as scared as Donald Trump, who is running scared. More scared than he has ever been in his life.
Joining our discussion now, Stuart Stephens, Republican political consultant. He served as the chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s 2012 presidential campaign. And Jason Johnson, the politics editor at theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Jason, my -- what I`m seeing is that the Trump voters have no reason to feel tired of winning. And so Donald Trump wants to give them that other feeling, which is scared, which is terror, which is fear of what`s happening out there. That`s what he believes he activated them with in the beginning of his presidential campaign, and that`s what he needs them to feel now.
JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM: Right. And if you`re running for president of the United States, making people afraid works perfectly fine. But if you`re trying to galvanize people at the state by state level, it doesn`t work that way. I don`t know if when the president shows up in Cleveland next week and he tries to tell them there`s a horrible caravan of barefoot women and children seeking asylum in the United States, if that`s necessarily going to help Mike DeWine. I don`t know if when he goes down to Florida and pulls that same line, if that`s going to help Ron DeSantis.
I mean, the problem is the president of the United States only has one beat. He`s the guy who knows one chord on the guitar and that`s all he knows. If you can`t frighten people into voting for you, you have to actually offer something. And a president who is obsessed with his own ego and his own power and his own future never has anything to offer because he`s empty on the inside.
I predict this right now, Lawrence. The moment after the midterms end, if -- if the Democrats end up taking the House, in classic Donald Trump phraseology, he will come out and say, you know, a lot of people don`t know this, but the president usually does lose seats in his first midterm election. He will completely blame everybody else in history rather than take responsibility for the fact that he couldn`t frighten the American public into keeping his party in power.
O`DONNELL: Stuart, it seems like everything we`re hearing from Donald Trump about troops and birthright citizenship, these are all just stunts. They`re obvious stunts, and they are stunts being played in the last week of an election campaign. And I can`t see any other reason for them other than Donald Trump can`t think of anything else to say.
STUART STEVENS, ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT 2014 FORMER SENIOR STRATEGIST: Well, I think that`s true. The Donald Trump of 2016 was just a gateway drug to the Donald Trump of 2018.
STEVENS: Nothing has changed. I mean you and Jason both were right.
You know, as someone who has worked in Republican campaigns, it`s incredibly depressing because at the end, yes, campaigns get negative. They get nasty. And, yes, we can all admit honestly there`s some element to every campaign that is scaring the other side about the possibility. But there has to be some unifying theme that uplifts people, that makes people want to vote other than fear, or it is just incredibly a race to the bottom.
And I think it`s a very good point that was made about how is this going to help governors and these statewide offices out there that are just so important? They need somebody out there who is presenting a big picture that they can point to and say, we want to be like that. And I think there`s just a limited utility to trying to make everybody afraid of some folks walking around Mexico.
O`DONNELL: And, Stuart, as someone who has worked on Republican campaigns, when you see this kind of campaigning by the president at this stage of the campaign, does that tell you that the Republicans and the White House are reading this as a likely win for Democrats, and so that`s why we`re seeing this style of campaigning we`re seeing?
STEVENS: Well, guessing what the White House is thinking is probably always a loser`s game.
O`DONNELL: Thinking is a big word for what goes on in there, I guess.
STEVENS: You know, I just go back to Mark Cuban`s line, what was it? That Donald Trump is the guy at the bar at closing time that will say anything. And I think that`s what we`re seeing here.
It almost literally is throwing stuff up against a wall to see what sticks. I mean, to pull birthright citizenship out, it`s just really extraordinary. And to end up here you are, what, right before the election, and you`re in a fight with the speaker of the house. That`s just not any kind of unified, positive message that people can look to and feel good about the party.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Jason, when is the last time we saw a president trying to get his party re-elected to control the House of Representatives, and his party`s speaker of the house of representatives has to, in the final week of the campaign, publicly, sharply disagree with the president on a huge issue like birthright citizenship, and then the president fights back, spins a 24-hour news cycle in a fight with the Republican speaker, whose members he`s supposed to be trying to re-elect?
JOHNSON: Especially in a state where the Republican governor, Scott Walker, is in a tight race. And the president`s there, you know, insulting people like Paul Ryan.
I mean, there`s another element to this. Paul Ryan, because he knows he`s retiring, he`s not going to be held responsible for this. He`s the freest man in Washington, D.C. right now. He`s (INAUDIBLE) for himself because he knows he`s basically out of the job soon he doesn`t want to do this.
But what it reflects is that this president has never been -- he has always been overrated as a galvanizer. He is a great galvanizer of voters for him. He is not able to sprinkle that magic on anybody else.
I was just speaking to one of my colleagues in Cleveland. You know, Trump has sort of bogarted his way into giving a rally in Cleveland next week. Republicans there are terrified because they think if he shows up in Cleveland, it`s going to galvanize the urban voters to reminded, oh, my gosh, there`s a white nationalist here, I should probably get to the polls.
The president is -- he`s not just a bull in a china shop. He`s got muddy shoes on your couch everywhere he goes. And for some reason, he thinks he`s redesigning the room.
And that`s what Republicans are going to have to face because if they lose big next week, it is because of this president, not what they`re looking at the local level.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, quickly before we get on a break here, one of the strategic uses of a president is you use the president where he can help you, and you don`t send him anywhere where he can hurt you. That doesn`t seem to have been mastered by Trump world.
STEVENS: No. I think Donald Trump goes where he thinks he can get a crowd and he`ll enjoy it.
STEVENS: I don`t think it has any part of a larger strategy. This is about Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, Jason Johnson, thank you very much for starting us off tonight.
And when we come back, a woman who has been a Republican-leaning voter is not voting Republican this time because they have threatened to take away the health care that her 7-year-old son needs to live. She will tell her story here next.
And it is possible tonight that special counsel Robert Mueller has already subpoenaed the president of the United States, and that subpoena is being fought secretly. That report comes on a day when we have finally seen the roadmap of the special prosecutor in the Nixon -- what turned out to be the Nixon impeachment case. How will that roadmap guide Robert Mueller? All that`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Tasha Nelson (ph) describes her 7-year-old son Jack as a soccer-playing Cub Scout with a passion for science. He`s also a kid with what health insurance calls a pre-existing medical condition. He has cystic fibrosis.
When he was 3 years old, he was on 18 medications taking 38 pills a day. Now one of the 14 medications that Jack needs to live costs over $13,000 a year. Jack`s mom, Tasha Nelson, describes herself as a swing voter who leaned Republican. That was until the Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Tasha and her son Jack`s lives changed when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. She says, it wasn`t until the full protection of the ACA took effect in January of 2014 that I felt safe. For the first time since Jack was born, insurance companies couldn`t discriminate against him by withholding coverage. What my son truly needs are politicians who will commit to protecting access to health care for him and for everyone. Republicans now realize that ripping health insurance and health care away from kids like Jack is cruel and inhuman and, oh, by the way, a political loser.
And so, they are lying about what they have tried to do and what they want to do. And the worst pathological liar in the history of American politics tweeted this today. Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions far better than the Dems.
People with pre-existing conditions and moms with 7-year-old soccer-playing Cub Scouts with pre-existing conditions know better. They know the Republicans have tried to hurt them and believe they will try to hurt them again. And so in this election, they are literally fighting for their lives. And Tasha Nelson is fighting for the life of her son, Jack.
And joining us now is Tasha Nelson.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, and I`m very sorry that Jack has to endure what he`s had to endure medically and the chores that have landed on you as a mother and now also as someone who is trying to save the health care and health insurance system that you`re living under and that millions of other Americans are living under.
Tell us about how you`ve moved as a voter over time because of this issue.
TASHA NELSON, LITTLE LOBBYISTS: Well, I`ve always been what I consider a moderate. I have always voted dependent on issues important to me for whichever candidate was going the direction I felt was important at the time. As we age, as we grow, our issues change. Before I was a mother, I had a different set of concerns than I do now, for example.
And then last year, the ACA came under fire, and I realized that we could be essentially going back in time to the time when my son could be excluded from coverage so that insurers could profit.
O`DONNELL: And when the Republicans talk about any attempt they might make to preserve health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, they do not -- they do not make any attempt to control the cost of that health insurance. And so they would say to you, here is your health insurance for your son with pre-existing conditions, and it would not be of a concern to them if that health insurance policy cost $100,000 a year.
NELSON: Right. In addition, the Republican bill that`s on the Senate floor, the Tillis bill, it allows you to get a policy if you have a pre- existing condition. What it does not do is keep the insurer from charging you more for your policy or require them to cover the condition that you have. So you`ll be paying a higher premium at a ridiculous rate for an insurance that will not cover your diagnosis.
O`DONNELL: You know, I`m struck by what I`ve read about what Jack himself knows about his situation, and I see this note that we have that he wrote some of it in his own hand, and you helped by writing some of what he said in your hand. And this note was his, my health care wish for 2018. This is something he handed to a United States senator when you were visiting one of the Senate office buildings, and his health care wish for 2018 is simply, I don`t die. And then you asked him what he means and he said, I`m scared I`ll get super duper sick and go to the hospital and they will say I might die.
Tasha, it`s -- I can`t imagine what it`s like to be a 7-year-old or to have a 7-year-old who has those worries.
NELSON: He was six when he wrote that. We delivered that last Christmas to Senator Tim Kaine who was gracious enough to sit with Jack and read it to jack and asked him questions about what he meant, which was wonderful. Because I think a lot of adults don`t realize that a child this young can understand their own morbidity and mortality, and he does. He understands his disease on a cellular level and has since he was very young. He swallowed his first pills when he was two. He took five at a time at that time.
These kids live in hospitals. Last year, he spent over a month hospitalized over the course of the year. And he saw other kids with CF in the hospital who were far sicker than him and he correlated that with how sick he could get.
O`DONNELL: And Tasha, before we go, you`re going to be voting in Virginia this year in Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock`s district. She`s running for re-election. How are you going to vote in that race?
NELSON: I`m voting Jennifer Wexton. Jennifer Wexton will support healthcare and protect people with pre-existing conditions. I am now a healthcare voter. I`m not a Republican or a Democrat. If you vote against healthcare, I vote against you.
O`DONNELL: Tasha Nelson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
NELSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, more lying by Republicans about their healthcare policy. What they have done, what they have tried to do, and what they promised to do.
O`DONNELL: A new "Fox News" poll shows that Obamacare is far more popular than Donald Trump or the Republican Congress. And so Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are lying about what they have tried to do to Obamacare and what they have actually done to Obamacare, the damage they have done.
Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was the very first federal legal protection for healthcare patients with pre-existing conditions and the Republican House and Senate repeatedly voted to repeal it completely and not replace it with anything. They cast those votes several times. They are now attacking the Affordable Care Act in courts.
Donald Trump himself is trying to destroy Obamacare in a federal court joined by Republican Attorneys general around the country. And now that the polling shows that that is a big political mistake, the solution to their political problem is to lie and to pretend that they are supporters now of the principles of Obamacare, especially protecting patients with pre-existing conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have spent the last eight years obsessed with trying to undermine, sabotage, repeal that law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under President Obama. And Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and Algora, a former senior aide to President Obama.
Andy Slavitt, I couldn`t have predicted that the way out of this predicament, prior to the age of Trump, is to simply completely lie about every vote you ever cast as a member of the House of Representatives. But in the age of Trump just outright lying about the votes you`ve casted apparently is the way Republicans thinks it works now.
ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR MEDICAID AND MEDICARE CENTERS: Yes. Well, Republicans care about protecting pre-existing condition protections just about as much as Democrats care about cutting taxes for the wealthy, which is not in their playbook. The problem that they have is that you have Tonia and you have 130 million Americans like her, all of them with pre-existing conditions and that math doesn`t make them feel very good.
And so you have a little bit of what is the odd, you even your shuffle where odd years when people don`t vote, they really vote their policies, and then you get to even years. And all of a sudden they see that math, they can read a poll like anybody else, as you said, Lawrence, and they have the audacity to look at Tonia in the eye and tell her that they`re really not doing what they`ve done over 70 times over the last few years. And I don`t think Tonia nor do I think Jack really buys it.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to how it`s going for Republican candidates as they describe their lives out there as candidates to Sean Hannity on "Fox News".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY: Would you vote to repeal Obamacare, the vote that John McCain decided to change his mind on?
MARTHA MCSALLY: Well, Sean, I did vote to repeal and replace Obamacare on that House Bill. I`m getting my ass kicked for it right now because it`s being misconstrued by the Democrats. They`re trying to, you know, invoke fear in people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, are you misconstruing a vote to repeal Obamacare in the House of Representatives and replace it with nothing?
KLAIN: Look, Lawrence, Donald Trump did only four things in 2017. He cut taxes from super-rich people, he golfed, he lied on Twitter and he got rid of the Affordable Care Act. I mean that`s all he did for the entire year. And then when they finally passed the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act to the House, he held a beer blast in the Rose Garden to celebrate the fact that they had gotten rid of the Affordable Care Act.
So I mean this was their central mission in the first year of the Trump presidency. And they are changing course on it. They are lying about it, not because they really care about Jack and the story that Tasha told. Those stories were all known to them when they voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 70 times. They`re changing their story now because election day is coming and the consequences are coming and the politics are clear and it`s just too late for that.
O`DONNELL: The provision that Tasha Nelson is so concerned about in Obamacare, the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions is one of the things that survives. But Andy Slavitt, talk about the things that the Republicans have actually succeeded in damaging the Affordable Care Act with as they did in their giant tax cut bill for the superrich. They included a provision within the tax bill that hurts the structure of the Affordable Care Act.
SLAVITT: Well, depending on how you do the math, they`ve increased people`s premiums by, you know, between 5 percent and 10 percent this year. I think probably on the higher side. They are suing now to make not only pre-existing condition protections illegal but also the lifetime limits that people count on to make them illegal. And they`ve just now, this last week, made illegal for states to offer insurance that doesn`t cover prescription drugs, doesn`t cover cancer treatments, doesn`t cover hospitalizations, doesn`t cover mental health.
And remember, Lawrence, we just saw a study which showed that 42 percent of Americans who get cancer lose their life savings within two years. And what we see now is an administration and a Congress and the Republicans in Congress that are spending all their effort and energy to cut as much of healthcare as possible to pay for that tax cut that we talked about that they did last year.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to one Democratic ad that`s taking on this issue, which polling shows is the most important issue to voters in this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will Hurd says all the right things, but in Washington what he does is completely different. The truth is he voted eight times to take away healthcare from 13 million Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He voted to make most of us pay higher health insurance premiums. Why? Maybe it`s the $130,000 Glenn Grothman got from the insurance industry.
ELIZABETH PANNILL FLETCHER (D), TEXAS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: John Culberson voted to let insurance companies charge people 50 and over five times more than younger people to discriminate against people with pre- existing conditions.
JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Now, the threat is Patrick Morrisey`s lawsuit to take away healthcare from people with pre- existing conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, the Democrats certainly realize the polling indicates that this is the number one issue, and this is what they`re trying to make their number one issue as they run.
KLAIN: Yes, Lawrence, there really is a kind of very cosmic sense of justice about this. The Democrats put their careers on the line in 2010 to pass the Affordable Care Act. Many Democrats lost their seats because of it, Democrats lost control of the Congress because of it. And now eight years later, it`s quite possible that defending this law is what will give Democrats control of the Congress once again to protect healthcare.
The Republicans say they`re going to protect healthcare on the campaign stump. But just two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell said that if the Republicans hold control of both chambers, they will take a step at repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety again. So the safety of healthcare for people like Tasha`s family, for Jack is on it line in this election, very much directly.
O`DONNELL: And Mitch McConnell has said if they control the Congress, they will absolutely cut Medicare and Social Security in order to try to pay for the giant hole in the deficit and the national debt created by the Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump tax cuts for the superrich. There is a lot at stake Tuesday night.
Andy Slavitt and Ron Klain, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight.
And when we come back, a former federal prosecutor now has a theory based on real information that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller might have already subpoenaed the president of the United States to testify in front of a grand jury. We will examine the evidence next.
O`DONNELL: Is the president of the United States already under subpoena from Robert Mueller right now tonight? Has the president already been subpoenaed to testify by the special prosecutor, and is the president secretly fighting that subpoena in federal court? Those questions are raised by important new reporting and analysis by Nelson Cunningham, a former federal prosecutor who served under U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani in New York City before Rudy Giuliani embarked on his political career.
In an article and political magazine, he reports that court records indicate someone is apparently fighting a subpoena issued by Robert Mueller and that fight is taking place under judicial secrecy at this stage. "At every level, this matter has commanded the immediate and close attention of the judges involved suggesting that no ordinary witness and no ordinary issue is involved. We do know from "Politico`s" reporting that it involves the special counsel and that the action here was filed the day after Rudy Giuliani noted publicly we`re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena." Because of this article today, Donald Trump was asked if he has been subpoenaed.
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REPORTER: Have you received a subpoena at all from Robert Mueller?
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O`DONNELL: For what it`s worth, a pathological liar told a reporter today he has not been subpoenaed. After our break, Former Federal Prosecutor Mimi Rocah will consider the possibility that the president of the United States is already fighting a Robert Mueller subpoena and what that might mean for Robert Mueller`s roadmap ahead.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what one of the president`s lawyers said they would do if Donald Trump received a subpoena from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
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SEKULOW: I think, look, if you get a subpoena, you file what`s called a motion to quash. That will be argued at the district court. Then it would go to the court of appeals. Then it would go to the Supreme Court of the United States.
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O`DONNELL: The question tonight is, has the president already received that secret subpoena to testify to the grand jury and are his lawyers already secretly fighting it in court?
Joining us now is Mimi Rocah, former federal prosecutor and a former assistant U.S. attorney in New York City. She`s also an MSNBC legal contributor.
Mimi, the secrecy aspect, I assume is because this is a grand jury process, it`s a subpoena to testify to a grand jury, their proceedings are secret. So is that why the appeal of such a subpoena would be conducted in this secret way?
ROCAH: Yes, Lawrence. So anything really connected with the grand jury is supposed to be sealed and secret. The proceedings, what goes on inside the grand jury. There are certain exceptions to that. The one sort of person who could reveal whether or not they`ve received a subpoena would be the witness him or herself, as we`ve seen happen in the course of the Mueller investigation.
O`DONNELL: So according to the reporting that we`re looking at, this fight is occurring at the court of appeals level right now in Washington, D.C. and occurring in a secret way but there are enough public records to indicate that this activity is taking place without names being named.
If it goes to the supreme court, if the president loses in the appeals court, it would go to the supreme court, as his lawyer said. Now, wouldn`t it have to become public at the supreme court? Richard Nixon`s supreme court fight over a subpoena was very public.
ROCAH: It could be. I think at that point it would be hard for it not to become public. I mean, again, the sort of substance of it would never become public, but the legal arguments about it if Trump chose to reveal that he had been subpoenaed could become public at that point, yes.
O`DONNELL: And the -- as it happens coincidentally today, the national archives released what they call the Watergate roadmap. It`s the report by Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski to send evidence against Richard Nixon to the House of Representatives in 1974. The legal -- people sued for its release.
And so Robert Mueller now has that. Lawyers always love to see people who`ve kind of gone down a path, they`re going down before they have so they can find possible road markers and precedents. I assume this document will be very useful to Robert Mueller.
ROCAH: Well, I would think so. I mean it sounds from the way that roadmap was written like it is something that would be sort of in the spirit of how Mueller might do his report. In other words, it was done in the voice of the grand jury so it sort of invoked the authority and the legal and moral authority of the grand jury. And it was very factual, here are the facts and not sort of putting a lot of spin or argument or analysis on it.
And I think at the end of the day, that`s the kind of report that Mueller would be likely to write anyway given sort of what we know about him as a prosecutor and as a person, and that will carry the most weight because we need people to look at facts and evidence. That is what is sorely missing in this sort of debate that goes on where Rudy Giuliani puts his spin on things on TV.
And Mueller will try to get people I think to focus on the facts and the evidence, whatever that is.
O`DONNELL: Mimi Rocah, thank you again for your legal expertise again tonight. Really appreciate it.
Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word.
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STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST. LATE NIGHT WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: To combat one of the things he wants you to be afraid of, Trump has announced a plan to deploy 5,200 troops to the Southern border. The Pentagon has a powerful name for this mission, "Operation Faithful Patriot," which beat out their second choice, "Operation Loyal Eagle Freedom Boner." Thank you.
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O`DONNELL: Yes. Stephen Colbert gets to say words on TV that I can`t say on TV. And Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last word.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.