Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 9, 2018 Guest: David Corn, Ezra Levin, Laurence Tribe, Steve Cohen, Marc Caputo
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight. Now it`s time for The Last Word with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC: Good evening, Rachel. I want to begin just by saying thank you for what you did today. I know how hard you work, and so I didn`t want to interrupt your day with even those two words of thank you. And we don`t have to get into why you did this. MADDOW: I said I wouldn`t say. O`DONNELL: We`re just going to leave that aside.
O`DONNELL: But we can share with the audience that you did -- you did send me flowers today. When I arrived at our L.A. bureau today, there were flowers --
MADDOW: Are they nice?
O`DONNELL: -- from you. They`re fantastic. I just want you to know you have a place in history. I believe this is the first time I have ever received flowers while not being in a hospital.
O`DONNELL: So I think -- I think that`s what we did today. I think this is that first. MADDOW: You know, mannish women, we`re good at this. This is the thing we do, yes.
O`DONNELL: It really -- it lifted my day. And I think it`s going to show in tonight`s show, just the feeling that you brought to my workplace today.
MADDOW: God bless you, my friend.
O`DONNELL: So Rachel --
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
MADDOW: You`re welcome, my friend. I won`t talk about why I did it. Thanks.
O`DONNELL: No, but thanks, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: Well, President Trump was running scared in the final days of the midterm election campaign. He was obviously running scared. He was afraid of what losing the House of Representatives would mean to his political life and to his legal life and legal jeopardy.
And now that the president lost the midterm elections, the president is just losing it. He had a crazier press conference than usual at the White House this week, sending an intern to try a grab a microphone away from a reporter and then he denied White House press credentials to some White House reporters.
The president is panicked. The president is panicked by the election results, which are getting worse, worse for the president every day, as the Democrats continue to win more seats in the House of Representatives, as the final votes are being counted.
And now, the president is running scared again. He is trying to run away from the House of Representative`s investigators who he knows will be coming for him next year. And he is trying to run away from special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
The president`s criminal defense team is the single worst team of lawyers who have ever been hired to represent a president of the United States. And the president probably knows that. That`s why he tried to install an attorney general this week who will be his most effective criminal defense lawyer.
That is clearly what Donald Trump expects from Matthew Whitaker, who now sits at the desk of the attorney general of the United States, but does not legally occupy that job. And every legal action that Matthew Whitaker attempts to take as an acting attorney general is now subject to a legal challenge in court.
We will have more on the Democrats` election victory and the votes that continue to be counted later in this hour. But, now, consider where Matthew Whitaker sits tonight after completing his second full day, claiming the title of acting attorney general.
The Wall Street Journal reports that he is being investigated by the FBI for his involvement in a company that like Trump University has paid out over $25 million in settlements to defrauded customers. Matthew Whitaker is being investigated for the possible participation in a fraud.
Matthew Whitaker knows that he is publicly suspected by me, as I`ve already said this week, and others as having been installed as an acting attorney general in order to commit crimes for Donald Trump. President Trump is expecting his acting attorney general to commit multiple counts of obstruction of justice, if necessary, to prevent anyone named Trump from being harmed by the special prosecutor`s investigation.
President Trump expects Matthew Whitaker to protect him. And Matthew Whitaker is now going to spend every workday of his life surrounded by FBI agents and federal prosecutors who do not trust him, surrounded by FBI agents and experienced federal prosecutors who are much better lawyers than he will ever be, all of whom suspect and have every right to suspect that Matthew Whitaker has been installed in the attorney general`s office to commit crimes for the president if necessary.
That is exactly what Republican President Richard Nixon expected of his attorney general. And that is exactly what he got, which is why Richard Nixon`s attorney general, John Mitchell, went to prison. And when Richard Nixon`s attorney general, John Mitchell, took office, no one, no one in the FBI, no one in the Justice Department suspected that he was capable of committing a crime. He was a respected New York lawyer.
On Matthew Whitaker`s first day in that office, everyone in the FBI and every federal prosecutor had every right to regard him and treat him as a potential criminal suspect. Every single person Matthew Whitaker speaks to in that Justice Department every day is writing down every word he says to them, whether he knows that or not.
They have all learned James Comey`s lesson of dealing with Trump world. Write down everything they say immediately after the meeting. When Matthew Whitaker watches Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or any of the other lawyers he`s surrounded by all day leave the room after a meeting, they are all going to their desks to write down exactly what they just heard Matthew Whitaker say.
They all know they are going to need those notes someday. They all know that Matthew Whitaker is going to spend many, many hours under oath against his will in the House of Representatives next year and possibly in a grand jury room with a special prosecutor. We know what Matthew Whitaker wants to do for Donald Trump because he has said so publicly. He wants to end the special prosecutor`s investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment, and that attorney general doesn`t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces the budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: If Matthew Whitaker isn`t smart enough to know that everyone around him all day regards him as a potential criminal suspect, if he has to hear that from me in order to realize it, then he is not smart enough to realize the other very important thing about everyone he will be dealing with in the Justice Department every day.
Every one of them is much smarter than he is. Every one of the prosecutors he will be dealing with from Rod Rosenstein on down are much better legal scholars and much better legal practitioners. They are profoundly dangerous to him every time he opens his mouth.
And so when Rod Rosenstein was quoted today as saying that Matthew Whitaker is "a superb choice" to run the Justice Department, that should probably be interpreted to mean Matthew Whitaker has not said one word to interfere with Rod Rosenstein or special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Not yet. That is probably Rod Rosenstein`s signal from within about what is not happening in the Justice Department.
Matthew Whitaker is not getting his way. Matthew Whitaker has said some of the stupidest things that any law school graduate has ever said. He questioned the legitimacy of that first Supreme Court opinion that we all learned about in history class, Marbury versus Madison.
He says the judges should all be Christians who believe and live by the new testament that obviously puts him in opposition to the appointment of Jewish judges, not to mention Muslim judges or atheist judges. It`s hard for a law school graduate to sound stupider than Matthew Whitaker.
But when Matthew Whitaker spent his first full day yesterday sitting in the attorney general`s office surrounded by the highest powered prosecutors in the world and experienced high ranking FBI officials, his ego must have shrunk a bit. He must have felt a bit less confident about the blustery nonsense he has spewed on television as a pundit when he was actually using television to audition for a job with President Trump.
This is Matthew Whitaker`s Dirty Harry moment. It`s that line that Clint Eastwood made so famous when he confronted criminals in that movie. Clint Eastwood`s Dirty Harry said, you`ve got to ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky? So Matthew Whitaker has to ask himself, do I feel lucky?
And Matthew Whitaker is sitting in that room with federal prosecutors and FBI agents who regard him as a suspect. Does he feel lucky? Because you would have to be very, very lucky to get away with doing what Donald Trump wants you to do as the attorney general of the United States. You`d have to be lucky and smarter than everyone in that building to get away with that.
John Mitchell must have felt pretty lucky as Richard Nixon`s campaign manager when they won the 1968 election, and John Mitchell knew he was going to be the next attorney general of the United States. He must have felt pretty lucky. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and served 19 months with good behavior.
Richard Nixon`s second attorney general, the one who took over from his first criminal attorney general was Richard Kleindienst. Richard Kleindienst ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor. He got a suspended sentence and served no time. His sentencing judge said that Richard Kleindienst had "a heart that is too loyal."
If Matthew Whitaker has a heart that is too loyal to Donald Trump, he will be very, very lucky to get off as easy as Richard Kleindienst did. Donald Trump could easily drive Matthew Whitaker into earning a prison sentence that sets the record for Republican attorney general of the United States convicted of federal crimes.
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House who was just re-elected, and Laurence Tribe, Harvard law professor and constitutional scholar.
Professor Tribe, I want to start with you on this question that has now been -- we`ve had 48 hours of public consideration of it, and that is the legality of the installation of Matthew Whitaker in the attorney general`s office.
LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD: Well, hi, Lawrence. I guess I`ll say at the beginning that you almost made me feel sorry for the guy.
TRIBE: But I think I can resist feeling too sorry for him. He has no legitimacy. Quite apart from the stupid things he said and the fact that he`s obviously not a good lawyer, the fact that he`s a fraudster, it seems, is the fact that there is no constitutional basis for treating him as legitimate.
The Appointments Clause of the Constitution makes clear that anyone with the kinds of responsibilities that this guy would have as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States supervising not only the Mueller probe but every district court in the country and every fraud investigation, any such person has to be not simply nominated by the president but confirmed by the Senate.
It`s not a little technicality. It`s a really big deal. And I could go on at much more length than you and your viewers would be interested in about why all of the Supreme Court precedence established that the constitution means exactly what it says.
So we don`t have to go chasing after, you know, technical statutory squirrels when there is a constitutional elephant in the room. Everything he does, as you said, is without legal affect. If he tries to squeeze Mueller, to restrict his options, to deny him the right to subpoena something, Mueller has no reason to respect that.
Mueller could just disregard it or it could go to court and get a judgment that says that he`s been given an order by basically a buffoon with no legal standing to give that order. O`DONNELL: And Congressman Cohen, your reaction to this acting attorney general and what the House Judiciary Committee might do under Democratic control in January. You can request his testimony under oath in that committee. REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Well, we certainly can. We can have him come before the committee. We could subpoena any papers of Mueller or reports that he might try to keep from the American public. We had a conference call today and two this week. Ranking member Nadler has got all of us together and we`ve shared our ideas and we`re going to try to pursue some actions in conjunction with the Senate.
I think the Senate might have standing to pursue a legal action questioning his appointment for they were harmed as was Mr. Rosenstein in being -- not having the opportunity to advise and consent as they are supposed to, and Mr. Rosenstein was stepped over.
He should have been the logical person in the order of ascendancy in the Justice Department to take on this acting role. This fellow, he`s acting. He is indeed only acting. He is not the attorney general. And as if Don Corleone only appointed Luca Brasi as consigliere, obviously not because he thought he was the best for advice but because he had people he wanted to knock off.
O`DONNELL: And Professor Tribe, the president is one of the most transparent criminally-minded people we`ve ever had in public life. He`s publicly on record for a couple of years now saying that he wanted a Roy Cohn-type in the attorney general`s office who would take care of him, who would protect him. Roy Cohn himself was a criminal and a disbarred lawyer who operated exactly the way Donald Trump would want.
And so you have this public set of statements by the president of actually wanting criminal conduct out of his attorney general. And then you have -- you install someone who has made these public comments that are fully compatible with what Donald Trump wants, which is closing down the investigation. TRIBE: Right. Well, Donald Trump seems to have an amazing compulsion to confess. He went on national television and confessed to Lester Holt that the reason he fired James Comey was to prevent the Russia probe from going forward and to protect his former national security advisor.
He now makes it clear by picking someone who basically auditioned for the job of hatchet man, for the job of his -- Roy Cohn, he picks a guy who transparently has no qualifications for the job except that he`s loyal to this president.
It is really quite remarkable. He -- Trump is wily, cunning, but he seems just incapable of hiding his own criminality. I think Rachel Maddow in the preceding hour got it right. He has all these tells. When he says something over and over again like I don`t know Whitaker, I don`t Whitaker, you know he`s lying. The more he says it, the more obvious it is that he`s lying.
O`DONNELL: And Congressman Cohen, in your discussions with the incoming democratically-controlled judiciary committee, what has been the reaction to Donald Trump saying in the press conference this week that it will become warfare if you in the democratically-controlled House do any investigating of the Trump administration, then he would consider that warfare and he would somehow -- somehow have you investigated?
I don`t know if that means by the person he`s installed in the attorney general`s office or he hopes by Republican-controlled committee in the Senate trying to investigate you.
COHEN: Well, it was a rather bizarre statement. And I think we all agree basically that Adam Schiff, who is not a member of the judiciary committee, who said it`s been warfare for the last two years, and nobody on the Democratic side has cowered because of that warfare we`ve endured, nor are we concerned about the warfare that may came in the next two years.
We`ve taken an oath to uphold the constitution, to represent what we think are the values of the American people who elected us, and we`re going to pursue what is the legislative authority of oversight. We`re going to do that regardless of we`re basically distorted by the president who doesn`t want any oversight. That`s part of the process.
And the founding fathers saw checks and balances as being an important part of our system, and we haven`t had that the last two years. The House of Representatives is known as the people`s house, partially because we are all elected by the people, not appointed, but we are the people`s house. We`ve been the house of Trump, the house of Devin Nunes, the house of Bob Goodlatte.
We`ve done absolutely zero to check this president who has shown lawless tendencies and arrogance towards the law, and that`s going to stop. And his threats are not going to stop Jerry Nadler or any member of the House Judiciary Committee from doing proper and appropriate oversight.
O`DONNELL: Professor Tribe, before we go, I just want to ask you one more thing about the scope -- the range of the risk that the Justice Department now suffers with what the president has done.
And is it conceivable that criminal defendants, for example, around the country in federal cases, if there`s some decision about their case that has been made at the attorney general level, that`s been made by Matthew Whitaker or approved by Matthew Whitaker, does that open up an avenue of appeal to criminal defendants around the country to say this is an illegitimate prosecutorial action because there is no attorney general on this document?
TRIBE: I would expect defendants to do that. It would be kind of ironic to see Donald Trump Jr. arguing that his dad appointed an unconstitutional guy to prosecute him and therefore the indictment against him should be dismissed. I don`t thin that was exactly what Trump had in mind, but he might have.
Could I add just one thing? I think Representative Cohen made a very important point when he talked about the warfare that`s being declared on the House, but it`s not just bizarre. For the president of the United States to say to one branch of the U.S. government, if you perform your function and get too close to bothering me, I`m going to go to war against you.
That is not only an out of -- you know, an out of the box statement, it`s part of an obstruction of justice. It`s an impeachable move to say that I`m going to retaliate in various ways to make your life difficult. If you`ve performed your constitutional functions, it`s essentially obstruction of justice on stilts, on steroids. And I think that the House Judiciary Committee is going to have to look closely at that in January.
O`DONNELL: Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you for joining us. Steve Cohen, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate you both being here.
And when we come back, The Wall Street Journal has the smoking gun on Donald Trump`s violation of campaign finance law and why he has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
And Democrats are gaining ground tonight in two Senate races and in other congressional races around the country. Votes are still being counted in Arizona and Florida and also in California.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight about two Senate races that are still too close to call. In Arizona, the latest numbers showed Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has increased her lead over Republican Martha McSally to more than 20,000 votes. That has Donald Trump offering an insane tweet, utterly insane, asking for a new election. They haven`t even counted all of the votes yet in Arizona. So it would still be premature to even ask for a recount.
In Florida, Governor Scott is demanding action in the Senate race where his lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson has dropped to less then 15,000 votes out of over a total of eight million votes cast. Rick Scott`s campaign got a judge to intervene today and to order more transparency in how Broward County is handling its ballots and voting records. Last night, Rick Scott said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Tonight, I`m asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate this immediately, and I am considering every single legal option available.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Today, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said they are not investigating because they said there has been no accusations of any fraud.
Joining us now, Marc Caputo, senior editor for Politico who covers Florida politics, and David Corn is also joining us. He is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and an MSNBC political analyst. Mark Caputo, what is the latest from Florida?
MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR EDITOR, POLITICO: The latest from Florida is we`re waiting until tomorrow when the supervisors of elections are supposed to upload all their unofficial results to state canvassing board which includes a government meet (ph) and they`ll decide or better said they`ll officially certify the races that are not too close to call.
And those races that have half a point margin or less are going to go to recount. That includes likely the senate race, the governor`s race, the state agricultural commissioner race, and three legislative races. So, we`re really close.
We got few lawsuits that are percolating as well. The supervisor of election in Palm Beach County said she could not meet a court imposed deadline to provide public records, ballot review list and a number of ballots to Governor Scott`s campaign.
Meanwhile in Broward County, they did meet the 7:00 p.m. deadline that a judge had ordered, and the Scott campaign says it`s reviewing those documents.
Lastly, Senator Bill Nelson`s campaign has sued to block or better said to allow people who`s ballots, absentee ballots and provisional ballots have been thrown out because their signatures didn`t match the signatures on file, to have those votes counted. That hearing will be on Wednesday and it could kind of retroactively affect the vote count going forward. We`ve got a whole bunch of moving parts and a whole bunch of balls in the air.
O`DONNELL: And David Corn, one of those people whose ballot has not been counted is former Congressman Patrick Murphy who actually tweeted to Marc Caputo saying, hey, Marc Caputo, I just saw the notice from Palm Beach County that my absentee ballot wasn`t counted due to invalid signature match. And so David Corn, the invalid signature match is something that the Democrats now want to take a careful look at. DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Yeah, it was a story that we at Mother Jones reported a couple of days ago because a Florida voter had contacted us and said he got the same results that Patrick Murphy did.
And the only reason he knew is because he went online and checked. If you don`t go online and check and you vote by mail or vote provisionally and your ballot is tossed out for a bad signature, they don`t tell you that.
So the lawsuit that is being filed by the Nelson campaign is really about whether this is a fair thing to do. And I was thinking about it this way, Florida is one of the only states in the country in term of the average person there.
Signatures change. People as they get old may get neurological conditions. And so if your signature changes a bit, it gets tossed out by someone who`s not an expert in matching signatures. So it`s really a way to throw out those votes. And it`s part of this big mess where you have one side, the Democrats saying let`s count every vote and Rick Scott saying, no, I don`t want to do that. O`DONNELL: I think I`ve is signed thousands of books, and I`m sure you have too, David Corn, over the last year --
O`DONNELL: -- at different book events. I`m not sure my signature matches on any one of those books, any two of those books. Marc Caputo, given -- put all the noise aside that we are hearing in courtrooms and elsewhere, anything unusual or suspicious that you can actually see happening in this process?
CAPUTO: I guess I`m kind of jaded. I`m used to close elections in Florida. Don`t get me wrong. We are not used to having six recounts in one election. I covered the 2000 disputed presidential election. I still don`t think this is at that level of dysfunction because now we have a more systematized way of reviewing disputed ballots.
But really what`s surprising here was the governor kind of went early and really went hard in alleging fraud, essentially, and alleging that the Democrats were trying to steal the election before the votes were counted. And then he directs a request at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement review everything.
And as you had mentioned earlier, they then basically say there`s no real allegation here, so there`s kind of nothing to investigate. Now, one of the problems you find is that nature abhors a vacuum and similarity politics abhors a vacuum of information. In Broward County, the supervisor of elections` inability or refusal to provide just a list of or a number of the amount of ballots to be counted after election day kind of helped lead to a lot of this misunderstanding, let`s say, of the phony trumped up or understandably exaggerated claims that there could be voting shenanigans or fraud happening. And now we`re in this situation where you have a very polarized electorate and it doesn`t look like it`s going to get any better for the next few days.
O`DONNELL: Marc, please clear your evening schedule for next week so you can come back I guess every night with the latest from Florida. David Corn, thanks for your input.
Up next, the smoking gun. The smoking gun in the federal criminal case about the Trump payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
O`DONNELL: The Rupert Murdoch owned "Wall Street Journal" has another devastating article tonight about Donald Trump that will be ignored by the Rupert Murdoch-owned "Fox News." A team of five reporters at "The Wall Street Journal" have sources inside the federal investigation of Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. "The Journal" says they interviewed, quote, "three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them."
"The Wall Street Journal" has the smoking gun on "The National Enquirer`s" illegal attempt to help presidential candidate Donald Trump by paying women to remain silent about their sexual experiences with Donald Trump. The article includes a description of a meeting during the presidential campaign in Trump Tower with Donald Trump and David Pecker who runs "The National Enquirer". That is the smoking gun meeting.
A criminal plot was hatched in that meeting to have "The National Enquirer" buy the silence of women. David Pecker was nervous enough about the legal risks he was taking that he consulted lawyers who advised him on how to avoid a violation of campaign finance law. Everyone involved except the President of the United States is now cooperating with federal prosecutors including David Pecker who has been granted immunity for the crimes he could be charged with in exchange for the information he is now giving to prosecutors about Donald Trump and what was said in that meeting.
David Pecker and others at "The National Enquirer" who are also cooperating with the investigation made a deal with Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Karen McDougal, a former "Playboy" model who paid $150,000 by "The National Enquirer" for the rights to her story about her affair with Donald Trump. A story "The National Enquirer" never intended to publish but simply bury for Donald Trump. Included in that deal was a provision for Karen McDougal to contribute to articles about fitness in "The National Enquirer". Sources told "The Wall Street Journal" that the additional provisions of the deal were there if they needed to mount a legal defense against a crime of an illegal campaign contribution to the Trump campaign. The $150,000 payment to McDougal benefitted the Trump campaign by keeping her quiet about an affair with the candidate.
Donald Trump was supposed to reimburse "The National Enquirer" according to everyone involved. But David Pecker was ultimately afraid that the reimbursement part of the deal would be even more evidence of a crime. "The Wall Street Journal" reports Mr. Pecker called off the Trump reimbursement deal in October 2016, on the advice of his lawyer, accepting reimbursement from Mr. Trump, the executive worried, could undermine any argument that the McDougal payment was made for editorial and business reasons rather than as an inkind campaign contribution.
Mr. Pecker told Mr. Cohen to tear up the reimbursement agreement but Mr. Cohen kept a copy. Federal agents found it in a search of Mr. Cohen`s office earlier this year. "The Journal" reports that Donald Trump was fully involved in the payment Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels of $130,000 to buy her silence. "The Journal" reports that Michael Cohen had to make the payment using his own funds because "The National Enquirer" refused to cooperate on that deal because David Pecker, quote, "Didn`t want his company to pay a porn star."
"The Journal" reports that Donald Trump told Michael Cohen to quote, "Get it done." During the presidential transition after Donald Trump was elected, Donald Trump thanked David Pecker for suppressing the McDougal story. "The Journal" reports, Mr. Pecker granted immunity for his grand jury testimony, told investigators about Mr. Trump`s involvement in the McDougal deal.
Joining us now Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney and an MSNBC Legal Contributor and David Corn is back with us. Barbara, your reading of the legal implications of this "Wall Street Journal" reporting.
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s a very painstaking walk through the very same criminal information that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to. They filled in a lot of the gaps here and filled in a lot of the blanks. It is protocol at the Justice Department when you`re not going to charge someone to refer to them by a pseudonym. candidate one, executive one, et cetera. And based on the reporting we now know that President Trump himself, if this report is true was intimately involved in every step of the way which essentially makes him essentially an unindicted coconspirator. But for the Justice Department policy of not charging a sitting president, they would certainly have all the pieces of the evidence to charge the president with being a coconspirator with Michael Cohen based on that report.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the President of the United States lying to the American people about knowing nothing about the payment to Stormy Daniels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why did Michael Cohen make those allegations?
TRUMP: Well, you`d have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael`s my attorney, and you`ll have to ask Michael.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money to do that payment?
TRUMP: No, I don`t know.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, when articles of impeachment were being drawn up for Richard Nixon, one of them was lying to the American people.
CORN: Yes, and if that`s the case "The Washington Post" has 6,001 articles of impeachment for Donald Trump just through September. I mean, not only did he lie then, but the journal about a week or so before the election broke the news of the payoff to Karen McDougal and Hope Hicks, after talking to Donald Trump said there`s nothing to the story, we don`t know anything about this.
Well, obviously that was another lie, a lie that happened very conveniently right before the election to prevent this from coming out. Listen, we already have Michael Cohen, Trump`s own lawyer, pleading guilty to a criminal conspiracy and saying that Trump was a party to this.
Now, there are a about a gazillion things for the incoming House Democrats to look at when they get oversight responsibilities in the House in January. The President being part of a criminal conspiracy, it`s hard to look at that and not put it at least in the top thousand of things they should look at.
I mean, this is serious stuff. It gets not as much attention as it should have. But I salute "The Wall Street Journal" and reporters today for that piece putting it right back in the middle of the radar stream.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to another moment of Donald Trump lying on Fox News on the question of when he knew about these payments that Michael Cohen was arranging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Later on I knew. Later on. But you have to understand, Ainsley, what he did, and they weren`t taken out of campaign finance. That`s a big thing. That`s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn`t come out of the campaign. They came from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Barbara McQuade, your reaction to that after what we`ve learned from "The Wall Street Journal"?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN: I think one of the things that a prosecutor looks at when they are considering whether there is guilt especially for a crime like this which requires willfulness, meaning that you know what you`re doing is illegal is evidence of what`s known as consciousness of guilt.
When somebody is changing their story or lying about the facts, then that is often evidence of consciousness of guilt. It is not necessary to lie if you`ve done nothing wrong. You lie when you want to cover something up or you know that you`ve violated the law, and so I think he is changing stories both here and on Air Force One really suggests that he knew what they were doing was wrong.
O`DONNELL: Barbara McQuade, David Corn, thank you both for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.
And when we come back, more election results and what this week`s results indicate about the next election.
Stage one of the resistance to Trumpism was a success - winning the House of Representatives for the Democrats. Stage two is now under way, winning the United States Senate and winning the White House and the momentum for Democrats in Tuesday`s election indicates that as of now, both of those objectives in stage two are more likely to happen than not in the next election.
Donald Trump has never had the approval of a majority of voters. His disapproval just continues to get worse. According to polls, he has not changed one voter`s mind in his favor since he was elected President. The resistance will deliver an unprecedented level of turnout of voters against Donald Trump if his presidency even survives to the re-election stage.
Republicans will have to defend double the amount of Senate seats that Democrats have to defend two years from now. That`s a reversal of what we just saw this week, and that will be a huge advantage for Democrats in the next Senate election just as it was a huge advantage for Republicans in this week`s Senate election.
No Republican seat in the Senate is now safe now that Beto O`Rourke has shown that even in Texas, the Republicans have to worry about reelection. Six million more people voted for Democrats than Republicans in the House races. That comes after almost three million more voters voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. Here are some of what the newly elected Democrats in the House of Representatives had to say on election night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO DELGADO, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, NEW YORK, DEMOCRAT: We want to give back. Thank you.
LUCY MCBATH, US REPRENSTATIVE ELECT, GEORGIA, DEMOCRAT: With your help, we will see a better day. Georgia will see a better day.
HARLEY ROUDA, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, CALIFORNIA, DEMOCRAT: We are the people who believe our country`s diversity is what makes us great.
KIM SCHRIER, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, WASHINGTON, DEMOCRAT: Yes, this is what democracy looks like.
DEB HAALAND, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, NEW MEXICO, DEMOCRAT: (Inaudible).
AYANNA PRESSLEY, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, MASSACHUSETTS, DEMOCRAT: In this ground swell, this shift can break through concrete. Today, we broke that concrete wide open.
TOM MALINOWSKI, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, NEW JERSEY, DEMOCRAT: You`re with us.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, US REPRESENTATIVE ELECT, NEW YORK, DEMOCRAT: This is the fight for our lives. This is the fight of our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: After a break, Ezra Levin of the Individual Indivisible Project will join us with what this week`s blue wave indicates about the next election.
The Indivisible Project was created immediately after the Trump election to try to defeat Trumpism at the next election. Ezra Levin of the Indivisible Project tweeted this, "Tuesday was a milestone, not a finish line, maybe your candidate won in this wave, maybe she didn`t, but regardless, we`re part of a generational struggle we`re building for the long term and we`ll keep building. That`s how we`ve won and that`s how we`ll win."
Joining us now is Ezra Levin, executive director of The Indivisible Project. And Ezra, first of all, congratulations on all the work you`ve done in leading up to this election and also thank you because whenever I heard you either on this program or elsewhere discussing the approach to this election, I was always learning something I didn`t know about what was possible this time. Your reaction to what happened Tuesday night and the votes that are still being counted as we sit here. And what it indicates for the next stretch, the next stage, the next two years and where we`ll be on election night two years from now.
EZRA LEVIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE INDIVISIBLE PROJECT: Well, thank you, Lawrence and thank you for covering this consistently over the last two years. It has been a wild ride. Let me tell you, we are elated, we are exhausted, but we are elated and we are ready for the next fight.
I will say back two years ago when we were first seeing this bubbling movement, this resistance that was forming, we saw the energy on the ground and we would tell people who were outside of it, "Hey, I think we can retake the House. We think this is doable." But when we said that, you had to say it in hushed tones. You had to say it like, "Look, we think this is going to happen because people wouldn`t believe you."
What we saw on Tuesday was the largest gain in Democratic seats in the House of Representatives since Watergate. We saw 35 plus even as the day goes on, we`re getting more and more seats racked up in California and elsewhere. We saw six new Democratic Party controlled states, six new trifecta, seven new governors, 300 to 400 new state legislators. This is an incredible wave that is hitting all over the country, including in some really unexpected spots. And yet, you`ve pointed out that tweet I sent.
You know, we didn`t win everywhere, you never win everything, but we are building for the future and I`m really reminded about June of last year. The Indivisible team was huddled in a bar looking at the results, waiting for the results of the special election for Georgia 6 with Jon Ossoff who was running back then, and we were really hoping he was going to pull it out. We thought that that would show people that, yes, a wave was building. Yes, we could retake the House. He didn`t win, but what happened Tuesday night was incredible because those same indivisible groups there, when we called them the that night back last June, we were calling them to cheer them up to say, "Look, we think you did a great thing here and we`re going to keep on building."
But we ended up being cheered up by them. They said, "Oh, we`re just excited. We`re purple now. We`re in a purple district. We can win this. We can build on this." And three days ago now, they took that seat. Lucy McBath, a leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement, an incredibly inspirational figure is joining the US House of Representatives in that same district and it`s not just her. You ran a clip of several candidates. Folks like Ayanna Pressley and Harley Rouda, every single one of those folks are running based on grassroots support, are running by not taking corporate PAC dollars and are going into Congress and are going to lead the change we need.
This is just the beginning. We have started something incredible and I can`t tell you how excited I am for the fights to come.
O`DONNELL: Ezra Levin, you are absolutely right. You saw this possibility back before the professional pundits did and back when it was embarrassing to say it around professional pundits. Ezra Levin, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. We`ll be right back.
Fire fightering resources have been stretched to their limit in California with deadly fires in Northern and Southern California. Fire-fighting team have to choose between saving lives and saving property and in some cases, they are unable to save either one. More than a quarter of a million people have been ordered to evacuate including the entire town of Malibu. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Everyone is hoping for a break in the wind to allow firefighters to try to establish some control over this deadly situation.
That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. THE 11TH HOUR with Brian Williams starts right now.
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