Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 12, 2018
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ali. And as long as we`re in the promotional zone, I feel I should mention that my book "Playing with Fire" came out in paperback today.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST, "MSNBC LIVE": A worthy read. I agree.
O`DONNELL: Rachel`s podcast comes first, and then when you finish listening to that, you just grab this --
VELSHI: Everyone needs two treats.
O`DONNELL: And, by the way, they overlap a little bit.
VELSHI: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali.
VELSHI: Thanks, friend.
O`DONNELL: Well, we have breaking news tonight, breaking election news on what is still election night in America. NBC News has projected that Democratic Kyrsten Sinema is the apparent winner in the race for United States Senate in Arizona. It really is all over there.
Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally conceded the race tonight and congratulated the winner. And to Martha McSally`s credit, she conceded the race even though members of the Republican Party were urging her to claim voter fraud and refuse to concede.
What you`re about to see should not be extraordinary and once was the norm, a Republican recognizing the reality of coming in second.
Here is Martha McSally`s concession tonight, which now passes for noble in the era of Trump lies about election fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: Everybody, I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona`s first female senator after a hard fought battle. I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate.
And I also want to say thank you to everybody who supported me in this campaign, my staff and volunteers and everybody who voted for me. I`m so grateful for you, my wingman and this journey. We sure wish it came out with a different result. But I`m so thankful for you.
As I traveled around this state, I was so inspired by the many people that I met, and I am convinced Arizona is the best state in the country and our best days are still yet to come. And I`m going to continue to pray for our success. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was the entire concession speech. And, of course, the dog`s name is Boomer, and Boomer is now my nominee for best performance by a dog in a Senate election concession speech.
Here is tonight`s big winner: Kyrsten Sinema, the first Democrat to claim victory an in Arizona Senate election since 1988.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ), SENATOR-ELECT: It won`t be easy, and it won`t happen overnight, but we can work together to meet the challenges our country faces. We can do this differently for our country, for our future, for Senator McCain and for each other. I think we must. Thank you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: She won the seat currently occupied by Jeff Flake in Arizona, but she did mention Senator McCain more than once in her victory speech tonight.
The votes are still being counted in the Senate race in Florida tonight. But a recount is under way in the Senate election and in the governor`s election. The Senate election is the closer of the two, and Republicans are going with their standard playbook in Florida of claiming fraud.
The president has said that no votes should now be counted after election night last week. That means mailed-in votes by military personnel would not be counted under the latest Trump version of how to conduct an election.
And so, the country`s eyes turn once again to Florida for another dramatic recount. And that is why MSNBC`s in-house election lawyer Ari Melber is in Florida tonight. Ari will join us in a moment.
But first here to talk about the Democrat`s big win in Arizona, Maria Teresa Kumar, the president and CEO of Voto Latino, and an MSNBC contributor. And John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He`s the co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus".
And, Maria Teresa, we saw two women, two members of the House, Democrat and Republican, campaigning against each other in what apparently is the new Arizona, politically, the first Democrat to win a Senate seat there since 1988.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: I have to say the very fact Arizona was in play, Kyrsten Sinema, basically cemented that Arizona is officially now a purple state.
Voto Latino is part of a coalition where we register over 203,000 new Latino voters, and a lot had to do with what was propelling them were the conversations Trump was having against the Latino community and the fact they were still tasting the sour taste of Joe Arpaio and all of the racial profiling that he did against the Latino community.
So, this was -- I would say this particular race is definitely the rise of a new Latino community. We`re actually seeing, we see people that are alert, they`re awake, and that they`re going to make future impact into not just this election but also in Florida, the fact that we saw such a -- you know, a rise and the race between Beto and Cruz was also so close, also had to do, Lawrence, with the rise of a young Latino Voter that historically has not participated.
O`DONNELL: And this is border state.
KUMAR: Exactly right.
O`DONNELL: This is where Donald Trump has been playing the invasion of the border card, and this is a state that rejected that approach tonight. Let`s listen to more of Senator-elect Sinema`s victory speech tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINEMA: Senator McCain said but weave always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get thru these challenging times. It won`t be easy, and it won`t happen overnight, but we can work together to meet the challenges our country faces. We can do this differently for our country, for our future, for Senator McCain and for each other.
I think we must. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, what happened in Arizona? It seemed like just a short while ago John McCain was unpopular in Arizona and was struggling politically in that state, and here we see because of Trumpism and the rabid claims from that side of Republicanism and here we see a Democrat come in and take it.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NBC NEWS AND MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: There`s two things going on. There`s one thing going on in the Republican side, one thing going on in the Democratic side. The bigger picture in the state is that Arizona like all states that have large influx of Hispanic votes and Hispanic voters is gradually turning either purple or blue. Ultimately eventually probably blue, like California, now you see it in Arizona.
We`ve looked -- New Mexico is already blue. Texas people think after we saw what Beto O`Rourke did, is a state being purple if not blue. You look in 2008, 2012, 2016, Arizona was a reach state for Barack Obama -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It is a state that is on the spectrum of the next purple states, the Democrats in presidential years are going to reach for. It`s right on the cusp of being one where the question is do we put money in or not?
So, there`s a lot of Democrat votes there to be gotten. And this was the moment where it happened for a Democratic senatorial candidate. On the other side, you`ve got a state that in reaction to the influx of Hispanic voters on the Republican side of the ledger, Republican side of the partisan aisle, it`s becoming captive to Trump nativists, xenophobic fears.
And there`s a war going on with the new Republican Party in that state where Trump has, a lot of other places, has activated that part of the party, and so, people like John McCain have been challenged from the right have sometimes have had to back off attacking Trump and have someone allied themselves with Trump. And we can talk more about Martha McSally in this block, but I`ll say that`s kind of what`s going on. The Democrats are getting more unified in that state and Kyrsten Sinema is the Republicans are becoming more divided along the lines of traditional Republicanism versus new Trump-style Republicanism.
O`DONNELL: And --
KUMAR: And, Lawrence, what`s really interesting also in Arizona is that it happens to be not just along Latino lines but really what you`re seeing in Arizona and it`s going to be basically a ground zero for the rest of the country, electoral map, is the electoral divide among generations. So, you have the older generation, voting Republican and you have an increase of young voters voting on the Democratic side.
And guess what? The majority of new voters now are not baby boomers. They`re Generation Z and millennials.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Senator-elect Sinema talking about the number one issue in the campaign nationally and that is health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINEMA: A woman named Michelle from Glendale recently shared her story with me. Her son was born with just one kidney, and she`s worried about how he`ll afford his care if we lose protections for people with pre- existing conditions. This campaign was about Leo and Michelle and Anne, and all the other every day Arizonians who are sick and tired of the dysfunction in Washington and who want leaders to put aside party labels and just focus on getting things done.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John, one of these members of Congress voted to repeal Obamacare, and the winner didn`t.
HEILEMANN: Yes, that`s a huge factor. It was a huge factor in a lot of these mid-term races. I will say another complicating factor had to do with Martha McSally. What we saw with Martha McSally and her dog --
HEILEMANN: -- Boomer, nice picture, right?
O`DONNELL: Best performance by a dog in a concession speech.
HEILEMANN: But that is the old Martha McSally. Martha McSally in 2016 was the pre-Trump Martha McSally who in 2016 refused to endorse Donald Trump, denounced him over the "Access Hollywood" and to this day has not said whether she voted for him in 2016. But in 2018, when she was in a competitive Republican primary, had to embrace Donald Trump in order to get through the primary, and then was left on the awkward. Now, that all has nothing to do with her vote on the Affordable Care Act, which all Republicans were for tearing it down.
But it left her in this awkward position where she had been kind of a mainstream Republican, had to pull Trump close in order to win the primary, and what she ended up being was someone who seemed inconsistent, who seemed all over the place, and who ended up campaigning in this very kind of cautious, sort of undefined self-contradictory way for the last part of the race, because she couldn`t figure out who she really was. Now, we get to see, that she`s freed of her obligation to Donald Trump, she`s back to being a charming lady on her couch with her dog.
O`DONNELL: Decency returns.
HEILEMANN: Right, exactly, and accepting the results of the election.
O`DONNELL: We now have to go to Florida. Joining us now from outside Broward County supervisor elections office is MSNBC`s chief legal correspondent Ari Melber who hosts "THE BEAT", of course, weeknights, 6:00 p.m., here at MSNBC.
Ari, your show was live from this location tonight where all this drama is happening, I`ve watched every minute. What is the latest situation in Florida?
ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest, Lawrence, is I can tell you, we are not in Boomer territory yet. No dogs and no concession speeches, but I`ve enjoyed listening to your coverage, because this is just a razor thin margin. And so, behind me, there was a lot of protests and action outside. But inside where we also spend time basically watching the process, they are doing the machine recount in Broward County, just like they`re doing it in other places across the state.
The Senate race much closer than governor. What folks are hoping and the reason why Broward is so key is because you know this is the Democratic stronghold. So if there were votes intended for Democrats but didn`t ultimately get tallied which we know in Florida can happen, this is where they`re hoping that this recount and possibly a hand recount could tip things back in Nelson`s favor.
O`DONNELL: And, Ari, the rhetoric certainly from Republicans is completely different in Florida than what we just saw in Arizona. The president is talking about fraud. The president is talking about stop counting the votes.
And on Veterans Day, he`s saying don`t count veterans votes. Of course, he doesn`t know what he`s saying because -- or the soldiers` votes, he doesn`t know that military personnel stationed abroad, their votes start to come in around now. None of those things maybe he knows when he`s saying these things.
Rick Scott, same thing, jumping all over this process. Marco Rubio, not even on the ballot, lying repeatedly about his own accusations ability fraud activity taking place there. Totally different climate there.
MELBER: Completely different. You`re absolutely right about that. And I would just say from a civic perspective, not a red or blue, but from a civic perspective, there`s bad news and good news. The bad news is what you just articulated, that you have clearly several Republican officials, including those who aren`t even involved in the race, taking their cues from Donald Trump, lying about voter fraud, stoking misinformation, really casting the legitimacy of their own state`s election in doubt. And that`s sad and that`s not supposed to be the normal course.
The good news, again, from a civic perspective, because we don`t know what the votes are supposed to be behind me, we don`t know who`s going to win. But from a civic perspective, the good news is, for all that bluster, Lawrence, it`s not working, OK? The judge who has ruled on this case rejected Rick Scott`s attempt to seize voter machines. The counting is going forward, according to state law, and that`s good news because it means that when you get the bluster out of the way, we ultimately get a ruling and decision who actually won this thing.
O`DONNELL: And, John, how much pressure does this put on the Florida outcome for Republicans? They just lot a seat. They just -- and the vote they were going to get out of Arizona would have been a pretty reliable Republican vote in the Senate. Now, they`ve lost that, and they`ve got a very reliable potential vote out of Florida with Rick Scott if they can get him.
HEILEMANN: Right. Well, look, you were in a situation now where Bill Nelson pulls this race out, we still -- we basely are back now to par. We`re back to where we were. And in terms of the difficulty of Republicans getting -- with the Democrats taking control of the House, the sole picture in the Senate is different.
But the reality is, at least there was a moment where people said, well, Democrats may have taken the House, but we gained -- Republicans did something they haven`t done in 80 years, Donald Trump told us that, we gained seats, the first time it`s happened in an incumbent president in 80 years in an incumbent president`s party. If Bill Nelson wins, we`re back to where we were before the election. So, the Republicans will not have gained any seats, and that small sliver of consolation for Donald Trump on a very bad night from last Tuesday will be stripped away.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, a quick word on what you`re seeing in Florida.
KUMAR: Well, I think, first of all, the contrast, when Donald Trump tried to say there was some sort of voter fraud happening in Arizona, Senator Flake immediately said that was not the case, that we have to allow the voter system to play out. The fact that the president right now is trying to create incredulity and recognizing that there -- the more chaos he creates into our electoral system of whether or not it`s legitimate or not, that is fundamental question that we have to ask yourselves because the reason that Russia wants to interfere in our elections is not because they care about who wins or loses, it`s actually leaving a voter dissatisfied, recognizing having them think that this may be a corrupt system, and that is what we have to address head on.
The fact that a judge is now coming forward and saying, no, we have to count every single vote, it would be helpful if Marco Rubio said the same thing, if leadership in the Republican Party said that our election system, that the integrity of our election and our vote is critical to ensuring that there is legitimacy, that is where we have to go next. And the fact the president is using his bully pit to basically create questions on our electoral system is something we have to further discuss, because at the end of day, every single vote should count. That`s what creates a strong electoral system, and making sure that the integrity of the voting booth is still sacrosanct.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, John Heilemann, thank you for joining us.
And, Ari Melber, thank you for joining us live from Florida.
And, Ari, are you there for the duration or when the case moves up to the United States Supreme Court, I guess you`ll go up to Washington and follow it there or --
MELBER: We`ll go wherever the case takes us, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: You`ll go where those ballots go. Ari Melber, thank you very much for being on the scene for us there.
When we come back, was today a holiday for you? Do you get federal holidays off? I don`t know.
But the president of the United States does. He took the day off today. Donald Trump used this Veterans Day to do absolutely nothing. We`ll show what the last president of the United States did on Veterans Day.
And one of the crazier people in Trump world predicted today that he will be indicted for perjury. But he`s a liar, so he might be lying about being indicted for perjury.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is the first president who uses a federal holiday the way most federal workers do, as a day off. And that`s what he did today. He sat in the White House and did nothing except tweet.
And as usual, the tweets were filled with lies which today included lies about our most reliable European allies who he had just offended in every way he possibly could this weekend in France.
Arlington National Cemetery is actually within walking distance of the White House, but nothing could get Donald Trump to go there today on Veterans Day. It would have been a quick trip by motorcade. He wouldn`t have had to give a speech, just visit some of the hundreds of thousands of military graves, so close to his temporary home. But Donald Trump didn`t care enough to do that.
Here`s what President Obama had to say at Arlington National Cemetery in 2016, three days after Donald Trump was elected president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Veterans Day often follows a hard fought political campaign, an exercise in the free speech and self-government that you fought for. It often lays bear disagreements across our nation, but the American instinct has never been to find isolation in opposite corners. It is to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to sustain that strength and unity even when it is hard.
And when the election is over, as we search for ways to come together, to reconnect with one another and with the principles that are more enduring than transitory politics, some of our best examples are the men and women we salute on Veterans Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Ben Rhodes, MSNBC political analyst. Ben Rhodes is the author of "The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House". He served as a national security advisor for president Obama.
And John Heilemann is back with us.
And, Ben, you might have had a hand in that speech we just heard. Your reaction to the president`s choice of doing absolutely nothing today, not making his way over to Arlington National Cemetery even for a visit and his fear of rain this weekend in France, keeping him away from an observance at an American military cemetery there.
BEN RHODES, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, it`s really astonishing. I mean to first of all fly all the way to Paris for an invent that was entirely about paying tribute to American war veterans, American war dead in World War I on the 100th event of the armistice, an event with world leaders around Europe and around the world descending on to France, and he`s the only one who doesn`t show up at that cemetery, citing rain, but we all know any of us who plans presidential trips, you can always drive to the event as well, and to not go today -- I think it`s just enormous insult to our military and to people who care about honoring those who served, honoring all those today.
And frankly, Lawrence, what`s really offensive about it is when he wants to hide behind the military for his own politics, he does. So, whether it`s attacking athletes for not standing for the national anthem or pulling a stunt and sending thousands of troops to the border in the days to the midterm election, ensuring that they`ll be away from their families at the holidays for essentially no mission, for a caravan that is over 1,000 miles away from the United States, I think what we see here is he politicizes the U.S. military when he thinks it serves his interest, including thousands of people that are going to be separated from their families at the holidays, and then can`t bother to bring himself to cross the memorial bridge at the Arlington Cemetery as any president did on Veterans Day.
I think it`s revealing couple of days we`ve had about the president` s character and his true feelings towards the military.
O`DONNELL: There`s a "Military Times" poll that shows it`s not working so well anymore with the military. That Donald Trump`s approval within the military is declining. His disproval now is basically tied with the approval at 43, 43.
And, John Heilemann, that is real slip for the president among military voters who in general polls show they tend to follow the national electorate, but with a bias towards Republicans as they`re following the national election. So it`s hard for Republicans to fall into that kind of condition with the troops.
HEILEMANN: It is. Although if you do some of the things president Trump has done it`s not that hard. And I think Ben points to one of those things, I think something a lot of the people in the military, being out the last month or so in this campaign, when those troops were deployed or was said to be deployed to go to the southern border to try to stop a caravan that was thousands of miles away, that was on foot, that was never going to get to the border by election day, that they saw they were going to be deployed in the purpose and service of an obvious political stunt, that is the kind of thing that will lose you support among the military.
And the second thing I`ll say, just to put a fine point on something Ben suggested a second ago, it was just when President Trump was getting on the plane to leave, about to get in Marine One, to go out, to head to Air Force One, to go across the pond for this weekend of ceremonies, someone asked him about Michelle Obama`s book in which she said that she would never forgive president Trump for starting the birther racist conspiracy race against her husband, and he said, well, I have something to say to here, too, he said, I will never forgive President Obama for what he did to our military. That`s what he said on the White House driveway right before he left.
And so, it just makes the notion, the offense that he gave to these soldiers, to our military in the way he behaved over the weekend and what he did today, i.e., nothing, it makes it more grotesque and galling to hear him attacking President Obama on Friday. He didn`t really say what President Obama had allegedly done to the military, but this is like a cheap applause line for him now. And people in the military are not stupid. They know who has their back and who doesn`t.
O`DONNELL: And, Ben, among the things that president did not tweet about today is this "New York Times" report, stunning "New York Times" reporting about what North Korea is actually doing with their missile development program after Donald Trump has said that he is in love, in his words, in love with the North Korean dictator.
Ben, I don`t know if you got me there, Ben.
O`DONNELL: I just want to get your response to the news development we have now about what North Korea`s actually doing in their missile development program, and the president not tweeting about that at all.
RHODES: Yes, Lawrence. I mean, first of all we had this huge spectacle in Singapore. At that spectacle, Donald Trump makes concessions. He confers upon Kim Jong-un, the legitimacy of the meeting, he suspends U.S. military exercise in the Korean peninsula in exchange for no timeline to get rid of their nuclear weapons, no international inspectors in there.
Since then, we`ve had no indication that North Korea is giving up any of its nuclear infrastructure, no indication that international inspectors can get in there. So, essentially, we`ve had a spectacle where Donald Trump gives everything away and he`s gotten nothing in return. And we`re seeing that this is pattern with him, where he does the minimum required for him to get press attention on the day of a meeting, but he does none of the follow through.
And American interests are going to be harmed. Right now, with what we have in North Korea that is deeply entrenched in term said of its nuclear program that knows Donald Trump is invested and it`s looking like a success, right? So they`re just playing him, and they`re moving forward with their missile program and Donald Trump meanwhile is saying he`s in love with Kim Jong-un.
And, again, I think what we see time and again, what links this to what we were just talking about, the military, is he cares about himself. He puts himself first. Not our country, not our military, not the people he said he was going to work for in terms of our economy. Everything is about what is good for Donald Trump on a given day, but then we`re left with the consequences. In this case, it`s a North Korea that`s no further away from maintaining its nuclear missile capability than it was before that summit in Singapore.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, the most deadly fires in California history, the latest death toll up to 42. When the president first decided to tweet about it, which is all he`s done about it, he of course in his fire tweets, he was the only person tweeting in favor of the fire, against California. He was rebuked by firefighters in California, the president of California Professional Firefighters said that the president was ill-informed, he was ill-timed. What he said was demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines. And that was long before the death toll has gone as high as it has gone.
You`re from California. You know what this means to that state to have this kind of situation. We`ve never seen anything like it.
HEILEMANN: I do. The reality is that these fires in Simi Valley, where my father before he passed away lived in the last 20 years, he would have been on an mandatory evacuation if he was still alive. And we have family members who live out there, and the fire is now getting close to Calabasas where I grew up. So, it hits very much closer to home to me.
And I think if you listen to the things he said, it`s inexplicable that Trump would tweet the way he`s tweeted about this as people -- the death toll was not that high. We had a death toll, we have some communities just erased from the map, and for the president not to do what any -- not just what any normal president would do or a great president would do, but what a normal human being would do and extend condolences, concern, sympathy is just gargantually grotesque, and also just in the fact that in the end, he knows California will never vote for him, he blames California for the popular vote margin that Hillary Clinton got, and he`s never going to say anything nice about anybody who lives in California because he`s never going to get their votes.
O`DONNELL: Yes, he`s just a hater. And if the same thing had happened in Mississippi, he would have had a totally different reaction to it. It`s all about the votes.
Ben Rhodes, John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us tonight.
And when we come back, the man who lied about John Kerry`s heroic record in battle in Vietnam is the very same man who was the first to lie about President Obama`s birth certificate, and that man now says he`s finally going into get into serious trouble for lying by getting himself indicted for perjury by Robert Mueller.
O`DONNELL: Jerome Corsi is a liar. He is a proven liar. He was the first to lie about President Obama`s birth certificate, a lie that captivated Donald Trump. Jerome Corsi co-wrote a book of lies about John Kerry`s service in Vietnam aimed at harming the Kerry presidential campaign in 2004. The men who served with John Kerry in Vietnam regarded him as a hero and joined him during his presidential campaign but Jerome Corsi`s book pushed the lie that John Kerry was not a hero. The book of lies was written to make money for Jerome Corsi and to help the Bush presidential campaign.
And so Jerome Corsi is a proven professional liar, someone who lies in the normal course of his profession. The question tonight is, did he lie under oath? Jerome Corsi himself apparently believes that he did lie under oath and believes that he is going to be prosecuted for perjury. After granting an interview to NBC News today in which he predicted that he would be indicted by Robert Mueller, Jerome Corsi decided then to tell the world or his very small world in his daily live stream on YouTube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME CORSI: I fully anticipated in the next few days I will be indicted by Mueller for some form or other of giving false information to the special counsel or to one or the other grand jury or however they want to do the indictment. The way this game of, you know, perjury trap is played, it`s impossible. Within the first 20 minutes you get a perjury trap, you can`t remember. But I`m going to be indicted. That`s what we`re told and everyone should know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ken Dilanian, intelligence and national security reporter for NBC News. Also joining us Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore and a former senior aide to President Obama.
And Ken Dilanian, you broke this news of first in NBC News about his belief that he`s going to be indicted. What is this based on?
KEN DILANIAN, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, NBC NEWS: Well, Lawrence, he`s saying it`s a perjury trap. And, of course, many people have been saying tonight that there`s no such thing as a perjury trap. Prosecutors don`t charge people for lying when they have a faulty memory. They charge people when they have evidence that they intentionally and willfully misled either the FBI or the grand jury. And that`s what it looks like is going on here.
We reported a couple of weeks ago that Mueller`s team obtained all, of course, these communications as part of their investigation into Roger Stone. But don`t forget, they`ve dragged about nine or so of Roger Stone`s associates to the grand jury. And as part of that, they were looking at Corsi and they found a communication that appeared to suggest that Corsi had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks had obtained John Podesta`s e-mail in the summer of 2016 before this was publicly known.
Now, Corsi`s story about this e-mail is that it wasn`t any back channel that he had to WikiLeaks. He just intuited. He made an educated guess that WikiLeaks had Podesta`s e-mail and they were holding onto it for an October surprise. This is a story that makes sense to no one and it appears that Robert Mueller is now prepared to charge Corsi with either lying or perjury.
And we should also know, Lawrence, that prosecutors don`t take witnesses before the grand jury as a matter of course in an investigation. You can interview people with the FBI. They take people before the grand jury to lock in their story, often when they`re concerned about their credibility when they want to make sure they`re telling the truth. And it looks like in this case, of course, he is telling us he believes he ran afoul of that process and is going to be charged with lying.
O`DONNELL: And Ron Klain, there is a dilemma here because Jerome Corsi is a public professional liar, pathological liar that tells lies that are instantly provable as lies. So he could be lying that he believes he`s going to be indicted in order to get some form of glory within the cult within which he lives.
RON KLAIN, GENERAL COUNSEL, AL GORE RECOUNT COMMITTEE 2000: Yes, Lawrence. This is like that hardest question on a standardized test where the man who always lies tell you he`s lying and you have to figure out if that`s true or false. I mean I think there`s a real motive for him to lie about how much he`s been lying and whether or not he`s been caught in his lying and that is he`s also raising money.
He`s raising money for what he calls a legal defense fund but who knows it could just be another profit making shakedown for Jerome Corsi. As you said, he profited from the blood libel against John Kerry, a hero in the Vietnam War by spreading untrue things about Senator Kerry`s service and the presidential campaign to make Jerome Corsi money. So who knows if this is a profit motivated thing now?
But at the underlying although, it is a really serious issue which is did Corsi, and more importantly, did Roger Stone know about the WikiLeaks before they became public? And on that core thing, the evidence is mounting. It`s been mounting over the course of the Mueller investigation.
And the idea that the Trump campaign, people close to Donald Trump knew WikiLeaks had this information, coordinated with them about the release, people should never forget, the first WikiLeaks dump came the same day of the Access Hollywood tape. That`s not a coincidence. The Trump campaign may well have coordinated with them through Stone and Corsi. And that`s really what`s at stake here.
O`DONNELL: And Ken Dilanian, Corsi said today that he doesn`t -- to the best of his recollection is the way he put it, to the best of his recollection, "I never met Julian Assange". I got to say, that would be something that would be pretty hard to forget.
DILANIAN: I think you would remember, Lawrence. I would remember. Ron would remember it. Yes, that`s a very loyally phrase. You know Roger Stone also used a series of literally phrases when he was talking to us today about this where he said, "Hey. Look, it`s possible that prosecutors could string together a set of circumstances and put it before the grand jury and get a week indictment."
Those are not the kind of indictments that Robert Mueller has been bringing. If they`re -- if they have Corsi on perjury, I think we can expect that they have solid evidence. But I also believe we`re not seeing the full picture here because as Ron said, the real game here is Mueller is trying to establish a chain between Russia and WikiLeaks in the Trump campaign.
And it wouldn`t be illegal for Corsi to have advance knowledge that WikiLeaks had the e-mails. He would have to have known that they were stolen and potentially that the Russians had hacked them for this to play an important role in the ultimate goal of the Mueller investigation. And that`s the evidence we`re not seeing. We`re only learning about this through witnesses and defendants. We don`t know everything that Mueller has here.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, I want to switch to your old position at the Justice Department. We have a statement tonight from the Justice Department. Spokesperson Kerri Kupec back saying this about Matt Whitaker, "Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal." What`s your reaction to that, Ron?
KLAIN: You know the procedure he should follow is not be acting attorney general. I mean in the history of this country, there`s a been a process for replacing the attorney general when there`s a vacancy there. That process is both statutory and constitutional.
What the Constitution does not allow is someone who does not fill a Senate- confirmed position from being attorney general. And that`s why Trump`s designation of him as acting attorney general is inappropriate and unconstitutional. He knows that. He must know that. Lawyers must be telling him that. And conservative lawyers have said that. Liberal lawyers have said that. Lawyers of all stripes have said that. He has no place in that office.
Until he leaves that office, the actions of the attorney general will be suspect. The actions of the department will be suspect. That`s a big problem.
O`DONNELL: Now, Ron, didn`t Matt Whitaker have your old job at the Justice Department? You were chief of staff to the Attorney General Janet Reno.
KLAIN: I was and the idea that they --
O`DONNELL: Did you know then that you were next in line for the attorney general?
KLAIN: Yes. I knew for sure. I was not at the idea that anyone could have just slotted me in there without a Senate confirmation. It would have been laughable, laughable at the time. It`s laughable today except for the fact that`s so sad, Trump`s trying so hard to cover himself on this Mueller investigation. He`s really overreached with his Whitaker appointment.
O`DONNELL: Well, I`ve known Ron Klain a long time and I`m here to say that Matt Whitaker is no Ron Klain.
KLAIN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ken Dilanian and Ron Klain, thank you for joining us tonight.
DILANIAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, health care was a big winner at the ballot box and so were the candidates who promised to protect it and protect the Obamacare. One of those winning candidates and one of her soon to be constituents will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s winner. We weren`t able to get to all of the winners on election night and so our coverage of the winners will continue. The Democrats passed Obamacare in the spring of 2010 and seven months later, they lost everything. They lost the House of Representatives and they lost the Senate.
Now, the Democrats have won back the House of Representatives. Thanks to Obamacare. And that is a perfect lesson in the kind of pace and patience you need if you want to soberly analyze the politics of governing which is infinitely more complex than the politics of campaigning.
Republicans publicly warned Democrats that passing Obamacare would be a political loser for them and they had reason to believe that. It always had been. Democrats suffered in a historic loss in 1904 after pushing for similar health care legislation championed by then-first lady Hillary Clinton. The Democrats had big margins in their majorities in the House and the Senate then and they lost it all in the next congressional election.
That time, the Republicans won the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, 40 years, and they believed that was thanks to defeating the Clinton Health Care Bill. And since then, Republicans have come to believe that their fortunes depend entirely on opposing everything that Democrats say or do about health care. But not anymore. Now, Republicans believe the only way they could win is by trying to sound like Democrats
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I completely believe, just based on my own family`s background, that you should have a right whether you have a pre- existing condition or not to be able to get health care.
BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I do protect folks with pre-existing conditions.
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I am passionate about protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We will always cover people like my wife with pre-existing medical conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Every one of those Republicans was lying about their support for guaranteeing affordable health care coverage for people with pre- existing conditions. But it was a lie that they felt they never needed to tell before. The exit polls show why Republicans were telling that lie. The exit polls show that among actual voters this year, health care was the number one issue in this election.
And this time, it turned in favor of the people who brought you Obamacare, the people who gave you the first legislated protections in history for people with pre-existing conditions, the Democrats. Tasha Nelson is a health care voter. She is the mother of a 7-year-old boy named Jack with the pre-existing condition of cystic fibrosis.
She joined us on this program before the election and told us that she`s a swing voter who usually leans Republican but this time, she`d be voting for Jennifer Wexton in the congressional race in her Virginia district. Jennifer Wexton crushed the Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, 56 to 43.
When we come back, tonight`s winner, Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton and health care voter Tasha Nelson.
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is tonight`s winner, Democratic Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton who flipped Virginia`s 10th Congressional District for the Democrats and one of her voters Tasha Nelson.
Tasha, welcome back to the show. Your vote worked. Let`s hear from your Congresswoman-elect. Jennifer Wexton, you apparently won the biggest margin of any Democrat who flipped a Republican district. How did you do it?
JENNIFER WEXTON (D), VIRGINIA CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: Well, with the help of hundreds of moms just like Tasha who were voting based on issues that were really important to them like health care and gun violence prevention. You know there`s no stopping these moms when they set their mind to something.
O`DONNELL: And Tasha, I know you haven`t been as politically involved before as you were this time around. How does it feel to get that win?
TASHA NELSON, MOM OF 7-YEAR-OLD SON WHO HAS PRE-EXISTING CONDITION: Amazing. In the 30 states that are not part of Texas versus the USACA, we can breathe a little easier that pre-existing conditions are not being targeted. We get to take a break. We get to be with our kids. There are still 20 states at jeopardy.
O`DONNELL: And Tasha, I`m going to read this Christmas card that we read before when you`re on the show that your son Jack send to Tim Kaine and it was his health care wish for 2018. And it said that his wish was simply don`t die. And you asked him what he mean -- meant and he said, "I`m scared I`ll get super-duper sick and go to the hospital and they will say I might die."
And Congresswoman-elect Wexton, when you see notes like that, when you meet constituents like Tasha, how does that steer your view of both the issue and how to deal with the issue publicly?
WEXTON: It`s heartbreaking. I mean no 6-year-old should have to think about their own mortality and no parent should have to go through that either. And there are things that we can do, you know. There are things that we can do at the legislative level to help ensure that everybody has access to affordable quality health care. And I hope that now with the Democrats in the majority and health care voters speaking out, I think that we`ll be able to finally do some good stuff.
O`DONNELL: And Tasha, you mentioned the lawsuits that Republicans around the country, attorney`s general in different states around the country have brought against Obamacare, against the Affordable Care Act. And they`re doing that while the Republican candidates are out there saying, "Oh, no, no, no, we absolutely want to guarantee the coverage, affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions."
NELSON: They are. They`re banking on the fact that the American public is not aware of or does not know enough about that lawsuit when they say those things. But the fact is there are 20 states at risk of losing coverage for pre-existing conditions today.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer --
NELSON: There`s more work to be done.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Wexton, the Republican language on this is simply that they are in favor of supporting legislation to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance but that was never the point. The point was that that insurance be affordable because there is some price point at which you might sell an insurance policy to someone with a pre-existing condition but that price point might be $100,000.
WEXTON: Exactly. And the proposals that they have in the Senate now says, "Well, you can`t deny coverage for someone with a pre-existing condition but you can deny them coverage for that pre-existing condition. And you can also discriminate against them when it comes to setting a premium. And that obviously defeats the entire purpose of this. But it allows these Republicans to disingenuously claim that they`re protecting pre-existing conditions, when in fact they`re doing nothing of the sort.
O`DONNELL: Let me just get a quick yes or no about this, Jennifer Wexton. When you started this campaign, trying to knock off an incumbent Republican, did you think you could win?
O`DONNELL: All right. You are a winner. We`re going to leave it right there.
Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton and Tasha Nelson, thank you both for joining us tonight.
WEXTON: Thank you.
NELSON: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word and that word is "Recount".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: There are no words more reassuring to Democratic politicians than the Florida recount. Now, no one knows where this will end up but if history is any guide, the Supreme Court will rule that the next governor of Florida is George W. Bush. And congratulations, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last word.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.
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