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Trump spirals on Twitter. TRANSCRIPT: 3/18/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Ron Klain, Joe Neguse

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.  Thank you very much.  And you have an excellent rest of your evening.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS":  I will be.  Thanks, Ali.

VELSHI:  I`ll be watching very closely for those records tomorrow that are released. 

MADDOW:  Indeed. 

VELSHI:  I`m Ali Velshi, in for Lawrence O`Donnell tonight. 

House Democrats will investigate the rise of white nationalism in America.  Days after the massacre in New Zealand, lawmakers are looking for more information from federal agencies about what`s being done to confront that threat.  We`ll be joined by a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which is reportedly planning to hold a hearing in the coming weeks. 

Also, a top Republican fundraiser was reportedly raided by federal investigators last year who are looking for records detailing his dealings with Trump administration associates.  One of the reporters who broke the story of that raid will join us. 

But first, his condition is getting worse.  That`s how the husband of one of President Trump`s most senior advisers is describing the president.  George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, is suggesting that Trump is in a state of cognitive decline.  This morning, George Conway tweeted passages from the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders". 

He tweeted the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder and anti- social personality disorder.  If you think George Conway was making veiled references to someone else, he also sent this tweet, quote: All Americans should be thinking seriously now about Trump`s mental condition and psychological state, including and especially the media, Congress and the vice president and cabinet. 

It seems George Conway even got a 25th Amendment reference in there, and that was just some of his reaction to the president`s meltdown this weekend on Twitter.  Trump tweeted or retweeted 50 times over two days.  For someone as prolific with his Twitter account as President Trump is, it takes something special for a rant to stand out like this one.  His tirade, much of which seemed to be in direct response to whomever or whatever was on television at the time, was peppered with laments about perceived slights against him and provided a real-time glimpse into what some on the right, including Mr. Conway, believe is the president`s fraying state of mind. 

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol tweeted: To Republicans who have been inclined to acquiesce in a Trump renomination in 2020, read his tweets this morning.  Think seriously about his mental condition and psychological state.  Then tell me you`re fine with him as president of the United States for an additional four years. 

It`s unclear what exactly prompted the tweets, but without a doubt, Trump`s grievance airing resulted in some of the mousse outrageous inducing messages of his presidency.  He raged against the Mueller probe.  He called for an investigation into "Saturday Night Live," which was a rerun this weekend.  He attacked some Fox News hosts while calling on the network to defend others.  He retweeted far right supporters, including conspiracy theorists, and he did not condemn the murder of 50 Muslims in New Zealand, nor did he offer any support to the Muslim community. 

He did, however, attack the late senator John McCain. 

Presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker responded to those attacks in an interview earlier today with "HARDBALL`s" Chris Matthews. 


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, "HARDBALL":  What was your instinctive reaction when you heard that? 

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Repulsive, repulsive.  I mean, John McCain, he and I disagreed, but he was probably one of the better mentors I had when I came to the Senate. 

He is a hero.  And to hear a sitting president, a commander-in-chief, what`s that say to other men and women that are serving this nation.  So I found it repulsive, just another example of his moral vandalism and him tearing at the fabric of this country. 


VELSHI:  "The Daily Beast" asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders if Trump`s tweets speak for themselves.  Her fault line when Trump goes off script, she simply replied yes. 

But why is the president suddenly so enraged?  Does he know something that we don`t know about the Mueller report? 

According to a new report from CNN tonight, White House lawyers expect to have an opportunity to review whatever version of Mueller`s report Attorney General Bill Barr submits to Congress before it reaches lawmakers and the public.  Quote: The attorneys want the White House to have an opportunity to claim executive privilege over information drawn from documents and interviews with White House officials. 

Or could the president`s anger stem from the growing investigation into his associates launched by the House Judiciary Committee?  You`ll recall today was the deadline the committee gave 81 Trump-linked individuals and entities to return information for its investigation into possible corruption and obstruction.  The committee said in a statement that it is, quote, heard from large number of recipients, many of whom have either sent or agreed to send documents to the committee.  Those documents already number in the tens of thousands. 

"Washington Post" opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, who will join us in just a moment, argues that whatever the president`s motives for his Twitter meltdowns, those meltdown are likely to continue, because most members of his own party won`t stand up and denounce him.  Quote, there is no moral or intellectual reason that will persuade them.  There is no respectful conversation to be had with people who argue in bad faith.  The only solution is to defeat Trump and his party so thoroughly that Trumpism is permanently discredited. 

A party that continues to defend this president is simply beyond redemption.  Joining me now is "The Washington Post" Jennifer Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, and Ron Klain, former senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama and former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Welcome to both of you.  Thank you for being here. 

Jennifer, tell me what the solution looks like.  We heard from Jeb Bush earlier, or last week saying that a Republican should run against Donald Trump, but he seems to be in a bubble that doesn`t allow him to do things that a normal president would be expected to do.  And he seems to be going farther and farther down this unusual road. 

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  He does.  I would recommend anybody who wants to try to primary him.  You never know when Donald Trump is really going to fall off the deep end or what is going to be in the Mueller report.  So it certainly doesn`t hurt.  And I think it would be helpful to have a constant presence in the media and out on the campaign trail hammering away at this president. 

But really, the solution to Donald Trump, if we think the Senate is actually going remove him, I think that`s a pipe dream.  The solution to Donald Trump is to beat him, to beat him badly, to flip the Senate, to show that this type of behavior is unacceptable, to show that Americans have not lost their mind, to show that we can regulate our own democracy.  And that we can begin to repair some of the damage that he has wrought. 

But I will say, I am a bit nervous, a bit more nervous after this weekend than I was before about the prospect of even letting him finish this term.  He is clearly off the loop, and he is clearly becoming more and more irate, more and more irrational by the moment, and goodness knows what he`s going to do before we get to 2020 election day. 

VELSHI:  Ron, tell me what you think is going on here.  There`s been some speculation that Donald Trump is very attached to the idea or very concerned about the idea of Joe Biden getting into the race.  And every time Joe Biden speaks, it sort of sets him off. 

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, you know, I worked for Vice President Biden.  I hope Vice President Biden`s speaking does set the president off.  You know, there should be a lot of voices out there setting the president off and it doesn`t take very much. 

You know, to me, this is less about whether Donald Trump is crazy and how Donald Trump is lazy.  You know, this weekend was a time for the president to speak out against this attack against Muslims in New Zealand, a time to do something about thousands of Americans who are losing their jobs in Ohio when GM shutters down.  But all the president could do is tweet, tweet about all these problems, tweet about "SNL," which is a rerun, as you noted, instead of really doing his job. 

And at the end of the day the one thing Donald Trump isn`t doing is he`s not doing his job. 

VELSHI:  Jennifer, let`s talk about this.  It is kind of interesting because on Friday, the president was asked about the growing threat of white nationalism.  He seemed to dismiss numbers that his own government, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have that show that it`s a serious threat.  And he didn`t make any effort to distance himself from the fact that the gunman in New Zealand actually named him in a manifesto.  It doesn`t mean he`s had anything to do with it, but he didn`t seem to care to distance himself from that event. 

RUBIN:  Right.  I`m not sure what the Republicans would do if President Obama had used the same language as terrorism, has refused to use the term "Islamic terrorism."  Ooh, yes, they did.  They freaked out.  They called him a closet Muslim.  They accused him of not protecting is the United States.  They called him an unfit commander in chief. 

Donald Trump is doing exactly the same time at a time when there is concrete, inconvertible evidence that right-wing, white nationalist terrorism is on the rise.  Every single fatality in the United States related to terrorism in 2018 was the result of right wing terrorism.  And yet, he doesn`t care about it because it doesn`t serve his political purpose. 

He would rather go after Muslims.  He would rather go after Mexican immigrants.  He would rather good after anyone, John McCain, than actually address the problem.  And the reason is simple: he cannot afford to offend that part of his base which is in sympathy to these people. 

VELSHI:  The John McCain stuff actually confused me a little.  When the president tweeted about John McCain, Meghan McCain responded to Donald Trump`s attacks against her late father on "The View."  Let`s listen together. 


MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF SEN. JOHN MCCAIN:  Your life is spent on your weekends not with your family, not with your friends, but obsessing, obsessing over great men you could never live up to.  That tells you everything you need to know about his pathetic life right now.  My father was his kryptonite in life.  He is his kryptonite in death. 


VELSHI:  Ron, was there any pattern to this, this weekend that you saw?  It was always over the map the things that the president was tweeting about.  But picking on John McCain seemed unusual. 

KLAIN:  Well, I think the one consistency, and again, trying to find consistency in Donald Trump might be a fool`s errand, but the point of consistency is an effort just to inflame his supporters.  His supporters were the last Americans who really were not fans of John McCain.  They hate the news media.  They hate the big media shows like "SNL."  They hate, you know all these other things. 

So, I think virtually every tweet from our president was just a hate-filled bomb aimed at inflaming his supporters.  And that`s irresponsible given what`s going on in the country. 

It`s also not his job.  He is supposed to be president of the United States.  He is supposed to be addressing problems, addressing issues, solving problems. 

That`s not what he does.  He sit there`s and tweets out hate as much as he can.  And he said this weekend 50 tweets or retweets.  Even for Donald Trump, that is a lot of action on Twitter. 

VELSHI:  There are also a few, Jennifer, there are a few conspiracy theories that he tweeted out or conspiracy theorists who he retweeted.  At this point, this doesn`t expand Donald Trump`s base.  He is getting concern of the Democratic coverage, whether it`s Joe Biden or somebody else he is concerned about. 

To Ron`s point, he is speaking to a narrower and narrower group of people who might be Republicans, who never voted for the Republican Party, although he did tweet out that his approval rating amongst Republicans is at a record high, above 90 percent.  How do you explain that? 

RUBIN:  Well, first of all, you`re right, Ali, he has absolutely cornered the market on racist and conspiracy nut jobs.  So there is no more of those people out there.  It`s not a growth industry for him.  So put that off to one side. 

Two things I think are going on.  One, the Republican Party is shrinking.  So he has a greater share of a smaller pie, which is not a good business plan.  And second of all, this is the problem that I and many of our ex- Republicans or wayward Republicans in the never Trump movement have written about which is the complete intellectual and moral obsequiousness of the Republican Party and their absolute refusal to confront this man.  They so slavishly devoted to their own reelection and they see him as the absolute key to them remaining in Washington.  To do what, I don`t know because they would willingly assign their duties as part of the legislative branch to him. 

But they are so obsessed with that they`ll say anything, they`ll do anything, they`ll rationalize anything he says or does.  And so, he has very little incentive so long as that party is locked in there to really change his ways.  He is probably in all likelihood, unless something really catastrophic happens is going to get the nomination.  And his base, that solid 33 percent or whatever they are of the American population are going to be with him until the ship goes down. 

And that`s why it`s so important I think for people of good will, Republicans, ex-Republicans, independents, Democrats to say enough.  We`re not going to have a lunatic as president anymore.  We`re not going to have someone who is cited as inspiration for right wing nationalist murderers. 

Come on.  This is really a new low.  And perhaps what has gotten under his skin is now another crazy bunch of people, just like the bomber in Florida, just like the murderer in Pittsburgh is citing Donald Trump as inspiration. 

VELSHI:  You worked, Ron, for Barack Obama and Joe Biden when bad things like this happened.  They didn`t typically have somebody writing a manifesto associating themselves with it.  But it would have been their instinct to set the record straight if there was anything there.  They wanted to be on the right side of things, as has every other Republican president in history. 

KLAIN:  I mean, this isn`t a partisan issue.  I think the Democratic and Republican presidents, when they see slaughter, when they see hatred, when they see the loss of life we`ve seen in New Zealand. 

VELSHI:  It`s a layup to be on the right side. 

KLAIN:  You know, it`s just being a human being to be on the right side of that.  And we have a president who is not even living up to the human being standard.  I mean, his reaction to this horrible tragedy in New Zealand is inexcusable and inexplicable, you know, just from a raw humanity standpoint. 

Look, very different kind of thing, but to see President Obama really in tears, racked up after the Newtown shooting, after what happened after that school, and you can see how the loss of lives really got toe him.  We have a president who has -- who has no sense of the job, no sense of what he`s supposed to be doing, and no heart.  And that is a crushing combination in the Oval Office. 

VELSHI:  All right.  Ron Klain, thank you.  Jennifer Rubin, thank you for joining me tonight. 

Coming up, two members of the Trump administration had to defend the president from accusations that he appeases white supremacist as new reports of worry around the world that the United States is now exporting racism extremism thanks in part to President Trump.  A member of the Congress on the committee that is considering investigating white nationalism will join me next. 

And tomorrow could be another tough day for individual 1.  New information about investigations into the Trump administration, and a new report about a probe into possible influence peddling involving the White House. 

And later, President Trump attacked a Democrat who hasn`t even announced that he is running for president, while the announced Democratic candidates are on the campaign trail talking policy. 


VELSHI:  While the House Judiciary Committee moves forward with its investigations into Donald Trump, it`s also taking on an issue the president refuses to talk about, the threat of white nationalism.  "The Daily Beast" reports that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in the coming weeks to address the rise in white nationalism and hate crimes in the United States. 

The announcement comes just days after the attack on Muslims in New Zealand that killed 50 people.  The New Zealand mosque shooter praised Trump in his manifesto as, quote, a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.  The shooter disparaged immigrants as an invasion, language Trump has frequently used and Trump used on Friday while downplaying the threat posed by white supremacists. 

This morning, Trump tweeted, quote: The fake news media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand.  So ridiculous. 

But David Leonhardt wrote in "The New York Times," quote: Trump doesn`t deserve to be blamed for any specific crime, but he does deserve blame for the trend.  It isn`t very complicated.  The man with the world`s largest bully pulpit keeps encouraging violence in white nationalism.  Lo and behold, white nationalist violence is on the rise.  You have to work pretty hard to persuade yourself that`s just a big coincidence. 

"USA Today" reports that some human rights leaders are concerned that the United States is exporting extremism by inspiring a global trend of hatred fuelled by xenophobic ethno-nationalistic and anti-immigrant feelings.  And there is growing concern about white nationalism in the U.S. military.  An investigation by "Huffington Post" revealed that, quote: Leaked chat logs have connected seven current members of the U.S. Armed Forces to a white nationalist group.  And in 2017 poll conducted by the "Military Times" found that nearly 25 percent of service members surveyed said they had encountered white nationalists within their ranks.  That poll found that 30 percent of troops said they saw white nationalism as a bigger threat to national security than the wars in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. 

But Donald Trump has actually cut federal funding from groups tasked with combating right wing extremism.  This is true.  He did so after failing to condemn neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.  Still, White House officials defended the president. 


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP:  He has denounced bigotry many times, and I wouldn`t be working here if I believed otherwise. 

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF:  You`ve seen the president stand up for religious liberty, individual liberties.  The president is not a white supremacist.  I`m not sure how many times we have to say that. 


VELSHI:  Joining us now is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, freshman Congressman Joe Neguse, Democrat from Colorado.

Congressman, good to talk to you again.  Thank you for being with us. 

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D), COLORADO:  Thank you, Ali, for having me. 

VELSHI:  How do we go forward with this?  This is a strange moment in American history where we`re having a conversation about whether or not the president of the United States encourages or at least doesn`t discourage the growth of white nationalism and white supremacy. 

NEGUSE:  Well, I think we go forward by having conversations just like this one.  I mean, much of what you described obviously is deeply concerning to me as an African-American, as a son of immigrants, and as a United States congressman.  I spent this weekend visiting with folks here in boulder.  I was at the Islamic center of the local mosque here yesterday with over 600 people as we gathered to grieve together over the lives lost in New Zealand, and to have some important conversations about how we can unite together and love one another as brothers and sisters. 

And I will tell you, there were people of all faiths and all backgrounds gathered in that room.  The unity was really palpable.  I wish that we had a president that would express those same sentiments, of course, as you have outlined.  We unfortunately do not. 

VELSHI:  Congressman, you know, the president after Charlottesville did ultimately say that neo-Nazis are not good.  But I keep wondering when he was associated by the shooter in New Zealand -- with the shooter in New Zealand, it would have been a fantastic opportunity for the president who have said any one of 100 things disassociating himself from it.  But he didn`t do that.  He downplayed that. 

I suspect if someone tied you to a crime, you`d go out of your way to clear your name, if you could. 

NEGUSE:  Yes, certainly.  And as you said, again, it`s not a hard call to be able to ultimately call this for what it was and to denounce it.  And it`s unfortunate that the president chose not to do that.  Clearly, I think you see people of all -- in many ways, political faiths as well.  I`ll be candid with you, Ali.  Plenty of Democrats and Republicans whom I`ve talked to over the course of the last few days who were terribly upset and mourned what happened in New Zealand.  So I just, again, regret that the White House refuses to play a leadership role on this front. 

VELSHI:  However, America can move forward regardless whether the White House plays a leadership role.  Do you know anything about the House Judiciary Committee holding hearings on white nationalism? 

NEGUSE:  You know, I don`t.  That was the first that I had heard of it was you mentioning it here on the segment tonight.  I don`t know that I`ve received any kind of formal notice that the judiciary committee is going to hold that kind of hearing.  There certainly have been letters of inquiry, letters of protest from variety of members of judiciary and other committees in Congress to a variety of federal agencies really making clear their desire for more action on this front given the trend lines which are very clear. 

So, you know, whether or not ultimately a hearing takes place in the Judiciary Committee or another committee of jurisdiction, say the Homeland Security Committee, clearly these conversations are going to be happening in Congress.  And frankly, they`re happening across the country.  They`re happening around dinner tables, around kitchen tables, in living rooms and in coffee shops and in board rooms. 

And it`s important for those discussions to happen. 

VELSHI:  So what role, then as a member of Congress and/or as a member of the Judiciary Committee, do you think this is a role for Congress?  This is serious.  The numbers are very clear.  I just want to quote from an NBC article that has information on the extremism, white extremism.  The Anti- Defamation League said domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the United States in 2018, up from 37 in 2017.  White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case. 

The group wrote between 2008 and 2016, far right plots and attacks outnumbered Islamist incidents inspired by groups such as ISIS by almost two to one.  The number of hate groups operating across America also rose to a record high of 1,020 in 2018.  That`s according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Congressman, this is a serious problem in 2019 that this is happening. 

NEGUESE:  No, I couldn`t agree more.  And obviously, the empirical data that you just outlined is deeply sobering and it speaks for itself.  So, yes, I think there is role for Congress in its oversight responsibilities.  I suspect that perhaps the Homeland Security and Crime Subcommittee, the Judiciary Committee or the Homeland Security Committee as well, I suspect will be taking a deeper look to make sure that the federal agencies that are responsible for preventing domestic terrorism and prosecution of hate crimes and so forth, that they are well-resourced and that they`re taking this seriously.  Because clearly, given the data and the trend lines, it`s something that we all ought to be talking about and acting on. 

VELSHI:  Congressman Joe Neguse, good to see you as always.  Thank you, sir.

NEGUSE:  Thank you.  Thanks for having me. 

VELSHI:  All right.  Coming up, you probably first heard the name Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chairman of the RNC when "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Michael Cohen helped Broidy pay off a "Playboy" playmate with whom he was having an affair.  But now, it turns out that Broidy`s reported connections to many people tied up in serious investigations involving the Trump White House run very deep. 

And we`ll tell you why tomorrow could be another tough day for individual 1.


VELSHI:  Tomorrow could be a big day for individual 1.  That`s because a federal judge set tomorrow as a deadline for prosecutors to make public the search warrants for that shocking raid on Michael Cohen`s home and offices last year.  Now, that should give us an idea of what FBI teams were looking for back in April of 2018 in a raid that led to Michael Cohen pleading guilty and Donald Trump all but being named an unindicted co-conspirator.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Michael Cohen issued this statement tonight.  Tomorrow`s court-ordered release of the affidavits that led to the search warrants of Mr. Cohen`s home, hotel, and -- home office, hotel, and safety deposit box only furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and truth about Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to law enforcement and Congress.

And tonight, there is news of another raid on a person with close ties to Trump and his presidential campaign.  "ProPublica" reports federal authorities raided the office of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer, seeking records related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates, according to a sealed search warrant obtained by "ProPublica".

Now, before we get into the details of that raid and just how thorough it was, let`s just remember who Elliott Broidy is.  He is a name that`s been familiar in the Trump investigation deadlines, connected to former Trump Deputy Campaign Chairman Rick Gates who is cooperating with Mueller, connected to Trump`s personal lawyer Michael Cohen who is cooperating with Mueller and federal prosecutors, and to George Nader who started cooperating with Mueller`s team after federal investigators met him at Dulles Airport with search warrants and a grand jury subpoena.

Elliott Broidy was vice-chairman of the Trump Victory Committee in 2016, then vice-chairman of the Trump Inaugural Committee, which is currently under several state and federal investigations.  Broidy then appeared as a Deputy Finance Chairman at the RNC until he was forced to resign, after "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Michael Cohen had helped arrange a $1.6 million payoff to a Playboy playmate.

Broidy said he had an affair with the playmate who became pregnant and later had an abortion.  That`s the most salacious Broidy headline but there is more of interest to federal investigators.  "The Associated Press" reported in2018 that Elliott Broidy and George Nader had teamed up to be a back channel between the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Donald Trump.

So back to today`s news, "ProPublica" reports the search warrant cites three potential crimes that authorities are investigating, conspiracy, money laundering, and violations of the law barring covert lobbying on behalf of foreign officials.

Now to obtain a search warrant, authorities have to convince a judge that there is a probable cause that they will find evidence of those specific crimes.  Federal authorities were also seeking records in Broidy`s office related to the United Arab Emirates, UAE adviser George Nader, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and any travel to the Middle East.

We`ll be joined by the "ProPublica" reporter who got that sealed search warrant and broke the story, right after this.


VELSHI:  Tonight, "ProPublica`s" reporting on an FBI raid of a top GOP fundraiser with close ties to Donald Trump and his campaign, a raid that very much echoes what happened during the raid on Michael Cohen`s home and offices last year.

According to sealed search warrants obtained by "ProPublica", Elliott Broidy, this man, was the subject of a federal raid last summer as part of an investigation into whether he had sought to sell influence with the White House to foreign officials.  The sealed search warrant even shows that "agents were authorized to use the mega donor`s hands and face to unlock any phones that required fingerprints or facial scans."

Joining us now is Robert Faturechi, a campaign finance reporter from "ProPublica" who obtained the sealed search warrant on raided Elliott Broidy by federal agents.

Robert, thank you for joining us.  What do you make of what you`ve had a chance to look at so far?  What are investigators, what were they looking for in the raid of Elliott Broidy`s office?

ROBERT FATURECHI, REPORTER, MONEY IN POLITICS, PROPUBLICA:  So this search warrant was wide-ranging.  They were looking at three specific crimes, money laundering, conspiracy, and the law that prohibits covert lobbying on behalf of foreign officials.

They were looking for records that related to the Middle East, to China, to Trump administration associates, and, you know, the bar is actually quite high for this kind of search warrant.  There needs -- they need to be able to convince a judge that there is probable cause that they will find evidence that supports these claims.

And, look, this wasn`t a subpoena.  You know, they weren`t just asking him to provide these records.  They entered his office.  They took these records.  They even had the authority to use his fingers and his face --

VELSHI:  That`s incredible.

FATURECHI:  -- to open up any devices.

VELSHI:  What has happened since then, Robert, with Elliott Broidy and the investigation?

FATURECHI:  So the status of the investigation is unclear at this point.  You know, what we do know is that they were aggressively looking into these matters.  You know, we have reached out to Broidy`s people to try to get any sort of understanding of where it`s at.  They have not been cooperative.

You know, spokespeople for both the FBI and the DOJ have declined to comment.  This is being held tightly.

VELSHI:  What is the implication here?  Because when you -- Elliott Broidy, like Trump world, has a lot of connections to a lot of people.  Where is the overlap between Elliott Broidy and what`s going on in the Trump administration?  The nexus seems to be this guy George Nader who is a lobbyist on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

FATURECHI:  Yes.  So I mean the nexus is actually much broader than that.  Elliott Broidy was an early backer of Trump`s campaign for the presidency.  You know, he was one of his top fundraisers, and he became deputy finance chair of the RNC, you know.

Records that we have reported on and others have reported on as well show that he played an integral role in filling vacancies within the administration in the early months, even had, you know, the attorney general`s private e-mail address to send recommendations for U.S. attorney posts, despite being a convicted criminal himself.

So he had a lot of influence within the Trump administration and that`s sort of where the nexus is, right?  He was allegedly looking to parlay those connections to get payoffs from folks who wanted to sway White House policy.

VELSHI:  And of this effort to create a backchannel for various Middle Eastern princes, is that -- what`s the implication there?  Was that doing something on behalf of your clients or is there an implication of something more?

FATURECHI:  So I mean, for example, you brought up George Nader, right?  He was an adviser to the UAE.  He later became a cooperating witness for Mueller but, you know, he was essentially allegedly offering to give contracts to Broidy`s security business for over a billion dollars.

And in exchange, what he was hoping for was that Elliott Broidy would sway White House policy to benefit both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

VELSHI:  From your report, the warrant, which was filed in July 2018 targeted Broidy`s office in Los Angeles, the scope of what authorities were seeking was broad.  They planned to seize any evidence related to a list of dozens of people, countries, and corporate entities, according to the warrant.

Among the names on the list are Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign official, who has pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe, Colfax Law Office, the firm founded by Robert Rosenzweig, Broidy`s wife, and several foreign countries.  Is there some sense that all of those other parties that got information from it, after all this is a puzzled piece that fits into an investigation?

FATURECHI:  It`s unclear.  Time will only tell how all these pieces fit together.  But like you said, it was a long list.  One of the names that we hadn`t ever seen before being publicly connected to Broidy was Joel Rousseau who is a Miami Beach Club promoter.  He specializes in bringing models to nightclub events.

If you take a look at his social media, he is sort of a globetrotter.  And it`s unclear how exactly he fits into this.  We tried to reach out to him.  We were unsuccessful.  But he`s sort of a new link in all of this.  He remains mysterious.

VELSHI:  What`s his name?  Just because we should hear it so that we know.

FATURECHI:  Joel Rousseau.

VELSHI:  Sometimes the conversations we have I never would have imagined having.  Robert, thank you for your reporting on this.  And thank you too, "ProPublica".  Robert Faturechi covers campaign finance for "ProPublica".  We`ll stay on top of that story.  It promises to be interesting.

All right.  Coming up, Senator Gillibrand has just finished a town hall on MSNBC.  Beto O`Rourke reveals a record-breaking fundraising amount and both of them are answering questions about the policies they believe in.  That and the latest on Joe Biden is next.



BETO O`ROURKE (D-TX), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I say thank you to everyone who`s helping to build the largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen, funded completely by, powered completely by people, not PACs, not lobbyists, not corporations, and not special interests.

It`s one of the best ways to bring the country together to make sure that we are listening to one another and not that entrenchment of wealth and power and privilege that defines so much of our politics from before.


VELSHI:  Beto O`Rourke`s presidential campaign announced today that it raised $6.1 million in its first 24 hours, beating the previous first-day record set by Bernie Sanders, $5.9 million earlier this year, as well as the other Democrats who have released their totals.

While fundraising doesn`t always translate into votes, it does bring attention.  One former state lawmaker who supported Beto in South Carolina told "Politico" today, "it shows everybody what some of us knew.  He`s the real deal."

Beto O`Rourke held campaign stops in Michigan and Ohio today.  Democratic candidate Kirsten Gillibrand was also in Michigan, where she sat down with Chris Hayes for a town hall where she addressed the president`s remarks about Muslims.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I promise you, you do not defeat terrorism by being hateful.  And let me tell you another thing.  When I went to Syria, and God bless your mother, to survive those refugee camps.  I met with mothers that could well have been your mother.

And they looked me in the eye and they said you are so afraid of Osama bin Laden.  When you turn a blind eye to people suffering here in Syria, you`re creating thousands every day.  So that is what Donald Trump is creating.  He is making us less safe.  His hatred makes us less safe.  His Muslim ban makes us less safe.

So I will protect this country.  I will make sure that we are safe.  But I will make sure that we remember, we are at our best when we love one another.


VELSHI:  And over the weekend, the Democrat who everyone is watching almost announced his candidacy.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I`m told I get criticized by the new left.  I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- anybody who would run.  I didn`t mean it.  Than anybody who would run.


VELSHI:  "Politico" reported last week that "Behind closed doors, President Trump has fixated on Biden while top aides have tried to assure their boss that the former vice president is doomed.  In recent weeks, Trump has peppered aides on more than one occasion for updates on how Biden is faring in early Democratic primary polls, a sign of just how seriously Trump takes the potential candidacy."

Donald Trump tweeted this today, "Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for president.  Get used to it.  Another low IQ individual."

We`ll talk about the Democratic field, Trump, and 2020 in tonight`s last word.  That`s next.


VELSHI:  Democratic presidential candidate Beto O`Rourke said this about President Trump today in Detroit.


O`ROURKE:  He`s trying to divide us, whether it`s calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, calling neo Nazis very fine people, trying to ban all Muslim travel, attacking unions at the time that we need greater union strength and power so that we can have higher paying jobs, jobs with dignity that pay a living wage.  We can`t succumb to that.  Let`s not play his game.


VELSHI:  Beto O`Rourke spent three days in Iowa last week, where reporter Patrick Svitek writes, he got a crash course in the meat grinder that is presidential politics.

Joining us for tonight`s last word is Patrick, a reporter for "The Texas Tribune" who reported on Beto O`Rourke for three days in Iowa over the weekend.  And Danielle Moodie-Mills, the host of "#WokeAF" on SiriusXM.  Not going to get tired of saying that.

Welcome to both of you.  Thank you for being here.  Patrick, let`s start with you.  Talk to me about the meat grinder.  I mean, it`s his first week at this level of campaigning.  Obviously, he`s a bit of a veteran campaigner by now.  What do you think Beto has learned in the last few days and what have we learned about him?

PATRICK SVITEK, REPORTER, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE:  I think he learned that he`s going to face a lot more scrutiny in the context of a national democratic primary than he did in the context of a statewide general election in Texas, especially against such a polarizing figure like ted Cruz.

As we noted in the story, he generally took it in stride.  He, throughout that Iowa trip and in his appearances afterward, continued to take reporters` questions as he went into events and as he left them.

And as he confronted some of these controversies, whether it was kind of the flippant joke he said about his wife raising his kids while he`s campaigning, or whether it was this "Reuters" story that came out about some of his past writings as part of a hacker group.  He was pretty open and honest and pretty contrite.

And the voters that I talked to understood it and for the most part, didn`t seem to hold some of these early controversies against him.  I think they appreciated him being mostly open and honest about things.

VELSHI:  Danielle, what is the host of a show called #WokeAF think of Beto O`Rourke?

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, #WOKEAF:  I like Beto.  I think that he has a lot of passion.  I think that he has a lot of promise.  I think that he is a little light on policy right now which is fine because he`s only a couple days into his presidential run.

But in a crowded field, I think that it`s going to be really important for him to solidify himself and understand his message and be able to deliver that message to the American people.  But his passion, obviously, resonates.

He raised $6 million.  He raised a bit more money than his competitors have raised after their announcing.  So there obviously is promise there, but it -- we are, what, 300 and some odd days from the first caucuses, so it is a long road ahead.

VELSHI:  Patrick, one of the things that Danielle talks about when he`s got to get it together with policy, the litmus test for Democratic candidates these days, one of them, at least, is around health care.  This is something that you can say he`s evolved, or he`s changed, or he`s waffled.  Where does he come down on health care policy at the moment?

SVITEK:  You know, I think he`s still figuring it out, quite frankly.  And, you know, I think if you look at his Senate race last year in Texas, he was generally supportive of single payer health care, a little harder to pin down on the specific plan that`s known as Medicare for all.

And now as you see him embark on this presidential campaign, in some ways he`s even moving away from single payer and he`s talking a lot more about this plan called Medicare for America, which would set up a government-run health care program, but it aims to let people who have employer-sponsored insurance keep that.

And, you know, he`s trying to kind of thread that needle in terms of expanding and trying to get to universal health care, but also letting people keep their insurance, their private insurance, if they like it.  And so I think he`s still finding his footing on that but he did arrive in Iowa much more prepared to talk about that specific proposal, known as Medicare for America.

VELSHI:  Beto O`Rourke was also responding to a question today, Danielle, about how he plans to connect with black voters.  Let`s listen to what he say.


O`ROURKE:  I think it begins with treating everyone with respect, listening to everyone, not taking anyone or any vote for granted, and not writing anybody off.  And the only way to demonstrate that is to show up and to be here, to be here today in Livernois in Detroit, but also yesterday in Milwaukee.

Knocking on doors, meeting people who don`t come out to an event, who may not know that I`m a candidate, who may not vote.  That doesn`t matter to me.  Making sure that I understand things from their perspective is essential to being able to solve some of the challenges in front of us.


VELSHI:  What do you think of that?

MOODIE-MILLS:  I think that it`s important for candidates to show up.  I`ve always said that white candidates happen to show up about, I don`t know, a week before the ballot needs to be cast and ignore the black community, many months or years in advance of that conversation.

So I think that it`s important to show up.  And I also want to know what policies are you offering around criminal justice reform, around health care, around access to free and clear public education, you know, beyond high school, beyond the -- like, what are you offering to the black communities?

And I feel like what happens with these very passionate, very real, candidates, is that they get caught up in just being in the black church and going to places in where black people are, but not really offering policies and economic solutions to bring people up out of poverty, right?  To help build wealth in the black community.

And so I am very excited about the potential of Beto O`Rourke and I will be looking forward to what he`s going to actually offer that is going to be concrete for the black community, other than showing up and listening.

VELSHI:  We also, Patrick, we heard from Kirsten Gillibrand today about guns, and obviously, an issue that has now bubbled again to the surface because of what happened in New Zealand.  Her response is very interesting.  Let`s listen to what she said.

Oh, all right.  I`m sorry.  We don`t have it.  She talks about -- I`ll just read you what she said.  I should have done more.  I regret actually not caring about other communities.  My community didn`t have the gun violence that other parts of the state, she`s from New York state, have.  And in fact, the biggest issue for upstate New York was hunting rights.

She goes on to say that she subsequently thought about the victims more, and has evolved her position.  There is some criticism Kirsten Gillibrand also faces that Beto O`Rourke faces and in terms of evolving positions.  A quick take from you for 15 seconds that we have left.

SVITEK:  I think Beto O`Rourke actually has a very compelling story to tell when it comes to gun violence.  In his Senate race, he was unapologetically in support of gun control, embraced things like an assault weapons ban in a state that loves its guns like Texas.

And right in the middle of the campaign, there unfortunately was the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas.  And so he had very intimate experience with dealing with survivors of gun violence.  And so I think on O`Rourke on these counts has a great story to tell.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  You made it under the count.  Patrick Svitek and Danielle Moody-Mills, thank you, tonight`s "Last Word."  "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" starts right now.