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House Judiciary Committee to hold vote. TRANSCRIPT: 4/2/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Prudence Gourguechon, Ron Klain, Adam Jentleson, Harley Rouda,Caitlin Ostroff

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. 

And the question for everyone is, what is William Barr doing?  We know he`s not responding to the deadline and that he says he`s working on redactions of the Mueller report, and in the next few weeks it`s going to come out, but by what is he doing? 

I mean, is he working to try to protect the president?  Are his redactions designed to protect the president?  Is the delay designed to protect the president? 

We have reason to wonder about that.  It might not be the case at all. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  And the, you know, the -- in that letter that went from the Democratic chairman to the attorney general within the last 24 hours, they had one line in there which I think was supposed to be important for all of us to grock, which was they said that Nadler in his call with Barr was led to believe by Barr`s comments that these grand jury redactions that he`s making are substantial redactions.  Meaning he`s cutting a ton out of the report based on the fact that it`s grand jury information. 

That immediately calls to question as to whether or not that grand jury information is being properly withheld from Congress or whether somebody should be asking a court to allow Congress to see that stuff.  William Barr could do that himself as attorney general.  Conceivably, Robert Mueller could do that as special counsel.  Conceivably, Jerry Nadler and the Democrats could make that request themselves to the court. 

That seems like that`s the next big thing to happen and I just don`t know when. 

O`DONNELL:  This is why I`ve added a question to my presidential candidate interviews.  Will you as president release the full Robert Mueller report?  Because it could be that it will take the inauguration of another president to see this. 

MADDOW:  I believe that something will happen in fairly short order.  I don`t have knowledge of this, I just believe the way this is going that we will get at least a big chunk of it, but the un-redacted version of it will be the white whale for Democrats until they get it and I think they`ll be relentless on this. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, they have time between now and the presidential election to get it, even going through an appeals process and subpoenas. 

MADDOW:  That`s right. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, there`s more to say about what the attorney general is doing, what he`s doing with the Mueller report.  And I found more to say about it in an extraordinary document from the Justice Department that no one`s really been talking about today, except for one news outlet, one extremely unlikely news outlet, to produce what I think is a very, very important story today that shows us what William Barr as attorney general working for Donald Trump is capable of. 

And it is a very, very bad story.  About what William Barr is willing to at least allow to happen in the Justice Department while he is running the department and approving what that department does.  I`m going to save that for the end of this hour. 

It is the most unlikely place where we could find something that tells us just how far William Barr is willing to go for President Trump.  We don`t know if this tells us what he`s going to do with the Mueller report, but it is an extraordinary story about how the Justice Department has threatened, of all things, the Oscars, the full weight of the Justice Department under William Barr is now threatening the Oscars with legal action if they change any of their rules for eligibility.  You`re going to want to hear what this might mean for the Mueller report and just how far the Trump Justice Department has now gone in service exclusively to Donald Trump, not to the people of the United States, but to Donald Trump. 

And there`s more than one way to cover what the president of the United States did and said publicly today.  It`s an extraordinary day and it`s a difficult day to find the right approach to what happened in the Trump presidency today. 

Our first approach to the Trump news today, even a few hours ago was to do what we usually do, which is to deal with the policy and political implications of a series of comments that the president made today that no other president or politician would ever say or do, like threatening to close our southern border.  Something that the Republican leader of the Senate says would be catastrophic economically.  Something that would shut down, I mean shut down the American automobile manufacturing industry, and, yes, something that would mean the United States would run out of guacamole in three weeks, literally three weeks.  That`s the official calculation on what Mexico`s avocado supply means to the United States. 

But things got stranger than usual with the president today.  He said things for which there is no easy explanation.  He said his father wasn`t born in the United States.  His father was born in New York. 

Usually with a Trump lie you can easily figure out what he`s trying to accomplish with the lie, but not today.  The president struggled to pronounce a very simple word and he repeatedly could not do it. 

What does that mean?  We have grown accustomed to the vagaries and strangeness of Donald Trump`s public behavior, but this was a day where the strangest strangeness dominated both the strangeness of the policy positions and the strangeness of the president`s public behavior and public words. 

And in his final comments, public comments of the day, he said this tonight at a Republican fund-raiser in Washington. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  If you had a normal president, I don`t want to say that negatively.  I think I`m very normal.  But if you had a normal -- you know what I mean.  In other words, if you had a stiff as president, which most of them are, I hate to say --


O`DONNELL:  How often do you hear a normal person say, I think I`m very normal?  Have you ever heard a president of the United States feel compelled to publicly announce "I think I`m very normal?"  Does that mean he knows he`s not normal? 

There are a bunch of important questions, urgent questions about the president today that political analysis cannot answer.  Political expertise cannot answer some of these questions, and that`s why along with our political analysts tonight, we`re going to be joined by a psychiatrist in our leadoff discussion of what the president did and said today. 

Donald Trump is a 72-year-old man whose father had Alzheimer`s and died in New York 93 years after he was born in New York, and today, Donald Trump said this about his father, Fred Trump, whose picture the president keeps right behind his desk in the Oval Office. 


TRUMP:  My father is German, right?  Was German.  And born in a very wonderful place in Germany.  So I have a great feeling for Germany. 


O`DONNELL:  A wonderful place in Germany.  What place? 

His father was born in New York.  Just like Donald Trump.  Donald Trump`s grandfather was born in Germany.  What does it mean when you confuse where your father was born with where your grandfather was born? 

My father was born in Boston.  My grandfather was born in Ireland and I have never once confused that, but then I`m not 72 years old, I don`t have Alzheimer`s in my family history and I`m not the president of the United States trying to convince NATO that I`m not just being mean when I ask NATO countries to spend more money on their military.  That`s what Donald Trump was actually talking about today when he said that his father was born in Germany. 

He repeatedly said that the United States spends much more on defense than we actually do, and that is the kind of Trump falsehood that we probably wouldn`t even mention tonight, but in any other presidency, that would actually be the hot news of the day.  The president doesn`t even know how much money we spend on defense.  That would be big news, in any other presidency.  Watching the president today, you had a right to wonder whether the president simply likes to exaggerate how much we spend on defense or actually cannot learn the real number of what we spend on defense. 

You had a right to wonder today if there is something wrong with the workings of the president`s mind, especially if you watched him repeatedly struggle to say the word origin.  What kept coming out was something that sounded like oranges. 


TRUMP:  And I hope that this investigation now, which is finished, it`s totally finished.  No collusion.  No obstruction. 

I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges (ph), the oranges (ph) of the investigation.  The beginnings of that investigation.  You look at the origin of the investigation, where it started, how it started, who started it, whether it`s McCabe or Comey or a lot of them.  Where does it go?  How high up in the White House did it go? 

You will all get Pulitzer Prizes, OK?  You`re all going to get Pulitzer Prizes.  You should have looked at it a long time ago, and that`s the only thing that`s disappointing to me about the Mueller report.  The Mueller report I wish covered the oranges -- how it started, the beginnings of the investigation.  How it started. 


O`DONNELL:  He said oranges twice.  Then he successfully said the word origin, which apparently gave him the confidence to try to say it one more time, and when he tried to say it one more time, he said oranges again.  I don`t know what that is. 

I have my own struggle with words.  You see that here.  But it`s simply a struggle to suppress my native Boston accent in favor of speaking American.  It`s not that I try to say a very simple word and I can only get out the first two letters before I change that simple word into a completely different word, repeatedly. 

What is that?  What was happening to the president of the United States today? 

The president recently decided to order his Justice Department to switch sides in a legal case from defending the affordable care act in court as the Justice Department is supposed to do with all federal laws to opposing the Affordable Care Act in court, which is an unprecedented position taken by the Trump Justice Department. 

The president did that against the wishes of the top Republican in congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  It is a politically disastrous position for the president to take, as Mitch McConnell knows, and as every Republican in Congress knows, but the president did it anyway.  In any other politician, if any other politician did that, we would be questioning his or her neurological health tonight. 

That`s how politically crazy that is, but we`ve grown accustomed to that with Donald Trump.  The president has been pretending that he has a health care plan ready to pass and be signed into law as soon as the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, but no one believes that.  And today, Mitch McConnell said he finally got the president to stop saying that. 


REPORTER:  Is there a difference between you and the president on what he wants to do on health care and where you see the health care debate standing right now? 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER:  Not any longer.  We had a good conversation yesterday afternoon, and I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans` view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representatives.  So I made it clear to him we were not going to be doing that in the Senate.  So we don`t have a misunderstanding about that.  We`ll not be doing comprehensive in the Senate. 


O`DONNELL:  And minutes after Mitch McConnell said that, Donald Trump said this --


REPORTER:  Did Mitch McConnell ask you to delay this? 

TRUMP:  No, I wanted to delay it myself.  I want to put it after the election because we don`t have the House, so even though the health care is good, really good, it`s much better than -- when the plan comes out, which we`ll be showing you at the appropriate time, it`s much better than Obamacare.  So when the plan comes out, you`ll see it. 


O`DONNELL:  It`s much better than Obamacare.  It doesn`t exist but it`s much better than Obamacare.  Not a word of the Trump health care plan exists anywhere.  Not on a note pad.  Nowhere.  But it`s much better than Obamacare. 

What do you call that?  There is a political discussion to be had about this and there is a psychiatric discussion to be had about this.

 And that is why we are leading off our discussion tonight with Dr. Prudence Gourguechon,  a psychologist and psychoanalyst, and past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 

Also with us, Ron Klain, a former senior aide to President Obama and a former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  He knows the workings of the White House and the Senate, and knows the kind of dynamics that go on between Mitch McConnell and President Trump in a situation like this. 

And Adam Jentleson is with us.  He`s the former deputy chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  He knows the workings on Mitch McConnell`s mind on these matters very well.  He`s joined us before on this subject. 

But, Doctor, I want to start with you.  This is the day where it just became overwhelming -- where in watching the president, it became imperative that we once again check in on a psychiatric view of what it is we`re watching when we`re watching Donald Trump in these situations. 

DR. PRUDENCE GOURGUECHON, FORMER PRESIDENT, AMERICAN PSYCHOANALYTIC ASSOCIATION:  Well, I feel like you asked me here kind of on a house call tonight.  It was a very strange day, even for Donald Trump. 

I think what he`ll see tomorrow, I predict, is that he meant to say his grandfather was born in Germany.  He was clearly struggling to find -- to kind of locate his thoughts and his memories.  And he`ll get it -- he`ll just segue out of that by saying he meant his grandfather. 

The word finding problem, I didn`t hear him saying oranges.  To me he had the first two syllables of the world and he couldn`t remember the end of it.  That`s what it sounded like to me and he substituted the beginning and start of and he wanted to go back to it. 

So, yes, is there -- I can`t do a neurologic exam just watching the tape today.  If he were a normal leader, to use his words, he would seek an evaluation.  If he were the CEO of a big company and he found himself forgetting words or making mistakes like grandfather and father, conflating, he`d seek a neurologic -- neuropsychiatric evaluation willingly, eagerly, to see if he was having cognitive difficulties.  But I don`t think he`ll do that. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Doctor, when you see him tonight standing up there in front of an audience after a day like today or any day, saying things like I`m perfectly normal.  I think I`m perfectly normal.  In your experience, and I`m not saying -- I don`t mean Donald Trump particularly, since you have no experience with him.  But in your clinical experience in dealing with people and the way they talk about themselves, does that kind of comment about one`s self tell us anything about that person? 

GOURGUECHON:  Well, we have a concept called the unprovoked denial.  If you say I am not a liar and nobody asked you if you were, you wonder why the person is bringing it up.  So, it comes under the heading of unprovoked denial, and, you know, it`s kind of like, okay, well, I didn`t ask you if you were normal, so why is it on your mind?  It clearly sounded very, very stressed and anxious today. 

And anybody with -- is going to have more -- with the slightest bit of difficulty cognitively just in general if they`re under a lot of stress, it`s going to show itself.  If there is a tiny bit, a mild cognitive difficulty, you`re going to see a lot more of it in a stressful situation. 

O`DONNELL:  The unprovoked denial.  I`ve just written it down. 

And, Ron Klain, I think that`s going to be a graphic that you will be seeing describing other segments we will be doing on this show in the future.  The unprovoked denial. 

Your reaction to what -- Ron Klain, to what you saw the president doing today. 

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Look, obviously I`m not a doctor and I can`t diagnosis him.  What I can say is as someone who has watched this for the last go years and seen a lot of craziness come out of the Oval Office, today was like the Beethoven`s Fifth of craziness from Donald Trump. 

It was just an endless array of ridiculous.  The things you showed obviously at the top of the show, Lawrence.  But also, the president announced we could solve the border problem if we just got rid of judges.  He announced basically he`d set up a task force to deal with the problem that his task force is going to shut the border is going to create. 

He announced that he has a health care plan, except that he doesn`t, except that he would have one, except that Mitch McConnell asked him not to, except he`s going to have one after the election.  It really was, you know, in an administration where every single day looks like this, this is really one of the most notable days of exceptional nuttiness coming from the White House. 

O`DONNELL:  Adam Jentleson, I think you and I are Ron certainly, we first look at all of these things politically.  We look at them in terms of governing analysis and political analysis, but today was a day where I had to surrender the political analysis.  That`s why I wanted the doctor on. 

But to stick with the political analysis, the president starts -- turns the Justice Department around and says, I want you to attack the Affordable Care Act in court.  Mitch McConnell thinks that`s a disastrous thing for the president to do.  And that is something that if any -- just that alone, if any other White House was doing that, everyone in Washington would be using the word "crazy" about that White House. 

ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER SENOR AIDE TO SEN. HARRY REID:  Yes, that`s right.  You won`t hear me say this very often, but I agree with Mitch McConnell.  It`s an insane thing to do. 


JENTLESON:  You know, the president was having a decent run of positive news and then by ordering the justice department to do this, he put the news squarely in Democrats` turf.  I mean, health care is the single most motivating issue to Democrats.  It`s an issue we used very strongly to take back the house in 2018.  It`s just inexplicable for the president to put it back in enemy territory like this.  It just doesn`t make any sense at all. 

O`DONNELL:  Doctor, I wanted to ask you one more thing about the president.  This is something that Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said about the president thinking -- he was intending to compliment him. 

He said: Even people who don`t like when, when they are with him, are impressed with how easily he works a room.  I think he likes people.  He lives in the moment.  He`s not thinking of the next day or even the next hour or the next person.  He`s that kind of personality. 

Doctor, what kind of personality is that? 

GOURGUECHON:  Well, I`m not sure I`d totally agree with that.  I`d throw the situation back to the political side because, again, as I said earlier, he seems extremely stressed.  None of his functions -- whatever our functional level is, whatever our best functional level is, fun of us is there all the time.  So if you see somebody slipping from their usual level, that indicates they`re under a lot of stress and tension. 

And I wonder if there is some political tension going on that makes him look particularly vulnerable and scattered today. 

Does he live in the moment?  I think he`s constantly strategizing to figure out how to -- to make himself look good.  And so I don`t know if I`d agree with Senator Alexander. 

O`DONNELL:  All right.  We`re going to have to leave it there.  We have a commercial break coming up. 

Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, Ron Klain, Adam Jentleson, thank you all for starting off our discussion tonight. 

And when we come back, it`s meet the freshmen night again here at THE LAST WORD.  Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda, freshman, will join us.  He`s a member of the important House Oversight C that voted today to begin issuing subpoenas to the Trump administration. 

And at the end of the hour tonight, Attorney General Barr has revealed the way he is running the Justice Department today in a way that he was hoping we would never find out.  It`s a letter from the Justice Department that the attorney general doesn`t want you to see and is refusing to make public tonight after we requested it today.  That`s at the end of this hour.


O`DONNELL:  Today, the House Oversight Committee voted along party lines to subpoena former White House personnel security director Carl Kline to testify before the oversight committee about security clearances issued to the president`s daughter and son-in-law and others.  That vote comes just one day after whistle-blower Tricia Newbold accused the administration of serially abusing the security clearance process. 

Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has been requesting information about the security clearance process since January and cited the White House`s refusal to comply with his requests as justification for today`s vote on subpoenas. 


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:  To this day, they have not produced a single piece of paper or a single requested witness to this committee.  The White House needs to understand that they cannot stonewall and stall this committee for months and then just offer us a general information about their policies.  Not when such -- there are such serious allegations of a risk to national security. 


O`DONNELL:  At today`s committee meeting, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez commented on the Trump administration`s loose policies with security clearances and loose practices involving national security communication. 


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK:  Folks are suggesting that we are conducting foreign relations with folks with security clearances via WhatsApp.  I mean, every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds, if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk.  I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs? 


O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Representative Harley Rouda, a Democratic freshman member of the Oversight Committee who voted to authorize those subpoenas today.  He represents California`s 48th district. 

And, Congressman, what is the case -- what is the case you will explain to your constituents about why you are sending these subpoenas to the White House? 

REP. HARLEY ROUDA (D-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:  Well, it`s good governance to start with, and our obligations under Article I of the Constitution.  We have clear evidence here that through the process of issuing national security clearances that the president either directly or indirectly overrode 25 decisions not to offer clearances to certain individuals.  That puts our country at risk when we have classified information being made available to individuals that we have clear concerns about. 

It`s great that we had this whistle-blower step up and take exception to that and hopefully save some important aspects of our democracy. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman, you`re here on a night where the president did talk about health care today and something of a change in tactic, saying that, well, they won`t even attempt to legislate anything in health care until you and your fellow Democrats are defeated in the House of Representatives and the Republicans win back the House.  The health care issue is the -- according to the exit polls, the number one issue that elected so many new freshman Democrats to the House of Representatives. 

What`s your reaction to the president`s attempt now to destroy the Affordable Care Act in court and promise at some point in the future the Republicans who have always failed to do this will once again attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act? 

ROUDA:  Yes, let`s think about this, you know, for six years under Obama`s administration they tried to repeal the ACA.  And for the last two years, the first two years of Trump`s term, when they controlled the House, they controlled the Senate, they controlled the White House, they failed repeatedly to come up with a plan that even their own party would support. 

To suggest now -- to take shots at the ACA through a court case and put millions of Americans, including over 300,000 citizens in my district, without health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions shows how far removed this president and the administration is with mainstream America`s desire to have quality affordable health care. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Congressman, do you your constituents understand at this point that what the president`s going after is to knock out the entire Affordable Care Act in court?  And that would mean 23-year-olds who are on their parents` insurance policies that would no longer be available to them.  It`s not just pre-existing conditions.  It`s the entirety of it. 

ROUDA:  Absolutely.  It`s the entire ACA.  It would take us back -- even the insurance companies don`t want to see this happen.  The Republican faithful don`t want to see this happen because they know the impact to Americans in every single district across the United States and how it would upend the economic system.  It`s difficult to fully calculate it. 

So why the president has decided to fall on the sword again, to take on ACA is anybody`s best guess.  Maybe it`s just because it`s associated with Obama and he feels the need to attack it, but we`d have to ask him as to why his reasons are for continuing to go after a program that most Americans want to see continued. 

O`DONNELL:  Freshman Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

ROUDA:  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, an extraordinary report today. A Chinese citizen was arrested after gaining access to Mar-a-Lago this weekend where she was found to be carrying malicious software.  She was reportedly trying to attend an event that was hosted -- that she said was hosted by Cindy Yang at Mar-a-Lago.

That`s the former owner of a massage spa where Robert Kraft is accused of participating in things he shouldn`t have participated in.  Robert Kraft, friend of President Trump.  All of that is next.


O`DONNELL:  What happens if you show up at the president`s weekend Florida home using two Chinese passports as identification, carrying four cell phones, one laptop, one external hard drive, and one thumb drive with malicious software on it?  The answer is you get in.  And then after a while, on second thought, the secret service arrests you.

The criminal complaint against the 32-year-old Chinese woman who was arrested on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago says, "Due to a potential language barrier issue, Mar-a-Lago believed her to be a relative of member Zhang and allowed her access to the property."

The "Miami Herald" was the first to report how the Chinese national gained access to Mar-a-Lago.  One of the reporters for the "Miami Herald" who broke this story, Caitlin Ostroff, will join us next along with national security expert Jeremy Bash.


O`DONNELL:  We`re lucky to be joined by one of the reporters on the breaking news story of the night.  We`re joined by "Miami Herald" Reporter Caitlin Ostroff, joining us from the "Miami Herald`s" newsroom.  She broke the story on the arrest at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.

Also joining the discussion, Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Defense Department.  He`s an MSNBC national security analyst and can give us an assessment of the risks, national security risks of the operations of Mar-a-Lago.

Caitlin Ostroff, this arrest is truly extraordinary and seems to bring together every strange character recently in the headlines in Southern Florida.  Tell us what happened on Saturday.

CAITLIN OSTROFF, REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD:  Yes.  So the woman, Ms. Yang, showed up for an event at Mar-a-Lago that was a United Nations friendship event.  No such event was actually going on, but a Mar-a-Lago staff thought that she was -- that she was with someone who was a member of the club.

And so they let her in after realizing that she wasn`t, in fact, with someone or a member of the club.  Secret service took her for questioning.  At which point, she became aggressive and, you know, she said that she had been invited by a man named Charles.

We had done reporting last week that showed that you know, there was a man named Charles Lee who was with a similar association called the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association that took down its website once we started asking questions, that promoted events to Mar-a-Lago from Cindy Yang.  So he would bundle her events and promote it to Chinese nationals as a way to get access to Mar-a-Lago and to get FaceTime with the president.

And when you look at the court documents and what the woman was saying she was there to do, which was to talk about economic relations between the U.S. and China, that goes hand-in-hand with some of the events that were being promoted on Ms. Yang`s website and on Charles` website about, you know, why one might be at Mar-a-Lago on that day.

O`DONNELL:  And Jeremy Bash, there is a picture of Cindy Yang.  Of course, she famously had already emerged as someone who was in effect selling access to the president and his family at Mar-a-Lago.  A lot of picture selfies and other pictures like that she has of herself with the president.

She also happens to be the owner-operator of one of Robert Kraft`s favorite places to go in Southern Florida for a Massage, something that`s now put him in the spot of being a criminal defendant.  And Jeremy, with your experience, this seems to be a story that shows clearly what the risks are in national security terms in the way Mar-a-Lago is operated.

JEREMY BASH:  Yes.  I think this is a scandal in three dimensions.  First, the president wants to try to close the land border with Mexico, yet he cannot even close Mar-a-Lago to Chinese nationals walking around with malicious code.

Second, we know that the People`s Republic of China has been engaged in human espionage operations in which they want to implant malicious code, basically software that could hack or penetrate the networks or devices of government officials in the United States.

What better place to do it than Mar-a-Lago where you can apparently roam around freely and potentially implant that malicious code, either by inserting the thumb drive in a device or maybe even putting it out over the Wi-Fi or local area network there.

But, third, I think it shows you something deeper about Mar-a-Lago.  The president really should have that place closed down when he`s there, yet he keeps it open.

Why?  Because he makes money from people buying memberships, which is really a way to buy access to him and have I guess the bragging rights of being close to the president.  So the president is, in essence, sacrificing his own security and national security so he can make a buck.

O`DONNELL:  And Caitlin, your reporting says the arrest occurred at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.  Why did we just find out about it this afternoon?

OSTROFF:  I mean, so we weren`t the ones who broke the news of the initial court filings, a local T.V. station did, but it also takes a day or two for those documents to usually be filed within the court system.  So if she appeared for her first court appearance on Monday, it`s Tuesday, so, you know, that`s probably going to be the delay for docs to be accessible.

O`DONNELL:  And Jeremy, in your experience with any previous White House, an arrest like that in proximity to the president, that`s something we would have heard about within, what, an hour or two?

BASH:  Yes, it`s a big deal.  I think if there were a fence jumper, we would have heard about it earlier.  This is much more serious than a fence jumper or somebody who crashes through the front doors of the White House.

This is a Chinese national shouldn`t have been there, who was there, really because they claimed they were going there because an event was being promoted by a massage parlor owner, alleged sex trafficker who`s selling access to the president.

And she has, not one, but four cellphones on her and malicious code on a thumb drive.  All alarm bells should have been ringing.  We should have been notified about this as soon as it happened.

But I do give credit to the Secret Service, Lawrence because tonight their statement made clear that it`s the president`s decision who goes into Mar- a-Lago, not theirs.

O`DONNELL:  Jeremy Bash, thank you for your invaluable perspective on this.  And Caitlin Ostroff, thank you very much for your important reporting and for taking the time to join us tonight.  We really appreciate it.

OSTROFF:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, Attorney General William Barr showed us something today about just how low he is apparently willing to go for Donald Trump.  That`s coming up next.


O`DONNELL:  What is Attorney General William Barr willing to do for President Trump?  That is the question that Democrats in Congress and people throughout the country are asking themselves tonight since Attorney General William Barr has refused to meet the House of Representatives` deadline for turning over the full Mueller report.

The attorney general has just ignored that deadline.  The attorney general says that he will give Congress a redacted Mueller report in a few weeks.

Will the attorney general`s redactions protect the president?  Is the attorney general delaying the release of even the redacted Mueller report to help protect the president?  Did the attorney general summarize the report that we now know is hundreds of pages long in a way that was designed to protect the president?

We don`t know.  But we did get a very important demonstration today of what William Barr is willing to do for Donald Trump and it is outrageous.  William Barr seems to have taken orders from the president to use the Justice Department or allow the Justice Department to be used in Donald Trump`s feud with Hollywood.

Donald Trump is the only president in history small-minded enough to be in a constant public feud with Hollywood.  He hates the Oscars because someone always makes a negative comment about the president, either on the red carpet or during the ceremony.

And so Donald Trump`s Justice Department has now decided to threaten the Oscars.  That`s right.  You heard correctly.  William Barr has become the first attorney general in history who has decided to allow the full weight of the Justice Department to be used to officially threaten the Oscars and to do it in writing.

And like the Oscars, this program has commercial breaks.  And so after this final commercial break, we will show you just how low William Barr has already sunk as Donald Trump`s attorney general.

And when you hear this, you might just suspect that there is nothing William Barr won`t do for Donald Trump, which makes this about much more than the Donald Trump and William Barr threat to the Oscars.  It`s about much more than that.  And it`s next.


O`DONNELL:  Thanks to exclusive reporting by Ted Johnson of "Variety," we learned today the Justice Department has warned the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences that its potential rule changes limiting the eligibility of Netflix and other streaming services for the Oscars could race anti-trust concerns and violate competition law.

"Variety" reports that two weeks ago, the Justice Department sent a threatening letter to Dawn Hudson, the CEO of the Academy saying, "Dear Ms. Hudson, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has learned through news reporting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may consider proposed rules changes limiting eligibility for its Academy Awards.

It was signed by the head of the Justice Department`s Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim.  The Justice Department is so ashamed of this letter that it has not released it publicly.  "Variety" had to obtain a copy of it and has not been able to release a full copy of it.

Makan Delrahim has disgraced himself before.  He is the Trump appointee who brought the antitrust case against AT&T`s acquisition of Time Warner because the president wanted him to.

Unlike previous presidents, Donald Trump decided to publicly announce his opposition to the merger saying, "It was not good for the country."  Presumably, because CNN was part of Time Warner and according to the president, an enemy of the people.

The president also said he was "not going to get involved."  But Jane Meyer reports in "The New Yorker" Trump ordered Gary Cohn, then the director of the National Economic Council to pressure the Justice Department to intervene.

According to a well-informed source, Trump called Cohn into the Oval Office along with John Kelly, who had just become the chief of staff and said in exasperation to Kelly, "I`ve bun telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing`s happened.  I`ve mentioned it 50 times and nothing`s happened.  I want to make sure it`s filed.  I want that deal blocked."

According to the source, as Cohn walked out of the meeting, he told Kelly, "Don`t you f`ing dare call the Justice Department.  We are not going to do business that way."  But Gary Cohn who has left the Trump White House couldn`t stop the Trump Justice Department from trying to block the merger the way Donald Trump wanted them to.

But the trial judge in the case ruled against the Trump attempt to block the merger.  And now the head of the Antitrust Division in the Trump Justice Department has so much of nothing to do that he`s sitting around the office reading show business publications about possible minor changes to the Academy Award rules.

There are several rules that govern eligibility for an Academy Award but there`s only one sentence of those rules that interests the Trump Justice Department.  It says that motion pictures that are released online by services such as Netflix are eligible as long as they are released on or after the first day that they are exhibited in a good old fashioned movie theater in Los Angeles.

The Academy is considering changing that rule to require that the motion picture run exclusively in a movie theater before it is released online.  You don`t have to go to law school to know that there is absolutely no antitrust issue involved in that Oscar rule or any other Oscar rule, all of which limit what movies are eligible for Oscars.

For example, there`s an Oscar rule that says the minimum for a non-mono configuration of the audio shall be three channels as Left, Center, Right.  A Left-Right configuration is not acceptable in a theatrical environment.

Does that restrict anyone`s economic rights?  Yes, it does.  Those people cannot -- who don`t have the right audio cannot get their movies made eligible for an Oscar, which is no concern to the government of the United States or the Justice Department.

But Donald Trump has poisoned the Justice Department.  He has appointed a head of the Antitrust Division who will shame himself repeatedly by putting his name on anything that Donald Trump wants him to put his name on, including signing a threatening letter about the rules for the Oscars.

We already knew that the head of the Antitrust Division is a Trump cultist who supported Donald Trump`s election in 2016 and wrote an op-ed piece urging anti-Trump Republicans to forget their principals and be practical like him.

Makan Delharim said in the op-ed piece, "Republicans should vote for Donald Trump because a presidential election is all about supreme court justices."  And Makan Delrahim is no doubt now waiting for his appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States after faithful service to Donald Trump.

There is no surprise that he put his name on that letter filled with legal absurdities.  But Attorney General William Barr had to approve the sending of that letter two weeks ago and William Barr approved it and that right there is big news.

One month into his service to Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr said, "Yes, sure, send a threatening letter from the Justice Department to the Oscars about their rules of eligibility."  Nothing else is ever going to come of this.  There will be absolutely no follow up to that phony letter.

The Academy can change their rules any way they want and they will never hear from the Justice Department legally again.  The head of the Antitrust Division knows that and he knows this letter is an empty and ridiculous threat.  Attorney General William Barr knows that.

Is this a case of William Barr giving Donald Trump a crazy little thing that Donald Trump wants while William Barr resists Donald Trump`s much worse demands?  Or does this Justice Department letter threatening the Oscars show us that there is absolutely nothing William Barr won`t do for Donald Trump?

There is no order too small or too petty.  No order from Donald Trump that William Barr thinks is beneath him.  Is that what this means?

Donald Trump has always said he wanted Roy Cohn as his attorney general and he couldn`t have Roy Cohn because Roy Cohn died in 1986.  And before he died, Roy Cohn was convicted of crimes but he was Donald Trump`s first lawyer and Donald Trump loved him because Roy Cohn would do anything for Donald Trump, anything.

Does Donald Trump finally have his Roy Cohn again as his attorney general?  Is that what this Justice Department threatening the Oscars tells us about the attorney general of the United States?

We don`t know yet but it doesn`t tell us anything good or anything decent or anything honorable or anything professional about the Attorney General of the United States. That`s tonight`s LAST WORD.  "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts right now.