Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: June 25, 2019 Guest: Hakeem Jeffries, Richard Blumenthal, Harry Litman, Dahlia Lithwick, Ana Marie Cox, Nicole Austin-Hillery
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
Sorry, but it`s funny to see you terrified. This kind of terrified. This kind of terrified.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: Because we all know you`re going to be great. We know you can do it. You know, you talked about watch parties tomorrow night. You know where my watch party is?
O`DONNELL: Because you`re not here. You`re down there and we`re up here. Your office, that`s my watch party tomorrow night.
MADDOW: My office is wasted on you because the only interesting thing about my office other than the mess is a bar because you don`t drink. And so, literally, the only thing I could offer you that would make my office a welcoming place is of no interest to you.
O`DONNELL: It has a very comfortable chair, Rachel. That`s where the watch party`s going to be. That`s where it`s going to be.
MADDOW: All right. You can have my stuff. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, to the breaking news of the night which happened as I was watching your opening and talking about the crisis at the southern border, and I see this information come in about the subpoena has been sent. And I know you`re going to have to cut to it and this is happening while you`re doing the other material, but it has been a riveting hour because we needed to hear from Chairman Schiff, and there he was clarifying all the questions that I had before he got on about is this going to be a joint hearing? Turns out it`s going to be sequential.
How are they going to do sequential hearings on the same day in both of those committees? I mean, won`t it be going until 10:00 at night? Something like that?
MADDOW: Well, exactly. And so -- and the other part of it where his answer was not definitive but super interestingly to me when I asked him, listen, is this going to be all members asking questions or are you going to have professional staff ask the questions here? We have seen famously going back to some Watergate hearings that some of the most effective questioning was not by elected members of Congress, it was by professional staff, professional lawyers, prosecutors essentially in that environment, who were walking fact witnesses through the most important stuff in a way that was consistent and coherent over the course of the day. Will you approach it that way?
And he had a long answer in terms of them considering that, but both of those committees are going to have to consider whether or not this is something that every member should jump in and get their five minutes or whether there should be some effort to cohere, to essentially bring in an interlocutor who is going to try to keep Mueller from iteratively answering the same questions over and over again from the same members versus actually getting through substantively the entirety of his work. I mean, they can have him there all day long. If different people ask him the same question 50 different ways then we`re not going to learn anything. It`s going to be a huge challenge for both of those committees.
O`DONNELL: The question I`m going to be waiting for is, why didn`t you subpoena the president of the United States? That`s the answer I`m waiting for.
MADDOW: There`s a lot -- I mean, remember, Senate Democrats put out a good list -- Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats put out a very good list of questions that Mueller ought to be asked about his report. A number of -- a number of journalistic efforts have been made along those same lines. That`s a good question from you. We just got other good ones from Barbara McQuade a few minutes ago.
I mean, I have -- preparing to moderate 20 different candidates in the first Democratic debate of 2020 has been stressful. I would prefer this to prepping to question Robert Mueller.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes. Well, we`re going to be joined by someone who is going to question Robert Mueller in one of those hearings in just a moment.
MADDOW: That`s great.
O`DONNELL: You`ll be great tomorrow night, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence. You can have my office.
O`DONNELL: OK. Thank you.
MADDOW: OK. Bye. Thanks.
O`DONNELL: Well, what do Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr. have in common? We`re going to discuss this later in the show. They believe that Donald Trump, they believe him whenever Donald Trump denies a rape accusation. That`s something they have in common.
And they have both travelled a very strange road to get to that belief in Donald Trump. We will consider that later in this hour.
Dahlia Lithwick and Ana Marie Cox will join our discussion about the latest accusation of rape against Donald Trump.
But first to the breaking news of the night, Robert Mueller has been subpoenaed to testify to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee on the same day. A month ago, Robert Mueller delivered a nine-minute public statement about the Mueller report that he hoped would be his last public words about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: July 17th, 9:00 a.m. is when you will next hear Robert Mueller speak.
Chairman Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, made a joint announcement tonight saying special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify pursuant to a subpoena before both the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee in open session on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.
The chairmen said Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered and determined about Russia`s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign`s acceptance and use of that help and President Trump and his associates` obstruction of the investigation into that attack. We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans.
In a letter to Robert Mueller, accompanying the subpoena, the chairman -- the chairmen wrote: Over the course of discussions about your appearance before Congress, we have consistently communicated our committees` intention to issue these subpoenas if necessary and we now understand it is necessary to do so. We further understand that there are certain sensitivities associated with your open testimony, in particular the special counsel`s office referred several criminal investigations to other offices at the Department of Justice and certain matters are ongoing. Your office, moreover, admirably limited public comment while the special counsel`s office work was ongoing. You`ve also explained that you prefer for the special counsel`s office written work to speak for itself.
Nevertheless, the American public deserved to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions. We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our committees as scheduled.
Leading off our discussion tonight is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman Jeffries.
Chairman Schiff told Rachel Maddow in the last hour that this is not to be considered a friendly subpoena, that this subpoena then is something that Robert Mueller did not want to have to comply with, but apparently has agreed to comply with it.
Is that your understanding of it?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): That`s my understanding. At the end of the day, Bob Mueller is a company man. He had expressed publicly his reluctance to testify, indicated when he gave his remarks a few weeks ago that that was the first time the American people would likely hear from him.
We as House Democrats led by Chairman Nadler and Chairman Schiff have made clear that we believe the issues connected to the Mueller report were so serious that it was important for the special counsel to tell his story publicly to the American people. We were determined to bring that about.
Thanks to the leadership of our two chairmen, united behind the House Democratic caucus and our objectives, we`ll be able to bring that about on July 17th.
O`DONNELL: Do you expect there to be a kind of working agreement between the two chairmen about what the two hearings will cover? For example, will you tend to leave volume one of the report to the intelligence committee and have the judiciary committee concentrate on volume two, where the accusations of obstruction of justice are?
JEFFRIES: That is a logical breakdown. The intelligence committee`s jurisdiction relates most naturally to Russia`s attack on our democracy and Bob Mueller`s conclusion that the Trump campaign welcomed that assistance, which is highly problematic and it`s important that that story and narrative be told.
The House Judiciary Committee`s jurisdiction, of course, relates most directly to the obstruction of justice that was detailed in volume two, the abuse of power as well as the culture of corruption that many of us believe exists at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
From the very beginning we`ve said we`re going to follow the facts, apply the law and be guided by the Constitution, and the principle that in the United States of America no single individual is above the law, not each the president of the United States of America. Bob Mueller`s testimony will be an important part of us continuing that journey.
O`DONNELL: I want to play you something that Robert Mueller said on that day that he hoped would be his last public comments where he`s talking about how it was important for them to obtain full and accurate information. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDOE CLIP)
MUELLER: It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government`s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Congressman, that strikes me as one of the areas for a possible question, especially on the Judiciary Committee. He didn`t say if a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, he said when a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation. He seems to be saying that that actually happened and that it, as he put it, struck the core of the government`s effort to find the truth.
Is that the kind of area you`ll be looking at in the House Judiciary Committee?
JEFFRIES: I expect that the question will be put to Bob Mueller directly, do you believe that the president of the United States obstructed justice? He has detailed in his report in volume two, at least 11 different instances and we know that there are over 1,000 prosecutors, Republicans and Democrats, who have concluded that had any other individual other than the president committed some of the acts that are discussed in the Mueller report, they would expect that individual to be indicted.
I think that`s also a line of inquiry that will be pursued as it relates to Bob Mueller. We just simply want the facts to be disclosed and communicated to the American people so they can process what has taken place over the last two years and in connection with the Trump campaign in 2016.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Jeffries, this is going to be on July 17th. His testimony -- Robert Mueller`s testimony to two committees on the same day. Do you expect July 18th to be a whole new day in the Congress on the question of impeachment?
JEFFRIES: It may be a whole new day in the country, depending on what emerges, but it is an important step in this journey where we are simply trying to gather all the information and present the full and complete story to the American people wherever that may lead us.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. He`s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former prosecutor.
Senator Blumenthal, your reaction to Robert Mueller apparently agreeing to accept service of this subpoena to testify on July 17th.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): There`s no question this step is a major historic breakthrough, and I think in answer to your last question to the congressman, July 18th is going to be the beginning of a new day for America in understanding how the president of the United States committed acts of felony obstruction of justice.
I was one of those federal prosecutors who wrote that the president would be in handcuffs doing a perp walk as a criminal defendant but for his being a sitting president. And I think that the face and voice of Robert Mueller in effect the movie depicting the book, which most Americans won`t read, will have a gripping powerful effect on America as a whole as well as on Congress.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Robert Mueller said on that day a month ago when he spoke. And he talked about the Constitution requiring a process other than the indictment process to accuse a sitting president. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUELLER: First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were coconspirators who could be charged now. And second, the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, Senator, as we saw Robert Mueller was careful not to use the word impeachment that day, but he will be asked in quoting that line does he mean impeachment.
BLUMENTHAL: He will no doubt be asked about whether he was alluding to impeachment, and I think that nine-minute trailer to the movie, so to speak, his nine-minute statement, which was covered wall-to-wall on the day that he did it, illustrates how powerful his answer will be to that question.
But remember, he also alluded to preserving evidence while memories are fresh and the documents still exist in connection with other criminal prosecutions. There are ongoing investigations in the southern district of New York, where the president`s been named as an unindicted coconspirator, and there is the possibility of his indictment after he finishes serving office. So, the Mueller subtext here is varied and deep and no question he will be asked about it.
O`DONNELL: As I said to Rachel, one of the things I would want to know is, why didn`t you subpoena President Trump? That seems to me to be the kind of question that lives outside of the Mueller report. It`s not mentioned in the Mueller report. But can be answered by Robert Mueller.
BLUMENTHAL: He certainly can answer it. Whether he will is another question. There are others as well. Why didn`t --
O`DONNELL: Can you -- Senator, can I just ask you as a former prosecutor and a senator, can you think of any reason why Robert Mueller would not give a full and open answer to the question of why didn`t you subpoena President Trump?
BLUMENTHAL: Here`s what he may say. He may say that his answer would prejudice another proceeding and investigation alluding to the southern district of New York. He may say that the litigation of Donald Trump`s refusal to appear would have taken too long to resolve for his investigation to be completed in a timely way. He may say that he simply will not answer the question because of other considerations and leave it vague.
I`ve watched Robert Mueller testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He`s fully capable of refusing to answer a question in a very polite and deferential way.
O`DONNELL: And, Senator, let me just get you before you go on -- there`s a big development today on the emoluments case proceeding against the president, and you`ve been heavily involved in that as it`s developed. Tell us about where that stands.
BLUMENTHAL: The emoluments case is Blumenthal versus Trump. That`s the name of the case. I have led about 200 of my colleagues in suing the president of the United States because he has literally daily since his inauguration violated the preeminent anti-corruption clause of the United States Constitution, the emoluments clause, which forbids a president from receiving benefits or payments from a foreign power or entity.
And what we won today was the right to go forward with obtaining documents relating to his financial affairs because they are relevant to determining, in fact, how he`s violated the Emoluments Clause. We`ve already won motions to dismiss our case based on our supposed lack of standing, the Emoluments Clause itself, the courts rejected them, and today it rejected the president`s effort to delay, to stonewall, to slow-walk and our hope is that the Court of Appeals will agree with the district court which ruled today in our favor.
It`s a really historic ruling and I think that we need to keep the wheels of justice moving.
O`DONNELL: Senator Richard Blumenthal, thank you very much for joining us on this breaking news tonight. Really appreciate it.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And we`re joined now by Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post." He`s an MSNBC political analyst.
Harry Litman is with us. He`s former U.S. assistant attorney general under the Obama administration.
And Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC legal contributor.
Gene Robinson, I think we all know what we`ll be doing on July 17th. If you judge it by the nine minutes of Robert Mueller speaking publicly on the report, those nine minutes were so compelling and every word seemed loaded. This is going to be that times a thousand.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. Senator Blumenthal just use the analogy I was going to use. The nine-minute appearance was the trailer for the movie we`re about to see. And the Mueller report is a much better movie than book.
Hearing Mueller speak in rather plainer language than he used in the report about his investigation and his findings was incredibly powerful. Will have that, you know, will start at 9:00 a.m., who knows when we`ll finish? It will be a full day to say the least of his testimony.
And, you know, who knows if it will be some sort of huge game-changer, but I suspect it will be very important just because of the power of hearing the spoken word and also the power, the ability of -- of skillful questioners to ask questions that can`t be answered just by, well, congressman, I refer you to page 322 of my report. You can ask questions that would require referring to page 322 and plus page 176 plus page 219 and synthesizing certain facts and you get something new out of that.
So try as he might to stay within the four corners, I don`t see how under a full day of questioning he will manage to do that.
O`DONNELL: Speaker Pelosi has just issued a statement saying: We are pleased that the American people will hear directly from special counsel Mueller. Our national security is being threatened and the American people deserve answers. The Mueller report revealed that the Russians waged a sweeping and systematic attack on our elections and America`s top intelligence and law enforcement officials have warned that the Russians will attack our elections again.
Yet, sadly, the president calls it a hoax and suggests that he would welcome Russian interference again. Members of Congress must honor our oath and our patriotic duty to follow the facts so we can protect our democracy.
Barbara McQuade, your reaction to this news tonight that Robert Mueller has been subpoenaed to testify to the two committees?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s an important development. You know, there`s so much in that report that has not permeated the consciousness of the American people, and I think if we hear Robert Mueller, even if all he does is repeat what`s in his report, I think people are in for some shock and some gasps when, you know, you tell them what`s in it sometimes they`re very surprised to hear some of the things.
You know, for example, Paul Manafort delivering polling data to a Russian intelligence officer. Robert Mueller says he was really unable to figure out exactly what was going on there, but that fact that that information was being shared, you know, I think if it doesn`t arise to conspiracy to defraud the United States, it comes awfully close. Just to hear the details about that event.
So I think if all he does is repeat some of the content that`s in there, that is going to go a long way toward people really beginning to understand the depths of this work with Russia to influence the outcome of the election.
O`DONNELL: Harry Litman, it could be the most-watched congressional hearing in history, in the history of televised hearings. What are you hoping will be illuminated in these hearings?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Quite a bit. So, first, as -- Barb is spot on here. For whatever reason, the real -- the reported self, even in the four corners, hasn`t come through vividly, but Mueller has said he`ll stick to the four corners, and yet if you think about the different questions one could frame, including yours, Lawrence, about why didn`t you subpoena the president, there`s no obvious reason why he can, in fact, rebuff questions like those coming from the -- what is after all the oversight committee of Congress.
So, there is a whole range of questions maybe stopping at what are your -- what were your inner thoughts that I think he will be duty bound to answer and Mueller`s a dutiful guy. Now, perhaps Barr orders him to stand down on certain topics, but that`s problematic in and of itself.
I`ve seen Mueller testify before. He is not cagey. While he may desire to stick to the four corners, he will be responsive, and that means a number of things.
What would be the one I`d most like? This question, Mr. Mueller, if there were not the OLC memo, would you have charged the president? I`d love to hear the yes or no and explanation on that question for starters.
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, it`s peculiar that it had to come to this, that it had to come to subpoenas. This is the first time we`ve seen a special counsel in the situation like this who has been so reluctant to speak publicly.
ROBINSON: Yes. And Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, told Rachel in the last hour that the special counsel`s office would not consider this a friendly subpoena, just a pro forma subpoena. You subpoena me and I`ll happily come in and testify. They wouldn`t consider it to be that.
So, clearly, Robert Mueller did not want to do this. He wanted to stick to his pledge to say nothing more other than what he wrote in the report. But as Harry said, he is a dutiful guy and he`s not the kind of man who is going to -- going to rebuff a duly issued subpoena from Congress.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chairman Schiff told Rachel in the last hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): There will be also a closed session in our committee following his testimony in which we`ll be able to ask questions of his staff that may not be suitable for open session.
In terms of which of his staff, I can`t go into those particulars at this point, but there are any number of areas that may involve redacted material where -- or that may involve a pending case where it`s appropriate to ask those questions in closed session.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Barbara McQuade, it sounds like the intelligence committee will concentrate on volume one of the report. Judiciary Committee will work on volume two of the report.
MCQUADE: Yes, I think that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, I know that a lot of people want to focus on volume two which relates to obstruction of justice and that seems the most fruitful area of potential crimes by President Trump. There is an awful lot of information relating to the conspiracy aspect of the case in volume one.
And one of the really interesting things that Robert Mueller said in his report was there were gaps in the evidence by witnesses who lied to them like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and others. Some invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against testifying, including I think a fair reading in the footnotes suggests that possibly Donald Trump Jr. invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify, which he has a right to do, but all those things prevented Robert Mueller from answering certain questions.
And I think they would want to know what was it you were unable to answer because of these efforts to impede your investigation? And then use that information to go forward to conduct their own investigation and answer some of those unanswered questions.
O`DONNELL: And, Harry, quickly, is there anything that prevents Robert Mueller from saying who invoked the Fifth Amendment?
LITMAN: Nothing prevents it. There will be a whole range of questions where he might try to advert to DOJ policy in a normal case, but this is no normal case, so the short answer is there is -- the Griffin case, but I don`t think it applies here. Basically that`s fair game, that question.
O`DONNELL: Harry Litman, Eugene Robinson, Barbara McQuade, thank you very much for joining our discussion on this breaking news. We really appreciate it.
LITMAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we will consider Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr.`s reaction to President Trump`s denial of a new rape accusation.
O`DONNELL: In the peculiar chemistry of Trump world, hate and fear sometimes combine to create public love and adoration. That seems to have happened to both Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr.
Lindsey Graham clearly hated Donald Trump when he was running against him for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The world`s biggest jackass.
He`s a race baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.
He`s an opportunist.
I think he`s a kook. I think he`s crazy. I think he`s unfit for office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And when the "Access Hollywood" video came out showing Donald Trump bragging about his favorite form of sexual assault, Lindsey Graham tweeted, "Name one sports team, university, publicly-held company, et cetera, that would accept a person like this as their standard bearer?" But Donald Trump was already the Republican nominee for President and there was nothing Lindsey Graham could do about that.
And when Trump voters delivered an Electoral College victory to Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham began staring at his voters in South Carolina locked in fear, fear of Trump voters. And so Lindsey Graham`s combination of hate and fear of Donald Trump and Donald Trump`s voters has produced the new Lindsey Graham who loves Donald Trump, the new Lindsey Graham full of public adoration of Donald Trump.
Journalist and Author E. Jean Carroll has accused Donald Trump of grabbing her exactly the way he describes in the "Access Hollywood" video and then raping her in a Fifth Avenue department store dressing room 25 years ago. Donald Trump has denied the accusation. And today, Lindsey Graham said, he`s denied it and that`s all I need to hear.
Lindsey Graham never said that about Bill Clinton when Lindsey Graham was one of the House Judiciary Committee prosecutors in Bill Clinton`s Senate impeachment trial. He`s denied it and that`s all I need to hear.
Like Donald Trump Jr. before him, Lindsey Graham seems to have come to his public position of love of Donald Trump by working his way through his hatred and fear of Donald Trump.
Yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted this about E. Jean Carroll`s rape accusation. "Enough is enough with this bull crap. Let him do his job." Is that what Donald Trump Jr. said to his mother, when his mother under oath accused his father of raping her?
The very first person to accuse Donald Trump of rape was his first wife, Donald Trump Jr.`s mother, and she did it under oath in a deposition. She said Donald Trump attacked her and ripped her hair out and raped her because he was angry that her plastic surgeon did a bad job on his hair.
It was around that time that Donald Trump Jr. stopped speaking to his father. Reports indicate that Donald Trump Jr. did not speak to his father for a year. That`s what hatred can sound like between father and son, silence.
And then perhaps came the realization that Donald Trump Jr. had no marketable skills that could preserve the lifestyle that his father could provide him. And so, Donald Trump Jr. went to work for the man he wouldn`t speak to for a year. And now, when someone accuses Donald Trump of doing what - doing to her what Donald Trump Jr.`s mother said he did to her, Donald Trump Jr. says enough is enough.
Money changes everything in Trump world. It even changes the word rape. After Donald Trump reached a financial settlement with his first wife, she gave Donald Trump a written statement about her rape accusation. She said, "During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me. I referred to this as a rape, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."
Donald Trump Jr.`s lifestyle and financial future depend on him saying enough is enough, when someone accuses his father of rape. Lindsey Graham`s re-election next year in South Carolina with the support of Trump voters depends on him saying, I believe Donald Trump, when Donald Trump denies an accusation of rape.
Lindsey Graham`s re-election depends on him saying I believe whatever Donald Trump says. And in an interview yesterday with "The Hill," the very first thing Donald Trump said about E. Jean Carroll`s rape accusation was, "Number one, she`s not my type." That`s the number one thing that came to his mind. The number one thing was not, I`ve never raped anyone and would never rape anyone. The number one thing was, she`s not my type.
That answer doesn`t prove that Donald Trump is a rapist, but that is a rapist`s answer. A rapist might think that`s a good answer, and it`s an answer Donald Trump has used before. But what about the first woman who accused Donald Trump of rape? The first Mrs. Donald Trump, the woman who delivered his first three children, was she not his type?
After this break, we`ll be joined by Dahlia Lithwick and Ana Marie Cox and we`ll hear what they have to say about the latest accusation of rape against Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President says his latest accuser is not his type. Is that an appropriate response to an allegation of rape?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I don`t have any comments about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, that`s better than what Lindsey Graham had to say. Joining our discussion now, Ana Marie Cox, host of the podcast "With Friends Like These" and Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent for Slate.com and host of the podcast Amicus.
And Dahlia, I`m just going to hand you this. There is much to comment on. I won`t presume to ask either of you questions. Let`s just start with Dahlia.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR AND LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: No, I was thinking as you were talking, Lawrence, about Lindsey Graham, that he was the one who started screaming during the Kavanaugh hearings, long before anybody else started screaming that it was a disgrace and it was a witch hunt. He was all-in on the screaming and set the tone, I think, in many ways opened the door for what came after.
And so, I think that to the extent that this is contiguous, that you can start shouting witch hunt and that these women are pernicious liars who lay traps for powerful men, I don`t think he fully realizes what he enables when he talks that way.
O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox, what have you seen and been thinking in this story?
ANA MARIE COX, PODCAST HOST, WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE: Thank you for asking, Lawrence. I think Dahlia and I, and a lot of other women, have been thinking about and talking about how to deal with the lack of reaction, right? Like, how to deal with the media`s lack of reaction, how to deal with our own kind of dawning sense of numbness to this, for this being like the 22nd or 23rd women to accuse our President of sexual violence.
And I want to point out that that numbness for a lot of women exists not because this is a distant problem, not because this is a problem that we have - that we see on the screen, like the images from the border, or something that we hear about in Congress, like the Mueller Report, it is a problem that we get numb to because it exists in our own backyard, because it happened to us.
And I want to point out that every time we talk about this, we are setting an example for the women who have yet to come forward, about how we`re going to discuss their story. And that is what truly tears me apart today, Lawrence, is thinking about the millions of women who have yet to say something to anybody about what`s happened to them and to see E. Jean Carroll being judged, to see her being torn apart, to see her being insulted by the President.
I just want to say, and I`ve said this before in your show and appreciate you giving me the platform to do it, if you - on this show, if you are listening to this show and you have ever experienced sexual violence, it is never too late to ask someone for help, it is never too late to tell your story.
And the 24/7 hotline for the National Sexual Assault number is 800-656- HOPE. They always get an uptick in calls when something like this happens. I don`t even want to call that a silver lining, but it is something that we can build on.
O`DONNELL: Dahlia, you`ve written about the press` reaction to this.
LITHWICK: Yes, I think Ana makes the vitally important point here, which is, if we remember back to the "Access Hollywood" tapes, we were--
O`DONNELL: And we do.
LITHWICK: --we were horrified. That was a surge of MeToo. That was exactly what Ana`s describing. We all realize this is the water we swim in. We all live this. And the idea that, in much the same way that a year ago family separations at the border were horrifying, and now we`re just numb. We`re trying to have feelings, but it`s breaking us.
And in exactly the ways Ana describes, things that used to shatter us, now we`re talking about 22 accusers, and none of the Sunday morning shows bother to talk about this. Nobody addressed it on the Sunday morning shows, except for here at MSNBC, when Joy Reid did. And so, I think the extent to which - look, Donald Trump isn`t interesting, he says the same eight things over and over again in response to everything.
He`s not the problem. We`re the problem. He`s not going to change. But if we`re changing, if we`re finding ourselves falling asleep or numb to this or engaging in what Ana`s describing as trashing of another victim, even though her story is so perfectly, perfectly in line with the stories we`ve heard before and what Donald Trump himself said he does, if we`re unable to react, that`s the thing that scares me. That will far outlast Donald Trump`s Presidency.
O`DONNELL: And Ana Marie, when E. Jean Carroll was on this program Friday night, the day that the story broke, when I introduced the subject, I mentioned that she had two corroborating witnesses from that time who she told about it and she had - and those witnesses had spoken to "New York Magazine."
But also, as one of the corroborating pieces of evidence, I played the Donald Trump "Access Hollywood" tape in which he proudly describes his approach to women, which exactly was his first physical approach to E. Jean, before he then fully and completely raped her. And so much of the media has left out context and simply reported headlines like "Donald Trump Denies."
COX: They`ve left out the context. They`ve left out the details of her story. They`ve left out the clear pattern here, right. Like, he has a consistent pattern from what these women talk about. There it is, it is a pattern that he himself has admitted to in the "Access Hollywood" tape. He is an admitted sexual assailant.
And again, I just don`t think I can say this enough. That is a daily insult to anyone that`s a survivor of sexual violence, whether you`re a woman, or non-binary or a man, it is an insult to who you are.
And the thing that I worry about is, I think what Dahlia and I are both kind of talking around or talking through, which is how do we - how do we do something about this? How do we dredge up from who we are from this numbness that we`re starting to feel? How do we do something with it?
And the one hopeful thing I want to offer is that, because this is a problem that we swim in, because this is something that happens to - I have lost count of the number of women in my life who I`ve talked to about this happening. We can do something.
Everyone thinking about this tonight has the power to change the way that they talk about this in their own life. They have the power to support someone in their life who has been - who has been a survivor of sexual assault, because I guarantee you that you do know someone.
You have also the power to decide that this is something that matters to you as much as the Mueller Report, as much as interference in the election, as much as emoluments. You can demand that this is something that America needs to pay attention to and you can raise the voices of the women who have been through it.
And we can stop talking about Trump. I think Dahlia is totally right about this. His denials, his dismissals, whatever it is that he says isn`t important, except in so far as it confirms his behavior. What we need to talk about and to the women that have been through this.
O`DONNELL: And Dahlia, one of the things that I would suggest, based on your writing and others is that, people need to learn to listen slower. And by that I mean you make this very important point that E. Jean Carroll is not the perfect victim for some people who are waiting for the perfect victim, who speaks exactly the way they want this spoken about, who sounds the right way, who looks a certain way, who has the same attitudes they do about everything, that that`s what they`re looking for and that the reactions to all things in life can be quite complex.
And that`s one of the things I was trying to bring out with E. Jean, because I actually know her and know her work, that her reactions to things are going to be complex. She`s a comedy writer. She`s going to be laughing about things that other people cry about. And that`s something that you wrote about I think very effectively, is that people are hoping for a very simple way of processing this information when they hear it.
LITHWICK: Yes, I mean, we don`t all describe robbery the same way, we don`t all describe a bar fight the same way. The notion that women all have to be 1930s heroines of those crime sagas is preposterous. I think that you`re exactly right and I actually want to thank you for listening to her on Friday before almost anyone else did.
O`DONNELL: Well, and before you go, let me just tell the audience the best thing you can do is read what E. Jean Carroll herself wrote about this in "New York Magazine" and in her book that`s coming out. Ana Marie Cox and Dahlia Lithwick, thank you both for joining us on this very important subject, really appreciate it.
And when we come back, tonight the House has passed that bill to send emergency aid to help, support and make sanitary and safe the children at the southern border. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: More breaking news tonight, the House passed legislation to provide $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian aid to improve the health and safety conditions of the children in custody at the southern border by a vote of 230 to 195.
Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The bill passed after provisions were added today to address some of the worries of some House Democrats that the funding could be redirected by President Trump to be spent on his wall or his threatened deportation raids around the country. Here`s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It`s for the children, the children, the children. It`s about lifting them up in a way that takes them beyond what we do today. This is a very strong first step for us - a very strong first step for us, for the children. It`s very exciting. This isn`t an immigration bill. It`s not immigration bill. It`s an appropriations bill to meet the needs of our children. To remove the needs that they have, but also the shame that we should have if that they don`t have diapers and toothbrushes and the care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The President spoke about the suffering of the children at the southern border today and of course he did not tell the truth about it. He began by saying, "I`m very concerned." Now, that might or might not be true, but the next thing he said is absolutely untrue. The President said this about the children who have been denied soap and toothbrushes and are forced to sleep on cement floors with lights on.
"They`re much better than they were under President Obama by far. But I am very concerned. It`s in much better shape than it ever was." Everyone who has seen the children at the southern border says that is absolutely not true.
Holly Cooper, a lawyer who visited the children last week, said that they are being held in the worst conditions she has seen in her 22 years of visiting people in custody at the border. Last night, on this program, Columbia Law School Professor Elora Mukherjee told us that the conditions she saw there last week are the worst that she has seen in her 12 years of experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELORA MUKHERJEE, JEROME L. GREENE CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF LAW, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: These are not safe and sanitary conditions. There was an influenza outbreak at the facility. Flu and lice were spreading. The children don`t have access to an ability to wash their hands with soap.
Most of the children who I spoke with had not brushed their teeth once for weeks on end. I spoke with many children who had not been outside once during their detention at Clint, and the three children who I spoke with who reported outdoor opportunities told me that they couldn`t bear to bring themselves to play because they were trying to conserve their energy to stay alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Customs and Border Protection Agency is apparently in chaos tonight. John Sanders, who had been transferred from the TSA just two months ago to serve as Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, announced he`s resigning effective Friday of next week. He did not give a reason for quitting.
And after moving 300 children out of the border patrol station in Clint, Texas which has received the most criticism this week, 100 immigrant children were apparently moved back into that border patrol station.
Our first guest tonight is one of the lawyers who was allowed to see what has been happening at that border patrol station in Clint, Texas. Nicole Austin-Hillery is the Executive Director of U.S. Programs for Human Rights Watch. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, and what is your reaction to the bill the house passed tonight, what difference will that make there?
NICOLE AUSTIN-HILLERY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF U.S. PROGRAMS, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Lawrence, it`s going to ensure that some monies immediately get to those centers to help give those children the basic needs that you`ve already articulated they must have, clean clothing, food, good nutritional food, not just the meals they`ve been getting, the oatmeal, the Ramen noodles, the burritos, but real fruits and real vegetables.
It`s going to ensure that babies` diapers are clean and that they`re not sitting for days on end in soiled clothing. It`s basically going to ensure that we start treating them in a more humane manner, which is not what I witnessed when I was at the Clint facility last week.
O`DONNELL: And NBC News has been reporting that they are spending $775 a day on each of these children, and that`s enough to fly any of them anywhere in the country to relatives they might have here.
You report, having interviewed a second grader, who told you that her aunt is in this country, and she had a phone number on her bracelet, and no one there had checked. And then you discovered that yes, indeed, that family member is here, and this child could be with that family member?
AUSTIN-HILLERY: And we learned that, Lawrence, because we literally used one of our personal cell phones to make that call and to call that family member. And the family member was outraged. They asked us, if you can call me this easily and allow me to speak with my child relative, why can`t a system like our government ensure that we`re reconnected?
And I will tell you, Lawrence, it was barely all that little girl could do to tell us that she had a relative that she had crossed into the United States with because she was in tears, like so many of the children that we saw and talked to that day.
She was almost inconsolable, but for the fact that she could tell us that minimal amount that she had a relative. So the question becomes why can`t these children who have relatives who love them and want to care for them here in the United States, why can`t we connect them immediately so that these children will not have to remain in detention?
O`DONNELL: That`s what I`ve been hearing from other lawyers who visited the children. They make the economic case that it would be much cheaper than having to pass this bill. Some of them said you don`t have to pass any legislation at all, just get these children out of there to family members as fast as possible.
AUSTIN-HILLERY: Exactly. And that`s what the children want and that`s what they need. Lawrence, there are some these children who are now in detention, who are being cared for by younger children, preteens, if you will, who have no relationship to them at all.
And they`re simply clinging to them because they`re the closest thing to family that they can find in these facilities in this situation. That`s unconscionable. That`s not what this country represents. That`s not what we stand for.
We stand for family values and for ensuring that children can be cared for by people who love them. That`s what this money, I hope, will help to move us towards so that we can stop focusing on politics, but instead focus on getting these children connected to people who love them and can care for them.
O`DONNELL: Is it as chaotic as it seems? We have the head of the agency just quitting saying as of next Friday, I`m gone? He`s only been there for two months. And then you have people working at the southern border who by the reports we`re getting don`t seem to know what they are supposed to be doing?
AUSTIN-HILLERY: I have to tell you, Lawrence, it is chaotic, because when we were onsite, we were asking simple questions such as, if we encountered a child that was coughing, we wanted to know, can you give them cough syrup. If we encountered a young mother which we did who was still breastfeeding her child, she herself was a teen mother and told us I`m not getting to sleep on a cot, and we would ask the question, can you get her a cot?
There was chaos, there was confusion, and it was difficult basically for the left hand to know exactly what the right hand was doing. Again, that`s not how this system should be working. It should not be hard to ensure beds. It should not be hard to ensure daily teeth brushing or daily showers. These are the basic things that we all encounter and take advantage of every day, and it`s no less than what these children deserve.
O`DONNELL: The news media is banned and not allowed into any of these places. You`re allowed in, but they know you`re coming because you have to do it through a legal process. They knew weeks ahead of time you were coming to Clint and still it appeared as bad as it did. It would seem that if they had weeks to prepare for your arrival, they would have improved the situation there somewhat.
AUSTIN-HILLERY: One would think. But I have to tell you this, it also left us wondering what are we not seeing? And I`ll give you an example, there were some children that we asked to see who we were told were sick, they were suffering from a cold or the flu. And we said, well, we`d like to see those children, we want to talk to them too and find out what their experiences are. And we were told that they were confined to an area that they called something similar to a sick ward, and because of that, we were told it`s not safe for us to see them.
And we thought, well, those are the children we really want to see, because if what we`re witnessing with the children you are producing is matted hair, is stench in their clothing, if it`s crying children, what in the world might we witness if we got to see the children who are in the sick ward. And just the mere fact that there was a sick ward with so many children who were ill, that spoke volumes, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Nicole Austin-Hillary, thank you for this invaluable reporting. We really appreciate it.
AUSTIN-HILLERY: You`re welcome. Thank you for having me on.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END