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Scaramucci supports GOP challenge. TRANSCRIPT: 8/12/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Lisa Bloom, Maria Hinojosa, Bill Weld

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

And Stacey Abrams was on everyone`s list to join a field of presidential candidates, especially if it was going to be as big as it has become.  But apparently, she has decided to sit this out. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  She`s decided to sit this out but I think she has other ideas.  I mean, I think that part of -- I think she`s, A, ambitious, B, strategic, and C, knows that whoever is the nominee is going to have to consider her as a running mate, and may be considered as a running mate from not being in the pool of presidential contenders is a good move at this point. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, and a southern running mate for the Democrats, that`s something we haven`t had for quite a while. 

MADDOW:  Let alone someone who`s incredibly talented and charismatic. 

O`DONNELL:  And did we mention African-American woman which is something they`ve never had ever.  So, there`s that.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Well, this is one of those very, very -- I mean, wicked strange nights when I find myself agreeing with Donald Trump.  Yes, I said that.  And I mean agreeing with him word for word, in one of his tweets today. 

And I also agree with the person who currently claims to be the White House press secretary even though we have never heard her voice publicly, I agree with her for the first and only time about the very same thing that I agree with Donald Trump on.  And that is a very small piece of the ground we will have to cover in the next hour and one of the least important pieces of ground we will cover in the next hour.  And so, we will save that for later in the hour. 

And I think many of you are going to find yourselves in agreement with this one, in agreement with Donald Trump for this one time. 

But we begin tonight with the death in prison of a former friend of Donald Trump`s, a man who Donald Trump called a terrific guy, who with Donald Trump`s full approval liked girls who in Donald Trump`s words were, quote, on the younger side.  It took the death of an accused child rapist and sex trafficker and friend of Presidents Trump and Clinton to unite the Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee in the search for information from Donald Trump and William Barr`s Justice Department. 

Chairman Jerry Nadler and the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, co-signed a letter tonight to the Justice Department with 23 questions about the death of Jeffrey Epstein, quote, from an apparent suicide on the morning of August 10th, 2019, while in your custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

The letter is addressed to Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, which is an agency in the Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr`s control.  Hugh Hurwitz is a lifetime government bureaucrat whose career began in Republican administrations but has also included Democratic administrations.  He started as a low-level assistant in the Bureau of Prisons the year after he graduated from college. 

He eventually became a lawyer, spent some time in private law practice, returned to the Bureau of Prisons in 1997 in a technical capacity as an assistant chief for construction.  During the Bush administration, he worked in a technical job in the Food and Drug Administration, later became the FDA`s I.T. guy.  Moved on to another technical job having nothing to do with policy and the Department of Education, during the Obama administration, he joined NASA and the inspector general`s office, and returned to the bureau of prisons in 2015 as an assistant director. 

May 18th of 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, and because this is the Trump administration, he is still the acting director, over a year later.  When you see Hugh Hurwitz testify to the House Judiciary Committee both under oath and under pressure as he most surely will, you will be seeing the classic government technocrat.  You will not be seeing someone who has ever run a prison or a jail himself. 

He has never had one day of experience working in a prison or a jail.  It is possible he has never met an inmate.  But it was his job to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive.  It was also William Barr`s job to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive. 

And Attorney General Barr said today in effect, don`t blame me.  Attorney General Barr claimed to be, quote, appalled and angry -- those were his words -- about the death of Jeffrey Epstein.  And he made it very clear that Hugh Hurwitz is in line to take the fall for this one. 


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. 


O`DONNELL:  So, William Barr is clearly going point downward and blame Hugh Hurwitz or someone lower down the chain of command at the federal correction center in New York where Jeffrey Epstein died.  Maybe the Barr investigation will ultimately point the finger at the unionized guards who failed to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive.  Or the chief psychologist of the correctional center who was supposed to be in charge of the suicide watch of Jeffrey Epstein and the aftermath of the suicide watch of Jeffrey Epstein. 

After Jeffrey Epstein reportedly tried to kill himself last month, he was placed on suicide watch for some period of time and then reportedly taken off suicide watch.  The federal Bureau of Prisons rules for suicide watches were written in 2007 when Hugh Hurwitz was working at the Department of Education.  It`s entirely possible Hugh Hurwitz had no idea what those rules were until he got the Judiciary Committee`s letter tonight. 

One of the rules says once an inmate has been placed on watch, the watch may not be terminated under any circumstance without the program coordinator or designee performing a face-to-face evaluation.  Only the program coordinator will have the authority to remove an inmate from suicide watch.  The program coordinator is usually the prison`s chief psychologist.

Question 12 of the Judiciary Committee`s letter to the Bureau of Prisons is: Does MCC New York have such a program coordinator?  Did he or she authorize the removal of Mr. Epstein from suicide watch?  If not who did?

Question 13: Did the program coordinator consult with anyone else in making this determination?  If so, who? 

Question 14: Was the termination of Mr. Epstein`s suicide watch by the official who made such determination discussed with or directed by any supervisory personnel or leadership of the Bureau of Prisons or any Department of Justice personnel or executive branch personnel outside of the Bureau of Prisons?

Question 15: Who at the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice and elsewhere in the executive branch was notified of the termination of Mr. Epstein`s suicide watch and when?

The Trump White House is the craziest White House in history.  It is the most reckless group of people who have ever worked in a White House.  And the president himself is the most reckless of them all. 

The Judiciary Committee`s letter signed by the top Democrat and the top Republican on the committee, is asking if anyone in the Trump White House was involved or aware of the removal of the suicide watch of Jeffrey Epstein.  That`s what`s in question number 14.  Was the termination of Mr. Epstein`s suicide watch discussed with or directed by any supervisory personnel or leadership of the Bureau of Prisons or any Department of Justice personnel or executive branch personnel? 

Was William Barr involved?  Was Donald Trump involved?  That`s what is in question number 14.  And the House Judiciary Committee is going to get answers to these questions, to all of these questions, including please provide information pertaining to the individual correction officers who were responsible for monitoring Mr. Epstein on August 9th and August 10th specifically with respect to how long they had been on their shifts at the time Mr. Epstein had been found non-responsive in his cell. 

Question 17: If Mr. Epstein was removed from suicide watch, what precautions were put in place to help prevent the possibility of self- injury from Mr. Epstein, given that he was transitioning from suicide watch?  Were there any steps taken to remove possible implements of self- injury?

Question 20: Were any video surveillance cameras placed in or near Mr. Epstein`s cell?  Do recordings show the circumstances that led to Mr. Epstein`s death or the presence of any other person during this time period?

The bipartisan letter sent by the House Judiciary Committee to the acting director of the bureau of prisons says: The apparent suicide of this high- profile and if allegations are proven to be accurate particularly reprehensible individual while in the federal government`s custody demonstrates severe miscarriages of and deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice.  Any victims of Mr. Epstein`s actions will forever be denied proper recourse.  The competency and rigor of our criminal justice system has been marred by this apparent oversight.

Leading off our discussion tonight. Mimi Rocah, former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.  She`s an MSNBC legal contributor.  And John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.  He is co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus."

And, Mimi, you know these facilities down there in Lower Manhattan.  Former U.S. attorney tweeted over the weekend that surely there is video that will tell us something if not everything about this. 

MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, there will be video that will be part of the puzzle that they`re going to have to piece together.  There won`t be video in the sell because of privacy rights.  But there will be video in the hallways.  There will be -- there will be -- I`m sure they`re already looking -- somebody is going through whatever video can be gone through. 

They are looking at who did Epstein speak to.  Who did he have phone calls with?  Who did he have contact with in the time between when he was taken off suicide watch and killed himself presumably? 

You know, every personnel, everyone who works there is going to be interviewed and questioned separately and carefully.  But the real problem here in my mind is we need answers and we need both the public and the victims to trust the answers that we get.  And with Bill Barr at the helm and doing what he`s already doing, which is spinning this, like he did with the Mueller report, how can anybody trust it? 

He had been recused.  He unrecused himself to take responsibility over the southern district investigation.  And now, he`s already disclaiming responsibility as you said. 

And I think for anyone to have faith in what the findings are, which are so important to the victims and the justice system as a whole, Bill Barr must recuse himself. 

O`DONNELL:  John, there is an established Republican congressional view of responsibility for department heads in situations like this, especially if it`s the head of the State Department and the death occurs in Benghazi.  All of that was blamed on Hillary Clinton by House Republicans. 

Here`s William Barr at the top of his department.  But this letter tonight co-signed by the leading Republican on the House Judiciary Committee is asking all the right questions. 

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Yes.  Does the word hypocrisy mean anything to you, Lawrence?  That`s not a new thing for this Republican Party in this age of Donald Trump to cast aside all prior alleged convictions or commitments to how responsibility works, where the buck stops in situations like this. 

I think it`s, you know -- you`ve seen the cognitive dissonance as you watched before the Epstein event, you know, on Friday, you had the names of some prominent people who were implicated in the Epstein thing.  You saw Bill Richardson`s name.  You saw George Mitchell`s name come out.  And you saw Donald Trump`s name.  And you saw Bill Clinton`s name. 

And yet overt weekend, you have the Trump administration, people around Donald Trump basically pointing to Bill Clinton, pointing to Bill Clinton as the president stoked this conspiracy theory by retweeting someone who claimed that this is part of the Clinton body count.  Yet it is the case that both of them are -- were known historical consorts of Jeffrey Epstein, and only one of them is the current president of the United States whose Justice Department runs the federal prison system. 

So, I`m not engaging in any conspiracy theories.  Just to say, if you`re going to start asking about culpability and you`re going to start point fingers, the place to start looking is with the government that runs that facility.  And that goes all the way up to this attorney general, this attorney general who has shown over and over again that he`s in this game first and foremost to protect Donald Trump above all. 

O`DONNELL:  Mimi, to go back to your point about the Barr non-recusal, because the investigations in the southern district do cross lines with Donald Trump here and there and here is someone who is a former friend of Donald Trump Trump`s.  Ironically, oddly, given his job, his first job in New York at a private high school in New York by William Barr`s father, William Barr`s father as the headmaster of school actually hired this guy, that`s plenty of grounds right there for Barr to recuse himself. 

But he didn`t, as you pointed out in this case, which means he left himself in charge fully of the incarceration of Jeffrey Epstein.  What efforts did he make personally make with that facility to explaining to them the importance of this prisoner? 

ROCAH:  Exactly.  I mean, he`s now saying in his statement today, when he was speaking, he said, you know, this is such an important case.  If it were that important of a case, a case you said, you know what, I`m so invested in this case and I`m going to put aside those maybe apparent conflicts that people might have issue with because I want to oversee this, I want to make sure it`s done right this time around -- well, then you should have said from the top down whatever resources you need to protect this man, the same way they did with El Chapo, right?  It`s not like they aren`t capable of doing it. 

Whatever resources you need I will get you.  I`m not saying there aren`t systematic problems on a day-to-day basis in the MCC, MDC, other prison that maybe will come to light as a result of this and be addressed, but he could have reached out, he should have reached out, especially given his position, and said, I am giving you the resources you need to make sure Jeffrey Epstein goes to trial and sees that day of trial. 

O`DONNELL:  And so, John, as Mimi said in her first statement tonight, William Barr is already spinning this.  He goes out there today and goes way beyond anything we know in the news reports and says serious irregularities in this facility which he supervises, which is under his jurisdiction.  And that again is William Barr stepping out ahead of what we know before we`re allowed to know.  And then not giving us any hint of what an irregularity is. 

HEILEMANN:  Well, we`ve seen Bill Barr do this before, step out ahead of everything we know and cast events in a certain way.  Spin them in a certain way.  It`s part of the troubling pattern I think on the part of the attorney general. 

And I will say, you know, we don`t know when he says there are troubling irregularities, we do not know if he`s talking historically.  We don`t know if he really just reporting specifically to this case.  There clearly are irregularities with respect to this case.  The question is if he`s casting an aspersion that he`s trying to now claim that these problems are systemic and have gone on for years and years.  And so, although, you know, it happened on my watch, I can`t be responsible for problems that have been festering in this prison for many, many decades. 

We`ll see if that`s where he go but don`t be surprised if that is where we go. 

O`DONNELL:  Mimi, "New York Times" reporting that this means that prosecutors will probably start concentrating more heavily on the financial life of Jeffrey Epstein since they can`t prosecute any of these criminal cases against him. 

We have another report in "The New York Times" tonight from James Stewart.  He reports of an interview he had with Epstein last year where Epstein points to a picture saying that`s MBS, referring to Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.  The crown prince had visited him many times and they spoke often, Mr. Epstein said. 

Mimi, if that`s true, that`s just one indicator of the kinds of people who may be exposed in the continuing of this investigation. 

ROCAH:  Yes.  Look, the fact that Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, put out a statement on Saturday -- I mean, that`s unusual for them to put out a statement at all about a case so quickly over a weekend, and the fact that he made that point about there being a conspiracy and we`re going to continue investigating and we want victims to come forward, I don`t think he would have done that if there were just sort of, hey, let`s throw it up and see what happens.  That would be pretty risky on his part. 

So, they clearly have already I think some idea where this is going in terms of co-conspirators.  Whether that turns out to be, you know, Ghislaine -- I can`t pronounce her name -- Maxwell and/or other more high- profile people, I don`t know.  But they are going to keep pursuing this, both I think criminally and civilly, in terms of forfeiture of his assets. 

O`DONNELL:  The U.S. attorney said to Mimi`s point on Saturday: To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you in our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment, which included a conspiracy count, remains ongoing.

So, John, that`s the essence of what we know continues. 

HEILEMANN:  Conspiracies are rarely conducted alone.  Conspiracies usually involve co-conspirators, and we have some idea about some of the people who were close to Jeffrey Epstein.  Ms. Maxwell is one of those people who`s pointed to frequently. 

It is the case, I believe, not being a lawyer but having listened to a lot of smart lawyers over the weekend that the one positive element of this entire thing and there are really -- I mean, it`s obviously, a really dark turn of events, but the notion that there will no longer be standing or the ability to challenge the searches of all of Geoffrey Epstein`s properties, of all of his bank records, that he won`t have lawyers who have standing to fight.  So, if there are going to be cases brought against co-conspirators, it -- should they exist, it should now be for a committed prosecutor, a set of prosecutors, easier to get evidence of that conspiracy than it would have been previously with Jeffrey Epstein`s lawyers fighting at every turn.  And that will be one of the tests of whether or not this investigation is serious or not. 

Are we now going to see prosecutors or investigators just ransacking every element of Jeffrey Epstein`s life in order to try to find whatever evidence exists of anyone who is complicit, whether they`re a co-conspirator or just complicit in this behavior because that is what the victims are owed. 

O`DONNELL:  Mimi, are we going to know how Jeffrey Epstein died and why he died and who`s responsible? 

ROCAH:  Well, look, the inspector general`s report I think they generally make their findings public, and they are, you know, reasonably independent from Bill Barr, although part of the Department of Justice.  I think we have a good chance of knowing that. 

The FBI investigation -- and by the way, I`m not casting aspersions on the FBI agents themselves.  This is about Barr overseeing it.  That if it`s a criminal investigation we would only know about if they brought criminal charges against someone, and I think it`s just too early to say that.  I think also through House oversight, you know, we will get some answers. 

So, yes, I think we will get the answers.  I think it`s probably going to take longer than people want, which is why Bill Barr should not be doing what he`s doing already, which is putting out a few little select cryptic facts with his spin on it. 

O`DONNELL:  And pointing downward with the blame. 

Mimi Rocah and John Heilemann, thank you both for starting us off tonight. 

When we come back, Lisa Bloom will join us.  She represents some of the women who have been -- who have lawsuits pending against Jeffrey Epstein for his conduct with them.  She will join us next. 


O`DONNELL:  The criminal case against Epstein died when he did.  Those are the words of NYU law professor Stephen Gillers.  The criminal case of the United States of America versus Jeffrey Epstein is over, but civil lawsuits brought against Jeffrey Epstein can continue against Jeffrey Epstein`s estate. 

For more on the civil cases, we turn to our next guest, attorney Lisa Bloom, who has been handling some of the civil lawsuits against Jeffrey Epstein. 

Lisa, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  What happens to your cases now? 

LISA BLOOM, THE BLOOM FIRM MANAGING ATTORNEY:  Well, we are filing this week on behalf of two Jeffrey Epstein victims.  I`ve heard from about five more over the weekend.  Our clients for the last few weeks before his death, we decided it was more important to cooperate with the criminal investigation.  And so, that`s what we were doing.  We thought that should have priority. 

Now, that he`s passed away, there`s no reason why we shouldn`t go forward with the civil case.  I want everybody to know that civil cases can go forward even after the defendant dies.  You simply proceed against the estate of the person who died. 

And there`s a wonderful coincidence which is that in the state of New York, this week, a window is opening up of an extended statute of limitations, which means more time to sue if you were a victim of child sexual abuse, you can now sue up to age 55 for child sexual abuse that happened at any time.  That window is going to open on Wednesday and it`s going to be open for one year.  So, anybody who has claims against Epstein for child sexual abuse should certainly speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. 

O`DONNELL:  Now, in lawsuits like this, the normal discovery procedure at some point would include a subpoena to depose the defendant.  You would have had Jeffrey Epstein under oath in a deposition at some point.  That`s testimony that in a criminal case, they cannot compel.  But now, you`ve lost that opportunity also. 

What other discovery methods do you have? 

BLOOM:  That`s OK.  I don`t mind losing that opportunity.  That`s one less witness to contradict what my clients will say.  I don`t know if there will be anybody on the defense side to contradict what my clients will say. 

But you`re right, Lawrence, that in filing a civil suit one of the big advantages besides getting compensation for my clients, which I think is very important, is the subpoena power.  That I will have the power to require people, not just the estate but third parties to answer my questions under oath in depositions, give me documents and information, and that`s something that`s very important to my clients as well, is getting answers as to how this happened.  And if others were responsible, if others were enablers, they could certainly be brought into the civil case as well. 

O`DONNELL:  What do you anticipate in terms of cooperation for your cases from the federal prosecutors in New York?  Also from the criminal investigators in Florida? 

BLOOM:  Well, I`d expect cooperation.  I mean, why not?  We`ve seen been cooperating with them.  Now that Mr. Epstein is deceased, I don`t see any reason why we shouldn`t cooperate. 

I also think it`s possible, call me maybe overly optimistic, it`s possible that Mr. Epstein`s estate might decide to do the right thing by the victims and waive legal technicalities like statutes of limitations for victims who are over the age of 18 and actually just do the right thing, set up a fund for victims, do what he was never able to do in life and that is show some respect for the victims, compensate them for their injuries, let them come forward with credible claims, show how they`ve been damaged, show how their careers have been derailed, their relationships ruined, their mental health destroyed, and compensate them, do the right thing, don`t fight them. 

O`DONNELL:  Are there precedents in cases like this of the federal government basically handing over their investigative product to civil attorneys after the defendant in a federal criminal case has died? 

BLOOM:  That`s a great question, and I don`t know the answer to that question.  I think we have made Freedom of Information requests in other cases to law enforcement.  I have many cases where we accuse high-profile individuals like Bill Cosby, for example, Bill O`Reilly, many others, and when they`re accused and sometimes there`s law enforcement implications as well, we can get the files sometimes redacted.  Again, in this case, I don`t see any reason now that he`s gone why we shouldn`t get anything.  Why redact?  There`s really no more privacy interests involved. 

O`DONNELL:  Lisa Bloom, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

BLOOM:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  When we come back, an analysis by the "New York Times" shows that the El Paso mass murderer wasn`t just echoing Donald Trump`s words.  He was echoing the words of the Trump-supporting media, especially that word "invasion."  A "New York Times" analysis shows how the Trump- supporting media has been pumping out that language to the El Paso mass murderer and others. 


O`DONNELL: You can shoot invaders. Those are the exact words that Ann Coulter said to a Fox News host last year. Today those words appeared on the front page of "The New York Times" in an extensive analysis by the "Times" of the similarity of language used on Fox News with the language used by the El Paso mass murderer in his writings.

What he called an invasion at our southern border. A "New York Times" analysis of Fox News and other Trump-supporting media outlets found hundreds of examples of language, ideas, and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer`s written statement of a shared vocabulary of intolerance that stokes fears centered on immigrants of color.

The "Times" found more than 300 Fox News references to an immigrant invasion since last year alone. Here is video compiled by "The New York Times."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re being invaded.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The invasion of illegal immigrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have all these minors from Central America flooding the border.

HANNITY: Multi-culturism isn`t real. This is really destroying one culture and replacing it with a new foreign culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not migrants coming into the country. This is nothing short of an invasion.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Democrats who want to replace you the American voters with newly amnesty citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a government sanctioned invasion of our country.


O`DONNELL: As "The New York Times" reports the portrayal of immigration as a menace has returned with force, a shift brought on not just by Radio and TV hosts but by Republican leaders in Congress and the President himself. After this break, Maria Hinojosa will join our discussion.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump does not know what an invasion is. He`s never seen one. He`s not related to anyone who fought on the American side in World War II. He doesn`t know what happened on D-day. He doesn`t know what the word "invasion" means and that has something to do with the way he uses the word.

Here`s something he said in one of his rallies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He said, "It`s an invasion. You know that? I say invasion and they say isn`t that terrible?" Yes, we do. And then he said, "I don`t know what these people are thinking."

Joining us now, Maria Hinojosa, Anchor and Executive Producer of the Public Radio Show "Latino USA." Maria, what are you thinking when you hear Donald Trump say invasion, when you see this article on the front page of "The New York Times" with the way Fox News has pumped this word "invasion" into this mass murderer in El Paso, who is 21 years old, let`s remember?

So he`s heard Donald Trump talk invasion since he was in high school. He`s heard this language since he was in junior high school developing out there. And here`s Donald Trump saying what`s wrong with saying invasion?

MARIA HINOJOSA, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER LATINO USA: You know, just when you said it, Lawrence, I was like - especially because you said he said it in Michigan. I grew up in Chicago. Like my family is who he`s talking about.

So one of the things that I do as a journalist is of course I`m always talking to people. So I`ll say look, when Donald Trump is talking about Mexicans and invasion he`s talking about me. And they`ll be like no, not you. And I`ll be like, well, my entire family wasn`t born in this country. We`re immigrants.

So - and my father was a professional. He`s a medical doctor. So somebody could say he was taking somebody`s job away. But this is who we are. Look at me. And I say look at me because this is who we are.

And in a way what we`ve had to do in the horror of El Paso is like we`re having to like be on this little what is it? The mouse thing that`s going - we`re trying to prove our humanity constantly whereas this President, everything about him is really focused on a tackiness.

It feels in-congress because it`s like guys; I`m an American just like you I`m an American citizen. What is this thing about an invasion? And I want to tell you something, Lawrence because you and I spoke last week when I was in El Paso.

We crossed the border into Mexico. There were people waiting in line. This is a new phenomenon since Donald Trump. They were waiting in line to cross into the United States. They`re in Mexico. I saw about 50 people. I saw lots of children lots of toddlers. I saw babies, infants.

And I walked up to these people very calmly because I didn`t want to alarm them. But I said have you heard anything about what`s happening in the United States regarding people like you who are seeking refugee status and who have children?

And they were like, no. No. Have you heard any stories about children or babies being taken away? No. That couldn`t - you know, that`s impossible in the United States. These are not people that are coming to invade. These are not people that have an agenda that`s kind of like now let`s go into the United States and - these are people who are suffering.

But the problem with the Trump administration is probably no one has actually gone and looked in these people`s eyes and had a conversation with them.

O`DONNELL: So they don`t have information about what`s happening on this side of the border and what`s happening to parents and children on this side of the border?

HINOJOSA: I mean, it wasn`t shocking because I don`t buy into this notion that this White House puts out which is that the caravans and the people that this is all one massive, you know, big ploy to take over - look, I have been talking to immigrants for the entirety of my life because I am one.

This is the same thing I said to Samuel Huntington from Harvard University, who wrote a seminal book saying basically like those are them and they`re not us. And I said, in all of my time talking to immigrants not once, Lawrence, not once has anyone of them said mm-hmm, I`m coming to take over, I`m coming to invade.

So this is an illusion that has been created and propagated. But it`s not based on reality. And I say this to the people who are watching. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to the people who work with you. Ask them. If you say it with love and without asking them to show their papers they`re going to respond to you and be like invasion. What are you talking about?

O`DONNELL: I want your reaction to the Trump administration`s announcement today that they`re going to tighten the rules around immigrants in this country in any way relying on federal benefits - government benefits of any kind. There are already rules about that but they want to narrow and tighten the interpretation zone?

HINOJOSA: I just don`t - the messaging is very clear for immigrants. And certainly when we talk immigrants, I mean, immigrants could be you, could be me. It`s anybody, right? It`s of all races. But in specific just kind of after El Paso, after Mississippi, after the President saying let`s have more raids, and then it`s like and guess what, even those of you who have green cards, nothing for you. It`s distressing.

You know, when they don`t want to provide health care, for example, to undocumented immigrants, I`m like, hmm, that is really smart. Not giving health care to the people who are picking your fruit, making your food in the restaurants, serving it to you, delivering it to you, but you don`t want them to have health care.

So what they don`t understand is the way in which this backfires. But it`s another way in which the message is clear, we don`t want you hear.

O`DONNELL: Maria Hinojosa, thank you very much for being here. It`s good talking to you tonight. I really appreciate it.

HINOJOSA: Always a pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thanks for joining us. And when we come back, a former Trump supporter now thinks that the Republican Party should find a new Presidential candidate for 2020. He doesn`t seem to know that there already is one Former Republican Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is running for President. And he will join us.


O`DONNELL: One of the most incompetent people who were hired to work in the Trump White House has at least for now publicly turned against Donald Trump as his latest ploy for tricking television bookers into putting him on TV.

And on this one I`ve got to admit Donald Trump is absolutely right when he tweeted today "Scaramucci, who like so many others had nothing to do with my election victory, is only upset that I didn`t want him back in the administration where he desperately wanted to be. Also I seldom had time to return his many calls to me. He just wanted to be on TV!"

And then came this in a Bloomberg report. "He worked at the White House for less than two weeks and is certainly no expert on this President. White House Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said this is all so self-serving on his part and the media plays right into it and this will surely be the only time that I agree with the current White House Press Secretary.

Anthony Scaramucci is a lying fraud who supported a lying fraud for President. He then won a power struggle with the other lying frauds working in the White House at the time and got himself appointed White House Communications Director, a job he was fired from before he could actually start the job because of an interview that he gave to the New Yorker in which he announced his plans for the White House Staff.

"I`m going to fire every one of them. The entire place will be fired over the next two weeks." he also said to the New Yorker when comparing himself very favorably to Steve Bannon, "I`m not trying to blank my own blank."

Now, remember, Anthony Scaramucci lies about everything. So it is entirely possible that he was and continues to try to blank his own blank. Anthony Scaramucci has never appeared on this program because he is one of the most ridiculous characters in the Trump freak show and he is a proven liar and proven liars aren`t welcome here, especially the clowniest of the clowns in the Trump world.

Anthony Scaramucci`s break with the President, if it holds, which is actually unlikely because this is Scaramucci we`re talking about, will mean the loss of at most one Trump vote in the state of New York, which Donald Trump is going to lose anyway.

The words "Anthony Scaramucci" have always meant absolutely nothing in American politics and they always will. His new claim that he is looking for a Republican to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination means that he remains so flawlessly ignorant about American politics that he doesn`t even know that Donald Trump already has a serious Republican primary challenger, the Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, William Weld, who will join our discussion here after this break.


O`DONNELL: Here is Iowa Republican voter Kate Miller who has had enough of Donald Trump.


KATE MILLER, IOWA VOTER: I`m a lifelong conservative. I actually campaigned door to door for Chuck Grassley his first year as a Senate candidate, but I cannot vote for Donald Trump. He is not a conservative and I don`t think he`s a good man, and when you watch cabinet member after cabinet member fall away from him, I just can`t vote for him.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Bill Weld, Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, he is running for the Republican presidential nomination against President Trump. Governor Weld, thank you very much for joining us tonight. It sounds like Kate Miller is ready to hear from you when you get to Iowa?

BILL WELD (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I hope that`s so, Lawrence, and I hope that maybe next time you`ll tell us what you really think about Anthony Scaramucci.


WELD: But seriously, I think the mooch may have settled on a valuable metaphor, durable metaphor in Chernobyl, because that suggests the idea of a meltdown, or whatever you call it meltdown, or unhinged or un-tethered.

I do sense a rumbling there that the President has been obliged to spend so much time dealing with things inside his own head, notably the emotions of anger and fear that, you know, it may be at some point in the not-too- distant future, he`s going to seemingly be overwhelmed by the demands of his job.

And as you know, I think he`s going to lose by a lot next year, and I think partly it`s because the U.S. house is going to recognize they don`t give advisory opinions. They have to have real facts and so they need a real investigation to get real facts, and that takes eight or ten good months, not good months for Mr. Trump.

O`DONNELL: Governor, when you were Governor of Massachusetts early 1990s, you supported an assault weapons ban there. In the aftermath now last week of Dayton and of El Paso, do you think you can argue an assault weapons ban to Republican primary voters?

WELD: I think when people say assault weapons a lot of them mean automatic weapons, and those are, as you known, already illegal. You have to be a federally licensed firearms dealer to own a fully automatic weapon.

I`m kind of nervous about all this talk about super universal background checks on steroids. People are even talking about licensing all weapons out there. There are 300 million rifles out there in private hands, and you know me, Lawrence, I kind of tend toward the libertarian side.

I regard private gun ownership as kind of a bulwark against possible government overreaching. If you look at history, Hitler makes it impossible for the Jews to own guns or firearms, and when the knock comes at the door, they can`t resist. They go to concentration camps.

Jose Dallon (ph) killed 20 million people. IDI Admin in Uganda after they outlawed guns killed everyone who wasn`t part of his coalition. I do think that red flags and hooks to signs of mental illness or previous violence reported by a coworker or family member, that`s fine.

In this country you can get in front of a judge in six hours, and a judge can decide whether the person is a danger to themselves or others, and I think that would be a much more direct way to go at these mass shootings than saying, we want to license 300 million rifles.

O`DONNELL: Well, the licensing argument is about sales that go on now. In order to go to a weapons store and purchase something now, you would have to be licensed to do that. In some of the proposals you would have to be insured. Just like an automobile.

Just like if you get a new car tomorrow, what you have to do with a new car. There are plenty of people that have old cars up in the backyard that aren`t registered. No one is saying they have to register those?

WELD: Yes, that`s right. When I got my first shotgun, I sure this hell had to have taken a hunter safety course, so I`m not saying you can`t put any conditions on the acquisition of firearms. But I do want to point out that throughout history, when the government has imposed stringent conditions upon the mere ownership of firearms, having nothing to do with safety or violence or threats. That has often ended in disaster. So gun ownership by itself should not be the focus here.

O`DONNELL: But no one is talking about guns in general, they`re talking about these particular kinds of weapons, these high-powered weapons that can fire so many bullets with those magazines. They`re not talking about revolvers? They`re not talking about handguns--

WELD: You said another magic word, which is magazine. One of these two fellows who did the shooting over the weekend was walking around downtown with a magazine holding 100 rounds. No, that`s not a God-given right.

But going after just pure rifle or shotgun by itself, even if it`s a five- shot semiautomatic, those are - that`s the standard, AR-15 is a standard U.S. military rifle. People do use five-shot rifles in hunting. That does not shock my conscience as a weapon.

If you make it fully automatic by removing a pin, I used to prosecute people for that. That`s a crime, because that transforms it into an automatic weapon. But I don`t think that`s all well understood, but I do think that the conversation is healthy because I think the red flag laws where people can get an injunction from a judge or an order that someone surrender their weapon if they have a sufficient history of violence or violent tendencies.

Like one of these guys carried around a list in high school of people he wanted to kill. There was one of the terrible cases two years ago where the FBI had open investigations on the fellow who committed the crimes twice and had to close them, because then there was a rule then that you had to close a case in six months.  That`s not how the criminal justice system works.  It takes longer than that often to build these cases.  But focusing on people, you know, the potential people involved, I think, is the shortest way to get there.

O`DONNELL:  Governor Weld, we haven`t just run out of time, we`ve gone into overtime.  We have to get out of here.  Thank you very much for joining us and please let Anthony Scaramucci know that you are running for President as a Republican.

WELD:  I will call him tomorrow.  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  All right.  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