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Beto O'Rourke returns to campaign trail. TRANSCRIPT: 8/15/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Beto O`Rourke, Amy Klobuchar

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

And we actually have two presidential candidates tonight.  We also have Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Excellent. 

O`DONNELL:  And because I know you are all tucked in and sound asleep by the end of my show, I want to tell you what happened here last night because we had Michael Bennet on last night.  And the question was, is John Hickenlooper going to drop out of the race, and Michael Bennet from Colorado knows Hickenlooper had a private conversation with Hickenlooper about this that "The New York Times" reporting on. 

And so, I`m trying to pull out of Senator Bennet what Hickenlooper is going to do when we are handed the "A.P." breaking story saying that John Hickenlooper is dropping out of the race.  And Senator Bennet is desperately trying to protect that information if he already knew it. 

So, wicked weird things have been happening when I have presidential candidates on especially when it involves the question of pressure on a presidential candidate to drop out of the race and run for United States Senate.  And that dynamic is present tonight in the show.  So, you know what?

MADDOW:  Anything can happen.

O`DONNELL:  Tomorrow, I will tell you what happen. 

MADDOW:  Oh, I stay up -- you would be surprised.  I know I`m old and I get sleepily but I can stay up for an hour. 

O`DONNELL:  All right.  Well, this, you know -- 

MADDOW:  Might be a reason to do it. 

O`DONNELL:  I think you`re going to want to know what Congressman O`Rourke has to say. 

MADDOW:  I was going to have a glass of wine tonight but I will not just to make sure I am --

O`DONNELL:  Yes, pay attention, Rachel.  OK.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel.

Well, as I said, we have two presidential candidates joining us tonight after Fox News released the answer to this question asked in a Fox News poll, do you think Donald Trump is drawing the country together or tearing the country apart?  Those are the words of the Fox News poll, and 59 percent say Donald Trump is tearing the country apart. 

And today, Donald Trump did more to tear our country and our government apart by urging Israel to ban the entry of two members of Congress to Israel -- freshman Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. 

We`ll ask the presidential candidates, Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Congressman Beto O`Rourke about that. 

Our first guest tonight, Beto O`Rourke, restarted his presidential campaign tonight in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where he has been for the last two weeks since El Paso suffered a mass murder attack that left 22 dead, 24 wounded. 

It was a deeply personal speech.  Beto O`Rourke reminisced about passing the spot where he was speaking today back when he was a high school kid on his way to El Paso high every day.  And you could hear the El Paso High Band practicing in the background during this speech. 

The only policy prescription Beto O`Rourke outlined in today`s speech was how to reduce gun violence in America, how to stop mass murderers from using the weapons of war to kill as many people as they possibly can.  That was the policy Beto O`Rourke concentrated on today because for him on that issue, the policy and the personal are now inseparable. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Flying home from Las Vegas, Nevada, when I got the news, young gentleman named Chris walks up to me and says, I`m flying back to El Paso as well because I just learned that my mother Rosemary has been shot of that Walmart, and I have no idea how she`s doing, what her condition is, nothing, no news. 

And I said if it`s any help, I, my wife Amy would love to join you.  And he said, that would be great, I could use the help right now. 

We went over to UMC.  When you walked into that room, Chris, and your mother Rosemary who had been shot in the chest, both of her lungs perforated, tubes coming out of her chest snaking through the hospital sheet coming down onto the floor, a mask over her face, the biggest smile I`ve ever seen produced by another human being to see you in that room.  And for your sisters to be there as well, and the strength and grace to greet me a complete stranger in her life and to make sure I felt welcomed in her intensive care unit hospital room. 

To meet the nurses and the doctors and the front line staff that were going to make sure that she was going to make it.  And I wondered to myself, where in the world did she get that strength and that courage? 

Well, the next day at Del Sol Hospital, I found the answer.  It was her mother who was in her early 80s who was also shot in the stomach, and though she was shot in the aftermath of that shooting, she tended to other victims in the parking lot and inside of the store.  Before she ever thought about the wounds that she was walking with that ultimately forced her to have to sit down and then lay down and be taken into a hospital where again her life was saved, by extraordinary El Pasoans from this community. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Today in that El Paso speech, Beto O`Rourke said that from now, he would not be running using the standard campaign playbook. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`ROURKE:  Someone asked if I`d be heading back to Iowa to go to the Iowa state fair, corn dogs and Ferris wheels, and I said, no, I can`t go back for that.  But I also cannot go back to that.  The kind of challenges that we face in this country at this moment of crisis require an urgency, unless we want to reap the consequences of failing to meet them, consequences that we lived and I hope learned from El Paso on August 3rd. 

And so, to those places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans, that`s where you will find me and this campaign. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  And tonight, we find Beto O`Rourke in Mississippi, which is not one of the important early primary states for Democratic candidates.

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O`Rourke. 

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman O`Rourke.  Really appreciate it. 

O`ROURKE:  Thanks for having me on. 

O`DONNELL:  And what finds you in Mississippi tonight? 

O`ROURKE:  I`m going to be visiting tomorrow with those families who were the subject of that heartless raid that we learned about last week. 

More than 600 human beings working some of the toughest jobs in America, come into this country for the privilege of ensuring that we can feed ourselves or clothe ourselves or take care of ourselves, some who have been here for decades -- rounded up, separated from their kids on the first day of school in many cases, without any provision for the welfare of those kids, some of whom ended up sleeping in a gym.  Thank God the owner of that gym opened the doors to them. 

Taking care of communities -- taking care of bi-communities like Canton just outside of Jackson where we are right now.  I want to be with them. 

And at a moment when the president is terrorizing them and terrifying those kids, I want to lift them up, and make sure that we all hear their stories and are compelled to do the right thing, to legalize their presence here in the United States of America, and ensure that they and especially their kids do not have to live in this country with fear. 

O`DONNELL:  If you`re on the debate stage with Donald Trump, what policy prescriptions would you offer in this category in immigration and something that would prevent these kinds of raids that we`ve seen? 

O`ROURKE:  I`d offer El Paso, Texas.  It is one of if not the safest cities in the United States of America.  And I`d tell Donald Trump and I`d tell everyone who`s watching that we are safe not despite but because we are a city of immigrants. 

Those who chose us and left behind their family, their language, their communities, their country to do better for themselves and their kids have also done better for us.  Their presence makes us stronger and more successful and safer than we would have been otherwise. 

We don`t need walls.  We don`t need kids in cages.  We don`t need these ICE raids and internal round ups and deportations. 

We treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.  And we make this country safer and more secure as a result.  So, we know the path.  And we have the example in El Paso, and we just need to make sure that we share that everywhere in this country. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman O`Rourke, I actually tweeted a photograph of one of the little girls who was in school when her father was taken away from the workplace, had no idea whether she was going to see him again.  She was just hunched up in tears. 

And I directed it to Trump voters, and I asked them what do you see, what do you feel when you look at this photograph?  And I will have to leave out a lot of the answers because they were vile and vicious and horrible and beyond description and ugly.  But the one that survives for television presentation which was the most frequent one was we blame the parents.  We Trump voters blame the parents who brought that child to this country, put that child in that situation. 

What would you say to those voters? 

O`ROURKE:  You know what, I was just talking to somebody here in Jackson and they were telling me about going to church in a conservative community, yes, most of the congregation are Republicans, and the pastor there pointed out what you just did, and said, this is not right, this cannot be us, this is not America.  And instead of hating on these people or judging those parents or leaving these kids to their own devices, defenseless in the wealthiest, the most powerful country on the face of the planet, what if we came together and provided for these kids?

And this person told me almost to a person, that congregation erupted in applause and gave of themselves and of their wealth to make sure that those kids and those families are OK. 

I believe in America.  I believe in Republicans and Democrats and independents alike.  Yes, there are some hateful people in this country, and yes, we`ve seen a rise in white supremacy, in white nationalism and white nationalist terrorism brought home to El Paso, Texas, on August 3rd.  But I`m confident if we tell that full story of that child and their parents, we`re going to call on the hearts of our fellow Americans, we`re going to galvanize the conscience of a country that needs to act. 

And if we don`t, we`re going to see more attacks like those in El Paso, more raids like we saw just outside of Jackson, Mississippi.  We will lose the genius of America, this foundational idea that we are all created equal and that the people of the planet can find a home here in the United States of America and make us better and make us great for the fact that they chose us and are here. 

I said today in this speech, if we do not wake up to this challenge, to this threat, then we as Americans, as this idea of America will die in our sleep.  And we cannot allow that to happen. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman, I want to ask you about the policy prescription you offered today on the weapons of mass murder in America, the assault rifles that we`ve seen used in these mass murders.  You`ve gone beyond now an assault weapons ban as a matter of sales, which is really the only way it`s been talked about in the past is banning the sale.  You`re now talking about getting them off the streets entirely. 

O`ROURKE:  That`s right.  These weapons of war which were designed to kill people as effectively, as efficiently in as great a number as possible, listening to those surgeons, those trauma surgeons in El Paso who also work at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and they told me the wounds that they were treating in El Paso are much like the wounds they treated in Afghanistan, in Iraq. 

They have no place in our communities and in our country, and only must we stop selling them in our communities and keep them on the battlefield, I think it`s important now -- and I cannot escape the conclusion and reality and the logic and the fact that the only way that we`re going to make us safer, the only way that we`re going to live without terror of these school shootings or these public marketplace shootings or these concerts or synagogues or churches where shootings are taking place, are to take these guns off the street, and to pay people who own those AK-47s and those AR- 15s which you do not need to hunt, which you do not need to protect yourself and your family in your home, which are only needed to kill an enemy soldier on the battlefield. 

I know that is politically difficult conclusion to come to and it`s why more people have not, it`s why I have not frankly until this point.  But if I really care about the future of this country, if I really want to learn what happened in El Paso on August 3rd, then we cannot escape this conclusion and action that must follow. 

O`DONNELL:  There`s so much more I want to ask you about.  Can you possibly stay with us over a break?  Because I want to ask you about the president urging Israel to ban two members of Congress today, which Israel then did.  And I also want to ask you about the portion of your speech today where you talk about people who are suggesting that you stay in Texas and run for Senate.

If we can just squeeze in a break, I`d love to do those questions when we get back.

O`ROURKE:  Happy to. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.  We`ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`ROURKE:  Monday, Amy and I took Ulysses and Molly and Henry to school.  This morning, we rushed them out the door.  Jeanine (ph) gave them a ride to Mosida (ph) and to Wiggs.  And I`ve got to tell you there`s some part of me and there`s a big part of me that wants to stay here and be with my family and be with my community. 

I love El Paso.  There have even been some who suggested that I stay in Texas and run for Senate.  But that would not be good enough for this community.  That would not be good enough for El Paso.  That would not be good enough for this country. 

We must take the fight directly to the source of this problem.  That person who has caused this pain and placed this country in this moment of peril, and that is Donald Trump. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Back with us, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O`Rourke. 

I want to ask you about that moment in the speech.  Obviously, you`ve thought about it.  You heard all the talk about it.  Everyone telling you the way they think you should run your political life and what your campaign choices should be. 

You know the question is going to keep coming up, this question of what about dropping out of this presidential race and taking up the race for the Senate, especially with John Hickenlooper dropping out and leaning toward it seems a race in Colorado.  He would be -- people say -- sure to win that.  Just need two more Democrats in the Senate if John Hickenlooper can win a seat. 

What`s your -- what`s your full explanation to voters in Texas and the country about that? 

O`ROURKE:  I`m running for president and I`m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump in large part because my community has borne the brunt of the consequences of Donald Trump.  His open racism, his invitation to violence, the white terrorism that he`s inspired that came to my community, drove 600 miles to my community and killed 22 of our fellow El Pasoans and Juarezans (ph), more murders than we see an entire year in under one hour, inspired in large part by this president. 

So, what he`s doing to America, what he`s doing to my community, the response of that is to take the fight directly to him and to defeat him and to be the leader that this country needs and does not have right now -- someone who`s not going to inflame but someone who`s going to heal, someone who`s not going to drive us apart, someone who`s going to bring us together, someone who operates not with fear but inspires hope and believes in our fellow Americans.  That`s the kind of leader that El Paso has taught me to be. 

And when it comes to the Texas Senate race, there are seven extraordinary candidates running right now, any one of whom would be far better than John Cornyn and everyone of whom stands every chance of being able to beat him in 2020.  I`m not worried about Texas and I`m grateful to those who are running for Senate.  But I`m running to be president of this country. 

O`DONNELL:  Do you have December 9th marked in your calendar?  December 9th I believe is the last day you can file in the Senate Democratic primary in Texas.  And I`m afraid, Congressman, you might be getting this question right up until December 9th. 

O`ROURKE:  Yes.  No, and let me make your show the place where I tell you and I tell the country, I will not in any scenario rain for the United States Senate.  I`m running for president, I`m running for this country.  I`m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I`m exclusively focused on doing right now. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, let`s stay with this because you`ve just created a breaking news moment here, because I just want to expand on what you said about the other candidates who are running, because you are now definitely, absolutely out of the Senate race in Texas, according to what you`re telling us tonight. 

O`ROURKE:  That`s correct.  Absolutely, and I really mean this, there is an extraordinary field -- a field that looks like Texas in the diversity of experience and biography and background and expertise and skills that they`ll bring to bear not just in the campaign but the person who wins the nomination who then defeats John Cornyn will be able to do for our state and for this country in the United States Senate.  So, I feel very confident, very optimistic about our prospects as a state and as a party, and again, grateful to those who have entered the arena and are running to serve us. 

O`DONNELL:  Did your Senate campaign -- do you believe your Senate campaign has, in effect, paved the way for the next Democratic Senate campaign in Texas and that there`s a lot to learn from the way you campaigned in Texas for the next Democratic nominee for the Senate seat in Texas? 

O`ROURKE:  Absolutely.  You know, I got to lead an extraordinary effort, the largest grassroots campaign that we`ve ever seen in Texas.  We went to every one of those 254 counties, no importa how red or how blue. 

We went to young people who were told not to spend time with, because we`re told they didn`t vote.  And I said, look, I wouldn`t vote either if no one ever showed up for me and didn`t listen to what I had to say and did include me in the story of this country.  And at the end of the day, that we didn`t defeat Cruz, we came awful close, won more votes than any Democrat has in the history of the state and importantly, Lawrence, won independence for the first time in decades and won nearly half a million Republicans who voted for Greg Abbott, Republican for governor, and me on the same ballot, didn`t have to trim our sails, showed up with the courage of convictions, but also showed up to listen, to learn, to bring our fellow Texans in. 

In a state that had ranked 50th in voter turnout showed up, stood up and was counted, and is ready for the 2020 Senate race -- and I think this is really important -- is ready with those 38 Electoral College votes.  That`s how you defeat Donald Trump, that`s how you forever change the political landscape in the United States of America.  That`s how you get a very ambitious agenda for this country accomplished. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, you just made at least seven Democrats in Texas very happy tonight, the Democratic candidates who are already running for the Senate in Texas. 

Let me go onto one more thing which is that the president today tweeting that two Democratic members of the House of Representatives should not be able to enter Israel, and then Benjamin Netanyahu follows the president`s tweet and doesn`t allow them to enter Israel.  Imagine yourself on the debate stage with the president on the issue of the president of the United States trying to ban and successfully in effect banning two members of Congress from entering Israel. 

O`ROURKE:  You know, his bizarre and disastrous foreign policy has diminished our standing and I would argue has made us less safe around the world.  This really important alliance that we have with the state of Israel which has always been predicated on a bipartisan connection between the United States and Israel, he is badly undermining and damaging it at this moment. 

It`s going to be hard to get that back, but I know that we can.  But when you add to that, you know, his falling in love with Kim Jong-un in North Korea, or his willingness to take Vladimir Putin`s word for what he did when he invaded this country, and then to say that he would welcome foreign participation again, for him to turn away the vulnerable and defenseless at our border, kids who are desperate for the help, and to lose the lives of seven children in our custody, in our care -- this president has diminished the stature of the United States of America.  He`s weakened us around the world. 

We need to respond to that by repairing our relationships, ensuring that they are bipartisan and strengthening our standing everywhere around the globe by delivering for the people of America first, but in conjunction with our partners and our allies and our friends, the very people that Donald Trump has turned his back on. 

O`DONNELL:  Former congressman, Texas congressman and Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O`Rourke, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  We really appreciate it. 

And as I`ve told all the other candidates, the candidates are always welcome on this program.  Whenever you can do it, we will make room for you. 

And thank you very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

O`ROURKE:  Very grateful.  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  And our second presidential candidate of the night, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be joining us. 

On a day when the president of the United States did something once again that no president has ever done before.  He urged a foreign country, in this case, Israel, to ban two members of Congress from entering their country.  And then Benjamin Netanyahu followed Donald Trump`s order and banned two members of Congress.  That`s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today Donald Trump tweeted that two members of Congress hate Israel and all Jewish people and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. And that poisonous tweet changed Israeli government policy.

That tweet made Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially bar those two members of Congress Freshman Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. And the least noted piece of this incident is that Donald Trump said these two Congresswomen hate all Jewish people.

If I said Donald Trump hates all black people there would be outrage to that statement. I would be unanimously condemned by every Republican member of the House and Senate, and not one of them - not one of them has objected to Donald Trump saying that two members of Congress hate all Jewish people.

Some Republicans have said it was a mistake for Benjamin Netanyahu to follow orders from Donald Trump and to ban the Congresswomen. But none of the Republicans have objected to what the President said about these two members of Congress.

Try saying that publicly about Kevin McCarthy the Leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives that he hates all Jewish people. Try saying that. See what happens to you if you say that about any Republican member of the House or anything like that about any Republican member of the house?

Anyone saying that would be condemned by Republicans, anyone not named Donald Trump. This shows you how far we have defined deviancy down for Donald Trump. Donald Trump is by far the most deviant person in the history of elected office in the United States.

It is impossible to think of something more deviant than a President telling the lie that two members of Congress hate all Jewish people and telling that lie so he could get them banned from entering Israel.

Like everyone else we are going to discuss all of the other issues involved in this unprecedented poisonous episode, but I want to put a marker on those words in the Trump tweet because the Republicans and the Republican news media players who object wildly to any version of the use of the word racist applied to anything Donald Trump says or does have absolutely no problem with Donald Trump saying that two Congresswomen hate all Jewish people.

Those two Congresswomen each have Jewish constituents who voted for them. They each have Jewish friends. They each have Jewish friends working with them in the House of Representatives every day. Some members of the House of Representatives said that what Israel did today was egregious and what Israel did today was a shame.

And Donald Trump did not say that those members of Congress who said what Israel did today were egregious, he did not say that those members of Congress hate all Jewish people. Because the members of Congress who said that are Jewish, and they have been supporters of Israel much longer than Donald Trump has even thought about this.

They have been Israel`s strongest allies in Congress. The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York City Congressman Jerry Nadler said it is utterly egregious for the Israeli government to deny entry to two sitting members of the United States Congress.

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee New York City Congressman Eliot Engel said it`s a mistake for the Israeli government to bar entry of member of Congress into Israel. If my two colleagues have seen what they`ve seen over the years I believe they would have come away with valuable new perspectives.

Now that they won`t have that opportunity it`s a real shame. Joining our discussion now Jennifer Rubin Opinion Writer at "The Washington Post", Jonathan Alter Columnist for "The Daily Beast" both are MSNBC Contributors.

And Jennifer, I want to start with your reaction to what we saw today, something we have never seen before.

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST OPINION WRITER: It was horrendous. It was horrendous from many perspectives. It was horrendous that the President of the United States was telling any foreign government, ally or foe not to admit members of the United States Congress.

It`s apparent that Benjamin Netanyahu is putting his own re-election hopes which dependent upon him carrying favor with the far right in Israel above the U.S.-Israel relationship. And no one who loves Israel, who`s a friend to Israel, would ever do this.

And the reason is the survival of the U.S.-Israel relationship depends upon it being bipartisan, and that is why APAC came out and to the exception of what the President said, if you have crossed the line with APAC I think it`s time to sit down and rethink what you are doing.

This is damaging to the United States, it`s damaging to Israel, damaging to United States Congress. But mostly it`s just damaging to Donald Trump because he doesn`t give a darn about Israel. This is means of him puffing up his evangelical base who goes wild over this stuff.

He`s not doing it for American Jews. American Jews hate this. American Jews overwhelmingly dislike Donald Trump will never vote for Donald Trump. This is about him, his ego, the applause of his right wing base, and in the process he defiles the American Presidency and he harms the U.S.-Israel relationship.

O`DONNELL: Nancy Pelosi put out a statement today showing that this was a reversal of Israeli policy based entirely on the Donald Trump tweet. Her statement said last month Israeli Ambassador Dermer stated that out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.

That`s what he said then. This is sad reversal and is deeply disappointing said speaker Pelosi. Jonathan Alter, your reaction.

JONATHAN ALTER, THE DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Well, it`s interesting, Lawrence that Donald Trump also tweeted that it would, "Show great weakness for Netanyahu to let them in". What really shows great weakness is not letting them in. And this quote from Trump really goes to the heart of why he is such an authoritarian menace.

Democratic societies tolerate non-violent dissent, freedom of speech. Everything about Israel`s future depends on it continuing to be a democracy. When it doesn`t act like a democracy, when it feels like it`s afraid of dissent, which is the way tyrants act, then it erodes its standing as a democracy, and that is very, very dangerous for the future of Israel.

Once Israel is no longer perceived as the only democracy in the middle- east, it loses whatever is left of its international support and the actual future of the state of Israel is in jeopardy. So any American Jew, and Jennifer and I are both Jewish, any American Jew has to understand if they love Israel they must to everything they can to urge their friends in Israel to vote against Netanyahu in September and under no circumstances support Donald Trump. He might have moved the embassy, but this is a dagger pointed at the heart of Israel`s future.

O`DONNELL: Jennifer, as Congressman Engel Eliot, Engel`s point about what has been lost by losing this visit I think is very important. His point was that the best perspective from which to view Israel and Israeli issues is from inside Israel to be in the country, to experience it. And every Israeli government has always understood that.

In fact, pretty much every government in the world has understood that. Even in our tensest moments with China, they`ve always wanted representatives, the American government, Members of Congress to come so that China could make its case in whatever way it wanted to. And they wanted their opponents to come so that they could try to make their case and show them their perspective on things. Israel has always actually been very good about this until today.

RUBIN: That`s right. This is why Israel encourages every member of Congress to come. It encourages the Chiefs of Staff of Congress to come. It pays for all sorts of people to come to Israel, specifically for this reason.

So they will see first of all that Israel is a normal country and that people are raising families, people are going to work. There`s a very functional economy, and that will appreciate their peril, their security situation. It is ridiculous to say I`m not going to have them.

And just to make your point even further I was told by a very reliable source that one of the main objections was they didn`t like the itinerary. This is Israelis, they said it was too one-sided boss they were making multiple stops in the west bank. But at the same time the Israeli government was discouraging Israeli groups from meeting with these people. What could be more counter-productive and more stupid than that, I don`t know?

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Jonathan.

ALTER: I was just going to say on your basic point about how you have Congressional delegations to China and other countries, what is really worrisome globally is that a lot of these countries will now no longer let members of Congress in.

I mean when the Soviet Union was around we had very, very anti-soviet members of Congress who would go to the Soviet Union, they would talk to dissidents, they would come back, they would give a report to the American people about what they found.

Why would be close society anywhere in the world now agree to let members of Congress in? This is a lot of what they do is go on these Congressional delegations. So this is terrible precedent.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, Jennifer Rubin, thank you very much for joining us on this important story tonight. Appreciate it.

ALTER: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us. We`ll get her reaction to Donald Trump convincing Israel to ban two members of Congress and other issues in the campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted this is not what great democracies do. Vociferous disagreement on issues - yes denying Congressional members entry, no. As for the President`s message that allowing the Congresswomen to visit Israel would be a "sign of weakness?"

Joining our discussion now from Little Rock, Arkansas, is Senator Amy Klobuchar from the great state of Minnesota and a Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She`s a 2020 Presidential candidate.

Senator Klobuchar, I`d like to hear more of your reaction to this thing we`ve never seen in our history before, the President urging a foreign country this case Israel to ban two member of Congress from entering and Israel banned them.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could not believe this today. Just when you suspend belief and you think things can`t get worse, this happened. And that is because I have always seen Israel as our beacon of democracy in the Mideast. And like your previous guest, I think that is so important for those of us that support Israel.

And I cannot believe this happened. I don`t agree with everything these two Congresswomen have said, and I have made that very clear as have others. But it is a much bigger step to suddenly say you are not going to allow these elected members of Congress to visit your country.

And the fact that the Prime Minister did it immediately after our President sent out his hateful tweet and then just reacted, I don`t see this as a sign of strength on either of their part. And as far as President Trump, you know, I still remember when John McCain was banned by Vladimir Putin to go to Russia. That happened. Or Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, that happened.

And so why he would encourage an ally, a friend in Israel to do the same is just beyond belief. And as I said earlier this afternoon, it is not a sign of strength. Exporting intolerance that is a sign of weakness and our country is so much better than that. Democracy thrives on a vigorous discussion of the issues, and you can have big disagreement but you don`t ban people from going to another nation.

O`DONNELL: I want to get to a Presidential campaign issue that has been low volume up to now, but as the global economy starts to stagger including because reasons beyond just the Trump tariffs but very much including the Trump tariffs.

I want to listen to something President Trump said today about the Trump tariffs. I don`t normally show video of Donald Trump on this program because it`s such a waste of time. I`m doing it now.

KLOBUCHAR: Special treat, because I`m on, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Well, I`m doing it just for you as a Presidential debate rehearsal because there will come a time when one of you Democrats is on the stage with this person listening to these things in the Presidential debate.

So let`s start with what President Trump said--

KLOBUCHAR: I look forward too.

O`DONNELL: --and hear your response to that. We`ll begin with what the President said about tariffs today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The tariffs, we`ve taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money. And the consumer has not paid for it. Now, at some point they may have to pay something, but they understand that. And who really understands that is our great farmer. The farmers of this country really understand--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, your 60-second response. Actually, take as many seconds as you want.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. I guess he has not talked to the farmers that I have spoken with in my own state and in Iowa and here in Arkansas where they have a lot of soybean farmers. What`s happened is he is basically destroying their way of life.

Yes, there is some money that comes over from the Department of Agriculture but as one farmer told me when he closed the door sobbing, he said, look, I`ll take the hand out but it`s not what I want. This farm has been in my family for generations and I want to give it to my kids.

And what he has done, instead of going back to the negotiating table, he has been treating those farmers and a lot of workers in the country like poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos. I was thinking about this when I was at the Clinton library today in Little Rock, and you remember when James Carville said, said it`s the economy stupid, remember back then?

Well, what this President is doing is doing stupid things to our economy, an economy that he inherited where workers and businesses had gotten us out of that rut and put us in a stronger place. And instead of dealing with issues facing us like work force and immigration reform and doing something when it comes to the debt, what is he doing? He`s making it harder and harder and harder.

And so, no, that is not what I`m hearing from the farmers. I know a bunch of them voted for him, but I know that they`re stepping back and saying has this been better for me and how is this working for our rural communities?

And that`s why I think it`s important that you have a leader of a ticket that is willing to go like I have today to places not just where it`s comfortable but where it`s uncomfortable to make sure that we know that we can win in red states. We can win in red states like we won the Governorship of Kansas. Like, we turned over Wisconsin which was a purple state. We can do this but only if we meet people where they are.

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, in order to allow you full sentences and a little bit of time to breathe I`d like to squeeze in a break here so that when we come back we`ll actually have more time to talk. And we`re going to get to why you`re in Arkansas today which is not one of the early Democratic primary states.

So we`ll be right back with more from Senator Klobuchar from Arkansas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We`re back with more of our discussion with Senator Amy Klobuchar, but first let`s listen to what the Mayor of Philadelphia had to say today after Philadelphia police survived a gun battle in which six police officers were wounded by a shooter who eventually surrendered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM KENNY (D) MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: If the State and Federal Government don`t want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, let us police ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation. Our officers deserve to be protected and they don`t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and unlimited supply of bullets. So it`s disgusting and we`ve got to do something about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re back with Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Candidate for President. And Senator, your reaction to what you just heard the Mayor say about the Federal Government is getting in their way on gun control measures and putting their police officers in Philadelphia and elsewhere in danger.

KLOBUCHAR: He`s right. You heard Congressman O`Rourke just talk about the extraordinary courage of the people in El Paso and you think about those police officers in Dayton that got there in one minute, Lawrence. And yet in 30 seconds nine people already killed. And you think of those police officers in Philadelphia.

They`re putting themselves on the front line as well as ordinary civilians and yet Washington doesn`t match that with its own courage. And I have seen and one of the reasons I`m here today, I came because the Democratic Party which is strong here and kicking in Arkansas and ready to take back some seats, they invited me to come and speak, but I spent my day today with a number of people who have come out on this issue including one legislator in a red district and she won her seat against a Republican and ran in part on Gun Safety.

There`s been a seat change going on in this country. The Democratic Party Chairman, maybe you remember this in 2008, was gunned down in hid his office. And one of this young women who was there said she`s still suffering from just being there, she was there when he was gunned down right there in that office. This is happening all over America.

And that`s why those bills and we talk about this last week - those bills are on Mitch McConnell`s doorstep, background check bill, waiting period bill to close that Charleston loophole, my bill to close the boyfriend loophole to protect women from domestic abusers, and they just sit there.

So very shortly we are going to be back in Washington, and the Republicans in the Senate have to show the same courage that we`ve seen across the country from police officers, from ordinary citizens and from people in red districts who are willing to stand up, to hunters who want to see the change.

And that`s why I`m taking this not just to the blue areas, but I think it`s really important as I`ve done in all my campaigns and I`ll do as President, to unite our country. We are one America and we can do good things but we shouldn`t be dividing people, we should be bringing them together.

O`DONNELL: A new Fox News poll shows that 67 percent favor banning assault rifles. 67 percent, why can`t 67 percent work their will in the United States Senate?

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And you`ve seen the Republican Congressmen in Dayton come out for a ban on military-style assault weapons as well as those high capacity magazines. That`s where the American people are right now, and my view is the reason because Donald Trump could have just made a call to Mitch McConnell and we could have been back there the next day.

But I think trying to see if the American people their opinion will add, if they`ll change their minds. Not this time. You know why? They know how quickly those people were murdered. 30 seconds despite the best efforts of Law Enforcement.

That is going to be scorched in people`s minds. They`re not going to forget that. So if they won`t let us vote on an assault weapon ban or magazine limitations in addition to the bills that have already passed the House of Representatives, then they`re going have to deal with the American people in the election.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar gets tonight`s LAST WORD. And Senator as you know, we are here for the Presidential Candidates. Whatever you can make it we will make this space for you. Thank you for joining us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you Lawrence. It was just great to be on.

O`DONNELL: I appreciate it. 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