Jewish groups condemn Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 8/20/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Rachel Bitecofer, Neera Tanden

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

And as kind of expected by me, anyway, a star was born last night here on THE LAST WORD, the other Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  She can be Rachel number one.  It`s OK. 

O`DONNELL:  No, no, no, she is now officially our second favorite Rachel. 

She -- Rachel Bitecofer who is the political science professor who has predicted the Democrats will get a minimum of 278 electoral votes, which is a winning margin, in the next election was with us last night.  You know, she was the last guest. 

You know what happens, Rachel, as the hours goes on, the minutes -- the timing is creeping into the final segment.  So, she didn`t get as much time as she deserves.  Still, she was and this is proof of the star is born thing, the highest rated segment of the hour last night at 10:00 p.m. 

MADDOW:  Very nice. 

O`DONNELL:  So, Rachel, I want you to take your time on this.  Who do you think is my guest tonight? 

MADDOW:  The other Rachel.  Is it the other Rachel? 

O`DONNELL:  The other Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Yes, stretch it out, man.  Let it breathe. 

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL:  That is what`s going do happen. 

MADDOW:  Well done, my friend.  Thank you, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

Well, when he was a "New York Times" reporter, Tim O`Brien wrote a book about Donald Trump in 2005 called "TrumpNation: The Art of the Being the Donald".  And in that book, Tim O`Brien estimated that Donald Trump`s wealth was not the several billion dollars that Donald Trump claimed that it was, that it was really closer to maybe $250 million, which would actually be less than what Donald Trump`s wealth would have been if he had just taken his inheritance and invested it conservatively. 

And so, of course, Donald Trump sued Tim O`Brien, and of course Donald Trump lost the lawsuit and of course Donald Trump committed perjury under oath in that case, lying about his wealth.  But perjury in civil cases is just about never criminally prosecuted.  And so, Donald Trump got away with that perjury.  But he did lose the case.

And now, Donald Trump appears to be committing perjury once again about his wealth, but this time he has done it on federal government financial disclosure forms which include the warning that when you sign this form, you are signing, as the traditional phrase goes, under the pains and penalties of perjury. 

Tim O`Brien will join us at the end of the hour tonight to discuss the possibility that Donald Trump might finally suffer the consequences of pain of perjury in articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives might consider against Donald Trump in what could also be a criminal prosecution that Donald Trump has to face when he leaves office.  No one knows more about the lies that Donald Trump has told about his wealth throughout his life than Tim O`Brien, and we are lucky to have Tim O`Brien joining us again tonight to discuss this story. 

We begin tonight with where we left off last night.  Today, the president of the United States sided with 10 percent of the American people against 89 percent of the American people.  Once again.  After the mass murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump once again pretended to be considering supporting expanded background checks for purchasing guns, including the mass murderers` favorite assault weapons. 

And on this program, we ignored the president`s feigned interest in new gun safety laws because we saw him do this once before and we knew what was coming today.  "The Atlantic" reports earlier this afternoon according to a person briefed all the call, the president told Wayne LaPierre in another phone call that universal background checks were off the table.  He was cementing his stance.  That we already have background checks and that he`s not waffling on this anymore, the source said. 

He was never waffling.  He was pretending to waffle.  Big difference. 

And on this program, we no longer cover Donald Trump pretending to waffle.  We don`t think we`ve mastered how to cover Donald Trump, but that`s one thing we`ve learned.  We won`t cover him pretending to waffle about gun safety legislation after a mass murder.  He will surely do that again and we will not cover the fake waffling again. 

In a new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, 89 percent of Americans support expanding background checks.  Ten percent are opposed.  Ten percent approve of Donald Trump`s conversations with Wayne LaPierre about opposing background checks.  Ten percent. 

It`s decisions like that that are driving some of the other very bad polling numbers for Donald Trump in the NBC News poll.  White college educated women support any Democrat over Donald Trump by 33 points, 63 percent to 30 percent and white non-college educated women have shifted their support away from Donald Trump to the Democrat, 49 percent support the Democrat, 43 percent support Donald Trump now. 

A new CNN poll shows the majority of Americans and Democratic-leaning independents want a Democratic nominee who will beat Donald Trump.  Fifty- four percent prefer a Democratic Party nominee with a strong chance of beating Donald Trump, 39 percent prefer a Democratic Party nominee who shares their positions on major issues. 

In that poll, Joe Biden continues to lead the Democratic field with 29 percent of the vote.  That is up 7 points since June -- since June and that CNN poll.  The poll does not show significant gains for any other candidate. 

Bernie Sanders is at 15 percent.  That`s up 1 point.  Elizabeth Warren is at 14 percent.  That`s down 1 point.  Kamala Harris is down 5 percent and that`s down 12 points since June. 

Pete Buttigieg is at 5 percent.  That`s just up 1 point.  And Beto O`Rourke is still at 3 percent with no change since June.  No other candidate gets more than 2 percent of the vote in that poll. 

There is good polling news for Democrats in Senate races also.  In Arizona, a new poll shows the incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally not only running below 50 percent below 50 percent, which in itself would be a very bad indicator for any incumbent, but it shows her running likely behind her Democratic opponent, retired astronaut Mark Kelly who is polling at 46 percent.  And Republican Senator Martha McSally is polling at 41 percent in Arizona, the same state where Democrats picked up a Senate seat in last year`s election. 

In May, the Cook Political Report has shifted its forecast on Republican Senator Susan Collins`s seat from leaning Republican to toss-up.  The leading Democratic candidate in the Maine Senate race is the leader of Maine`s House of Representatives, Sarah Gideon. 

None of this polling information comes as a surprise to our first guest tonight, a political scientist who has been predicting that the Democrats can pick up an additional six seats in the House of Representatives in the next election and possibly more than that, and that Democrats would become increasingly competitive in the Senate races. 

Political science professor Rachel Bitecofer was our last guest last night.  In our rushed conversation at the end of that hour, she was only able to outline the very basics of her election analysis.  She correctly predicted the Democrats` 40-seat pick up in the House of Representatives in last year`s election long before anyone else saw that coming. 

Professor Bitecofer says that the most important factor motivating voters now on both sides is negative partisanship, what she calls negative partisanship and in her recent paper predicting that the Democratic candidate will win the electoral college with a minimum of 278 Electoral College votes.  She said the surge in Democratic votes will not be as dependent on the policies advocated by the Democratic candidate as it will be as a result of fear of Donald Trump. 

She writes: The complacent electorate of 2016 who were convinced Trump would never be president has been replaced with the terrified electorate of 2020.  2018 is a story of turnout and turnout was powered by one thing and one thing only, Donald J. Trump. 

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Democrats did not flip these Republican districts via the support of moderate Republicans due to their focus on health care.  Democrats` success in increasing the size of their House majority will largely depend on whether they come to recognize the need to maximize turnout among Democratic-friendly constituencies such as college educated women, Latinos, African-Americans and millennials and in their ability to understand that it is fear of Trump, not policy, that will best motivate these voters to the polls. 

And leading off our discussion tonight is political science professor Rachel Bitecofer.  She is with the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. 

Thank you very much for coming back tonight, Rachel.  And I can call you Rachel, can`t I?  You are our second favorite Rachel. 

RACHEL BITECOFER, CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY:  You can as long as you`re willing to concede that I will always be only the second favorite Rachel on MSNBC.  That`s fine. 

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL:  Well, you and I share -- I know you and I share a favorite Rachel, and you told me about that today. 

BITECOFER:  Yes. 

O`DONNELL:  So, I want to get to more of your analysis and fold it into what we`re learning in these polls today and how it fits or doesn`t fit with what we`re seeing in polls today. 

BITECOFER:  Yes, absolutely. 

O`DONNELL:  The tip of the iceberg last night.  You are predicting not just a surge in Democratic voters out of fear of Trump, but because of this negative partisanship dynamic, it works on both sides.  You are also saying --

BITECOFER:  Yes. 

O`DONNELL:  -- there will probably be an increase in Trump voters. 

BITECOFER:  That`s exactly right.  And really with, you know, polls like the ones that you were just illustrating, who needs forecasts like mine, right?  I mean, it`s a real sign of the times that an incumbent president would run for re-election given the data that we`re seeing in these polls.

But absolutely, you know, what we`re going to see in this election after what we saw in the data in 2018, not only did Republicans not jump ship and vote for these Democrats, you know, these blue dog Democrats in these moderate districts, they surged their own turnout.  I`ll be releasing an analysis that is a supplement to my forecast that is a deep dive into the voter files in California and Virginia in these competitive districts there. 

And what I show in that is that along with surges of independents and Democrats, yes, Republican turnout surged even though there was no real catalyst to make it surge.  And that`s what I talk about in my 2020 forecast, learning from 2018 that Trump was able to actually artificially inflate or, you know, manifest that negative partisanship emotion in the Republican electorate and unbeknownst to most people, that`s what the campaign strategy is.  So when you look at what Trump is doing, when he seems to be working at cross purposes, you know, talking about "The Squad", what he`s trying to do is keep that Republican emotion really high and it certainly did work for him in 2018, even though a lot of the punditry doesn`t recognize it. 

O`DONNELL:  So, for example, in today`s decision, it wasn`t really a decision, but in his position on background checks where he`s siding with basically 10 percent of the population, it`s your view that he`s relying on that 10 percent to be disproportionately represented at the polls because they have a kind of 100 percent incentive for turnout? 

BITECOFER:  Well, it is always true that the NRA and the Second Amendment voting bloc is just fantastic at turnout.  It will be less of a factor in a presidential cycle, but certainly in off off-year elections that has changed. 

As these mass casualty events have escalated, the politics of gun control have switched.  It`s just that Democrats have been slow to realize that and they don`t yet understand how to campaign and capitalize on emotion, right?  They like to talk about gun control where, oh, we`re going to, you know, initiate a background check policy but they don`t really know how to tap into voter emotions and the right obviously does. 

So, you know, with Trump to be honest with you, I think in his heart of hearts he probably wishes that he could take this off the table, but he cannot.  I mean, this is the one issue in which the base has him held hostage.  He cannot capitulate on this issue because the only thing that he has going for him in this 2020 cycle is that locked in, you know, base and it`s comprised of evangelicals, as Rachel`s show was documenting, and also these Second Amendment voters. 

And Second Amendment voters, they have a take no prisoner mentality.  So that is a policy that makes absolute sense to, you know, 90 percent of Americans, but not to those, you know, 10 percent of voters that are going to make up a real key constituency to his re-election. 

O`DONNELL:  So your analysis is built on what you saw in Virginia state elections in 2017.  And then you applied that to the 2018 modeling for the congressional races.  It turned out to be right.  And now you`re applying it again to the presidential election. 

Could you explain to the viewers how it is you determine what it was that actually did win a given congressional district?  When there is this common belief that, oh, well, the Democrats ran because the Republicans threatened their health care and so, some swing voters switched over from Republican voting to Democratic voting. 

BITECOFER:  Yes.  I`m really glad you asked that.  I mean, what I`m arguing is not just a model, it`s a whole fundamental shift in how you understand elections and it`s two-fold. 

Number one, I`m arguing the way to understand elections in terms of competitiveness now is really based on two things, partisan competition, which is basically a measure of polarization.  So a district or a state has to have a certain level of competition that is doable.  And, you know, when we look at Tennessee, Kentucky, even if you have a really strong candidate, you`re not going to be able to win those places because there`s just not enough Democratic voters to take you over the edge, even if they turn out in big numbers and you`re not going to convert Republicans to vote for you.

And I think the Tennessee race last year was a great illustration of that.  I told, you know, my followers in July that race is 100 percent a lost cause and, of course, even though the polling had showed it close, he ended up getting hammered in that race.  So you need a certain amount of competition. 

But the other thing that I identified is this realignment that`s going on in the electorate and the demographic that`s really a great indicator of that is college education.  So for a long time, Republicans had advantage with college-educated voters, but as you were just citing in that polling data, college education is now an indication of Democratic vote support, not Republican.  And, you know, the obvious reasons for what you`ve been watch going on in the Republican Party over this last decade. 

So when I looked at my model, that`s what I was looking for is, not, you know, just do you have a compelling story like Amy McGrath, but do you have these district conditions that can produce this huge turnout surge that it can flip?  And that`s why, you know, Democrats, they did quite well in the midterms, but they left things on the table and I identify, you know, 18 races, especially in Texas, where Democrats just failed to understand, oh, high rates of college education, high rates of diversity in suburban areas around Dallas, that they could have picked up in the last cycle and if they target it in 2020, they should be able to pick up in this cycle. 

O`DONNELL:  I still feel we are on the tip of the iceberg of your amaze since I`ve read so much of it.  We`re going to have to have you back.  Professor Rachel Bitecofer, thank you for joining us once again.  Please, you`re going to have to stay with us throughout the election season.  We`re going to need you. 

BITECOFER:  It will be such a pleasure, Lawrence.  Sorry about that. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel.  Really appreciate it. 

BITECOFER:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  And now to the question of who will be the Democratic nominee for president.  We turn to our next guest, Neera Tanden, the former senior adviser to president Obama and Hillary Clinton.  She`s the president and CEO of the center for American progress. 

Neera, let`s take a look, another look at that CNN poll, the latest poll of the Democratic primary field because it`s kind of fascinating.  Joe Biden at 29 percent, a jump of 7 points in that poll.  Bernie Sanders holding steady at 15.  Elizabeth Warren holding steady at 14. 

Kamala Harris down to 5 percent, a drop of 12 points.  Pete Buttigieg holding steady at 5.  Beto O`Rourke holding steady at 3.  None of the other candidates gets more than 2 percent of the vote. 

So, Neera, what is your reading of what has happened in this round of polling? 

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  You know, I think one way to look at what is happening is that essentially this is the contours of the race.  Then we have these debates which create a flash point, but this might be the equilibrium until we really get to Iowa.  Polls in Iowa are different than these polls, than the national polls, and Iowa can change the calculus pretty dramatically for the national polls. 

We saw that in 2007.  We definitely saw that in 2007/2008.  We saw that in 2015/2016.  Candidates who can surge in Iowa can really change the trajectory of how they do nationally. 

So, you know, my take here is that the vice president is doing well because he -- there`s been a series of polls over the last month in which it shows that -- they show that he is the best candidate against Trump.  Electability is still a critical issue.  And I think for a lot of Democratic voters, while we all engaged in all the differences between these candidates, they are fundamentally thinking that the differences between the Democratic candidates are pretty small in comparison to the difference with Donald Trump himself, particularly after events in El Paso, in California, you know, the danger of Trump I think almost helps Biden.  But, again, it`s very early. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, that is the Rachel Bitecofer point, that the voter is so driver by the fear of Donald Trump and that`s what could be supporting the Biden candidacy.  It seems to be the operative principle in Joe Biden`s campaign advertising. 

Let`s take a look at this new campaign ad from Joe Biden. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN CAMPAIGN AD ANNOUNCER:  We know in our bones this election is different.  The stakes are higher, the threat more serious.  We have to beat Donald Trump.  And all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  And, Neera, I want to give credit to the other people in this poll who don`t make that 3 percent cut because right below Beto O`Rourke, you have Cory Booker at 2, Julian Castro at 2, Tulsi Gabbard at 2 with a margin of error 3.7 percent. 

Cory Booker could be up there in the Buttigieg category at this point. 

TANDEN:  Yes.

O`DONNELL:  And so, there is still a lot of potential movement here at the lower end of this poll. 

TANDEN:  Absolutely.  And, again, you know, there are reports of different candidates doing really well in early states. 

Booker doing well in Iowa, getting really great crowds.  Warren doing very well and doing well in Iowa polls.  Beto O`Rourke, you know, a lot of Democrats have appreciated what he`s done over the last couple of weeks, really taking it to Trump. 

So, I don`t think being -- I don`t think we should see these polls as determinative.  They are flash points at this time.  And, you know, I`ve been parts of campaigns that won and lost that were doing well at this point in the election cycle. 

I do think we should think about what`s energizing voters.  And to Rachel Bitecofer`s point, I do agree with her fundamentally that Trump is the driver both amongst Republicans and Democrats.  And Trump has -- is making Democrats very much focus on electability in a way that they haven`t in any election in really my lifetime. 

The concern is so fundamental because Donald Trump is such a threat to pretty much core Democratic values, and so everyone is really measuring who can take on Trump, and I also think part of what`s happening, and I do think this is a part of the 2018 analysis, it is absolutely the case that people were voting for and against Trump.  And lots of people came out to vote against Trump.  But according to a lot of analysis, one group has done this, essentially there were, you know, 90 percent of the Democratic surge vote -- 90 percent of the margin vote, I should say, the vote that led to the House victory were voters who had voted for Trump in 2016 and moved to Democrats in 2018. 

So, it`s really a strategy.  There are voters.  You see this in the polling you just annunciated.  White non-college women who were 2 to 1 against Hillary are now 43 percent for Trump, 49 percent for Democrats.  That is a big move amongst those voters who are not super partisan.  They tend to be independent. 

And so, I think that -- I think that`s an argument that Biden is using.  That he can appeal to those voters.  Sanders also says he can appeal to those voters.  I think Democrats are making a very complicated view about who can put together a broad coalition to take on Trump. 

O`DONNELL:  Neera Tanden, I know that polls are early.  We all know that.  But when you see in the polls what you`re hoping to see in the polls, it`s worth acknowledging.  And people do within the campaigns.  They`re very happy to see these kinds of polls.

Neera Tanden, thank you very much for joining us.  Really appreciate it. 

TANDEN:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, a freshman Democrat who represents a district that Donald Trump won in 2016 has now come out with a very strong statement supporting an impeachment inquiry against the president, and she was convinced by what she sees as overwhelming evidence in the Mueller report, but it`s in volume I of the Mueller report, not volume II about the obstruction of justice, volume I about the Russian interference. 

That is a unique take on impeachment by this congresswoman.  We`re going to have that next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  There was an important development in support for impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives today, important both in who the new support comes from and what that support is based on.  Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois is one of the freshmen Democrats who flipped a Republican district last year in winning her election.  She brings the total number of House diplomats supporting impeachment now to 126, a majority of the Democrats 235 members of the House. 

She is the first member of the Congress to issue a public statement in support of impeachment based entirely on volume I of the Mueller report, instead of volume II.  Volume II describes obstruction of justice, including the president`s attempts to fire Robert Mueller, but it is the largely ignored volume I in the impeachment process that describes the Russian attack on our election and the Trump campaign`s cooperation with Russian interests in the Trump campaign. 

Congresswoman Underwood`s statement supporting impeachment proceedings says, quote: No one is above the law, including the president of the United States.  The Mueller report lays out substantial evidence that the president`s campaign worked with a foreign adversary to influence an election.  The president has stated he would welcome foreign help to win the 2020 election.  I find this extremely concerning. 

The Mueller report gave us a lot of information, but it left open a lot of key questions that House committees are investigating.  I have long stated that I support the impeachment-related investigation by Chairman Nadler and the others being pursued by five other committees.  The American people deserve all the facts and full transparency, and Congress needs this information to inform a decision to move forward with the very sobering act of drafting articles of impeachment. 

And just as importantly, we need the information to better understand how our election was influenced by a foreign adversary to prevent it from ever happening again. 

Joining our discussion now is Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and intelligence analyst.  He is the author of "The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies are Undermining America and Dismantling the West."

Malcolm, you must feel grateful that someone in the impeachment discussion has finally paid attention to volume I. 

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST:  That is precisely what I was thinking in your opening segment there.  That finally someone has glommed on to what Robert Mueller was really trying to say. 

First off, the United States was not meddled in, it was attacked, physically attacked.  U.S. citizens were affected.  Materials were stolen.  The American electoral process was corrupted and it was designed to break the fundamentals of the American electoral process. 

This freshman congresswoman gets it.  Donald Trump can be impeached on just about anything.  If Bill Clinton can be impeached for what they say is perjury and lying related to a consensual sexual relationship, then conspiring not up to the level that Robert Mueller chose, but conspiring all the same, benefitting, coordinating and working with a foreign power and its Laundromat, WikiLeaks, to cheat an election, that`s impeachable. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, and I think a lot of the discussion about impeachment got distracted into the notion of a provable federal crime has to be committed, which has never been true about the impeachment process.  And this congresswoman is very much obviously aware of that, even though the Mueller investigation did not produce a federal crime committed by President Trump that they could allege in volume I. 

The behavior of the campaign in relation to Russian interests in the campaign is something that she considers worthy of the attention of an impeachment inquiry. 

NANCE: Well, certainly, because Robert Mueller used an almost impossible standard for criminal conduct. If you recall, in the case of Donald Trump, Jr., he decided that Donald Trump, Jr. could get away with not knowing the law and still committing a crime and that that would be no problem. No other American who is ignorant of the law gets away with committing a crime.

So, that standard can be brought out as part of the impeachment process and shown that it is in fact actually a crime. Another standard that he gave was the standard of not reasonable doubt, but conclusive evidence that the President`s campaign worked and conspired with a foreign power. That evidence is all through the 448 pages of Section 1 and I think that it should be acted upon.

O`DONNELL: Malcolm Nance, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

NANCE: My pleasure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Donald Trump`s anti-Semitism was on full display in the Oval Office today. We have never seen anything like this. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: 79 percent of Jewish voters voted for Democratic House candidates in last year`s election. Today, Donald Trump finally let his anti-Semitism flow freely and publicly when he attacked every one of those 79 percent of American-Jewish voters who vote Democratic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We are patiently awaiting condemnation of President Trump`s comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but he has been strangely silent on this offence against the Jewish people. Netanyahu has chosen to stake the future of Israel not so much anymore on the support from American Jews which used to be so important to Israel, but more and more on the support of conservative Republicans and Trump Republicans.

Surely, Benjamin Netanyahu knows that evangelical Christian Republicans are the most fervent supporters of the State of Israel in America and that is because the formation of the State of Israel and Israeli control of Jerusalem are crucial to the evangelical Christian belief, which has been shared publicly by the Republican Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the future of the State of Israel will include the return of Jesus Christ, who will then in a period that they called the rapture rule over a world in which everyone living including all Jews in Israel will be converted to Christianity, and then that will lead to an absolutely delightful end of the world.

Seriously, that is what they believe and that is why they were thrilled by Donald Trump moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem because they believe that that hastens the day that Jesus Christ will return and bring on the rapture and convert every Jew in Israel to Christianity, every Jew in the world. They believe that. Mike Pompeo, your Secretary of State, believes that. Benjamin Netanyahu knows enough about fanatical Christian belief about the rapture to know the role Israel plays in that belief but he also knows, unlike Mike Pompeo, that the rapture is never going to happen. So, he`ll take his current political support wherever he can get it and that`s why he`s not going to criticize Donald Trump for his anti-Semitic outburst today.

After this break, we will be joined by two former Undersecretaries of State, Ambassador Wendy Sherman and Richard Stengel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say this to the President. I am a proud Jewish person and I have no concerns about voting Democratic and in fact, I intend to vote for a Jewish man to become the next President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman. She`s a former Undersecretary of State for political affairs and a MSNBC global affairs contributor. Also with us, Richard Stengel, also a former Undersecretary of State in the Obama Administration. He`s an MSNBC political analyst and ambassador.

Sherman, I want to start with you. This is one of those days where you couldn`t see this coming because the amount of stupidity and just vile sentiment in what the President said today is something that you just can`t sit around and imagine, stupidity is extremely difficult to anticipate.

WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS AND MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR AND AMBASSADOR: It`s quite extraordinary, loyalty is absolutely an anti-Semitic trope, as you pointed out in your introduction, and this from a President who after Charlottesville which happened not so long ago said that the neo-Nazis who were chanting `The Jews will not replace us` were very fine people and that both sides had a point of view.

So, this is not a President who stands on the side of the Jewish people and in fact, Lawrence this takes me back not only as a Jew to wonder whose loyalty he`s talking about and to whom that loyalty to be given, my loyalty is obviously to myself, but most importantly to the United States of America and it takes me back to when John F. Kennedy had to prove that he would answer to the American people, not to the Pope.

So, we have to be about who we are. We all have an identity and that identity first and foremost is American. So, I say - I might say I`m a Jewish-American; someone might say they`re an Irish-American; someone might say they are Catholic American or an evangelical American, but the common denominator in all of that is American. This is anti-Semitism, pure and simple.

O`DONNELL: Rick Stengel, your reaction to what the President said today.

RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST AND AMBASSADOR: Well, it`s pretty darn loathsome and hard to believe, and it represents Trump`s attempt to purge Jewish voters from the Democratic Party. I mean Jewish voters have been a part of the Democratic Party since the New Deal; they`ve been loyal Democratic voters. In fact, Donald Trump got 24% of the Jewish vote in his presidential race in 2016; that`s less than Mitt Romney got, which was 30, which is even less than what Ronald Reagan got.

But, this idea which started with Reagan was this idea that - that Republicans could show a fidelity, an inflexible unconditional fidelity to Israel, a kind of Americans Zionism and that would get Jewish supporters and maybe more importantly even Jewish donors. The problem with that though is that Jewish voters often vote and traditionally have voted against their pocketbook and younger Jewish voters, millennial Jewish voters don`t have that unconditional loyalty to Israel that older Jewish voters do. That`s who Donald Trump is trying to get.

O`DONNELL: Wendy and Rick, we`re going to - I want to go anecdotal for a moment on this because I know there`s a lot of viewers, a lot of people out there who think, "Oh, Donald Trump can`t be anti-Semitic. He can`t have any anti-Semitic feelings. He has a Jewish son-in-law and his daughter then converted to Judaism as part of that marriage."

And I think that there are people out there who might not realize that that is not the kind of thing that necessarily completely instantaneously erases anti-Semitism within a non-Jewish clan. Wendy, go ahead.

SHERMAN: Indeed. I would hope that Ivanka and Jared Trump would speak up, if not publicly which I wish they would do, to their father. We heard David Harris, Head of the American Jewish Committee, which is a very mainstream group say that this was very dangerous language. The Anti-Defamation League saying this is very dangerous language. Actually the only group in support of the President is the Republican Jewish Coalition, which simply wants to get him re-elected and as Rick pointed out, this is about election politics and as you pointed out, this is ultimately about the rapture and about the dream of evangelical voters and the President wanting to hold on to that voter base because his voter base is diminishing by the moment.

This is a President who, as you know, today went off the rails about Greenland, went off the rails about Afghanistan, went off the rails about Russia. He has gone off the rails about what it is to be an American.

O`DONNELL: Rick, just on this point for viewers who might think that, well, if your daughter marries a Jew and she converts to Judaism that proves that you can`t be anti-Semitic at all. If you`re comfortable commenting on that from your own anecdotal experience in the world, I think a lot of Jewish families are aware of intermarriage dynamics that don`t exactly eliminate anti-Semitism in the non-Jewish family involved.

STENGEL: No, and I mean that it just because his daughter has converted Judaism doesn`t mean that he has converted ideologically to this idea of support for Jews. I mean he`s a kid from Queens. His father anecdotally not only didn`t like renting to African-Americans; he didn`t like renting to Jews. He went to a military academy. It was a kind of alien experience to him. Even though he was a real estate developer in New York City where obviously he was around a lot of Jewish folks, he never really integrated in a way that made people feel comfortable.

And I think somehow he uses his own daughter and son-in-law as a kind of trope to attempt to prove that he is not anti-Semitic is and is not anti- Jewish and in fact, it has nothing to do with that. You can be anti-Semitic and have Jewish members of your family; there`s much, much evidence of that.

O`DONNELL: Wendy Sherman, Rick Stengel, thank you very much for joining us on this latest very strange Trump outburst, really appreciate it.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, there is new reporting tonight about President Trump possibly lying about as well, something he does all the time. This time, he might have done it under oath and there could be federal penalties for that. Tim O` Brien will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, the Huffington Post is reporting Donald Trump has filed financial disclosure statements that appear to misstate the value and profitability of his Scotland golf courses by $165 million, possibly violating federal laws that are punishable by jail time. Trump claimed in his 2018 U.S. filing that his Turnberry and Aberdeen Resorts were each worth more than $50 million. For that same time period, he filed balance sheets with the United Kingdom showing that their combined debt exceeded their assets by 47.9 million British pounds. That`s the equivalent of $64.8 million.

His 2018 public financial disclosure filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics also claims those two resorts earned him income of $23.8 million. His filings with the U.K. office in Edinburgh for that period shows the resorts had actually lost 4.6 million pounds; that`s the equivalent of $6.3 million which is a problem since `knowingly` providing false or incomplete information on those forms is a violation of the Ethics in Government Act punishable by up to a year in jail and signing the form attesting to the untrue information is punishable by up to five years in prison.

After this final break, our next guest has been following Donald Trump`s lies about his wealth for years. He was sued by Donald Trump for his book about that. He won the lawsuit against Donald Trump. Tim O`Brien joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY, JR. (D-MO), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: To your knowledge, did the President or his company ever inflate assets or revenues?

MICHAEL COHEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION, AND PERSONAL COUNSEL TO TRUMP: Yes.

CLAY: And was that done with the presence, knowledge or direction?

COHEN: Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Turning our discussion now, Tim O`Brien, the Executive Editor of Bloomberg Opinion and MSNBC contributor. He is the only reporter who has ever seen a Trump tax return. And Tim, I know that the settlement of that lawsuit against you that you - that Donald Trump lost doesn`t allow you to talk about what you saw on that tax return, but you know as much as there is to know about the Trump finances. What do you make of these conflicting reports? He files very high value report on the American government financial disclosure forms; British government forms, he says these golf courses in Britain are big losers.

TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF BLOOMBERG OPINION AND MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Are you surprised by this, Lawrence?

O`DONNELL: No, no, no, I`m not. I just need to set you up to go, that`s all.

O`BRIEN: You are the man.

(LAUGHTER)

O`BRIEN: Well, I think the reason he is inflating it in the U.S. is the reason he has always inflated it in the U.S. He wants to appear wealthier than he is because he is very insecure about the fact that he has never been exactly the billionaire he has claimed to be and being among the top billionaires in the United States is very important to his ego, even if it doesn`t comport with the reality of his business operations.

By the way, this isn`t the first time he has done this on these disclosures related to his Scottish golf courses. He did it in 2017; I wrote about that last year. He did it in 2016. Bloomberg News wrote about it then. And there has always been this disparity for the last three-and-a-half years with what he is reporting to Scottish authorities.

O`DONNELL: But, Tim, lying to you when you`re writing about him in 2005, lying to Forbes to get on their--

O`BRIEN: Right.

O`DONNELL: --rich guy list. There is no legal penalty in that. Doesn`t - is there anyone around Trump when he - if he wants to lie on one of these government forms to say to him, here`s why it`s different from lying to Forbes magazine?

O`BRIEN: No, there isn`t, Lawrence. He is only surrounded by enablers. And in fact, he was questioned about the fact that this could get him in trouble with the Office of Government Ethics in the United States back in 2016 and his answer for why the numbers were wrong in the U.S. was he actually didn`t mean them to be actual income figures. He described them as projected future income.

So, they also don`t - he doesn`t have much of a problem with coming up either cover stories or fabrications to mask what he`s doing. The problem in Scotland is, the reason the number is low there is he is trying to minimize his tax liability and there is a question how honest he has been with the Scottish tax authorities, which also potentially could get him in trouble. But he hasn`t stopped doing this now for three years.

O`DONNELL: So, Tim, we are dealing with a distinct likelihood that he is lying to both governments?

O`BRIEN: Unfortunately, the President of the United States is lying on both sides of the ocean possibly, yes.

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien gets tonight`s last word. Thanks for joining us, Tim. Really appreciate it.

O`BRIEN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: "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