Trump-GOP divide TRANSCRIPT: 10/18/2019, The Last word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Peter Wehner, Gary Peters, Tony Schwartz, Michael Moore, Nicholas Kristof

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 18, 2019

  (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  That`s going to do it for us tonight, but presumably I`ll be up all night looking at breaking news because it`s a Friday. I`ll see you again on Monday. Now, it`s time for "The Last Word" with Katy Tur, filling in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, my friend.

KATY TUR, MSNBC ANCHOR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  So now I don`t feel so bad holding on to you for another 10 seconds to say a belated congratulations on the book.

MADDOW:  Oh, thank you so much! That`s so nice of you to say. It`s been a really, really surprising thing, this book.

TUR:  Really? Is that surprising?

MADDOW:  Well --

TUR:  Everything you do, you knock out of the park, Rachel.

MADDOW:  That`s very nice of you to say. You know what? I wrote a book about the oil and gas industry, totally cognizant of the fact that it was going to be completely off the news. It was going to be a niche interest, like I didn`t expect that it was going to be about the cast of characters that have now led to the impeachment.

TUR:  People are hungry to learn. They`re hungry for more knowledge. They`re hungry for something outside of the regular news cycle as well, so --

MADDOW:  You are very --

TUR:  -- congratulations.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Katy.

TUR:  Enjoy your weekend.

MADDOW:  You, too.

TUR:  I`m Katy Tur, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. It is a Friday night of big guests here on "The Last Word." Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, we`ll talk about the path forward on impeachment and his big 2020 announcement.

And "Any capacity Trump ever had to think clearly or calmly has evaporated." Those are the words of Tony Schwartz, Trump`s "Art of the Deal" co-author, who will join us with his view of what he calls the president`s inability to change.

And at the end of the hour, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof on the sharp criticism for the president`s Syria policies, Turkey gets everything it wants while the U.S. gets what is exactly? That`s all ahead.

But first, tonight, we begin with a possible crisis for Trump and the GOP. The growing divide between President Trump and Republicans this week threatens their delicate alliance at a time when Donald Trump needs republican support more than ever.

Support for impeachment continues to tick upward. Fifty-two percent of Americans now support removing Trump from office through impeachment, according to a new Gallup poll. That is the highest level of support yet since the Ukraine scandal broke.

In fact, backing for Trump`s impeachment has far surpassed the public support for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. And now it`s edging into territory not seen since the 1970s when President Richard Nixon stepped down after support for his impeachment spiked at 58 percent.

So you would think that the president would do everything in his power to keep Republicans, arguably his last line of defense, in check. But time and again this week, the Trump administration has pushed the GOP to the brink, and it`s not clear how much more some in his party can take.

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump had chosen his own Florida golf resort to host next year`s G-7 meeting. "That decision is without precedent in modern American history. The president used his public office to direct a huge contract to himself," The Washington Post says.

Mulvaney also admitted that the Trump administration withheld foreign aid to Ukraine because, among other things, it wanted the country to investigate the conspiracy theory that somehow Russia was not involved in the hacking of the DNC server in 2016.

Then Trump celebrated a ceasefire in Northern Syria between Turkey and the Kurds, which gave Turkey everything it wanted.

NBC News` political unit put the mess like this. Trump replaces `America First` with `Me First,` writing, "Ask yourself: Who gains from the G-7 being held at Trump`s golf resort? Who gains from withholding foreign aid from a country unless it agrees to an investigation into the 2016 election? And who gains from the military incursion into Northern Syria? It`s not America."

It seems some Republicans are asking these same questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK):  You don`t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL):  Senator Murkowski admits, said it perfectly. We`re not supposed to use government power and prestige for political gain.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR:  Massive -- you could call it taxpayer-funded contract that the president is awarding it to his own property. Is that acceptable for a sitting president?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL):  No, I`m not happy with it. I don`t know if it`s a direct violation, but it`s -- I don`t understand why at this moment they had to do that.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT):  What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX):  When America leaves, we create a vacuum. When we create a vacuum, we create chaos. That`s what we`re seeing right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR:  Trump might have some loyal republicans in Congress, but every politician has a breaking point. This evening, The Washington Post published a scathing op-ed from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, where he slammed the Trump administration`s decision to withdraw from Syria, calling it a strategic nightmare.

If there are already these many cracks forming in republican support for Trump, can we now ask how much longer the entire dam breaks, until the entire dam breaks?

Leading off our discussion tonight are Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was an advisor to the past three Republican presidents. And Ruth Marcus, a deputy editorial page editor and columnist at The Washington Post. She is also an MSNBC contributor.

Both of you, welcome. A little bit earlier, Ruth, this week, I asked if this was the perfect storm for Donald Trump, the Syria debacle and what`s happening on impeachment. That was before the G-7 came into play. Do you see this confluence of controversies as something that might break the president`s dam, his wall in Congress?

RUTH MARCUS, MSNBC AND NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR, DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR FOR THE WASHINGTON POST:  I want to say yes, but I think for right now the answer is no. Republican lawmakers are going to stick with Trump. Your crew had the "me first" approach to Trump that Trump has.

Republican senators and members of Congress also have a "me first" approach, and they worry about breaking with Trump and what that is going to do for them with their base in a primary.

Until Republican voters, Republican primary voters turn against Trump, it is going to be very, very dangerous no matter what they privately think, no matter how much they might privately grouse about Trump in Syria or Trump giving himself a big contract or Trump in Ukraine, no matter how much they complain about that in private, they`re not going to break with him in public until it becomes politically safe for them to do that.

TUR:  I wonder what sort of precedent they`re sending, Peter, about what they will accept going forward. Mitch McConnell in The Washington Post had a scathing op-ed against the president`s decision to withdraw from Syria. He called it a grave strategic mistake. "It will leave the American people in homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances."

Peter, I guess -- where do they go from here?

PETER WEHNER, SENIOR FELLOW, ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER:  Well, I think they`re going to stick with him on matters of impeachment. They have developed a spine in terms of being willing to criticize Trump on policies like on Syria.

There you`ve seen really Republicans en masse criticizing him for the first time in his presidency, but that`s still different than the issue of impeachment.

TUR:  What is the difference there between them being willing to criticize him on policy and unwilling to criticize him on asking a foreign government to interfere in our elections?

WEHNER:  Well, I think it`s a good question, and I don`t think they should make that distinction. But I think in their mind, the Syria issue just does not fall into the tribalistic identity politics that we`re in. That is the base, does not feel the same passion on the Syria issue that they do on impeachment issue.

And so Republicans like McConnell and others feel like that they got some latitude to criticize Trump now. That`s still very different than when the issue of impeachment comes in. Look, this is still Donald Trump`s party. He has a remarkable hold on the base of the party.

One of the truest things that he said in the 2016 campaign is that he could go down 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and he may not lose support. People thought that was hyperbole at the time. I am afraid it was closer to the truth than we would like to think.

But it is pretty remarkable, what he is doing. He is pushing and he is pushing and he is pushing, but the Republicans made this unholy alliance at the beginning, and they -- and I think they just decided that this is the horse they get to ride until the end. They will regret it.

TUR:  It seems like what they`re saying is a president can do anything he or she wants, no consequences, as long as you are in that party of the president. Here is John Kasich on CNN. John Kasich, obviously, not a fan of the president, ran against him in 2016, still chatter about him potentially running in 2020. He now supports impeachment. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR:  If you`re asking me if I was sitting in the House of Representatives today, and you were to ask he how do I feel, do I think impeachment should move forward and should go for a full examination and a trial in the United States Senate, my vote would be yes. I don`t see it lightly. This is extremely difficult for me, but it`s what I feel I have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR:  Support for impeachment is taking up, as we just said, Ruth, 52 percent of the American public. What sort of number needs to be seen for Republicans to have cover to break from the president?

MARCUS:  That number has to be much closer to that 52 percent among Republican voters. He still has very high support among Republican voters. I just want to make clear. I am not saying that these Republican members are profiles in courage, anything but, or that their decision to stick with the president is right.

But I think it`s very significant that Governor Kasich, who was a member of the House, says he would support impeachment if he were still a member of the House. But none of his former colleagues in that body have come out and said the same thing, not a single one of them.

TUR:  Not a single one of them. But I guess -- I wonder if this goes to the public and there`s this -- it is in the (ph) public, this steady drip of information. One by one administration officials defying administration orders and sitting in front of Congress and telling Congress what they know on the Ukraine issue. It is moving fast. We`re on day 25 of the impeachment inquiry and these numbers are going up.

Peter, I just wonder if we are all underestimating -- or it is being underestimated -- the ability of this impeachment inquiry to expose real issues.

WEHNER:  Yeah. Here`s what I would say. The current situation, you`re not going to get two-thirds in the Senate to impeach him. But politics isn`t static as like life isn`t static. And I will tell you the Republicans are more rattled now than they ever have been during the Trump presidency.

It`s not simply what is unfolding, it`s they don`t know which will unfold, which I think is going to be much worse because you haver Rudy Giuliani basically given free rein to do what he wanted to. So we don`t know how many hand grenades are yet to explode and that could change the dynamic.

The other thing I would say is, look, I like John Kasich. I think the person to watch here is Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a lawmaker. He`s a senator. He is a former nominee in 2012. He`s really becoming the moral conscience of the Republican Party, I think. He`s spoken out against Trump in several times now on several issues. I think he is an important figure to watch. He may give cover to other Republican senators.

Last thing I`ll say is none of this is new. If you`ve been talking to Republicans as I have throughout the Trump presidency, they have known really from the start, almost from the start, I would say, that this is a person who is really problematic and psychologically unwell.

I think at the beginning, it was wishful thinking, we can contain and control him, maybe he`ll grow into office, maybe McConnell and Ryan will be able to do the job. That was, I think, such an obviously flawed judgment to make.

TUR:  Yeah.

WEHNER:  What happened now is that Trump`s pathologies are getting worse and the guardrails around him are disappearing. And so what we`re seeing now is the worst of Trump up to now but it`s going to get worse going forward. So this is an open question, what will happen.

TUR:  If you thought Donald Trump was going to pivot, you were not watching the 2016 election.

WEHNER:  Exactly. That`s right.

TUR:  Peter Wehner, thank you. Ruth Marcus, thank you very much. Joining us now is Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. He is the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee and he is the lead sponsor of the Hotel Act legislation which aims to prevent taxpayer money from going to Trump properties.

Mr. Peters, thank you very much for joining us.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI):  Great to be with you.

TUR:  Tell us a little bit about this legislation. It doesn`t sound like it has any hope of passing in this current iteration of Congress.

PETERS:  Well, we have 37 co-sponsors. They`re all Democrats. But I think it`s important for us to continue to push this forward. The conflict of interest that you get when you have government money going to properties owned by high government officials is very clear.

The legislation says that federal money cannot be spent at a property owned by high government official defined as president, vice president, or cabinet official.

We have seen numerous occasions where serious questions have been raised. As you`re well aware, we have a situation still unfolding with the Air Force sending crews --

TUR:  Yeah.

PETERS:  -- to Trump properties in Scotland. But now you have incredibly outrageous situation where the president himself now directs money, not only federal taxpayer money -- and taxpayers don`t want to see their money lining the pockets of the president, certainly folks in Michigan don`t want to see that happen -- but also directing foreign governments to spend money in a property that ultimately President Trump will get the benefit of. That`s outrageous.

TUR:  Michigan is such an important state to the president. It helped him win the presidency in 2016. He won by a very narrow margin.

PETERS:  Right.

TUR:  Are you seeing people that voted for him? Are you speaking to the people who voted for him in 2016, who have watched his presidency unfold, who say there`s no way in heck I`m going to vote for him again in 2020?

PETERS:  Well, I`m seeing more of that, especially the last couple weeks. You`re definitely starting to see that change. I`ll say the actions in Northern Syria were particularly profound with folks that I talked to.

People said here we are, a friend of the United States, people who shed blood in fighting ISIS to keep us safe, and then for us to turn our backs on them, that just doesn`t fit with their American values, that we are friends that you can trust.

When they see the president act that way, people are having a harder time justifying that.

TUR:  What are they saying about this Trump Doral situation? The president is lining his own pockets directly with foreign money that seems to be a violation of the emoluments clause.

What is more, the president promised in a press conference when he was elected in 2017, his tax attorney came up and said the president is not going to benefit at all from any of his properties. There`s going to be a wall between the two.

And as time has gone by, that wall has gotten smaller and smaller. It seems not to exist at all.

PETERS:  No, there is no wall there. It`s in a trust, but he can pull income out of that trust any time he likes. Certainly the value of the property increases. He is someone who understands the public relations value. He can promote his brand through this. He will profit from this, so there`s no question about that.

TUR:  And he is the one who suggested Trump Doral.

PETERS:  Yes. In fact, that`s why we`re asking more questions in my role as ranking member of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. We`re the top oversight committee. We want to find out exactly what process it went through. It sounds as if the president just mentioned it to his staff and they ran with it.

In order to spend taxpayer money, we want to make sure that there`s a competitive process, that the property met the security requirements necessary, that it truly was the best value for the taxpayers. None of that is apparent right now. It doesn`t look as if that occurred at all. We need to get to the bottom of that as well.

TUR:  Senator Gary Peters, thank you very much. We appreciate your time.

PETERS:  Thank you.

TUR:  And coming up, Tony Schwartz, who got to observe Donald Trump up close when he co-wrote "The Art of the Deal," has a new column out in which he likens Donald Trump to a drowning man in what he sees happening in this wild week of the Trump presidency.

Also this photo which, remember, Donald Trump originally shared because he thought it made him look good. Tony Schwartz joins us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I`ll be -- at some point, I`m going to so presidential, that you people will be so bored. And I`ll come back as a presidential person. Instead of 10,000 people, I`ll have about 150 people. And they`ll say, but, boy, he really looks presidential.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR:  That was then candidate Donald Trump three and a half years ago. When Trump was elected, somehow that hope that he would grow in office, but it`s hard to make the case he`s changed all that much.

One of the men who knew him best, Tony Schwartz, Trump`s co-author of "Art of the Deal," has a new piece in The Washington Post, arguing that Trump cannot change no matter what the consequences are, and impeachment might have made him worse.

Schwartz writes, "The negative qualities we ascribed to others are often those we find it most intolerable to see in ourselves. Throughout his adult life, Trump has viewed the world as a dark, dangerous place teeming with enemies out to get him. In the face of potential impeachment, this fear has escalated exponentially."

"The threat he imagines is no longer just to his fragile sense of self but, realistically, to his future as president. Any capacity Trump ever had to think clearly or calmly has evaporated. Now, like a drowning man, all that matters to him is survival, no matter how much collateral damage his behaviors cause"

And joining us now here on set is Tony Schwartz. Tony, it`s really good to see.

TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR:  Likewise.

TUR:  So Donald Trump today, 2019, is it the same man that you knew all those years ago?

SCHWARTZ:  In the fundamental ways, yes. But I would say when you said he hasn`t changed much, he actually has changed and he has gotten worse. I mean, considerably worse.

He was a non-ideological guy when I knew him. He was just -- he was purely out for himself and not thinking about the wider world that much. And he was riding high. In the 1980s, you know, just before it all fell apart. So he wasn`t under stress. And we are two different people. We`re the person we are when we`re being run by our prefrontal cortex. And then under stress, we`re run by a much more primitive part of our brain.

TUR:  Back then, I guess you could say that he had money to lose, but then there was always money to fall back on. Now, he has the presidency, a place that maybe he thought deep down he might get to, but that nobody expected him to. He has got a lot to lose now. How is that affecting the judgment that you once knew so well?

SCHWARTZ:  It`s physiological first. That is really important to know that when you are under stress, you move into this fight or flight state. And basically, your prefrontal cortex or your thinking mind shuts down, and you become reactive and impulsive. You`re about your survival. So you don`t think well.

Trump starts off, as you know, not thinking well. He`s not reflective. He`s not introspective. He doesn`t spend time thinking things trough. He doesn`t read. So, now, you have a situation in which this is vastly more intense for him, and I think he is in pure reactive mode.

TUR:  What happens -- I mean, say impeachment passes and maybe he gets impeached and he doesn`t get thrown out -- the Senate doesn`t vote to remove him from office. But he goes along in the last year of his presidency and the polls look terrible for him in the lead-up to 2020 much in the way they did in the lead-up to 2016. What sort of behavior should we expect then?

SCHWARTZ:  I think this is a man who has been -- you know, grew up in an incredibly wealthy family, but felt put upon since he was a young kid. He has never felt more put upon than he does right now. He really does genuinely believe he is a victim. And whichever way this goes, even if he is, you know, ultimately not found, you know, not convicted, he will be one angry man all the way through to November.

TUR:  Let me ask you about the letter he sent to President Erdogan. He said, "History will look upon you favorably if you get this done right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don`t happen. Don`t be a tough guy. Don`t be a fool. I will call you later." Explain that to me.

SCHWARTZ:  Yeah. Well, it`s not very complex. Those are very simple sentences. He`s a binary thinker. He`s a black and white guy.

TUR:  Yeah.

SCHWARTZ:  It`s either this or it`s that. It`s either good or it is evil. And he projects on other people, as you read from my piece earlier --

TUR:  I`m rubber and you`re glue president.

SCHWARTZ:  Well, he literally describes himself -- what is now already that famous quote about Pelosi being the person who is melting down. That was an exact description of him. And that is so frequently the case. Just follow his tweets and you know what`s really going on inside him.

TUR:  Or the Hillary Clinton, you`re a puppet. And he says no puppet, no puppet during the debates in 2016. Tony Schwartz, it is always good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

And coming up, Michael Moore is here. He will give us his assessment of the 1,001 days of the Trump presidency and how he views Donald Trump`s chances for political survival as the impeachment investigation heats up and we head into the 2020 presidential election year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR:  After another week of witness testimony, the impeachment investigation is closing in on its central figure, Donald Trump. As The Washington Post notes, "A clear portrait has emerged of a president personally orchestrating the effort to pressure a foreign government to dig up dirt on a potential 2020 political rival, and marshalling the full resources of the federal bureaucracy to help in that endeavor."

"Not only are a growing number of officials and longtime employees choosing to come forward with damaging evidence, the narrative they are laying out points to potential violations of law that bolster the case for impeachment."

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats left a meeting with Donald Trump after he had a "meltdown." Here is how Lawrence described it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  It tells the story of the Trump presidency better than any other photograph. Nancy Pelosi immediately placed that photograph on her Twitter page and she will never replace it with a better photograph.

It is the perfect portrait of the child president. The Trump face is full of the confusion and fear of a 4-year-old boy being rebuked by an adult in the room full of adults, who know he shouldn`t be there.

Fifty years from now, school children studying American history will come upon this photograph, and they will instantly know who was in charge in that room, the adult standing and pointing at the pained face across the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: Joining us now is someone else who likes to look at that photo, Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. Michael, it`s really great to see you. Why do you like that photo so much?

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: I`ll tell you, the last couple days I`ve been looking at it every hour or so just to feel better.

TUR: Why?

MOORE: Well first of all, the last three years have been filled with I think a lot of despair that many of us feel. To look at that picture of Nancy Pelosi, I don`t know, do you have it up or you can show it--

TUR: We`re going to put it back up.

MOORE: This is Donald Trump`s worst nightmare that this woman standing there telling him what the truth is and not taking any of his BS. It`s so powerful. I don`t know if there are any other women in that room, I can`t see--

TUR: There`s one in the back.

MOORE: There`s one in the back, of course. Well there she is letting him have it, and the look on his face, he saw - I don`t - he`s not used to women talking to him this way. And the men to his right, all as I think Lawrence pointed out are hanging their heads in shame, knowing she`s right, knowing he`s wrong, and it`s such a - if you`re the parent of daughters, show them this photo, because this is the future, Katy. Katie t

This is the way it`s going to have to be when those men on the other side of the table, who`ve been running the world, let`s just say my gender has been in charge for the last 10,000 years, that`s now coming to a close, and it can`t happen really soon enough.

TUR: She said to his face all roads with you lead to Putin.

MOORE: Yes. That - some men would I guess call that emasculating. If I had been in that room, I would have stood and cheered, because we - this is what we need right now. We need this and -and let me just say on the broader scale, we win when we run women, when women run for office especially local office, that we saw this last November.

It will happen again next year. Women who are watching this right now, who are thinking maybe I should be running for office, meaning the women watching this tonight, maybe you should be running, maybe you should be running for office, because the old way hasn`t worked.

TUR: We`re going to talk to you about 2020 in a moment, but I do - I want to play this sound bite from Mick Mulvaney from yesterday, as he confesses to a quid pro quo. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Did he also mention to me in past the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely, no question about that.

But that`s it and that`s why we held up the money. We look back to what happened in 2016, certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Withholding the funding.

MULVANEY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just described as a quid pro quo.

MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy. And I have news for everybody, get over it, there`s going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: I`m just confused because the White House walked that back later, and now their campaign is selling t-shirts with Get Over It as a slogan. So what`s happening?

MOORE: Well of course, they are the best at Orwellian trickery in terms of- -

TUR: They were never at war with Eurasia, we`ve always - no war with Eurasia.

MOORE: What do you mean we walked back? Yes we walked it back. Get over it.

(LAUGHTER)

The beauty of what Mulvaney did yesterday was this, as you said, you called it an act of confession. For I don`t know what got into him, I`ve suggested that maybe there was a truth serum given to him before the press conference. Maybe it`s just sometimes you have to release, you have to let it go, and he just had that - he had to tell the truth, and there`s something redemptive about confession.

Maybe that`s as simple as that, that that`s what we saw. I can`t believe he is the guy that Trump yelled at for coughing when George Stephanopoulos was interviewing him in the Oval Office, is that correct?

TUR: Yes.

MOORE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

So I don`t know, maybe he was forced by Trump to go out there--

TUR: Or maybe they decided they`d say it out in the open, it`s not that big of a deal. Michael, hold on because I want to get back to you on 2020 in just a moment. Can you stay after the break?

MOORE: Yes, sure.

TUR: All right, so stay with us. Michael Moore and his thoughts on Donald Trump and the 2020. Also an announcement from him, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: Michael Moore made big news in the 2020 Democratic Presidential race today when he announced he`s endorsing Bernie Sanders. Michael Moore is back with us. I want to know why you`ve decided to endorse Bernie Sanders, but I`m curious because a moment ago you said women should run, women win, we win with women, why not endorse one of the women in this race?

MOORE: We would win, whether it was with Elizabeth Warren - we - I think we would win with Kamala Harris. I would - yes I think that even the polls showed - they`ve been showing that the top five beat Trump in a head-to- head race. In other words, there was an Emerson poll actually I think yesterday just for Iowa, where it showed Bernie as the only one beating Trump head-to-head, but the others were right behind him; Elizabeth, Biden.

TUR: Yes.

MOORE: Mayor Pete, I think any of a number of people can beat him. I endorsed Bernie 30 years ago when he first ran for Congress.

TUR: So what do you think is so right for this moment about him?

MOORE: The reason I think that this is his moment, and I think there`s a lot of people watching us who would very much like to see both of them running together. Democrats have got to quit being so afraid. Oh we can`t put two progressives on the same ticket.

Well why not? Why don`t we - how about this, why don`t we put two women on the same ticket?

TUR: Let me ask you--

MOORE: Why don`t we do - what we should - we have to stop being afraid, we have to stop being afraid of what Bernie is really saying here is that greed runs the country. That has to stop.

All the problems that we talk, all the problems that make movies about, health care, industrial America, whatever, they all stem from one problem, the haves call the shots and the have-nots scramble for the crumbs.

TUR: And you know the Rust Belt, the Blue Wall - former Blue Wall better than anybody.

MOORE: Yes.

TUR: Who do you think is going to resonate in Michigan, in Wisconsin, in Ohio?

MOORE: Bernie. Bernie won Michigan, Bernie won Wisconsin, Bernie won Minnesota, Bernie won all those primaries.

TUR: Is that who Democrats should be focusing on, those voters who maybe were Obama voters and then Trump voters, and--

MOORE: No.

TUR: --can you peel them away or should they be focused on new voters?

MOORE: I think yes, I think what we need to do is figure out who didn`t come out into in 2016; that was our problem in Michigan. Hillary only lost by two votes per precinct, that`s it. And what happened was, in places like Flint in Detroit, large numbers of young people and African-Americans just didn`t bother to vote, or there`s 89,000 people that voted in Michigan, I actually showed up to the polls, voted for everybody down ballot, it was mostly Democrats, and left the top box blank.

That`s how much they didn`t want to vote for Hillary Clinton. We can`t let this happen this time. We have to have people on the ballot, men and women, who are going to bring out that vote. And 70 percent of the electorate next year is either 18 to 35 people of color or women, and that is the base of the Democratic Party.

Let me also add this, I am going to vote for whoever the Democrat is.

TUR: Who`s your second choice?

MOORE: My second choice will be Elizabeth Warren. I`ve had her in two of my movies. I`ve known her for a long time, she`s a wonderful person.

TUR: I mean is that the magic power that she has right now, because when you look at polling, she`s leading in a lot of polling, but when you look at the second choice, she`s everybody`s second choice that they`re not - not everybody, but a lot of people`s second choice, if she`s not their first choice.

MOORE: Yes, and Bernie is number one with young adults, Bernie`s number one with Latinos, Bernie is number one with black women between 18 and 35, and there`s many where he`s number one.

It - I think - look I don`t - I have nothing critical to say about Elizabeth Warren, other than I think that Bernie is going to get the job done and Bernie`s going to fight, everybody knows this about Bernie Sanders. Even if you`re not going to vote for him, you know that if he`s in that Oval Office, he`s going to fight for us, for the working people of this country, for the people who are not part of the 1%.

TUR: Why do you think there is this conventional wisdom out there that only a moderate can win, only a moderately like Joe Biden and maybe Pete Buttigieg, only that person can capture the entirety of the Democratic Party enough to beat Donald Trump?

MOORE: A moderate - if we go for the moderate, if we go to the center, we`re going to lose. The way to inspire our base, nobody on the Republicans - this is what you have to admire about Republicans and conservatives. They don`t sit around and going now we better have somebody closer to the middle and somebody who`s moderate and somebody who doesn`t upset the Democrats so much.

They don`t talk like that. They say let`s get out there, we believe in this, we`re not going to pull back, this is - we`re always trying to find a way because we`re so frightened. We don`t need to be frightened because the majority of the country is with us.

The majority believe that there`s climate change, they want gun control, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they believe in choice. Put down all the lists of all the issues, the majority agree with the Democrats.

TUR: Let me ask you about health care, you know unions really well, unions have - some of them at least have great health care.

MOORE: Yes, it`s true.

TUR: It`s the last thing that they have great health care--

MOORE: Yes.

TUR: --private health care. Are they going to be willing to vote for someone who`s going to say I want to take your great health care--

MOORE: Absolutely.

TUR: --and put government run healthcare in place?

MOORE: Absolutely, because I was just in Flint, and I`ll tell you because of this GM strike, the UAW strike. They went on strike, and what did the CEO of GM do a few days into the strike, cut all their health care. And it reminded them that this private health care that we have, this great health care, this isn`t some permanent thing.

Your boss can take your health care from you at the snap of a finger, that`s what they did to these striking workers, that`s what they could do at any time. If it is part of our law that says that great health care is yours simply because you live here, you`re a citizen of this country, you are covered, as opposed to General Motors or Walmart or whatever that could just wake up tomorrow and say, you know what, you don`t have it.

Just like these camera people or the people here I was just talking to, this used to be union here, union workers at this network. Now they`re not union, they don`t have - they don`t have a choice, they have no security, when it`s private profit-making health care.

We need health care that is not set up so that a few companies can make billions of dollars in profits. It has to be - why can`t we do this? Every other country does this. What is wrong with us that we can`t figure this out? To say that it`s going to be this or that or whatever, well that`s not true with these other countries. They pull it off. We should have the same thing. Bernie Sanders will make sure that this happens, everybody will be covered.

TUR: Can big business and Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, can those two entities or those candidates and big business, can they live - can they get along, can they coexist?

MOORE: Well big business is run by human beings, who have a conscience. Deep deep down, there is a conscience. So yes, they can--

TUR: CEOs hate the two of them more than anybody.

MOORE: Yes. Oh I know that, they are so afraid - they are so afraid of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Good, good sign. But you know what, they also know that they have to live in the same society that we`re all living in. And if there is not a safety net, if these cracks exist, where people fall between them and can never recover, we have a society that`s worse off. We have a society that`s less safe.

We have citizens who give up on their democracy and don`t vote. People who run these companies better understand that they should start acting like Americans with a conscience and do what`s right for the people. And you know what, you don`t need nine vacation homes, you can get by on three.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean I don`t - nobody wants all your vacation homes rich people, just hang on to the three, give away the six and let everybody have health care.

TUR: Michael, it`s been wonderful to meet you.

MOORE: It`s so great to meet you, Katy.

TUR: Thanks for being a fan of American swamp.

MOORE: Yes. Oh that was a great series.

TUR: Great.

MOORE: Who do we talk to about bringing it back?

TUR: I think you know who to talk to.

MOORE: Where are they at?

TUR: He`s going to go find my bosses. Michael Moore, thank you for coming on and thank you for--

MOORE: Never want me in this building.

(LAUGHTER)

TUR: Thank you for promoting my show.

He will also be on MSNBC tomorrow night for a special airing of his Oscar- winning 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine. It`ll be followed by an interview with Ari Melber, that starts at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow night right here on MSNBC.

And coming up, Donald Trump`s so-called ceasefire deal with Turkey is turning out to be neither, according to experts and our European allies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I just spoke to President Erdogan of Turkey. We`re doing very, very well with Turkey. There`s a ceasefire or a pause or whatever you want to call it. There was some sniper fire this morning, there was mortar fire this morning. That was eliminated quickly and they are back to the full pause.

A lot of pain for a couple of days, and sometimes you have to go through some pain before you can get a good solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: That was President Trump today defending his administration`s temporary deal to pause hostilities in Northern Syria. Kurdish forces in Syria are accusing Turkey of not holding up their end of the deal.

And French reporters with AFP reported that Turkey was continuing airstrikes in the region today. At a meeting of the European Council today, America`s allies strongly condemned Trump`s actions. French President Emmanuel Macron called the U.S. decision in Syria a serious mistake Donald.

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, said of the deal between the U.S. and Turkey, the so-called ceasefire, is not what we expected. In fact, it`s not a ceasefire, it`s a demand of capitulation of the Kurds.

Nicholas Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The New York Times, who has written extensively about the Middle East. He`s going to join us next to help us understand what Donald Trump`s actions in Syria mean for our Kurdish allies and for the future of U.S. foreign policy. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have a 22-mile strip that for many, many years Turkey, in all fairness, have had a legitimate problem with. They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there that they couldn`t have. They`ve suffered a loss of lives also. And they had to have it cleaned out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: They had to have it cleaned out. That is how Donald Trump describes Turkey`s actions in Northern Syria, which many believe to be an attempt at ethnically cleansing the region. Joining us now is someone who knows a lot about this issue and can help put it into perspective.

Nicholas Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The New York Times, who`s written extensively about the Middle East. So this terminology, cleaned out, is that just - is that something he potentially heard from President Erdogan and just repeated it?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES AND CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He`s repeating a Turkish talking point, and I just find it infuriating to hear that clip, that we not only betrayed the Kurds but then badmouthed them in the process. The Kurds in 2014, when the Yazidis were facing a genocide, it was the Kurds who helped save their lives and avert that genocide.

And now they`re being betrayed into something like that ethnic cleansing. The Kurds were championing women`s empowerment, and then one woman politician aged 34 gets pulled out of her car and beaten and shot to death by these invaders that we helped unleash on them.

TUR: Could you say the Kurds were the most western ally in that region for us, the ally that lived up to the more secular ideal of democracy, more so than anybody else, at least? It`s all relative, obviously.

KRISTOF: Look, this was imperfect, but they genuinely tried to create an entity that was democratic, that protected minority rights like those of the Yazidi, like those of the minority Christian community that empowered women. And they trusted and they saved American lives when they worked with us. They trusted us. We told them that they could take out their defenses to the North because we had their backs, and then we walked out and left them to be attacked.

TUR: It`s not just abandoning our ally or betraying our ally. We`re leaving a vacuum there. And who`s going to fill that vacuum, who wins?

KRISTOF: So, often in foreign policy there`s a tension between our values and our interests. In this case, not only have we betrayed our values, but we`ve damaged our own interests. The beneficiaries here are - well the Syrian government, Iran, Russia. With Trump, so many roads lead to Russia, of course.

But we have empowered all the people who we should be attempting to limit in that region. And we`ve done it not - we`ve done it in the course of damaging our own credibility, the trust that people have for us, from Russia to Hezbollah to Syria, people are cackling about, this teaches anybody not to trust Americans anymore.

TUR: How much stock do you put in the cease-fire?

KRISTOF: Well, I mean, look, Turkey, if they can get what they want without fighting, then of course it`s great for them. So they`ve called on - the U.S. is incredibly committed to helping remove the Kurds from this safety zone.

A former UN diplomat told me that this is a little like the 1938 Munich agreement, except that even Neville Chamberlain didn`t agree to move out the Czechs from the Sudetenland. And that`s what the U.S. has agreed to do, to help not only - let Turkey march in and get this safe zone, but help remove the Kurds from this area.

TUR: When it comes to polling on the President`s strategy in Northern Syria, the majority of people in the poll don`t support it; 48% don`t support, 31% do. Does that matter?

KRISTOF: No. Look, at the end of the day--

TUR: To trump, I should say.

KRISTOF: It may matter to Trump. But I just find this so deeply offensive that we have people who trusted us, and then we betrayed them so publicly. And people who were trying to do some of the things that we say we care about, and the example this sets to the world.

We have this grand rhetoric and everybody knows we don`t fully live up to it, and we fall short. But they`ve always thought there was at least something to these American ideals that we talked about. Now, we`re shown to be so morally bankrupt before the world, in the course of betraying our friends and empowering our rivals and enemies. This is just a colossal mistake at every possible level.

TUR: Nicholas Kristof, thank you so much for joining us on this Friday night. That`s tonight Last Word. I`m Katy Tur. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams start right now.

 

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