Senator Warren responds to Bloomberg TRANSCRIPT: 2/13/20, The Last Word W/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Dahlia Lithwick, Elizabeth Warren

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

And I`m wondering about in Elizabeth Warren`s case, is it possible -- is it possible that Mike Bloomberg`s entry into the campaign helps her? He goes directly with these past comments of his that are being unearthed and he has to answer for, they go directly into some of her areas of expertise like bankruptcy law -- 


O`DONNELL:  -- and consumer financial protection and now this redlining controversy.

MADDOW:  Yes. And the redlining thing, when I saw her post that today, I was like, oh, this is going to be very interesting. It`s one thing to unearth a comment about -- from a candidate he will find it awkward to explain. It`s another thing to be up against a competitor who can take you to the woodshed on it like probably no other academic/politician in the world can.

O`DONNELL:  Yes. And Bloomberg has had some struggles just with reporters trying to handle this. You can see he knows what he wants to say, which is that`s not reflective of my views now. But there`s a shakiness in the way he presents it.

If he is on the debate stage next week, I imagine they`re going to spend time working on that.

MADDOW:  When I talked to Amy Klobuchar last night when she was here to do an interview about the prospect that Mayor Bloomberg might qualify for the debate, she didn`t quite rub her hands together in glee, but it was implied by the look in her eye.

O`DONNELL:  By the way, in addition to Elizabeth Warren being here in person from her campaign event in Virginia, John Heilemann is going to join us with video he has of Amy Klobuchar, the night before -- two nights before they counted the votes in New Hampshire and the way she felt in this one-on-one discussion with John right after having the largest audience she had ever had in her campaign turn out to see her at a campaign event in New Hampshire. So, we`re going to show that video later.

MADDOW:  I can`t wait. I`m going to stand there in the makeup room and watch until that comes.

O`DONNELL:  That`s the way to do it.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Well, as I said, as Rachel told you, Elizabeth Warren is going to be joining us tonight. I have this theory that sometimes a candidate gets lucky when another candidate enters the race because sometimes that can help emphasize some of the skills of that candidate who is already in the race. That could be the situation for Elizabeth Warren with Mike Bloomberg`s entry into this Democratic presidential campaign, because of these controversies that are now coming up every day, a new one every day about Mike Bloomberg`s past statements.

And some of them are just right in Elizabeth Warren`s areas of expertise. She was a bankruptcy law professor at Harvard Law School. She created the Consumer Protection Bureau for President Obama and his administration.

We`ll get Elizabeth Warren`s reactions to some of Bloomberg`s past statements later in this hour when she finishes with that event in Virginia.

And at the end of the hour, you will see an extraordinarily powerful video that is not easy to watch. This is from the captain of the wrestling team at Ohio State when Congressman Jim Jordan was the assistant coach of that wrestling team. And the captain of the team told the Ohio state legislature this week that Jim Jordan knew that the wrestlers were being sexually abused by the team doctor and Jim Jordan did nothing about it.

The captain of the wrestling team testified that when all of this became public in the last couple of years, Jim Jordan tried to get him to lie about it. He said that Jim Jordan called him up and that Jim Jordan was crying and begging him to cover up the story. We will bring you that wrestling team captain`s testimony on video at the end of this hour. And consider what it means for how Jim Jordan will handle himself in the next high-profile hearing in the House Judiciary Committee where he is now the top Republican. And that next high-profile hearing in the House Judiciary Committee will have the attorney general of the United States in the witness chair next month.

Attorney General William Barr gave us a preview of his congressional testimony next month about why he changed the sentencing recommendation for Donald Trump`s friend, longtime friend and campaign associate Roger Stone, who was convicted of multiple crimes concerning his involvement with the Trump presidential campaign. In an interview with ABC, the attorney general explained that the prosecutor who he recently put in charge of supervising the prosecution of Roger Stone discussed the sentencing with the attorney general on Monday.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES:  On Monday, he came by to briefly chat with me and say that the team very much wanted to recommend the seven to nine years to the judge. And -- but he thought that there was a way of satisfying everybody and providing more flexibility, and there was a brief discussion of that. I was under the impression that what was going to happen was very much that I had suggested, which is deferring to the judge and then pointing out various factors and circumstances.

On Monday night, when I first saw the news reports, I said, gee, the news is spinning this. This is not what we were going to do.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS:  So, you were surprised?

BARR:  I was very surprised.


O`DONNELL:  So, the attorney general wants you to believe that he was surprised, very surprised that the prosecutors in the case filed a recommendation of a seven to nine-year sentence, the attorney general wants you to believe that he told the prosecutors supervising the team on the case to not do that, don`t do that. But the prosecutor allowed that to happen anyway.

That is a story of everyone working under the attorney general, defying the attorney general`s order earlier in the day about how to handle the sentencing recommendation. Members of the House Judiciary Committee are going to have a hard time believing that when they question William Barr much more closely on those points that he just glided through. As the rest of William Barr`s story unfolds in the ABC interview, you can see why it`s very important that he insists that somehow the prosecutors working on the case just defied him and then surprised him by doing their original recommendation of seven to nine years in their sentencing recommendation.


BARR:  And once I confirmed that that`s actually what we filed, I said that night to my staff that we had to get ready, because we had to do something in the morning to amend that and clarify what our position was.


O`DONNELL:  So, William Barr`s story is that he decided to request a lower sentence before the president of the United States -- in the middle of the night -- tweeted that what was basically an order from the president to the attorney general to ask for a lower sentence.


BARR:  And once the tweet occurred, the question is, well, now what do I do? And do you go forward with what you think is the right decision? Or do you pull back because of the tweet?


O`DONNELL:  Are you following this? William Barr`s story now is that he was going do it anyway, recommend a lower sentence, before the president told him to do it on Twitter. That led to William Barr having to say that Donald Trump`s tweeting are making it kind of difficult, in fact he used the word impossible, Donald Trump`s tweets are making it impossible for him to do his job.


BARR:  Public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department, that we`re doing our work with integrity.


O`DONNELL:  William Barr is right, that it is impossible to honestly do the job of attorney general the way it is supposed to be done if you are appointed to that job by Donald Trump. He is also correct that no one should think that as he put it he is doing his job with integrity. He said, Donald Trump is undermined that. But we shouldn`t even think that he is doing his job with integrity because Donald Trump made it impossible for us to think that.

And no one should believe William Barr when he explained in that interview with ABC when it is right and when it is wrong for the president to tell the attorney general what to do. William Barr said that it`s, quote, perfectly appropriate for the president to tell him to concentrate more law enforcement resources on, say, terrorism but then William Barr gave an example of what he would not do, what he would never do, even if the president told him to do it.


BARR:  If he were to say, you know, go investigate somebody because -- and you sense it`s because they`re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn`t carry that out, wouldn`t carry that out.


O`DONNELL:  William Barr has indeed carried that out. William Barr flew to Europe, making multiple stops, investigating Joe Biden himself and Joe Biden`s son because the president wanted him to. William Barr assigned a U.S. attorney the extra duty of investigating Joe Biden and Joe Biden`s son and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party because Donald Trump wanted him to do that. William Barr just said that he wouldn`t do an investigation like that if, quote, you sense it`s because they`re a political opponent.

You didn`t have to sense that Joe Biden was a political opponent of Donald Trump`s. He was declared candidate for the president of the United States.

William Barr is going to be challenged with his own words, these words that you`ve hard from him tonight. He`s going to be challenged with those words when he testifies to the House Judiciary Committee about this next month. William Barr has a lot of work to do on his answers to the questions that he will be facing, including the question, if Donald Trump has made it impossible for you to do your job, why haven`t you resigned like federal prosecutor Jonathan Kravis who had the dignity and sense of duty to resign when you, William Barr, made it impossible for him to do his job?

When Attorney General William Barr changed the sentencing recommendation in the Roger Stone case, all four prosecutors withdrew immediately. And one of them, Jonathan Kravis, resigned from his job at the Justice Department because William Barr made it impossible for him to do his job. Jonathan Kravis will take his place in the history of this period as a person of principle, a person who lived his oath as a member of the bar and a person who lived his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is not what history will write about William Barr.

Leading off our discussion tonight are Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for, and host of the podcast, "Amicus".

Joyce Vance is with us. She`s a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She`s a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and an MSNBC contributor.

And Matt Miller, former spokesperson for the attorney general, Attorney General Eric Holder. He is an MSNBC contributor.

And, Matt, because you worked so closely with the attorney general and know the processes so well, I want to get your reaction to William Barr saying, had a meeting with the lawyer in charge of this, said to him I don`t like the seven to nine years, said it Monday before they filed their recommendation, said you should basically just make -- the recommendation - - should just leave it to the judge`s discretion, that`s what we should do, and that lawyer left the room and then all of the lawyers involved defied the attorney general`s order.

What is the likelihood of that happening?

MATT MILLER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  You know, Lawrence, I think the likelihood of them defying the attorney general`s order is low. I suspect what happened is there was some kind of communication breakdown. You got think I`m crazy, but I largely believe what William Barr said about what happened.

O`DONNELL:  I think you are crazy.

MILLER:  I knew you would think that.

No, I don`t think that he changed the sentencing recommendation because Donald Trump tweeted that. I think he did want to deliver this for the president all along. I think he is mad at the president, not because the president is interfering with the Justice Department`s operations, but that he is interfering in such a ham-handed way that it`s making it impossible for Barr to do his job in the way he interprets doing his job.

He interprets doing his job not the way others attorneys general have, which is to do -- you know, to administer the law without consideration of politics, but to deliver for the president. And he wants to deliver for the president in every way he can. And as long as the president keeps going out and tweeting about it publically, he is making it hard to do it.

Bill Barr is trying to give Donald Trump the greatest gift he can give a president like Donald Trump. He is trying to go after his political opponents just the way the president wants, he is trying to get shorter sentences for his allies. He is quashing investigations into the president himself. And the president can`t just shut up and take the gift.

And I think what you see Barr is saying, I have your back. I will take care of you. Stop making it so hard for me that the people inside the department are revolting and that judges are getting angry too, or you`re going to make it impossible for me to deliver the way you want me to and the way I want to.

O`DONNELL:  It`s hard to decide which theory of the case is more morally bankrupt, yours or mine.

MILLER:  It`s a tie, probably.

O`DONNELL:  Possibility the attorney jen general was lying to ABC I guess is the most simple-minded version of the analysis, which is the first I went for.

And Matt Miller, you are here to supply a more sophisticated analysis than I am capable of, which you have just done.

Joyce, put this together in what you heard from the attorney general. What do you make of it?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I think what Matt is saying actually very likely the more that we hear, it seems like what the attorney general is trying to do is position himself to save himself. He is trying to come up with a narrative that lets him pretend to the Justice Department that he has not completely let their independence be taken away by this White House.

So, we hear him, I think, leaving together a narrative where he says he spoke with the prosecutors and the prosecutors were the bad guys. The reason that we know that that`s not the truth is because there`s a written pleading filed in the United States court signed by the United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, not the Senate confirmed U.S. attorney, Jessie Liu, who was ushered out of that office precipitously a week earlier, but a newly installed acting U.S. attorney who had come straight out of Barr`s inner circle.

So we see this entire effort to circle the wagons, to give Barr plausible deniability. I don`t think anyone believes that he is really criticizing this president. What he is trying to do is provide cover for the activity they have been engaged in.

O`DONNELL:  But, Dahlia, the lawyer that Joyce was talking about who was handpicked to be the supervisor of all this, and who signs the sentencing recommendation, is the guy who is in the office with Barr when Barr is saying, I don`t like seven to nine years and we are to believe that guy leaves the room where the attorney general has told him, don`t ask for seven to nine years and he goes, let me just sign my name here to seven to nine years. I`m struggling with that.



LITHWICK:  I think that either he -- I want to associate myself with Matt`s theory of the case only because I think it`s possible if this had gone down the way it should have gone down and Donald Trump hadn`t inserted himself into it, it might have been easier for everybody.

But I do think one of the things that`s astonishing about this to me is I remember even when we were covering the travel ban at the Supreme Court, we were trying to understand whether Donald Trump`s tweets were sort of presidential acts with binding force or if they were just kind of wallpaper. And you would always see the Justice Department toggling back and forth between those two.

Now, we have the strange thing happening where Republicans challenged on the Senate floor, why is Donald Trump threatening judges via Twitter, threatening the state of New York via Twitter? Why is he going after the jury foreman via Twitter?

And we hear from Republicans in the Senate, oh, he`s just tweeting. I don`t -- I don`t really care about that.

And here is Bill Barr saying, oh, no, these tweets are really -- they are real and consequential and making it hard to do my job. So, we`re simultaneously erasing them and giving them force. And it`s just head- snapping that we can`t pick whether these tweets are a joke or whether they are real. And that`s part of the destabilizing that`s going on.

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen more about what William Barr said about the tweets. I`m sure we`ll be hearing more of this in his hearing at the House Judiciary Committee. Let`s listen to this.


BARR:  I do think that in the current situation, as I have said, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we`re doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill. And that`s why I think it`s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.


O`DONNELL:  So, Dahlia, when Roger Stone is sentenced on Thursday, we can expect zero tweets from the president.

LITHWICK:  You would think that a president who knows that at some point this judge, who is overseeing the case, who has been threatened by Roger Stone, right?

O`DONNELL:  Uh-huh.

LITHWICK:  She had to put him under an order because he had been putting pictures of her head with a target next to it. We know she doesn`t react well to threats. Anyone like -- anyone would say, huh, maybe I shouldn`t be threatening this judge who is about to sentence Roger Stone. And yet, it seems manifestly clear that he just thinks whatever she does isn`t going to matter because I guess what, his Supreme Court is going to fix it. It`s weird.

O`DONNELL:  And, Joyce Vance, one of the things I find strange is the difference between asking for seven to nine years and then asking in their amended version something less than seven to nine years that is not specified, is not a very big difference and it certainly isn`t worth going through this kind of public controversy to put it mildly. And in the end, it`s all up to the judge anyway no matter what the prosecutors recommend.

VANCE: That`s right. I think you have identified something that`s really perplexing here, because ultimately, the sentencing decision is completely within the judge`s control. The reason that the government initially suggests the seven to nine year sentence is because that`s what the law calls for. That`s the guideline range. Remember that Roger Stone went to trial, was convicted of crimes, including witness intimidation. So, not the kind of setting where the government asks for a reduced sentence, but one where the government stays clearly within the contours of the law which is what they did here.

In reality though, the defense was always free to go into this sentencing hearing and to ask for a lesser sentence. No reason that they can`t do this in the setting. And so, the question is, why did Barr put so much capital into this? He had to have known that filing this second motion would lead to controversy. It was so important, he did it anyway.

O`DONNELL:  Yes, it was going to be controversial even without the Trump tweet. We`ll see what happens and we`ll see how quickly the pardon is issued on Thursday after the sentence comes down.

Dahlia Lithwick, Joyce Vance, Matt Miller, thank you all for starting us off tonight. I really appreciate it.

And when we come back, Elizabeth Warren has just wrapped up a town hall event in the Super Tuesday state of Virginia. She will be our next guest.


O`DONNELL:  Senator Elizabeth Warren is campaigning tonight in Virginia, which will award 99 delegates in its primary on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, when 14 states will be voting. Senator Warren is currently third in the delegate total.

The presidential campaign swerved into one of Elizabeth Warren`s areas of expertise today as a former Harvard law professor specializing in bankruptcy law and the person who created the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau in President Barack Obama`s administration.

New York City`s former Republican mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who is running for president as a Democrat, has been forced to answer for statements that he has made in the past, including this statement, in 2008, in which he explained the collapse of the housing market that left millions of homeowners around the country drowning in mortgages on homes that have lost their value.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR:  Redlining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said, people in these neighborhoods are poor. They`re not going to be able to pay off their mortgages. Tell them -- your salesmen don`t go into those areas.

And then Congress got involved -- local elected officials as well, and said, oh, that`s not fair. These people should be able to get credit.

And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn`t as good as you would like.


O`DONNELL:  Joining us now from Arlington, Virginia, is Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Warren, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And I want to get your reaction to what Mike Bloomberg just said there about the history of redlining.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Right. What the mayor is really saying is that this crisis could have been averted if the banks had just been able to discriminate against black and brown people more.

Let`s be clear, that would not have averted the crisis. And anybody who thinks that the banks should have been allowed to be more racist should not be the leader of our party.

O`DONNELL:  Let me read to you what the Bloomberg campaign spokesperson has said about this specifically. This is what their statement says:

Mike`s saying that something bad -- the financial crisis -- followed something good, which is the fight against redlining he was part of as mayor. And Mike has detailed plans for how he will help a million more black families buy a house, and counteract the effects of redlining and the subprime mortgage crisis as president.

Your reaction to that, Senator?

WARREN:  Look, he can try to scrub that video -- he can try to scrub that video any way he wants, but it clearly says that -- you know, redlining was what helped protect the banks, so the banks could make bigger profits.

Look, let me tell you how I see this problem. This is the problem of a billionaire who thinks the way he`s going to be elected is he`s just going to go buy an election. I think the way that the Democrats ought to be picking their candidate is they ought to be doing it through the grassroots.

And I think funding is a big part of this. When you just can reach in your own pocket and throw a few hundred million on the table and start buying your way to a nomination, it`s a kind of different perspective than if you`re doing it from the grassroots up.

I believe in grassroots funding. And anybody who`s listening to this who thinks that`s how we ought to be funding campaigns, I hope they go to and just in pitch in five bucks, to say that is the way that we should make our campaigns run.

Be part of this. Volunteer. Volunteer an hour of phone banking. Go to a place near you. We`re in 31 states now.

But, really, this is about democracy hanging in the balance. Are we going to be a country that you got to either be a billionaire or go suck up to the billionaires? Or are we going to be a country where we really do make our democracy work again and we fund these campaigns from the grassroots up?

That`s where I am. Join me.

O`DONNELL:  Let me go to the more general question about these stories about people`s backgrounds and positions they`ve held in the past and what should matter here.

We all know, for example, that Barack Obama was against marriage equality before he then became in favor of marriage equality, that many politicians -- certainly, if they`ve been around long enough -- have changed their positions in many ways.

Bernie Sanders used to be much more supportive of the NRA`s position on gun legislation than he is now. I think we`re all confident that Sanders would be defying the NRA if he was in the presidency and continues to defy the NRA now as a -- as a Vermont senator.

So, how much does it matter what is in a candidate`s past? Isn`t it more important what they`re saying they will do as president?

WARREN:  Well, look, we can all say what we will do as president. But the question is who`s credible on that. And part of your credibility or lack of credibility is your record. Everybody brings their record along with them.

Somebody who thinks that redlining was sure a good deal for the banks, to me it just kind of has the wrong perspective on the whole deal, because understand this about redlining. What happened in America was that the federal government subsidized the purchase of housing, because it helps build wealth. They did it for decades for white people, and they discriminated against black people, and it helped create a racial wealth gap that persists until this day.

It`s part of the reason that when I put together a housing plan, I know we need a lot more housing for all of America, and I want to build about 3 million housing units. But part of it directly addresses redlining, and says people who live in formerly redlined areas can get a little bit of a leg up to be able to become homeowners. People who got cheated during the financial crisis, when black and brown communities were targeted, will get a little leg up.

Because, look, it`s about the role of government. Is government there to help the banks? Michael Bloomberg sure seems to think so. Our is government supposed to be on the side of the people? It`s been on the side of the banks for way too long. I think it`s time to switch over to a government on the side of the people.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Presidential Candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

WARREN: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the next presidential debate will be on MSNBC next Wednesday. The candidates will be debating in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Nevada caucuses will be three days after the debate.

Now, we saw how the debate in New Hampshire, four days before the primary, boosted Senator Amy Klobuchar with third place finish. The next debate will probably include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Who`s going to get the debate boost this time and who will be helped or hurt by Mike Bloomberg`s participation in that debate. John Heilemann, Maria Teresa Kumar will join us after this break.


O`DONNELL: The League of United Latin American Citizens is having its presidential forum in Las Vegas right now. Pete Buttigieg has been taking some questions - most of the candidates will be appearing or all of them will be appearing in front of that group. Four, I think, appearing today, others will be appearing at another time.

We will dip into that if it gets more compelling. We are joined now by Maria Teresa Kumar, who is the President and CEO of VotoLatino. She`s an MSNBC Contributor; John Heilemann, who is National Affairs Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, he`s the cohost of Showtime`s THE CIRCUS, and the Editor in Chief of Recount.

Maria Teresa, the LULAC`s meeting there in Las Vegas, Nevada, this is timed specifically for the Nevada caucuses. Tell us the importance of that as the Nevada caucuses approach.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Nevada caucuses, Lawrence, is the very first time that the Latino vote is going to be able to help determine who is going to be the nominee. The reason that`s important is that for the very first time, Latinos are going to be the second largest voting bloc, and they are disproportionately young Lawrence.

The majority of whites in America are 54. The majority of Latinos are 19 years old. 4 million of whom will be able to cast a ballot for the very first time since the President called their families rapists and criminals. So it is not small. And, oftentimes, the people that come out with a huge force out of Nevada, is the one that starts signaling where the rest of the Latino vote should actually congregate. So it`s quite significant.

O`DONNELL: And john, we`re seeing Pete Buttigieg, in effect, introducing himself to many of those voters, many of the people in that room. I mean, they`re very much aware of him. But this is the first time they`ve probably been in a room hearing him speak like that.

Having just been in New Hampshire, and been in the room when he speaking, it`s a very different thing from seeing him on TV. But he has the benefit now of coming off some very big showings in Iowa, and New Hampshire. They know who he is when he shows up there.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: He does, and you know, this is what happens. We`d have not have happen what normally happens from Iowa, and New Hampshire, which a lot of winnowing. We`ve got five--

O`DONNELL: Clarity, at least at the loser end.

HEILEMANN: Right. We lost Andrew Yang and Deval Patrick and Michael Bennett. But we still have five candidates of the top five in New Hampshire who have all gone. I`ve never seen this happen before. And Tom Steyer, who is still floating around. So we got six really competitive candidates in Nevada, six really competitive candidates in North Carolina.

Normally you`re down to two or three by this point in the race. So the winnowing hasn`t happened. And someone like Pete Buttigieg along with Bernie Sanders, I think are the two who`ve gotten a lot of positive attention coming out of both Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Sanders, of course, has the great benefit of having competed in these Nevada caucuses in 2016, and being a guy who has - so he has residual organization. It is a caucus, right, were organization matters more. And so the residual - the caucus in 2016 was a mess, just like the caucus in 2008 was. But I think it`s helpful to Sanders to have been through this process once before and have like the vestigial organization still out there from four years ago.

O`DONNELL: I think we have video of Mike Bloomberg answering a question this week about something he said in 2015 about stop and frisk. And I want to show that, because if he`s on the debate stage next week, he`s going to have to work on answers like this. Let`s listen to this.


REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, why did you say what you said in that 2015 speech?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think those words reflect what - how I lead the most diverse city in the nation. And I apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused.

REPORTER: But why did you say it?

BLOOMBERG: It was five years ago and it`s just not the way that I think and its - that`s not the way - does not reflect what I do every day. I`ve lead the most populous, largest city in the United States and got reelected three times. So public seem to like what I do.


O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa your reaction to that and what do you think the reaction would be in the room tonight in Las Vegas at LULAC if there was a question and answer like that?

KUMAR: Yes, I think that he is - something that Mike Bloomberg definitely has to address, and he has been prepared for it. I think what was challenging is that he was surprised by the question and that`s going to be on top of everybody`s mind.

What`s interesting with what Mike Bloomberg is doing at the same time, though, is that he is fighting the majority of African-American mayors, Latino mayors and getting them to coalesce around his candidacy. And that is very because he does have the ability to - through Bloomberg University - had a mayor (ph) university to teach these mayors best practices.

But he is going to have to talk about not just what the leadership of these communities have to say about Mike Bloomberg, but more, what are the practices that disproportionately impact African-American and Latino young males, that in some cases really did, it was more than just this idea of being racially profiled. But that, in some cases, really did hurt people. And so, the more that he can speak candidly to that and comfortably to that, is going to be able to get him over that hurdle.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have to squeeze in a quick break here so we can continue this conversation. When we come back. We`re going to show that video that I was telling Rachel about at the beginning of the hour.

John Heilemann`s one-on-one with Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire, before the votes were cast just the night or two nights before the votes were cast in New Hampshire when she had just spoken to the largest crowd that had turned out anywhere in the entire one year history of her presidential campaign.

We`ll be right back.






O`DONNELL: And after that rally in New Hampshire two nights before the voting on Sunday, Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke with John Heilemann, cohost of Showtime`s, "The Circus." And here is your exclusive first look at part of that interview.


HEILEMANN: 1,100 people are here.


HEILEMANN: Your campaign alerted everybody that this is the largest Amy Klobuchar event in the whole campaign.

KLOBUCHAR: And our momentum. It is all what happen after the debate, honestly. I think I had a moment to, of course, show policy difference with some of my opponents, but also to make the case for me.

HEILEMANN: What feels different right now in this eight-day window where you`ve come here after Iowa, you`ve been here. What feels different here compared to what it was like there?

KLOBUCHAR: I feel like really different that I`m here.

HEILEMANN: Yes, right.

KLOBUCHAR: Because, in Iowa, I was basically bolted to my desk--


KLOBUCHAR: In DC. And so, I`m able to be here. I`m able to go with the flow, to get to events to just spontaneously stop by diners. And it makes you a better leader. Because your whole goal is to, yes, win and bring people with you. But your goal in a election is also to figure out what people are listening to. And you can do all the polling you want. But if you`re not out there with people, you lose that.


O`DONNELL: We`re back with John Heilemann, and Maria Teresa Kumar. And Maria Teresa, Amy Klobuchar, really showed the other candidates how to break out of the pack in a debate when it really matters. I mean, that was the most important debate so far. The Nevada debate will be equally important coming before the Nevada caucuses. I imagine there are going to be other candidates trying to duplicate what Amy Klobuchar did.

KUMAR: Absolutely. Not to say that when I`ve been asked behind closed circles, who I thought was a sleeper candidate, I`ve just been saying since September that Amy is one of the sleeper candidates. She has incredible instincts. When it comes to politicking. She knows how to really talk and connect with audiences.

And actually she is one of the funniest people that I personally know. And just to see her grow, Lawrence, from the first time she took the debate stage where she didn`t have quite the right footing, she felt nervous, to see her really own the stage and talk about policies and really grounded in the Amy that has been able to connect with Minnesotans, is huge.

And I think that she will go into Nevada in a much stronger position, especially because the colony workers did not decide on which candidate they should choose, which - who they should endorse. It gives her an opening to have a conversation with folks in Nevada in a very fresh new way.

O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, who is always himself in a debate and always has been. What I have noticed is, the higher a candidate climbs in the polls, the more careful they are in the debate. The lower they are in the polls, the more they just go for it.


O`DONNELL: Amy Klobuchar was so low in the polls, she had nothing to protect. In New Hampshire, she went for it, and she scored.

HEILEMANN: She had been getting better, particularly in these debates - October, November, December, three really solid debate. She did not perform as well in the one in Des Moines, and she really focused on this one.

And I think it`s a combination of reach - of having that big moment. She knew this was it for her. She had not done well in Iowa. This was - if she`d finished fourth or fifth, as she did in Iowa, she probably would have dropped out of the race, the money would have dried up.

So it was on the line for her. And then the thing you see in that clip, which I love, is just this the retail politician, someone who lives for retail and understands that the way that it`s going to work for her is not by the giant stadium address or the TV advertising. It`s the fact that she`s going to touch people and she gets - as she said, she gets better by adjusting as she goes along, hearing what people are saying and making her pitch different.

It`s - in that moment to catch her when she could feel it working was a kind of special thing. I think the question for her now is, where does she win? That`s, you know the question for these people. You finished third - a strong third in New Hampshire. What`s the state that Amy Klobuchar wins.

And - because she doesn`t win somewhere soon, she`s not going to go very far. And you know, the big states were big money is necessary are looming just after South Carolina. So that the pressure is on her, I think in Nevada, as Maria Teresa said, to really - she got put something on the board here. She`s going to - she`s not she`s not broken through exactly. She`s got - you`ve life, but not a breakthrough.

O`DONNELL: I will a break here. Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thank you very much. Thank you--

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we have new public testimony about Congressman Jim Jordan and Jordan`s alleged role in helping cover up a sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State where a report indicates 177 athletes were sexually abused by one of the doctors in the athletic department at Ohio State.

We will show you some of the testimony about what Jim Jordan knew and when he knew it after this point. This is very powerful video. Some of you might not want to watch this. But it tells you a lot about Jim Jordan`s history.


O`DONNELL: Jim Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State before he became the Congressman without the suit coat. And the captain of the Ohio State wrestling team, when Jim Jordan was an assistant coach, testified to the Ohio legislature this week about sexual abuse of his wrestling teammates, including his brother, and that he told Jim Jordan about that.


ADAM DISABATO, BROTHER OF OSU WHISTLEBLOWER: My name is Adam DiSabato. I was a wrestler at Ohio State from 1988 through `93. I was captain of the team, which is in question with a lot of these allegations, and what was going on for four of those final years.

So I`m very disgusted in the way this has been handled. I`ve had my teammates calling me, crying. I went to Jim Jordan. I went to them as a captain begging them to do something. They did nothing.


O`DONNELL: When Adam DiSabato`s brother Mike became the whistleblower who exposed the sexual abuse of wrestlers by the team Dr. Richard Strauss. Adam DiSabato says Jim Jordan tried to get other wrestlers to defend him - Jim Jordan, against the accusation that he did nothing about the sexual abuse that he knew about.


DISABATO: Jim Jordan called me crying - crying, groveling on the 4th of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for half hour. That`s the kind of cover ups that`s going on there.

Jim Jordan called me several times after that. That week, I had to have my lawyer call him telling to stop calling me. I had a teammate George Pardos, I called and told him, call Jim Jordan and tell him to quit calling me or I`m going to beat his ass. That`s what I said. He`s a coward. He`s a coward. He`s not a leader. He`s a coward.

I`m a leader. I was Captain of these guys. That`s why I`m here. I would never abandon my team. He abandoned us. Our head coach abandoned this. He`s flipped his story. He called other people to flip their story. He called Mark Coleman to flip this story, called his parents - 90 years old. That`s the kind of person Jim Jordan is. Okay? Jim Jordan, if I ever see him, he better not come around me. Guarantee you that.


O`DONNELL: John Heilemann is back with us. And John, it`s just so difficult to listen to their - he`s not the only one. There are many other members of that team who are saying the same thing and over a period of years. Ultimately 177 athletes involving other teams and wrestling.

The political question for us with Jim Jordan is, what I have not understood about this, since this started, even before this testimony. Is why isn`t Jim Jordan chased down every hallway in Congress with microphones asking him to answer for this?

HEILEMANN: I don`t know. I mean, I`d know I think because, you know, there`s some hand or wrench or something about that would speak to this. I think you should know the banality of evil.

And the fact that the way in which the coverage of politics is, people are very comfortable staying in their lane, asking the questions they`re supposed to ask, talking about process, talking about legislation, talking about things that are in the normal toolkit. If you ask political reporters, most of them to behave like human beings, they get very uncomfortable with it.

And I don`t think it`s a question of like, anybody is trying to cover up for Jim Jordan. I think there`s a - there`s just a discomfort with this topic, with this level of rawness, with this level of honesty. I don`t think you can watch that gentlemen and not believe whatever word he`s saying.

I mean, I don`t - you know, no, I`ve never viewed the evidence in this case, but that is a person who speaks with credibility. And I think there are cases that are this horrific where it`s incumbent on us all to step outside our comfort zone and start to do what you just suggested.

O`DONNELL: We`re out of time for the night. The most important thing about this segment was being able to see that video.


O`DONNELL: So, you know, what we have to say about it as not as important as what he had to say about it. John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us. "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" starts now.