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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, September 1, 2020

Guests: Lily Adams, Jacob Blake Sr., Benjamin Crump


Donald Trump went to Kenosha, Wisconsin today and completely ignored the reason why there's intent focus on Kenosha, and that reason is the plainly unjustifiable police shooting of Jacob Blake. Michael Schmidt discussed his new book, "Donald Trump V. the United States". Donald Trump took his presidential campaign of fear to the must-win state of Wisconsin today where a new poll shows that he's losing to Joe Biden by an even bigger margin than previous polling in Wisconsin. In Kenosha today, as a counter-demonstration to Donald Trump's visit, people gathered to support Jacob Blake and his family.



Take as much time as you want when you're breaking news like that. The Melania tapes apparently are going to be heard.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You know, Lawrence, the -- if you read her book, there is a ton of new information in there about the inaugural, which is one of the Trump scandals I've been obsessed with for a long time, because it's never good, even in a sober presidency, for there to be tens of millions washing around in a slush fund. But the personal stuff involved these long, very detailed, in some cases unidiomatic quotes from the first lady that feel like they are verbatim.

And it just -- reading them in such a way makes you think they must have been based on a recording. And I did not expect her to confirm that tonight, that in fact, there are tapes, including of the first lady saying the disturbing stuff about kids on the border. But that's what Stephanie Wolkoff just confirmed.

O'DONNELL: Yes. And then it was so fascinating to hear her explanation, when you asked her about what did it feel like for a friend to be taping a friend? She's been accused of taping her friend, and then she explains, well, at that point, I'm not her friend anymore, and I was under investigation.


O'DONNELL: And in that situation, you should press record. If you are under investigation the way she was. That was, in fact, that was definitely the right thing to do.

MADDOW: Yeah. And in this case, I mean, what the book is about when it comes to the inaugural is that there really does seem to be tens of millions of missing dollars there. And a lot of the guys involved with the financial part of the inaugural are in trouble now. Including Rick Gates, right, who said under oath, yeah, maybe I stole some money from the inaugural.

She's the only one that got blamed publicly. She believes the first lady in the White House should have stood up for her. She says she knows that she did nothing wrong, and she's kept literally all the receipts and has them in binders.

So, when she feels thrown over by the White House, yeah, she's taking all those binders and receipts and giving them with prosecutors and investigators, cooperating with three simultaneous investigations and she's like, you're going to call me a liar? Let me prove you wrong, as well. I've got tapes.

If she releases these tapes of the first lady before the election, I mean, I don't know what -- I don't know what the allegory to that is in presidential history. I just --


O'DONNELL: Yeah, we do not have one. First lady tapes like this we do not have any previous model for that.

Rachel, as you were in the audio book segment of the show tonight, where before you brought on the author, and you're just reading these passages, I think we all started to think there's tapes, and then that final one you read to introduce the question of tapes. That's Melania speak. That is the stuff in there that only she would say, and there's little English usage mistakes that kind of belong to her that really made it feel like you either had to be writing those words down in front of her or you pressed "record".

MADDOW: Yeah. And in that last part that you're describe thing where she talks about going to the border on what the patrols told her, and again, some other non-idiomatic things, Wolkoff describes those as taking -- being part of a 70-minute long phone conversation. Even if you were writing something down in that level of detail verbatim like that wouldn't make sense, unless you had a recording to go back to and they check your notes against.

So, I don't know. I mean, we'll see if she releases this tape. She says that there's a report coming out that's at least based on them. But the White House knowing that this is hanging over them and she's got them and could release them at her will has got to be putting the shiver down the spine of the White House right now.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, you just created a very upsetting night in the White House with breaking that news about the Melania tapes. I'm sure there's a lot of buzzing around there right now.

MADDOW: Yeah. I'm not going to think about it.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DOINNELL: Thank you.

Well, Donald Trump went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today and completely ignored the reason we have been focused on Kenosha so intently, and that reason is the plainly unjustifiable police shooting of Jacob Blake. And we know the shooting was unjustifiable because we have seen the video. We have seen the police officer holding Jacob Blake's T-shirt from behind, and deciding as Jacob Blake was getting into his car with his children to shoot Jacob Blake in the back, to fire seven shots into the back of a person, who was not threatening that officer in any way at all.

And that is a violation of police deadly force rules. It is a violation of law. And it is a tragedy for Jacob Blake and his family. And Donald Trump ignored that tragedy today, ignored that family today in Kenosha. President Trump did not speak to Jacob Blake's family or acknowledge them in any way. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris called Jacob Blake's family last week and spoke with the family for an hour.

Jacob Blake's father said then, this is quoting, it was like I was speaking to my uncle and one of my sisters. Jacob Blake's father will join us tonight at the end of this hour and get tonight's last word.

Michael Schmidt will join us in a moment to discuss his stunning new book "Donald Trump Versus the United States", which provoked President Trump today to reveal that he went to Walter Red Medical Center having suffered a series of mini strokes, which is the way future historians will report all of this if they make the judgment that millions of Americans have already made, and that many close and careful Trump observers have made, and that judgment is that if President Trump tweets it, the opposite is true.

If we made that assumption about all of President Trump's tweets, you would be right more often than you would be wrong. If president Trump tweets it, the opposite is true. Here is what Michael Schmidt's book provoked Donald Trump to tweet today.

Donald Trump tweeted: Now they are trying to say that your favorite president, me, went to Walter Reed Medical Center, and, you know, let's just stop for a second right now there to examine how high the voltage is, in the currents of insecurity that surge through every word Donald Trump ever says about himself, and the word we're focusing on here at this moment is the word "me."

Donald Trump does not trust, cannot trust that when he refers to your favorite president, that people will understand that he means himself. He knows he's not your favorite president, MSNBC watcher. He knows he can only be the favorite president of the most ardent Trump supporters, and he knows he's writing this tweet to and for them. But he doesn't even trust them to think of him when he says your favorite president.

That is how unyielding and punishing president Trump's insecurity is to Donald Trump, raging uncontrollable insecurity in his every public pronouncement, uncontrollable insecurity shakes every fiber of his being every minute of his life. Mary Trump has told us that in her book. Donald Trump knows he was a fraud. Mary Trump has told us that that weighs more heavily on Donald Trump in his current job than it ever did before the presidency.

And for a 74-year-old obese man who sleeps very little, the relentless currents of insecurity that surge through Donald Trump's mind and body can take a toll. And added to his other risk factors, confined him rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center as he was in October 2019. This is the account of that trip in Michael Schmidt's book that made president Trump deny today that he suffered a series of mini strokes, which for many is the very first revelation of the possibility of those mini strokes, and effectively, the confirmation of those mini strokes, because of president Trump's denial of those mini strokes.

That's what he said in that tweet after he talked about his favorite president. He went on to say that this report that he suffered mini strokes was untrue. Here is what set off that Donald Trump tweet today.

Michael Schmidt writes: On a Saturday afternoon in mid-November, as Democrats moved toward their impeachment vote, Trump made an unexpected visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The White House played off the trip as part of the president's annual physical but provided no other details about the examination, raising questions about the president's health.

In reporting for this book, I learned that in the hours leading up to Trump's trip to the hospital, word went out in the West Wing for the vice president to be on stand by to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized. Pence never assumed the powers of the presidency and the reason for Trump's trip to the doctor remains a mystery.

And that is the standard procedure in the White House, if the president is going to be under anesthesia for scheduled surgery, including routine procedures, the vice president is alerted that during the anesthesia period, the vice president might, might have to assume the powers of the presidency in say a possible emergency of some kind like a terrorist attack for example.

So Mike Pence was alerted that whatever was happening that day at Walter Reed, he was alerted of that on the way to Walter Reed when Donald Trump was on the way to Walter Reed in a motorcade, that included an ambulance. Donald Trump might be in enough medical trouble that he would be unable to exercise the duties of the presidency that's what Mike Pence was told. And that passage in Michael Schmidt's book had not gotten a lot of attention until Donald Trump tweeted about mini strokes.

And I just read the full passage in Michael Schmidt's book and it says nothing about a stroke or mini strokes. He says it remains a mystery why the president of the United States was rushed to the hospital and future historians will not take anything said by Trump White House physicians very seriously. That's not just because of the lying of the Trump White House. Historians have known for a very long time now that White House physicians are notoriously unreliable about the medical condition of the president of the United States, who is that physician's commander in chief, because the position of White House physician goes to a navy doctor.

And if you listened to the White House physician treating the most unhealthy president of the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you would have shocked by the news that President Roosevelt died in office on April 12th, 1945, even though a private physician, who was called in from Boston to treat President Roosevelt a year before, was absolutely certain that the president he examined was dying before his eyes.

Since then, other White House physicians have delivered overly sunny and untrustworthy assessments of the health of the president who say serve. And so, the current White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, has the distinction of having supervised the most reckless treatment ever provided to a president when he supervised president Trump's use of hydroxychloroquine for two weeks.

Now, of course, this being the Trump White House, there's absolutely no reason to believe that president Trump actually took hydroxychloroquine for two weeks, and there's no reason to believe that the White House physician prescribed hydroxychloroquine to the president for two weeks. But they're both saying that that happened.

That's the same White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who issued this statement today saying: I can confirm that President Trump has not experienced nor been evaluated for a stroke, or a mini stroke, or any acute cardiovascular emergencies, as has been incorrectly reported in the media.

The White House physician is, of course, lying with his final use of the phrase "as have been incorrectly reported in the media." So there's the White House physician, proving to you in his own statement that he is willing to lie for Donald Trump, because he did lie. Nothing incorrect has been reported in the media about this.

And so today, on the publication day of Michael Schmidt's new book, the book has provoked the White House physician to lie about the news media, and it has provoked Donald Trump to describe a dramatic scene of going, quote, "to Walter Reed Medical center, having suffered a series of mini strokes," and then saying, that never happened.

All of that from just one page of Michael Schmidt's new book "Donald Trump Versus the United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President."

And leading off our discussion tonight is Michael Schmidt, Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for "The New York Times" and MSNBC national security contributor.

Michael, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. What has been your day like, your reaction to what you saw explode on Twitter today when the president brought up the mini-strokes that you simply referred to as a mystery with no known medical term applied to it.

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT: It was the ultimate Trumpian moment for our reporter. And someone who wrote their book, this being the first book I have ever written.

I spent all of this time trying to understand how Donald Trump used his power, how the people around him tried to contain him, the highly unusual phenomenon of these people standing between Donald Trump and the abyss. I looked at government documents that had never been made public before. I spent hours and hours with people, some that were never helpful on anything.

And yet despite all of that, something I didn't put in my book became the story today. And it was simply as Trumpian a thing as I had seen. Here it was, the lead headline on Drudge, the president tweeting about it, a statement from the White House in response to a few sentences in the book and something that wasn't there.

O'DONNELL: What is -- what is your study of President Trump tell you about this, that -- and I offered that formula that I think historians might choose 50 years from now, 100 years now, which is if Donald Trump tweeted it, the opposite is true. We all have our kinds of frames of operation of interpreting Trumpian moments. But when you see that tweet, and Donald Trump getting very specific with series of mini strokes, what does your experience about Donald Trump tell you when you read that tweet?

SCHMIDT: Well, one, there may be a clue there for all of us. There seems to always be a bit of a clue in what the president says. And the second thing, just how easily he can be drawn off sides, if there's something chattering out there on Twitter about something, he just always seems to take the bait and I'm always surprised by that.

This would have been a very easy thing to ignore. There's other stuff in the book. Even stuff that doesn't have to do with him, that, you know, would have -- maybe people wouldn't have paid attention to it. I don't know if they would have found it interesting.

But to take something that is embarrassing and potentially damaging to him, and turn it into a bigger story, it just happens over and over again. It was something that I learned working on the book. It's that the Trump story repeats itself over and over again. The story of Jim Comey is the first time that someone around the president sort of tries to stop him from doing something and gets killed off the island. But that story just keeps on happening.

And after a while, you kind of look at the Trump story as I was trying to finish the book, I sort of realized this just happens again and again and again, and Trump, sort of, is this human MRI machine to see into the soul souls into the people around the president.

But you got to put your pencil down at some point, because the story is the story. He's not that unique. He repeats himself a lot.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, one of the repetitions, one of the things that keeps going in this book in an extraordinary way is his interaction with Don McGahn and he's trying to get Don McGahn to tell Rod Rosenstein that he has to fire Robert Mueller.

And then we see in these oval office scenes that you have portrayed that Donald Trump then denies telling Don McGahn what he told Don McGahn to do, and Don McGahn sits there and tells him, no, that's exactly what you told me to do. And you can see that McGahn has definitely established what he sees as a pattern with Donald Trump, and he uses that pattern of Trumpian behavior in interacting with him.

SCHMIDT: Don McGahn, to me, is the most remarkable character of the Trump presidency, because he was in charge of the umbilical cord between the president and his base. He was in charge of the judges. That allowed the president to behave in the way he did without the base moving from underneath him.

Don McGahn was a chief container of the president, stopping the president from doing things, like you're saying, trying to fire Robert Mueller. And McGahn was the chief witness against his client in an existential threat to the presidency. And why did Don McGahn walk this tight rope?

He walked this tight rope that he came to the Trump trough, he came to the Trump presidency, with a never and again opportunity to remake the federal courts. And he believed in that mission more than I think anyone else in the administration, including the president. And he put up with a lot of things that other people would not have in order to get that. And he walked away having impact on this country for decades to come by remaking the federal judiciary. And he did it all while all these different things were going on. And unlike a lot of the people in the Trump era, he came out of it without a criminal problem.

He came out of it as simply a witness. And that human story of what is it like to be the person trying to stop the president. We know what it's like for a president to try and use their power. We know that story. Those books have been told before.

But what is it like to try and stop the president? What is it like when you think the president may be out of control and the president may hurt himself, he may hurt the country. He may hurt the office of the presidency. What is that phenomenon like?

If you're the 911 operator, there's no 911 operator to call. If you're the White House counsel, there's no other White House counsel to call. It's just you and the president.

And I try to tell the story of somewhat that's like, because I thought that is the most unique thing I could find in the Trump era.

O'DONNELL: Michael, I think what you have is the first of what will be many volumes of people telling authors what they were doing to save the country from Donald Trump while they were working inside. That's what you heard from pretty much every Nixon operative who didn't go to prison. You'd be hearing for decades later in Washington what they were doing.

Some of them it's real. Don McGahn, we see in the Mueller investigation exactly some of these things that you laid out and how he refused to go through with the firing of Mueller. But this book is a remarkable, a remarkable account of life inside that White House, and this book has taken on its own life inside that White House today.

Michael Schmidt, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

SCHMIDT: Thanks for having me.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back, David Plouffe, Lily Adams will join us to consider that Donald Trump's reaction, because, remember, this is a presidential reaction, Donald Trump's presidential campaign reaction today to tweet about mini strokes that he says he did not have.


O'DONNELL: Today, the vice president was asked about Michael Schmidt's reporting in his new book that the White House staff alerted Mike Pence to be ready to assume the duties of president as Donald Trump was being rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump is in excellent health, and, Bret, I'm always informed of the president's movements. Whether it was on that day or any other day, I'm informed. But there was no -- there was nothing out of the ordinary about that moment or that day. And I just refer any other questions to the White House physician.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But as far as being on stand by?

PENCE: I don't -- I don't recall being told to be on stand by. I was informed that the president had a doctor's appointment.


O'DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is David Plouffe, he's former campaign manager and White House senior adviser to President Barack Obama. He is host of the "Campaign HQ" podcast and is MSNBC political analyst.

And Lily Adams is back with us. She is senior spokesperson and adviser to the DNC War Room and the former communications director of Kamala Harris' 2020 presidential campaign.

This is your first time on TV I'm told since Kamala Harris was chosen for VP. Tell me that's true.

LILY ADAMS, DNC SENIOR SPOKESPERSON: It is true, maybe. I don't know maybe a couple other times. But first time on your show for sure.

O'DONNELL: That's what I meant by TV. That is what I personally mean by TV is first time on this particular show.

ADAMS: First time here.

O'DONNELL: David, let me start with you. You have worked in a White House. You have been around presidents and vice president.

I've never been vice president, but I've known a couple. And I'm pretty sure that every vice president can tell you every single time he has been alerted to the possibility that he might -- might have to assume the duties, because the president might go under anesthesia, and we just heard Mike Pence say, I don't recall. He gave the "I don't recall." he said, I don't recall being told to be on stand by.

David, I don't know, I think you recall. I think you recall exactly when you're told to be on stand by.

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course you do, Lawrence. I mean, Mike Pence looked about as uncomfortable as president Trump did holding a bible.

So what's amazing about this is, had Trump not sent out that tweet and taken the bait, I'm not sure Mike Pence would have been asked that question. So now you're 63 days out from a presidential election where 22 percent of the country think we're heading in the right direction because of the pandemic, the economic recession, the racial unrest, and now there's questions about his mental and physical fitness.

So, which I think are very valid questions. I mean, you look at that FOX interview he did with Laura Ingraham, and this guy is not well. OK? He's on the far fringe of the country in terms of conspiracy theories, talking about soup cans today in Kenosha. So he heads into the stretch of a presidential campaign, where I think there is legitimate questions about his physical and mental fitness.

And, you know, he's trying to make these claims about Joe Biden, that Joe Biden is not mentally fit, and compared to Donald Trump, Joe Biden is a combination of Bo Jackson and Albert Einstein these days.

O'DONNELL: Yeah. And, Lily, that's the way I was looking at this event today. This is a presidential campaign. Imagine you're working on the re-election of a president. You're at the campaign office, and you look on Twitter and you see that your candidate has tweeted that, you know, there's a report that he went to Walter Reed having suffered a series of mini strokes, and then saying it never happened.

When your candidate is doing that kind of damage to your campaign by putting out a story that wasn't going to be a story, like David said, there wouldn't have been any questions to Mike Pence today about this if Donald Trump didn't tweet that.

What can it be like to have the candidate lobbing these tweets into your campaign?

LILY ADAMS, SENIOR SPOKESPERSON AND ADVISER, DNC WAR ROOM : Well look, I think if you're a campaign staffer, that's when your head meets your desk. And I think for the Trump campaign staff, I think that's probably a daily occurrence at this point.

But look, the president is living on earth, too. He's in an alternate universe where he pretends that the coronavirus doesn't exist. That it's going to disappear and it's killed 180,000 Americans.

He pretends that the economy is great but 100,000 small businesses have closed. He says the job market is great but one in ten Americans are out of work.

He's just completely detached and does not have the capability to lead this country any more.

O'DONNELL: All right. We're going to squeeze in a quick break here so that we'll have enough time to discuss the new battleground polls -- national polls that have come out today.

So Lily Adams in her debut appearance on "The Last Word", since her former boss Kamala Harris was chosen as VP. And David Plouffe will be back.

And we will have the breaking news from Massachusetts, where for the very first time in history, a Kennedy has lost a Democratic primary in the state of Massachusetts. That's next.


O'DONNELL: Donald Trump's campaign of fear is not working. Donald Trump took his presidential campaign of fear to the must-win state of Wisconsin today where a new poll shows that he's losing to Joe Biden by an even bigger margin than previous polling in Wisconsin.

A Morning Consult poll of the state of Wisconsin released today shows a 9-point lead for Joe Biden with Biden up 52-43. That poll was taken after the Republican Convention, and after Donald Trump has done everything he can to provoke more unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Every other poll released today has more bad news for Donald Trump who went into the two weeks of conventions in August behind Joe Biden, and is still running behind Joe Biden. With the conventions seeming to have changed nothing about the polling dynamics of the campaign.

That same Morning Consult poll finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by eight points nationally, 51-43, that is the same margin the Morning Consult poll found before the conventions.

In Arizona, Joe Biden has a ten-point lead over Donald Trump, that's a 12-point improvement from before the conventions. "The New York Times" is reporting that the Biden/Harris campaign has set a record for fundraising during the month of August, which is the highest amount ever raised by a presidential campaign in a month. The previous record was held by the Obama/Biden campaign of 2008.

David Plouffe and Lily Adams are back with us. Lily, your reading of the polls post-convention, we seem to see no change.

ADAMS: Yes, I think this remains a very steady race, but I think we were always prepared that, you know, we know these races tighten at the end. So, you know, the Biden campaign, the DNC are all prepared for a very tough fight.

But I will say that look, there are voters in states like North Carolina, there are voters in other battleground states who will start to get their ballots this week and into September. So election day actually starts very soon which also means that if you still see a Biden lead, Trump's attacks are going to get more desperate, more unhinged, and more out of this world.

So I think we just need to strap in and prepare for kind of a bumpy ride, but we feel very good about where things stand.

O'DONNELL: David, the idea of Trump becoming more unhinged as a candidate, as an attempt to win sounds like something that could actually be helpful to Joe Biden.

DAVID PLOUFFE, HOST, "CAMPAIGN HQ" PODCAST: Yes. Well, he's in a box, Lawrence. So I think that, you know, his event in Kenosha today, that disastrous Fox interview, the thousand tweets he sends out a day -- this is just reinforcing to people why they want a change.

So -- and Lily makes a really important point. There are going to be people voting through September when Joe Biden is at a pretty strong position in the race. You know, the most important data in the rest of this campaign is September 29th. That's the first presidential debate.

Joe Biden is solid, particularly given the low expectations Trump has set for him. I would like to see Biden do more than solid. I think he needs to go in there and punish Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is a bully. And to your point, he's unhinged. He wants to play defense, which, by the way, most presidential incumbents struggle in that first debate including Barack Obama because you want to defend your record. And you'll have been challenged by someone staring at you like an opponent has been.

So if Joe Biden can come out of the 29th maintaining, much less growing, his position with the electorate, he's going to be in a very strong position. I will say, they are just polls, they're not votes. So I discount them to a great degree.

But you're looking at polls now in battleground states. I could care less about national polls. They are meaningless in the pursuit of the presidency. But in these battleground states, Joe Biden is now -- and some of them at 51, 52 -- a world of difference from being at 47 or 48. Because then Trump's got to bring him down. It's not just getting back some soft Trump supporters that have gone undecide. He's got to bring vote away from Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is at the win number if you believe these polls. So I do think it's going to be a rough ride. I think a lot this now is going to be Trump trying to set up election night.

So then "look I won", and you know, if Biden wins Florida, I think that story line collapses. But if Trump wins Florida, and he's ahead in some of these other states and his mail ballots get counted in the days after, he'll lose the election.

So I think it's very incumbent on all of us to talk to the American people to say we may not know on Election Day who the winner is. Again I think if Biden wins Florida, we're going to know.

O'DONNELL: Yes. And, you know, Massachusetts is an unusual state in that they start counting the mail-in ballots when they arrive. They don't have to wait until election night and start opening them. So they've got a pretty good count tonight in Massachusetts because of that.

And Lily, David mentions the Biden getting up over 50. And I'm just glancing at these battleground states that came out today. Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin -- he's over 50. He's at 51, 52 in those states.

And Donald Trump has not shown that he has any move that he knows how to make to take those numbers down for Joe Biden.

ADAMS: Well, look, you're exactly right, Lawrence. And I will just say if there was one trend line that's worth observing from the conventions, it's that the more voters learn about Joe Biden, the more they like him.

So not only is he above 50 in some of these states, but also he has a net positive favorability, which is not something that Donald Trump can say and frankly it's not something that we found that we were in a place and could say four years ago with the nominee then.

O'DONNELL: All right. I want to go to the breaking news from Massachusetts -- the Democratic senate primary there. This is history making breaking news.

Let's go right to Steve Kornacki at the big board. Steve -- what is the story in Massachusetts tonight?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: It really is historic. When this race started, it was supposed to be a mismatch for Joe Kennedy on election night. This turned into a mismatch against Joe Kennedy. Ed Markey, the winner. Garrett Haake -- our Garrett Haake reporting that Kennedy has phoned Markey to concede.

How did Markey pull this off tonight? The basic story is this, he fused two powerful coalitions in Democratic politics together. Ed Markey, running up the score with young voters. College towns, parts of Boston, parts of cities with lots of young voters, running up the score there.

And also there's the Sanders voters on one end -- that's the young voters; Warren voters, Elizabeth Warren supporters, especially in those suburban bedroom communities outside Boston. Again Markey running up the score there.

That one-two punch just too much for Joe Kennedy. And you mentioned the historic nature of this. This is what it was coming into tonight. Democratic primaries in Massachusetts going way back to JFK in 1946. 26 Democratic primaries with a Kennedy; 26 wins for a Kennedy -- never a loss.

We have to update it now. So let's change the score board and there it is, the first ever loss for a Kennedy in a Massachusetts Democratic primary.

O'DONNELL: And Steve, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the biggest out of state endorser of Ed Markey. Nancy Pelosi was the biggest out of state endorser for Joe Kennedy. What can we interpret from that?

KORNACKI: You could see the power there. The power was from -- and I don't want to attribute it all to AOC but I think she symbolized something. And that's Ed Markey, 74 years old. Ed Markey who came to Congress way back in 1976, spent three decades in the House before moving up to the Senate.

He successfully got behind the Green New Deal and a much broader movement that you see starting to reshape Democratic politics, a movement that got behind Sanders in the Democratic primaries was not enough to get the Democratic nomination nationally. But that's a powerful movement in a state like Massachusetts, especially, and this was the other key for Markey as we say. He took that and he built on it.

He got some voters, I think Bernie Sanders was not able to get in these Democratic primaries. Markey was able to put both of those together. It's a remarkable reinvention is almost the word here. Ed Markey been around four decades in politics. He becomes the vehicle for a youth movement at the age of 74.

O'DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. Really appreciate your cutting in with that.

We're going back to Lily Adams and David Plouffe.

David, you're in the state -- the exciting state of Massachusetts tonight where this history is being made. A remarkable turnout in a primary during a pandemic. You have the AOC endorsement on the winning side of this. Steve telling us it was the youth vote that did it. It was the youth vote that turned out the vote that you cannot normally rely on to turn out. What does it tell us about November?

PLOUFFE: Well, it has an important history, Massachusetts. I was part of Deval Patrick's races that were fueled by a lot of support amongst younger voters that people don't expect to turn out, much less lead a campaign, which they did.

So I think it's a good sign. I think here in Massachusetts, at the end of the day, I think Joe Kennedy is very talented, but I don't think there was a reason for people to fire Ed Markey. And at the end of the day, I think Ed Markey ran a really great campaign with some wonderful ads, great grassroots organizer.

But that's what we need in November. And we saw it in 2018. You know, Lawrence, the best off-year turnout, congressional turnout in a century, ok?

So if we can do anything like that again, and listen, Donald Trump is going to turn out his vote. With all of his troubles, I'm convinced of that. So we need that kind of turnout that we just saw tonight in Massachusetts, that we saw in 2018 in the great election that gave us the House of Representatives.

O'DONNELL: Lily Adams, about $25 million was spent in Massachusetts on an attempt to replace a Democrat in the Senate with a Democrat in the Senate. $25 million that could have gone to Senate races elsewhere in the country, that could have gone to trying to defeat Donald Trump.

ADAMS: Look, I think, Lawrence, iron sharpens iron, and competitive primaries are good for our party. So I congratulate Senator Markey on his win tonight. But I will say if you look at the money being raised by Senate candidates across this country, I saw just the latest numbers from South Carolina where I believe the Democrat there raised $11 million this last month. Democratic challengers are having no issue with enthusiasm from grassroots donors.

O'DONNELL: Lily Adams, David Plouffe -- thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

ADAMS: Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back, Jacob Blake's father will get tonight's LAST WORD.


O'DONNELL: As we reported here last night, yesterday in a question via a White House reporter, Donald Trump was asked if he condemned the vigilante killings carried out in Kenosha, Wisconsin by a 17-year-old Trump supporter from Illinois who was in illegal possession of the AR-15-style rifle that he used to kill two protesters in Kenosha, shooting one of them in the back and wounding another.

Donald Trump not only declined the opportunity to condemn his 17-year-old supporter's illegal possession of and use of that weapon to kill people, Donald Trump actually offered a self-defense theory in what is now the murder case that the 17-year-old has been charged in.

And that is because Donald Trump believes the way for him to win the presidential election is to win the vigilante vote and the vigilante sympathizer vote.

Last night at this hour on the Fox propaganda channel owned and operated by Donald Trump's favorite immigrant Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump compared the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha with a golfer missing a putt.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Shooting the guy in the back many times, I mean couldn't you have done something different? Couldn't you have wrestled him? You know, I mean, in the meantime, he might have been going for a weapon. And, you know, there's a whole big thing there. But they choke just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot --

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: You're not comparing it to golf because, of course, that's what the media will say.

TRUMP: No. I'm saying people choke.


O'DONNELL: Yes, he was comparing it to golf. and he was sanitizing what looks like an attempted murder by a police officer on video to just being an imperfect judgment made in a tense moment.

For Donald Trump, Jacob Blake clinging to life in a hospital bed in Kenosha after repeated surgeries for these seven bullets fired into his body represents nothing more than a missed putt.

In Kenosha today, as a counterdemonstration to Donald Trump's visit, people gathered to support Jacob Blake and his family. Here's what Jacob Blake's uncle had to say about Donald Trump's trip to Kenosha.


JUSTIN BLAKE, UNCLE OF JACOB BLAKE: We don't know what his agendas is. He does. It's been racist. It's been stirring up violence for police officers all over this country to do what they've done to our black young people and murder them all across this country. What we know our agenda is, is about growth, building, and wellness. So if you want to know -- you want to support the Blakes, you have to support that.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Jacob Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr. Also with us, attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Jacob Blake's family.

Mr. Blake, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. What is your reaction to Donald Trump visiting Kenosha today?

JACOB BLAKE SR., FATHER OF JACOB BLAKE: Well, Lawrence, I'd like to thank you for having us this evening. But I don't have an opinion about President Trump. My opinion is about saving my son's life and just the health of my son matters to me.

Politics right now, if you're not talking about police reform, if you're not talking about police de-escalating situations instead of escalating situations, I don't have an -- I don't have a political move.

O'DONNELL: Tell us --

BLAKE: I'm not a chess piece. Neither is my son.

O'DONNELL: Please tell us about your son and how he's doing tonight.

BLAKE: He -- Lawrence, he's fighting. He's fighting, you know, for his literal life, not figuratively, for his literal life. And he's doing a good job. And being paralyzed from the waist down right now is a terrible thing.

O'DONNELL: What do you think you would have told Donald Trump if Donald Trump had met with you?

BLAKE: I would have never -- it wasn't a -- it's not a political opportunity to take a political stance for anything because the only thing that matters to me is my son. So it would have been a bunch of dead air.

O'DONNELL: Benjamin crump, as you know, at the White House yesterday Donald Trump said he would have been willing to meet with Jacob Blake's family, but he didn't want lawyers present. He didn't mention your name, but he was saying that he understood that you wanted to be present. And therefore I guess in Donald Trump's way of describing this, you're the reason he didn't meet with the family.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR JACOB BLAKE'S FAMILY: Lawrence, Mr. Blake, Miss Julia and their family has every right to have their legal representatives present, especially when they are meeting with any government figure that may ultimately be able to decide the accountability of the police officers who shot their son seven times in the back in front of their three little boys, especially with a Department of Justice investigation going, you absolutely would want your counsel present.

Doesn't President Trump have his lawyers with him when he makes statements in litigation? It just boggles our mind when Trayvon Martin was called by President Obama, his family, they had no problem with the attorneys being on the phone. When they called Michael Brown in Ferguson, no problem with the attorneys being on the phone. When Vice President Biden called George Floyd's family, no problem with their attorney being on the phone.

When Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, Lawrence, called Jacob Blake's family and spoke to them for about an hour, they had no problems with the attorneys being on the phone. It is only this president that has a problem with attorneys being on the phone when he's talking to the African-American victims of police shootings.

O'DONNELL: Mr. Blake, tell us about your conversation with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and was that helpful to you?

BLAKE: At that particular time, my energy was low. I was so concerned about my son, it was almost like I was talking to a family member, like an uncle or something.

And when I tell you, Lawrence, they kept talking and for 57 minutes and he was never in a hurry. He never rushed. He shared things with me about his family and vice president Harris shared things about her family, and it was some real-real. And they comforted my daughter, and they comforted my son's mother. It was really kind of surreal, but they related to the average people so easily.

O'DONNELL: How are your grandchildren doing, the kids who were in the car with Jacob when he was shot?

BLAKE: I'll be with them tomorrow, but they keep asking papa the same question over and over again. Papa, why did that policeman shoot my dad? Papa, why? Why, Papa? And I tell them, well, they weren't supposed to shoot them at all, baby. But daddy's going to be ok.

O'DONNELL: And do they ask what's going to happen to the police officer? Do the kids think through to that stage of this?

BLAKE: Say that again, Lawrence. I was lost.

O'DONNELL: Do the kids -- do your grandchildren wonder what's going to happen to the police officer who they saw shooting their father in the back?

BLAKE: Yes. Yes, they've asked me that. They ask me, was that ok? And I said, no, it wasn't ok. And they said, well, what are they going to do? And I said, we're going to get justice, baby. We're going to get justice for daddy.

O'DONNELL: And what about the rest of the family. You've all gathered around each other for this. What is it like at this stage as you go through it? I'm sure every day is different from and in many ways similar to the day before.

BLAKE: Well, right now it's pretty different every day because I've received so many threats. That's why I'm in the car right now. We move from place to place in the nighttime so that we don't, you know, that we're not seen.

So it's pretty -- it's pretty stressful. I just put my 20-year-old son -- he's been admitted to the hospital. He had a -- he just broke down. He was -- he was scared to death for his brother. Then he got scared to death for me because of the threats.

So we're going through a lot as a family, but we cannot be divided nor can we be conquered. We stand strong for my son. We demand justice. We demand the police officer is arrested.

O'DONNELL: Jacob Blake Sr. gets tonight's LAST WORD.

Jacob Blake thank you very, very much for joining us tonight and sharing what you and your family are going through. And Attorney Benjamin Crump, thank you for joining us. We always appreciate your input here.

That is tonight's LAST WORD.



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