tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC November 14, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
arrested in l.a. on suspicion of felony domestic violence. domestic abuse. you know who michael avenatti is. he represents stormy daniels, the woman whose silence the president tried to buy, a controversy that led to felony charges against the president's attorney, michael cohen. mr. avenatti is what we call unavoidable for comment. he's been a guest on this show and many others. tonight he's disputing any allegation he was physically abusive to anyone. he called the allegations that led to his arrest tonight, quote, fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. i should tell you the initial media report about the arrest said the alleged abuse involves his estranged wife. and then avenatti's estranged wife says it wasn't involved with her. so we don't know exactly what happened, but it does appear the police were involved here. we know police responded to an
incident involving him, and they did take him into custody and he was released on bail of $50,000. but as of right now he disputes whatever led to this arrest. i imagine we will learn more in the coming days. watch this space. we will seal you again tomorrow. now it's time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel. and an hour ago i happened to catch your hand-off with chris hayes, which i don't usually catch because i have other stuff to do at that particular moment. but i just want you to know that i'm always here if you ever drop in here 40 seconds early, i'll be here. the wires will all be wired, it'll be wired. >> are you just trying to add to my shame? >> i do think the highlight reel should include tonight's hand-off with chris hayes, which was a classic behind the scenes glimpse. >> i am a late person. you know as well as everybody in
this building that i sit down two seconds generously before it is time for the show to start, and then i always go late into the first minute of your show. and so i realize that this a problem i might fix, but boy was i surprised when chris came to my early tonight. >> it was the most fun i've had watching tv. >> the whole crew got to be on tv. >> it really was the inside the world of rachel maddow. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you, rachel. well, as election night in america continues, the democrats continue to win seats in the house of representatives. the wave continues. three new races have been called for the democrats tonight. steve kornacki will, of course, join us with the latest on those new wins for democrats. and in the white house this means it's a whole new level of insanity. that's what people inside trump world are now saying about donald trump's reaction once he began to realize just how badly donald trump and the republicans
were beaten in the election. a beating that continues to get worse every day as new democratic winners continue to be declared in congressional races from coast to coast. one former west wing staffer told gabriel sherman at vanity fair, quote, this is level of insanity i've never seen before. now, just pause and imagine what that insanity level must be like. a new one they've never seen before. previous presidents who have lost congressional seats in mid-term elections all immediately went to work trying to figure out how to win those voters back for their own upcoming re-election campaigns but not donald trump. he just goes to a new level of insanity, according to a trump insider. and that insanity includes melania trump. she is donald trump's third wife and the only one of donald trump's wives to push him around
publicly, and she did it at the peak of donald trump's power, the peak of the power in donald trump's life. she wasn't just pushing donald trump the real estate guy around, she was pushing around the president of the united states when she had her staff make a public statement yesterday that melania trump believes that deputy national security advisor mira, quote, no longer deserves the honor of serving in this white house. that was melania trump deciding to act as president of the united states, something she apparently decided that was something she could do because of her husband's new level of insanity, that that allows her to do that now. she humiliated her husband, she humiliated white house chief of staff john kelly proving john kelly is in charge of nothing and no one in the white house, and today she is no longer enjoying the honor of working in
the trump white house. and so the white house issued this statement today following up on melania trump's order. the statement says mira ricardel will continue to support the president as she transactionitions to a new roll within the administration. no first lady has ever before publicly urged the removal of a white house official whose employment in the white house was never in doubt until the first lady decided it should come to an end and announced that decision publicly. this is whole new level of insanity. gabriel sherman's reporting for vanity fair examines the president's, quote, dark mood during his weekend trip to france. donald trump was surprised, surprised his decision to skip the ceremony at an american military cemetery because of rain became a huge scandal. quote, one republican briefed on the internal discussion said the
real reason donald trump did not want to go is because there would be no tents to stand under. he was worried his hair was going to get mess said up in the rain, the source said. john bolton and everyone was telling him this was a big mistake. a former administration official said trump hates being outside in wet conditions. what i honestly think, he woke up and said it's pouring rain, this is joke and i'm not doing this. while the president was worrying about how his hair could survive rain at least some republicans were facing the reality of what went wrong in the election. >> our message was weak, our ground game was insufficient. we weren't inclusive. the perception that we're the party of the rich, unfortunately, continues. as it all goes back to what our moms used to tell us, it's not just what you say, it's how we
say it. >> well, that was actually reince priebus after barack obama won his re-election campaign. remember what happened then? remember the republican autopsy? that's what they called it. republicans took their loss to president obama very seriously and immediately went to work trying to figure out what they needed to do to win elections again. that's what reince priebus was talking about there, and as part of the republican autopsy then even shawn hannity changed his position on immigration and said we should create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in this country. shawn hannity believed republicans were going to have to appeal to minority voters and change their positions accordingly. but the republican's next nominee for president was donald trump. and the rest is history. shawn hannity changed his mind again to conform with the trump position as did the entire
republican party. but some republicans who worked on that republican autopsy six years ago are starting to think again about how to save the republican party. kevin mccarthy is one of them. kevin mccarthy is the new leader of republicans in the house of representatives because paul ryan saw the defeat of republicans coming over a year ago and decided not to run for reelection to his congressional seat. today kevin mccarthy told nbc's kasie hunt that recruiting women and minority candidates will be a focus of his. he said give me two years, i've only been leader for a few memts. he admitted to kasie hunt that the republicans have a structural problem. that was the term they used in their discussion today. meaning that republicans are appealing to too narrow a selection of voters to actually win elections.
donald trump the republican's structural problem. and as of tonight the president does not stand a chance of being re-elected. only 37% of voters want to see president trump re-elected. 58% of voters want to see president trump defeated in 2020. for the trump campaign to have a chance something dramatic is going to have to change about donald trump himself. and sole far changing donald trump has always been impossible. there is an extraordinary number within that monmouth university poll. 16% of republicans do not want donald trump to be reelected. donald trump cannot give up 16% of republicans and have any chance at re-election. 59% of independents say they do not want donald trump to be elected. 59% of independents. so for donald trump to be re-elected he has to somehow change the minds of every republican who does not want
donald trump to be re-elected and at the same time he has to change the minds of tens of millions of independents all over the country who do not want donald trump to be reelected. and we have never seen donald trump use his presence or use his political position to change the minds of voters who are against him. the new level of insanity does not include the new house republican minority leader kevin mccarthy. he knows the republicans have to do something, have to change something in order to win the next election. but he also knows that donald trump can never change. leading off our discussion now david jolly, former republican congressman from florida. neera tanden, she was hillary clinton's policy director during the 2008 presidential campaign. and cornell belcher, the democratic pollster and msnbc political analyst is with us. and david jolly, i want to start
with you and i want to start with what strikes me as possibly the most prohibitive number for donald trump. 16% of republicans do not want donald trump re-elected. >> and it's likely going to get worse, not better. look, to kevin mccarthy's point and with all due respect it's not a structural problem republicans have. it's a policy problem republicans have. and in full disclosure i was part of that small group of republicans a few years back that blocked kevin mccarthy's asn ascension to the speakership, the first time he tried to become leader because i told him point-blank that republicans refuse to address comprehensive immigration reform, kept pursuit of repeal of obamacare without replace. and that was when republicans controlled the house. we know the republican caucus has become more trump like, not
less trump like and kevin mccarthy won't be able to control the floor agenda. talking about paycheck issues, health care, on community safety while also saying we're going to engage in oversight but not too far, that contrast over the next years is going to hurt republicans and donald trump more than it's going to help them. they've got to identify who is the voice of the party as all these presidential candidates emerge, and they've got to look hard at all the losses they had last tuesday. how do you win states like florida, how do you win states like missouri? those are real procedural challenges republicanvise s hav figure out as well. >> they've got republicans at a whole new level of insanity. he says quoting a person close to donald trump, he says this is a matter of the president now being on his own without any counter veiling force
whatsoever, a person close to donald trump said. it's just 100% donald trump doing what donald trump wants. neera tanden, can anyone turn donald trump into someone who can appeal to voters who aren't already supporting him? >> i mean, the reality of this last two years is that donald trump has not built on his base. and i think that you pointed out the numbers amongst republicans, but i think what's an even more clear warning shot is how well democrats did across the country with independents. they won independents dicively even in places like texas. and david is right there are places democrats should focus on and try to shore up. but when you look at the breadth of the victory from one part of this country to basically every corner, democrats put together a winning coalition. a large scale coalition of suburban women, a lot of college
educated white men, in fact it used to be the base of the republican party, as well as millennials who no one expected to turn out and luteenees because of the ret rrk around the caravan. donald trump is in a day's long fury because his strategy backfired. he went all in on hateful chaos day in and day out. he has no other way as president and it failed. >> i want to hear your professional opinion as a pollster in what we're seeing in these new polls. and we're granting, we're recognizing the next election is two years away. but we have just seen two years of donald trump failing to convert a single voter in his direction, but never even trying to do it. so when you look at these polls showing the trouble that donald trump is in, the only pattern we
know is that donald trump has shown no evidence about how to pull himself out of these holes that he's in the polls. >> look, i think, you know, mccarthy and a lot of the republicans at some point, there's going to be a break in the republican party because there's, you know, donald trump's republican party, which it is right now but has no room for the kasichs of the world, has no room for the bushes of the world and has no room for a whole swath of republicans who once upon a time you understood. and donald trump has continued to narrow the republican party to a core group of people who are very anxious about their status in this country. i want to step back from a moment and sort of talk about that narrowing because it's profound, right? if you look at texas, texas is for republicans what california is for democrats. it is the biggest blue state.
texas is a big red state. you had a democrat come within 2 points of taking out a sitting republican senator. that should send shock waves all across the republican establishment. you have democrats making inroads in states that are very important. arizona, democrats have made inroads in a state that's been fairly red. nevada is beginning to look like virginia, which once upon a time was a red state, and virginia was once upon a time a red state. and you have georgia, which boggles my mind because i thought we were four years away from this in georgia. you have georgia as a toss up. if states like georgia and arizona are turning red, the pathway for republicans in 2020 back to the white house has gotten more and more narrow while the pathway for democrats is expanding. look, arizona will be a battleground state in the next presidential election, and i didn't think it would be. but if we're coming within a
point in georgia, whoever the next democratic nominee is, we'll put money there. >> and david jolly, when you look at a couple of the districts that were flipped in texas, one of them the republicans have held for 52 years since george h.w. bush first won that seat in 1966. a powerful 18-year member from texas just knocked out -- no one in his district seemed to care he was the chairman of aproepgs subcommittee and could do the district some good. none of the old moves are working in those kinds of districts for republicans. >> that's right. a couple of things we're seeing as the political demographics, the heartbeat of the country's politics are moving further away from where republicans are. and republicans seem to be moving further away from the i would be rather going in the democratic position in 2020 right now. you've got to hold your gains
and pick up a bit more. there's not enough red star bursts in the world to keep kevin mccarthy from going into check in 2020. but here's the important thing, lawrence, when we get there races are all about contrast. contrast between the two candidates. and that's where democrats have to decide, who is their voice, what is their message in 2020, and also be prepared. i do think we're going to see a disruptive candidate. if it's a primary challenge to donald trump there very might well be an independent or third party candidate. are they viable or do they play a spoiler role, or does it hurt trump or eat into some of the gains in the mid-term elections? >> david jolly, are you announcing tonight you will step into the primary field and be the challenger of donald trump in the republican primaries? >> i promise you i will pea part of the disruption in 2020. and i will say this, if it means it's a spoiler role that kills
donald trump's re-election chances, i'd like to go down in history being part of that team. >> neera tanden, when we first saw this occur, gene mccarthy did not expect to win. he wanted voters to simply express themselves that way, but that was enough. that challenge was enough when bobby kennedy also joined the campaign as an anti-war candidate to convince linden johnson to simply quit, to simply give up. and this was the most powerful uncanny politician who ever occupied the presidency, and no one expected lyndon johnson to give up and not run until the moment he actually spoke the words, that he was giving up and not running for re-election. the trump model following the lbj model is not inconceivable.
>> no, and i would say, you know, if i were a house republican i would really ask myself is donald trump helpful to my prospects if i'm not just in the most rural part of this country or is he helpful? and is it helpful to have him on the ticket for us to get to the top of the majority or harmful? and the reality is republicans made their bed with the devil over the last two years. mitch mcconnell and former speaker ryan made a deal with they basically looked away, were no check on trump. basically said yes to every single thing he did. and the country rose up in opposition. i'm definitely not an advisor to the republican party, but i have to say they have to ask themselves who is actually going to help them in the long-term be a majority party?
they are not a majority party today. they are just not a majority party today. they are in the senate because of basically the structural problems of the senate, but the house is much more representative. even with gerrymandering the democrats did so well. so i think if i were a possible challenger but if i were just a republican back-bencher i would ask myself. donald trump knows he has a lot of issues in the republican party, too. i think that's part of his seven-days long fury as well. >> and cornell belcher, the old professional advice for one party when the other party is destroying itself is to simply get out of the way and stay quiet and let them do that. the trouble is a field of democrats candidates for president is going to have to develop and develop relatively quickly, so they're not going to be able to just kind of silently watch the republicans struggle with their own confusions.
>> i think that's right. and one of the signs if you're a democrat and looking for it in the exit poll is this. republicans are more unfavorable, but there's not ten points worth of difference there. and i think democrats will be amiss if they in fact looked at what happened on tuesday of the election and not it was about them more so than it was about donald trump. and so i think to a certain extent democrats still have to put forward the same types we saw under obama, something to vote for. and you have college white voters breaking for democrats this time. hillary didn't win college white voters. obama didn't win college white voters. this is once in a lifetime, once in a generational opportunity to realign democrats, do it right
and put forward a forward thinking vision. >> thank you all for starting us off tonight. really appreciate it. and when we come back, steve kornacki will join us with the latest election results. more wins for democrats tonight. and congressman eric swalwell will join us with what the new congressional majority of democrats will do. and he'll discuss the grotesque inhumanity that donald trump has shown to be victims of the california fires. and even the fox news top legal analyst believes the installation of matthew whitaker as a so-called acting attorney general is unconstitutional. acy general is unconstitutional. ♪ ♪ the new capital one savor card.
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there is a new jeff flake in town. republican senator jeff flake with just weeks left in his time in the united states senate has just joined the resistance to protect robert mueller's investigation. jeff flake is finally using the super power granted to him as a republican member of the senate judigtsia judiciary committee to block all confirmations of judges in the senate judiciary committee because today when jeff flake rose on the senate floor with democratic senator chris coons to ask for a vote on their bipartisan supported bill to protect robert mueller, mitch mcconnell blocked that vote, and that was the breaking point for jeff flake.
>> why are we so sanguin about this? yet when we have the opportunity to past legislation to say protect the special counsel, we fail to bring it up on the senate floor? why? bring it to a vote. and until we do the 21 nominations that are in the judiciary committee waiting for a vote there will not receive a vote, nor will i give my vote to the 32 nominations that are sitting here on the senate floor. >> that is what the power of a single senator looks like. those nominations cannot paz the senate judiciary committee without the vote of every republican on that committee. senator flake took his stand today after the justice department of legal counsel released a 20-page memo
attempting to justify president trump's installation of matthew whitaker as a so-called acting attorney general. assistant attorney general wrote, quote, this office had previously advised that the president could designate a senior department of justice official such as mr. whitaker as acting attorney general. most legal scholars including conservatives have said the choice of matthew whitaker is unconstitutional. the memo does admit that there has not been an acting attorney general who did not have senate confirmation since 1866, before the creation of the department of justice. and that 1866 appointment lasted only six days. fox news senior legal analyst was not persuaded by that memo. >> i was very disappointed to see the lawyers who work for
matthew whitaker go back to 1866 and look for a precedent there to decide whether or not he was lawfully appointed. i don't care what happened in 1866 because the congress changed the law in the 1960s and said whoever runs the justice department has to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate because we put too much power in their hands. that kind of power can't go to a political hack. >> for our guidance now we turn now to professor sugarman. you've been writing about this today. i want to yifb you the floor and argue your case on the installation of this so-called acting attorney general. >> there are two problems with the memo that came out today. one small one that says bigger problems and one giant problem. the smaller problem is the office of legal counsel which was once known for having the greatest minds of the doj made a
very basic mistake about two statutes. very simple point about these two statutes is it says there's a doj statute and there's this broader vacancies reform act. and they said the reason why this broader vacancy reform act applies and allows whitaker to be appointed is it refers to the doj statute. and they call it a cross-reference. and because the broader whitaker act cross-references the doj, it means the congress meant it to super se sup supercede or apply to the doj act. the doj act was passed long before the vacancies reforms act. there's no way the doj act could cross refer to something that wasn't passed until 20 years later. >> in the original law the department of justice outlined a line of succession in an attorney general vacancy. >> that's right. >> and it would specify the
deputy attorney general should become the acting attorney general. they would now say that this later law overrides this department of justice act. but if it was intended to override the law of the department of justice, it would have specifically said so. >> and let me say the act as written is a mess. it is a messy act. i will say i've dug into this for a couple of days, and there is a plausible argument that just based on the text of this messy act you could read it -- >> this is the vacancy. >> the vacancy, yes.
it means that their people do all the work but we're standing behind them as a confidence builder. >> joining us now, democratic condition congressman eric swalwell, member of the intelligence and judiciary committees. he's been very critical of the president, how he's handled the california wildfires and sending the troops to the southern border. congressman swalwell we just heard from james mattis that the troops' job at the southern border is confidence builder. they're not supposed to do any of the work. they're supposed to leave that to homeland security and just be there as a confidence builder. >> good evening, lawrence. i'm disappointed to see general mattis validate p politicization of our troops at the border. i've got a lot of respect for him and how he's conducted himself throughout this administration. but this is a stunt, and it's exploiting our troops to defend against an invisible invasion which is actually unarmed refugees hundreds of miles away. and there's a cost to this. it's not as if this is free to
us. the cost is that as california is scorched by these fires, we're seeing up to $200 million spent at the southern border where resources could be devoted to assist the firefighters fighting these fires and prev t preventing people from losing their homes and their lives. >> people are dying in california and the president is sending the resources to the southern border. jeff flake, senator jeff flake pointed out today that in his state of arizona the troops are stationed 90 miles north of the actual border, and he labeled it just a pure stunt. to get back to the fires, kevin mccarthy, now the republican leader of the house of representatives, minority leader, had to tell the president, ask the president, beg the president presumably to stop tweeting on the side of the fire against californians. >> and lawrence, kevin mccarthy is the minority leader because he just saw a whiepoipeout in
california because on so many issues, on immigration, on the fires, on health care he saw his california republican colleagues have failed to stand up to the president and instead heard the people of california. that's why they will lose six seats and there are four more seats that we came within ten or fewer points in that we're going to be competitive in in just two years. >> talk about what california now needs in the aftermath of these fires. >> right now as the president sends these tweets or threatens to withdraw funding thankfully californians and people from all over the country are sending in towels and clothing and pet supplies to the fire stations. we've got over 7,000 firefighters bravely fighting these fires right now, but what we need is a long-term plan to address climate change because clearly this is a contributing factor. also to make some hard decisions about where future home
development occurs, especially if it's in a high-risk fire area, and also to look at what role does, you know, the trees near power lines play because clearly high winds and tree debris flying and hitting the power lines has caused some of these fires. but it takes leadership. and lawrence, oklahoma city, bill clinton went there after the bombing and consoled the nation. after september 11th president bush standing in the rubble saying i can hear you. and we have a president just sitting in his bathrobe during executive time tweeting out insults at the people of california. that's not leadership. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> tonight's last word is next. e >> tonight's last word is next
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time for tonight's last word. >> first lady melania trump issued a statement today calling for the removal of deputy national security adviser mira ricardel. wait. she can do that? all this time we've been waiting for robert mueller to get rid of trump when we should have been talking to her. she already doesn't like him.
>> seth meyers gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, as an angry president makes bizarre new accusations about voter fraud and people wearing disguises to the polls and what's required to buy groceries in america, the first lady appears to have hit her target as a white house national security official is taken out. plus, the increasingly isolated president prompts warnings the u.s. is surrendering its critical role of global broker as other world leaders step up. and class photo day for incoming members of congress as the size of the blue wave becomes now more clear. the parties pick their leadership teams for the perilous two years ahead. as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a wednesday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new yo.
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