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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  December 21, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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that was great. i will also see you again tomorrow night when we have another very special guest, trump campaign manager kellyanne conway will be here tomorrow. seriously. that's tomorrow. but now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. rachel, do you have your answers ready for the kellyanne conway interview? >> the answers? >> because you know how it works. you ask her a question, and then she turns that into a question to you and doesn't answer the question. so the questioner has to have a lot of answers ready for her. >> i should reverse prep. you're exactly right. i will undo everything i have done already. you're right. >> we will see how it goes. thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. donald trump has been lying about his businesses and his wealth and his money longer than he has been lying about anything else. he has spent his entire career lying about that. and now he may spend his entire presidency lying about that.
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>> the trump team is now considering a half blind trust for donald trump's businesses. a half blind trust. >> there is no such thing as a half blind trust. >> just like there is no such thing as halfway crooks and no such thing as halfway pregnant. >> the trump transition team now distancing itself from a texas fundraiser. >> for $2 million you'll personally get to click send on the tweet that starts world war iii. >> wow. >> you get to do it. >> that's a good deal. >> they've got to kind of get this under control. >> donald trump came in to drain the swamp, as he talks about. >> i'm told he now disclaims that. he says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore. >> i am going to build that swamp. >> despite winning the presidency, some republicans are still complaining have. you noticed that? >> left wants power. take it away from the right establishment. >> you throw out california, trump wins by new york. >> hillary clinton would have won the electoral vote if we didn't count russia. so it works either way.
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>> i don't care about it anymore. that is the lie donald trump told "60 minutes" in his first interview after the election. "i don't care about it anymore." the "it" he was talking about is his business. the thing donald trump cares about more than anything in the world. he has publicly admitted he has cared about his businesses more than his children. that's kind of guy he is. he is not only the kind of guy who has cared about his business more than his children, he is the kind of guy who is willing to say that publicly. he is so unbalanced, he doesn't realize what he is saying about himself when he says something like that. since everything he says about himself is intended to be a compliment to himself. he never realizes when he is revealing just how bad he can be. here he is telling that lie to "60 minutes," which included a lie about his kids. >> what are you going to do
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about your business? are your kids going run it? are you going to divest yourself? >> here -- i built a great company. i have some of the great assets in the world, real estate assets. i don't care about it anymore. this is so important what i'm doing. and, you know, the people believe this. this is so important what i'm doing, i don't care about i own a building in manhattan and i have nice tenants. my kids will run it. they'll run it well. it runs easy. >> and never talk to you about it? >> they won't talk to me. >> they won't talk to me. there is no one in america, including trump supporters who don't realize that he was lying all the way through that response. but that's our new normal. the next president lies. lies constantly. lies in ways that are instantly provable as lies.
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and lies about anything, from his businesses to foreign policy to how "vanity fair" is a failing magazine. there is nothing, nothing too important for donald trump lie about. and the news media still has no idea of thou handle the avalanche of lies that come from donald trump and his handlers. the news media desperately wants to normalize the outcome of an american presidential election. it is instinctual for the news media to do that. and in the ongoing media normalization of donald trump and his staff, the political news media is unwittingly creating a new normal, something we have never seen before. so the debate over how donald trump should handle his businesses continues. when there is only one honorable way to do it. the office of governmental ethics has made it clear the only honorable way for donald trump to eliminate conflict of interest as president is to sell his businesses, to divest, to wash his hands of all of it.
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donald trump and his family have made it clear they will never do that. never. and now comes a report in politico indicating that donald trump is exploring a way to handle his business that will be like so much donald trump says and does, an insult to the intelligence of the country. and a very sharp and direct insult to the intelligence of the american news media. according to politico, aides responsible for setting up firewalls have held discussions about establishing what is known as a discretionary trust. according to two source briefed on the talks, such an arrangement would allow trump or his family members to reap some of telephone legal benefits of a blind trust, but could also give them some insight into how the trump businesses are faring while also allowing trump and his family to continue to make money from those investments.
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joining us now, charlie psych, editor-in-chief of right wisconsin. how the right lost its mine. julian epstein is with us. he was the democratic council to the house judiciary committee. also with us david cay johnston, pulitzer prize winning journalist who today founded d.c. report.org, a nonprofit organization that will cover the trump administration. david, you've been covering donald trump longer than any of us, having written the book on him. and on -- also, as a financial and tax expert, your reaction to what we are learning from politico about -- one possible way trump is considering going on this. >> donald trump is going to be donald trump. he is not going to change. >> right. >> donald is about money and the glorification of donald. and the country be damned. donald throughout the campaign showed no respect for the
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constitution. let's remember this is a man who wasn't willing to say of course he would concede if he didn't win. a man who talks about the presidency like it's vladimir putin's job, that he is effectively a dictator. and won't even take his national security briefings every day. and to think that donald trump somehow would separate himself from that which he values so much that when they were teenagers, his children wouldn't speak to him, nah, nothing is going to change here. and if you had made this as a novel, nobody would buy it. they wouldn't believe this could happen in america. >> charlie sykes, the trump campaign has repeatedly reversed itself since it became the trump transition. and here we see something that donald trump never quite worked out, which was how is he going to deal with his businesses. he promised that press conference on this that would have happened last week if it had happened on schedule. then they just canceled it. we're not going to have a press conference about how he is going to deal with his businesses. and now we will live with leak
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by leak as we move towards the administration about how he is going to handle his businesses. >> yeah. i mean, this is descended to farce, but it's almost an insult to farce. there is two things about it. number one, it is stunning. it is utterly predictable. you knew at some point donald trump was going to figure out he could get away with this. the law is not going to stop him. his base is not going to stop him. the republican party won't stand up against him. and i think he has concluded that the media is powerless to take him down. so i think he is looking around and asking the question why do dogs lick themselves. because they can. why is donald trump going to go through this farce of the half blind trust? because he can. and i think again, it is completely predictable. the guy ran for office saying elect me. i am a crony capitalist. and for whatever reason, people didn't connect the dots to realize that might not be a good idea.
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>> we have a new pew poll from this month saying 65% are concerned about this. it shows that concern over donald trump's business ties with foreign governments in particular was the question. very concerned 45%. somewhat concerned, 20%. not too concerned, 14. and those faithful trump supporters, not at all concerned, 20%. julian epstein, what are the relevant laws governing the president's conduct in this area? >> well, there is many relevant laws. the most important is the volume it's caused there is bribery statutes there is nepotism laws. where i disagree with charlie, i think the jury is out right now as to whether the republican party in the house and the senate will show some level of being principled and hold donald trump accountable at some point. the reason why a blind trust or even a discretionary blind trust is a joke in the case of donald trump is because everybody knows what trump's businesses are and where they are. and if you simply want to curry
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favor with the president, all you have to do is pay the piper and do business with one of his companies. so nobody even thinks a full blind trust would solve the problem short of divestiture. the biggest problem for donald trump, however, the moment he is sworn into office to get to your question, lawrence, the moment he is sworn into office, he will probably be the first president in the united states in our history that is committing an impeachable offense. what do i mean by that? the clause is essentially a bribery. it's part of the constitution. it's essentially a bribery statute on steroids. it says you cannot take any benefit whatsoever from any foreign government, period, end of conversation. right now the chinese government is paying donald trump very, very handsome lease fees for his building in manhattan. the chinese government through the bank of china is also a big financial backer of donald trump's by providing him tons of credit.
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these things on the very face of it, if you look at the history and the purpose of the monuments clause arguably violate that provision and arguably give rise to an impeachment charge against him. any time a foreign government goes to a trump hotel, that's a benefit, a foreign official goes to the trump hotel, that's a benefit that government is providing to donald trump. any time a prosecutor, any time a regulator does anything in any of the business interests. donald trump has 111 businesses across 18 countries abroad. any time a regulator does anything, you heard when he broke the one china policy. right behind that is the story that trump is troying to get a hotel in taiwan. when he met with the president of japan, his daughter, who is trying to get an apparel deal, guess who, with the government of japan. and these lists go on and on. we've had examples in turkey, examples in india, examples in the uk, examples in argentina, examples in georgia. so this is a very, very precarious situation. and the fact that the trump crowd is not taking this more seriously, they're walking into
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a potential constitutional nightmare for themselves. and if the republicans every hold these guys accountable, they want to part from the trump administration, they've got plenty of grounds legally and constitutionally. >> and david, that's the key point that julian ended in there. if the republicans in congress decide to take this seriously, right now republicans control the impeachment process. so with them in control of that, donald trump at this point seems to have free rein. >> well, hubris will get you every time. donald i don't think has thought through carefully that he has put himself in a vulnerable position here. in addition to julian's points about the clause, we have also seen the indications that this can be used to extract money. the kuwaiti government has moved its annual party from the four seasons hotel in washington, d.c. to donald trump's hotel. apparently when they were pressured to do so. and who knows. is this going to be paying them off or is it going to be extracting money from people
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through the children? there is no solution to this except complete disgorgement. and donald is never going to do that. >> you're right. >> just like he is never going to show us melania's work papers or his tax returns. >> and charlie, it seems republicans will either just ignore this or laugh it off as oh, come on. there are a lot of hotels in washington, and they ended up at his hotel. >> well, we're actually in such uncharted territory because the level of corruption we discussed over the last five minutes is absolutely unprecedented for the presidency. the reality we're about to see a kleptocracy on a presidential level is something nobody has gotten their heads around, certainly not constitutionally. and i see no indication at least in the near term that republicans are going to risk something like this by going after him.
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i just don't see that happening, unless, of course, the scandal becomes so radioactive and somehow gets the trump base to turn against them. i'm trying to imagine what that would be. perhaps the sense that he had sold out the country for the chinese or something like that. but donald trump actually believes the norms do not apply to him. and hubris is exactly the right word. he does not think those rules will constrain him. >> julian, quickly, before we go, does the democratic minority on the house judiciary committee have any parliamentary maneuver it can come up with that could somehow provoke or spark an impeachment proceeding? >> well, they certainly do on the government oversight committee. on the judiciary committee they can certainly start to call witnesses and force this issue. and it seems to me there are very few places legally for the trump administration to go. and i think at some point we've seen lindsey graham.
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we've seen john mccain. we've seen republicans start to part company with donald trump. if the heat gets turned up, democrats and the judiciary committee will have plenty of opportunity to make this front and center, page a-1 oon the newspapers. i think this may not change in the first three month, but the first year, two years, who knows. >> julian epstein, david cay johnston, thank you very much for joining us tonight. charlie, we're going to need you for another round. coming up, new reports that republicans, big surprise, are running scared from right wing media like breitbart. it makes them afraid of criticizing donald trump in any way because of the way they will be attacked by that media. and later, people who voted for donald trump who also rely on obamacare. [ crowd noise ] whoa. [ gears stopping ] when your pain reliever stops working,
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dish issues? throw it all in. cascade platinum powers through... your toughest stuck-on food. nice. cascade. republicans in congress are afraid to criticize donald trump according to a new report in politico because they fear retaliation from reporters. congressman mark sanford said nobody wants to go first. people are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of sean hannity, for fear of breitbart, for fear of local folks. one republican called it a chilling effect. trump's supporters have already attacked republican congressman bill flores for saying this. >> some of president trump's
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proposed policies are not going to line up very well with our conservative policies. let's do the things where we agreement. let's do tax reform. let's repeal obamacare. let's replace obamacare. we could easily take six months to do the things where we agree. and that gives us the next six months to figure out where is the commonality between with what he wants to do represent to infrastructure and what we think the way to go with infrastructure, just as one example. >> breitbart called that republican leadership's strategy to isolate and block donald trump's populist campaign promise. join us now, mark thompson and the host of siriusxm radio and back with us charlie sykes. this fear of sean hannity and this fear of media crackdown on republicans. hasn't there been a fear of that
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that has always been present? rush limbaugh, we saw where senators might say something in the morning that rush limbaugh then criticized in the afternoon. and by the end of the day, the office holder had moved that back into something rush limbaugh agrees with? >> yeah, but now they've been empowered and they've been enabled. in a sense, they've been weaponized. russia used to always talk about the state controlled media. now we actually have a version of all of that. i don't think you can overstate that culture of retribution and intimidation. and the way it played out during the campaign, well, why do so many republicans roll over, why did they cave in, why did so many local talk show hosts do that, because they do have this ability to focus this anger, this rage, loose the trolls on them. and unfortunately, this is something that i'm watching for is will you have principled republicans stand up and challenge, you know, this president? i'm glad you ran that sound bite. because that was pretty modest stuff. they basically sent a shot across the bow saying don't you dare even question the maximum leader. otherwise, this is what we're going do to you.
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>> i have to say, the first time i listened to that, i didn't hear any disagreement with donald trump. and what congressman flores was saying, he was saying look, we agree on this, this, and this. and we might approach infrastructure in a different way. but his suggestion was let's get together so we approach infrastructure the same way, we find an agreement on it. >> thanks for having me in, lawrence. good to see you, charlie. which means, as you said, he wasn't so much maximum -- opposed to the maximum leader. imagine, he just said it was subtle. he said let's try to work together. and they still lit him up. so imagine anyone with any objective critique of donald trump. this is nothing like rush limbaugh. we remember rush limbaugh's power. and you would say something in the morning and in the afternoon have to kiss the ring. but it wasn't quite like this. this is far more intimidating. this man bested a field of 17. his twitter feed and breitbart.com have become their own media -- medium. well talked about it, he might form his own network.
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he didn't need to. he is going to be the president. but he still has a air quote network in the sense that twitter, his twitter feed at real donald trump and breitbart.com kind of mesh together to intimidate people even within his own party. and these are the same people who criticized the likes of putin for the things he does that are repressive. criticized even the likes of fidel castro for the things that he does that are repressive. and here they are practicing the early pangs of repression against their very own in the republican party. >> and charlie, the attacks on congressman flores were really vicious. really intense. apparently a level that shocked him that he hadn't experienced before.
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>> well, it is shocking. it is kind of a demonstration project. but remember what the dynamics of american politics are right now, particularly because of redistricting. most of those republican members of the house are not afraid of democrats. they're afraid of being primaried. and that of course is the threat. low turnout, high intensity voters that can be targeted by a political action committee run by corey lewandowski, by the twitter trolls, by breitbart, by sean hannity, by laura ingraham, all of those. a lot of these guys are in safe republican seats so they have to look over their shoulder to see whether or not the trumpkins are going to come after them. >> the democrats are faced with an interesting dilemma here. do they work with donald trump on things they agree with him on, or did they leave the entire burden to the republican side to try to find the agreements if they can with members like flores and others who don't currently agree with trump on the entire agenda?
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>> you know, i thought at one time, lawrence, that democrats needed to continue to be polite and show as much decorum. joy reid has changed my mind about that. they need to do precisely what the republicans did to president obama that is how you mobilize people. and i don't think that hurts at this point. i don't know anything that they can agree with donald trump on. and as you have pointed out throughout this whole campaign season, what's the point of negotiating with him to reach an agreement, lawrence, when he can change his mind a few hours later? there is no good faith in that. so i think democrats need to stand and resist donald trump as much as they can. >> got to get a quick break in here. charlie sykes, thank you very much for joining us tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> mark, we're going need you, so stick around. coming up, many trump voters did not take him literally on repealing obamacare. i thought that was one thing they could definitely take him literally on. but they didn't.
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obamacare. is destabilizing our health care system, surging premiums, and forcing providers out of the market. if we don't act, the dlaj be irreversible. we're going to act. we will repeal and replace obamacare. we have no choice. we have no choice.
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>> today the white house said 6.4 million people signed up for obamacare as of monday. republicans have said one of the first things they plan to do after donald trump takes office next month is to make good on that promise to repeal obamacare. but some donald trump voters who rely on obamacare did not really take that promise seriously. "washington post" columnist dana millback wrote about them saying trump owner debbie mills, a store owner whose husband awaits a life-saving liver transplant got insurance through obamacare, and mills is hoping the law won't be repealed. mills, who supported trump for other reasons, figured obamacare was just talk. joining us now, dane ma millbeck. also with us catherine rimpell. this is absolutely fascinating. there are some things you might not take seriously, banning plus lips because the constitution doesn't allow you to ban muslims from entering the country.
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or you might not take seriously building the wall, having mexico pay for the wall. but obamacare, he couldn't have been more clear about getting rid of obamacare. and these people on obamacare voted for him. >> it's often said trump supporters took him seriously but not literally. they didn't really care what he was saying. they just wanted to see in him that he would change things in a way that they would like. and the column i wrote today was building on what sarah cliffe did and went down and talked to these folks in kentucky. if you look overall, there is going to be assuming obamacare is repealed, maybe 30 million people or so lose their health insurance.
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but something like 80% of those are from the donald trump demographics, sort of the noncollege educated working class white families. so they will be surprised. and they're going to find that this is not exactly what they had in mind when they were imagining donald trump to be something other than what he is. >> catherine, a kaiser health poll on the affordable care act, polling trump voters, only 50% of trump voters want obamacare repealed. another 29% say just scale it back. and then the most interesting group saying expand the law. 5% saying keep the law as is. so there is 15% of donald trump voters who are in favor of obamacare. >> yes. and i'm actually more skeptical than many that the republican party led by donald trump will actually repeal it, particularly in full. in part -- well, for two reasons, essentially. one is that while the name
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obamacare is not particularly popular, the things that obamacare does happened to be quite popular. almost all of the components of it are very well liked by the american public. the second reason is that, you know, as colin powell would put it, you break it, you bought it. health care is an incredibly complicated sector. it's very easy to get a repeal and replace wrong. and i think the republicans know that, which is part of the reason why even their repeal plan looks like it might not kick in for a couple of years. so i'm a little more optimistic actually that those trump voters who are on obamacare may be able to keep it for a little while, at the very least. >> and dana, i've talked to people in the senate who are saying that if you are really
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going to repeal it this time, that would take a minimum of six months just to get it through the senate. and it would involve use of reconciliation and other parliamentary maneuvers that take a while to ripen. and so this notion of it's all going to happen on the first day. and then there is that added complexity that has been introduced of maybe they vote to repeal it. and the repeal doesn't take effect until after the next congressional election. so no one has to pay a political price for that vote. >> right. because it used to be called repeal and replace. now it's repeal and delay. and catherine's right. it could be -- they're talking about up to three years until they get some answers. let's take this thing off the books, but leave it in place until we come up with something else. the problem is what else do you come up with. and the republicans haven't been able the do this over the last six years.
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i mentioned today that a congressman, republican congressman from michigan bill huizenga was saying how costs could be saved in the future. he mentioned well, his son broke his arm, but they didn't take him to the emergency room to get it fixed. they wait addai, took him to the doctor. this is how we can save health care costs in the future. this will be the brave new post obamacare world. and you can see perhaps why even some trump supporters say hey, that's not exactly what we sign upped for. >> catherine, this republican house of representatives has voted to repeal the obamacare. the republican senate has voted to repeal obamacare. what's different now? they knew it was academic and that president obama obviously veto it if it came to that. now they have a republican president. how does that make it different? y can't they just easily vote to repeal it again? >> because, again, the health care system is incredibly complicated. and the thing that the law does are incredibly popular. those two reasons in conjunction make it really difficult to act on the thing they've been claiming they wanted for so long. which again, i think it's unlikely they will actually
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repeal it. i think one possible outcome as crazy as it might seem is basically, we keep the law almost more or less as is with some slight changes and improvements, and it gets rebranded. so it's no longer obamacare. maybe eventually it's trumpcare. and that way republicans get to take credit for things that are quite well liked. trump does get to take credit as well. and the law gets improved upon. >> catherine rampell, dana milbank, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. donald trump actually won the popular vote. he won it if you just ignore a couple of states.
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donald trump won the election by three million votes if you throw out california and new york. you throw out california and new york, trump wins by three million votes.
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if you include california and new york, hillary wins by what was it, 2.5 or 2.2 million votes. it's a perfect illustration of why we have the electoral college. >> no. we have the electoral college because the founding fathers didn't want people like rush limbaugh to vote for president. the founding fathers did not think anyone except the most highly educated men, which would not include rush limbaugh on the highly educated end be allowed to vote for president. direct voting by citizens was not allowed for the presidency. that's why the electoral college was invented. no other reason. they didn't trust democracy that much. that's the reason it was elected. and no, rush, she didn't win by 2.5 or 2.2 million votes. she won by 2.8 million votes.
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today donald trump tweeted campaigning to win the electoral college is much more difficult and sophisticated than the popular vote. hillary focused on the wrong states. i would have done even better in the election if that is possible. oh, yeah, it was possible. if the winner was based on the popular vote. but would campaign differently. last night we let you listen to bill o'reilly's latest entry in the electoral college debate. and of course for bill o'reilly, and only for bill o'reilly, it's about nothing but race. >> so if the electoral college were abolished, presidential candidates could simply campaign in the nation's largest states and cities. new york, l.a., chicago, houston. and rack up enough votes to pretty much win any election. talking voice believes this is all about race. the left sees white privilege in america as an excessive force that must be done away with.
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therefore white working class voters must be marginalized. what better way to do that than to center the voting power in the cities. so-called white privilege, bad. diversity, good. left wants power taken away from the white establishment. they want a profound change in the way america is run. taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way the do that. >> back with us mark thompson. mark, i wanted to get your reaction to o'reilly's take on the electoral college. >> first of all, i know we're not in the same place exactly right now. and i thought i saw an image on the screen where donald trump was suggesting he did something sophisticated. did i get that right? did i see that correctly? >> yes, you did. >> yeah, that's ridiculous. and i think that we are at a place now, lawrence, and again, i've been moved by this process. i wasn't someone who was always ready to say abolish electoral college.
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more and more information, the argument has been that without the electoral college and only a popular vote that people would ignore the smaller states and only campaign in the big ones. and i've been moved from that as well. this very election makes the strongest case in history why the electoral college is obsolete and should be abolished. and as you say, when the founding fathers put it in place, there was no intention for americans to elect the president directly. and we also know some of it has its roots in the slave states as well. it was in the interest to have the electoral college in place. we've seen it in this instance fail. and particularly fail, it may have been able to redeem itself or rehabilitate itself if the electoral college had done what the founding father, particularly alexander hamilton suggested.
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if it had done that on monday. your have been talk throughout this segment and covering this throughout the segment and throughout the past few weeks. this is a president who potentially is -- has committed and is committing impeachable offenses before he even takes office. so what other purpose is there for the electoral college? americans are more sophisticated than they were in the 1700s there is more access to information. americans know for whom to vote and make intelligent choices. that's why almost 3 million people voted for hillary clinton over donald trump. that's why she won the popular vote. why not place good faith in the majority of americans that did that? so i think it's time and obviously, yes, bill o'reilly, and rush limbaugh, they do feel threatened because they're at the end of their white supremacist rope. >> mark thompson, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, stewart milk will join us on ted cruz's plan to allow discrimination against gay and lesbian people, plan that donald trump supports.
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the wonderful joy reid watched her update on the kind fund last night and tweeted this. just bought our annual desks on behalf of each of the reids. so proud of kind. joy has been using the kind fund for christmas shopping for years now. and you can too by going to last word desks msnbc.com and contributing to kids in need of desks. k.i.n.d. you can contribute a desk that will be made by workers in malawi and delivered to schools in malawi that never had desk. or designate to be used for scholarships where public high school is not free. you can give a contribution in the name of anyone on your holiday gift list and unicef will send an e-mail acknowledging your gift. barbara tweeted i bought a desk and bench for two kids in malawi through kind in memory of my mother, doris eisner, who was a dedicated teacher.
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scott tweeted just completed our christmas shopping. two desks for kind. thank you for this opportunity to give. and that's really all i hope to do when i tell you about the kind fund is just to give you this opportunity. just an opportunity to reach into the lives of kids in malawi and help them if you can. when i was in malawi last month, i met tamandi who received a kind scholarship and is now applying to nursing school. i explained to her how the kind fund works with contributions coming entirely from you, the viewers of this program. she then said this about how important kind has become to her and her friends. >> it is a good work. it was -- there would be healthy to have a better future, to have good hopes and improve their life. because education is to have a good life. >> tamandi kapuki is tonight's voice of the kind fund. what's going on is terrible. in fact, what's going on is terrible.
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can this much love be cleaned by a little bit of dawn ultra? oh yeah one bottle has the grease cleaning power of two bottles of this bargain brand. a drop of dawn and grease is gone. generosity is its oyou can handle being a mom for half an hour. i'm in all the way. is that understood? i don't know what she's up to, but it's not good. can't the world be my noodles and butter?
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now lease the 2017 c300 for $389 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. shame, shame, shame! >> that was the scene tonight when republicans in north carolina reneged on a promise to repeal house bill 2, the controversial north carolina law that prevents any municipality in the state from passing an ordinance protecting lgbt people from discrimination. north carolina republicans passed the bill after the city of charlotte added transgendered people to their anti-discrimination laws. this week republicans and the city of charlotte made a deal to repeal both laws, the state law and charlotte's local law. the charlotte city council repealed their ordinance. but tonight republican leaders in north carolina legislature backed out of that deal and adjourned without repealing the law. now senators ted cruz and mike lee want to introduce a federal law that would do the same thing as the north carolina law, do that nationwide.
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their bill would protect businesses or people who discriminate against lgbt people, even if a state or city has a law uthat protects the rights of lgbt people against discrimination. donald trump promised to support the ted cruz bill saying if i am elected president and congress passes the first amendment defense act, which is what they call it, i will sign it. joining us now is stuart milk, president of the harvey milk foundation and an lgbt activist. stuart, both reactions. first to what happened in north carolina. the legislature failing to go through on that deal. and then the pros scene of the accident going national through ted cruz and donald trump. >> yeah, it was a double whammy today, lawrence. you know, in the holiday season, you would be inclined to say that the grinch gave us two lumps of coals. but you can't even put that type of humor on something like this. what people sometimes forget, in north carolina, we're talk about
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human lives. we're talking about people who are generally afraid. they're afraid to be visible. they're afraid to be authentic. because that h b-2 basically took down all nondiscrimination statuses. so this double cross today when charlotte, the city of charlotte held up their end of the bargain and the state legislature both the senate and the house didn't, it's a form of terrorism that they're infiltrating on lgbt brothers and sisters and our allies and our friends and our family. but this is a human tragedy. these are real people's lives that are being impacted. forget about all of the job loss that north carolina has, that the legislature and the soon to be ex-governor has presented for its citizens. and then i won't even call what ted cruz brought the as the first amendment defense act. it's the freedom to annihilate,
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discriminate and attack our humanity rights act. i really think that we as a community, as civil society need to call it what it is. it is a green light to discriminate. it's a green light to force people back into the closet. it's a green light to be able to discriminate against people under the guise of religious freedom. so we got hit twice today. and i really do think that people need to realize that this is our brothers, our sister, our friends, our coworkers. this impacts human lives. both of these attacks on civil society and lgbt community in particular has a human toll that we sometimes forget. >> and donald trump has suggested that he is different from other republicans on these kinds of issues. that he is more the new yorker than the republican on this stuff. but to say that he will sign
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this bill is the most extreme thing a president could have done or has done in this arena. >> well, and, you know, lawrence, not only is it extreme, but the way donald trump packages it, he is going to get up and say that i'm simply protecting religious freedom. and someone is going to say no, you're giving the right to discriminate. and he is going to say no, that's not true. when we all know it is true. and ultimately, this freedom to annihilate, discriminate and attack our human rights act which they call fada is going to end up in the supreme court. and unfortunately, i think it's going to end up in a supreme court that donald trump will choose two justices from that list that he put forward. but let's not forget how he packages things. he gets up and basically does not tell the truth.
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he is going to say that i'm supporting simply the right for religious freedom and expression when the truth of the matter is and the detail is this is a right to discriminate. it's a right to marginalize. it's a right to put law behind discrimination. and what we really have to do as a community is rise up like we did in indiana, like we did in arizona, and like we continue to do in north carolina and say as a society all across the board, all segments that we're not going to do this. we're not going to allow it. >> stuart milk gets tonight's last word. thank you, stuart. >> thank you, lawrence. >> coverage continues into "the 11th hour" with with brian williams. that's next. tonight, donald trump speaks, a rare encounter with reporters. what it revealed about his thinking on a major international story. also, russia reacts, what the kremlin is saying about relations with the u.s. and does this mean they are planning a closer relationship with the
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next president. and 25 doctor who said trump would be the healthiest person ever elected president, he's talking again. tonight, his blunt new patient assessment. "the 11th hour" begins hour in. and good evening once again from our headquarters in new york. tomorrow puts us 29 days from the inauguration of the next president. perhaps because the president-elect has communicated mostly through social media of late, perhaps because he last held a news conference 147 days ago, when he spoke today for all of 74 seconds, responding to reporters' shouted questions outside his home in florida, it made news. so we thought we would begin tonight with all 74 seconds of the president-elect. >> everything good? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: mr. president-elect --

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