tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC December 15, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
maddow show" every night to know where this thing is going. >> or, on the night that she's got four really, really intimidating prosecutors on telling you when you're screwing up. at least then. >> they seem like they're way ahead of the president's lawyers but we'll find out. >> i have that feeling. thank you. >> thank you, rachel. well, here it is. get the whole thing in here. here it is. this is the republican tax bill. all 1,100 pages of it. and if you're rich, there's very, very, very good news in these pages, pages of this bill for you. the richer you are actually the better the news is. as long as you don't care at all about the federal government running up massive deficits and debt that future generations will have to pay. these 1,100 pages have already done something really amazing. they changed bob corker's mind.
even before republican senator bob corker got a chance to read these thousand pages. this bill made bob corker do the thing that politicians never want to do. they never want to get caught doing this. flip flop. a huge, a huge flip flop. bob corker voted against the bill in the senate before he changed his mind today and decided to vote for it. for this version of the bill. this version of the bill changed his mind. or did it? it was a pretty stunning announcement. a senator changing his mind, a complete reversal. what bob corker really announced today, though, is that he is not retiring from politics after all. senator corker had already announced he will not run for re-election in the senate next year but today he announced in effect that he continues to have hopes of reaching higher office like maybe secretary of state and definitely has hopes of reaching the presidency.
he didn't put it in exactly those words. instead, he issued a written statement and that's what senators do when they don't want to leave embarrassing video evidence of them flip flopping. that's why instead of saying this in his own voice in front of cameras senator corker said this in a written statement. i have decided to support the tax reform package we will vote on next week. senator corker decided that only after the tax reform package he voted against in the senate became even more favorable to the rich. the top income tax rate on incomes over $500,000 is now lower in this bill than what the bill senator corker decided to vote against. the original bill. so bob corker changed his mind about the tax bill after the tax made bill sure that the rich get even richer.
senator corker has been against this tax legislation until now because it will add at least a trillion dollars to the deficit. here's what bob corker promised about that two and a half months ago. >> if it looks like to me, chuck, we're adding one penny to the deficit, i am not going to be for it. okay? i'm sorry. it is the greatest threat to our nation. the greatest threat to our nation. >> the greatest threat to our nation. one penny. and today, senator corker has decided to vote for the greatest threat to our nation. and it doesn't add one penny to the deficit. it adds 100 trillion pennies to the deficit. now, you can see why bob corker doesn't want new video today of him saying he is voting for a bill that increases the deficit after saying on "meet the press" he wouldn't vote for anything that increases the deficit for a penny. the videos would be stuck together tonight and show them to you and for the rest of bob corker's political life.
video of him saying i won't vote for a bill that increases the deficit by a penny and then video of him saying today, i guess i will. and so, there is no video of bob corker proudly owning the decision that he made today. the only thing that could prevent bob corker from being consistent is ambition. for politicians, ambition always trumps consistency. like marco rubio who skillfully played the role of the last senate holdout before he announced today to vote for the bill. bob corker is obviously thinking about running for president. how could he not? the current republican president could not be more unpopular and donald trump might exhaust republican voters to the point they're desperate for an alternative when the trump re-election campaign starts up.
if he's going to be president, bob corker definitely has to be ready to run in 2024 when the trump era will definitely be over. but he also has to be ready to run in 2020 if donald trump by then is so weak a candidate that republicans need someone else. and no one can be sure that donald trump will actually run for re-election. lyndon johnson was elected in a landslide in 1964 but by 1968 when he was supposed to be gliding to re-election he was challenged in primaries by two democrats, first mccarthy and then kennedy and johnson just dropped out of the race. lyndon johnson was a far more powerful and effective and calculating politician than donald trump. and far more determined and he dropped out of his own re-election campaign. donald trump deciding not to run for re-election for a bunch of reasons is not out of the question. so bob corker has to be ready and bob corker or marco rubio or any republican seriously trying to win a republican nomination for president knows that he can't be the guy who voted against tax cuts.
there's something else bob corker might want. it's the job first held by thomas jefferson and now held by rex tillerson. like every chairman of the foreign relations chit tee in the senate before him, bob corker would like to be secretary of state and with donald trump in public conflict with his secretary of state, over just how eager we should be for nuclear war with north korea, as well as other subjects, bob corker knows what everyone else in the world knows, that rex tillerson could be out the door any day. donald trump could need a new secretary of state any day. tomorrow, next month. and by now, bob corker has observed that donald trump forgets the insult game. he forgets what he has said when he insults people like ted cruz or little marco as he called him. he also seems to forget the insults that marco rubio and
others have visited upon donald trump and bob corker seems right to calculate that donald trump would not ever get over bob corker not voting for what donald trump calls a monumental tax cut bill. donald trump is one of the rich people who will get richer because of this legislation if it is passed. everyone in the trump family will get richer but don't expect donald trump to admit that any time soon. >> tax reform will protect low income and middle income households, not the bell think and well connected. >> 'em doing the right thing and it's not good for me. believe me. >> i don't benefit. i don't benefit. in fact, very, very strongly as you see there's no -- i think there's very little benefit for people of wealth. >> in all fairness, costs me a fortune this thing. believe me. believe -- this is not good for me.
>> joining us now, josh barrow, a contributor and bruce bartlett, former deputy assistant secretary of the treasury under president george h.w. bush and author of "the truth matters." we have the conference report, a combination, a compromise between the house and senate. and lo and behold it's even better for rich taxpayers. >> yeah. well, the really wasn't much doubt about that. the only question was how much. the -- but the idea that this is going to jump start growth is just complete nonsense. and josh's father thinks that it will. i'll be interested in hearing how he squares that. but i think the likelihood that we're going to get something positive out of this legislation is just rank nonsense. >> mike bloomberg had this to say today. c eos aren't waiting on a tax cut to jump start the economy.
a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company or hand out raises. it's pure fanty sy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth as republicans promised. had congress actually listened to executives or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. josh, they are placing their public bet on the idea that the economy will grow at such a high rate that this massive increase to the deficit will be answered through economic growth. >> well, remind me that there's that moment of gary coen inside the white house, former goldman sachs executive speaks to a number of executives saying who's preparing to invest more? almost nobody in the audience raised their hands. he was like, why aren't you raising your hands? if you look in the different models you see from various economists, various groups, they all tend to say that a lower corporate tax rate is positive for growth and investment to some degree. even, you know, the tax policy
center widely respected joint project of two left of center think tanks says the economy grow faster than if the bill is not passed epa won't cause the economy to grow fast enough to pay for itself. the bill will still add a little more man a trillion dollars to the debt over a decade. but when you lower the corporate tax rate, it makes it more attractive at the margin to invest so i don't think those ceos are sitting there waiting on the side leans going, tomorrow? it will cause business investment. the problem is and i talked to paul krugman about this this week, it trickles down eventually to workers and can't trickle down until the business investments have actually been made. there's the expansion such the companies need to hire more people. they need to compete more for workers, pay higher wages for that. that takes time.
you have to get the factories built tan ma veens on the floor and the first year not likely to see any affects on wages from this and a little bit in the long run but then the thing offsetting that is government debt an paying the interest on that and then taxes in order to serve that interest and a lot of those taxes are likely levied on the broad public. >> bruce bart let, marco rubio brilliantly played the last holdout and senators vie for if the vote is this close so that they can claim a public victory of some sort. and he chose the child tax credit which i think is politically very smart for him. he got a more general you child tax credit. it's temporary. it will expire. and so, like all of the so-called benefits on the personal side, personal income side of it, it's temp rir. >> that's right. i think the child credit is a
good idea because it improves the mal distribution of this legislation and throws a few crumbs off the plates of the billionaires who will get the main benefits, but it's completely contrary to the idea that you're going to get growth out of this because it's really just a giveaway. and maybe it's justified but it's not going to create growth. and i think that secretary mnuchin of the treasury really kind of gave away the whole game when he promised over and over again he was going to have a detailed analyst and forecast to show exactly how the legislation is going to raise growth and he came out with a one-page document that just assumed higher growth. and so it assumed its own conclusion. and this is just completely ridiculous.
>> richard neil of massachusetts democratic member of the house ways and means recalled how it was done in 1986 when it was done right. let's listen to what he described. >> you want to recall the following. in 1986, there were 450 witnesses who offered testimony. there were 30 public hearings on the tax reform act of '86. we have had no public hearings on this legislation. we sought no witness testimony on this legislation. and the entire revenue structure of the country in three and a half weeks from the time the bill put before the ways and means committee to sign the conference report and then perhaps vote on it early next week, there's been no input from democrats. >> and, josh barro, the public is no more happy with it than democrats are. >> yeah. it's remarkable. they get it to the president's desk in probably a week or two and then start paying taxes under the new law on january 1st of 2018. so, i mean, it is not enough time for employers to change withholding and do it after the start of the year and then some
of the stuff in this bill is really complicated. particularly the business provisions, some of the stuff of pass through companies like companies that donald trump and the family own. there's a tax break for those companies that some of them and tests about whether your company qualifies or not. they have to write rules about this and multi-national corporations will be taxed, which parts of the income attributed to the united states and which parts will be considered foreign and not taxed. and so, it's going to take time to write the rules, the tax accountants and lawyers get together with the clients and try to figure out how to exploit those rules to maximum effect. we saw when obamacare got passed and it was fairly long process with a lot of hearings and then they had three years to implement the law and still kind of wasn't enough time and various aspects of the rollout was a mess and extremely complicated to write rules and you see it here and it will happen in weeks instead of years and likely to see errors and drafting errors in the legislation.
they will have to come back and try to fix and i think likely to see parts of the legislation to give tax breaks congress didn't intend to give and haven't had the time to fully vet the legislation and once the lawyers and accountants get their hands on it, they figure out how to exploit it. >> this stack of 1,100 pages has more unintended consequences. when you write that fast that's what happened. bruce, josh, thank you both for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, a very special last word tonight about a little girl who wants to be a doctor. you can help her. you want to hear her story. and today, president trump tried to get a message it seems directly to michael flynn about of all things pardons. and, barney frank will join us next with his reaction to this 1,100 pages of tax legislation. i'm never gonna be able to sleep with this cold.
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>> joining us now, barney frank, former democratic congressman from massachusetts, former chairman of the house financial services. barney, it's 1,100 pages. i haven't fin yished reading it yet since we just got it today. i'm sure that leaves me alone among those who haven't read it yet. but what do you make about this bill and bob corker's turn today, someone who said he wouldn't vote for a bill that added one penny to the deficit. >> the corker performance is most appalling example of politics at its absolute worst. look. i felt for a listening time that both he and jeff flake were kind of fakers on this. that they were standing up to donald trump verbally while giving him everything he wanted but this performance by corker is just bizarre. beyond that, though, i do think and i heard chuck schumer and obviously he is correct. i think what we see here is the republicans have adopted a
marxist approach to this but the marx in question is not karl but chico. people will remember the line in the movie where he says to someone when he is caught at something when he's blatantly denying the truth, who will you believe, me or your own eyes? that's the republicans saying the's no deficit. in fact, i believe they do know there's a deficit. they like that because this is a throwback to david stockman, starve the beast. there are people like paul ryan who would like to cut social security and medicare. he's exples sit about this. they know that on the merits they can't do that. if you put it to the american people there's resistance the many of the cutbacks they want to institute. so what they plan to do is two step. first of all, you create a larger deficit. and i've always felt people
exaggerated the deficit but at a time when the economy's doing well, this is more deficit than is a good idea. not that you have to get the balance. so what they then plan to do is having created this deficit, they will use that as an argument against programs which would otherwise be popular and that also i believe by the way in terms of this, oh, it produces more revenue, alan greenspan asked when i was on the committee a few years ago by a republican congressman, isn't it true, mr. chairman, if you cut taxes right you wind up with more revenue? greenspan said, congressman, i've heard that theory and never worked out in my lifetime. he was about 75. >> right. >> but what you have here is a -- how we will have a negative on economic growth and productivity because i am very certain the passage of this tax bill, which apparently with corker's flip flop flip now locks very much like it will pass. that will be the end to any potential infrastructure bill. people should understand that. and there was an assumption when trump got elected one of the things people were looking for is a boost to the economy.
not just short term but long term because if you're trying to do things that really improve productivity, improving the physical infrastructure is a few things to say generally will make us more productive, move faster, people will spend less time getting to work, et cetera. i don't think there's any question. once this bill passes, given the magnitude of the result of deficit, that will be the end of any realistic chance for infrastructure and so even from the standpoint of joefrl all economic growth and the near term is a bad deal. >> and always also serves this kind of tax cut, the longer term presidential plans, which is they know that the next time taxes will be raised it will be done by a democratic president the way bill clinton did in 1993 after the deficit skyrocketed under republican presidents. the way barack obama had to after the deficit skyrocketed under george w. bush. and so, then after a democratic president raises taxes, the next republican candidate for
president will get to run against the democratic president for raising taxes. >> well, i think that's the more realistic do. i think paul ryan and i -- perfectly aimable former colleague and use it as a way to cut social security and medicare. so that they will tell you, oh no, if the democrats listened to us, they won't have to cut taxes. they won't have to raise taxes because we will have cut aids education and research and medicare and social security and we won't have an infrastructure plan and we need to. can i make another point, lawrence, about how specifically anti-middle class this is? have there's something that will affect me out of congress and making more money than i used to. so i'm affected as a tax paying massachusetts citizen by two things. first of all, the reduction, substantial reduction, in the tax deduction i get for state and local taxes and clearly motivated by the anti-government policy.
they want to penalize if a state wants to do more and tax itself, the citizens of the state to do more in terms of improving the quality of their lives they want to be penalized and the point is they get rid of that so they're going to compensate for that how? by reducing the very top tax rate. making hundreds of thousands -- making $500,000 you get a reduction in the rate from 39.6% to 37% to offset losing the state income tax deduction but making $100,000 and not in the bract you get no relief and even there to say they will offset the negative effect of the tax deduction it's to the only very rich. >> that's a stunning piece of it. thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. coming up, president trump had a message today for michael flynn and it was a message about pardons.
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today president trump talked about pardoning michael flynn pretending he doesn't want to talk about pardoning michael flynn. >> i don't want to talk about pardons of michael flynn yet. we'll see what happens. let's see. i can say this. when you look at when's going on with the fbi and with the justice department, people are very, very angry. >> so if you're michael flynn and heard that today, what you heard is the president is thinking about pardoning you and he is thinking about justifying it by claiming that the fbi and justice department are somehow corrupt and everyone in the country is very, very angry about the corrupt fbi and justice department. now that michael flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi in a plea agreement with the special prosecutor michael flynn no
longer listens to what donald trump tells him to do. he has to listen to what his own criminal defense lawyers tell him to do and what the special prosecutor tells him to do and the only way for donald trump to communicate with michael flynn now is the way he did today. through the news media and even though michael flynn pleaded guilty, the investigation continues today. "the wall street journal" reports that deutsche banc ag is asked by investigators to hand over information linked to michael flynn or entities connected to him according to people familiar with the matter. also tonight, "the washington post" has a new report about jared kushner's criminal defense team. kushner and the legal team are searching for a crisis public relations firm according to four people familiar with the matter. kushner's lawyer abby lowell quietly called at least two
firms, these people said, the inquiries in the past two weeks and officials at the firms were asked not to discuss the conversations with others. joining us now are esso subosang and professor of constitutional law at ucla. harry litman, when the president spoke today about pardons for michael flynn, if you were michael flynn's lawyer and he turned to you and said, what does that mean, what would you have said? >> well, you might try to draw some hope from it, wouldn't you? there was a big word yet. i haven't thought about it yet. this is dangerous stuff for trump reminiscent of clinton accused of wearing a particular tie to have a signal to monica lewinski. it's politically if not legally
problematic for him. but the big part of that diatribe of trump, the onslaught against the fbi and the doj represented a new low. there was no buffoonery to it. it was just despicable to come after law enforcement like that and the president of the united states to be trying to incite disrespect and contempt for law enforcement, this is the president of the united states completely unhinged. >> and what do you make of jared kushner trying to add a crisis public relations firm? it seems a little late for that. this is all up to the criminal lawyers, isn't it? >> it's a little bit of an issue where they are, whether they want to admit it or not in and outside of the white house preparing for the worst. and that is obviously way beyond surface matters and public relations but that's the mood they're into at the moment and
something you were saying earlier regarding the president of the united states, perhaps trying to telegraph a message to michael flynn through all of our tv screens. if that is something the president of the united states was trying to do, it's certainly not the first time he's attempted to do something like that ever since he fired michael flynn. as we reported at "the daily beast" back in april and may, the president had to be waved off of contacting michael flynn repeatedly by his white house lawyers. to the point where they informed him and those around him that doing so might be construed by some critics as potential witness tampering and as was reported later on after we ran that story, the president didn't care. he disregarded the advice of his in-house white house lawyers and did so anyway and got a message to mike flynn who was under fire then as he is now saying to, quote, stay strong. so if the president is trying to tell michael flynn something
through the tv screen, it certainly would be on brand for president donald j. trump to do so. >> yeah. harry litman, as a former federal prosecutor yourself, you see this happen today. you see the president publicly talk about pardons and say he doesn't want to talk about it yet with michael flynn. you've already made a plea deal with michael flynn. what do you do if you're a special prosecutor and you have someone you made a plea deal with and the president starts talking about pardons about that person? >> well, you're incensed. the entire team along with, of course, trump's pillering of the fbi has to -- nothing could be more calculated to really enflame them. but you think, also, maybe he's planning some pyrotechnic move. pardoning flynn and fire mueller and the whole kind of political and legal armageddon that people have written about. if you're mueller, i know what you do is put one in foot in front of the other and continue
to do the professional job of investigation you have done to date and you shore things up a little with flynn as they have done. you have the provision saying he's going to in any event have to cooperate with state authorities. you know -- you try to get some statements of his down and recorded so they're in the bank in the event trump tries something but obviously it augusters a high noon showdown. >> and asawin, there is the problem for the president if he did pardon michael flynn or anyone else, they immediately lose the fifth amendment rights with congressional committees and elsewhere and cannot incriminate themselves for something they've been pardoned for. >> right, absolutely.
it's very, very, very unclear based on the people i have talked to in and outside of the white house close to president trump if it is something he's even strongly considering. he is leaving the door open to it but the president of the united states will say words like yet or i'll keep you in suspense or we'll see in a couple of weeks all the time. it's sort of a part of a shall we say tune in next week in reality tv habit of the president. but in terms of if the yet is actually meant to mean much, we really do have yet to see. >> asawin and harry litman, thank you both for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, fox news and republicans upset about 10,000 fbi text messages that it turns out never existed. on his way to make a speech
yo, check it out dawg. that was just a'ight for me. i mean, you got the walk. you got the stance.. but i wasn't really feeling it. you know what, i'm not buying this. you gotta come a little harder dawg. you gotta figure it out. eh, i don't know. shaky on the walk, carriage was off. randy jackson judging a dog show. i don't know dawg. surprising. what's not surprising? how much money lisa saved by switching to geico. wow! performance of the night. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. anyone ever have occasional y! constipation,diarrhea, gas or bloating? she does. she does. help defend against those digestive issues. take phillips' colon health probiotic caps daily
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he's not being held accountable. if we have the vote, like we have for election day, they will impeach him. times square is the crossroads of the world. we need everyone to go and put their name down at needtoimpeach.com. we need to speak up together and demand an end to this presidency. at the fbi national academy in virginia today, the president said this. >> well, it's a shame what's happened with the fbi but we're going to rebuild the fbi. it will be bigger and better than ever but it is very sad when you look at those documents and how they've done that is really, really disgraceful and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it. >> but of course, he didn't say anything like that, didn't insult the fbi when he actually spoke to the fbi at the fbi training facility to some local law enforcement officers graduating from a training program there.
instead, the president went off script to announce that he thinks that prisoners in the united states who are not united states citizens should be set free. >> to any member of ms13 listening, i have a message for you. we will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you. we will -- throw you out of the country. i mean, somehow i like it better than jail. jail we have to take care of. who wants to take care of them? >> boy, that sounded great to those gang members the president was trying to threaten. the president doesn't understand, of course, that if he throws them out of the country, instead of serving prison time here for crimes committed in this country, they will not be charged with those crimes in another country and they will, of course, be free. free to roam the streets of that other country or, of course,
free to sneak back in this country and possibly commit those same crimes once again. earlier this week, the justice department released some 375 text messages between former robert mueller investigator peter strzok and lisa paige, the senior fbi lawyer. here's how fox news reported that story. >> shannon, fox news just obtained those 10,000 text messages of strzok and paige and this is a big deal. >> wow. they just obtained the 10,000 text messages. fox news only off by about 9,600 text messages. and they have not actually issued a correction about that lie. the text messages were between a fbi investigator and a senior white house lawyer. they both worked on robert mueller investigative team. as soon as robert mueller discovered the existence of the text, he separated the fbi investigator from the team. the lawyer had already left the team.
the existence of these text messages is what republicans are now using to condemn everyone working on the mueller investigation including every fbi agent and by the sound of it every fbi agent in the country. the text messages were written during the presidential campaign. they included sentiments shared by the majority of americans. like, quote, i am worried about what trump is encouraging in our behavior. the things that made me proud about our tolerance for dissent. fbi agents vote. they all have the right to vote. they all have opinions about our politics. some of them no doubt voted for donald trump. some voted for hillary clinton. the republican argument now seems to be that the only fbi agents and prosecutors who voted for donald trump and still support donald trump, only those can be allowed to investigate donald trump. in fact, one of the longstanding traditions in the appointment of special prosecutors is that they come from the opposite party of the president that they're investigating.
the appointment of robert mueller is a violation of that old tradition. robert mueller is a republican investigating a republican president. and is now being attacked by republicans only. including some republicans who want him fired immediately. that's next. the elected representatives of the people, the congress, have an obligation to expose patrick woke up with back pain.
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this bias, to expose what i believe is a corrupt investigation and i call on my republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of bob mueller. >> joining us now, joan walsh, correspondent for the nation and a msnbc political analyst. of course, it falls to a freshman republican house member, joan, to be the leader of the fire the special prosecutor movement. >> well, you know, he might get some support. i think -- i feel like with both the tax bill and also these attacks on mueller, they're political arsonists, lawrence. they're trying to blow the place up. the discrediting -- >> trying to blow themselves up, though? they see it that way? >> quon if they know that. i think with congress, i actually really do think a lot of them will leave and there's a we got to reward the donors and
then maybe get out of here and get good jobs and rich people will reward us. it seems like political suicide. what's the bill down to? 26% in the latest polls? >> yeah. >> doesn't make political sense to me and they're -- in the parallel world of fox, they're really preparing for donald trump to make a move on mueller and think that they have readied the people to rise up and support this. you would see the resistance so strong in the election results, people would be in the streets. i mean, i don't know what comes next but i think if you want to see energized voters for 2018, if we have elections, fire robert mueller. >> yeah. so here's where they are in the polls. ap poll, do you think trump's ties to russia are illegal? 40% say, yes. to that question. 40%, very substantial number,
majority of democrats, 62%. 5% of republicans say that. another one, do you think trump has tried to impede or obstruct the russia investigation. 63%, 63% of americans think that the president has tried to obstruct or impede that investigation. and that's 63% saying he may have committed a crime or obstruction of justice. >> right. i think a lot of people think that. i don't think it's a fringe, lefty sentiment at this point. there are some people on the left saying, this is a distraction, stop talking about russia. that's crazy. the american people very much care what happened last november and the year before that. and this fomenting of grievance is scary to watch. but i don't think they'll get away with it. >> it's going to be fascinating to see if there is a move on mueller, who -- so many republican senators earlier in the year said don't you dare. they're all pretty quiet right now.
>> yeah, lindsey graham was one of them. now he's like, i don't know if that's really necessary. when the rhetoric from the white house and their friends is actually more inflammatory than it was when he stepped forward and said well, we're going to come up with legislation, we're going to define something and protect him. now he's like, i don't think we the military family, and it really shows. we've got auto insurance, homeowners insurance. had an accident with a vehicle, i actually called usaa before we called the police. usaa was there hands-on very quick very prompt.
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i have no idea how many elementary schools and high schools i've visited and worked at, first as a substitute teacher in boston, and now when i deliver desks to kids in malawi to kids who have never seen desks. i'll never forget the seventh grader in roxbury one day who looked at me when i walked into his classroom with a full beard and long hair and called me grizzly adams, an homage i guess to the character in the tv series. that got a big laugh, including from me, one of my many weaknesses as a substitute teacher was i thought most of
the jokes about me were pretty funny. i often think about the grizzly adams kid. i'm sure wherever he works today, he's the funniest guy in that job and probably the smartest. i'll never forget him. and i'll never forget maureen. there she is on the day i met her last year. that green dress, the irish name that was so easy for me to remember. and that face made maureen instantly memorable. but what locked her in my memory was how she worked in class. her concentration never wavered, even when she was sitting on the floor, and when she was writing on the floor with her work paper on the floor. that's what teachers remember. how hard a student works. when we deliver desks to maureen's school last year, maureen was the first student to get right to work on her new desk. that green dress was her only outfit then.
like most of the kids in her class, maureen had no shoes. now maureen is in second grade. she grew out of the green dress. but she used pieces of it to give her new school dress some style. and now maureen has her first pair of shoes. math is one of her favorite subjects. and yes, the pointer that you see, she's using there, is a branch, just a branch that her teacher found and whittled into shape for use in class. that's the way classroom life is in malawi. maureen is shy. she speaks very softly. here she is last month telling us what she wants to be when she grows up. maureen bester wants to be a doctor. and you're helping her get there with your contributions to the k.i.n.d. fund.
kids in needs of desks is a partnership i created with unicef to provide desks to schools in malawi. you can contribute at email@example.com. in malawi, public education is free but not for high school. the high school graduation rate for boys is double that for girls. that's why the k.i.n.d. fund provides scholarships to girl to attend high school. we'll be there for maureen when she goes to high school. you can contribute any amount toward a desk or a scholarship in the name of anyone on your holiday gift list and unicef will send an acknowledgement of your gift. thanks to your generosity we now have 3,381 girls attending high school and we have delivered 200,000 desks. we're enabled to do this because you have supported k.i.n.d. since i announced it on this program seven years ago. this week we crossed a milestone
that i could not have imagined when we began. since we began, kids in need of desks, you have now contributed more than $15 million. our total as of tonight is $15,101,109. the workers who now have jobs building the desks thank you. the teachers who now have desks in their classrooms for the first time thank you. the students thank you. i thank you. and maureen thanks you. [ speaking foreign language ] dr. maureen bester. i love the sound of that. maybe some day, with your help, she will be dr. maureen bester. maureen bester gets tonight's last word.
williams" starts now. tonight, president trump says he's not ready to discuss a pardon for mike flynn yet. and he offers kind words for putin for saying very nice things about him. kind words fo pu putin. he attacks his own fbi at an fbi facility and two big names move from a no to yes presumably because their price was met. as we get a first look at tax bill that may become law. the 11th hour on a friday night begins now. >> good evening, once again from nbc news head quarts from new york. day 330 of the trump administration. day the president decided to weigh in on the status of the russia investigation. the fate of michael flynn and his relationship with vladimir putin. and he continued his attacks on the fbi right before mak