Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: June 22, 2016 Guest: Cory Booker, Norman Ornstein, Joseph Crowley, Jonathan Allen, Norma Torres, Howard Dean, Robert Reich
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Our coverage of this dramatic scene in the house continues through the night. Lawrence O`Donnell picks up our coverage now, good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Thanks, Rachel, it looks like the drama is taking a turn on the house floor right now, so we`re going to go right to it. Thank you, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: The Democrats historic sit-in on the house floor is continuing with Speaker Ryan expected to have the house reconvene at any moment now.
That`s a shot of what`s happening on the house right now with the sit-in continuing. We don`t know whether the Democrats will continue doing what you see them doing there if the Republicans try to reconvene the house, that they may try to prevent the house from reconvening.
We have never seen that happen before. We have never been here before. No one watching the Congress has ever seen this happen before.
We truly have no idea what`s going to happen next on the day when the minority party in the house decided they just couldn`t take it anymore.
There are 535 federal elected officials in Washington D.C., there is a tie for the least powerful elected official in Washington D.C.
It`s not a two-way tie or a three-way tie, it`s 188-way tie. All 188 members of the minority party in the House of Representatives are the least powerful elected officials in Washington and they know it.
They are Congressmen and Congresswomen in name only. They get a salary, they get business cards, they get a staff, they get them office, but legislatively, they get nothing.
When it comes to the business of the House of Representatives on legislation, the minority party doesn`t matter. The minority party can be ignored.
Because individual members of the house do not have the powers that senators have to block legislation that the majority might be trying to move.
House members don`t even have the same right to speak that senators have. House members are lucky if they get to speak for a full minute before a vote on a house bill.
Most of the time, senators have unlimited speaking time on the Senate floor. Being in the minority party in the Senate feels pretty powerless too until you look at the minority in the house.
But Democratic members of the House of Representatives did not run for Congress to be irrelevant in the house, to be ignored.
Something had to give and so finally, this morning at 11:18 a.m., Congressman John Lewis rose to speak, knowing that the power structure of the house was against him.
Knowing that the rules of the house allow the majority to ignore the minority. John Lewis stood up to do the impossible before in his life, including marching across a bridge in Selma in 1965, there is no one in the house or Senate made of stronger stuff than John Lewis.
No one in the history of the United States Congress. And this morning at 11:18 a.m., John Lewis had had enough of business as usual in the House of Representatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Mr. Speaker, this is a fight, it is not an opinion. We must remove the blinders, the time for silence and patience is long gone.
We are calling on the leadership of the house to bring common sense gun control legislation to the house floor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right --
LEWIS: Give us a vote!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
LEWIS: Let us vote! We came here to do our job. We came here to work. Now is the time for us to find a way to --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Speaker Ryan is reconvening the house right now. This is live.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: But the chair would hope that the business of the house could be conducted in a fashion that represents -- that respects positively on the dignity and the decorum of this institution to which we all belong.
For the purposes -- the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Ryder(ph) seeks recognition.
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
O`DONNELL: This is the unprecedented situation we were anticipating, the speaker --
Trying to convene the house. The Democrats chanting no bill, no break. Let`s watch this.
RYAN: On house joint resolution 88. The clerk will report the title of the joint resolution.
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break, no bill, no break.
RYAN: The question is, will the house in reconsideration pass a joint resolution?
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break --
RYAN: The objections of the President, to the contrary, notwithstanding the gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline(ph) is recognized for one hour.
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
RYAN: The gentleman from Minnesota yields back. The question is, on ordering the previous question, those in favor say, aye, those opposed say, no.
The opinion, it shows the ayes have it. Gentleman from Minnesota.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recorded vote --
RYAN: A recorded vote -- question. Those favoring a recorded vote will arise, a sufficient number having risen, a recorded vote is ordered.
Members will record their vote by electronic device. Rule 20, this 15- minute vote on ordering the previous question will be followed by a five minute vote on passing a joint resolution.
The objectives of the president, to the contrary, notwithstanding this is a 15-minute vote.
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
O`DONNELL: Paul Ryan seems to have successfully gaveled the house to a vote on the pending business of the house which is unrelated to gun safety legislation that house Democrats are trying to force a vote on.
The 15-minute vote clock will be ticking off. We have never seen a scene like that on the floor of the House of Representatives.
We are joined now by Norm Ornstein; he`s a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing writer for "The Atlantic".
Norm, you`ve been watching the Congress longer than I have I can imagine, your reaction to this?
NORMAN ORNSTEIN, POLITICAL SCIENTIST & SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTEA: Almost longer than you`ve been alive, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
ORNSTEIN: It`s quite extraordinary. You know, as some of the previous shows have noted, we had a very faint version of this back in 2008 when Republicans took the floor while the house was not in session to demand a vote on drilling, drill baby drill which was basically offshore drilling.
And they did that for a few days, Speaker Pelosi turned the lights off, and then it just kind of gave way. And obviously, not an issue that had any emotional impact the way the gun issue does now.
And to have a sit-in, and the symbolism of a sit-in with John Lewis, to have an issue with such great emotional weight to it, and then they have Republicans now trying to figure out what to do.
And yes, you know, the Speaker can call the house back into session and he can demand votes and he`ll get some votes.
But at some point, the house is going to go out again and the Democrats will continue to stay there and sit in.
And you can see from the amount of attention given to this that it`s riveted the attention of a lot of people in the nation more than most filibusters have done.
And I don`t think they`re going to be able to just respond to this by ignoring it.
O`DONNELL: I was trying to make out procedurally exactly what the Speaker did which was very hard to do over that yelling.
But apparently, he recognized one Republican member to speak for an hour, that Republican member seated back that time.
Immediately, they then put the question to a voice vote knowing that the voice vote couldn`t possibly carry under these circumstances and then of course they`re now into the recorded vote where every member will be recorded on this vote.
And Norm, there`s some question as to whether the Democrats will participate. There has been a question about whether they will participate in this vote.
So far they are. We see a 70 no votes on this. And so -- and this is a resolution to override a veto that President Obama issued on the definition of fiduciary duty regulation issued by the Labor Department.
And basically, it creates a stronger responsibilities among those who give financial advice to people.
And so, here you have the Republican house, the most important business for them is to loosen as much as possible the responsibilities that financial advisors have when they`re talking to retirees and others about their retirement accounts.
That`s the business they need to conduct tonight.
ORNSTEIN: And you know, what`s interesting, Lawrence, is that they brought this particular one up and moved directly to vote.
So, it was John Kline, the chairman of the committee that handles these matters, who decided not to speak because this is not a debate they particularly want to have.
This is one where in effect they`re taking the position that people should not get advice from financial advisors that`s in their own self interests that would be instead something that the financial advisors can do that would screw the average investor and small investor in particular.
So, getting this vote to override the veto without having any debate is actually in some ways a plus for them.
But you know, it`s also clear that once they get past these votes, one to move the previous question, which is to move to a vote on the veto override itself.
And then a five-minute vote to override the veto, and they will fail on that. What are they going to do next?
They could bring up some other votes, but you know, at some point, their own members want to leave and they`re going to recess the house and the Democrats are going to stay there and they`ll stay through the night and they`ll stay tomorrow.
And this is going to keep going on. And you know, unlike a filibuster which you and I know from the Senate involves a lot of wear and tear on the minority members.
Because you`ve got to be there, and you`ve got to be standing when you`re on the floor. You know, in this case, they don`t have to have all 188 of their members.
They can come and go. They can go out and get something to eat. You can have a few people who stay there through the evening.
You can do tag teams and it`s still going to keep the pressure on to get a vote.
O`DONNELL: An we`ve got a jury-rigged version of "C-Span". "C-Span" is not allowed to run its cameras when the house is not formally in session.
But we did get a significant amount of veto out of -- a significant amount of video out of the house today. I want to play some of that now of Democrats on --
ORNSTEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: The house floor today. Let`s see that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing restricting a single Republican from walking in this door and sitting down and start legislating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This microphone doesn`t belong to Paul Ryan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This microphone doesn`t belong to the NRA and it doesn`t belong to the gun manufacturers. Republicans are soft on terrorism, period, dot, end of story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have any morality in this place?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, give us this vote. Give us this vote. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We are joined now from the House of Representatives by Luke Russert, our congressional correspondent. Luke, what is the latest there?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Yes, hey, Lawrence, apologies for my tardiness. I was actually in the chambers where we were not allowed to have phones or communicative devices.
Words can`t describe how intense the scene was on the house floor. For a long period of time, leading up to Ryan gaveling the house back into the session, the gallery was erupting in chants of no break, no bill, no bill, no break, no bill, no break, going back and forth.
It`s very rare to see that because if that ever happens, the Capitol police almost always stops it, because the gallery is not allowed to do that.
They allowed the gallery to those folks watching in the side to carry on with those chants. Once Ryan gaveled in, the Capitol police stopped it.
But then that encouraged the Democratic house members on the floor to get louder with their chants so much to the point where I was sitting right above Speaker Ryan and could not hear him even though he was speaking into the microphone which usually broadcast throughout the house chamber.
Throughout this entire time, the Democrats kept chanting and chanting and chanting. Ryan then called for a vote on an unrelated measure, not pertained to guns.
He then made a move to walk off the dais, walk away from the speaker`s chair and was loudly booed by house Democrats who then started pointing and yelling shame.
Ryan took it in good stride, went over and spoke to some friendly colleagues, but you could tell, if you follow the Speaker, that clearly made an impact on him as it would on almost anybody.
And then he walked over to the side of the floor and started talking to his colleagues. So, in the course of about five minutes, everyone in that room was able to see just the degree to which the Democrats were engaged, to the degree to which the Republicans wanted to come in and try and put an end to this the best they could.
And how a scene that I think is safe to say, unlike any other that we have seen in the modern era on the house floor.
I was talking to some of my colleagues who were reporting back when you worked here, Lawrence, and not one of them can remember anything like this.
I mean, this is really quite a dramatic evening without doubt.
O`DONNELL: Luke, at the moment, we`re showing some of that personal video from the house floor that shows Paul Ryan when he was up there on the podium.
Luke, I`ve got to go back to one thing you said -- actually, a couple of things you said in excess. So lucky to have you in the room because you can see things we would never otherwise know.
The notion that the gallery which is to say the audience of the house was participating in this chanting is just stunning to me.
That the house and the Senate galleries are run like courtrooms where no one is allowed to make the slightest noise up there at any time and the idea that the Capitol police allowed that, which is to say, I guess Paul Ryan at some point decided he was going to allow -- during the gallery to get what would previously have been described as out of control.
RUSSERT: Usually, when anybody stands up in the gallery and they`re out of order, out of turn, it`s considered -- they`re considered a protester.
And the Capitol police immediately go to grab them and remove them from the chamber. In this case, I suspect because the house was not formally into session until Ryan officially gaveled that the Capitol police did not want to have to deal with a massive disruption and allowed this to go forward.
But the comparison is like a college basketball game. You know, go team, go team, that`s what it was like. And in the gallery were some folks who had experienced gun violence in their lives.
They were saluted by the house Democrats on the floor, but there was a time there for about two to three minutes when the Democrats on the floor were leading the chants, the gallery was responding to the chants, that you walking in there would have mistaken yourself to be in a sports venue.
I mean, that is the degree of how loud it is and you`re completely accurate. Usually, the house chamber is a courtroom.
Someone might be having impassion speech from the well, they might bang on the podium a little bit, but that`s really the end of it.
Never ever does it get that loud, and never ever does it get that out of order, and that`s something that`s truly remarkable.
And I`m wondering, Lawrence, if we saw a real change tonight in the customary norms of how the body operates.
Because I can just think that if this amount of tension has been put on it this evening, what`s not to say is something like this might not be tried again.
Maybe not next month, but next year or the year after that, or who knows.
O`DONNELL: And Luke, quickly, why is Paul Ryan bringing this to a vote? Why did he feel he needed to bring this veto override to a vote?
It`s not going to succeed, they`re not going to override the veto, it`s bringing much more attention to what the Democrats are doing in the house today.
RUSSERT: They had a meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m., the house GOP conference. It was an unscheduled meeting.
All his members almost -- said, Speaker Ryan, you`ve got to do something about this, we can`t allow this precedent to be set where the minority party is allowed to hijack the house floor.
As you know, Lawrence, in the house, there is no mechanism for filibusters. Essentially, the ruling party gets to make up the rules of the floor, the minority party has to follow.
The only way to get what you want is a discharged position -- petition, you need 218 votes to get that signature.
Ryan made the calculation, perhaps to his members, OK, I`m not going to be the speaker that allowed this to go on without at least attempting to end it or showing a show of force, a show of strength.
Ryan went to the floor, he moved forward on other votes, and he essentially brought upon this demonstration to show strength and to show ultimately we`re not going to be bullied into voting on bills pertaining to gun control.
And I wonder whether or not they think that was the best call at the end of the day because this certainly will lead the news for at least the next day.
I mean, given the magnitude of this story, Lawrence, it bumped Donald Trump to the --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
RUSSERT: That`s pretty extraordinary.
O`DONNELL: We have extraordinary images on our screen tonight. We have the official "C-Span" video of the House of Representatives up with the vote clock showing 2 minutes, 17 seconds left in that vote -- 8 seconds left in the vote.
The other image you`re seeing is Facebook video coming from the floor of the House of Representatives. The very existence of that video right now is a violation of house rules.
Can`t video like that, cameras like that, are not allowed on the house floor while it`s in session. Let`s listen to what`s happening on the house floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our leader, Nancy Pelosi.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Thank you --
And demanding an end to the house in action on common sense gun violence prevention legislation. Guided by the moral strength and --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, now we`re back to taped video from just before Paul Ryan convened the house. Nancy Pelosi was the last Democratic speaker who spoke just before Paul Ryan at about 10:02 p.m., reconvened the house for this vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody is so dangerous that they`re --
O`DONNELL: They`re now recording the results of the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By voting to override -- I yield back --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No, that`s the video -- that`s also earlier video that we`re showing you there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: The question is on ordering the previous question, those in favor say, aye, those oppose say, no. The opinion that share the ayes have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Let`s take Paul Ryan now. That`s confusing to the audience. You`re showing -- we`re showing Paul Ryan from 20 minutes ago up there in that box.
We don`t have a live image there. This is the live image of the house. It`s the official "C-Span" image of the house and it is still a couple of seconds left in the vote.
DEMOCRATS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
O`DONNELL: The vote total is being read right now, but this is live video, Facebook video from the floor of the house where you won`t be able to hear that vote total being --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vote must be by the --
O`DONNELL: And this is now the "C-Span" video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members will record their votes by electronic device, this will be a five-minute vote.
O`DONNELL: Luke Russert, they just called for the second vote and one of the -- one of the things that`s extraordinary things we`re seeing is that that Facebook video is still being pirated out of the House of Representatives during the votes.
This is now in mutiny territory. This is a clear violation of the house rules.
RUSSERT: There has been a violation of the house rules all day. You`re not supposed to take pictures on the -- on the house floor, you`re not supposed to take videos.
And the Democrats, when they realized that the cameras were going to be dark because the house is not officially gaveled in, "C-Span" couldn`t broadcast.
They did their own broadcast using the technological means of today, and quite frankly, I can say that`s really how this story took off, Lawrence, that and the hashtag.
A bit of reporting to give you right now. I just heard this over my shoulder over there -- I`d take 30 yards from the door, and it`s being reported from my colleague (INAUDIBLE) inside.
The Democrats, short while ago broke out in song on the house floor singing "we shall overcome, we shall pass a bill someday, we shall overcome hate."
Gives you a degree to how much they care about this to how much they`re united on this, and I can tell you from covering them, they`ve been in the minority since early 2011, they have tried to do a lot of things to bring attention to what they felt were some of the egregious things the house GOP conference is doing to them, and nothing really stuck.
But this, for whatever reason, with the way it`s engaged people through social media and the way it`s engaged them themselves, victims of gun violence, they have struck a chord that is certainly being felt, not only in this building, but I would argue probably around the country right now.
O`DONNELL: I want to go to Norm Ornstein to think about where we would be in this story tonight without social media.
But prior to social media, we would be guessing what it looked like on the house floor or what it sounded like on the house floor.
There would be no pictures of it. There would be no way of knowing. So, social media may not have changed the rules of the house, but it has certainly changed the behavior of the house.
ORNSTEIN: And you know, in the same way, the demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt and other places because they were on social media made a difference.
You know, one point here, Lawrence, there are lots of ways in which Paul Ryan could have stopped or blocked this.
You can call in the sergeant at arms and the Capitol police if people are disruptive on the floor, if they are violating house rules, you could have a vote that basically says that they`re silenced on the floor.
But Paul Ryan doesn`t want to look like Bill Conner and that`s what John Lewis brings to the table, and why singing "we shall overcome", calling this a sit-in, has the resonance that it does.
It`s taking us back to the civil rights movement and anything that Ryan does that stops this quite extraordinary demonstration during a vote, not even a gavel saying the house shall be in order which, we -- you know, we hear all the time when we`re watching proceedings on the floor of the house or a Senate.
Because they don`t want to do anything that gives the Democrats more traction here or makes it look like they`re cracking down on what they`re doing.
And that adds to their dilemma right now, and it makes this even more extraordinary.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and Norm, it`s one of those things where, Paul Ryan, you know, may have the power to call the Capitol police but the strength in numbers of the Democrats made that absolutely impossible.
You could use that method on one unruly member or maybe even a couple of --
ORNSTEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Unruly members especially if they were doing something that had no real moral basis. It had -- it had -- it was frivolous and silly.
ORNSTEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: This is something else, and there was no choice there for Paul Ryan. I mean, he -- those Capitol police would in effects be ordered to drag these members out of there because you know --
ORNSTEIN: Yes, and well --
O`DONNELL: They weren`t going to cooperate.
ORNSTEIN: That would be just like what happened at many times with the civil disobedience in the -- in the civil rights movement.
You know, it`s really important to know here how this issue has -- of guns has pivoted.
And you know, it reminds me so much of the dramatic change in the political dynamic of same-sex marriage that went from something that Democrats were reluctant to talk about, wanted to stay away from, and Republicans loved to pound away at, to suddenly something where it was completely reversed.
And that`s what`s happened in the last couple of years and especially the last six months on the gun issue.
Republicans would rather not even be talking about this, and Democrats now who wouldn`t talk about it a couple of years ago, don`t want to give up on it.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back do Luke Russert, Luke, there`s about 20 seconds left in the vote clock there.
RUSSERT: Yes --
O`DONNELL: We did just lose the Facebook feed of video, but now that`s come back. What happens after this vote, Luke?
RUSSERT: Well, it`s unclear because I believe there`s supposed to be emotion to adjourn, but I`m now seeing reports and talking to my colleagues inside the chamber.
And there is originally going to be another vote in the night pertaining to a conference report on Zika to get in the weeds.
So, we don`t necessarily know what`s going to happen there, Congressman Crowley right here and live, can you come over, do you know what`s going to happen?
Congressman Crowley, the vice chairman of the House Democratic caucus, we`re just working with this, we`ll go with this small microphone, what`s the expectation to happen later tonight?
What`s going to happen after this?
REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: It`s not clear at this point, they just had a vote to override the fiduciary rule that was issued by the Department of Labor that the President vetoed.
That`s on the bill the Democrats support, the Republicans do, and they`re like, it will not reach the number of votes to override the President`s veto.
But I think the last (INAUDIBLE) on the floor tonight, what happens after that we don`t know yet.
RUSSERT: Is it your plan though to stay on the house floor for the duration of the evening?
CROWLEY: I have said I`m prepared to stay on the house floor for the entire evening into the morning, into tomorrow morning and stay as long as we have to stay in order to pass the bill.
I`m losing my voice because of it, but I think it`s that important. I know my colleagues feel the exact same way.
RUSSERT: What did you make of your colleagues yelling shame at Speaker Ryan, screaming at him, yelling him off the dais like that?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, I think it`s an untenable position for them. You know, Paul is a good man, I think he knows the right thing, what he should be doing.
He had an incident in his own district in Oak Creek where many sick Americans were slaughtered. But we have to bring sanity into this craziness that`s happening in this world today.
And it`s interesting to see the level of frustration that I`ve never been exposed in my 18 years in the house.
But that drove us to the floor to take unusual steps to bring to the attention to the -- this Congress to do something to stop this slaughter.
I mean, not only the mass killings, but people who die every day. Thirty thousand Americans you hear them die because -- as a result of gun violence.
And it needs to end. We`re not saying that anything we may pass today or tomorrow will end at all.
But a start of the beginning, let`s start something that changes the dialogue here in Washington to produce for the American people, it`s not happening.
And this is an indication of the level of frustration we`re at is at an all-time high. I think the American people -- exact same way.
RUSSERT: What`s the vehicle to make that happen? Can you guys bring a rule forward? I mean, a bill or something? What can you do? An amendment --
CROWLEY: President Lincoln said that public sentiment is everything. It means everything. If the -- if the public is charged, if people call their representatives and say we want a bill, we don`t want you to vote for everything the NRA says.
But vote your conscience. Vote for the right thing, do the due process. One of my colleagues started yelling out what about due process?
So, I started chanting due processes, I said what about due process for the little child who is shot in the classroom?
What about the due process of a young person who is dancing in a nightclub, when they come in and their heads are blown off by an automatic weapon, what about their due process?
I believe in due process. I think we can work a bill that covers the rights of people`s due process and at the same time takes the guns out of the hands of terrorists and the criminals and people who want to do harm to average or any American citizens and at same time protect people`s rights. I believe in that.
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right. You are talking about the due process pertaining to "No fly. No buy."
REP. CROWLEY: Correct.
RUSSERT: Yes. The republicans say that there should be -- if someone is on that list by mistake, the ability for them to plead their case in court.
REP. CROWLEY: By all means, they should go to court and plead their case and if they can get off the list all the more power to them. But it is also about extended background checks. To give law enforcement the tools they need to make sure the people who should not have those weapons do not get them, and that s not happening right now.
RUSSERT: Hey, Lawrence, do you have any questions here for Representative Crowley. I do not need --
O`DONNELL: That is great, Luke. And thanks to Joe Crowley for doing this, but I just want to explain to the viewers what they are seeing on the house floor right now. If we can get a full shot of the house floor. You see members holding up pieces of paper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: -- not being affirmed that joint in the committee, in education and the workforce. The court will notify the senate of the action of the house --
O`DONNELL: They are holding up pieces of paper with the names of shooting victims on those pieces of paper. They are holding up photographs of people killed in gun violence and killed in some of our mass murder massacres. And Luke, if you still have the Representative Crowley --
O`DONNELL: They did just gavel this session into recess and so the C-span feed is gone and we are now left with these boot-legged Facebook videos that we are getting out of the house floor. So it seems like Congressman Crowley and others may be spending the night there.
RUSSERT: Yes. He just ran back to the house floor. The inclusion of that boat and he was one of the ring leaders of this protest, Lawrence, along with John Larson of Connecticut and John Lewis of Georgia.
I thought that was quite extraordinary, what he says that he was prepared to stay in the chambers through the night. In theory, Speaker Ryan could order the lights to be turned off. I think that is what the house democrats would like to happen. It would be optically for them.
So, I will not think the speaker would do that, but we are in unchartered territory now. We have never had a protest of this magnitude in the house chamber in modern times that we know about so far and we certainly have not had members sleeping overnight in protests, which some are prepared to do now.
Representative Cleaver of Missouri, I saw him a little bit earlier, Lawrence. He had a large pink and white striped pillow and he said that he was prepared to spend the night. There were some reports of sleeping bags being brought into the cloak rooms. People sleeping spaces on couches.
So how this ends remains to be seen and whether or not the GOP will give here, it is not so simple as it is in the senate where they can agree to an amendment on an existing bill. In the house if you want to see a vote on something, it does usually have to go through a rules committee or the amendment has to be approved as part of a larger scale bill that has to go through a rule.
So even if the GOP wanted to give, there would have to be time on that. I suspect that if they made a guarantee in good faith between the two leaders maybe that would suffice, but this is extraordinary. I mean there is no - -
O`DONNELL: Luke, we have some video of a scene that you described so well for us earlier and this is when the house democrats broke into song. Let us go to that video now.
(VIDEO CLIP OF DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS SINGING TOGETHER)
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Norm Ornstein. Norm, You and I, sitting here, listening to democrats singing, "We Shall Overcome" on the house floor. I am all but overcome listening to that. It is an extraordinary and historic moment.
NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It certainly is. And one important point here, Paul Ryan as he spoke before he reconvened the house said many things about why they do not want to vote, but one of them was, they want to vote on something that is already failed in the senate.
And it is true that the senate brought up four measures; two by democrats, two by republicans. All of which went down, each required 60 votes and none of them got them. But Susan Collins, a republican from Maine has been hard at work coming up with a compromise that can pass the senate.And it is entirely possible that we are going to see a broad bipartisan majority support something going through the senate.
And if and when that happens, the pressure on Ryan who does not want to have anything to do with the gun issue, because it really creates problems for his own members is, the pressure will be more intense and probably excruciating. And the democrats in the house will double and triple down on what they are doing now.
O`DONNELL: So I want to go to Elizabeth Warren, who visited the house floor earlier today and was received very, very warmly. Senator have come over there. Senator Bernie Sanders came over there today. A lot of democratic senators were over there, including a bunch that were not reported to be over there.
I saw a bunch of shots where see, "Oh, there is Cathway (ph). He is standing over there," and on one is even noticing it. But Elizabeth Warren tweeting tonight after seeing Paul Ryan come out and do what they did to have that vote on this fiduciary role.
She tweeted, "After a whole day of `No bill, no break,` house GOP is instead moving on a vote to make it easier for retirement advisors to cheat people." That was her first tweet about this.
She went on about it in sequence ending with, "You should be ashamed of yourself -- Speaker Ryan and house GOP, you should be ashamed of yourselves for your totally corrupt priorities. People are watching."
And Norm, people are watching in a way that they have never been able to watch before, when those C-span cameras go off there is nothing to watch in the House of Representatives but not tonight.
ORNSTEIN: And it is extraordinary that what they have done, a dramatic move and an unprecedented one in many ways, even though moderate attempts to do something things have happened in the past has riveted our attention. And it is clearly, as Luke said, the dominant news story. Anything that forces Donald Trump off the lead is a dominant news story.
And I think it is going to change the dialogue and the dynamic on this issue and it is not going away. And that is a real headache I think for the republicans who really would prefer not to even discuss gun issues at the moment.
O`DONNELL: We are joined by Jonathan Allen. Jonathan, the intersection here of what we are seeing -- by the way we are seeing some republican members of the house leave now. Their business having been done -- having been concluded.
Jonathan, the intersection of what is happening in the house and the presidential campaign, there we saw Elizabeth Warren who the Boston Globe confirmed today is being vetted by the Clinton campaign for possible vice presidential nomination, she very much wanted to be heard on this.
What will we see -- what do you expect we will see in the Clinton campaign tomorrow and anything possibly in the Trump campaign tomorrow as a result of what we are seeing in the house tonight?
JONATHAN ALLEN, CO-AUTHOR OF HRC: What you are going to see from the Clinton campaign tomorrow is what you have seen already today is support from Hillary Clinton from a distance. She was on capitol hill today, did not choose to go to the house chamber, which would have made this an even more political moment than it is and it would have perhaps the confused the lines there a little bit.
But I expect her to talk about this. I expect her to talk about it the way Elizabeth Warren did in the comment that you just read a moment ago that rather than addressing the gun issue, house republicans chose to make it easier for investment advisors to, as Elizabeth Warren said, cheat people. That is the argument that democrats are making about this particular effort, republicans are making on the hill right now.
This is an issue by the way that has unified democrats over the past year. You are looking right now -- when you are talking about the presidential election, you are looking at a Republican Party that is divided.
And then you look down at that house floor and you see the civil disobedience, so unusual in the halls of government and particularly in the halls of congress. Now, I covered the hill for about 15 years, never seen anything like that --
O`DONNELL: Jonathan, we are going to go live to the house floor now and listen in through this Facebook video.
SEN. JAMES MEEKS, (D) ILLINOIS: I must admit that it was just a few weeks ago where I had my hopes up and a memorial service for Muhammad Ali. When I was at that memorial service with my friend, John Yarmuth and old Maxine Waters was there, we saw this nation come in together.
We saw people Native Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, whites, Jews, Muslims, Christians, all there memorializing the life of a man, who decided that he had to stand up and speak out no matter what the cost. And I had pride in that. Just a short time thereafter, we had the horrible shootings in Orlando, Florida. My heart was heavy.
I was headed to D.C., but could not make it here. I heard about the communities in New York, the LGBTs getting together in the village. I said "Cannot come down to another place in Washington, D.C. just to hear another moment of silence.
Let me go where people is hearts are heavy. Let me go where folks were standing and said, "We need a vote to end this gun violence." And so I went there to renew my spirit, the same spirit that I had when I was in Louisville, Kentucky --
O`DONNELL (voice-over): We are seeing John Lewis leave the Capitol, the man who started this, this morning at 11:18 a.m. The conscience of the House of Representatives, John Lewis, a man who has a regard among the members there, that is Meeks.
MEEK: -- that it is time to get in the time, that it is time to make the difference. It is time to let the American people know they do have a voice in this house. And tonight we hear this voice.
REP. JOHN LEWIS, (D) GEORGIA: Thank you. We will not give up. We will continue to stand. Many, many years ago before many of you were born, before you were even a dream, we participated in sit-ins and stand ins.
The change in America and by standing here tonight, standing with us, by being here, you have been with us to the truth. You must never, ever give up or give in or give out.
(SUPPORTERS APPLAUDING AND CHEERING)
We will not stop. We cannot stop. We got to stop the violence and do something about the proliferation of guns in our society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Get rid of the assault rifles now.
REP. LEWIS: Just continue to say, "Give us a vote."
REP. KATHERINE CLARK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Give us a vote!
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OF SUPPORTERS: Give us a vote! Give us a vote! Give us a vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SUPPORTER: No bill, no break.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OF SUPPORTERS: No bill, no break. No bill, break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break.
REP. CLARK: Thank you. Thank you.
REP. LEWIS: Will you, three you young people much younger than I, want to say anything?
REP. TERRI SEWELL, (D) ALABAMA: Let us take some common leadership.
REP. CLARK: We just want to thank John Lewis.
(SUPPORTERS CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
We know that he is your inspiration, because from the time he was a young man he knows what it means to live American values, to work in peace and love and to just stand up for those who do not have a voice, whether it was in Alabama or whether it is on the floor of the house today.
That is who John Lewis is, that is who we hope to be. Listen to our better angels. We can do this. We have to try and we thank you all. Your word of you inside that is growing in strength out here and it gives us strength to stay the course. We cannot thank John Lewis enough for so many --
(SUPPORTERS CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D) RHODE ISLAND: John Lewis has been our inspiration. Congressman Clark and Sewell helped organize this and really led the efforts, but we need your voices. This is about, not about fight to keep our communities safe, this is a fight to protect our democracy to give a voice to the people.
And this is a fight we are prepared to stay in as long as we have to but we need your voices. We need you to demand that this democracy works for you and that it protects the American people. And we get rid of the scourge of gun violence in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SUPPORTER: We are with you!
REP. CLARK: Thank you.
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Congressman John Lewis as well as Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the woman standing beside John Lewis there, who spoke briefly. It was actually her idea that they try this sit-in strategy with. She brought the idea to John Lewis.
He recognized its power instantly and agreed to lead it. But the reason John Lewis was walking out with Katherine Clark is he wanted to make sure that Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark gets credit for much of what you have seen today, this historic day in the House of Representatives -- this historic night in the house of representatives, which continues now as the democrats -- let us listen to more of what they are saying out there. This is just outside the Capitol building.
REP. LEWIS: We can do this. We can win a great victory for the American people. So let us continue. And never give up!
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OF SUPPORTERS: Never give up!
(SUPPORTERS CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OF SUPPORTERS: Never!
REP. LEWIS: Thank you.
REP. CICILLINE: Thank you.
REP. CLARK: Thank you.
REP. SEWELL: Thank you.
(SUPPORTERS CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OD SUPPORTERS: No bill, no break. No bill, no break. No bill, no break. --
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Do we have live images from the house floor, control room? Do we have it? Let us go back to the house floor now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But you do not need to be a scientist to know that universal background checks with no exemption for internet sales are a good idea and you do not have to be a scientist to understand that anyone on the terrorist no fly list has no business buying guns. So the scientific conclusion is simple, meaningful criminal and psychiatric background checks in a no fly, no buy--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We are joined now by Congresswoman Norma Torres, California. She has been vetting this all day. Congresswoman Torres, what happens next?
REP. NORMA TORRES: (D) CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Lawrence. What happen next is we will sit here on the house floor until we are heard. It is unfortunately that I, myself, have been here since 11:45 a.m. this morning and speaker Ryan continues to refuse to acknowledge the voices of not just the members of congress that are here, but thousands and thousands of families and the victims of gun violence.
O`DONNELL: And as I understand it, your experience with gun violence is parted of what drove you to seek elected office.
TORRES: Absolutely. I was a 911 dispatcher working in the city of Los Angeles, four floors underground at City Hall East at the 911 center. When I received a call, the caller was an 11-year-old girl. All I could hear in the open line was something noises and terrible screams followed by five gun shots.
Imagine finding out that her screams were, "Uncle, please do not kill me." I ended up being her only witness to this crime that unfolded in my ears. Gun violence has a way of impacting not just the victims or the victims` families, but in my case it changed my life completely.
O`DONNELL: And what was it like to be on the floor knowing that you were breaking rules. You are doing things that you never expected to do when you became a member of the house?
REP. TORRES: Absolutely. I was elected to be the people`s legislator, but I am here being the people is voice on an issue that 90 percent of American citizens stand with us. They want to hear us debate on this issue. They want a solution to this terrible epidemic of gun violence in our communities and that is not happening because Speaker Ryan has refused to allow that debate.
O`DONNELL: I want to just go back to that extraordinary moment that we have now seen on video, where democrats started singing "We Shall Overcome." Were you in the middle of that? Did some individual start that or was that kind of a spontaneous group event?
REP. TORRES: It was spontaneous. It has been like that all morning, all afternoon and through the evening. We are standing together in solidarity to bring attention, again, to this issue. Standing beside me, members of the Republican Party talking about how ashamed they were at our actions. It is shameful. The shame comes to them, the fact that they have not acted on this issue, their inability to stand up against the national rifle association.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Torres, have you had been able to have any conversations with any of your republican friends in the California delegation in your delegation about how this might be resolved? Are you hearing any glimmers of an opening on the republican side?
REP. TORRES: Certainly not today. They have not made themselves available. They have not come down to the floor. They came down briefly for the two votes that all of you saw. The way they came down, they voted and they left.
O`DONNELL: And the idea of "No bill, no break," refers to the upcoming, the break being the upcoming July 4th holiday break. This is quite a commitment for house democrats to set that you will continue to do this and hold the house in this condition right up to any possible recess break.
REP. TORRES: Absolutely. We are serious about this conversation that needs to happen. Listen, Lawrence, we know that they are in the majority and any bill that comes forward that they have the ability to vote it down.
We are simply asking for an opportunity to have a say so on the floor and to talk about the thousands of victims and their families that have been impacted by gun violence.
O`DONNELL: Representative Norma Torres of California, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
REP. TORRES: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We are joined now by Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former Democratic Party Chairman. Also with us Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under President Clinton. He is a professor at public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
Robert Reich, I want to go to you first, because the extraordinary reason that we -- that Paul Ryan had to come to the floor tonight was as Elizabeth Warren put it in a tweet, to move a vote to make it easier for retirement advisors to cheat people and this is based on a regulation that was issued by the labor department that you used to run involving the fiduciary responsibility of people, who advised people with their retirement accounts. What did you make of that as the reason that Paul Ryan had to get some business done tonight?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY, PRES. CLINTON: It is extraordinary, Lawrence. The irony here is that the house republicans have really shown their true colors in the sense of wanting to protect these wealth managers from the labor department`s fiduciary responsibility rule, which may only says, "Look, you wealth managers, you have a responsibility to the people who are trusting you with their money."
And the house republicans refused simultaneously to listen to democrats, who simply want to vote on gun control. Something like this hearing the democrats singing, "We Shall Overcome," having a sit in, it really exemplifies not only what is happening to American politics, but also the powerlessness that so many people feel in America, whether we are talking about gun violence or we are talking about Wall Street fiduciary, fiduciaries who do not take any responsibility.
And the irony is you have elected officials in the Democratic Party, who the only way they can be heard is by having a sit-in as we used to do 50 years ago to get their constituents and others to try to basically contact republican representatives and say, "Look, you have some fundamental moral responsibility here."
O`DONNELL: Well, Luke Russert just got a chance to speak to Congressman John Lewis. Let us listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSERT: How does it make you feel? They are yelling "Thank you, John Lewis." How does it make you feel?
REP. LEWIS: Well, I am gratified that these young people understand what it is all about. These young people will help save America from the violence and help keep some of our children and our babies and some of our mothers and fathers and grandparents alive. .
RUSSERT: You guys started this roughly around 11:25 a.m. today. It is now almost 11:00. 12 hours later. This was spontaneous. The people came together by what they saw on the house floor, much -- not by C-span. How does that make you feel going back as a civil rights veteran -- this is organic. It is organic.
REP LEWIS: Well, I am gratified. It is good to see sitting there on the floor, I felt like I was reliving a life all over again. During the `60s the sit-ins started with three or four people and it spread like wildfire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, I would like you to project what you expect to see in the presidential campaign tomorrow as a result of what we have seen in the house tonight.
HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I think -- it is pretty hard to project. This is certainly the most extraordinary thing that happens in congress in my lifetime. I think it comes from -- I think as Luke said earlier, the incredible rapid shift -- I have not seen polls, but I can feel what is going on in this country. And I bet that there are polls today that you would find it enormous number of people believe that something has to be done about these guns, these automatic weapons.
And that has just left the republicans in a terrible, terrible position, because of the way that the party is just so badly divided. What do I think the presidential campaigns are going to do? I have no idea. I mean, Trump is totally unpredictable in every possible way.
I think Hillary will try to think her ways through this. It is going take some time. I honestly do not know what to make of this yet and cannot quite see where it is going. But it cannot be good news for the republicans who once again have found themselves very badly on the wrong side of this argument.
O`DONNELL: we have a reaction to the crowd outside the Capitol building. Let us go to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP OF PROTESTERS: Do your job! Do your job! Do your job! Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is what some republican members heard as they were seen leaving the Capitol tonight. In that image we have in our screen, that is a live feed from the house floor, where the protest continues. The lights are still on. Some question as to whether Speaker Paul Ryan would have the lights turned off.
That is a very difficult choice for him, because those democrats would be capable of still getting video out of there with some of the lighting, the kind of flashlight technology that is available on camera phones now. Robert Reich, where do we go from here?
REICH: Well, Lawrence, I think the real issue here is that Americans may be ready to be mobilized once again as they were -- Remember in 1994, that assault weapons ban was passed and then actually that election, that midterm election of 1995 and obviously in 1996 scared democrats away from any gun control.
And obviously for ten years you had the assault weapons ban, but it was not renewed. And then democrats did not want to touch gun control at all. I think the great pendulum of public opinion has come around on this.
And we find now a kind of an up swell of public opinion on this. I think Howard Dean is absolutely right. Democrats feel it. They feel that it is unreasonable, not even to hold a vote on this issue and republicans are going to be on the defensive.
O`DONNELL: We have had some extraordinary reporting tonight from Luke Russert. I want to thank him for that. I want to thank Norm Ornstein for joining us in this program with his unique historical prospective on this. Jonathan Allen, thank for joining us.
And our final guests here tonight, Robert Reich and Howard Dean, thank you both. Really appreciate you all joining us. I really appreciate it. Thank you. And Chris Hayes will now continue MSNBC`s live coverage of this historic night in the House of Representatives.