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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 4/21/22

Guests: Eric Swalwell, E.J. Dionne, Erika Geiss


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy denies saying he`d call Trump to say he should resign, but it`s on tape. Interview with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss made an extraordinary and moving speech after an autopsy found that a young black man had been shot in the back of the head by Michigan police. President Biden announced another $800 million in military aid to help Ukraine against the Russian war especially the offensive in the east of Ukraine.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, you earned as much of this time as you want. You didn`t even take a full minute.

So you make -- you broke very big news in the last hour. One is that there is a tape. And in the other big news is there is a lot more tape. It was one thing to play this tape of Kevin McCarthy tonight, which was really stunning to hear. But then Jonathan Martin told you, in that discussion, that this is one of many tapes they have that apparently they will be releasing as necessary to prove their points for a book that won`t even be coming out until May 3rd.


O`DONNELL: It sounds like Republicans in the House like, Kevin McCarthy, have to be worrying tonight about what else is on tape.

MADDOW: I mean, Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker of the House. The Republican hope an expectation is that the win enough seats in the midterm elections that the Republicans will be in control and he`ll be elected speaker. He`s got a lot of problems within his caucus already. But we reported tonight, is that he told other Republicans in Congress that he was going to call Trump until Trump he needs to resign.

He denied that he said it, he said that was absurd, he didn`t say it. It`s on tape, he in fact lies. Those denials were false. And then we learned tonight, a surprise to me in my interview with Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, is that, it`s amazing, McCarthy has also denied that he said that other members, Republican members of Congress should have their Twitter accounts, the other social media accounts canceled for the same reason that Trump did.

He has denied saying that. They told me tonight, I was shocked, that they have that on tape, too. That tape we haven`t yet heard but they now say they`re holding in reserve.

This is very difficult for Kevin McCarthy. You cannot just flat out lie about stuff like this, particularly when you`re already in precarious position in these kinds of politics. It`s very, very, very bad for Kevin McCarthy and I will be -- I will be surprised if there aren`t calls for his resignation -- for both for his resignation and for Senator McConnell`s resignation based on this new reporting that they can run from but they can hide from.

O`DONNELL: Now not to make it more uncomfortable for Kevin McCarthy, but just because I`ve only heard this once. We`re going to run the tape one more time. And this is after Kevin McCarthy said today, and I quote, "The New York Times reporting on me is totally false and wrong".

He`s completely denying what is in this tape that we`re just going to play one more time right now. Let`s listen to this, Rachel.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Liz, you on the phone?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Yeah I`m here, thanks, Kevin.

I guess there is a question, when we are talking about the 25th Amendment resolution --


CHENEY: -- and you asked if, you know, what happens if it gets there after he`s gone? Is there any chance, are you hearing that he might resign? Is there any reason to think that might happen?

MCCARTHY: I`ve had a few discussions. My gut tells me no, I`m seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven`t talked to him in a couple of days. From what I know of him, I mean, you guys know him too, do you think he never back away?

But I think I`m going to do, is I`m going to call him. This is what I think -- we know it`ll passed the House. I think there`s a chance it`ll pass the Senate, even when he is gone, and I think there`s a lot of different ramifications for that.

Now, I haven`t had a discussion with the Dems, that if he did resign, with that happen? Now, this is one personal fear I have.


I do not want to get into any conversation about Pence pardoning. Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that, I think this will pass.

And it will be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take. But I don`t think he would take it. But I don`t know.


O`DONNELL: Rachel, can I go back to a point that you didn`t have time to cover in that discussion earlier tonight? It begins, begins with Liz Cheney saying, we were talking about the 25th Amendment resolution.


O`DONNELL: So there is a giant story in there that we have yet to learn, which is what was Kevin McCarthy saying about the 25th Amendment and with whom and what was Liz Cheney saying. Liz Cheney apparently was researching the 25th Amendment process. And then it turns into a resign discussion, the discussion that Kevin McCarthy denied before, before he knew that you had a tape. That you were going to play on television tonight.

MADDOW: The 25th Amendment thing, that is a very astute point. Not only had they`ve been talking about the 25th Amendment, but he was asking detailed questions about how it would be implemented at least according to the way the way the tape goes.

Thanks Kevin, Liz Cheney says, there is a question when we were talking about a 25th amendment resolution. McCarthy says yeah. Cheney says, and you asked. You know, what happens if it gets thereafter he`s gone is there any chance? Are you hearing that he might resign?

So, McCarthy and Liz Cheney and presumably others are having enough a detailed conversation about the 25th amendment that they`re talking about what might happen with the 25th amendment and its implementation if he resigns in the middle of that process. And they`re trying to figure out how to play out on the ground. And then they get from that into Yemen McCarthy is going to tell him to resign.

In McCarthy, I will tell you this denial that you just quoted, Lawrence, from McCarthy and his office today, is absolutely correct. NBC news went back to McCarthy`s office to make sure that Donald was exactly what they meant. Asked again if McCarthy said he would push President Trump to resign, the answer was no he did not. We have McCarthy saying here he would push Trump resign.

McCarthy is flat-out lying about this. It`s very damaging to him even before the lie. But then lying about it is just untenable. You can`t be this dishonest about things this big. And hold a leadership job that`s about to become way bigger.

O`DONNELL: Well, you certainly can`t do that and hold a Democratic leadership job. We are now going to see the test of, we know as a Republican you can lie like this in the presidency and Republican voters have no problem with it. And Republican members of Congress had a problem with it.

We`re going to find out what House Republican tolerance is for this kind of lying by Kevin McCarthy, and as far as they might be trail of Donald Trump.

MADDOW: That`s the other part of it. I mean, how do you think that Trump is going to respond to hearing on tape cover McCarthy say I`m going to tell there`s got to resign, and to hear, from the same reporters, in the same shop for the book, the McConnell was sort of gleefully saying yeah the Democrats are going to get rid of that SOB for us?

I mean, already, Trump and McConnell is pretty, there`s a lot of friction there, but with McCarthy, trying to a set of the speakership. And now Trump having this on his plate. I mean, I wouldn`t bet on it.

O`DONNELL: And many more tapes to come.

MADDOW: Yeah. Amazing.

O`DONNELL: What a night. Thank you, Rachel, very much.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Will Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell have the same title, minority leader. One has the title minority leader of the House of Representatives, the other has the title minority leader of the United States Senate.

But we must never use their titles again because their titles are a lie. They are not leaders. And we now have the tape to prove it with more tapes to come. You just heard that tape of Kevin McCarthy, after the January 6th attack on the Capitol saying that he was going to do the right thing, he was going to tell Donald Trump to resign, the presidency. That is what a leader would do.

And Kevin McCarthy did not do it, because he is not now and has never been a leader. He is a coward. So, too, Mitch McConnell.

And now we know just how cowardly Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell are, because we now know what they want to do. And what they were afraid to do. And that same book, we learned that Mitch McConnell said privately, if this is an impeachable, I don`t know what it is. Mitch McConnell said that after Donald Trump incited the insurrection at the capitol, that`s when he said that.

And McConnell told Republican senators including John Thune and Rob Portman, that he was leaning toward voting to convict Donald Trump in the impeachment trial in the Senate but Mitch McConnell didn`t do that because he is a coward.


When Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats started publicly discussing impeachment Donald Trump for the January 6th attack on the Capitol, Mitch McConnell privately said, the Democrats are going to take care of this son of a bitch for us. Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy knew that the Democrats had enough votes to impeach Donald Trump in the House but at least 17 Republicans would have to vote to convict on Trump in the Senate to reach the two thirds threshold for conviction. And Donald Trump was not convicted in the Senate because Mitch McConnell is not a leader.

Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell are well on their way to being lost to history because American history forgets the cowards. Mitch McConnell could`ve been Kentucky`s most consequential senator since Henry Clay, and instead, like all Kentucky senators, since Henry Clay, Mitch McConnell will be ignored by history if he is lucky because the only alternative is that history has to condemn Mitch McConnell for his cowardice.

He is the coward who was able to say this, what you`re about to hear, only after he voted against convicting Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There`s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He served as impeachment manager for the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He`s a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.

Congressman Swalwell, I want to get reaction to two things. First of all, what you heard Kevin McCarthy`s now saying on that audiotape and that discussion with Liz Cheney and others. And also, Kevin McCarthy`s completely false lying denial earlier today that he said those things that we -- that Rachel Maddow has now proved he said on tape tonight.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Kevin McCarthy was right, Lawrence. And you probably will never hear me say that again. But when he said that, he was right. Donald Trump had just lead insurrection against the Capitol. Police officers would later die, one lost an eye, one lost fingers, we nearly were not able to finish the count.

Kevin McCarthy was right. Donald Trump should have resigned. But then Kevin McCarthy went on to vote against impeachment. He went down to Mar-a-Lago for the photo op with the president.

And so, he has shown from when you listen to what he said, publicly, that he never said that and then you compare that he said privately, his pledge of allegiance is not for America, it`s to Donald Trump. And to your point, he`s caught in a lie. He is a liar.

And Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker of the house, and in the risk of getting Kevin McCarthy the keys to the Congress, he has proven himself untrustworthy but even worse, unable to stand up Donald Trump. So he doesn`t put America first. He puts Kevin McCarthy first. He puts Donald Trump first and that is dangerous for our country.

O`DONNELL: In other passages in the book, we discover that Steve Scalise was saying things about how the Republicans now have to consider how to go forward in the post-Trump version of themselves. Steve Scalise sounding immediately after the attack, when days after the attack on the Capitol as if he wanted to leave Trump behind, too.

SWALWELL: And that was wise. Steve Scalise also, Lawrence, was correct. And that`s when would`ve taken to get out, to get away from where we are right now. Because I thought someone who is on the floor, that they, who sent a text message to my wife not sure if I would ever see her orchids again. I thought that we would come out of this united. That unity would be the antidote and that Republicans and Democrats would disavow Trump and Trumpism.

But it`s only Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and Mitt Romney and a few others who have consistently done that. It`s not enough. And that`s why we are stuck at a point today we are democracy is on life support.

And until more people speak up, publicly, the way Kevin McCarthy was privately, we are in a very fragile place for this country.

O`DONNELL: And this attitude toward Donald Trump and the possibility of turning on Donald Trump went on for days after January 6th. I want to listen again as, and we played this many times on the show because people should ever forget this.


But this is January 13th on the House floor when Kevin McCarthy says this. Let`s listen to this.


MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action from President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden his able to successfully begin his term.


O`DONNELL: What happened to that?

SWALWELL: He backed down, because he couldn`t stand tall against Donald Trump. It was all talk and he was more afraid of the mob and security detail took him away from January 6th, because he was afraid, personally he would lose the ability to one day be speaker and also just like so many others, it`s so much easier to shrink against Trump than to stand up like Liz Cheney, Kinzinger and Romney.

And again, Lawrence to think about what does this mean to everyday Americans. This is a party that is more comfortable with violence than voting, chaos than competency, indecency than integrity. And if they are in the majority, there is no backstop, there`s no insurance policy to save the country because again you may see them talk about it privately but they don`t like what he`s doing.

But when you need to show the curve -- strength of stand up and stop him. There is just absolutely incapable of doing. It so you would effectively would have Donald Trump as the speaker of the House if Kevin McCarthy was elected.

O`DONNELL: Does this in any way jeopardize Kevin McCarthy`s hold on the top spot in the Republican Party in the House?

SWALWELL: Lawrence, I am sure right now they are talking, you`ve got the faction of the Trump base that will not like that again, you have a two- face in Kevin McCarthy. And then of course the moderates who have privately told me, and many of my colleagues, that McCarthy is not done enough to stand up against Trump.

So, he`s really lost I think the trust of both sides. And we need to responsible Republican Party. It would really help the country to have that. And I hope that`s what emerges. That`s something even worse and more subservient to Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you for joining us with the breaking news story tonight. I really appreciate it.

Thank you.

And coming up: we will have much more on this breaking news next with E.J. Dionne and Professor Eddie Glaude.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: If Congress is too polarized to pass anything, we probably won`t make the kind of progress we need. If Republican elected officials, with a few notable courageous exceptions, and I`m not going to mention them, because I don`t want them to be criticized for having been praised by me.

But if the vast majority of elected Republican officials keep insisting that there is nothing wrong with seeing an election was stolen without a shred of evidence, when they know better, this isn`t going to work.

Each of us, whether we work at a tech company or consume social media, whether we are a parent, legislator, advertiser on one of these platforms, now is the time to pick a side.

We have a choice right now. Do we allow our democracy to wither? Or do we make it better? That`s the choice we face. And it is a choice we`re embracing.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Eddie Glaude, chair of African American studies at Princeton University and MSNBC contributor.

Also with us, E.J. Dionne, he`s opinion columnist for "The Washington Post" and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is co-author of the book, "100 Percent Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting".

Professor Glaude, that choice that President Obama offered today in that speech at Stanford, that is the choice that Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell faced after January 6th. And we now know how they privately felt about that choice and the choice that they then publicly meet.

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And it`s clear and it`s been clear for a while. But I think there`s something we need to make mention, that we need a single out, Lawrence.

And it might not be clouded lead as you mentioned in the league. It very well might be an absolute obsession with power. At the end, is to maintain the power. And we read the expert. What we see our decisions being made, initial kind of judgments that this is horrible, that this is treasonous, that this is impeachable.

And then reading the tea leaves, seeing what the base is doing, that the end game isn`t democracy. The endgame isn`t the nation. The endgame is that these two men, this party, once to maintain and keep our hold on power -- not for democratic ends, but for their own ends.

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, one of the things that struck me and still strikes me in this Trump era, but especially Trump in office in dealing with the Republican leaders in Congress, committee chairs also, was the complete collapse -- and I`m not sure we`ve ever seen this publicly before -- the complete collapse of the male ego, in Paul Ryan, in Mitch McConnell, in Kevin McCarthy, in all of these people. When I was working there and there were a House chairman like Dana Rostenkowski and John Dingell, Senate chairman, Senate leaders, House leaders, the male ego was a very powerful force.

And a president who kind of tripped over that with some of those people could face a very serious resistance even within his own party. But Donald Trump seemed to make the male ego simply disappear from Republicans in the House and the Senate.


E.J. DIONNE: As you know, Lawrence, I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. So, it`s very hard from a distance to read into those egos. But it`s not hard to read into their motivations.

And I think that what Barack Obama clip that you played, the key words were when they know better. And I think what`s really disturbing in the Republican Party is not actually the crazy, right wingers who will do anything Donald Trump will say. What`s really disturbing in the party is not just that they`ve given there egos, they let their egos get crushed, but they let their consciences get crushed in the name of power, as you suggested, because they are so afraid, not just of Trump, but even more of their members losing primaries, and the impossibility of creating a majority if they lose to many of Trump`s voters, who are now a very significant part of the Republican electorate.

And I think, you know, if you`ve been around long enough, you actually thought there were Republicans, including conservative Republicans, who really did care about principle, who did care about more than an election, who would have taken some risks. And now, we`ve got the tape, where we know conclusively, that Kevin McCarthy thought and said one thing in private, and ended up seeing something completely different in public, and then lied about the whole thing. So, now, he`s caught at both ends in this lie.

O`DONNELL: And, Professor Glaude, according to what Martin Jonathan said tonight, they have a lot more tape. It seems like we have just entered the two weeks of tape, for that Jonathan Martin will be releasing in support of the evidence in this book. And it may be that at each stage they wait for the Republican official involved to publicly deny the print version of the quotes. And then the next day, reveal the actual tape of them seeing it. This could go on for a couple weeks.

GLAUDE: Right, we need to buckle up. But as you said to Rachel in your conversation with her, with this kind of revelation, if it was the Democratic Party, people would resign. People would have to leave public life and shame.

But what we`ve seen over these years is that shame, a sense of honor, a sense of what it means to be statesman, does not exist for the Republican Party, members of the Republican Party. I`m thinking of that Machiavellian quote, Lawrence -- one who will deceive will always find those who will allow themselves to be deceived. So, we`ve seen that over these years.

So, we just need to buckle up. We`re about to experience some interesting affairs over the next couple of weeks.

O`DONNELL: E.J., this cannot be news to Republican members of the House. They knew that Kevin McCarthy was talking this week privately, and to some degree, publicly that that day on the House floor. So, where`s the penalty for Kevin McCarthy among Republican House members, who already knew that he was thinking about these things privately?

DIONNE: Well, I think partly there`s so often a penalty not for the bad thing, but for political malpractice. And it`s got to be politically, political malpractice, for Kevin McCarthy to put out a flat statement that this story is all made up, when he knows he had these conversations that others might have a record of.

So, that alone me do it. But I think where Kevin McCarthy finds himself now is someone who is trying to placate both ends, and he may placate no one. Because you don`t know how troubled Donald Trump will react to that tape as you mention. We don`t know how his strongest supporters in the House will react.

And we already know that there are at least some Republicans who are unhappy with McCarthy, because he has distanced himself enough from Trump. But we still -- what we don`t know at all is if there is a penalty for this kind of lying in the Republican Party any more. I think once upon a time, there might have been. We can`t have any confidence that standards still exist.

O`DONNELL: I`m sure we are minutes away from Donald Trump saying that, of course, Kevin McCarthy never dare to tell me to resign. That will be any minute now.

E.J. Dionne and Professor Eddie Glaude, thank you both very much for joining our discussion tonight.

DIONNE: Great to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

GLAUDE: Thank you very much.


O`DONNELL: And coming up, Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss made an extraordinary and moving speech after an autopsy found that a young black man had been shot in the back of the head by Michigan police. You will hear that speech. You will see the video of the shooting and Senator Geiss will join us next.



ERIKA GEISS, MICHIGAN STATE SENATOR: -- traffic stop, it must reiterated that execution is not the punishment for such an infraction.

This kind of police brutality against community members especially black and brown people is long documented. We keep seeing it. We keep reliving the trauma.


O`DONNELL: That was our next guest Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss. Patrick Lyoya was a 26-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was pulled over by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan apparently because of an irregularity the officer believed he noticed in the license plate.

But police body cam video of the incident shows Patrick Lyoya struggling to understand why he was pulled over and when asked for his drivers license, he appears to walk towards the glove compartment side of the car. possibly to get his drivers license.

When the officer then chases him and grabs him, Patrick Lyoya appears confused about why he is being grabbed and struggles to get away from the officer. He manages to run a few steps and then according to the police department the police officers body camera was, as they put it, accidentally turned off.

The video that you about to see is graphic and disturbing. This is video taken from a passenger inside Patrick Lyoya`s car. It shows the officer clearly on top of Patrick Lyoya when the officer takes out his handgun and fires straight down into what we now know was the back of the head.

After reporting the autopsy finding to the Michigan State Senate, Senator Erika Geiss said this.


GEISS: My son just turned 16. He will be able to drive soon without having to have a parent, guardian or other person to whom my husband and I give permission for him to drive with. I am scared for him. I have three brothers. I am scared for them.

I am scared that we may be mourning one of them because of an ill trained, biased, confused, policy-defying officer may cause them harm and us trauma because there is nothing legislative in place to protect them.

My husband`s whiteness will not protect my son. And for those of you in here who have blended families, black or brown children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews or in laws, your whiteness won`t protect them either from senseless tragedy at the hands of law enforcement.

If you love them, as much as I love my son, as much as I love my community, you`ll push for these law enforcement reforms and accountability for egregious acts now. We have the power to do something now.


O`DONNELL: Michigan Democratic State Senator Erika Geiss -- thank you very much for joining us tonight.

What did -- when did you first find in the autopsy report that the cause of death was a bullet to the back of the head? And what did you feel as you read that?

GEISS: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

So I learned it the same way the rest of the public learned it when the independent investigator -- autopsy investigator did a press conference and read what was discovered at that autopsy.

And it is -- it confirms what the video showed. And it showed even more and just how heinous this traffic stop was. How heinous this you know, again, the unarmed black man was shot by police.


And we keep seeing this again and again. And it`s long past time for us to put legislation in place so that policies can be changed. So that people receive justice, accountability occurs, and that there are policies that prevent or at least limit these types of very violent, very aggressive interactions that have been occurring.

O`DONNELL: It sounded like that the issues you were describing including the worries about your son and your brothers had been building for you before this incident.

GEISS: Yes, I don`t know how any of us who have been living in this world, in the last decade, the last two years. We all witnessed what happened with George Floyd. While that wasn`t gun violence, there are countless stories that we are all aware of, too many names that have become hashtags. People who -- unarmed black people who have been slain at the hands of law enforcement.

And in fact, according to a 2021 study by the Journal Of Epidemiology and Community Health, fatal police shootings of unarmed black people in the United States is three times as high as for white people and that`s problematic.

And we need an equitable response to people, a humane response to people which means we need policy change for ensuring that when someone is suspected of something even as simple as a civil infraction, a traffic stop. That whatever it is they are treated with humanity. The same way that white members of the community artery with community.

O`DONNELL: Have you discussed this case with your son yet?

GEISS: A little. Not too much. We will be talking about it, of course. There are conversations that we, as black families, have that white families don`t have. And we will be having to have the conversations.

O`DONNELL: Senator Erika Geiss, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

GEISS: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

The latest on Ukraine is next.



O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night at this hour, NBC`s Richard Engel takes you inside the invasion of Ukraine -- Vladimir Putin`s war on Ukraine, with some harrowing stories of the bravery of the Ukrainian people as they face war and destruction.

Here`s a preview.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: 65-year-old Nina Yamarenko (ph) was sleeping when a rocket struck her apartment.

NINA YAMARENKO: I`m not scared of anything. I`m not scared because this is my country. this is my home.

ENGEL: You`re going to rebuild? Fix everything and come back?


I feel sorry for Putin`s mother who is turning in her grave right now. Because she gave birth to a nasty bastard.

ENGEL: Nina was born in her three-room apartment. It`s the only place she`d ever lived.

YAMARENKO: What are we supposed to do now?

ENGEL: I`m sorry.

YAMARENKO: It`s ok. We`re strong. No matter what happens we are strong.



President Biden announced another $800 million in military aid to help Ukraine against the Russian war especially the offensive in the east of Ukraine. The United States will send heavy artillery weapons including 72 Howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition and over 121 tactical drones, along with some weapons President Biden said would remain secret.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To modernize Teddy Roosevelt`s famous advice, sometimes you will speak softly and carry a large javelin, because we`re sending a lot of those in as well.

But we`re not sitting on the funding that Congress has provided for Ukraine. We`re sending it directly to the front lines of freedom.


O`DONNELL: President Biden also announced another $500 million in humanitarian and economic assistance for Ukraine. President Zelenskyy thanked President Biden saying, "This helped us is needed today more than ever." That help is needed most now in Mariupol, where about 120,000 civilians have been trapped for weeks without food, water or power. Only dozens of civilians managed to evacuate since yesterday.

The Pentagon assesses that Mariupol has not fallen to Russia. Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to seal off the steel plant in Mariupol, where the last Ukrainian troops are still fighting and refusing to surrender. 1,000 civilians are inside that plant with those soldiers.


One Ukrainian soldier tells the "New York Times" they are running out of ammunition, food and water. Saying quote, "We`re hoping for help. If we don`t get it, we won`t make it out of this factory. We will die here with weapons in our hands, defending Ukraine."

In a video tonight, President Zelenskyy said Russia rejected a truce on Orthodox Easter, this Sunday, adding quote, "But we remain hopeful and hope for peace. Hope that life will overcome death."

Joining us now is NBC News correspondent Ali Arouzi from Lviv. Ali, what is the situation there tonight?

ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence. Well, the situation in Mariupol is beyond catastrophic now. For almost two months, the Russians have encircled that city. They`ve employed siege and starvation tactics. And they`ve bombed that play so hard that it`s now been annihilated.

And by all accounts, they`re in control of most of the city except for the Azovstal steel plant where those soldiers are holed up and some civilians are in the basement of that factory.

And as Vladimir Putin said, he`s sealed it off so tight, that not even a fly can get in which means those people in there only have two choices. Either surrender or starve to death.

And they`re in there until the end, it looks like now. They couldn`t make any deal to get them out of there. So, it`s a very desperate situation in there.

And they`ve done this, Lawrence, by absolute war crimes. There`s satellite imagery that`s now come out from a town called Melitopol (ph) just 12 miles west of Mariupol, where the Russians have created mass graves in that city.

The mayor of Mariupol says that up to 9,000 civilians have been dumped in those mass graves by the Russians, to cover up the atrocities that they`ve done in this war. He calls it the worst war crime in the 21st century, and has compared it to Babi Yar, a reference to the massacres the Nazis committed in 1941, when they killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews.

O`DONNELL: Ali Arouzi, thank you very much for your reporting tonight. Really appreciate it and we hope you stay safe. Thank you.

AROUZI: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: It was a very emotional day at the Boston Marathon this week. Nine years after the Boston Marathon bombing. The runner wearing number eight was the hero of the race. Eight was his brother`s age, nine years ago, when his brother was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Nine years ago this week, President Obama spoke at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people including eight-year-old Martin Richard and severely injured 27 people including Martin`s sister Jane who lost a leg.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our hearts are broken for eight-year-old Martin with his big smile and bright eyes. His last hours were as perfect as an eight year old boy could hope for with his family, eating ice cream at a sporting event.

And we`re left with two enduring images of this little boy. Forever smiling for his beloved Bruins and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster board. "No more hurting people. Peace."

"No more hurting people. Peace."


O`DONNELL: I was in Holy Cross Cathedral that day covering the aftermath of the marathon bombing. There was a candlelight vigil for Martin Richard the day after the bombing on a field where I used to play Little League Baseball.

I visited the third grade classroom where Martin Richard made that poster that suddenly became so tragically famous. Last summer Martin`s remarkable father, Bill Richard, who like his wife Denise was also injured in the bombing took me on a tour of the best kids park I`ve ever seen. It`s called Martin`s Park. Bill Richard in partnership with state -- state officials in the city of Boston led the creation of this heaven for kids.

When the Richard family was standing near the finish line of Boston Marathon nine years ago, eight-year-old Martin was looking up at his big brother Henry. In this year`s Boston Marathon on Monday, the now-20-year- old Henry Richard ran the 26 mile marathon course. This photo was taken by his sister Jane. This finish line photo was also taken by Jane when Henry finished in the four hours and two minutes.

After crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Henry talked about the only member of the family who couldn`t be there.


HENRY RICHARD, BROTHER OF MARTIN RICHARD: I know if he was here either this year or the next coming years he would`ve been doing it with me so, that`s all I can think about.


O`DONNELL: Henry Richard gets tonight`s LAST WORD.