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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 4/7/22

Guests: Caroline Randall Williams, Ron Klain


Senate confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Interview with Ron Klain. Today Ketanji Brown-Jackson was confirmed as the next justice of the United States Supreme Court. Ann Berry is the first African-American secretary of the Senate.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: It really was quite a day, Ali. Unlike any other I have seen.

We have long Ron Klain joining us tonight as our first guest. He used to work in the Senate. He is now White House chief of staff and heavily involved in what we saw in the Senate.

And in our policy in Ukraine, Ali, I`m going to be asking him about Ukraine and about weapons delivery to Ukraine. And about the gaps between what Ukraine seems to be asking for and what the United States is capable of already to supply. We`re going to cover all of that with Ron Klain.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: That is a critical conversation. I will be listening. Have a great show, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

We all saw who presided over the vote in the Senate today. But who was the other Black woman with an official role, a very important official role, in today`s Senate confirmation vote for the first black woman Supreme Court justice?

This other Black woman is also a first. But if you do not work in the United States Senate, you probably don`t know anything about her. She had a very important role here today. We will be telling you about her later in our discussion tonight.

Most of the time, history moves slowly, slower than the hands of a clock. But today was a day of high-speed history, joyously, in the United States Senate and tragically in the United Nations and in Ukraine.

Our first guest tonight`s White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is working every day on all of the issues that made this a day of high speed history.

I worked in the Senate for several years. I was on the Senate floor for many important votes, and many emotionally charged votes and for some Supreme Court confirmation votes, and I`m sure that Ron Klain will agree with me, who also worked in the Senate, that I -- we -- have never seen anything like what we saw on the floor of the United States Senate today, when Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson won Senate confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The yeas are 53, the nays votes are 47, and this nomination is confirmed.


HARRIS: Under the previous order -- the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid up on a table. And the president will president will immediately be notified of the senate`s action.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Madam President, very happily, I know to the absence of a quorum.



O`DONNELL: That was Mitt Romney as the lone Republican left standing on the Republican side of the Senate and clapping on the Republican side of the Senate. That is how this date, April 7th, 2022, will always be remembered in Washington. For the rest of their lives, everyone who is in the Senate chamber, the senators, the staff, the visiting members of the House of Representatives, the spectators in the gallery -- wonderful will be joining us later -- the reporters who were there, they were all for the rest of their lives telling the story of what it felt like, saying what`s the history felt like watching that story being made.

This day in the United Nations will always be remembered as a day when did most of the United Nations countries of the world`s voted to expel Russian from the Human Rights Council. The United Nations history was made today when 93 countries voted in favor of expelling Russia from the Human Rights Council, 24 countries voted against, 58 countries abstained after, as "The New York Times" reports, that the Kremlin had warned it would consider votes in support of the resolution or even abstentions as unfriendly acts that would have consequences for its relations with those countries.


Still, most of the world rose up against Russia today. After the vote, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said this.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: They are wondering if we are a platform for propaganda and a safe haven for human rights abusers or if we are prepared to live up to our highest ideals enshrines in the U.N. charter. Today, the international community took one collective step in the right direction.


O`DONNELL: Two weeks ago, French President Emmanuel Macron publicly objected to President Biden saying that Vladimir Putin had committed war crimes, because President Macron was still then trying to negotiate a cease-fire with Vladimir Putin and was still trying to remain publicly within the confines of diplomatic language. This week, after the evidence of Russian massacres of civilians and Ukraine was presented to the United Nations, the French delegation to the United Nations has completely abandoned diplomatic language in dealing with Russia.

Here is the French ambassador to the United Nations today.


NICOLAS DE RIVIERE, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS (through translator): In adopting this resolution, the general assembly is sending a clear message to the Russian Federation. Its actions are against all of the values that we have been defending since the establishment of the United Nations. Russia must be held accountable for the flagrant and systematic violations of human rights that it is committing in Ukraine. We have a collective obligation to protect human rights and the integrity of the Human Rights Council. Russia has been suspended from it, and France hails this courageous decision by this general assembly. We call once again on the Russian Federation to heed reason and to stop this war. Thank you very much.


O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" reports today that, quote, Germany`s foreign intelligence service claims to have intercepted radio communications in which Russian soldiers discuss carrying out indiscriminate killings in Ukraine.

Also today, in a stunning admission to Sky News, the sanctioned spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged the large number of Russian soldiers killed in action in Ukraine.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: We have significant losses of troops. And it is a huge tragedy for us.


O`DONNELL: In a new video tonight, President Zelenskyy said: First and foremost, Ukrainians need weapons, which will allow us to win in the battlefield and that this will become the biggest sanctions against Russia out of all of the possible ones. Right now, the Russian state and Russian military are the biggest threat to freedom, human safety and the concept of human rights as a whole in the whole world.

After Bucha, it was already clear that the work of dismantling the rubble and Borodyanka has begun. It is even scarier there, even more victims of the Russian occupiers. And what will happen when the world finds out the whole truth about what the Russian soldiers have done in Mariupol?

On this historic day in Washington, when the 116th member of the Supreme Court was confirmed by the United States Senate, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chose today of all days threaten to not confirm another Supreme Court justice if a vacancy becomes available, as long as Joe Biden is president, and if the Republicans control the Senate. If it is up to Mitch McConnell, President Biden will not get another Supreme Court justice confirmed if Republicans win descended in November. Once again, Mitch McConnell is rewriting the clause in the Constitution that allows the Senate to give its advice and consent on Supreme Court nominations.

The two most important people we could talk to tonight about all of these issues or the president of the United States and the vice president of the United States. The third most important, who is actively working every day on all of these issues, is with us tonight.

Joining us now is White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Thank you very much for joining us on this very important and historic night.

And let`s begin with what we saw in the United States Senate. And I think you are going to agree with me that we have never seen anything quite like what we saw in that vote today.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Lawrence, I absolutely agree. And thank you for having me, first of all. But I absolutely agree. It was really incredibly exciting.


When she got back from presiding over the vote, the vice president said that the atmosphere in the chamber was electric.

And I would be honest -- personally, the only reason I wasn`t in the Senate chambers because I was privileged to be here at the White House with Judge Jackson and the president, as they watched the Senate proceedings. And I think you have to take a step back. Sometimes you need that focus on history late in front of us.

There is the first black woman vice president, the first woman vice president, presiding over the confirmation of the first black woman on the Supreme Court. History is not accidental. It happened because Joe Biden promised if he became president, he would pick the first woman president, and he promised, if he became president, he would put the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

And today, two years after he made that promise about a Supreme Court justice, he kept that promise to the American people.

O`DONNELL: Ron, I have to ask, for you personally, what was it like? You worked in the senate, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. You have guided others through the Senate confirmation process in the past. You`ve seen so much of this. And here you are as a White House chief of staff, from that position for the first time in your work, managing one of these confirmations. From that perspective, you`re in the White House with the president and the nominee as the votes were being counted.

What did that feel like for you?

KLAIN: I mean, it was a magical moment. And to see Judge Jackson, the president there, hugging and her excitement over the opportunity, you see in Judge Jackson`s face -- and in all my interactions with her in this process -- the combination of joy and responsibility, the joy to have this opportunity and the honor to serve. And the responsibility that she feels.

She has talked about standing on the shoulders of giants, standing on the shoulders of Constance Baker Motley who shares her birthday, standing on the shoulders of those who have come before her to achieve this milestone. She knows she did not get here alone. She knows that many people broke the path to get here, to help get her here, broke the ground up to get here. And I think just to be there and see her do it, it was just incredible.

I also say, again, history does not happen by accident. It`s made. Look at the speed of history, no president in the history of this country, even with an eight-year term, has ever put more than two Black women on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Joe Biden, in his first 14 months, has put nine Black women on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

And so, we are making history every day in terms of making the federal bench look more like the country, making the justice system that`s more just and more representative of our country. And so, today was the apex of that, with this promise made and a promise kept.

And I think Judge Jackson, will become Justice Jackson soon, will deliver incredible and long service for the U.S. Supreme Court.

O`DONNELL: Mitch McConnell, apparently, wants to put the brakes on the kind of progress that you`re talking about. Let`s listen to what he said today about what would happen if the Republicans control the Senate next year, and there`s a vacancy on the Supreme Court.


HOST: Are you suggesting that you are developing an argument for not holding hearings on a Supreme Court nominee if it`s not an election year?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I`m suggesting that I am not going to answer your question.



O`DONNELL: What was your reaction to that?

KLAIN: Lawrence, I have two reactions to that. First, to quote Cory Booker, I am not going to let that ruin my joy today. It`s a great day. Not going to let Mitch McConnell wreck it.

The second thing I`ll say is, you have to be careful, because of the Hatch Act, I can`t engage in politics here, but it is not our plan to let Mitch McConnell make that decision in 2023. It`s our plan to have Senator Schumer in charge of making decision in 2023. I`m confident that if there is a Supreme Court vacancy, Majority Leader Schumer will make sure that person has a prompt and fair hearing.

O`DONNELL: I want to turn to the situation in Ukraine. We heard Ukraine`s foreign minister today say, we need three things. Weapons, weapons, weapons.

Sean Penn, who just back from Ukraine, was on this program the other night. I want to hear you we respond to what he said.


SEAN PENN, ACTOR: They`ll fight the fight. They just need the resources. But if we can`t show solidarity and acknowledge the inspiration that is, as a man, as a leader, as a nation that Ukraine has become, then I don`t know where you fall in the legacy of life.


O`DONNELL: Ron, are you concerned about how you are going to feel when you look back on the Biden legacy in terms of support of Ukraine? Including on weapons? Are you satisfied that the United States is delivering all of the weapon capabilities that the United States can deliver at this time? And is there any reason for the United States to not be supporting Ukraine with all of their weapons requests?

KLAIN: No, Lawrence. We are trying to get the maximum amount of lethal assistance -- lethal and defensive assistance into Ukraine. What we`ve moved to Ukraine is exceptional.

Look -- the Ukrainians have defeated the second largest army in the world around their capital city, and in the northern part of the country. The number one reason why they did that is because of their bravery, their fighting spirit.

But the number two reason why they did that is because of the extraordinary amount of military support that the United States and its allies have provided. We have moved 500 pieces of ammunition into Ukraine, for each one Russian soldier there. We have moved 20 anti-tank weapons for each one tank that has invaded Ukraine.

So, we are arming the Ukrainians with those, with javelins, with all kinds of ways to combat aircraft attacks, with just a dizzying array of weapons, thousands of thousands of weapons, billions of dollars of weapons, and then, multiplied by the contributions of NATO allies and partners.

So, we have armed Ukrainians extensively. We are every day moving more weapons in, as the Ukrainians used the ammunitions of weapons we give them, we`re resupplying them. That is why the Ukrainians have been successful in this war, particularly around the capital in the northern part of the country.

O`DONNELL: Are you aware of any disagreements that the administration or Defense Department has had with request made by Ukraine? Have there been situations where Ukraine has asked for -- something specific -- where the administration or the Defense Department has explained them, here is why we cannot deliver that?

KLAIN: Yeah, I think the one example that is quite not quite known, we denied a request to fly from a Russian military base in Germany, into Ukraine. We think that would draw our troops on the ground in Western Europe, potentially into the conflict.

But again Ukrainians have their own air force. Importantly, they have, with our support, a tremendous amount of firepower now to combat Russian tanks, Russian troops, the attacks on the ground that are coming at them throughout the country.

O`DONNELL: I want to take you back to another issue. You know exactly where the borders of the Hatch Act are on this. You can deal with it.

Let`s listen to what Mitch McConnell said would be a Republican Senate agenda if they control the Senate.


HOST: What would be the Senate Republican policy agenda, should you win back the majority? What will be your top legislative priorities?

MCCONNELL: We`re going to address the issues that are front and center for the American people, inflation, border, crime.


O`DONNELL: Needless to say, Mitch McConnell didn`t say another word about inflation, the border or crime, what they would do about any of those. What is the Biden administration doing about those three things?

KLEIN: Well, first, let`s start with inflation. Again, it`s all well good for the Republicans to say they`re against inflation, whatever that means.

I can tell you what you we are doing to bring down the cost of every day goods. The president last week released over a hundred million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve. Our allies have now matched that. The price of gas is falling again, the price of oil is down quite a bit.

We`re bringing down -- are trying to bring down energy prices for the American people. We have got a bill to pass the house last week with very few -- I think almost no Republican votes, a handful of Republican votes, to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. It`s one of the out of pocket items that really affects people`s budgets. We have plans to bring down the cost of childcare, eldercare, to lower cost across the board for working families. I haven`t heard what the Republicans are going to do about inflation.

With regard to crime, the president has a plan to fight crime. We have given cities and localities unprecedented resource to fight crime. We are also working on police reform. Again, Republicans, I have not heard what they are going to do other than ads about fighting crime.

Immigration, the president`s proposed comprehensive immigration reform his first day in office. I will say the Republican plan is, other than to stall it.

Now, I will say, Senator Scott of Florida has said that his plan is to raise taxes on millions of Americans, working Americans. His plan is to do that. I heard Senator Johnson of Wisconsin say the other day that his plan is to repeal Obamacare if Republicans take control of that Senate.

So, that`s their plan. Our plan is to lower costs for working families, make sure that we are protected and make sure that we fight crime and just give some breathing room, some relief to the expenses that working families are facing.

O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, I know that we`ve already use more of your time than your staff could promise us, thank you very much for joining us on this very important and historic night at the White House.

KLAIN: Thanks for having me, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, there are nights when we need a poet. This is one of those nights. Poet and author Caroline Randall Williams will give us her perspective on this day in history when the first Black woman vice president of the United States presided over the Senate confirmation vote of the first Black woman Supreme Court justice with another Black woman, unnoticed by the news media, playing a very important official role in the Senate proceedings today.


That`s next. Day.



HARRIS: Let us all (INAUDIBLE) who we are as a nation that we achieve long overdue, but we achieve this important milestone.


I think it makes an important statement about who we aspire to be, who we are, who we believe ourselves to be. It`s a statement about our highest court in the land, we want to make sure that there is full representation and the finest and brightest, and the best, and that`s what happened today. I`m very proud.


O`DONNELL: There was another first in the drama that played out in the United States Senate today. Ann Berry is the first African American secretary of the Senate. Since 1789, we`ve only had 34 secretaries of the senate. We`ve had fewer secretaries of the Senate than presidents of the United States. It`s a very important job which requires Senate confirmation.

The secretary of the Senate is the chief administrative officer of the United States Senate. Ann Berry was born into the segregated South in 1955, grew up in Alabama, and graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1978. Ann Berry went to work in the United States Senate the next year, serving on the steps of five Democratic senators including my old boss, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

It is the signature of the secretary of the Senate Ann Berry on Ketanji Brown Jackson`s confirmation resolution that officially certifies to the White House that Ketanji Brown Jackson was, in fact, confirmed by the United States Senate. And so, today, the first Black woman vice president, presided over the Senate confirmation vote for the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, which was then signed and certified by the first Black woman secretary of the United States Senate.

And joining us now is Caroline Randall Williams, a poet, essayist, and educator. She is writer in residence at Vanderbilt University.

Caroline, I always want to turn to you on nights like this for the perspective that we need, the eye and the ear of the poet to find.

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY WRITER IN RESIDENCE: Well, I`m so grateful to get to join you tonight. Lawrence, we`re thinking about firsts, we`re thinking about womanhood, we`re thinking about American nests and thinking about black American this.

And on this day, on this wild blessing of a day, we get to celebrate the future Justice Jackson. I want to celebrate Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, from the great state of Maryland where my family were slaves. And the first black and first Black woman poet laureate of Maryland was a woman called Lucille Clifton.

And the best way that I could describe how I am feeling about this moment in time is to use the word of an even greater writer, Lucille Clifton, and I want to share a poem with you. It`s called, "Won`t You Celebrate With Me?"

Won`t you celebrate with me, when I have shaped into a kind of life. I had no model, born in Babylon, both nonwhite and women, what did I seem to be except myself. I made it up here on this bridge between star shine and clay, my one hand holding tight my other hand. Come celebrate with me, that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed like.

You can`t say it better than that. You can`t say better than that, how this feels, a Black woman on the Supreme Court. You can`t say better than that.

O`DONNELL: There`s so many things that have been said in this confirmation process including insulting things to now Justice Jackson.

What was your feeling about watching all of that unfold, the good and the bad?

WILLIAMS: It was -- I felt gratitude for her resilience because, you know, she was able to weather all of that wind. And that`s how you get into the positions of power that she has found herself in, that Kamala finds yourself in, that, you know, innumerable Black women that have to operate in primarily white spaces find themselves in. You know, the Black women among us, we watched her sit through these hearings and knew that she could handle it, because that`s what has to happen.


And it was sort of, again, there`s this strange spectacle of relief, of having the rest of the country watch these things that we`ve been calling out in time.

It`s ridiculous that she had to answer the kinds of questions she had to answer, but it`s also relieving for her to have handled them so beautifully as we knew she would. And for the rest of the country to see the kind of nonsense that we have to deal with in order to get things that we`ve earned.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: There`s a remarkable sisterhood in this story that came together at Harvard College, this group of girls as roommates. And then on to Harvard Law School as classmates.

One of them Lisa Fairfax, testified at the confirmation hearing, let`s listen to her.


LISA FAIRFAX, JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON`S FORMER ROOMMATE: I was roommate and A Aery dear friend at Harvard College and Harvard Law School of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who I am so very honored to introduce to you today and to the American people.

Ketanji and I met during our first days of college nearly 35 years ago. Those first moments, you wonder if you belong, she`s the friend that made sure we all did.


O`DONNELL: and Caroline, they all went on to climb this mountain, this jurisprudential American mountain, and they`re all at the top of it in different capacities. It`s just a remarkable story.

WILLIAMS: In 2020, you know, I want to raise the great name of Stacey Abrams in this moment and say in 2020, black American women did what we were made to do and drag democracy back into the light and make sure that the will of the American people was heard.

And you know, the fruit of that is bearing out now that We now have a black American woman on the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, to make sure that our laws are upheld and that justice is done, with and in a voice that represents the group of people that always vote on behalf of the will of the people.

And I -- even I struggle to find the words for it past what (INAUDIBLE) can say or what, you know, what Justice Jackson`s friends can say about her, because I think that that we are actually inventing the wheel here. We are actually giving democracy a chance to do its work. And I think that -- yes, I will silence myself and say we are going to let this do its work right now.

I am overwhelmed -- I`m just overwhelmed by it.

O`DONNELL: Inventing the wheel.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We all completely understand. Caroline Randall Williams, thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up. Charles Blow was one of the very, very lucky ones. He was one of just a few hundred people who were in the Senate chamber today when Ketanji Brown-Jackson was confirmed as the next justice of the United States Supreme Court. Charles Blow will join us next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yeas are 53, the nays are 47. And this nomination is confirmed.


Ok. Congratulations.


BIDEN: It`s a big day.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Charles Blow, columnist for the "New York Times" and an MSNBC political analyst.

And Charles, you were one of the lucky ones in the Senate chamber today. Has it settled to the point, has the experience settled to the point where you can put it into words?

CHARLES BLOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s very hard, you know. It`s interesting to watch the machinations of it because, you know, when you`re there, the Senate chamber is actually much smaller and much more modest than it is on television, and you don`t quite register how big of a moment it is. I think it actually benefits from the drama of television.

But when you are there and you see the voting happening, and I was sitting just above the vice president`s head. So I`m slightly out of the frame to her left, right above her head. So I got kind of the vantage point that she was.

I`m looking at everyone`s face as they vote, and that was fascinating to me as well, you know, to watch Ted Cruz kind of squirm in his seat a little bit with Mitt Romney sitting right next to him actually vote yes for Ketanji Brown. Or to watch Tim Scott, one of only three black people in the chamber vote no for Ketanji Brown.

But then, at the end of it, after they wrangled Rand Paul and he kind of opens the door and kind of puts a thumbs down through the door, not even wearing a jacket, by the way, that`s stuck out to my head, he had on a sweater.


BLOW: But you know, he -- when it is all said and done and everyone in the gallery stands up and gives a standing ovation which lasts, by my count, for about a minute, you realize that even with the procedural nature of it, the people in the room recognized that something major has happened here today.

And I think that you know, it is important for me to note that this was particularly potent for black women, in a way that I cannot express and don`t want to even try to speak for. I can go half the way there because I am a black man, but there is something particular in the experience of black women that made this so much more potent for them in an experience that only they have lived and only they can tell.

And so I recognize that, I`m in awe of that, I learn from that. And realizing there`s a peculiarness (ph) to this confirmation that is a victory for black women in particular.

O`DONNELL: And Charles, was the Senate emptied out. The Republican side of the Senate, you were up in the press gallery, that perfect view from up there, the Republican Senate just completely emptied out literally leaving one man standing and one man clapping on the Republican side, Mitt Romney.

BLOW: There`s Mitt Romney, that`s right. You know, it`s fascinating. I mean there was -- it was fascinating in so many ways because the way they kind of moved in and out of the space while it was happening, even before that moment where you see them actually get up and walk out. The fact that Lindsey Graham also peaked his head through the door, voted no with a thumbs down -- I mean it was kind of disrespectful.

And a black woman while I sitting there -- I don`t know who this was. I don`t know if she was a reporter or whomever else. She sits down next to me and she says about Rand Paul not being there. She says, "this is passive aggressive". he says, "He`s here, I just saw him leading a tour."

You know, it was all the subtleties that I couldn`t -- I would never have picked up if I was watching on television, that you can gather in the room that there was a resignation on the Republican side, but also, you know, a hint of disrespect in some regards that should not go unnoticed even in the moment of her being confirmed to the Senate.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I have never seen anything like it, it`s very rare for applause of any kind to break out in the Senate. If it happens at all in the galleries, in the visitors` galleries, it`s immediately suppressed by the people -- the security people there whose job it is to make that stop instantaneously. But this was one of those moments where I think everyone involved, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, just realized, no, we are going to have to go with this this time.

BLOW: Yes. I was told when I was walking in that you have no public expressions of emotion whatsoever, no clapping, no whatever. I walk in and then everybody stands up and claps his hands (INAUDIBLE). I don`t know -- I actually did because I was like the guy just told me not to stand up. So I got to sit in this chair.

But yes, it is a break in decorum but I think the Senate recognized that this was a moment and they let it breathe.

O`DONNELL: As you sat there watching this unfold and watching this very tight partisan nature of it, except for the three Republicans, did it feel like you are looking down on kind of two different worlds that this side of -- this side that is voting for this justice, and this side that is from Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul disrespecting this person, and others just routinely voting no. And then the drama of someone like Tim Scott having to go through and actually vote no?

BLOW: Partly so but also you understand that it is -- the Senate is still very clubby, right. And so it`s a lot of what we see when they go to the mics, is incredibly performative. When you break away, when you just watch them on the floor, and the pauses that they took, you know, there is, you know, the majority -- sorry, the Senator Leader Schumer he goes over to talk to McConnell, Kennedy is there. He pats someone on the shoulder.

I mean it`s very clubby even though they have diametrically opposed opinions about things. They go after each other when the cameras are on. But when the cameras are not on, it is a club.


BLOW: And so that registers with me a lot more than, you know, the at each other`s throats kind of part of it, but I understand that in that club, they still have the positions that they hold to the core.

And Republicans in this case could not bring themselves to acknowledge that this black woman had, number one, done nothing wrong; number two, was completely qualified for this job. And because of that, a lot of people in America, black and non black, women and not women, looked at that and said, this is not right, this is not the way you treat a person regardless of who they are.

You don`t drive people through the mud. You don`t make up things about people that you can find some dirt on. She should not have been treated the way that she was treated. That is the thing that sticks out to me.

O`DONNELL: Charles Blow, witness to history today. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BLOW: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, Ali Arouzi will join us with a live report from Ukraine. That is next.



O`DONNELL: Tonight, Ukrainian officials are still searching the towns around Kyiv for evidence of war crimes and land mines Russian forces left behind. Ukrainian authorities found and neutralized more than 1,000 explosive devices in the area surrounding Kyiv yesterday. 410 bodies have now been discovered in Bucha.

Here`s what one volunteer told the Associated Press.


VITALIY CHAIKA, VOLUNTEER: These are all killed and tortured people. Shot at close range. With their arms and legs tied. Some were blindfolded.

There, in the end, are six people shot and burned all together.


O`DONNELL: Today, President Zelenskyy said the Russian mass murders were, quote, much worse with even more victims in Borodyanka.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says her son Roman was 57. She will bury him in the cemetery when this is all over. She tells me Roman was shot in the back by Russian troops as he was walking away. The next morning, he was dead.

"The Russians are liars," she says. "They`re all liars."

You came back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came back and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Expecting to see him?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heading east to fight for his father.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is NBC News correspondent Ali Arouzi in Lviv. Ali, what is the situation there tonight?


Now that the Russian rampage has been uncovered in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv, the U.N. are sending a fact-finding mission in there to collect, preserve all the war crimes that have possibly happened there.

And it`s taken on new significance now that Russia has been suspended from the U.N. Human Rights body.

But what the Russians did there was unspeakable. There were no rules of engagements. They murdered, they tortured, they stole, and they raped before they retreated. And now U.S. officials are saying that all of these Russian troops and units are no longer on Ukrainian territory. They`ve gone back to Russian territory. And they are in Belarus where they are regrouping, re-arming.

And it`s not clear when they are going to come back here. It depends how much the Russian men and the machines have been depleted. But U.S. officials say it will probably be sooner rather than later.

And when they do come back in, they`re probably heading east to the Donbas region where the focus of their attention is. Where they already have troops, where they have already occupied large portions of it since 2014.

The Ukrainian foreign minister says he`s expecting an all out assault in the Donbas region with thousands of tanks, with scenes reminiscent of World War II. And that`s why Ukrainian officials are telling people in the Donbas region to get out while they can.

So they don`t get hemmed in like the people of Mariupol, which has been a cascading disaster. As you know, the people of Mariupol can`t get any humanitarian aid in and very few people have been able to get out of there. And the ones that have gotten out, have gotten out under perilous conditions.

Every account we hear from Mariupol`s is horror story after another. Let`s take a listen to an account of one lady who escaped from Mariupol two weeks ago.


SVITLANA NADZIOM, ESCAPED FROM MARIUPOL (through translator): It seems to me that the situation in Mariupol is much worse than in Bucha. Much worse. We were being erased from the face of the earth.

We were bombed. All buildings are burned down. Our city is completely destroyed. They are talking about rebuilding the city. I don`t know, but I think it will be difficult to rebuild.

It`s just a ghost city now. I was living happily with my family. Who gave the right to those barbarians to steal our lives and make us miserable? To inflict such misery on people?

People have lost their families. I still don`t know what has happened to my sister and my nephew. They are still there.



AROUZI: And Lawrence, it`s because of places like Mariupol that Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials are asking for more advanced weapons to fight the Russians so the rest of their country doesn`t look like Mariupol.

O`DONNELL: Ali Arouzi, thank you for that report. Thank you very much for joining us again tonight and please stay safe.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.


O`DONNELL: Here is law professor Lisa Fairfax, a college roommate of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who testified at her confirmation hearing.


FAIRFAX: Our other college roommate, Antoinette Coakley a distinguished business law professor, has described Ketanji as a coalition builder. We knew early on that she could be anything she chose to be, but also that she seemed destined to be a judge.



O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night, at this hour, the Harvard College roommates of Ketanji Brown-Jackson will all get THE LAST WORD about her Senate confirmation when they join me as guests here on THE LAST WORD.

Lisa Fairfax, Antoinette Coakley, Nina Simmons -- the amazing sisterhood of support and lifelong friendship that began in a college dorm 35 years ago.

They will all join us tomorrow night.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.