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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/10/22

Guests: Laurence Tribe, Gene Sperling, David Rothkopf


The Republican Party has been moving and weaponizing the anti- democratic elements of the political and constitutional system to restore those oppressive hierarchies. Justice Clarence Thomas faces ethics questions over the January 6 cases. Backlash over Justice`s Alito`s legal arguments overturning Roe v. Wade in draft opinion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified in a senate hearing about the administration`s attempts to control inflation, and Secretary Yellen spoke about another aspect of the economic condition of women in this country. Vladimir Putin`s speech yesterday on Russia`s so-called Victory Day was the speech of a loser.



And you would like to believe that after a lawsuit like that, that the lying would stop, that there would be something that would make the lying stop. But it doesn`t look like it`s going to happen.

MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: No, and I think what`s so frustrating as how two face some of these people are. They say one thing to their television audience, and when they`re in the courtroom, they say something completely different.

O`DONNELL: And their audience seems to continue to consume the lies. It`s an amazing trick that they pull off.

HASAN: Good marks for a good con, I would say.

O`DONNELL: All right. Thank you, Mehdi.

HASAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, the rest of the world cannot understand what`s happening in this country now. What the Supreme Court is doing could not happen in a democracy. In a democracy, the membership of the Supreme Court would reflect the democratically expressed will of the people. That means, the Supreme Court would reflect the democratically expressed will of the majority of the people, because the Supreme Court justices would be appointed by presidents elected by a majority of voters.

But that is not the way we elect presidents in this country. We are the only country in the world where the person who comes and second with the votes can end up in the presidency. And that is thanks to the long benign blemish in the Constitution, the Founders called the Electoral College, which has turned into a deadly cancer, on the United States of America. That is poised to kill the first words of the name of this country, united.

We are now poised to go from the United States of America, to being the states of America. When the Supreme Court, whose membership is the product of minority rule, will defy 70 percent of the American people, and revoke a constitutional right for the first time in history.

The vision for America, as expressed by Samuel Alito and his clerks in the first draft of the Alito opinion to overturn Roe versus Wade, is a country where your rights will depend on where you live. Other countries of the world do not understand this. They do not understand how a fundamental right, like the rights of women to control their own bodies, depends on your address.

That is the perverse vision Samuel Alito has for this country. He proudly announces in his draft opinion that abortion law will be up to the states. He and other justices who were appointed by two Republican presidents who did not win a majority of the vote, think that the United States of America should have 50 different state laws on abortion. They don`t believe that united is one of the important words in the very name of this country.

The majority of the Supreme Court which reflect the thinking of a small minority of the population is about to revoke a constitutional right and erase the word united from the name of this country. And in the process, they will create the house divided against itself, which President Lincoln said could not stand.

And so the clock will begin ticking on how long the majority of the people of this country will accept minority rule against their will, which robs them of constitutional rights. One way for the minority party in this country, the Republican Party, the chief majority rule, would be to campaign to try to change voters minds to support Republican ideas, like banning all abortion, in all cases, including rape and incest, including the rapes of 12-year-old girls by relatives.

The Republican Party could try to convince the country that they`re forced birth policy for 12-year-old girls, who have been raped, is a good idea.

But the Republican Party, since the emergence of Donald Trump in 2015, has completely given up on the idea of persuading voters who don`t already agree with them.


Every Republican candidate for president, before Donald Trump, was trying to persuade voters to change their minds and vote for them because they believe the way to win an election was to win the most votes.

Now, as you watch this famous moment where about the show from the 2008 presidential campaign, consider why this happens, and why a Republican would never, never say this again.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t trust Obama. I`ve read about him, and he`s not -- he`s an Arab. He`s not --

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): No, ma`am.


MCCAIN: No, ma`am. No, ma`am. He`s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that`s with this campaign is all about. He`s not, thank you. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: It`s not just what John McCain said in that moment. It`s that the crowd of Republicans at that Republican presidential campaign event applauded for John McCain`s defense of Barack Obama as a decent person with whom he just has policy disagreements. That is what most Republican presidential candidates and most Republican candidates for governor or senator would have said in a situation like that during most of my lifetime. And that`s why most Republicans would have wanted them to say.

Not anymore. There are two reasons why John McCain said what he did. One, he believed he was saying, and to, he was trying to persuade voters that he was worthy of their vote for president. He knew that the Republican woman he was talking to was never going to vote for Barack Obama, so he did enough to weigh about losing her vote.

John McCain knew that that was the moment where he could win some voters by saying the right thing.

Here`s how you run for governor now, as a Republican.


KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not going to take orders, though, from an illegitimate president like Joe Biden.


O`DONNELL: That is the Republican front runner for governor in Arizona. No Democrat has ever run for any governorship in this country by calling the Republican president illegitimate. But that is standard Republican language now for Republicans. And it gets worse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, 2020, totally, 100 percent. Donald Trump won, he won. We have a fraudulent pedophile in the White House because Governor Kemp failed.


O`DONNELL: That Republican candidate for governor is trailing in the polls behind Georgia`s Republican Governor Brian Kemp in the Republican primary or early voting has begun. Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, stood there on that debate stage when the president of the United States was called a pedophile, and Brian Kemp said nothing.

Brian Kemp was handed, his John McCain moment, and he in effect said, oh no, oh no John McCain. Donald Trump`s chosen Republican for Governor David Perdue did not correct that Republican candidate, who called the president a pedophile. Moderators of the debates, Georgia reporters, had no reaction to the president being called a pedophile. No one did, because that is now standard Republican language for this Democratic presidents, and it will be for any future Democratic president. That is how far beyond extreme the Republican Party has gone.

And the Republican Party, you can say anything, you can tell any lie about any Democrat, and no Republican will stand up to your life. Republicans like Mitch McConnell never say that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president but there are thrilled that millions of Republican voters believe the. Republicans need voters to believe that elections produced illegitimate results because they have no plan. No strategy to ever win the most votes for president again.

The only strategy they have for winning the presidency is winning the Electoral College, and they know no they don`t need to come close to winning the most votes in the country in order to do that. And the Republican strategy for winning the electoral college just to install secretaries of state and other election officials in swing states where they can simply change the results of the election of necessary to give that states electoral votes to Donald Trump.

If thought Donald Trump or any other Republican could actually win a presidential election, they wouldn`t be trying to restrict voting rights and corrupt the vote counting process. But Republicans are trying to corrupt the voting process because they believe that is the only way that they can win the presidency. And when Democrats complain, that produces an illegitimate result, Republicans want to have to worry about that, because they`ve convinced themselves. That Joe Biden is an illegitimate president and a pedophile. Is stealing an election so bad if you`re preventing a pedophile from being president of the United States?

Tomorrow, in the United States Senate, majority leader Chuck Schumer will bring a bill to the Senate floor that would make Roe v. Wade the law of the land through legislation. And the governing body that crushes democracy in America more effectively than any other, the United States Senate, will defeat that legislation because United States Senate has built minority rule into is a very legislative process. By saying that 99 percent of the legislation that comes before the Senate can be stopped by a minority of 41 senators.

A majority of United States senators, including at least two of support Roe versus Wade, but the minority will rule once again tomorrow and the Senate. And the world will watch, as the United States of America joins only 24 other countries on the planet where abortion is against the law.

Donald Trump`s second defensive protests, West Point graduate, Mark Esper, has just written a 700-page book adding to the proof beyond any doubt that Donald Trump is, by a wide margin, the stupidest man who ever won the Electoral College, and the most dangerous. Towards the end of his book, on page 665, Mark Esper writes, the country became like a runaway car barreling down the hill, with Trump behind the wheel, and his loyalists pushing down hard on the accelerator, while others in the White House ripped out the brakes and cut the seatbelts.

Still others sat in the backseat, urging the president, go faster. That is the picture of the buffoon. That is the minority rule president installed by the Electoral College who appointed from Mitch McConnell`s menu of names one third of the Supreme Court of the United States.

And it seems that when the Trump justices got on the Supreme Court, they ripped out the brakes, and could the seatbelts, and told the Republican colleagues on the court to go faster.

Joining us now, Peter Beinart, professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, and Charles Blow, columnist for "The New York Times". They are both MSNBC political analysts.

Charles, we`re going to see this vote in the Senate tomorrow, which will be a symbolic vote, and we will see once again, in the Senate, minority rule control the outcome -- but your will have on the record that someone wants to achieve, he`ll have on the record, senators favoring and supporting Roe versus Wade, and senators opposed to it.

CHARLES BLOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. What you are describing before, is absolutely correct. It is designed to work this way. It is designed for a minority to have an outsized a bit of control over what happens when the solution gets blast. And that is from design from the very beginning.

When the framers, we, the people, in the Constitution, they were leaving outs half of the population, when we weren`t allowed to vote, when people weren`t landowners, or some sort, or likely not allowed to go and vote. People who look like me were absolutely not allowed to vote. So the legacy of that has never been changed. We are still operating under that Constitutional framework, and we gain more and more judges who are original most. These are people who believe that the Constitution should be read, and all decision from the Supreme Court should be sent on based on the original answers from the framers.

And you already know in a problematic situation. Some of those were enslavers of black people. None of them believe that women should be able to vote. There original intent was never to have a democracy. So, we don`t. And we feel we are operating under that framework. That becomes the existential problem with the United States of America.

O`DONNELL: Peter, during most of my lifetime, and during I think most of the history of this country, the minority rule phenomenon in the United States Senate was masked. It two senators per state was not as grotesquely anti-democracy in our past as it clearly is now, when you have a state with over 40 million people, which was something the founders never contemplated, in an area of this continent that they never saw.


California, they have two senators, and the Dakotas have four senators with the population combined of the two states less than Brooklyn.

And so, this built in minority population, that minority population of voters delivers to the Senate a very overrepresented of supply of senators to represent this small population out there. That`s been baked into it for a long time. But it`s, now I think, become more apparent than ever would this minority rule actually means.

PETER BEINART, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, we have this fundamental conflict, which has emerged, which is because of demographic changes in the United States. Because the United States, the president that white Americans are declining, Americans have become more secular, the Republican Party, as you are, saying cannot win a majority anymore. It can`t win the majority of the popular voter of the presidential election. They can win the majority of votes for the U.S. Senate.

It can only hold power by weaponizing these, essentially, exploding these ticking time bombs, which were always in the U.S. constitutional system. These anti-democratic elements that have always been there, but have not always been weaponized and used as ruthlessly head they are now.

And so, we not face the situation which is, really, a grave threat to the Republicans, which is that Democrats understandably do not see as legitimate decisions made by people elected with a minority of the popular vote in Congress, or the presidency, or the four justices the appointees. But Republicans do not see as legitimate people elected with a majority of the vote if a significant portion of that majority is composed, and particularly, of people with color. And that`s the crux of the conflict we find ourselves in today.

O`DONNELL: Charles, the famous Lincoln phrase that the house divided against itself cannot stand, what do we have now? Is this -- is this going to be, after the Supreme Court changes, the constitutional rights in the 50 states, and leaves them variable, in effect, New York, you`ll have more rights than other states. California a lot more writes than other states.

What will that mean? Will that be able to hold?

BLOW: Well, actually, it will be able to hold. We had before a same situation with the dissolution of Reconstruction. And when the Supreme Court had a chance to step in, they stepped in a way to say that this was out to the states. And so, we held that for 50-plus years, maybe six years, if my math is correct here.

So, it doesn`t mean that the country doesn`t work, it doesn`t function. It just functions in a way that is oppressive. And there are certain parts of the country that you are allowed to be oppressive there, and there are reports that America will allow it to be oppressive now.

That true, you know, kind of heart-wrenching thing about all of this is, how often history seems to repeat itself. And how often we seem to just shrug after well. We say, oh my god, it`s really horrible, and then we allow it for decades.

O`DONNELL: And, Peter, it won`t be a shrug of the Supreme Court determines that all fetuses are -- have the value of person hides, and therefore, abortion becomes completely banned in all 50 states, or if Republicans get control of Congress, of presidency, and they legislate a ban on abortion in all 50 states. That will not be 50 different state laws.

BEINART: Right. I mean -- I mean, the Republican Party clearly, the language about states rights was always just a temporary language towards the larger goal, which was making abortion illegal everywhere. I don`t think the Republican Party is likely to get to that point. But, it is likely to make the most vulnerable Americans unable to get an abortion, which is, again, part of this larger agenda that you see in all kinds of ways, of making America, quote unquote, great again, which means turning America back to a period in which there were very clear and brutal hierarchies in this country, around -- around gender, around race, around class, around sexual orientation.

And the Republican Party has been moving and weaponizing the anti- democratic elements of our political and constitutional system to restore those oppressive hierarchies.


O`DONNELL: Peter Beinart and Charles Blow, thank you both very much for starting off our discussion tonight.

Thank you.

And coming up, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Should Clarence Thomas recuse himself from any Supreme Court cases involving the communications of his wife?


Or, the presidential election generally since his wife was a participant in it at the highest levels?

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, that is a no-brainer.


O`DONNELL: That was former Attorney General Eric Holder on this program last night.

Joining us now is Laurence Tribe, university professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard Law School. He has won 35 cases in the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Tribe, there`s a lot I want to cover with you tonight, but I just want to begin with that point because, this issue that`s being discussed widely now, and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court seems to have never been more right, certainly in my lifetime. You have the wife of the Supreme Court justice in communications with the White House that have been subpoenaed. These are subpoena communications.

And Clarence Thomas has ruled on subpoenas involving the person that those communications where with. He has ruled in a case that might include communications of his wife. And there`s not one word, not one word from him, not one word from anyone at the Supreme Court I like last semester`s future participation, raising a giant legitimacy issue for an individual justice as because I`ve ever seen.

And then you get to this minority rule outcome of overturning Roe versus Wade that what this court`s relationship is to the very country where it is supposed to be interpreting justice. Is this state of illegitimacy, or whatever it is we are going to call, it the Supreme Court has found itself in now. Is this a new place for this court? Is this something you`ve seen before?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: I`m afraid that your question answers itself. But that too is a no-brainer. We`ve never seen it before. We have justices like Barrett, who were put on the court during a presidential election by a party that said that when it`s a year away from a presidential election, we can`t possibly give somebody like Merrick Garland a hearing.

We have justices like Kavanaugh, who are not really seriously investigated by the FBI after Christine Blase Ford testifies. We have justices who, as you pointed out, and their earlier part of the program, represent a very small part of the nation, taking away rights for the first time in our history from half the people in this country, and not just have, because men`s rights to are on the chopping block.

The legitimacy of this court is just clearly in question.

O`DONNELL: I want to get into this point in the Alito draft where he -- the whole thing, seemed to hinge on his notion that privacy rights, or the derivative abortion rights from that, are not deeply rooted, as it says, not deeply rooted in the nation`s history and traditions. And as you know, that phrase appears in quotation marks in that draft because he is quoting a 1999 Supreme Court opinion, and the 1999 opinion is actually quoting a -- paraphrasing slightly Justice Cardozo, a couple of things Justice Cardozo said in the 1930s.

And so, the phrasing itself isn`t deeply rooted in the Supreme Court itself. Not deeply rooted in some 50 years, then this court doesn`t seem to think that`s deeply rooted.

TRIBE: Well, the language can mean whatever you want it to mean. And this case, it really means that a history that didn`t include women in the first place has to keep them in second place. Here it was the subordinate them.

The language is from a decision that the Supreme Court essentially overruled in Obergefell when it said that even though same-sex marriage was not part of our early history, it`s what freedom and equality and dignity have come to mean. We now have a court that is turning the clock back rapidly, and the question of whether a court, so many of whose numbers are put there by presidents who lost a majority of the American people can impose this regressive, almost Neanderthal minority view on all of us, is a really serious question into the legitimacy of that court is much more in stake than simply because Clarence Thomas won`t recuse himself.


O`DONNELL: The case against Donald Trump is going to be presented by the January 6th committee within a matter of weeks at this point, and his -- what role he plate in the insurrection at the capitol.

Based on the public evidence that we know now, from Georgia to Washington, what is your assessment of Donald Trump`s criminal liability and this body of evidence?

TRIBE: I think the evidence quite clearly establishes, even if you give him the presumption of innocence and require proof of state of mind quite clearly proves that he is guilty of various forms of criminal conspiracy, attempted to overthrow the government -- unsuccessful but nonetheless violent insurrection. Also violations of the laws in Georgia, the election laws where Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County has convened a special grand jury. She`s waiting until after the May 24th primary in Georgia, before hearing more witnesses.

But the evidence is piling up, and when people say, as the attorney general, former attorney general Eric Holder did on your air last night, that yes, he has committed indictable crimes in all likelihood. But it would be divisive to indict him, with all respect, I think that divisiveness is a given in our current situation. It would encourage him to do it again not to indict him.

We have a situation in which it`s not simply a matter of sort of getting even, but a matter of deterring the destruction of democracy. We have to look at 2024, not just 2020.

So to answer your question, I think the evidence of criminality is clear. I`m hoping that accountability will follow, either through the district attorney in Georgia, or through the attorney general of the United States or both.

And I think when the January 6th committee`s conclusions are laid out in living color and in great detail during the public hearings in June, the nation will come to see something that I`m afraid a lot of people have just forgotten because there`s so much news.

So much is going on it`s easy to forget that we have a former president who really didn`t accept his defeat and wants to seize power again. That is dangerous for the country.

O`DONNELL: Professor Laurence Tribe, always an honor to have you join us. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said today about how overturning Roe versus Wade will harm the economic future of American women. That`s next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that families all across America are hurting because of inflation. I want every American to know that I`m taking inflation very seriously, and it`s my top domestic priority.


O`DONNELL: The government has no truly effective tools to stop inflation, possibly the most important policy tool to use against inflation is increasing interest rates, which the president and no elected official has any power over. That is the job of the Federal Reserve board. And today, 50 Republican senators said, we don`t want the Federal Reserve board to be able to do the best job that it can in fighting inflation. And they said that by voting against President Biden`s nominee for the Federal Reserve board of governors. But 50 Democrats voted for Lisa Cook to join the Federal Reserve governors. And with Vice President Kamala Harris` tie breaking vote, Lisa Cook then became the first black woman to serve under the Federal Reserve board of governors in the 108-year history of that agency.

This morning, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified in a senate hearing about the administration`s attempts to control inflation, and Secretary Yellen spoke about another aspect of the economic condition of women in this country.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades. Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation.

SENATOR TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I think framing it in the context of labor force participation is -- this feels callous to me.

YELLEN: It means the children will go up in poverty and do worse themselves. This is not --


SCOTT: Thank you, let me just say my point --

YELLEN: This is the truth --



O`DONNELL: Joining us now Gene Sperling. He is senior advisor to President Biden and the White House coordinator for the American Rescue Plan.

Gene, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Today, the president, like many presidents before him, came out to speak against inflation. What can you actually do that no previous president seemed to know, since it`s hard for me to think of what the effective presidential tool in the past has been against inflation?

GENE SPERLING, WHITE HOUSE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN COORDINATOR: Well, Lawrence, as you know the president`s plan has led to historic economic progress and the highest growth in 2021 since 40 years, actually the most job growth ever in a single year in the history of our country. We`ve seen the people on unemployment go from 20 million to 1 million, and I could go on.

But we also know that as historic as these economic successes have been, the record one year drops in Hispanic and black unemployment, that there has also been a historic pandemic that has led across the globe to supply shocks, higher prices, that have been very frustrating to families in the United States, and families across the world.

And then, at a time when gas prices were $3.31 on January 17th of this year, Putin moves forces in Belarus and the border of Ukraine, and now we are over $1 higher.

These two factors, you know, again, everywhere in the major global economies has meant the frustration for many families of having higher prices and often in countries that haven`t seen historic job growth, or the comeback in growth that the United States has.

So what the president went out down today to say was, look, this is a global issue, we`re all dealing with the aftershock of this pandemic. But what`s the plan? What can we do?

You`re right. Absolutely, one of the most important things a president can do is pick a strong Federal Reserve, respect their independence, not try to interfere as many past presidents have done.

But he also made clear that there are different things you can do, and he sought to contrast and clarify what his plan is versus what we`ve seen from the Republicans on the Senate side particularly.

One is that you make every effort to lower costs for working families, meaning the higher prices hurt people not just because of the word inflation, it means it`s hurting their pocketbook.

So the president puts forward, first of all, historic release of the strategic petroleum reserve, to do whatever we could to try to moderate the price increases at the gas pump that have gone up due to Putin.

He takes on prescription drugs, ask for lower prices, negotiating power, a tap of $35 a month on insulin. He asked for more childcare relief, both to reduce the cost on families, and make it easier for more families to have somebody go to work.

And at each point in this is opposed almost a wall of opposition in efforts to lower costs for families, from the Republican side.

The other thing you can do, Lawrence, that will have -- will tamp inflation is to take down the deficit. You saw the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday, and this is, we are taking a note of, that in just the first seven months, the deficit is down over $.5 trillion. I didn`t misspeak -- $1.5 trillion in just seven months.

And that`s been a plan that`s been about getting our economy back safer, surging growth, surging revenues, investing in middle class people. And now, going forward, having a plan to have a minimum tax on billionaires, corporate reform, making sure everyone pays their fair share.

And what he made very clear is that is a plan that he is doing everything he can, Lawrence, everything possible to lower costs for families to dampen on inflation.

What`s the Republican plan? The only plan that we see out there is from Senator Rick Scott, who is not just any senator. He`s head of the Republican Senatorial Committee. He put out a plan that was praised by the chairwoman of the Republican Party, that basically called for a $2,000 tax increase on every low or moderate income family with children and virtually half of the smallest small businesses.

And not only that, that`s their plan for deficit reduction, I guess. They also would -- and Lawrence, I don`t know how much -- we haven`t even seen anything like this, they`re asking to sunset every single program. So Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- the programs that people rely on to be there, would be up for review or possible alteration or termination every five years.

So the president has made very clear that`s the choice we face.


O`DONNELL: Gene Sperling, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Thank you.

SPERLING: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, why Vladimir Putin sounded like a loser at his giant military parade in Moscow yesterday while President Zelenskyy walked the streets of Kyiv alone, saying Ukraine would win.

That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Our next guest, David Rothkopf, says that Vladimir Putin`s speech yesterday on Russia`s so-called Victory Day was the speech of a loser. There were a couple of big problems with Russia`s Victory Day celebration yesterday, which is meant to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The trouble is, Russia did not win that war because Russia did not exist technically, as a country during World War II. Russia was one of 15 previously independent countries that were forced together as a much larger country called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

And so, it was the Soviet Union, along with allies Great Britain and the United States that defeated Nazi Germany. Russians where the largest contributor of troops to the Soviet Union`s war efforts, but to pretend Russia one World War II is another Russian lie to itself about itself.

Most of the Soviet troops killed in World War II were from Russia but 1,650,000 Ukrainian soldiers fighting for the Soviet Union were killed in action in World War II. And that number is more than double the amount of British soldiers and American soldiers combined killed in World War II.

Vladimir Putin will never comprehend why every country in the world outside of Russia was more captivated yesterday by Ukraine`s President Zelenskyy walking alone in the streets of Kyiv, telling the world, quote, "sooner or later, we win".

Joining us now is David Rothkopf, foreign affairs analyst and columnist for "USA Today" and the "Daily Beast".

David, we saw President Zelenskyy`s speech because it was so accessible and so well produced, and so fully understands the 21st century and communication in the 21st century.

But no one outside of viewers in Russian state TV could take in what Vladimir Putin had to say. what did we miss by not hanging on every word of Vladimir Putin`s speech?

DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN AFFAIR ANALYST: We didn`t miss much, because a lot of it was retreads from past such speeches. You know, for many years, we were accustomed to watching Soviet leaders stand and have troops parade by.

Of course, when we saw those troops parade by, we thought that that represented a powerful army. The past two months, two and a half-months have taught us that that army is deeply flawed. There were fewer troops there yesterday than usual because many of them were in Ukraine being defeated, largely by the Ukrainians.

There was no flyover yesterday by Russian air forces. Nobody could figure out why. They said it was the weather, but it was a clear day.

Putin had nothing new to say. His speech was slogans about Russian nationalism and hollow phrases in which he said, we must do what we did before to defeat the brutality of the Nazis.

But for the past 70 days, each and every one of us has watched as Putin has emulated the brutality of the Nazis. He is the one who is now committing war crimes, slaughtering civilians. And so every word that he uttered about that rang completely hollow.

O`DONNELL: And do you think that Russian listeners are listening for that? Even if they initially supported what they thought Vladimir Putin was trying to do in Ukraine?

At this point, would at least some Russian listeners be able to comprehend that this isn`t going the way he wants to?

ROTHKOPF: Well, of course, both you and I are old enough to remember when Kremlin-ology was a big thing. People would watch who was standing next to the Soviet leader to see who is in favor and who was not.

And of course, they know there`s a war going on. And they listened for clues in what Putin was saying as to whether they were doing well or on.

But in the past few days, he`s been forced to acknowledge the losses. He is actually set up programs to remunerate families for the losses of soldiers who have died there. And he seemed very flat, very lackluster. And so, within Russia. You have people getting the clues that this is not going well.

O`DONNELL: David Rothkopf, thank you for joining us and thank you for watching Vladimir Putin for us. Thank you very much, David.

ROTHKOPF: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD --


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There is no question, none that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.


O`DONNELL: And those are tonight`s unforgettable LAST WORDs.