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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/17/22

Guests: Byron Brown


President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) condemn Fox host for racist propaganda. MSNBC`s coverage of the midterm primaries; North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn concedes NC Senate Primary. Attorney General Merrick Garland`s Justice Department has asked for transcripts from the House January 6 Committee. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit Buffalo mass shooting victims.



I have to confess I have not been following the election results as closely as you and Steve Kornacki, and Steve can take a break for the first segment of this hour, while we talk about other things.

But what are you seeing developing, if there is anything resembling a pattern in result so far tonight?

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": I don`t see a huge pattern. Here is what`s interesting, I would say. There is a theme. We have seen several races in which the conservative media, the Republican establishment, others folks, even Donald Trump, have come in and tried to take out a candidate or persuade their voters not to go down a certain road.

We saw it with certain attacks on Kathy Barnette who had a late surge in that race and Pennsylvania. She`s still in it but not definitely ahead as of now. We saw a bit with Mastriano. It has followed on deaf ears. Donald Trump endorsed him over the weekend and, he`s now the projected winner.

Then we also saw with Madison Cawthorn where it appears to have worked a bit. So, there`s no real -- I don`t think there`s a theory here yet about what does and doesn`t work when you`re trying to get MAGA era Republican voters to turn against a candidate. But that is a thing that a lot of paid professional politicos are trying to do and it`s used for powerful power to have if you`re working for Mitch McConnell and want to steer things in your direction.

O`DONNELL: The thing I`m looking forward to that I don`t think I`ll be awake for, if they ever happen, are the Republican concession speeches. Do those exist anymore if you are Republican and you lose in a vote count, and you supposed to say the whole thing was rigged?

HAYES: Yeah, I`m actually quite curious if we see those. Particularly because Kathy Barnette in the primary got rinsed in her run against Democratic congressional candidate in a pretty Democratic district. She said she lost because of vote fraud, so we will see if there`s a reprise of that should that eventuality occur.

O`DONNELL: It`s a lost art form. The Republican concession speech, I don`t think they have anybody who knows how to write those anymore.

HAYES: No, I think it`s -- not a professional skill that`s being honed among the rising generation of speech writers in the Republican ranks.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, we will see what happens. Thank you, Chris. Thanks for the coverage.

HAYES: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, today in, Buffalo, President Biden said this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to stay as clearly and forcefully as we can but the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. I call all Americans to reject the lie. I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.


O`DONNELL: No one has profited more from that lie that billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has complete and total control over all of the lies pushed on the Fox network that he owns and operates.

This morning, before flying to Buffalo on Air Force One with President Biden, New York Senior Senator Chuck Schumer finally identified the real source of white supremacist propaganda at Fox in addressing a letter directly to Rupert Murdoch.

The letter says: Dear Mr. Rupert Murdoch, I write to you urge you to immediately seize the reckless amplification of the so-called great replacement theory on your network`s broadcasts. For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life. However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream, thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.

A recent "New York Times" investigation found that Tucker Carlson alone amplified this dangerous and unfounded theory in more than 400 episodes of his show.

Today, after returning to Washington from Buffalo, Senator Schumer said this.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): No network has had more impact in propagating and normalizing the rhetoric of replacement theory than Fox News. It is dangerous and un-American for one of the biggest news networks in the world to amplify conspiracy theories that are eerily similar to those cited by the Buffalo shooter.


And to those who think this is an exaggeration, to those who refused to acknowledge that fringe white supremacist views are now increasingly out in the open, I would simply ask them, where were you on the night that thousands of white supremacists marched openly on the streets of Charlottesville bearing torches enchanting "you will not replace us"? That`s what they said. You will not replace us.


O`DONNELL: Senator Schumer than suggested a direct link between the words that Rupert Murdoch paid Tucker Carlson to say and the words written by the Buffalo mass murderer before he loaded his weapons of war with the intent of murdering as many black people as possible.


SCHUMER: "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board acknowledge that, quote, politicians and media figures have an obligation to condemn such conspiratorial notions as white replacement theory. But while that is necessarily and is hardly sufficient, and too many MAGA Republicans refused to do even just that.

And last night, Tucker Carlson did not do that either. He deflected and refused to acknowledge that a clear connection exists between the messages on his shows and some of the views championed by these mass shooters. He dismissed the shooter`s 180-page rant as a product of a diseased and disorganized mind, while admitting -- while omitting that the shooter`s mind was diseased and more precisely -- precisely by online conspiracy theories that are echoed regularly on his show.


O`DONNELL: They don`t care. Rupert Murdoch does not care. Not a bit.

Republican politicians do not care how large the body count gets in the permanent white supremacist assassination campaign in this country. They don`t feel a thing.

As the lying in the racist language have become more and more extreme in Rupert Murdoch`s TV channel, it has only made Rupert Murdoch richer and richer and richer. The highest ranking Republican elected official in the country today could not bring himself to renounce the great replacement lie told and sold by Rupert Murdoch.


GARRETT HAAKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Do you have any personal responsibilities to Republican leaders to speak out on replacement theory, which is apparently one of the things that motivated the shooter in buffalo? Which some of your members and candidates have talked about this.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, certainly, the episode -- this horrible episode in Buffalo is a result of a completely deranged young man who ought to suffer the severest possible penalty under the law.

REPORTER: Biden said today in Buffalo that the U.S. must reject the lie of racist replacement theory. Specifically, does the Republican Party need to reject it?

MCCONNELL: Look, racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to you by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, David Plouffe, who served as campaign manager and White House senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Also with us, Jelani Cobb, staff writer for "The New Yorker", and the newly appointed dean, yes, dean of, and the newly appointed dean, yes, dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Both are MSNBC political contributors.

Let`s begin with Dean Cobb, a pleasure to address you that way for the first time. I have a theory of the case, about the problem with the propaganda that is going on out there. Blame Rupert Murdoch. That is my theory of the case.

Everything coming out of Fox is what Rupert Murdoch is paying for and is in complete control of.

JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. I think that there`s a big problem with things being echoed and articulated so frequently with such incredibly regularity on that network, but I don`t think that is summation of it. I think that`s the totality.

You know, we have seen these theories bouncing around on the Internet. Some of this is about algorithms. A lot of this is about social media. Also whether or not people will regulate what is going on in social media. We see, in fact, the seaming likelihood that some of these platforms are moving in the opposite direction.


And so I think that without minimizing the impact of Fox, I think that it is part of a much bigger, very toxic brew that has created this dynamic, where we have seen, again and again, notably in Buffalo and Pittsburgh and El Paso and Charleston, and that`s just naming the ones that come to mind offhand, where we`re seeing this kind of dynamic take place.

O`DONNELL: Professor Cobb, there is an unrelenting challenge to covering these kinds of incidents because there is +we know the mass murderer wants the attention that we are going to the case. This program has never mentioned their names. I started that policy many years ago, so I don`t give them that.

But we do give the event the attention that they wanted to have. And yet I`m not sure what other things we can do in the way we frame it.

COBB: Yeah. I mean, I think that there are responsible ways to cover these issues and there are irresponsible ways to cover them. Some outlets lead with a photo of the individual. Other outlets thought that was irresponsible. I tend to agree. There was no need to err the person`s photo.

Other instances had a big question about how much access people should have to these manifesto`s, to the fact that people can live stream, as this person did, apparently, these things and other kinds of outlets.

But I don`t know that we should be using clips from that either. And so, I think one of the things that, it`s a very fine line, not something easily done, but it really requires, and then lastly there is a secondary traumatic effect of people seeing images over and over again. I think the most responsible way of covering the subjects very often airs on the side of caution when it comes to how much of it you actually show.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe, why would Mitch McConnell refuse the opportunity to denounce the great replacement theory as he was invited to buy those reporters, especially after "The Wall Street Journal" urged him and all Republican politicians to do that?

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think, Lawrence, because it has become mainstream. He would be taking on Fox. He would be taking on the most powerful figure in the Republican Party, taking on House leadership, taking on Donald Trump.

I think "The Wall Street Journal" comes across as many Republicans as yesterday`s news, as establishment, as, you know, apologists, essentially, for writing an editorial like that. And that`s what`s so frightening about this, that its` become mainstream. I hope this isn`t the case but it does not stretch the imagination too much diverse forward to the first couple of quarters of 2023 when the Republican presidential candidates are debating.

Some of them will probably choose to embrace white replacement theory as a way to get applause lines in the audiences. I`m not saying that`s where our primary voters are, but a lot of them are because they`re hearing it every day. That`s what is so scary about this.

I think Chuck Schumer mentioned that in his letter. It is gone from the fringes to the mainstream and I think that`s why McConnell who I don`t see embracing it but he realizes that if he were to criticize it, and he`s already in deep water with Republicans on other issues, by saying the election was legitimate.

He doesn`t have any room to his right. He probably feels like he`s going to have a real battle. I hope it doesn`t come to this, but if they somehow can win back the Senate to be the majority leader and whoever wins Pennsylvania tonight saying they won`t vote for him.

O`DONNELL: Professor Cobb, the mayor of Buffalo is going to join us and we`ll be asking him about this. This is the sense of security, the sense of safety in Buffalo and how a mayor can work to try to restore some of that. It could never be fully repaired after something like this.

But this is a nationwide event. The threat is not felt just in Buffalo.

COBB: Now. It`s not. It brings me back to some of the things I saw in the aftermath of Charleston. I really hate to think that we see this often enough that there are templates for it, but having come from Charleston and having been in and out of Charleston for years afterward, people there really made an effort to address as head on what happened there.

Very often, I know certainly for a fact, after the Tree of Life shooting, the massacre there, there were people that went from Charleston to Pittsburgh in order to find solace and to give comfort to people in that community.


And so I think that they`re going to have to, unfortunately, look at the ways in which other communities have dealt with this and the ways in which they have moved forward.

The last thing I`ll say is, one of the things that stayed with me is that there was an older white gentleman who was at one of the vigils in Charleston. I was going around and talking to people. I was asking them why they came out, why they were there, and so on. And he said something that struck me.

He said I remember the way things used to be in Charleston. And I refuse to idly sit by and let anyone drag us back to that place. I think there are people of conscience who feel that way, and now is the time for them to make their voices heard.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe, we seem to have worked our way past the political ritual of the past where Republicans would all issue a tweet about thoughts and prayers after incidents like this and then immediately accused Democrats of trying to politicize it if they said anything about trying to control access to weapons of war or anything like that. Here we see Chuck Schumer going right out on to the Senate floor and blaming Fox. He did that yesterday, blaming Fox, blaming Rupert Murdoch today.

This is a much more heated political reaction right off the bat than we have seen before. Maybe this is the way that it`s just going to trend.

PLOUFFE: Well; sadly, I think we`re going to have more episodes. I think it is really important to speak to the -- first of all, I don`t think there is much debate. Has anyone done more damage to America in other countries than Rupert Murdoch around a whole host of issues? And I do think you connect this, basically this white replacement theory, other forms of racism and hatred, in a period in American history where so many people are armed and they`re not just armed with one or two weapons, they`re armed with weapons that we have seen on battlefields throughout the world.

So that is a toxic stew. And so, I think the Republicans, this brand of Republican these days, with few exceptions, we`d like to avoid accountability on everything. We will mourn the victims and their families, but there has been enough of them now, as Dean Cobb talked about, that we can create a pattern here. It`s not just white replacement theory.

It`s white replacement theory, it is the fact that when these events happens, Republicans continue to double down ideas like that, and that basically people who are getting instigated, who feel that they need to resort to violence, can arm themselves so easily with weapons that can kill dozens of people in a matter of 60 or 90 seconds.

So, Lawrence, I think it`s right. I think the reason they don`t want to be held accountable is that they`ve got to know some of them that this is something that this doesn`t look like it`s going to be stopped. They bear great accountability for this. It`s only going to get worse, and that`s what so tragic.

I think there`s a feeling of helplessness out there amongst a lot of Americans, not just Democrats, a lot of Americans, that this continues to happen. But again, it is white replacement theory is becoming mainstream. It`s not a 50 percent issue. Maybe it`s not a 40 percent issue. But it certainly a 20, 25 percent issue.

And that`s a frightening thing to think about. I think you`re going to see more candidates do what McConnell did. You`ll see people feel like they can`t speak against him. That normalizes it.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe and Professor Jelani Cobb thank you so much for starting off our coverage tonight. Really appreciate it.

COBB: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And as you already know, it is primary night in America and Steve Kornacki is at the big board. He has some news for us.

Steve, what is the latest?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The news here is in his Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary, David McCormick and Mehmet Oz, you see, there`s fewer than 7,000 votes. NBC news is now characterizing this race, we used to say too early to call, it is now too close to call. We`ve got a barn burning, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to a break here and we`ll be back with more from Steve Kornacki and our election coverage and more, after this break.



O`DONNELL: We can now report that the Republican Madison Cawthorn`s short career in the House of Representatives is coming to an end. A spokesperson for his campaign says that he called his Republican parliament and the primary Chuck Edwards, and conceded -- conceded defeat over the phone to his Republican opponents in North Carolina for that house seats.

And joining us now, is MSNBC`s national political correspondent Steve Kornacki.

Steve, what is the latest?

KORNACKI: So, you get a bit of an upset right there in western Northern Carolina, but all eyes are on this Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary. We told you that John Fetterman will be the Democratic nominee. Who is his opponent going to be?

And we are calling this now too close to call. Not a shock to see that designation, David McCormick is leading Dr. Mehmet Oz right now. The margin between them now sits under 7,000 votes here. You see less than 1 percent is split between them.

Kathy Barnette, a lot of talk about her in the final stages of this campaign, with a lot of late momentum. But she is lagging a bit behind them. I think a couple ways to look at this, the key though, in big picture is this -- it is Republican primary, there are some votes that were cast by mail.

But Republicans, if you remember this in the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, this was a story of election week 2020. Republicans are far less likely to cast a mail ballots then Democrats are, so probably about 10 percent of the votes in this Republican primary are going to end up being counted by mail. That means that 90 percent of the votes or so in this Republican primary are votes that people went out and cast it in person today.

So, I think that number is worth zooming in. If you look at the in person election gate vote right now, it`s McCormick 32 percent. That`s a two there. It`s Oz 32 percent. And it`s Barnett 24 percent.

And we now have more than 700,000 same-day votes that have been counted up. So a pattern is really starting to become clear. We are getting same day votes in for some big counties from every region of the state. You really are seeing kind of McCormick and Oz neck and neck with the same day. Then, a notch down to Barnett.

So that`s how it`s gotten so close up here. That`s why the declaration is too close to call. What is going to decide this race, where do we have the most outstanding vote? Well, it`s a Philadelphia suburbs. It`s the four collar counties right outside Philadelphia here.

These four counties are going to ultimately count for close than a quarter of the votes. Right now I can show you. We got barely any from some of these counties. Here`s Delaware County. This is a massive county. These are all the votes that have been candidates so far in the Republican primary Delaware County.

These are the vote by mail. There is not many Republicans who vote by mail. This is the vote by mail in Delaware county. We are waiting in Delaware county on the same day votes. They are going to be tens of thousands of same day votes reported out here in Delaware County. That looms large.

Similar story next door in Chester County. Again here, you see mostly mail ballots, a little bit of the same day here. But tens of thousands of votes still to come in Chester county.

Basically, if you look at those four collar counties outside of Philadelphia, they add up right now. There is 225,000 votes or so still to come. Same day votes, from those counties right outside of Philadelphia. If you look at that gap o 8,400 from McCormick, you look at the huge batch of votes there. We just don`t have enough votes in right now to know if it`s going to be a clear advantage for McCormick or Oz there.

But if one of those candidates can get a clear advantage in the Philadelphia suburbs, it`s going to go a long way to give you that candidate potentially victory statewide. Otherwise, the other dynamic that has emerged in this race here is McCormick`s residence, born in western Pennsylvania, he had moved to Connecticut, made a fortune there, move back to western Pennsylvania.

He`s doing quite well as you can see in the states, Allegheny County, this is listed as the belt as his home county. He`s leading odds there by eight points, again, Barnett lagging.

Oz doing some -- take look at up here, for instance, in Lackawanna County where Scranton is, and this is where Oz is putting up his best numbers, some of his best numbers I can get that.

There you go. Lackawanna County, and here, you`ve got most of the vote in, you got same day vote in, Oz is doing very well there. Oz is doing well next door in Wilkes-Barre.

There`s a bit of an east-west divide that`s taking shape here between McCormick and Oz. It`s not a perfect east west divide. But again, Oz and McCormick, when you look at the same day votes. The election day votes, odds and McCormick are basically even on that. Barnette is a notch behind them.

There is a ton of votes to come. We are just waiting for one big report from one of these big suburban Philadelphia counties. I think that`s going all a long way towards the determining this thing, and I would just put this out, there if this stays as close as it is right now throughout all the votes being counted up tonight. There are several counties in Pennsylvania that I`ve said they have made mail-in ballots that they are not going to open up until tomorrow.

Now on the Republican side, they are not a lot of those, but if you end up looking at a margin here that`s just a couple of thousands of votes, you could be looking at a Mercer County, for instance. You could be looking where Redding is Eastern Pennsylvania.

There`s a couple of the counties that have said, they are not going to look at the mail ballots until tomorrow.

So this is an extremely close race between McCormick and Oz, some interesting dynamics have emerged. And I`m just going to put that out there, there are a few counties that have said, we have mail-in ballots, and we are not going to open them or count them until tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: Steve, Donald Trump tried to help medicine cough or hold on to that North Carolina house seat. But Cawthorn has reportedly already conceded.

KORNACKI: Yeah, and you can see, we were tracking this one all night. Cawthorn fell behind big early on. Let`s call that result in up on the screen here. He almost came back with the election day vote.

Here is what -- there are still a few precincts left here.


But this is Chuck Edwards, a state senator, Chuck Edwards state senate district kind of was Madison Cawthorn`s base too -- Henderson County, North Carolina.

Ironically, Cawthorn put up his best numbers in the part of the district he did the worst in when he got elected. These rural counties right along the Tennessee border here. They are what`s kept Cawthorn in the race tonight. Maybe the Trump endorsement had helped him there.

But when it came down to it, what I think decided this, you see Asheville in the map here -- Buncombe County and Henderson County. The political base of Chuck Edwards state senator, and Edwards especially in the Henderson County really crushed Cawthorn tonight. Enough to put Edwards over the top. And enough and apparently by his own admission to make Cawthorn a one-term congressman.

O`DONNELL: And Steve, we will have a full assessment of the Trump effect on this part not until tomorrow really. But what we are seeing there is the kind of thing Donald Trump was trying to avoid.

KORNACKI: Yes. Well again, he put that last-minute endorsement for Cawthorn, so he`s not going to get it.

And I think from a Trump standpoint here, now it all comes down to the senate race in Pennsylvania because he really did go all-in there for Dr. Oz here. And he made some disparaging comments about McCormick as well.

He tried to stop Barnette, he put his chips with Oz. He made disparaging comments about McCormick, as you can see here. This one is about as close as it gets. He did also, we should mention, Trump endorsed Doug Mastriano in and the governor`s race on the Republican side. Mastriano easily winning that race tonight. Of course, Mastriano was well ahead in the polls when Trump issued that endorsement.

But I think in terms of the Trump effect tonight, you mentioned Cawthorn, this one though is becoming -- this is the one that`s going to go down to the wire here.

We know Trump is with Oz, Oz and McCormick -- it`s anyone`s guess right now.

O`DONNELL: And the winner of that one will be running against the Democratic nominee John Fetterman. That was an easy win for him tonight. The Democrats have their nominee settled.

Steve Kornacki, we will be checking in with you later. Thank you very much for that update.

KORNACKI: You got it.

And coming up, the other breaking news of the night. Attorney General Merrick Garland`s Justice Department has asked for transcripts from the House January 6 Committee.

Daniel Goldman will join us next.



O`DONNELL: NBC News has confirmed the breaking news of the night, that Attorney General Merrick Garland`s Department of Justice has asked the January 6 Committee to turn over transcripts of interviews conducted by the committee. The news was first reported by the "New York Times".

NBC News reports, "Justice Department criminal division chief Kenneth Polite and U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves sent a letter requesting transcripts of interviews to the lead investigator for the House panel, former U.S. attorney Timothy Heaphy."

The letter was sent almost a month ago on April 20th. Representative Bennie Thompson, the chair of the January 6 Committee said today the committee is considering exactly how to make the transcripts available to the Justice Department. The "New York Times" quoted the letter to the committee, indicating that it was a broad request to "provide to us transcripts of these interviews and of any additional interviews you conduct in the future".

Joining us now, Daniel Goldman, who served as a House impeachment inquirer, majority counsel for the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He is also a former assistant U.S. attorney and is an MSNBC legal contributor.

Daniel, what is your reading of this revelation about the Justice Department`s investigation?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, at first blush, and most significantly, it shows that as we had suspected and hoped, and many of us had hoped for over the last couple of months, that DOJ has expanded their investigation far beyond January 6th. And they are now looking into the two month or even months-long effort to overturn the election that seemed to be centered in the White House.

That is very significant news. We had not gotten confirmation of the breadth of that investigation until learning of this letter.

On the other hand, the letter is from four weeks ago. And if Chairman Thompson is just issuing a statement today saying they are still working or still trying to figure out how to give the transcript to the Justice Department, it means that there has been no action for weeks.

The committee has called on the Department of Justice to move quickly. And so it is a little bit surprising that they have not coordinated in order to give the Department of Justice access, at a minimum, to the transcripts.

O`DONNELL: Bennie Thompson said more about that tonight. Let`s listen to what he said.



REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The reality is we are conducting our own investigation. And obviously if they want to come and talk, they`re perfectly welcome to come and talk, and we have talked to them on other situations. But we can`t give them full access to our product. That would be premature at this point, because we haven`t completed our own work.


O`DONNELL: Daniel Goldman, I don`t get it. What is premature to hand over investigative materials to a Justice Department investigation?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there could be a number of reasons. When I worked on the House Intelligence Committee, there were rules that prohibited us from releasing transcripts of interviews until there was a full vote on it.

That`s less complicated here, but ultimately I think the January 6th Committee has poured a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears into this investigation, has moved incredibly quickly and aggressively.

And their sort of crescendo is for these hearings in June, these eight hearings throughout the month. And they are understandably concerned about distributing or disseminating these transcripts to the Department of Justice prior to those hearings and so, you know, they are closely holding them.

But I do think they do will and should give access to the Department of Justice to come look at some of the transcripts and I think they should help the Department of Justice in directing them to which transcripts may be most valuable to them.

O`DONNELL: David Goldman, thank you very much for joining our coverage tonight. Really appreciate it.

And coming up, we will go back to Steve Kornacki for the latest election results. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: David Plouffe is back with us. and David, I wanted to get your reaction to Donald Trump placing a big bet on Madison Cawthorn and Cawthorn conceding just a few minutes ago.

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all Lawrence, super shocking that he conceded. He wouldn`t have been at the top of my list of people who still carry on that tradition.

So, good for the republic that Madison Cawthorn has lost hopefully he`ll never, you know, darken our door again. But he still got 31 percent of the vote. And I think that`s important to understand as we think about politics over the next few years. That 31 percent are pro insurrection, probably pro white replacement theory or any conspiracy theory you can think about. So that is a big chunk of vote. This was a huge number of candidates, a lot of that vote got spread out.

But you know, that is going to be way interesting to watch. Candidates who can still tap into enough of that and then get, you know, kind of the more mainstream Republican. But that`s what`s so -- I`m thrilled that the outcome, also deeply disconcerting that he got that high percentage of the vote after all the controversies and trail -- and you know, including Thom Tillis, you know, North Carolina senator going after him.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe, thank you very much for joining us again.

And we are going back to Steve Kornacki at the big board. Steve, what is the latest?

KORNACKI: Yes. This Republican senate primary, it keeps getting closer and closer. We are up to about 70 percent of the vote in here now. David McCormick continues to lead but you can see the lead now is inside of 5,000 votes -- 4,911, one half of a point over Mehmet Oz.

Basically what`s happening is each county, we keep getting new batches of votes and then you could see each candidate, they`re kind of trading punches here.

You look in Somerset County, McCormick just picked up some votes in Somerset County. In western Pennsylvania, and then we look up and Oz is able to offset it in York county in south central Pennsylvania.

Also Lehigh County where Allentown, where Bethlehem are. Oz just picked up a few hundred votes here as well.

So each one is finding strength, there`s a bit of an east west divide that is emerged here but overall it`s a McCormick lead of about 4,900 votes. And I mentioned this earlier, right now there are counties that we`ll have vote by mail ballots that they will not count tonight. They will not open or count in process tonight. There are at least 13 of those counties.

So again if this thing ends up really close. We may have more than a dozen counties that tomorrow we are finding out what a mail-in ballot situation is. And that won`t be a huge number, but in a race like that, that could be significant if this holds up.

O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki. Thank you once again. Really appreciate it.

KORNACKI: You got it.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, the mayor of Buffalo will join us next.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened here is simple and straightforward. Terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that through the media and politics, the Internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced, that is the word, "replaced", by the other.


O`DONNELL: That was the president in Buffalo today.

Joining us now, Buffalo`s Mayor Byron Brown. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Let me begin by saying I am very sorry for your loss and very sorry for the loss that Buffalo suffered this week.


O`DONNELL: What did it mean to you as mayor to have the president come to Buffalo today, to try to help you deal with this?

BROWN: It meant a great deal to have the president come to Buffalo, to show his care and concern for our community. His resolve to make a difference in issues that cause and lead to the type of mass shooting that we saw in Buffalo and has caused so much pain to our community.

For President Biden and first lady Jill Biden to come to Buffalo, meant a great deal to me personally as mayor and a great deal to our city.


O`DONNELL: The last time a president was there, was President Obama in 2013, I believe not under the circumstances of tragedy.

It is different when the president comes in the middle of a tragedy like this. You as mayor have a very full day dealing with the aftermath of this. And added to that is the arrival of the president. Tell us about the rest of what you have to do as mayor in this aftermath?

BROWN: I want to make sure that the investigation is moving smoothly. tremendous law enforcement partnership in Buffalo area county west New York, law enforcement at every level -- federal, state, city of Buffalo, Erie county, working seamlessly together. Pouring through every detail of this investigation, certainly want to make sure that the investigation is thorough and done right. Want to bring the community together.

Buffalo is known nationally and internationally as the city of good neighbors. We are a loving community. A warm and welcoming city. And want to make sure that we don`t let the actions of a hateful, lone gunman, change the image and change the heart of this community.

This community is one that is resilient. We come together in times of difficulty and just want to keep people in the frame of mind where they understand that we should always remember who we are as a community even in the face of the anger, the shock, the pain of this terrible tragedy that was brought to this community by an outsider.

O`DONNELL: How do you restore a sense of safety for people in Buffalo?

BROWN: This is a tough community. This is a strong community. People are going to continue to go about their daily lives. Since this tragedy there have been masses of people out in the community -- praying, talking, coming together to show love for one another.

I am thankful to law enforcement. Law enforcement is working on high alert in the city of Buffalo. Paying attention to every single detail of this investigation, but also paying attention to circumstances where people are phoning in certain threats, making threats through social media and sending a very clear message that, any kind of threat will be pursued very vigorously, and persons or a person involved will be found, will be arrested, and will be prosecuted.

Already, two arrests have been made of people that have engaged in that kind of destructive, disruptive behavior.

O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, as you watched events like this occur elsewhere in the country, did you sit in your office and think, when might this come my way? And what do I do if this comes my way?

BROWN: You certainly pray that something like this will never happen in your community. I`ve seen it many times, of course, in other communities. We send our thoughts and prayers to other communities.

I`m always in a position where this happening in your community, a lot of ways is unimaginable. And so when it happens here, it is painful. It is a shock to the system.

Sadly, this is an all too American phenomenon. In the last few years, there has been hundreds of mass shootings in this country, and having the president here talking about his resolve to stop that from happening again in the future is very comforting to our community.

O`DONNELL: Buffalo Mayor Brian Brown, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate your time during this difficult week. Thank you.


BROWN: Thank you. Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Mayor Byron Brown gets tonight`s LAST WORDS.

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