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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/20/22

Guests: Nadya Tolokonnikova, J. David Goodman, Tony Plohetski, Roland Gutierrez


Uvalde police reportedly had ballistic shields and rifles minutes after gunman entered school. Interview with Texas State Senate Senator Roland Gutierrez. This is the reward Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has received for being a member of the January 6th committee -- a threatening letter. After a reportedly secret meeting with Vladimir Putin, the head of Russian television, a Putin propagandist, went on television in Russia to spread a new lie about the war on state TV. Russia is just helping in a civil war between Russians and anti-Russians in Ukraine.



And I will see you tomorrow night, also on the panel discussion, and then later we`ll do THE LAST WORD at 10:00 p.m.

I think tomorrow, Rachel, the case about what happened in Georgia is going to be clearer than ever to this country. And I long felt that that is where the clearest case of criminal conduct is to be found.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": I think that, I think that is true. I think it is also helpful when you`re talking about any crime for the crime to happen on tape, and be released as soon as it happens, that should just be a new rule, that you have to crime on tape, and the tape has to be on TV that night. That helps, I think, in terms of this like, simpling it down so that we can all get it.

O`DONNELL: You know, I`ve listened to many hours of Mafia wire taps by the FBI investigations that they brought to court. And you know, you listen to the, what did he say, what did he mean, what was that. And he kind of mumbled that thing.

There`s a lot of interpretation that goes into it. They wire tap, and that`s really what it is. They wiretap of Donald Trump calling Brad Raffensperger is -- just could not be more clear.

MADDOW: It`s like you wrote in your diary, commit crime now, with Brad, Randi, Ryan -- like, commit crime, and make sure that recorders, and it`s over an hour of the crime. And it`s clear as day, and it`s been public. And criminal investigators are already looking at both the federal and state levels.

So, this is a -- this is a sort of a special part of the January 6th investigation. We are into the part of this investigation, both for the pressure campaign on state officials, and for the fake electors. We are in the part where we know that prosecutors are already looking at this as criminal matter.

So this has sort of a different flavor tomorrow, then some of the other stuff that we`ve seen, where it`s still an open question as to whether or not prosecutors will act. In these cases, they already have. So, it`s going to be a doozy.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. It`s not like the Merrick Garland situation, it`s like, it`s not going well. What`s the district attorney going to do with this? Well, she`s presenting it to a grand jury right now.

MADDOW: As we speak. That`s exactly right.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: See you tomorrow, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, they are counting on you giving up. They are counting on you moving on and literally forgetting about it. That is the commonality between our first and last segments tonight in this hour.

In our last segment, we`ll see how Vladimir Putin`s method has always been counting on people to give up. Savagely attack Ukraine with daily work lines, until they give up, that`s the strategy. And Vladimir Putin has always savagely attacked the rights of the Russian people in Russia, so that they will give up resistance to Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin put our last guest tonight in prison, when she was 22 years old, to force her to give up.

But Nadya Tolokonnikova has not given up, and will not give up. Vladimir Putin had Nadya sentenced to hard labor in prison, for singing a song along with other members of her group, Pussy Riot. Nadya will tell us what it means now that Vladimir Putin has had her friend, Navalny, transferred to one of Russia`s most viewed prisons.

It was a secret that Navalny was moved to another prison. His lawyer discovered it by going to the prison, to visit him, only to learn that his clients have been moved to another prison.

Secrecy is one of their most important tools in getting you to give up, and that is how secrecy is now being used by Republican officials in Texas, from the governor, all the way down to the mayor and the city council, and the school board of Uvalde.


They are all trying to preserve the secrecy of what happened in Robb Elementary School, when police failed to take action against a mass murderer in that school for 77 minutes, after the police entered the school, and we now have new reporting that shows it`s worse than we thought.

It shows another falsehood in the story told by Governor Greg Abbott, a day after the shooting, when he praised the police officers involved, and did not say that they had waited for an over an hour, before doing anything.

The school police chief, Pete Arredondo, who is in command at the school, has insisted that there was nothing they could possibly do because they didn`t have anything to protect themselves, no protective equipment from the mass murderer, if they entered the classroom. And that is a lie. It`s now a proven ally.

That lie has fallen apart in the series of report, the latest of which is from Tony Plohetski of the "Austin American-Statesman", who will join us in a moment. This surveillance video image from inside the school, obtained by "The Austin American-Statesman", shows a ballistic shield, a police ballistic shield, leaning against the wall, in the lower right corner of the frame, and an officer with a high powered rifle, in the lower left corner of the frame. And that image was captured 19 minutes after the mass murderer entered the school.

Tony Plohetski is reporting that the first ballistic shield, the first one, arrived in the school ten minutes before that. His report tonight from the "Austin American-Statesman", carries the headline, exclusive, officers arrived at Uvalde School with rifles, ballistic shields, nine minutes after a gunman. Multiple police officers stood in a hallway at Robb Elementary School, armed with rifles, and at least one ballistic shield, within nine minutes of a gunman arriving at the campus, according to documents reviewed by "The American Statesman", a devastating new revelation deepening questions about why police didn`t act faster to stop the shooter killed 19 children into teachers.

Even as officers with high powered weapons and ballistic shields massed inside the blue and green hallway, the gunman could be heard firing grounds including at 12:21 pm, 29 minutes before the officers entered the classroom and killed him. Investigators say, the latest information indicates officers had more than enough firepower and protection to take down the gunman, long before they finally did. Nine minutes.

The police had protective equipment. They had a ballistic shield in the school, nine minutes, after the mass murder entered the school, and no one used that ballistic shield for over an hour.

J. David Goodman at "The New York Times" reports that the hour that Chief Pete Arredondo says he spent, looking for a key, to open the classroom door, was a wasted our in more ways than one because there is no evidence that the classroom doors were locked. "The Times" reports, it was not apparent from the documents or video reviewed by "The Times" that anyone had checked the doors to see if they were locked.

All of the public officials involved in trying to hide this information from you, and from the people of Texas, and from the parents of the murdered children in Uvalde, and the families of the murdered teachers in Uvalde, are Republicans, Texas Republicans.

Some of them where the Republican state convention in Texas this weekend, in which the Republicans supported resolutions, including, we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States. They also supported the United States withdrawing from the United Nations, and they also supported Texas withdrawing from the United States!

And while they were at it, they said, quote, we support privatization of the Social Security System. They issued written demands about everything, from patents law, to food labeling, and medicine labeling, and predatory towing. We urge the Texas legislature to enact legislation increasing the criminal penalties resulting from predatory towing, and decreasing the state allowed amount that a tower can charge to disincentivize the practice of predatory towing.


The word Uvalde never appears this Texas Republican document. The names of the 19 children do not appear in this Texas Republican document. A document that covers every single thing they care about in the world, literally the world.

The names of the teachers do not appear in this Texas Republican document. The final item in this seemingly endless list of grievances against the world and against the United States and against the president of the United States, and against tow trucks, the final line in the official platform of the Texas Republican Party is a rebuke to the senior senator from Texas, Republican John Cornyn, who reject the so-called bipartisan agreement, and we rebuke Senators John Cornyn, and the other eight Republican senators who joined them.

Of course, Senator Cornyn was only willing to participate in even the most minimal form of bipartisan agreement on gun legislation because of the mass murders at Robb Elementary School. But his Republican Party in Texas refuses to acknowledge now that that mass murder even happened.

Leading off our discussion tonight is J. David Goodman, Houston bureau of chief for "The New York Times", and Tony Plohetski, investigative reporter for "The Austin American-Statesman".

And, David, limit began with you on this issue of, were the doors locked? What is the information that we have, as of now, about where the classroom doors locked? Were they unlocked? Did the lock on the classroom door not work? How did the gunman get in the classroom if the classroom doors were locked?

J. DAVID GOODMAN, HOUSTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think it is pretty clear that the gunman, when he encountered the door either was not completely close or was not locked. He managed to get his way inside.

I think what investigators know to be true and what has been shown in the documents that I`ve reviewed and the surveillance video is that no officer is seen trying those door handles. Particularly, no one`s even near the door for a lengthy period of time about 40 minutes after they are first shot at, surround 11:37 I believe it is. They don`t try those doors again.

So, they go on the assumption that they are locked and never really check that assumption. Now, the doors should have been locked in the school but when investigators found when they went and checked the doors around the school elsewhere was that not all of them locked effectively or could be effectively locked in emergency.

One of the reasons why there is not total clarity on this, I made a understand is that because going back and forth into the classroom in an effort to get the children out of the classroom it is not clear if anybody tried to unlock or make that door stayed locked during that period.

So, it is not precisely clear with the stated that door was when they first encountered it. But what is clear is that no one went and verified that before they waited an excruciating period of time to find keys for. It

O`DONNELL: Tony, your reporting shows that we now know a lot more about how much protective equipment was in that school when it arrived and how long they had it before they used it.

TONY PLOHETSKI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Well, this new timeline really does put together that level of information where authorities using security camera from the halls of elementary, as well as body camera from the police officers. So, they`re able to document exactly who was arriving and at what time during the sequence of events and how they were armed. Whether or not they had a pistol, and assault rifle and in fact those ballistic shields.

But we know that as this tragedy continued, that multiple officers were in fact arriving in that hallway with high powered weapons and with ballistic shields. Investigators really believe at this point based on my understanding that that was certainly enough firepower to try to take on the gunman. Of course, earlier, we were led to believe that they were not told to do that because they were potentially overpowered that the gunman had an AR-15.


But again, we now know that based on security video that we have been able to review, multiple officers had high powered weapons as well as protective equipment.

O`DONNELL: We are seeing on that frame of the video obtained right now, two high powered rifles. There is one of the lower right corner right behind the shield. And then we are seeing another officer with another one on the left side of that frame, as you look at it at home. And there could be more that point.

And, David Goodman, this information. We know this information only because you reporters are obtaining it. There has not been any more public disclosure of information by officials.

GOODMAN: That`s correct. I mean, one thing that we do know is that right now is that the head of DPS, head of the state police in Texas, scheduled to testify tomorrow in Austin. That will be their first public comment and weeks really since he gave the press conference in which he said that the head of the small police force for the school in Uvalde had made the wrong decision. And since then, we`ve had no information, much to the frustration not -- just as reporters but as families and it really people across the country who are watching this. And so, we have had to go and find it ourselves. We have been really looking into this and trying to get this stuff out, because it is important to know, when they did come into the school.

We were able to report on Friday that actually one of the officers in the police department was on scene outside the school with the high powered weapon. Had a potential shot at the gunman at that moment. He decided not to take it because he feared he said, there were children in the background and he might hit them. And now that was a decision but that officer wasn`t seen with AR-15 style weapon that law enforcement has within minutes.

So this really isn`t a question of police not getting on the scene fast enough and not having the right equipment on scene quickly. What they did with that information and what they didn`t do really, more importantly.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, that story, David, about the officer who had a moment, had a second to decide why fire doing not fire and right about the children in the background. That is an understandable description of a situation in which the officer chose not to fire. We can understand that and that officer communicated that to others in that chain of command.

And, Tony, we are not getting that same kind of thing from Chief Arredondo who knows more about this than anyone else that could be questioned. And in tomorrow`s hearing, the chief of the Uvalde police department is scheduled to testify. As I understand, testifying publicly. But there is no hint that Chief Arredondo is being asked any questions by anyone.

PLOHETSKI: That is absolutely the case. Certainly, investigators are trying and journalists continue to try. He has made -- some public comments to our colleagues at "The Texas Tribune".

But to be clear, much of what he said and did. The actions that he took we`re having to learn from body camera video, from other police officers, not even his own body camera video, but from other law enforcement who were in proximity to him as all this is unfolding, who were able to pick up his audio as he was trying to find a janitor to get the keys and to possibly strategize about what to do next.

I mean, one thing that was also striking to me and this new timeline that I was able to review is that at one point, he did actually try to talk about our float the idea of taking the gunman down through a window. And yet we didn`t see that acted upon. So, so many unanswered questions here about everything that happened.

O`DONNELL: And, Tony, in those closings that you mentioned from Arredondo, talking about shootings from the window, he sounds just like he is just having a wild guess. Like maybe we should try this. It doesn`t sound in the dialogue that we have from that like this is a carefully considered professional judgment.

PLOHETSKI: I mean, frankly, I think that seems to be the case from the moment this all began unfolding. And you hear that from some of the police officers who were standing in that hallway. One of whom audibly said on body camera, if there are kids in there, we need to start acting. We need to act now.

And yet, there was no real organization about how to do that.


O`DONNELL: Tony Plohetski and J. David Goodman, thank you very much for your reporting on this. Without your, work we would know next to nothing about this. And we really appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you very much.

PLOHETSKI: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, the only public official in Texas, the only government official who is actually trying to get the truth out every day, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Republican Senator John Cornyn got booed at the Republican state convention in Texas this weekend because he has been willing to support minimal gun safety legislation, after the biggest mass murder at a Texas elementary school in Uvalde.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): So, let`s take our country back, starting with Congress in November.

Thank you. God bless you! And may God continue to bless you and the state of Texas.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Texas State Senate Senator Roland Gutierrez. He represents Texas 19th district, which includes Uvalde.

Senator Gutierrez, we saw the Republican convention this weekend where they had, I think, about 270 or so items of concern. Uvalde was not one of them.

STATE SENATOR ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS: That`s right, Lawrence. It seems that all rational sense of reason has left the Republican Party, I don`t know who was in that crowd but certainly, not the party of Reagan any longer. The people of Uvalde deserve a better response from this partisan group of people, and what we`ve got. It`s my hope that John Cornyn continues to make sure that we get some reason, or at least the minimum, which is what we`re getting to Washington. I guess we need to do more. We`re going to see what he`s going to provide.

O`DONNELL: What is your reaction to the reporting tonight that nine minutes after the gunman entered the school, the police had a protective ballistic shield with them in the school, nine minutes after the gunman got into the school?

GUTIERREZ: Well, Lawrence, you and I spoke last week, where we know that at 20 minutes, there was it at least three ballistic shields in the hallway. That was told to me by McCraw, Col. McCraw, but he acknowledged to me that he didn`t have equipment material and ammunition to be able to breach that room at 12:03 and beyond.

So for those 48 minutes, we saw nothing. I have no doubt, that that first ballistic shield arrived with a vest, where that`s the fourth one, or that was part of the third. We clearly see that these people didn`t have any idea on how to do the right thing.

And we`ve heard from every expert in the nation, say, you have whether you have the equipment or not, you just go in, and that never happened here, even with all the right equipment.

O`DONNELL: In the hearings that are scheduled, closed door hearings and otherwise, what is -- what is the next prime you expect to actually learn something, publicly, that we can all learn together from public officials?

GUTIERREZ: Well, tomorrow, the Senate begins its committee hearings. At first glance, they seem to be investigative. But Colonel McCraw will be the first witness tomorrow. As you know, I`ve been left off of the committee hearing, which means a slap in the face for the people of Uvalde. I will be there, however, and I will ask questions, if I`m allowed.

But the lieutenant governor just tweeted today that, proudly it seems, that these will be the first open hearings, and that we will get answers to the people of Uvalde. I look forward to that. Let`s see if he`s right in his assessment, and let`s see if we get all of the information that these folks are due.

O`DONNELL: Where does Uvalde fit in the politics of Texas? Is it a place that Texas Republican Party feels they can ignore?

GUTIERREZ: Well, it actually, in actuality, they won the last election, 64. And that`s what`s in the county results indicated.

That said, there is a lot of Hispanics not voting. And that`s a case and a lot of regions in rural Texas. It`s my hope that this is actually going to change the tide, after someone sent me a picture today of a lot of the young people registering people to vote. I think that what we have seen here is the Republican Party that is callous, and that is not listening to the needs of Texas voters, not even listening to the needs and the calls of their own Republican constituents, 65 percent of which say, we need to turn the age limit from 18 to 21.

O`DONNELL: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, Professor Eddie Glaude and Melissa Murray will join us next.



LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: This is the reward Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has received for being a member of the January 6th committee.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): This threat that came in, it was mailed to my house. We got it a couple of days ago. And it threatens to execute me as well as my wife and five-month-old child. I`ve never seen or had anything like that.

It was sent from a local area. I don`t worry -- but now that I have a wife and kids of course, it`s a little different.


KINZINGER: There are people that -- there is violence in the future, I`m going to tell you. And until we get a grip on telling people the truth, we can`t expect any differently.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Kinzinger posted the threatening letter on Twitter. Congressman Kinzinger said the darkness is spreading, courtesy of cowardly leaders fearful of truth.

Those cowardly leaders and met in Houston, Texas this weekend at the Texas State Republican Convention, where they voted to withdraw from the United Nations, and banish the United Nations from American soil, not sure what they want to do with that building on the east side of Manhattan.

They also agreed that Joe Biden is not the president of the United States, and that Texas should once again be allowed to secede from the United States of America.

And they voted for a platform with 273 policy provisions, including number 200. "We believe that all historical war memorial, including confederate monuments in Texas, shall be protected from future removal or defacement, and we believe that those monuments that have been removed should be restored to their historical locations.

Joining our discussion now, Eddie Glaude chair of African-American studies at Princeton University and an MSNBC political analyst. His new podcast is, "History Is Us".

We`re also joined by Melissa Murray, a professor of law at New York University, and an MSNBC legal analyst.

And Professor Glaude, we have a Republican Party nationally, that refuses to commit itself in writing to a platform of any kind. Then comes Texas, to put it all down there, and it really reads, like everything that really is in the center and in the aspiration of the current Republican Party.

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Lawrence. It`s an interesting combination of the know-nothing party and a clearly undemocratic illiberal set of political actors. I mean, what`s clear to me is that this election cycle is not typical. It`s not a competition between two parties who are committed to democratic end.

Rather, the opposition -- the opponent this election cycle, in the midterm and moving forward, are those who are committed to democracy at all, who are in some ways committed to returning to a notion of America that is decidedly white, that is decidedly anti democratic. In other words, they`re rooting the foundation of our democracy as such.

O`DONNELL: Professor Murray, we see in this Texas document, these 273 demands as it were tour and it seems to me in the behavior of people who support those ideas, who then attack and threaten the lives of congressman -- Republican congressman simply for participating in a fact-finding mission, designed to get at the truth, including the truth of possible criminal violations.

It all seems to be a piece of Republicans wanting to hide the truth from themselves, and the rest of us.

MELISSA MURRAY, MSNBC LEGAL ANLAYST: Lawrence, it seems as failure to identify and to seek out the truth as it is, just the continued campaign of misinformation that we`ve seen from the right over the last four years. And the political violence is something that has happened in the United States before.

But we have seen a kind of state of it that I think is really unprecedented from those domestic terrorists, who were in a U-Haul going to a Pride March in Idaho to these threats against a sitting member of Congress and his family. They have essentially normalized the prospect of violence.

And January 6th I think, is really just the tip of the iceberg. We are already seeing the kind of violent rhetoric around constitutional rights, like when they talk about gun rights now, it`s not about public safety, but rather taking steps to combat a tyrannical government and to overthrow a tyrannical government and those with whom you disagree or you think are controlling the stage in an appropriate way.

So we`re really moving toward a kind of a fascistic vernacular that is really antithetical to the idea of democracy.

O`DONNELL: Professor Glaude, I was so struck in the Republican Party platform in Texas that in the same document, they call for Texas having the right to secede from the United States of America.


O`DONNELL: And they call for a restoration of any confederate monuments that have been removed anywhere in Texas. That seems again like one idea working together there.

GLAUDE: Absolutely. And I would slightly disagree with my good friend Melissa here that it`s not unprecedented, remember, between the end of the Civil War and 1895 over 53,000 black activists were murdered, were assassinated, were targeted as white supremacy took root in the south.

And I think, you know the kind of restoration of the confederacy, we`re talking about the New Redeemers, Lawrence, these are the folks who, in the midst of a kind of racist retrenchment rooted in grievance, hatred, and fear. There is an attempt to kind of rewrite history. It`s a new lost cause as it were.

And so it makes sense that all of this stuff is converging, the great replacement theory, the attack on voting rights, the attack on critical race theory, escalation of political violence, all of this is rooted in this attempt to claim America as a white nation in the vein of old Europe and we have to just simply speak the truth about that.

O`DONNELL: Professor Murray, this violence and threat of violence and the actual practice of violence on January 6th, seems to have intimidated some of our legal thinkers. We saw Jack Goldsmith`s op-ed piece in the "New York Times" today about prosecuting Donald Trump at the Justice Department suggesting that the fear, the fear of how Trump voters might feel about that, and how they might react to that. Was their principal reason used in the op-ed piece to argue against prosecuting Donald Trump?

MURRAY: Again, I think there are a lot of reasons why the Department of Justice would be very deliberate, in thinking about whether or not to bring a prosecution against a former president. But I don`t think fear of mob violence should be one of them.

Again, the prosecution of these political crimes, the seeking of justice is again a defense against this kind of mob violence. And Professor Glaude is exactly right to correct me, when I say it`s unprecedented. I think of it as being unprecedented in our lifetimes, but he`s exactly right. The Texas platform, what we are seeing, the discussions over abortions are also part of this. And we are essentially rolling back the 20th century, in order to reclaim a vision of the United States that is decidedly not the kind of multi-racial democracy that we have come to enjoy. We are basically going back to reconstruction and redemption.

O`DONNELL: Professor Melissa Murray and Professor Eddie Glaude, thank you both very much for joining our discussion tonight. Thank you.

GLAUDE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, Vladimir Putin is now telling a new lie about why he invaded Ukraine. Now he says it`s a civil war. And Russia is just helping one side.

Vladimir Putin sent our next guest to prison, for singing a song. Nadya Tolokonnikova join us next.



O`DONNELL: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was transferred to a maximum security prison 150 miles east of Moscow and Navalny`s daughter Dasha (ph) says the prison, the IK-6 penal colony, is one of the most dangerous high security prisons in Russia known for torturing and murdering inmates.

Alexei Navalny ran for president in 2018. Navalny was poisoned and almost died in 2020. He was evacuated to Germany with who received medical treatment for poisoning, and after recovering, he then bravely, immediately returned to Russia, where he knew he would be immediately arrested, and he was. Last year he was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of violating his probation.

After a reportedly secret meeting with Vladimir Putin, the head of Russian television, a Putin propagandist, went on television in Russia to spread a new lie about the war on state TV. Russia is just helping in a civil war between Russians and anti-Russians in Ukraine.

Listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s obvious to any person that there is no war between Russia and Ukraine. This isn`t even Russia`s special operation against the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

This is a civil war in Ukraine. Part of Ukrainians who are Russophobes and are anti-Russian in the same sense fascist were antisemitic absolutely the same way.

It is destroying another part of its own people. Russia is simply supporting one side of those warring parties. Why this particular side?


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Nadya Tolokonnikova, founding member of the Russian protest art collective Pussy Riot. And Nadya, I was watching you watch that Russian television, and of course, since you are listening to the Russian, you`re having a different reaction from the rest of us.

NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA, FOUNDING MEMBER, PUSSY RIOT: It`s very funny. As I`m listening to, out of her mind, kind of -- but I have no interest in hearing what she has to say. But sometimes, it`s funny, just funny to listen to Russian propaganda because it`s very hilarious. It`s kind of like, they cannot come up with these kinds of things that they tell.


TOLOKONNIKOVA: Like, you know, two months ago, they had a completely different story about like what they`re doing. And now like all of a sudden, they come up with the idea of civil war. It used to be a denazification -- and then nobody believed their specific story, and they have to come up with a new one.

And the problem of them is they`re changing their versions of what`s happening actually in Ukraine so often so the Russian people don`t trust them anymore.

O`DONNELL: So, how do the Russian people consume this news? They are watching the story change overtime, what`s their reaction to that?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: It`s just(INAUDIBLE) they don`t trust the propaganda. It`s not anything. It`s something that (INAUDIBLE) we don`t trust the government, and we don`t need the government to trust us and see us. We want to be as far as possible from them.

And I think, the big important thing for me as an activist is actually to teach people that government is here to serve us, and the government is our employee, and we have to teach them how to behave in a way that is suitable and comfortable to us. And it`s not the case presently in Russia these days.

O`DONNELL: Is that a difficult thing for Russians, generally, to understand, since that has really never been the case with the Russian government, that it serves the people?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: Well, quite frankly, the more I travel, I understand that it`s not the case in a lot of countries. And I feel like this is partly a problem of our representation of democracy, because we don`t vote often enough. We vote like once in four, or six years. And we don`t really check our government officials in -- like we don`t hold all them accountable enough.

And, I think it is informational problem, but obviously in Russia, it manifests much stronger than it manifests for example in the United States.

O`DONNELL: Your friend, Alexei Navalny, has been moved to a more severe prison. The same thing happened to you. You were sent to a more severe prison. And you`ve described it before, hard labor, 12 hours a day. What is this like for Navalny now?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: Actually 16 hours a day. That was slight estimate (INAUDIBLE) and Alexei Navalny was in the most strictest prison and it`s because he`s been looked at as the main enemy of the Russian state (INAUDIBLE).

They tried to murder him before. It didn`t work out. And I think, right now, he doesn`t want to murder him in front of the whole world watching.

And what happens in prisons like that is not prison guards where they torture you, the pressure comes from your fellow prisoners. And so some things that happened with Alexei Navalny, their official story is going to be he got in conflict with another inmate, and another inmate harmed or murdered him.

And this is exactly the playbook that they used against me. They would turn the whole prison against you, and for example, they would withdraw certain privileges or rights that you used to have, like, for example, things like calling your relatives, or being able to wear warm clothes underneath your prison uniform. And they would tell everyone that it happened because Alexei Navalny is in this penal colony. And you have to deal with this person or otherwise, you`re going to be punished.

So, I personally, was in moments when I was -- I was truly scared for my life. And the head of my prison was openly telling me that I have to tell that I made a mistake. I actually do love Vladimir Putin, and I had to report on my fellow movement members, those who are not discovered yet, whose identities were not discovered yet.

So basically they wanted me to become a dishonorable person, and a snitch. And I think this is something, these are the conversations that would happen with Navalny in this jail.

O`DONNELL: What are your -- what are your hopes for Navalny? I mean, you have your own realistic expectation of what`s going to happen to him. What do you think is most likely?

TOLOKONNIKOVA: He is extremely -- extremely brave person. I already got a message from him from this penal colony. And he talks about it lightly. I know it`s definitely not easy for him.

But I know his brother. I know his family, and I know the way that they face reality. They`re optimists until the end. And I think he shares this optimism, this belief, and this beautiful Russia of the future, how he calls it. And he shows that with all the Russians.


TOLOKONNIKOVA: And I think me and other people, especially younger generation, they really believe that we`re going to be able to have this beautiful Russia of the future. Maybe not next year, but a few years from now.

O`DONNELL: Nadya Tolokonnikova, thank you very much for joining us again. And no one can tell the story of what`s happening there better than you can. Thank you very much.

TOLOKONNIKOVA: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


O`DONNELL: You will hear that tomorrow when, Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, will tell the January 6 Committee and a national television audience about that phone call from Donald Trump. The hearing coverage begins at noon Eastern here on MSNBC.

I will join Rachel for MSNBC`s special primetime coverage of the hearing tomorrow night, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


O`DONNELL: And at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night, we will have our regularly scheduled edition of THE LAST WORD here where we will continue the in-depth discussion of tomorrow`s public hearing of the January 6th committee.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.