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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/23/22

Guests: Stacey Abrams, Sheldon Whitehouse, Kathy Hochul, Barry Berke


January 6th Committee details Trump`s push to replace Attorney general with loyalist Jeffrey Clark. There is evidence that at least six GOP Lawmakers Sought Pardons from Trump. Today, when all of the Republican judges on the United States Supreme Court ruled against the city of New York and decided that New York could no longer continue to regulate as they have for over 100 years the carrying of concealed weapons in New York, the governor of the state of New York was outraged.



And we have Governor Kathy Hochul of New York joining us tonight on this night that is a huge setback for the new gun laws of New York. The Supreme Court ruling against New York, which means it is a ruling for all 50 states, of course, about carrying concealed weapons.

The governor -- I saw the governor react to it live on local television. She was absolutely outraged by it. Stacey Abrams, who may be a future governor, is also joining us. We are going to get her reaction to the plot to steal the Georgia electors from Joe Biden.

And Sheldon Whitehouse will be also be joining the discussion with his observations about how this dark world of Republican so-called legal scholarship works, and way that Eastman letter -- how it all moved from Eastman to the Justice Department to the White House.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": I was thinking about that wall squinting today at the visual exhibit that the committee released as part of the hearing, when they talked about the man that they had put at the Justice Department working with Jeff Clarke, getting the Eastman plan effectuated, making it look like it was the Justice Department`s work, and that was circulated among some congressional staffers, but also some very famous names from Republican legal circles on that email, talking about the man on the inside, and what he was going to get done, and how they could brief the vice president.

That`s the kind of staff that Sheldon Whitehouse has been talking about for the very long time in terms of how these networks work.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, we`re going to get to it.

MADDOW: Right on. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

Not legally available. That`s what Donald Trump was told repeatedly about his ideas that ranged from the foolish to the criminal.


STEVE ENGEL, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, OFFICE OF LEGAL COUNSEL: There were a number of instances in which folks at the White House would bring me in to provide legal advice to the president, sometimes to advise the president that a course of action they had been discussing was not legally available.


O`DONNELL: That is Steve Engel, who served as an assistant attorney general under all of Trump`s attorney generals, from Jeff Sessions all the way to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at the very end.

Jeffrey Rosen testified to the January 6 Committee today beside Steve Engel, and the former acting Deputy Attorney General, Richard Donoghue.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Let`s take a look at another one of your notes, you noted that Mr. Rosen said to Mr. Trump, quote, DOJ can`t and won`t snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election. How did the president respond to that, sir?

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: He responded very quickly, and said essentially, that`s not what I`m asking you to do. I`m asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and left leave the lesson to me and the Republican congressmen.

KINZINGER: SO, let`s now put up the notes where you quote the president, as you were speaking to that. The president said just say the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman? Mr. Donoghue, that`s a direct quote from President Trump, correct?

DONOGHUE: That is the exact quote from the president, yes.


O`DONNELL: Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.

Attorney General Merrick garland must now decide if Donald Trump was asking them to commit a crime when he said that. When Rosen and Donoghue resisted that Donald Trump`s attempts to commit election fraud, Donald Trump somehow, somehow found a man named Jeffrey Clark working in the civil division of the justice department, on environmental issues, and decided to try and install him as acting attorney general on January 3rd, 2021, before being tucked out of that, in an Oval Office meeting.


ENGEL: All anybody is going to think about when they see this, nobody is going to read this letter. All anyone`s going to think is that you went through to attorney generals in two weeks, until you found the environmental guy to sign this thing. So, the story is not going to be that the Department of Justice has found massive corruption that would`ve changed results of the election, it`s going to be the disaster of Jeff Clark, and I think at that point, Pat Cipollone said, yeah, this is a murder suicide pact, this letter.


O`DONNELL: And Jeffrey Clark`s testimony to the January 6th committee, he took the Fifth Amendment over 100 times.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you discuss this draft letter with the president of the United States?

JEFFREY CLARK, FORMER TRUMP DOJ OFFFICIAL: Fifth, and executive privilege. Again, just restated for the abundance of caution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. If you look at the draft letter, and the first, paragraph, second sentence, it says that the department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress, but at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia. Isn`t that, in fact, contrary to what Attorney General Barr had said on December 1st, 2020?

CLARK: Fifth.


O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Jeffrey Clark`s home was raided by the FBI, and tonight the witness used the Fifth Amendment to refused to testify to the January 6th committee over 100 times, he was happy to talk to Tucker Carlson, and prove just how right everybody in the oval office was that day, when they accused him of being completely incompetent and having no understanding or experience in criminal investigations, or any of the real duties of an attorney general.


CLARK: Yesterday, at about -- just before 7:00 a.m., there was loud banging at my door, insistent banging, so I rushed down as fast as I could, I quickly figured out that there were agents there. I opened the door and asked for the courtesy to be able to put some pants on and was told no, you have to come outside.

So, I came outside. They swept the house, eventually they let you go back inside, and put the pants back on. But then, you know, by my count, at one point, 12 agents and two Fairfax County police officers went into my house, searched it for three and a half hours.

They even brought along something, Tucker, I have never seen before, or heard of. An electronic sniffing dog, they took all of the electronics from my house.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Barry Berke, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Donald Trump`s first impeachment trial, and chief impeachment counsel during Donald Trump`s second impeachment trial.

Also with us, Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and an MSNBC legal analyst.

And, Barry, it turns out there are investigative techniques that Jeffrey Clark has never heard of, which is exactly what they were saying about him in the Oval Office.

BARRY BERKE, FORMER HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY CHIEF COUNSEL: Oh, that`s exactly right, Lawrence, well said. You know, there is probable cause to get a warrant and do a search if you think somebody joined a criminal conspiracy to overthrow an election. While the senior DOJ officials who we heard today when Donald Trump tried to corrupt, they resisted those efforts.

But Jeff Clark apparently was prepared to join the conspiracy, and what`s should scare so many people is that the screen that we saw today, where Jeff Clark is on a White House manifest, describing his role as acting attorney general. If Trump was successful in weaponizing the department of justice to help him steal the election, we would be facing the greatest constitutional crisis that this country has ever faced. That`s the risk that is so scary, that`s what calls for great deterrence in going after Jeff Clarke, and, of course, Donald Trump was at the top of that conspiracy.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Let`s put that screen of the phone calls on January 3rd backup, because, Neal Katyal, that shows you what the committee`s interest in prosecutor`s interests are in Jeffrey Clark, there he is speaking to Donald Trump on January 3rd, beginning at 7:07, 6:59 am actually, going on for eight minutes in the first one.

As that day wears on, by the time he is on the phone with him at 4:20 pm, he`s now being called the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Clark. That is before the meeting that occurs in the oval office, and it raises the question of, was that meeting really a meeting, where Donald Trump was talked out of a decision that he had already made, to make Jeffrey Clark acting attorney general.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I`m so glad, Lawrence, that you are focusing on this. There is the case against Jeffrey Clark, and there is a case against Donald Trump, and both got massively bolstered today. So, Jeffrey Clark is kind of DOJ`s version today of John Eastman. I mean, both Eastman and Clark made crazy legal arguments, both conspired to overturn an election, and both seem quite apprehensive about spending some time in federal prison. And so, they are asserting the Fifth, and all of that.

Just one of them, actually Eastman or Clark, is enough to make that criminal case against Trump. But team abnormal, send us a spare. Both of them are now available, and the pictures sent by the testimony of both in this hearing today, and earlier in the week, Donald Trump is in a center of this conspiracy, which is what Barry just finished with.


So, Trump is pushing false briefs on the Justice Department. He`s putting false investigations on the Justice Department. He`s pushing crazy claims like this ice truck, any sort of theory like that.

And he`s reaching out to try to install his own guy after his last guy, Jeffrey Rosen, would not do his bidding. He`s installing a new guy, Jeffrey Clark, and that transcript shows that he made that decision.

O`DONNELL: Barry, if your job at the justice department was to brief the attorney general every day, after one of these hearings with what we found out about the president today, what would today`s briefing to the attorney general be?

BERKE: It would really be three things. One, it would be general, the evidence is overwhelming today. When Donald Trump was told that there is no evidence of election fraud, he said just say it is a corrupt election, leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman. That is fraudulent intent and proof of fraud.

Second, he was trying to corrupt our beloved Department of Justice. He tried to make it the department of just us, let`s just us, save the election for me. And three, there was such a powerful case today for deterrence. The Department of Justice against clients of mine say that we have to make a case for deterrence.

If you don`t make a case against the president clinging to power, who was the leader of the free world and has the full power of every agency at his disposal to try to corrupt, to help him steal the election, there is nothing that would stop that same person from doing it again, or another president. This is the strongest case for deterrence, and the need to act that you could possibly make, and I think that is what`s the general heard today.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what a White House counsel at the time, Eric Herschmann, said to Jeffrey Clark.


ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WIHTE HOSUE SENIOR ADVISOR: When he finished discussing, what he planned on doing, I said (EXPLETIVE DELETED) excuse me, sorry, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hole, congratulation, you just admitted your first step or act you take as attorney general would be committing a felony, and violating rule 6C. You`re clearly not the right candidate for this job.


O`DONNELL: So, Neal, let`s talk about Jeffrey Clark`s awareness of guilt. This is a lot of thinking, did Donald Trump know what he was doing was illegal? Did he really believe that what he`s doing was okay? Jeffrey

Clark might try to avail himself of a similar defense. I believed what my actions were we are completely legal. I was engaging in some theoretical legal scholarship and et cetera. I believed it was completely legal.

When he is in a conversation with an attorney like Eric Herschmann saying to him, as attorney general, you would be committing a felony, what does that do to the case against Jeffrey Clark?

KATYAL: Well, it basically destroys any sort of defense that he might have, Eric Herschmann has been an incredible addition to these hearings. Lawrence, normally when there is a congressional hearing about the Justice Department, I expected to be at best a dry episode of "Law and Order", or something like that.

But today, it was like watching the pilot for "Are You the One", attorney general edition, or something like that. I mean, you know, Herschmann has pierced through by giving the facts of what he told Clark, any possible defense outside of insanity that Clark can cling to, about the election being stolen, or all of this mishmash about cockamamie legal theories.

And it`s no surprising that Jeffrey Clark is the guy who just yesterday suffered a dawn raid, which means FBI agents went and raided his house, Lawrence, taking all of his communications, documents, and papers, relating to this investigation, and that was a decision not just by Merrick Garland and the Justice Department who signed off on this by a federal judge. It is obvious both the Justice Department and this judge think it is a more likely chance that federal crimes committed were committed by Jeffrey Clark.

And what`s the first crime that looks like Jeffrey Clark committed? Conspiracies. And, two, the most likely person that he conspired with, the guy named Donald Trump. So, today`s decision or yesterday`s dawn raid, to me says that there is an open investigation in all of this, and that investigation concludes Donald Trump himself.

O`DONNELL: So, Barry, it seems to me that, if you are Jeffrey Clark`s criminal defense attorney, he turns to you after that raid, or during that raid, and you begin to evaluate what his options are. And you think about him on a witness stand, presenting an affirmative defense, as a witness under oath, someone who you just advised him as his criminal defense attorney, to take the Fifth Amendment over 100 times.


So, you don`t have a lot of confidence in him, as going on the witness stand and saving himself. You start to wonder, what is the deal to be made here? You look at that call logs of those calls, with the president of the United States, beginning at 6:59 a.m. on January 3rd, a crucial coup plotting day. And you wonder, would prosecutors be kinder to me if I divulge the contents of those phone calls?

BERKE: Absolutely, Lawrence. He also just got to look into the crystal ball of what a trial would look like. He saw the witnesses, testifying, under oath. There is a great witnesses and they throw him under the bus. They don`t mince words in what they told him and what he ignored them.

So, the prosecutors, if they start talking to him, they`re going to say, we think we have evidence of the prime, we think you`re on a criminal conspiracy. But you have an opportunity to make a deal. If you cooperate with us, if you talk to us, if you give us the evidence of the conversations you had with a certain Donald Trump that we don`t know about, we will treat you with leniency. We will give it to you.

And again, that`s typically how they make cases. Whether Jeff Clark will have the sense to do it, we`ve seen he doesn`t have a lot of sense from what has been shown so far -- that`s pressure. The most important thing as Neil said so well, that`s how the Department of Justice built a case, by going after Jeffrey Clark`s and others.

So, it looks as though they are doing what a lot of people think they should be doing. That is, trying to build a case and they do it from the bottom and go off. I don`t think there is any doubt as to who is at the top.

I agree with Neal. I agree with you. It appears to be Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Well, Gordon Liddy was willing to do five years in prison, to stay silent for Richard Nixon. When I look at Jeffrey Clark, I do not see Gordon Liddy. But we will patiently await the outcome of these investigations.

Barry Berke, Neil Katyal, thank you both very much for leading us off again tonight. Donald Trump has repeatedly tried -- did repeatedly try, to steal Georgia`s electoral votes from Joe Biden.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Donald Trump offered Mr. Clark the job of acting attorney general, replacing Mr. Rosen, with the understanding that Clark would send this letter to Georgia and other states, and take other actions the president requested.


O`DONNELL: Stacey Abrams, candidate for governor of Georgia, joins us next.




CHENEY: At the center of Mr. Clark`s plan to undo President Trump`s election loss was a letter.

Mr. Donoghue on December 28th, Mr. Clark emailed you and Mr. Rosen a draft letter that he wanted you to sign and sent to Georgia state officials. You testified that this could have, quote, grave constitutional consequences.

Mr. Donoghue, could you tell us what you meant by that?


RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I had to read both email and the attached letter twice, to make sure I really understood what he was proposing, because he was so extreme to me, I had a hard time getting my head around it initially.


O`DONNELL: Georgia, and specifically, Fulton County is where Donald Trump tried to the hardest to overthrow the 2020 election results.


KINZINGER: Here we`ve seen three request made on January 1st. One email is request from Mr. Meadows to you, Mr. Rosen, to send Jeff Clark to Fulton County. What did -- what did you do with this request?

JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, really nothing. Certainly didn`t send Mr. Clark to Fulton County. But that email was the first corroboration I had seen of -- Mr. Clark had told me at that point, that the president was considering making the change by Monday, January 4th. So, Mr. Meadows email with something of a corroboration, that the discussions going on had I had not been informed about from Mr. Clark or anybody else.


O`DONNELL: And in Tuesday`s hearing, we learned that Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows traveled to Georgia on December 22nd, 2020, showing up at a signature audit site, where he met Secretary Raffensperger`s chief investigator, Frances Watson, who was supervising that audit process and then Donald Trump called Frances Watson and tried to influence her.

Joining us now is Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee from for governor of Georgia.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Georgia, your state, essential to this investigation, with Donald Trump thinking about sending Jeffrey Clark there, making the phone call to the secretary of state. What has happened in Georgia since all of that, that can give us more confidence that that couldn`t happen again.

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Unfortunately, Georgia remains in the center of conversations about voter protection and voter integrity, in part because, while we had two leaders who did the right thing for one day on the issue of certifying that election, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger had been part of the dog-whistle approach to amplifying those very same challenges. The passage of SB 202 was a direct response to January 6th. It bought into the notion that there was a lack of integrity in our elections and thus something had to be done.

And their decision was to suppress the very voters who turned out in 2020 in 2021, to make their voices heard, some for the very first time.

While she we should applaud anyone who does their job, we should not lionize those who do their jobs on one day but spend the rest of their careers undermining voting rights and sadly, that`s what we`ve seen with Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger.

O`DONNELL: To please Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr sent FBI agents to Georgia to question poll workers and election workers in Georgia, which had to be a pretty intimidating experience. But it wasn`t the worst of what they suffered.

Let`s listen to what Ruby Freeman told the committee.


RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: I`ve lost my name and I`ve lost my reputation, I`ve lost my sense of security, all it because a group of people starting, with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye, to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.


O`DONNELL: How can you protect Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss from that kind of attack in the future?

ABRAMS: Sadly, the most important thing we can do, is ensure that we have elections that are free and fair and are not clouded under the guise of concerns about voter fraud. We know that didn`t happen in Georgia. There`s ample proof it didn`t happen.

I know Ruby Freeman. We`ve spoken several times. And I can tell you that what she did -- was she underwent, would happen to so many election workers who felt threatened is a direct result, not only of what happened on January 6th, what proceeded it, but it`s also part and parcel of legislative leaders and the governor and secretary of state passing a new law on voting that was designed to quietly respond or actually loudly respond to the innuendo without ever using the words.

Until we say that everyone who is eligible to vote should have access to the right to vote, and we stop using this coded language to suggest that even though they don`t say it out loud, there were something wrong with the 2020 election, and we are going to continue to see these challenges, but the fact that in Georgia there is new voter subversion -- there`s election subversion language that allows local politicians to change the competition of elections boards. It allows the state to step in and take over the administration of elections, simply on the word of some who may not be valid. We are going to continue to have concerns.

But what we can do is make sure that everyone who wants to vote can. And that we have candidates who are willing to tell the truth about what happened, what didn`t happen and how we are all committed to making sure every voice is heard in this election.

O`DONNELL: Republicans have a coordinated 50 state campaign to replace election workers like Ruby Freeman with their own election workers, and to drive out secretaries of state and take over those offices so that they can supervise elections.

What are Democrats doing? What are you doing in Georgia to try to encourage election workers to try to stay in place?

ABRAMS: The organization I founded, Fair Fight, has been doing remarkable work assisting election workers, working with counties and communities to ensure what their rights are. We are proud of the election protection infrastructure here in Georgia that`s comprised of nonpartisan organizations.

Because we`ve got to remember that these threats didn`t simply attack voters of color. They didn`t simply attack Democrats. They attack the integrity of our elections, the underpinning of our infrastructure. That`s one thing we can do.

The other thing we can do is we can elect Bee Nguyen as the next secretary of state. We can elect me is the next governor of Georgia. We can give Georgia election officials confidence that they are going to be supported by people who`ve proven time and time again that we believe in the integrity of our elections and we believe in free and fair access to our elections.

O`DONNELL: As you go forward in this campaign, what is your confluence level of the votes being accurately counted in your election?

ABRAMS: I believe that we can have a free and fair election when we make certain when voters know what is at stake and they know with their opportunities are. We saw in the primary that we had record turnout on both sides of the aisle. But what was more impressive to me is that we had new voters who joined the throng.

What we do have to provide, though, is information, education and a reason to vote. That`s why I am working hard every single day to give people the plans, the comprehensive plans they need to know why being in this election in 2022 matter so much.


It`s why today I announced the public safety plan. It`s going to talk about how we protect everyone in Georgia, including those election workers. But more importantly, how we protect the communities they serve and the communities they come from.

We need to have public safety and justice in Georgia. And that extends from voting rights to just being able to go outside, take your kids to a movie, being able to go to a park without fear of violence and fear of losing your right as a citizen to enjoy our communities.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: What can you share with us, before you go, about your own conversations with Ruby Freeman and what she`s been through?

ABRAMS: We know that Ruby Freeman has faced untold peril. That she faced threats. But what she needs to know is that as the next governor of Georgia, my plan is to make certain that she has the protection she needs. But that she also has the safety of knowing that justice is going to be done.

We need a governor who believes in both public safety and justice. It`s going to invest in our public safety officers, but also invest in our communities.

Ruby Freeman is an example of why we need good leadership. She should never have been subjected to those challenges, but she also should have gotten help and support in recovering her life. I`m proud to be one of the people who has been trying to be quietly supportive of her.

But she needs a public leader who says to her and to everyone who faces the challenges that we stand with you, that we can protect you, but that we will also make certain that you never face the challenges again.

That`s why I want to be the next governor of Georgia. Because I have a record of standing with voters and standing on the side of safety and justice and standing on the side of free and fair elections.

O`DONNELL: Stacey Abrams, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

ABRAMS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will join us next.




JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was quizzical as to how does the president even know Mr. Clark. I was not aware that they had ever met, or that the president had been involved with any of the issues in the civil division.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): So it was a bit of a surprise when he brought his name up.



O`DONNELL: How did Donald Trump find Jeffrey Clark, the man he wanted to make his last attorney general?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember ever recommending to anybody that Mr. Clerk, meaning Jeffrey Clark at DOJ be given election related responsibilities?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: You mean beyond the president?


GIULIANI: Beyond the president, I do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the Justice Department who isn`t frightened of what is going to be done to their reputation because (INAUDIBLE) was filled with people like that.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. He`s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And Senator, thinking of you today because you have been studying these networks of Republican lawyers, some of them in cloudier environments than others.

What do you make of this sudden appearance of someone in the Justice Department who Donald Trump has never heard of, who is the one who wants to do this job? Do the dirty work for Donald Trump?

SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-Ri): When I sat in the Senate Judiciary Investigation and heard Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue talking about Jeffrey Clark, the thing that came through loud and clear, really through body English, was what nobody they thought he was.

This is no mastermind. This is a guy who in the Trump administration, was put in charge of environmental prosecutions. His job was to be the Maytag repairman and do nothing at all. So, the shock from these folks that this guy would be thinking about being attorney general was completely stunning. Setting aside all the awfulness and illegality of what he was proposing and how he was going to do it, he just was not the guy.

So that alone, I think, is reason to keep looking and as you look around him, you see this guy, Ken Klukowski, who was helping him in the Department of Justice. You see Eastman who was helping with the theory behind the letter. You see Scott Perry, who seemed to be his networker with the White House.

And when you look at that crowd you see evidence of criminality and evidence of awareness of criminality abounding. I think Clark has taken the Fifth 100 times. Scott Perry asks Trump for a pardon. And Trump`s own lawyer, Herschmann told Eastman, you need a criminal defense lawyer and he told Clark, what you are proposing is a felony.


WHITEHOUSE: So, they know very well that what they were up to was no good. The group is probably bigger than that. But I`m delighted that the FBI did this morning raid because Jeffrey Clark is a window into a larger organization or scheme.

O`DONNELL: The committee revealed today six members of the House of Representatives, including Scott Perry as you mentioned, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and others, who requested pardons. I asked Congressman Adam Schiff earlier tonight if that was a complete list or if it`s possible that there were more people asking for pardons.

And he indicated that, of course, it is possible that there are more people in the House of Representatives and elsewhere asking for pardons involving January 6th or other matters that we don`t yet know about.

I can`t think of another time in our history when members -- a group of the House of Representatives asked a president for pardons. .

WHITEHOUSE: It does tend to reflect consciousness of guilt, does it not?

O`DONNELL: It certainly does suggest that they felt they had a kind of criminal exposure that the best solution to it would be a pardon.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, in fact, as a matter of law, I believe, to get a pardon, you are effectively legally conceding your guilt in the matter and that is part of the process of the pardon.

So it`s beyond just consciousness. It actually is a kind of admission -- the pardons were never concluded so, it didn`t go through but this is not normal. This is not normal behavior from my colleagues.


WHITEHOUSE: The really interesting thing about this, Lawrence, is how we`ve talked about this before on your show, how everything is pointing to Georgia.


WHITEHOUSE: And we talked about it earlier but it keeps coming in. The Georgia false electors. Have been subpoenaed to give information into an investigation. Trump`s call with Raffensperger`s obvious and is the subject of a criminal grand jury down in Fulton County.

Now you have Jeffrey Clark, whose letter about Georgia was such an important piece of this being raided in the early morning by the FBI to, get his comms and whatever materials else they took. And the roads are all leading to Georgia and a likelihood that the different investigations are cooperating with each other is greater and greater and all of that, I think, is a kind of building to an investigative crescendo that you want to see.

O`DONNELL: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

WHITEHOUSE: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Today, the Supreme Court made the streets of New York more dangerous possibly than they`ve ever been with a ruling that overturned New York`s law on concealed weapons.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul was outraged by that ruling. She will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Today, when all of the Republican judges on the United States Supreme Court ruled against the city of New York and decided that New York could no longer continue to regulate as they have for over 100 years the carrying of concealed weapons in New York, the governor of the state of New York was outraged.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): The Supreme Court of the United States of America has stripped away the state of New York`s right and responsibility to protect its citizens with a decision which we are still digesting, which is frightful in its scope of how they are setting back this nation and our ability to protect our citizens, back to the days of our founding fathers.

This decision isn`t just reckless, it`s reprehensible. It`s not what New Yorkers want.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is the 57th governor of New York, Kathy Hochul. Governor, thank you very much for joining us.

HOCHUL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: At the end of what I know has been an exhausting day, and a surprising day. This wasn`t on your schedule today, having to react to the Supreme Court overruling a law that is over 100 years old in New York City.

HOCHUL: Teddy Roosevelt was president when we had this law in place. That`s how long it goes. When you talk about we have to look historical traditions, I think that is long enough.

We have had this on the books. We have been able to protect New Yorkers all of this time under this law. So to have them set us back to a time you have to consider what it was like when our founding fathers were writing the laws, I mean that`s absurd. And it is reprehensible, it is hurtful to all of us who are on the front lines of trying to have sensible gun safety legislation.

And you look at what is happening. In Congress, for the first time in 30 years, we`re going to have at least a breakthrough, a bipartisan approach to do something, because even they can hear the voices of people crying for help. And across the street, the Republicans on the Supreme Court, are just oblivious to it. They are intentionally ignoring the rights of governors to protect our citizens. That`s what we`re facing right now.


O`DONNELL: Yes. It`s such a strange day in Washington because it begins with this ruling by the Supreme Court, which is just stunning, a six to three ruling. And then your senior Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, gets the gun safety legislation through tonight, within the last hour with 65 votes. 15 Republican votes joining that.

And of course, that bill is minimal, absolutely minimal. And it has no effect on what we are talking about here tonight.

This Supreme Court, it seems like has everything they took up, it seems like they are eager to go beyond whatever they have just said. I mean it leaves -- doesn`t it leave you fearing, what is their next gun ruling?

HOCHUL: This is appalling. We have to be able to have the right to make a determination based on what our citizens want. I`m not governing Texas. That`s fine. They can do what they want there. But I should have the right to be the voice of the people of this state who want sensible gun safety legislation.

And my God, the graves in Buffalo, where I`m from, my hometown where I once worked with Tim Russert, are still fresh. And they have the audacity to do this. This is spiteful. This is trying to set us back.

And I will tell you right now, they are trying to take away the rights of governors to do this to protect our citizens. And yet they`re going to be telling governors, probably in a matter of days, with respect to the abortion case, Roe v. Wade that you could even be more restrictive. Allow them to take away women`s rights as well.

So we are so frustrated by this. But we`re ready. This is New York, we knew this was coming. We have been consulting with the smartest people in the country, our legal scholars. People that have been on the front lines every town, for example.

We have a strategy and we`re going to convene the legislature, they don`t need to come back until January. I said this is urgent. This is a matter of public safety. And I have to make sure that we can get the law changed, in place, in a couple of days to be able to have restrictions, when you talk about sensitive places. We will have the right to stop concealed carries -- carrying guns into sensitive places.

I want to define those sensitive places. I assure you, we are not going to allow this to happen on our subways. We just had a shooting a few weeks ago. I`m not going to allow it in schools or churches, or all kinds of places.

We`re going to be crafting that language right now because I`m not ceding my right and my responsibility, as the governor of this state, that wants protections, I`m not giving that up.

O`DONNELL: So the breaking news of the night in terms of New York`s reaction is you are calling back the legislature?


O`DONNELL: And you are saying, we need to write a new law, with an eye on what the Supreme Court said today, to try to find a way to thread these legal needles, to create enough protection for New Yorkers against -- it`s basically against the Supreme Court.

HOCHUL: Yes, I will. I will go right up to the line. I will make sure that it is legally sustainable. I will have constitutional scholars advise in this, we will get it right. But I`m not prepared to surrender. And surrendering means more loss of life, in a very populated urban area like our cities.

Today I had a convening with Mayor Adams and the five upstate governors, I`m sorry, excuse me mayors from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Yonkers. I brought them all together. And I said this is going to be a problem for your law enforcement.

Think about this. When our police are out in the streets trying to protect people, how are they supposed to know when they see some evidence that someone is carrying a gun, is that a lawful concealed carry? Or is that someone prepared to do harm to another individual, maybe go into a grocery store like in Buffalo, and shoot everybody up.

That is what we are facing here. This is going to be a real challenge for law enforcement, and thwarting our efforts to just keep people alive. We have the nation leading laws in place, I signed them over two weeks ago. We are proud of that. This is a response of what happened in Buffalo and Uvalde. We have to stop letting this happen.

And what the Republicans are doing, the Supreme Court is appalling. Appalling. And I think Lawrence, one more thing. This is clear evidence that elections have severe consequences, not just your coverage of the insurrection which has been powerful and chilling, what has been revealed.

But also, Merrick Garland should be on that Supreme Court if they hadn`t stopped Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, if they had not gone the election the way we wanted it to, she would have had two more appointees. We would have a completely different future for our country.

And the madness, the gun culture that has enveloped so many people, that is not what New Yorkers want. Again, that is another state. It`s apparently the Supreme Court but that is not what the people in my state want. And I`m here to represent them.


O`DONNELL: What do you say to young people who have been working, especially with David Hogg, who was a survivor of the Parkland shooting, he has dedicated himself to this. He finally helped get this bill through the senate, and now a setback like this today.

HOCHUL: It is painful for them, literally today when I was about to sign legislation named after Alyssa. Who is Alyssa? A 14-year-old killed at Parkland. Her grandparents were in the room today down the road.

We were going to sign a law that requires schools to have some sort of alarm system in the classrooms, or an app on the cell phone so you can immediately get to the police when there is an incident occurring, so that you did not have to get up in dispatch problems, or anything else.

When this came down, walking into this press conference, Alyssa`s grandparents wept in my arms. They said, don`t let this happen, don`t let this happen, we are fighting so hard. So people like David and Linda Shulman (ph), her son Scott was a teacher, a teacher at Parkland. They live in New York state.

I refuse to be set back, I want people like David to know, there are still leaders out there with a good team carrying the torch for this fight. This is a matter of life and death. I have ten fewer neighbors in Buffalo, ten minutes from my house that shooting occurred. Or the children slaughtered in Uvalde.

This is the cause of our time, and I`m counting on David and the members of his generation not to give up on us. The march towards justice is sometimes long, and it is tumultuous, but we are not giving up.

O`DONNELL: Governor Kathy Hochul, thank you very much for joining us at the end of this difficult day for you here in New York. We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: We went into overtime, sorry.