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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/27/22

Guests: Andrew Weissmann; Mary Ziegler; Lauren Groh-Wargo, Beto O`Rourke


John Eastman, the lawyer who conspired with Donald Trump to try to overturn the outcome of the presidential election, says FBI agents seized his phone. After Roe v. Wade guaranteed women the right to control pregnancy as a constitutional right in 1973, the first decade passed quietly. Abortion was not a partisan issue. Stacey Abrams is making reproductive rights a central issue in her campaign for governor in Georgia. Abortion becomes critical election issue in Texas. The January 6 committee is going to hold hearing on new evidence Tuesday.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. I will be on the boatload. I`ll be over on the port side of the boat from where you -- from where you will be sitting.

What a shocker. I mean, this committee has been very carefully scheduling. And then, the only thing they were doing with the schedule was pushing it further out, and actually, in effect, giving us bigger breaks. Just suddenly, I have to jump to position for a hearing from this committee.

By the way, for any committee, I mean, scheduling a hearing overnight, that`s just -- that`s just the rarest thing in committee world. So --

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, `TRMS": Why do you think there is -- why is there a rush. I mean, if they got something new, obviously, they could`ve factored it into the readings that they`ve already scheduled for July. They could`ve factored into hearings that they noticed for a week from now. Why do you think -- what could possibly explain where there is a rush to get the new evidence, to get the new witness testimony before the American public, urgently on zero notice?

O`DONNELL: And here we crash into the limits on my ability to guess.


But here`s what I think is really striking about it, Rachel. Some of these members, Adam Schiff, had to travel across the country for this. So, when they`re in recess, it`s extremely difficult to bring them back. One of the things that really strikes me about this is, there is a big difference in a situation like this for the members, say, traveling from Wyoming. There is a big difference between Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you can just I -- mean, if you can just say Wednesday, it would be a huge difference. So, someone decided, they all decided, you know what? Wednesday is too late. And that`s what`s so striking about this.

Thursday`s --

MADDOW: I know!

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Thursday is too late. We`ve got to do it Tuesday. I mean, this -- I`m on the edge of my seat.

MADDOW: I know. And there`s been no leaks about the identity of the witness. And, before today, there were no leaks that there was going to be some -- it`s not like we heard rumblings over the weekend, you know? Or even this morning that there was going to be something that was all suddenly noticed.

I mean, we knew what we knew. And same thing with a witness identity, or the witnesses` identity, there is a lot of speculation, a lot of guessing that we don`t know. So, something is afoot.

O`DONNELL: I strongly suspect, given that these hearings have been conducted as if with the hand of a dramatist. I mean, they`ve been excellent hearings, substantively, all the way through. But this process has understood the rhythm of drama. And you don`t do something like this in the middle of a well-presented drama, without it being really huge.

I mean, you`ve really set this up to be huge, and the context of these kinds of hearings, if we were to go back to the only model we have for them really, which is Watergate, the huge reveal, the really huge reveal in the hearings was, there are tapes of the president in the Oval Office. And so, I suspect that the hand of the dramatist here requires something of that magnitude, which in the 21st century is probably videotape, which brings us to that documentarian who recently presided --

MADDOW: No. That can be a. I mean, there`s not going to be another Alexander Butterfield. It can`t be something that big. It can`t be.

You know, with a documentarian, would it have made a difference if you went on Wednesday versus Tuesday? I don`t know --

O`DONNELL: I can`t explain that. I cannot possibly explain, not giving these members another 24 hours to get back in place.


O`DONNELL: That, I can`t explain at all. I have no way -- I mean, I suppose we will know tomorrow night, but I suspect we are going to hear -- my guess, this is pure guess, is we are going to hear the president`s voice in some form in -- and this is pure guess.


I know nothing. I know absolutely nothing about this. But the way these hearings have been unfolding, it`s -- it feels like they have something so urgent, that includes, I suspect, an urgency to present this to the Justice Department, right? Because Merrick Garland has said, look, we`re all just watching this, you know? And we are watching it as soon as it happens, Merrick Garland said, if I don`t watch it live, I watch it, you know, on tape.

So, they`re all watching any every minute. And this is something they want to deliver to the Justice Department tomorrow, as well as to us.

MADDOW: Right, that`s a very good point. The Justice Department, as far as we know, is not getting anything from the committee that all the rest of us aren`t getting, just in terms of the public releases. And so, it could very much be that the urgent audience for whatever it is they`re going to reveal is DOJ as much as it is the public.

O`DONNELL: OK. Now, let everybody just forget everything that I just said, because it`s pure guesswork. And let`s just go back in to a state of pure suspense, without any, any attempt to guess the head ahead of the news. There you go. There you go. You will --

MADDOW: We`ll edit this out before it`s on TV.

O`DONNELL: You sleep well, tonight, Rachel.


MADDOW: I`ll see you tomorrow, Lawrence. Thank you.

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

And so, the United States of America is once again the effect two countries, two groups of states, three states and not free states. In the free states, which are controlled by Democrats, all citizens have all of the constitutional rights that they had last week. And in a not free states, people have lost their constitutional right for the first time in history.

The largest state where women and girls have lost the constitutional right to control pregnancies is Texas. And Texans do not -- absolutely do not want to lose that right. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that 59 percent of Texans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases; 79 percent of Texans believe that abortions should be legal for victims of rape and incest.

But new abortion bans in Texas have no exceptions for rape and incest. Twelve year old girl in Texas who are raped, will have to give birth, according to Texas law. If a 12 year old girl is raped by her father, she will have to give birth to her sister, according to Texas law.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has not spoken publicly about the Supreme Court decision, but he did issue a written statement, quote, the U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe versus Wade, and we stated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children. Governor Abbott will not protect innocent 12 year old children, if they are raped. Seventy-nine percent of Texans say Governor Abbott is wrong about that, 79 percent of Texans say that victims of rape, of all ages, children and adults, should have a right to end that pregnancy.

Our first guest tonight, Beto O`Rourke, it`s running against Greg Abbott for governor.


BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not about life, gun violence!



O`ROURKE: -- those 19 children in Uvalde, Texas, would still be alive (INAUDIBLE).


O`ROURKE: This is about controlling the lives and the bodies of the women of Texas.


O`DONNELL: You are not going to believe what the governor of Texas says about rape. You`re not going to believe it because it`s not true.


REPORTER: Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas, by aggressively going after and arresting and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets. So goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape.


O`DONNELL: Eliminate rape, eliminates rape, that is the Texas Republican plan to make sure that no victim of rape in Texas will ever need abortion, eliminates rape.

Texas is number one. It is the second biggest state, but it`s number one.


California has 10 million more people than Texas, 10 million. But Texas is number one. Texas is number one in forcible rapes, 13,509 victims of criminal forcible rape, in a year, in the state of Texas. Texas is number one.

And the governor of Texas tells the lie that he is going to eliminate rape. Eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape. So 13,509 it`s going to become zero.

I guess this is that kind of lie people like Greg Abbott think they have to tell, when they are forcing 12-year-old girls, 12 year old white victims, to give birth. There is not one person in Texas including Greg Abbott, who believes that Greg Abbott is ever going to eliminate rape.

And so, now, now, Texans know what Greg Abbott looks like when he is lying.


ABBOTT: So, goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape.


O`DONNELL: Consider the cruelty of that lie. That is a lie told in service to the Republican policy of forced birth, a Republican cruelty a forced birth, forcing raped children to have children. That is a Republican policy. And there is not one Republican in Texas, or one Republican on the Supreme Court, or one Republican anywhere in the country, who will ever tell the truth about what they have decided to do to little girls who are raped, to women who are raped, to girls who are victims of incest. The Republican policy for rape victims is to victimized them again, and force them all to give birth.

And in the 50 years of debate on abortion in this country, we have never once, had a single opponent of abortion, ever tell the truth, when asked why should victims of rape and incest be forced to give birth?

That`s the question that you just saw Greg Abbott answer, and he is not the first to lie in answering that question. You will not find an honest answer to that question in the last 50 years. And you will not find a more grotesque lie in response to that question than Greg Abbott saying, that he is going to eliminate right in the state that is number one, Texas is number one in forcible rape.

Greg Abbott`s reelection polling numbers are collapsing in Texas. He dropped ten points after he lied about the mass murder of 19 kids, and two teachers, in Robb elementary school in Uvalde. The day after the mass murder, he told the lie that heroic police work save the day, and it couldn`t have been much worse if the police had not so heroic.

When he was in the middle of telling that lie, Beto O`Rourke interrupted him.


O`ROURKE: The time to stop the next shooting right now and you are doing nothing. You`re all up nothing. You said this was unpredictable. This was totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you are out of line!

O`ROURKE: I`m standing up for the kids of this state to stop this from happening again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t believe you are a sick son of a bitch who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.

O`ROURKE: This is on you until you choose to do something about it.


O`DONNELL: Since then, the Republican mayor of Uvalde, who called Beto O`Rourke a sick son of a bitch, has been busy trying to prevent families in Uvalde from finding out what really happened inside that school. And Beto O`Rourke has continued to push for full transparency about what happened in Uvalde.

After Uvalde, Governor Abbott`s lead in the polls dropped to five points, and that was before Greg Abbott praised a Supreme Court decision opposed by 59 percent of Texans. And it was before Greg Abbott started lying about eliminating rape, because 79 percent of Texans say that Governor Abbott and Republicans are wrong to force victims of rape and insist to give birth.

Beto O`Rourke lost his run for Senate four years ago by two and a half percent of the vote. In the four years since then, O`Rourke`s supporters know exactly how much harder they have to work this time to close that gap.

This weekend, Beto O`Rourke and his supporters knocked on 30,279 doors across Texas.


O`ROURKE: Action, or reaction? What do you choose?

CROWD: Action!

O`ROURKE: Action, reaction?

CROWD: Action!

O`ROURKE: Action, reaction?

CROWD: Action!

O`ROURKE: You`re all ready to knock on doors and




O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Beto O`Rourke, Democratic nominee for governor of Texas.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Where were you when you got the word about the Supreme Court decision, and what has it been like in Texas since then?

O`ROURKE: I was making my way back to Texas from New York, and immediately reached out to my team. And said, listen, there are millions of people across the state who are now under attack. We have a trigger law in Texas that deems all abortion will be outlawed, beginning at fertilization, with no exception for rape or incest.

How do we do everything that we can right now, to fight for them, and to make sure that everyone has a chance to act? Because action is going to be our best way to overcome this. It`s the key to victory, and it`s the antidote to the despair that so many are tempted to succumb to at this moment.

As you mentioned a moment minutes ago, we had our biggest weekend of knocking on doors since we began this campaign, in November. More than 30,000 times, a volunteer knocked on the door of a complete stranger, and invited them to come into the election, participate in our democracy, in a state that does more than any other suppress and intimidate the vote. And ensure that every single one of us understands what`s on the line. And the fact that this is happening more than four months away from this election on number eight tells you everything about how motivated the people of Texas are.

That`s the spirit of the state. This Supreme Court decision, Greg Abbott`s cruelty, that will not define us. We will be defined by the way in which we overcome this, by winning political power, and making sure that those rights of every single Texan are protected and expanded, going forward.

O`DONNELL: Greg Abbott said, he`s going to eliminate rape, in the state of Texas. There is no adult question I can ask you about that. I just want to get your reaction to him making that announcement to Texas, that he`s going to eliminate rape.

O`ROURKE: As you pointed out earlier, not only has he not eliminated it, Texas unfortunately leads the nation in the number of people who have been raped in our state. And since Greg Abbott has been governor, the clearance rate for violent crimes, including rape, has declined from 70 percent to 50 percent.

So, not only are there more people being raped, there are now more rapists out there who have not been brought into justice. And we can only imagine what that feels like for these victims, to not have that justice or accountability, or that closure. And it is all because of the person in power, who says that he is for life, and he cares about the heartbeats of our fellow Texans.

But when you look at the evidence, the victims of these rapes, the woman in a state who experience maternal crisis, unknown for much of the rest of the country, three times as bad for Black women in the state of Texas. A Child Protective Services system that oversees the worst foster care programs run in America, 100 children lost their lives in CPS custody and care over the last one and a half years, just here in the state of Texas.

And as you pointed out earlier, gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the state of Texas. This guy does not care at all about the lives of our fellow Texans, so, it`s time that we replace him.

I don`t know that he wants people to die, but he`s unable or unwilling to do the things, make the change, stand up to the special interests necessary to save lives of Texans. So, let`s get past him. Let`s win this election in November. And let`s get after helping our fellow Texans, saving those lives, and allowing each of us to live to our full, and allow this state to fulfill its promise.

O`DONNELL: So, the governor who insulted the intelligence of every Texan, and everyone in the country, by saying he was going to eliminate rape, has never promised to eliminate school shootings in Texas.


You were there, when he was doing that first press conference that were virtually, everything the governor said, turned out to be untrue. Half of it was proven untrue the next day, and then, the rest of it has been proven untrue since then.

What has to happen now in the investigation of the mass murder in Uvalde?

O`ROURKE: We need the facts. These families deserve the truth. I have kept in contact with every one of those families that I`ve met, who lost a son or a daughter on that day, more than a month ago.

And they want three things. They want the facts, and the truth. They want to make sure that the stories of their children, their lives, are told the rest of this country. They want to make sure that they all also did not die in vain, and they want action. They want us to prevent this from ever happening to another parent again.

And Greg Abbott is stopping all of those things from happening right now. He`s stonewalling every freedom of information request on behalf of those parents, the public, our fellow Texans. He is refusing to take even the most common sense steps that most of us, Republicans, Democrats, gun owners, not gun owners alike, can agree on.

Like, universal background checks, or a red flag law, or safe storage laws, these are things that most of us can agree on. In fact, the position that Greg Abbott holds in Texas is supported by only 6 percent of his fellow Texans. It`s almost as if he`s not listening to, or seeking to serve, or present or flecked the people that he`s supposed to lead in the state.

O`DONNELL: Beto O`Rourke, thank you very much for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

O`ROURKE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, John Eastman is the former Trump attorney who pushed the idea that Mike Pence could overturn the presidential election on January 6th. Today, we learned the federal agents have his phone. They seized it last week.

Andrew Weissmann and Ken Dilanian will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Does Apple care replace phones seized by the FBI? That`s the question facing John Eastman tonight, the lawyer who comes by was Donald Trump to try to overturn the outcome of the presidential election.

We know the FBI seized his phone because John Eastman filed a lawsuit today, trying to get the phone back. FBI agents approached John Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant in New Mexico last week. Eastman was served with a search warrant for his phone, on the same day, that the FBI also seized the phone of Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official who was also conspiring with Donald Trump to overturn the presidential election.

One of the emails that know they would find on John Eastman phone has been made public by the January 6 committee. That`s an email from John Eastman to Rudy Giuliani saying, quote, I`ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that still in the works. This time tomorrow night, we`ll be discussing what is likely to be a dramatic hearing by the January 6 committee, suddenly schedule just today for tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., with the hearing notice that the committee will, quote, present recently obtained evidence and received witness testimony.

Joining me our discussion now, Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of New York. He`s a professor of practice at NYU law school. Also with us, Ken Dilanian, NBC News national security correspondent.

Andrew Weissmann, your reading of what we have learned about the Eastman iPhone.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: So, it is quite interesting. What we learned is a new federal judge signed on Monday, June 17th, an order that allowed the FBI to seize and search that phone, which means that the FBI established to that judge that there was probable cause of a crime, and that there would be probable cause that there was evidence of that crime on his phone.

In other words, the FBI can`t just go ahead and see something. They need court authorization and they got it. And the other thing that is kind of interesting is that it is not just that it happened. The actual execution happened on the execution of the home search of Jeffrey Clark. It is clear that they are linked, because the office of the inspector general was involved in both searches.

And the officers specter general only has authority of the DOJ figure is involved and Eastman is not a DOJ figure. Clark is.

So, there has to be a connection between the two, in order for the specter general to be involved with Eastman. And we know from the filing today that they were.


O`DONNELL: Ken Dilanian, your reading of what we found out today?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So Lawrence, it is more than just that the office of the inspector general was involved. The actual warrant when you look at it was an office of inspector general warrant.

There may have been FBI agents on hand to assist, which is very common because the Department of Justice inspector general is a tiny agency but Many people may have forgotten that back in January 2021 the inspector general, Michael Horowitz announced after some revelations about Jeffrey Clark that he was investigating. He was launching an investigation into the conduct of current and former Department of Justice employees and whether they sought to improperly use the Justice Department to overthrow the election.

And it really looks like we are seeing the fruits of that investigation in these two -- in these two search warrant executions. And of course, Wednesday there was also a series of subpoenas reported against people involved in the fake electors scheme.

The question that a lot of people are puzzling about is where is the FBI in this? Because as Andrew said, the Department of justice inspector general only has jurisdiction over political corruption involving DOJ employees.

Now he can range far and wide where the evidence goes in terms of that corruption but there has to be a nexus and it sure looks like there is a nexus between Eastman and Clark and the conspiracy.

But what happens with all the stuff they get on Eastman`s phone that doesn`t relate to anybody at the Justice Department. Or relates to what he was trying to do, you know, to change the result of the election on January 6th. That is outside the jurisdiction of the inspector general.

And so it really begs the question, when does the FBI step in and start conducting a robust investigation that leads potentially to former President Trump, Lawrence?

O`DONNELL: And Andrew, Eastman in this lawsuit to try to get his phone back is saying the inspector general doesn`t have any jurisdiction over me. I was not a Justice Department employee.

WEISSMANN: Yes. That is a really bad argument if the Department of Justice is contending that this conspiracy. So there is a conspiracy between Eastman and somebody at the Justice Department such as Jeffrey Clark then the office of the inspector general does have authority.

As well if a close reading of that application by Eastman shows that the FBI was involved. And that the FBI was the ones that actually seized the phone and they were just going to deliver it to the office of the inspector general lab for examination.

So I don`t think that the Eastman application is going to go very far. At least at this point of this charge he obviously can make motions to suppress but I think at this point his filing is largely -- it`s I think dead on arrival.

O`DONNELL: And Ken, I know you`ve been covering the developments of the January 6 Committee and this surprise hearing for tomorrow as we try to put the pieces together and we`re all doing today -- we`re putting the pieces together, the puzzle that we`ve seen so far and trying to figure out what kind of piece would be so urgent that they would have to schedule it so suddenly for tomorrow.

DILANIAN: You would have to ask me that, Lawrence. Honestly I have no idea. It is one of the best kept secrets in Washington. People I`m talking about every day. I haven`t even heard good speculation about this other than that there`s clearly a reason either about sequencing of witnesses, security of testimony, potential witness intimidation. These are the kinds of ideas people are throwing out.

Or a witness that, you know, has recently come forward with information that is so explosive they want to get it out in the public domain immediately. That is about the best I could do.

O`DONNELL: Andrew, is there any possible Department of Justice interest in what the information might be tomorrow that would be a reason for the committee to rush it?

WEISSMANN: It is possible, but I am sort of with Ken that I mean I don`t have any idea what it is but I think it has to have something to do with the concern over the witness. That the witness will somehow be tampered with or there will be intimidation. And that they want to strike while the iron is hot.

That would be my guess. Obviously, the information will be made public and once the other audience here is not just the public at large but it`s Merrick Garland. So that would certainly be in effect.

O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann and Ken Dilanian, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

Thank you.

And coming up Supreme Court experts, Dahlia Lithwick and Mary Ziegler will join us next. I`ll ask them if they`ve ever heard anyone defend the idea of forcing rape and incest victims to give birth without using some form of magical thinking like Greg Abbott`s promise to eliminate rape. That is next.



O`DONNELL: After Roe v. Wade guaranteed women the right to control pregnancy as a constitutional right in 1973, the first decade passed quietly. Abortion was not a partisan issue. There were prominent supporters and opponents of Roe v. Wade in both parties but the issue was largely ignored.


O`DONNELL: In her latest "New York Times" op-ed Professor Mary Ziegler writes, "For the better part of a decade after Roe, abortion was on the backburner for major figures in both political parties.

But by the 1980s Ronald Reagan saw abortion as an opportunity. Reagan, who as governor of California, had signed a law that made abortion accessible in some cases in the state, understood that white evangelical Protestants and some Catholics were increasingly anxious about the rise of the feminist movement, the early fight for gay rights, and the spread of no-fault divorce. Abortion, Reagan thought, could put Republicans in power and keep them there.

Opposition to Roe v. Wade was in the Republican platform in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the presidency. But antiabortion proponents were disappointed with Reagan appointments to the Supreme Court who ended up supporting Roe v. Wade.

Mary Ziegler writes, "So anti-abortion groups set out to ensure that different kinds of justices would sit on the court, justices who would be ideologically consistent and indifferent to popular opinion.

Clarence Thomas who joined the court the year before the Casey decision, stood out as a model for this new kind of justice. He seemed like the kind of judge who would stick to his principles no matter what the American people thought of him, and who even delighted in the hatred of his opponents on the bench and in Congress. That was the kind of justice who would put an end to Roe."

Joining us now, legal historian and law professor Mary Ziegler. She is the author of the new book, "Dollars for Life: the Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment. And Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate, and host of the podcast "Amicus". She`s also an MSNBC law and politics analyst.

And Professor Mary Ziegler, let me begin with you. In the 50-year history of this subject, beginning at around the time of Roe, have you ever heard a defender of the idea that women and girls who are raped, or victims of incest, should be forced to give birth? Have you ever heard someone defend that idea, without some kind of magical thinking, like Greg Abbott has suggested that he will eliminate rape?

MARY ZIEGLER, LEGAL HISTORIAN AND LAW PROFESSOR: Surprisingly, I have. I mean, it`s quite common in the anti-abortion movement, to essentially say anything that contradicts the principle of fetal personhood is wrong, right.

So generally, the argument is, if you can`t, you know, justify infanticide the case of rape or incest, you can`t justify abortion. And often, also you`ll hear people in the anti-abortion movement say, essentially, it`s terrible that someone was sexually assaulted but it`s worse that they have an abortion, essentially, that the abortion is worse than the sexual assault. And forcing the victim of the sexual assault to carry the pregnancy to term is the lesser of the evils.

So, we haven`t heard that in politics until recently, because the anti- abortion movement viewed it as taboo, and we`re starting to hear it now because essentially, the anti-abortion movement thinks that it can gets what it wants in U.S. politics. That there are no more limits are constraints.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, Dahlia, I certainly knew that individuals out there held this view, that abortion was murder and so -- but politicians, Republican politicians and certainly Republican politicians in Washington, have always run away from this particular piece of it whenever they could. And I`ve never heard any of them deal with it honestly.

DAHLIA LITHWICK, MSNBC LAW AND POLITICS ANALYST: I think what you are identifying, Lawrence, is that we hit a really interesting inflection point a few years ago. For the longest time, going back to Roe, women were treated as though they were sort of just extra large children, which is why doctors were chiefly prosecuted and doctors were chiefly the bad guys. All the way through including after Casey in 1992, the -- I think anti-abortion rhetoric was about helping women make better choices. And if they got into trouble, helping support them, and helping, you know, them think through their bad decisions and avoid regret.

Almost immediately after Brett Kavanaugh was seated at the court, and I think as medication abortion which is self-administered started to really be ascendant, that flipped. And suddenly women were on the hook too. Suddenly, women were the murderers too.

And I think one of the things that really, really changed in the kind of the discourse we`re having right now is an absolute disregard for how women get pregnant, and how they suffer. Now, the new kind of rhetoric around it is that they`re the bad guys, no matter what.


O`DONNELL: And Professor Ziegler, when I -- what I was seeing in your tracing of the history, and remembering just anecdotally is this sense that when Roe versus Wade was decided, the supporters of Roe versus Wade thought victory was victory and relaxed, compared to the opponents of Roe versus Wade, who thought, ok, this case doesn`t end here.

ZIEGLER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that there is a cautionary tale here, where a moment of promise for progressives in that way, there was a ton of complacency. There was a leader of NARAL at the time in the 70s. She wrote to her colleagues, you know, basically don`t debate anti-abortion people, because the Supreme Court has spoken, and the case is closed, like we`re done, there is no more need to debate this. This is over.

And you occasionally will hear conservatives saying the same thing, essentially the Supreme Court has spoken and the case is close. And if history teaches us anything, it`s that the Supreme Court can`t settle this issue.

That was true when the Supreme Court had sided with the American people, in the sense of issuing decision in Roe, that reflected the popular opinion on abortion. We now know the Dobbs decision undercuts popular opinion on abortion.

So the thought that this is somehow over now, obviously it`s even more ridiculous than it would have seemed in 1973, when people thought the court had resolve the matter once and for all.

O`DONNELL: And Dahlia, this decision seems to have the capacity for some significant unintended consequences. Even by the majority who issued the report.

LITHWICK: I mean, the majority, I think, and particularly Justice Kavanaugh, I think likes to believe that the issue is now settled. And quiet will fall over the land, and everyone will go home and feel good about everything.

And clearly, you can tell just from the protest, Lawrence, you can tell by the absolute, I think, shock and outrage that this is not going to resolve itself.

And I think also, the Supreme Court, in saying you know, this stops at Roe, it`s not going to affect LGBTQ rights. It`s not going to affect contraception. Also, really unloaded a powder keg because it`s clear that`s not correct. And then everybody is panic stricken, and everybody is loaded for bear right now.

O`DONNELL: Professor Mary Ziegler and Dahlia Lithwick, thank you both very much for joining our discussion. Thank you.

ZIEGLER: Thanks for having us.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, Stacey Abrams is making reproductive rights a central issue in her campaign for governor in Georgia. Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager of Stacey Abrams` campaign will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Georgia`s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who is running for reelection called the Supreme Court`s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade and revoked constitutional right for the first time in history, quote, "a historic victory for life".

His opponent in the governor`s race, Democrat Stacey Abrams said this.


STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We know that the right to choose should not be divvied up among states. And that the sinister practice of taking constitutional rights and allowing each state to decide the quality of your citizenship is wrong.

Women deserve bodily autonomy. They deserve the right to make these choices. And in Georgia in particular in a matter of days this six-week ban will be the law of the land. That is horrendous. That is appalling. And it is wrong, and as the next governor I`m going to do everything in my power to reverse it.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Lauren Groh-Wargo, she is the campaign manager for Stacey Abrams` gubernatorial campaign in Georgia. You came in second last time by 1.4 percent of a vote. That was the gap between these same two candidates four years ago. Four years ago Brian Kemp had Donald Trump`s endorsement and had him campaigning with him. He`s not would have that this time. Would that alone make up for the 1.4 percent?

LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR STACEY ABRAMS: One of the things that is happening here in Georgia and around the country is the importance of governors. It is being made crystal clear. So your question leads to I know the Roe decision which is that women find Brian Kemp`s six-week abortion ban that he signed in 2019 that will be going into effect in a matter of weeks.

Women across race and across demographics find this disqualifying because this is about medical care. And women know that they don`t even know they`re pregnant at six weeks. And so the chilling effect this has on our OB/GYN, over half our counties don`t have one, Lawrence.

What this is going to do to medical care and health care for women in the state is devastating. And when you look at the MAGA faction that is not sure what they think about Brian Kemp, this is clarifying to them that these are radical extremists and he`s dangerous, but is showing the truth to the rest of our voters on who he really is and he is dangerous to Georgia`s women.

And yes that is going to be part of the reason we close that gap and elect like Stacey Abrams governor of Georgia.

O`DONNELL: So what else is the math in this second time around? New voters in Georgia. People turning 18 all the time. Is that where you hope to get that 1.4 percent?


GROW-WARGO: There are two things on the issues and one on the numbers I would say. Brian Kemp has said, he`s not going to stop at the six-week ban. He is on the record saying that should Roe be overturned he would go back to the legislature and ask for a complete and total ban on abortion. So that is number one. That is disqualifying.

Number two, Brian Kemp signed a permit-less carry law allowing anyone to carry a concealed loaded handgun. That means that you can carry lawfully a concealed loaded handgun without a background check because of other loopholes in the state. That is disqualifying.

Both of those issues, Lawrence, the abortion ban and guns, are so wildly unpopular with about 70 percent of voters. Republicans don`t even universally agree with him.

So this is going to be a huge thing. Go to Stacey to learn all about our plans. And we`re going to close the gap this time, Lawrence. We`re going to win.

O`DONNELL: Lauren Groh-Wargo, thank you very much for joining us tonight

GROH-WARGO: Thank you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: Tomorrow`s January 6 Committee hearings will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. You can watch it live here on MSNBC.

And then, I will join Rachel for MSNBC`s special primetime coverage recap of the hearing tomorrow night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And then, at 10:00 p.m., we will be back here, with another edition of THE LAST WORD.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.