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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/11/22

Guests: Andrew Weissmann, Bradley Moss, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)


Attorney General Merrick Garland remained silent as GOP criticized FBI search. Police were in the middle of a six hour long standoff in an Ohio cornfield with a suspect who approached the FBI field office in Cincinnati firing a nail gun while armed with an AR-15 style rifle. The suspect was killed by police. "The Washington Post" is reporting that the FBI searched Trump`s home to look for nuclear documents. Attorney General Merrick Garland outsmarted Donald Trump at every turn and what has become the worst legal week of Donald Trump`s life.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: It has been one of those nights.

And, Ali, one thing worth noting, the one big name Republican who absolutely did not call for the Justice Department to show us the warrant, was Donald Trump. Other people were asking for that.


O`DONNELL: He never was. This doesn`t seem like something he would want to happen.

VELSHI: He had a copy of something, he knew what they were looking, for maybe we don`t want this out there.

O`DONNELL: That`s right.

VELSHI: Looking for to your show, my friend.

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

While the Republicans who had been demanding to see that warrant, demanding an explanation for why Donald Trump`s home was hurt by the FBI on Monday have a new possible answer tonight, but they might somehow try to turn and Donald Trump`s favor unless they keyword in that new report tonight finally makes the Trump defenders chose silence for the first time. And that word is nuclear.

The breaking news of the night is that "The Washington Post" is running the headline, FBI searched Trump`s home to look for nuclear documents. The lead by four investigative reporters of that article says, classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former President Donald Trump`s Florida residents on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation. They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it`s involves weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation.

The Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said, publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligent roadmap to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might if you exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.

Leading off our discussion tonight on this breaking news is Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general, Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former chief of the criminal decision, in the Eastern District of New York, and a professor of practice and now at NYU Law School. They are both MSNBC legal analyst.

Also with us is Bradley Moss, a national security attorney.

Bradley Moss, let me begin with you and your experience, in this arena. What do you make of what you are reading in "The Washington Post" tonight?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yeah, Lawrence, I`m still trying to get my jaw off the floor. When they started talking about nuclear documents, we talk about nuclear weapons, the issue of two possible potential concerns.

One, is it our weapons or someone else as weapons? Are these intelligent intercepts of the foreign countries nuclear weapons? Which is certainly something you don`t want left around unsecured. Or even worse for Donald Trump, was this about our own nuclear weapons?

Because if it`s our own nuclear weapons, there is an entire another law that comes into play here. It`s called the Atomic Energy Act. It has its own classification regime, and Donald Trump could not think these are the cost by those records on his own.

VELSHI: So tell us about how that law changes the legal picture for Donald Trump, if and let`s just stop and stress, if nuclear documents actually are involved in this search warrant. And we do not yet know that for a fact. This is reporting based on choices. We may know it`s fairly soon, but we don`t know officially yet. But if nuclear documents are involved, Bradley Moss, how does that change illegal picture for Donald Trump?

MOSS: Yeah, it would remove one of its most viable defense that he would have if there isn`t a diamond, and if he would not ultimately be prosecuted. All along we have been talking about there likely defense is going to be Donald Trump declassified all of this before he left. He thought he did it properly. Maybe he didn`t dot every I, crossed every T, but he had the belief that he properly declassified it, which would be his authority and his prerogative, while he was president.

But if we are talking about records with respect to U.S. nuclear weapons.


That`s called a restricted data. That falls under an entirely separate law, that Congress created its own classification system for. It`s not subject to the president`s executive order on classified information. And the Department of Energy would have to sign off on any declassification. So it removes that defense for him.

O`DONNELL: All right. My legal education is expanding rapidly at this hour now.

Andrew Weissmann, go.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, in addition to what you just heard, event, even if you assumed that the former president declassified this information, it still government property. And it`s a crime to take that.

It`s also a crime not to turn it over pursuant to the subpoena that we`ve heard was already issued before they had to go to a search warrant. And if you lied to investigators and said you already complied and turned everything over, and you didn`t, that`s yet another crime.

So look, what we are hearing and the reports that we are hearing, that we don`t know for sure that it nuclear capabilities. That`s exactly what we were talking about, that for Merrick Garland to have approved something like this, it had to be something of such singular importance, that he would undertake something like this, which is a search, and the fact that he had to do a search warrant, and not do it by subpoena, it`s precisely because as attorney general alluded to today, they tried lesser means and it did not work.

So I think the real issue here is, the person who needs to explain now, what`s going on, is not Merrick Garland. It is not the Department of Justice. It is not the FBI.

It is the former president of the United States. He needs to explain what in God`s green earth he was doing with this information. Why did he have it? Why did he tee turn it over? What was he either planning to do with it? Or even worse to think about, what did he do with it during the last 18 months?

And the Republicans who lashed themselves to Donald Trump have a lot to answer for, and that`s where the facts of what happened today in Cincinnati are really important to remember, because this is not just a political game. Lives can be lost, you have patriots, you have people in the FBI, and the Department of Justice, not to say also the majesty of judge who signed an order, all of being subject to heightened scrutiny, and death threats, because of irresponsible conduct by politicians who should have been waiting to hear the facts before they lashed themselves to on Donald Trump, what could be a very really horrendous story at the end of the day.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, of Jimmy Carter, who was trained in nuclear weapons in the navy, if he had taken home some nuclear documents, and then, let`s just note, in the 41 years up his post-presidency, there has not been one day of suspected scandal with Jimmy Carter. But if had taken home some nuclear documents, or what suspected, publicly suspected, let`s put it that way, publicly suspected of taking home nuclear documents, "Washington Post" runs a headline, Carter took nuclear documents. I would expect Jimmy Carter within minutes, of the release of that article, to be standing out there, in front of his home, saying I absolutely did not take anything from -- anything involving, anything. That I wasn`t supposed take. And I am happy to submit any questioning about that. And answer every reporters` question.

We are waiting Donald Trump has had, you know better part of an hour, more than an hour now to come out and tell us, absolutely not, no chance, nothing nuclear, came anywhere near my home.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: A hundred percent, Lawrence. So, you know, it`s not just people like Jimmy Carter who didn`t walk off a nuclear secrets. A fair number of people in the government, in every administration, have access to the stuff. I did into different administrations.

It is the most sacred stuff imaginable. It`s marked and all sorts of ways. It`s the most obvious thing in the world that this stuff stays under the most intense lock and key imaginable. And if the reports are true, that "The Washington Post" is reporting, there are a lot of members of the Republican Party had to seriously reconsider the grave national security threats that Donald Trump poses to this nation.

You know, there is simply no excuse for this. And I`m sure we will hear some excuses. I can`t wait for Donald Trump to say, you know in a statement, something like, Biden has nuclear information to. Why doesn`t anybody come after him? Or some ridiculous thing like that.

But to me the most important part about this story is that it highlights are really the stakes, and why as Andrew Weissmann was saying, that he authorized something like this. And it blows a whole, wide open Trump`s defense which is oh, I`m being treated unfairly, or something like that, the differential treatment.

If any of this is differential treatment, the reason that he is getting, Donald Trump is being treated better, I mean if it was you are, I or hanging on to classified nuclear weapons information, the feds aren`t going to, like be nice and send us a voluntary request, and wait two months before knocking down our door. They would act right away for the best of reasons.

So today I think is a really important illustration of, we`ve all got to wait for the facts, but right now these facts stink to high heaven, and Andrew is exactly right, you are, right we have heard no explanation whatsoever. Not a word from Donald Trump, on what he could possibly do, or be doing with nuclear information, or other signals intelligence information which "The Washington Post" has also reported, those electronic intercepts. What in the world is not doing in your home?

O`DONNELL: And let`s remind everyone, just how dangerous it has always been since Donald Trump was elected president. That he has had anything to do with nuclear weapons.

Let`s take a look at the very first Trump presidential press conference, where he demonstrated what a dangerous, ignoramus he was, and is about nuclear weapons. Let`s listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: You know what a uranium is, right? Think of nuclear weapons and other things like lots of things that have done with uranium, including some bad things. Nobody talks about that.

I`ve been briefed, and I can tell you one thing about a briefing, that we are allowed to say, because anybody that ever read the most basic book and can say it. Nuclear Holocaust would be like no other.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to the President Obama, and MSNBC analyst.

And, Ben, we just heard from the single stupidest human being who has ever been occupational a close to American nuclear weapons.

This report tonight, the possibility, only a possibility, we don`t have it proved yet, that Donald Trump took nuclear documents home with him to Florida, and it took an FBI court ordered search of his home to get those documents back.

What is your reaction to that?

BEN RHODES, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, I mean there are a couple of things that are about to me, Lawrence. As someone who you said has access to highly classified documents, including in the space.

First of all, just how strange it is that you wouldn`t even have pointed out copies of documents like this. It`s not the kind of thing that you carry around with you. It`s the kind of thing you may only need to review if you are in a meeting or a briefing on a very particular subject matter. So, it`s just very odd, and yet to be in explanation, if you said about why on earth documents like this might even end up in a place like Mar-a-Lago.

And I think also people have to understand what the danger is here. There are any number of foreign adversaries that would love to get their hands on any documents that speak to U.S. intelligence, collection methods, and in particular, our nuclear program. And if they can get their hands on that information, which would be very valuable as well, that could help them subvert our defenses, it could help them understand our intelligence collection if it`s in that space.

So there is a very real danger to these documents being outside where they are supposed to be, which is in some place called the secure compartmented information facility, where literally these things are under lock and key with human beings being there to watch them. And down in Mar-a-Lago, there are all kinds of dangers.

We have seen the kinds of passive characters who go through there. If you think that Mar-a-Lago is not been a leading foreign intelligence target for the last several years, I don`t know what planet you are on. So, we are talking about the most sensitive information in the U.S. government that has no reason to be there whatsoever. And it poses a danger for it to be there.

O`DONNELL: There was an earlier reporting today that we thought was going to be the biggest in news about what might be included in these documents. And that is a reference to signals intelligence. This was in "The Washington Post" saying, former senior intelligence officials said in an interview, that during the Trump administration, highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics, including about intelligence gathering around Iran was routinely mishandled, a person familiar with the inventory of 15 boxes taken from Mar-a-Lago in January, indicated that signals intelligence material was included in them.

The precise nature of the information was unclear. Signals intelligence includes intercepted phone calls, and what else should we know about signals intelligence?

RHODES: Well, it`s basically how we use technology the nationalists -- uses technology to collect information, whether that could hypothetically be, conversations of foreign leaders, or other actions of foreign governments.


And again, these are not materials that ever leave the White House. As someone who was there for years, and had access the signals intelligence. It`s not like I would take this home with me, home with me at night for reading. Lawrence, you understood, very clearly, that this was not yours. This was a possession of the United States government. And if you had access to information, it was only to do your job.

And so, again, I keep coming back to the fact that how unusual, how remarkably unusual it would be for anybody to be keeping this information, frankly even like while you are in the White House, it`s not like you need to keep records of the stuff, if you are the president of the United States. It`s not president about how troves of classified information in the residence that he got like reading. He had reports to read that night, and he would return in the next morning there.

So there are enormous questions about why anyone would have this information, they would take the effort to print it out, to pack it up, to take it with them when they leave the White House. And we know that`s wrong when you are doing it.

And to get the classified question, on what basis could he possibly declassify that information? His own curiosity? Because if you are declassifying that information, you are declassifying the intelligence collection behind it. It`s not just a piece of paper that you have to declassify. It`s the ways in which we gather that information.

O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump is one of those elderly man who has never used email, but did have emails to other people emails for him sent to other people, and then print it out. So he has been printing from computers since computers were invented, because he doesn`t know how to look at screens himself.

And, you know, I think many Russian reporters have made the mistake of crediting Donald Trump with being cleverly elusive by never using email himself, and never using other electronic forms of communication himself. Turns out he may have created this gigantic and breathtakingly stupid paper trail because of his own computer illiteracy.

RHODES: Yeah. I don`t think stupidity should be a defense against breaking the law, and endangering national security. And I think part of what we have to get that as the facts continue to come out is that there is a spectrum here that could run from an incredibly stupid misplacement of very highly classified documents, where they should have been, all the way to more malevolent rational. Was there corruption behind this, for instance?

But, I think, Lawrence, part of so challenging even to the kind of incompetence argument that Trump didn`t know what he was doing, or what he had, was that this information was requested. By the archives, by the FBI, he had an opportunity to be like, oh I didn`t mean to pack that, here you go. And instead he held on to it. And so, there is just so much that needs to be explained. Not just about why this information is, or what it is, we may not know about the details and how sensitive it appears to be.

But just about how what on earth would he say to justify and having custody of this information, at Mar-a-Lago. All the indications, Lawrence, this is a violation of the law, violation national security, of the United States, and despite the Republican Party largely defending him, these last few days, what they are defending is essentially the idea that one person, Donald Trump, it allowed to break the law, and violate national security, within immunity. And that`s a very dangerous argument for them to be making.

O`DONNELL: Well, the defenders have been silent since they heard the word nuclear. We will see what they have to say tomorrow.

Ben Rhodes, thank you very much for joining our discussion.

And when we come back after this break, how Merrick Garland outsmarted Donald Trump at every turn and what has become the worst legal week of Donald Trump`s life. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: And so tonight, on the fourth night of the worst legal week of Donald Trump`s ally, Donald Trump has to try to find a way to sleep, knowing how very badly he misjudged Attorney General Merrick Garland.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.


O`DONNELL: Merrick Garland has handled the most important a week of his life flawlessly. And in the process, Merrick Garland has outsmarted Donald Trump at every turn. Merrick Garland did everything he possibly could to protect Donald Trump`s privacy, when he ordered the execution of a search warrant, at Donald Trump`s home on Monday.

All FBI agents had to be in plainclothes. They had to arrive and leave during normal business hours. They had to do their jobs in a way that would escape immediate attention.

Then Donald Trump decided for some reason that it was in his interest, to make public the FBI search of his home and that is how we found out about it. Republican outrage lead immediately by Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy was extreme, even for them. And Merrick Garland stayed silent and allowed the Republican outrage to build.

Merrick Garland state silent for two days. As the two most important newspapers in the country, "The New York Times", and "The Washington Post", got the dynamics of the story completely wrong by reporting that the pressure was now somehow on Merrick Garland.


The political news media fell completely for the invented notion by Trump sycophants, that the FBI sort of his home was sometimes going to be politically helpful to Donald Trump. Merrick Garland stayed silent through all of that. And in his silence, Merrick Garland got the leaders of the Republican Party to demand that Merrick Garland do what he did today.

Merrick Garland in effect, tricked Republicans into demanding to see the search warrant. During Merrick Garland`s sound period, he got Republican Senator Mitch McConnell to say: The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events on Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.

Lindsey Graham said: There`s a tremendous burden on the Department of Justice, in my view, to explain their actions and I hope they will.

Senator Rafael Cruz said, release the warrant now. The American people deserve to see it. Now.

Senator Cruz addressed that amount to Merrick Garland, not Donald Trump, who we learned today, from Merrick Garland, has a copy of the warrant. As well as a written inventory of what the FBI seized at his home.

Merrick Garland stayed silent while Republicans demanded that Merrick Garland released information that Donald Trump himself possessed and could release, but was refusing to release.

Senator Chuck Grassley said, Attorney General Garland also owes the American people full transparency.

Senator Ron Johnson insisted that Merrick Garland, quote, provide a full explanation for the raid at the former president`s residence.

Republican Senator John Thune said, the FBI needs to provide answers as to why they raided the home of a former American president.

Senator Joshua Hawley said the search warrant must be published.

Mike Pompeo said, the attorney general must explain why 250 years of practice was up ended with this raid.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately.

And Senator Kevin Cramer, along with former Trump White House staff Larry Kudlow gave voice to the Republican cry of the heart, this way.


SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): Show us the subpoena. Crying out loud. It`s not like it this happens every day. This requires further explanation. Or else we are left to presume the worst.

LARRY KUDLOW, FBN HOST: Well, show us the warrant. I mean, no one can see the warrant.


O`DONNELL: Well, Larry, you can see the warrant now. Maybe as early as tomorrow afternoon, because today, Merrick Garland stepped up to a microphone at the Justice Department and delivered a four-minute statement without taking any questions, and he gave the Republicans exactly what they were demanding.


GARLAND: Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the southern district of Florida, to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week. That search was a promise located in Florida, belonging to the former president.


O`DONNELL: There was exactly one prominent Republican, the most prominent Republican, who did not demand that Merrick Garland showed the search warrant. That was Donald Trump. Donald Trump doesn`t want you to see the search warrant.

We learned today from the attorney general that Donald Trump has a copy of the search warrant himself, in addition to a copy of the inventory that the FBI took from his home. And Donald Trump is not showing that to us because he does not want us to see it. He doesn`t want anyone to see it.

The Republican senators who were tricked into demanding that Merrick Garland release the search warrant, all rose and a standing ovation for Merrick Garland led by Senator Rafael Cruz, and thanked him for doing exactly what they demanded that he do.

No, that`s not them. Of course they didn`t do that, because none of those Republican senators not one of them, meant a single word that they said about the search warrant.

The magistrate judge in the case gave Donald Trump 24 hours to make up his mind about whether he wants to oppose the motion to release the search warrant. Donald Trump`s lawyers haven`t until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow to tell the Justice Department whether Donald Trump opposes release of the search warrant. The judge might then allow Trump lawyers additional time to write a brief opposing release of the search warrant.


Donald Trump is a terrible judge of people. Just terrible. He hires the very worst people while claiming and sometimes believing that he hires the best people.

Donald Trump relies almost entirely on physical appearance in judging people and so prior to today, when he looked at Merrick Garland, he saw humility which Donald Trump interprets as weakness. He saw politeness, which Donald Trump interprets as weakness. He saw patience, caution and a scholarly, downright professorial style -- all of which Donald Trump interprets as weakness.

Donald Trump discovered today that he has finally met the prosecutor who he cannot play games with. Donald Trump discovered today that he is finally up against the prosecutor who is tougher and sharper and more decisive and confident than any of the prosecutors Donald Trump has had to contend with in any way.

The proof of how desperately terrified Donald Trump is of Merrick Garland tonight is Donald Trump`s silence about Merrick Garland. Donald Trump issued a written statement, after Merrick Garland spoke today, but it was a rehash of the stuff that he has already said. Something the staff could have put together using lines that he has already use this week.

I`m going to read it now in its entirety just to demonstrate that it is Donald Trump`s version of being speechless. This is his version of silence because these words were all use in previous statements this week.

He actually put out a statement tonight simply saying, "My attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully and very good relationships have been established. The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it. They asked us to put an additional lock on a certain area, done. Everything was fine, better than that of most previous presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by very large numbers of agents and even safe crackers. They got way ahead of themselves, crazy!"

That`s it, that`s it. That`s his version of complete and utter silence and he dares not speak the name Merrick Garland tonight. Not a single sentence in there was new because Donald Trump has no idea now what to say with Merrick Garland closing in on him.

Our panel of legal experts is back. Neal Katyal, Andrew Weissmann and Bradley Moss.

Andrew Weissmann, when you watched the way these events unfolded today this week starting Monday with Merrick Garland now as you look back on it, as I look back on it, I should say, Merrick Garland allowing the silence to be filled with these demands, these we relentless demands that he, Merrick Garland, release the search warrant and virtually no demands that Donald Trump do that, has culminated in these four minutes this afternoon, that to my eye, we`re absolutely masterfully played by the attorney general all the way through the week.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, FORMER EASTERN DISTRICT OF NY CHIEF OF CRIMINAL DIVISION: I agree with you, I think that it was brilliant, strategically Because it was entirely faithful to the principles of the Justice Department to not speak about an ongoing investigation, out of concern for the civil liberties and the integrity of the ongoing investigation.

But it really put the ball in Donald Trump`s court and he really called his bluff. He said, ok, you think that there is something wrong here. You think that there needs to be an accounting, fine. We are willing to do that.

We will make a motion to the court but we will give you the opportunity, Donald Trump, to oppose it. So it is really sort of strategically brilliant. And we will see tomorrow what the former president does.

I would note that in his statement that you read just like the prior one, there still is zero explanation for why he had these documents, why he didn`t return them, and what he did with them or plan to do with them. I mean it is -- it is really remarkable, and frankly you would hope that the people who said they want an accounting are now saying you know what, we want that accounting, we heard from Merrick Garland, now we want that accounting from the former president. What were you doing with these documents?

O`DONNELL: Bradley Moss, when you look at the sequence that has now developed which is a clearer sequence than we had at the beginning of the week that includes a subpoena being issued for these documents, a subpoena that apparently the response to which the Justice Department was not satisfied with, that`s why they moved up to the search warrant.


O`DONNELL: What do you make of the timing of the beginning say from June when people from the Justice Department actually were at Mar-a-Lago, actually looking at the room where these boxes were?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yes. I think what you found here is that the Justice Department did, and it is kind of consistent with what Andrew was just saying, everything they could to handle this properly within procedure and to respect the privacy of the former president to avoid reaching this, you know, very politically controversial moment we are in right now.

They started with (INAUDIBLE) discussions with the former president. They got boxes from him in February, then they were doing the subpoena and having the inspection in June. There were ongoing discussions with his lawyers.

They did everything they could until they have received enough information or hearing these different media reports that they had at least one witness that was telling them there was more information, more records the former president was hiding or was storing at Mar-a-Lago, that they felt there was no longer the ability to wait -- no longer the ability to let Donald Trump drag this out. They had to take action in the only way they had.

O`DONNELL: And Neal there`s also a report that the Justice Department after the visit -- five days after the visit there, Jay Bratt another state (ph), they subpoenaed the video recordings the kind of hallway video recordings of Mar-a-Lago maybe to see what the human traffic was like near the area where they knew the documents were. Perhaps other reasons.

But something made them go from the search warrant, including the possibility that developed last night`s reporting, that there may be an informer at Mar-a-Lago who told the Justice Department that gave them reason to in effect move very urgently to grab that stuff.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANLAYST: Yes Lawrence, within an hour of the search, I`d been saying it. There must have been an informant because that`s the only way to justify I think what Merrick Garland has authorized here.

And so I think that -- I think that -- you know, I agree with what`s been said. That this is a brilliant chess move by Attorney General Garland in this press conference and this filing to seek the unsealing and put all the burden on Trump to oppose.

But I don`t think it was done for that reason. I don`t think Garland was saying, I`m going to be strategic and engage in some chess move. He was just following the Justice Department rules which is stay silent until you have to do otherwise. And I found time and again, if you just follow the department rules, that embarrasses the critics.

That`s exactly what happened here. There is wisdom in those rules. Garland is showing it.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you Neal, because I don`t mean to suggest that Merrick Garland was plotting this from the beginning all week and then on Thursday I will do this. But the strict adherence to the rules gave him this opportunity this afternoon, which he took and so your clarification on that I think is valuable, the right frame for this.

Neal Katyal, Andrew Weissmann, Bradley Moss, thank you all very much for joining us on this important night. Really appreciate it.

MOSS: Have a good one.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up the Trump supporter who was killed by police today after attacking an FBI office in Cincinnati was also at the Capitol on January 6th. That is next.




MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.


O`DONNELL: As Merrick Garland was speaking, police were dealing with a physical attack on the FBI. They were in the middle of a six hour long standoff in an Ohio cornfield with a suspect who approached the FBI field office in Cincinnati firing a nail gun while armed with an AR-15 style rifle. The suspect was in the end killed by police and has been identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, a Trump supporter who was at the Capitol on January 6th.

Joining us now is Ryan Reilly, justice reporter for NBC News Digital. Ryan, what else do we know about Ricky Shiffer?

RYAN REILLY, JUSTICE REPORTER, NBC NEWS DIGITAL: Well, we know that he was on the grounds of the Capitol and we know that he was a big user of Truth Social which is Donald Trump`s social media platform there where he posted actually after this attack apparently and also has made a bunch of comments about the FBI.

You know, there`s common theme here that Ricky Shiffer showed up to the U.S. Capitol because he believed Donald Trump`s lies about the 2020 election.

And then he`s following in the same footsteps again, regarding Donald Trump`s attacks on the FBI. Both of which are not necessarily based in fact, both claims about the stolen election and then the claims that Donald Trump has made about this FBI investigation which are based on nothing and no facts because no one has seen that underlying affidavit or that search warrant.

There`s not information that you can actually judge this investigation by. So they`re all just sort of going off of what Trump has told them. And what the claims that he has made about this investigation regardless of the fact that it seems to be pretty well supported and pretty professionally handled by DOJ, based on all of the indications that we`ve got so far about that search at Mar-a-Lago.

O`DONNELL: Ryan Reilly, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

Thank you.


O`DONNELL: And coming up, when Marco Rubio was running for president against Donald Trump, he said Donald Trump could not be trusted with the nuclear codes. Marco Rubio has not been right about Donald Trump since then.

Congresswoman Val Demings, the Democratic nominee for Senate running against Marco Rubio will join us next.




SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): We`re about to turn over the conservative movement to a person that has no ideas of any substance on the important issues, the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.


O`DONNELL: That was Marco Rubio in 2016. Here is Marco Rubio this week.


RUBIO: This search was about trying to disqualify a likely future election opponent, about trying to intimidate Republicans who oppose the left and about creating a distraction from Biden`s failures.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic representative Val Demings of Florida. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and was an impeachment manager in the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

She is the former chief of police for Orlando, Florida and is now a candidate for the United States Senate running against Marco Rubio.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We have not heard a word from Marco Rubio since the attorney general spoke this afternoon and granted his wish saying that the Justice Department wants to reveal the search warrant.

Why hasn`t Marco Rubio demanded that Donald Trump reveal -- make public his copy of the search warrant?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well Lawrence, it`s great to be back with you and look, what Marco Rubio says or he believes depends on which election he is in. He wasted no time, as all of America saw, throwing law enforcement under the bus to suggest that the top law enforcement agency, during an execution of a lawful, orderly, peaceful, well-coordinated search warrant, he`d likened that to a Third World Marxist dictatorship. It`s just irresponsible, it is disgraceful, and it is dangerous.

And we won`t hear anything from him now, as he tried to discredit the FBI, those of the Justice Department and others. He did not wait or give them the benefit of the doubt.

We saw what happened today in Ohio, his rhetoric, along with the dangerous rhetoric of others, is dangerous. And we won`t hear anything from him for a while. Hopefully.

O`DONNELL: Marco Rubio knows that the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Florida, Tony Gonzales, who is participating in this case, he is the one who signed the documents involving the search warrant, that he`s a lifelong federal prosecutor, he`s a state prosecutor for a few years before that. U.S. Attorney Tony Gonzales has served under Republican presidents, Democratic presidents. He`s been doing this for decades.

And this is something Marco Rubio knows when he`s attacking at the Justice Department, and in this case, Tony Gonzalez, for doing his job.

DEMINGS: Let us not forget that the director of the FBI was a President Trump appointee. Look, Marco Rubio has obviously shown to everybody in Florida, the nation, and quite frankly, the world, that he will say and do anything for political gain including ruining the reputation you know, ruining the integrity, of career justice people, judges FBI agents and others.

Florida really could use some real leadership in the Senate. If you believe that as well, please, I am talking to your viewers, please go to and support my campaign.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Val Demings, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

DEMINGS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And a very special Last Word is next.



O`DONNELL: The Russell family held a small, private funeral for Bill Russell today in Seattle. The pall bearers where led by the two people who have loved Bill Russell longer than anyone else. His son Jacob Russell and his daughter Karen Kenyatta Russell, who he always proudly introduced as a Harvard Law School graduate because Bill Russell was taught by his father to value education so highly.

The other pall bearers were Bill Russell`s four grandchildren -- Miles, Mercer, Shawn, and Candace.

At the funeral, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, made an announcement that the NBA later today made public on Twitter saying, the life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell will be honored by retiring his uniform number six throughout the league.

The iconic May Smith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer will be the first player to have his number retired across the NBA.

In a letter to the Russell family read at the funeral today, President Barack Obama said, "It is an honor to pay tribute to my dear friend and lifelong hero, Bill Russell. On the court, Bill was the greatest champion in basketball history. But we all know that he stood just as tall off of it. Alongside giants like Dr. King and Muhammad Ali, bill fought for racial justice and human dignity and he never stopped speaking up for what was right, even when people tried to silence him.


O`DONNELL: That is why Bill didn`t just revolutionize his own sport, he changed our entire country for the better. I learned so much from the way Bill played, the way he coached, and the way he lived his life."

We all did. Bill Russell and his children and grandchildren, who he loved so much, get tonight`s LAST WORD.