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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/16/22

Guests: Laurence Tribe, Ali Zaidi, Adam Schiff


Congresswoman Liz Cheney conceding defeat in her reelection campaign for her seat in the House of Representatives. The federal judge who approved the search warrant of Donald Trump`s Florida home has scheduled hearing for Thursday to consider motions by some news organizations including NBC News to make public the FBI affidavit that the judge relied on in reaching his decision to issue that search warrant. At a White House bill signing today, President Biden gave the pen he used to sign the bill to Joe Manchin, who was standing beside him when he signed it because Senator Manchin was so crucial in the negotiations of the final version of the legislation with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Interview with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).


LAWRENCE O`DONELL, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Alex, it has been great -- exciting. It`s Wagner week here 30 Rock. That`s the way it`s going to be remembered in television history, Wagner week.

You know, I saw the little gremlins attack at the beginning of the show. Here`s the thing to know --

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST, "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT": I think everyone did, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Here`s the thing to know: on my first show, first one of these which I did which is 12 years, 12 million episodes ago. The very first one. In the first segment, the teleprompter went down.

Now you have to be Brian Williams to handle a teleprompter going down. You have to be a professional which I wasn`t and still am not. So there`s this gremlin thing to be first - -

WAGNER: You`re still here, though. You`re still on the air, 12 million episodes later and that`s the important part of this.

O`DONNELL: That is the lesson. I believe that is the blessing from the gremlins saying you are going to grow into your grandmother-hood at this job at that desk.

WAGNER: Ii thank you, gremlins. I didn`t realize the gift you are giving me. And I thank you, Lawrence O`Donnell, for teaching me the way of the gremlin.

O`DONNELL: Let me show you a little picture here of what is now the MSNBC 8:00 to 11:00 primetime lineup. This is them ten years ago.

WAGNER: OMG! We were babies. We were babies.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and those two guests in my A block for the star a block guests of the show. Whenever we can get Chris Hayes and Alex Wagner

WAGNER: So innocent. So innocent the tie was so big too. I`m so thrilled that we have this history together, Lawrence, and I`m looking forward to making more television history with you, my friend.

O`DONNELL: It`s going to be great. Alex, thank you very much.

WAGNER: Thank you, Lawrence. Have a great show.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, Donald Trump has confessed to the crime of illegal possession of government documents and presidential documents. If reporting in the New York Times tonight is true. It`s not their, is it`s mine, several advisers say Mr. Trump told them.

That line Maggie Haberman`s "New York Times" tonight is a confession. That is a confession by Donald Trump that he knew he had the documents and had no intention of ever returning the documents to the rightful owner, the United States government.

The sentence, it`s not theirs, it`s mine contains all of the elements that federal prosecutors would need to prove a crime of illegal possession of those documents. That quote was reported in Maggie Hagerman`s article a broke the news that Trump`s White House counsel and deputy White House counsel have been interviewed by the FBI about the boxes of the government documents it Donald Trump`s Florida home the FBI found in their search warrants.

"The Times" reports Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, the White House counsel and his deputy under President Donald J. Trump, were interviewed by the FBI in connection with boxes of sensitive documents that were stored at Mr. Trump`s residence in Florida after he left office, three people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Philbin was interviewed in the spring. It was unclear when Mr. Cipollone was interviewed.

That means that Attorney General Merrick Garland definitely had the information from the FBI interview when Patrick Philbin which was conducted in the spring all the attorney general was considering to seek a search warrant for Donald Trump`s home.


"The Wall Street Journal" said more like deliberated for weeks over whether to approve the application for a warrant to search former President Donald Trump`s Florida home, people familiar with the matter said. The decision had been the subject of weeks of meetings between senior Justice Department and FBI officials.

Now that we know that deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin definitely spoke with the FBI during that period when Merrick Garland was considering a search warrant, and the White House counsel Pat Cipollone might also have spoken to the FBI during that same period, it strengthens our understanding of why Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared so very confident when he said last week that the decision to seek the search warrant from a judge was made by him.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: First, I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly.


O`DONNELL: Every outgoing president appoints people to be his representatives in dealing with the national archives to make sure that all presidential papers are properly in the possession of the national archives. Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin are to the people who Donald Trump officially put in charge of dealing with the national archives.

When the national archives realize they didn`t have all of the material from Donald Trump that they should have, "The New York Times" reports that the archives contacted Patrick Philbin. "The Times" reports, Mr. Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, two of the people familiar with the discussion said. But the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisers. It`s not theirs, it`s mine, several advisers say Mr. Trump told them.

How many of those several advisers have already told the FBI that when Merrick Garland approved the search warrant? How many of them had already told the FBI that? If that reporting is true, it means that there are several advisers who are witnesses to Donald Trump`s confession. It`s not theirs, it`s mine.

On June 3rd, when officials with the Justice Department`s National Security Division went to Donald Trump`s Florida home to collect documents, one of Donald Trump`s lawyers signed a statement saying that all the material with classified markings had now been returned. But that statement was not true. That lawyer now has a decision to make, take the fall for the crime of lying to the FBI and the crime of concealing illegally obtained government documents or tell the Justice Department the whole truth about the documents that were found in the FBI`s search.

There is no attorney client privilege that prevents a lawyer from revealing communications with a client if the client was urging the lawyer to commit a crime. Last week was the worst legal week of Donald Trump`s life and so far this week is just as bad. Because Donald Trump learned just today that his top lawyers in the White House have both spoken to the FBI about everything they know about the boxes of top secret material that the FBI found in their search of Donald Trump`s home.

These are the two best witnesses for shooting down the Donald Trump absurdist claim that whenever he took classified material from the office section of the White House to the residence section of the same building, that that material was then automatically declassified.

On the safe assumption that that is a lie that Donald Trump invented after the FBI search of his home, the people who can prove to the FBI and to a jury that that is a lie, that the White House counsel and the White House deputy counsel who would`ve had to know about such a so-called standing order issued by the president because they would`ve had to enforce that order.

Donald Trump did not know until today that his White House counsel Pat Cipollone and as White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin had spoken to the FBI about all of this. Now he knows. Every day of Donald Trump`s life now is worse than the day before and Donald Trump knows that and feels that.

Pat Cipollone stood on the floor of the United States Senate and defended Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial now Pat Cipollone is cooperating with the FBI investigation of Donald Trump.


And that first impeachment Trump of Donald Trump in the United States Senate with Pat Cipollone sitting at the defense table, our first guest tonight said what Pat Cipollone should have known to be true them.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He has betrayed our national security and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You will not change him, you cannot constrain him. He is who is.

Truth matters little to him. What`s right matters even less, and decency matters not at all.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Adam Schiff will join us in a moment but we do have a call in Wyoming. We`re going to go to Steve Kornacki at the big board tonight.

Steve, what has happened in Wyoming tonight?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Lawrence. Now, it`s official. Harriet Hageman has defeated Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney for the Republican nomination for the at large congressional district. Again, just about 17 percent of the vote counted, can see the clear trajectory, Hageman`s margin is more than 2 to 1. Every county that is started to report has been absolutely overwhelming, just a couple of pockets in the state here and see Cheney potentially outpolling Hageman tonight.

It looks like it`s going to be overwhelming. It was what the poll suggested and Liz Cheney will become the fourth Republican person of Congress who voted to impeach Trump to be defeated by a Donald Trump-backed primary challenger, Harriet Hageman, with the win in Wyoming`s at-large Republican primary.

O`DONNELL: Steve, this has been the expectation, this is what the polling has been showing. Was there anything along the way in the polling that indicated this would go the other way?

KORNACKI: No. We never had any other indication leading up to the polling with this. Frankly, if you look at the other races we have had with Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, there was one race in Michigan, Peter Meijer with a margin of six points where the margin was six points, where Meijer kept it close. This distrust district has its uniqueness to that district, which maybe made it not representative of where we`ve seen it elsewhere.

But other places where we saw, think of Tom Rice in South Carolina, long term serving member of Congress, very conservative voting records, votes to impeach Trump, tries to make a stand in the primary, gets clobbered by the 27 points. We saw a number of Republican incumbents who voted to impeach decide they were even going to run because they said something like this was going to happen.

So you start looking at these results come in tonight. Can`t say it was a surprise based on the polls, can`t say was a surprise based on the Republican primaries. And that of those ten Republican primaries who voted to impeach after the events of January six, there will be to who make it to the general election ballot this November. It`s possible there maybe one left in Congress come next January.

O`DONNELL: Steve, we`re going to get the lights on in your studio and come back to you later in the hour. Thank you for that report.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, member of the January 6 Select Committee.

And, Congressman Schiff, I didn`t intend to just start with this but I think we should now. You know now that your colleague on the January 6 Committee Liz Cheney has paid the full price politically for her participation and your committee and her impeachment vote on Donald Trump.

What is your reaction to what has happened to her in her election tonight?

SCHIFF: It`s very sad. I think it`s a terrible tragedy for the country and the people of Wyoming. Sadly, the big lie and the big liars are still ascendant sentiment within Donald Trump`s Republican Party.

Liz Cheney`s had the courage to speak out to, tell the truth, we are dissent audacity to tell the truth, and there`s just no place for that in Donald Trump`s GOP. So, a sad result. You know, we certainly hoped that at some point the fever breaks, but the fever is not broken. Donald Trump still has an iron grip of in the Republican Party.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Schiff, surely you understand if Liz Cheney begins to speak with a concession speech, we`re going to go to her.

But if your committee`s business should continue next year into the next congress, you now know that Liz Cheney will not be a member of that committee. What would that mean to the committee?

SCHIFF: Well, her loss will be very considerable. It is our goal, Lawrence, to finish our work the session. We intend to have more hearings in the fall, we intend to produce our report and our recommendations into as much as we can to act on those recommendations.


But whether the committee continues or doesn`t continue in her absence, it`s a loss to the institution to have someone who I think is a true conservative, representative what the GOP used to care about and believe in. But it`s just not that same Republican Party of Ronald Reagan or John McCain. It is now every bit as flawed as its standard bearer, Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: So, Pat Cipollone has gone from standing on the Senate floor opposing you in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the first one to now cooperating with the FBI, presumably telling the FBI everything he knows about the documents at Mar-a-Lago. We are seeing Congresswoman Cheney come close to a microphone, but what`s your reaction to where Pat Cipollone is now with his cooperation of the FBI? We`ll go to the congresswoman whenever she needs to speak.

SCHIFF: Cipollone is indicative of many people in the Trump administration in that, they finally got to a point where there`s a line they wouldn`t cross. But they crossed an awful lot of lines before that. He was one of the Trump enabler, as one of the Trump defenders, and we saw that during the impeachment trial when he told the Senate there was no evidence of quid pro quo and then we learned that he was in the room when the quid pro quo was being discussed.

And so, that`s his history. At the same time, he wouldn`t go along with it and insurrection against the government, and I think sure being brought in placed under oath by the FBI, he`s going to tell them the truth and in this case, it`s hard to imagine if there were any kind of declassification order at the White House counsel would be unaware of.

So the testimony will be very important to the government`s case.

O`DONNELL: So, "The New York Times" is reporting that Donald Trump told several aides about these documents, that they belonged to him, not the government. Isn`t that essentially a confession? If he did indeed say that?

SCHIFF: It is certainly a powerful admission, and if you have one of his lawyers signing an affidavit that they turned over all the materials that weren`t classified and they didn`t, then the question the Justice Department will need to answer is was the lawyer lying, or was his client lying was he told us information and misrepresented to the FBI.

So they`re going to need to get to the bottom of this and I think, you`re exactly right that lawyer is going to have to protect themselves reveal if their client used for fraud.

O`DONNELL: Congressman, thank you very much for joining us.

Liz Cheney is about to speak, we are getting her feet, not through a conventional route to us. Let`s listen to what we can hear.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): -- wonderful to be here, and thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. We are in god`s country. And it`s wonderful to walk with so many here.

I want to say first of all, a special thanks to every member of Team Cheney who is here in the audience.

And I`m going to tell you our work is far from over.

Among the many, many blessings that we have as Americans, and as individuals, the blessing of family is surely the most important. And so, I want to thank all my family, and pay a special tribute to those who are with us tonight. My mom and dad, Dick and Lynne Cheney. And my husband Phil.

And four of our five kids are here, Katie, (AUDIO GAP) law school today (AUDIO GAP) dedication with the Constitution and then to our freedom.

A little more than a year ago, I received a note from a Gold Star father. He said to me, standing for truth, honors all, he gave all.

I have thought of his words every single day since then. I thought of them because they are reminder of how we must all conduct ourselves. We must conduct ourselves in a way that is worthy of the men and women who wear the uniform in this nation. And in particular, of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.


This --


This is not a game. Every one of us must be committed to the eternal defense of this miraculous experiment called America. And at the heart of our democratic process are elections. They are the foundational principle of our Constitution.

Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the votes. I could easily have done the same again. The path was created. But it required that I go along with President Trump`s lie about the 2020 election, it would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system, and attack the foundations of our republic. That was a path I could not and would not take.


No -- no House seat, no office in this land is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect. And I understood the potential of political consequences of abiding by my duty. Our republic relies upon the goodwill of all candidates for office, to accept honorably the outcome of elections.

And tonight, Harriet Hageman has received the most votes in this primary. She won. I called her to concede the race. This primary election is over.

But now the real work begins.


A great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the house, before he won the most important election of all. Lincoln ultimately prevailed. He saved our Union, and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history.

Speaking of Gettysburg, of the great task remaining before us, Lincoln said that we have high resolve that these that should have not have died in vain. That this nation, under God, should have freedom, and the government of the people by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.

As we meet here tonight, doing our greatest and most important task. Most of world history is a story of violent conflict, of servitude and suffering. Most people in most places have not lived in freedom (AUDIO GAP) departure from history.

We are the exception. We have been giving the gift of freedom from God and our Founding Fathers. It`s been said that the arc of history bends towards justice and freedom. That is true, but only if we make it bent.

Today, it is our duty to preserve our nation and its blessings, to ensure that freedom will not perish, to protect the very foundations of this constitutional republic. Never in our nation`s 246 years have we seen what we saw on January 6.

Like so many Americans, I assumed that that the violence and the chaos in that day would have prompted a united response, a recognition that this was a line that must never be crossed. A tragic chapter in our nation`s history to be studied by historians, to ensure it can never happen again.

But instead, (AUDIO GAP) my party still vehemently defend those who caused it.

At the heart of the attack on January 6th is the willingness to embrace dangerous conspiracies that attacked the very core premise of our nation, that lawful elections reviewed by the courts when necessary, and certified by the states and Electoral College, to determine who serves as president. If we do not condemn the conspiracies and the lies, if we do not hold those responsible to account, we will be excusing this conduct, and it will become the future of all elections. And our America will never be the same.

Today, as we meet here, there are Republican candidates for governor who deny the outcome of the 2020 election, and who may refuse to certify future elections, if they dislike the results. We have candidates for secretary of state, whom he refused to report the actual results of a popular vote in future elections. We have candidates for Congress, including here in Wyoming, who refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and suggests that states the certifying the results.


My mission is saying, once again, -- no American should support election deniers, in a position of genuine responsibility. The refusal to follow the rule of law would co-opt our future.


Our nation is young in the history of mankind. And yet we`re the oldest history of the democracy of the world, our survival is not going to stop. History has shown us over and over again how poisonous lies destroyed free nations. All the while, several months and the January 6 hearing, the American people have watched dozens of Republicans, including senior officials working for president Trump in the White House, the Justice Department, and on this campaign, people who served President Trump loyally, testify that they are (AUDIO GAP) the election was not stolen (AUDIO GAP) a massive fraud.

President Trump and others invented excuses, pretext for people not to watch the hearings at all. But no citizen of this republic is a bystander. All of us have an obligation to understand what actually happened. We cannot abandon the truth in the name of free nation.

To believe Donald Trump`s election lies, you must read dozens of federal state courts who ruled agreed against him, including the judges he appointed were all corrupted and biased, that all (AUDIO GAP) crazy conspiracy theories stole our election from us. And Donald Trump actually is president today.

As of last week, you must also believe that 30 FBI agents, who had spent their lives working to serve our country, abandoning (AUDIO GAP) not to perform a lawful search or address national security threat, but instead, a secret plan to plant fake (AUDIO GAP) in boxes they seized.

(AUDIO GAP) Donald Trump knows (AUDIO GAP)

Today, our federal law enforcement is being threatened. A federal judge is being threatened. Fresh threats of violence are rising everywhere. (AUDIO GAP)

Our great nation must not be ruled by mob (AUDIO GAP)


Our duty as citizens of this republic is not only to defend the freedom that`s been handed down to us. We also have an obligation to learn from the actions of those who came before, to know the stories of grit and perseverance, of the brave men and women who build and saved this Union. In the lives of these great Americans, we find inspiration and purpose.

In May of 1864, after years of war and a string of reluctant Union generals, Ulysses S. Grant met General Lee`s forces at the Battle of the Wilderness. In two days of heavy fighting, the Union suffered over 17,000 casualties. At the end of that battle, General Grant faced a choice.

Most assumed he would do what previous Union generals had done and retreat. On the evening of May 7th, Grant began to move. As the fires of the battle still smoldered, Grant rode rote to the head of the column, he rode to the intersection of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road.

And they are, as the man of his army watched and waited, instead of turning north back towards Washington and safety, Grant turned his horse south towards Richmond and the heart of Lee`s army, refusing to retreat, he pressed on to victory.

Lincoln and Grant and all who fought in our nation`s tragic civil war, including my own great great-grandfathers, saved our Union.


Their courage saved freedom. And if we listen closely, they`re speaking to us down through generations.

We must not idly squander what so many have fought and died for. America has meant so much to so many because we are the best hope of freedom on earth.

Last week, in Laramie, a gentleman came up to me with tears in his eyes. I`m not an American, he said, but my children are. I grew up in Brazil. I know how fragile freedom is and we must not lose it here.

A few days ago, here in Jackson, a woman told me that her grandparents had survived Auschwitz. They found refuge in America. She said she was afraid that she had nowhere to go, if freedom died here.

Ladies and gentlemen, freedom must not, cannot, and will not die here.

We must be very clear eyed about the threat we faced and about what is required to defeat it. I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office and I mean it.

This is a fight for all of us together. I am a conservative Republican. I believe deeply in the principles and the ideals on which my party was founded. I love it`s history and I love what our party has stood for. But I love my country more.

So I ask you tonight to join me, as we leave here let us resolve that we will stand together -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- against those who would destroy our republic. They are angry and they are determined. But they have not seen anything like the power of Americans united in defense of our constitution and committed to the cause of freedom.

There is no greater power on this earth. And with God`s help we will prevail. Thank you all.

God bless you. God bless Wyoming. God bless the United States of America. Thank you guys. Thank you. Thanks guys.


O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Liz Cheney conceding defeat in her reelection campaign for her seat in the House of Representatives.

Joining us now is John Heilemann, co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus" and host of the "Hell and High-Water" podcast from the Recount. He`s an MSNBC national affairs analyst.

And John, you and I know you can watch politics for very long time and never see someone lose reelection on a matter of principle. I have to go back to Mario Cuomo running for reelection for governor in New York in the 1990s, losing his reelection because he would not change his position to favor the death penalty. It was a matter of principle. I haven`t seen some one defeated on a matter of principle like this since then.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes Lawrence, I mean, I think, you know, you never know. Those 435 members of Congress, there`s people who run at all levels of government all over the country, you and I don`t see them all.

But I think, you know, if you think about figures of national consequence, people that the country is paying attention to, you could count the number who`ve lost as a matter principle in our lifetimes on one hand and still have a couple of fingers to spare. It`s not a long list.

And I think that the key element to that formulation is this notion that Liz Cheney is now a figure of national consequence. And just like we haven`t seen that many people lose on a matter of principle, think about how many people you can name in our collective lifetimes who have in less than three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives gone from being a freshman in that very large body to being someone who has, you know, maybe not 100 percent national name ID, but someone who many, many, many -- most of the country, most sentient people in the country know who Liz Cheney is now.

She is a national figure. She`s not -- she will have finished three terms in the House. She was elected in 2016, it`s not that long ago. Her political career is very short. That`s it, that election -- 2016, 2018, and 2020 -- and now she`s done.

And to have elevated herself to this point where not just people in her own party but people in the Democratic Party, people in the media pay attention to her, listen to her, consider her a leader, talk about whether she might run for president one day.


HEILEMANN: It is not -- it`s hard to do that in the House of Representatives in a whole long career, let alone in under three complete terms.

But that is what she`s done tonight, and why I think in some ways it`s a loss. She lost. She`s not going to be in the U.S. House of Representatives anymore. But if you look at this from a larger picture, her very short career in Congress has been enormously successful in terms of making her mark and creating some space for her to go on and do much bigger things in politics.

O`DONNELL: So two things -- two reference points in her speech tonight that seemed to refer to the future. She talked about Abraham Lincoln, losing his senate race and then going on to win the presidency.


O`DONNELL: She talked about General Grant in the Civil War suffering a loss and then instead of retreating, going forward. It sounds like what she is saying is she is going to model her next move on Abraham Lincoln continuing to try to move forward after a political loss. General Grant continuing to try to move forward. Two former presidents she is citing there.

HEILEMANN: I mean look, I think I don`t know how much she`s going to model directly on either of those two people, Lawrence, but there is no doubt that she thinks she is not done. And there`s also no doubt that she thinks that what the future holds for her is something bigger than the House of Representatives.

You know, people are already talking about trying to get her to run in 2024 either a spoiler in the Republican party or as a third party candidate or as something else -- a wholly Independent voice in politics.

Put aside whether you think that will be successful or not, she`s 56 years old and that in our politics is very young. She`s got a big future, a lot of years ahead of her if she stays healthy, and there is no doubt that those references to those two men that you mentioned is very much purposeful.

She wants to be seen and is to the extent I know someone who reads history, someone who like her father, even if you hate him was someone who also read history and took lessons from it. And I think she is signaling in a very clear way just as she has for the last couple of weeks when she is -- in every interview she`s done, she`s like -- she said I`m at peace with this decision. I recognize that I`m probably going to -- I may lose the seat. There are bigger, more important things than one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And basically has all but announced as boldly as you could, you know, don`t think I`m finished here. My career in politics is not over. We`ll see you soon. I think that`s what those historical references point to just as forcefully.

O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us, really appreciate it. And you`ll hear more from Liz Cheney tomorrow morning in an exclusive interview on the "TODAY" show.

And coming up, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe was not available to us last week because even he has to take a vacations once in a while. Professor Tribe will join us next with his insights about the Trump search warrant and the and upcoming hearing on Thursday when a judge will consider whether to release the affidavit that was used to justify that search warrant. Professor Tribe joins us next.



O`DONNELL: The federal judge who approved the search warrant of Donald Trump`s Florida home has scheduled hearing for Thursday to consider motions by some news organizations including NBC News to make public the FBI affidavit that the judge relied on in reaching his decision to issue that search warrant.

Today Donald Trump said in the interest of transparency, I call for the immediate release of the completely unredacted affidavit. But Donald Trump did not actually make a legal motion asking the judge to do that. Donald Trump is simply commenting from the sidelines so that if the affidavit is released, he can claim that he wanted it to be released even though it would be very damaging to him.

And if the affidavit is not released, he can claim there is a cover-up of what is in the affidavit. The Justice Department told the judge that the affidavit should not be made public because it contains quote "highly-sensitive information about witnesses including witnesses interviewed by the government, specific investigative techniques and information required by law to be kept under seal pursuant to federal rule of criminal procedure 6(e)".

Disclosure of the governments affidavit at this stage one would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high investigations.

Joining us now is Professor Laurence Tribe, who has taught constitutional law at Harvard Law School for five decades. Professor Tribe, very eager to hear from you tonight. This is the first chance we get to hear your reaction about what we learned about the Trump search warrant when it was released last week, and what you expect to happen in the judge`s hearing on Thursday about whether to release the underlying affidavit.

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, I expect the judge will go along with the Department of Justice and not release the underlying affidavit.

The reasons are compelling. The Department of Justice spelled them out. There will be danger to witnesses, danger to ongoing criminal investigations, danger to the security of the United States and a violation of important rules about grand jury secrecy.


TRIBE: It`s hard to blame the news organizations for asking to see the unredacted affidavit and all the underlying information. That`s their job. The Fourth Estate wants to release information, but they know that`s going to be denied.

When Donald Trump from the sidelines says, I think it should be released but as you point out doesn`t actually make a motion, he is trying as always to have it both ways. Heads I win, tails you lose. It`s cynical in the extreme.

If he really were sincere, what we could conclude is that he is willing to endanger the national security, not that we didn`t know that already.

We know that if he was sincere, it would mean that he would be quite happy to disclose sources and methods of government investigation of the most sensitive type probably according to the "Washington Post" including "nuclear secrets".

On the other hand if he`s insincere and if he`s just being cynical, what we know is that he is willing to paint a target on the backs of hard working, confident and decent FBI agents who are already being threatened by saying, you see they`re hiding something. This is all a plot by Biden.

As I say, he wants to have it both ways. But he in the process reveals as criminal a state of mind as he possibly could.

O`DONNELL: Added to our information tonight is the "New York Times" reporting saying that the former deputy White House counsel was trying to get documents returned from Florida to the National Archives and that Donald Trump was resisting him, resisting his attempts to do that, and then. And then in that same passage, the "New York Times" quotes several aides, unnamed aides, saying that Donald Trump said about that material at Mar-a-Lago, "It is not theirs, it`s mine."

If that`s true, if they can produce several witnesses, and if the FBI has already talked to several witnesses who have heard Donald Trump say that about the material that he was keeping there, "it`s not theirs, it`s mine," is that essentially a confession?

TRIBE: Well, I think, as Adam Schiff told you earlier, you are right in treating it that way. It`s a ray (ph) -- it`s like the burglar who says, I`m not holding this stuff for the people who claim it`s theirs. It is now mine. I own it.

Well, that is basically him saying that he owns material that really belongs to the people of the United States. He claimed to have declassified everything. That is just BS. There is no magic declassification.

And anyway, Merrick Garland was very careful in the three statutes that were cited, to cite laws that were violated by holding on to this material, that did not depend on whether it was classified or not. It was material that would be highly damaging to the country if released, or if possessed by someone without authority to possess it in insecure circumstances.

So this is really a slam dunk case that the attorney general seems to be building against the former president, quite a part from his insurrection and all the other federal crimes.

O`DONNELL: Well, yes, the insurrection, because the Justice Department`s motion on this refers to other potential cases, that in releasing this affidavit could jeopardize other investigations that they are conducting.

They call them high profile investigations. That would obviously be that January 6th investigation and the attempt to overthrow the election.

TRIBE: Exactly. And what we have learned very clearly is that the search and seizure were not simply efforts to grab this stuff before the president could monetize it or sell it to someone, put it back in the secure hands of the National Archives, and get it out from under its completely unreliable, greedy custodian.

That`s what some people thought this was all about. It wasn`t part of criminal investigation. It was simply an attempt to repatriate the material. Now we know it was much more than that.


TRIBE: We know that it`s part of criminal investigations, and not only investigations involving the wrongful possession and potential misuse of Top Secret information, but other criminal investigations of a high-profile nature.

It is not too hard to imagine what some of those might be. So I think we are moving closer to the point of holding this -- man, I don`t know what the Congress is going to call him -- traitor but that`s not quite right, it`s not treason. But holding this person who doesn`t care about the security of our country, accountable for his crimes.

O`DONNELL: Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, today Joe Biden gave the bill signing pen to Joe Manchin, after the president signed the largest climate legislation ever passed by Congress. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: At a White House bill signing today, President Biden gave the pen he used to sign the bill to Joe Manchin, who was standing beside him when he signed it because Senator Manchin was so crucial in the negotiations of the final version of the legislation with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The bill provides $369 billion in spending and tax credits for low emission forms of energy. It extends federal health insurance subsidies, allows the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare, and is projected to reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion dollars over ten years.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 13 million people are going to continue, continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance.

The Inflation Reduction Act invests $369 billion dollars to take the most aggressive action ever, ever, ever, ever in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our energy security.

It`s going to offer working families thousands of dollars in savings, by providing them rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, get tax credit for purchasing heat pumps and rooftop solar, electric stoves, ovens, driers.

It gives consumers a tax credit to buy electric vehicles, or fuel-celled vehicles new or used. And it gives them a tax credit of up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.


O`DONNELL: In his remarks, Senator Schumer thanked all of the big names who helped get the bill through Congress, and then thanked the people who worked even longer hours than these senators and members of the House of Representatives.


SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: And of course, the incredible, immensely dedicated staff, who gave it their all to finishing this bill. Let`s have a round of applause for the great staff -- White House and House and Senate.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Ali Zaidi, deputy White House climate adviser. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. The bill has new corporate taxation in it. It takes in more money than it spends, so it achieves some deficit reduction. It has health care policy in it.

But you are here because it has the biggest move on climate, that the Congress has ever done. What are the details of it?

ALI ZAIDI, WHITE HOUSE CLIMATE ADVISER: Well, first of all, it`s a message loud and clear to the world. We are back. We are back, in terms of leading on climate. We are back in the race to lead the clean energy economy.

You know, the president ran in 2019 and 2020 on climate. He got a mandate, 81 million voters to take on this crisis. What he is doing now is delivering. $370 billion dollars, ten times more emissions reduction potential than any bill that`s ever made it through Congress.

This is going to cut costs for consumers by getting them tax credits and rebates. It`s going to bolster our ability to manufacture technologies like solar and wind and battery storage.

And it`s going to help clean up our communities, places like ports and industrial communities that have borne the brunt of pollution. This is going to directly provide support there. So, this is a huge step. There are more to take.

But you know, the president is doing what he said he would do, he is delivering results for the American people.

O`DONNELL: So going forward, what would you say, a year from now, Americans will see as what -- how will they understand the climate aspects of this legislation in their own lives, a year from now?

ZAIDI: A few different ways. Number one, they will be able to afford and access a broader suite of clean energy technologies. You know, folks over the next year are probably going to be in the market for new appliances, like a stove, or an HVAC unit. They`re going to have tax credits and rebates to help them, not only afford those, but afford the technologies that are going to save them hundreds of bucks for the years to come. Whether they`re in the market for new, used electric vehicles, they`ll have a tax credit that helps them purchase that.

And for millions of Americans, this means jobs, good paying jobs, apprenticeships in places like solar manufacturing facilities. We`ve had solar manufacturers say they will build and expand factories here in the United States, because of the tax provisions in this bill.

And then, what`s really exciting is the president has followed through on his commitment to center environmental justice in all that he does on climate. So, places like port communities, folks that live on frontline and fence line communities, they`re going to have direct resources to help clean up.


O`DONNELL: Ali Zaidi, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know you have been working around the clock on this and deserve a little bit of a rest from it too. Thank you very much for joining us.

ZAIDI: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Ali Zaidi gets tonight`s LAST WORD.