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

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, David Hogg, Bradley Moss

Summary

The "New York Times" reporting that Donald Trump had more than 300 classified documents at his Florida home and that he himself went through those documents late last year, reviewed the documents himself. New polling shows that the work that Congresswoman Liz Cheney is doing on the January 6th committee is getting through to voters. According to a new NBC News poll, the number one issue for voters in the election is now threats to democracy. Maxwell Alejandro Frost is running for Val Demings` open House seat. The 25-year-old gun safety activist could become the first member of Congress from what he calls the "mass shooting generation".

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.

This breaking news in "The New York Times" tonight if true answers a bunch of questions including that bombshell of Donald Trump himself was examining these records at the end of 2021 before they handed back anything at all, Donald Trump was locked looking in the boxes himself.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": And if the rest of the reporting was true he was hand looking through the stuff himself before they handed over about 150 documents marked classified but retained another hundred 150 documents marked classified and he personally was sifting through them to decide what he`s going to hold on to.

I mean, if "The Times" is reporting is correct, that just ranks itself into an indictment, in terms of him personally making decisions to retain classified documents marked as classified after he had been told by the government to hand them over. That`s just -- I mean, that`s cut and dry.

O`DONNELL: And then there is that point that so many of us were wondering about because we had reports for a while now indicating that one of the Trump lawyers signed a document after the June visit by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors saying, okay, the stuff you are taking today plus the stuff we gave you in January, that`s all of it. That`s it.

You have it all. Here is my signature. Christina Bobb, she is the one who according to "The New York Times" who put her name on that in writing, something that has proven to be false. If that was an intentionally false statement in writing to the FBI, she has a big problem.

MADDOW: And if she said it because she believed it was true and her client lied to her about it, that means her client was trying to conceal evidence of what he was doing even from his own lawyer which is potentially an important thing in terms of the emitting guilt. So, either way it`s not good, and it`s not good that there are 300 plus documents marked classified including from the National Security Agency, and the FBI and the CIA.

As Adam Schiff just told me, it seemed it was not just one area of interest that provoked this shiny object reaction in him like he was a small mouth bass. It seems to be in a lot of topics from a lot of agencies and a lot of different things related to national security. That is just really bad.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to get right into it with the key lawyers who know how to examine this kind of story. Andrew Weissmann, former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who`s been invaluable in bringing to us the prosecutors view of these kinds of bits of information and how you put them together. I have a feeling he`s going to put a lot of this together for us.

MADDOW: I am on the edge of my seat. Thank you, Lawrence.

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

Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself. That is one of the legally devastating lines in a "New York Times" breaking news report tonight under the headline, Trump had more than 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Donald Trump`s life gets worse every day and tonight, his life got much worse with the revelation in "The New York Times" that Donald Trump himself went through all of the boxes of documents that he was illegally possessing and concealing at his Florida home. And this is the kind of reporting that indicates that Donald Trump`s legal life is going to get much, much worse as the story keeps moving forward.

[22:05:08]

A team of investigators for "The New York Times" report that the government has retrieved more than 300 classified documents from Donald Trump`s Florida home in three different retrieval`s from Mar-a-Lago, including the third and final retrieval which was executed by the FBI with search warrant issued by a judge who said today that he issued that search warrant because he found, quote, probable cause that evidence of multiple federal crimes would be found at the premises.

"The Times" reports, quote, the initial batch of documents retrieved by the National Archives from former President Donald J. Trump in January included more than 150 marked as classified, a number that ignited intense concern at the Justice Department, and helped trigger the criminal investigation that led FBI agents to swoop into Mar-a-Lago this month seeking to recover more, multiple people briefed on the matter said.

But before anyone from the federal government went to Mar-a-Lago and searched for documents, "The Times" reports, Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2020, according to multiple people briefed on his efforts before turning them over. So, the times is reporting that multiple people witnesses, multiple witnesses know that Donald Trump went through the boxes of classified material himself last year in 2021. And obviously Donald Trump decided to keep those boxes.

Last week, we learned that when the lawyers for Donald Trump tried to get him to return that material, he delivered the now famous line, it`s not there`s, it`s mine. The two lawyers who Donald Trump and made his official representatives on this matter or former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin. This year, Donald Trump removed them as his official representatives in dealing with the National Archives and perhaps then there may have been no one telling Donald Trump that he had to comply with the law.

After the first batch of 150 documents marked as classified were removed from Donald Trump`s Florida home in January, federal prosecutors and FBI agents visited Donald Trump`s home in June, went according to "The New York Times" report tonight, aides to Mr. Trump turned over a few dozen additional sensitive documents during a visit to Mar-a-Lago by justice department officials in early June.

The two Trump lawyers who dealt with the Justice Department investigators who went to Mar-a-Lago in June are potentially tonight in very serious legal trouble of their own based on the breaking news reporting in "The New York Times" tonight, which describes false assurances that those two more lawyers provided to the Justice Department in writing.

"The Times" reports, on June 3rd, Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterespionage section of the national security division of the Justice Department went to Mar-a-Lago to meet with two of Mr. Trump`s lawyers, Evan Corcoran, and Christina Bobb, and retrieve any remaining classified material to satisfy the support pea.

Mr. Corcoran went through the boxes himself to identify classified material beforehand, according to two people familiar with his efforts. Mr. Corcoran showed Mr. Bratt the basement storage room where he said the remaining material had been kept. Mr. Trump briefly came to see the investigators during the visit. Mr. Bratt and the agents who joined him were given a sheaf of classified material, according to people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Corcoran then drafted a statement, which Ms. Bobb who has said to be the custodian of the documents signed.

It asserted that to the best of her knowledge, all classified material that was there had been returned, according to two people familiar with the statement. The statement wasn`t true. It was not true.

Christina Bobb signed her name to it and Corcoran wrote it. Evan Corcoran drafted a statement that was not true. And Christina Bobb signed an untrue statement in a written communication with the Justice Department where it is a crime to lie to the FBI.

"The Times" goes on to explain why the investigation didn`t and there. Justice Department officials had just visited Mar-a-Lago themselves. They had been assured in writing by the Trump lawyers with that documents signed by Christina Bobb, that the Justice Department was now in possession of all of the classified documents that were there.

But here is what happened next. Soon after that visit, investigators who were interviewing several people of Mr. Trump circle about the documents came to believe that there were other presidential records that had not been turned over, according to the people familiar with the matter. On June 22nd, the Justice Department subpoenaed the Trump Organization for Mar-a- Lago`s security footage. It revealed people moving boxes in and out, and in some cases appearing to change the containers some documents were held in.

Every one of those people in those videos, about moving those boxes is going to be questioned under oath by the Justice Department about exactly what they were doing with those boxes. But that video seems to have played a strong role in convincing the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland that they would need a search warrant to get more classified material from Donald Trump`s home.

And when the FBI completed the search that the search warrant allowed them to conduct on August 8th, "The New York Times" reports, officials left with 26 boxes, including 11 sets of material marked as classified, comprising scores of additional documents. One set at the highest level of classification, top secret slash sensitive compartmented information.

Donald Trump, "The Times" reports, went through the boxes himself at the end of last year, withheld that information when the first batch of documents was returned to the National Archives in January, and Donald Trump continued to withhold that information when another batch of documents was handed over to the Justice Department in June.

And when the FBI showed up, with a search warrant in August, Donald Trump was still holding on to 11 sets of material marked has classify comprising scores of additional documents, one set had the highest level of classification, top secret sensitive compartmented information. That`s what Donald Trump was holding on to when the FBI arrived at his home.

"The Times" reports, the FBI agents who conducted the search found the additional documents in the storage area in the basement of Mar-a-Lago, as well as in a container in a closet in Mr. Trump`s office, the people said.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former chief of the criminal division of the Eastern District of New York. He`s a professor practice at NYU Law School, and MSNBC legal analyst. Also with us, Bradley Moss, a national security attorney.

Andrew Weissmann, I think you know that I just delivered all of the news in "The New York Times" reporting tonight and as short a form as possible. That is the compressed version. That`s how packed this is.

What is your reading of this breaking news tonight?

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I started by reading the filing, I was going to say the press release, but it`s actually a legal filing that Donald Trump made in Florida today, and I thought that was going to be the lead story because it`s such a crazy document in so many ways, it`s incriminating of the former president.

But it really does fit with "The New York Times" story and as you and as Rachel pointed out, the critical thing here is that you are looking for something that a punitive defendant did himself or herself. So the story about Donald Trump personally looking at things is exactly what you need to prosecute. I read the story and I just felt the noose tightening around his neck.

But I think there`s another shoe to drop here, just to mix a lot of metaphors, which is with the filing today that Donald Trump made, he is opening the door wide for the Justice Department to respond.

[22:15:05]

You know, the attorney general has famously said we only speak through court filings. Well, this is going to allow the attorney general to respond to all the false statements that are in that filing and to fill in some of the timeline and corroborate or not, "The New York Times" story, because they know all of the facts and all of the truths and can easily dispel it. But they now have a perfect vehicle for doing that.

So, I would anticipate that that filing is going to do a lot of what we have been hoping that the court would do in unsealing part of the affidavit. Yeah, that is the filing by Trump`s lawyers, saying they want a special master appointed to sort out these evidence that was collected by the FBI to possibly take some of it out of the FBI`s custody.

Bradley Moss, on this "New York Times" reporting tonight, we now know, according to this reporting, that attorney Christina Bobb is the person who signed the document, handed to FBI agents and federal prosecutors at Donald Trump`s home, saying, today, in June, on this day in June, you have now taken everything marked classified in this building, turns out, that is not true. What does that mean for attorney Christina Bobb and for the attorney that wrote that document for her to sign?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yeah, Lawrence, they are both in a whole lot of trouble. Let`s be clear. MAGA once again stands for one thing, make attorneys get attorneys. If I was Christina Bobb tonight, I would be hiring a lawyer immediately for myself because right now, she is on the hook. It`s her name on that document. She swore and she caveated it, fine. But she swore that there were no more classified documents. There were.

The next step for the FBI, and this is where the surveillance tapes come into play, is where the interview and -- did Christina Bobb know differently? Did she have reason to know that there were other classified documents before she signed that document? Because if she did, she is in a whole ton of trouble under section 1001 from material falls representation to the feds.

And if Donald Trump lied to her and she did not know, he could be in a whole of trouble. Andrew knows that from the Manafort case.

O`DONNELL: And, Andrew, between Donald Trump and Christina Bobb here is Evan Corcoran, the other lawyer, he is the lawyer who writes the document, he writes it, but for some reason, he does not want to sign it himself. He lets Christina Bobb sign it.

WEISSMANN: Yeah, that`s a smart move. And it is highly suspicious as to why she signed it and he did not. He isn`t just as much trouble under aiding and abetting if he knew it was false. And she was going to find it.

Look, it is going to be a situation where it is either the lawyers or Donald Trump is going down, based on that statement. And the lawyers presumably are going to say, hey, I thought it was true because that is what my client told me, the client being Donald Trump.

That is exactly what happened in the Paul Manafort case, where he told his lawyers to say something to -- and made representations about what they should convey to the Department of Justice. And we got a court order from the chief judge in D.C. saying about that lawyer, there is no attorney- client privilege there. The lawyer can reveal exactly who they learn the information from.

And Paul Manafort was charged with lying to the government because he cost though statements to be made. Exactly the same play can be made and the case law is very strong on that issue. And look, the lawyers have to make a choice. Is it them or is that the client?

I would actually suspect that it is the client. I think the lawyers would be incredibly foolhardy to sign something that they knew was false.

O`DONNELL: And, Bradley, it seems the client, Donald Trump, has a choice to make as of right now. These two can no longer up his lawyers, even for his own self protection. They`re heading down a road where one way or another, they will be testifying against Donald Trump. I think you would advise Donald Trump, don`t ever talk to those who again.

MOSS: No, yeah, definitely. Do not speak with them. They will become material fact witnesses if this ultimately comes in and indictment in a criminal trial.

He needs to get (AUDIO GAP) he`s going to be able to pull it off at this point because he`s burned so many bridges with the legal community. He needs a slew of proper, qualified competent criminal defense attorneys. He`s already got one, I think, that he recently just retained. But he needs a team if he`s going to be able to actually put together a competent defense.

Andrew kind of hinted at it with his filing we saw tonight. This mishmash of political screeds, sprinkled with little legal theories upon it.

[22:20:04]

It was horrible. It was utter garbage. It was amateur hour. That`s not going to suffice. That might play well for now and to fundraise and raise money. That`s not going to play well if there is an indictment. He needs a real team. I don`t know if he`s going to be able to get it.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to something that the judge, Judge Rinehart, in the search warrant case -- he basically today put in writing, as an order, the opinion he issued from the bench last week, ordering the Justice Department to review the FBI affidavit that it`s admitted to this judge to get the search warrant to see if they could redacted in such a way that would allow the judge to publicly release a redacted version of it because of what the judge acknowledges is legitimate public interest in that document, which is the only factor the judge says, release has going for it. Every other factor, the judge cited in his order, indicates that he should not release it.

But the judge also raised these points, that he said he needs to consider in this question. And these are truly unique when it comes to a matter involving a presidential investigation. The judge said, legitimate governmental concerns include whether, witnesses will be unwilling to cooperate and provide truthful information, if their identities might be publicly disclosed.

Law enforcement`s ability to use -- the future maybe compromised if these techniques become known to the public. And there will be, there will be, he says, an increased risk of obstruction of justice or subordination of perjury if subjects of the investigation know the investigative sources and methods.

He said one of the statutes for which I found probable cause was 18 USC Section 1519, which prohibits obstructing an investigation.

So, Andrew Weissmann, there is the charge in the case saying, I saw evidence of probable cause of obstruction of justice already, before the search warrant and was executed. Now, if you reveal what I saw in the affidavit, you are increasing and aiding and abetting, in fact, more obstruction of justice and witness intimidation and subordination of perjury.

WEISSMANN: Yeah, if I were at DOJ and I saw the written order, I actually think it is a little better for them than what he said in court. He seems very solicitous with the various factors that the department laid up for him, which is the concern about national security. The criminal case and witness intimidation and threats -- and of course, this judge himself knows about the threats because he has been the beneficiary of the threats as a result of the reaction of Donald Trump and various Republicans to unlawful search going on.

So it`s not -- you know, I think that we should not hold our breath in hope of seeing a lot out of this warrant. The judge also said to the government that he is willing to hear an argument and evidence from them ex parte as to why they want to release or not release things.

So, I think he will be pretty stingy with what he releases. But as I said, they department may have its cake and eat it too because they have very little of the affidavit come out, but they get to respond to all the falsities and the submission on the special master filing. So, they really get to play in the right forum. If they want to take on that press release that essentially Donald Trump issued in his filing, they will be able to do it.

O`DONNELL: And just to clarify for the audience, that little reference to ex parte indicates that the judge is willing to speak to the prosecution alone, without any other lawyers present. The Justice Department saying, tell me, what worries you about this going beyond just us?

WEISSMANN: Sorry about that. Yes. It is totally -- obviously, it has to be just with the government otherwise it is all moot if this will happen in open court, than the whole decision is something that is rendered academic. The discussion between the government and the filing are going to happen just between the government and the court, at least in the first instances. If the judge decides that there is some part that should be released, we may see small portions of it.

But, again, I don`t think it will be too much, especially since the government has another opportunity here to reveal what it wants to reveal, and to take on the issues in that filing.

O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann and Bradley Moss, thank you once again for starting off our discussion tonight.

[22:25:01]

We really appreciate it tonight.

WEISSMANN: You`re welcome.

MOSS: Anytime. Have a good night.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a former impeachment manager in Donald Trump`s first impeachment trial in the United States Senate will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:29:51]

O`DONNELL: We`re back with more on the breaking news tonight from the "New York Times" reporting that Donald Trump had more than 300 classified documents at his Florida home and that he himself, Donald Trump, went through those documents late last year, reviewed the documents himself.

Also tonight, CNN is reporting that the Justice Department has issued a new subpoena to the National Archives for more documents related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol indicating the Justice Department is further investigating that.

The Justice Department recently subpoenaed Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann as well as Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone and deputy Trump White House counsel Pat Philbin. Both Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin defended Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial in the United States Senate.

Joining us now is Democratic Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He was an impeachment manager in that first impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the United States Senate. Thank you very much for joining us tonight Congressman Jeffries.

I want to get your reaction to this breaking news about over 300 marked "classified" documents not removed from Mar-a-Lago and one piece of the "New York Times" reporting that I haven`t included yet is that they say that the Justice Department is not convinced that they have it all, that they actually may have missed some that are still there.

But this is what it has taken, three shipments including that final shipment through the FBI search warrant to get at least 300 -- over 300 out of Donald Trump`s home.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): It`s another extraordinary development. It should shock the conscience, but it`s not surprising when you put it in the context of the manner in which Donald Trump has conducted himself since the moment he burst on to the national scene, at least in the political context in 2015.

He`s been disingenuous. He`s been destructive. And he`s been dangerous. And now there`s a possibility that he may actually be held accountable for his behavior. We`ll see how the continuing investigation plays out.

O`DONNELL: You now see the lawyers who you were prosecuting the impeachment case against Donald Trump, the lawyers you were working against in that first impeachment trial. They are now witnesses, cooperating with the Justice Department and the January 6th committee in investigating Donald Trump.

I think you could have told them on the Senate floor during that first impeachment trial that it was going to come to this for them?

JEFFRIES: Without question and the continuing story as it relates to people who associate themselves with Donald J. Trump is that it never ends well. And that ultimately you are going to find yourself in some entanglement with law enforcement authorities or involved in the context of some investigation.

And they should also understand that Donald Trump will throw you under the bus in a minute. He does not care about anyone else other than himself. He certainly doesn`t care about the rule of law and we have seen that consistently.

He doesn`t care about loyalty going in the direction of loyalty towards others while demanding blind loyalty even if there are very serious consequences as a result of being part of the cult that is Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: In that first impeachment trial, we saw Donald Trump as very hands-on in committing his own crimes as he did in that situation of trying to threaten President Zelenskyy of Ukraine that he would get his weapon shipments only if he would try to do public damage to Joe Biden.

And so, this news tonight that Donald Trump himself in late 2021, the end of last year examined the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago himself, with his own hands, got in there looking at it, that seems consistent with him doing the actual dirty work himself on the phone with President Zelenskyy.

JEFFRIES: That`s correct. The phone call told it all and it was clear evidence along with other things that we presented including strong witness testimony that Donald Trump corruptly abused his power. That`s been a theme of Donald Trump`s existence.

While we as Democrats continue to try to make life better for every day Americans, lower costs, create safer communities, better paying jobs -- Donald Trump and the extreme Republican Party that associates with him continues to bend a knee towards him and do nothing but put their own personal ambitions over the American people.

[22:35:02]

JEFFRIES: And Donald Trump has been the leader of the bandwagon from the very beginning. He did the dirty work as it related to trying to delegitimize Barack Obama, the nation`s first black president when he led the effort to question whether he was born in the United States of America.

He has been doing the dirty work ever since and certainly that was the case in the first impeachment trial.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, a new poll shows that the work of the January 6 committee is getting through to voters who now say that the number one issue, the top issue in the next election is the issue of threats to democracy. That`s next.

[22:35:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I`m going to be very focused on working to ensure that we do everything we can not to elect election deniers. And I`m going to work against those people. I`m going to work to support their opponents. I think it matters that much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you be getting involved in campaigns against those Republican candidates that are challenging or denying the results of the election?

CHENEY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Including your Republican colleagues here in Congress?

CHENEY: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: New polling shows that the work that Congresswoman Liz Cheney is doing on n the January 6th committee is getting through to voters. According to a new NBC News poll, the number one issue for voters in the election is now threats to democracy.

Joining us now, David Plouffe who served as campaign manager and White House senior adviser to President Barack Obama and Eugene Robinson associate editor and Pulitzer prize-winning columnist for Washington Post. Both are MSNBC political analysts.

And Gene, you`ve been watching congressional hearings like this for a long time in Washington. There`s always that question. What of this is getting through and what of this is relevant to voters? It seems like something is getting through?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It does seem like something is getting through. And to tell you the truth I mean before the hearings began I wasn`t sure that I would be able to say that at this point.

But I think the hearings -- they`ve done an excellent job of putting on the hearings. The information itself what we have learned in the hearings is just so jaw-dropping that it can`t help but get through, I think.

And it is frankly encouraging about the state of the country that people are concerned about our democracy because they ought to be.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe, as a winning presidential campaign manager director, your view of polling data is much more important than mine, so please let the audience know what you see in this latest polling data?

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well Lawrence, there`s no question compared to where we were six months ago, 12 months ago, maybe where we thought we would be, you know, the national political environment has become much more favorable to Democrats.

Abortion is part of that and the Supreme Court did outlaw abortion, butt you know, a lot of the country obviously I agree with Eugene and the January 6 hearings, the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, all these things are of a piece I think which is, you know, the Republicans should`ve been heading to, you know, if not easy victory something where they win a lot of the close races and maybe have a very good chance at House and Senate and major governor`s races.

And right now I think the Democrats have a pretty favorable foot (INAUDIBLE). But a couple of cautionary points.

One, I think in the NBC generic poll, you know, it was 54 to 46,42 or something like that. We see that in a lot of the Senate race polls and governors races poll.

Just to remind everybody that`s not 100 percent of the vote. So the important thing when I ran races was if you really knew who was truly undecided, who are those people? Did they look like your supporters or your opponents` supporters?

And I think depending on the state we`re going to see some of these polls tighten up. And then, I hope John Fetterman and Josh win by 15 points. But I doubt it.

And then of course what`s happening from a turnout perspective. Is one side going to have an advantage or not? and that`s where I think the big changes has happened.

I think Democratic intensity is rising, in my continue to rise and that defies historical trends. So all of that I think is very good news, but I think we`re still going to be heading towards a lot of close elections in a lot of places, Lawrence.

But again given the hand the Democrats could hold right now, it looks much more robust then you had any right to believe it could.

O`DONNELL: And Gene, there`s a small piece of political news that is kind of big in people`s lives that they see at the gas pump every single day, the price of gas still going straight down.

ROBINSON: Yes, I`ve been thinking about this insteps price of gas started going up. I mean it`s the single, most visible, unmissable sign of inflation. Things getting more expensive or things getting cheaper because it`s out there on the street. You drive past it again and again and again.

[22:44:49]

ROBINSON: To see that number coming down I think psychologically is very, very good for the Democrats. As David said, you know, don`t count your chickens yet but it is a much more favorable environment and gas prices coming down has a good deal to do with that.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson and David Plouffe, thank you both very much for joining our discussion tonight.

Thank you.

And coming up, David Hogg will join us. But first, we will be joined by a 25-year-old candidate for Congress who calls himself a member of the "mass shooting generation". That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:50:01]

O`DONNELL: Voters in Florida will vote on primary day tomorrow. Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings is expected to win the primary to take on Republican Senator Marco Rubio in November. She leads Marco Rubio now by four points in the latest poll.

Maxwell Alejandro Frost running for -- is running for Val Demings` open House seat. The 25-year-old gun safety activist could become the first member of Congress from what he calls the "mass shooting generation".

He became an activist after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 and served as the national organizing director for March For Our Lives. March For Our Lives co-founder David Hogg tweeted today that an election win by Mr. Frost, quote, "would be a major moment for our generation and the movement for gun safety.

Joining us now is Maxwell Alejandro Frost, former organizing director of March For Our Lives. And he is running for U.S. Congress in Florida 10th congressional district, voting in the primaries tomorrow.

What is your number one issue going into the voting tomorrow?

MAXWELL ALEJANDRO FROST (D), FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: You know, for me, it has to be ending gun violence. I mean for folks who don`t know, the leading cause of death for children recently went from automobiles to gun violence.

And so our children are literally on the front lines of this. This is something my community is facing on a daily basis. It is been going up every day. And we have to do something about it. We have to ensure that people have the right to live and live free of violence.

O`DONNELL: You are running for a seat occupied by Congresswoman Val Demings. She went into that office with decades of experience in law enforcement. What is your argument to voters about why someone so young should go into that seat?

FROST: I always say, it is because of my experience. It`s not just my lived experience as a member of Generation Z and as someone who has been through more school shooting drills and fire drills, but as someone who has been doing this work for a decade.

I started this work when I was 15 years old. And it just shows something that right now we live in a country where people at 15 and even younger are being forced to get involved, not because we want to, but it is out of survival.

O`DONNELL: Maxwell Alejandro Frost, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

FROST: Thank you for having me on. And folks can go to FrostForCongress.com to help us out.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Thank you.

And joining us now is David Hogg, he is the cofounder of March For Our Lives. He is a survivor of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Florida.

David, your movement has created not just a movement of activists, now you have candidates.

DAVID HOGG, CO-FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Indeed. And in the most recent polling, we see that people like Maxwell are gaining traction, you know,. The country is seeing the importance of protecting our kids. The importance of working together on a bipartisan basis to promote gun safety and the future that we all want for our children which is a safe one. Not just in the schools but in the community too.

O`DONNELL: And how do you answer this question about, you know, what about experience? Why should we be voting for a 25-year-old, which is the age -- the minimum age for the House of Representatives?

HOGG: Look, I think it`s about having a representative democracy of all ages that we can. We need a plethora of experiences and not just people that are former hedge fund managers and other things like that. But people that have been on the ground, that see the work, that have done the work, you know, like Maxwell.

And I think that is the critical thing. We need people that are going to be affected by the decisions that are made today that will impact them 40 years from now because they will be alive 40 years from now too. We need people of all ages and from different perspectives to be in Congress as well.

And I think nobody other than somebody from Gen Z can truly understand the way that somebody who has grown up going through school shooter drills can, the impact that these mass shootings and daily gun violence has had on our generation.

O`DONNELL: Have you found in trying to persuade members of Congress that nothing persuades them quite like a candidate running for the same seat they are running for?

HOGG: Absolutely. And I think it is a tactic that in the future is going to be used more and more to make sure that we are getting the best candidates that we can in order to make sure that Democrats are delivering on their promises and making sure that we are expanding our majorities as much as possible in order to pass gun safety legislation, hopefully on a bipartisan basis, obviously.

And the other thing I wanted to let people know is that, you know, in the wake of Parkland, people said, you can`t change the gun laws, you know, this is Florida. This is run by a Republican state legislature. We did. And it`s because we showed up there.

And I want to let people know that in Uvalde, the families are planning a protest on August 27th at the Austin State Capitol in Texas to demand that the age to buy an AR-15 be raised to 21.

[22:54:55]

HOGG: And for people that would like to be involved with that, they can text Austin 2954954. Once again, that is Austin 2954954.

O`DONNELL: David Hogg, thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. We always appreciate it.

Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There is no question, none that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.

[22:59:54]

MCCONNELL: The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Mitch McConnell last year and now Mitch McConnell is publicly pessimistic about Republicans winning the Senate because too many Republican Senate candidates support Donald Trump`s attack on our democracy.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts now.