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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/25/22

Guests: Beto O`Rourke; Senator Gary Peters, Laurence Tribe

Summary

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Rinehart who authorized the search warrant of Donald Trump`s Florida home has ordered federal prosecutors to make the redacted version of the affidavit used to support the search warrant public on or before noon time tomorrow, could be anytime, anytime tomorrow morning. A Texas trigger law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incent goes into effect. Today`s the day when the full set of Texas laws banning abortion went into effect. Last night, the Uvalde school board unanimously voted to fire the school district`s police chief, Pete Arredondo, for his role in the delayed police response at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers, were murdered. with less than three months until the midterms, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has more than twice as much cash on hand as its Republican counterpart.

Transcript

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

And you know when Bob Dylan went electric, there was some opposition to that.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST, "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT": There sure was. That`s why I chose the metaphor and I`m so glad you caught it.

O`DONNELL: It`s perfect. It was not a smooth transition for many members of the audience.

WAGNER: Newport folk festival 1965, Google it if you don`t know. Have a great show, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Thank you, Alex. Thank you.

Well, a 76-year-old retiree who`s living on the full load of government benefits for his age group, Medicare, Social Security and in his case a government pension and who has discovered that golf is the least effective form of exercise to control weight and stay in shape is now a full year and a half into the worst life ever lived by a former president of the United States.

Donald Trump is -- his life is a misery from the moment he wakes up too early in the morning through those dark hours in the middle of the night when he`s struggling against the insomnia to find some peace, peace that never comes, pure misery that is his life. Prior to Donald Trump, the worst post-presidential life ever lived was Richard Nixon`s years after being forced to resign the presidency in disgrace because of the crimes he committed in office for which he was assuredly going to be impeached if he stayed in office and convicted in the Senate and removed from office.

But one month into Richard Nixon`s painful post-presidency, his successor Gerald Ford relieved him of the worst pain by granting him a full pardon for any crimes Richard Nixon committed during his presidency. Donald Trump does not have the comfort of a pardon to soften the agony of his days and nights and so Donald Trump`s life now is much, much worse than the 20 years. Richard Nixon spent in mere disgrace after the presidency.

I say mere disgrace because Donald Trump spends every day and every night under disgrace and multiple threats of indictment of federal and state indictments possible -- and possible of criminal convictions eventually, both federal and state for possible crimes committed while he was president and possible crimes committed after his presidency, including crimes that he might actually be committing tonight if he is still illegally in possession of any of the government documents including classified documents that he was supposed to return to the national archives.

Every day of Donald Trump`s life now is worse than the day before, and tomorrow -- tomorrow is going to be much, much worse than today, because tomorrow, we are going to see significant portions of an FBI affidavit that the Justice Department will release following an order to do so from a federal judge today who approved the Justice Department`s redactions in that affidavit to protect the identity of witnesses and the possible investigative techniques being used in an ongoing criminal investigation of Donald Trump.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Rinehart who authorized the search warrant of Donald Trump`s Florida home has ordered federal prosecutors to make the redacted version of the affidavit used to support the search warrant public on or before noon time tomorrow, could be anytime, anytime tomorrow morning.

That redacted search that redacted affidavit that supported the search warrant while blocking witnesses` names and FBI agents` names is going to reveal substantial evidence against Donald Trump. Donald Trump said he was an insomniac long before he reached the presidency. How do you think Donald Trump is going to sleep tonight?

Tonight, Donald Trump knows that even the redacted version of the FBI affidavit released tomorrow is going to make tomorrow the very worst day of his life so far, only to be followed by even worse days, including possible days in court, in federal court, or in Georgia state court as a criminal defendant, criminal defendant Donald Trump.

[22:05:15]

Donald Trump knows what`s coming better than any of us do because Donald Trump knows what he did. Donald Trump knows what he did when he was trying to overturn the presidential election in Georgia and other states, Donald Trump knows what he did leading up to and during the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Donald Trump knows what he did when he decided to steal government documents and bring them home. Donald Trump knows what he decided -- but he decided to illegally possess those documents for a year and a half. Donald Trump knows who made the decision to do that, he did.

Donald Trump also knows that he now has terrible lawyers defending him really in effect no one defending him now. Donald Trump knows as of today, his last White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is being subpoenaed to testify about him to District Attorney Fani Willis` grand jury in Atlanta.

Notice that Donald Trump is not making any public comments now warning Mark Meadows and his former election lawyer Sidney Powell who has also been subpoenaed to that same grand jury in Georgia. No, no warnings from Donald Trump about flipping. Notice that Donald Trump he`s not wanting any warning any of these witnesses not to flip as he publicly did when he was president to use that word "flip".

As president of the United States, Donald Trump publicly warned Paul Manafort not to flip. That was the word he used publicly, the gangster word for telling the truth. He did the same thing with Roger Stone. He did the same thing with Michael Flynn. Donald Trump did that while he was president of the United States because he knew he had an attorney general who would protect him against charges of obstruction of justice.

Tonight, Donald Trump is under investigation by Attorney General Merrick Garland specifically for obstruction of justice among other things. That is how Donald Trump`s life has changed. That is how it has become pure misery.

And tonight, Donald Trump living in fear of a real attorney general for the first time in his life does not dare -- does not dare to play the public game of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice that he played and was allowed to play when he was president of the United States. Donald Trump knows what it feels like to have the full protection of the presidency. Donald Trump knows what it feels like to have the full protection of an Attorney General William Barr who believed the old Nixon lie that if a president does it, it`s not a crime.

When you`ve had that kind of protection, imagine what it`s like to have none.

Tonight, Donald Trump has no legal protection against what he did and Donald Trump knows what he did, and that`s why no president in history has ever lived the agony that Donald Trump is living tonight. Donald Trump is asking himself, will I be indicted? Donald Trump is asking himself, how many times will I be indicted?

It has been 17 days since the FBI executed a search warrant at Donald Trump`s home and Donald Trump has not offered one word of defense or explanation about what was in his home, not one word. Donald Trump has been terrified into abject silence about the evidence because he knows what the evidence is.

Donald Trump began his day today on his social media site at 8:50 a.m. with a series of short bursts of anger that would be called tweets if he was still allowed on Twitter and they proved how desperate and cornered Donald Trump`s mind is now. Clearly, his mind was on the agony of the criminal investigations of his activities primarily involving the FBI search of his home. But in the first burst of rage, he didn`t talk about that. Instead, he just mentioned Joe and Hunter Biden and the laptop from hell. Nothing about the evidence against Donald Trump.

In the second one, Donald Trump said Joe Biden said he knew nothing about the break-in of Mar-a-Lago or the greatest political attack in the history of the U.S. Does anybody really believe this?

Now the answer to that question is yes. Most people believe Joe Biden, and the documentation in the case now shows that President Biden specifically refused any involvement in the decision about what to do about government documents kept at Donald Trump`s home after the Trump presidency.

[22:10:03]

Back when Donald Trump was protected by the presidency and protected by the attorney general, Donald Trump wouldn`t have asked the question does anyone believe Joe Biden? He would have called Joe Biden a liar. He would have called Merrick Garland a liar by name and attacked Merrick Garland by name personally.

But Donald Trump is afraid to do that now. So, now, it`s just a question -- does anyone believe that? Donald Trump is living an unprotected life and that terrifies him.

A few minutes after those statements on his social media thing, he had this burst saying I have done absolutely nothing wrong, it cannot be certi -- the presidential -- the presidential records that could not be circumvented for me or any other president. He was saying, they illegally raided my home and took things that should not have been taken, they even broke into my safe, an unthinkable act.

Donald Trump does not really believe that when the FBI searches a home, there is some part of the home that they must not search like say a safe which I promise you, every time the FBI rides raids a home or enters a home and finds a safe, that`s the first thing they go in. Donald Trump`s just pretending that the search of his safe was unthinkable.

One minute later, Donald Trump blurted out the statement: Presidential Records Act exclamation point. That was it. Presumably as if that is a defense, instead of the reason that Donald Trump`s actions are illegal.

We know Donald Trump violated the law as stated in the presidential records act we don`t yet know if he will be prosecuted for that violation. Seven minutes later, Donald Trump made his last statement of the day about any of this saying, the Justice Department, the FBI are leaking at levels never seen before and I did nothing wrong, both of those things are not true.

There have been no leaks at all from the Justice Department as far as we know, and we absolutely know that Donald Trump did many things wrong with those documents that he was illegally possessing at his home.

I read what Donald Trump had to say today simply to plumb the depths of his abject desperation and now no doubt near madness as we stand poised at the threshold of reading more about criminal conduct by Donald Trump in the FBI affidavit that will be released before noontime tomorrow, the affidavit that convinced a federal judge that a search warrant of Donald Trump`s home would probably reveal evidence of crimes, crimes including the mishandling of government documents and the crime of obstruction of justice.

Donald Trump knows what he did but even Donald Trump doesn`t know what is in the FBI affidavit. He won`t get it one second before we do if Donald Trump has the strength to read it tomorrow, he will be reading it at the same time we read it because the special treatment of Donald Trump is all over. And now for Donald Trump there is nothing but misery followed by misery.

Joining us now is Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and an MSNBC legal analyst.

And, Neal, given what we now know about what the judge has said about the affidavit, it seems that what`s going to be released tomorrow will not be as he suggested it might be a week ago meaningless, redacted to the point of being meaningless. It sounds like it`s going to be a document that does tell us something.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it probably will tell us something, Lawrence, I think the Justice Department basically won today before the judge as was expected that they would.

And before going to that, I just want to say with respect to your monologue, I agree with you. This is just about the worst prep -- post- presidential life imaginable because Donald Trump has been given basically positive reinforcement for his whole life for criminal conduct and so, there`s a lot there right now that he`s facing. It`s not just the Mar-a- Lago classified information investigation. It`s also the Georgia election fraud investigation. It`s also the New York tax fraud investigation and, of course, we can`t forget the January 6th insurrectionist investigation.

So four separate investigations are going on and the decision today by the judge is about this one the Mar-a-Lago search where Trump has been accused of having very highly classified documents. And what the judge did today is he said, I`m going to agree with the Justice Department`s proposal to black out this text to protect witnesses and grand jury information, and the judge is trying to strike a middle ground between the public`s interest in understanding what`s going on with the need to protect an ongoing investigation.

Now, it`s possible there could be an appeal from this. The Justice Department could appeal because they have an interest in never allowing any information to be ordered disclosed by a federal judge, but I suspect they won`t do that because even though there is that principle at stake, I think they`re comfortable with the redactions they propose that the judge has accepted. It`s also possible that news organizations might claim a First Amendment right to this information that`s been blacked out.

But I don`t think that`s going to be successful either and I think the fundamental thing about this decision is it comes on the heel of two critical facts, Lawrence. One it`s not a few documents it`s not a couple mistakes Trump had. We now know it`s over a thousand pages of national security information, some of which, which is the most classified information the federal government has, special access programs information.

And second, Trump to this day it`s been more than two weeks, he`s never explained what in the world he was doing with those documents.

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

KATYAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining us now is Professor Laurence Tribe, who has taught constitutional law at Harvard law school for five decades.

Professor Tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

What is your expectation now about what we might see in this affidavit tomorrow?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Lawrence, I feel a little bit like someone asked to review a play 14 hours before the curtain rises. I`ll do my best, but with a caveat that I haven`t seen the play.

I do think that the fact that the judge has carefully reviewed the blacking out that the Justice Department has done and has concluded that it is worth releasing what is left tells us something very important. Given what he said before about the likelihood that so much would have to be redacted, that the rest wouldn`t tell us anything, it`s clear he thinks the rest will tell us something.

And I think one of the things it`ll tell us quite a bit about is the history that led to the search that is there were numerous requests including a subpoena directed to the president, and to him when he was no longer the president. And we know that he was advised by the White House counsel that many of the materials he was retaining belonged to the United States and had to be turned over because it was dangerous for him to have them.

What we`re going to learn is that his claim that this was all sudden and it was arrayed and it was unexpected is just baloney. We`re going to learn that he had ample warning months of warning that he was withholding information that it would be dangerous not to have in a safe place guarded by the United States government in the archives or in a so-called SCIF.

He knew all of that and nonetheless he held on to the documents. So we`re going to learn a lot about that history, a lot will be redacted perhaps enough so that as Neal Katyal suggests, the media might take an appeal but I think it will be unsuccessful.

What we don`t know is how much closer we are coming to an indictment, an indictment for obstruction of justice, an indictment for violating the Espionage Act, and perhaps although that`s not featured in the Mar-a-Lago saga, an indictment for attempting to stage a coup and an indictment for fomenting a violent insurrection. Those things have not gone away and so, whether he sleeps tonight or not, we`re going to learn quite a bit tomorrow and there`s going to be additional material that we will learn in the days ahead.

O`DONNELL: And it is possible uh in the affidavit release tomorrow that we might learn how -- how close to the criminal line or how far across the criminal line Donald Trump`s behavior goes because there could be descriptions in there of exchanges of things Donald Trump that they know Donald Trump did and they know Donald Trump knows he did therefore it doesn`t have to be protected from him discovering it.

[22:20:06]

It just seems to me that there are going to be some real possibilities in this and the Justice Department normally has to live under that burden of. They`ve executed a highly controversial search warrant, at least controversial from the standpoint of Trump supporters, you know, say 70 million people. But they can`t say anything about it. Justice Department can`t say anything about why they did it.

Well, now, here`s a judge ordering them ordering them to say something about why they did it and in a way, that is a -- that is a gift of a certain kind of relief to Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to be able to say at this early stage, okay, here`s some of why we did this.

TRIBE: I think you`re right you know and having known Merrick Garland for decades. I think he must be of two minds. Part of him must be saying, this does not establish a good precedent for the Justice Department because other people in other circumstances are now going to have an excuse to ask that the affidavit underlying their search warrants be released. But another part of him I know must be enormously relieved because what he would be tempted to do after all of these nonsense accusations that this was an unfounded search, he would love to tell the public why exactly it wasn`t unfounded, but he couldn`t do that.

The order to make him reveal as much as can safely be revealed basically focused him on what he wouldn`t have been able to do voluntarily. It`s like you know I think in his confession, Saint Augustine at one point said, stop me from sinning but not just yet. It seems to me that this is a kind of double message to the attorney general and he must be quite relieved at the fact that he really has no choice but to disclose part of the narrative that explains what a dangerous criminal is banging around his golf courses, whether it`s in Bedminster or Mar-a-Lago. And I think that the weight is going to be worth it.

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

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Today in Texas, a set of laws -- the full group of laws went into effect in Texas, banning abortion, just basically completely abandoning it and now some of the penalties in Texas include life in prison and a fine of a hundred thousand dollars. Beto O`Rourke will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:26:52]

O`DONNELL: Today is the day when a full set of Texas laws banning abortion went into effect. That group of laws which includes a 165-year-old law with a five-year prison sentence for performing an abortion also includes a law signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, providing prison sentences of five years to life imprisonment for performing an abortion, along with one hundred thousand dollar fines. The TV ad campaign is underway now in the Texas campaign for governor. Greg Abbott`s ad was the first one, a biographical ad of the governor.

And Beto O`Rourke`s first TV ad launched today and it marks this day in Texas history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BETO FOR TEXAS POLITICAL AD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this day forward, August 25th --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women all across Texas are no longer free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To make decisions about our own body.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And no longer free to choose if a pregnancy is right for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or our families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not even in cases of rape --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or incest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And women will die because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All because of Greg Abbott`s abortion law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s too extreme, so I`m voting for Beto.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He will give women our freedom back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Beto O`Rourke visited a women`s clinic in Houston where he listens to patients and doctors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They sent me home to wait for either my baby to die or for me to incur an infection, in which case I was left to gamble with my life and the health of my uterus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are we supposed to wait until we`re close to death until we can get medical care? Are we supposed to suffer the trauma of caring to term when we know we will deliver stillborn?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we don`t work to elect somebody like Beto O`Rourke, then we don`t get to practice medicine the way we want, we need to and the way we need to for our patients.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Beto O`Rourke, Democratic nominee for governor in Texas.

What did you learn at that clinic today about what this means in Texas from this day forward?

BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATED: This is a life or death issue for the women of Texas. The last person to speak, Leslie, an African- American woman in Houston reminded us that Texas leads much of the developed world in the rate of maternal mortality because as you have foreclosed every opportunity for an abortion, you`ve also closed off access to a cervical cancer screening, a family planning provider or the ability to see any kind of doctor at all in the least insured state in America.

For black women, it`s three times as deadly to be in the state of Texas, a total abortion ban. No exception for rape, no exception for incest, all because of Greg Abbott who signed this into law more than a year ago. And as you pointed out, it goes into effect today the 25th of August.

[22:29:48]

However what I also learned from these extraordinary women who spoke at this press conference is that we as a people are more than a match for this moment.

Women won protection for this right back in 1973. In fact, it was Texas women -- Jane Roe, Sarah Weddington, Linda Coffee -- they won the way back in 1973. We will win it back with Texas women in 2022.

It is the only way through, the only way to overcome it is to win this election against Greg Abbott on the night of November 8th. And I`m betting on Texas women.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The polling on this is in Texas is quite striking. This is on the question of the supporting exceptions for rape and incest in these abortion laws.

And all voters, it is 82 percent support that. But among Republicans 78 percent of Republicans support abortions in cases of rape and incest -- 78 percent of Republicans. And Governor Abbott and the Republican legislature legislated something in opposition to the beliefs of 78 percent of Republicans. How did they do that?

O`ROURKE: On this issue one of the most, if not the most important issue is to be decided in this election Greg Abbott has the full support of 11 percent of our fellow Texans. So I want to make this clear to your viewers tonight, in and outside of Texas.

This total abortion ban, without exception for rape or incest -- one of the most extreme laws in this country, is not a reflection of who we are in the state of Texas. It may be a reflection of Greg Abbott`s political priorities.

But this is uniting Texans -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents -- unlike any issue I have seen before. And I have lived here my entire life.

You and I and the rest of your viewers saw what happened in Kansas, in the dead of summer, a referendum election, pulling presidential level turnout and we won 60/40 to support a woman`s right to make her own decisions about her own body and her own future.

Whereas a referendum in Texas takes place on the night of November 8th and it`s this race for governor. And we`re going to win it.

O`DONNELL: That does seem to be the place on the ballot to express your opposition to this law. It seems that there is not going to be a referendum, it`s just going to be who do you want signing laws in the governor`s chair in Texas?

O`ROURKE: You are right, and we also know what is coming down the pike, thanks to Justice Clarence Thomas` concurring opinion to the Dobbs decision which overturned Roe versus Wade. Next on the block, is access to contraception or the ability for same-sex partners to be together, literally, reviving the Sodomy laws in states like Texas, and then marriage equality will follow soon thereafter.

If Greg Abbott is in office, I think there is a good chance he signs legislation to pursue that dark, extreme path for America`s future. When we beat him on the night of November 8th, we set a far different, better, brighter course not just for Texas, but given this state`s outsized influence on American politics, we`ll do it for the United States of America, as well.

O`DONNELL: I want to squeeze in a break here, and come back, if you can, to talk about what happened in Uvalde last night, where they fired Chief Arredondo, the school police chief there. I know that`s a very important issue for you. We`re going to be right back with Beto O`Rourke.

[22:33:25]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Last night, the Uvalde school board unanimously voted to fire the school district`s police chief, Pete Arredondo, for his role in the delayed police response at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers, were murdered.

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez told us last night that the families of the victims expect more accountability.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: This Department of Public Safety has refused to be honest with people, has refused to give us the information we need, and to be clear this is Greg Abbott`s own personal Operation Lone Star Task Force that was on the scene.

Greg Abbott has failed these people and his own director who direct reports to Greg Abbott has given no accountability and Greg Abbott has asked for no accountability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Beto O`Rourke is still with us. What is your reaction to what Senator Gutierrez had to say?

O`ROURKE: He is absolutely right. Every single one of these families in Uvalde that I`ve met with, that I`ve spoken to, that I`ve listened to and learned from, want accountability. All of them use that same word.

And I`m grateful that the school board took this action after three moments. But it should not stop there. Now we need to understand how 91 Texas state troopers and rangers were in that community, on the other side of an unlocked door, some for more than 70 minutes without intervening, and potentially, saving the lives, of those kids and perhaps their teachers as well.

We need to understand how five of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history in just the last five years on Greg Abbott`s watch. He has done nothing to make it less likely that it will happen again this school year.

[22:39:52]

He`s called special sessions to go after transgender kids, to pursue CRT in the classroom, to weaken our election laws, and try to undermine the right to vote, but cannot be bothered to call the legislature into session to do things that the people in Uvalde, including the mayor and city council want us to do, like raising the minimum age of purchase for an AR-15 from 18 to 21, or implementing red flag laws or having a universal background check.

Texans across the political spectrum support these three ideas. There will be a lot that we`ll argue about but there is common ground here. And this is where we need leadership. The only way we`re going to get it is with change in November.

O`DONNELL: Again, I want to look at this poll, that shows people that Republicans in Texas very much want to raise that age, for buying the AR- 15. They want to raise it to 21. 72 percent of Republicans support that. That is, basically, the same as the total population -- 75 percent of all voters.

But can you explain to me the dynamics of Republican governance in Texas and how a Republican governor and a Republican legislature can continue to defy 72 percent of Republican voters in the state?

O`ROURKE: I don`t think that they can. And we`re going to see that on the night of November the 8th. They have become so extreme, taken this state government so far afield from our long, proud traditions whether that`s responsible gun ownership or respecting the right of a woman to make her own decision about her own body. Or in this case, prioritizing our kids before the NRA or the gun lobby or any other special interest.

This is unifying and uniting Texans from all political parties, and those who have never voted in an election before, but now understand that the lies of their kids are literally on the line. And they`re going to show up and they`re going to make sure that their voice is heard and their vote is counted.

This state, under Greg Abbott, has moved so far away from everything that matters to all of us that there is going to be a price to pay. And we`re going to see that in him being defeated in this election in November.

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

O`ROURKE: Thank you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Republican Rick Scott, who once ran a health care company that was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud, is now criticizing President Biden for spending time in Delaware while Rick Scott is spending time on a super yacht in Italy. That is next.

[22:42:43]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The Republican junior senator from Florida, Rick Scott, who with publicly disclosed assets posting $500 million, is the richest member of the United States senate. He is that. And that kind of wealth, usually, comes with a very large close of obliviousness, which does you no harm, as long as you stay very far away from politics.

In this season of yacht seizures from Russian billionaires, the tone-deaf Rick Scott decided the way he should spend a summer vacation is on a super yacht in Italy.

Never mind that he is the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, and he is supposed to be spending every waking minute working to elect Republicans to the Senate.

Rick Scott jetted off to the super yacht in Italy and from that super yacht in Italy, in a dense fog of obliviousness, he criticized President Biden for working from his Delaware home, instead of the White House.

Even if Rick Scott was not a supporter of Donald Trump, who spent more time on the golf course than he did during any form of work as president, it would be a very bad idea for Rick Scott to complain about Joe Biden going to Delaware, when Rick Scott is in Italy on a super yacht.

Rick Scott built his wealth as the CEO of Columbia HCA Health Care Corporation which received the largest Medicare fraud fine in history at the time of $1.7 billion thanks to Rick Scott`s leadership. And now, under Rick Scott`s leadership, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is canceling over $10 million in ad buys for Republican Senate candidates.

The "Washington Post" reports, quote, "Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country, while their national campaign fund is pulling ads, and running low on cash, leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went, and to demand an audit of the committee`s finances.

If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired, and investigate, said a national Republican consultant working on Senate races.

NBC News is reporting with less than three months until the midterms, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has more than twice as much cash on hand as its Republican counterpart.

[22:49:54]

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. He is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. And Senator Peters, what room is that on your yacht, and where is your yacht tonight?

SENATOR GARY PETERS (D-MI): Well, I`m not on a yacht. This is a room in my house in Michigan, and I`m rolling up my sleeves and working.

O`DONNELL: What do you make of your counterpart, who is supposed to be out there, slugging with you every day? Being in Italy when -- look at some other time in some other August recess when he`s not in charge of the Republican Senate Campaign, it`s one thing.

But when you`re in charge of these campaigns, I have never seen a senator in charge of these campaigns take the August recess off.

PETERS: Well no, you can`t. The stakes are so high. I am focused on making sure that we not only hold the Senate, and have the Democratic majority, but we actually expand our numbers. I am confident we can do that.

We are working hard building the structure of the campaigns, working closely with our candidates who are, clearly, doing an outstanding job.

Particularly, the contrast between them and the Republicans, that are really far right extremists are not ready for primetime. The difference in quality is extensive.

And quite frankly, you know, I guess I will say on the show here, I wish Rick Scott a good time on that yacht. I hope he stays on the yacht for the rest of the break. I hope he enjoys some sun. It`s going to be wonderful.

And in the meantime, I`m going to be working my tail off and our candidates are going to be working their tail off, and we`re going to win. We`re going to hold the majority. We`re going to expand it. And we`re going to continue to grow the grassroots support necessary in order to win, which is why DefendTheSenate.org, is our Web site and is getting a great deal of attention from grassroots folks, all across the country.

However, I want to have a caveat here. We know big money is coming against us in the coming days and weeks. The super PACs out there that the Republicans have, which are backed by billionaires and incredibly wealthy individuals are going to pour money and attack our Democratic candidates.

So we have to keep working and building the grassroots necessary to win, hold the senate, and expand our numbers.

O`DONNELL: Now, I know fundraising is a big part of your job, and money is a big part of winning campaigns but what do you supply to the Democratic Senate campaigns in addition to money?

PETERS: Well, it`s really, the groundwork is critically important for us for the DS. We have now invested unprecedented amount of money in field operations, in close races, and these are all going to be close races.

You know, you can look at the polls right now, clearly, we have momentum now, we are on the offensive but we know these are going to come down to single digit races, really tight. And for my experience in winning tough elections in Michigan over the years, I know you`ve got to invest in the ground. You`ve got to build that organization. And leverage the enthusiasm, and the energy, and people on the ground.

We play a big part of that, as I mentioned, we`ve made unprecedented investments. We`ve been building. This is not something you can just build in the fall. This is something that requires months of work, months of effort, and that is what we are doing.

We have outraised the Republican committee over the last four months, and we are spending it in ways that we know will make a difference on Election Day, to give us that margin in these really close races.

O`DONNELL: When you`re flying from state to state, trying to help out these campaigns, share with us your most optimistic number of what the Senate balance could look like after these elections.

PETERS: Well certainly I am very confident, as long as we continue to do the work, and continue to work every day, and continue to get the kind of support we are getting on the ground now, we`re going to hold the majority. We`ll hold the 50 seats. But I do believe we will pick up seats.

I have said, for the last year and a half, that my goal is 52 plus. I am confident that we are in a position to get 52 plus, but certainly, we can get a bigger number than that, as we continue to work.

But 52 is the baseline, but I want to do more.

O`DONNELL: Senator Gary Peters in Michigan at home, not on a yacht. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

PETERS: Great to be with you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And speaking of super yachts the first seized super yacht, owned by a sanctioned Russian billionaire has been auctioned off. That story is next.

[22:54:38]

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O`DONNELL: The first seized Russian super yacht was auctioned off this week. The 240-foot (INAUDIBLE) was built in 2013, for Russian billionaire, Dimitri Pompiasky (ph), and was seized by the British in Gibraltar.

[22:59:46]

O`DONNELL: Reuters reports that the yacht was, quote, "auctioned by the Gibraltar Admiralty court through a system of closed bids, to be sent electronically by midday on Tuesday," a court spokesman said.

The court added that the 63 bids have been submitted for consideration, with the election process expected to take 10 to 14 days. The auctioneer said there was, quote, "an unexpected late surge by prospective buyers." Was one of those secret bids from Rick Scott?

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts now.