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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/9/22

Guests: Laurence Tribe, Gwen Keyes-Fleming, Ron Klain, Daniel Goldman


Rudy Giuliani`s lawyers told a Georgia judge today that they want to know if Giuliani is a target of Fani Willis` criminal investigation of election fraud. President Biden is hoping this week will also be remembering history for his major legislative achievements, including the legislation he signed into law in the Rose Garden today. Trump tries to fundraise off the FBI search of his home. "The New York Times" reports that the Justice Department investigation to Trump`s handling of the alleged classified documents is separate from the department`s January 6th inquiry.



And one reason why it took a long time to get -- finally get a woman member of the House of Representatives in Vermont is Vermont only has one member of the House of Representatives, I believe, according to the population count there. And so, its` going to take an awful lot longer in a state with such a tiny congressional delegation.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST, "VELSHI": Still, a nice piece of history to savor tonight.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, it is.

VELSHI: Have a great show, my friend.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, there is some very important news tonight from -- on my email. I just got an email from Donald Trump. It`s from Donald J. Trump,. It says it`s from the official email official account of Donald Trump.

It says: Lawrence, directed to me, Mar-a-Lago was raided. In fact, take a look at this email. You can put it up in the screen take a look for you.

It says: Mar-a-Lago was raided. The radical left is corrupt. We must return the power to the people. Please rush in the donation immediately to publicly stand with me against this never-ending witch hunt. And as my name there, and it even suggests a donation. He thinks I am good for $45. That`s would his email list managers tell him.

And there is a deadline. Deadline for my contribution to $45 is immediately. Immediately. I have to drop everything and contribute.

I have to say, I`ve received a bunch of these Trump fund raising emails over the years at one of my many email addresses. That`s the shortest one, the shortest, simplest one. My house got raided, send me money.

And once again, once again Donald Trump makes American political history, presidential history with that email. An email about my house got raided by the FBI, so please give me a political contribution. No one has ever done that before. That is -- that is pure Donald Trump.

Well, nothing happened today. Donald Trump broke the news last night about the FBI raid on his Florida home in the desperate hope that it would provoke coast to coast outraged by Trump supporters and a national uprising by Trump supporters, but nothing happened. There was no uprising.

On social media last night, one empty-handed Trump supporter got a lot of attention with a tweet to his 1.9 million followers on Twitter saying, tomorrow`s war, sleep well. They are still sleeping. The 1.9 million Twitter followers who may have seen that tweet slept very, very well and none of them, not one of them went to war today, including the guy who wrote the tweet.

Outside Donald Trump`s home in Florida, there were more members of the news media today than Trump supporters. A couple of dozen Trump supporters showed up throughout the course of the day. None of them were ready for war. But they did enjoy talking on TV.


JUSTIN NEVAREZ, TRUMP SUPPORTER: We came out to support Trump. We think it`s awful what happened yesterday, we think it`s an abuse of power.


O`DONNELL: That guy is not going to war for Donald Trump. Justin is not going to war for Donald Trump. Hold the flag for a while, that`s about it.

"The Washington Post" interviewed Trump supporters outside Mar-a-Lago today they found one woman who traveled all of five miles from her home to waive an American flag near Donald Trump`s home.

Remember now, here is some numerical perspective to what you are seeing and that little bridge near Mar-a-Lago. There are 5.6 million Trump voters just in the state of Florida. Millions of them live within an hour`s drive of Mar-a-Lago. And all of them, virtually all of them stayed home today. Did nothing, 5.6 million Trump voters in Florida did absolutely nothing after Donald Trump`s home was searched by FBI agents in plain clothes yesterday who obtained a search warrant from a federal Florida federal judge.


America was not torn apart by that search warrant, as right-wing social media would like you to believe and as the Fox propaganda channel would want you to believe. There is no outrage. There is no uprising.

If you take the TV cameras away, there will be zero Trump supporters outside Mar-a-Lago, 74 million Trump voters today did absolutely nothing in response to the FBI search Donald Trump`s home, 74 million Trump voters in this country and they did nothing.

Social media and the news media will continue to distort the public reaction to the federal investigation of Donald Trump by amplifying wildly tweets from people who don`t mean a single word they say, and by sticking microphones and cameras in the faces of the microscopically tiny group of individuals who have raced to the TV news cameras in Mar-a-Lago.

And the news media will steadfastly ignore the 5.6 million Trump voters who were in Florida who are staying home and doing nothing, and the 74 million Trump voters in this country who are staying home and doing nothing about the raid on Donald Trump`s home. Donald Trump measures his very self worth by the size of his crowds has to be crossed by the zero turnout by the effect of the of a crowd in support of him. That is not a crowd that those TV cameras are aiming at down at Mar-a-Lago. There is plenty of room in between each one of those individuals who has traveled apparently a very short distance to be there.

No crowd at all, zero crowd, nowhere in America is there a crowd today or tonight for Donald Trump. Donald Trump appears to have the support of the leader of the Republicans of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, but that is obviously just political posturing, that when quoted by the news media, he simply turns the news media into conduit of Republican lies.

But those Republicans, those Republican officeholders do enjoy talking on TV about their support for Donald Trump. Donald Trump is probably -- can`t prove, this is no journalistic proof of this, but he`s probably as terrified tonight as anyone else who home has ever been searched by as Donald Trump described, and a large group of FBI agents.

But what American journalism produces is a quote from an unnamed aide to Donald Trump that Donald Trump believes he will be politically helped by the FBI raid. Now, that is the news media quoting an unnamed liar about another liar. Everyone who works for Donald Trump lies.

So every time a Trump aide unnamed is quoted, a liar is being quoted by the news media. And when that Trump aide is telling you what`s Trump thinks, that`s a liar telling you what a liar thinks. It has zero journalistic credibility.

The best approach to this story, of the Trump search warrant is to ignore the political bombast of Kevin McCarthy`s and absolutely ignore the empty threats and boasts of social media. Social media is a mirage to begin with but right-wing social media, that is a complete nut house of madness and emptiness. Ignore all of that, and know this that 5.6 million Trump voters in Florida have not done a single thing because of the FBI search of Donald Trump`s home. None of them changed their schedules today.

And 74 million Trump supporters nationwide including the guy on Twitter who said war was going to start today have done absolutely nothing. The war guy himself did absolutely nothing today. But he did get a massive amount of attention to his tweet on television today. And virtually all of that attention took his war tweet seriously.

The only thing we can take seriously in this story as the criminal investigation of Donald Trump now underway in Merrick Garland`s Justice Department with FBI agents working under the direction of an FBI director who was appointed by Donald Trump, searching Donald Trump`s home yesterday, provoking him to complain in writing last night, they even broke into my safe!

For what to expect next in the federal criminal investigation of Donald Trump, we turn our lead off guests, Daniel Goldman, former House majority counsel for the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He`s a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and is running for Congress as a Democrat in New York`s tenth asserting.

Also with us Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former chief of the criminal division of the Eastern District of New York. He`s a professor of practice at NYU Law School.

And Tim O`Brien, senior executive editor of "Bloomberg Opinion" and author of "Trump Nation". He is also an MSNBC political analyst.

And, Daniel Goldman, now that you`ve had 24 hours to take it all in and taken various news reports indicating that the search warrant was focused on possible possession, illegal possession of classified material and other presidential documents and Mar-a-Lago, what is your assessment of where this investigation stands now?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY MAJORITY COUNSEL: Well, Lawrence, let me start where you ended off, which is the whole point was the safe, or at least it`s a significant part of it is this safe because what I expect, what suspect happened is that conversations broke down between Trump`s lawyers and the Department of Justice or perhaps more likely the Department of Justice realized that Donald Trump was not being forthcoming with all of the documents that he had.

My suspicion is there is a witness who is cooperating with the Department of Justice who provided very specific information that Donald Trump was not giving over everything that he had any very likely may have had additional classified information remaining at Mar-a-Lago.

That to me is the only explanation for why you would go with a search warrant rather than a subpoena because you would expect a cooperating witness to respond to a subpoena fully. But clearly, the Department of Justice believed that if they subpoenaed Donald Trump for additional materials, that he would obstruct justice in some way and would not turn them over.

So they had to resort to the last gasp effort which is a search warrant, and my suspicion as well is that this is not for some incidental or tangential document. That this -- in order to justify such a significant search of a former president, and unprecedented search, I would expect that the Department of Justice to realize that this evidence must be very important.

VELSHI: Andrew Weissmann we have reporting in "The Washington Post" and elsewhere saying that in June, the Trump lawyers met with Jay Bratt, the chief of the counter intelligence an export control section at the Justice Department. They had this meeting with what was there, the meeting is not a very conclusive meeting.

What is your reading of that meeting?

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jay Bratt is someone I know very well. He works in the national security division and he`s a career official. He has been there serving under various administrations.

And as Dan said, I think this was an effort by the Justice Department to see if they can work this out and essentially regain possession of documents, government documents whether classified are not classified that don`t belong to Donald Trump. Clearly something broke down. I agree with Dan that there has to be evidence that was presented to Merrick Garland that justified his saying, you know what, we need to do this by search warrant. We can no longer negotiate, we can no longer count on a subpoena working, we have to actually go in there and get the documents.

And having worked in the government and the FBI, there certainly are classified programs that would be of the type the Dan referred to, that are so sensitive and so important that there is a real national security interest here that would certainly warrant and vindicate people like Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco and Chris Wray, authorizing this extraordinary search.

That being said I think there is a good chance that what is going on here is really an effort to repatriate those documents so they are back in the possession of the government.


And very secondarily, the issue of whether is a criminal case that could be brought against former president, that may in fact happen but I could see the driving force here being a pure national security concern of those documents half to be brought back into the government.

VELSHI: Andrew, if that`s it, and there is no criminal case, this is the only way we can guarantee getting important documents back to the government, will we ever know what was on that search warrant?

WEISSMANN: So, if Donald Trump is charged in some fashion, and any of the evidence that was obtained in the search was used in that prosecution, then yes, it will then be search warrant has to be turned over to Donald Trump, or anyone who is standing to object to the search, or challenge it.

But it is conceivable that we would not know. Another way that could come up, we`ve seen that John Eastman that has brought litigations, to challenge the search warrant in connection with his phone. That`s not been successful litigation, but it has certainly given us, on the outside, and insight into what the Justice Department was doing.

And so, you could imagine that Donald Trump would bring some sort of litigation. I`m not sure he would, just because I`m not sure he really wants the public to know what it is that the Justice Department allege in that affidavit, because I suspect he knows that, since he knows that he has there, that it`s not good for them.

For instance, there`s been a lot of talk on social media about the fact that the president has the inventory, that is, after the search, the FBI is required to leave an inventory of the documents that were found. It`s not document by document, but it`s certainly by category. And that information could be quiet damning to the former president. And he is in possession of that document.

So, if there is really nothing to hide, why isn`t he disclosing that?

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, speaking of nothing to hide, Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee had a big win today on the appeals court in Washington, D.C., where they ordered Donald Trump to hand over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. It`s a very simple federal law that says chairman of the finance committee, the two tax warning committees have the authority to look out and individual tax returns they want to at anytime.

No one has ever contested that law before. Donald Trump fought it. He went after those tax returns, presumably, he will continue to try to fight this one to the Supreme Court.

TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he will continue to try to fight this to the Supreme Court. And if precedent is any guide on where the Supreme Court has been on this issue, I think you just have to look at the chief justice`s ruling, after he ordered Trump to turn over his tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney`s office.

And in that ruling, Robert said, no individual is above the rule of law in the United States, including the president. And therefore, Trump asked to turn the documents over. I suspect if it goes there again, he will get a similar ruling, despite, I think, some of the pro-Trump sentiment on the Supreme Court.

And so, what`s the outcome of that? I think there`s a good chance some of these documents come into the public record. Neal -- it is within Neal spur of you to publish these, if he chooses to do so. Undoubtedly, that`s going to be surrounded by all of the partisan bickering that has accompanied any kind of scrutiny of Donald Trump.

I think it is important that the public actually knows what is in those tax returns, with as much specificity as possible, because one of the great untold realities of Donald Trump`s presidency and his finances and his business records as the extent to which his a lot relied on foreign funding for his business operation, particularly funding from eastern Europe, possibly from Russia, that remains a question mark. That would have obviously patience for national security, to the extent to which Trump is beholden or indebted to foreign lenders.

Some of that, I think, will become apparent in his tax returns. And so, I think this is a moment in which those documents, like many other documents that are coming under scrutiny right now, we look at them.

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, Andrew Weissmann, Daniel Goldman, thank you very much for starting up our discussion tonight. Really appreciated.

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, White House chief of staff Ron Klain will join us at the end of the hour.


But first, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe will give us his legal assessment of the Trump search warrant authorized by his former student, Attorney General Merrick Garland, the man I`ve been waiting to hear from for 24 hours now. Professor Laurence Tribe will join us next.




MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops us --

REPORTER: Even the former president.

GARLAND: I don`t how to -- maybe I`ll say that again. No person is above the law in this country. I can`t say anymore unequivocally on that. There is nothing in the principles of prosecution, in any other factors, that will prevent us from investigating anyone, anyone who is criminally responsible for -- for an attempt to undo a democratic election.


O`DONNELL: That was Attorney General Merrick Garland, three weeks ago, fending off questions up on a possible Justice Department criminal investigation of Donald Trump. And we now know there is one underway.

Joining us now is Professor Laurence Tribe, who has taught constitutional law at Harvard law school for five decades. And one of his students was Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Professor Tribe, it`s so fascinating to see that video of just three weeks ago, when there was an awful lot of impatience out there still, including here, shared by both of us, publicly, about what is the justice department doing in terms of investigating Donald Trump. Well, tonight, we know a lot more.

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: We do. And with a reason to be confident that the attorney is proceeding, as he always does, methodically, with great precision, without fear or favor. And he is restoring faith, I think, the rule of law.

Of course, Donald Trump calls himself a victim. He says this was a witch hunt. But the law says that he has to be given an inventory of the material that was taken from him, even though it is an inventory that might contain some redactions because we have every reason to think that some of the material might be so secret and so classified that it can`t be discussed publicly.

But he has that inventory. So, he should put up or shut up, if he thinks this was an unjustified raid, he has the means of saying, there`s no evidence of any guilt here, take a look.

He doesn`t have the affidavit. But just as John Eastman brought a lawsuit to challenge the search that was undertaken in his case, Donald Trump is no shy if -- you know, character, when it comes to litigation. He could bring a lawsuit.

So, it`s, you know, tempest in the teapot. He has no basis for complaint. He`s been leading the way for every other citizen, and that`s part of the course for Merrick Garland.

O`DONNELL: You brought my attention today, U.S. called title 18 a statute that you think might be applicable to what this search warrant was about. It says, whoever, having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any documents relating to the national defense which the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, woefully communicates the same, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned, not more than ten years, or both

So, this is a very serious statute, saying if he`s just in possession of an important national defense document, that could be used to in any way hurt the United States, if obtained by someone else. If he is just in position of that, that`s a crime.

TRIBE: That`s right. And he`s been asked to turn it over to the national archives. He is holding on to it. He`s holding on to it, apparently, without adequate security. That`s what the FBI seems to think, and the FBI is, after all, headed by Chris Wray, who is somebody who is no means partisan, on behalf of Democrats. He was appointed by Donald Trump.

This stuff just rattling around in Mar-a-Lago could be very dangerous. Chinese spies have been found there, lots of very sensitive technical information is there. Donald Trump wouldn`t know if he saw it, but he knows he has an obligation to turn it over.


LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: And I very much agree with Andrew Weissmann that the government`s insistence on grabbing all of this information could have been designed, principally to, as Andrew put it, repatriate it, which is a fancy word of saying, get it back where it is safe, instead of where it is roaming around, can be used by Donald Trump to get leverage, to possibly dangle in front of people. It`s unsafe that our national security is in danger.

That doesn`t mean that what they discovered in the course of this search and seizure is not ready to be useful for proving all kinds of crimes, including seditious conspiracy, fomenting an insurrection, defrauding the United States, obstructing a proceeding in Congress.

Whatever evidence they find in plain sight, as long as they`re executing the warrant, and not looking in his safe for an elephant, looking in places, you know, where something couldn`t be found. Anything they find can be used to prosecute him for whatever crimes are involved. But this particular search might simply have been designed to protect the United States of America.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight.

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Rudy Giuliani`s lawyers told a Georgia judge today that they want to know if Giuliani is a target of Fani Willis` criminal investigation of election fraud. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: August 17th, next Wednesday, that`s the day Rudy Giuliani is now scheduled to testify in Atlanta to the special grand jury investigating possible election crimes in the last presidential election. Rudy Giuliani`s lawyers say that he is not healthy enough to fly to Atlanta due to a recent heart procedure.

Today, the judge said there are many other ways for Rudy Giuliani to travel to Atlanta to testify. And the judge urged prosecutors to tell Rudy Giuliani`s lawyers whether Rudy Giuliani is a target of the investigation before he testifies to the grand jury.

Joining us now is Gwen Keyes-Fleming, a former district attorney in DeKalb County, Georgia and a friend of Fani Willis, the district attorney running this investigation.

So Rudy Giuliani`s had heart surgery recently, he says it`s too risky for him to fly from New York. The judge said well, maybe you should start driving, maybe you should get some sort of comfortable bus. How do you resolve things like this?

GWEN KEYES-FLEMING FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, I think the judge did it. More time is given for Mr. Giuliani to appear in court and the judge laid out several different ways of transportation. He also included trains, as well as buses and other ways, other than flying to get support (ph).

O`DONNELL: And as this goes forward, is a witness like Giuliani subject to returning to the grand jury? Does the subpoena exist after you leave that room and you might have to come back at different times?

KEYES-FLEMING: The subpoena would be valid up until the special grand jury is over. However, prosecutors usually try to organize their questions and testimony in a way such that they won`t have to have a witness come back.

But again, this is an ongoing investigation, there may be subsequent witnesses that raise issues that (INAUDIBLE) did not know about as of next Wednesday the 17th. But again, you know, usually prosecutors and we have seen in this case very orderly, very methodical, they`re organized about how she is presenting her evidence.

O`DONNELL: So the judge says that they really should tell him if he is a target because then he will know that he is very likely at the grand jury to invoke the Fifth Amendment and that could actually tell him that he won`t be in front of the grand jury for very long which is relevant to his heart condition.

KEYES-FLEMING: So I do think that the DA and her team will adhere to the (INAUDIBLE) request but let`s also remember back in February of 2021, Fani indicated that she was looking not only at the former president but several of his allies and that there were public reports indicating at that time that she would specifically will seek Mr. Giuliani`s testimony and appearance before the Georgia legislature.

So when you take that into account with some of the other things she has said since then, while he may not have received a target letter, I think her team may disclose that they are looking at him as a possible conspirator.

O`DONNELL: Gwen Keyes-Fleming, thank you for once again guiding us through the news of this investigation. We really appreciate it.

KEYES-FLEMING: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, President Biden is struggling under the crush of news of the Trump search warrant to get attention to his big week of legislative achievements including the most important climate legislation ever passed by the United States Senate.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain will join us next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Decades from now, people look back at this week, at all we`ve passed and all we moved on, that we met a moment at this inflection point in history. Not only we bet on ourselves, believed in ourselves, and we captured a story, the spirit, and the soul of this nation.



O`DONNELL: Of course, this week in history will be remembered as the week of the search warrant. But President Biden is hoping this week will also be remembering history for his major legislative achievements, including the legislation he signed into law in the Rose Garden today, when he made that statement. Legislation to ensure that this country has an adequate supply of computer chips, which is at least as important as an adequate supply of gasoline, the price of which continues to drop, with the Biden administration hoping to claim credit for some of that too.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain joined us for an interview about all of this yesterday. We couldn`t bring you that interview last night, after the FBI raid on Donald Trump`s home filled our coverage for the hour. But everything Ron Klain had to say is still worthy of attention.

And so, we`ll play that tape in a moment.

After a marathon session this weekend, the United States Senate passed the hastily written Inflation Reduction Act, in the most dramatic way possible.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided. The vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill, as amended, is passed.


O`DONNELL: Vice President Harris cast her 26th tie breaking vote, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday. The only vice president to cast more tie breaking votes than Vice President Harris was John Calhoun, who left office in 1832. No president has come close to Joe Biden`s success in legislating with a 50/50 Senate.

Politico reported "Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will make Biden one of the most legislatively successful presidents of the modern era."

The bill will invest $370 billion dollars, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, about 40 percent below the 2005 levels. And cut the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of medicines.

The spending bill is paid for with a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, with a billion dollars or more in income and enhanced IRS tax enforcement.

It is customary for the majority leader to thank everyone who helped pass a bill like this. Senator Schumer got emotional when he thanked the people behind the scenes.


SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I need to kind of impose myself a little bit here. Every senator knows an undeniable truth. We can never do what we do without our amazing, incredible staff. They work behind the scenes. They never fall under the spotlight, but they do incredible work nonetheless.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, someone who`s been doing that behind the scenes work for most of his professional life, White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

Ron, thank you very much for joining us. This bill, as Brian Schatz -- Senator Brian Schatz, who was actually seen crying on the Senate floor when this passed, he was so joyous.

He said, this thing got killed and got revived, and got killed and got revived, all the way to the end. Now, in all the time that I`ve been watching this kind of legislation in the Senate, I`ve never seen one get killed and revived, then get killed and revived again.

Usually, they get killed and revived, maybe once. Usually, they get killed, and they never get revived. When did it start to come together?

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think, Lawrence, really I think you actually have to go back to 2019, when President Biden, then candidate for president, looked at why climate change legislation had never passed. It was because the approach that have been used in the past really split people apart. And he campaigned on the idea that we could get climate change to a better place. We can combat this existential threat by putting forward a plan to create clean energy jobs in America, a plan to move this country to a clean energy future.

That will not only reduce emissions, as you say, this bill reduces emissions by 40 percent over the 2005 baseline. But also, create jobs, rally the unions behind fighting climate change.

And that policy proposal they put forward in 2019 is really the sum and substance of what the Senate passed this weekend. Along the way, there are a lot of ups and downs.

And you can`t give Senator Schumer enough credit for sticking with it and continuing to work with his colleagues. As you said at the top of the show, we have a 50/50 Senate. That means nothing passes that both Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin don`t both vote for.

That is a tough coalition to knit together. Senator Schumer did that. I think it starts with the ideas the president put on the table, but a lot of great leadership from the majority leader in the Senate.


O`DONNELL: Is this a better bill because of the over year long process that it went through, which was a reduction process, taking it from possibly a more than $2 trillion bill, down to maybe something close to a trillion now, down to maybe around $400 billion. Did that trimming make it better, especially in this inflationary atmosphere?

KLAIN: Well look, Lawrence, obviously, we are disappointed that some of the things we put into this package originally aren`t there. We`re going to continue to fight for childcare. It`s important. People need it.

We`re going to fight for elder care. We`re going to fight for more housing. All of the things that aren`t part of this package are still very, very important to the president.

But make no mistake about it, this bill is a history-making bill for two reasons. First of all, these historical investments in fighting climate change, Senator Schatz you quoted earlier, he said now it`s the most significant climate change ever enacted in the United States. It`s the most significant climate change legislation ever enacted in the world. That`s one reason why this is historic and significant.

But there is the second reason why it is, which is this bill shows that the president, the Democrats, can stand up to special interests and beat them.

For 30 years, when you were working on Capitol Hill, Lawrence, we were trying to defeat the drug industry on this Medicare pricing thing, and we`ve never been able to do it. We were trying to defeat the climate deniers on climate change legislation, never been able to do it.

Tried to defeat the big corporations and have a minimum tax, so billion dollar profit corporations have to at least pay some taxes. These are long- standing generational fights against special interest. And the Democrats and the president come together and found a way to win those fights for the first time. I think that`s also a very historic pivot year.

O`DONNELL: Ron, happy birthday. No one`s going to believe this in the audience, but you are creeping closer to the threshold for Medicare eligibility and social security eligibility, which is right around the corner for you on social security.

We saw this weekend, Republicans uniting against that idea of Medicare beneficiaries being able to benefit from negotiated drug prices that Medicare can negotiate directly.

You also have Republican Senator Scott, who is leading the Republicans effort in the campaign, saying that social security should no longer have guaranteed funding. That social securities funding should come up for congressional votes, regularly, just like other, appropriated -- so-called appropriated funds programs.

What do you say to seniors out there, who have already reached this age, that you are so rapidly approaching at this point, who are relying on social security having guaranteed funding?

KLAIN: Yes. Well, thanks for all that, Lawrence. I appreciate all that age buffing up there, thank you. But look, this is a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. As you said, you saw over the weekend, Democrats go to the mat to lower prescription drug costs for seniors. Medicare negotiation, as you mentioned, but also, a $2,000 annual cap on what seniors have to pay out of pocket for their share of their drug expenses. A tremendous change to make Medicare stronger and more effective for seniors.

And on the other hand, Senator Scott, the chair of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, says that Medicare and social security should be wiped out after five years, with no guarantee of a replacement. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, another senior Republican, said that Medicare -- said that social security funding should be discretionary. Congress should just decide what the social security benefits should be.

It is not discretionary to pay into social security. Working people pay into social security their whole lives. It`s taken out of every single paycheck. And the idea that it can be wiped out after five years, like Senator Scott says, or Congress could just change all the benefits every year, that Senator Johnson seem to suggest, shows that Republicans have extreme views on social security and Medicare.

Democrats are fighting for these programs to protect these programs, and Republicans are in a very different place.

O`DONNELL: Ron, I was not one who blamed the president for the increase in gasoline prices. I`m not giving him credit for the drop in gasoline prices. Am I wrong about that? Does the president deserve credit for the drop of these prices?

KLAIN: Well, I think -- I think he deserves some credit, Lawrence. Look, I think fundamentally, as you say prices go up and down based on a world market. And that is the bulk of price increases, price decreases.


KLAIN: But the president did two things here that have led to one of the fastest declines in gas prices in history. The first was this historic release from the petroleum reserve, putting a million barrels a day more on the market, which helped to bring our price down. And working with our allies to have them do the same.

Second, he put pressure on the well companies, when the price of oil came down he said, hey, you should lower the price of gas as fast as the price of oil is coming down.

And that`s why, not only is it going down, Lawrence, but it`s gone down almost $1 in just about six weeks. You know, the price of gas go down every single day this summer. So obviously, there are big economic factors on the global price of oil. But President Biden`s worked hard to make sure that that price starts to come down, and most importantly, that it`s passed along to consumers.

O`DONNELL: Ron, how many more birthdays you expect to be enjoying while working in the White House?

KLAIN: Lawrence, I will say I have enjoyed zero birthdays while working at the White House. Every day here is stuffed, so why don`t we just leave it at that?

O`DONNELL: All right, we will leave it at that, and let`s just make a date for right here, a year from now, from that same location.

Ron Klain, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.



O`DONNELL: Ron Klain got tonight`s LAST WORD.