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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 9/26/22

Guests: David Rothkopf, Oren Sellstrom, Bradley Moss


Russia seems to be experiencing a version of what this country experienced in the 1960s and 1970s, right up until the day when President Richard Nixon ended the draft in June of 1973. In order to appeal to Republican voters, DeSantis has to get himself into the Trump zone on immigration so he had 50 Venezuelan refugees flown from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard, where he promised them there would be jobs and other financial support for them. Ron DeSantis is now facing a class action lawsuit for violating the civil rights of those victims with that stunt; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) praised the 60-vote threshold in a speech with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).



And I think I am number 999 in the cast of thousands on Wednesday -- Wednesday night, and I hope -- here`s the one reason why I hope it`s not the last hearing, I really enjoy that hearing coverage with you on the nights when -- after they`ve had one of these hearings. And so, I am looking forward to more than just Wednesday night, but Wednesday night is all we know about as of right now.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Thank you for saying that. I feel like a little bit -- a little bit guilty in saying that, but there are very few nights other than you know election nights and debates and things like that, where all of us get to be together like in the same dugout. You know what I mean? Like it`s all of -- instead of just hosting our individual hours, I find it so rewarding, so interesting, I find it super intellectually stimulating. I really, really like it. So I`m totally looking forward to it.

O`DONNELL: And people get to watch me learn stuff on TV when I`m listening to everyone else speaking because everyone catches something -- you know, so everyone there will they`ll grab something that I didn`t grab or I didn`t see that where I had didn`t hadn`t framed it that way, or I wasn`t taking notes fast enough.

And so, it`s informative -- it has been informative to me while sitting there listening to what you have to say, to what Nicolle Wallace has to say, Joy Reid, Chris Hayes. It`s -- it`s always been such a collaborative effort to cover this and gather it all ourselves.

MADDOW: Agreed. It`s like an -- it`s like an all-star game if it counted.

O`DONNELL: So Rachel, quick -- quick news quiz before you go. Which Democrat -- which Democratic member of the Senate said today about Mitch McConnell -- we share the same values. And I`m going to give you a hint. I`m going to give you a hint.

She couldn`t drive there because she`s not from West Virginia and she had to fly to Kentucky which is where she said this today.

MADDOW: Yeah, yeah, I`ve been trying to pretend all day like I didn`t know that.

O`DONNELL: Okay. All right, you know what? No, you know what? Pretend -- that`s fine. Stay -- that`s the way.

MADDOW: I want to go back to a time in my life when I didn`t know that.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, go back. Go back to this morning.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: See you Wednesday, Lawrence. Thank you very much. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Well, the clock is ticking on Donald Trump`s lie. Donald Trump and his lawyers have to stop lying about what the FBI did when they seized documents, including classified documents from Donald Trump`s winter residents in Florida on August 8th because the special master is telling them to stop lying. The special master in the case, Judge Raymond Dearie issued an order on Friday saying that the Justice Department should deliver a final version of a, quote, detailed property inventory seized by the FBI from Donald Trump. The Justice Department following the judge`s order provided that inventory to the court today, and to Donald Trump`s lawyers.

But the most important part of Judge Dearie`s order that he issued on Friday says that by Friday of this week, by Friday of this week, time is up on Donald Trump and his lawyers because Donald Trump`s lawyers must submit, quote, a list of any specific items set forth in the detailed property inventory that plaintiff asserts were not seized from the premises on August 8, 2022. Judge Dearie wrote that order two days after Donald Trump said this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: The problem that you have is they go into rooms. They won`t let anybody near that -- they wouldn`t even let them in the same building. Did they drop anything into those piles or did they do it later?


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is not going to be telling that lie next week. Donald Trump has been suggesting repeatedly that the FBI planted evidence when they were executing the search warrant. Judge Dearie is ordering Donald Trump`s lawyers to identify that planted evidence by Friday.

Donald Trump`s lawyers will, of course, not do that, because they do not want to be caught lying to a federal judge because that would be the end of their careers and they could be convicted of crimes for doing that.


And so, as of Friday, because Donald Trump`s lawyers successfully brought a special master into the case, remember, the special master was their idea and because they did that, that special master will formally and legally shut down one of Donald Trump`s big lies about the FBI search.

The Justice Department`s final inventory of the search as delivered to Judge Dearie today was accompanied by an under oath affidavit by the supervisory special agent with the FBI who was present during the execution of the search warrant the agent whose name has been redacted from the filing so that Donald Trump`s supporters will not try to kill him says: The squad that I supervise had primary responsibility for execution of a search warrant at the premises on August 8, 2022.

I was present during the execution of that search warrant which resulted in the seizure of 33 boxes containers or other items of evidence which contained just over 100 records with classification markings, including records marked top secret and records marked as containing additional sensitive compartmented information.

The FBI agent said that before submitting this final detailed property inventory, quote, I and FBI personnel working under my direction conducted an additional review and recount of these seized materials in order to make this declaration. That additional review and recount resulted in some minor revisions to the detailed property inventory.

The minor revision is a change in the total number of empty folders with classified banners. In the first version of the detailed inventory provided to Judge Cannon, with only one day`s notice, the FBI said there were 47 empty folders with classified banners. In the corrected recount of every item in the inventory submitted today, there are 46 empty folders with classified banners. I believe that`s -- the original content I believe was 48, and the current count is 46. It was two less.

Unchanged in the property inventory is the fact that of most of those empty folders with the classified banners, most of them were found in Donald Trump`s office, along with 25 classified documents found in Donald Trump`s office. Most of the rest of the material was found in the storage room.

Donald Trump`s lawyers have until Friday to dispute any aspect of this detailed property inventory submitted today. Also today, an excerpt from "The New York Times" reporter Maggie Haberman`s upcoming book appeared in "The Atlantic" and it contains evidence of Donald Trump`s awareness of his legal criminal jeopardy involving documents he took to Florida.

Almost exactly one year ago on September 16, 2021, Maggie Haberman interviewed Donald Trump for her book. In "The Atlantic", Maggie Haberman reports: He demurred when I asked if he had taken any documents of note upon departing the White House -- "nothing of great urgency, no", he said, before mentioning the letters that Kim Jong-un had sent him, which he had showed off so many Oval Office visitors that advisors were concerned he was being careless with sensitive material.

"You were able to take those with you?" I asked. He kept talking, seeming to have registered my surprise and said, no, I think that`s in the archives but most of it is in the archives. But the Kim Jong-un letters, we have incredible things.

In that quote, as reported by Maggie Haberman, you have Donald Trump reacting to Maggie Haberman`s surprise that he has Kim Jong-un`s letters with him at home. And after Donald Trump notices Maggie Haberman`s surprise, he backs off and says, no, I think that`s in the archives. But this being Donald Trump, he keeps talking and he has to boast. He says most of it is in the archives.

Most of it? Most of the Kim Jong-un letters are in the archives? Only most? That seems to indicate that Donald Trump knew then in September of 2021, before anything had been returned to the Archives, that he knew in that moment that the Kim Jong-un letters were supposed to be in the archives by law, but he just had to boast that he had incredible things.

[22:10:07] Most of it is in the archives but the Kim Jong-un letters we have incredible things.

Indeed, he did have incredible things. On the day Donald Trump was saying that to Maggie Haberman, the archives knew that Donald Trump had Kim Jong-un letters because the archives did not have them. And Donald Trump stupidly had made those letters famous.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un. He really wrote a beautiful three-page. I mean, right from top to bottom, a really beautiful letter.

We fell in love, okay? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters and they`re great letters. We fell in love.


O`DONNELL: And that was the first official notice right there, but the Archives knew that those letters existed. That`s how the Archives find out -- found out they existed. The Archives learned about those letters at the same time we did when Donald Trump said those idiotic things on television, possibly because they`re the only love letters he`s ever received. We have incredible things.

Donald Trump one year ago could not resist boasting to a reporter that he had the Kim Jong-un letters, and he did. And in the way that he answered that question, he also made it clear that he knew the Archives was supposed to have those letters by law. He said, no, I think that`s in the Archives but most of it is in the archives. But the Kim Jong-un letters, we have incredible things.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general. He is an MSNBC legal analyst. Bradley Moss is with us, a national security attorney. And Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor is with us.

And, Neal Katyal, I was struck by the Maggie Haberman quotes of a year ago from witness Trump. Now, if there is an audio tape of that and I not sure if Donald Trump allows her to tape their conversations, but if there -- if there is, that is something that could be subpoenaed in this case. But the way it`s reported by Maggie Haberman, it appears that Donald Trump realizes in mid answer by her surprise that he`s not supposed to have these, but we know that he did have those at that time.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly, Lawrence. So a crime requires two things. It requires a bad act and a bad criminal intent, and what Maggie Haberman`s reporting is suggesting is that there was a bad criminal intent as early as a year ago, of September of last year, that he knew about these documents and the like.

And then today, we`re learning more evidence of the bad act because, you know, Trump does turn out have incredible things and not just in his storage room at Mar-a-Lago, but in his office itself, Lawrence.

So in his office and you said this briefly but I just want to pick up on it, seven top secret documents, 17 other highly classified documents, 43 empty folders that contained classified information.

Now, look, if I had seven folders in my Justice Department office, that -- or seven classified documents, top secret ones in my office, I`d be in jail just for having those documents in my office, because you need to be in a sensitive compartmented information facility in order to look at those documents. Yu can`t just bring it around and certainly not to your office in Florida.

And remember, it wasn`t just that he`s found with these documents in his office, Lawrence, he had -- these documents were part of a search warrant that was executed after he had sworn through his lawyers that he had returned everything. This is what they found after them.

And so, it`s obstruction. It`s false statements. It`s so many other things and his lawyers are thick in the middle of it, which makes them both targets of the federal investigation most likely and also opportunities to flip against Donald Trump himself.

O`DONNELL: Glenn Kirschner, as a former federal prosecutor, what do you what do you see in the Maggie Haberman interview, stacking it up with the evidence as we know it?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I see Donald Trump making admission after admission, all of which are statements by a party opponent which is not hearsay. We introduce those kind of statements in criminal prosecutions all the time.

And I will tell you, Lawrence, as an old career prosecutor, a trial guy, I see all of Donald Trump`s admissions, like the ones to Maggie Haberman as evidentiary gold and I keep waiting to see when some prosecutor will be able to plant her feet in the well of a courtroom and argue to people in the jury box sitting as the conscience of the community and begin presenting this evidence.


But there is a prerequisite to us getting to that point. It`s an indictment and as Neal said, if he had -- if I had top secret documents, I handled an espionage case as an Army JAG, with a TS/SCI clearance, and I was scared to death I was going to say or do something that might inadvertently run afoul of the rules by which I had to abide.

You know, we would be in jail lickety-split. So I await the Department of Justice to get to a point where it believes the time is right because this is only a timing issue. The evidence is there.

O`DONNELL: Glenn Kirschner, let me use your federal prosecutor experience working with the FBI on search warrants and inventories of search warrants to get your reaction to the adjustment that they made today in the new version of the inventory they said that Judge Cannon in the original order for a more detailed inventory, they only had one day to do it. This time, they had a lot more time.

And in their recount, the big change was -- instead of I believe the total number in the first one was 48 empty folders marked classified and now it`s 46 empty folders marked classified. What is your reaction to that with your experience?

KIRSCHNER: I never tried an error-free case. I tried lots of murder cases, RICO cases, all in the courts of Washington, D.C., both federal and local. I never had an error-free investigation and myself, I never tried a case without making a handful of mistakes. And I would own them when I made them.

So I am not at all surprised that with the number and nature of documents and the kind of search -- the far-reaching search that`s being conducted, there are a lot of hands that go in to processing a crime scene. There are often corrections made to what, you know, the officers, the agents, the detectives believe they seized on the scene.

This is -- is par for the course because this, you know, it is a human endeavor, our criminal justice system. So you`re going to have mistakes.

O`DONNELL: Bradley Moss, with your experience in -- as a defense counsel, imagine yourself in the Trump lawyers meeting room tonight discussing what do we say on Friday to the question of -- what was the evidence that was planted by the FBI during the search.

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATORNEY: Sure, if I`m those lawyers at this point, assuming there isn`t some evidence, we just don`t know about that hasn`t somehow leaked out these salacious details, they`re not going to be able to file anything showing that evidence was planted. What they`re going to try to do is the same thing they try to do on the classification side, they`re going to try to sort of pivot and kind of kick the can down the road a bit saying to you know to the extent that we have all the information at the moment, we don`t have anything specific to provide the special master but we reserve the right to supplement if additional information comes available that we can provide. So we`re not ruling out that there will be something at a later time, but at the moment, we`re not obligated to do anything other than say here`s what we do know, here`s what we don`t know yet.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, is it possible for a special master in a situation like this, who`s obviously taking in what Donald Trump said on Fox two days before he issued that order, is it possible for him to issue some kind of gag order to the parties in a case like this?

KATYAL: It`s certainly possible, but I think there`s so many First Amendment interests at stake that I think it`s very unlikely. I think what Judge Dearie, this special master has done so far, Lawrence, is to basically tell Trump, look, it`s time to put up or shut up, and we`re not going to let you peddle these absurd conspiracy theories without evidence to back up what you`re saying.

And to put it bluntly, you know, this special master has become a nightmare for Trump and the icing on the cake is that Trump did it to himself. So as a lawyer, Lawrence, my first rule is always like be careful what I wish for, be careful what I`m asking for on behalf of my client because Trump could have just peddled his absurd theories about the planted evidence, about declassifying in his mind, about how the Justice Department abuses his rights. But he instead insisted on saying all that and then asking for a special master and now, that special master and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, our nation`s second highest court, has blown past all of these Trump defenses saying, look, this whole question the classification doesn`t matter. There`s no evidence whatsoever that the Justice Department is abusing your rights.


And now, for this last piece in the puzzle, this planted evidence Judge Dearie is saying, hey, tell me about it in a sworn document by Friday and I suspect as Bradley says, they`re not going to be able to do that.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, Bradley Moss and Glenn Kirschner, thank you all very much for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

Now, when you`re Kyrsten Sinema, what do you do when you have an idea that`s harmful to democracy? What Senator Sinema did today in a speech in Kentucky with her friend Mitch McConnell was to add something even more harmful to democracy. That`s next.



SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): And those of you who are parents in the room know that the best thing you can do for your child is to not give them everything they want, right?


O`DONNELL: Kyrsten Sinema is not one of the parents in the room. Note to Senator Sinema`s speech writers, most parents are not open to parenting advice from politicians who are not parents. In fact, they`re not open to parenting advice from politicians, period.

Needless to say, Senator Sinema`s parenting advice was every bit as bad as you would expect from someone who has no idea what she`s talking about.


SINEMA: And those of you who are parents in the room know that the best thing you can do for your child is not give them everything they want, right?

And that`s important to the United States Senate as well. We shouldn`t get everything we want in the moment, because later, upon cooler reflection, you recognize that it has probably gone too far. So the importance of the vote threshold is to ensure that no one gets everything they want, that you compromise, you find that middle ground.

And by doing so, you`re much more likely to pass legislation that stands the test of time, that will not be reversed when the next party gains power. That`s the importance of the 60-vote threshold.


O`DONNELL: Senator Sinema thinks that the vote threshold ensures no one gets everything they want. There is not a single senator in the history of the United States Senate who has gotten everything that he or she wants, not ever. Senator Sinema did not give a single example of a bill being passed with less than votes that was then repealed when there was a change of power in Congress, in the White House, not a single example of her fear, of her theoretical justification for a voting threshold in the Senate that was not provided for in the Constitution and which defies democracy in a body whose very structure of two senators per state defies democracy.


SINEMA: If we were to give in to that moment of wanting just what you want, the reversal that would come in a year or two years would not only be bad for the American body. It`d be bad for businesses. It`d be bad for state and local governments.


O`DONNELL: Well, maybe that`s why it doesn`t happen, except of course for tax rates. Whenever Republicans control Congress and the White House, they cut tax rates and then whenever Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, they raise tax rates. And so, it happens and the country survives.

Senator Sinema wasn`t finished. What she had already said about the vote threshold was indefensible. And she is apparently one of those people who likes to follow the indefensible with the crazy, which she did.


SINEMA: So not only am I committed to the 60-vote threshold. I have an incredibly unpopular view. I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already we should restore it.

Not everyone likes that, because it would make it harder. It would make it harder for us to confirm judges. And it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration.

But I believe that if we did restore it, we would actually see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance, which is what I believe our forefathers intended.


O`DONNELL: Well, our forefathers, as she calls them, intended that women never be senators. Our forefathers intended that women never have the right to vote. Our forefathers did not intend for a place called Arizona to be represented in the United States Senate.

When the Founding Fathers were writing the constitution, the place we now call Arizona was Spain and the authors of the Constitution expected it to remain Spain.

In 1821, when Mexico secured its independence from Spain, the place now called Arizona was in Mexico. And the United States took -- when the United States took that land as these spoils of war which is how we got Arizona, the Arizona territory eventually became the 48th state in 1912, pretty late in the game.

But that was the same year that a constitutional amendment finally overruled the Founding Fathers and allowed United States senators to be elected by the voters of the state, instead of the state legislatures as the Founders wanted it to be.


So, if Kyrsten Sinema really wants to do what she says our forefathers intended, she would be working very hard to take the election of senators away from the people who voted For her, and give it back to state legislatures. And she would be staunchly opposed to a 60-vote threshold, imposed by the Senate, because the office of constitution who she so admires were very specific about the Senate conducting all business by simple majority vote except for treaties, which they specified in the constitution, which require a two-thirds vote in the Senate and conviction and impeachment trials in the Senate, which the constitution also specifies require two-thirds vote of the Senate.

The number 60 never appears in the constitution But it seems to live in Kyrsten Sinema`s imagined version of the constitution. If the simple majority vote is a dangerous and fickle threshold for governing in a democracy, then why should only five members of the United States Supreme Court get to decide the final interpretation of the law of the land?

Why doesn`t Senator Sinema advocate a minimum of a six-vote threshold in the United States Supreme Court, instead of a mere majority. And why is the United States of America the only country that has a 60 percent threshold to win a vote in a national legislative body.

Senator Sinema went to Kentucky to deliver that speech at a government-funded university, at a place that calls itself the McConnell Center. Senator Mitch McConnell has effectively purchased the naming rights by delivering federal funding to the university, which of course includes taxpayer money obtained in a much richer states of New York and California.

The United States Constitution says that the president shall nominate, and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint judges of the Supreme Court. The constitution does not say that Mitch McConnell shall prevent a nominated Supreme Court justice from even being considered by the United States Senate for its consent as Mitch McConnell did to Merrick Garland in the last year of the Obama presidency. And Mitch McConnell did not need 60 votes to do that.

Today, Kyrsten Sinema traveled to Kentucky to celebrate Mitch McConnell`s constitutional vandalism and her own relentless ignorance by saying this about Mitch McConnell.


SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): While we might not agree on every issue, we do share the same values.


O`DONNELL: And after this break we will be back with the question of what Vladimir Putin is learning by instituting a draft during an unpopular war.



O`DONNELL: The Vietnam War ended because American protesters against the war forced Congress to end the funding of the war and forced a Republican president to end that war. It took years, but the peace protesters won.

The protests began as resistance to the military draft that was sending unwilling American teenagers to fight and die in a faraway war that made no sense.

Tonight, Russia seems to be experiencing a version of what this country experienced in the 1960s and 1970s, right up until the day when President Richard Nixon ended the draft in June of 1973.

Video today shows a gunman opening fire at the draft office in Siberia. Russian officials report that the gunman seriously injured a recruiting officer before being apprehended.

The "Washington Post" is reporting that the shooter`s mother told local media that her son was upset because his best friend got a mobilization summons, despite never having served in the army. They said that there would be partial mobilization, but it turns out that they take everyone.

70 people were reportedly detained in another Siberian city after joining hands and singing protest songs. Despite facing brutal crackdowns by Russian police, protesters have taken to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and many other Russian cities.

According to the human rights watchdog group (INAUDIBLE), almost 2,400 people have been detained for protesting against Putin`s draft since it was implemented last week.

Joining our discussion now is David Rothkopf, foreign affairs analyst and columnist for "USA Today" and the "Daily Beast". He is the host of "Deep State Radio" podcast.

David, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We have seen the draft in this country during a popularly supported war like World War II, and we have seen the draft during an unpopular war that became increasingly unpopular partially because of the draft of the Vietnam War.


O`DONNELL: This has such an eerie sensation for those of us who can remember the draft protests in this country, seeing what is happening in Russia tonight.

DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. Except it`s much, much worse in Russia. We were struggling in a kind of a standoff in Vietnam. We were training our soldiers, they were sending them off well equipped and the number of soldiers that we sent off was smaller than the number -- total number that the Russians had sent off.

You know, what Putin is seeing here for the first time is a mass reaction to his policy to the fact this war is going very badly. And when you think about it, you know, you can say these 300,000 people that they are calling up, and that they are going to send off ill-equipped and badly trained, they`re all going to be reporters. They`re all going to go back to their families. Their families are going to see them come back wounded and dead. And that is going to spread the kind of unrest that Putin has never seen in the entire time that he has been the leader of Russia.

O`DONNELL: And the death toll for the Russian military in Ukraine is already in a matter of months what it took us 13 (ph) years to -- the American number in Vietnam got up to 55,000 and it took 13 years for that.

ROTHKOPF: Right, and they had an experience in Afghanistan where they had over ten years, a substantial death toll that helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union.

In the few months since this war began, that has been exceeded dramatically. Of the 250,000 troops that the Russians sent in, which was the vast majority of their standing army, the estimate is that 75,000 to 80,000 have either been killed or wounded, which is catastrophic. That is a third of the army.

And if anything like that happens to these new troops going in, Putin is going to be sitting on top of a political volcano.

O`DONNELL: So David, we have been wondering, with the Putin control of news media in Russia, what do the Russian people know? What do they think about this? These protests are telling us, some of what they think about it. And we don`t have a real sense of percentage of the country.

But until now, we didn`t know that there were this many people who seemed to be well-informed about what is going on there.

ROTHKOPF: Well, that is right, because they can`t get total control, particularly in the information age. But you know, you`ve also seen popular Russian performers and singers start to speak out against the war.

Russian figures who have very high profile, and so when they speak, that has a lot of impact across the society. You`ve seen business leader start to feel the squeeze from the sanctions.

And you know, the question when I speak to U.S. Government officials, the real question is at what point all this pressure begins to motivate Putin`s security services to question his leadership decisions.

O`DONNELL: David Rothkopf, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

ROTHKOPF: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, why did Florida`s Governor Ron DeSantis use Florida state funding to fly Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard after lying to them that the tiny island whose economy closes down on Labor Day would have jobs for them?

The attorney who has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of those refugees against Ron DeSantis will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has a migrant problem. His problem is that he doesn`t really have a migrant problem, which, as he reportedly told Republican donors, is a competitive disadvantage, should he find himself in a Republican presidential primary against Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

In order to appeal to Republican voters, DeSantis has to get himself into the Trump zone on immigration so he had 50 Venezuelan refugees flown from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard, where he promised them there would be jobs and other financial support for them.

Ron DeSantis is now facing a class action lawsuit for violating the civil rights of those victims with that stunt. The lawsuit alleges that Governor DeSantis designed and executed a premeditated, fraudulent and illegal scheme centered on exploiting this vulnerability for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial, and political interests.

Jose, one of the refugees deceived and abandoned by Governor DeSantis told the "Washington Post", "I tell you how I felt. I want to cry. I felt destroyed inside, tricked, frightened. I did not know if they were going to put me in jail, if they deport me. I just wanted to get to Philadelphia. I don`t like the way they treated us. We`re human beings."

Joining our discussion now is Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for Lawyers for Civil Rights. He is representing some of the people who are now suing Governor DeSantis in a federal class action suit.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.


O`DONNELL: One of the things that struck me about this from the start is this fake, phony pamphlet that they gave these people, telling them that they would be taken care of on Martha`s Vineyard. There would be jobs. There would be food. There would be support for them in every way.

And that is at a place that really closes down, just about completely closes down by Labor Day because it is a summer resort. The population disappears there, the jobs disappear there, and Ron DeSantis knows that.

Just as there is seasonal work in Florida, there is seasonal work, and seasonal opportunity on Martha`s Vineyard. And he was sending them precisely at the moment when all of the opportunity in Martha`s Vineyard disappears.

What is your lawsuit alleging and what does it hope to achieve?

OREN SELLSTROM, LITIGATION DIRECTOR, LAWYERS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: Well, what our lawsuit alleges is that there was a concerted scheme of misrepresentation, which induced our clients to fly.

As you pointed out, this was not about a humanitarian effort to try and get people to where they needed to go, this was about a political stunt that Ron DeSantis was trying to pull. He was using our clients as political props, making all kinds of representations about what jobs would be available at the destination, how they would be looked after, how their children would be get educational opportunities. And it turns out, it was all just a political stunt.

O`DONNELL: These Republican governors want to pretend that the Democratic-run states do not face any of these challenges, when in fact the state that has the largest number of people coming in is California, Democratic state.

They currently in California have 125,000 asylum hearings that are pending. In Texas, they have 75,000. So a dramatically smaller number in Texas than in California or New York, which has 98,000 of these cases pending in their courts.

What is your experience with the distribution of these kinds of issues around the country?

SELLSTROM: Well certainly, there are pockets all over the country that have substantial immigrant populations. Martha`s Vineyard itself, although it has been painted as being largely white, largely wealthy enclave. In fact it`s quite diverse.

And so again, this was not about helping people and helping people to get where they needed to go. It was about trying to make a political point and trying to use our clients as props. And that`s what people from across the political spectrum have found so objectionable about this conduct.

O`DONNELL: Well, whether it`s your lawsuit or the other pressures involved here Governor DeSantis has not done it again. We`ll wait to what happens next.

Oren Sellstrom, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SELLSTROM: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.



O`DONNELL: Unless you`ve served in combat like John Kerry and a few others, Secretary of State is the hardest job you will ever have. It is a job filled with permanent jetlag from constant international travel and endless worries about the state of the world.

Last week was an especially intense week for Secretary of State Antony Blinken with the United Nations General Assembly meeting all week in New York where Secretary Blinken spent the week meeting with foreign ministers, prime ministers, and presidents from around the world.

On Thursday he was scheduled nonstop for 14 hours, beginning with an 8:00 a.m. meeting with five foreign ministers, right through a working dinner scheduled for 7:45 pm on transatlantic issues.

While Secretary Blinken was doing all of that on Thursday, trying to hold together and encourage allies who support Ukraine`s resistance to the Russian invasion of their country, Antony Blinken`s father died. Antony Blinken`s father whose parents came to this country from Ukraine died at the age of 96.


SCOTT PELLEY, TVE HOST, "60 MINUTES": Your father was U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. And as we sit here on Friday afternoon, he passed away last night. And I wonder why you decided to keep such a busy schedule, the day after that tragedy in your family.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: My dad was 96 years old. He was, in so many ways, my role model. He built a remarkable business one of the leading investment banks in this country over many years. He led a life of dignity, of decency, of modesty. That is something that I have pretty much aspired to.

And so I guess I thought that honoring everything that he shared with me, the best way to do that was to continue doing my job.



O`DONNELL: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, honoring his father, the Honorable Donald Blinken, by continuing to do his job.

Antony Blinken gets tonight`s LAST WORD.