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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence, O'Donnell, 1/5/22

Guests: Adam Schiff, Laurence Tribe, Jon Tester, Lauren Groh-Wargo


Interview with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, a member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed DOJ staff on the even of January 6 and summarized the current status of the most important Justice Department investigation in history. Biden Unveils $1B Plan To Address Rising Meat Prices. Biden Administration Meets With Independent Farmers And Ranchers.



And I think you remember exactly 24 hours ago at this moment, I told you who was going to -- no, you don`t. Twenty-four hours ago was too long ago. Anyway, let me remind you, 24 hours ago at this moment I told you that Cher was going to b the show last flight, and she was.

And you, you gave me an order for Cher. I want -- I want to show you, if you have 20 seconds, how that played out. Take a look.



O`DONNELL: She left a message for you at the beginning of this hour. She told me, she gave me this order, to tell you, please tell you, and these are her exact words, hello, and I love you. That`s from Rachel Maddow.

CHER, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING SINGER (via telephone): You know what? I don`t drink, but I would have a cocktail with her.


O`DONNELL: When should I schedule that, Rachel?

MADDOW: So, here`s how this played out in my life. So I am going about my business taking the dogs on a late night walk, and I get -- because, you know, the dogs need to go out when the dogs need to go out.

I get a call from my mother. Now, usually you get a text. My mom is a good texter. You get a call, that means somebody in the family has died or somebody needs rescuing, this is urgent.

My mom calls me to say, when are you having cocktails with Cher? To which I say, I can`t believe Lawrence did it. She said, Lawrence, did what? She said, didn`t you say you have to have cocktails with Cher. She said you get to have cocktails with Cher, but she doesn`t drink.

It was the weirdest dog walk in a long time, but one of the weirdest moments in public life. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: I will pour the Pellegrino for Cher and you make whatever that thing is you make.

MADDOW: I will. I have a feeling my mom is going to hide herself somewhere on my person in order to be there whether it happens. We will have to arrange for that, too.

O`DONNELL: We will try to make it all happen.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

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

Well, on this night exactly one year ago, probably right now, Sean Hannity was anxiously texting Donald Trump`s fourth White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, saying I am very worried about the next 48 hours. Unfortunately, for Sean Hannity and the country, Sean Hannity was sending a text to the weakest and most criminally inclined of the Trump White House chiefs of staff.

Mark Meadows had already engaged in a phone call with Donald Trump to Georgia`s secretary of state, a call that was clearly criminal in nature, a violation of state and federal law on election interference. The whole country had already heard the audiotape of that criminal phone call.

Sean Hannity heard the audiotape of that phone call, which is now being investigated by a grand jury in Georgia. He heard the audiotape of that phone call to Georgia secretary of state and that may be why Sean Hannity`s text to Mark Meadows are filled with fear that Donald Trump does not know what he is doing and that Mark Meadows does not know what he is doing.

We know now, thanks to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa`s reporting and their bestselling book "Peril" and other reporting, that Donald Trump and Mark Meadows already knew that the White House counsel was threatening to quit over Donald Trump`s criminal attempts to change the outcome of the presidential election.

On this night, exactly one year ago, Sean Hannity texted Mark Meadows, Pence, pressure, White House counsel will leave. Mark Meadows already knew that. Sean Hannity knew that Mark Meadows already knew that, but at this hour, one year ago, Sean Hannity was desperately trying to get the weakest White House chief of staff in history to step up to a deranged president and do the right thing, say the right thing.


It was on this day one year ago that Mike Pence told Donald Trump in the Oval Office that he was go not going to violate the law and attempt to reject electoral votes submitted to Congress the next day. In that meeting, on this evening one year ago in the White House, Donald Trump told Mike Pence, what do you think, Mike? Trump asked, look, I`ve read this, and I don`t see a way to do it.

We`ve exhausted every option. I`ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It`s simply not possible.

My interpretation is no. I met with all these people. They are all on the same page. I personally believe these are the limits to what I can do. So if you have a strategy for the 6th, it shouldn`t involve me because I`m just there to open the envelopes.

You should be talking to the house and senate, your team should be talking to them about what kind of evidence they are going to present. No, no, no Trump shouted. You don`t understand, Mike. You can do this. I don`t want to be your friend anymore if you don`t do this.

You`re not going to be sworn in on the 20th. There is not a scenario in which you can be sworn in on the 20th, Pence said. We need to figure out how to deal with it, how we want to handle it, how we want to talk about it.

You`ve betrayed us. I made you. You were you were nothing, Trump said. Your career is over if you do this. Pence did not budge.

In a series of tweets today, Robert Costa reviewed some of the developments of this day one year ago that we did not know about then, including that Rudy Giuliani even wanted to go over to VP`s home and give him a talking to late on 1/5. Pence eventually has dinner that night at residence with several supporters/donors. Giuliani doesn`t go over but strikingly Trump campaign issues a late statement saying Pence agrees with Trump position on election, stuns pence and his advisors.

That`s the pressure on Pence, that Sean Hannity was afraid of, that is what Sean Hannity was advising Donald Trump not to do. Robert Costa writes, as midnight approached, people in the streets were yelling delighted and almost euphoric about Trump taking back the election.

Trump soon called Giuliani and then called Steve Bannon. He was arrogant, Trump said of Pence. Trump`s worlds were sobering. It was Trump explaining a way a deal gone bad. Pence was not going to break. Mike Pence was arrogant, that meant Trump`s push was dead, very arrogant, Trump reported. Trump kept tweeting into the night.

The January 6th committee wants to hear all about this from Mike Pence.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): His life was in danger. I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee. Everybody there didn`t have a security detail, so we`d like to know what his security detail told him was going on and what all went on. I think it`s important that the public needs to know. This was the number two person in government.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, the January 6th committee has been meeting with someone who is a witness to some of what happened on January 5th and January 6th in the Trump White House.

Stephanie Grisham publicly resigned on the night of January 6th after the attack on the capitol. She tweeted her resignation at 7:59 p.m. Stephanie Grisham made history as the only White House press secretary never to publicly speak with the press and today she made history as the first White House press secretary to tell a congressional committee what she knows about a former president`s involvement in an insurrection at the Capitol and a criminal conspiracy to violate election law.

Stephanie Grisham first served as a White House press secretary. Her final position in the White House was chief of staff to Melania Trump, who, along with her husband, Donald, did nothing while the Capitol was being attacked. Melanie Trump did not do what Sean Hannity tried to do when Sean Hannity sent a text to Mark Meadows during the attack on the Capitol telling him, ask people to peacefully leave the Capitol.

During Donald Trump`s criminal attempt to violate election law, Donald Trump apparently took more advice from one of Sean Hannity`s advertisers than he did from Sean Hannity.


Pillow salesman Mike Lindell is apparently under investigation by the January 6th committee for that advice. In an interview with CNBC, the Pillow salesman said he received a notice from Verizon about a subpoena for his phone records from November through early January.

Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He`s a member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the capitol and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman Schiff. We really appreciate it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Great to be with you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: I have been linking up Sean Hannity`s texts as your committee has revealed them with the reporting we have from Bob Woodward, Robert Costa, and our sources, trying to link up what else was happening while those texts were being pumped into the White House by Sean Hannity.

But I assume you probably by now have a fairly precise tick-tock of January 5th and January 6th with all of the witnesses you have been talking to.

SCHIFF: That`s one of the things we have been working on from the beginning, which is to continue to fill in the sequence of these messages of these conversations and of these events so that we can see them in their chronological order and understand how one relates to another. But I think you also, Lauren, very well described why both Hannity as well as the vice president are such important potential witnesses.

Clearly, Hannity was privy to information about the possibility of the White House counsel leaving over the pressure put on Pence. He was very concerned about what was going to happen in the next 48 hours on January 5th before they attacked the following day. And, what`s more, the vice president, who was the subject of this pressure campaign, is in probably the very best position to talk about all of those who were reaching out to him, including the president, to try to get him to ignore his constitutional duty.

Their testimony could very well inform our committee, the country about how to protect ourselves going forward, and, you know, we hope both decide to cooperate.

O`DONNELL: Sean Hannity has remained silent about your request for his cooperation. What have you heard from Sean Hannity`s lawyer?

SCHIFF: I can`t comment on any communications between our staff and his lawyer or other counsel. But I can say, look, we are not interested and I saw Sekulow, his counsel made public remarks, we are interested in his commentary on Fox. We`re not interested in, you know, his political views or his role on that show.

We are interested in him as a fact witness, what he observed, the communications he had outside of that capacity. This was somebody who was a strategist for the president, campaigned with the president, did a lot of things that are not journalistic in nature that he should feel free to talk about, and we hope that he will.

O`DONNELL: On Vice President Pence`s testimony, do you -- would you expect that he would be able to discuss, for example, what was happening to him during the attack on the capitol, because there are some security concerns involved in protecting the information about how a vice president is protected in a situation like that.

SCHIFF: If he is willing to sit down with us, that`s exactly the kind of thing we would work out with him, with his lawyer, with his staff to figure out if there are any sensitivities, how we can make sure we get the information we need without compromising anything that would be required to protect any future vice president.

But clearly, what`s at the central core of our investigation is not in that category. It is, you know, that pressure campaign on him to violate his constitutional duty, where that originated, what the president`s role was, what different players were involved in that effort to subvert the will of the American people through their franchise. None of those things would compromise his safety or that of any future vice president.

O`DONNELL: I am going to talk to Laurence Tribe in a moment about attorney general`s speech today. But I am wondering if -- there has been speculation that the attorney general is waiting to move on an investigation of Donald Trump and others in terms of the insurrection, waiting for your work to be complete.

Do you see any reason why the attorney general should or would wait for your work on the committee to be complete?

[22: 15:04]

SCHIFF: No, not at all. And I don`t agree with that speculation whatsoever. In my experience, the Justice Department asked Congress to wait. It doesn`t itself defer to Congress in terms of moving forward with investigations or potential prosecution, and I hope that it`s certainly not the case. They ought to be thoroughly investigating any substantial allegation of criminality surrounding the effort to overturn the election.

And, look, I am very proud that he is running the department and I think we saw today there is once again a man of great integrity running that department. I would have loved to heard him say, not only is he focused on the violent attack on January 6th, but also on other efforts to potentially violate criminal laws to subvert the election, including one that you have mentioned frequently, which is the effort in Georgia. The president on the phone with the secretary of state of Georgia trying to get him to stuff the ballot box effectively with 11,780 votes that don`t exist.

That needs to be investigated. And it can`t be waiting for Congress on that. They shouldn`t be waiting on the Fulton County D.A. on that. I can tell you, when I was in the U.S. attorney`s office in L.A., there was a case of that kind of national significance, we would never defer to the local district attorney.

So it does concern me that there was no mention of the broader multi- layered effort to subvert our Constitution and our election process. That, too, needs to be investigated.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for starting off our conversations tonight.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has been on this program asking for more, much more from Attorney General Merrick Garland. He will join us with his reaction to what the attorney general had to say today. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland summarized the current status of the most important Justice Department investigation in history.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: As of today, we have arrested and charged more than 725 defendants in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia for their roles in the January 6th attack. In charging the perpetrators, we have followed well worn prosecutorial practices. Those who assaulted officers or damage the Capitol face greater charges. Those who conspired with others to obstruct the vote count also face greater charges.

The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.

To ensure that all those criminally responsible are held accountable, we must collect the evidence. We follow the physical evidence. We follow the digital evidence. We follow the money. Those involved must be held accountable and there is no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice.


O`DONNELL: Joining us, Laurence Tribe, university professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard law professor, he has won 35 cases in the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Tribe, what did you hear in that speech today?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: I heard a person of great principle and integrity, very smart. I heard him describe one important set of investigations going from the ground up from the boots to the suits in terms of the January 6th perpetrators. It`s important that he do that.

But I heard absolutely nothing, nothing about the larger plot to overturn the election. That was not January 6th. January 3rd was the date on which the president, then-president, twisted the arm of Raffensperger. Late December, he was doing things with people like Jeffrey Clark. That broader plot was plan A. Plan B was the one they`d to resort to with the violence at the Capitol. It doesn`t necessarily, you know, you don`t work your way up from the people who smashed windows to the arm twisting, which itself violated federal law and was part of a broader plot.

It doesn`t necessarily take a long time to build a case for seditious conspiracy. In fact, I was looking it up. In March of 1954, ten Puerto Rican separatists stormed the Capitol, but they were prosecuted not for violating the physical space. They were prosecuted for seditious conspiracy. A year later, they were sentenced to 16 to 75 years in jail, a year later.

You don`t have to move slowly when clock is ticking. Clock is ticking here. I agree very much with Adam Schiff. There is no basis for the attorney general to be waiting on that broader investigation, and yet the scary thing is there is simply no indication that the department of justice is investigating that broader plot. I hope to heaven that it is. But there is no indication of it. Right now, there is reason not to be -- not to be too confident.

O`DONNELL: And that left us hanging on every word as it were, including that phrase "follow the money", which is interesting, but doesn`t reveal. Then he used the phrase, among those being investigated, he said those who conspired with others to obstruct the vote. Now, that`s -- that group could include Donald Trump.

But what more -- what more specifically would he be able to say within Justice Department policy about comment on ongoing investigations?

TRIBE: Well, he certainly was right not to say we are investigating Donald Trump. But he could have said we are investigating not only the events that occurred at the Capitol and what immediately led up to the attack on the Capitol, but we are investigating the facts that bear on a broader attempt to overturn the vote, to claim that the election was stolen, and to overturn the vote and make sure that the duly elected president would not take office.


We are looking at that. We are trying to figure out who was responsible for it. We are following the money. We`re following the digital evidence. We`re looking at all of that.

But there was nothing. That wouldn`t have been inappropriate. In fact, the Department of Justice guidelines say that it is quite appropriate in the discretion of the attorney general to give confidence to the nation that an important event is being investigated. That important event, nothing could be more important than a plot to prevent the peaceful transition of power to the duly elected president that`s being investigated, it`s being investigated completely in the dark, and we are left to have nightmares about the fact that by the time the attorney general gets there, it will be too late.

We have midterm elections coming up. There are all kinds of reasons not to want to investigate a president too close to the next election. The clock is ticking, and the stakes could not be higher.

So in that way, I was disappointed by what the attorney general said, and I very much agree with Adam Schiff. Both Adam and Merrick were former students of mine at different times. It`s interesting to see one commenting on the other. They are both very smart.

But here I agree more with Adam than I do with Merrick Garland.

O`DONNELL: Well, Merrick Garland has not finished the assignment yet. So we will watch and wait and find out more as we go.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, thank you for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Montana Senator Jon Tester, who has been in the room negotiating with Joe Manchin, will join us on the situation with voting rights legislation in the Senate, and we will begin with the single most ignored government policy that Jon Tester worries about every day. Senator Tester joins us next.




JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Capitalism without competition isn`t capitalism, it`s exploitation.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That was present Joe Biden in a virtual meeting on Monday sounding to some, like he was speaking with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez`s constituents in New York City where that kind of critique of capitalism would be very well received. Let`s see how it was received in that meeting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was all on our minds, of all of our farmers and ranchers throughout the country. And not since Teddy Roosevelt had we have a president that`s willing to take on this big issue. So, thank you very much for that.


O`DONNELL: But since Republican President Teddy Roosevelt over 100 years ago. Most Washington pundits have told you repeatedly, the Democrats just don`t know how to talk to voters in rural farm states and most of those pundits have never been to those states and never bothered to listen to what most Democrats actually say and more importantly do about foreign policy. And those same pundits will insist to you that only Republicans understand the importance of agriculture.

The Oklahoma farmer, who you just heard praising President Biden had this to say about Donald Trump last year.

Ultimately, my bottom-line looks about the same as it did pre-Trump trade war. But much of that income came in the form of Trump`s bailout. Those are subsidies that I wouldn`t have needed if the trade war hadn`t happened. I`m grateful for the dollars to keep my farm afloat. But I`d much rather earn those dollars than be given them. The trade wars limited my and other farmers ability to earn.

Now during this election year, you will have pundits describing Democratic party politics and governance exclusively from the perspective of the most liberal urban Democrats, which also happens to be the perspective of where those pundits actually live. And as an example, of the wide range of governing issues that the president and the Democratic party face every day. We are focusing here tonight on the single most ignored policy issue in the Washington news media, agriculture policy.

And as our guide, we are joined now by Farmer John, as in farmer, Jon Tester, the senior senator from Montana, who spends some of every day worrying about his farm, and the rest of family farms in America. Senator, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): It`s great to be here, Lawrence. I really appreciate the topic. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to the point that the president was making at the beginning about capitalism without competition is exploitation. He was talking there about the food supply chain, specifically the meatpacking, meat processing business. What is his point about that?

TESTER: His point is that when you only have a few players in the business, there isn`t real competition and for capitalism to work, you have to have competition and for far too long, my entire lifetime, we`ve had too much consolidation in the meat industry. And the statistics bear it out. 80 percent to 84 percent of the meat, the beef is controlled by four companies. That`s not competition. That`s not how capitalism is supposed to work.

And so, look, the one guy brought up Teddy Roosevelt, President Roosevelt back 100 years ago, you know, did some things, carry the big stick and beat up some of those packers? The truth is today, the bean industry is far more consolidated now than it was back then and who`s paying the price for this, your cow calf operators are going broke because of this and the folks that are the small and medium-sized feeders are going broke.


So, there`s some things that need to be done. I applaud what the president did last week, Congress needs to step up the plate too, and do some things to get - to rein this in and put some competition back in the marketplace.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to what the president actually is doing because he has the money to do it already. In the American Rescue Plan. He`s devoting $1 billion in this arena. And one thing he`s targeting is developing a workforce to help supply possibly more independent meat processing plants, and making the point that we need a well-trained workforce to do that. There is some reporting indicating that that I`ve read in Montana press, for example, about the lack of qualified cutters who are out there to work in these plants. And how do we - how do we get a larger workforce available?

TESTER: So, what President Biden has done is two things, I think invest in brick and mortar facilities, more meatpacking plants, and invest in workforce, get more folks trained up to know how to cut meat, to be able to meet the needs out there. There`s also something else that needs to be done too though, Lawrence. We need to have teeth in the Packers and Stockyards Act. So that when these big packers lower their prices, and undercut some of these meat packers that are out there and put them out of business, that there has to be transparency there. So, we can see that, so that we can enforce the law, so that doesn`t happen.

The combination of those two things, I think are game changers for folks in production agriculture. And if we`re able to do that, if we`re able to do some things with a spot pricing bill, that`s a bill that the Fisher and Grassley, and myself and others now, if we can do some things with putting teeth into the Packers and Stockyards Act with a special investigator, that`s another bill we have,

if we can do some things with mandatory country of origin labeling, that`s another bill we have, then I think, and plus do these investments that the president`s talking about, then I think we`re well on our way to making sure there`s competition in the marketplace. And making sure these cow calf operators and these small and medium-sized feeders don`t go broke.

And because if they go broke, our food supply changes for the worse, our consumers are going to pay a lot more for the products that are out there. We`re seeing it already. And so, it`s time for Congress to act, the president has act, I applauded his actions a couple of days ago. Now Congress needs to step up and meet our end of the bargain too, so we can keep our food chain secure.

This is not national security, this about rural economy, it`s about a lot of things. And it`s all very important.

O`DONNELL: And when you just made the point there about meat packers, lowering their prices, I just want to make sure for the audience that I grew up with, in cities like Boston, who didn`t know where the nearest farm was, you`re talking about the prices that the meat packers pay to the farmer, not what the meat packers then turn around and charge as that food moves its way through the food chain.

TESTER: I`m actually talking about both. I`m talking about the prices they pay to the farmer that puts them out of business, that cow calf producer that puts him out of business. And I`m also talking about on the competition side of things. And this is where the Packers and Stockyards Act can be enforced too.

On the competition side of things, the big packers have the ability, they`ve got the financial ability to sell at a loss. So, they can actually undercut some of these small processors for long enough that it puts them out of business. That`s illegal. It shouldn`t be allowed to happen. And if we put more transparency and more teeth into packers and stockyards, we can make sure that doesn`t happen. And who`s the winner. It`s not only the cow calf guys, it`s not only the guys in production agriculture, in rural America, it`s also the consumer, everybody wins.

And right now, we`re beholden to four companies on the beef side of things that is going to ruin rural America and going to ruin food security for this country. And then that`s not an overstatement. That`s a fact. So, we need to act.

O`DONNELL: And as we`re watching prices go up, meat prices go up this year, the price to the producer, to the actual farmer who produced this has gone down. When we look at that number that we`re looking at in the supermarket, on that package of meat and how much it costs. The actual farmers share of that number we see has been going down.

TESTER: Absolutely correct. And it`s gone down to the point now where it`s just the profit margin isn`t there to stay in business and it`s why you`re seeing people who have been in the business for generations go and look, I don`t think we can move this farm on to the next generation or this ranch on to the next generation. Because there just isn`t.


There`s just not enough money to pay the bills anymore. These folks are getting squeezed out of business by a very consolidated marketplace, it can change. But laws have to be enforced. In order for laws to be enforced, we have to do what the president announced a couple days ago, and then we need to get some of the bills passed into the president`s desk that I just talked about.

And if we`re able to do that, I think it`ll create a situation where rural America won`t continue to dry up. And there will be a future for our next generation of farmers and ranchers on the land. And I think that`s really important to this country.

O`DONNELL: Senator, you are one of America`s political wizards, in addition to being the policy leader in this area, and your political wizardry is such that you are able to get elected as a Democrat in the state of Montana, which increasingly has become kind of a magic act. That also allows you to have a unique perspective on the challenges facing someone like Joe Manchin, elected as a Democrat in a Trump supporting state like West Virginia, you`ve been in conversations with Senator Manchin, you know, a lot of his thinking.

As we approach this vote that Senator Schumer has promised on voting rights, which could require a vote on changing a Senate rule to remove a 60 vote threshold to get to a vote on voting rights. What do you believe is going to happen when Senator Schumer brings this to the Senate floor?

TESTER: I hope it passes, because fair and secure elections, free elections are fundamental to our democracy. And I hope it passes. I think what we`ve seen in many of the state legislatures around this country is try to prohibit certain groups of people from voting by making it miserable to vote or just purging them off the rolls. I don`t think we can stand for that. At the federal level, I think this democracy is based on people who are able to go to the polls and vote. And hopefully this bill will pass when Schumer brings it up, because I think it`s really fundamentally important if our democracy is going to move forward for generations to come. I think it`s a bedrock principle.

O`DONNELL: Do you have a sense of how Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema are going to vote?

TESTER: Look, I think that`s a better question for them. I know there`s conversations going on between myself and others with both Sinema and Manchin, they`re friends of mine. And hopefully, we can get them to a point where they`ll see that this is really important, if we`re going to have a democracy in this country. The right to vote is fundamental to that, and they`ll support it. But I don`t know that they`re there yet. But there`s still some time to talk.

O`DONNELL: And Senator Manchin stresses the importance of bipartisan support in this kind of area, but you demonstrate what bipartisan legislative looks like in agriculture. And you`ve done that repeatedly.

TESTER: Yes, look, I mean, I think that the bipartisanship is good. I think, you remember from your days here on the Hill, Lawrence things have changed, they`ve changed a lot. The filibuster has been weaponized, where you can have one person have veto power over the entire United States Senate. That`s not what the forefathers had in mind. And so, I do think that going back to the days where minority rights are protected, but we have a thing called a talking filibuster, I think would be beneficial to the minority and the majority, and I think it would help bring people together in a bipartisan way, if we`re able to present these rules in a way that forces people to be on the floor. If you want to stop a bill, you can. But you have to be on the floor to do it. You can`t just put a hole and then walk off the floor and go home.

And I think that`s really what we`re looking at. And in the case of voting rights. Lawrence, I think that free fair elections are very, very important to this democracy. I think we`ve seen since January 6th, since a year ago, tomorrow. We`ve seen state legislatures do their darndest to keep certain people from voting. I don`t think that`s what most Americans want to see. And I think that if we`re able to get a good voting bill passed, if we`re able to do some things with a filibuster that protects minority rights, yet forces participation. I think that`s all positive for our democracy.

And I think it`s also positive for bringing this country together, so they can see how a Senate is supposed to work. What they`ve seen for the last 15 years is Senate that doesn`t work very well at all. It`s one of the reasons our ratings are in the tank.

O`DONNELL: Senator Jon Tester, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Always appreciate it.

TESTER: Thank you, Lawrence. Appreciate it. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Coming up on this night, one year ago, the voters of Georgia saved the Biden presidency before it began by delivering control of the United States Senate to the Democrats. The White House announced today that President Biden and Vice President Harris are going to Georgia next week to talk about voting rights, Lauren Groh-Wargo, Stacey Abrams campaign manager will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Exactly one year ago at this hour, votes were being counted in Georgia in the election of two United States Senators Chuck Schumer was in hiding the next day during the attack on the Capitol when he got the word that he would become the next Majority Leader of the United States Senate. Thanks to these Senate victories in Georgia by John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.


Without those Senate victories in Georgia, instead of confirming a record number of judges in the first year of his presidency, Joe Biden might have zero confirmed federal judges as of tonight. Everything President Biden and the Democrats have accomplished in Congress is, thanks entirely to the voters of Georgia, delivering two Democrats to the United States Senate. Today, the White House announced on Tuesday, January 11th, President Biden and Vice President Harris will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, to speak to the American people about the urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections from corrupt attempts to strip law abiding citizens of their fundamental freedoms, and allow partisan state officials to undermine vote counting processes.

Joining us now is Lauren Groh-Wargo, manager of Stacey Abrams, current campaign for governor of Georgia. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. And the president is going to Georgia next week to talk about these legislative attacks on the right to vote and the right to have your vote counted accurately. And we`re getting reports now from Atlanta saying that the Republicans in Georgia are at it again, they actually want to add this year, more voting restrictions and more control over the counting of votes in Georgia.

LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, STACEY ABRAMS FOR GOVERNOR 2022: Yes, the president is coming next week, Tuesday, the second day of the Georgia state legislative session, which is a lot of poetry coming the week after our anniversary of the big Georgia run off wins. And I`m really thrilled to be here with you during this international Georgia blue holiday anniversary. We`re going to make it an international holiday to recognize all the good work that has been done over the past year, as you mentioned.

And yes, in Georgia and all over the country and state legislative sessions are starting back up in the coming weeks many next weeks, like here in Georgia, and they are redoubling their efforts. Right. They are committed to voter fraud lies and conspiracy theories. And you know, at the expense of any other policy platform or movement.

And so, we`re going to continue to see these attacks over the coming months in state legislatures around the country. We`ve already seen some of their pre-filed bills in many places. And we know in Georgia, it`s a whole big legislative agenda, not focused on people`s need during this crisis, but rather all this political posturing and harm and racist baiting to try and meet political ends on voter suppression.

But here`s the good news, Lawrence is there`s $100 million, just in Georgia alone, that is going out over the next 13 weeks to put hospital workers and others into this crisis to support our families. That wouldn`t have happened if Georgia voters didn`t elect Warnock and Ossoff to the U.S. Senate. So those funds would be available. So, Brian Kemp gets to give out that money. Brian Kemp would have no money to give out without those Democratic successes. And across the country, Republican and Democratic governors have some tools for this huge massive wave that they`re able to do.

Now Brian Kemp and many others aren`t doing what they need to do and could do much more and are allowing hospitals to close during a pandemic. But I really want folks as we get into next week in the coming months to really think about the hope that we have here in Georgia and around the country that we can see victories even with these insurmountable challenges, seemingly insurmountable challenges.

O`DONNELL: Raphael Warnock has become the conscience of the Senate on voting rights and voting rights legislation. We now know Senator Schumer has not been public about it. He was public about it with Rachel Maddow tonight, that he as of tonight only has 48 votes in the Senate for the possible rules change that would be necessary on the 60 vote threshold in order to get voting rights through. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have not come around as of yet. What could be said to them, to make them understand what`s at stake in Georgia and around the country.

GROH-WARGO: Look, this is the most fundamental right in our country, in our democracy. And so, as Senator Tester and many others have said, the right to vote and the way the Senate works, these are not in conflict. And many times, over the course of the Senate`s history, the rules have changed. And there has been very good protections for simple majority votes to pass legislation on issue after issue.

What I would say to them is set that aside for a moment and think about the future of this country. Think about the fact that elections workers are being threatened, voters are being purged from the roles, what kind of country do we want to leave for the next generation?


And what is our duty as Americans in this moment of crisis to do the right thing, this is about patriotism. This is not about politics. This is about our democracy. This is about people and their hopes and dreams. This is about Democrats, Republicans, independents, new citizens to this country being able to express their hopes and dreams. This is a much bigger calling and here in Atlanta. As we march on to the MLK holiday and more, we demand that our senators take action.

O`DONNELL: Lauren Groh-Wargo, thank you very much for joining us on this very important one year anniversary night for you and for Stacey Abrams and the political organization that you`ve built in Georgia. Thank you very much.

GROH-WARGO: Thank you, sir.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.


O`DONNELL: Tomorrow at 9 AM, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak at the Capitol, exactly.