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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 10/19/21

Guests: Pete Aguilar, Ross Wilburn, Suzan DelBene, Ro Khanna, Jena Griswold


The January 6 committee unanimously voted to advance Steve Bannon criminal contempt referral to full House. Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California is interviewed. President Joe Biden along with Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held two separate meetings with Democrats this afternoon. Two election officials accused of undermining election security are now banned from overseeing Colorado`s November election. A judge has ruled in favor of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Yeah, when you go there, it will be the first one of the night. I don`t know how I know that. I was watching every minute of your show and interview with Bennie Thompson, which was so important. One of the things that was said tonight was something that I don`t think was quite so clear before and that was when Liz Cheney said that the resistance, the Trump resistance to this investigation and to this particular subpoena actually indicates that Donald Trump was involved in the run-up to the preparation for and what they believe may be the conspiracy to attack the Capitol.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": And that that is what -- that is the common thread that explains the resistance in terms of what people aren`t handing over and what people are refusing to talk about. I asked Thompson tonight, Chairman Thompson tonight whether or not they sort of seen enough already in their investigation to know to have found things that the public doesn`t know to have found things that will surprise us or indeed shock us in terms of how things went on January 6th and he said oh, yes, the public will be shocked. We have found stuff that will surprise you and then for Liz Cheney to have said that tonight, I feel like they`re starting to give indications where the investigation is going.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, and I`m hoping we can find more about the cooperation they already had. The chairman mentioned that in his statement in the committee tonight about how Bannon is the only one so okay, what does that mean -- what is Mark Meadows doing exactly if Bannon is the only one resisting in the way he is resisting and we have Pete Aguilar, a member of the committee joining us for that discussion. That`s one of the things we`ll see what they can and can`t tell us about that. Because obviously, they are trying to contain how much of the information gets out at this point.

MADDOW: Yes, and rightfully so. They`re going to present their findings when they have findings to present. But as they present the subpoena to Bannon, for example, again, rightfully talking about the fact he`s the one engaging and making clear time is of the essence. They won`t do this fast, they won`t be delayed. They will force this fast.

The vote in the House is Thursday. That`s even faster than we thought it would be. So they`re full steam ahead. This is not something that is plodding along.

O`DONNELL: So, of course, you did your homework and you discovered the last time there was such prosecution for this back in the 1980s. By the way, the name of the show could be "Rachel Maddow`s Homework with Rachel Maddow." That`s one --


O`DONNELL: That`s one show title that I don`t know, should be on the list. Should think about.

Anyway, so it was great because I vaguely remembered it when you said it but then you said for me, the magic sentence of it was eight days between the time the house voted for the prosecution and the Justice Department actually brought charges in eight days, and those of us who were around back then and in the 1970s during the Watergate investigation, we keep saying all of these processes used to be much faster. Things that happened in weeks and months now used to literally happen in days. And that`s an example.

MADDOW: Yes, that`s -- and, you know, it will be an independent judgment by the U.S. attorney in D.C. to decide whether or not to bring these charges and nobody should think they can inflect that decision, but theoretically, if the U.S. attorney decides to go ahead with this, convening a grand jury or going to a grand jury that`s already empanelled and asking for an indictment in a case like this, shouldn`t become flex. He`s trying to assert executive privilege when the only person that could invoke executive privilege, the current sitting president of the United States says it doesn`t apply here, I`m not the one invoking this.

It`s a fairly simple matter if they decide to do it. I don`t know why it should take more than eight days. We don`t know how the Justice Department will be inclined here, how the attorney general might instruct this U.S. attorney`s office how to handle this.


I mean, if you`re Bannon, you`re probably playing the odds that nothing bad will happen to you because you seem to skate when he`s been indicted before but, you know, this is serious stuff and it could move fast if at least on paper, there is no reason to think it couldn`t move fast.

O`DONNELL: The other -- before you go to hit the grand slam, the other great thing that of course in the vote in the 1980s, the vote was unanimous in the House every single Republican member of the House voted for criminal prosecution of a Republican president, a Reagan administration official and there was just no question of course, if she`s going to defy this subpoena, of course we all vote for them.

MADDOW: Yeah. I mean, the unanimous vote, I mean, that was Congress in a non-partisan way standing up for the power of Congress to actually conduct investigations and to be obeyed. And that I feel like those days are passed, but maybe they`ll come back.

O`DONNELL: You got to go, Rachel. They need you.

MADDOW: They do.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Bye, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Before the committee voted tonight, the Republican Vice Chair of the Committee Liz Cheney began her remarks by outlining the case against Steve Bannon.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): On January 6th, a mob breached the security perimeter of our Capitol, assaulted and injured more than 140 police officers, engaged in hand to hand violence over an extended period and invaded and occupied the United States Capitol building, all in an effort to halt the lawful counting of electoral votes and reverse the results of the 2020 election.

The day before this all occurred, on January 5th, Mr. Bannon publicly professed knowledge that, quote, all hell is going to break loose tomorrow, end quote. He forecast that the day would be, quote, extraordinarily different than what most Americans expected.

He said to his listeners and his viewers, quote, so many people said if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington. Well, he said, this is your time in history.

Based on the committee`s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans for January 6th and likely had an important role in formulating those plans. Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on January 6th. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president`s efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen.


O`DONNELL: The question before the committee tonight was, should they recommend criminal prosecution of Steve Bannon? And each member answered that question in the role call vote.


CLERK: Ms. Cheney?


CLERK: Ms. Lofgren?


CLERK: Ms. Lofgren? Aye.

Mr. Schiff?


CLERK: Mr. Schiff. Aye.

Mr. Aguilar?


CLERK: Mr. Aguilar, aye.

Mrs. Murphy?


CLERK: Mrs. Murphy, aye.

Mr. Raskin?


CLERK: Mr. Raskin, aye.

Mrs. Luria?


CLERK: Mrs. Luria, aye.

Mr. Kinzinger?


CLERK: Mr. Kinzinger, aye.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Has the chair recorded?

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, you are not recorded.

THOMPSON: I vote aye.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, aye.

THOMPSON: The clerk will report the vote.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are nine ayes, zero noes.

THOMPSON: The motion is agreed to.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He`s a member of the January 6th Committee and he`s the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Thank you very much for joining us on this important night.

When did you realize that the committee was going to be unanimous on this vote?

AGUILAR: I think it became pretty clear once we started having the communication back and forth and the communications with the Bannon counsel was detailed in the report that we produced, but it became clear they would not be as corporative as many other witnesses that came forward and subpoenas as well. So, that`s when we knew this might be a little different.

O`DONNELL: What can you tell us about the cooperation of say, Mark Meadows that had a date where he was supposed to testify. He did not show up for the date but he is not being recommended for criminal prosecution?


AGUILAR: What I can tell you is that Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are engaged with the committee, that`s all I can say at this point. And so that`s why Mr. Bannon is the only one where you`re seeking to elevate to this level with the full House vote for contempt.

O`DONNELL: And the chairman mentioned tonight that you`ve reached out to dozens of witnesses. Does that mean you`ve interviewed dozens of witnesses already?

AGUILAR: There have been dozens of interviews that have taken place and there is coordination and discussion. There were also 11 other subpoenas that that were made public for individuals who played a role in the financing of -- and planning of the January 5th and January 6th rallies. We`re engaged with those individuals and it`s our expectation they will produce documents, as well as sit for interviews.

O`DONNELL: The chairman wasn`t sure at the point of time where you were voting tonight when the full House would vote on that. We now know the full House will vote day after tomorrow. The House has already a busy day pre -- that was already scheduled for tomorrow and you also apparently have to go through the rules committee on this.

Do you have to go through the rules committee before going to the House floor on Thursday?

AGUILAR: Yes, the chair and the vice chair will both present to the rules committee and if reported out favorably, it will go to the house floor on Thursday. That`s our understanding.

O`DONNELL: And so what is your expectation after Thursday? Rachel Maddow was reporting in the previous hour that the last time the House did this, it took eight days between the time the House voted to recommend a criminal prosecution and the Justice Department actually brought charges against a regular administration official. That passage of time was eight days.

AGUILAR: Well, that`s up to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and department of justice how fast they proceed. Our expectation is that they will follow the law and so after we pass this off of the House floor, the speaker will certify it. It will get transmitted over to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the federal law is clear that that individual has a duty to bring it before a grand jury. And so that`s our expectation that it would follow the law and bring this to the grand jury.

So that`s what we hope the process that they follow will be on Thursday.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the way Liz Cheney made this point about how the privilege argument appears to suggest that Donald Trump actually was personally involved. Let`s listen to the way she put this.


CHENEY: Mr. Bannon`s and Mr. Trump`s privilege arguments do however appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.


O`DONNELL: What was your reaction to that point?

AGUILAR: It was a strong statement, it was a great statement and Representative Cheney, Vice Chair Cheney has been an amazing colleague to work with an the issues. She`s not going to be shy about calling it like she sees it.

And so, we`re going to continue to follow the leadership of her and the chairman as we guide through this process.

We`re in uncharted territory here. We know that. We have a duty and obligation to find out the truth. That`s all we`ve said we want.

We don`t bring any joy and the chairman talked about this. We don`t bring joy about taking this step. We hope people comply. We hope they feel the patriotic duty to comply with the lawful subpoena.

But if they don`t, there have to be consequences. And we promised the American people we would get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th. This is the next step to do that.

O`DONNELL: How can you get to the bottom of it without sending a subpoena to Donald Trump?

AGUILAR: Well, we`re going to take one step at a time. And so, this is where we are today. Upon every interview we take, we`ll continue to learn more details and we will unlock more issues that we will have to chase down and that will lead to more individuals who we have to interview.

That`s just going to be the process. It`s going to be an investigative process and we`re going to follow that game plan and we`re going to chase every lead as the chair and vice chair have said and to ultimately produce a report for the American public but we won`t get ahead of ourselves. We`re not going to be shy about doing that if warranted but we need to accomplish these few steps first.

O`DONNELL: So just to be clear, you`re not going to be shy about subpoenaing Donald Trump if it is warranted?

AGUILAR: We`re not going to be shy about subpoenaing anyone with knowledge of the events of January 5th and 6th and what led to the violent insurrection of the Capitol.


And so, that`s our posture. That`s our position. We`ll chase every lead wherever it goes.

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

AGUILAR: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And joining us now is Daniel Goldman, the majority counsel for the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He`s also a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He is an MSNBC legal analyst.

And, Dan, I want to start with you on that Liz Cheney point where she says Mr. Bannon`s and Mr. Trump`s privilege arguments do appear to reveal they suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. What was your reaction to that point?

DAN GOLDMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: That`s a great point. It`s similar to what you would refer to as an adverse inference to someone who takes the Fifth Amendment in a civil case and basically the law is that you could use that assertion of the Fifth Amendment, you can`t use it against them in a criminal case but take an inference against them in a similar case.

It`s a similar idea in impeachment we said every time you obstruct, you are essentially admitting that you have inculpatory evidence. And that`s exactly what Liz Cheney is saying. She is saying you cannot assert executive privilege unless you have relevant information to our committee, which is investigating January 6th.

So by the fact that you are asserting some executive privilege over documents or testimony, it means there is relevant information that you Donald Trump, the former president, has that you are trying to hide.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what Chairman Thompson said about what happens next including after the full vote of the house and he referred to the U.S. attorney doing his duty. Let`s listen to that.


THOMPSON: We take seriously the work of the committee. We have not only subpoenaed Mr. Bannon but a number of other people. Others up to this point, they have engaged the committee. We`re getting material. We are having discussions with their lawyers.

But he`s just totally ignored the process and basically for whatever reason, he`s still trying to follow Donald Trump.

We believe Mr. Bannon has information relevant to our probe and we`ll use the tools at our disposal to get that information. I expect that the house will quickly adopt this referral through the Justice Department and that the U.S. attorney will do his duty and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.


O`DONNELL: Is that the U.S. attorney`s duty?

GOLDMAN: Technically, yes. In reality, though, the U.S. attorney will always use its discretion because it needs to be able to go to court and prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. And I think it`s very important to understand the difference between Congress saying that you are in contempt of Congress and charging someone with the crime of being in contempt of Congress.

And that`s this, what we`ve talked about a lot, the intent element. You must be able to demonstrate that Steven Bannon had no plausible or reasonable belief that he did not need to appear. And you could make an argument, certainly you and Rachel talked about this, there is no good legal argument that Donald Trump can assert executive privilege with Steve Bannon who was not working in the government at the time.

But there is -- it is not clear cut that Donald Trump has no involvement in an assertion of executive privilege over materials related to him during his presidency. And that`s why this particular referral is so important because Bannon is not being referred because he`s not producing documents subject to executive privilege. Bannon is being referred because he didn`t show up to testify and there is recent case law in the Don McGahn case that took years to litigate and Donald Trump was able to delay Don McGahn`s testimony because of that.

But what came out of that is that every witness who subpoenaed by Congress must appear to testify. If they want to assert executive privilege, they can do that but there is no such thing as absolute immunity so that goes a long way to help the U.S. attorney charge Steve Bannon because Bannon could say oh, I had advice of counsel.


I don`t know what to do. Donald Trump told me that I shouldn`t, you know, give this information because it`s subject to executive privilege. Who am I to tell him he doesn`t have that right? That`s for the court to tell him.

Those could be defenses. They`re not a defense to him simply showing up and testifying, which the law is very clear that he must do.

O`DONNELL: So does the U.S. attorney reach out to Bannon`s attorney and say listen, we`re going to present this to a grand jury, we have it. Do you want to talk about reaching some kind of agreement with the house before we do this?

GOLDMAN: M guess is that Steve Bannon`s lawyer will ask to present to the U.S. attorney and he will try to make the case that Bannon should not be prosecuted. And he`ll present some of those arguments that I just made that Bannon has a reasonable belief that he needs to listen to Donald Trump and therefore he`s not doing this by his own will, he`s doing this because the former president told him and then the U.S. attorney will have to weigh that and then the U.S. attorney will make the decision and will either decide they will go forward with the case or not and if they go forward, they`ll reach out to discuss plea negotiations.

But I doubt very much this will end in a plea. If Bannon is willing to flout this, he`s willing to go the distance. He wants to maintain his right to appeal.

You know, Bannon got a pardon from Donald Trump. He`ll go to the mat for Donald Trump and what Donald Trump wants to do is delay, delay, delay and let this sit in the courts as -- until the end of 2022 when the committee effectively runs out.

O`DONNELL: Daniel Goldman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

GOLDMAN: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, police in Iowa are investigating a lynching threat made against the state`s first black Democratic Party chair, Ross Wilburn, after he wrote an op-ed about Republican lawmakers in Iowa newspaper. Ross Wilburn will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Our next guest, Ross Wilburn, is the first African-American chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. And he has received multiple racist threats including a lynching threat for an opinion piece he wrote in an Iowa newspaper entitled "Iowa Republicans put loyalty to Trump over helping Iowans`.

Here is how Ross Wilburn describes the threats: voice mails include very explicit language, every other word was the "N" word. What stood out this time was the language used specifically the very direct statement about lynching. I get angry about that that people feel that they can come in and make you feel less than human, subhuman with that type of reference to lynching.

Joining us now is State Representative Ross Wilburn. He is the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Thanks for joining us tonight. This is a horrifying story to read about. You wrote an op-ed piece a fairly short op-ed piece in an Iowa newspaper before Donald Trump`s visit to Iowa pointing out what Donald Trump has done in terms of lying about the election and Chuck Grassley`s participation in the rally and other Iowa Republicans Paris participation in the rally.

I mean, a pretty standard piece in 2021 and you`re suddenly getting lynching threats from that.

STATE REP. ROSS WILBURN (D-IA), CHAIR, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Yeah, you know, I do get angry about it, Lawrence, and thanks for having me on the show. I wish it was for different circumstances but, you know, it`s not uncommon for public servants and it`s not uncommon for people of color serving a public role to receive racist emails or phone calls but the reference to the act of lynching made me angry.

There is a history, as you know in our country of people trying to intimidate black people, black families with lynching. I get the passion and anger that can happen sometimes in politics. It is -- they try to push you down to help themselves feel better that you`re not human, you`re some type of animal or something but it -- you know, it`s just got to stop and I felt it was important to file a complaint with law enforcement with the police department. I`m grateful they are taking this seriously and doing investigation but it really has to stop.

O`DONNELL: It`s part of a national surge in threats against public officials, the threats against members of Congress have skyrocketed this year and there seems to be an empowerment to these threats that Donald Trump has inspired people with.

Is it your -- I mean, you`ve been in the public world for awhile. Is it your sense that something has changed, that if you mentioned, if you as you did, write something about Donald Trump that`s what is going to provoke this?

WILBURN: Absolutely. It`s been present, you know, in our country`s history. I mean, I used to be a mayor, you mentioned public service and I remember being a mayor in a grocery store and people greeting me, hello, Mr. Mayor, good to see you. Thanks for a variety of things and as I was leaving, exiting pushing my cart people converge, someone -- her cart almost bumped into mine and I stopped and before I could say excuse me, she yelled out, screamed out get out of my way and dropped the "N" word.

So I mean, people were shocked and I was shocked but so it`s been present but I think the intensity has increased, the boldness. I shake my head at what`s happening at a lot of the school board meetings. We`ve got school board and city counsel elections coming up this fall. And so the intensity as well as the threat of violence especially after Trump`s comments around January 6th, it`s really saying it`s getting out of hand 12 an understatement, a vast understatement.


O`DONNELL: Do you wonder about how long you can stay in this occupation if this is part of it?

WILBURN: One of the reasons I came forward, this is bigger than me. As I said, you`re starting to see violent acts. I mean My blood started to boil in January at the insurrection there, but I felt it was important to come forward to speak out both making the police report. I do intend to press charges if they`re able to find the individual or individuals that did this.

But you know, for people who want to run for office or people who are in appointed office or working as public officials or just people and especially people of color who are trying to be community leaders, I need to come forward and say that this is happened so that we can get, you know, the other folks in our communities who don`t want to see this happening, who are unaware that it is, you know, has been happening.

But to say that this has got to stop, it`s not right. This is not who we are as Americans and it`s not who we are as Iowans. So that`s why I felt it was important to come forward to try and encourage others to come forward and so that no one is a bystander.

I think that`s the critical piece because, you know, the folks that have, you know, that are responding to Trump`s encouragement of violence, we need everyone else to be sticking forward to say enough is enough.

This is not who we are. It`s just got to stop. So it was one small step I think for me to come forward and I`ve heard a lots of support from many others and thanking me for doing so.

But really it`s, I mean, I just take it a day at a time. We`ve got to -- we`ve got stop this.

O`DONNELL: Ross Wilburn, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I agree with you. I`m sorry this is the subject that you`re joining us on tonight. We would love to have you come back to discuss the important presidential campaign state of Iowa many times in the future. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

WILBURN: Absolutely. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up after a series of meetings with the president today, Democrats in Congress are sounding maybe a bit closer to an agreement on Joe Biden`s legislative agenda. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: President Joe Biden along with Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held two separate meetings with Democrats this afternoon. The White House group met with nine progressive house members including Congressman Ro Khanna. The four meeting with seven House and Senate moderates including our next guest Congresswoman Suzan DelBene.

Here is what White House press secretary Jen Psaki said about why the president held separate meetings.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They aren`t duels between factions of the party. There is broad agreement, actually, about the vast majority of issues here. So the president is basing this approach on five decades of Washington which is a pretty good guide for how to get things done. And he felt these were the appropriate groups to come together and bring to the White House today.

It`s important for people to understand it`s not as if these members don`t talk to each other in Congress or don`t have their own meetings with each other.


O`DONNELL: This morning, President Biden met separately with Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema ahead of his meetings this afternoon. When asked about her meeting with President Biden, Senator Sinema replied quote, "It was good."

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene of the state of Washington. She is the chair of the New Democrat Coalition. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

You`re on what`s considered the moderate side of the House. Where are you in these negotiations?

REP. SUZAN DELBENE (D-WA): Well, we had a great meeting with the president and the vice president and Secretary Yellen. And I think one thing that really was truly a step forward was that we had a good discussion about specific proposals the president was looking at and some of the things he thought would help us get to that 218 in the House and 50 in the senate.

So this is important. We`ve had many conversations up until this point talking about different issues but really, we have to look at what an entire package, what the substance of an entire package would look like and at this point we started having more of that specific conversation, which I think is very important because we all have a huge sense of urgency that we need to get this done right away.

O`DONNELL: You have in the past been supportive of the $3.5 trillion target. You`re one of the moderates who was willing to go to that level.

But now obviously, it`s some kind of scaling back discussion. What are the points that you consider most important to preserve?

DELBENE: Well, I think there has been a lot of focus on a number and I think the focus needs to be on the substance of the legislation, even pushing the New Dem Coalition which is made up of 95 members of House Democrats.

We`ve been pushing hard for the extension of the expanded child tax credit, something that has reduced child poverty in our country, reduced poverty for three million children already since those checks started going out in July.

We support the permanent extension of the premium subsidies for the Affordable Care Act which has helped more and more people have affordable health care coverage in our country as well as making sure it closed the Medicaid expansion gap.

And we need to go big on climate. This is a -- this is an existential threat for the globe and so we think it`s important that we look at decarbonization, incentives to clean, renewable energy.


DELBENE: So those are three big priorities from the New Dem Coalition but there is more we can do. We always thought it was important that people lead with their priorities that we focus on the substance of the bill. And that`s what the American people are going to feel is what we actually put in there, not a number.

O`DONNELL: Did the president tell you what Joe Manchin`s position is on the climate provisions and whether there is any possibility of holding on to any of that in the Senate?

DELBENE: The president talked about some of the challenges that he`s faced making sure that we have votes on climate is an incredibly important area. And so he`s tried to be creative with ideas on what we can do that will pass the House and pass the Senate.

And we provided feedback, each of us that were there provided feedback on some of the proposals that he put forward not only on climate but also on issues supporting our families and our communities so that he could take that into account as he continues his effort to help us land the plane, make sure that we get not only the Build Back Better act passed but also the infrastructure bill passed right away.

Folks want to see us -- they want to see governance work. They want to see us get this done. So we do have a sense of urgency and want to get this done right away.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

DELBENE: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: And joining us now is Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California. He`s a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. So where are we and I know no one wants to talk the number and everyone wants to talk the specifics. So where are we on the specifics and let me begin with climate.

Joe Manchin could be the defining vote in the Senate on what`s possible on the climate provisions in this legislation. Has the president told you on and the progressive side where Joe Manchin is and where this bill might have to end up on climate issues?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Lawrence, we`re overall in a good place. The president was very candid. For example, he said that the clean energy program probably will not make it in. There will be a lot of tax incentives for solar and wind but there was a candid conversation about how we`re going to ensure that we hit the president`s goal by 2030 of reducing emissions by 50 percent. He`s open to ideas and whatever we propose obviously he needs to sell to Senator Manchin. But that is one place where we still need to negotiate and come to consensus.

O`DONNELL: And what about timing on this? It seems -- it sounds like everyone is kind of realizing that you members, House and Senate are looking at this from an outside world perspective and starting to notice that it looks very messy and slow.

And it seems like you`re all tending toward an agreement of let`s get an agreement, let`s get this done as fast as we can.

KHANNA: Lawrence, that`s right. I`ll tell you what convinced me. I`m not for this October 31st arbitrary deadline. But the president looked us in the eyes and said you can`t have me go to Glasgow empty-handed. That will damage the United States` leadership. That will damage our progress on climate. I need a deal. I need to show that American democracy is working. I need to show that the Democrats can govern.

I saw people shaking their heads. I think the president making that direct and ask, it was clear he was super engaged, knew the details of every policy. I believe he`s going to get it across the finish line before he leaves.

O`DONNELL: And by that, it sounds like we mean a deal, an announceable deal that everyone can -- not necessarily the complete series of votes that would legislate that deal.

KHANNA: Lawrence, honestly there are some difference of opinion on that in the caucus. My view is the president said, I will give you my word I will give you my word if we have 50 votes and you can take that to the bank.

I trust the president. I think if the president comes out and says I guarantee you this is going to pass the Senate without any drama of amendment, that`s good enough. We can get it done.

O`DONNELL: And so what is next? We know what the meetings were today. Do you have a sense of what has to happen next to get to an agreement?

KHANNA: Lawrence, the president has to engage the two senators, Senator Sanders as well and come up with a frame work. And then we all need to really go out and tell people what`s in this bill.

First, we need to make it clear this is less than 2 percent of our GDP. It`s a very small investment as rich a country as we are. And every American is finally going to get to go to preschool in this country. Every person, every family is going to get child care. Seniors are going to get dental benefits, vision, hearing.

We can afford this, Lawrence, as the richest country in the world. It`s time we do this and I`m proud to be part of the Congress that`s going to get this done.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We really appreciate it.

KHANNA: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Colorado`s Democratic secretary of state won in court in her case against Republican election officials who will now be barred from supervising the next election. Secretary of state Jena Griswold will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Two election officials accused of undermining election security are now banned from overseeing Colorado`s November election. A judge has ruled in favor of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. She sued to strip Mesa County clerk Tina Peters and her deputy Belinda Knisley of their election duties after discovering they allowed an unauthorized person access to the county`s Dominion voting machines during a software update.


O`DONNELL: Photos of passwords and copies of hard drives were made public forcing Secretary Griswold to decertify the equipment. The judge found that Tina Peters and Belinda Knisley quote, "-- committed a breach and neglect of duty and other wrongful acts. As such, Peters and Knisley are unable or unwilling to appropriately perform the duties of the Mesa County designated election official.

Secretary Griswold praised the ruling saying quote, that "It bars Peters from further threatening the integrity of Mesa`s election and ensures Mesa County residents have the secure and accessible election they deserve."

Joining us now is Jena Griswold, Colorado secretary of state and the chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. What does this judge`s decision mean for the Colorado election?

JENA GRISWOLD (D-CO), SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, thanks for having me, Lawrence.

I think it`s a really important decision because it shows that we are going to have great elections just like normal. We had a county clerk willing to compromise the integrity of an entire county and our statewide elections to prove the big lie.

So the court decision effectively bars that county clerk and her deputy from participating. But the bigger picture is that we cannot have election administrators who are trying to prove the big lie and not upholding what they should be doing, and that`s running great elections for their citizens.

So luckily in Colorado, we continue to be on a great track and we are currently having an election underway and it`s going just fantastically.

O`DONNELL: I want to read more from the judge`s ruling so the audience will understand what was happening here. The judge says, "Peters was untruthful with the secretary and her staff. Peters failed to follow the rules and orders of the secretary by facilitating and allowing a non-employee without a disclosed background check to have access to a secured area.

Knisley aided Peters in her wrongful acts by requesting that the cameras be disabled. In doing so, Knisley ensured that the wrongful behavior of Peters could not be viewed.

Peters and Knisley also failed to take adequate precautions to ensure that confidential information would be protected."

This is the kind of evidence in the case. The clerk says that she`s going to appeal this ruling.

GRISWOLD: The clerk does say that and they have petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court. But the facts speak for themselves. And, in fact, the facts are not even in dispute in this case.

A county clerk allowed images of hard drives and then access to voting equipment by an unauthorized third party, risking the entire integrity of a county election system.

So I acted swiftly. My office set up a protocol to make sure that the residents of those counties -- of that would have a great election. And a court has already agreed with our actions. So we think we will continue to win these cases.

But one of the things I think that we should be discussing is the fact that right now there are 700 candidates on the Republican ticket running for office -- 500 at the statewide level or at the state level who are pushing the big lie.

This insider threat that we saw in Colorado is very likely going to be seen across the nation, and we have to get ready. We need to make sure that insider threats from elected officials who are more interested in their politics than democracy are able to be stopped.

O`DONNELL: Are you confident that there isn`t any other threat like this in any other county in Colorado?

GRISWOLD: Yes, I am confident in Colorado`s election system. We only had evidence of one insider threat and we swiftly took care of that. I do believe, though, that this will be a recurring theme across the nation in future elections. The Republican Party has a new playbook, and that`s to lie, lie, lie, to undermine confidence, pass voter suppression and then tilt future elections.

We are seeing the effects of that playbook through state audits across the nation. Elected officials lying through their teeth to try to help themselves and their parties. Over 500 pieces of voter suppression introduced in 47 states.

So I do think that the urgency of this moment and how we`re seeing it being displayed just is an existential threat to democracy.

O`DONNELL: Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Warren explained the Biden tax enforcement proposal in a hearing today. That`s next.




SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): So when rich people rake in millions in sales or profit distributions, they are on the honor system. So tell me, deputy secretary, how is the honor system working right now?

WALLY ADEYEMO, DEPUTY TREASURY SECRETARY: It`s not working well, Senator. As you know, the top 1 percent of earners in America underpay their taxes by more than $150 billion each year, almost $2 trillion over the course of ten years.

WARREN: More than $150 billion a year is lost by these top earners. And that is exactly why Congress is considering a simple new third-party reporting requirement.

Small businesses have been putting together W-2s for their employees every year for a zillion years. Don`t tell me that the banks can`t do this.


ADEYEMO: Senator, those who don`t seek to pay their fair share will go to no ends to try and avoid taxation and that`s exactly what we`re seeing here.

The president`s goal ultimately is to level the playing field so that wealthy individuals have to pay taxes in the same way that the working class pay every day in America.


O`DONNELL: That was Senator Elizabeth Warren and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo at work in a Senate hearing today.