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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 11/11/21

Guests: Katie Hobbs, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Swalwell, Jasmine Crockett, Julie Johnson, Jonathan Kott, Norm Ornstein


Interview with Democratic secretary of state of Arizona, Katie Hobbs. Interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Interview with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). In Texas, the Republican Party`s vision for America is taking shape. No access to abortion, vaccination is discouraged, voting rights diminished and books banned. President Biden will have a very important bipartisan bill-signing ceremony on Monday at the White House for the bipartisan infrastructure, the biggest bill of its kind in decades.



You know what`s disappeared from my life during COVID?


O`DONNNELL: Among other things -- cufflinks.

And so imagine my stress when I went for this anchor man shirt tonight and it was a cufflink shirt and I had no cufflinks and, you know --

MADDOW: What did you do? What did you do? What did you do?

O`DONNELL: The thing is, you know, Brian`s not working in the building, and so Mr. Cufflinks isn`t here. And you know, Kornacki can`t help you in a wardrobe distress situation, right?

So I don`t know if we can get this, but Sterling Brown in the control room might get the paper clips that are --

MADDOW: Dude, we can at least upgrade you to binder clips. I have binder clips in my office. Those might be better.

O`DONNELL: I`m blaming Brian for not being here and being able to rush in some manly cufflinks for me when I needed them.

MADDOW: I am going to rush ship you some of those dice, you know what I mean?

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Vegas. Get me some Vegas cufflinks. That`s what I want for Christmas. There you go.

MADDOW: On my way. On my way. Well done. My resilient friend.

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

Well, in June, our first guest received a phone call from Jamie Fialkin. A 50-year-old stay-at-home dad who lives in Arizona and he called Arizona`s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and he said this.


JAMIE FIALKIN: They`re going to hang you for treason you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You`re going down. What are you going do when the election comes back and if already shows you Trump won by a million votes? What are you going to do then, Katie? What are you going to do then?


O`DONNELL: Two weeks later, Secretary Hobbs got a call from Jeff Yeager. A 56-year-old self-employed electrician in Los Angeles, California.


JEFF YEAGER: When Katie the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is executed for treason, what do you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitors going to be doing for work? (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, useless, lying, corrupt, un-American, evil pieces of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Your day is coming.


O`DONNELL: He was addressing that Katie Hobbs` staff, the secretary of state`s office, calling across state lines like that to threaten people`s lives is a federal crime. The two men who placed these calls have not been contacted by any local, state or federal law enforcement. They were contacted by a reporting team at Reuters who have issued a chilling report on what is happening to election officials like Katie Hobbs and others and other government officials who are receiving threats like this all the time.

Reuters reports that they have, quote, documented nearly 800 intimidating messages to election officials in 12 states, including more than 100 that could warrant prosecution, according to legal experts. The two men who placed the calls that you just heard were interviewed by Reuters, and were not apologetic.

Jamie Fialkin said: I am not denying anything because I am a patriot. Jeff Yeager said, if she thinks that I`m a threat to her, I`m not, but the public is going to hang this woman.

While he was at it, Yeager told the reporters that their employer Reuters is, quote, one of the most evil organizations on the planet.

Those two phone calls are the tip of a very large iceberg. Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security updated its terrorism bulletin. Terrorism bulletin saying violent extremists have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement, religious communities or commercial facilities, and perceived ideological opponents.


The two men whose phone calls you just heard are the kind of extremists the Homeland Security terrorism bulletin is describing. They are lost in their homicidal fantasies they might or might not try to turn into realities. Now they are spreading terror with their telephones.

The mix of stupidity and rage that drives these people is shared by and promoted by Donald Trump. They are Trump terrorists. These people want Katie Hobbs and others executed because they are supporters of Donald Trump. These same people have never wanted to kill public officials before Donald Trump became temporarily a public official.

There is no other political figure in America who has followers who are calling government officials every day in this country, threatening to kill them every day. On behalf of that politician, that politician is Donald Trump. This is Trump-inspired terrorism and they are Trump terrorists. That is Donald Trump`s gift to American politics and American life and possibly at some point it could become an American way of death, when one of Donald Trump`s terrorists diseases to terrorists decides to do something more than terrorize people with telephone calls.

The threats are not limited to elected officials. Imagine you are one of the roughly 200 people who works in the office of secretary of state of Arizona and you listen to this voicemail left at the place where you work by Jeff Yeager, who is just a six-hour drive away in Los Angeles.


YEAGER: When all of you pieces of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and Katie are executed for treason, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are your families going to do live in a world in which they know that their family members were some of the biggest pieces of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that ever existed on the planet. Go (EXPLETIVE DELETED) yourselves. Trump is still your president and God bless America you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitors.


O`DONNELL: What is Jeff Yeager`s family going to do about his sickness? Who is going to help him? Who is going to stop him?

Trump is not anyone`s president and Jeff Yeager is like Donald Trump, a cowardly man, twisted by rageful stupidity.

Joining us now is the Democratic secretary of state of Arizona, Katie Hobbs. She is running for governor of Arizona.

Secretary Hobbs, it is always amazing to me to see you when you appear on this program because you always have that smile. You are always upbeat about the way your work is going and what you have to do next, and now that we`re able to hear the kinds of phone calls that you are getting on basically a daily basis, it is all the more extraordinary to me that you are doing the work you`re doing.

But I have a new concern for those 200 people who work in your office. I didn`t realize that the threats were being delivered to all of them, every single one of them.

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is one of the biggest concerns I have, too. And these are public servants who aren`t just working on elections. They are working on all of the other divisions of our office, and they have to get these kinds of calls on a regular basis.

And it`s hurting morale in our office. It`s interfering with the work that they do to serve the public and I think this kind of thing is one of the biggest threats we face in terms of continued ongoing election administration that we`re losing good staff over these kinds of threatening messages.

O`DONNELL: The other disturbing part of the Reuters report is that there are legal authorities and law professors saying, look, these things are prosecutable crimes. They are federal crimes even when they are not necessarily interstate phone calls and nothing is happening.

HOBBS: Well, I certainly am not going to question the work of law enforcement. We have done what we need to do in reporting these things. Other folks across the country have, as well. Here is the thing about me.

I am going to keep doing the job I was elected to do. I am not backing down. We executed a stellar election in 2020 in the face of unprecedented challenges. We saw historic participation. We should be celebrating that.

We are focused on the work ahead of us and getting ready for 2022.


And, you know, I`m ready for -- I running for governor because we have to stand up to this ongoing threat to our democracy. And if folks want to join in that fight go to I am not going to back down.

O`DONNELL: The purpose of terrorism is to create terror. It isn`t necessarily to kill. It is to create fear and terror in the people who you want to terrorize.

How afraid of going to work are the 200 people who work for the secretary of state of Arizona?

HOBBS: Fortunately, our office has been able to continue to allow a lot of people to continue to work remotely. So that`s a good thing, but certainly folks in executive tower, not just my office, on higher alert than we have been. There is tightened security. I am thankful for those folks doing their job there.

But we certainly have had to put more protocols in place to ensure everyone`s safety in the workplace.

O`DONNELL: You`re hearing homicidal rage in these phone calls. You are hearing grave mental illness. You are hearing extreme danger. These kinds of people who making these kinds of calls could jump in their cars at any time.

This is the state where we saw a member of Congress, an attempted assassination, the shooting of Gabby Giffords and killing of people around her. This is a very viable threat of force, threat of violence that you are facing every day.

HOBBS: Yeah. We are going to keep doing our jobs. And honestly I feel sad for these people that this is what their life is, that they are spending their time making phone calls to elected officials` office saying these vulgar things. They should really find something better to do with their time.

O`DONNELL: Well, I`ll feel sad for them when they start to try to get help and we`ll all want to do everything we can to help them. But right now they are terrorists and they are trying to create terror. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thank you very much for joining us tonight, and stay safe. .

HOBBS: Thank you.

And joining us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She`s chair of the Senate Rules Committee which oversees the administering of election.

And, Senator Klobuchar, you`re also a member of the judiciary committee with oversight jurisdiction over the Justice Department.

Is anyone interested in finding out what federal authorities are doing about phone calls like this?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I am. And I have been using my position as chair of the rules committee to push this out here. We can`t have a democracy if there are attacks made on people like Katie, who is a guardian of our democracy as secretary of state. I had a hearing in the rules committee and we heard shocking testimony not only from Katie, who came out for the hearing, but also a guy named Al Schmidt, who is a Republican election official in Philadelphia whose family was threatened.

This was a message sent saying, tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot. The names of his 7-year-old, 11-year-old, 14-year-old all put out public, their address. A photo of their house.

You know what, Lawrence? He is not running again. And we heard from even a conservative secretary of state in Kentucky who reported that because of intimidation and various things that had happened, that less people are signing up to be volunteer election officials.

So the effect of all this, no matter where it comes from, the effect of all this is a democracy on fire. And that`s why it is so important to go after this and why I think we should make it a federal crime when you see the numbers out of the Reuters report and you find out there has been no investigation of what`s going on when there is 800 threats with legal experts saying 100 of them could be prosecutable.

And that`s why our bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, that every Democrat in the United States Senate is supportive of basically has in there a clear federal crime if someone intimidates, threatens or coerces those who administer our elections. These local election officials -- go ahead, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Sorry. I was going to say, imagine how much speeding there would be on our highways if no one of got arrested for speeding ever. That`s where we are right now in these phone calls. This is a terrorism program that they are launching against any officials involved in elections, and if there aren`t going to be any arrests, when the calls are criminal, and not all are criminal. They are not all threatening death.

But the ones that are criminal and threatening death, if there are no arrests they will keep happening and people will keep quitting and not running for these jobs.


KLOBUCHAR: Exactly, or even volunteering in elections.

The other thing that was pointed out is in rural areas the guy from Philadelphia was saying how he had enough protection, but in some rural areas, there isn`t even enough police and others to protect these officials. So I think that this is, should be a number one focus, and I asked Merrick Garland about it during the hearing, the recent hearing in judiciary, and I am going to keep pushing it.

It would be very helpful to have a clear federal crime identified for going after election officials.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, I mean, this is the use of terrorism to try to get the election outcome that you want and getting that outcome by driving out of office the people who will handle elections honestly.

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And it is -- when you hear their stories and you see them choke-up when all they wanted to do was serve our country, you know that this is deadly wrong, what is going on. And it`s, of course, a part of the big lie that has been perpetrated. But it`s also part of the corrosiveness we are seeing in our politics, which includes, of course, the 13 Republicans in the House of Representatives that simply, I guess, had the gall to vote for broadband and to vote for better roads and bridges and rail in their districts and their states. And then they are the subject of death threats.

This just has to stop. And I believe this as a former prosecutor, that the only way you stop it is by making clear you are going to enforce the law. In some cases, that means we are going to have to make sure there is laws on the books. And there is a whole bunch of other reasons, as you know, Lawrence, why we want to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, including making sure that people can vote freely, safely, in any way that they want from mailing in their ballot to voting early, when we have seen the attack on voting across this country, everyone should have the freedom to vote, and certainly they should have the freedom to be able to be safe if they are an election official.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining this discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

And up next, Neal Katyal will give us his reading of today`s appeals court decision giving Donald Trump a bit more time to fight the subpoenas from the January 6th committee and why is Merrick Garland taking so long to deal with the house of representatives` recommendation that Steve Bannon be prosecuted for contempt of Congress?

That`s next.



O`DONNELL: A federal appeals court this afternoon granted an emergency motion from Donald Trump to temporarily block the national archives from turning over records to the house select committee. The three-judge panel issuing the order set an expedited schedule requiring Trump`s lawyers to file a written brief by Tuesday, at 12:00 noon.

The judges said, quote, the purpose of this administrative injunction is to protect the court`s jurisdiction to address appellant`s claim of executive order and should not be construed as a ruling on the merits.

The select committee was supposed to receive 46 records by tomorrow evening, including White House call logs, drafts of speeches and three handwritten memos from Donald Trump`s then-chief of staff Mark Meadows.

And this morning, White House deputy council Jonathan Sue sent a letter to Mark Meadows` lawyer warning him president Trump will not assert executive privilege over the documents and deposition requested by the select committee. He said, Mr. Meadows remains under the instructions of former President Trump to respect long standing principles of executive privilege. It appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict.

Mark Meadows is scheduled to provide deposition testimony tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Tonight, the chair of the Select Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, said this: The select committee will review the failure to appear at the deposition and to produce responsive documents or a privilege log indicating the specific basis for withholding any documents you believe are protected by privilege, as willful non-compliance. Such willful non- compliance with the subpoena would force the select committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures.

And joining us now our Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He served as a House impeachment manager during the second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Also with us, Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general. He is an MSNBC legal contributor.

And, Congressman Swalwell, there is Chairman Thompson saying if Mark Meadows doesn`t show up that, could be contempt of Congress. We are 21 days into Merrick Garland not doing about the contempt of Congress referral delivered to him for Steve Bannon.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): We have to keep sending the refusals to the Department of Justice, Lawrence, because the day we stop doing that, is the day that witnesses like Mark Meadows will defy our ability to get to the truth.

Now I think the facts and the law when they meet will determine that Bannon should be held in contempt and everyone like Bannon, including Meadows, should be held in contempt. Once that, you know, indictment comes, and I believe it should come, hopefully, others who are holding out and waiting will start coming in. But the select committee has interviewed over 100 witnesses. I know it`s frustrating it`s not done in public view. As you know, as Neal knows, as a prosecutor you want to run an outside-in, bottom- up investigation as in the first impeachment and then highlight the witnesses for the public once you know what they are going to say.

But that includes having the documents to confront the witnesses. We were flying in the blind in the first impeachment. We still did a great job, I believe. But now knowing that we don`t have the precious of time as can he we did with impeachment, we need to see the documents.

O`DONNELL: Neal, Merrick Garland`s constitutional law professor, Harvard Law School, is publicly frustrated with his former student`s delay in taking action on the contempt of Congress by Steve Bannon.

What could possibly explain three weeks?

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I love Professor Tribe. I get what he is saying. At the same time, I think it`s likely that the Justice Department is taking its time to build a case for exactly the reason that Eric Swalwell was talking about a moment ago.

It takes a while. You want to be methodical about it. Indeed, the first time that Steve Bannon was indicted, it took longer than two weeks for the Justice Department.

Remember, Bannon has already been a convicted felon. A few extra days are worth it if Bannon actually faces a consequence a second time around. I have been willing to, if the Justice Department some slack, because it takes time. If there is no action by next week, sign me up for the Larry Tribe frustration camp.

O`DONNELL: OK. Well, you know, the frustration is based on the eight-day model during the Reagan administration where, you know, it was a Reagan administration official, the Reagan Justice Department took eight days to charge that official with contempt of Congress.

Representative Swalwell, time is everything in congress. Enforcement combined with the timetable of enforcement is what makes enforcement real.

SWALWELL: Here`s why time is everything, Lawrence. We have the midterms coming up and the Republicans have shown themselves as a party that is more comfortable with violence than voting. You saw that they took to task the Republican secretaries of state who did not side with them in the presidential election. But they were perfectly fine when Democratic secretaries of state would say that an election went their way as it did in Virginia.

So they expect their own people are going to be with them and behind them. So they are showing themselves as we go into the midterms that if that`s not the case, if they can`t put in place the barriers to keep us from winning elections, they will resort to violence.

By the way, Lawrence, the evolution that we are seeing here, Donald Trump had to invent a lie to have the violence that took place on January 6th. Here we are into the Biden administration and you don`t even have to invent lies any more for Republican members of Congress to have death threats for voting for, God forbid, roads, bridges, and tunnels. So it`s getting much worse. The temperature is going up. That`s why the pressure is on to get this right.

O`DONNELL: Neal, what is your reading of the appeals court ruling today giving Donald Trump more time to argue over the possible blocking of the delivery of documents to the January 6th committee?

KATYAL: No big deal, Lawrence, whatsoever. When I was in government I sought exactly these temporary pauses. They are called stays.

And the court is -- the court grants them because they are worried about doing something indelible. It`s kind of like the same reason that you look at your friends` user name three times before you Venmo them. Your money is probably going to the right place, but you know once you hit send, it`s never going back.

Same thing here. Even if the claims are bogus, if they make a mistake or something, you can`t undo what has already been seen. There is no chance, Lawrence, that Donald Trump is going to win this claim before the court of appeals. His claim is the joke to be charitable to this.

And Judge Chutkan said presidents are not kings and the plaintiff is not the president. And so she has identified two big problems. One is that Donald Trump is the former president. The current president, as you said in the lead-up to the segment, has already rejected his claim of executive privilege and the Supreme Court has said it`s the current president who largely controls it.

And also, executive privilege can be overcome if there is an overwhelming need. Here Trump is claiming executive privilege like candy, true winners like Steve Bannon, a convicted felon. Winners like Stephen Miller, who evidently took a break from reading John C. Calhoun to plot a coup, with these other cast of characters, winners like Kayleigh McEnany, who hasn`t been able to tell the truth.

So, what all these claims are about is these people are afraid to go to Congress and tell the truth under oath. That`s why they are asserting executive privilege. It`s a loser.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal and Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you for joining our discussion. Really appreciate.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: And a programming note. As we wait for the January 6th committee to at some point surely subpoena Rudy Giuliani, you can watch the extraordinary documentary about the infamous press conference Rudy Giuliani held last year in the parking lot of a family landscaping company in Philadelphia, did that by mistake. That documentary is "The Four Seasons" total documentary. It airs tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.

And coming up, why do Texas Republicans want to get Isabel Wilkerson`s masterful book out of Texas school libraries? Texas Representatives Jasmine Crockett and Julie Johnson will tell us next.



O`DONNELL: In Texas, the Republican Party`s vision for America is taking shape. No access to abortion, vaccination is discouraged, voting rights diminished, and now, of course, books banned.

Texas State Representative Matt Crouse is a candidate for state attorney general and he has compiled a list of 850 books he says make students feel discomfort.

That list includes last year`s bestseller by Isabel Wilkerson, "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents". That book is indispensable to an understanding of American history and ourselves. It is a book that belongs on reading lists in every high school and every university in America and in universities around the world. and it is on reading lists around the world.


O`DONNELL: Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who still has no plan to prevent future collapses of the power grid in Texas that caused Texans to freeze to death in their homes has found the time to direct the Texas Education Agency, quote, "to immediately develop statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools, including in school libraries."

And joining us now are Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett and Texas State Representative Julie Johnson, both are Democrats representing parts of Dallas County.

And Representative Crockett, this doesn`t sound like any real legislative agenda here. No real improvements to the power grid infrastructure in Texas that this government is trying to accomplish. They just are worried about Isabel Wilkerson teaching high school kids what they need to know about their own country.

STATE REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): You know, first of all, it`s good to see you this evening, Lawrence. It is really sad that we are continuing to use children as ping-pong balls in this game of primary. That`s essentially what we have got going on.

You mentioned Matt Crouse. you know, we are talking about books, not necessarily this one, but books that have been around forever. In fact, I remember when Gina Hinojosa sent me a text message about these books that Matt had put out because one is actually named "Jasmine". And she said, Matt Crouse is trying to ban you from schools now.

You know, it`s ridiculous. But they are trying to do whatever it takes to make sure that this far-right base feels like they are being quote/unquote "as conservative as possible".

O`DONNELL: Representative Johnson, the book list of these 850 books is something that, obviously, he is using for political purposes, and is this about winning Republican primaries in Texas?

STATE REP. JULIE JOHNSON (D-TX): Absolutely. Because any rational, thoughtful person, to your point earlier, would want people to read and study critically-acclaimed novels and Pulitzer Prize-winning novels. I mean it is incredible that Greg Abbott has stooped so low to try to manipulate the minds and the critical thinking of so many people.

At the end of the day, though, it is critical that these books remain in our schools. You know, kids go to resources for information. You know that Texas has -- is in one the highest states of teen pregnancy and they are trying to remove all books about pregnancy, pregnancy assistance, how to get pregnant, things you can do to keep from getting pregnant and all they`re going to do is make kids get more pregnant.

I don`t think kids are getting pregnant because they read it in a book in their high school library. So I mean these -- the fact that they are trying banning this is incredible.

And really just trying to put it down at the most populous level of an uneducated base to try to get them fearful in thinking.

And you know, what they are critically doing is making us not trust experts. They are making us not trust our teachers, our librarians, our school officials who have our best -- the best interest of our kids at heart.

O`DONNELL: And Representative Crockett, this seems to be the argument that they want. It seems to me that they want to be in an argument with you over books. They do not want to be in an argument with you over the power grid or over other real governing issues for the state of Texas.

CROCKETT: Exactly. No, that`s absolutely right. you know, I was speaking with someone earlier today and I talked about that very fact, that Republicans right now, they say, well, how do we deal with this argument that they give about critical race theory?

I`m like, there is no argument to give. We need to focus on what matters. These are nothing but distractions because when we have to talk about substance, Republicans are losing every single time, especially here in the state of Texas.

And so that`s what we have right now, is that they are throwing out critical race theory. They are throwing out books in school. They are throwing out trans kids.

They are doing all this stuff instead of talking about what really matters. People died in the state of Texas, yet we have a grid that`s not functioning. We have an attorney general that has been under felony indictment for years and is constantly under federal investigations, but we don`t want to talk about that.

So we need to focus on the meat and the potatoes as Democrats and we need to get out of the fights over this nonsense and make sure that we refocus all Texans, not just Democrats, but every single Texan on the things that matter, which is making sure that we actually will have heat when this winter season is over.

O`DONNELL: Texas State Representatives Jasmine Crockett and Julie Johnson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

CROCKETT: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Mitch McConnell is calling the Biden bipartisan infrastructure bill a godsend in Kentucky, but he says he won`t attend the bill signing ceremony for the Biden infrastructure bill, the bill he voted for. That bill signing ceremony is on Monday. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: President Biden will have a very important bipartisan bill- signing ceremony on Monday at the White House for the bipartisan infrastructure, the biggest bill of its kind in decades. That means Democrats legislative attention is now focused exclusively on the second part of the Biden infrastructure plan, which focuses on social policy and environmental policy and is expected to pass with only Democratic votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering scheduling a vote on that as early as next week. The parliamentary rules of the Senate will, as usual, create a slower pace in the Senate.

Senator Joe Manchin has been raising concerns about how more government spending could affect inflation. President Biden insists that his legislation will actually help fight inflation.

The "New York Times" reports a wide range of economists agree with the president but only in part. They generally accept his argument that in the long run the bill and his infrastructure plan could make businesses and their workers more productive which would help to ease inflation as more goods and services are produced across the economy.

Others say that any near-term effect on prices would be small, and easy enough for the Fed to offset later with interest rate increases which can temper demand and cool a hot economy.

They argue that potential inflationary risks are not a good reason for the Biden administration to curb its ambitions on priorities like broadening access to childcare and easing the transition to cleaner energy sources.

And joining us now is Jonathan Kott. He served as a communications director and senior advisor to Senator Joe Manchin for seven years. Also with us Norm Ornstein, a congressional historian. He is an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

And Jonathan, I think we know on Monday Joe Manchin is going to get one of those bill-signing pens from the president and the big question is, is he going to get a second one wen they eventually -- if they eventually pass that Democrats-only bill?

JONATHAN KOTT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO JOE MANCHIN: I think he certainly will. I think he is committed to finding a path forward. I think he just wants to take the necessary time to make sure this bill, which is a huge transformative bill, gets everything done that we wanted to get done and he knows what the effects will be.

Lawrence, you know there needs to be a CBO score just for the senate to vote on. And we won`t have that for weeks. He just wants to make sure. Inflation is a real problem. He wants to see what the long-term effects of it are and see if there are any changes that need to be made to this bill before President Biden signs this second bill.

And by the way, a third bill, you know, when it comes to it this year, is a huge legislative accomplishment for Democrats and the president.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, could you help the audience with the way Joe Manchin talks about this legislation publicly. You have Senator Sinema who says basically nothing publicly, so she doesn`t end up seeming to contradict herself.

I know a lot of people think that Senator Manchin over time contradicts himself because at a certain point he suggests that he is open to certain things that months later he is no longer open to. How would you describe -- how would you track his public comments about this and how would you guide the audience about how to listen to them?

KOTT: I think he tells people how he feels at the time. He likes to get all the facts. When reporters ask him questions, he is not afraid to answer them. And I think, you know, that`s what happens.

He will look at an issue and he`ll answer it honestly and directly and things may change. He may get new information. That`s why he wanted to wait to see what the long-term impacts of this bill would be.

We got the Wharton School analysis today. He will get the CBO score soon. He will answer the question honestly when you ask him. He doesn`t duck reporters. He doesn`t duck constituents. He is upfront and honest.

But things do change for him. And when they do, he makes his decision known.

O`DONNELL: Norm Ornstein, we saw the House members -- the 13 Republicans who voted for this bipartisan infrastructure bill, all basically threatened by their own party. There was at least a period there where there was a question of should we discipline them, should we kick them off their committees in the House.

Mitch McConnell, who voted for it, has announced that he will not be able to attend the bill signing on Monday because he is going to be busy with other stuff, like being afraid of what Donald Trump would say if he attended the bill signing.

NORM ORNSTEIN, CONGRESSIONAL HISTORIAN: He needs to get his hair washed, you know. He just can`t make it, Lawrence.

You know, those threats were absolutely chilling. Fred Upton and his wife Amy are friends of mine. And Fred is one of the 13 who signed this. And the threats to his life, his wife`s life, his family`s lives are just horrible. Some of them are going to be there.

But you are absolutely right that this is a huge accomplishment, but now we segue to the next one, which is absolutely critical.

And remember we`ve got basically 24 days ahead that are extraordinarily important. We have to get done this big bill and the CBO score now becomes even more important because of the inflation numbers.

But remember, by December 3rd we also need to keep the government running to avoid a shutdown and we need to deal with the debt ceiling. And so getting all of that done and maybe packaging it all together into that big reconciliation bill is going to be a heavy lift and a challenge.


ORNSTEIN: But I am not worried about Joe Manchin in the end signing on to this. I think we`re going to find some way of making it happen. The timing is a little bit of a greater concern and we have to keep in mind that we`ve got those voting bills coming up bills next and that`s where Joe Manchin becomes another critical player.

O`DONNELL: And Jonathan Kott, as this bill goes forward there are going to be complexities in the Senate that we all know about and a lot of House members will be discovering those complexities for the first time as they see things kind of ruled out of order in effect, particularly the Senate rules as it`s moving through there so it could be that whatever the House passes has to go back into a conference and then it all has to pass again through the -- basically they have to take what turns out to be the Senate product and pass it through the House again.

KOTT: Yes. I mean I`ll leave it up to you to explain to the audience what a Byrd bath is but that house (AUDIO GAP) goes through a Byrd bath and come out looking completely different.

And yes, we`re going to need to get a new CBO score. We`re going to need to look at it, you know, have a whole new analysis. I think it`s going to be a decision for the House to make on probably December 23, hopefully not December 27 whether they accept the changes the Senate made.

But you know, the Senate parliamentarian now becomes one of the most important people in the country and I`m guessing most of the audience has now idea who that is but you`re very familiar with them.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And of course it is the Byrd rules of the Senate in honor of former Senator Robert Byrd that used to hold the seat that Joe Manchin holds now. And those rules basically rule out certain things that House is able to do and the Senate is not able to do.

We`ll be hearing a lot about the so-called Byrd bath as that bill proceeds.

Jonathan Kott, Norm Ornstein -- thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

ORNSTEIN: Thank you, Lawrence.

KOTT: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: And we`ll be right back with tonight`s LAST WORD on an historic first. That`s next.




KIM JANEY (D), BOSTON, ACTING MAYOR: While I am proud to be Boston`s first women mayor and the first mayor of color I am also very proud to know that I will not be the last.

I want to congratulate Mayor-Elect Wu for becoming the first woman of color elected to the office of mayor.


O`DONNELL: When Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was confirmed as Joe Biden`s Secretary of Labor, Kim Janey then the president of Boston City Council became the acting mayor of Boston, the first mayor in the city`s history who was not a white man.

She ran for mayor this year in an election that was won by Michelle Wu, who will become the city`s first Asian-American mayor. Michelle Wu will be sworn in as mayor on Tuesday.

Yesterday Mayor Kim Janey gave her farewell speech as mayor at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, a building that was originally an Irish dance hall. It is actually the building where my grandparents met.


JANEY: When I moved into the mayor`s office in March, I hung two framed prints on the concrete wall opposite my desk in city hall. The first framed print is the cover of the April 2013 issue of Boston magazine. This cover depicts a heart-shaped collection of running shoes, worn by marathoners on April 15th, 2013, a day our city and the world will never forget.

The second framed print features Kamala Harris, the first woman and the first person of color to serve as vice president. She is striding forward and next to her silhouette is a pint-sized Ruby Bridges.

And just like me Kamala and Ruby were also on the front lines of our nation`s battle to desegregate our schools. They too had to overcome adversity and pave the way for others to follow.

The inscription beneath the two iconic figures in this print reads "The first but not the last".


O`DONNELL: Kim Janey was a first when she was 11 years old and she was bussed across town in Boston to a school in a white neighborhood that violently resisted the court-ordered desegregation of its public schools.

Yesterday after thanking her mother and daughter and the rest of her family, Kim Janey said this.


JANEY: As I reflect back on two prints that I hung in my office and as we lace up our sneakers to finish this race, and you know I will be wearing Converse, we must continue to run toward justice, equity and love.

Just like Vice President Kamala Harris and Ruby Bridges and so many in between, let`s continue to break barriers and create opportunities for those who will follow us.

It has been my greatest honor to serve my city as the 55th mayor. Thank you, Boston. You will forever be in my heart.

Thank you. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: The Honorable Kim Janey gets tonight`s LAST WORD.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening again.

Day 296 of the Biden administration.