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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 11/15/21

Guests: Madeleine Dean, Pramila Jayapal

Summary

Facing two charges of criminal contempt of congress and with President Biden now in the White House, Steve Bannon surrendered to federal authorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of the House Democratic leadership tonight that they will not leave Washington for the Thanksgiving recess without passing the Build Back Better Act.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.

We`re going to be joined by White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Nice.

O`DONNELL: And we`re also going to be joined later in the hour by Pramila Jayapal.

And we now know that when Congressman Jayapal appears on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW", Joe Biden watches. He watches and he calls her and tells her how great she was, talking to Rachel. That has been reported, that`s one of the phone calls she`s gotten from President Biden.

MADDOW: That`s very unsettling. I mean, I know that makes me feel self- conscious.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. He`s watching.

MADDOW: Yeah. Don`t -- I have to bleach my brain and forget this ever happened and never think of it again.

O`DONNELL: President of the United States is watching. He stopped watching now. It`s 10:00 p.m. He was watching. No wait tonight he`s busy with the China summit. Don`t be offended if he missed some of the show tonight.

MADDOW: You are trying to undo me. You know how to do it. You have figured it out. You are putting it into action.

O`DONNELL: Whatever you do, Rachel, tomorrow night, don`t think about it. Okay? Just don`t -- when Chris Hayes says, "Good evening, Rachel," just do not think Joe Biden is watching. Just don`t.

MADDOW: Lawrence. You can never unsay these things. Good-bye. Good-bye.

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

Joe Biden is the first president in history to pass trillion dollar legislation in his first year as president. In fact, prior to COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Congress never legislated at the trillion dollar level, prior to emergency legislation passed during the pandemic. The word trillion the number trillion all the zeros never appeared in legislation.

President Biden first big bill was the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which funded America`s COVID-19 vaccination program and helped people facing loss of income during the pandemic. He signed that into law on March 11 of this year.

And today, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was passed with bipartisan support. A point President Biden stressed today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank minority leader for voting for the bill and talking about how useful and important it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, called Mitch McConnell an old crow and a socialist for voting for the Biden infrastructure bill. I`ll ask White House chief of staff about the Trump comments in a moment.

We have all grown quickly used to reporting on multi-trillion dollar legislation. But it`s worth noting, the last major infrastructure legislation was in 1991. It was passed when both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats. And it was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bsh. The total cost of the huge bill, which was considered just massive at the time was $155 billion. The legislation carried the technically precise name the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

Since everything in Washington needs shorthand, the shorthand of that bill was ISTEA, which we pronounced as ice tea.

Senator Joe Biden voted for ISTEA, never dreaming that he would be signing the next big infrastructure bill into law as president, and the word billion would be replaced by the word trillion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Here in Washington, we have heard countless speeches and promises and white papers and experts. But, today, we`re finally getting this done. So my message to the American people is this, America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And with that, as of tonight, the Biden presidency has delivered more policy benefits to the American people on a much larger scale than the first year of any other presidency in history.

[22:05:06]

But that is not the way the American news media is framing the first year of the Biden presidency. And according to polls, it doesn`t appear to be what most voters see in the first year of the presidency.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced today the transit fares will not increase in New York City, thanks to the funding the system will receive from the Biden infrastructure bill.

Vice President Kamala Harris reminded members of Congress today`s bill signing that their work is not done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now this bill as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two. To lower cost and cut taxes for working families, to tackle the climate crisis at its core, Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act. The work of building a more perfect union did not end with the railroad or the interstate. It will not end now.

So on this historic day, let us all continue to believe in our people. Believe in our country. And believe in what we can do when we work together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the other part of the bill will be passed before thanksgiving. And she said today at the White House that it could be passed this week. She did, of course, use the word hopefully.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`m so happy that hopefully, this week we will be passing the Build Back Better, to get tax cuts to America`s working families, to create millions more jobs, to lower healthcare costs. And all of it paid for by making everyone pay his or her own fair share.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And joining us now is White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Thank you very much for joining us on this important night. We really appreciate it.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: You already have in the Biden White House, one of the biggest first year accomplishment lists that we have seen since the Roosevelt presidency probably. But the public doesn`t seem to be counting it that way. Do you have a communication strategy at this point for getting across to the American voters what actually happened at the White House today in this bill signing?

KLAIN: Well, look, I think we`re going to take our case to the people directly. It starts with the president tomorrow morning, going to New Hampshire to talk about a bridge there. That`s needed repairs for decades. They`re finally going to get it.

The next day, he`ll be in Detroit where he`ll be helping open a new plant to build electric vehicles. And the infrastructure to become part of the transportation system. Thanks to the bill. Not just that of course but the vice president will be on the road. The cabinet will be on the road.

We`ll have spokespeople on the road. I think what the American people want to see is the results in their community. At how the bill affects them kind of up close and personal. And we`re going to spend a lot of time over the months ahead bringing that case directly to people`s hometowns.

O`DONNELL: As you know, the leader of the Republican Party Donald Trump tried to whip Republican votes by in the Senate and the house against this bill. He said after the bill was passed he said that old crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat socialist infrastructure bill.

First of all, do you want to dispute whether Mitch McConnell is an old crow or whether this is a socialist bill?

KLAIN: I`ll dispute both things. Senator McConnell was indeed quite helpful in getting this bill passed, because he saw what a number of his Republican colleagues saw, which is this bill wasn`t liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It was common sense. It`s what the American people wanted.

And I say that President Trump`s comments, two words -- sour grapes. He spent four years promising action on infrastructure. He was the great deal maker. He said he knew tow how to get things done. He said he know how to build things.

But in those four years, he could never pass an infrastructure bill. He could never update roads or bridges or bring the kinds of investments we needed to make sustained economic growth.

President Biden did. He brought Democrats and Republicans together. He had over 100 meetings in the Oval Office over the past few months with Democrats and Republicans, to put this bill together and build the support to pass this bill. It took hard work. It took patience. It took diligence.

[22:10:01]

It took compromise. Those are the qualities Joe Biden brought to the presidency. Obviously not the qualities Donald Trump brought to the presidency. As a result, we have the result we have tonight.

O`DONNELL: The -- going forward with the as speaker referred to in her remarks there`s a second part of the legislative agenda. That is the one you intend to pass with only Democratic votes. She said with a score coming out at the end of the week there might be able to have a vote in the House this week.

What is the timetable for that?

KLAIN: Well, I think the speaker try is going to intends to bring the bill to the floor this week. Once they have the data they need from CBO to validate the bill is fully paid for, as it is. And then, of course, once it passes the House, we`re off to the senator. We`re working close with Senator Schumer to pass it there.

You are right that this bill is one right now that only Democrats have supported. I don`t think that will change. It`s unfortunate. The bill addresses another set of vital needs for the American people. Costs are too high. It`s time to bring them down.

The bill will reduce the cost of prescription drugs and someone who pays $1,000 a month for insulin, will pay $35. It reduces the cost of child care. Nobody will spend more than 7 percent of their income on child care. It reduces the cost of elder care. It cuts taxes for middle class families with children.

Again I think this is the kind of agenda that everyone should be behind. It should unite the country. We`ll press forward. We`ll pass it on the basis.

But I don`t know why Republicans won`t join us in lowering costs for middle class families.

O`DONNELL: Senator Portman Republican senator today said that he believes that the infrastructure bill the president signed today actually has an anti-inflationary component and dynamic built in to it. But as you know the inflationary curve does not recognize that bill was signed today and will have little impact on it immediately.

The United States of America of course still has the lowest gasoline prices of any developed country, European gas prices, France, Germany. Usually double as they are now. Almost double the American prices.

What can you do if anything about the price at the pump which is the every day most visible version of inflation?

KLAIN: Well, we`re looking at our options there. The president has been very focused on this. He`s already asked previously the Federal Trade Commission to look at whether or not there`s price gouging. I notice, Lawrence, that the price of oil on the world market has fallen over the past few weeks. The price of gas hasn`t. We want to know why there`s the gap.

We`re also looking at other options to try to bring down the price of gasoline. It`s something people really notice, something that really pinches people. But in the long run, we do have a plan to bring down inflation.

As you noted this infrastructure bill is a big part of that. One part of inflation is the inability to move goods to stores quickly. We need better roads and improve the supply chain. We`ve already announced that the first investment made out of this bill will be the ports, to speed up the processing of goods and ports to bring down costs there. So, we`re looking at short term measures to address inflation. We`re looking at long term measures to address inflation. We have to solve the problem by making the economy work better., and bring down prices.

O`DONNELL: Where`s the president trying to accomplish in his summit with President Xi Jinping tonight? Is there a fundamental reset going on in the relationship with China? By that I mean a reset from the Obama Biden administration posture on China.

KLAIN: Well, I don`t know about that. I think the president had a number of conversations with President Xi, spent time with him before he was president. And given COVID the summit takes the virtual take the place of in person.

We know we have an agenda of shared interests with China, and some areas of competitive difference with China. We have some philosophical differences on many important issues. So, he`s going to be pressing those issues with President Xi.

We`re going to try to find areas where we can work together. We`re going to find areas to make the lines of competition clear. I think we`re going to make our vital national interest very clear to President Xi. I hope we`ll have a productive summit tonight.

O`DONNELL: Quickly, Steve Bannon today outside the courtroom said that the President Biden ordered his attorney general to have Steve Bannon charged with contempt of Congress. What`s the White House`s reaction to that?

KLAIN: The decision to bring the charges against Mr. Bannon was made exclusively by the Justice Department. The president had nothing to do with it. I won`t comment further other than to say we have an independent Justice Department that makes decisions about prosecution and specific cases on their own.

O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, thank you very much for joining us tonight on this busy night.

[22:15:03]

Really appreciate it.

KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence. Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, a Connecticut judge today ruled against Alex Jones, and for the families of the children and educators murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School who in their grief have been tortured repeatedly by Alex Jones, and his lies about what happened there.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Alex Jones who is a professional liar -- by which I mean he actually makes his living by lying -- is now on his way to financial ruin in a Connecticut court. Today in a lawsuit brought by the parents of children who were victims of mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the judge found Alex Jones fully liable for financial damages to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.

[22:20:05]

Alex Jones invented the lie that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. "New York Times" reports, quote, people who believed those false claims accosted the families on the street and at events honoring their slain loved ones, abused them online, contacted them at their homes, and threatened their lives.

Donald Trump accepted his endorsement for president after Alex Jones told those lies, about murdered children.

The next stage of the case is to have a trial about how much money Alex Jones now owes the families of the victims. That will be decided by a jury in a Connecticut courtroom next year.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Senator Murphy, thank you for joining us tonight. This has been a very important cause for you since that horrible day in Connecticut.

What was your reaction to the judges finding today?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I`m thrilled for the families. I was in touch with one of the lead plaintiffs, Erica Lafferty, whose mother was of the principal, the heroic principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, his evening. And I`m glad that Alex Jones and his movement is finally being brought to justice.

It`s really hard, Lawrence, to explain how crippling this conspiracy theory movement led by Alex Jones and many others has been to the families. Lenny Pozner dropped his three kids off Sandy Hook Elementary School that day and never saw one of them again. Noah died, he was the first funeral we attended days afterwards.

Lenny Pozner is in hiding today, because he is targeted viciously and violently by these conspiracy theorists. People that Alex Jones whipped up into a furry and sent after the families.

So, these families have been victimized over and over again first by losing loved ones and second by having to deal with the terror of a conspiracy theory movement that thinks they are all actors, thinks they are politically motivated, thinks this was all done as a stage act to try to promote a political agenda.

It`s sick. At least today I`m glad several families from Sandy Hook had their day in court and reach some justice.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to a bit of a PBS front line documentary about how Alex Jones did this. How he did this kind of work. Here they are interviewing one of the editors working for Alex Jones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH OWENS, FORMER INFOWARS VIDEO EDITOR: Jones had no evidence whatsoever to prove that that didn`t happen, and he said it many times because that`s just what fit into his world view. That`s what -- I mean, on some level that`s what he wanted it to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of Jones`s employees, long time editor Rob Jacobson brought his concerns directly to Jones.

ROB JACOBSON, LONGTIME EDITOR: I stopped him and I was like Alex, man, they`re going to come after you for sandy hook. Look, man, this is crazy. And he just stopped and looked at me with no reaction. He had nothing to say to me. He just stopped like a deer in headlights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And, Senator, the fact he was warned is part of the evaluation of how much damages he should be paying here.

MURPHY: Yeah. I don`t know that there`s any number that makes these families whole for what they have experienced because of this conspiracy theory movement around Sandy Hook denial. What I know is that Alex Jones was doing this because it fit into his world view, also because it got him ratings, because there is unfortunately a people out there removed from reality and willing to believe all of these wild concoctions, whether it be about the true story behind the Sandy Hook shooting, or the election of President Trump.

And the reason this judgment was handed down today is because Alex Jones wouldn`t produce any of the information that would have been exculpatory. The judge wanted to see and deserved to see the record of his ratings, when he went after the Sandy Hook families. I think what we`d find is it drove rates. That`s why he continued to perpetuate the lies. It made him money.

O`DONNELL: There`s a similar case in Texas, where there has been a similar finding. It seems now that this case started years ago. It seems now there`s more at stake in the post January 6 world, where the notion of just telling any lie you want at any time on one side of the politics has just become so wild -- to see Alex Jones actually financially wiped out possibly, by his lying, might be the kind of lesson that some of other people need.

[22:25:21]

MURPHY: So I think this is a really important point. We need to start thinking of our legal system as a way to provide some check, some ability to control the worst most disgusting most abusive of these lies and conspiracies.

Obviously there are First Amendment protections. But they are not complete. And in this case he knew he was telling a lie, he knew it was going to cause harm to the families. He did it anyway in order to make money. And I think it is important that especially when these purveyors of propaganda and falsehoods are doing it simply for profit and knowing it`s false, the legal system has to hold them into account and maybe that will provide a chilling effect on others who are going to try spread future lies that ultimately could bring down our democracy.

I think the stakes are that high right now, and while our legal system can`t be the complete check, it can be a big part of it. This was a good day today towards that end.

O`DONNELL: I don`t want to leave this subject without asking about the victims of families who are suffering through this to this day. And what can you tell us about how they are doing at this point?

MURPHY: I mean, there`s no one story when it comes to the victims of the kids at sandy hook. There`s not a week that goes by that I`m not talking to several family members. Many moved out of sandy hook and started new lives other places. Some have had children after Sandy Hook, have begun to restart their lives.

Many are working to try to change the laws of this nation. To make sure that other madmen don`t get their hands on military style assault weapons. But I think what unifies them is the recognition there are far too many families that nobody knows about. A hundred people die from gun violence every day. There`s dozens of people murdered by guns every day.

I think many of the Sandy Hook families appreciate the attention that their kids have gotten. But believe every single kid who loses their life should get the same amount of attention. And that`s I think a struggle we have to fight to make sure folks know even when there`s not a day with a mass shooting, with 20 or 30 people dying, there`s still an ongoing tragedy of daily repetitive gun violence in the country that is robbing us of too many young lives.

O`DONNELL: Senator, thank you for helping keep our attention on this. We really appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thank you. You, too.

O`DONNELL: And coming up. Steve Bannon surrendered to federal authorities today after being indicted for contempt of Congress, in the investigation on the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Congresswoman Madeline Dean who served as a prosecutor in the second impeachment trial of Trump will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:32:20]

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The last time Steve Bannon was accused of federal crimes, Donald Trump was spending his final days in the White House and pardoned Steve Bannon before that case could go to trial.

Today, facing two charges of criminal contempt of congress and with President Biden now in the White House, Steve Bannon surrendered to federal authorities. Bannon`s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday 11:00 a.m.

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also refused to comply with subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Yesterday on "MEET THE PRESS", committee member Congressman Adam Schiff was asked if Mark Meadows will also be referred for criminal contempt prosecution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You know, we have been moving very quickly to make these decisions. And I`m confident we`ll move very quickly with respect to Mr. Meadows also.

But we want to make sure that we have the strongest possible case to present to the Justice Department and for the Justice Department to present to a grand jury. And that means making sure that we bend over backwards to reach any agreement we can with witnesses that are showing any willingness to engage.

But when ultimately witnesses decide as Meadows has that they`re not even going to bother showing up, that have that much contempt for the law then it pretty much forces our hand. And we`ll move quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. She`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee and was an impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

We saw Steve Bannon make the most of his public moment today. He`ll be doing more of that on Wednesday, no doubt. One of the people who knows Steve Bannon well who appeared on this program said weeks ago that this indictment is everything he needs for his business, for his fund raising. That this is everything Steve Bannon wanted.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Surely this is a side show.

And good to be with you, Lawrence. I apologize. I have a little bit of a sore throat.

And surely Mr. Bannon might enjoy the side show that he is offering himself. It`s a show for one, maybe for two today.

But what I think we should celebrate is the rule of law. Last Friday when the federal grand jury indicted Mr. Bannon in contempt -- and held him in contempt of Congress and he needed to surrender himself today to the court, to the rule of law. We celebrate a good day for the rule of law.

[22:34:51]

DEAN: We also celebrate today -- you were just talking with Senator Murphy -- we celebrate the rule of law today when that huckster, whose name I will not use, attempted to put out and continue to put out and profit from grievous, scandalous -- I don`t even know what you call them -- conspiracy lies around one of the greatest tragedies in our country history for our children.

The rule of law prevailed. Today and last week. And it will prevail some more.

O`DONNELL: That is an interesting take. And joining those two stories that way. What do you see going forward with the January 6th committee -- the Mark Meadows defiance of the subpoena? We`re going to have to see more strengthening of the rule of law in order for that committee to continue to do its work.

DEAN: Well, it is doing its work. It`s doing it with good speed. And fortunately now we have a Department of Justice that actually understands that it is a Department of Justice and it represents all of us. It does not represent a party of one like Mr. Trump and the previous Department of Justice. So I look forward to the continued work of the committee.

What I saw, you know, for example today with Mr. Bannon coming forward is Mr. Meadows prepare yourself. You know this. You were a former member of Congress. You are not the same clown show I think that Mr. Bannon has proven himself to be.

But Mr. Meadows is in a very a deep place. We know that in the days leading up to the insurrection, Mr. Meadows spent a tremendous amount of time around the president. And it will be very important to understand exactly what advice and counsel he was giving him. What advice and counsel did he give the president as the insurrection took place, not just leading up to it but as it took place.

We saw today with some of the he reporting from Jonathan Karl. Some of the absurd statements by the president where he said when asked, you know, what about your vice president? Did you worry about him. After all they were chanting "Hang Mike Pence" in the Capitol where I was doing my job.

And the president he didn`t say I checked in on Mike Pence. I checked in on my vice president. He`s my governing partner. He said I thought he was ok. I heard he was in good shape. And then pivoted immediately as the narcissistic former president does to it was a fraud. But of course common sense would tell you that, of course, there would be an attack on his own vice president.

We have to reject this insane antidemocratic, authoritarian, narcissistic movement of the former president that sadly has infected so many others.

O`DONNELL: Yes. In that passage of that interview that you just were quoting, it sounded like Donald Trump was saying it was perfectly ok that they were threatening to hang Mike Pence. Let`s actually listen to the tape of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, JOURNALIST: Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I thought he was well protected. And I had heard that he was in good shape. No because I had heard he was in very good shape.

But -- but no --

KARL: You heard those chants. That was terrible. I mean those -- you know - -

TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people are very angry.

KARL: They were saying hang Mike Pence.

TRUMP: It`s common sense, Jon. It`s common sense that you are supposed to protect -- how can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, after Jonathan Karl says they were saying hang Mike Pence. He says it`s common sense, meaning it`s common sense for those people to be angry that Mike Pence didn`t do what they wanted him to do and so, of course, hang Mike Pence.

DEAN: It`s madness. It`s absolute madness. And we`re talking about the president speaking after he knew of the desecration, the destruction, the harm, that people died, people were maimed, police officers were attacked in a medieval kind of way.

And guess what? The president did nothing for hours. Can you imagine any other president with that kind of an attack on our Capitol? Of course we can`t even imagine that kind of an attack on our Capitol. Not moving for four hours? Not doing a single thing. Let alone not checking in on his own vice president.

He was desperate. We know in the reporting that in the days -- the final days leading up to January 6 that he was absolutely desperate. He wanted Mike Pence to do whatever he could to overthrow the certification of the election that we were there to do our constitutional duty.

And you remember what the president in his most vulgar way said. You can be a patriot or you can be something else that I will not repeat. This president, that former president never had any regard for the oath, for the rule of law, for our constitution.

[22:39:59]

DEAN: He wanted to claim power. And he would bully anybody who was in his way including his own vice president who they threatened to hang.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

DEAN: Thank you very having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Nancy Pelosi said tonight that the House will pass the second part of the Biden infrastructure package before Thanksgiving. Pramila Jayapal, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:40:32]

O`DONNELL: NBC News is reporting tonight that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of the House Democratic leadership tonight that they will not leave Washington for the Thanksgiving recess without passing the Build Back Better Act.

Some house members said there could be a Saturday vote. If they get a Congressional Budget Office score on the bill by Friday night.

The vote could come sooner if the CBO information is delivered sooner. Tomorrow morning the House Democrats will gather once again for their weekly caucus meeting.

And joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of the state of Washington. She is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Lawrence, it`s great to see you.

O`DONNELL: And you know, you began this hour in my little chat with Rachel. Where we talked about the recent revelation that after an appearance that you made on Rachel`s show, you got a call from the president of the United States.

I believe you checked your voice mail. And there he was with his review of how thing went with Rachel.

JAYAPAL: Well, that`s right. That is the case. It was September 21. And I had a great interview with Rachel. And I went down to my little birthday party and came back up and found the voice mail from the president.

And I`ll tell you, Lawrence, this is all about the president`s agenda. The Build Back Better Act is the president`s agenda. And the progressive caucus has been fighting so hard for months to make sure that we get that agenda across the finish line. And that is what we are going to do this week in the house. We will pass the Build Back Better Act as agreed to by our colleagues that were waiting for some fiscal information from the CBO.

But in the agreement that we have, it says no later -- no event later than the week of November 15.

So I`m fully expecting we`ll pass it through and then, of course, it will go to the Senate where the president has said he`s confident he can get 51 votes in the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act.

O`DONNELL: Let me take a step back because I want to get into more detail about what you just said especially the November 15 deadline and how that`s going to work.

But let me take a step back to where you were earlier today at that bill signing for the infrastructure bill. Your district and what it means to your district. Seattle is a city of bridges, 124 according to the official count and dependent on those bridges. What is this bill that the president signed today going to mean for your district?

JAYAPAL: Well, it`s just huge, Lawrence. $8.6 billion is going to flow to Washington state. We are going to have in my district Sound Transit, which is our light rail. Our public transportation system is going to get $380 million plus additional grant pools.

We are going to have money for our port. It`s going to be one of the first investments that is made into the port. And the Seattle Port is a very important port along the West Coast.

We are also going to get money for electrification of our ferries. We`re going to get money to build up our EV network across the state. Money for bridges, the West Seattle Bridge very important priority of mine. I`ve spoken to Secretary Buttigieg many times about the West Seattle Bridge.

But we have many more as you said.

But in addition, restoration of Puget Sound. The EPA is going to money to really clean up our Sound and restore our Sound. That`s very important. As well as removal of fish passage barriers that is also funded in this.

So there`s just so much. It is really an important bill tonight. It is part one of two parts, as Vice President Harris said. But it is a critically important bill that is going to deliver real results for people.

And I just have to say, I have to shout out Heather Kurtenbach who was the Seattle iron worker who spoke so beautifully today at the ceremony.

And of course this is the work that we had done in the state Senate even earlier to fund free apprenticeships that help get women, folks of color and people who are incarcerated into free apprenticeship programs.

Heather is the perfect example of that and man, was she just fantastic today. Really, really tremendous.

O`DONNELL: Yes. She actually was very unusual for a bill signing to see the president and the vice president walk out and have someone coming with them. We had no idea who she was until she made her own statement as you just described. And so that was unusual.

It was also unusual for a bill signing to have members of Congress speak. It`s usually -- on the big ones it`s usually just the president and you get down to business pretty quickly.

But clearly, President Biden is trying to share as much credit as he can in the hope that this will help the sharing of credit and attention and all of that -- will help get all 50 votes that he needs in the United States Senate for part two.

[22:49:59]

JAYAPAL: That`s right. And I think we should be clear, the president is incredibly generous with sharing leadership as you said.

But let`s just be clear here. This is President Biden`s victory. It is a massive win for him. As the chief of staff was saying earlier on your show, he had numerous meetings with these legislators in the Senate, in the house, and just as he has done on the Build Back Better Act.

And this is really, I think, the leadership that the president chose every day in trying to get people to the table. And again, pushing on his agenda -- the agenda he laid out to Congress back in February now divided into two bills.

But, listen, the whole Build Back Better Act is about lowering costs for American families, about giving people more opportunity, about providing universal child care, pre-k, so much more, and the roads and bridges, clean water -- everything that was in the bill that he signed today.

And so as much as he is generous with sharing the credit, really the credit belongs to the president of the United States.

O`DONNELL: So all of you House Democrats are going to gather tomorrow morning, and you`ve made this point, that there is an agreement in place that says you would vote on build back better even without a CBO score as of a certain date. Is that agreement holding, or are you waiting for the CBO score?

JAYAPAL: Well, look, I think we want to get that CBO information to the members. There has already been a tremendous amount of fiscal information provided by CBO. All of it has been consistent with what was provided by the White House and by the joint committee on taxation.

But in our agreement, it does say in no event later than the week of the 15th. So that was regardless of whatever information came. We just didn`t want this to be delayed again and again and again.

And those individuals -- those Democrats who signed that statement, and we agreed that that would be in that agreement. So I am very confident we`re going to vote on this this week, and you know, maybe it`s the end of the week, but it will be this week. And hopefully it will be sooner than that because I think everybody wants to get this done, Lawrence.

We want to cut costs for families. We want to show people that we`ve got their back. We want to have the biggest investment in housing, plus, of course, we just came off of COP26. And the reality is this is the bill, Lawrence, this Build Back Better Act, this is the bill that really takes on climate change. And we should just be very clear about that.

The United States will not be able to lead on climate change or fulfill even the promises made at COP26 without the Build Back Better Act. So we`ve got to get it passed, we will get it passed through the House this week, and then on to the Senate and hopefully done and a great Christmas present, if not sooner, for the country to see that America is moving forward and government has your back.

O`DONNELL: And House Democrats are prepared to deal with what the Senate parliamentarian rules on what can and cannot be in a Senate reconciliation bill?

JAYAPAL: Well, you`re a Senate expert, Lawrence, so you know how this works. We`re going to have the parliamentarian scrub, the privilege scrub. That will happen very soon, and, you know, anything that the parliamentarian says cannot be in there unless there is a decision to overrule the parliamentarian will have to be scrubbed out of there.

And that`s the problem with, you know, the parliamentarian pretzels we twist ourselves into because of the filibuster. This is the only way we can pass the bill with 50 Democratic votes and the vice president to tie.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. Always appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Lawrence. Always great to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And tonight`s LAST WORD is next.

[22:52:56]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Last month the House Oversight Committee released documents showing Donald Trump`s Washington D.C. hotel lost $70 million while he was in office. The Trump Organization has been trying to sell the money-losing hotel since 2019.

Now "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the Trump Organization has reached a deal with the investment fund CGI Merchant Group to purchase the lease for the hotel for $375 million. CBI Merchant Group is expected to remove the Trump name from the building and brand it a Waldorf Astoria.

The deal is subject to approval by the General Services Administration because the federal government actually owns the property. If Donald Trump believed that he will be president again after the next election, would he be unloading his Washington, D.C. hotel?

If he were truly a billionaire, he could easily manage the current losses. And if he were truly a brilliant businessman like the one he used to play on TV, he could easily manage that hotel to profitability.

Maybe Defendant Trump is more concerned about being able to pay his criminal defense attorneys than holding onto another money-losing, Trump- labeled property.

[22:59:56]

O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNB HOST: And good evening once again. Day 300 of the Biden administration.