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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/14/21

Guests: Tim O`Brien, Jason Crow, Steve Schmidt, Chris Murphy


Federal Judge Trevor McFadden in the district court in Washington, D.C., who dismissed Donald Trump`s lawsuit trying to prevent the Treasury from following the law and giving his tax returns to House Ways and Means Chairman Richie Neal. The House is about to vote on former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows criminal referral. Interview with Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO). January 6th Committee reveals new texts with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawmakers. Nine years ago today, 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.




And I`ve been sitting here thinking what a difference a year makes and then what about those things where a year doesn`t make that much difference, which we`re living with tonight also.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yeah. Exactly. Both in terms of -- both in terms of COVID-19 and also in terms of our politics. The revelations of the last 24 or 48 hours on January 6th have been mind blowing.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. And they are those -- that kind of revelation that confirms what we kind of assumed. As we were watching the day unfold, it would make sense, of course, that all those Republican friends of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump would be texting Mark Meadows and saying, save us. What`s happening here? And so it`s fascinating to get the detail. But does it feel like one of those things that where we could have as drama writers filled in the blanks.

MADDOW: Right. I mean, I think the thing that we couldn`t have known was that we would get to see all this material, right?


MADDOW: It`s one thing to know that Mark Meadows is texting with the rally organizer and the rally organizer says to him, we need direction from you. It`s getting out of hand. Thus, confirming that the rally -- the people organizing the rally which turned into the violence were taking their direction from the White House.

And we think we thought that White House was directing this thing. But actually seeing it in black and white, seeing members of the conservative media who are saying Trump had nothing to do with this on the day of, saying Trump needs to stop this because they absolutely knew he was responsible in the moment. I just never thought we would see this stuff and now, here it s.

O`DONNELL: I think we by now have the behavioral guarantee that stupid people will put everything in writing. And so -- and so you will eventually, you will eventually get to see these things.

MADDOW: If it was ever written down or typed out, it will come back. That`s exactly right.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it will. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, several deeply reported books have documented Donald Trump`s rage. We have had angry presidents before. But we have never had a rage-a-holic like Donald Trump. We can only imagine how high his rage is peaking to now after a federal judge who he appointed has dismissed Donald Trump`s frivolous lawsuit to block the Treasury from handing over Donald Trump`s tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal.

Donald Trump`s rage at the judge he appointed, and who he probably believed he owned is accompanied tonight by his rage at the news that his long time accountant at the Mazars accounting firm, Donald Bender, has been granted immunity to testify to the grand jury in Manhattan investigating Donald Trump`s businesses. "Washington Post" says that Mr. Bender, quote, could serve as a human road map through Trump`s tax returns.

And all of that rage comes on top of the more than 24 hours of rage Donald Trump has been experiencing about his last White House chief of staff Mark Meadows` texts revealing that Fox hosts and congressional Republicans were all trying to tell him what to do, when the Capitol was being attacked on January 6th, because they were all as their texts show, absolutely certain that the most ignorant and incompetent president in history was sitting in the White House with absolutely no idea what to do. That`s what their texts show about what they thought about Donald Trump on January 6th.

And how livid is Donald Trump tonight about the public revelation that the cowardly Donald Trump Jr. on January 6th finally said what Donald Trump Jr. may have been trying to say for his whole life.


But because he is Donald Trump Jr., he was not allowed to say it to his father. He was allowed to say it to a guy working for his father, Mark Meadows.

He has to lead now. That`s what Donald Trump Jr. told Mark Meadows about his father when the Capitol was being attacked. He has to lead now.

That is a cry from the deepest part of Donald Trump Jr.`s shallow heart, the hopeless cry from a cowardly son to a cowardly father who has never known how to lead. Donald Trump has never known how to lead anyone, not his children, not his company which is now under criminal investigation, with one officer of the company already indicted, and certainly not his country.

If Donald Trump were still allowed to use Twitter, he would no doubt be filling Twitter tonight with hateful nickname for the Federal Judge Trevor McFadden in the district court in Washington, D.C., who dismissed Donald Trump`s lawsuit trying to prevent the Treasury from following the law and giving his tax returns to House Ways and Means Chairman Richie Neal. Judge McFadden, Donald Trump appointed, said that Donald Trump, quote, is wrong on the law. A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference facially valid congressional inquiries. Even the special solicitude accorded former presidents does not alter the outcome. The court will therefore dismiss this case.

Judge McFadden began his opinion at the beginning, the beginning of taxation. Congress first levied an income tax 1862 at the height of civil war. Under that law, the public could access and inspect any tax return. Judge McFadden reviewed the special law that allows only the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to request copies of any tax return from the IRS. Donald Trump tried to have the law found unconstitutional on its face, a claim Judge McFadden dismissed.

Donald Trump falsely claimed that Chairman Neal was abusing his power just so he could make Donald Trump`s tax returns public. In the final line of Judge McFadden`s 45-page decision, he said, it might not be right or wise to publish the returns. But it is the chairman`s right to do so. Congress has granted him this extraordinary power, and courts are loath to second- guess congressional motives or duly enacted statutes. The court will not do so here and thus must dismiss this case.

Chairman Neal and his staff will not be able to enlist the help of Donald Trump`s accountants to provide a road map through Donald Trump`s tax returns since Donald Trump`s accountant is already doing that under oath with immunity to a grand jury in Manhattan.

Donald Bender recently testified to that grand jury and prosecutors interviewed Rosemary Vrablic, a former managing director at Deutsche Bank that oversaw hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Donald Trump. "The Washington Post" reports, quote, "The appearances by Bender suggest prosecutors are seeking information about Trump`s finances from a small circle of outside partners who handled details of Trump`s taxes and real estate deals, Bender and Vrablic were never Trump employees but think knew more about this company`s inner workings than many employees did.

Donald Bender has been forced to testify in the past about Donald Trump`s tax returns including in Donald Trump`s frivolous lawsuit against our first guest tonight, Tim O`Brien who Donald Trump sued for libel when Tim O`Brien reported in his book that Donald Trump`s -- that Donald Trump had lied about his wealth. Tim O`Brien, of course, won that lawsuit.

Joining us now are: Tim O`Brien, senior columnist for "Bloomberg Opinion". He is the author of the book "Trump Nation". And Neil Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and MSNBC legal contributor.

And, Tim, I just want to begin with you tonight on this development today about who we now know is who is talking to the grand jury. This is the accountant Bender under oath with immunity to the grand jury in Manhattan, the same accountant who is under oath in your case.



We deposed Donald Bender. And we deposed him because we wanted to find out what he knew personally about the guidance he received from Donald Trump and the Donald Trump Organization in preparing Donald Trump`s financial statements and tax returns.

You know, Donald Trump routinely floated this statement of financial condition or SOFC that he would give sometimes give a reporters. He didn`t actually provide it to me until we litigated. But even his own accountants would say we can`t sign this off on this document because it couldn`t comport with general accounting principles. In other words, we`re holding our noses and looking the other way.

And Bender was the lead representative for Trump`s accounting firm. He worked directly with Allen Weisselberg and Trump preparing a number of financial documents that Trump used to get loans and report his own taxes.

And I think the really important thing here is the Manhattan DA is pursuing criminal charges against Trump. They need to prove intent.

There is more in Bender`s possession possibly and definitely in his knowledge about whether or not Trump directed him to do things, that go beyond just the financial documents themselves. If Bender is a material witness who can show that Donald Trump was told he might be breaking the law and went ahead and did it -- and went ahead and did it anyway and directed them to do that if they wanted to keep their jobs that, is an important moment in this whole case.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, let`s consider Judge McFadden`s opinion tonight. This is the district court level. Donald Trump can appeal it, surely will appeal it. But it`s a federal judge, a Trump appointee, who is crushing every single argument made by Donald Trump and his lawyers.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Lawrence, Trump is getting used to that. He loses every case he is brought. That is what happened in December and January. But now all the tax return cases which he lost already unanimously at the Supreme Court before. And today`s decision I think is really important.

It`s a Trump appointed-judge, Judge McFadden, a former Trump DOJ official who says basically Trump, read the law. The law is really clear. Congress can get these tax returns. And laws really clear in the Supreme Court that we don`t accept someone even former president`s innuendo for the motivation for the House of Representatives and trying to get this information.

So, it`s an important win for the House. In another way, it`s unremarkable. Trump continues to insist that law must silence opponents and hide misdeeds and he continues to lose. And Trump`s only remaining strategy here is to delay, and it seems that the courts have had enough of him. That`s what the decision today is about.

And it comes as a really bad time for Trump, as you were saying, Lawrence. It`s not just the text that`s have come out from Fox news hosts that are saying, are saying stop this on January 6th which are incredibly powerful and compelling. It`s pretty hard, I think, to argue that the horror of January 6th was a liberal dilution when you`re on record as the Fox News hosts are, texting pleas to the president saying, please make it stop.

But second, it`s also coming, the text today emerging from his own family. It`s not just Fox News. It`s Don Jr. sounding like, I don`t know, like Roman or Kendall on "Succession" or something. Some sort of cry for help. To just plea and say make it stop.

And, boy, I mean, these two things together, you know, really signal, you know, just what hot water Donald Trump is in right now.

O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, you know Donald Trump. He gets this -- this opinion today, from a judge he appointed saying, not only do you have to follow this extremely clear law, which has never been questioned in the past, that your tax returns do have to be handed over to the chair of the Ways and Means Committee. But on the final page, it also says, he can basically do whatever he wants with them, including make them public.

KATYAL: And Donald Trump`s going out of his mind because he assumes that every judge he appoints is in his pocket. Donald Trump rolls like an old 19th century ward boss or a mobster. He thinks all of these people owe him. And he got them jobs and therefore they have to defer to him.

He thinks the same way about the Supreme Court by the way. And I think he can come in for a very rude shock. After they appeal these last two rulings on his tax returns and they go to the court and the court affirms lower courts rulings.

This is -- he is so thuggish that he is routinely surprised that members of the bar and members of the court don`t do his bidding.


And the common thread linking the ruling last Thursday from the D.C. Circuit saying that January 6th Committee was allowed to get his tax returns, and the ruling today saying that House Ways and Means can get the tax return is that the Congress has a long standing and valid right to check the presidency, to scrutinize the presidency and to police it for abuses. And that what they`re doing right now in seeking the returns are well within their powers and serve a good public purpose.

In both rulings, they also invoked not only precedent but history. And I think there is -- this is weighing on these judges, that we are at this precipice right now. And that all we have is the rule of law and institutions to guard us from the abyss.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal and Tim O`Brien, thank you both very much for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.

KATYAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, while Republicans were texting Mark Meadows during the attack on the Capitol, Jason Crow was thinking about what weapon he might be able to use to protect his colleagues if the attackers entered the House chamber. Congressman Jason Crow will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Here`s the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol, on the House floor tonight before the vote on holding Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): If you are making excuses to avoid cooperating with our investigation, you`re making excuses to hide the truth from the American people about what happened on January 6th. You`re making excuses as part of a cover-up. There was a steady stream of communication between certain members of Congress and Mr. Meadows about matters central to our investigation.


We have questions about those communications. We will pursue those questions. And we won`t let the facts be buried by a cover-up.


O`DONNELL: The vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, outlined possible crimes committed by Donald Trump.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (D-WY): Mr. Meadows` testimony will bear on another fundamental question before this committee. And that is whether Donald J. Trump through action or inaction corruptly sought to obstruct or impede congress` official proceeding to count electoral votes. This committee is entitled to Mr. Meadows` testimony and it will inform our legislative judgments.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Cheney revealed more of the texts from if Republican members of Congress sent to Mark Meadows during the attack on the Capitol.


CHENEY: Here are a few others from Republican members. Quote, it is really bad up here on the Hill. Another one, the president needs to stop this ASAP. Another one, fix this now.

But we know hours passed with no action by the president to defend the Congress of the United States from an assault while we were trying to count electoral votes.


HANNITY: That was at the rules committee meeting this morning.

While Republicans were sending those texts to Donald Trump and Donald Trump was doing nothing, our next guest, a highly trained former Army Ranger and combat veteran was protecting and reassuring his colleagues in the House chamber and planning to use his pen as a weapon if the attackers made it into the House chamber.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman Crow. I know the vote on the Meadows contempt is coming up on the floor very soon. We appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us right now.

What have you been feeling as you have been reading those texts that were sent to Mark Meadows by your Republican colleagues while you were on the floor there trying to think about how to protect the lives of your colleagues?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Hi. Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

Well, I`ve been angry. Frankly, I hope America is angry too. As there was a mob descending on the Capitol not just attacking their representatives, attacking Capitol police, attacking the staff and journalists, brutally beating Metropolitan and Capitol Police, but undermining their vote, actually trying to overturn the votes of the American people.

And the other end of the mall was utter disregard by Mark Meadows and others, people ignoring pleas for help. People should be really upset about that. People should be angry. If they`re not, they`re not paying attention in the way that they should be.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chairman Thompson said today about who the Republican members are who were sending those texts. Their names have not yet been revealed. He didn`t reveal them. But this is what he said.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): There won`t be any surprise as to who they are. They`ve been very public with their defense of what happened on January 6th. And obviously, it was their belief that election was fraudulent and stolen.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Crow, one of the themes that`s clear in these texts to Mark Meadows is that the people sending them believed that Donald Trump could control the attackers of the Capitol and that they would follow his orders to stop what they were doing. They also seem to believe that Trump left to his own devices would do absolutely nothing.

CROW: Yeah. I think that`s right. Think about it this way, Lawrence. After 9/11, the U.S. Capitol was under attack. The Pentagon was attacked. The Twin Towers were attacked. There was a mass evacuation of the federal leadership from Washington, D.C., from the Capitol, from the White House, from the Pentagon.

We moved our command structure. We moved our elected leaders out of Washington, D.C. so fast forward to January 6th of this year. The Capitol came under attack by an insurrectionist mob. In just a couple miles away at the White House, there was zero effort to move Donald Trump.


That tells a lot as to who was directing and controlling that mob, and where the threat was directed and where the threat was emanating from. It speaks volumes frankly.

O`DONNELL: We have another communication to Mark Meadows -- involving Mark Meadows before January 6th, saying that the National Guard was ready, and that the National Guard would be ready to protect the pro-Trump people and that there would be reinforcements for the National Guard.

So they were thinking in the White House about the National Guard before January 6th but when the attack happened, no one was lifting a finger about the National Guard or anything else.

CROW: Yeah. But are we surprised by the fact this they would be willing use the military for the political purposes at least trying to? I don`t think they would have been successful because I think the senior commanders of our military that I have a great faith and confidence in would not have allowed that happen.

But if you start with the assumption that Donald Trump and the key enablers and the people that were supporting him and helping put this effort together like Mark Meadows and others, if you start with the assumption they don`t care about American democracy, they do not care about the right to vote, they care about nothing other than their own power and staying in power. They would be willing to do anything and use anybody in anything to accomplish that.

So if you use that assumption, that will lead you to where you need to be and what you need to know about Donald Trump and his enablers in almost every instance.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Jason Crow, I know you have to go to the House floor now to vote on the Mark Meadows contempt of Congress. Thank you very much for joining us tonight during this breaking news situation. Really appreciate it.

CROW: Of course.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And Steve Schmidt will join us next on how Republicans are failing what one member of Congress calls the moral test of our time.



REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): All of my colleagues, all of them knew that what happened on January 6th was an assault on our constitution. They knew it at the time. Yet now they are defending the indefensible.

Whether we tell the truth, get to the truth, and defend ourselves against it ever happening again is the moral test of our time. How we address January 6th is the moral test of our generation.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Steve Schmidt, former Republican strategist and co-founder of The Lincoln Project. And Steve, on the house floor they are very soon going to begin the vote on contempt of Congress against Mark Meadows.

What have we learned in the last 24 hours with the revelation of these text messages, about what Republican members in the House were really thinking while the Capitol was being attacked? And what they are saying today and what they`re saying with their votes today. In effect, trying to defend Mark Meadows.


First off, it`s the members of Congress along with the Fox News hosts. What they`re saying at its core is that they have really unfathomable disdain and contempt for their viewers, for their voters.

They think they`re worthless. They are unworthy of the truth. They lie to them with abandon and with cynicism. And you just look at it through this prism.

They have killed hundreds of thousands of people with the lies about a pandemic, about a disease that can be controlled. That even if you get it the vaccine can prevent you from dying from it. You look at the disproportionate number of deaths out across the country.

You look at the lies about democracy. And we know that Brian Kilmeade, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, scores of members of Congress, they knew exactly what they were looking at in real time.

They knew that they were watching an incited mob storm the Capitol of the United States in an act of insurrection trying to disrupt the counting of electoral votes.

They knew that this was Trump incited. That he alone could stop it. That it had raged out of control and in this last year fundamentally has been spent.

But the first moment of the presidency, was trying to tell us that we saw something that we didn`t see. But, of course, we all saw it. We saw that Barack Obama`s crowd size is bigger and we saw it play out on television this murderous mob come to do violence teaming with fascistic elements, extremist elements, militias, Proud Boys and the sordid list goes on.

So at the end what we find out through this for certain is that the people on Fox News, they don`t believe a word of what they say, of what they preach, what they sell for billions of dollars.

The cynicism is completely exposed. I suppose there are some people in the country that look at the money in Joel Osteen`s (ph) wall and say goodness, it`s a miracle, you know. But look, at the end of the day, this stuff speaks for itself.


O`DONNELL: Steve, one thing I`m struck by in all of the texts, this is universal, in every one of the texts that has been read from a Republican member of Congress to Mark Meadows, to the Fox hosts -- all of them -- to Mark Meadows to Donald Trump`s own son to Mark Meadows.

Every one of those people on January 6th during the attack they all are convinced of one thing. Donald Trump has no idea what to do. Therefore, I must try to tell him what to do through Mark Meadows.

In other words, every one of them knew that Donald Trump was unfit to serve as commander in chief while the Capitol was being attacked.

SCHMIDT: Well, for sure that`s true, right. Look. You have to think about this, I think, like as an iceberg. That most of it is below the water line. It`s invisible. The part that you see is not the majority of the mass.

So you know, we`re going to find out before this is over who in fact got through to Trump, right. Who was the first person that actually talked to Trump? What did they say to Trump? What is it that Trump thought was happening?

Did Trump say to those people that he thought it should go on? That there should be more people who came to the Capitol? Who knows what Trump said to any of these people. We`re going to find out.

What we know for sure is that early on in this these e-mails went out some time after we saw the images of Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle smiling gleeful as this was going on. It is early stages. After they had given the speeches and after Ted Cruz had incited the crowd. The crowd was on the march.

When did it turn to panic? What was the moment? What were they saying to one another? When did the smiles get wiped off their face?

The White House photographer was there taking pictures all throughout. Where are those images? We haven`t seen that stuff yet. But it`s all there to be seen. And so as this committee plays out, I think it`s going to be absolutely riveting.

We just got a little peek. This committee has been doing its work. The speculation has been that they`re not focused. I guess that`s fair because a lot of congressional investigations aren`t.

But this one seems to be the one, the type that is. I think it`s reverberating impactful about shaping events and the -- and the -- and the battlefield of the next election as this plays out in the first couple of quarters of 2022.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Chairman Thompson joined us here last night. And he said that he expects the televised hearings, the televised version of the hearings to be, he said, in the first quarter of next year, somewhere in those first three months. So let`s say by March. We will be seeing this in carefully structured televised hearings with the committee.

SCHMIDT: Yes. I mean I think I`d like to see these committee hearings play out in prime time where the maximum number of the American people can see it, where people who aren`t riveted to politics 24/7 can look and understand what`s at stake here with regard to the future of American democracy. What`s at stake with regard to the truth. The cynicism of the people that have been lying to them.

So this is going to be an enormously important event in this -- in this country. And it`s going to frame a really important decision as we`re five years out from celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of this country.

So yes, it`s a profoundly important moment and this committee is really going to shape, I think, the discussion for many, many months to come as we enter into `22.

The dialogue is going to be different than it has been over the course of `21 because of this committee.

O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

SCHMIDT: You bet. Good to be with you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, a grim anniversary became even more grim today when schoolchildren in Connecticut had to stay home because of threats to their schools. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy joins us next.



O`DONNELL: Nine years ago today, 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Today students in Newtown remained at home due to anonymous threats that have plagued the school for years.

In a letter to parents, the Newtown superintendent of schools writes, quote, "Aside from the emotion this day evokes, we often have to deal with calls or anonymous threats that raise levels of stress for the entire school community. In recent days schools across the state continue to face threats following the tragedy in Michigan."

Here`s what President Obama said when he reflected on the mass murder at Sandy Hook in the final days of his presidency.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.


O`DONNELL: Today President Joe Biden said this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For me and for Barack, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was one of the saddest days we were in office those eight years.


We came close to legislation but we came up short. It was so darn frustrating. And it`s still frustrating now for you and me and so many others.

There are three common sense bills to reduce gun violence that the Senate should pass now, right away. Long overdue.

I know our politics is frustrating, can be frustrating. It`s particularly frustrating now. But we can`t give up hope. We can`t stop.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Senator Murphy, thank you very much for joining us on this very difficult day, difficult day for you and your state.

Can you tell us anything more about the threat situation at Connecticut schools today?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): The threats are not exclusive to Sandy Hook School. There have been threats throughout the state that have caused many of our secondary and elementary schools to close.

I mean listen, it`s not surprising, unfortunately, when you have a high profile mass shooting like the one we saw in Oxford. You have copycats. And when the highest levels of the federal government do nothing to substantially condemn or stop these acts, it sends an implicit message of endorsement to other young men whose brains are breaking and contemplating these kind of actions or at the very least contemplating making a prank call.

So I think that it`s perfectly explainable these threats because of the inaction from Congress. So listen, Sandy Hook is a community that is resilient. In many ways it`s bounced back. But in many other ways, it will never be the same. This is obviously a really difficult day for the community even without these threats.

And then to have kids at home continually worrying about their safety, it is just layers of trauma on top of trauma that this country should find unacceptable.

O`DONNELL: What is this day like in Connecticut and in Newtown, this grim anniversary day once every year?

MURPHY: You know, I`ve become very close with many of the families and parents of those that were killed in Sandy Hook. I try to reach out on the night before knowing that a lot of them sort of like to stay quiet on the 14th.

I will tell you for me it doesn`t get easier. It doesn`t get easier. In part because every year that passes without action is another year that I know a whole new generation of kids is going to face this reality.

And you don`t have to have a shooting at your school to be affected. You know, my two kids -- a seventh grader and a fourth grader -- go through active shooter drills. This is a generation that, you know, in some ways expects to have a shooting occur on their campus.

So, you know, in Connecticut, this is a day that I think it`s tougher, not easier over time. Those family, you know, they relive the nightmare every day. But this is certainly a time and a day where it is particularly acute.

And it`s a day for all of us to just remind ourselves this happens nowhere else but the United States of America. And that our cause is so righteous that it will prevail. And I appreciate Joe Biden`s words today to keep us to task.

O`DONNELL: The methods used to raise the debt ceiling this week and pass that through the United States Senate appear to outsiders to be a change in Senate rules which technically it isn`t.

But it certainly appears as though to get the debt ceiling passed, an accommodation was reached to allow the Democrats to do that with only 50 votes. In fact, it was just a reversal to the way it used to be done back in the 1990s and other times when there would never, ever, ever be an objection to the motion to proceed to the debt ceiling vote.

And so that`s what they got out of the way. But to people out there who think voting rights are the most important thing the country is facing, to other people out there who think the same thing about gun safety laws where they`re always being told, sorry, we don`t have 60 votes, what do you say to them on a day like today when they`re watching the Senate bend, when they`re watching the Senate part the sea so that the debt ceiling can go through but never, never consider doing that on the issue of gun safety?

MURPHY: Well, I don`t know that I can say it better than you, Lawrence. I mean what we showed today is that the Senate is willing to change the rules for something important. And 50 Democratic Senators are willing to change the rules for something important.

Now in this case, that important thing was the full faith and credit of the United States government. But my lord, what is more important than the safety of our kids?


I want America to pay our bills but ask those parents in Sandy Hook whether they would trade a temporary debt default for another ten minutes with their dead first graders.

I mean nothing is more important than the safety of our children and so, yes, this is a day to be reminded that there are moments when 50 Democratic Senators and even a few Republicans are willing to change the rules to do something important.

And Senator Raphael Warnock from Georgia gave one of the most stirring, most powerful speeches I`ve ever seen behind closed doors today in our caucus making this point. And maybe, just maybe some of our colleagues listened to it and will have an open mind as to how we proceed on the rules of the Senate moving forward.

O`DONNELL: Senator Chris Murphy, thank you very much for joining us on what I know is a very difficult day for you. We really appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, California and New York are going to go after guns using the same legal tools that Texas is now using against abortion rights. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: The United States Supreme Court is so far refusing to stop the new Texas that allows anyone to sue abortion service providers in Texas. California`s Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that California will do whatever the state can to help women in Texas and other states where abortion services are being restricted. He said California will become a sanctuary for them.

And this week Governor Newsom announced this. "I have directed my staff to work with the legislature and the attorney general on a bill that would create a right of action allowing private citizens to seek injunctive relief and statutory damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney fees against anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the state of California.

New York`s attorney general Tish James said she will follow California`s lead.


LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: When I heard about that, I said to my team, we need to follow his lead. And the reason why that is, is because gun manufacturers and gun distributors in this country are immunized. No liability whatsoever.

They are the only industry that is protected in this country, and given the carnage, and given the fact that this is the ninth anniversary of Sandy Hook, I am sick and tired of prayers and individuals whose hearts go out to all of those who have lost lives. We can do something about it.


O`DONNELL: Rejoining our discussion is Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and an MSNBC legal contributor.

And Neal, I was so struck reading Gavin Newsom`s announcement. It just mirrors the Texas law almost word for word.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. And it`s the right move. So what the Supreme Court did in this decision a couple of days ago is green-light essentially this Texas vigilante provision.

It said Texas got it wrong in the details because it included licensing officials, but the bottom line was the Supreme Court said these vigilante provisions are ok. That you can -- you as the state could enact a law that says that individuals can sue other individuals for pursuing their constitutional rights.

Now, if that sounds crazy to you, it`s because it is. And it was crazy to, for example, Chief Justice John Roberts who is not exactly, you know, some liberal or something like that.

And I think what Tish James did today is absolutely right. If we`re going to have this in Texas for abortion, then we should have it in New York and California and other states for guns. Indeed why stop there.

You know, corporate donations are protected by terrible Citizens United decision. Let`s empower citizens to sue corporations that give money to campaigns. Individuals sometimes skirt campaign finance laws, why not create a cause (ph) of action allowing vigilantes to sue other people who they think are violating the campaign finance laws.

This could go on and on. It`s a nuts decision. It`s a nuts decision but if we`re going to live with it, then they`re going to have to live with the consequences in states that aren`t, you know, politically in their pocket.

O`DONNELL: So would the Supreme Court get itself out of this bind because I think it`s very clear. We know that the Republican majority in the Supreme Court would not like to see this kind of law applied by California.

Will they get themselves out of this if and when they just completely overturn Roe versus Wade and then thereby, making the Texas law irrelevant?

KATYAL: No, that doesn`t get them out of it because the decision`s rhetoric and the reasoning of the decision was you basically can have these vigilante provisions, and it wasn`t an abortion-specific ruling. As the chief justice said, this is going to be for any constitutional right.

So they can`t get themselves out of this with overturning Roe versus Wade. The only way to get themselves out of it is overturning this treacherous decision, dangerous decision that the Supreme Court rendered a couple of days ago.

O`DONNELL: So Neal, this -- California will go forward with this and these cases will eventually, presumably, ripen to the Supreme Court. It might take, what, a couple of years?

KATYAL: Correct. It might take two to three years to get to the Supreme Court, but given what the Justices said, I don`t think there is a way out of this box without overturning this horrible decision that they`ve rendered a couple of days ago.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

KATYAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And the House is voting right now on the contempt of Congress resolution against Mark Meadows.

"THE 11TH HOUR" will bring you the results of that vote.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR" starts now.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again. I`m Chris Jansing.

Day 329 of the Biden administration.