IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/20/21

Guests: E.J. Dionne, Molly Jong-Fast, David Rothkopf, Bob Kerrey


President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin talked after Manchin says "No" on Build Back Better, agree to try for "a new deal next year". Senator Manchin signals he`s open to Senate rule change. It sounds like Joe Manchin is now open to changing the Senate rules to allow the Senate to vote on voting rights. The House Select Committee`s investigation of the January 6th attack on the Capitol has finally reached into the House Republicans themselves. Because Donald Trump is not a member of the House of Representatives he will not be losing any committee assignments because of the way he talks about Jewish people.



And you had one of my favorite segments on, one of my favorite Rachel segments. It`s -- it`s the pessimist versus the optimist. When Pramila Jayapal comes on your show, it`s my favorite thing. It`s my favorite thing because you enter the segment -- I may be projecting, but you enter the segment in a dark space. I mean, that is not what you`re saying but I sort of feel it, you know?

And then your show`s optimist in chief, Congressman Jayapal, actually presents an optimistic view of what is next. She actually does it. And it is real.

I listened to it. I sit there with all my experience trying to tear it apart, and, no, it`s real. It`s legitimate.

And I got to say she is brilliant at it, diplomatically, in her presentation of it. But it`s just my favorite thing, to watch -- to watch those words of optimism just washing over you and you just, you know, make them, you know, let them get into your heart and go on with life that way.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": It is like a recurring bit on this show. You`re completely right. That I bring Congressman Jayapal on and I say, looks to me like nothing happened. Looks to me like it`s all over. Whoa, this was a dark one.

She -- every single time. I hear you, Rachel, but actually. And then she`s got something to say that is not pie in the sky and is not some made up thing.


MADDOW: And it`s not like there will be better days ahead. She always some constructive thing that can happen and some little based in reality thing I`m not factoring into my little dark cloud. She -- I mean, to be the chair of the Progressive Caucus is by design to always be asking for things that you are mostly not going to get, but she has this gift of asking for things and presenting the case for things in a way that is both reasonable and makes it seem likely she is going to get at least a lot of what she is asking for.

And that is -- it works even on me. I am -- I am the original dark cloud but it works even on me.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Chair of the progressive caucus in the house, he believe in the job description the word frustration is in the first sentence. The remarkable thing is she has taken the job. I`ve been watching closely. She has never once shown frustration, never once hit the frustration wall, never once. That makes her almost alone among many colleagues. I`ve been watching over the last 24 hours.

And the Democrats, this is one of those moments where the Democrats are like a football team that, you know, had some setbacks if the game. And that`s all they talk about after the game. It`s like on the local news all they want to do is re-run the fumble play all day instead of the other plays where they did reasonably well. It is an odd team trait to have.

But Congressman Jayapal never falls into that hole ever. You know, let`s trash what is going on here and somebody else. She actually had a conversation with Joe Manchin, which I learned about on your show after this morning I guess, after all of the flare-ups. And a lot of other people were just out there trashing Joe Manchin. She is on the phone with him trying to figure out, where do we go?

MADDOW: And she is not, you know, not putting a happy face on something that doesn`t deserve it. She said on our air, listen, Senator Manchin is a good person, he`s a nice person. You know, she is personally complimentary to him but also saying he has broken his word and you`re only as good as your word in this town. He has betrayed the president and betrayed his own word and essentially not argued in good faith, not negotiated in good faith.

So, she is not a pushover. She`s not, you know, not like she is being irresponsible or kind of a squish on these things at all. She is just willing to have a conversation and willing to find a way forward. It is interesting to hear you say what she was proposing seems very doable to you.

I mean, the Biden administration and Biden White House specifically may have to decide quickly whether some of these things she and her colleagues are saying can be done by executive action, not through legislation, they`re going to have to decide whether she is right, whether that`s feasible and whether they want to do it.


And I think it has to happen in short order.

O`DONNELL: Well, the other thing that is going to happen, I think Senator Schumer in effect turned over this card today in his letter to the Democrats. This is something Chairman Sanders was saying in your hour.

Bernie Sanders was saying, listen, let`s just bring it to the floor and vote on it and then Senator Sanders goes on to say let`s watch Joe Manchin vote down the child tax credit, which Joe Manchin might do.

But what Chairman Sanders is describing is exactly the way it used to work. You didn`t have the whole bill wired with every vote wired before you brought it to the floor. You brought it out on to the floor knowing that the child tax credit is in danger because of Manchin`s attitude toward it and you just waited for the amendments.

Someone will bring up an amendment to a Republican to strike the child tax credit and will Joe Manchin vote yes or no? Then you go with what is left of that bill at the end of the process. That is the way it always worked. This wiring the whole thing ahead of time -- that`s a 21st century invention.

And so --

MADDOW: But is that preordained because of the reconciliation process though? Is it the reconciliation process that forces some of that? No?

O`DONNELL: No, no.

The way reconciliation used to work is, you do the best job you could with the bill, you bring it on the floor, and see what happens. In fact, our first guest tonight is Senator Bob Kerrey, who was the Joe Manchin of 1993. I don`t want to go back too far.

But this is the last time we saw the first year of a Democratic president with his major agenda item on the Senate floor and it all coming down to one senator to cast that 50th vote so Al Gore could cast the 51st vote and that was Bob Kerrey. So, he`s been there done that on being the 50th vote and the weight of the presidency on that 50th vote. We`re going to talk about what we`re seeing in the dynamics of it today.

When that bill went to the floor, we did not know how he was going to vote or a few other people and then they revealed themselves as time went on and got to a point where we knew, okay. We are one vote away. Well, the bill is on the floor, being voted on and amended at that time. I think that is what Senator Sanders wants to see happen in January and Senator Schumer seemed to say today that is what he is going to do.

MADDOW: Yes, I think that is right. If you can get the former senator who you are about to speak to, to go down to the marina and hop on to Senator Manchin`s house boat, his yacht, and have a conversation with him in those terms, I will buy you lunch for a year.

O`DONNELL: I can only do what I can do in my humble corner here.

MADDOW: I hear you.

O`DONNELL: By the way, Rachel, more episodes of the pessimist versus the optimist whenever you can, please.

MADDOW: I will do. When we`ve locked into a long term contract, don`t worry. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Great. Thank you, Rachel.

Well, as you heard Congressman Jayapal say to Rachel Maddow, it`s not over. It is not over. President Biden`s legislative agenda was declared dead yesterday after Senator Manchin said, quote, this is a no on this legislation. That was his exact sentence that set everything off. This is a no on this legislation.

Now, President Joe Biden knows a statement like that simply means if you change something in that legislation, then the no can become a yes. And so, last night, Joe Biden and Joe Manchin spent some time on the phone together. And now we know this morning Joe Manchin and Pramila Jayapal spent time on the phone together.

"The Washington Post" reports this about the president`s call. It was cordial and both men signaled they would try to work on a new deal next year according to two people with knowledge of the call who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. "The Washington Post" is also reporting Joe Manchin`s final counteroffer to Joe Biden was a $1.8 trillion version of the bill that did not include an extension of the child tax credit but did include the largest amount of climate related spending in history and other Biden priorities.

Joe Manchin`s original starting point was $1.5 trillion. So that was up from his original starting point.

The White House was considering how to respond to the Manchin $1.8 trillion offer over the weekend when Joe Manchin reportedly shocked the White House by saying his version of no on television.

Now, Joe Manchin is fond of saying as he did yesterday if he can`t go home and explain to the people of West Virginia that he cannot vote for it, what he did not explain to the people of West Virginia yesterday is why he is opposed to helping West Virginians and people in the rest of the country to live above the poverty line with the help of the child tax credit.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer today in a letter to Democratic senators who have all left Washington for the Christmas recess, he wrote: Senators should be aware that the Senate will in fact consider the Build Back Better Act very early in the new year so every member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor not just on television. Now, that could mean that senator Schumer will bring a version of the reconciliation bill to the Senate floor and let the amendment process decide the final shape of that bill, which is the traditional way of handling legislation like this.

While he was at it, Senator Schumer promised a vote on voting rights, which might include senator Schumer suggested it would include changing the rules of the Senate to have that vote. Senator Schumer indicated that would be the very first thing. Voting rights would be the very first thing the Senate does in January. We`ll have more on that later in this hour.

It is only in the 21st century as I was just talking to Rachel about this, it is only in the 21st century we`ve seen Senate leadership on both sides writing legislation that goes to the Senate floor in a form that cannot be changed so that the -- party the majority party basically agrees to vote down every amendment. That is only a recent development and that empowers each Senator in trying to reach that agreement among all the Democratic senators.

Twitter exploded yesterday with the outrage at the notion that one man elected by 290,510 people can decide the fate of a nation of 330 million people. But the people expressing that outrage yesterday did not express the same outrage when one man who was elected by 1,359,267 people decided the fate of the nation on the Senate floor at 1:29 a.m.

Well, we were going to show you John McCain doing that thumbs down vote on the Senate floor. That was that video cued up there but it doesn`t always work.

Anyway, that was one man deciding the fate of the nation. And the people who were objecting to that concept this weekend were very much in favor of John McCain casting that one vote. In fact, the design of this government often allows one man or one woman to decide the fate of the nation. And some of the people who have that power were not voted into office by anyone like members of the Supreme Court. Every 5-4 Supreme Court decision is the product of one person having the power to decide the fate of the nation.

Joe Manchin did not invent the power he has. The power of one man or woman in the Senate or House of Representatives or Supreme Court or the presidency to decide the fate of the nation has been with us since the Constitution was written.

So, what is it like? What is it like to have that power? We saw this Senate drama once before with character dynamics that were the stuff of a great screen play. A Democratic president`s signature legislation is in front of the Senate.

The Democrats have a majority of 56 senators. But six Democratic senators are opposed to the Democratic president`s legislation, 49 senators are in favor. And one Democratic senator is undecided and the undecided senator ran against the president for the Democratic presidential nomination the year before the vote.

This is 1993. Bill Clinton is in the White House. He has what was then considered a massive budget reconciliation bill that has sailed through the House of Representatives and is now stuck in the Senate on the floor of the Senate but there`s only 49 votes supporting it. A 50th vote, 50th Democratic vote will allow Vice President Al Gore to cast the tie-breaking vote and Bill Clinton will get to sign his first piece of legislation into law.

Bob Kerrey of Nebraska is the undecided senator. He went into New Hampshire the year before looking like the most stable Democratic candidate for president while the Clinton campaign appeared to be drowning in scandal but Bill Clinton became the comeback kid in New Hampshire and went on to win the presidency.

Television cameras followed Bob Kerrey everywhere he went for a couple weeks in the summer of 1993 as Senator Kerrey decided how to make up his mind on a budget reconciliation bill that was significantly different from what he would have offered that year if he were president of the United States.


Now, no one then suspected Bob Kerrey of grandstanding or trying to get attention in any way. He didn`t need the attention. He had been a big star in Washington from his first day. He arrived as a Vietnam combat veteran who had won the Medal of Honor for combat engagement in which he lost his leg in Vietnam.

In his first book about the Clinton presidency, Bob Woodward reported on the day by day tension leading up to that vote on the Senate floor including a phone call just like Joe Biden and Joe Manchin had last night but this was a phone call between President Clinton and Senator Kerrey.

Clinton again pleaded with Kerrey that he needed his vote. My presidency is going to go down, he said sharply by now shouting.

I do not like the argument that I am bringing the presidency down, Kerrey shouted back getting fed up. Clinton shouted that the defeat would do precisely that. Kerrey could not flee from his responsibility. I really resent the argument that I`m somehow responsible for your presidency surviving, Kerrey bellowed. F you, Clinton yelled.

And finally, on the night of the vote, Bob Kerrey entered the Senate chamber and everyone in the Senate and everyone at the White House held their breath.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I see the distinguished from Nebraska has arrived in the chamber, and I ask the senator how much time he`ll require.

SEN. BOB KERREY (D-NE): Fifteen minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I yield 15 minutes to the distinguished senator from Nebraska, Mr. Kerrey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator from (AUDIO GAP) is recognized.

KERREY: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate will be in order.

KERREY: Mr. President I have taken too long I`m afraid to reach this decision. My head I confess aches with all the thinking. I do not trust what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will do if I say no.


O`DONNELL: Senator Kerrey then spoke to the Republicans in the chamber in language that seems written for today.


KERREY: You have locked yourselves together into the idea of opposition. Opposition not to an idea but to a man, a man who came to this town green and experienced in our ways. And he wants America to do better, to be better, and to continue to believe in the invincibility of ideas of courage and action.


O`DONNELL: After announcing he was going to vote yes he then spoke directly to the man who told him he was holding the presidency in his hands.


KERREY: President Clinton, if you`re watching now as I suspect you are, I tell you this: I could not and should not cast the vote that brings down your presidency. You have made mistakes and know it far better than I. But you do not deserve and America cannot afford to have you spend the next 60 days quibbling over whether or not we should have this cut or this tax increase.


O`DONNELL: If Joe Manchin can find his way to the kind of compromise with the president that Bob Kerrey found Joe Manchin could have a moment on the Senate floor or the 15 minutes on the Senate floor as Bob Kerrey did and deliver a speech that everyone who saw it would never forget and get the same reaction from the Senate that Bob Kerrey got.


KERREY: The challenge for us, and too much is at stake for us to even consider the possibility of failure, is for us to end this distrust and put this too partisan debate behind us. And for the sake of our place in history rise to the high road the occasion requires.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, served in the United States 1988 to 2001.

And, Senator Kerrey, I am sorry that our editing cut off the huge applause you got in the Senate after that speech because the tension that you put us through those weeks was greatly relieved in that moment.


Tell us what it is like to be inside that 50th vote pressure and have that power we have seen Joe Manchin apparently have?

KERREY: Well, first of all, my advice is don`t be the 50th vote, because it is exceptionally difficult in that position. And you said earlier nobody accused me of grandstanding. Quite a few people did because it certainly gave that appearance but it just happened that six Democrats who decided to vote no announced it in a press conference and I was the last one. It is exactly what I said then, it`s the same thing I`m going on now, Lawrence.

I mean, you got all this attention on Joe Biden but the attention should be focused on the 50 Republican senators who are saying no. No to a piece of legislation, well, take a giant step to address the problem of climate change and give us a real competitive advantage in addressing it. It will create great jobs in the United States.

Saying no to pieces of legislation that`s going to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals, going to reduce the cost of health care, making it easier to get child care. I mean, how do they -- what is their argument against it? And while they are out giving speeches against cancel culture, they`re canceling a debate. They`re filibustering motions to proceed to have the very debate about these issues.

And it just Joe Biden voting -- I mean, excuse me, Joe Manchin voting no. It`s Susan Collins voting no. It`s the entire gulf states are going to be decimated by climate change, and then come begging for federal money to cover the damages from these storms.

I mean, even -- anyway, so I think the attention needs to be focused on the 50 Republican senators who are saying no. They are not going to participate in trying to make this a better bill and vote for something in the end. It is very much comparable to what was going on in `93.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, the way the media covers this, which is understandable, I get why it happens, is because there`s the two Joes, the two big characters, Joe Biden, Joe Manchin. It looks like that is the only thing that matters, and we are constantly leaving out the 50 people that it takes which is to say the 50 Republicans it takes to put Joe Manchin in this position. They`re all going to get -- if this bill goes down it will be blamed on Joe Manchin and no one is going to say, Mitt Romney, how did you let this happen?

KERREY: That is exactly right. Like a magic trick. They perform this magic trick that got a substantial portion of the American press to blame this thing on Joe Manchin not the 50 Republican senators who are refusing to participate in the discussion about what the legislation should be.

And this in a lot of ways, too, Lawrence, this bill is much bigger than `93. The potential impact and our capacity to move beyond the challenges with climate and create real good, green jobs in the United States, give us a competitive advantage, to address rising costs in prescription drugs, health care, child care, elder care, college education. All of these things are in this bill.

In a lot of ways, in fact, in almost every conceivable way, this bill does more than the `93 bill. All we did then was reduce the deficit. So, the Republicans have to answer the question, why are you doing this? What`s your argument against it?

What they come back with is cancel culture language. Anybody that wants to evaluate the American economic system gets accused of being un-American. It is cancel culture. These guys are always talking about the danger of cancel culture and nobody is more guilty of it than they at the moment.

O`DONNELL: Let me get you -- let me get a final question about what you would say to Joe Manchin based on your experience with that question, that thing that Bill Clinton put in your lap. He wasn`t the only one saying it. Other people were telling you the Clinton presidency is in your hands with this vote.

You know, we know you disagree with a bunch of these policies and we know it`s not all the way over to where you want it. You made a decision to not harm the Clinton presidency with your vote. What would you say to Joe Manchin about how he should weigh the Biden presidency in this decision where he is obviously not -- you can`t get everything you want -- how do you weigh the presidency in it?

KERREY: Well, first of all, Senator Manchin needs to know people like me appreciate him. We are glad he is a Democrat. I consider myself a moderate to conservative Democrat just as he is. And it is not easy to hold that stance.

So, I don`t want him to walk into Mitch McConnell`s office and change parties. He is a very good and important member of the Democratic Party and all of those people trying to assassinate him on Twitter sitting in their living room saying he ought to switch parties, they don`t know what they`re talking about.

So, I just say, I know it is a difficult vote.


I do trust, we`ve -- we know what he wanted. He has been negotiating in good faith. My prediction is that they`ll get a bill, something to the president for signature.

O`DONNELL: Former Senator Bob Kerrey, been there done that, that is why we needed to hear from you tonight. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

KERREY: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

KERREY: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: And, coming up, today, Chuck Schumer promised a vote on voting rights in the United States Senate as the very first thing the Senate will do in January. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: It sounds like Joe Manchin is now open to changing the Senate rules to allow the Senate to vote on voting rights.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you open to changing either the rules or the structure of the filibuster to do that?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, first of all, voting -- just voting is the bedrock of democracy. If you can make the Senate work better, the rules are something we have changed over the years, 232 years there`s been rule changes, but there`s never with the filibuster the rights of the minority.

I made no commitments or promises on that. I am working on trying to make the Senate work better, bringing bills to the floor, amending them, having debates, understanding, being transparent to the public.



LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Joining us now E.J. Dionne columnist for "Washington Post" and a senior fellow with the Brookings Institute, and Eugene Robinson associate editor and Pulitzer Prize winning opinion columnist for the "Washington Post". He`s an MSNBC political analyst.

And E.J., Joe Manchin said more in different responses yesterday about the 60-vote threshold and he slips in things that aren`t true about the history of it here and there. But he keeps suggesting that a rule change is possible depending on which sentence you listen to.

E.J. DIONNE, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: No, that`s right. And I think it was really significant that on the big no show on Fox News where BBB was concerned, Build Back Better was concerned, he did not say no to changing the rules on voting rights.

A group of senators who had been skeptical of changing the rules like Angus King from Maine, from Jon Tester from Montana, like Tim Kaine of Virginia - - they`ve been working with Manchin trying to get to a point where you could change the rules enough to get both the Voting Rights Bill and the Help Americans Vote Act to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

And so I think Manchin is critical not only on Build Back Better but in allowing for this rules change. And I think that before we settle Build Back Better we`re going to have the fight over voting rights. And I think there is a better than equal chance that voting rights are going to prevail.

O`DONNELL: Gene, we heard President Biden a couple months ago in response to a question about voting rights, say, listen if I tried to change the rules, in effect, is what he said, if I tried to change the rules in the Senate now to pass voting rights I would lose two votes on Build Back Better, meaning he would lose Sinema and Manchin.

They are so far down the road now on both of these that there is so much more clarity that Joe Biden it seems and Chuck Schumer are ready to just come out in the first week in January in the Senate and say, ok. This is what we have to do to get voting rights through. And now it is time to have a vote on a Senate rules change, which is a complicated process but that only requires a majority vote.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Lawrence, I think that is right. And that`s certainly the way President Biden sounded on Friday.

I went down to my hometown of Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he gave a speech at the graduation ceremony of South Carolina State University. And he was very strong on voting rights. That was a major theme of his speech. And he sounded very serious to me and he sounded ready to move on it.

But let me also bring in that last point that former Senator Kerry was making in the, you know, the context of the budget bills. You make the same point in the context of voting rights. They are affecting Republicans.

The whole reason we`re talking about the filibuster rule is that there are 50 Republicans that are not willing to even consider voting rights protections that they have supported in the past.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act essentially consists of the provision of `65 Voting Rights Acts that were, every single Republican voted for the last time and when was it -- 2004, 2005 the last time it was reauthorized.

The time before that in 1982 even Strom Thurmond, the segregationist senator from my home state of South Carolina voted to reauthorize the provisions that today`s Republicans refuse even to debate. That is astonishing. I keep writing it over and over again and thanks Senator Kerry for saying it.

But it is not just Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It is the 50 Republicans who refuse to participate.

O`DONNELL: And E.J., as we sit here tonight near the end of the year, Joe Biden has accomplished more with a 50/50 Senate than any president in history since basically almost none of them ever had a 50/50 Senate.

DIONNE: Right. I mean, you pass that enormous bill to keep the economy moving at the beginning of the administration. We finally had a big infrastructure bill. So he`s got a lot going. He`s done a lot already.

But I also think that what you and Senator Kerry talked about and bless Gene by the way for that point on 50 Republicans. One or two could come over for goodness` sake on voting rights and maybe Lisa Murkowski will. But it shouldn`t be like this.

But it is absolutely true that he put a lot on the Build Back Better plan. If nothing happens it will be a real defeat for him and that is why I still think something will happen. Something is going to pass in end.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

DIONNE: Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thanks Lawrence.


O`DONNELL: And we have some breaking news. The House Select Committee`s investigation of the January 6th attack on the Capitol has finally reached into the House Republicans themselves.

The first member of the House who`s been asked to give testimony to the committee and he might not be the last. Congressman Eric Swalwell will join us next.


O`DONNELL: The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is for the first time requesting testimony from a member of Congress, asking him to voluntarily submit to an interview about among other things trying to install Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general.

Quote, "We have received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting attorney general.


O`DONNELL: Acting attorney general Rosen and acting deputy attorney general Donoghue have provided evidence regarding these issues. and we have received evidence that others who worked with Mr. Clark were aware of these plans.

Congressman Scott Perry introduced Jeffrey Clark to Donald Trump according to a report released in October by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee`s chairman Bennie Thompson, his letter to Congressman Perry also states, "We are also aware that you have multiple text and other communications with President Trump`s former chief of staff regarding Mr. Clark. And we also have evidence indicating that in that time frame you sent communications to the former chief of staff using the encrypted Signal app.

Yesterday Republican member of the select committee Congressman Adam Kinzinger said this about his Republican colleagues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that some of your Republican colleagues bear direct responsibility for that riot?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It`s possible. I`m not ready to kind of go to that point yet because I want to let the facts dictate it. But I will tell you, yes. There are more texts out there that we haven`t released.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Kinzinger was asked about the possibility of a subpoena for Donald Trump`s testimony.


KINZINGER: Nobody, member of congress, former president, nobody in America is above the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So a subpoena for former President Trump. Again, I know the committee hasn`t made a decision but you think that should happen.

KINZINGER: Here`s how I`ll say it. If we need it, yes. Nobody should be above the law but we also recognize we can get the information without him at this point and obviously when you subpoena the former president that comes with a whole kind of, you know, circus environment.


KINZINGER: But if we need him, we`ll do it.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell who served as a House impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

That impeachment trial that you worked on is covering much, covered much of the same ground that the committee is now covering but they have resources now that you didn`t have.

These texts from mark meadows it turns out, he seems to be the central crossroads everyone was texting to. So if you are like Congressman Perry, someone who was texting to Mark Meadows you know that the committee knows what you did.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): We were flying in the blind, Lawrence. This was just a couple of weeks after the insurrection. We had no cooperative witnesses. We had very few Republicans who wanted to work with us.

And thank God that we stood up this January 6th Commission and they have the luxury of time, the luxury of being able to subpoena third party records. So they are getting cell phone records.

And even if they don`t have content they are getting metadata. So who called who, when did each person text one another, what time did they text one another, and they are piecing it all together.

And so to protect the investigative equities, you know, they are not revealing all of it because as they bring witnesses in they don`t want witnesses to know what they have because they may try and tailor their testimony around it.

But boy, it is starting to look like that there were a lot of my Republican colleagues who were willing to abuse every lever of power -- military, Department of Justice, the White House -- to try and overturn an election and overturn the will of the American people and I suspect there is going to be much, much more to come as far as members of Congress they want to hear from.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of what Congressman Kinzinger had to say this time about Kevin McCarthy.


KINZINGER: Kevin McCarthy on the other hand has not said a word about anything. Except for that Donald Trump is probably the greatest president to ever exist and Kevin McCarthy himself I think made Donald Trump relevant again when two weeks after January 6 or so he went back down to Mar-A-Lago and brought him back to political life by putting his arm around him, taking that picture, and basically sending a signal to the rest of the Republicans who were pretty quiet at this moment that we got to get back on the Trump train.

And he bears responsibility for that. I don`t think history books are going to be kind to him.


O`DONNELL: We do know that Kevin McCarthy was in some communication with the White House but at this point we don`t -- on January 6th, we don`t know whether it was text or voice. The voice communication of course will be harder to get an accurate reading on.

SWALWELL: Kevin McCarthy was a very effective starburst sorter for Donald Trump. Not so effective when it comes to showing integrity or honor.


SWALWELL: But we know from impeachment number two that Kevin McCarthy relayed to Jamie Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington, the conversation he had with Donald Trump where Trump was upset with McCarthy that he wasn`t showing the same type of anger that those were showing who were inside the Capitol.

I think he is a relevant witness. He talked to Donald Trump as the insurrection was taking place. He knows the state of mind of Donald Trump. And if the commission seeks to avoid having Trump testify or if Trump himself takes the Fifth or does not come in, then you`re going to need these peripheral witnesses who talked to Trump to have the state of mind so you have an accurate accounting of what happened.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell we obviously interrupted you in the middle of Christmas shopping in a book store. Please get back to it.

SWALWELL: Shop small. Towne Center Books in Pleasanton. That`s right.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SWALWELL: All right.

O`DONNELL: Coming up Donald Trump has revealed what he believes about Jewish people. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Because Donald Trump is not a member of the House of Representatives he will not be losing any committee assignments because of the way he talks about Jewish people.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel. I`ll tell you, the Evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country. It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. and today I think it`s the exact opposite.

And I think Obama and Biden did that. And yet in the election, they still get a lot of votes from Jewish people, which tells you that the Jewish people -- and I`ve said this for a long time -- Jewish people in the United States either don`t like Israel or don`t care about Israel.

When you look at the "New York Times", the "New York times" hates Israel. Hates them. And they`re Jewish people that run the "New York Times". I mean the Sulzberger family.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now Molly Jong-Fast, contributing writer at "The Atlantic" and David Rothkopf, a foreign affairs analyst and columnist for USA Today and the "Daily Beast". He is host of "The Deep State" radio podcast.

And this is one of those segments where I believe the audience will be best served if I get out of the way and let you speak among yourselves.

Molly, please start. Your reaction to what you just heard Donald Trump say.

MOLLY JONG-FAST, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, it`s amazing because it`s like he knows two Jewish people, right, Ivanka and Jared. And to Jared, Israel is a big issue. So he`s sort of mystified at the idea that other people might not just -- you know, might be Jewish and not Zionists. And it`s funny because the more he talks, the more anti-Semitic he seems, right.

He kind of has this very superficial relationships with the idea of Judaism. It`s really interesting.

O`DONNELL: David, your reaction.

DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it`s really something for some of us whose parents and family fled the Holocaust to come to the United States and have the country`s most notorious defender of Nazis and white supremacists tell Jews that he knows what`s best for us.

You know, there`s a word for that in Yiddish which is chutzpah, but it`s the most toxic form of chutzpah. It`s anti-Semitism.

O`DONNELL: Molly, this is a guy who we know categorizes people. He thinks about, you know, the Italians and the blacks and the Irish and everyone is categorized by him.

So of course, of course when he gets around to Jewish people, he`s going to sound like this.

JONG-FAST: Yes, it`s amazing. I mean the best part of the whole thing was that he said the Sulzbergers were Jews because they have a name that sounds I guess, a little ethnic. Of course, they`re Protestants -- or Episcopalian -- and it`s just a kind of like amazing Trumpy thing.

But you know, he doesn`t have a lot of knowledge and he just rolls real quick and is very superficial and sort of feels that he is entitled to Jews because Orthodox Jews support him. And so he can say whatever he wants and get our votes.

O`DONNELL: David, talk about the kind of anti-Semitism that is implicit in the way Donald Trump categorizes the entire population of Jews in America.

ROTHKOPF: Well, the fact that he thinks he can say he knows what`s best for us, you know, is anti-Semitic. He`s looking down on us, he`s doubting our motives.

I think his statement that Israel controlled the Congress and connecting the Jews to Israel in that way is part of his dual loyalty argument about the Jews which has always been out there among anti-Semites.

But I think it also reveals, you know, this is not a guy who supported Israel because he thought it was good for the jews. He supported Israel because he thought it was good for his evangelical base who saw Israel as important to their whole, you were know, future story, which, by the way, doesn`t turn out too well for the Jews.

O`DONNELL: Well, yes. In fact, their view of it is an end-times view in which Israel will become the center of a world war. That is what -- and they need Israel to remain in its current form for that insane prophecy to take place.

ROTHKOPF: Yes. And you have Mike Pompeo and others who believe in this notion that at that moment all the good Christians will be called up to heaven and their cars will drive in to the Jews and others who will be left behind.


O`DONNELL: Molly, Donald Trump, of course, gets even more relaxed in his madness when he`s out of office. And we -- this is one of those moments where you get to see how, in a way, he was protected by the presidency because he`s got a limitless amount of this kind of venom and stupidity to spew but in the after life of his presidency is when we`re going to really get to see it apparently.

JONG-FAST: If you traffic in anti-Semitic tropes, you may be an anti- Semite. You know, it`s a pretty simple equation. He talks like an anti- Semite. He walks like an anti-Semite. He is an anti-Semite.

O`DONNELL: Molly Jong-Fast gets the LAST WORD on this one.

David Rothkopf, thank you also for joining us.

We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: Last-minute Christmas shopping, So I`ll say all your Christmas gifts can be solved right there.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR" starts right now.