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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/28/21

Guests: Faiz Shakir, Jon Ralston, Eric Swalwell, Renee Graham; Jill Wine- Banks, Suzan Delbene


Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has died at the age of 82. The people who wanted to overturn the election and who are still trying to undermine the Democratic process, they`re not the sharpest tools in the shed. The January 6 Select Committee has agreed to defer their requests for obtaining some records from the Trump administration after President Biden said that releasing all of the documents could compromise national security.



JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Hey, good evening, Ayman. Of course, you`re covering the breaking news of the passing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


CAPEHART: I was preparing for show tonight. I understand you had an interview with the current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Quickly, tell us, what did he tell you?

MOHYELDIN: You know, he talked about his personal relationship, and he obviously knew the late senator very well. So he talked about the personal relationship and the shadow that he cast over not just him, but other notable politicians like Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

But interestingly enough, I thought he made some news tonight. He hopes to carry what Harry Reid talked about with doing away with the filibuster in the weeks and the months and the year ahead. That`s obviously a big point of contention in the Senate, and a lot of people are calling for Democrats to do away with the filibuster to get things like voting rights done.

So, we`ll see whether or not he heeds the advice of his late friend.

CAPEHART: That is -- that is big news, Ayman. Thank you very, very much for sharing that with us.

MOHYELDIN: Thank you, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: And see you tomorrow night.

Tonight, we begin with the breaking news of the hour. Former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, has died at the age of 82. Harry Reid led the Senate Democratic Caucus for more than 15 years.

He was first elected to Congress in 1983 as a Nevada representative and became a senator in 1987. He served as majority leader from 2007 to 2015 and retired two years later. In a story detailing Reid`s departure in 2017, "The Washington Post" described him as both the senate`s warrior and deal maker. Back then, Reid`s long-time rival Mitch McConnell told the post, "if there is one thing we know about Harry, he doesn`t give up easily."

With an iron first, Harry Reid pushed through the Affordable Care Act in the Senate during the Obama era. Last year, Reid said we made it so that Obama`s presidency became a success. He will go down in history as one of the great presidents. Why? Because we passed Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act.

Even after his retirement, Harry Reid couldn`t disconnect from Washington politics. Shortly after President Biden took office this year, Reid wrote in "The Las Vegas Sun" that Biden was being astute in pushing for a bold Democratic policy agenda. Quote, if we have the political will, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of millions of families today and build a stronger, better and more prosperous country for generations to come.

During a round of interviews in 2015, after he announced his retirement, Harry Reid was surprised by a special guest caller, President Obama.




OBAMA: Is this Harry Reid?

REID: It is.

OBAMA: Harry, this is Barack.

REID: Well, I`ll be damned. I`ll be damned.

OBAMA: Are you allowed to say that on live radio?

REID: Well, I`ll be damned.

OBAMA: Well --

REID: What a guy.

OBAMA: Listen, I just wanted to chime in. I think that when the story is written and when all is told, you`re going to have somebody who has done more for Nevada and for this country as anybody who has ever been in the Senate.

And I could not be prouder of him. He did an unbelievable job on a whole bunch of really tough issues, saving this country from a depression, making sure millions of people had health care, making sure that young people were able to go to college and he has been one of my best partners and best friends. And I`m really honored to have served him.

Harry is unique. He`s got that curmudgeonly charm but -- you know, it`s hard to replace. I`m going miss him. I don`t know anybody who understands more his roots, where he came from, what it means to not have anything when you`re born and to scramble and scrape and work to get something.

And he has never forgotten the path he took. And he knows that there are Searchlights all across the country, and there are candidates just like he was, and he hasn`t stopped fighting for them.

And that`s -- there are a lot of folks who -- Harry, I hope you don`t mind if I say this.


These are a lot of folks who are slicker and give smoother TV interviews, but in terms of somebody who`s got heart and cares about ordinary people trying to chase the American dream, I don`t think there has been anybody ever.

HOST: Harry Reid? Harry Reid?

REID: Mr. President, Mr. President, before you leave, let me say this. The record book, the records will be written about the eight years of Obama and Reid. Never in the history of the country, never in the history of the country have we produced more for a president and somebody that`s led his party than we`ve done together.

We`ve done it as friends. We`ve done it as people who love our country. We love it as a couple of people who have backgrounds that are so unusual. How in the world did Obama and Reid get to where they are? And --


CAPEHART: And tonight, President Obama released this message.

When Harry Reid was nearing the end, his wife Landra asked some of us to share letters that she could read to him. In lieu of a statement, here`s what I wrote to my friend.

Harry, I got the news that the health situation has taken a rough turn and that it`s hard to talk on the phone, which, let`s face it, is not that big of a change because you never liked to talk on the phone anyway.

Here`s what I want you to know. You were a great leader in the Senate. And early on, you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect. I wouldn`t have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support, and I wouldn`t have got most of what I got done without your skill and determination.

Most of all, you`ve been a good friend. As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other, a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy.

And you know what? We made for a pretty good team. Enjoy your family and know you are loved by a lot of people, including me. The world is better because of what you`ve done. Not bad for a skinny poor kid from Searchlight. Barack.

Joining me now are Jon Ralston, veteran reporter of politics who broke the news of Harry Reid`s passing earlier tonight. He is now the CEO of "The Nevada Independent". And Faiz Shakir, he was a trusted senior adviser to Senator Harry Reid who still works in Democratic politics, including as campaign manager for Bernie Sanders`s 2020 campaign.

Gentlemen, both, thank you both very much for coming on the show at this sad time.

Faiz, let me start with you. Our condolences. We`d love for you to talk a bit about this relationship between President Obama and Senator Reid as you were able to observe it.

FAIZ SHAKIR, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO SEN. HARRY REID: Jonathan, it was deep, obviously. It was born out of -- you know, when President Obama first came to the Senate as Senator Obama, Harry Reid saw in this person somebody who could be the next president of the United States at a time when obviously there were many other senators in that caucus who were angling and thinking about that role. He comes to President Obama or then Senator Obama and says hey, if you want it, you should go for it, and he had a major role to play in urging him to do so, obviously a year into his Senate tenure.

And obviously as he becomes senator, you know, knowing that health care was the first and major legislative thing that he needed to get done, really was the legislative captain for it. Going through all of the travails of it, and finally getting it across the finish line, there was trust not only in Harry Reid, but in senator Pelosi in getting it done, trusting a young president who had the captains in those two leaders to help guide that one through.

And then, you know, to the end, it was just deep and personal. You have -- I remember that moment, that phone call. There was just a respect that Harry Reid had a role to play in president Obama becoming who he was and actually getting some stuff done for working people.

CAPEHART: And, Jon, you know, I would love for you talk to us about Harry Reid`s political power nationally and running Nevada. He was powerhouse.

JON RALSTON, CEO, THE NEVADA INDEPENDENT: That`s an understatement if the word "powerhouse" can ever be an understatement, Jonathan. He was the most dominant figure in the history of Nevada politics. I`m going to make that case in a book I`m writing about Senator Reid, but he was also a very consequential figure in national politics, as you know, of the last 25 years.

And the first time I met Harry Reid, I couldn`t believe that this was a guy who was running for the U.S. Senate. He`s so soft-spoken. I once described him as charismatically challenged. All of that didn`t matter because he was so effective, so -- always looking forward to the next step.

He had a brilliant strategic mind. He didn`t care who he offended. You can ask Mitt Romney and others about that.

He was one of the most polarizing figures in the history of national politics, but he was also one of the most effective. And when you talk about his ruthlessness and his partisanship on the Hill, as Faiz knows, he was also capable of great acts of kindness, of private kindness. He engendered in his staff and others loyalty unlike anything I have ever seen.

And if Faiz doesn`t mind, I`m going tell the story when Bernie Sanders, who Faiz also worked for, went into the hospital here in Nevada I believe it was a debate. You can correct me if I`m wrong. And Harry Reid traveled all the way from his house to go visit Bernie Sanders in the hospital.

He -- what people don`t realize about Harry Reid is he did really care about people, as much as his public face seemed to indicate he didn`t care about people. He was a man of many contradictions, Jonathan, and just absolutely fascinating figure to have covered here for the last 35 years or so.

CAPEHART: You know, Faiz, Jon just talked about how Senator Reid engendered intense loyalty among his staff. You were on that staff. Talk about that. What was it about Harry Reid, about Majority Leader Reid that engendered that loyalty?

SHAKIR: Right. You know, as President Obama said in that clip, he wasn`t slick. He wasn`t always the greatest elocutionist on the floor. What were the qualities that made him so effective, as Jon was rightly noting?

And I think there were two major ones. One was this ability to cultivate respect and trust of others. He did so with kind of understanding what made them tick, getting to know them as human beings, giving them space to have leadership or roles and responsibilities unto their own selves.

He did that with staff. He did that with caucus leaders. They all trusted that Harry Reid was going to make a judgment and they were going to follow it because of a deep sense of selflessness, that Harry Reid wasn`t doing it for himself, he was doing it far all of us, that he wanted us all to win.

In addition to this cultivating of team Reid philosophy, or just a loyalty and a trust, I think he had this deep sense of, you know, an intuitive sense of a fight. He liked the fight. He embraced the fight. He embraced friction. You remember the government shutdown of 2013 was one of our biggest, finest moments.

He kind of led the party and said hey, we`re being bullied. We`re being bullied by Ted Cruz. We`re being bullied by Republicans. We give in now they`re only going to come back worse later. I think many people were nervous about it. He said we`re going shut this down for 16 days until they completely, fully come to our position that is what happened.

I mean, the changing of the Senate rules, his positions on trade over time -- they all came from a place I think of a sense of never forgetting where he came from, a working class background, that kid from Searchlight, but also wanting a fight, embracing a fight.

I personally love it. He was never somebody who I need 100 percent of people to love me, 50 plus one gets the job done. For that reason he was almost the best ally you could hope for. Because he was always thinking what is it going to need to get it done.

you were just saying, faiz, you talked about how the majority leader changed Senate rules. And right now you have a lot of Republicans who when Democrats complain about changing the filibuster and what could happen, they always go back to what then majority leader Harry Reid did by ending the filibuster for executive appointments and judicial appointments other than -- other than Supreme Court nominees. And Republicans say look, you guys did it first. Harry Reid did it first, and that`s why we`re in this situation that we`re in. Jon, from a political -- from a political perspective, talking about why majority leader Reid thought -- thought that that was absolutely necessary to do when he did it.

CAPEHART: Jon and Faiz, I want to pick up on something I just heard Faiz talk about. You were just saying Faiz, you talk about how the majority leader changed Senate rules. And, right now, you have a lot of Republicans who when Democrats complained about, about changing the filibuster and what could happen, they always go what then-Majority Leader Harry Reid by ending the filibuster for accepted appointments and judicial appointments other than Supreme Court nominees. And Republicans say, look, you guys did it first, Harry Reid did it first and that`s why, you know, we`re in a situation that we`re in.

Jon, from a political -- from a political perspective, talk about why Majority Leader thought -- thought that was absolutely necessary to do when he did it.

RALSTON: Of course. And doing a series of interviews, 24 in all, Zoom interviews with the senator, which Faiz would find hard to believe he actually sat for, we talked a lot about that, and how that`s an essential part of his legacy.


He has no regrets. He says he had to do it to save Obama`s presidency because of what the Republicans were doing to obstruct the president`s confirmation of judges and other legislative things. And so, he has absolutely no regrets. He was really angry during some of these interviews, Jonathan, about some of the Democratic senators today saying what they`re saying, essentially backing away, saying that they approved of what he was doing back then.

And the other point that he has made and others close to him have made, does anyone really believe that Mitch McConnell needed Harry Reid`s precedent to do this, that he wouldn`t have done this to get three Supreme Court justices on the bench under Donald Trump?

I can just tell you that Harry Reid is a guy who doesn`t look back. He never looked back on this. And he has no regrets about doing it.

CAPEHART: And, Faiz, I want you to pick up on this. But also, when you look at how Democrats are working to pass President Biden`s agenda now, are there some lessons you`d take from the fights of the Obama-Reid years and apply them to what`s happening right now?

SHAKIR: Yeah, politics isn`t for the meek and the weak. I mean, Harry Reid always understood it. There is going to be hard times. There is going to be challenge.

This is a man personally who went through hard times. Jon knows it well. A potential car bomb would have maybe assassinated him and his family. You go through him losing an eye literally late in life, a man who has to fight pancreatic cancer.

He has so many challenges in his personal life and this dogged determination to fight through it. It also bled into the way he`d legislate. He`s -- you know, yeah, it`s going to be hard. Is there is going to be tough things. This isn`t easy. And so, embrace the friction.

Yeah, I think, this -- in this day and age, there is a desire of bipartisan comity. We want things to return to normalcy, things to be nice. Of course we want all those things.

But Reid was always clear about all of it. You think Republicans are going to agree to, you know, confirm all of Obama`s nominees, confirm his Supreme Court appointments, pass his legislative agenda, approve the Iran nuclear deal? No. They`re not going to go for that.

So, if we want the get these things done, it`s going the take a fight, and we`re going have to embrace that fight. Harry Reid was never one to wilt from it. The good fight is a slogan that has stayed with him, one of his books. And it`s aptly named, because it was always something that he appreciated and leaned into.

CAPEHART: And, Jon, in a couple of minutes that we have left, in those interviews that you had with Senator Reid for your forthcoming book, was the majority leader surprised by the evolution of the Republican Party?

RALSTON: I think he was disappointed more than he was surprised. You know, he spoke very fondly of some of the majority leaders and minority leaders that he worked with, Jonathan. But the degradation of the process, the partisanship and the polarization. And one of the great contradictions of Harry Reid is he was very upset about that and blamed Republicans for it.

But as you know, there are a lot of people, not just Republicans who blame Harry Reid and his public style, whether it was going on the Senate floor to question whether Mitt Romney paid taxes and then later to acknowledge that maybe he didn`t have the goods on that. But hey, Mitt Romney didn`t win, did he?

That kind of smash mouth political style may have contributed to it. But a Faiz will tell you, that was how Harry Reid was. He was going to get from point A to point B by any means necessary. And when I say by any means necessary, he certainly had his own boundaries, but they were broader than most politicians` boundaries were in terms of what they were willing to say and do to get things done.

And that was who he was. And to the end, I have to tell you, that`s who he was until the end.

CAPEHART: You know, Faiz, we`re going to take -- we`re going to take some more time, because this is an incredible conversation about an incredible American and incredible leader, an incredible statesman.

Faiz, you know, progress is easier to observe in the rear view mirror. But how has the Democratic Party progressed from 2008, 2009 to now?

SHAKIR: Yeah, I mean, I think in Harry Reid you had a class-faced warrior. Some of those class politics have been lost a little bit. But in him, you talk about he was upset Mitt Romney, somebody, you know, a wealthy person, entitled, he had a special lot in life and (INAUDIBLE).

You think about trade politics, his fight for Social Security, a fight for health care, community health centers funding -- those were the things he was proudest about.


That hey, for people who are struggling out there, and people -- I don`t think he ever forgot growing up in Nevada and Searchlight and all around it, these are the people who are at the foremost in front of his mind as the people we fight for in politics, I think that sends sometimes gets dissipated in a politics that is controlled by money. It has a lot of corporate influence.

Harry Reid was cut from an old-school cloth. Hey, we come from hard scrabble tough backgrounds and we don`t forget who those people were, and that is who we are here to serve.

Especially as you go forward, what is the Build Back Better agenda about? It`s really fundamentally here is a working families budget. Here is what working families need. They need paid leave. They need pre-K and child care, the child tax credit, et cetera.

That is what the origins of this kind of who we fight for and what the Democratic Party is about that I think Harry Reid would fully and completely embraced and embodied, even sometimes when he was in the minority within his own party, he was often about, this is the direction he was fighting for.


You know, Jon, we can`t talk about Harry Reid without talking about his environmental legacy in Nevada. It was important to him, wasn`t it?

RALSTON: It really was. I think even more so than people think. It was even broader and deeper than people outside of Nevada understand. The most accessible of course is yucca mountain, the proposed nuclear waste dump that goes all the way back to the mid- to late `80s, Jonathan, when it was first proposed.

It is not hyperbole to say that nuclear waste would already be in Nevada at Yucca Mountain if it were not for Harry Reid. He loved his state. He was against this project.

And only through someone ascending to the pinnacle of power as Harry Reid did could that project have been stopped. Harry Reid stopped Yucca Mountain.

But his environmental legacy goes well beyond that. He was very active in water issues. He brokered a huge deal in Northern Nevada. He did a lot in rural Nevada, which by the way they would pay him by essentially, literally I should say, hanging him in effigy and voting against him in landslides.

He was in the forefront of the renewable energy move in this country, so much so that he essentially threatened the main utility here, NV Energy, and potential backers of NV Energy`s coal plants.

He is very proud of calling up a hedge fund manager who was going to fund one of these coal plants saying you don`t know me, and you don`t want to me know. You better not fund that coal plant and, of course, hanging up without saying goodbye.

His environmental legacy was everything to Harry Reid. He was as proud of that as he was of anything except for perhaps getting Obamacare passed.

CAPEHART: Jon and Faiz, we have a statement that just came in from President Biden.

The statement reads in part: Throughout his entire career in the Senate, he led battles over budgets, fought to give our troops what they needed in battle and what they earned and deserved upon their return home. He was a bulwark against efforts to privatize Social Security. He was the champion who created Nevada`s Great Basin National Park, and he was a leader who believed the federal bench should reflect the diversity of America.

Faiz, your thoughts.

SHAKIR: Yeah, certainly all those things true. Public lands and the fight for public lands in Nevada was often taking on corporate interests that wanted to line those lands, and that was the reason they drill them, was to say, hey, we`ve got to safe certain places for the public for, public benefit, you know, and obviously turning Nevada into one of the great renewable energy leaders in the country.

He cared deeply about it. He was ahead of the curve and often derided, as Jon remembers well, for his stance against coal. He was right. Even on the rock, he voted for it and fought like hell to get us out of that war.

I think in many instances he would allow himself not to get stubborn about that position, but to fight for the things that he knew were the right things to do, even when an occasion where he might have been wrong about it.

So I take from him somebody who in general had this deep sense of compass of a value system. And I would say this. This isn`t true of many politicians, but you have a policy conversation with Senator Reid, and the first question he would often ask is what`s the right thing to do here? It sounds hokey, but a lot of people don`t ask that question. They`re already often politics and what`s the right thing for the party and how this work, and how might that be perceived.

He is asking what`s the right thing to do? Okay. Now let`s figure out a strategy and a game plan about can it get done.

CAPEHART: And the president also called Harry Reid a giant of our history.

Jon, lastly, here is part of the statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


He writes: Nevada and our nation are mourning a dedicated public servant and a truly one-of-a-kind U.S. senator, my former colleague Harry Reid. The nature of Harry`s and my jobs brought us into frequent and sometimes intense conflict over politics and policy, but I never doubted that Harry was always doing what he earnestly, deeply felt was right for Nevada and our country.

When Harry retired from the senate, we both celebrated the fact that our many differences had never really gotten personal. Harry`s and my paths in the Senate were roughly parallel. We seemed to reach each institutional milestone within just a few years of each other. I truly appreciated the sincere and cordial relationship we shared behind the scenes when passions cooled.

Jon Ralston and Faiz Shakir, gentlemen, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us tonight.

Coming up, how many of the people who tried to overturn the 2020 election on January 6 were already inside the Capitol when the Trump-inspired mob stormed Congress? The latest on what we`re learning, still ahead.



CAPEHART: The people who wanted to overturn the election and who are still trying to undermine the Democratic process, they`re not the sharpest tools in the shed. There are the Capitol riot defendants who actually posted about their acts of terrorism on Facebook.

And then there are others who have just been saying the quiet part out loud. They were trying to stage a coup.

One person in that latter category is Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro. This month Navarro went on Steve Bannon`s podcast to gloat about the Trump team`s coup attempt, using a very painful football metaphor.


PETER NAVAROO, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: You were the hero on January 6, Steve. As I say in chapter 21 of "Trump Time", you were the guy who had the Green Bay Packers sweep strategy to go up to Capitol Hill. Pence is the quarterback. We had 100 people working on the Green Bay team as linemen, halfbacks and fullbacks, pulling guards who were going to make sure that we remanded the results back to the battleground states.


CAPEHART: And now if you can believe it, Navarro has gone into even greater detail about that effort in a new interview with the "Daily Beast". Quote, "We spent a lot of time lining up over 100 congressmen, including some senators. It started out perfectly. At 1:00 p.m., Gosar and Cruz -- that`s Republican loon Paul Gosar and Senator Ted Cruz -- did exactly what was expected of them," Navarro told the "Daily Beast". "It was perfect plan, and it all predicated on peace and calm on Capitol Hill. We didn`t even need any protesters because we had over 100 congressmen committed to it."

Ok. So a Trump adviser was coordinating with Republican members of both the House and the Senate to overturn the election results. And it seems, according to Navarro, that things fell apart only because the Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

It`s unclear whether the January 6 Select Committee has reached out yet to Navarro or Gosar or Cruz, but we do know that the committee has requested interviews with other Republicans -- Republican members of the house who were pushing to overturn the election. So this might give the committee the nudge it needs to make some more interview requests.

Also in the category of saying the quiet part out loud, Republican Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul is trying to cast get out the vote efforts and apparently voting in general as sinister and nefarious. He just accused Democrats of, quote, stealing elections. But the only evidence he offered was an article demonstrating how Democrats are legally persuading people to vote for them.

Convincing potential voters to cast legal ballots is how you win elections in a democracy. It`s not stealing elections. But Senator Paul and other Republicans don`t seem to like those rules, and they`re not afraid to say it.

After all, Trump and his ilk are still claiming massive amounts of fraud are what caused him to lose the election. So it`s just part of the same argument. If it doesn`t go the way I want it to go, then it can`t be right or legal.

Now Senator Paul made a very stupid argument online. But it`s lies like this that other Republicans are using in state houses across the country to restrict elections and make it harder for people to vote. They`re using lies and conjecture to actually change the voting process.

So Rand Paul and Peter Navarro might say stupid things, but that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t take them seriously. Because here`s the scary thing. Maybe the Peter Navarros and Rand Pauls of the world are saying the quiet part out loud because they think they can get away with it.

Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He was an impeachment manager for the second Trump impeachment. Congressman Swalwell, great to see you again.

I love your reaction to hearing that 100 Republicans in Congress were lined up to overturn the election, which was going perfectly, they say, prior to the storming of the Capitol.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): That`s right, Jonathan. Great to see you.

These Republicans pro insurrectionists, they don`t even deserve to be in your segment tonight where you`re talking about the loss of the great Harry Reid and the loss of John Madden, my constituent.


SWALWELL: But we have to talk about them because too much is at stake. So I will pay my honor and respect to both of those legends. The streets of heaven are crowded with giants this evening.

But here as we approach the midterm elections, we have a party that has chosen over and over, the Republican Party, violence instead of voting.

And Senator Paul, what he said in that tweet is essentially to try and rile up Republican voters to try and move against Democratic efforts that suggest there is something nefarious with persuading voters, organizing voters, mobilizing voters and aiming them and marching them to the ballot box on election day. There is nothing wrong with that. That`s called democracy.

But because they can`t win elections and they choose violence, they`re now trying to demonize that.

CAPEHART: You know, I love your assessment on this. Because just reading that is sort of -- it`s stunning to me.

So is it, you know, just delusions of grandeur from Bannon and Navarro to think that they had it all set up? Or is it right that actually, the mob attack on the Capitol may have saved the election certification?

SWALWELL: That was the goal. The goal was for us not to be able to certify the election. And that`s because, Jonathan, this is a party that is so dis- aligned with where Americans are. So if we just vote, their anti-choice, anti-voter, anti-climate, anti-gun safety agenda is not going to work.

And so they`re shifting now to using violent rhetoric, threats, you know, against lawmakers to try and wield power. That`s all they have.

But they`re coming. And if we`re not ready, we`re going to see when they rule in 2023 that a woman`s right to make her own health care decisions, gone. Your right to vote, gone. Your right to, you know, God forbid, work hard and do better and dream bigger, gone.

It will be an authoritative society if we don`t mobilize right now. And they`re putting up barriers. And we`re going have to jump over those barriers, crawl through glass, walk through fire. And on the other side, they`re going to make sure that even if we win, secretaries of state in many of the states could reverse the outcome.

And so we`re going to have to fund legal efforts. And we`re going to have to, you know, take and clone Marc Elias (ph). We`re going to need a thousand Marc Eliases across the country to fight what we`re up against.

But I`m in. I think your viewers are in. Because if we lose, we could lose everything.

CAPEHART: Congressman Eric Swalwell, great state of California.

SWALWELL: I`m fired up at this late hour.


CAPEHART: Thank you so much for your time tonight. Say that again?

SWALWELL: I`m fired up at this late hour.

CAPEHART: You are. You absolutely are. Congressman Swalwell, have a good rest of your night.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

CAPEHART: How a request from the Biden White House is affecting the January 6 Select Committee`s investigation into the final days of the Trump White House. That`s next.



CAPEHART: New today, the January 6 Select Committee has agreed to defer their requests for obtaining some records from the Trump administration after President Biden said that releasing all of the documents could compromise national security.

Now the deal does not represent a major policy shift for the Biden administration. President Biden still rejects Trump`s claim that all internal White House documents should be withheld on the grounds of executive privilege.

Joining us now Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and former general counsel of the army, and Renee Graham, opinion columnist and associate editor at the Boston Globe. Thank you both for coming to THE LAST WORD.

Renee, I`ll start with you. Before we get to that news, I want to pick up from the Rand Paul point from the previous conversation. Here is where the conservative base is on voter suppression via a tweet from a former "Daily Caller" staffer yesterday.

"Best way to save America is by fundamentally altering the voting process. Photo ID doesn`t go far enough. Not everyone deserves political power. Raise voter age, impose civic literacy testing, tie to family unit or land ownership. Bases should have a tangible stake in the future."

What in the 17th century, Renee.

RENEE GRAHAM, BOSTON GLOBE: I mean, it`s obvious what they`re doing. They have a century -- nearly a century of Jim Crow as their blueprint. And that`s what you`re looking to.

They`ve never seen democracy as something that every American should be a party to. And they`re saying that out loud. And the funny thing about the whole idea is that they`re saying the quiet part out loud, they`ve always really said the loud part out loud. They`re just doing that again.

They don`t want everyone to vote. They want to make sure they can sort of knock off certain people from the voting rolls. And so it`s all about power. They have no interest that democracy is open for everyone.

CAPEHART: Jill, so the news about the administration saying -- well, the national security stuff, the documents should, you know, we shouldn`t hand those out. Could this decision by the January 6 Select Committee to agree to defer their requests for some Trump records hurt their case against Trump with the Supreme Court?

JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE ARMY: I think it will help their case in the Supreme Court because it shows first of all that the executive branch and the legislative branch are cooperating and working. That the executive branch is taking into serious account national security, and in waiving the privilege that he has balanced the public interest and the public need for this information with the protection of the presidency by continuing executive privilege and protecting national security. So I think it will actually help them, not hurt them.


WINE-BANKS: And it doesn`t mean a long delay. I think they can work quickly to resolve what documents are needed. Not everything that happened on January 6 is about the events of January 6. There are things that happened on January 6 in the normal course of the White House that have to do with other policies. So it was the right thing to do.

CAPEHART: Renee, your view.

GRAHAM: I agree with Jill. I mean, you know, initially the feeling is, you know, why is Biden doing this? Why is Biden impeding the investigation. But I`m not sure that`s exactly what he`s doing.

And I do think that it`s important to show that there are things that are going to be protected, but these aren`t things that are necessarily germane to this investigation.

CAPEHART: Jill, something that David Frum has pointed out is that we want a legal resolution for something that requires a political solution.

Are we asking too much for the January 6 Committee or the Justice Department and justice can`t be done for the full awfulness of January 6 through legal means?

WINE-BANKS: No. I think first of all that the committee is looking at what laws it might need to pass to prevent a recurrence of this. What gaps are there in our existing laws that allow this to happen?

Whereas the Department of Justice`s role is to hold accountable those who violated existing laws. So there is no reason why they can`t proceed simultaneously. And it is not going to affect anything before the Supreme Court, which will always stay away from resolving disputes between Congress and the White House.

Here there is no dispute. They`re on the same side. So I think that this is all really good and that the documents that pertain to the events of January 6 in the way that anyone normal would define them, that is the march to the Capitol, the destruction of the Capitol, the intent to stop the count of the electoral college votes, that is what is needed.

Anything else that happened on January 6 would not be relevant. The Pentagon may have done things other than not dispatch troops to protect the Capitol, which would be relevant. But there are other things that happened at the Pentagon that should not be revealed because it would involve national security. So I think it`s all good.

And I am like Eric Swalwell. I am fired up and ready to fight for our democracy.

CAPEHART: Well, all right, then. Jill Wine-Banks, Renee Graham -- thank you both so much for your time tonight.

Coming up, Vice President Kamala Harris says Democrats aren`t giving up on one of the most critical parts of the president`s Build Back Better legislation no matter what Joe Manchin thinks about it. That`s next.



CAPEHART: With the Biden social and climate policy bill known as Build Back Better stalled in the Senate the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, is calling on President Biden to use executive action to enact some of his agenda.

One of the most urgent needs of the American people is expanding the child tax credit. The version of Build Back Better passed by the House includes a one-year extension of this poverty killing policy.

Last week Vice President Kamala Harris was asked how she plans to extend the benefit without Senator Joe Manchin`s vote.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the child care tax credit has already expired. How do you come up with --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you do that --

HARRIS: We have to extend that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- without Senator Manchin?

HARRIS: You don`t give up. That`s how we do it. We don`t give up. That`s how.


CAPEHART: Joining us now Democratic Congresswoman Suzan Delbene of Washington state. She is the chair of the New Democrat Coalition. Congresswoman Delbene, great to see you. Thanks for coming.

Are you open to the idea of President Biden using executive action to pass parts of the Build Back Better Act?

REP. SUZAN DELBENE (D-WA): Well, I think we have to be clear that we need long term, durable policy. And executive action can be helpful but it does not provide durable policy. That is congress`s role.

And so I think Congress needs to act. And especially when we look at things like the child tax credit the only way we`re going to extend that is to pass legislation. We are a coequal branch of government. We have to do our part.

CAPEHART: So then, what is the best way forward for legislation?

DELBENE: Well, we`re going to continue those discussions to look at how we bring policy together. Sometimes policy goes through rough patches along the way to finally getting it passed and part of it is having the discussion about the impact we`re seeing.

And the child tax credit is a great example. We have seen incredible impact just in the last six months. Those first checks went out in July. We have as of November 3.8 million children who`ve been lifted out of poverty across our country.

Families have been able to put food on their table. Pay bills. Buy essentials for their kids like diapers or clothing. This has been an incredible tax break for middle class families and we need to keep it going.

The data is very, very strong. This creates huge opportunities for our kids long into the future and the way that we`re going to make a difference is by keeping it going. We need to keep it going.

CAPEHART: So, Congresswoman Delbene, as the chair of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, I`m wondering, have you spoken to Senator Manchin about a possible way forward?

DELBENE: I have not spoken to him about a way forward right now. I think when we go back in January those conversations will continue because we have to talk about the data. What we`ve seen but how important it is that we make a difference for families.

People want to see governance work. They want to see us get things done. As the chair of the New Dems, most of us represent purple districts across the country and folks on both sides of the aisle want to see governance to work. That is the opportunity we have between the House and the Senate to show them.


DELBENE: We made that happen with the infrastructure bill. We can show them it can happen with Build Back Better but there is more work we have to do to get there. And again, it is important that we have long term, durable policy that families can count on.

CAPEHART: How imperative -- leave aside what could possibly be in the final Build Back Better Act -- but how imperative is it that a Build Back Better Act gets passed out of the Senate, passed out of the House again, and on the president`s desk for his signature so that you and your colleagues can go out and campaign on it.

If that doesn`t happen will that be -- would that be a disaster for Democrats going into 2022?

DELBENE: Well, good policy is good politics. The way folks make decisions at election time is to understand what their member of Congress was able to do for them. And one of the biggest things we can do is make sure we are making investments in our communities, our families, and workers.

That is part of what this legislation would do. We did it with the infrastructure bill. We need to do it with Build Back Better as well.

CAPEHART: Congresswoman Suzan Delbene of Washington, thank you for being with us tonight.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.



CAPEHART: That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks for watching.

"THE 11TH HOUR" starts now.