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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/9/21

Guests: Jill Wine-Banks, Paul Butler, David K. Johnston, Colin Allred, Raja Krishnamoorthi


The appeals court rejected President Donald Trump`s efforts to block documents requested by January 6th committee. The New York attorney general`s investigation of Donald Trump is moving to a new level that will force Donald Trump to testify under oath. New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to issue Donald Trump a subpoena as part of a civil fraud investigation into whether the Trump Organization manipulated the value of its real estate properties. A power grab by Georgia Republicans who wanted to go back and prove the big lie was real.



And I want to ask you and the audience for forgiveness for something I`m going to do. Haven`t done it yet. I`m going to do it. Possibly as early as next week.

And that is the last line of this show every night, which is a line I wrote myself, is "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now. Brian`s not going to be doing it as of next week. I`m going to say Brian -- I`m going to say Brian Williams.

I mean, if someone else is going to be hosting. I`m going to be -- that name, I`ll have them put the person`s name in the teleprompter, I will memorize, Ali Velshi, whoever it is that`s doing it, but I`m going to slip at some point.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": You`re saying -- you`re saying you`re going to do it on purpose, you can tell now the mistake that you`re going to make.

O`DONNELL: I just know how the brain is going to miss that every once in a while. It`s just going to be -- the habit is so deep, so many years of saying it. I`m going to miss him so much.


O`DONNELL: That I kind of don`t want it to be true. It will be a wishful statement. And it`s Brian at 11.

MADDOW: A wishful statement, but also very awkward for whoever it is, so we have to figure out a trick.

O`DONNELL: That`s why I`m apologizing in advance. I`m apologizing in advance to everyone who`s going to be sitting there at 11:00 suffering that mistake. I wish we could just sit here for the hour, Rachel, and tell Brian stories and for me, the incredible excitement back in the early days of MSNBC, the year 2000, for example, at the Republican convention when I was in the booth with Brian.

And that was -- he was anchoring for MSNBC in the booth, and it was like being in the cockpit of a 747 with the pilot, and you have no idea what he`s doing and he`s somehow able during the commercial breaks to have these very casual conversations with you when people are talking to him in his other ear, and just so -- such a master of the work.


O`DONNELL: Just astonishing to sit beside him in those situations.

MADDOW: Being able to sit anywhere near him in an anchoring environment was a -- not just an honor but a humbling experience. And I know exactly what you`re talking about where he can be -- like if somebody`s talking to me in my ear in the control room and I`m trying to pay attention to something else, I will take my ear piece out so I can focus on whatever is I need. He can have somebody talking in his ear from the control room, not only listening to someone talk and carrying on a cogent conversation to the people he`s speaking in person, neither side having any idea that there was any competing conversation going on.

It`s like how does even -- how does a human brain process things like that. I will never have those skills!

O`DONNELL: And then there`s the thing the audience never got to see, which is the Brian generated comedy during the commercial breaks.

MADDOW: I know.

O`DONNELL: I used to say to people, you know, 20 years ago, who`s the funniest anchorman, and it`s like a trick question because anchormen are not funny, and Brian had not in any way publicly revealed himself as with the comedic abilities that he has. We could go on and on.

MADDOW: I know. I know. And we shall. I know we shall.

O`DONNELL: An hour from now, you`re going to be in your PJs watching Brian.

MADDOW: Exactly, I know. I got to go. I got to get in my PJs. Bye, Lawrence.

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

Well, today, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul said, this was a very bad day for Donald Trump, and that was before -- before the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C. crushed Donald Trump`s claim of executive privilege on documents requested by the house select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Governor Hochul said this is a very bad day for Donald Trump because of a surprising development announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James, including her intention to put Donald Trump under oath in January.


We`ll have more on that later in this hour.

In Washington, the three-judge panel of the federal appeals court all of whom were appointed by Democratic presidents unanimously agreed that not a single point raised by Donald Trump`s lawyers had any validity at all. This decision like the district court`s decision in the same case exactly one month ago is a complete wipeout of Donald Trump`s arguments to the court.

Today`s opinion is filled with blunt language that you don`t read in well- argued cases where each side has valid points. For example, on page 60, the court easily crushes a typical Trump lie. The court says, the former president, quote, argues that the committee has not been authorized by the full House to request a former president`s records. That is wrong.

Now, good lawyers never present anything to an Appeals Court that allows the court to write sentences like that is wrong. But Trump lawyers all get shot down in court like that because they all, in one way or another, put their names on Trumpian lies.

The appeals court said that Trump`s lawyers arguments are unsupported by any plausible factual allegations and cannot stand up to President Biden`s substantive explanation for not asserting privilege and Congress`s distinct interest in investigating and legislating in response to an attack on itself.

The court framed the case this way on page 5: The central question in this case is whether, despite the exceptional and imperative circumstances underlying the committee`s request and President Biden`s decision, a federal court can, at the former president`s behest override President Biden`s decision not to invoke privilege and prevent his release to Congress of documents in his possession that he deems to be needed for a critical legislative inquiry.

On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden`s judgment. The appeals court opinion clears away all of the noise and bluster and what the court calls unelaborated assertions in the Trump arguments and then crushes what`s left.

Page 47: Because Mr. Trump has sued solely in his official capacity as the 45th president of the United States, he does not assert that disclosure of the documents before us would harm any personal interest in privacy or confidentiality. His sole objection is that the disclosure would burden the presidency generally in light of the need for candid advice and the potential for a chilling effect. That is all he offers. And that is not close to enough.

The appeal`s court issued this 68-page opinion today, ending with the sentence: The judgment of the district court denying a preliminary injunction is affirmed.

The district court issued that opinion, this one right here, exactly one month ago, 39 page decision written by Judge Tonya Chutkan. The appeal`s court could have saved at least a week in this case, or more, simply by issuing a one sentence opinion and order, which would just be the last sentence of the opinion they issued today, saying the judgment of the district court denying a preliminary injunction is affirmed. That`s really all they needed to write.

The 68 pages they produced add little to what Judge Chutkan said in her 39- page opinion but that appeals process bought Donald Trump more delay. The appeals court automatically added another two weeks of delay to the delivery of the documents by leaving a temporary injunction in place for the next two weeks so that Donald Trump`s lawyers can comfortably appeal to the Supreme Court without fear that the documents are handed over to the committee in the meantime.

And so, as we sit here tonight, Donald Trump is being crushed in court at every turn, but his game is not winning in court. His game is delay. And his delay game is working to the point that the committee might not obtain these documents this year.

The committee first requested the documents on August 25th. And Donald Trump`s lawyers without any merit to their arguments at all are delaying the delivery of those documents for what will end up being at least five months, maybe six months, possibly more.


And this is just the first request for documents from the committee. The committee will surely discover things in these documents that they will probably then get maybe some time next year, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, and if the Supreme Court affirms the decision of the appeals court.

And when the committee reads these documents, they will discover things that will make it reasonable for them to request more documents to follow up on the lead they have found in the documents they already obtained and then Donald Trump is going to go back to court and try to create the same five months or more of delay for every request for documents that the committee files in the future.

Justice delayed is justice denied. That is a famous old saying about the law that is Donald Trump`s life motto. The federal courts in this case have acted in record time for them but they will actually have to learn to move faster, to deal with the gang of Trump lawyers who are engaging in relentless legal vandalism that will delay justice long enough to deny justice if they get their way.

Leading off our discussion tonight is Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general and an MSNBC legal contributor.

Neal, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I open the mic for your reading of today`s opinion.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Okay. Well, I think you`re absolutely right, Lawrence. Donald Trump is a loser in court again bigly. This is what he does.

And you`re right in what you said. You know, you rarely see language like this from sober court of appeals judges like these three, and you never see it when you`re talking about a claim by a former president of the United States. But Donald Trump hasn`t been acting like a president. He`s been acting like Steve Bannon or someone like that, and you know, these 68 pages, eviscerate him.

You`re right, it could have been a one or two-sentence opinion but this is a body slam. If you might remember last year, Lawrence, Donald Trump was complaining all the time that these judges were ruling against him but just on procedural issues -- well, Donald Trump got what he wanted today, a 68- page comprehensive opinion destroying him on the merits.

And these claims of executive privilege are bogus. The doctrines itself is the really serious one. You don`t want things spilling out into court but it`s never been used for attempted coup plotting and things like that, and certainly never been used when the incumbent president, here Joe Biden, has made a decision to say there is no executive privilege with these documents.

And the knife was put in by the court of appeals. Today they called Biden`s decision carefully reasoned and cabined and they contrasted it to Donald Trump`s kind of drunken use of the privilege just because he`s afraid to tell the truth in court and have his henchmen tell the truth in court.

O`DONNELL: So, the big question, Neal, is will these documents be handed over in two weeks because, which they could be. They could be handed over in two weeks if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, and in a pre- Trumpian Supreme Court, I would be sitting here absolutely certain that the Supreme Court would simply not grant cert, not say a word about it when the Trump lawyers came to court.

KATYAL: So, the court of appeals gave Trump`s lawyers 14 days to decide whether to go to the Supreme Court. I`m sure they will because delay is the name of the game, and this delays them at least by a few weeks, and, Lawrence, a normal president would likely get the Supreme Court to hear such a case because it`s a rare thing to have a former president ask our nation`s highest court to hear a case.

So, in general, they would hear it. But I don`t think this Supreme Court is going to hear this case. I think they have to be frustrated, politics all aside, by Donald Trump`s claims, time and again, all sorts of bogus claims, particularly over the election, and things like that.

I think the most important point here is the way that Trump lost in the court of appeals eviscerated, not just for one reason but five different reasons makes it really hard for the Supreme Court to hear the case. The court of appeals said things like Biden got it right, Congress needs the information. There`s no substitute, that they have a legitimate important investigation in the January 6th matter.

They also say Donald Trump refused or failed to allege any sort of harm to the presidency, which was the core basis of what he was saying. So, look, I mean, normally Donald Trump`s positions leave his attorneys with up hill battles, but today they`re like looking at Kilimanjaro or something like that.

And I think the decision -- that and I think the decision today captures the decision between Biden and Trump, because Biden made as the court of appeals said, a principle decision to protect the office of the presidency, even if he`s conceding some of his own executive privilege once he leaves the presidency, and you can contrast to Donald Trump, who believes the presidency is basically his to shape now and forever in the future.


O`DONNELL: Neal, if the Supreme Court takes this case, would you expect them to try to match the faster pace set by these lower courts?

KATYAL: They have to. I mean, we`re almost coming up on the year anniversary of January 6th. If they do hear it, and I really don`t think they will, but if they do hear, they should hear it on the same sort of expedited basis that the nation`s second highest court, the Court of Appeals, did. You know, these claims are so easy for them to resolve, they resolved them like nine days. It doesn`t take more than that.

I mean, this is a set of bogus claims done exactly, Lawrence, for the reason you`re saying which is to try and delay and run out the clock on this investigation. That`s Donald Trump`s playbook. It`s worked well for him in the past, but my hope is that courts have now caught up to his game.

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

And joining us now is Jill Wine-Banks. She`s former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and former general counsel of the Army.

Jill, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

I want to read one passage of the appeals court decision today just to show the audience how ridiculous the Trumpian argument was in this case.

For 24 years of the Presidential Records Acts operation and across five different presidencies, presidents including former President Trump have agreed that the disclosure decision of an incumbent president controls within the executive branch over the contrary claim of a former president.

And so, Jill, there`s the court saying, hey, when Donald Trump was president, he agreed completely with what Joe Biden was doing here.

JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Exactly. And it goes back even further than that because during Watergate or right after Nixon left the presidency, there was a case known as GSA versus Nixon, in which the court was dealing with a former president. And said, well, he can weigh in, but he doesn`t control. President Carter is the president, he gets to make the decision.

And in this case, the court was very clear that not only was Trump acting poorly but that Biden had acted in the best interests of the United States. And that`s what the law is intended to protect is the interests of the United States. There is no possible way. I agree with Neal completely that it`s very unlikely that the Supreme Court will take this, and I agree with you that if they do, they must do it on an expedited basis.

Otherwise, it`s even worse than in Watergate because the Congress will not be the Congress anymore. And therefore will be starting all over again and possibly depending on the outcome of the election, it may not be a Congress that wants to know the truth. And Americans want to know the truth here. They want the facts.

O`DONNELL: Jill, this is very fast jurisprudence for the 21st century, but my memory as a kid when you were working on Watergate is that you people got the courts to move even faster than this.

WINE-BANKS: We did and there`s no reason why the courts can`t do the same. The subpoena that went to the Supreme Court was issued in April for 64 White House tapes. It was decided after argument in the Supreme Court in July. It was virtually just three months from subpoena through all the appeals to the Supreme Court to argument and it only took two weeks after that for the president to be the former president.

We got the tapes because he ultimately believed in the rule of law and turn them over when the Supreme Court said we had to get them, and the Republicans listened to the evidence. They heard the tape. One of the tapes we asked for was the smoking gun tape, and they went to the White House and said you will be convicted on the charges of impeachment that have been voted by the House, actually, only by the judiciary committee. It wasn`t even the full House.

But you will be convicted in the Senate if you do not resign. That`s when facts mattered, when justice prevailed, and the courts acted fast, and in this case, it is much more important that they expedite it.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, the legitimacy of the federal courts in Washington is on the line here, they took years with the Don McGahn subpoena, that should have been an open and shut case, should have been very simple.


And the -- you remind me of this and you reminded of it before, that it was three months, three months for the Supreme Court to rule on what was then and possibly remains to this day the single most important subpoena ever issued to a president of the United States. The subpoena that ended that presidency, it worked its way all the way through the courts in three months. That`s faster than what we`re dealing with tonight, just at the appeals court level on this case took longer than that.

WINE-BANKS: Exactly. And as I said, it`s very dangerous because this is congress, which could end up being over before we get the evidence. And evidence is what it takes in order for Congress to pass legislation to protect the Capitol building, to protect democracy. This is existential threat to democracy that the courts have to take seriously, and there is no complicated argument here. This is not a case of first impression that is raising complicated facts. They could take the case and have an argument tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: Yes, yeah.

WINE-BANKS: You know, I assume that the president as you pointed out is trying to drag this out. He`s not going to appeal right away, he`ll wait, and at the last minute, issue a request for search. The court can then decide within a day.

I mean, sometimes they have emergencies and they have to do it. They can decide right away that they aren`t going to take it. That ends it, the documents get released.

It also impacts Bannon, and Meadows, and Clark because once you admit that there is no executive privilege for the president to assert on his own behalf for his documents and certainly he can`t assert it against President Biden who has already said I waived the privilege for all of these people to testify. So then the testimony has to come forward.

Therefore, it is a really important decision, and I`m hoping that the Supreme Court takes its role seriously. What Justice Sotomayor said about the stench in recent argument is certainly going to be one that is going to affect how all people see the Supreme Court if day do not take this seriously and act expeditiously.

O`DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks, thank you very much for joining us on this important night. We really appreciate it.

WINE-BANKS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, the New York attorney general`s investigation of Donald Trump is moving to a new level that will force Donald Trump to testify under oath. That`s next.




GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: This is a very bad day for Donald Trump and the NRA when we have Tish James, one of the finest attorney generals in the country, very focused on making sure that justice is done.


O`DONNELL: That was New York Governor Kathy Hochul today reacting to the news that New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to issue Donald Trump a subpoena as part of a civil fraud investigation whether Trump administration manipulated the value of its real estate properties. And the news that Letitia James announced later in the day that she has decided to run for reelection as attorney general.

Attorney General James is seeking to question Donald Trump under oath in her office in January. Attorney General James civil investigation is separate from the ongoing criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney`s office into whether the Trump organization committed tax fraud.

In a statement, Donald Trump`s lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, said, quote: We are not concerned about it because he has done nothing wrong. We will wait until we see what they show us this their subpoena, and we will respond with our motions. This is purely political, and he has done nothing wrong and we are not surprised at all.

Hours after the news broke that Attorney General James would subpoena Donald Trump, she issued this statement saying: I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general. There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for reelection to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.

That was very bad news for Donald Trump, and that was more good news for the first woman governor of New York, Kathy Hochul who was running far ahead of Letitia James, and other potential candidates for governor, and with Letitia James deciding not to run for governor, Kathy Hochul has no serious competition in next year`s election to remain governor of New York.

Joining us now, Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown University, and a former federal prosecutor. He is an MSNBC legal analyst. And David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of "The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family."

Professor butler, let`s begin with the legal process that Letitia James is running in this civil case. She has the power to subpoena Donald Trump. He doesn`t have any legal grounds for resisting that subpoena. He`ll try to drag it out. Obviously, he`ll play some kind of game. But what do you anticipate in the -- what kind of delay game Donald Trump can play in going under oath for Attorney General James?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, Lawrence, both the attorney general and district attorney investigation are focused on what did the Trump commit fraud. But each investigator, the New York AG and the DA have a different set of powers. In a criminal case, prosecutors don`t get to take depositions of the suspects. But in a civil case, anybody can be forced to answer questions.

So if Trump does not show up for this deposition on January 7th, Tish James can haul him into court, just like she did Eric Trump, the president`s son, as part of this same investigation. And Eric Trump was forced to sit for a deposition.

Trump`s only ally will be to claim the Fifth Amendment. That might work since Trump has criminal exposure from the D.A. investigation, so Trump`s criminal defense lawyer will probably tell him to take the Fifth on the grounds that his answers could incriminate himself, incriminate him, but Trump`s political advisers might not like that.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Paul, does the -- would Donald Trump have to show up for the deposition and then invoke the 5th Amendment question by question?

BUTLER: That`s a great question, Lawrence, and it depends on the practice. In federal court when I was practicing, if a suspect said that he wanted to invoke the Fifth, you wouldn`t make him show up in front of the grand jury. You would accept that representation on behalf of -- by his lawyer. So it`s unlikely that he actually had to come to the deposition and claim the Fifth if his lawyer made that good faith assertion.

O`DONNELL: David K. Johnston, you have studied Donald Trump`s businesses for many years. The "Washington Post" is reporting these kinds of fluctuating valuations depending on who the company was dealing with. A California golf club has been valued at $900,000 and $25 million depending on who they were representing that to. A suburban New York property $56 million all the way up to $291 million for the same property.

What is the attorney general aiming for in this investigation?

DAVID K. JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE BIG CHEAT": This is a fraud case. And fraud is always and everywhere a crime. So if you want to go challenge your property tax assessment, the assessor says your house is worth $300,000 you say no, it`s worth $250,000 you`re in a range of reasonableness. But if the assessor you`re your house is worth $50,000 and you say, no it`s worth $250,000 you`re in the happy go magic land.

And Donald has repeatedly done this, had valuations that aren`t 10 percent different arguable points, but 30 times, 40 times different. And fundamentally, that`s fraud because he`s filed under oath, signed something called a jurat loan papers saying I`m telling the truth about the value of the assets. And he has done the same thing with property tax papers.

He has asserted that his golf course in Westchester is only worth about $1.3 million. That`s less than the price of two houses on the Fairway. But in his presidential disclosure, it`s $50 million and that`s also signed under oath.

O`DONNELL: David, Donald Trump has been in and around courts involving his businesses for many years. Does he have the kind of legal team for this that knows what they`re doing and at this level of the game?

JOHNSTON: None of the lawyers who are showing up now seem to be acting independently in trying to get Donald to understand the situation that he`s in.

I mean we had a whole group of joke lawyers -- Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Lynn Wood. the people representing him now have good reputations in the criminal side. We`ll see what happens in this civil matter.

One argument I think Trump may raise is you`re trying to entrap me into something in this civil matter so that you can further the criminal investigation. I`d be surprised if his lawyers don`t make that argument.

O`DONNELL: Professor Paul Butler and David K. Johnston, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

Thank you.

Coming up, Republicans in Georgia are working as fast as they can to dismantle local boards that oversee elections and remove black election officials before Republicans have to run against Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock in November. Congressman Colin Allred joins us next.



O`DONNELL: A power grab by Georgia Republicans who wanted to go back and prove the big lie was real. That is how the ousted Democratic chair of the Spaulding County board of elections in Georgia, Vera McIntosh describes what Republicans are doing.

The election board in Spaulding County is one of six Georgia election county boards that Republicans have restructured to expand their power over choosing board members. In at least three of those election boards, Republicans have replaced black Democrats with Republicans.

Reuters reports quote, "The unusual rash of restructurings follows the state`s passage of Senate Bill 202 which restricted ballot access statewide and allowed the Republican-controlled State Election Board to assume control of county boards it deems underperforming. The board immediately launched a performance review of the Democratic-leaning Fulton County board which oversees part of Atlanta. Reconstituted boards in two of the six counties have already moved to restrict voting access.

In addition to Spaulding`s termination of Sunday voting. Lincoln county has propose consolidating its seven precincts into one voting center, which critics say would discourage voting by people traveling from remote areas.


O`DONNELL: And joining us now Democratic Congressman Colin Allred of Texas. He is a voting rights attorney. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

I want to get your reaction to what is now emerging as the details of how Republicans in Georgia are using their new election law.

REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Yes, well, you know, we`re not being asked to count bubbles on a bar of soap or jelly beans in a jar but we have seen this before. We`ve seen the use of these election boards to try and make it extremely difficult for certain folks to vote.

And this is why we passed the Voting Rights Act in the first place was because we knew that in, you know, divisions (ph) throughout the south, that we were having election boards doing things to make it so that certain voters couldn`t vote, couldn`t get involved in their democracy.

And you know, this is why the Supreme Court is striking down the Voting Rights Act of 2013 and our inability to fix that is so damaging. We also have the Freedom To Vote Act which would deal with some of this, but it`s all being held up by the filibuster. And Lawrence, you and I have talked about this before, we have to -- have to act. Because this is what`s happening in our communities around the country.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the vice president said today at the Summit for Democracy.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here in the United States we know that our democracy is not immune from threats. January 6th looms large in our collective conscience. And the anti-voter laws that many states have passed are part of an intentional effort to exclude Americans from participating in our democracy.

We know that the right to vote cannot be taken for granted. At every turn, it must be safeguarded and strengthened.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Allred, what do you say to participants in that Summit for Democracy from around the world who are now looking at the United States where they -- maybe some of them used to look at the United States as a model. They`re now looking at the United States as a country with serious problems on the issue of democracy.

ALLRED: Well, you`re right. I`m on the foreign affairs committee, and I have been doing some traveling now coming out of COVID. And all around the world our allies and our strategic partners are wondering if our democracy is going to hold. And they`re seeing real democratic backsliding, that if it was happening somewhere else, we would describe it as a failed coup and then that the forces of the ousted regime trying to make it so that their next coup would be successful.

That`s how we would describe if we`re a foreign correspondent looking at what`s happening in our country now. But the truth is that we now only have basically one party that`s interested in trying to repair our democracy.

But we have some folks on the Republican side who I know, whether they describe themselves as anti-Trump or don`t align themselves with what`s going on right now, who don`t believe in what`s happening.

And what I want to say to them is that this is like a zombie apocalypse, you`re either alive or you`re undead. And if you`re alive, you need to join us in pushing for voting rights because it might not have been your issue in the past, but trust me, this is the way you protect your democracy going forward.

O`DONNELL: What will the pending federal legislation do in the situations that we`re reporting on in Georgia tonight?

ALLRED: I`m so glad you asked because the Freedom To Vote Act which Senator Manchin is now the lead sponsor of, but which has all 50 senators on board, Democratic senators on board with, actually has two bills that I introduced that would protect election workers from harassment and intimidation and would also limit arbitrary and unfounded removal of local election officials which is just what you just described.

And of course, we also have the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which if it were passed would repair the Voting Rights Act, which would get us back into pre-clearance (ph), which for folks out there are wondering what that is. All these changes you`re seeing that are going through and that maybe in the face of this election would have been blocked previously in states like Georgia by the Department of Justice and would not have gone into place because they would have had to go through pre-clearance. We don`t have that anymore. We could restore that.

And we saw just this week, the Senate changing its rules to get past this debt ceiling nonsense that the Republicans are doing. So we know that they can change their rules. So we have to do it for voting rights.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Colin Allred, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

ALLRED: Thank you so much for covering this, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Donald Trump`s favorite postmaster general will not be in charge of delivering the mail for next year`s election if President Biden has anything to say about it, and he does. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s favorite postmaster -- postmaster general, Louis DeJoy`s days with the U.S. Postal Service appear to be numbered. The term of U.S. Postal Service board of governors chairman Ron Bloom expired yesterday. Bloom, a Trump nominee was responsible for the selection of Louis DeJoy as postmaster general.

Louis DeJoy who was a Trump megadonor denied that his cost-cutting measures were designed to slow mail delivery during the 2020 election when a record number of voters chose to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The term of John Barger (p) who also sits on the U.S. Postal Service`s board of governors ended yesterday as well. Barger is also a Trump appointee and will continue to serve until his successor is confirmed.

Last month President Biden nominated two new members of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors.

And joining us now is Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. He is a member of the House Oversight Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman. I know you have been on this issue for a while. So what happens next at the Postal Service?


REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHY (D-IL): Well, I think next we`ve got to fix the mail, Lawrence. I`m very hopeful that the nominees will be confirmed quickly in the Senate as the prior three nominees of the president were confirmed to the board of governors.

And then they`ll basically address some really horrible mail slowdowns that are affecting everybody at this point. My constituents are complaining about medications not arriving on time, checks not arriving on time. My own daughter had a very important piece of mail being sent by the school district which is located a grand total of three miles away in this zip code, Lawrence. And it took 12 days to get here.

So everybody is experiencing this and this has to change right away.

O`DONNELL: And how long will it take in what we see in front of us? What would you say to people about when to expect a new postmaster general?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think it`ll be hopefully early next year. I think that once these two nominees get confirmed and seated, then the president will have a majority of the board of governors having been nominated by him.

And I think at that point, they will bring some objectivity to the evaluation of Mr. DeJoy`s performance. And you know, basically, I have to say that the previous chairman, Mr. Bloom, did not bring that objectivity. And that`s why he was able to keep DeJoy there for as long as he had.

And that has to change because, you know, this postmaster general is really literally taking the joy out of Christmas at this point, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So what would you suggest to the president in terms of the kind of qualifications and the kind of person he should be looking for, for a postmaster general?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: It`s got to be somebody who, in my opinion, has actually been in the rank and file of the Postal Service, somebody who knows the Postal Service and the way that it has earned its reputation as being the most trusted institution in the U.S. government, perhaps only slightly less popular than the U.S. military.

And it should be someone who`s out of politics. We`ve got to take the USPS out of politics and restore somebody who is more attune to the service standards that people expect than to anything else because right now what`s happening at the USPS is they`re calling what used to be late "on time". And 30 percent of first class mail is now late.

And as a consequence, you know, we`re just seeing massive, massive problems affect a vast majority of postal mail recipients at a time when one billion packages are basically being sent as part of the Christmas season.

O`DONNELL: So qualification number one is don`t pick a huge contributor to your campaign.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that`s a good -- that`s a good start. And hopefully it would be somebody, you know, in the mold of the previous postmasters general such as Megan Brennan and others who actually came up through the ranks, knows the postal system well, and can you know, go about restoring postal service standards and work well with Congress.

Mr. DeJoy was a unique combination of incompetence mixed with pursuing motives having nothing to do with the public interest. And that doesn`t work well right now.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you very much for joining us tonight. It seems like there is --

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: -- possibly somewhere on the horizon a day when we get a new postmaster general.


O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.



O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night at this hour, MSNBC Films presents "PAPER AND GLUE" from the brilliant Oscar-winning producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The awarding winning documentary follows visionary French artist J.R. as his work transcends rules and borders.

In this clip, J.R. describes his work at the U.S.-Mexico border and the background of the woman featured in the installation.


J.R. FRENCH ARTIST: This is the eye of the woman who`s a dreamer. A dreamer is someone who had come to the United States when she was very little (ph) with her parents but illegally. Her name is Myra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told her not to come because I said there`s a big chance we`ll get arrested. But not only she came. She came with her mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have very few months left. Being able to be this brave and come to the border.


O`DONNELL: Watch the world television premiere of "PAPER AND GLUE" from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

And that is tonight`s LAST WORD.

And we now just watch the seconds tick down -- 30 seconds tick down to the point where I`m going to say something for the last time about "THE 11TH HOUR" that follows this broadcast.


O`DONNELL: "THE 11TH HOUR" will continue this week, but Brian Williams will do his last broadcast of "THE 11TH HOUR" tonight.

And so, "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts right now.