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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 2/9/2021

Guest: Adam Schiff, Laurance Tribe, Jahana Hayes, Jamaal Bowman, Lauren Groh-Wargo


Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California is interviewed.

Focusing on one of under-reported sections of the COVID relief bill, the

education section, which runs from pages 33 to 59, and those 26 pages,

deliver $170 billion of COVID relief support for schools from kindergarten

through universities. President Biden is going to have a bill signing of

his first big legislative victory only because Democrats won two Senate

seats in Georgia and Republicans in Georgia are now trying to prevent that

from ever happening again.



You know, Donald Trump is 74 years old, as we know, and my theory is he is

going to be a defendant for the rest of his life because of just the civil

lawsuits that are out there now. You know, civil lawsuits take years, there

will be appeals. There`s Eric Swalwell`s lawsuit, which is fascinating,

claiming damages to Congressman Swalwell because of the invasion of the

Capitol, that lawsuit is available to hundreds of members of Congress who

could each individually file one of those lawsuits against Donald Trump.

There could be no end.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The -- when Benny Thompson filed the first

civil lawsuit against Trump, and Eric Swalwell filed a different one what I

thought was going to happen, is Benny Thompson would go first, and other

members of the Congress would decide they wanted to join in. I didn`t

realize, if anyone had slightly different approaches to the same problem,

it could be a parade that lasts until the end of his life.

O`DONNELL: I spend the day studying Eric Swalwell`s lawsuit. We are going

to be joined tonight by the Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence

Tribe to get his reading of the lawsuit because if he tells us this is a

real lawsuit and it won`t be dismissed, it will get to a jury, it will get

to a Washington, D.C., jury, then that indicates it`s going to be many,

many, many more.

MADDOW: Yeah, and -- well, I know he is writing about it, and I can`t wait

for to you talk to him.

O`DONNELL: We will do that. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And one of the things to watch now, is who will be the first

criminally charged attacker on the Capitol who turns on Donald Trump and

fires a lawsuit against Trump saying Donald Trump was negligent in telling

people to go to the Capitol and to fight. One of the counts in Swalwell`s

lawsuit is that Trump`s language at the rally was negligent, at minimum,

and it inspired people to attack the Capitol.

Will Jacob Chansley at some point sue Donald Trump for what happened to him

that day? Will he sue Donald Trump for fraud in making him believe the

election was stolen and he had to put on his horns and go fight? Will Jacob

Chansley sue Donald Trump for negligence by urging Jacob Chansley and

thousands of others to go to the Capitol and fight. There are over 300

people whose lives have been disrupted, like Jacob Chansley`s, because of

what Donald Trump told them to do. What they did got them arrested by the


Which one of them will be the first sue Trump for damages? Which one of

them will sue Donald Trump to pay attorney fees in the criminal case? Which

one of them will sue Trump to pay for lost income and punitive damages for

the time spent in jail because of what Trump told them to do? Which one of

them will be the first to sue Donald Trump for fraud?

Now, that might sound like a crazy lawsuit to you, but not to them. They

are all crazy or stupid or both. And so far, the case is against every

single person at the Capitol show them to be crazy, stupid or both.

Jacob Chansley advertised his craziness in his outfit choice on January

6th, and today in a 32-page opinion, Judge Royce C. Lambert, who was

appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan used Jacob Chansley`s

craziness and stupidity as reasons not to let him out of jail before trial.

The judge said that there is no evidence that Jacob Chansley recognizes the

government`s authority over him, including the authority to the require him

to show up for a court date. The judge also quoted what Chansley said when

he was hitting in the vice president`s chair in the Senate chamber. Quote,

Mike Pence is an F-ing traitor.

And Jacob Chansley`s first conversation with the FBI the day after he sat

in the vice president`s chair, according to the judge, quote, he entered

the Capitol -- he entered the Capitol by the grace of God and said he was

glad he sat in the vice president`s chair because Vice President Pence is a

child-trafficking traitor.

And the judge quoted what Jacob Chansley said to NBC News. It was not

recorded. It was written. He quoted what he said to NBC News that same day,

the same day he first talked to the FBI.

This is what he said: The fact that we had a bunch of our traitors in

office hunkers down, put on their gas masks and retreat in their

underground bunker, I consider that a win.

Jacob Chansley voluntarily drove himself to the FBI field office in

Phoenix, Arizona, to talk to the FBI thinking that he -- if he is so smart,

can talk his way out of trouble. Not knowing he already had secretly been


During that discussion with the FBI, at the FBI field office in Phoenix,

defendant twice told law enforcement that he had plans twice to drive to

the Arizona state Capitol, corroborating the plans. Law enforcement found

the horned head dress, face paint, six-foot spear and bull horn in the

defendant`s car which was parked outside the FBI field office. The

defendant was then arrested at the Phoenix FBI office.

He went to the FBI field office with the horns and the spear and the bull

horn in his car. Crazy? Stupid? Or both? You decide.

One of the reasons that added weight to Judge Lambert`s decision to keep

Jacob Chansley in jail is that he carried a weapon with him in the Capitol.

The judge described it as a six-foot pole with an American flag zip tied to

the shaft and a metal spearhead affixed to the top.

The defense trying to argue that was just a flag, and federal buildings are

filled with flags. The judge said, quote, whether or not an object is a

dangerous weapon does not turn on it available within government buildings.

By defendant`s logic, knives would not be considered dangerous weapons due

to their available in government building cafeterias.

Prosecutors want to take Federico Klein in jail awaiting trial. Prosecutors

note that he is also known as Freddie Klein. Freddie Klein had a security

clearance the day he invaded the Capitol because he was working in Mike

Pompeo`s State Department as a Donald Trump appointee. In their memo urging

that Freddie Klein not be granted bail, federal prosecutors say he used

physical violence against officers who are protecting the entrance and his

individual participation of the large mob tightened the dangerousness of

the day. He was captured on video saying, we just want a fair election.

The prosecutors say Klein stole a riot shield from an office and used it

violently against other officers. The prosecutors say that Freddie Klein

engaged in, quote, 30 minutes of what can only be described as hand to hand

combat. Klein was again captured on video hindering an officer, seeking to

help another officer who have been dragged into the mob in the lower west


Prosecutors say that he should be denied bail because his employment

history shows he knew how seriously he was violating the law and he

continued to do it. Prosecutors cite Freddie Klein`s oath of office as a

federal employee, to, quote, support and defend the Constitution of the

United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Despite his oath to support and defend the constitution, Klein demonstrated

his contempt for that oath, the legitimate functions of the government, and

for the constitution itself when he assaulted officers in an attempt to

stop the certification of a lawful election. If Klein is unwilling to obey

orders in full view of law enforcement, or to conform his behavior of the

law, even when he disagrees with it, despite his oath to the constitution,

it is unlikely he will adhere to this court`s direction. Freddie Klein,

crazy, stupid or both.

Freddie Klein is an oath breaker. He broke his oath of office. Some of his

attackers of the Capitol call themselves Oath Keepers. They are lying.

Don`t ever count on one of them to keep an oath. They are deranged people

who are dangerous to themselves enter to others and the FBI is still

looking for them, looking for deranged people who attacked the Capitol.

The FBI is still posting photographs on Twitter asking for help. Today the

FBI said they are looking for these people, these two, for assaults on

members of the media. These pictures keep coming up every day.

And today the FBI released video of the person they say planted bombs

outside of the Democratic Party`s headquarters and the Republican Party

headquarters in Washington, D.C. the night before the attack on the

Capitol. The FBI is asking for help in identifying that person.

Also today, it was revealed that Joshua James who is seen in photographs

with Roger Stone on January 6th before the attack on the Capitol has been

arrested. "Politico" reports the arrest made public the day of prosecutors

reveal they had charged fellow Oath Keeper and Stone`s security guard

Roberto Minuta for entering the Capitol is the latest evidence that

prosecutors are honing in on the extremist group with key ties to the

organizers of the pro-Trump Stop the Steal events, about a dozen oath

keepers have been charged, among the more than 250 Capitol rioters

identified by authorities.

And leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Adam

Schiff of California. He is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,

and he was the lead House manager and prosecutors in Donald Trump`s first

impeachment trial in the United States Senate.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Chairman Schiff. I really

appreciate it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Good be with you.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to the last point we were covering here in

tonight`s reporting. And that is the connection between Trump confidants

like Roger Stone, the White House and invaders of the Capitol. There`s also

telephone data that has been collected from the cell phone services

indicating that there were phone calls tracing -- marking every phone call

from the Capitol that day, and there is evidence of at least one call to

the White House.

SCHIFF: Well, I think this is a very important part of the investigation,

and really at least a couple main components. The first is they`re going

out, the FBI fanning out throughout the country, identifying the

insurrectionists, those that were there, those that were carrying a spear

or threatening the life of the speaker or the vice president. And they`re

tracking down and arresting them. And they are seeking protection, and the

courts are ordering detention in some of these cases.

But the other aspect of the investigation is, who is involved in organizing

this? Who is involved in financing this? What ties if any are there between

the insurrectionists and public officials, and members of Congress, or

members of the Trump campaign or administration or allies of the president

like Roger Stone?

So, it`s going to be important for the FBI to get answers and it`s going to

be important for Congress to get answers and part of that is to bring

justice, to find people accountable. But also in terms of protecting the

Capitol going forward, we need to understand who was involved in this, who

role did social media play in helping these QAnon conspiracy theorists and

others find each other.

O`DONNELL: How important is it for the progress of the investigation and

the Justice Department to have Merrick Garland confirmed as attorney

general and be in there overseeing the progress of this since it will

eventually be handed off to him?

SCHIFF: Well, it`s very important. You know, for right now, as they are

tracking the people down, and making arrests. They might -- may file a

complaint with lesser charges, and have to make a situation about whether

to bring greater charges and some of the decisions might get dumped up all

the way up to the general attorney or main justice.

But in terms of the broader investigation, that`s really I think one of the

most important reasons why you need the attorney general confirmed, big

decisions about bigger cases with more -- far reaching repercussions. And

if they`re indeed were people close to the president who bear responsible

for the violence, that`s a decision that`s going to be made by the attorney

general. So he does need to be infirmed and I think time is of the essence.

O`DONNELL: We have seen many times where the Justice Department is

investigating something that Congress also wants to investigate and you

somehow have to choose your lanes and not cross over into the federal

criminal investigation. Have there been discussions in the House about how

to do that?

SCHIFF: I haven`t been part of the discussions yet. But I think, you know,

when we get to the point of bringing in certain witnesses, those

conversations should take place. I can tell you, in the beginning of the

Russian investigation, that we met with Mueller with the purpose of

deconflicting, you know, I don`t think he was interested in trying to

coordinate with us, and that is perfectly understandable.

But we wanted to make sure that nothing we did would prohibit them from

bringing some of the justice. And we certainly wouldn`t entertain, for

example, providing immunity to a witness if it meant that the justice

probably couldn`t bring a prosecution. So, at some point, there may be a

need for deconfliction, and we will make sure we are not treading too

heavily in their lane.

O`DONNELL: And thanks to Georgia electing two Democratic senators, you

find yourself in a different dynamic now in this investigation because you

also have a Democratic Senate, during -- when you were investigating Donald

Trump and the House of Representatives, there was actually no investigation

in the Republican-controlled Senate because no committee would conduct a

serious investigation there.

And so, you now have the possibility of coordinating investigation with the

Senate. Has there been any planning on that?

SCHIFF: You know, I think that probably both Houses are going to be going

about it separately. You`re absolutely right. There is a force multiplier,

and that you do have a Senate that is willing to take on the tough issues.

So, I think you`ll see federal (ph) actions and we will seen some of it


At the same time, it does under score why it`s so important to have an

independent commission that would have greater resources in the Congress,

because it will be utterly nonpartisan. It will also carry great weight and

credibility with the American people. So, I think in addition to the

efforts you see going on in the House and Senate, it really makes sense if

we want a body with a stature of the 9/11 commission to make

recommendations for the future that we establish that commission.

O`DONNELL: Chairman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for leading off our

discussion tonight.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Up next, Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe will join us

for tonight`s episode of defendant Trump.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is going to spend the rest of his life as a

defendant. Assuming 74-year-old Donald Trump avails himself of all of his

rights with appeal in civil litigation, ion which he is currently a

defendant, the litigation could easily follow Donald Trump well into his

80s and there is much more litigation coming Trump`s way, including

criminal cases Donald Trump in Atlanta and Manhattan, and he will appeal

the outcomes of those cases for many, many years to come.

There are now two major lawsuits filed against Trump by two members of

Congress for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, most recent by

Congressman Eric Swalwell, names four dependants all of whom spoke at the

Trump rally, urging people to go to the Capitol and fight.

Those defendants are Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump Jr., Representatives

Mo Brooks and Rudolph Giuliani. The lawsuit quotes Trump to fight like hell

and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.

Swalwell`s lawsuit is suing Donald Trump for, count one, conspiracy to

violate civil rights, interference with official duties. Count two, neglect

to prevent interference with civil rights. Count three, negligence per se

incitement to riot. Count four, negligence per se, disorderly conduct.

Count five, bias related crimes, inciting assault, inviting riot, and

disorderly conduct and terrorism. Count six, intentional infliction of

emotional distress. Count seven, negligent infliction of emotional

distress. Count eight, aiding and abetting common law assault. Count nine,


If Congressman Swalwell`s lawsuit can proceed a motion to dismiss and

proceed to discovery, and then proceed to trial, a District of Columbia

jury will decide which each of the counts might be worth. And that decision

could bankrupt Donald Trump, and what is worse for Trump, every single

member of Congress could bring exactly the same lawsuit against Trump and

his son and Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, and all of those

defendants could bankrupt by all of those lawsuits.

Joining us now, Laurence Tribe, university professor of constitutional law

emeritus at Harvard Law School. He has won 35 cases in the United States

Supreme Court.

Professor Tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And I want to bring the Congressman Swalwell lawsuit to you tonight for

your judgment on whether it was first of all survive a motion to dismiss

and make its way to trial.

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Thank you for having me, Lawrence.

It will survive a motion to dismiss. It will be tried, because it`s

extremely solid. I have studied it with great care.

And when you list those counts, a lot of people might not realize they are

a different variety. The first two are based on laws going back to 1871,

which are focused not on incitement as such, which might have First

Amendment problems. They are focused on conspiracy to interfere with the

operations of government, in this case, conspiracy to prevent the

certification of the next president. That is count one, which is based on a

1871 law, and then count two involves knowing about the conspiracy, knowing

that it is causing harm and then doing nothing about it. That`s basically

dereliction of duty.

Those two federal counts are extremely solid. Then the other seven counts

are based on specific provisions. Not of national law, but of District of

Columbia law.

For example, count five is based on a section of the D.C. code, Section

22.3704, which involves the harm that people do when they organize attacks

against others based on race, ethnicity or their politics, their political

affiliation, their political ideology.

Well, obviously, this was an attack as the president made clear on those

members of Congress who are ready to certify the election of the next

president. When you look at the counts carefully, including the seven that

are based on District of Columbia law, they are legal to any legal

challenge. In my judgment, they raise no constitutional problems. The

factional allegations are specific and they meet all of the requirements

that would be applied, by someone who wanted to dismiss them.

And not only, as you said, Lawrence, every member of Congress who would

file similar suits but what about the survivors of the Capitol police who

were injured or killed? What about the people who with terrorized who were

calling home to say good-bye to their loved ones?

This is a very series serious lawsuit and it`s going to be an important way

for accountability to take place. Even if for various political or other

reasons the criminal prosecutions do not land Trump in an orange jump suit,

these lawsuits are going to provide financial compensation and punitive

damages to the many people who were terribly hit by this insurrection. The

people of the United States will not be fully compensated, that`s for sure.

But the people who were at the Capitol who were the direct victims of this

attack will I think receive a measure of justice.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, it`s -- as you read the lawsuit, I was focused,

professor, on the negligence claims because that`s such a common civil

tort. That you did something in a negligent way that created a certain

effect. And for the negligence part of it, you don`t have to prove that you

deliberately intended for me to fall down the stairs. It`s just because you

didn`t repair them, and you negligently left them way, I fell down the


And that piece of the lawsuit seems available to literally thousands of

people, including as you say, congressional staffers, Capitol police

officers. There are so many people who could make similar claims against

Donald Trump.

TRIBE: Right. Part of what he did with negligence, part of it was

reckless, part of it was intentional. All of it that caused the harms that

delayed the operations of government, although in the end, thanks to

courageous members of Congress, they got together and certified Joe Biden

as the next president.

But all of those things involve putting things in motion, that as a

president, could have pulled back when he saw the harm that is being done

rather than delighting in it, and expressing surprise about other people

around him not being equally delighted. And he could have called out the

National Guard more quickly, he could have more quickly. He could have told

the mob, go home.

But he waited. He waited and he egged them on, and that was a combination

of negligent activity, reckless activity, intentional activity, violating

the laws of the District of Columbia, and of the United States, as well as


O`DONNELL: I am fully expecting one of the people who`s been arrested in

the Capitol to at some point turn and sue Donald Trump for damages for

what`s happened to them. What would happen in that case?

TRIBE: Well, it would depend very much on the lawsuit. I don`t want to

comment on a complaint that I haven`t seen, perhaps one that hasn`t been

drafted yet. But it is clear that a lot of people who were bamboozled by

Donald Trump into doing his bidding and causing this riot, a lot of them

were I think innocent dupes.

They were victims of Trump`s big lie, and some of them, although they may

have a hard time proving that they were not the cause of their own injury,

some of them are going to be in a position to say that he tricked them into

it. That it was fraudulent on his part.

And I expect those lawsuits to go ahead although I obviously, can`t comment

on them. I haven`t seen them yet.

O`DONNELL: I expect there will be a day when we do at least see one of


Harvard`s constitution law professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much

for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, the House will vote on final passage of the Biden COVID

relief bill tomorrow. In tonight`s episode of "What`s in the Bill", we will

concentrate on pages 33 to 59. So we`ll be joined by a couple of House

members who have worked very hard on those pages.

During this commercial break, you can grab your copy of the bill. And hint:

the two members of the Congress who are going to join us are both former

public school teachers. That is a hint about the section we`re going to be

looking at.

That`s next.


O`DONNELL: 628 pages -- that is the final version of the Biden COVID relief

bill that will be passed in identical form by the Senate and the House of

Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled the bill for a vote in

the House tomorrow.

In tonight`s episode of "What`s in the Bill", we are focusing on one of

under-reported sections, the education section which runs from pages 33 to

59. And those 26 pages deliver $170 billion of COVID relief support for

schools from kindergarten through universities.

Most of the spending, nearly $130 billion, is to help k through 12

classrooms and schools reopen safely. The bill includes funding to upgrade

school ventilation systems, reduce class sizes, enhance social distancing

in schools, provide personal protective equipment, hire additional staff to

care for students` health and monitor COVID safety protocols in schools.

Republicans say schools should just reopen. Joe Biden and the Democrats say

schools should reopen carefully and safely and they`re going to need

federal support to do that. And now Democrats are on the verge of

delivering that support.

Joining us now, Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut. She

is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee. And she was named

national teacher of the year in 2016.

Also joining us Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York. He is

vice chair of the House Education and Labor Committee and was an educator

for 20 years before being elected a member of Congress.

And let me being with Congresswoman Hayes and what you`re focusing on in

those education provisions and what are the most important provisions for

the classroom?

REP. JAHANA HAYES (D-CT): Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. And

that national teacher of the year never gets old. But for me, from the very

beginning, I was pushing for schools to reopen safely and for us to make

sure that funding levels would not be cut so that social workers and

support service personnel, and all of those people that are necessary to

meet students who are returning from the most traumatic experiences of

their lives.

I think this bill also does something that`s a little different. And it has

a mandatory 20 percent set aside to address long term learning laws. And

that`s what lots of people are talking about. Kids have been out of school

for a year. We have to close those gaps and just address some of the equity

issues that we all knew were present even pre-pandemic. So I`m very excited

about the provisions that we`ve fought really hard for that are a part of

this bill.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Bowman, what are you looking at in the bill? You`ve

actually ran a school and so you have the administrative experience about

all these issues like the ventilation system and stuff that is beyond the

jurisdiction of individual teachers.

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Absolutely. So I would be working very closely

with the custodians in my school to make sure the ventilation systems and

the HVAC systems are up to par. But I also work very closely with teachers

and focusing on lowering class size. It`s going to be critical to Jahana`s

point to address the learning loss that took place during this time.

So we`re going to need to hire more teachers. We`re going to need to hire

teachers` assistants to give students the individualized and small group

support that they need to catch up academically.

I also want to mention -- and a lot of people don`t talk about this -- we

need to make sure that we bring play, physical education, sports, music,

and the arts into our schools. If we bring these things into our schools,

it helps with overall academic learning. It also helps deal with the social

and emotional trauma that our kids have dealt with over the past year.

So if I was still running a school, I would be super excited at this point

to bring in these resources to help my students and teachers and families.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Hayes, I hesitate to mention it but all three of

us have public school teaching experience. It was one of the first jobs

that I did in Boston. But I didn`t commit to it as a career the way you


But it does leave me in awe of a teacher of the year. And I want to ask you

a question for the parents out there who know their kids have fallen

behind, who have been watching them fall behind, especially kids who

aren`t, you know, wired to the Internet as well as they could be or at all

and have been losing ground.

What would you tell parents they should be looking for and they should be

asking for in their schools to get their kids back on track?

HAYES: Well, first of all, teaching was the best experience I could have

ever had coming into this job. Because in the classroom, every child is

your child. There are no Republicans and Democrats.

But for many parents, they may feel like the school knows what`s best and

they are not really sure what questions to ask or how to elevate their


I would encourage them to just ask the questions. Become active partners in

your children`s education. Express your concerns. I was very concerned at

the beginning of this pandemic about parents who had little or no digital

skills actually being required to log their kids on and to assist them in

that way.

I think we really need to have ongoing professional development even for

parents and families so that they can be active in their children`s

learnings. But just ask questions. Even if it seems like a silly question

or something that you feel like you should know, teachers are happy to

engage with you, to include you in your child`s learning. And I think it`s

going to take the entire village to get our kids back on track.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Bowman, as someone who has run a school and then you

suddenly find yourself writing legislation to help school systems, to help

schools, to help universities, to help the entire educational system, what

was your assessment of who you were working with? Suddenly here you are in

the government with the people who haven`t had your job, who haven`t run

schools and yet they`ve been legislating for the benefit of the field that

you are in.

Did you feel that the people you were working with in the House and the

Senate, staff, members of the committee had the right kind of information

and orientation about what they were working on?

BOWMAN: Well, I have to say, being here with Jahana makes it a lot easier

because we both have been in public schools for a very long time. So we

speak the same language. Rep. Takano from California also used to be a

teacher. He understands, he speaks the same language.

And yes, my background as an administrator and a teacher is helping me now

because I have to educate some of my colleagues on some issues that are

very paramount in this moment as we deal with the global pandemic.

For example, you know, the Department of Education decided to not grant

waivers to states in terms of not administering the standardized test this

year. And that`s a decision that I do not agree with.

Our kids are dealing with the biggest trauma of their lives. They`ve dealt

with gaps in learning where they`ve been pulled in and out of schools.

Haven`t had access to remote learning and now we are asking them to take

state standardized tests. And that is just unacceptable.

And one last point, what Jahana mentioned about parents asking questions,

that is key. Parents, teachers and students are like the holy trinity in

pour schools. They work in collaboration to enhance the learning of

students and enhance support for parents. And that is where our focus needs

to be. And that is what I try to share with my colleagues in the House.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Hayes, and Congressman Bowman, I cannot thank you

enough for allowing me to spend a few minutes in the teachers` room with

you tonight. This really is an honor to have you join us. Thank you both.

HAYES: Thank you.

BOWMAN: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, President Biden is going to have a bill signing of his first

big legislative victory only because Democrats won two senate seats in

Georgia and Republicans in Georgia are now trying to prevent that from ever

happening again.

Georgia election expert Lauren Groh-Wargo will join us next. And I take

notes when Lauren speaks. You should too. You will learn a lot.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, the Biden legislative agenda is alive in Congress

thanks entirely to the state of Georgia delivering two Democratic senators

to the United States Senate. The Georgia Republican state government --

Republican-controlled government, doesn`t want that to happen again.

Today the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" reports a series of proposed

voting restrictions will be considered in the final days of Georgia`s

legislative session, including bills to end "no excuse" absentee voting and

limit weekend voting.

The very first bill introduced in the House of Representatives given the

designation H.R. 1 by Speaker Pelosi would prohibit states from doing what

the Georgia legislature is now trying to do.

H.R. 1 requires states to allow voting by mail for any eligible voter in

voter in federal elections. H.R. also requires states to allow at least two

weeks of early voting for federal elections including weekends for a period

of at least ten hours per day, including some early morning and evening


H.R. 1 also requires states to use automatic voter registration, offer

same-day registration, limit how they purge names from the roles, and

several other provisions.

Former President Jimmy Carter who is 96 years old now and who was a Georgia

state senator and governor before becoming president said this today. "As

our state legislators seek to turn back the clock through legislation that

will restrict access to voting for many Georgians, I`m disheartened,

saddened and angry.

Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for

which no evidence was produced, allegations that were in fact refuted

through various audits, recounts and other measures. The proposed changes

appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interest of all

Georgia voters."

Joining us now is Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action. She was the

manager of Stacey Abrams` campaign for governor.

Lauren, thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. And you

know, when I see that comment by 96-year-old Jimmy Carter who has been

fighting these battles for 60 years, it makes me realize, if we haven`t

before, that you are going to be fighting these battles for many, many,

many years and we`re never going to be able to settle into a comfortable

arrangement of sensible voting laws in all 50 states.

LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CEO, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: That is 100 percent accurate.

But I will bring your audience into this. It`s all of us. Because what

we`re seeing right now in this country in state legislative sessions from

Georgia, to New Hampshire, to Arizona, states across the country, there`s

two things happening.

And so Lawrence, I thought I would break that down and then talk about how

the For The People Act, H.R. 1 would impact these laws and why everybody,

no matter which state you are in, needs to engage with your state

legislature and your members of Congress.

Because it`s not just battleground states. It`s Republican states, states

like Texas that are building democratic power. And for those of you like,

why voting rights now, you know, this just seems to be a newer issue. It is

not. This has been hard fought and fraught forever in our country.

But there has been an industry around this, an industry of voter

suppression, pushing things like voter I.D., something called bureaucratic

violence. Professor Carol Anderson, voting rights expert calls it -- all

these bureaucratic impediments to voting.

And what`s happened that Donald Trump just like he emboldened white

nationalism and racism, he emboldened this industry of practitioners of the

big lie, the voter fraud lie around which all of these policy changes have

been going on for some time.

Now, what`s happened is that these forces have been building, raising

money, and after the insurrection and we go into legislative session,

right, the Monday after the insurrection in the Capitol, Lawrence, the

Georgia state legislature, Arizona State Legislature -- all across the

country, state legislatures were convening, many, the majority in our

country are controlled by Republicans and state after state start rolling

out voter restriction laws.

So let`s be clear. This a national strategy that is building over time that

is unleashed as a response to historic voter turn out. All of this stamp

(ph) of legislation and it`s precision focused on Democratic communities,

so communities of color in the South and young progressive students and

immigrants in the north, states like New Hampshire.

And it`s to do a couple things: to restrict access. But when I say it`s

precision and the bureaucratic violence that Professor Anderson talks

about, is because it`s doing all these nicks in the system that are going

to be the lines are going to get longer and they want longer lines because

longer lines is the top way you hurt turn out, ok.

And so when you look what they are doing in Georgia, restricting Sunday

voting, adding ID requirements to absentee balloting, banning drop boxes,

banning out of precinct voting. Why would they care about that. All of

these things are what African-American voters, Latino voters, Asian-

American voters, young, progressive voters were using. And that lifted the

ability for turn out at the polls in person, it brought down lines.

So it`s a virtuous cycle of elevated turn out. And so Reverend Warnock, my

friend Senator Warnock won by about 93,000 votes. that was about 2 points.

And so this cavalcade is about preventing that from happening and also

preventing Democratic takeover of state offices in Georgia.

Now, fly north in the country, where it`s 70 degrees and sunny in Georgia,

let`s fly north to New Hampshire in the snow, Senator Maggie Hassan won her

election in 2016 by just about a thousands. Well, news flash, Maggie

Hassan, her Democratic seat`s on the ballot next year, Lawrence.

And so what are they doing? The Republican legislature, Republican governor

in New Hampshire coming after students, making it harder for them to vote

from -- register and vote from campus. Coming after naturalized citizens --

increasing barriers, giving them bureaucratic hurdles to jump through.

Why are they doing this? Because they want to win the Senate. They want to

lock down power at the federal level and lock down state power. And so that

is where H.R. 1 comes in.

But I will pause because that`s a lot.


O`DONNELL: Lauren -- well, We have to pause for a whole another day because

we`re kind of out of time. But I do want to get to H.R. 1 because we have

under-covered it so far on this program and I do -- and you`ve set up

exactly why we need it. And why we need to cover it.

We will do that when you return. Lauren Groh-Wargo, thank you very much for

joining us tonight.

GROH-WARGO: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: If you`ve ever been on the floor of the United States Senate in

the middle of the night trying to pass a massive and complicated piece of

legislation as I have as a senate staffer, you know that getting the Biden

COVID relief bill through the Senate was an extraordinary achievement for

the new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

On the day that Democrats in Congress will deliver Joe Biden`s big

legislative victory tomorrow in the House of Representatives, Chuck Schumer

will -- Chuck Schumer will join us at THE LAST WORD tomorrow night.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be here.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.





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