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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 3/15/21

Guests: Tim Ryan, Sean Patrick Maloney, Jennifer Palmieri, Jane Fonda


Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio is interviewed. Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York is interviewed. Today as part of the Biden administration`s national tour explaining the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Las Vegas where she toured a vaccination site and a culinary training center. Now that Jane Fonda is fully vaccinated, she has left her COVID bubble and is back out in the field bringing urgency to the issue of climate change once again.



And I guess, you know, these frames are pretty narrow so I can`t -- I can`t see your Grammy which must be there somewhere, right?

The Grammy you won last night, Rachel --


O`DONNELL: -- at the Grammy that is you didn`t attend. Is it like on the desk there somewhere?

MADDOW: No. Nope, nope, no. Sigh, because I won it during the day and won a Grammy that nobody wants to see a performance about so it was like on the earlier part of the day when they do like the smaller Grammys kind of -- yes. You are very nice, Lawrence.

I was -- Susan and I were on the beer run and driven to a local brewery to pick up some hooch and driving down the Massachusetts turnpike when we heard the news streaming on Susan`s cell phone and it was very surreal.

O`DONNELL: I can imagine. And so, the audience should know that this is not an easy category. You were in the audiobook category. By the way, your Director Scott Sherratt also I believe gets a Grammy for his role in this, the greatest --

MADDOW: He deserves them all. He is fantastic, yes.

O`DONNELL: He has directed my audiobooks and, of course, has gotten so recognition for it because why would he? Because they`re me.

But -- but, Rachel, so here`s who else was in the field. You were nominated with. Okay? Because --

MADDOW: Wait. I lost you.

O`DONNELL: Oh. Rachel has to hear this. We have to get sound somehow to Rachel somehow.

MADDOW: I`m not being weird -- I`m not being weirdly falsely modest. I lost you. Sorry, but now I can hide under the desk.

O`DONNELL: So Rachel`s gone but here`s what you have to know. The category she was nominated in included someone named Meryl Streep. Rachel won the Grammy instead of Meryl Streep for audiobook reading. And reached for comment I`m sure Meryl Streep would have said it`s an honor to be nominated with Rachel Maddow.

Boy, we needed to Rachel on the Meryl Streep part of that but that`s the way the tech stuff works these days.

Well, what could be the most important arrests yet in the investigation of the Trump mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6th occurred yesterday exactly two days after Merrick Garland`s first full day on the job as attorney general of the United States.

Here is what Merrick Garland said would be his first priority as attorney general.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and other who is stormed the Capitol on January 6th, the heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.

I can assure that this will be my first priority and my first briefing when I return to the department if I`m confirmed.


O`DONNELL: On Thursday, Attorney General Garland had his first full day on the job and he had his first briefing on the attack on the Capitol. Exactly three days later, on Sunday, the FBI arrested two men in the assault on Officer Brian Sicknick who was hospitalized after that assault and died the next day.

Yesterday, the FBI arrested George Tanios of West Virginia and Julian Khater of Pennsylvania. They are now facing nine charges including assault on federal officer with dangerous weapon. Both suspected made brief court appearances today and remain in custody. Prosecutors say the two men attacked Officer Sicknick and other officers with a, quote, chemical spray.

According to video, quoted by prosecutors in their charging documents they seem to be referring a spray used to subdue attacking bears. Bear spray.

According to the charging documents Julian Khater is quoted saying, give me that bear stuff and reaches into the backpack on Tanios` back and then he states hold on. Hold on. Not yet. Not yet, it`s still early.

Khater then seen emphatically telling Tanios, they just F-ing sprayed me and Khater is seen holding a white can with a black cap that affairs to be a can of chemical spray.

Police body cameras show Julian Khater a few feet away from three officers, including Officer Sicknick behind a bike rack barrier. Nine minutes later, Khater is observed with the right arm up in the high air appearing to hold a canister in the right arm and aiming it in the officers` direction while moving the right arm from side to side.

According to the complaint, Officer Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been spraying in the face with a substance. The cause of Officer Sicknick`s death is not yet been determined by an autopsy report. U.S. Capitol police say they are still awaiting the results of a toxicology test. George Tanios and Julian Khater were identified by citizens after the FBI circulated their photos to the public.

George Tanios and Julian Khater face charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If they can be linked directly to the cause of death of Officer Sicknick they could then be facing more severe charges.

Another member of the Trump mob facing multiple charges in the attack on the Capitol is this guy. His name is Timothy Hale-Cusanelli and if you think that looks like a Hitler mustache, well, yeah, that`s exactly what he intended. One witness interviewed by the FBI said that he heard Timothy Hale-Cusanelli say, quote, Hitler should have finished the job.

When he attacked the Capitol, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli was working for the federal government as a government contractor with a security clearance at a military base in New Jersey. Why do Nazis like him love Donald Trump so much?

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli loves Hitler and Trump. He loves Hitler and Trump. And he`s not the only one.

The Capitol was crawling with Nazis on January 6th. Some of them have been arrested. They were ready to do anything for Donald Trump, just like the Nazis who were ready to do anything for Adolf Hitler.

Joe Biden crushed those Nazis` dream of a Trump re-election and then on January 6th police and National Guard eventually crushed those Nazis` dream of taking over the Capitol and the Nazis` dream of installing Donald Trump as president.

Now, Attorney General Merrick Garland will deal with the Nazis who invaded the Capitol and with the men who attacked Officer Brian Sicknick.

Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. He is the chair of the legislative branch subcommittee which oversees the Capitol police.

Congressman Ryan, this arrest coming -- this major arrest, the first one linked to the assault on Officer Sicknick coming just days after Merrick Garland officially took over, had a first full day of work, is it likely that these arrests were being held so that the attorney general could review exactly where these most important cases stood?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Yeah. I`m certain, I think most of us are certain they were waiting for the confirmation of the attorney general to make this decision. Clearly, it is an important decision that needs to be made but it also says there must be a lot of evidence that`s there to make sure that this is done properly.

And I think it also shows, Lawrence, how extensive -- you see the pictures. How extensive this investigation is, complicated it is and why it`s taken some time really to identify all of these people but we are very, very pleased with this and we want to encourage this investigation to continue.

O`DONNELL: So, a government contractor shows up at work in a military base in New Jersey impersonating Adolf Hitler and nothing happens to his security clearance. Do you have any insight as to how that could happen?

RYAN: Lawrence, I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the report. How does this guy continue to have security clearance? I mean, this is clearly a danger. You don`t have pure First Amendment rights dealing with sensitive information, when you have the level of clearance that he had.

So I think this is going to give everybody some pause to go back and maybe review. I think in this day and age with the technology we have, it will be very easy to especially when you`re posting this kind of garbage on Facebook to really be able to identify quickly and revoke the clearances and security clearances as quickly as possible.

O`DONNELL: What do you think is the next stage of the investigation that you need to conduct to prevent this from ever happening again?

RYAN: Well, a couple things. One is working closely with the chair of the appropriations committee, Rosa DeLauro and Speaker Pelosi, we want to make sure that the FBI has the resources they need to continue the investigation. That`s first and foremost. They have exhausted a lot of resources on this as you can tell by the intricacies of the investigation.

So, we want them to move forward and then -- it keeps getting back to intelligence and training for the Capitol. We need more intelligence officers that are interfacing with Homeland Security and the FBI and others and local law enforcement around the country. So we know who the enemy is. And then hardening the Capitol, making sure that we have the training, a rapid response force like General Honore recommended so someone could immediately show up at the Capitol with hundreds of National Guards ready to protect us, similar to what the jet planes that get fired up if there`s a threat to the White House. We want that same kind of reinforcement being able to come to the Capitol.

So those are the kind of next steps we`re going to be taking. It will take a little time, probably more time than people want but we`ve got to make sure that we do it right.

O`DONNELL: What was your reaction to Senator Ron Johnson saying he wasn`t afraid of the people that attacked the Capitol because he thought they were all good people who would not commit crimes, now that hundreds have been charged with those crimes and now that some of the people who Ron Johnson says are good people have been charged with the assault on Officer Sicknick?

RYAN: That`s just blatant racism. That`s the bottom line. You are not afraid of people bringing bear spray to spray Capitol police that killed a police officer, no concern at all. They`re chasing Mike Pence and others around the Capitol and you are not afraid, but if that crowd happened to be people of color all of a sudden you would be afraid. To me, that`s the definition of racism.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Tim Ryan, thank you very much for starting off our discussion tonight.

RYAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining us now is Andrew Weissmann. He`s a former FBI general counsel and a former federal prosecutor. He worked on the Mueller investigation. He is a NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.

Andrew, with your knowledge of the workings of the FBI, if you had the big arrests pending on the people involved in the assault on Officer Sicknick, would you wait until the new attorney general was on the job?

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: No. If you have the facts and the law and you can arrest these people, go you forward. You don`t wait. And I don`t think they did wait here. I just can`t imagine law enforcement doing that.

But I`d like to pick up on something Representative Ryan said that I agree with, and one thing I disagree with. I think it`s really important to view what happened today with respect to two people who attacked three police officers with chemical weapons, and who it took two months to arrest. If you want an illustration of racism, compare what happened taking two months to arrest these folks and it`s great that they`re under arrest. The proof looks very strong. It is all very public.

But where was the FBI at the time? It should -- this is not a question of needing more resources. You want to know when they had resources? On May 30th in New York City when Black Lives Matter had protests two African- Americans were arrested the very same day on a Saturday for attacking an empty police car with chemical weapons and they were -- the book was thrown at them. If they did what they did that`s fine but that took less than a day.

And what is the difference? The difference is their color and they didn`t support Donald Trump.

And you know, that is not a fine moment for law enforcement that there`s such a huge dichotomy in terms of its reaction. What happened today is fine but let`s not forget that this is not a question of resources. The resources were there when the people who are committing these crimes were black.

O`DONNELL: So how do you fix this? And what is Merrick Garland do to fix this?

WEISSMANN: Well, you know, the FBI director testified that the FBI doesn`t care about motives, doesn`t matter if you`re violently protesting on the left or right. And I`d love to believe him but the reaction was quite different. And this is really where a norm was changed with Donald Trump, which is I think poll it cans really got involved and people did not respond the same way depending on whether those people supported the president or not.

And I think there are current president is setting the right signal which is that law enforcement has to be completely apolitical. And I`d love to say that this is something that a law can change but it`s really something that we either believe in our hearts our we don`t. And I mean, it sounds like, you know, pablum to say it requires education for people to understand what this country is supposed to be founded on.

O`DONNELL: For whatever reasons they still don`t have an autopsy report in the death of Officer Sicknick. When they get that, how could that change the charges against these people?

WEISSMANN: Well, there`s something called felony murder where it is hard to show that the people here intended to kill a police officer. They clearly intended to spray them with this chemical weapon. But if in the course of committing one felony another -- a murder happens, there`s something called felony murder and you can face those additional charges.

The big question as you point out, Lawrence, is what caused his death? And we still don`t know that. But it`s important to remember the crimes they`re charged with are incredibly serious. They assaulted with a deadly weapon not one but three police officers and it may or may not have caused the death of one of them.

But just think about the reaction if this resulted as a matter of a Black Lives Matter protest. It would be I think played up in a very different way in a huge segment of the country.

O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

WEISSMANN: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, have you received your $1,400 direct deposit yet? There`s much more than that in the Biden COVID relief bill, including big upgrades to the Affordable Care Act that will help more people afford health insurance.

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney joins us next.


O`DONNELL: The Biden/Harris administration is planning a nationwide tour to make sure people understand the benefits they have coming to them from the Biden COVID relief bill which has now taken its place in law under the title the American Rescue Plan.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I signed the American Rescue Plan, last week, I said help was on the way. This week I can report this isn`t just on the way. It`s here, sooner than many ever thought possible.

Over the next ten days we will reach two giant goals. The first is 100 million shots in people`s arms. We`ll have been completed within the next ten days. And 100 million checks in people`s pockets in the next 100 days, shots in arms and money in pockets. That`s important.


O`DONNELL: The American rescue plan provides a third round of direct payments up to $1,400 for individuals, $2,800 for couples, and additional $1,400 for each dependent.

Some Americans received the payments over the weekend. According to the Biden administration, 85 percent of American households will receive a stimulus check by the time all the money is distributed. After four years of Republicans trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the American rescue plan includes the biggest changes to the affordable care act since it was enacted.

Those changes are designed to make health care more affordable for more people. They are big upgrades that include the fact that they provide temporarily subsidies for health insurance and to people for all income levels for the first time. These changes will only last for two years but some Democrats are already trying to make them permanent.

Other reforms to the Affordable Care Act include reducing deductible, covering the entire cost of COBRA, the insurance extension program for those who recently lost jobs and giving states more money to support and expand Medicaid. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the changes cover 1.3 million more Americans who will now be part of Obamacare and cost about $34 billion.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York. He is the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It is his job to keep the Democrats in the majority in the House.

You have a two-year campaign that you`re embarked on every single day with that. This legislation is part of what Nancy Pelosi intends for you and other house members to use to give voters a reason to keep Democrats in control of the House.

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, I sure hope so, Lawrence. Thanks for having me on.

This rescue plan is going to end the pandemic and it is going to save the American economy. If you think about a family of four in Putnam County, New York, where I live, maybe they`ve got a small business making $70,000, $75,000 a year, a couple young kids, between just the direct cash payments the child tax credit and the reduction of their Affordable Care Act subsidies, you can look at $15,000 for that family. That`s 20 percent of what they make in a year.

So it is real relief to American working families. And meanwhile the Republicans took a walk. The Republicans had no plan, no empathy. And they`re talking about Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head and trying to enact racist voting laws down in Georgia. So we are focused on the needs of the American people. I sure hope the people know it.

O`DONNELL: The reason I concentrated on the affordable care act elements of the bill is there are so many things in this bill higher profile, more news reporting on them that the details of the expansion of the Affordable Care Act have largely gone unnoticed in a lot of the coverage but it is the single biggest expansion of that legislation since it was enacted.

MALONEY: Well, it`s really important. And I hope people understand that this is going to lower the premiums, significantly, for people who are on the exchanges but, of course, you also mentioned the expansion of Medicaid. That`s going to get more people insured, that`s really important. We`re also going to cover people`s COBRA, so if they try to hang on to the employer based health care they can do so with those costs covered.

So this is really a comprehensive set of protections around people`s health care. And, of course, the small business loans that have kept just in my district 11,000 businesses, 100,000 people working here just in my congressional district. That means people are still tethered to the health insurance.

So, this is really a plan designed to address the dramatic needs that the pandemic has created. And it`s going to happen immediately.

O`DONNELL: There is a report that 25 percent of House members have either refused to get the vaccine, have not reported getting the vaccine or are avoiding it because of medical conditions. Well, I`m not sure what medical condition suggests avoidance but I`m sure there are some.

What is your sense of your colleagues` refusals to get the vaccine so far?

MALONEY: Well, look, it`s just the latest chapter in a series of disappointments, particularly in the new radical Republicans who have come to Washington. You know, I hope people understand that here in my district, all the county executives are basically Republicans, all the town supervisors are Republicans, a bunch of mayors are Republicans. They all stood with me on Friday celebrating the American Rescue Plan.

This is robustly bipartisan when you get down to the local level. It`s only in Washington that you have the theatrics and the same crowd that tried to set aside the election, people who wonder whether a plane hit the Pentagon, who are chasing Parkland shooting survivors around the Capitol yelling at them, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, I`m sure they cause the raucous around getting a vaccine. But, of course, they`re also the ones who don`t want to wear a mask, who are complaining about procedures to keep people safe, the way we vote, the way we separate responsibly, and, of course, the security procedures.

So, they`re good about complaining about the things that they help to create around security and the public health situation and the Capitol. They should get with the program and get the vaccine.

O`DONNELL: As the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, that`s -- your job normally involves you flying all over the country every weekend working on different congressional districts, recruiting candidates in some cases, trying to figure out which ones you can flip and can`t do that so much in the age of COVID. But what is you approach to that given this other challenge that most of the predecessors didn`t have which is fighting for the right to vote for Democratic voters in so many of these districts?

MALONEY: Boy, I hope people focus on that because this is a real life fight right now and thank God for people like Stacey Abrams and others who are ringing the alarm of what is going on in Georgia, but not just Georgia, dozens of states because you`ve got a Republican Party that is bankrupt of ideas. And so, their strategy right now is to pass racist voting laws, effectively a new Jim Crow in the South, which we cannot allow, and also to gerrymander to help the districts to cobble together a majority.

What would be great is coming up with a legislative agenda, a plan to help the American people, and some ideas that maybe they could run on and depend on trying to cheat and gerrymander the way back into power. I think it is going to fail but everybody needs to get in the game right now around the country and stop these repressive and racist voting laws.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

MALONEY: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Up next, Yamiche Alcindor and Jennifer Palmieri will join us for a look at how Vice President Kamala Harris` partnership with President Biden is delivering the benefits of the COVID relief bill to the American people. That`s next.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve learned, one, that people are suffering but we knew that before and we knew it based on the statistics but the stories add much more color to that point, right? When you hear that folks, you know, folks want to work.

And for those who are in industries where they may not get rehired, what that is going to mean for them in terms of prolonged suffering. And that was really the point of the stories that I heard today.


O`DONNELL: Today as part of the Biden administration`s national tour explaining the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Las Vegas where she toured a vaccination site and a culinary training center.

First Lady Jill Biden visited a New Jersey elementary school to promote the administration`s pledge to safely reopen schools with support from the relief bill.


JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Child care isn`t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It`s a family issue and it`s urgent. There can be no recovery without a place for working parents to send their children.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for the Obama White House. She is co-host of Showtime`s "The Circus. And Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for "PBS News Hour" and an MSNBC political analyst.

And Jennifer, let me begin with you because you have been there inside the White House trying to do exactly this. You have gotten the big bill passed. Now let`s explain it. Now let`s make sure the delivery system to the states and to the people who will use it is really happening.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes. Passing it is about maybe 40 percent of the job because particularly it was a bill that you saw Vice President Harris talk today about this, you know, public education campaign because they need to tell everyone all of the benefits that are in the bill and that`s not just so the administration gets credits. It`s because the program is not going to work if people are not aware of the benefits.

We found it was very hard with Obamacare to educate everyone as to what they were eligible for in terms of -- in terms of insurance, but also pre- existing conditions but they`re right. So in order for this very large package which we all so much riding on within both within the country and then in the administration. To work people need to understand how it does actually -- what the benefits are and how they apply for them. So that is a very big piece of business.

And then the administration also announced today that Gene Sperling who was former national economy adviser for Obama was going to be taking over the role of implementing this legislation and tracking all the money and where that`s going. And that`s really important for accountability.

I mean I think all of this they want to sell the bill but they also want to build confidence with the American people that government can do big things, they can do big things so when they do an infrastructure bill they have some credibility with the American people, that this is an administration that knows how to govern.

O`DONNELL: Yamiche, we have gone from an administration that would have put Jared Kushner in charge of whatever legislation they passed. And here they go to Gene Sperling who`s a veteran of the Clinton White House, the Obama White House. They just layer experience on top of experience in this administration.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that is what president Biden ran on, this idea that not only was he someone who could wrestle back the country and really bring people together but also that he was someone who with all of his government experience and these ties could really have a coherent and educated administration who could tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, I`m thinking about kind of this tour that`s going on as two parts. There is this education campaign but there is, of course, this victory lap. And it`s a victory lap that former President Obama never really took.

President Biden said pretty clearly recently, that he saw President Obama as being too humble to really want to take that full victory lap. Now what you see is Democrats really wanting to be more aggressive so that they can explain to the American people not only yes this is how this bill is going to affect your life but also remember who passed this.

So I had a long conversation with Jaime Harrison today. He, of course, the chair of the DNC. And he told me this is going to be a different Democratic Party. We are going to be much more aggressive at making sure that people know yes, this -- Democrats can take credit for this and we want to call out Republicans, Jamie Harrison said.

If they start to try to take credit for this because, of course, as it flows into people`s pockets, as people become more adjusted with this, if the childhood poverty rate does drop in the way that the administration says, you can imagine that they`re going to be people wanting to say we were part of this push and it wasn`t just the Biden`s campaign and the Biden administration.

So really this is Democrats really already trying to get on the front end to say this is who you should -- this why you should re-elect us. This is why you should give us even more control of the Senate and the House.

O`DONNELL: As Jennifer mentioned, Joe Biden has put Gene Sperling as the point person on administering this rescue plan.

Let`s listen to what the president said about what Gene Sperling will be doing.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Gene will be on the phone with mayors and governors, red states, blue states. A source of constant communication, a source of guidance and support and above all a source of accountability for all of us to get the job done.

Together we`re going to make sure that the benefits of the American Rescue Plan go out quickly and directly to the American people where they belong.


O`DONNELL: and Jennifer, of course, Gene Sperling knows an awful lot of those people who he is going to be calling up to find out how it`s working in the states.

PALMIERI: It is his third White House. You and I have both worked with him before. There`s not anyone who understands better the process by which the money gets appropriated, how it goes to the agencies, gets to -- gets out to people that need it, to the cities and states that need it.

And so I mean I`m very impressed with this rollout. I think the Biden team clearly knows what they are doing here. The big unknown, of course, is will this really -- will this really help to bolster the economy.

And, you know, the problem in the Obama administration was not just that we didn`t do a great job of selling The Recovery Act, it`s that people didn`t feel that the -- that their own standing, their own economic standing was improving and can`t convince people the economy is getting better and you should get credit for it if they don`t actually feel it in their own lives.

So that, of course, is the big unknown. The Biden administration is doing everything they can to position themselves to get the credit and have this work, you know, if that -- you know, if we get -- if the economy does get the boost that, you know, we all hope it does.

O`DONNELL: Yamiche, I`m struck by the vice president`s approach to it today. It is not -- it`s not get up in front of a crowd and deliver a big rousing speech. It is to go to places where this legislation really matters, a vaccination center, a place where in Las Vegas where kitchen workers gather and learn their trade. So she`s on a listening and delivering tour.

ALCINDOR: That`s right. And I think what you see in the vice president`s visit and what you will likely see for the rest of the week is really this administration trying to say we went on the ground to every day Americans who are suffering who are facing eviction, who have lost their job, who understand firsthand what it means to be in an economic struggle during this pandemic and that we wanted to go to them and explain here`s how your life could be better.

I think there is this sense among Republicans that they made the smart bet to not get behind this bill that they think that they can sell this as an inflated bill and a bill that doesn`t help every day working Americans.

And of course, the Biden administration is countering that by saying not only are we saying this is going to will help you. We`re going to come to your town. We`re going to come to you face to face and we`re going to explain to you and listen to you listen to what you need because, of course, yes, this is $1.9 trillion but let`s be honest, we`re in the middle of a pandemic, we don`t know how long it`s going to stretch.

That idea of listening to people, listening to what is really their concern, that`s going to be critical going forward as we think about the way out of this and the way in the next few years that people might be impacted.

O`DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor and Jennifer Palmieri, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight.


O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Most of us have times when we feel like we`re not doing enough and that is the feeling that drove Jane Fonda back to the front lines of protests to emphasize the urgency of the issue of climate change.

Jane Fonda was 81 years old and working on a TV series when she decided she was not doing enough. And now she is a year older and fully vaccinated and she is back out on the front lines of protests.

Tonight, Jane Fonda will join us and get tonight`s LAST WORD.


O`DONNELL: A few months before the first COVID-19 infections were reported, Jane Fonda said "I`ve been feeling that I wasn`t doing enough." It was the fall of 2019 and Jane Fonda had been an activist on a range of issues for over 50 years.

Here she is in 1970 with Angela Davis protesting the Vietnam War. Jane Fonda was right. Jane Fonda was right about the Vietnam War and the presidents who fought that war were totally wrong. The generals who said we could win that war were totally wrong.

Thanks to Jane Fonda and an army of anti-war protesters all over this country, President Nixon was forced to end the draft and his successor Gerald Ford was forced to completely withdraw the American military from Vietnam.

Jane Fonda and the anti-war protesters saved the lives of more American soldiers who would have been drafted and would have been sent to Vietnam to die if protesters had not risen up against that war.

In the fall of 2019 when Jane Fonda felt she wasn`t doing enough she went to Washington for what she called fire drill Fridays to try to bring urgency to the issue of climate change. She got arrested at the capitol for peacefully protesting on five of those Fridays. She inspired other lifelong activists like Martin Sheen to join her for fire drill Fridays.

Martin Sheen is now playing Jane Fonda`s ex-husband in their current Netflix series, "Grace and Frankie". Jane Fonda`s acting career is an astonishing achievement with two Oscars for Best actress over a six decade run at the top of her field.

She won her first Oscar for "Klute" in 1972 in the thick of her activism as an anti-war protester. And she won her second Oscar in 1979 for "Coming Home", a film about how the ravages of the Vietnam War came home to America.

In her work on the screen, and as an activist, Jane Fonda has always been trying to find and tell the truth. And at no point in her career as an actor or an activist would anyone have ever had the feeling that Jane Fonda wasn`t doing enough.

Now that Jane Fonda is fully vaccinated she has left her COVID bubble and is back out in the field bringing urgency to the issue of climate change once again.

And after this break Jane Fonda will join us from Park Rapids, Minnesota and tell us what she was protesting there today.


O`DONNELL: Here is Jane Fonda in Minnesota yesterday.


JANE FONDA, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: We were driving down the highway, and we saw this. And we saw the pipeline that they want to lay under the head waters of the Mississippi. That company, Enbridge, it`s a foreign company. It`s bringing oil from Canada, Tar Sands` Oil, the worst. We`re here to try to stop it.


O`DONNELL: The Enbridge company issues a statement saying "We signed an agreement with the EP under the Obama administration and committed in 2017 under the Obama administration and committed to replacing this aging pipeline with a new one. We have worked with communities, including Native American tribes along the pipeline`s route and have made more Ethan 320 changes to the route. The new pipeline will replace the working pipeline. The replacement pipe will better protect the environment and residents of Minnesota, for generations to come. Protesting that people again, today, Minnesota, Jane Fonda said this.


FONDA: All of us, all of us, that are alive right now, are alive at a moment in human history when everything can change. Now we have a chance to take the right path -- a green, just, fair, healthy, safe, dignified path. So, let`s do it. Let`s do it.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, two-time Academy Award winning actress and life- long activist, Jane Fonda.

Jane, it is wonderful to see you tonight. Thank you very much for joining us.

And I remember when you went to Standing Rock to protest the pipeline there in North Dakota. So, this is not a new issue for you.

FONDA: No. I called you for -- Bob Redford said I shouldn`t go and I called you and you said, yes, go. And you`re right. You know, everybody knows about Keystone XL. We know about the DAPL Pipeline that went through Standing Rock. That has to be stopped too.

But the Enbridge line three hasn`t had so much publicity. We`ve got a standing rock Enbridge. We have to bring this to people`s attention because this line three is just as dangerous as the Keystone XL. It`s bringing terrible Tar Sands oil from the Tar Sands in Canada, across Minnesota, underneath the terribly important, vital to their culture, their food, their economy, the wild rice, under 200 bodies of water, across the head waters of the Mississippi to Lake Superior and then eventually down to the gulf of Mexico where it will be exported.

This at a time when we are facing a climate crisis with clear and unambiguous warnings from scientists to say that we only have about ten years to cut our fossil fuel emissions in half and then start a managed phaseout.

And, you know, the scientists say we have to keep our warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. If it warms beyond that, we pass the threshold and it`s out of our control.

We have a very small carbon budget left before that tipping point. And the scientists tell us that the oil and the coal and the gas that`s already been brought up, developed, we can`t even use that if we`re to stay within our carbon budget and avoid catastrophe. Enbridge is flying in the face of what science is telling us.

And this is another thing that`s important because, I know, you know these are very good jobs, these fossil fuel jobs. They`re union jobs with good benefits, and it`s tough for the workers to hear we`re trying to shut down the pipelines. I know that. I know that.

And that`s why while we`re fighting to shut down the pipelines, we have to fight to make sure that those workers, that there`s no space between when their fossil fuel jobs and when new jobs that are union or union- equivalent, family supporting jobs with benefits and bargaining rights, they have to move right away.

It can be fixing up and closing and remediating oil wells and gas wells. Or it can be our bridges and our water systems and our storm systems and all the things that need to be repaired.

President Biden knows this well. That`s what`s coming in his thrive agenda. We have to rebuild our structures. Weatherize homes to make them carbon neutral but also to make us all more resilient to the extreme weather events that are coming.

O`DONNELL: Are you asking the Biden administration to review the approvals that this pipeline got during the Trump administration?

FONDA: Well, they`re being reviewed now. They never got the permits that they needed. Trump, on his way out, greenlit a lot of pipelines. And, you know, President Biden has come out loud and clear that he`s in favor of phasing down the climate crisis appropriately and at the same time doing it in a fair transition.

And Enbridge line 3 is a perfect example. And he`s got to protect the workers while he closes down the line. And, you know, there`s another thing that`s -- the local police are being paid by this foreign oil company. There`s this trust that has been created.

The state of Minnesota has required Enbridge to put a lot of money into this trust in order to cover any police expenses. Ok. So, what`s been happening to the people up here? They`re being arrested? They`re being put in cages. They`re being strip searched. They`re being handcuffed in very painful positions, crammed into cells during a pandemic with no help, no protection.

They`re -- there are militarized drones flying overhead day and night all through the night. They`re being stopped many times a day for no reason. Today we were on our way to that press conference that you showed a piece of, and our compatriots, they were stopped by the police for absolutely no reason and we were followed for 12 miles.

Now fortunately, this is illegal what they`re doing, ok. The best constitutional rights lawyers in the country are gathering information to litigate. To put a stop to this.

This is pioneering law work. It`s never happened before. They`re called the Center for Protest Law and Litigation. We`re going to get these guys. They can`t get away with this.

Some foreign company paying off police forces, supposed to be looking after the local population and instead they`re violent, they`re harassing, they`re breaking the law. They don`t do this to anybody else up here. They`re doing this because these are indigenous people on the very day that the first native American is made a cabinet secretary, Deb Haaland, the secretary of Interior. This is what they`re doing to indigenous people and this has to stop.

O`DONNELL: Jane Fonda, thank you very -- we`ve gone into overtime but it`s worth it, thank you very, very much for joining us tonight from Minnesota. We really appreciate it.

FONDA: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Jane Fonda gets tonight`s LAST WORD.