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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 3/22/21

Guests: Tim Ryan, Nikema Williams, Tom Perriello


MSNBC continues its breaking news coverage of a shooting situation at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. DOJ official claims that evidence collected in January 6 investigation supports sedition charges for suspects. Breaking news from Boulder, Colorado where the police chief just confirmed that 10 people were murdered including Police Officer Eric Talley, in a mass shooting in a supermarket. Donald Trump steps into Georgia politics by endorsing a Republican primary challenger to Georgia`s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.



We`re going straight to that situation in Boulder, Colorado, for the latest as we begin tonight. Thank you, Rach.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Great, excellent. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks. We are continuing following that breaking coverage news in Boulder, Colorado, of a shooting involving multiple victims. Authorities have just held a press conference where they did not specify how many were killed, but did confirm a Boulder police officer was killed along with, quote, multiple victims. That was the phrase they used.

They said a person of interest who was injured is in custody, but he is not a suspect.

And joining us now for the latest is NBC`s Gadi Schwartz who has been covering the story all day.

What`s the latest information we have, Gadi?

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, from what we`re hearing from police, you said it. It`s basically we know that multiple people have been shot and killed and one of them is a police officer from the city of Boulder. And that`s basically it.

The press conference we saw just a little while ago didn`t have very much information at all, so that`s the official word. And earlier today, there was livestream that showed immediately what was happening immediately after that shooting, during that shooting that paints a pretty clear picture.

So, we`re going to work through what we saw on that livestream. We`ll be very careful about the images we show you, and we`ll avoid any type of speculation, just sticking with what we saw on that livestream. So, a little earlier this afternoon, that livestream started when a man who is coming into King Soopers to do some shopping, which is that supermarket, started to notice that something was amiss. He started to ask people what was going on. He heard active shooter, and then he decided to start a livestream to document what was happening.

And that`s when you start to see the camera pan from body to body to body. There were at least three bodies we saw in that video. We don`t know if those people survived, we don`t know if those people were injured or possibly playing like they had been injured to avoid being shot. But we can tell you there were three bodies, two of which appeared to have been face down, one of them in the parking lot, another one at the entryway of the King Soopers and then another one inside the King Soopers right at the front entrance.

There was also a security guard there that appeared to have been trying to call somebody on his phone, and then when the livestreamer asked the security guard what was going on, the security guard said, the active shooter is inside. And at that moment, the livestreamer went out to the parking lot, started yelling at people to get away, get away, and you start to see some of the chaos.

But it was a very bizarre scene because you expect to hear panic, and you expect to see a stampede, and you saw people running away, but there were no police around. So there were these odd moments of calm, and then all of a sudden, you would start to hear multiple rounds fired from inside of the King Soopers. Some of those rounds sounded loud and reverberated, others sounded like cracks, and so it`s unclear if there were multiple guns involved or it might have been the acoustics inside that building, but there were shots being fired.

And then you started to see the police descend on the King Soopers en masse. There were dozens of police that were approaching the front of the King Soopers, there were some police officers that were bringing in a ladder truck from the fire department, making entry from the roof, and from what we understand from witnesses, they may have been cutting into the roof and dropping into the second story where some people that were inside of the King Soopers were hidden, barricaded. But, again, very few details coming from the police themselves right now.

All police are saying is that there are multiple victims, and one of those victims who died was a Boulder police officer. Lawrence, back to you.

O`DONNELL: Any indication when we will know more?

SCHWARTZ: Unfortunately, they said to check with their Twitter and they said all information would be coming from the Boulder police department.

So we`ve been watching their social media channels, but so far no indication as to when we might get an update. There was an update a little bit earlier that just said that they were going to be notifying next of kin of all the victims before they released more information, including the number of victims. And, Lawrence, this sounds very odd, but there was one thing that we saw in that livestream that could explain why it may be so difficult to determine the amount of victims.

This may have to do with what we`re seeing or it may have just been the confusion of those moments, but during the livestream when we saw some of the bearcats and some of the heavy armor coming in from the police department, we saw the bearcat, that big armored tank, basically surround a vehicle with some officers flanking it and say, hey, come out of the vehicle, we have your vehicle surrounded, we can see in you that vehicle, we can see you in that vehicle.

They kept repeating that over and over again, and then the livestreamer had to move so we couldn`t see what happened, but then all of a sudden the officers around that vehicle kind of relaxed. So, it`s unclear if there were possible multiple victims in that parking lot inside their cars or if it was a case of mistaking some clothing or something possibly inside those vehicles, but very intense levels of confusion all throughout, and right now, police are going methodically through that parking lot as well as that King Soopers to find any additional victims. But at this point, all we know is multiple victims, one police officer -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Gadi Schwartz, thank you for that reporting. We`ll be coming back to you if and when more information develops tonight. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

SCHWARTZ: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Well, in a court appearance today, George Tanios` mother told a federal judge, quote, he`s not a bad kid. He is 39 years old. And he is accused of assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who died in the hospital he was brought to after the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. George Tanios` mother testified in a hearing in which they hoped the judge would release George Tanios from custody.

The "he is a good kid" defense did not work. Federal Magistrate and Judge Michael John Aloi said, quote, it is hard for me to look at this as anything other than assault on this nation`s heart, and I don`t think I`ve ever seen anything play out in a way that was more dangerous to our community and I have no question that, in your own way, Mr. Tanios, you chose to be part of that.

Prosecutors told the judge that Tanios, along with his partner in his crime, Julian Khater, was captured on video discharging bear spray into the face of Officer Sicknick and two other officers. The judge agreed with prosecutors that Tanios must remain in custody awaiting trial.

Some of the 400 defendants already charged in the attack on the Capitol might find themselves facing an added charge of sedition. Sedition is defined as a conspiracy to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take or possess any property of the United States.

Sedition carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The former acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., Michael Sherman, a Trump appointee who led the investigation until earlier this month, now says the evidence does support sedition charges in some cases.


INTERVIEWER: It seems like a very low bar and I wonder why you`re not charging that now.

MICHAEL SHERWIN, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: I don`t think it`s a low bar, Scott, but I will tell you this. I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that and probably meets those elements.

INTERVIEWER: Do you anticipate sedition charges against some of these suspects?

SHERWIN: I believe the facts do support those charges, and I think that as we go forward, more facts will support that, Scott.


O`DONNELL: Michael Sherwin explained the importance of the not yet completed autopsy report in the death of Officer Brian Sicknick.


INTERVIEWER: The medical examiner has not yet determined how Officer Sicknick died. If the medical examiner determines that his death was directly related to the bear spray, would you imagine murder charges at that point?

SHERWIN: If evidence directly relates that chemical to his death, yeah, we have causation, we have a link, yes, in that scenario, correct, that`s a murder case.


O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" has assembled and released a new video of the January 6 attack that undercuts real time police audio as the events unfold.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, get CDU 12 up. CDU 12 up to help maintain the lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re throwing bike racks! They`re throwing bike racks!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50. They are behind our lines!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to pull back that resource. If they`re getting behind you, you don`t have enough resource.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I give this up, they`re going to have direct access. We got to hold what we have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All MPD pull back up to the upper deck! All MPD pull back up to the upper deck!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cruiser 50, we`re flanked. 10-33. I repeat, 10-33, west front of the Capitol. We have been flanked and we`ve lost teh line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have all units respond to assist him. Do what we`re to do!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ask all military and officers to come to the Capitol.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. He`s a member of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the legislative branch subcommittee which oversees the Capitol police.

Also with us, Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general and MSNBC legal contributor.

Ryan, let me start with you. When you see that video and see how it was unfolding at the Capitol and hear with real time with images attached the way the police were overwhelmed and the sequence in which they were overwhelmed, how does it feel for you to be reliving all of that as you see it play out in that video, and then, of course, what needs to be done to prevent that from happening again?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Well, it makes my blood boil. I mean, I just watched it again, you know, before the show here, and my blood boils to think about how these cops were treated. You know, in one of the scenes, you can see someone basically sideline tackle a cop over the rail. You know, smacking his up the side of the head with lead pipes.

This is absolutely disgusting behavior to police officers who are sworn to protect and serve to not just people at the Capitol or members of Congress, but people who visit there, and for us -- on the heels, Lawrence, on the heels of an election where all of those supporters there and the president went out of their way to lie and try to present the Democrats as somehow anti-cop or against the cops.

And to watch those very supporters do what they did on film disgusts me, and I will make sure that the U.S. attorney`s office and our committee, that they have the resources to make sure that they go after everybody they need to go after.

O`DONNELL: When you look at that video and you consider that 12 of your Republican colleagues voted against a commendation for the service of the police officers on that day, what can you say to them when they join you in committee hearings, when they try to proceed with other matters of government? When they see all that, they see that video and they voted against these officers for doing what they did.

RYAN: This is about choices, who are you for and who are you against. If you can`t be for, The Capitol Police on that day, these are the same Capitol police that saved a lot of lives a few years ago, too, Lawrence, during the congressional baseball practice. It was the Capitol Police that took the hits, got injured and shot and killed someone who shot Steve Scalise and other members of Congress. They protect us.

And as a sitting member of Congress, you can`t even say attaboy, great job, thank you for doing that for us. We have moved so far away from the respect and dignity that these cops deserve. We have always said, including Joe Biden, that we don`t support violence on any side, especially violence against cops. That`s unacceptable in the United States of America whether it`s on the left or the right. And these people can`t even condemn what we saw at the Capitol on that day.

I think it`s shameful, it`s a sign of the times, and it`s a sign of how far off the mark the right wing has gone and the Republican Party has gone.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, after seeing that 60-minute interview with the former prosecutor who was in charge of this investigation and then today reading the statutory definition of sedition, which I had read before, but matching it up now with what we know, just that attempt to delay -- the word delay in the statute, delay a governmental process, it seems the elements are there in the statute.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, 100 percent, Lawrence. I think they`re two different issues. One is what should these insurrectionists be charged with, and the second is, what in the world is this Trump appointee who is still a federal prosecutor giving an interview to "60 Minutes" about it.

It is so on brand for a public appointee to go cash in, do a PR offensive before he leaves office, but it is not the way the Justice Department operates. The Justice Department speaks in court. It doesn`t speak on "60 Minutes," so I think these remarks were very unfortunate, and the defense attorneys already are making hay with them.

With respect to the statute, as you say, it actually fits us to a T. I think the judge was right to call this case disgusting, and I think the federal magistrate judge today who said it was an assault on the nation`s court is right, and the right label for these types of offenses is seditious conspiracy. You have these people who launched an armed assault to try and prevent people in Congress from doing their job, and they possessed federal property, which by itself meets the statute.

It`s often hard to make these cases, but I think this is one in which the evidence is very much supportive of a seditious conspiracy charge, and the label should be used. And the last thing I would say about this interview from "60 Minutes" yesterday, he went on to say, I don`t want to do Monday morning quarterbacking about all the people that were released on January 6.

That`s what the Trump appointee said, which I find, frankly, outrageous, because this guy was literally the Sunday quarterback. He was the chief law enforcement officer for the District of Columbia. He`s the one who ultimately, you know, is responsible for letting all these people go and not bringing charges on January 6th, and, you know, that`s why we`ve had law enforcement struggling to make all these identifications after the fact. Fortunately, a lot of these people used social media and posted and bragged about it, so some of these cases were easy, buts but it`s a very unfortunate situation.

O`DONNELL: Neal, as a Justice Department, what does it mean to now have Merrick Garland in there as attorney general and have more Biden staffers, more Biden administration staffers taking positions there?

KATYAL: It`s a breath of fresh air. It`s not politics, I just think that Biden has appointed people to the justice department who don`t breach those norms willy-nilly. You`ve got in Merrick Garland one of the nation`s most respected jurists on both the left and the right ever in our nation`s history, and someone who knows the Justice Department well, who ran the Oklahoma City bombing investigation and the like.

I think we`re going to expect professionalism and confidence.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal and Congressman Tim Ryan, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. We really appreciate it.

RYAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, after four years of presidential cruelty, deliberate cruelty, at the southern border, we now have a president who is trying to combine enforcement with compassion and humanity. And Republicans think that that is a crisis. Republicans actually say that human treatment of people at our southern border is a crisis. That`s next.


O`DONNEL: We are joining a press conference live in Boulder, Colorado dealing with the shooting there that had multiple victims. That is all we know of at this time. Officials intend to start that press conference momentarily. We have been given very little information so far about what happened in this shooting today.

Gadi Schwartz joined us earlier to report that the authorities were not sure when they would next release information about this. They have not released any information about the shooter, they`ve not released any information about how this began or how many people were injured or killed in this shooting.

We are joined now by Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC analyst and retired special agent in charge. Jim, you`ve been studying everything we`ve been able to learn about this all day. What we`re seeing here is someone who is just helping set up the camera position so people know -- we`ll go straight to it.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m the public information officer for the city of Boulder Police Department. We`re going to have three speakers during this press conference.

The first will be Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold. Then we`re going to have district attorney Michael Dougherty, and then we`re going to have someone from the U.S. attorney`s office.

Chief Herold?


The first thing I want to say is I want to say our hearts of this community go out to the victims of this horrific incident. We know of ten fatalities at the scene, including one of our Boulder PD officers by the name of Eric Talley, who has been on the Boulder police department since 2010. He served in numerous roles supporting the Boulder police department and the community of Boulder.

And I have to tell you, the heroic action of this officer when he responded to this scene, at 1430 hours, the Boulder Police Department began receiving phone calls of shots fired in the area and a phone call about a possible person with a patrol rifle. Officer Talley responded to the scene, was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot.

I also want to commend the heroic actions of the officers responding not only from Boulder PD but from across the county in other parts of this region. Police officer`s actions felt nothing short of being heroic. I also want to thank the men and women who responded, including state, local and federal authorities.

Obviously, this is a very complex investigation that will take no less than five days to complete. And, again, my heart goes out to the victims of this incident, and I`m grateful for the police officers that responded, and I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.

And, again, we will be here working night and day. We have one suspect in custody. I want to reassure the community that they are safe and that we will try to do our best over the next few hours to identify the victims, and we`ll be working with the coroner`s office to do that as promptly as possible, because I know there are people out there waiting for an answer, and I am very sympathetic to that, and we will work around the clock to get this accomplished.

With that in mind, I`m going to turn this over to District Attorney Michael Dougherty.


Boulder has suffered a terrible and horrific mass shooting today. And I want to second what the chief said about the appreciation for the local, state and federal partners that have responded to this location and to help with the investigation. This is not the first mass shooting that we`ve had in the state of Colorado. And one thing that`s happened in response to each and every one, including today`s horrific acts, is the response that we have from law enforcement partners throughout the metro area, victim advocates from throughout the area around Boulder, and investigators from local, state and federal agencies as well as prosecutors, from the U.S. attorney`s office and from my office to ensure that justice is done.

My heart goes out to Eric Talley`s family, his loved ones and his colleagues. He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers at the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut far too short as he responded to the shooting that was taking place at King Soopers.

I also want to stress how incredibly sorry I am for all the victims who were killed at King Soopers. These were people going about their day, doing their food shopping and their lives were cut abruptly and tragically short by the shooter, who is now in custody.

I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice and do everything we must do to get justice in this case. In order for that to happen, a painstaking investigation is already underway both at the crime scene and in interviews to make sure that we receive all the accurate information.

Once that information is secure, we will be sharing that with the media and with the community. I would say that I hope the people of this country send the families of the loved ones their thoughts and prayers. But from my perspective, there is more for us to do than just give them our thoughts and prayers.

We`re going to go all out to ensure that the right result is reached. And that`s why I`m very grateful that we do have local, state and federal agencies all responding to this location here today to ensure that the investigation is thorough and complete and ensures that we reach justice in this case.

As I mentioned, the shooter is currently in custody. He was injured. With an eye toward the prosecution in that case, we`re going to be very careful about the crime scene and how we go about this investigation.

We owe it to the families of all of the victims, each and every one of them, to ensure that justice is done. I promise you that is our commitment and we`ll work tirelessly to get there.

I`m going to turn it over to the U.S. attorney, Matt Kirsch, who is here for the U.S. attorney`s office. Again, I greatly the appreciate the local, state, and federal cooperation on this investigation.

MATT KIRSCH, ACTING DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR STATE OF COLORADO: Thank you, Michael. I`m Matt Kirsch. I`m the acting district attorney for the state of Colorado.

This has obviously been a tragic event, and I`m here simply to assure both the families of the victims and the community that the full weight of federal law enforcement is going to support the effort that D.A. Dougherty just described to speak justice in this matter.

I`ve already spoken with my counterparts at ATF and the FBI. They`re here on scene as well, and like I said, we`re going to continue to support this investigation as completely as we can. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not going to take any further updates as of this evening. We will put out our next update early tomorrow morning. We will post a picture of the officer on our Twitter feed shortly.

Thank you for your patience. We will continue to post updates as soon as we can. But the next update, anticipated update, will be first thing tomorrow morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you spell the officer`s name for us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It`s officer It was Eric -- E-R-I-C -- Talley -- T-A-L-L-E-Y. He was 51 years old. He had been with the Boulder Police Department since 2010.

Thank you.

Since 2010.

Not tonight. We will have our next update for tomorrow morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will that be a news conference?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will announce it on Twitter. Yes, we will have another update in the morning. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And we`re joined by Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC law enforcement analyst and retired ATF special agent in charge.

Jim, the only real update we got there was a confirmation of the death of a Boulder police officer and his name, Eric Talley, 51 years old, we just heard a ten-year veteran. He was the first officer to respond to this shooting situation -- the radio call that came about a shooting situation. He was the first one in the door at that supermarket, and he was killed in the line of duty.

We do not know how many other people were killed. The district attorney did refer to "the victims". He referred to the phrase "all the victims". He said some of them were food shopping.

We also know from the district attorney that the shooter is in custody and was injured in this situation before being taken into custody. We don`t know how he was injured.

Jim, what do you take from the information we just learned?

JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, all that you`ve said, Lawrence, that the officer was the first responding officer, and you know, he ran into a rifle and it`s pretty hard to deal with that.

I mean if he was able to get a long gun out of his cruiser, he`ll still deal with it. The shooter can see him coming because, you know, you have your uniform, you have your marked car. You`re screaming up there with the siren and light. He knows who you are. He can be crouched behind anything and take you out. That`s the danger in responding to these.

I thought the chief of police said there was ten dead when she spoke. And we hadn`t heard that number before. They`re keeping it pretty tight. They want to work the crime scene slowly. They`re still notifying next of kin.

You know, we`re in that horrible time when family members are calling the cell phones that are just not being answered. And they suspect that their family members are there. And so it is heartbreaking, really.

We`re going to see a search of the suspect`s residence, wherever that may be; or vehicle if he`s local. That`s going to happen tonight, I`m sure. You know, his next of kin is being interviewed, and you heard the D.A. and the U.S. attorney talking about all the investigators, detectives from Boulder PD and Jefferson County sheriffs and state police and ATF and the FBI to get all the resources to get everything done.

And they have to do it, Lawrence. They`re going to have a prosecution here, another capital murder prosecution just like we have in Atlanta.

We have two mass shootings in a week, and in both cases, we have suspects in custody. Oftentimes we have, you know, the suspect killed by the police or commit suicide. So it`s a little different this week.

O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very much for joining us on this coverage. Really appreciate it.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: When Donald Trump returned to the scene of his crime today, he stepped into Georgia politics by endorsing a Republican primary challenger to Georgia`s Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. Donald Trump endorsed Georgia Congressman Jody Hice who announced his candidacy for secretary of state. The Republican primary will be held next year. And the problem for Jody Hice is that the man who endorsed him has a very strong chance of being convicted of Georgia election law crimes before the Republican primary. Brad Raffensperger`s campaign for reelection for secretary of state will of course, very likely feature his televised testimony as a prosecution witness in the criminal case of Georgia versus Donald Trump.

And so the value of a convicted criminal Trump endorsement in a state where -- like Georgia is anyone`s guess, but Republicans in the state legislature want to make it much more difficult for the people who gave Georgia`s electoral votes to President Biden and two senate seats to Democrats to be able to vote again.

Today Georgia house committee passed a bill that would restrict voting rights by imposing new voter ID restrictions, restricting early voting, drop boxes locations -- restricting those also. And making it a crime to give water to anyone who is waiting in line to vote for hours.

Joining us now is Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia. She is the chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Thank you very much for joining us again tonight, Congresswoman Williams.

First of all, your reaction to Donald Trump, his re-entry today into Georgia politics with an endorsement in a candidate running for the office that will preserve the integrity of elections.

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Lawrence, integrity and Donald Trump should not be used in the same sentence. And it`s amusing that Jody Hice thinks that this is something that will benefit him.

It might get him out of a Republican primary, but I know that we have Democrats who are lined up, ready to run for every office up and down the ballot. And we`ll be ready.

O`DONNELL: The laws that the Georgia legislator is considering now, every one of them is clearly designed to prevent people from voting who were the voters who delivered the state to Democrats.

WILLIAMS: Lawrence, we play by their rules. They created the laws that we were under IN this past election cycle. We played by their rules, we won and now they want to change the rules.

But they can do whatever they`re trying to do here at the state legislature by enacting their Jim Crow 2.0 laws, but at the federal level, we have already passed H.R.-1 in the House and it`s moved on to the Senate.

And so that`s where my focus is. We have to make sure that no matter where you live in this country, whether it`s Georgia or California or wherever you live that your right to vote is standardized. Everybody should have the same access to the ballot, no matter where you lived in this country.

And right now Georgia Republicans are pushing through their Jim Crow tactics. We might not be counting jelly beans in a jar, but the end result is still the same -- to keep people who look like me away from the ballot box.

O`DONNELL: The Georgia Republicans just seem ashamed that Georgia voters didn`t vote for Republicans. Let`s see what Joe Biden said about this when he was in Georgia.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact that you held a free and fair election in Georgia that stood up to recount after recount, court case after court case, is something you should be proud of.

The fact that your poll workers, your election workers, your volunteers, your local officials, your state officials, your courts stood up to the immense pressure with character and honesty and integrity helped save our democracy. This country will long be grateful for it.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Williams, in a sane world, the Republican secretary of state in Georgia would be running for reelection on a version of that speech Joe Biden just gave.

WILLIAMS: Well, you just made the point, in a sane world and nothing about this makes sense, Lawrence. We are -- we`re continuing to do the work., talking to voters on the ground and what voters knew in Georgia in November and in January with that, there`s only one party in the state who is standing up for all Georgians.

And that`s the Democratic Party. And the Republican Party here when are not willing to run on their issues and run on their party platform, the only thing that they want to do is restrict who can actually show up and whose votes are counted.

But we`re the party who stands by counting every vote and making sure that everyone has access to the ballot box. We`re going to continue to do that. that`s what we`ll stand on and that`s why voters will continue to vote for Democrats in this state.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Nikema Williams, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, a trick question for most politicians is what would you not do to get re-elected. Most of them will do anything to get re-elected. There`s nothing more important to them than getting reelected. But that is not true of our next guest who voted to pass the Affordable Care Act 11 years ago knowing that it would probably him his re-election to the House of Representatives. And it did.

But he cast that vote because of something Abraham Lincoln once said.

That`s next.


O`DONNELL: In 1994 when, for most of the year, the Clinton health care reform bill was languishing in congress and failing to pass the House or the Senate, enough opposition to the bill built among voters to completely wipe out the Democrats` majorities in the House and the Senate in the 1994 congressional elections.

President Obama and every Democrat in congress had that in mind exactly 11 years ago when Congress voted on what Republicans were then calling Obamacare because they were sure that it would hurt the Democrats whether they passed it or not.

The night before the House vote, President Obama gave a final rousing speech to House Democrats.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What did Lincoln say? I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.

Two generations ago folks were sitting in your position, they made a decision, we are going to make sure that seniors and the poor have health care coverage that they can count on. And they did the right thing.

And I`m sure at the time they were making that vote, they weren`t sure how the politics were either, any more than the people who made the decision to make sure that social security was in place knew how the politics would play out. Or folks who passed the Civil Rights Acts knew how the politics were going to play out.

They were not bound to win, but they were bound to be true.


O`DONNELL: President Obama tells the story in his book "A Promised Land" this way. "It was often those with the most to lose who needed the least convincing. Tom Perriello, a 35-year-old human rights lawyer turned congressman who had eked out a victory in a majority-Republican district that covered a wide swath of Virginia, spoke for a lot of them when he explained his decision to vote for the bill.

There are things more important, he told me, than getting re-elected. It`s not hard to find people who hate Congress, voters who are convinced that the Capitol is filled with posers and cowards that most of their elected officials are in the pockets of lobbyists and big donors and motivated by a hunger for power.

When I hear such criticism, I usually nod and acknowledge that there are some who live up these stereotypes. But I also tell people about Tom Perriello`s words to me before the health care vote.

I describe what he and many others did so soon after they had first been elected, how many of us are tested in that way, asked to risk careers we have long dreamed of in the service of some greater good.

Those people can be found in Washington. That too is politics."

And joining us now is the honorable Tom Perriello, former Democratic congressman from Virginia. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: So the popularity of the Affordable Care Act has now built to the point where re-election in your district would not be a problem, but that`s 11 years too late for you.

PERRIELLO: Well, that`s much less important than the fact that we have seen tens of millions of Americans rise, change for the better. We`ve seen the slowest rate of (INAUDIBLE) in the last 50 years. People with pre-existing conditions able to get coverage. And President Obama bet his presidency on that risk. And some of us had the honor to be there in the (INAUDIBLE) cross the line.

And I think it`s helped inspire a new White House to say you`ve got to put your presidency on the line to save lives and make a better America. I think it`s doing that again.

O`DONNELL: Well, you bet your career, your congressional career on that same vote. And what was it like knowing that you were doing that, knowing that as you were casting that vote, that your political future was in your hands?

PERRIELLO: You know, I lived in Sierra Leone for a couple of years during the end of the civil war with some of the bravest women I`ll ever know standing up for justice and peace in their country. And I had a pretty strong sense that there are worst plights in life than being a former member of Congress.

Arguably it`s a better gig being in Congress but, you know, when I decided to run for office, I actually asked my parents` permission. I don`t think I`d ask their permission in a long time for anything.

And my father said as long as you remember that judgment day is more important than election day, you have my blessing. And I wore one of his old wool suits to cast the vote. And he passed suddenly a couple of months after seeing me sworn me in.

And you know, in many ways -- he was a pediatrician who just saved lives all day, change kids` lives. And I still get calls from so many constituents who say, you know, this is why my family was able to stay together. This is why we didn`t have bankruptcy.

And that`s just so much more important than a second term. But I also see in this president -- President Biden that same sense of my dad`s adage. That he is a lot less focused on the politics of re-election than our national resurrection to a more perfect union.

And I think that moral core and that courage is really something that is desperate needed in our politics. And it`s exciting that people are drawing some lessons from the Obamacare plight both to the old and new wave of legislators to go even bolder. And I think that`s great for this moment.

O`DONNELL: We are seeing a huge new surge in enrollment in the Affordable Care Act now that President Biden has opened the enrollment. And Tom Perriello for all of those people who are enrolling and for the 20 million who have already used it and their families, I want to convey to you their thanks, which I`m sure they would want me to convey to you for that vote of conscience.

and thank you very much for joining us tonight on the 11th birthday of the Affordable Care Act.

PERRIELLO: It`s an honor to be here. It was an honor to cast the vote. Thank you so much, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And we`ll be right back with more of the breaking news from Colorado.


O`DONNELL: And we are back with the breaking news from Boulder, Colorado where the police chief just confirmed that ten people were murdered including Police Officer Eric Talley, in a mass shooting in a supermarket.

Back with us, NBC`s Gadi Schwartz.

Gadi, the police officer was the first one in apparently, first officer to respond to the scene. The police officer was killed.

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s right. That`s what we are hearing that that first officer on scene, made entry and at some point, was confronted by the gunman and that first officer is being called heroic after losing his life confronting that gunman.

But right now, what we know is that there were ten victims of this shooting including that officer and then somehow, that gunman was taken into custody alive inside the King`s Super.

Now, we don`t know the gunman`s identity. We have seen video of one person that was injured in what appeared to be a leg injury or some injury on his lower body, being led away without a shirt, without pants, in handcuffs and we believe that may have been the suspect.

But right now, police are not releasing any suspect information, any motive. All they can say right now is ten fatalities and they lost one of their own tonight.

Lawrence, back to you.

O`DONNELL: And they are still working on positive identifications of all of the victims and of course, they have to notify families of those victims before they can release any of those names. So it`s that process that is going on tonight before we get those names.

SCHWARTZ: Absolutely. It`s going to be a while before they are able to talk to all of those families. There`s a lot of other people that are in Colorado in Denver right now, in the Boulder area that have been trying to get as much information from police as possible.

And they have set up a line that they can call in. But again, a lot of families grieving tonight, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: NBC`s Gadi Schwartz, thank you very much for that report.

MSNBC`S breaking news coverage continues now on "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS".