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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 4/19/21

Guests: Kirk Burkhalter, Marq Claxton, LaJune Lange, Elizabeth Drew, John Hickenlooper, Dana Nessel


The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd will not hear the voices of the lawyers in the case again, but they might be hearing from the judge if they have any questions during deliberations that began this evening. They wrapped up their deliberations for the night and they will resume tomorrow. Former Vice President Walter Mondale died tonight at the age of 93 in Minneapolis. President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group from the House and Senate today to discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. The five senators and five members of the House all previously served as governors or mayors. On this day April 19th 26 years ago, Timothy McVeigh, an honorably discharged army veteran, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City at 9:02 a.m. killing 168 people.



And I would like to enter the name of Tip O`Neill into our continuing coverage tonight of Walter Mondale because it was Tip O`Neill`s idea suggesting Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as the vice presidential nominee to run along with Walter Mondale and he actually did it in a way that`s remarkable when you think back to it now because there he was speaker of the House, he could have been more powerful, and he`s saying that -- he actually said in May, in May, long before the conventions, that not only should be a woman but it should specifically be Geraldine Ferraro.

And who knows what was going to happen if Tip O`Neill didn`t get behind that idea so early?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Do you know why he thought that early on that she was the right pick? That not only should be a woman but specifically it should be her?

O`DONNELL: Well, there was a movement for it`s time for a female candidate for vice president. You know, people kind of forget there was a stall in this section of our politics because there was a big surge in this direction during the 1970s trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, for example, and it went very well. The campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment went very well until it was roadblocked at the very end.

And so, Tip O`Neill, it didn`t seem like he was ahead of the curve. It seemed like he was kind of on the curve. You know, he`s kind of on the way. He was very, very good at that, very -- as old as he was, he was still very, very good at knowing exactly where the wave was he thought.

And so, the way they referred to it then was it was an idea without a candidate. And so, Tip O`Neill decided, you know what? It needs a name, it needs a person. He knew every one of his members and he said, this is who it should be. It should be Geraldine Ferraro.

MADDOW: Fascinating.

O`DONNELL: That`s how it got ignition in those days.

MADDOW: It is fascinating, too, that the parallels -- not the parallels, I guess the way the number line kind of bends around and on itself, that according to some of the reporting tonight about Mondale`s death, one of the last people he spoke with before he died, one of the last calls that he made was to the first female vice president of the United States who, of course, was not his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro. She never lived to save the day, but he spoke as he got to the end of his life with Vice President Kamala Harris, somebody who in a way different than everybody else helped bring that day about.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. I don`t think any of us who were awake and watching the presidential campaign of 1984 with the first woman on the ticket thought we were going to have to wait as long as we had to wait.


O`DONNELL: To see that happen again on a Democratic ticket. You know? It happened on the Republican ticket before that but then finally actually in office. We would have guessed I guess one or two cycles away back in -- back in the `80s.

MADDOW: Right. That`s exactly right. And when Hillary Clinton got so close to being president in 2016, she gave her concession speech, talked about the millions of cracks in the glass ceiling -- I think I was not alone in wondering whether that glass ceiling was actually more like concrete, and if it just absolutely couldn`t be done.

But the way they almost always get done is people go before you and bang up against it and do everything they can to take it apart and you fail and fail and fail and fail until somebody coming behind you can win, can get it done. And it`s -- I mean, that throw of history tonight just feels fraught.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, before sending the case to the jury today, the lawyers in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd spoke for over five hours in their closing arguments. But it really all came down to 9 minutes and 29 seconds.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: This was a call about a counterfeit $20 bill. All that was required was some compassion. Humans need that. People need that.

But more fundamental than that, and more practical at that time in that place what George Floyd needed was some oxygen. That`s what he needed. He needed to breathe, because people need that. Humans need that, to breathe.

And he said that and the defendant heard him say that over and over. He heard him but he just didn`t listen. He continued to push him down, to grind into him, to shimmy, to twist his hand for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

He begged -- George Floyd begged until he could speak no more and the defendant continued this assault. When he was unable to speak, the defendant continued. When he was unable to breathe, the defendant continued. Beyond the point that he had a pulse, beyond the point that he had a pulse, the defendant continued this assault, 9 minutes and 29 seconds.


O`DONNELL: The defense spent two hours and 50 minutes in closing argument mostly avoiding the 9 minutes and 29 seconds.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You can`t limit it to 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It started 17 minutes before that 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

All of this information has to be taken. You have to look at it from the totality of the circumstances. You have to look at it from the reasonable police officer standpoint. You have to take into account that officers are human beings, capable of making mistakes in highly stressful situations.

In this case, the totality of the circumstances that were known to a reasonable police officer in the precise moment the force was used demonstrates that this was an authorized use of force, as unattractive as it may be. And this is reasonable doubt.


O`DONNELL: But this is one of the only juries in American history who have heard a police chief testify under oath that what the police officer on trial did was completely unreasonable and against the rules of his police department.


CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF: Once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, is not part of our training and it`s certainly not part of our ethics or our values.


O`DONNELL: The prosecutors assured the jury they are not anti-police. They insisted that this is a pro-police prosecution. That`s the phrase they used, pro-police prosecution. The prosecution told the jury that this case is as simple as it appeared to be when they all and we all first saw the video recorded by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier.


SCHLEICHER: This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that. You can believe your eyes. It`s exactly what you believed. It`s exactly what you saw with your eyes. It`s exactly what you knew.

It`s what you felt in your gut. It`s what you now know in your heart. This wasn`t policing. This was murder.

The defendant is guilty of all three counts. All of them. And there`s no excuse. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Under Minnesota law, in the closing statements sequence, the prosecution goes first, followed by the defense closing statement and then the prosecution is allowed a final rebuttal closing statement which today was delivered by lead prosecutor Jerry Blackwell. After 40 minutes of dismantling the almost three-hour closing statement by the defense, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell ended his rebuttal with this.


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: Here`s what I thought was the largest departure from the evidence. I`ll show it to you. You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony. And now having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence you know the truth and the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin`s heart was too small.


O`DONNELL: Leading off the discussion tonight, Kirk Burkhalter, a criminal law professor at New York Law School, where he is the director of the 21st Century Policing Project, and Marq Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, both are former NYPD police detectives.

And, Professor Burkhalter, let me begin with you as an expert on trial tactics and your reaction to what you saw in the closings today.

KIRK BURKHALTER, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW CRIMINAL LAW PROFESSOR: So, Lawrence, you know, I create a little grading sheet and gave the prosecution an A or A-minus, just trying to be objective. That`s the reason I went down to A- minus.

And I gave the defense a B-minus or C-plus and I`ll tell you why. The prosecution`s closing, they handled it just as they handled the opening. I tell my students, tell me what you are going to tell me. Tell me and then tell me what you`ve told me.

And if you remember the opening statements, the prosecution started off with the video. And they instructed the jury to believe their eyes and watch the video and then set worth a narrative of events.

That`s very much what we saw today. They played the video. Set forth a narrative. Told a story that the jury could follow and ended with some very stark particulars in the rebuttal. The fact that George Floyd lived over 1, 700 days and never suffered this type of injury, never died, and went through I think about 110 ten-minute intervals that day and then suffers death.

That`s juxtaposed by the defense and I was taken aback by the defense`s use of the video which I don`t understand why they would do so. The defense in making points kept showing the video and you almost couldn`t hear the points they were making because all you heard is George Floyd pleading for his own life.

I thought that was a mistake and the only other mistake in my opinion was the focus on the reasonable use of force which I felt was a fool`s errand. The chief of the police department testified that use of force wasn`t reasonable. Make the best argument you can, but when it`s a losing argument get off it and go to causation.

And I think that`s what the defense should have done and spent far too much time and just give the prosecution fuel for a rather effective rebuttal. So, that was my assessment of what I saw today.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the way that the prosecution insisted that this was a pro-police prosecution.


SCHLEICHER: What the defendant did here was a straight-up felony assault. This was not policing. It was unnecessary. It was gratuitous. It was disproportionate and he did it on purpose. No question.

This was not an accident. He did not trip and fall and find himself upon George Floyd`s knee and neck. He did what he did on purpose. And it killed George Floyd.

That force for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, that killed George Floyd.

He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for. It`s not how they`re trained. It`s not following the rules. This is not an anti-police prosecution. It`s a pro-police prosecution.


O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, what`s your sense of how many police officers in America see it that way?

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE DIRECTOR: I suspect that police officers are still judging this case and the ultimate decision based on the fact that Derek Chauvin was a police officer at the time of the crime was committed. I think it was very successful in separating, however, Derek Chauvin from the profession itself.

They worked hard to really issue that separation and I think that they were successful as far as my perspective is concerned and concur with Kirk as far as the grading system is generally. I think, however, the defense continued their hypothetical presentations.

I am concerned. I have to be honest, about the overlines of the defense over-relying on the reasonable officer standard, because it brings up some significant questions about that reasonable standard. And whether or not the standard in -- the reasonable officer standard in 2021 is the same as 1989, and the fact that I think the fact that really relying on it and using it and saying it so many times is because it`s much less well-defined and it allows the jurors themselves to try to put themselves in the position of a reasonable officer. But that`s virtually impossible and that concerns me moving forward during the deliberation.

O`DONNELL: Kirk Burkhalter, I was surprised by the defense not concentrating almost entirely on cause of death since in their opening remarks to the jury, that`s where they said this case was going to be won or lost for them was what actually caused the death of George Floyd and as you say this defense in two hours and fifty minutes spent an awful lot of time on justifying exactly what happened on the street which has been so ably dismantled by the prosecution witnesses already.

BURKHALTER: Yeah, I wonder if that`s a reaction to the use of the video and the prosecution`s case. To Marq`s point, one of my great colleagues emailed me an hour ago and mentioned to me the defense used a term reasonable officer, reasonable police officer ant 118 times during that closing.

And I wonder if they were compelled to rebut the overwhelming testimony from the chief of police and the other police officers and why we saw this argument to look at the totality opposed to the nine and a half minutes, and that`s not the case at all. Whatever occurred beforehand does not justify punishment. The police are not here to punish why they`re here to apprehend someone and deliver them to the court.

We don`t arguably -- I still say we -- you know, the police don`t punish. So, you know, it was amazing. I wonder if that`s a reaction. You have to play your own game sort to speak. You can`t always react to what the prosecution is doing.

And in this case, the weight of the evidence was against the defense and I don`t think it was an effective strategy to react to all the information and the arguments the defense had with regards to the unreasonableness of the force.

O`DONNELL: Kirk Burkhalter and Marq Claxton, thank you both very much for your invaluable guidance to us all throughout this trial. We really appreciate it.

BURKHALTER: Thank you.

CLAXTON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, we`ll be joined by a former Minnesota judge and get her reaction to the completion of the trial and what to expect in jury deliberations. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd will not hear the voices of the lawyers in the case again, but they might be hearing from the judge if they have any questions during deliberations that began this evening. They wrapped up their deliberations for the night. They will resume tomorrow.

Here`s one of the most important instructions Judge Peter Cahill gave the jury today.


JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA DISTRICT COURT: It is not necessary for the state to prove that the defendant intended to inflict substantial bodily harm or knew that his actions would inflict substantial bodily harm. Only that the defendant intended to commit the assault and that George Floyd sustained substantial bodily harm as a result of the assault.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Judge LaJune Lange. She served for 21 years as a district court judge in Minnesota in that same building where the trial is being held.

Judge, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

What can we expect going forward now in the first full day of jury deliberations will be tomorrow? They got in a few hours at least this evening before concluding. But what do you expect to see develop in the coming days of possible deliberations?

JUDGE LAJUNE LANGE (RET.), MINNESOTA DISTRICT COURT: Well, the jurors are going to be very careful to follow the instructions given by Judge Cahill. So they are going to examine all the evidence. One by one. Videos, papers, anything.

They`re going to go over all the evidence and then they`re also going to start to discuss the various jury verdict forms that they have received, but they`re going to be very careful to go over all the multiple copies of evidence and videos.

O`DONNELL: Just to give the audience an understanding of the -- the Hennepin County voted about 70 percent for Joe Biden in November. This jury is made up of four white women, two white men, three black men, one black woman, two multi-race women. So, it is a jury with a varied demographics on that jury.

Is that representative of the county, would you say?

LANGE: I think that the jury is very diverse. It`s probably more diverse than most juries. But we have a number of people who probably excused themselves due to COVID, and other reasons. So we have jurors who volunteered to do their duty who passed all the jury questionnaires and courtroom questioning so they want to do their civic duty.

O`DONNELL: What was your sense of how the lawyers` arguments varied if they did from the judge`s instructions today?

LANGE: Well, I think that the prosecution was very careful to try to give a straightforward prosecution, closing argument, go over the facts that were actually admitted, and then we had the defense who has an oath to zealously represent their client but they in this particular case kind of hit that fence. So the judge had to give a curative instruction to the jury to tell the jury to follow the law as the instructions provided and not as the defense attorney had tried to characterize it.

O`DONNELL: As is common in criminal defense cases the defense counsel today kept addressing reasonable doubt saying this is a reasonable doubt case. And that`s partially because they didn`t put the defendant on the witness stand. Therefore, there wasn`t a defense mounted by the defendant himself with his own words what he was thinking and why he did what he did.

Isn`t reasonable doubt one of the areas where there could be a jury question come up as the deliberations go along, what is reasonable doubt? Sometimes juries need clarification on that.

LANGE: And the -- sometimes the jury will need clarification but the judge is pretty thorough in telling the jury what reasonable doubt was and what it was not. And then he gave written instructions on reasonable doubt to each juror to take in the jury room so if they have a question about what reasonable doubt is they can refer to those instructions.

O`DONNELL: In your experience, Judge, what is the probability of a hung your in a trial like this? The jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

LANGE: Well, the operative word is in a trial like this. And we have the voice of Officer Chauvin on the tapes. He`s failed to call his supervisor. When his supervisor does call him, he does not disclose the incident. He does not disclose that he failed to notify them of the use of force. And he really doesn`t really account for what`s happened at any time.

And so, it`s a cavalier attitude with regard to this officer during and after the death of Mr. Floyd. So I think the jury is going to be looking at all the facts and circumstances and see that there is no dispute that aid was not rendered to a man that was totally restrained by the police, that was in medical distress, that an affirmative decision was made not to provide aid and he died as a result.

O`DONNELL: Judge LaJune Lange, thank you very much for joining you tonight. We appreciate having your expertise and insight on this. Thank you.

LANGE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, the road to madam vice president in 2021 began in Democratic Party politics in 1984, when Walter Mondale was the first Democratic presidential nominee to choose a woman as his running mate for vice president. Walter Mondale in that decision changed for many girls in America the view of what was possible for them in their future. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: We have just received a statement from Vice President Kamala Harris about the passing of former vice president, Walter Mondale tonight. In Vice President Harris` statement she says, "Vice President Mondale was so generous with his wit and wisdom over the years. I was able to speak with him just a few days ago and thank him for his service and his steadfastness. I will miss him dearly and my heart is with his family today.

Each time I open my desk drawer and see his signature there alongside the signatures of 11 other vice presidents, I will be reminded of and grateful for Vice President Mondale`s life of service."

Former vice president Walter Mondale died tonight at the age of 93 in Minneapolis. He represented Minnesota in the United States Senate for 12 years before being elected vice president in 1976 on the ticket with president Carter.

After the Carter/Mondale ticket lost their reelection campaign to Ronald Reagan in 1980, Walter Mondale was the democratic nominee for president in 1984. He made history choosing as running mate Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket.

Axios reports "Mondale spoke by phone on Sunday with President Biden and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as well as Vice President Harris and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, said his friend and former campaign staffer Tom Cosgrove. While he and his family believed his death was imminent after those calls he perked up."

And in a message to his former staff members released upon his death Vice President Mondale said, "Before I go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side. Together we have accomplished so much. And I know you will keep up the good fight. Joe in the White House certainly helps."

Joining us now by phone is Elizabeth Drew, political journalist and author. She covered Walter Mondale`s time as a senator and vice president and she covered the Carter/Mondale presidency and his 1984 presidential campaign. She has spoken with him many times since then.

Elizabeth Drew, thank you very must for joining us tonight. And I just want to give you an open mic moment to react to the news tonight of the passing of Walter Mondale.

ELIZABETH DREW, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Well, it is always very sad when somebody good leaves us but he had a good life. He was never bitter, you know.

Lawrence, he lost terribly in 1980 -- I mean, `84 rather when he ran for president. He got slaughtered. We were standing outside talking one day and a car went -- not long after the election, a car went by and a guy honked and said "I voted for you".

And Mondale turned to me and he said isn`t it great? Everybody voted for me. So he -- he just never lost his sense of humor or sense of balance about it. I would not make too much of the Ferraro choice because they had a kind of messy vice presidential process and quite frankly it was a breakthrough. There`s no question about it. It probably helped set the idea.

But it didn`t work. She was not vetted carefully enough. It was too much at the last minute and they had to have a long, long press conference. Do you remember that? About her husband`s business dealings and she really wasn`t quite ready for it.

Sparking, you know, nice woman but it was kind of ahead of its time. It wasn`t anywhere near as careful as the picking of Harris. So I would say Mondale`s real contribution to history is he and Carter -- you have to give Carter credit for this too -- they reinvented the vice presidency.

That is the first time that the vice presidency became so sensitive (ph) and across the board. Vice presidents were given special jobs, like you know deal with Indians or Native Americans or deal with fisheries or whatever.

But they never really were in on the presidency the way Mondale was. And that was him and Carter working and they made an agreement and working it out together and they reinvented that whole relationship. And I would say that`s the big historical breakthrough that happened.

And he and Carter had a falling out though -- a really very bad falling out. Obviously they healed it towards the end. But you remember the famous malaise speech that Carter was supposed to have given and while he never used the word malaise, it was in a memo I had got that -- from Pat Cadell (ph) urging him to say the country had a crisis -- we had the energy crisis and oil, gasoline lines and Cadell urged Carter to give a speech about the crisis, the American spirit and how terrible everything was.

And Mondale -- they were at Camp David -- Mondale said that`s the damnedest stupid idea I`ve ever heard.


O`DONNELL: Walter Mondale was certainly right about that. That speech did not go over well.

We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight, Elizabeth Drew. We really appreciate you joining us on this breaking news tonight about the death of Walter Mondale. We really appreciate your insights and remembrances of him. Thank you very much.

DREW: Happy to talk --

O`DONNELL: And coming up today Joe Biden met a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss his infrastructure plan. Democratic Senator John Hickenlooper was in the room and he will join us next to discuss what happens next.


O`DONNELL: President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group from the House and Senate today to discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. The five senators and five members of the House all previously served as governors or mayors.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what it`s like to make things work, to make sure that you get things done. And deal with infrastructure and the needs of your community.


O`DONNELL: Also today Vice President Kamala Harris discussed the infrastructure bill at Gilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that infrastructure is about all the support systems that make our country work. Roads that keep us moving. Water that keeps us healthy. Broadband that keeps us connected. And care -- child care, home care.


O`DONNELL: For our report from in the room we are joined tonight by Democratic Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado. He was in today`s bipartisan Oval Office meeting with the president. He served as the governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019. Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: So you had a -- let`s see, a Republican -- two Republican senators in there. You had two Republican members of the House. You had Mitt Romney, you had John Hoeven of North Dakota. Did they find areas of agreement with you and President Biden in that discussion today?

HICKENLOOPER: I think there were definite -- a, there was a positive energy first, and we may not have come together on some of the particulars, but there was I think a general optimism and a belief that we were all there and we all felt that this was something that needed to happen. We need to invest in our infrastructure.

O`DONNELL: And did it help that all of you are former governors or former mayors?

HICKENLOOPER: Yes. I think mayors and governors -- we`re more granular and we are on the ground. You know, when I first became mayor of Denver 2003, we went out to all the suburban mayors and you know, there were 20 or 32 mayors at that time. We got all of them to unanimously support a tax increase to build 122 miles of light rail.

And, you know, that kind of effort only happens with mayors and governors where you are all in one community and you can work together on something like that. But I think now what President Biden is doing is getting us to come together as a country to work on, you know, all manner.

I mean not just roads and bridges but looking at workforce training which is going to be crucially important. Looking at, you know, child care so that women can participate equally in the workforce.

O`DONNELL: What about the tax side of the Biden proposal which is an increase in the corporate income tax which was dramatically cut by the Trump administration? Was there any Republican reaction to that tax increase?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, there`s certainly a level of coolness towards bringing that corporate tax back up. I think that -- personally I think that President Biden -- I mean, it came down 14 points. He`s putting it back to about the middle and historically it`s been, you know, 40 percent or above but there`s certainly a coolness by the Republicans toward that particular tax or maybe to any tax but there were other things we talked about, things that, you know, in many cases roads and bridges you can have a pay for or, you know, have a toll going over a bridge.

So that kind of payment was talked about. Public/private partnerships were talked about. Trying to find people that are dodging paying taxes and loopholes. I think we collect some those revenues and make sure that they can pay for infrastructure.

O`DONNELL: And what about the very definition of infrastructure? Because this bill defines infrastructure more broadly than it has been defined in the past.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, you know, I many why -- several of us said this today. We don`t need to argue about the actual definition. Secretary Buttigieg was very eloquent on that. I personally have always said that it`s not just physical, it`s the organizational elements that allow us to have a growing economy and hopefully one that`s more equitable.

And that`s a big part of what this country needs right now is we spent several generations building up, building up our infrastructure and now it`s deteriorated so that we are no longer the leader of the world. We have to rebuild it but we don`t have three generations to do it. We`ve got to do it now.

O`DONNELL: So did you leave that meeting, Senator -- and this is always the question after this kind of meeting.


O`DONNELL: With the feeling that it was a real meeting and THAT these Republicans were there to make real contributions and that there`s something to follow up on? Are you going to follow up with Senator Romney, for example?

HICKENLOOPER: Yes, absolutely. And several of the Republicans and Senator Romney recognized that they need to come back with a plan and suggestions so that we can get to work. And there was this sense there`s not just a few of us that will make the best progress by working together.

And I think there`s -- I think there`s a large national appetite for Republicans and Democrats to work together on something and if not infrastructure I think that`s -- if we can`t do it on infrastructure, we`re going to have a hard time finding a better place.

O`DONNELL: Senator John Hickenlooper with tonight`s report from "In The Room". Thank you very much for joining us tonight Senator. We really appreciate it.

Coming up, Attorney General Garland went to Oklahoma City today on the 26th anniversary from the -- of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. He warned of violent extremism in the United States today.

Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel is currently prosecuting multiple cases of violent extremism, many directed at women Democratic leaders in Michigan. She will join us next.


O`DONNELL: On this day April 19th, 26 years ago, Timothy McVeigh, an honorably discharged army veteran, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City at 9:02 a.m. killing 168 people including 19 children who were at the daycare center in the federal court.

In a speech in Oklahoma City today, Attorney General Merrick Garland remembered that horrible day.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: 26 years ago, I was sitting in my office in the United States Department of Justice in Washington when an urgent report came through from United States attorney`s office in Oklahoma City. It was soon followed by a second urgent report and then a third. There had been an explosion at the Murrah Building. 48 hours after the bombing, I was on the FBI plane traveling to Oklahoma.


O`DONNELL: Merrick Garland was in charge of the investigation and successful prosecution of Timothy McVeigh whose death sentence was carried out in 2001. Timothy McVeigh fits the profile of many Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol on January 6ht -- a military veteran who got in involved with white supremacists and anti-government extremists.

Timothy McVeigh got his first bomb training from an anti-government extremist group in Michigan where the state attorney general is now prosecuting 12 people for threatening government officials including a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Merrick Garland knows better than anyone in American Law Enforcement just jhow deadly the threat of anti-government extremists and white supremacists can be.


GARLAND: Just last month, the FBI warned of the ongoing and heightened threat posed by domestic violent extremists. Those of us who were in Oklahoma in April 1995 do not need any warning.

The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, and prosecuting those who do, and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark today.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

On this day, we see and are reminded of the horrors of this kind of terrorism in a way that is so deeply, deeply shocking to this day, that explosion of that federal building.

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, it sure is. But, I have to say that, you know, obviously, as Merrick Garland has indicated we have a significant problem with domestic terrorism today. The difference being that 26 years ago, following the bombing in Oklahoma City, the country came together, in order to fight domestic terrorism. And that included law enforcement and included elected leaders. Everyone rejected that kind extremist ideology.

Unfortunately that is simply not the case today. We stand in a very different position now in 2021 than we did in 1995 when these events occurred. And it makes me fear for the future that we`re going to have many more incidents like that occur again in this country.

O`DONNELL: You know, and the country also came together politically. Bill Clinton, prior to that bombing in Oklahoma City, his polling was at a low. It was sinking. He had a sinking presidency.

He failed -- he was failing in his -- he failed in his attempt to pass his health care bill and the country -- he was not a popular president. But when he went down to Oklahoma City, and he spoke there after this horrible disaster his polling numbers went up and I mention that only as a measure of the way the country united politically about how to respond to this.

NESSEL: Well, if this gives you any further indication, I recently testified before -- before a congressional committee in the House, the sub committee on intelligence and counterterrorism, and I will tell you that in offering testimony about this, only Democrats would testify.

We have 26 Republican attorneys general in the United States. Not one of them would go before the committee to indicate that domestic terrorism was even a problem in the United States. If that tells you anything about the difference between then and now.

And so instead we have unfortunately, very, you know, high profile members of the Republican Party that seemingly are sympathetic to anti-government organizations, to white supremacy groups, to groups with extremist ideologies and who stand together with them instead of standing against them.

And I think it`s going to cause us to have significant issues in terms of the battle ahead against domestic terrorism.

O`DONNELL: What is your sense of where the anti-government white supremacist movements stands after January 6th, they over 300 arrests there. Is it a set back? Is it just -- you know, where are we in that now?

NESSEL: Well, I don`t know that it`s a set back. And I don`t know that it hasn`t emboldened a lot of individuals who saw what happened on January 6th as a rallying cry. And who, you know, now think that that same type of behavior can be mimicked all around the country and that they will have some success in bringing attention to their cause.

And again the problem is the response to it. If the country had completely united after January 6th and said wow we have areal problem here, we have do everything we possibly can to pass the best laws with him federally to combat domestic terrorism which is an issue. We don`t have the right laws in place.

And to put the kind of funding necessary towards combatting domestic terrorism. but instead, we haven`t seen that. And instead, in fact, in my own state, you know, individuals who voted -- who are members of the Republican Party -- to impeach Donald Trump, you know, there`s calls every day to sensor them instead of applaud them.

O`DONNELL: We are out of time, Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel, thank you very much for joining us tonight.