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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 4/29/21

Guests: Ron Klain, Eric Swalwell, Daniel Goldman


Interview with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Around of 6:00 a.m. yesterday, federal investigators armed with search warrants raided two locations in Manhattan, the home and the office of Rudolph Giuliani who used to be in charge of federal criminal investigations in New York City before he was elected mayor of New York City.



Ron Klain is our first guest tonight on his 100th day in the White House in the hardest job in Washington. We`ll see how much he has aged in these 100 days.

Also joining us, Rachel, and this is a trivia question that I don`t expect maybe anyone to know the answer to at the moment, the very first person who gave Ron Klain a job in politics. Very person to hire Ron Klain in politics. Going to be joining us later in the hour.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": You`ve booked both Ron Klain and the person who first hired him in politics for the same show?

O`DONNELL: Correct, yes.

MADDOW: This is your life thing.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. And both of them have not -- they don`t show a sign of age since that 1984 losing campaign that Ron Klain was involved in. And they`ve both survived that loss. And gone on to, you know good careers.

MADDOW: To say the least, man. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

Well, Joe Biden is now 100 days into the hardest job of his life, and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is now 100 days into the hardest job of his life, and it is hard to see how it could possibly be going better for either one of them under the circumstances of having only a 50-50 Senate and a kind of small lead in the House.

The Biden/Harris White House at day 100 takes its place among the best run presidential administrations in history at the 100-day mark. Things could go wrong from here, but so far, there are no leaks from the Biden White House, none, about anything. And there are no scandals from the Biden White House about anything. The credit for the stability and professionalism of the White House staff goes to Joe Biden and Ron Klain and the people that they have hired to work in the White House.

It`s hard to imagine the Biden/Harris administration being more successful at governing in their first 100 days. The Biden/Harris administration pushed the biggest first piece of legislation by any with the in history through the Congress and won, and they did that in the most politically polarized Congress of our lifetimes. And they did that while fighting a once-in-a-century pandemic that presented the biggest peacetime logistical challenge in American history, how to deliver a life-saving vaccine to 330 million people.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements this country has ever seen.


O`DONNELL: Eighty-five percent. That speech last night by President Biden got the approval of 85 percent of the people watching that speech.

Joe Biden used his first address to Congress as president to give the country a dose of hope.


BIDEN: A mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona. I asked the nurse, I said, what`s it like? She looked at me. She said it`s like every shot is giving a dose of hope, was her phrase, a dose of hope.


O`DONNELL: The president said the country is simultaneously facing crisis and opportunity, and Joe Biden sees each crisis we face from COVID to climate as an opportunity to create jobs.


BIDEN: The American jobs will add millions of jobs. These are good paying jobs. The most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis, jobs. Jobs. Jobs.


For me, when I think climate change, I think jobs.


O`DONNELL: Joe Biden was in the audience as a senator in 1996 when a Democratic president facing a Congress controlled by Republicans said in a State of the Union Address, quote: The era of big government is over.

That was in effect a rhetorical surrender to Ronald Reagan and his legacy as represented by the Republicans listening to that State of the Union Address in 1996.

Last night, with some of those same Republicans still in the room, Joe Biden directly attacked the Reagan legacy and Republican economics.


BIDEN: Six hundred and fifty people increased their wealth by more than $1 trillion during this pandemic. And they`re now worth more than $4 trillion. My fellow Americans, trickle-down, trickle-down economics has never worked, and it`s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out.



O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight on this 100th day of the Biden/Harris administration is White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Ron, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Lawrence, thanks for having me. And for your curious viewers, I look forward to seeing Senator Ed Markey on your show later on tonight.

O`DONNELL: Oh, you ruined it. Oh, you ruined it for us.

Okay. That`s right, your first job in politics.

I want to go right away to something that Senator Scott said last night criticizing the tax increases in the infrastructure proposal. Let`s listen to that.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): It`s a liberal wish list of big government waste. Plus, the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation. Experts say when all is said and done, it would lower wages of the average American worker and shrink our economy.


O`DONNELL: Joe Biden said the word "jobs" more than I`ve ever heard any president addressing Congress last night, and there is Senator Scott saying the tax hikes will be job-killing in this legislation.

KLAIN: Well, look, Lawrence, I have respect for Senator Scott and look forward to working with him on police reform and other issues. But on this issue of the economic policy, he`s just wrong.

And people don`t have to take my word for it. They can take the record of these first 100 days. We put in place President Biden`s economic policy of working from the bottom up and the middle out in the American Rescue Plan.

And what do we have to show for it at the end of these 100 days? More jobs have been created in Joe Biden`s first 100 days than the first 100 days of any president on record in American history.

Now the plans he`s put before the Congress, the American Jobs Plan in particular, experts say will create millions of jobs, jobs that can`t be outsourced, jobs that will raise incomes, jobs that will create fast economic growth in this country. And most importantly, jobs that will enable Americans to compete in this highly competitive world we face in this 21st century.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to one other point that Senator Scott raised, and that is that you came into office when the tide had already turned on the COVID-19 crisis.

Let`s listen to that.


SCOTT: This administration had inherited a tide that had already turned. The coronavirus is on the run. Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the Trump administration, our country is flooded with safe and effective vaccines. Thanks to our bipartisan work last year, job openings are rebounding.


O`DONNELL: Are you willing to share credit with the Trump administration for the vaccine effort in the vaccines were developed during the Trump administration?

KLAIN: Look, I`ve always said I think the Trump administration deserves some credit for its work on vaccine development. But in terms of where the tide was when Joe Biden became president, the week before he became president, this country had a million people file for unemployment. The week he became president, 900,000.

We were losing people at the rate of 3,000 to 4,000 a day for COVID. The two weeks before Joe Biden became president, more people died from COVID than during the Vietnam War. So that`s the where the tide was when Joe Biden became president.

We weren`t vaccinating people. Fewer than 1 percent of seniors were fully vaccinated when Joe Biden swore the oath of office. Today, that number is 70 percent in just 100 days.

So, yes, the vaccines were developed, basically on science that came along before Donald Trump became president, which we`re happy to give the Trump administration credit for moving that along.

But the key things isn`t vaccines. It`s vaccinations. It`s getting those shots in people`s arms. It`s getting the economy turned around.

That`s what started when Joe Biden became president, and that`s what we`ve made so much progress on these past 100 days.

O`DONNELL: The president last night guaranteed that no individual taxpayer who earns less than $400,000 a year will face any tax increases in anything that the president -- is that for anything that the president will propose in this term? Or is it just for this one infrastructure bill?

KLAIN: It`s for anything the president is going to propose in this term. And it`s very specifically, Lawrence, for the two plans he laid before the Congress last night, the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan.

You know, we can pay for these plans and the transformation they`ll bring to our economy, great jobs, competitiveness in the world, help that our families need by asking corporations, a lot of whom pay no taxes at all to finally pay some taxes, pay their fair share, and asking the people at the very top, just the top 1 percent to pay the same rate they paid when George W. Bush became president.

So these are very kind of modest, reasonable tax increases that are consistent with historical tax rates we`ve seen in this country in the recent past. And with that, with that basic restoration of fairness to our tax code, we can spare the middle class any tax hikes and make the investments we need to grow our economy.

O`DONNELL: As you know, when you get to that 100-day mark, the only thing that matters is the next 100 days. So let`s talk about that.

The president said he`d like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed by May 25th. It`s kind of a soft deadline. There is no real way of enforcing that.

Is there any similar deadline that the president has on the infrastructure package? And how does that fit in to what we know to be Joe Manchin`s negotiations with Republicans to try to find a compromise on infrastructure?

KLAIN: Look, I think we`d like to see action on infrastructure over the summer. And we certainly expect action over the summer, and we`d like to get it wrapped up if we could during the summer. I think we can.

I think these issues have been debated in Washington literally for decades, literally from the time you and I were young staffers on Capitol Hill, people stood up and given speeches saying, we ought to build roads, we ought to fix our bridges, we have to improve our airports.

There is nothing new about these ideas. What would be new is actually doing something about it. There have been hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing. It`s time for Congress to finally get it together and act.

The president has laid out specific blueprint to help us move that along, a way to pay for it that is fair and reasonable. And we hope that we can get bipartisan support to do that.

The president himself personally spoke to Senator Capito today. I spoke to her last week. She is one of the leading Republicans who`s put forward an alternative approach. Obviously, there`s big differences between what she wants to do, what we want to do. But they had encouraging conversation today.

This doesn`t have to take a long time. We need to put in the time. We need to put in the work. But I think we can move forward on a bipartisan basis in the weeks ahead.

O`DONNELL: And if you come to that crossroads where there is no bipartisan option, will you then try to go to do this in budget reconciliation, and will you try to get Joe Manchin`s cooperation to go along with budget reconciliation for this?

KLAIN: Lawrence, I`m not going get into the what ifs tonight. We are just starting on this journey. The president laid it out in detail last night in the State of the Union.

We believe -- he had a great conversation with Senator Capito today. We`ve been in a lot of conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate. Had more than 100 members of Congress to the White House in these first 100 days to talk about this and other related issues.

I think there is an opportunity to try to do this together, to move this forward in a bipartisan way. That`s our focus.

O`DONNELL: Ron, when I was listening to that speech last night, it was the most simple and direct speech I`ve heard from a president in an address like that.

Barack Obama always delivered beautiful paragraphs of soaring rhetoric. This speech didn`t have that, but it had very clear, direct messaging. And it was all about jobs.

I have the feeling that in the writing, when drafts were presented to the president, his note every time was more jobs, more jobs, more jobs.

KLAIN: Well, I think the president would have to tell anyone in the White House what the first priority is, and that is jobs. And that comes right from him and from everyone who works for him.

You know, what he said to me this morning was that he felt at home there in the well of the House and Senate. Those were colleagues of his that he`s worked with for many, many years, some for decades, some more recently. And I think that conversational style is what you got last night. Him conversing with people, Democrats and Republicans, about what they all know to be true.

This country has a long overdue set of needs. People have given speeches for years about childcare, about improving our education system, about giving people paid leave when they have a new child or elderly parent. There is nothing about that that hasn`t been thought about and talked about.

The president last night had a direct conversation with his former colleagues and with the American people about finally moving forward on these long overdue needs.

O`DONNELL: All right, Ron. Before we go, let`s take a look at what you said 100 nights ago on -- at the end of your first day, first half day in the White House. Let`s listen to this.


O`DONNELL: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, thank you for joining us tonight.

Ron, one more thing before you go. How does it feel? You`re the end of your first full day as White House chief of staff. How does it feel?

KLAIN: Well, Lawrence, I`ll be honest. I am dead tired. That`s absolutely true, but I`m so excited.


O`DONNELL: So, Ron, at the end of 100, how does it feel?

KLAIN: Well, first of all, as a sign of our progress, I`m pleased to be here tonight not wearing a mask. We made enough progress in fighting COVID that we don`t have to wear masks outside anymore. So that`s one big difference from where we were 100 days ago.

But sure, I`m exhausted. I have to say, I have never been so gratified to work with an incredible team, a diverse team, a historically diverse team of men and women who come here every day and work their hearts out for the American people. We`ve made a lot of progress these 100 days, and I think the next 100 days can be even more exciting. We can make even more progress in the next 100 days on delivering the promises Joe Biden made in the 2020 campaign.

O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, thank you much for joining us at the end of your 100th exhausting day in the White House. We really appreciate you staying with us tonight. Really appreciate it.

KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence. It`s great to be here as always.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, we have breaking news from "The Washington Post" tonight that Rudy Giuliani was warned by the FBI that he was being used by Russian agents operating in Ukraine. That news comes the day after Rudy Giuliani`s home and office were raided by the FBI. Congressman Eric Swalwell joins us next, along with former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman, who also served as counsel to the first impeachment investigation of Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" is reporting tonight that Rudolph Giuliani was warned by the FBI in 2019 that he was, quote, the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year`s election.

"The Washington Post" also reports that Republican Senator Ron Johnson was given what is known as a defensive briefing by the FBI warning him that he was being manipulated by disinformation from Russian agents trying to harm the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden.

Around of 6:00 a.m. yesterday, federal investigators armed with search warrants raided two locations in Manhattan, the home and the office of Rudolph Giuliani who used to be in charge of federal criminal investigations in New York City before he was elected mayor of New York City.

FBI agents seized cell phones and computers from Rudolph Giuliani. There is new reporting from "The New York Times" tonight, quote, at least one of the warrants was seeking evidence related to Marie Yovanovitch and her role as ambassador to Ukraine, the people said. In particular, the federal authorities were expected to scour the electronic devices for communications between Mr. Giuliani and Trump administration officials about the ambassador before she was recalled in April 2019, one of the people added.

Marie Yovanovitch testified in the first House impeachment investigation of Donald Trump. Earlier today, "Time" reported by the time federal investigators searched the Manhattan home of Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday, they had amassed a trove of evidence from his associates in Ukraine focusing most intently on Giuliani`s ties to Ukrainian oligarchs, three witnesses in the case told "Time."

Two of the witnesses said they were working with Giuliani while cooperating with federal investigators. And today, President Biden told NBC`s Craig Melvin that he learned about the raid of Giuliani`s home and office the same way we did. .


CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Were you aware of that raid before it happened?

BIDEN: I give you my word I was not. I made a pledge. I would not interfere in any way, order, or try to stop any investigation the Justice Department had under way. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it. My word. I had no idea this was under way.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He served as House impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Congressman Swalwell, I just want to get your reaction to all of the moving parts of this story, and they are moving quickly over the last 24 hours.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Well, thank you, Lawrence. The shock is just beginning to wear off that Rudy Giuliani would be served a search warrant related to his work for Donald Trump. But that being said, my first question is could this have taken place under the Trump administration and as a former prosecutor, I could tell you that time is of the essence in these investigations, especially with so many communications taking place now through electronic, especially electronic encrypted devices.

And if they could have done this six months ago or a year ago and they did not because Trump officials would not green light it, that would have given Rudy Giuliani ample time to destroy evidence or to at least make it harder to find evidence. So that question is going to have to be answered, and that`s under the purview certainly of the Judiciary Committee.

And second, Lawrence, I`ll just say this. You do not go after an attorney, especially an attorney to the president of the United States knowing the land mines around attorney/client communications unless you have the goods. So I think we can probably conclude they`ve got the goods.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Ambassador Yovanovitch said in her testimony to the impeachment inquiry. This is now a focus of the criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.


MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani`s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether I believe the allegations he spread about me. Clearly no one at the State Department did. What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.


O`DONNELL: And, Congressman Swalwell, "Washington Post" reporting tonight that indeed Rudy Giuliani was told by the FBI who he was really dealing with.

SWALWELL: And he didn`t care, and it didn`t stop him, and he persisted, just like Ron Johnson in that same story also received a defensive briefing, and he didn`t care, and he persisted with his investigations.

The fish rots from the head down. And if you believe that the principal Donald Trump is okay with this and his Justice Department is going to look the other way, well, why not continue to engage with the Ukrainians and the Russians to smear and clear an ambassador who is fighting corruption to smear and clear who you perceive to be your political opponent and then candidate Joe Biden.

And so I am heartened to see that this Justice Department is going back and just following the evidence. They should do Giuliani no favor because he was associated with the Trump administration, and perhaps may want to sweep this under the carpet, but they also should certainly not punish him because he was a political enemy. Just follow the law and I think we will be better off if that`s the case.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

And joining us now is Daniel Goldman. He served as counsel to the first impeachment investigation of Donald Trump. He is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

And, Daniel, it`s that job, that old job of yours, assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York. That`s exactly who was involved in this raid of Rudy Giuliani`s apartment.

What is your reaction to all of that that`s coming out now in the Southern District?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER MAJORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: Well, I think it`s pretty clear that this is the parallel grifting that Rudy Giuliani was doing while he was doing the political bidding of Donald Trump that led to Trump`s impeachment.

And I thought that something that Marie Yovanovitch said there in her prepared opening remarks in the public hearing is very noteworthy, which is she characterized the Ukrainian officials, the suspect Ukrainian officials as having both political and financial interests. And we heard that over and over as we were doing the Ukraine investigation, that ordinarily in Ukraine, if there is corruption and they are doing as much as they can to rid themselves of rampant corruption, there is often a political component and there is often a financial component.

And if Rudy Giuliani was as reported tonight and we have heard before, if he was notified, and if the Trump administration was notified, as was reported many months ago, that the FBI believed that Rudy Giuliani was being used for disinformation and he continued to do it as he did, it makes for a very compelling closing argument that kind of writes itself, which is that he knew this was bogus. He knew it was Russian disinformation, and he didn`t care. And you know why he didn`t care? Because he was getting paid by the Ukrainians to do their bidding.

So it will be very interesting to see if the last piece of the puzzle is linking either financially or otherwise Rudy Giuliani to Ukrainian officials so that he would fall under the statute that requires him to register with the Department of Justice if that occurs.

O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction as a former prosecutor in the federal district where Rudy Giuliani is now under investigation to what suspect Rudy Giuliani just said tonight on Fox about this investigation. Let`s listen to that.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: What have they said to you about what they`re looking into?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: They haven`t said anything to me. They won`t explain to me what they`re looking into for two years. We called them five, six occasions, said tell us what you`re investigating. We`ll come in and address it.

No, just come in and talk to us. Tell us about your whole life. Of course, that`s ridiculous.

So I have to go -- I have to go as a lawyer on the search warrant. The search warrant is purportedly based on one single failure to file for representing a Ukrainian national or official.


O`DONNELL: So, imagine you`re in your old job, assistant U.S. attorney. You`re watching your suspect Rudy Giuliani on TV tonight. What goes through your mind?

GOLDMAN: Keep talking. The more that Rudy Giuliani talks, the better it is for the prosecution and the worse it is for his defense.

I mean Rudy Giuliani over the past couple of years has embarrassed himself with false statements and ignorance. And he uttered yet another one today. On the search warrant that he would have received, it would have only given the title of the statute. It would not have said it`s based on one incident of this or that.

And based on the reporting over the last couple of days, the search warrant included several different crimes that they`re investigating, not just one. So the reason why the southern district has not allowed Rudy Giuliani to come into their office and direct the interview of himself is because he has proven himself over and over and over again to be incapable of telling the truth.

And unless he is ready and willing to go into the southern district and tell the truth, they are not going to play nice in the sandbox, and they will search his iCloud. They will search his emails. They will search his phones. And he will get no benefit of the doubt because he has demonstrated that he is unwilling to be cooperative.

O`DONNELL: Daniel Goldman, your prosecutorial experience and expertise is invaluable to us on this case. Thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

GOLDMAN: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Republican Senator Tim Scott said last night that critics of the new Georgia law restricting voting have not read that law. We will be joined next by two experts on Georgia law who have read the new Georgia voting law.

Lauren Groh-Wargo and LaTosha Brown will join us next.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of you, the rest of the world, because of your two senators, the rest of America was able to get the help they got so far.

The American Rescue Plan would not have passed. So much have we gotten done, like getting checks to people probably would not have happened. So if you ever wonder if elections make a difference, just remember what you did here in Georgia when you elected Ossoff and Warnock, you began to change the environment.


O`DONNELL: President Biden spent his 100th day in office in Georgia, where he and the first lady visited with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter. And President Biden thanked the voters who helped him win the presidency and won control of the United States Senate for Democrats.


BIDEN: You know, in this state of Dr. King and John Lewis, you know how precious and precarious the right the vote is. In November and then again in January, your vote changed the world, not just the north, the world.

But instead of celebrating that, it`s being attacked. More people voted for president in 2020 than any time in American history ever. And they did it in the middle of a pandemic.

You`ve seen what`s happened here in Georgia with your state`s laws. It`s just wrong, wrong.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action. She managed Stacey Abrams` 2018 campaign for governor of Georgia. And LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matters Fund.

LaTosha, Senator Scott last night in the response to Joe Biden said that you critics of this new Georgia law have not read it. That if you would just read it, you would love it.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER OF BLACK VOTERS MATTERS FUND: You know, I think it`s interesting that Senator Scott conveniently left out, you know, even in his own assessment to what the bill says, obviously I`m questioning how much does he know that`s in the bill, you know. And why was he intentionally not raising some of the issues that we raised.

Not only that, we`ve been organizing around this because it is egregious, as he knows. It is disingenuous. Unfortunately, it seems like his ambition is better than his brain and his integrity.

But the fact of the matter is we know that there is damaging things there in the bill, all the way from literally making it illegal, criminalizing organizations from being able to pass out water to (INAUDIBLE) literally the secretary of state prior to this bill literally was the chair, you know, was elected as the person to oversee the election. Essentially what this bill does is it makes them an ex-official basically nonvoting member.

So, there are many damaging things that are in this bill, and he knows full well, because this in fact is part of the (INAUDIBLE) strategy to disenfranchise and marginalize voters.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the Georgia secretary of state said today on Fox. And this is someone whose position in the electoral process was changed by this law, but he had no complaints about that today. Let`s listen to this.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s interesting that it came to Georgia after he helped convince Major League Baseball to move out of Georgia, to move to Denver, which cost us $100 million. If Georgia is so bad, then what`s he doing here?


O`DONNELL: Lauren Groh-Wargo, the secretary of state of Georgia does not think the president of the United States should come to Georgia now.

LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CEO, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Well, the secretary of state is trying to distract from the fact that his party fomented a lie around voter fraud, distributed that lie through paid operations, and then fomented and caused that lie to metastasize into an insurrection, and a week later when he and his colleagues in the Republican Party were in legislative session in Georgia and around the country -- because remember, Lawrence, it was Tuesday the runoff, Wednesday the insurrection, Monday state legislative session. Literally that was the order of operations.

300 bills start moving through the legislature to placate insurrectionists and nip and tuck and fight and do horrible series of laws all over the country to make it harder to vote and criminalize lawful behavior, strip his power.

And we see this metastasize. Literally an hour before I got on the show, Lawrence, a Georgia-like bill just got jammed through the legislature in Florida. Same thing as LaTosha was saying. Water bans, you know, making it harder to vote by mail.

But here is the thing. We are literally fighting a Republican Party that`s been taken over by the voter fraud insurrectionist lie, ok. And they will do anything to distract and confuse around it. But that`s what this is.

But the advocacy and organizing that Fair Fight, Black Voters Matter and so many other groups are doing is working. They tried to gut vote by mail and early vote all together. We stopped that in Georgia, ok.

And we`re going fight these criminalization terms and we`re going to turn out the vote like never before. And it`s working around the country. They were trying to ban every single drop box in Florida. And advocates said hell no. And elections officials said hell no. And we preserved drop boxes in Florida. So, we are in a fight or our very democracy. But I don`t want your watchers to lose hope.

Go to because the pressure is working. This is the fight of our lives. And we will keep going, keep fighting.

O`DONNELL: LaTosha, you said to voters that they`re trying to suppress your vote. We need you to turn out because they`re trying to suppress your vote. They did turn out.

And then after they turned out, these legislators have gone back and again tried to suppress the vote, tried to make voting more difficult. So do you now have to go back to people and say we know voting is more difficult, but we need you to do it. And here is how we`re going to help you do it.

How do you keep going back to voters who are in effect being pushed away from the polls?

LATOSHA BROWN, BLACK VOTERS MATTERS FUND: You know, there is a civil rights song that says we believe and freedom shall not rest until it comes. But the truth of the matter is historically structural racism has been such a part of the voting process in this country that whenever there has been an advancement, particularly when black voters have actually reached our power, there has been a backlash.

And so unfortunately, we`re in a country that the racists literally don`t change their game much. What they have underestimated is the power of organized power that we are going, we never stop talking to our people, that we`re literally putting on the pressure.

You know, the runoff election as designed to actually marginalize black voters. Even in this particular bill, they actually shut down the time for nine weeks, and now there is only four weeks.

We`re going to use those four weeks, but we`re not going stop there. We`re going to push forth with sanction (ph) of this vote that fundamentally this was based and predicated on a big lie. And we`re not just going to let this lie slide and continue to respond to that. We`re going to organize and we`re going to come back harder and stronger and we`re resilient and we`re more committed.

O`DONNELL: LaTosha Brown and Lauren Groh-Wargo, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

BROWN: Thank you for having me.

GROH-WARGO: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, there is only one person who I have heard use the word jobs in the same sentence with climate as much as Joe Biden does. And this guy does it with a Boston accent. Senator Ed Markey will join us next.


O`DONNELL: President Biden is trying to pass the biggest infrastructure bill in history, which is also the biggest climate-related legislation in history. And he has given that multifaceted complex bills the very simple title "The American Jobs Plan".

The only person I have ever heard use the word "jobs" and "climate" together as much as Joe Biden does is our next guest who also happens to be the person who hired Ron Klain for Ron Klain`s very first job in politics.

And he wrote this note to Ron Klain. "To the best campaign manager in Ed Markey`s or anyone else`s 1984 Senate campaign. There is no one else I would have wanted running those final ten days in September."

Of course, if the final ten days of your campaign are in September, that means you lost in the Democratic primary.

Joining us now, the first person in history to lose a campaign run by Ron Klain, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SENATOR ED MARKEY, (D-MA): Well, actually, to clarify, I didn`t run. And so, the reality was that if I had the final days, Ron Klain would have been the perfect person, but unfortunately, I decided I would rather be the chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee in the House of Representatives. So, I did not run in 1984 although Ron Klain was my legislative staff director and brilliant at it, and the campaign manager for the race that I decided not to complete.

O`DONNELL: That`s the kind of campaign that I could run, the one that you don`t actually run in. That would be the one I could do.

Senator, so when you were in the House in the 1980s and certainly the end of the 1980s, the last big infrastructure bill was done in 1991 with that Democratic Congress with you in the house.

Senator Moynihan over in the Senate and the Environment and Public Works Committee was very proud. He was very proud of the title of that big bill. It was "The Intermodal Surface Transportation and Efficiency Act" which took on the name IS-TEA. And that`s the way these kinds of bills used to be named.

Now Joe Biden last night, it`s just "THE AMERICAN JOBS Bill". It`s amazing that it took that long to figure out how to describe this kind of legislation.

MARKEY: Well, ultimately a climate bill, the kind of climate bill that Joe Biden is proposing is going to be the greatest blue-collar job creation engine in our country in two generations. Carpenters, electricians, roofers -- that is who will be installing the solar. That is who will be installing the wind. That is who will be making the all-electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrids, the battery storage technologies. Having every building across our country to the highest possible energy standards, all blue-collar workers.

And so ultimately Joe Biden is right on message. This is what it`s all about. And just like all the rest of his economic plan, he`s targeting it, not at the rich, but at those who have suffered in our society wondering whether or not there`s going to be a brighter future for them. And the climate bill that Joe Biden is proposing is that job creation engine.

O`DONNELL: He did speak directly to voters and workers last night when he talked about -- you know, some of you are wondering is this bill for me, or does it leave me out.

You wrote a piece in the Boston Globe with a proposal of yours for what you`re calling a Civilian Climate Corps. In it you propose that people who join it would have access to financial grants of $25,000 per year of service up to $50,000 to either pay down student loan debt or pay for higher education.

They would earn at least $15 an hour, receive full medical coverage, and have access to other services such as childcare. This is obviously targeted at recent college graduates and others, younger in the workplace. How do you think you can make that work?

MARKEY: Well, the most popular part of FDR`s programs in the 1930s, was the Civilian Conservation Corps -- a million young men who went out and did great things for our country, like the Works Progress Administration as well. We`re still proud of it today and benefiting from.

Well, a civilian climate corps will do the same thing, except this time it won`t just be restricted to white young men. We`ll put this out there for men and women of any race in our country and give them an opportunity to not just begin a job, but a career in this new field that is going to open up dramatically.

And to give them the kind of salary on the one hand or financial assistance to go to college on the other if they would wish to use this opportunity to take advantage of it in that direction as well.

So, from my perspective, so many great things can be done in our country in order to meet your climate objectives. We can just create this climate corps of young people who go out there and do the work, tap into the idealism that the Sunrise Movement and college campuses, high school campuses all across this country have demonstrated for their desire to solve this climate crisis, and to do it while being paid and then being given an opportunity to get an education.

O`DONNELL: Joe Biden scored an 85 percent approval rating for his speech last night, just the speech. And I think you and I know we`ve never heard a president use the word "jobs" more in a speech like that. You have to assume there`s some relationship between how often he drills home the notion of jobs and the approval of that speech?

MARKEY: This is jobs, jobs, jobs -- that`s what the Biden plan is going to create in our country. And again, they`re blue-collar jobs, largely. They are for those people who, as Joe says last night, who work with their hands.

We can put all of them to work in our country in all 50 states, by the way, not just the states that have fossil fuels in them, but every state, to put them to work installing this new environmental and energy technologies for the 21st century.

And I think his message resonates to 85 percent because people understand that he cares about them, their families, and their ability to provide for themselves and for their children.

O`DONNELL: Senator Ed Markey, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

From Joe Biden, I want to thank you -- give you his thanks, I`m sure his thanks, for getting Ron Klain started in politics.

MARKEY: Ron Klain is absolutely doing a fantastic job as chief of staff, and our country is fortunate.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much, Senator.

MARKEY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: NBC Universal is launching a special series, "INSPIRING AMERICA: THE 2021 INSPIRATION LIST". The inaugural list features "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and chef Jose Andres who is committed to solving problems of hunger and food insecurity.


JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: Just helping one person is a very big dream itself. Do that and I do believe America will always do better. Empathy will always win the day where we the people will always accomplish so much more than either person.


O`DONNELL: "INSPIRING AMERICA: THE 2021 INSPIRATION LIST" will premiere Saturday May 1st at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC and Telemundo. You can watch an encore presentation the next day, Sunday May 2nd on MSNBC at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.