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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/10/21

Guests: LaTosha Brown, Katie Hobbs


President Biden faces a challenge unlike my previous president in history in dealing with Congress, and that is that the opposing party does not believe in anything. Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff announced a bill that would prohibit states from banning the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line to vote. Our next guest has received so many serious death threats that Arizona`s Republican governor has now signed a security detail to guard the life of Arizona`s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Today, the FDA expanded authorization for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use in children ages 12 and over.



And we have Katie Hobbs with us tonight, Arizona secretary of state. And she has solved a problem for me, and that is what to call the thing that is happening in Arizona, which I simply cannot bring myself to call an audit. That`s a word that has meaning. I don`t think that`s what`s going on there.

Katie Hobbs has called it a fraud-it, which, I think, is as good --


O`DONNELL: Yeah. I mean, that works, right?

MADDOW: I have been going with clown show, which is -- which is -- feels good, you know, but doesn`t necessarily like -- there is a lot of clown shows in politics right now, so it doesn`t really narrow it down. That`s both catchy and very specific.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, yeah. It does the job. She`s going to join us later.

And, of course, sadly, since she last joined us on Thursday night, she has been suffering death threats to the point where the governor had to give her security to get her through this period, as I hope she gets through it.

MADDOW: Incredible. Well done, my friend. Well done. Take it away.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

Well, I began my day today at 7:00 a.m. as a guest on "MORNING JOE" where response to a question about Joe Scarborough whether Joe Biden can get his legislative agenda through the congress, I said President Biden faces a challenge unlike my previous president in history in dealing with Congress, and that is that the opposing party does not believe in anything. How do you do business with a party that doesn`t actually believe anything except in the sanctity of Donald Trump? That`s it. They`re their only belief.

"MORNING JOE" has an extremely high viewership among members of Congress in both parties, as far as I can tell. Possibly higher than any other MSNBC show because that scheduling works well for them. The early morning breakfast hour seems like when they have time to watch and they`re starting off their day, beginning to think about these things.

So to an audience that I know for a fact includes Republican members of the House, I asked: what does Kevin McCarthy believe? And my answer, my answer this morning at 7:00 a.m. was nothing. Kevin McCarthy believes nothing.

And then hours later, this afternoon, Kevin McCarthy proved it. He believed he believes absolutely nothing in the letter he sent to all the Republican members of the House of Representatives.

The letter refers to, quote, the important work we were elected to do. And it never identifies a single piece of that important work, a single policy that Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans in the House support, not one. The only thing on his agenda getting rid of Liz Cheney from the so-called Republican leadership team. The letter says, we need to change a change. Adds such, you should anticipate a vote on recalling the conference chair this Wednesday.

The letter is sprinkled with lies like, we embrace free thought and debate. We fiercely defend free speech. That`s a lie, and that`s exactly why Kevin McCarthy wants to get rid of Liz Cheney, because they do not believe in free speech for Republicans in the House of Representatives. They do not believe that anyone who refuses to lie about who won the last presidential election can be part of Kevin McCarthy`s so-called leadership team.

The letter does contain two honest statements. Quote, our driving focus would be taking back the House in 2022. In other words, the people who believe in nothing are trying to accomplish nothing while they take their congressional salaries sitting on the Republican side of the House of Representatives. And the only driving force in their lives is to continue to sit on the Republican side of the House of Representatives. They do not have a single idea or proposal for making any of their constituents` lives better in any way.

The other true statement in Kevin McCarthy`s letter is we have to seize the future. And he does mean seize. He does not mean win the old-fashioned way, by getting more votes than the other side and elections. The new Republican voting suppression law in Georgia allows the Georgia legislature to seize the future, to seize an election and simply overrule the voters of Georgia after an election.

On Wednesday, the same day that Kevin McCarthy wants to vote Liz Cheney out of her leadership position, Kevin McCarthy will be occupying a seat in the Oval Office in a meeting with President Biden about his infrastructure bill. It is a bipartisan meeting with the top four congressional leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Never before in history has the chair of the House minority leader in an oval office meeting been completely empty of ideas. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain kept it simple and direct in trying to reach out to congressional leaders in an interview with "Axios" on HBO last night.


RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don`t think it`s big government to fix the ten bridges in this country, the most economically significant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are parts in the package that Republicans are talking about when they say that.

KLAIN: Well, I`ll let them speak for themselves. What I`m telling you is what we`re doing common sense reform. You know, most of these Republicans who stood in front of the Rotary Club or Kiwanis Club and given a speech for how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure. People standing and give speeches all the time about how people should have affordable child care. It`s basic, basic things that we`re putting forward. And, again, I think they should have bipartisan support.


O`DONNELL: But a party that lies about who won the presidential election is going to have no problem lying about who got the local bridge fixed after that Republican member of Congress votes against fixing the bridge. Kevin McCarthy will vote against any form of the Biden infrastructure bill and then take credit for what the bill does, which is what he has already done with the Biden COVID relief bill. Kevin McCarthy has taken credit with his constituents for the restaurant revitalization fund and encouraging them to apply for the program created by Joe Biden, which Kevin McCarthy voted against.

Last week, Speaker Pelosi, who will be sitting with Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office next Wednesday said this about Kevin McCarthy. He called the American rescue plan social list, claimed it would turn the U.S. into Venezuela and convinced every member of his caucus to vote against hit. No one should be surprised that McCarthy, a man of such strong principles, voted no and took the dough with the American Rescue Plan.

The only question is which parts of the American jobs and families plan will he pick to brag about?

Today Joe Biden met with the second most powerful guy named Joe in Washington whose support he needs to pass any version of the infrastructure bill. When West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin emerged from that meeting at the White House, he certainly wanted to sound as if he is in complete agreement with the first president named Joe, but he didn`t want to get into specifics.


REPORTER: Can I get your position on not being so comfortable with the 20 percent corporate tax rate. Does that come up?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We didn`t talk specifics. He understands and he`s, he`s up on everything, trust me, he knows what`s going on. He`s well -- he`s well-versed in what`s going on. And he understands. He just thinks that, you know, we want to make sure we`re all, you know, basically wanting something good to happen for our country.

REPORTER: Can you talk about the need for a smaller package?

MANCHIN: We didn`t talk about any of that.

REPORTER: Give me the size of the package, no dollar amount came up.

MANCHIN: He just knows that there`s a need out of there and he wants to make sure we meet the need. It wasn`t he had a drop dead figure, or any of that, you know, he`s put his plan out there. And I think in good faith, we start working and finding out through a process where it goes into the committee, comes to the floor with amendments and see what we end up with.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) finance things like child care, do those need to be fully paid for?

MANCHIN: We talked about basically are we going to do one or two, things of that sort. Making sure we look at things that need to be done in traditional and human infrastructure, things of that sort.

REPORTER: Did he express a preference for one big package or two or three?

MANCHIN: No, we didn`t talk. He just wants to get things accomplished. He really -- I`m telling you, he`s heart of hearts. He`s all about being fair and move -- move this country forward.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The Washington Post". He`s an MSNBC political analyst. And Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for "The Washington Post", and the host of "THE SUNDAY SHOW WITH JONATHAN CAPEHART" right here on MSNBC.

Gene, that Joe Manchin walk is one of my favorite kinds of Washington interviews because that`s a senator who doesn`t really want to be talking to the press right now, which is why he keeps physically moving to the car. But he`s also not afraid with dealing with what they throw at him. He also doesn`t want to tell them anything about what he and Joe Biden talked about.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah. He very confidently refused to answer any specific question, and that was the intention of that quick walk to the car and, you know, he did what he came to do. He made it sound as if he`s prepared to move forward with President Biden, maybe, depending. And maybe there will be one bill. Maybe there will be two bills. He didn`t tell us anything about the meeting, except that he likes Joe Biden, wants the best thing for the country.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, what I think is important about the meeting is that Joe Biden is making sure there is no distance at all between Joe Manchin and Joe Biden. A lot of times in these situations when there is a tense situation between a president and a particular senator in their own party, they are working through intermediaries. They are talking sometimes through other senators. They are talking sometimes through staff. They`re doing all sorts of things.

This is just Joe and Joe. Joe is going to hold hands with Joe until both Joes end up doing the same thing.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST, "THE SUNDAY SHOW WITH JONATHAN CAPEHART": Right. And I took that walk and talk to actually be a good sign. There has been so much attention focused on Joe Manchin and from the Democratic Party perspective how he`s a roadblock to the president`s agenda, how he`s against minimum wage, how he`s making noises about not supporting the For the People Act, how he always is out there to be the first person to say, eh, I don`t know what the president wants to do.

But the Joe Manchin we just saw, he said a lot of words and to Gene`s point didn`t say anything, didn`t break any news. But what I also noticed was by not saying anything, he didn`t pour cold water on anything. That was his opportunity to say, you know, well, you know, the president and I, you know, we`re differing on taxes. And I have some issues with the For the People Act, you know, but we`re going to get there, we`re going to get there.

There was none of that. It was just, we had a great meeting, and he wants to move forward. He wants to do stuff that`s great for the country. I actually think what you showed there is one of the more hopeful things I have seen in Washington when it comes to Joe Manchin since Joe Biden was inaugurated president.

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday is going to, we don`t know the exact schedule of how this is going to roll out, but he might be sitting in the Oval Office with the president after voting to throw Liz Cheney out of their so-called leadership because she dares to think that Joe Biden is the real president of the United States.

ROBINSON: Yeah. I mean, this is a real threat to the country, to the security of this nation, Lawrence, the state that the Republican Party is in right now. It`s, as you said, the party that believes in nothing except obtaining and keeping count. That`s all it believes in anymore.

It`s not a center right party. It`s not a far right party. It`s not a party at all. It`s like a syndicate. It just wants power. That`s all it wants.

And that is a terrible situation for the country. So, Liz Cheney is about to be booted out of leadership because she tells the truth. She tells the same truth that Kevin McCarthy told on January 6th because she tells the truth about who won the election. She can`t be in the Republican leadership anymore.

I mean, that`s just astounding and should be unacceptable. Yet, that`s today`s Republican Party. It is a real danger to this country.

O`DONNELL: Adam Kinzinger is now really fun to watch, a Republican member of the house, because he has crossed this line, which you rarely see. You might see it once a decade where a member is just completely fed up and has decided, you know what, I`m going to do the most harmful thing I can possibly do. I am just going to tell the truth. I am not going to try to shade it. I`m not going to try to protect people.

So he has that quote that everybody has seen about Donald Trump being on the Titanic and trying to dress up in women`s clothes to try to find a lifeboat and all that. But then today, today, he just revealed the smoking gun on Kevin McCarthy where today Adam Kinzinger tweeted, a few days before January 6th, our GOP members had a conference call and his words and our party`s actions would lead to violence on January 6th. Kevin responded with, okay, Adam, operator next question. And we got violence.

Jonathan Capehart, that says as much of a tribute as you could ask for in terms of what the Republicans were leading to on January 6th. I didn`t have Adam Kinzinger`s foresight to see that what they`re doing could lead to violence, but it was clear enough and raised to Kevin McCarthy himself.

CAPEHART: Yeah. And the fact that Kevin McCarthy -- I mean, we know Leader McCarthy took those words to heart because, as you just pointed out, the evening of January 6th after having survived that insurrection, he took to the well of the house and said the president is responsible. This is his fault. This was a bad day. Yada, yada, yada.

But then a week later, he wings down to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of Donald Trump and has been there ever since. It -- Lawrence, you put your finger on it from the very beginning.

Kevin McCarthy believes in nothing. His only priority is to gain power. And everything that you watch him do, that we will watch him do since he reneged on his January 6th comments right through the 2022 election will be about winning enough seats to take the speaker`s gavel from the Democrats. That is all he cares about. Nothing else matters.

And that`s why we`re not seeing anything from the Republicans in terms of any substance to what the president is proposing with the American Families Plan or the Jobs Plan, or the For the People Act, any of the things that the president is coming to the table with to lead the country. He`s got nothing except Dr. Seuss and other culture war nonsense that stokes up the Republican Party base and stokes fear and anger at the other.

Meanwhile, President Biden is doing all the things that the country desperately needs and has got the poll numbers to prove it. In "The Washington Post" yesterday, I don`t know if you saw it, Lawrence, but there is a story about the thing that really ticked Liz Cheney off. It was at their retreat where she discovered that the NRCC, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, left out some key data points to the members of the congress.

What were they? Donald Trump is less popular than Joe Biden, President Biden, less popular than Vice President Harris and less popular than the American Rescue Plan.

I mean, think about that. And they left that out. So they don`t care about anything.

O`DONNELL: And the poll was in the battleground districts that they have to win. It was in the crucial swing district. It`s the key information you want to know. And so, Kevin McCarthy has said, let`s hug the least popular guy in those districts.

Jonathan Capehart, Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And a programming note, at this hour on Wednesday night on the big Wednesday of this week in Washington right here, we will host a special hour called "Vaccinating America: An MSNBC Town Hall." President Joe Biden will be our first guest. We will also be joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who helped develop the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. That`s Wednesday night 10:00 p.m., President Biden and his top vaccination advisers right here on MSNBC.

It`s going to be a long day for President Biden, but he will include that interview with us right here on MSNBC on Wednesday.

And coming up, Georgia`s freshman Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff plans to add an amendment to the voting rights bill that would ban a specific provision of Georgia`s new voting law. LaTosha Brown will join us from Atlanta next.


O`DONNELL: A new law signed by Georgia`s Republican Governor Brian Kemp has reversed a ban on accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists during the legislative session. "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" reports the law, quote, also allows new committees backing Kemp`s re-election and those of legislative leaders to raise and spend unlimited contributions from donors essentially circumventing how much special businesses and interests can give to candidates.

Brian Kemp already signed a voter suppression bill into law that makes it a crime to distribute water to voters while waiting in line to cast their ballots, sometimes for hours.

Today, Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff announced a bill that would prohibit states from banning the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line to vote.

It is intended to be an amendment to the senate`s voting rights bill. That bill will begin markup tomorrow in the Senate Rules Committee. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will both attend the markup in that committee, which is very unusual for leaders to do.

Here is what Senator Schumer had to say today.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We know our Republican colleagues don`t like every aspect of S-1, but will they work in good faith to improve it? Will they offer a visions or new ideas to protect voting rights or through uncompromising resistance to voter protections? Will they side with Republican legislatures across the country that are restricting the voting rights in a way that hurts African-Americans, Latinos, younger and poor Americans. The choice is theirs.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter fund.

LaTosha, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

I want to talk about the Georgia situation in a moment, but I have to say, listening to Senator Schumer then, I`d never had less suspense listening to a senator asked what the other side might do. He`s asking will Republican senators in Washington support what`s going on in Georgia and other states around the country where Republican state legislatures are restricting voting rights as much as they possibly can? I don`t think that`s a very suspenseful question at this point.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: It shouldn`t be. It`s really a shame that we are where we are, Lawrence. You know, I think we have to think about what is happening.

While this is one -- I think there are big pieces. One, while this is certainly an attack on democracy, I think we have to really look at what the Republicans are seeking to do. I do think this is around being hungry for power.

The second thing we have to really recognize is that Republicans are trying to legalize corruption. The bottom line is they would like to rewrite what democracy is and that democracy would only be a shared group of people that would support them having some kind of advantage over being able to vote in the election. So, in many ways, what they`re trying to seek to do is to legalize corruption. It is similar that when we look at other countries around the world, you know, when they changed the rules, that those rules actually worked for their benefit when the president of a country decides he`s going to change the Constitution so in fact that he has an advantage of winning, we call that corruption.

But here we are in the United States where there is a political party that is not operating on the goodwill of whether it will strengthen democracy but creating laws that they would have an advantage. That is the pure definition of corruption.

I think the third piece, too, is also what we`re seeing around structural racism. That what we know is this a punitive measure. It was a historical black turnout in the state of Georgia and they passed this legislation. And so we`re going to have to have federal protection to make sure that voters all across this nation are protected and that the foundation of our democracy is not only protected but we have to strengthen it.

O`DONNELL: I`m struck by a couple of things about this new campaign finance law that the governor is supporting in Georgia. This notion that in the past in Georgia, they have banned fund-raising during the legislative session by state legislatures, which seems to be something that they did primarily just because it would not look good, because surely you could structure your campaigns from your -- your contributions from lobbyists around the legislative calendar so that you would be able to get enough of your contributions from lobbyists, especially the ones you are basically serving and the legislature as many of these Republican members are.

But now, they don`t care how it looks. They`re saying we don`t care that it looks bad, that we`re going to make it legal to raise money from lobbyists on the same day that they are asking us to vote a certain way in the legislature.

BROWN: Absolutely. That`s why I say we are going to have to call this out what it is. This is corruption. There is a political party that is in this country that has decided that they will throw everything on the wall and whatever sticks they`re going to go with it.

Even when you look at what happened and when we`re talking about campaign finances, was it really based on a value system they had. You know, this is really based on what was a perception. So, now, given the opportunity to vote on a bill that was supposed to be providing extra security, which we all know that was a farce, here it is using it as an opportunity to be able to pack their coffers.

They`re using it as an opportunity to give themselves and their party an advantage.

O`DONNELL: And the other thing is this limit on individual donors. Georgia already has a very high limit of $18,100. $18,000 limit for individual donors. The federal limit is $5,800. It`s really half that in the sense that that`s $5,800 if you contribute to a candidate in the primary and contribute to the same candidate in the general in the federal limit for a senator or member of Congress, you could go all the way up to $5,800.

In Georgia, you could go up to three times that already and now the governor wants that to be unlimited.

BROWN: I mean, let`s just think about it. It is what it is. It`s almost like if it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it`s a duck. The bottom line is this is pure corruption.

They`re literally trying to use the administrative process to give themselves an advantage, want to disenfranchise and marginalize voters, chew (ph) them literally while other people are -- while we`re looking at some of the egregious things that they`re doing towards voter suppression that in fact they`re trying to figure out ways so they can actually put an unlimited amount of money so that they don`t have a sense of accountability.

And three, they are literally in a power grab. So we have to call this what it is. We have to literally make sure that we get For The People Act and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act passed. We need that immediate. We need that now.

And we are also going to put pressure on our state legislatures. We have to monitor what is happening on the local level, on the state level and literally extended protections on the federal level.

O`DONNELL: LaTosha Brown, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I am in awe of your energy that you maintain, despite this crushing -- continued crushing attempt by Republicans in Georgia to basically crush the vote in Georgia. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BROWN: Thank you for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, at least one Republican in Arizona who voted for what they are calling an audit of the Arizona presidential election now believes that that was a mistake and the fake audit makes Republicans look like "idiots". That`s his word. A Republican saying Republicans look like idiots in Arizona.

Arizona`s Democratic secretary of state Katie Hobbs, who is now facing serious death threats, says it is not an audit. It is a fraud-it. Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Our next guest has received so many serious death threats that Arizona`s Republican governor has now signed a security detail to guard the life of Arizona`s Democratic secretary of state Katie Hobbs.

Trump supporters are threatening to kill Katie Hobbs because she has followed her oath of office and supervised an accurate count and recount of Arizona`s votes in the presidential election which Joe Biden won in the state of Arizona by 10,457 votes.

Secretary of state Katie Hobbs in the face of continuing death threats has continued to criticize the non-legal playing with the votes in Arizona that has been authorized by Arizona`s Republican senate.

I say non-legal because what`s happening to the ballots now will have no legal effect on the election. And what`s happening to the ballots now in Arizona might actually be illegal, might be against the law.

And I refuse to use the word that the Republican Senate came up with for what is happening in Arizona. They are calling it an audit. It is not an audit. It is a group of amateurs, virtually all supporters of Donald Trump, the leader who publicly believes Donald Trump`s big lie, that the election was stolen. They are incapable of conducting anything we would glorify with the word "audit".

They are literally playing with the ballots. They do not know what they are doing. They do not know what the law is governing the handling of ballots.

Our next guest, Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs calls this a fraud- it. The people are -- the people doing this are conducting a fraud-it and do not know what the law is. They have already changed their plans after getting a threatening letter from the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. saying that their plan to go door to door asking voters about their votes could be illegal.

The Justice Department`s letter also said that people playing around with the ballots now could violate federal law by not protecting and documenting the chain of custody of the ballots. There has never been any indication that anyone involved in playing with the ballots in Arizona knows what the legal phrase "chain of custody" means.

Joining us now, someone who knows a lot about the legal chain of custody of ballots, Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs.

Thank you very much for joining us again tonight. And I just want to begin with your personal safety because after we talked on Thursday night, Friday became a more difficult day for you. That`s apparently when the death threats got to the point where something had to be done.

KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes. Well, thank you so much. I`m thankful that the governor took me seriously and has assigned protection to me and my family and we`re doing ok. So I appreciate you asking.

O`DONNELL: Talk about what you`re seeing and not seeing and not being allowed to see in what you are now calling a fraud-it. And thank you very much for that term because I just couldn`t bring myself to call it an audit.

HOBBS: Yes. I tried to be creative with what I called it as well because it certainly is not an audit. So, you know, I think one of the most concerning things about what we have not been able to see, and this is one of our election experts who is an equipment expert, was not allowed into the room where they were holding the equipment.

And neither have there been any of the cameras that are broadcasting this exercise allowed in that room. And so we have no idea what`s been done with the equipment. We certainly have seen many concerning things that are being done with the ballots, as you have mentioned.

O`DONNELL: This -- one of the Arizona senators who voted for this now regrets it. State Senator Paul Boyar is quoted in "The New York Times" saying "It makes us look like idiots. Looking back, I didn`t think it would be this ridiculous. It is embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."

So Secretary Hobbs, it sounds like he was prepared to deal with some level of ridiculous, but this is beyond that. You now also have the threat of a possible subpoena by the Senate Republicans trying to obtain Internet routers, government Internet routers that they believe somehow would help inform them about the vote. What is that about?

HOBBS: Yes. That`s a good question. I`m not really sure what it`s about, something about passwords. I don`t know why you would find the passwords from the routers, but these are routers that serve the entire county of Maricopa County, which is a large county, one of the largest in the country, and it would impact operations for the entire county.

It would impact confidential health department data, confidential law enforcement data. It is beyond ridiculous that they think that they`re entitled to these routers.

O`DONNELL: And going forward, is there any -- last week the idea was there is a high school graduation coming up that that building has to be used for I believe as early as next week or next weekend.

Have they come up with some plan to deal with the high school graduation that could get in the way of their playing with the ballots?

HOBBS: As far as I can tell, there is no plan for what they`re going to do. I mean, they keep saying, oh, we`ll store these things somewhere, but there is really no sense of where that is, so I don`t think he has a plan.

And nothing that is being talked about right now in terms of what the plan may or may not be adds any confidence to my sense that they are not taking ballot security seriously at all.

O`DONNELL: At what point would federal officials want to be physically present to watch what`s happening here?

HOBBS: Well, I can`t speak to their intent on when they might actually send observers out or what the legal parameters are for them to be able to do that. But they certainly did share their concerns about the document preservation where it comes to federal laws and ballot retention for federal elections.

Certainly none of the parameters of the federal law have been taken into account here. And so, I`m extremely glad that they spoke up about their concerns. I have no sense that the Senate or cyber ninjas are taking these concerns seriously.

O`DONNELL: And as you go forward, what are your biggest worries about what`s happening there day-to-day with those ballots?

HOBBS: Well, I mean you talked a little bit about this in your intro, but they are not taking chain of custody seriously. So this means when they are unboxing ballots to do whatever they`re doing to the ballots and then putting them back, they`re not making sure they get put back in the right place.

So that if somebody had to actually go in and do a real recount for whatever reason, they wouldn`t be able to do that because the chain of custody has been damaged that much.

It also appears as if they are co-mingling uncounted versus counted ballots. They are leaving ballots unattended on tables. They are just absolutely not taking seriously the magnitude of what they have in front of them and what they need to preserve in terms of these ballots.

O`DONNELL: Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And thank you very much for keeping our attention on this situation.

HOBBS: Thank you. I appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, all high school students can now be fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine gaining FDA approval for children as young as 12 years old. Pulitzer prize winning journalist and pandemic expert Laurie Garrett will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Today the FDA expanded authorization for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use in children ages 12 and over. Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock said "Today`s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.

Parents and guardians can rest assure that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data as we have with all of our COVID- 19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.

According to the Centers for Disease control, 58 percent of adults 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Biden administration has set a goal of having 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by the 4th of July.

Yesterday on "MEET THE PRESS", Dr. Anthony Fauci said this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We plead with people to get vaccinated because the larger proportion of the population that`s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you`re going to see a significant surge. There is no doubt about that. That`s the reason why vaccinations are so important.


O`DONNELL: Dr. Fauci says that as more people get vaccinated we are likely to see the CDC ease restrictions on wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

Joining our discussion now Laurie Garrett. She`s a Pulitzer prize winning reporter covering global pandemics and an MSNBC science contributor.

Laurie, you tweeted something yesterday that really caught my eye. That sounds really interesting about the efficacy of the vaccines saying that recipients of the RNA vaccines have virus neutralizing antibodies in their noses. This might mean that they cannot inhale or exhale the coronavirus.

What do we know about that at this stage?

LAURIE GARRETT, MSNBC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Lawrence. It is great to be with you. Well, this is potentially very, very good news. But it is a preprint. It hasn`t undergone thorough scientific review yet, so fingers crossed.

But what it seems to be showing is that once people get the Pfizer or the Moderna mRNA vaccines, they actually make antibodies that are inside their noses and their mouths.

This has been a big concern that many of us had, that it would be like the earlier polio vaccine where it was possible to be vaccinated to eliminate your personal risk of disease, but you could still be a transmitter. You could still carry it and give virus to others.

And this study shows, no, you`re making antibodies that are filling your nose and your mouth, and therefore eliminating virus in your nose and your mouth, and that means you`re not either going to exhale it at somebody or take it into your body and get reinfected in some way. So that`s very good news.

O`DONNELL: And it looks like the high school population now has access to a vaccine. This is also going to be very important for populations beyond high school. It`s going to be important for parents who have been dealing with high school kids, you know, freshmen, sophomores in high school who they have to stay home for. Maybe they`re staying out of the work force because their high school sophomore has been staying home. This vaccine changes that.

GARRETT: What a relief it will be for parents if their teenagers and their tweens can get vaccinated and this summer do all the things that teenagers like to do which are contrary to preventing spread of a virus -- go to parties, you know, participate in heavy-duty sports, be kids, be teenagers, you know, get that first teenage kiss.

All those things can actually happen if they get fully vaccinated. If they want to enjoy their summer, they better get vaccinated quickly because, you know, time is running out to have achieved full vaccination before July.

O`DONNELL: Joe Biden has a high a approval, 71 percent for the way he has handled the coronavirus pandemic since he took office. He has basically at this point gotten enthusiastic compliance with the vaccination program that he has launched from people who are enthusiastic about Joe Biden, for the most part.

There is a whole other population who are not enthusiastic about Joe Biden who are not showing up in the same kinds of numbers. What do we know about -- if anything from past pandemics that tell us how to reach the reluctant or the people who are holding back for reasons other than being reluctant. They`ve just decided against it?

GARRETT: Well, unfortunately, Lawrence, there will always be a finite percent that will just never get vaccinated. We`ve seen this in every outbreak, in every epidemic. There is always this finite group.

What you want to do is make sure that`s as small a group as possible. Ideally, you know, 10 percent or less of the population. If all that 71 percent of American adults that are approving of Joe Biden`s performance in this pandemic followed up with full vaccination, our nation would go into this summer, you know, roughly at the same level of protection as Israel. And Israel is now down to reporting one or two cases a day for a nation.

So you know, wouldn`t that be a great thing if we could get in that direction? The problem is, we`ve now hit that level where you have to provide incentives beyond what ought to be the rational and obvious.

So it`s not enough to say get vaccinated and protect yourself and your family. Now we need other incentives. So for example, Governor Cuomo here in New York has announced that if you go to certain subway stations, you can get vaccinated at the subway and receive a one-week free subway pass. So we`re essentially buying your willingness to get vaccinated.

O`DONNELL: Laurie Garrett, thank you for joining us tonight. And Laurie, send me all of your best questions for Joe Biden and for Dr. Fauci for our Wednesday night special.

GARRETT: Terrific.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Laurie. We will be right back.


O`DONNELL: Yesterday in the Oval Office, the president of the United States placed a call to my old Boston neighborhood of Dorchester to speak to Mary Walsh, who is the mother of Boston`s former mayor Marty Walsh`s, who is now Joe Biden`s secretary of labor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, please leave a message after the tone.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, mom, it`s Joe Biden. I understand at the Oval Office there is a guy who says that he`s your son. He`s the secretary of labor. I`m just calling to check if that`s true. Anyway, say hi to your mom.

MARTY WALSH, U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Hi, mom. How are you?

BIDEN: Sorry we missed you, mom. The vice president is here too as well.


BIDEN: We just wanted to say hi. Anyway, it won`t surprise you, he`s doing a hell of a job, (INAUDIBLE). Anyway, I`ll catch you when you`re home.

Love you. See you. Bye-bye.

WALSH: She`s probably sitting there not answering the phone.


O`DONNELL: If the president had gotten the chance to speak with Mary Walsh, he would have heard an accent he truly loves, the Irish brogue that Mary Walsh grew up with in a tiny town on the west coast of Ireland in County Galway. Instead all he got to hear was Marty Walsh`s Boston accent.

And yes, for those of us who were born and raised in Dorchester, mom was pronounced "ma". And oh, did my mother hate being called "ma". But we`re from Dorchester.

So Joe Biden and Marty Walsh get tonight`s LAST WORD and that word is "Ma".