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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/4/21

Guests: Elizabeth Warren, Nanette Barragan, Bee Nguyen, Gwen Moore


Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is interviewed. The Biden administration is reuniting families separated by Trump. Georgia Democrat announces Secretary of State run. Vice President Kamala Harris touts Biden infrastructure plan in Milwaukee.



And you are going to make an appearance very early in this hour, because Elizabeth Warren is our first guest tonight, and we`re going to show you that video with Elizabeth in her home in Cambridge right after she was announced she was dropping out of the presidential campaign, because it was such a fascinating and moving hour of television that you did that night with Senator Warren.

And she is still with us, of course, in so many ways. And in the book, she talks about losing and how there are more things that can happen than you just lose a campaign. There are more dimensions to losing than people realize, including some of the wins that come from losing, like getting Joe Biden, the nominee, to adopt ideas that she impressed upon him, somewhat against his will during presidential debates, for example.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Yeah. And also, in the case of Elizabeth Warren, turning out to be maybe the most influential member of the Democratic Party in Washington in terms of getting personnel into key roles in the Biden administration.

I mean, look at people who have been associated with Elizabeth Warren, who have worked for her, worked with her, who have been partners with her, who ended up in key positions inside the Biden administration, I`m not sure there`s anybody else in the Democratic Party who has exerted that much influence, if you think of personnel as policy. She`s a force in the Biden administration from her perch in the Senate.

I also learned today on social media that she gives her dog Bailey a burrito every year for his birthday. And now that means I can`t go home because my dogs have figured out how to use Twitter, so I can`t show my face, because they know that happens, except not to them.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, and Bailey was quite a character in your hour-long interview with the senator after she dropped out of the presidential race. The three of you were in that room for the entirety of the hour, as I recall.

MADDOW: That`s right. Well done, Lawrence. Thank you, my friend.

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

When you think of Elizabeth Warren, you think persist. Some of us think of the exact words that Elizabeth Warren`s most powerful opponents in the United States Senate said about her, while condemning her on the floor of the United States senate. Quote, nevertheless, she persisted.

Elizabeth Warren and her voters in Massachusetts and the millions of voters around the country who voted for her for president all took that condemnation as a compliment. Nevertheless, she persisted.

The seed for the title of Elizabeth Warren`s new book "Persist" was planted on March 19, 1986, when Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.`s widow, Coretta Scott King, wrote a letter to the segregationist Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Strom Thurmond, opposing President Reagan`s nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship in Alabama, where Jeff Sessions served as U.S. attorney.

In her letter, Coretta Scott King said Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.

Elizabeth Warren read that letter on the Senate floor when she stood in opposition to then Senator Jeff Sessions` nomination to be Donald Trump`s first attorney general. Rule 19 of the Senate prohibits senators from saying the kinds of things that Coretta Scott King said about Jeff Sessions, long before he was a senator.

Senator Warren could have said that same thing about any other nominee as long as that nominee was not a member of the United States Senate. Rule 19 says, no senator in debate shall directly or indirectly by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.

And so after Elizabeth Warren read Coretta Scott King`s letter on the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell interrupted Senator Warren.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The majority leader.

MCCONNELL: The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair. Senator Warren, quote, said, Senator Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens. I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator from Massachusetts.

WARREN: Mr. President, I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.

MCCONNELL: She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.


O`DONNELL: Nevertheless, she persisted.

Four women senators ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Elizabeth warren was the last woman in the race when she decided to end her presidential campaign two days after Super Tuesday. That night, at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in an hour-long discussion with Rachel Maddow, Senator Warren said this.


WARREN: We can`t lose hope, because the only way they make change is we get back up tomorrow and we get back in the fight. We persist.


WARREN: That is how we make change.

And it feels like we`re never going to make change until we make change. We were never going to elect a Catholic until we elected a Catholic. We were never going to elect a black man until we elected a black man.

And we`re they have going to elect a woman until we elect a woman. So we`re just going to stay in this.


O`DONNELL: After serving eight years in the Senate, Senator Warren is finally going to be in the room where tax law is written because in January, at the beginning of her ninth year in the Senate, Elizabeth Warren became the newest Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over taxation.

But even as their junior most member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Warren has been named the chair of the subcommittee on fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

And last week, in her first hearing, as the chair of that Finance Committee Subcommittee, she brought up the idea that she made famous in the presidential campaign, a wealth tax.


WARREN: Tax reform is just about choices. We can let our roads and bridges crumble, not upgrade broadband, make no investments in child care or getting lead out of drinking water, and let rich people pay tax rates at half the rate as everyone else.

Or we can ask those at the very top to pay a wealth tax. We can require giant corporations to pay a tax on book profits. We can get serious about tax enforcement for the rich and powerful.

Those three changes in the tax code would give us trillions more than we need in order to pay for President Biden`s infrastructure plan and his CARE economy plan. It`s all about choices.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She is now the chair of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth in the Senate Finance Committee.

Her new book, released today, is called "Persist."

Senator Warren, thank you very much for joining us tonight. It is a real pleasure to have you here.

WARREN: Oh, thank you for having me. I`m just delighted to be with you this evening.

O`DONNELL: You know, that opening image that we just saw of you in the Finance Committee hearing room sitting in what has always been the chairman`s chair is very special to me, because -- I think you will like this -- the very first woman -- when I was at the Senate Finance Committee, there were no women members of the committee.

And the very first woman I ever saw sit in the chairman`s chair, what was then Chairman Daniel Patrick Moynihan`s chair, was my daughter Elizabeth when she was less than a year old.


O`DONNELL: And that was the only female presence that I ever saw in that chair.

And so it -- and that -- and, by the way, seeing your -- a woman behind you there on that chair that I always used to sit on, the staff chair right to the right of the chairman, is always -- it always takes me back.

But what is it like for you to be on the committee where you could actually basically have the pen in hand marking up and writing possibly a wealth tax, and that`s the committee where it would have to be written?

WARREN: I love it. I mean, I truly love it.

You know, I think of it this way, Lawrence. Change is hard. It is hard to get change in Congress. You know this as well as anyone, that you get the little nibbles around the edge, you can fix something that comes up, maybe, in an emergency, do something.

But when a big crisis hits, that`s -- that`s when the time for change comes. We saw that in 2008 with the big financial crash. And we got Dodd- Frank out of that.

Think about what has happened in the last year, a global pandemic, a racial reckoning, an armed insurrection, a new president who ran on a very progressive agenda, ultimately, and won by more than seven million votes. And we have already passed an historic rescue package.

That means we are now a nation with our toes right on the line to make change, not nibble changes, but to make big structural change. And one big part of that is the revenue part.

It`s time for a wealth tax in America. It`s time for a tax on real corporate profits. And it`s time to enforce the tax laws against the millionaires and billionaires who have been evading their fair share of taxes for too long.

O`DONNELL: There`s another room that you have access to that, to me, is one of the most fascinating meeting rooms in Washington now.

And it`s Chuck Schumer`s conference room, where he gathers a group of Democratic senators in his leadership circle, which include, in a weekly meeting, with Chuck Schumer kind of at the head of the table, but letting you all go, you`re in that room. Bernie Sanders is in that room. Joe Manchin is in that room, along with several other senators.

And I`m always wanting to imagine what the conversation is like between you and Joe Manchin in that room.

WARREN: I will tell no tales.


WARREN: I just...

O`DONNELL: Well, for example -- for example, Senator Manchin, we know, has publicly said he`s reluctant to go as high as Joe Biden wants to go on, for example, the corporate tax rate.

When that kind of thing gets discussed in that room, it would seem to me that`s the opportunity for the friendliest version of the disagreement.

WARREN: Yes. And that is true.

There is considerable disagreement in that room. It is almost never heated. And I`m talking now generically, not about any one person. But it is intense, because these differences are real. And the urgency of getting this right is upon us.

Look, the debate, yes, it is important, but it is important because, as Democrats, we need to deliver. We made promises in `18. We made promises in `20. We said, you put us in control in the Senate, you put us in control in the House, you give us the White House, and we`re going to produce for the American people.

Well, it is time for us to do that. And we make that point more than any other point in that room. So, every difference we have got, we need to hammer it out, because, at the end of the day, we need to deliver on our promises.

O`DONNELL: In the 50/50 Senate, every one of you -- every one of you Democratic senators, in effect, has a veto over anything that the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, wants to do.

Joe Manchin is in a more prominent position of that power, because it more frequently comes up that he has some dissenting thoughts about what`s going on. But each one of you have that power.

And I`m wondering how you think about that power that you have, now that each individual Democratic senator is absolutely necessary to passing whatever Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden want to pass.

WARREN: Look, I think of this in two ways.

And the specific way you identify it is to say, I get it. On any given bill, I`m not going to get everything I want, so I better figure out what things are most important to me and what things I can say, until the day. We will come back to them, because it`s going to take 50 of us that somehow have worked out in a bill that this is enough for us to be on, and that every one of us feels like we can vote for it.

But I also think of it this way right now, Lawrence. And it goes -- it goes to the point about persistence. It goes to the point of what this book is about. It`s about the big pieces and what we`re trying to move. It`s about the rescue package in part, the fact that we said we`re going to put money in for people`s health, for people`s housing, for childcare.

Now it`s time to take the next step and to say, as a nation, yes, we want people to be able to go to work. We want businesses to be able to prosper. And we know what that takes. Roads and bridges, you bet. Communications, broadband, yes, and childcare. Childcare is part of that.

You want parents to be able to go to work, you want mamas to be able to get back into the work force, then, as a nation, we need to have affordable, high-quality, available childcare. It`s an issue of opportunity for every American, particularly the women who`ve been knocked out of the work force during the pandemic.

And it is also an issue of growth in our economy, productivity. We need childcare. It`s part of the structure of what makes America prosperous going forward and gives everyone a chance to build a real future for themselves.

O`DONNELL: We are now into another version of a pattern that we have now seen.

I have been watching it closely since the early 1990s. And that is, a Democratic president comes in, in this case, having defeated an incumbent Republican, President Bill Clinton comes in, and one of the first things he does is propose a tax increase. And the Republicans say, Newt Gingrich says, you`re going to destroy jobs, you`re going to destroy the economy.

The tax increase passes only with Democratic votes, the economy soars. Then we get a Republican president who then cuts taxes, and then the next Democratic president who comes in, Barack Obama, then has to raise taxes again for fiscal sanity. The economy continues to increase after the -- after the Obama tax increases.

And here we are again, and the Republicans are saying, if you and Joe Biden get your way, and you get these corporate tax increases, you`re going to destroy the economy.

The argument has been wrong every single time they have launched it, but they haven`t given up on it.

WARREN: That`s right. They haven`t.

But here`s what`s started to change. And that is, it used to be the case that the Republicans could say, they`re going to raise taxes, and it would cause this ripple of anxiety all across Washington and throughout much of the nation.

Not anymore. But, today, the wealth tax, a tax on families that have more than $50 million in wealth, I have proposed a 2 cent tax on their wealth, a little bit more than that if they have billions in assets. That tax is popular across this country, popular with Democrats, popular with Republicans, popular with independents.

Americans look around and they say, wait a minute, the 99 percent in this country, they paid last year about 3.2 percent of their total -- 7.2 percent of their total wealth in taxes. But that top one-tenth of 1 percent, they paid only 3.2 percent of their total wealth, less than half as much.

I think Americans have had it with the Republicans on taxes, the tax cuts that went to the billionaires, and now just understanding this system is not working. It`s a rigged system that works for those at the top.

And I think people are really ready for change. I wrote this book "Persist" because I believe it is time for change. It`s personal, but it is also about policy, about making the changes that are going to last for decades to come.

O`DONNELL: Senator Warren, there`s so much more in this book I`d like to get to, if you can stay with us over the commercial break.


O`DONNELL: I`d like to get into some of the more personal elements of the book.

You lost more than an election. You lost your brother to COVID. There`s a lot of personal material in this book that I`d like to turn to after this break.

We will be right back with Senator Elizabeth Warren.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to endorse -- I have endorsed Elizabeth Warren`s bankruptcy proposal, which, in fact, goes further, allows for student debt to be relieved in bankruptcy, provides for a whole range of other issues that allows us to, in fact, impact on how people are dealing with their circumstances.


O`DONNELL: And Senator Elizabeth Warren is back with us.

Senator Warren, that was about a week after I had interviewed Joe Biden in Michigan, and he wasn`t at that point. And you tell the story in your book about getting that call from Joe Biden where he says: Hey, I want to talk to you about your bankruptcy plan.

You said, I really -- he called. He said: "I really like the bankruptcy plan. Are you OK if I pick it up?"

And so that`s one of the stories of losing in campaigns. You don`t lose everything in campaigns. Your ideas might survive.

WARREN: Right. That`s exactly right.

You know, one of the very best parts about running for president that I talk about in this is, I got to get up every day and talk about plans. I got to talk about ideas, about things I really believe in. I got to give town hall after town hall after town hall, where I started out talking about being a mother and talked about the importance of childcare in families and in our economy.

I got to talk about canceling student loan debt. And I got to talk about the wealth tax. And I got, ultimately, to put out 81 glorious, juicy, fabulous, detailed plans.

And the neat thing about plans is, they are enough detail that you can be held accountable for them. You can be told there are more that you need over here or this part over there isn`t going to work.

But one other part, they can live even after you`re not in the race. They make their way on out into the world, that another candidate can pick them up. Look, I picked up good plans from Julian Castro, asked him if I could, and he said yes.

The idea is, we can use those plans to get better, to build something. Joe Biden was willing to do that. And, as I say in the book, when he called and asked if I could do that, would I be all right, all right? I said, I`d be over the moon. Take it, use it, and let`s make it law.

O`DONNELL: You suffered a bigger loss than the campaign loss last year, when you lost your brother, your oldest brother, to COVID-19.

You talk about that in the book; 582,553 COVID deaths as of tonight in this country. And your family suffered one of those.

I want to read from this passage and the way you described something that so many people in America have gone through, that news you`re getting with the relative in the hospital who has COVID.

This is on page 89 of Elizabeth Warren`s book "Persist": "Now the news came in sharp bursts from an overworked nurse to a frightened wife to me. `He`s in trouble. He won`t make it through the night. He`s better. He ate a little bit. He`s sitting up. He`s a charmer. He`s going to pull through. He`s failing again. His fever is worse. He`s gone. Don Reed died alone, no wife, no sons, no grandchildren or brothers or sister."

Senator Warren, you shared that experience now with over a half-a-million Americans who have -- over more than half-a-million Americans have died. That leaves millions upon millions upon millions of Americans who had that experience that you had.

What does that do to you as you approach the -- as you were approaching last year watching the Trump administration handling this COVID crisis, and now seeing the Biden administration take over?

WARREN: It broke my heart, and it made me deep-down furious.

As the book also mentions, on the day my brother died, Donald Trump was talking about the inconvenience of COVID and that he couldn`t play golf, and that it was all magically somehow going to disappear, magically. He didn`t need a plan. He didn`t have to have a strategy to deal with this. He didn`t have to have an immediate urgent response while people we loved were dying.

And it made me more determined than ever, not only to see Donald Trump defeated, but also to hammer home the importance of having a government that is competent, and a government that is on the side of the people, a government that doesn`t look the other way when the people we love are in need and when they`re dying.

That`s what -- that`s what being in the Senate is about for me. But I think it`s about what -- what all of us feel. We need to take better care of each other. We need a government on our side.

And now we have got Joe Biden. And he is -- that is the difference.

He called me when my brother died. He is a man who cares and a man who is determined to run a competent government. And I am grateful for that. And I want to help him succeed.

O`DONNELL: You make it very clear what a hero your brother was to you throughout your life. And he was a career Air Force officer, pilot, and also a Republican, a FOX-watching Republican.


O`DONNELL: Didn`t like what he heard on there about his little sister.

But I love reading your dialogues with him in this book, because it shows us how this conversation can be had and how you personally have the conversation with a Republican who you love very dearly and disagree with.


O`DONNELL: If your brother were still with you, what would he -- what do you think he`d be telling you today about the way he sees Joe Biden working as president?

WARREN: He would be probably giving me most of the FOX News talking points about taxes, about spending too much money.

And then I would be saying back to him, well, but, you know, think what it`s like -- and I would name someone in our own family. Do you think she ought to be able to finish school? And how is she going to do that if she can`t get childcare? Do you think that she ought to be able to go back to work? This young couple really needs -- needs that extra paycheck.

"Well, yeah, I think it`s fine."

I know exactly how this conversation would go. It would be a mix of FOX News and reality on the ground for our family, for all the things that have happened in the past and all the things we hope for in the future.

We would still be bumping into each other. And we would still end every conversation the same way: "Love you, sis."

"Love you, too, brother."

O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Warren, the new book is "Persist." And you can read many of those kinds of conversations that she had with her big brother in this beautiful and important new book. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

WARREN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Well, if you live in a swing state, you`re probably going to be seeing a lot of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the next four years. We`ll be joined at the end of the hour tonight by Congressman Gwen Moore who was with Vice President Harris today in Milwaukee. But first, remember the crisis, the crisis that no one in the news media is talking about anymore, now that the Biden-Harris administration has had some real success in dealing with the arrival of unaccompanied children at the southern border? That`s next.


O`DONNELL: President Biden`s family reunification taskforce has taken on the job of reuniting over a thousand families who were separated by Donald Trump at the southern border. Four parents who were deported by Donald Trump will be reunited this week with their children in the United States including one child who was separated at age 3. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said today that the number of unaccompanied children in border patrol custody which was reported by much of the news media last month to be a crisis, has dropped by more than 80 percent, from 5,767 on March 28th to under 600 today.

The average amount of time unaccompanied children are in border patrol custody has dropped by 75 percent from 133 hours at the end of March to under 30 hours now. By law, children must be transferred out of border patrol custody within 72 hours. Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Nanette Barragan of California, she is the first vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on border security. Congresswoman, this is your subject with the chairmanship of that subcommittee on border security. What was being widely reported as a crisis just weeks ago now seems to be managed by the Biden administration in a way that the Trump administration never came close to.

REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CA): Yes, Lawrence. First, thank you for having me. But we`ve seen a huge difference just in a very short amount of time at the height of it. There was a lot of kids, about 5,700, and as you said now, there`s under 700. That is pretty remarkable. I was there myself a couple of weeks ago at the Donna facility, which is a facility that Republicans are going to say there`s mismanagement. Well, guess what? Take a look at the photos that the Department of Homeland Security put out today that shows a stark improvement. I mean, photos don`t lie. I myself was there and have seen it. The objective under this administration is let`s get the kids out of border patrol custody as quickly as we can, and reunited with families, and they`re very successful in getting kids out of these border patrol facilities, which is no place for a child.

So, it`s great to see the number of kids go down, the number of hours go down. That means more opportunity for these kids to get the humane treatment that they need, and the faster they will get into the hands of their families. And let`s remember that many of these kids have family members here, waiting to be reunited. Something that this administration, as we saw today, is also committed in doing, although we have a lot more work to do on that end, as well.

O`DONNELL: The challenge of reuniting the kids who have been separated from their families is really daunting, especially because the records kept by the Trump administration were terrible, in many cases nonexistent. So that`s a slow and ongoing process. What can you tell us about what you expect the pace of that to be? We`re just getting the first four families reunited now.

BARRAGAN: Well, it`s a very slow and painful process. Part of that is because the prior administration did a horrible job in keeping records. They were not interested in tracking where the kids went to, where the parents went to. Remember, this was a policy put in place by the prior administration intentionally to be cruel and to deter people from coming to this country. It was horrible. I`m glad we have gotten rid of it. But now we have to make sure to do all we can to reunite these families. That includes making sure that this administration is working very closely with the NGOs on the ground who have been working on this issue for the last several years.

And the lawyers on the ground, both here and in these northern triangle countries. So hopefully, with their help, we can make sure to reunite families at a much quicker pace than we`re seeing it happening now. But the last administration purposely just didn`t have a system in place, and we know that. But we`re doing the best we can now and whatever we can do to support that effort to reunite families is something that I`m committed to doing.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

BARRAGAN: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump has retaliated against the Republicans Secretary of State in Georgia by supporting another Republican candidate for Secretary of State. Our next guest is trying to make sure that both of those Republican candidates for Secretary of State in next year`s election lose, and she becomes Georgia`s next Secretary of State. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Georgia`s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is conducting a grand jury investigation of Donald Trump`s possible interference in the election in Georgia, which could result in Georgia`s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testifying for the prosecution in a possible case of Georgia versus Donald J. Trump. Brad Raffensperger has said that he is fully cooperating with the district attorney`s investigation of Donald Trump, who has already endorsed a Republican challenger to the Secretary of State, who has announced his intention to run for re-election.

Brad Raffensperger is already, possibly the least popular Republican in the state of Georgia among Trump supporters, and testifying against Donald Trump in a criminal trial could eliminate any chance Brad Raffensperger has of winning the Republican nomination. And so, Georgia could get a Trump endorsed Secretary of State unless our next guest can get the kind of voter turnout that just elected two Georgia Democrats to the United States Senate. Joining us now is Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen, now a candidate for Secretary of State of the state of Georgia. Thank you very much for joining us tonight Representative Nguyen, we really appreciate it. What is at stake in this campaign to be the next Secretary of State in Georgia?

BEE NGUYEN, GEORGIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Everything is at stake in this campaign. I mean, we saw what happened on January 6th. We saw exactly what happened last year in 2020 when Republicans were trying to undermine the results of the election here in Georgia. We were subject to misinformation, lies, and conspiracy theories, and we sat through committee meetings where Republicans were silent as all of this misinformation came forward. And as a result, we passed a massive voter suppression bill that is based on lies. And by the reason of democracy, it`s dangerous for all of Georgians.

O`DONNELL: I want our audience to see just how close this race was in 2018. Brad Raffensperger, the Republican candidate won, beating the Democrat John Barrow but only by four-tenth of a percent of the vote, less than half of 1 percent of the vote. And so, that was a winnable race then with just a little bit more turnout on the Democratic side. Now that we`ve seen what the Democrats are capable of in statewide races in Georgia, this seems even more possible.

NGUYEN: It`s absolutely possible. And we saw evidence of that when we built a broad-based coalition that gave Joe Biden the win, that gave Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff the win. And part of that is recognizing that Georgians are stronger when we stand together, when we bring everybody to the table. We have shared values and we want the same things for our families. And quite frankly, when the Republicans are unable to offer new ideas, I mean, we`re in the middle of a pandemic, and we have the lowest rate of vaccinations, almost amounting to 50 states. We did not expand health insurance for half a million Georgians. And instead, we passed massive voter suppression policies based on lies. And so, we have the ideas, we have the policies, and we celebrate the diversity of our state, which is going to bring us to a win in 2020.

O`DONNELL: Georgia`s Republican legislature has now famously rewritten Georgia election law. How much does that law basically tie the hands of the Secretary of State and what might you be able to achieve in the office of Secretary of State, given the Republican legislature has written these new laws?

NGUYEN: It certainly dilutes the power of the Secretary of State. And I have to say, I`m very disappointed that our current Secretary of State is backing that law, despite the fact that it ties his own hands to do his constitutional duties that he was elected to do for the people of Georgia. But here`s the thing. The Secretary of State will still have a critical role in elections and across all divisions in the state of Georgia. And part of the elections-related responsibilities is being able to build collaborative relationships with 159 local election boards. Now, in the past, our Secretary of State has often times deflected responsibility and blamed the local election boards for inefficiency or challenges they face.

In fact, many local election officials have told me that they felt hesitant testifying in committee meetings because they were afraid the Secretary of State would be retaliatory. Instead of being collaborative and building a partnership, the Secretary of State has led in a way that makes election officials quite frankly afraid of him. And so what I envision a Secretary of State that is working to equip our local election spot with the resources they need, the training that they need to make sure that they are able to carry out the functions so that voters aren`t waiting in lines, so that election boards do have enough opinion to run elections, and that they are trained properly and understand our complicated and nuance election laws which have changed quite drastically in the last year.

O`DONNELL: Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen, thank you very much for joining us tonight, and please come back during your campaign for Secretary of State in Georgia. We would love to hear more, thank you very much.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up today, Kamala Harris made her first trip to Wisconsin as vice president of the United States. A state that she and Joe Biden won by only 20,000 votes. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was with the vice president today in Milwaukee, and she will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Today in Milwaukee, at the University of Wisconsin, the Vice President of the United States said this.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must be able to compete. And so, this is about where we stand in the global order of things, yes. But it is also about an investment in our ability as Americans to always have the ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been. It is about what we must and can do to pursue innovation for the sake of making things better for American families. Making things easier for American families and creating jobs.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin. Congresswoman Moore, the vice president came to your district today, you were there with her, hearing her say all of those things. How important is this infrastructure bill to Milwaukee?

REP. GWEN MOORE (D-WI): Thank you for having me, Lawrence. And we were so happy to welcome the vice president on her first official visit to Milwaukee. You know, Milwaukee has long been known as the tool makers of the world. And that part -- that is part of our heritage, part of our culture. And we make things. We manufacture things. And so, we were able today to showcase our science and industrial manufacturing. We looked at windmills. We looked at high density battery storage for electric cars. We talked about waste water.

But I think, also importantly, we talked about things like Broadband. We had a little child come there and talk about what technology means to young people. And we talked about the need to expand the definition of infrastructure beyond bridges and roads. Because there is no road or bridge to the future without investing as the vice president said, in these new technologies.

O`DONNELL: When Joe Biden gave his address to Congress about this plan, he talked about the 21st century definition of infrastructure which includes Broadband and other things that we weren`t talking about in the 20th century. But he also talked about something that is infrastructure from the past. Let`s listen to what he said about lead pipes.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American jobs plan creates jobs replacing 100 percent of the nation`s lead pipes and service line, so every American can drink clean water.



O`DONNELL: You know, in an address that was about 21st century infrastructure, I think a lot of people were surprise that this country is still getting drinking water through lead pipes.

MOORE: Well, I`ll tell you, we have 2,500 cases of lead poisoning among our children every year in Milwaukee. And we have $700 million of lead pipes and these -- it would take us 70 years, 7-0 years to replace these pipes at the rate that we`re going. And as you know, lead is a neurotoxin. There is no amount that`s safe. It causes cognitive disabilities in children, and maybe even violence. You know, Lawrence, you know, the vice president also, we also talked about the need to expand the definition of infrastructure to really take care of families and childcare. I mean, this is -- you start talking about equity. There is no way to have equity in any of these packages without looking at the disadvantage, quite frankly, that women have with regard to childcare.

The story of this pandemic has been the story of women not being able to work because they haven`t had childcare. And that`s whether the woman -- it`s also a story of women losing their jobs. And so we`re talking about the women who wipe down the tables at the fast-food restaurant, but we`re also talking about women who are trying to earn their PHDs and degrees and do papers for advance studies in science and technology. So, we talked about the need for stem, to diversify it and to plan for the future, not as an expense, but as an investment.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Gwen Moore, it sounds like you had a good day with the vice president in Milwaukee today. Thank you for sharing that with us tonight, we really appreciate it.

MOORE: Nice being with you, Lawrence, thanks.

O`DONNELL: Gwen Moore gets tonight`s last word, "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.