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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/23/21

Guests: Val Demings, Ed Markey, Tim Ryan


Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida is interviewed. Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is interviewed. Today was the first sentencing of one of the members of the Trump mob who attacked the Capitol on January 6th. The Republican appointed federal judge who issued the sentence today condemned the Republican members of Congress who are lying about what happened on January 6th. There was voter fraud in Ohio of at least one vote. A Republican official in Ohio is charged with voter fraud after signing the absentee ballot of his dead father.



And while you were working, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi had a meeting with White House people about this infrastructure deal on the two tracks, the bipartisan bill and then the Democrats-only version of it. And Chuck Schumer said it was a very good meeting. We got into quite a bit of detail.

We`re all on the same page, both tracks, the bipartisan track and the budget reconciliation track are proceeding apace and we hope to have voted on both of them in the Senate and House in July. And I`m completely fascinated by this, Rachel, because nothing like this has ever been done before.

I don`t know how they`re going to do the two bills because if you`re the Republicans and you`re negotiating with the Democrats on infrastructure bill, normally you would be saying to them, so this is the bill, right? There`s not extra, like, thing you`re not talking about. Yeah, there`s this other giant reconciliation bill with taxes and all the other stuff, environmental stuff that you guys don`t like, we`re going to do that on a separate track. And Republicans are supposed to walk out of the room and say forget it.

But I don`t -- Ed Markey is here. He`s going to be able to explain to me how the Senate is going to do something that it`s never done before because I have no idea how this works.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I trust Senator Markey to know how this can conceivably work, but I share your absolute slack-jawed skepticism that it`s going to proceed in a two-track way on any -- in any path that results in something that looks like a bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill passing in any way that we can conceive of them. I just don`t -- I don`t see it.

O`DONNELL: Well, trains go off the track all the time in the Senate. And this one, I don`t know. We`ll see what happens.

MADDOW: We`ll see.

All right. Thanks, Lawrence.

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

Well, this really is something we`ve never seen before. We have never seen this before in Washington, a giant infrastructure bill proceeding on two separate tracks. One track is bipartisan and the other isn`t. We have never seen any legislation of any kind enacted this way. But so far, it might actually be working.

Tonight, the White House press secretary released this statement, White House senior staff had two productive meetings today with the bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating about infrastructure. The group made progress toward an outline of a potential agreement, and the president has invited the group to come to the White House tomorrow to discuss this in person.

President Joe Biden brings something to that White House negotiation tomorrow that Donald Trump never did, the approval of 56 percent of Americans. In a new Fox poll, Donald Trump has never had the approval of even 50 percent of Americans. Viewers of the Fox propaganda shows will not be hearing about that poll conducted by their favorite network.

Today, Republican Senator Mitt Romney, one of the senators negotiating with the White House, said this.


REPORTER: So, you guy versus a deal.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): So, Republicans and Democrats have come together along with the White House, and we`ve agreed on a framework. And we`re going to be heading to the White House tomorrow.


O`DONNELL: So, today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer met with White House officials to discuss the infrastructure proposal and that separate infrastructure package that will include, among other things, tax increases rejected by the Republican negotiators. That bill is designed to be passed with Democratic votes only through the budget reconciliation process that avoids the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. And this is what Senator Schumer said about that.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Discussions about infrastructure are progressing along two tracks. The first is bipartisan and the second incorporating elements of the president`s American Jobs and Families Plan. The second track is something we must support even if it doesn`t get any Republican support.


O`DONNELL: NBC News reports bipartisan congressional negotiators trying to reach a deal on a compromised version of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act have made progress on the issue of qualified immunity. Bipartisan negotiators have given themselves a deadline of the end of this week to make a deal.

Here is Republican Senator Tim Scott today.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I do think we`re making progress in the last day or two than we have in the last week. So, I think we`re going to be heading towards that deadline tomorrow and hopeful that we`ll get there on the right side of the issue. I don`t think there`s outstanding issues that need to be worked out. We just need to agree on the actual language we`re using.


O`DONNELL: Today, President Biden directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke the licenses of gun sellers the first time they are caught willfully selling a weapon to a person who is not permitted to have one, neglecting to run a required background check or ignoring a federal request to provide trace information about a weapon used in a crime.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you willfully sell a gun to someone who`s prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record, if you willfully fail to cooperate with tracing request from inspectors, my message to you is this, we`ll find you and we will seek your license to sell guns. We`ll make sure you can`t sell death and mayhem on our streets. It`s an outrage. It has to end, and we`ll end it, period.

Folks, this shouldn`t be a red or blue issue. It`s an American issue. We`re not changing the Constitution. We`re enforcing it, being reasonable. We`re taking on the bad actors doing bad and dangerous things in our communities and our country.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida. She`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee, also the Intelligence Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.

Thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Lawrence, it`s great to be back with you.

O`DONNELL: I want to begin with where we just heard the president leave off here. And that is what he`s trying to do today in term of enforcing federal regulation in a strict way on gun dealers. With your experience in law enforcement, what impact can that have?

DEMINGS: Well, I have to say, I`m really excited about what the president has said today and what the Biden-Harris administration is doing.

I know that when you hold people accountable, it makes a difference. And the president made it quite clear that gun dealers who willfully -- in other words -- deliberately violate the rules, violate the law, will be held accountable. And there will be a zero tolerance for their bad behavior.

And so I really believe that that is a great way to hold people accountable. Look, we have to stop sitting back and doing absolutely nothing to address gun violence. And when we invest in communities, when we hold people accountable, it clearly makes a difference. So, I`m excited to hear the news coming from the president today.

O`DONNELL: We heard from Senator Scott there that it sounds like the Senate is very close to a bipartisan agreement on a police reform bill.

Do you have -- are you aware of the particulars of that agreement as it`s taking shape in the Senate now?

DEMINGS: Well, I`m not aware of the particulars in terms of where they are right now. It`s been a couple weeks since I`ve had conversations with any of the people at the negotiating table. But what we all know is that the -- I think the greatest sticking point has been a qualified immunity.

And look, I do believe that when officers are engaged in egregious behavior that it`s clearly outside of the policies of their agencies, violates the law, clearly and egregiously violates the training that they receive, then they should be held accountable and liable for that.

And so, I am hoping that we are closer than we`ve ever been into getting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed.

Look, we know that it is not perfect. We know that we still have a lot of work to do. But I am hoping that we can get this done or at least come out with an agreement, an announcement, by the end of the week.

O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to what you saw happen in the United States Senate yesterday where the Senate rule, the 60-vote threshold, prevented even allowing a debate on voting rights.

DEMINGS: You know, Lawrence, when you won`t even have the discussion, then what are you really trying to hide? What are you really trying to obstruct?

And let me make it quite clear. With the For the People Act, Democrats are trying to protect the right to vote. They`re trying to protect election integrity. Republicans are trying to obstruct your right to vote, stop your right to vote by any means necessary.

And so, you know, what I was pleased was to see all the Democrats come together in a very unified way to say, look, this legislation is important. Matter of fact, let`s begin the debate. Let`s have the conversation.

Obviously, the Republicans do not want to do that. And we all should ask ourselves. Why would you not want to move forward, have the discussion and ultimately have a vote on the For the People Act?

O`DONNELL: It looks like some version of the John Lewis voting rights bill might be able to move in the Senate. It already -- it has the support of exactly one Republican senator. It would need nine more in order to proceed in the Senate. If it could get those extra nine votes, which, by the way, I strongly doubt that it can, would that be at least an acceptable stage of progress for the House of Representatives to accept at this point?

DEMINGS: You know, Lawrence, this is not -- and I think you said it earlier -- this is not a red issue or a blue issue. This is an American issue. As John Lewis once said, the right to vote is almost sacred.

So, why wouldn`t you want to make voting easier for people living in a country that we say is the greatest country in the world?

Democrats are working to earn the people`s votes. Republicans are working to stop people from voting.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act is important, but we really need it coupled with the For the People Act.

So, understand me and hear me clearly. We are not giving up regardless of their procedural votes to obstruct, regardless of the filibuster -- look, when the filibuster stands in the way of good legislation going forward, then we need to get rid of it.

And so, we are not stopping this effort. We are really just beginning. We`re not giving up on this fight.

O`DONNELL: Are you concerned about voter enthusiasm among Democrats in relation to, say, turnout in the next congressional election, when they`re watching this obstructionism in the Senate frustrate the Democratic agenda there?

DEMINGS: You know, Lawrence, what we all have been reminded of I think is the people who blood, sweat and tears are in our right to vote, people who gave their lives, people who dedicated their lives.

I watched the movie "Selma" yet again over the weekend and relived, yet again -- I`ve certainly heard the stories directly from John Lewis. But watching him being beat down on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and others, if you remember, came from all over the United States based on the moral call from Dr. King. Some of them did not make it back home.

And so, I don`t think people are discouraged at all. I think they are motivated. When you try to take away their most precious basic right, I think they`re motivated more than ever.

And so, the Republicans` obstruction which is -- they should -- it`s shameful -- I think would do just the opposite of their intentions. It will motivate people to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote.

O`DONNELL: President Biden issued a statement saying he would be speaking more about voting rights next week.

Let`s listen to what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said about that today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What you should expect to hear from him is that there are many ways to work across the country with activists, with states, with legislatures using every lever of our disposal to expand access, improve access to voting for people across the country. We`ll talk about some of the ways he wants to continue to do that.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Demings, do you expect the president possibly to go on the road with this message?

DEMINGS: Lawrence, I certainly think it is important enough to do just that. You know, I`m reminded of my own parents. As you well know, my mother was a maid and my father was a janitor, worked long, hard days.

But I cannot remember a time where they did not go to vote. And, Lawrence, I think they did because they understood that when they cast their vote, it mattered just as much as the richest and poorest -- or richest man or woman in town.

And so, I think President Biden has certainly demonstrated his commitment to protecting the sacred right to vote. And I do believe that there are a lot of good actors. We know there are some bad actors in some states. We`re watching my home state as well.

But enough good actors around a state, states around the nation, who will take action to protect the vote. I`ve even introduced legislation myself that will create a ballot tracking system and requires drop boxes and also looking at alternative means for signature verification. This is important. I know President Biden is committed to it, and there are many other people, in spite of the obstructionists, who are committed to this effort.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Val Demings, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

DEMINGS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Senator Ed Markey will join us on tonight`s breaking news that Democratic and Republican Senate negotiators have reached a framework on a bipartisan infrastructure agreement, which excludes top priorities of Democrats, which the Democrats then plan to pass in a separate infrastructure bill running on a separate legislative track. I for one have no idea how that`s going to work because it`s never been done before.

Senator Markey will explain it all next.



SCHUMER: We had a very good meeting. We got into quite a bit of detail. We`re all on the same page. Both tracks, the bipartisan track and the budget reconciliation track are proceeding at pace, and we hope to have voted on both of them in the House -- in the Senate and the House in July.


O`DONNELL: The breaking news of the hour is that the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer as you saw there appeared to be supportive of the bipartisan deal of infrastructure, negotiated by a group of bipartisan senators. The leadership plans to pass a separate infrastructure bill with the Democrats` priorities included in that separate bill.

Here`s more of what the leaders had to say.


SCHUMER: One can`t be done without the other. We always agree to that. If we can`t get the bipartisan bill done unless we`re sure of getting the budget reconciliation bill done. We can`t get the budget reconciliation bill unless we`re assured of the bipartisan. And I think our members across the spectrum realize that.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Senator.

And you`re joining us in the middle of what is breaking news of sorts from the Senate.

What is your reaction to where the talks stand tonight on the bipartisan deal?

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Well, obviously, there seems to be some progress that`s been made on the bipartisan deal, but this other news is great news, which is that the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader have agreed that the bipartisan agreement, if it`s reached, combined with a reconciliation bill that is negotiated just with Democrats on the remaining items -- that would be climate change, child care, family leave, pre-K and free community college and so many other issues that won`t be in this bipartisan package so that all goes down the legislative track on separate tracks but all comes into the train station at the same time.

And that`s great news because we just can`t leave behind all those other huge issues that must be dealt with here in the year 2021.

O`DONNELL: Well, I mean, not to get too technical, but it is impossible for those two bills to come into the train station if it`s the Senate floor at the same time. One will have to be voted on before the other.

What I don`t understand about this, Senator, is why the Republicans would join the bipartisan bill, knowing that you`re going to do an additional bill that includes elements they`re opposed to? Why would they let you get this done by participating in half of it with you?

MARKEY: Well, I guess I would -- I would assume that the Republicans do want to prove that they can work together on a bipartisan basis, that they can put together legislation on bridges and roads and broadband and other issues like that that can have members reaching across the aisle and then vote for that.

But then, the Democrats would be free to pass a reconciliation bill, the planet is running a fever. There are no emergency rooms for the planet. So, we have to deal with wind and solar, all electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids. You have to deal with the crisis that we`re seeing leading the news every night on the drought and the fires out in the western part of our country. All of this is climate-related.

So, it will be two tracks. The Republicans don`t have to vote for the second track if they don`t want. But simultaneously, preceding that, they`re free to vote for the bipartisan package, as long as there`s a guarantee that we will have the 50 votes for the reconciliation package with all of those additional things that the Democrats want and that Kamala Harris can break the tie and ensure that that also becomes the law of the land.

O`DONNELL: Okay. So, you`ve just added another element to my understanding of this. I`m getting the impression that what you`re saying is that Chuck Schumer has to have an agreement with all 50 Democrats, which would include Joe Manchin, that they will support the reconciliation package before Chuck Schumer puts his full support to the bipartisan package?

MARKEY: Yes, I would say that that`s accurate. But I would also say the same thing is true for House Democrats. I don`t think they`re going to be passing out a bipartisan package if they`re not sure that the votes are going to be there in the Senate as well.

So, yes, I think we have these almost unbreakable guarantees that will be put in place that guaranteed that ultimately both of these packages do pass and that the votes are there for both of them and we have a huge, big, bold Joe Biden jobs and family plan that ultimately is put on the desk in the White House for his signature.

O`DONNELL: And what do you anticipate? On the Democrats-only bill, there seems to be elements in that bill that Joe Manchin, last we checked in on this, is not supportive of. What is your sense of that?

MARKEY: Well, obviously, we`re going to be trying to work very closely with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and all of the Democrats to put together a package which can get those 50 votes so Kamala Harris can break the tie. So, I`m optimistic we can accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, I do feel we won`t get much if any Republican support.

But I do feel if we negotiate in good faith with Joe Manchin, that we can reach an agreement that will make it possible to pass a reconciliation bill that`s big and a bipartisan bill at the same time.

O`DONNELL: So, as of tonight, there are 11 Republicans in the bipartisan deal. If you lose two of them between now and voting time, that deal goes down, that collapses. The Republican leader of the Senate, Donald Trump, will surely have something to say about and to those 11 Republican senators to try to knock at least two of them off that bill.

MARKEY: We`re a long way from the train station, if that`s what you`re saying. Yeah, Donald Trump is still the most powerful force in the Republican Party. He has a lot of sway. It`s hard for Democrats to fully understand the extent to which that controls their agenda, but it`s real.

And if that bipartisan deal breaks down, then, of course, we`re still left with the option of moving on reconciliation with only a 50-vote Democratic unity coalition, which is put together in order to pass all of the parts of this legislation.

O`DONNELL: Senator Markey, on voting rights, it`s one of -- yesterday was one of those days in the Senate that you knew when you woke up in the morning how it was going to turn out in the Senate. But, of course, it always feels much differently when you`re actually on the Senate floor and you watch something like voting rights get crushed like that.

MARKEY: It`s hard to watch all of these red states across the country passing laws which we know are intended to suppress the ability mostly of black and brown individuals in our country from successfully voting in our country. It harkens back to the Jim Crow era. It harkens back to the era when Republican and Democratic senators used the filibuster to block voting rights reform from being passed.

So, it was a sad day for our country, sad day for the United States Senate and a very sad commentary on our nation when it just broke down on a completely partisan basis, Democrat versus Republican, red versus blue, when passing laws that make it possible for people to vote should be something that we are willing to debate.

They weren`t even willing to cast the vote that made it possible for us to have a debate on voting reform, electoral reform in our country. And that`s a sad day.

We weren`t even voting on a voting rights issue, just on whether or not we should debate it. And they are so committed to this Trump agenda, to this Mitch McConnell agenda that they would not even give us a vote do that.

O`DONNELL: Senator Ed Markey, thank you very much for joining us tonight and illuminating for me how this very complicated two-track play in the Senate just might work. I`m really impressed.

MARKEY: Unprecedented solutions to an unprecedented time that we live in.

O`DONNELL: Exactly. That`s what I think I`m hearing. Thank you very much, Senator. Really appreciate it.

MARKEY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Well, today was the first sentencing of one of the members of the Trump mob who attacked the capitol on January 6th. The Republican- appointed federal judge who issued the sentence today condemned the Republican member of Congress who are lying about what happened on January 6th. Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Well, today was the first sentencing of one of the members of the Trump mob who attacked the Capitol on January 6th. The Republican appointed federal judge who issued the sentence today condemned the Republican members of Congress who are lying about what happened on January 6th.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann will join us next.


O`DONNELL: "Most exciting day of my life" -- that is the way one of the now convicted criminals who attacked the Capitol on January 6th described the day that she and a Trump mob tried to destroy democracy.

Today she said, quote, "I went there to support President Trump peacefully. I`m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day. It was never my intent to be a part of something that`s so disgraceful to our American people and so disgraceful to our country. I just want to apologize."

That is what 49-year-old Anna Morgan Lloyd told a judge today in Washington D.C. before he accepted her plea bargain with federal prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to the charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, in exchange for which the prosecutors dropped the more serious of violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building."

Judge Royce Lamberth, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan sentenced her to three years probation, 40 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution.

Since other members of the Trump mob were wearing clothes supporting the Nazi death camps in which six million Jews were killed by the German Nazis in World War II, the defendant tried to distinguish herself from them by, on the advice of her attorney, writing her thoughts about "Schindler`s List", Steven Spielberg`s Oscar-winning film about the Holocaust.

She wrote, "This movie was very moving, hard to watch and hard to not watch. It`s hard to believe there are people who say this never happened.

One of my sons-in-law is half German. His mother was born in Germany and has never became an American citizen. My son-in-law doesn`t believe the Holocaust happened as it did. He says only a million Jews died. One person being killed because of their faith is too many!".

Since so many members of the Trump mob were carrying the flag of the confederate states that fought to preserve slavery, Morgan Lloyd wrote a book report on the advice of her lawyer about a book about the death penalty being unfairly imposed on black men.

There is no indication that her attorney had her read a book about American democracy or the constitution, which is what she was attacking that day.

"The Washington Post" reports that the judge told Morgan-Lloyd that if she violated probation, she better come to court with, quote, "her bags packed".

Joining us now is Andrew Weissmann, who served as FBI general counsel and chief of the criminal division in the eastern district of New York. He`s an MSNBC legal analyst.

Andrew, your reaction to this first sentencing of the Trump mob today.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, it`s very hard to second guess when you`re outside of the courtroom sentencing of an individual. It might be easy for viewers to think of this as the judge mollycoddling the defendant, but it is important to remember certain objective facts about her.

She is not sort of a typical person who really rampaged violently. There`s -- as the prosecutor said, there were no known ties to an extremist group that she had. She didn`t participate in any violent activity. And she was in the congressional building for all of ten minutes.

That being said, this was still a lenient sentence. But it`s important to note the sentencing guidelines that govern her sentence were zero to six months. So, they were quite low.

And the judge exercised his discretion to give her, as he said, one chance but only one chance. And he obviously also credited her remorse and acceptance of responsibility.

So, you know, she got lucky, given what she had done. But it`s hard to say that the Judge Lamberth made the wrong choice here.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the judge said in addition to his comments about her. He said, "I`m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6th was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol. I don`t know what planet they were on. This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent. It was intended to halt the very functioning of our government."

So there is the judge, who clearly seems inclined to give much stronger sentences to people who were planning this if they come before him.

WEISSMANN: Yes, he said that. He said, don`t take this as a sign for everyone else that I`m going to do the same thing. You know, it`s remarkable, Lawrence, that you have to quote the judge saying, you know, facts still matter because of course it was absurd to say any of this was just tourists going to visit, you know, the congressional building.

You know, as he said -- and he`s very plain spoken -- what planet are you on. And that sounds just like Royce Lamberth.

O`DONNELL: There`s another interesting development in this investigation. And that is the report that one of the Oath Keepers is now going to cooperate with the investigators. Graydon Young is reported to be cooperating. He`s pleaded guilty on Wednesday for charges of conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding.

This is someone who is very much in the thick of this. He`s agreed to provide testimony before the grand jury and to participate in any form of investigation. What does this mean for the prosecutors?

WEISSMANN: Yes, so this is really the development. I mean this is the thing to keep your eye on because there`s a conspiracy case involving many members loyal to the Oath Keepers that`s pending. And this is now the second person with allegiance to the Oath Keepers who has pleaded guilty and said that he is cooperating with law enforcement.

So for the other 14 people who are part of that case, not a good development because they have -- the government now has one more witness. And there were tantalizing details about planning, about using encrypted applications and taking various steps to make sure that they were not being detected and that there was really a concerted plan beforehand to do this.

This is not a spur of the moment impromptu event, but something that was orchestrated. So, you know, this is really to me where, you know, the whole ball of wax is in this, that this is really serious conduct that undermined democracy.

O`DONNELL: And prosecutors indicated that he was facing a possible six-year sentence on the charges -- the strongest charges that he was facing. So he`s not willing to take that risk on six years. It sounds like there could be more cooperation from more defendants unwilling to take such risks.

WEISSMANN: Sure. You know, there`s no longer a president in the White House who`s going to pardon people the way that President Trump did. So you know, the prosecutors are doing what they`re supposed to do, which is they build a case. They amass evidence.

And then defendants have a choice to make whether they`re going to assert all of their constitutional rights and go to trial or they can decide to cooperate, plead guilty, and then generally speaking judges give them credit for accepting responsibility.

And as we saw in the earlier case, the sentencing today where a woman got probation for her acceptance of responsibility.

O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Always appreciate it.

WEISSMANN: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, there was voter fraud in Ohio of at least one vote. A Republican official in Ohio is charged with voter fraud after signing the absentee ballot of his dead father -- Republican voter fraud in Ohio.

Ohio congressman Tim Ryan will join us next.



SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Yesterday`s vote was another piece of evidence that voter suppression is now part of the official platform of the Republican Party.


O`DONNELL: Republicans in the United States Senate are now in effect working in coordination with Republicans in the state legislatures around the country who are passing bills to restrict voting and even more importantly in some states, change the process for counting the votes.

Republicans in Ohio are pushing voter restrictions on the grounds that they are defending against possible voter fraud. One person charged with voter fraud in Ohio is the -- in the last election -- is Republican official Edward Snodgrass, who voted twice -- once legally as himself, and he voted a second time by forging his dead father`s signature on an absentee ballot.

Mr. Snodgrass is reportedly negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors in that case of voter fraud.

Today`s Ohio`s Democratic senator Sherrod Brown slammed Ohio Republican legislators for pushing voter restrictions in the name of what he called the, quote, "abject lie" told by Donald Trump about the election.

"The Columbus Dispatch" reports that in a call with reporter, Senator Brown said, "They should be ashamed of themselves. It`s why Republicans are going to start losing more elections in Ohio because the voters know that they`re playing to that big lie from an angry president that cares more about dividing people than he does unifying our country."

Ohio`s voter restrictive bill would require two form of ID to request a mail-in ballot, restrict the placement of drop boxes, shorten early voting and shorten time to request mail-in ballots.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. He is running for United States Senate in Ohio now.

Congressman Ryan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I wanted to get the perspective from the House of Representatives about what happened in the Senate yesterday.

You passed the "For The People Act". You sent that bill to the United States senate and you watched Republicans stop it using a procedural maneuver requiring 60 votes.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Yes. I think it proves, Lawrence, that the senate is absolutely broken. We passed that from the house. It went to the Senate. We couldn`t even get a compromise with Joe Manchin bringing another opportunity to vote for it. The Senate`s broken. And we`ve got all of these issues that we need to deal with.

Workers are working harder than ever before. They can`t get ahead. China`s breathing down our neck. We`ve got to address and meet the moment.

I think the only way to do that and address these issues around voting rights is to get rid of the filibuster. It`s a must. And if we`re going to cut workers in on the deal, we`re going to rebuild the country. We`re going to meet the moment that we`re in. We`ve got to get rid of this archaic rule that is stopping us from making the progress we need to make.

O`DONNELL: That strikes me because you in true Ohio style have always been interested in bipartisan cooperation wherever it is possible. So this is the straw that broke the camel`s back for you on the Senate rule on the 60- vote threshold?

RYAN: Well, it`s been accumulating. I mean look, I`m in the top 10 percent of House members, Lawrence, that are the most bipartisan. I want to work with Republicans, but they don`t want to work with us.

Mitch McConnell has said he has no interest in working with Democrats. He wanted to destroy Barack Obama`s presidency. He wanted to -- now he wants to destroy Joe Biden`s presidency.

And we can`t sit here and wait around. I mean, China is breathing down our neck. They`re dominating the electric vehicle market. They`re dominating artificial intelligence.

We get all our prescription drugs from them. We don`t manufacture like we used to. What the hell are we waiting for? The only thing that needs to change for us to make significant progress on infrastructure, on voting rights, on these different issues, cutting people back in on the deal, cutting workers in on the deal is to get rid of the filibuster.

I`m sorry it`s come to this point, but we don`t have an honest broker on the other side. And America can`t wait any longer.

We`re going to wake up ten years from now, China`s going to be the dominant economy. They`re going to have really hollowed out the American workers and American communities. We`re not going to have passed infrastructure.

All these things because we have this stupid rule in the Senate. Everything`s changed in the world, Lawrence, in the last 100 years, everything, except the rule in the Senate that prevents us from making the kind of progress that can really cut workers in on the deal.

And look, if people want to try to get another vote in the Senate, Help us flip this seat. Help us flip this seat blue so that we can start making the progress we need to make.

O`DONNELL: Seems like Senator Schumer is in a very long slow dance with Joe Manchin and possibly Senator Sinema about this, in effect showing all of these bills, bring these bills to a vote that he knows will be defeated by the Senate rule, not by a fair vote, but by the Senate rule. They`ll be defeated.

RYAN: Right.

O`DONNELL: And the theory is that after we show you that all these bills have been defeated by the Senate rule, we then go back to Joe Manchin and Senator Sinema and we close the door, and we have the moment where we, I guess, beg them to change their mind about the Senate rule. That`s a long dance to go through.

RYAN: Well, you worked in the senate, Lawrence. You know sometimes the dances are short. And sometimes they`re long. And I think it`s important for them to be able to show their constituents that, look, they`re trying, too.

I mean I think what Joe Biden is doing is saying, look, we`re trying. We`re bending over backwards. But look, there`s these looming threats to our democracy. There`s the looming threat to our economy. There`s a looming threat to our people`s health and our citizens` health and well being. And we can`t address these issues because of this procedural rule.

And you know, look, you go across the board, Lawrence, that`s the despair, lack of access to health care. My mom in some months pays $1,000 a month for her prescription drugs. We`ve got to make a difference in the Senate so that we can get this country where it needs to be. So we can be the great country we need to be., send us a few bucks so we can get to the Senate and help make a big difference to change this so we can start cutting workers in on the deal again, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Tim Ryan, candidate for Senate in Ohio, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

RYAN: Thank. Thank you.

And coming up, President Obama will get tonight`s LAST WORD.


O`DONNELL: Here`s President Barack Obama in 2010 rallying support for the Affordable Care Act by telling his audience what would become the familiar story of Natoma Canfield.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ss you want to know why I`m here, Ohio? I`m here because of Natoma. I`m here because of the countless others who have been forced to face the most terrifying challenges in their lives with the added burden of medical bills they can`t pay.

I don`t think that`s right. Neither do you. That`s why we need health insurance right now. Health insurance reform right now.


O`DONNELL: Natoma Canfield wrote a letter to President Obama that said, "I need your health reform bill to help me. I simply can no longer afford to pay for my health-care costs. Thanks to this incredible premium increase demanded by my insurance company, January will be my last month of insurance."

Pres Obama used that letter repeatedly to rally support for the Affordable Care Act. After the Affordable Care Act became law, President Obama, invited Natoma Canfield to the White House where he had the letter in the Oval Office.


NATOMA CANFIELD, THE FACE OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: I`ve never written to a president before. I just wanted somebody somewhere to know how hard I`d struggled, you know? I didn`t think it would ever get read, really, but just putting it down in writing and sending it off made me feel better.


O`DONNELL: On Friday, Natoma Canfield`s long battle with cancer came to an end. She passed away at the age of 61.

In a statement today, President Obama said by telling her story, Natoma helped make a difference in the lives of so many like her. She will remain an inspiration to me for years to come. Natoma Canfield`s letter still hangs now in President Obama`s personal office.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.