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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/24/21

Guests: Cedric Richmond, Jonathan Kott, Jocelyn Benson, Colin Allred


President Biden announced today a bipartisan agreement with senators on infrastructure. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani faces permanent disbarment. Rudy Giuliani`s Law License suspended in New York over Trump election lies. Michigan Republicans debunk voter fraud claims in unsparing report.



And we`re going to have the lead prosecutors in the case here tomorrow night after the sentencing. It will be such a important day in the courtroom for them and everyone else.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Indeed. Excellent. Well done, my friend.

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

Well, it really is infrastructure week, and President Joe Biden got to say the words today he has been wanting to say since Inauguration Day, we have a deal. And he was so excited about the deal that he did something that presidents just about never do. He went out into the driveway, on the Pennsylvania avenue-side of the White House with a bipartisan group of senators to announce the deal they just made.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a deal. And I think it`s really important we`ve all agreed that none of us got what we wanted, I clearly didn`t get all you wanted. They gave more than I think maybe they were inclined to give in the first place. But this reminds of the days we used to get an awful lot done in the United States congress. They did not - - and I understand their position -- Republicans and this group did not want to go along with my family plan issues, child care tax credits, the human infrastructure I talk about. That, we`ll see what happens, in the reconciliation bill and budget process.

I want to thank each and every one of them. A lot of us go back a long way where we`re used to doing one thing, give each other our word, and that`s the end. Nobody questions it. They have my word. I`ll stick with what is proposed. They`ve given me their word as well. So, where I come from, that`s good enough for me.


O`DONNELL: I don`t think I`ve ever seen a president do specifically that, go out to that specific spot, which is reserved by the White House press corps with microphones there ready for people with important meetings with the president at the White House. The White House is always left in the building while senators are doing that kind of press conference.

That picture today looked as if Joe Biden back in the Senate where he stood many times leaving the White House as a senator after an important meeting with the president. But that`s an indication of how excited Joe Biden is about where this momentum is tonight on this legislation. As President Biden turned to leave, he was asked about this complex two-tract approach to infrastructure in which the Democrats will pass a separate bill without Republican support that contains most of what Republicans have rejected. From the bipartisan deal that`s announced today.


REPORTER: Are you committed to a two-track system?

BIDEN: That is -- there is going to be a two-track system.

REPORTER: And are you confident that you`re going to have all of the Democrat support in Senate?

BIDEN: Let them talk to you, okay? I`m not confident anything, except I trust this group.


O`DONNELL: NBC News has obtained a list from the White House of what is included, rough list, in the final deal between the White House and bipartisan Senate negotiators, the deal creates $579 billion in new spending, including $312 billion transportation and $266 billion in other infrastructure, such as broadband and climate change resilience.

The White House says the bipartisan plan will be paid for by stricter enforcement of current tax law and redirecting unspent funding from the COVID relief bill, as well as other possible sources of funding that do not include tax increases. The Democratic leader of the bipartisan negotiations, Senator Joe Manchin said this.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We have a package that meets the needs of the 21st century and I think it`s a tremendous opportunity for us to show the rest of the world we can still get big things done in a bipartisan way.

REPORTER: Did you commit to supporting the second package that will be pushed through with reconciliation.

MANCHIN: I`ve committed to working on the second package.


O`DONNELL: Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema did not comment on the second package there on the driveway at the White House. But she did comment about it later. Here`s what she said about the bipartisan agreement.


SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): You know, there are many who say bipartisan is dead in Washington, D.C. and across this country. But this historic agreement today between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and with the president of the United States shows that when a group of people who are committed with shared values to solving the problems and challenges our country faces, we can use bipartisanship to solve these challenges.

As Rob said and as the president said, no one got everything they wanted in this package. We all gave some to get some because what we did was put first the needs of our country. This does represent a historic investment in our country`s infrastructure, and it meets the needs of folks who live from Virginia out to Arizona.


O`DONNELL: Later, at the White House, President Biden explained the leverage that he believes he has to make sure the Senate passes both a bipartisan bill with 60 votes or more and the Democrats only bill was just a majority vote through the budget reconciliation process.


REPORTER: Mr. President, you want both of these measures to come to you in tandem? Did you receive any assurance that will happen? And, how dido you anticipate -- what will you do --

BIDEN: If they don`t come, I`m not signing it. It`s real simple.

So, what I expect, I expect in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over they will have voted on this bill as well -- the infrastructure bill as well as voted on the budget resolution. And that`s when -- if only one comes to me, I`m not -- this is only going to come, I`m not going to sign it. It`s in tandem.


O`DONNELL: The leader of Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, responded to that this way.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It was a tale of two press conferences, endorsed the agreement in one breath, and threatened to veto it in the next. Less than two hours, it almost makes your head spin. Less than two hours, as I said, it makes your head spin -- an expression of bipartisanship and ultimate on behalf -- an ultimatum on behalf of your left wing base.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Cedric Richmond, White House senior adviser and director of the White House`s Office of Public Engagement.

Thank you very much for joining us on this important night. We really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: I want to get to what senator McConnell just said. We saw the president go up in the driveway and commend this group for reaching the bipartisan agreement, and then the way Senator McConnell puts it, a little bit later in the White House, we saw President Biden threatened to veto the bipartisan agreements that he just agreed to.

RICHMOND: What the president is doing is making sure people understood that this is a two-track, dual track process to get his American jobs plan and American families plan done. And we worked hard to get an agreement across the aisle, bipartisan to invest in America`s future and its competitiveness. But those senators were not interested in helping on the American Families Plan, and other of his agenda, which she always said would come in a second bill.

So, this is just the same track we always had in mind to get his agenda completed -- the rescue, plan the jobs plan and the families plan.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Joe Manchin said about the two-track approach today.


MANCHIN: The reconciliation is inevitable. There is going to be a reconciliation bill. We just don`t know what size is going to be. Let`s come to agreement, there is going to be a reconciliation bill.


O`DONNELL: So, Joe Manchin is on board with the reconciliation bill, Senators Sinema said I`ve already spoken with the president and leader Schumer about their thoughts on a two phased process and like always, I am open to finding a path forward.

The way Senator Manchin said it is we just don`t know how big the reconciliation bill is going to be. What is your sense of what the Democrats will be passing in the reconciliation version of this, and will you be able to hold the liberals in the House and the Senate in place with Senator Manchin?

RICHMOND: It`s about the details and what we want to accomplish. I want to stress a couple of things. One, Senator Sanders is starting on the reconciliation process and we are going to make sure that our care economy, education, our investment and families, that is -- and our commitment to fighting climate change is all encompassed in that legislation.

And so, we believe that Senator Sanders is going to craft a bill in which all Democrats are going to support. But here`s the real question, I think the president touched on this today.

We are going to fix and remove all lead pipe delivery in water and homes to this country. We are going to collect every -- connect every home to high speed internet.

And so, the question, is do I think Democrats will vote against removing lead pipes from people who have contaminated drinking water in their house? Connecting role communities and poor communities to the internet? Our investments in electric vehicle charging stations and electric vehicle buses, the largest investment in infrastructure in the last hundred years, the largest investment ever, and Amtrak, and our rail system, the largest investment since the creation of Amtrak.

So, this bill does a lot of landmark things in investment. It`s real and I think that constituents and people and voters they want to see it passed.

So, I just close with this. There is an old saying that when two elephants fight, only the grass suffers. So, this was President Biden doing exactly what he said he was going to do in both the primary and the general election, that he was going to bring people together and make sure that we move this country forward because this is about the American people and he is going to be a president for all of the people.

O`DONNELL: You know, just 24 hours ago, I was struggling to see how this could be done with this two-bill approach which has never been done before. But it is ripening into something that is starting to make a certain sense about how it is going to work. We just heard Congresswoman Jayapal in the last hour with Rachel Maddow speaking very positively about this agreement today. Even though it leaves out her priorities because she expects her priorities as Senator Sanders does to be dealt with in the next bill. Senator Sanders speaking very positively today about this bipartisan agreement.

So, it does seem to be taking shape on the Democratic side, as intended. It`s just a question of what does that reconciliation bill end up being and how many compromises will have to be made there?

RICHMOND: Well, again, it`s going to be the presidents priorities or the American families plan, plus climate which came out of the jobs plan.

Lawrence, I am so glad you started with that. President Biden has been doubted since he declared presidency. He was not progressive enough to win the primary. He couldn`t win the general election. He did all of those things. We couldn`t pass the rescue plan at 1.9 trillion dollars. We couldn`t do 100 million shots in the first 100 days, and we did 220 million shots.

People keep underestimating Joe Biden and they`re dead wrong. He said from the beginning, I have a rescue plan and then I`m coming back with a jobs plan to invest in our physical infrastructure, then of coming back with the families plan to invest in our human infrastructure.

So, he`s been crystal clear about what he wanted to do and I think people underestimate his experience in the Senate and the fact he completely knows exactly what he`s doing. And so, that`s why experience matters and relationships matters. So, I think that this is exactly what he was thinking when he designed this. I think people are going to be happy that Washington delivers for the people, and have a president that can bring people together when he has to, and he`s focused enough that if he has to go at it alone, like what the rescue plan is, he`s able to do that.

O`DONNELL: You have had as many as 11 Republican senators in the bipartisan negotiations. If you have 11, that brings you to 61. It`s exactly one more than you need to pass in. The Senate but is there any indication those 11 could attract more Republicans to this bill?

RICHMOND: I hope it does. And I think it has the possibility to do that because at the end of the day, it invests in the things people care about, broadband, rail, transit, all of those things that Republicans and Democrats support.

This bill is wildly popular. This is not a hard vote. This is actually an easy vote, just like the Rescue Plan because the American public supports it. So, my hope would be it passes with overwhelming bipartisan support.

O`DONNELL: Cedric Richmond, thank you very much for joining us on this important night. We really appreciate it.

RICHMOND: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And joining our discussion now, Jonathan Kott. He served as communications director and senior adviser to Senator Joe Manchin for seven years. Also with us, John Heilemann, NBC News and MSNBC national affairs analyst. He is executive editor of "The Recount" where he hosts "The Hell and High-Water" podcast.

Jonathan, this is something you never saw when you are working in the Senate, this two-track approach. In the last 24 hours, I have to say especially the comments from Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, what the president said today in the presence of those Republicans in the driveway indicates that it actually is taking shape this way.

And as much and important as it is for Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema to be on board with it, it seems those Republicans are also on board in effect with the Democrats going off and doing a separate reconciliation bill.

JONATHAN KOTT, FORMER ADVISOR TO SEN. MANCHIN: Yes. Senator Manchin and his colleagues crafted a great bipartisan bill. They work together and everybody is always thinking there is be there would be a two-track system. I don`t think Senator Manchin made any news. He said he was going to support these things. He said you could find ways to pay for it and I think you`re going to see Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi work together to get these things done. At the end of -- the time we go to the August recess, you`ll see Joe Biden having accomplished a lot moderates and progressives can be very happy with.

O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, we have seen Mitch McConnell`s attack plan on this. He`s basically saying he hasn`t said in these words yet, but in effect what he is saying is that this Republican agreement with Democrats is enabling the Democrats to get their left-wing wish list as he will call it in the other bill. That seems to be the way Mitch McConnell will try to pull at least two Republicans away from this bill.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That`s right. And I think they have done, to this point a masterful job. I`m right with you when you confirm my read of what`s going on in the Senate. It makes you feel good because it makes you think I`m doing something right. To see the way the progressives have lined up, had seen, you know, the signs that are coming out just in the last 24 hours. I think like you I was dubious for 48 hours ago. I think they`ve been masterful so far.

I do -- I think the question now is whether the fact that it is falling into place, is there a possibility that gives McConnell enough time to work the strategy you are talking about, and make clear -- I mean, if he tries to lean hard on his people, on his caucus and make it clear to them, or enough of them, who you are talking four or more, that the agreements are signing off on right now is enabling this larger bill to happen and be able to bring some political pressure or internal institutional pressure, party pressure, whatever pressure you want to talk about, can he, now that he has -- it`s in his sights, does that give him enough time to do the McConnell stuff, the killjoy stuff that he`s such a master of. And that I think is the one question I have right now. Is it falling into place a little too quickly and neatly, potentially for its own good in that context?

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, in many ways, the real Republican leader on the side of the Senate is Donald Trump and so what is Donald Trump going to do? What can he do in the coming weeks and months to pull as of tonight, all he has to do is pull two Republicans off the bipartisan bill and it collapses.

KOTT: I don`t think Donald Trump is going to be able to pull to Republicans off this bill. This bill is negotiated over a long period of time. And the thing I want to point out, these people are friends. This came together because they all worked together on a regular basis. They have been, or they built a relationship.

This isn`t like ten people got in the room and decided to chalk it up over who would get white in what`s spending bill. We get infrastructure, who would get water and highways. These are ten people who trust each other.

I think if anything this list is going to grow and I understand the skepticism and, Lawrence, you`ve been watching the Senate for more years than I`ve ever been there. Yeah, I would be skeptical to but I think there`s a better chance if the system goes to 70 senators, and that it brings to 59.

O`DONNELL: John, I think Jonathan has a real point there. It does have an equal chance to go two 70 then to go down from 61. And the big question is what does McConnell really want? Does Mitch McConnell really want this bipartisan infrastructure bill to pass so that he can get that bridge that he doesn`t have to vote for, connecting Kentucky to Ohio, very important bridge over the Ohio River, does he want that to happen or does he want, as he always does with everything else to derail Joe Biden? That`s the decision for McConnell.

HEILEMANN: Yes and I think that`s why want to be clear. I`m not skeptical Jonathan`s point. I`m just trying to look down the road and see where the point of vulnerability is. We know who that is. We know who the sharpshooter is here.

We know that McConnell is going to try to make some kind of move and the fact this might not get voted on for some number of weeks, potentially not all the way into the fall when this thing gets to final passage, it means a lot of time, a lot of yardage out there. I think your question, Lawrence, is the right question. I think that it not only is the right question about the answer to, it depends on in that period of time what happens to the public support of the bill over a week said elapsed we now in final passage.

And that I think is going to determine what McConnell decides and that is to some extent in the hands of the White House and Democrats. Can they go out and make this thing more popular? If they can make it more popular, including a red state, we will end up with 70. If it arose in popularity, that is McConnell will be in very great vantage along the lines of what we`ve been laying out.

O`DONNELL: Well, if the succeeds, this is a big blow against McConnell-ism in the United States Senate and so that`s at stake for him as well. Jonathan Kott, thank you very much for your expertise on this tonight. We really appreciate it.

John Heilemann, please hang around. You`re going to be joining our discussion about Rudy Giuliani losing his license to practice law today for, quote, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. A New York court found today that Rudy Giuliani is virtually capable of speaking publicly without engaging in at least one of those things. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: On this very night exactly 52 years ago, Rudolph Giuliani was very excited because the next day he was going to become a lawyer. Rudy Giuliani was admitted to the bar in the state of New York on June 25th, 1969. And today, the day before his 52nd birthday as a lawyer, Rudy Giuliani was disbarred temporarily with permanent disbarment likely after a hearing has been scheduled for that permanent disbarment.

The Supreme Court of the state of New York suspended Rudy Giuliani`s license to practice law today because the court concluded that Giuliani, quote, conduct threatens immediately threatens public interest. The court took action against Rudy Giuliani because of lies about the presidential election that Rudy Giuliani told in court in the course of representing his client Donald Trump and because of lies Rudy Giuliani told outside of court, which violate the rule that lawyers must not, quote, engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Rudy Giuliani told the court that he did not know that his lies where lies. And he said them. The court said ignorance is not a defense for lawyers and cases like this. The court carefully dismantled many of Rudy Giuliani`s lies, including lies he told about 30,000 dead people voting in Philadelphia.

The court quoted Giuliani saying repeatedly that the former heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier who died in 2011 voted in the 2020 election. The court said, quote, public records show that Pennsylvania formally canceled Mr. Frazier`s eligibility to vote on February 8th, 2012, three months after he died.

The court said Rudy Giuliani failed to, quote, provide a scintilla of evidence for any of the burying and widely inconsistent numbers of dead people he factually represented voted in Philadelphia during the 2020 presidential election. The court noted that Rudy Giuliani, his misconduct directly inflamed tensions that bubbled over into the events of January 6th, 2021 in this nation`s Capitol. The seriousness of respondent`s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden.

Joining us now, Zerlina Maxwell, host of the program "Zerlina", which airs on Peacock, and back with us is John Heilemann.

Zerlina, it was inevitable watching the madness of Rudy Giuliani spin out of control. This is stage one of the price he`s going to be paying for that.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, PEACOCK HOST, "ZERLINA": Right, Lawrence. I think it`s a big moment. Finally, there is accountability for lying about the election. And I think it should be noted that this is wholly separate from the federal investigation into his dealings with Ukraine, Lawrence.

And so, I think Rudy Giuliani has problems on multiple fronts, and today is a day where the American people can be assured that someone is being held accountable, finally, for lying about the election and causing the insurrection.

If you recall, he was even more egregious than Donald Trump was on that day. He talked about having trial by combat. So he was even more clear about what he wanted. Those people to do, march up Pennsylvania Avenue to do, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And John, the court was stunned that Rudy Giuliani continued to commit these offenses while this proceeding was going on, and they cited all of the times he lied in March, and in April, when he knew he was being investigated for those same lies.

JOHN HEILEMANN, CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SHOWTIME`S "THE CIRCUS": You know, we`re talking -- calls to mind, in the 2008 presidential campaign, you may recall the Joe Biden`s best moment, he did not have a great 2008 presidential campaign. His best moment was a debate, in which he said famously that every sentence that came out of Rudy Giuliani`s mouth was a noun, a verb at 9/11, right? That was his joke. It was a good joke. It`s -- this document is the Rudy Giuliani of the Trump era every sentence is a lie, a lie another lie. I mean, it is not just pernicious and it`s the part that you just read or just referred to. It speaks to a kind of mental illness. I just -- you know, it`s not -- he`s -- he obviously lost his -- went off his rocker. I`m not a professional in this respect. But I could use colloquialisms right? What, you know, everybody talks about the how far the fall has been from America`s mayor and the U.S. Attorney, for the Southern District of New York and all the things, the third ranking official in the Justice Department, how far the mighty are fallen. But my God, if you look at his performance as a political actor, and as a lawyer, in the four years of Donald Trump`s administration, you would say that that person not technically speaking, but colloquially had lost his mind. And I think that that is the only way you can explain someone who`s facing these kind of disciplinary proceedings and continues to commit the very crime or the very offense that you know, you`re about to lose your law license for.

O`DONNELL: And Zerlina, this is the preliminary suspension. And they only do this in egregious cases where they believe the conduct must be stopped immediately. And they said in their decision when we do this, it means it is very likely you are going to be permanently disbarred. Rudy Giuliani can ask for a hearing. He has not yet officially asked for that hearing. But he`s suggesting that he`s going to want that hearing to try to defend this case. And so we have that hearing to look forward to.

MAXWELL: Well, that will be a fun time, Lawrence, because every time he`s on camera, it`s an adventure. But I think that, you know, there`s two rules I really remember from law school, don`t mess with the money. And you can`t lie in official court proceedings and documents. But the lying piece is always a little -- it`s like an asterisk thing, because lawyers, I think, have a reputation for stretching the truth. But you can`t out and out willfully lie, especially if you know that the things that you were saying are not true.

And one of the things that I think is underlying all of this, Lawrence, is the connection between what Rudy Giuliani has been doing since the election, and the states passing voter suppression. Rudy Giuliani is one of the biggest proponents of the big lie. And the states that are the most egregious in passing voter suppression laws are those states that turn from red to blue and are undergoing demographic shifts. So all of this is connected, Lawrence, the big lie is connected to the real truth that the Democrats in the country are shifting, and Republicans are terrified. And Rudy Giuliani has been the biggest mouthpiece spouting those lies.

O`DONNELL: Zerlina Maxwell and John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us tonight.

HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.

MAXWELL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up Michigan had bad news today for Rudy Giuliani to. His lies got exposed to there. State Senate Republicans in Michigan issued a report condemning the lies of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump about the election. Yes, Republicans in Michigan issued that report. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will join us next.


O`DONNELL: It was also a bad day for Rudy Giuliani in Michigan where a report written by Republicans in the Michigan State Senate has concluded there was no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in Michigan`s prosecution of the 2020 election. The report produced by a Senate committee of three Republicans and one Democrat dismissed. One of the big lies told by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani that more votes had been cast in Detroit than the number of people who live there.

The report says, the "more votes than voters" theory repeated by President Trump`s attorney Rudolph Giuliani was based on an affidavit from the Allied Security Operations Group co-founder that cites several Michigan counties where there were allegedly more votes than registered voters. However, the affidavit cited several townships in Minnesota, not Michigan. Even if the document referenced the right state, the claims regarding Minnesota townships still were not accurate, according to data from the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Joe Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes. The report focused on lies told about one small county in Michigan where a human error and the vote count initially showed Joe Biden ahead in Antrim County. But when that mistake was quickly fixed, Donald Trump won the county by 3800 votes. The Republican authors of the report expressed outraged that that quickly fixed mistake and Antrim County was used by the Trump team as evidence of a nationwide conspiracy. The report says, the Committee recommends the Attorney General consider investigating those who have been utilizing misleading and false information about Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends. The Committee finds those promoting Antrim County as the prime evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to steal the election, place all other statements and actions they make in a position of zero credibility. That would be Rudy Giuliani.

Joining us now is Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Were you surprised that Republican senators issued this report?

JOCELYN BENSON, (D) SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, I know the senator who was the lead researcher on the report, Senator Ed McBroom. I`ve known him for about a decade now. He`s very committed to integrity and to the truth and look, frankly, at anyone who`s committed to those things, will scrutinize and can scrutinize our election and find exactly what his report found. It confirmed what over 250 audits and countless election officials, numerous court opinions, and the majority of Michiganders also know to be true that our election was secure, successful, and the results were an accurate reflection of the will of the people.

O`DONNELL: What about this question of the Attorney General conducting an investigation of the people lying about this?

BENSON: Well, you know, there`s been a lot of questions and talk about election fraud, and over the past several months, and I think it`s important that the report makes clear the only fraud that really did occur in our election was the fraud, lying and the misinformation about and misrepresentation about the truth and the integrity and security of our elections. And we want to be in a place where we don`t have to continuously fight this battle of misinformation. And the only way to ensure that this doesn`t repeat or escalate in future is by having accountability. And so I think it`s very important that the attorney general look at ways to ensure justice is served and efforts to deceive and lie to the public about the sacredness of our democracy, meet accountability.

And there also can be accountability at the ballot box as well that citizens can take on their own in future elections. But either way, we have to have clear accountability for those who are trying to deny the truth about our democracy, if we want to ensure that this doesn`t continue to escalate in the months and years ahead.

O`DONNELL: One of the people that this Republican Senate report went after in Michigan is the pillow guy, Mike Lindell. The report says Mr. Lindell, claims that attacks by foreign and domestic enemies were successful in obtaining access to the computers containing results at local and county clerk`s offices, as well as the Secretary of State. In some cases, the suppose that access included the actual tabulators. However, this narrative is ignorant of multiple levels of the actual election process. And I have to say that sounds as if they are being as kind as they could to the pillow guy.

BENSON: Truly, and again, speaking the truth and talking about the facts that we`ve known for months and spelling them out in a way that we hope more people hear, including the legislators and lawmakers who continue to push for and promote legislation that responds to these types of conspiracy theories and lies, legislation that seeks to undo the very policies that led to our success that led to so many people on both sides of the aisle voting and participating in democracy in 2020. And so, you know, my hope is that the words in this report, like the ones you point out, lead to real action in responses from other leaders in the state Senate and in the state legislature. So that we can really put behind us these issues with regarding to undo the success of the 2020 election and move forward and work to build on that success and find ways to replicate the security and the access that we did so well in 2020.

O`DONNELL: It`s very clear that Rudy Giuliani and the Trump people believed they could lie in any way they wanted to about what happened in Michigan. And that`s something that we really haven`t seen in the aftermath of an American election before this belief that you can make up any number, you can tell any lie. There`s no penalty for doing that. It`s a desperate attempt to switch some sort of momentum in your direction. It always seemed both hopeless and insane. It wasn`t going to have any effect. But what is it done to voters in Michigan and their understanding of their own system there.

BENSON: What`s really created a lot of division among citizens, a lot of confusion, which I think is part of the intent and has caused, you know, another piece of the intent is causes people to lose faith in their voice and their vote and in a democracy, and that causes them to disengage. And truly a healthy democracy requires everyone to be engaged on both sides of the aisle fully informed and an active and having rightly placed faith that when they vote their vote will be counted that the results of the election will be an accurate reflection of the will of the people. So we`ve confirmed that, we`ve reaffirmed that this report again reaffirms that. What we now need to do is ensure that these pernicious lies promoted by bad actors, be they candidates or others who are unhappy with the results sees and are repeated or escalated in future elections. And I think our focus needs to be on doing everything we can now to ensure that in next year`s midterm elections, and certainly in the 2024 presidential that we don`t see an escalation or repeat of those same tactics. And the only way we can do that is by really holding those bad actors accountable, which is why the decision today about Giuliani was so important.

O`DONNELL: Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson vindicated once again, this time by Republican senators in Michigan. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

BENSON: Always a pleasure, thanks for having me.

HARLOW: Thank you. And coming up, Texas Congressman Colin Allred would be joining us next even if he were not a member of Congress, because in his old job, he was a lawyer specializing in election law and working with attorney Marc Elias to protect the right to vote in this country. The Republican governor of Texas has now officially scheduled the next big battle on voting rights in this country for the week after the Fourth of July. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: The Brennan Center for Justice reports at least 389 bills proposing restrictions, voting restrictions have been introduced in 48 states that includes Republicans introducing completely hopeless bills and state legislatures controlled by Democrats. They know those bills might never come to a vote and don`t have any chance of passing but they will use those bills for fundraising and their reelection campaigns. But in the states controlled by Republicans, these bills can threaten democracy itself, Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, announced that he will order a special session of the legislature on July 8. Governor Abbott has promised to revive new voting restriction legislation blocked by Democrats during the regular legislative session. The governor has said that what he calls election integrity should be addressed in that special legislative session.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Colin Allred of Texas. He`s worked as a voting rights attorney. You are our expert in this arena, particularly in the Texas case. What are you expecting on July 8?

REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Well, you know, we spoke about this previously, Lawrence, that they were going to come back. And despite the bravery and actions taken by the Texas state legislators who walked out and did whatever they could to prevent this from passing during the regular session that they`re going to come back and try to do this again. The good news, I think, is that some of the most egregious provisions may actually come out of the bill from cutting a Sunday early voting restriction when they were trying to clearly target souls to the polls, to making it easier to overturn an election, those may come out seems like that`s possible. But there`s still going to empower partisan poll watchers tie the hands of local elections officials, and drive through and 24 hour voting is all of course, on top of us already being the hardest state in the country to vote.

O`DONNELL: All right, let`s go back to the overturn the election part because for me, and there`s a lot of people covering this, there`s a lot of different perspectives. I`m zeroing in on that. I am so concerned about what happens after votes are cast in Georgia. What might happen after votes are cast in Texas? So what do we -- what was in the provision that they tried to get through? And are you anticipating that they might just get rid of it completely?

ALLRED: It`s strange, Lawrence, because some of the legislators were saying that they were not aware of what was in the bill previously, which makes me wonder who was writing it, right? Because I mean, if people on the conference Committee hadn`t seen some of this language, then you wonder what outside group is handing them this language and telling them to put it in legislation to affect those in Texas.

But previously, they were trying to lower basically the threshold for a court to overthrow an election to basically say, you don`t have to prove actual fraud, that you can just have a presumption basically. And then in that case, a judge in this case in Texas, partisan elected judges could decide to overthrow an election. And anytime, anytime we`re talking about making it easier to overthrow elections, we`re talking about really going to the heart of democracy. So you`re absolutely right. This is one of the most concerning provisions. I`ll be watching closely, certainly, to see if it stays in.

O`DONNELL: And is that the kind of provision that could be challenged constitutionally by election lawyers if it is in the bill?

ALLRED: Absolutely. I mean, there`s -- there are several ways I think it could be challenged either just on a straight constitutional grounds or perhaps under Section II of the Voting Rights Act. You know, you could probably see how you could make this challenge, but it certainly would be and I think the moment that it was signed into law, you would see a lawsuit filed probably by Marc Elias.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Marc Elias is keeping a running tally for us on Twitter about every new lawsuit, he files in every state as it`s happening. But that`s the very, the most difficult possible way of pulling that tooth is after the fact through litigation like that. So July 8 is going to tell us an awful lot about the future of Texas.

ALLRED: Yeah, you know, unfortunately, I`ve been a part of lawsuits where, you know, even if there were later changes to the restrictions that were made in a bill, that we had elections that were conducted under those restrictions, and many ways, those elections, you know, we`re not fully, you know, verified elections because you had later courts say that discriminatory provisions were in place during the voting of that bill or of that period. So, you know, it`s really a long process litigation is, takes time. There are there are appeals and of course we have courts that may not be friendly to voting and that`s why we need to have federal voting protections as we`ve talked about to try and make sure that these things don`t ever go into place.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Colin Allred thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

ALLRED: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: As Rachel mentioned at the beginning of this hour tomorrow former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin will be sentenced for the murder of George Floyd. The sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Prosecutors have asked for a 30-year sentence. The defense has asked for probation.

Tomorrow night at 10 p.m., we will be joined once again hear on The Last Word by the lead prosecutors in the case, Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher. That is Tonight`s Last Word.