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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/4/21

Guests: Madeleine Dean, Eddie Gaude, Jr., David Cay Johnston, Jared Bernstein, Nicole Cannizzaro, Jason Frierson, Nahid Bhadelia, Anup Katyal


The Republican Party pushing the big lie of Donald Trump that the election was stolen and making it the party`s policy. Russia`s Vladimir Putin even says the Capitol riot was legitimate. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) in interviewed and answers questions regarding the new policy of the Republican Party which is pushing the big lie of Donald Trump. The United States added 559,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate dropped below 6 percent for the first time since the start of the pandemic going from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent as more Americans get vaccinated and states relax COVID restrictions.



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us on this Friday night. That`s going to do it for us for now, but I will see you again here on Monday night. Now it`s time for "The Last Word" where the great Ali Velshi in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good to see you, my friend. Have yourself an excellent weekend and we will see you next week.

MADDOW: I will do. Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: Well, breaking tonight in the criminal investigation of Donald Trump, "The New York Times" reports that a senior finance executive at the Trump Organization has testified before the grand jury impaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office.

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston will join us later to discuss what this means for defendant Trump. But first, Donald Trump is a weakened man. No longer in office, no longer protected by presidential immunity.

But while the man himself has been diminished, his anti-Democratic ideas are gaining strength, and that should worry all of us. Donald Trump`s lie about the election continues to spread because it`s not just Donald Trump`s lie anymore. It is a lie backed by the Republican Party.

The GOP is a party dedicated to one man right now and to that one man`s lies. But they`re not just repeating the lies. They`re acting on the lies. It is now harder to vote in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and almost a dozen other states because Republicans are making policy based on Trump`s lie.

The Brennan Center for Justice reports "between January 1st and May 14th, 2021, Republicans had at least 14 states enacted 22 new laws that restrict access to the vote. And at least 61 bills with restrictive provisions are moving through 18 state legislatures."

In states like Texas, Republicans are even trying to make it easier to overturn elections. And the bogus fraudit in Arizona has inspired Republicans in other states to demand similar recounts, including in Pennsylvania.

We`ll discuss that soon with Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. The Republican Party is causing long-term damage to our democracy all because it wants to keep power and please a megalomaniacal former president. Here`s the voting rights attorney Marc Elias.


MARC ELIAS, FOUNDER, DEMOCRACY DOCKET: The big lie has moved from a political category, something that Trump and his allies were saying for political purposes, and it is now turning into a pillar of the state. It is becoming a part of state policy and that`s really dangerous.

And one of the ways it`s doing it is through these audits because it is giving the veneer of officialness. They`re being done through state legislatures, through state officials. And it is allowing the big lie to have the imprimatur of the state.


VELSHI: Today, federal prosecutors said they expect to charge at least 550 people for their roles in the Capitol insurrection. But what`s the message that we are sending to those insurrectionists when Trump`s big lie has been given, as Marc Elias said, the imprimatur of the state by senate Republicans who voted against the commission to learn about the truth on that horrible day?

We cannot rely on institutions and norms to save us. Did we learn that after four years of Trump? Just because Trump is out of office doesn`t mean that everything goes back to the way it was before. The January 6th commission vote is proof of that. The rights of voters are being weakened all the time.

But some say the Democrats won`t take action because they want to preserve an institution like the undemocratic filibuster. Is that how institutions are supposed to work? Facebook is banning Donald Trump until January 2023, just in time for him to run for re-election if he so chooses.

Is that how institutions are supposed to work? Republicans who know better are allowing Trump`s lies to poison minds just because they want to remain in power. Is that how institutions are supposed to work? American democracy must be saved, but it`s not going to be saved by the so-called institutions, not when one party doesn`t play by the rules that those institutions lay out. Institutions failed us for the last four years under Trump. They are not going to save us now. The question is, what will?

Leading off our discussion tonight, Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. She served as a House Impeachment Manager in the second impeachment of Donald Trump. Also joining us tonight, Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr., the chairman of African American Studies at Princeton University. Eddie is an MSNBC contributor. Good evening to both of you.

Congresswoman Dean, I want to play for you what the attorney general of the state that you and I share, of Pennsylvania said to Rachel just a short time ago talking about the connection between what`s going on in Arizona and what`s going on in other states, including Pennsylvania. Let`s listen to Josh Shapiro.


JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don`t think we can just simply dismiss these folks as fringe. This is who the modern GOP is, certainly who the modern GOP is here in Pennsylvania. Heck, one of those three people who went down there is the leading Republican candidate for governor.


VELSHI: And he`s talking about somebody who`s running for governor in Pennsylvania. This has now moved from fringe into mainstream, and it is definitely looking like policy of the GOP. You`ve been up close and personal with this in the impeachment. What do we do about this now?

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Well, number one, I`m delighted to be with you, and professor, I`m delighted to be with you. I have to tell you that your book graces my coffee table and it`s heavily marked up. Josh Shapiro is a friend of mine. He`s my mentor. He served in the Pennsylvania House and I had the honor of serving in the Pennsylvania House in his very seat for six and a half years, so I know the Pennsylvania legislature and those legislators very, very well.

Attorney General Shapiro said it very, very well. We`re at a moment of just trying to figure out whether we want to rely upon truth or lies. You know, democracy is not about certainty, it`s about possibility. And so what we have to decide is whether or not we will stand behind the truth and search for the truth as we did today with Mr. McGahn in front of the judiciary committee, or we allow these elected leaders, would-be leaders, to continue the big lie.

I reject the big lie. I think it`s extraordinarily dangerous and for the Pennsylvania Republican legislators who went down Arizona to take a look at the Cyber Ninja fraud of an audit, shame on them. Sadly, I hear they know no shame.

VELSHI: Professor Glaude, I echo the congresswoman`s sentiments. Reading your material makes us a whole lot smarter. This big lie thing which a lot of people thought was sort of done with or maybe behind us isn`t.

Today, Vladimir Putin actually commented on the insurrectionists. He said, "These are not looters or thieves. These people came with political requests," which is just one different from what Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia said. He said, "There was no insurrection. It was a normal tourist visit." This is the problem. It gets said, it gets repeated, and to some people in America and around the world, it sounds like the truth.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR., CHAIR, AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you, Ali, and Congresswoman Dean for your kind remarks about my work. But let`s be clear. We have to understand what the shorthand big lie represents. It`s not just simply that the election was stolen, but it`s how the election was stolen, right.

Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, right? It`s about black and brown voters in Arizona. It`s about young voters, right? And so the big lie is really about this browning of America. There`s a through line from January 6th to the voting laws passed around the country, to anti -- to the violence against Asian-Americans, to the anti-immigration -- to immigration debate.

Some people want us to go back to the Immigration Act of 1924, which was basically constructed by the Klan. So the true lies that there is this deep paranoia about the country becoming, right, a multi-racial democracy. And until we are honest about that, it`s easy to displace it onto Trump.

But Trump is just an avatar for an overwhelming sense that some people feel like they`re being replaced. That`s the big lie. And we need to name it, I think, because it has historical precedent.

VELSHI: Congresswoman Dean, the question of the institutions on which we can rely, we have tried this. You led -- you were part of a team that led the impeachment of Donald Trump. We tried to get a commission to look into January 6th, a bipartisan commission. What Marc Elias was saying is worrisome, the idea that these audits, these fringe audits, these fraudulent audits now have the stamp of being a tool of the state.

It would become normal in places like Texas to be able to have the legislature overturn the will of the people if the will of the people is not what the legislature wants it to be. It worries some people that where does this end and how does it end?

DEAN: It worries me. It`s infectious. We`re seeing it spread across the country in Republican legislatures, again, with highly elected officials continuing the big lie. I`ve that had debate on the floor of the House. It`s quite toxic to talk to Republican legislators who still can`t say that this was a free and fair election, that the courts and the rule of law matters.

I keep thinking back to the funeral of John Lewis where we heard from President Barack Obama. And he talked about democracy is a fragile thing. It`s not a certainty. Democracy is not a certainty. I think maybe for decades we kind of thought it was. It was a given. And Barack Obama talked about we must tend to it.

Democracy is not a certainty, it is a possibility. And until we tell the truth about ourselves as Baldwin argued, as you write in your book, until we tell the truth about ourselves, we`re in danger of succumbing to these lies.

VELSHI: So, Eddie, as you have studied these things both historically and in the current context, what looks like success to you on this front? Is it what we saw in Georgia, a grassroots movement which told people they are trying to take your vote away, they cannot do that under law and under this constitution, but they`re trying to, so you have to fight back, you have to tend to democracy by ensuring that your ballot is cast. Is that what this going to look like, a battle between people who insist on having their vote and those who would try and shut them down?

GLAUDE: Absolutely. It`s going to be a battle, Ali for those who are committed to democracy against those who aren`t. And we need to understand that battle as such. And, you know, it seems to me that someone needs to walk directly to Senator Joe Manchin`s office, Senator Kyrsten Sinema`s office and give them a copy of the letter from the Birmingham jail.

They need to figure out what their positions are, right, because right now we need to ask them, what is your position on the John Lewis Act? What is your position on the For the People Act? We need to understand why are they in some ways hiding behind the institution and not in some ways defending democracy?

And I have a sneaking suspicion, Ali, and you can tell me if I`m wrong, that they are actually providing cover because we should hear a chorus of Democrats, right, asking them this question. We should hear a chorus of Democrats demanding, right, that Sinema and Manchin come out and support what we`re trying to do in terms of definitive democracy.

But I would suggest this, that perhaps our problem isn`t just the Republican Party. Our problem is an ideological frame that in some ways limits how we think of this country as a generally multiracial democracy.

VELSHI: Congresswoman Dean, I want to ask you. I know that you are a member of the Judiciary Committee. You were there to hear testimony from Don McGahn today. Chairman Nadler made the following statement.

He said, "Mr. McGahn testified at length to an extremely dangerous period in our nation`s history in which President Trump increasingly unhinged and fearful of his own liability attempted to obstruct the Mueller investigation at every turn. Mr. McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump`s refusal to follow his legal advice again and again and he shed new light on several troubling events today."

I know I can`t tell us some things that happen behind closed doors, but what can you characterize for us?

DEAN: A couple of sayings. Number one, this was a good day for democracy. Long time in the coming. You know that we subpoenaed him, the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him in April of 2019. But here we finally came to the point where we were able to continue our co-equal branch of government, our oversight responsibility.

I found Mr. McGahn to be forthcoming. Certainly, the testimony that he went through was troubling. He brought to life volume two and his part on in volume two of the Mueller report, the extraordinary chaos in that White House.

The pressure on him over and over again by a president in a panic over Special Counsel Mueller`s investigation of Russia`s interference in the election, Russia`s work with or without his campaign, extraordinary pressure about obstructing justice or attempts to obstruct justice.

Asking over and over that Mr. McGahn talk to Rod Rosenstein and direct him to oust Mueller as special counsel. It tells me a lot. Number one, that again, democracy is fragile. We are a co-equal branch of government. We were able to perform our duties in part today, but I hope that with urgency, we will face reform.

I have a bill that was actually introduced by a Republican, Darrell Issa, two Congresses ago which would expedite subpoenas so that we would never go through this nonsense of almost 2-1/2 years before judiciary could do its oversight responsibility and be able to enforce our subpoenas.

So, I will say that I think this was a good day for democracy. A restoration of our co-equal branch of government, of our jurisdiction as members of judiciary, to oversee the extraordinary wrongdoing of a rogue administration.

VELSHI: Well, in the interest of leaving the conversation on a good note then, if you`ve said it`s been a good day for democracy, we shall end there. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, thank you for joining us. Professor Eddie Glaude, always a pleasure to see you, my friend. Thank you for joining us as well.

Coming up, breaking news in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his business. Prosecutors subpoenaed a high-ranking financial officer. Joyce Vance and David Cay Johnston join me next.


VELSHI: Breaking news in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump. The "New York Times" reports that a senior finance executive at the Trump Organization has testified before the grand jury impaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney to decide whether to indict Donald Trump, executives at his company, or the business itself.

That executive is Jeffrey McConney who the "Times" explains "has long served as the Trump Organization`s controller, making him one of a handful of high-ranking executives to oversee the company`s finances."

This comes as prosecutors have ramped up pressure on Trump`s longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg to cooperate with their investigation. The "Times" reports, "The decision to subpoena Mr. McConney who has worked at the company for nearly 35 years suggests that the examination of Mr. Weisselberg`s conduct has reached a new phase."

Joining us now, Joyce Vance, former United States attorney and a professor at the University Of Alabama School Of Law. She is an MSNBC legal contributor. And David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter. He`s done extensive reporting on Trump`s finances. He`s the author of "The Making of Donald Trump."

Welcome to both of you. Good to see you. Let`s start with you, David. You know ins and outs of Trump and the organization and the people who worked for him. This is not a name, McConney that a lot of our viewers will be familiar with. It is still a new and an emerging name. Who is this guy?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP: Well, this is a very small organization that Donald Trump runs at the top. And directly under Donald is his finance guy, Allen Weisselberg, who knows where all the bodies are buried and all the money is. And right beneath him is Jeffrey McConney.

And that he has come before the grand jury, which under New York law means he has immunity for anything he testified about, transactional immunity, indicates that they are trying very hard to flip Allen Weisselberg because that`s where he would be most helpful to them in all likelihood, is what did Allen Weisselberg knows, which is everything.

And it will be much easier to make a case, whether it`s a garden variety tax case or, as I believe is likely, a New York State racketeering charge.

VELSHI: Let me ask, let`s go a little deeper into this, Joyce, this transactional immunity. "The New York Times" reporting that "Under state law, witnesses such as Mr. McConney who appear before the grand jury are granted immunity on the subject of their testimony. They cannot exercise their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions on the grounds that they may incriminate themselves." Tell me what that means and why that is significant to this testimony.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: This is different from federal grand jury practice and it`s really important in this situation because it means that McConney testified in the grand jury without the ability to assert a Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. He already had immunity. He had no further risk.

The problem that he faced in that setting, though, was if he failed to answer truthfully, he could be prosecuted down the road for perjury. And of course we know that Cy Vance has at least eight years of Trump`s tax records and underlying documentation, so it`s possible that Mr. McConney was asked to explain much of that paperwork, effectively putting him in a box.

And here`s why it matters. McConney, it looks like, is not the target for prosecution here. Possible that he has a deal with prosecutors already and that he`s cooperating, you know, but this is clearly a tightly knit corporation and one can imagine how awkward it would be to be cooperating and then to go into work the next day.

So prosecutors are looking up the chain here. They`re looking at Allen Weisselberg. It`s possible that McConney had testimony to offer directly about perhaps one of the Trump children or the former president himself. But this is all building up so prosecutors are able to take a hard look at the people who they believe are most culpable for whatever criminal conduct may have occurred.

VELSHI: So, that`s good question, David. The culpability. To some degree, McConney`s been with Trump for a long time, so has Weisselberg. Weisselberg was with Trump`s father. These people are loyal or have been in the past loyal to Donald Trump. You often point out that loyalty with Donald Trump only goes one way. He`ll throw anybody under the bus if it suits him.

So what do they have that would cause McConney to talk? Is it just the idea that this guy has seen how the business runs for more than three decades and can explain that to them and tell them what Weisselberg probably knows or saw?

JOHNSTON: Well, I`d say there`s a high likelihood the prosecutors have something on McConney that is unrelated to the testimony they need for the case they`re trying to build, the Trump organization and some others. So, being around Donald Trump for a long time, there`s a fairly high likelihood that he is engaged in some other kind of behavior that gave the Manhattan prosecutors some leverage on him apart from the testimony he`s given that he has transactional immunity for.

This is a man who`s been with Donald longer than I`ve known him, and I`ve known Donald for 33 years, so he has a long track record with him. And Donald mentioned him in one of his books as the guy who was to check invoices to make sure Donald wasn`t being cheated.

There`s pretty good evidence that Donald has been cheated out of lots of money over various deals over the years. And that also make me wonder about what it was that got the prosecutors to feel confident that granting transactional immunity to McConney was going to be useful to building their case.

VELSHI: Joyce, you and I probably talk about this case about once a week. And our viewers, who probably have, you know, a better legal knowledge than I do, are probably curious as about as to where we are in this process. From your reckoning, where is this in the process? Do they just keep on gathering evidence until they have enough to either move forward with or decline to do anything with?

VANCE: That`s really the point that prosecutors are at here. They`re looking towards making a prosecutive decision. Do they go? Do they decide there is some sort of an evidentiary failure or maybe even that they just can`t find any crimes that were committed?

But this special grand jury that Vance has summoned goes through November. It can be extended, and as a prosecutor you`re often not working on the clock. You don`t set an artificial deadline. You just keep investigating to the point where you`re confident that you either have sufficient evidence to indict or you realize you`re at a dead end where you can`t.

But this grand jury was summoned after an intensive investigation of a lot of financial paperwork, tax paperwork, and now they`re talking to the controller, the guy who knows the day-to-day operations. It looks like they`re getting ready to go.

VELSHI: Thank you to both of you for spending some time with us this evening. Joyce Vance and David Cay Johnston.

Coming up, today`s jobs report showed good news as America climbs out of the pandemic recession. But Republicans claim that relief funds that helped people survive this last year are hurting businesses because workers do not want to accept low-wage jobs. Imagine that. Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein responds to that next.


VELSHI: The United States added 559,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate dropped below 6 percent for the first time since the start of the pandemic going from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent as more Americans get vaccinated and states relax COVID restrictions.

It was the fifth straight month of job creation. Today President Biden praised the news but urged caution.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is finally on the move again. As we continue this recovery, we`re going to hit some bumps along the way. Of course that`ll happen.

We can`t reboot the world`s largest economy like flipping on a light switch. There`s going to be ups and downs, and jobs and economic reports, but we`re going to be a supply chain issues and place pressures on the way back to stability and steady growth.


VELSHI: I spoke earlier today with Jared Bernstein, a member of the president`s Council of Economic Advisers.


VELSHI: Jared, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. When we look at these job creation numbers that we saw today for the month of May, it was short of what a number of economists had expected it to be. And you know, you were one of those economists at one time making these predictions based on analysis and data about how many jobs would be created. So a good number, it was strong job creation but short of what was expected. How do you explain that?

JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: I think we`re in the midst of an historic labor market recovery. I think you really have to recognize that forecasting any numbers right now, especially in the job market and especially these volatile monthly numbers is pretty much impossible.

So, therefore, you really have to look at the underlying trend. Over the past four months, since President Biden took office, this labor market has added 2 million jobs to payrolls. That`s an underlying pace of 540,000 jobs per month. There is no administration that had an opening four months like that in terms of job gains.

We saw the unemployment rate tick down three-tenths of a percent to the lowest rate we`ve seen since before the pandemic. Over 400,000 people moved out of long-term unemployment a decline there, which is very welcome.

I think very importantly you don`t always see these two together -- we`re seeing the strong labor demand met by people coming into the job market and getting some wage bumps. And that`s also really important to the residents in that big White House behind me.

Joe Biden has long believed that if a labor market isn`t generating paycheck gains for working class people, there`s a problem. And so we do this as a very important indicator that we are solidly on a good track here.

VELSHI: So wage bumps are what most people care about, right? Obviously getting a job is the most important but if you`re employed and the unemployment rate goes down, it generally puts pressure on wages to go up.

We`ve seen among a subset of workers called the average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees. That was up 14 cents to $25.60 an hour in America.

I guess my question is, when folks are saying that there are people who are not taking jobs because of the $300 a month federal benefit, a supplement to unemployment insurance, you add $300 to $300, you get $600 a week, that`s $15 an hour and yet we`re seeing average wages at $25 an hour.

Tell me -- tell me how you square those two?

BERNSTEIN: We`ve just got a bunch of people getting jobs. That`s how you square that. They`re getting jobs in some cases and some sectors with some impressive wage movements.

You know I think one area to look at is restaurants, food places, bars. Over the last four months, that sector has been one of the leaders in terms of job gains and wage gains.

Jobs are up over 800,000 in the restaurant sector. Now, there`s still room to go, but that is a sector where low-wage workers often find jobs.

And again, clearly there are some very impressive matches between people coming into the job market, finding gains in that sector.

So yes --

VELSHI: So let`s dig into that because that`s -- in this last report for May that was up 229,000, right -- leisure and hospitality. We`re still down 2.5 million compared to February of 2020 which was the last real normal month we had.

But those folks are generally speaking not earning $25 an hour. So there`s an argument and it is anecdotal and it talks -- the studies indicate that in that industry, people are having trouble finding employees for restaurants, bars, hotel, things like that.


So I`ve heard this as well. And we take these anecdotes seriously. I do think you have to distinguish between anecdote and data. We have to be data-driven here. What we don`t see in the data is clear evidence that places where the unemployment insurance replacement rate is especially high.

So low wages states, low wage sectors, sectors like some of the services that we`ve been discussing -- we don`t see those places particularly stressed in terms of labor market outcomes relative to other places or sectors.

So we don`t see the U.I. problem jumping out at us from the data. However, we certainly heard that story, and it`s one that has some salience.

Look, anytime an economy is going from shutdown to recovery, especially an historically robust recovery like this one, there are going to be transitory periods of misalignment between demand and supply. And we can see some of those misalignments and some product markets, lumber, autos, semiconductors, and we can see some of those misalignments in the job market.

However as the barriers between people and their jobs start to come down, more vaccinations -- more vaccinations for working-age people, schools safe reopening, child care options becoming online, we`re going to see those barriers come down and I believe we`ll see that misalignment diminish.

VELSHI: So yes, you`re right, the vaccinations, the not feeling safe about work, that fact that the president did say today he`s fine with the expiration of these U.I. supplementary benefits around Labor Day. You`re still left with something you just mentioned, child care.

We`ve never been uniquely good at that, as far as you compare it to the western world. You and I have talked about as many times. How is child care going to be different for those people who are still taking those U.I. benefits, they`re worried about going back to work because they don`t know what that`s going to look like with their kids.

What`s different when we -- you know, come Labor Day?

BERNSTEIN: It`s a really important question. And I have two answers for you, both the rescue plan and the jobs plan. One is near term. One is longer term. Let`s actually start with the longer term, with the jobs plan.

With the jobs plan, we finally -- your question was teed-up exactly right. Relative to other advanced economies, we simply do not have an accessible and affordable childcare sector. It is a huge missing market in the American economy. And you know, spend five minutes with anybody trying to deal with care taking responsibilities, and you will conclude that.

That`s why the jobs plan devotes deep revenues, deep resources to standing up that very sector. But we also have to deal with the near-term constraint. And there the rescue plan has measures to help childcare centers come back online, pay their rent, pay their utilities, bring in workers, and pay them a decent wage. Those are all parts of the rescue plan.

So, we have a near-term and a longer-term strategy to make sure that caretakers, disproportionately women, can find a clear path into the job market if that`s where they want to go.

VELSHI: Yes. Work to be done. That`s still a heavy lift. Jared, good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

BERNSTEIN: My pleasure, Ali.


VELSHI: Jared Bernstein is a member of the president`s Council on Economic Advisers.

Coming up, there`s a lot of news about bad things happening in Republican- run state houses. But in Nevada Democrats just passed a public option for health care and universal vote by mail. You`ll meet the two leaders who made it happen, next.


VELSHI: All right. Time for some good news.

While Republicans in state legislatures have been hard at work passing laws to keep people from voting, Democrats in state legislatures are also hard at work passing laws that expand voting access and improve people`s lives. In Nevada, the Democratic state legislature just passed a bill to create a public option for health care. And as we reported last night, Governor Sisolak recently signed a law that will expand mail-in voting in Nevada to all registered voters.

We`ll be joined by the duo behind these policies, state senate leader Nicole Cannizzaro and assembly speaker Jason Frierson in just a moment.

But first, take a look at the Tiktok that Speaker Frierson made earlier this year about Nevada`s first female majority legislature in the country.


VELSHI: All right Joining us now, Nicole Cannizzaro, majority leader of the Nevada senate. She authored the public option health care expansion bill in the legislature; and Jason Frierson, speaker of the Nevada state assembly and Tiktok aficionado. He authored the mail-in voting bill that became the law in Nevada.

Good to see both of you. Thanks for being with us. I want to talk to you, Senator Cannizzaro about this fact that Speaker Frierson was making in his Tiktok, quoting from the "L.A. Times", 40 years ago women made up 12 percent of state lawmakers nationwide. Today women hold nearly 2,300 of the roughly 7,400 legislative seats nationwide or just over 30 percent.

But that`s a whole different story in Nevada where women make up more than half the legislature.

NICOLE CANNIZZARO, MAJORITY LEADER, NEVADA STATE SENATE: Thank you so much for having me, Ali and that`s right. In Nevada we have over half of the legislature is comprised of women legislators.

And as the speaker mentioned in his incredible Tiktok, we also have a large number of women who are serving in leadership positions. They`re serving as chairs of legislative committees. They are serving in leadership positions in both the state senate and also in the state assembly.

And I think when you have those voices sitting at the table, you can accomplish all the things that were mentioned in the speaker`s Tiktok video and more.

VELSHI: Speaker Frierson, let`s talk about the bill that you sponsored, and this was -- you authored. This was the expansion of mail-in voting, universal mail-in voting. You know, I talked to secretaries of state all over this country who are saying these voting restrictions are a solution to a problem that doesn`t exist.

Mail-in voting has been used, has been proved, it`s been with the military for over a century. It actually works and causes more people to vote.

JASON FRIERSON, SPEAKER, NEVADA STATE HOUSE: Not only it works, it causes more people to vote. We had a record turnout with our elections, and we actually built up what we did last special session.

Of course, during COVID you shouldn`t have to choose between your health and being able to vote, but we took what we did in the special session and made it more safe, more secure, provided more training, and we found no fraud in our state.

We found no systemic fraud. And so, we had some of the best election officials in the country and we want to make sure to help them help more people vote.

VELSHI: And let me ask you, Senator Cannizzaro about the bill that you authored, which was about a public option for health care. This is one of those things that a lot of people are really frustrated with that we`ve not been able to expand that part of Obamacare which Republicans have tried to gut.

I`ve lost count of how many times they tried to do it. People need better access to health care, and you`ve decided to address that head on in a place like Nevada where people are very concerned about this.

CANNIZZARO: Yes. And that is exactly why this was such a critical piece of legislation this time around, Ali. We have in Nevada a persistently high uninsured rate of around 11 percent. That`s 350,000 Nevadans and we still rank in the top ten states for the uninsured rate. Yet, we are one of those steps in the top ten, one of the only ones that actually did expand Medicaid with respect to the Affordable Care Act.

And so this is a persistent problem that not only is backed up by the data here in the state, but it`s also something we hear all the time when we talk to constituents at the doors, when we see them out in the community.

And I think it`s been really highlighted by the pandemic where so many people lost their jobs, they struggled to find insurance coverage. When they went to go get additional insurance coverage, they found that it was just too expensive.

And so what the public option is seeking to do in Nevada is to leverage the state`s purchasing power, to bring in some federal dollars and help buy down the cost of premiums so that people can actually afford access to health care.

And built into that, we have some bidding preferences and some incentives for insurers who can actually provide that value based care so we can ensure that people are actually getting access to medical care that they need and not having to worry about if their child gets sick, are they going to be bankrupt? do they have to make the choice between that and their child`s health?

VELSHI: Do you have some projection of that 11 percent uninsured what this could drop that to?

CANNIZZARO: We don`t have a projection of how much that would drop it to, but we have paired this piece of legislation with some actuarial analysis that we`re going to do over the next bit of time in order to ensure that what we are doing is building that work adequacy because that is a huge piece of it.

Ensuring that the plans that we`re offering are going to make Nevadans covered under all the needs that they have. And also, to buy down those premiums over time. And that is what we`re seeking to do.

We`re seeing that if people can afford health insurance, it`s not as though they don`t want to be covered or they want to be individuals who end up in the emergency room for very acute injuries or advanced diseases where they`re getting more expensive, uncompensated care. We want to make sure that more people are getting insured. And because that 11 percent exists, we know those are folks who aren`t qualified for their subsidies. We have populations of individuals who are retired who don`t yet qualify for Medicare. And can`t find access to affordable coverage.

So, we`re hoping to make a good dent in that uninsured population and I think that actuarial analyst that`s paired with the bill will help us to do just that.

VELSHI: Thanks to both of you for joining us tonight. Nevada Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Speaker Jason Frierson, follow him on Tiktok.

Thank you for joining us tonight. And thanks for the work that you`re doing.

Coming up, why the coronavirus anywhere is a threat everywhere. That`s next.


VELSHI: In America where 63 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the pandemic is under control, but it`s a much different story in many parts of the world.

In Thailand 3.6 percent -- 3.6 percent of people have received at least one shot. In Nicaragua it`s 2.6 percent. In the Congo it`s less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Overnight a shipment of vaccines from the United States arrived in South Korea. It`s one of the first countries to receive some of the 80 million vaccine doses that the Biden administration has pledged to send overseas. But it is just a fraction of what`s needed in the world.

The pandemic has proven that isolation doesn`t work because until the virus and its mutations are under control everywhere, nowhere is totally safe.

Joining us now Dr. Anup Katyal, critical care physician for the St. Louis- based Mercy Health System. You`ve been treating COVID patients in India remotely since the start of the pandemic in addition to his day job as a doctor.

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an old friend of the show is an infectious diseases physician and the founding director of Boston University Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Policy and Research. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being with us.

Dr. Bhadelia, let me start with you. One thing that we can say has been a failure in the last year and a half is the ability for the world to have a coordinated response, first on testing and protective equipment and now on vaccine manufacture and distribution. It seems that this White House has decided to take something of a lead on this front.

How does it look? Are we anywhere close to getting a future where we see the world vaccinated?

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES EXPERT: Well, we have a strong start, Ali, but we have a long way to go. Those 80 million represent just 2 percent of the vaccines that are needed to vaccinate the rest of the world.

But I am hopeful that the leadership that we`ve taken and potentially the commitments that the Biden administration has made to continue taking some of the surplus that we`re likely to see.

In the Brookings Report, there was a Brookings Report that says by fall we`ll have 500 million doses in surplus even after vaccinating everybody here.

That that`s going to push the rest of the countries in the G-7 to start committing. And today there was actually a call from UNICEF and welcome trust to say that, you know, the G-7 members can all donate about 20 percent of the vaccines that they have and still have no impact on their domestic distribution in the next three months.

And that`s what we need. We need this bold step because we can`t keep living in this crisis.

VELSHI: Dr. Katyal, India doesn`t fall into the category of the worst off in terms of health care distribution, but it does speak to per capita spending on health care and infrastructure.

India is very, very uneven. You can live in India and probably get pretty good treatment if you have contacts and money. But you`re actually encountering a number of people who you`re speaking to on a daily and regular basis who do not.

They can`t get the drugs they need. They can`t get the testing they need. They can`t get access to a hospital if they need it. And you are evaluating them from 7,000 miles away.

DR. ANUP KATYAL, CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN: That`s very true. You know, the distribution is quite not equitable there in India. But you know, as I speak to patients across the country, we`re trying our best, you know, from 7,000 miles away directing them to the right hospitals as we`ve all heard about the shortages of, you know, medicines or oxygen.

But things are improving gradually. The numbers have come down, and you know, we are probably, as I understand on track to vaccinate the adult population of India by the end of this year.

That may be a little bit too late, but you know, with the restrictions about certain raw materials being lifted, the (INAUDIBLE) Institute of India, which is, you know, one of the largest producers of vaccines in India and actually worldwide would be on track. And we have indigenous vaccine producer in India Covaxin and the combination of the two with some other vaccines getting the nod from the India board should speed this process up.

VELSHI: Dr. Bhadelia, this is a concern that a lot of people have, that we don`t have vaccine manufacturing capacity that`s regional and that that`s something to fix for the future. Except that`s not the case in India. They actually are a massive vaccine manufacturer.

So is it infrastructure, is it distribution as Dr. Katyal says because you`ve worked in ebola. And you`ve seen what bad distribution of medication and health services can do.

BHADELIA: That`s right. I mean, I think overall there are parts of the world that just don`t have enough manufacturing capacity, and you can look at the continent of Africa that has to import 99 percent of the vaccines that are administered there.

But there are other countries such as India, such as South Africa that had the infrastructure and as Dr. Katyal was saying currently the crisis is that there weren`t enough raw material. We have to sort of trace back to what happened COVAX which is the WHO utility that was put together to try to vaccinate the world has sort of -- has not been able to compete with high-income countries that have basically done bilateral deals with manufacturers and purchased all the vaccine. And hence those vaccines are gone and there are not enough raw materials for the existing manufacturers to build that.

But then there`s the other step which is that they`re just even beyond those countries that have that capacity there aren`t enough plants. And one of things that President Biden and the national security adviser said yesterday is that they`re going to work on G-7, work with our partners to try to look at this because moving forward this pandemic and Ali we live in the age of epidemics, for the next one we need to have that capacity, so it doesn`t take us this long to get the world vaccinated.

VELSHI: Well, I hope people like you speak loudly and that we listen well because you are warning about this.

And Dr. Katyal, thanks for what you do. You`re sitting here helping people in your hospitals where you work, and then you`re helping people overseas on a daily basis.

Dr. Anup Katyal and DR. Nahid Bhadelia, thank you to both of you.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

You can catch me tomorrow on my show, "VELSHI" 8:00 a.m. Eastern. I`ll talk to "New York Times" reporters who have just found out -- reporter who just out that his phone records were secretly seized by the Trump administration. Plus, the one and only Bill Nye, the Science Guy joins me ahead of his testimony next week in front of the House Homeland Security subcommittee about the security threats posed by climate change. That`s tomorrow 8:00 to 10:00 Eastern on MSNBC. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" begins now.