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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 7/12/21

Guests: Gina Hinojosa, Amy Klobuchar, Katie Porter, Michael Wolff, Steven Dennis


Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa is interviewed. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is interviewed. Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California is interviewed. Michael Wolff talks about reporting on what Donald Trump was actually doing during the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. The two rivals for the most recent Democratic nomination for president had a one-on-one meeting today at the White House and Bernie Sanders emerged saying they are on the same page. After the biggest protests against the government in Cuba in the last 60 years occurred this weekend, Republicans are cheering on their support of Cubans standing up for freedom and democracy.



And our first guest tonight is going to be Representative Gina Hinojosa who on this program last week gave us a little bit of a hint, in that I asked her, did they have any other secret moves up their sleeve for this session. And she, kind of, said, yeah, we do. But I`m not going to tell you.

And so, I think, now, we know what that move turned out to be.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: It`s one of those days when you are like looking at the headlines and you think, oh, yeah, there it is. I knew, that`s what she meant. Yes, very rarely --


O`DONNELL: Yeah, we were close, we were so close.

And, Rachel, thank you very much for getting David Fink to come on your program tonight. I was watching that hearing, today, that went on forever. And I so admired the way he handled himself the way Judge Parker modeled sanity when surrounded by insanity. It was just a remarkable thing to watch.

MADDOW: Every once in a while -- I mean, the courts don`t always work this way. But every once in a while, the courts, by imposing rationality and fact-based discourse, can bring up -- can, like, put gravity back into work in what is, otherwise, a totally out of control, insane maelstrom. And all the election stuff has been such an insane maelstrom from the beginning.

When you force it through a fact-based filter like you must in the court of law, it really does sort of -- it does feel like accountability. It does feel like you sort of regain your sense of which direction the horizon goes and that hearing, today, was one of those moments for me, having covered this election nonsense every step of the way. Today was like a grounding moment.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, it really was. And Judge Parker has this huge advantage that no one anchoring shows like this has, which is, when someone like Lin Wood wants to go on in an ever-crazier way, the judge can simply tell him to stop talking. And she has to say it more than once but it did work.

MADDOW: Yes. Seriously.

As -- spare a thought, tonight, for the court reporter who has to deal with not only a six-hour hearing but a six-hour hearing, with nine effectively defendants, and all the attorneys representing those defendants, and the defendants are themselves lawyers. Plus, there is the judge riding herd over all of them and they were all on Zoom. It wasn`t even like they were all in the same room. So, you could pierce -- piece them together from the -- their voices coming from different places.

The court reporter, in that case, has been asked to do absolutely heroic work and when we finally get the transcript of that hearing, it`s probably going to cost a million bucks.

O`DONNELL: And -- and -- and that moment, when the court reporter spoke saying, listen, you can`t be interrupting each other because I`m just going to get a bunch of dashes here. I`ve never seen a moment like that with a court reporter. But that -- she did heroic work, today, that`s for sure.

MADDOW: Yeah. You have -- you have to push a court reporter, really hard, before they get to that point.

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

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, Texas House Democrats are, in the words of a great Texas lyricist, on the road, again. After blocking the Republican voting bill by staging a walkout in May, today, at least 58 Democratic members of the Texas House of representatives left the state capitol to deny Republicans the quorum needed to move ahead with a vote on their voting-restrictions bill, that could have happened as early as tomorrow.

According to NBC News, 51 members traveled to Washington on two charter flights. While at least seven others traveled separately.

Texas State Representative Julie Johnson tweeted this photo from one of those planes, with our first guest tonight, State Representative Gina Hinojosa.

Last week, on this program, Representative Hinojosa gave us a type tiny hint of what was to come.



O`DONNELL: Representative Hinojosa, did -- do the Democrats -- do you have a strategy, going into this that you can share with us? Or might you have secret strategies that you can at least acknowledge but not share with us?

STATE REP. GINA HINOJOSA (D), TEXAS: Well, right. So, our strategies for gamesmanship purposes can`t be broadcast on national TV. But, yes, we are committed to fighting this with everything we`ve got, using every tool in our toolbox to make it so that we protect voting rights and not make it harder for Texans to vote.


O`DONNELL: And now, we know. Two hours ago, the Texas Democrats landed in Washington. NBC News reports that the unusual move, quote, will paralyze the chamber stopping business until the lawmakers return to town. Or the session ends. The lawmakers plan to spend more than three weeks in Washington, running up the clock on the session, which began Thursday, and advocating for federal-voting legislation.

Texas House Democrats released this joint statement today, explaining their decision to leave, saying: Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans` freedom to vote. We are now taking the fight to our nation`s capital. We are living on borrowed time, in Texas. We need Congress to act, now, to pass the for the people act and the John Lewis voting rights act to protect Texans and all Americans from the Trump Republicans` nationwide war on democracy.

Here is what Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett told NBC News on her way to the airport.


STATE REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D), TEXAS: The House Democrats here in Texas decided, enough was enough. You know, we came back, in good faith, once again, trying to always be the bigger people, and we saw those hearings. You were there, all day. Saw those hearings. You saw people come from all over this state at a moment`s notice for the purpose of trying to educate - - you know, the committees on their experiences with voting in this state. And sadly enough, you know, they may as well stay at home because no one was listening to them.


O`DONNELL: The surprise move followed marathon-public hearings in the house and Senate over the weekend in Texas with hundreds of witnesses waiting hours to testify against voting restrictions into the overnight and early-morning hours. The hearing in the House lasted nearly-24 hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Texas has a long and ugly and racist history of voter suppression that continues to silence the -- the many vote -- votes and voices of everyday Texans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: S.B.1 continues to be nothing but attack on Texans` voting rights under the guise of preserving election integrity. Nothing but a way to silence the black, brown, and young voices that showed up to vote in record numbers last fall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many eligible voters can you squeeze out of our Democratic process and be okay with it? I believe that answer should be zero.


O`DONNELL: Former Texas Congressman Beto O`Rourke testified at the hearing on Saturday.


FORMER REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS: An elections bill that is premised on a lie, that there is widespread fraud in our elections, even though there is not, a solution in search of a problem. It`s going to disproportionately hurt and harm some Texans more than others. For those who support democracy, the Democrats in this room, I encourage you to fight with all you have. Do whatever it takes to make sure that we preserve the right to vote in the state of Texas.


O`DONNELL: Texas Democrats risked being arrested by fleeing the state, as NBC News details. Quote: Absent lawmakers can be legally compelled to return to the Capitol, and the source said Democrats expect state Republicans to ask the Department of Public Safety to track them down.

The Texas House speaker issued a statement saying, the Texas House will use every available resource, under the Texas Constitution and the unanimously- passed House rules, to secure a quorum, to meaningfully debate and consider election integrity. "The Texas Tribune" reports, quote, even if Democratic lawmakers stay out of the state for the next few weeks, the governor could continue to call 30-day sessions or add voting restrictions to the agenda when the legislature takes on the redrawing of the state`s political maps, later this summer.

During a discussion of voting rights, today, in Michigan, Vice President Kamala Harris said this about the Texas Democrats who have left the state.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I applaud them standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans, to express their voice, through their vote, unencumbered. They are leaders, who are marching in the path that so many others, before, did when they fought and many died for our right to vote. I do believe that fighting for the right to vote is as American as apple pie. It is so fundamental to fighting for the principles of our democracy. So, I applaud them.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa. She was part of the Texas Democratic delegation that flew to Washington, today.

She is joining us from an undisclosed location of a moving bus somewhere in the Washington, D.C. area.

Representative Hinojosa, thank you very much for joining us tonight and you have now made last week`s hint on this program, into today`s breaking news.

What happens next?

HINOJOSA: Well, now, we go to the U.S. Capitol. And we urge the U.S. Senate, we urge Congress to pass federal-voting rights legislation to -- to use all of their power, to protect Texans, to protect Americans, and preserve our voting rights and preserve our democracy.

O`DONNELL: Now, can the speaker of the Texas House send Texas law enforcement to Washington to track you down and bring you back?

HINOJOSA: Well, it`s my understanding that they do not have authority in Washington to do that. And so, we are here in a safe place to do the work advocating for our constituents, advocating for Texans, all Texans, and to preserve our voting rights.

And so, we`re here. This is a working trip. It had the added benefit of keeping us safe from arrest. But it is a working trip, where we intend to be talking to lawmakers at the Capitol, every day, about how the -- there - - there is urgent need to pass federal voting rights legislation, now.

We can only hold the line for so long in Texas, as the minority party. They have the power, as the majority party. And we need them to use their power, now.

O`DONNELL: NBC News is reporting that your delegation considered going to west Virginia and to Arizona because Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema have opposed abolishing the filibuster to pass the For the People Act. But that, your group feared that those states` Republican governors would help return you to Texas.

Do you feel that you will, still, make attempts in Washington to contact Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema?

HINOJOSA: There was a delegation of House members who came to Washington a few weeks ago, after the first time we broke quorum, to meet with Senator Manchin. I, myself, went to West Virginia, about two weeks ago, to participate in a voting rights rally. Where the freedom ride -- the new freedom ride landed in West Virginia and heard from his constituents. They had hope and they were working with their senator, and urging him to do his part so that west Virginia could -- in passing federal voting rights legislation.

Of course, I`m talking about the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

You know, in 1965 , there was a Central Texas president, Lyndon Johnson, and he championed and he ultimately succeeded in having the Texas voting rights act passed. And here we are, 50-plus years later, fighting for the same rights. And again, we look to Washington for help.

Texas has now become a leader in this fight because our -- our voters are being targeted. But West Virginia could, also, step up and lead in this federal fight for voting rights legislation.

O`DONNELL: We might be losing your signal. I guess, it`s okay. One more question. The Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement today saying: As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state. What is your response to the governor?

HINOJOSA: Well, I think that`s just nonsense. We travel, the way you travel across the country. We flew. And there`s a bunch of us so we needed a plane that could accommodate all of us. In this case, we got smaller planes and we had two planes that -- to accommodate all of us.

And so, we left our families behind.


We left our jobs behind. (INAUDIBLE) we don`t -- we don`t get paid- professional salaries to do our job. We get paid about $7,000 a year. So many of us -- most of us have to go back to paying jobs and to families we have been away from for six months because we`ve been in session.

So, this is a big sacrifice on our part. I have a colleague who was supposed to be getting married on Thursday. She now will not be getting married this week. And so, we come at great, personal sacrifice but the fight for democracy, the fight for voting rights is that important. We are willing to make the sacrifices and we need Washington to step up.

O`DONNELL: Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for that hint, last week, and we really appreciate it. Thank you.

HINOJOSA: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining our discussion now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She is the chair of the Senate Rules Committee, which has oversight over federal elections.

Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: It -- it looks like that bus. I don`t know. It might be coming your way. And some of those people might need to talk to you.

KLOBUCHAR: I hope so. Yes.

O`DONNELL: What -- what do you have to tell them as they arrive in Washington?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I had met with Representative Hinojosa when she was here last time and I believe they`re doing what`s right. They are trying to stand up in whatever way possible, for the freedom of people to vote. And they are coming to the very place that they`re supposed to find salvation.

And I really, actually, like that she brought up Lyndon Johnson, who along with Vice President Hubert Humphrey, pushed hard to get legislation through to protect civil rights in the `60s. When you have a concerted effort, across the country, not just in Texas, but in Georgia and in other places, dozen states have passed voter suppression laws to limit people`s freedom to vote, then you know the answer should be in Washington, where the Constitution, clearly, says the Congress has the right to make or alter laws, regarding federal elections.

And I don`t know what cause is greater than doing that right now. This is the moment to get it done.

O`DONNELL: I want to read something that "Politico`s" reporting from Congressman Jim Clyburn. It says, Biden could pick up the phone and tell Joe Manchin, hey, we should do a carve out, Clyburn said, referring to the centrist West Virginia Democrat who has resisted filibuster reform. I don`t care whether he does it in a microphone or on the telephone. Just do it.

So, there`s Jim Clyburn saying to Joe Biden, just do it. You have to get this -- this rule in the Senate bent, at least for voting rights legislation.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, I would abolish the filibuster and I have come to that decision after seeing obstruction after obstruction on so many important pieces of legislation. Things people need to get done to help their families, for childcare, to do something about climate change, as we are seeing record heat, but also about voting rights.

And Senator Manchin worked in such good faith with me on his version of this bill. We are very close to getting an agreement. It has all kinds of things, same day registration, some very strong provisions. And I think that you -- when you listen to him, he talks about the standing filibuster, and changes that we could make to the reform the bill. So -- and reform the law -- so I`m, still, hopeful that we will see change.

And I can tell you, in the meantime, I`m taking the Rules Committee for the first time in over two decades on the road. And we are going to Georgia, another place where you`ve seen voter suppression efforts.

And I`m also looking forward to seeing President Biden`s speech tomorrow, joining Vice President Harris who, today, was in Michigan.

This is such an important moment in time. And to just act like it`s not happening because of an archaic procedural rule and to deny people the right to vote, we cannot do that. Our democracy cannot stand for it.

O`DONNELL: I want to go back to that point you just made about the hearing in Georgia. The Rules Committee`s going to have a field hearing that`s called a field hearing when you go outside of Washington. I`ve never seen the Rules Committee go outside of Washington, as you just mentioned.

And this is a field hearing on voting rights and you are going to have it in Georgia. Why, that location? And what do you expect to accomplish?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, as you know, Lawrence, the legislature there has done everything they could to mess around with voting rights, and made it so that, literally, now, you can`t give the voters water and food. Volunteers can`t do that. All kinds of limits on their voting, that was completely irrational and unnecessary, basically buying into the Donald-Trump lie that something was wrong with their election, when we know there wasn`t anything wrong with their election.


They just had a big turnout and two Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, won the U.S. Senate race. And before that, Joe Biden won the presidential race.

And so, what`s their answer? Well, as Reverend Warnock likes to say on the Senate floor, some people don`t want some people to vote. And it`s to limit the number of voters.

So that`s why we are bringing the Rules Committee. We`re going to have some excellent witnesses we announced today of a state legislator, a longtime advocate on voting rights, as well as a voter. And hear from other voters, as well, over the weekend about what happened to them in their own, individual stories, because when people hear the stories of the long lines and seniors waiting in line, hot, when they hear those stories, they know that there`s only one path to go and, that is, the path toward a righteous democracy and allowing people to vote.

O`DONNELL: Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, supporters of Donald Trump interrupted a town hall for families held this weekend by Congresswoman Katie Porter. "The Los Angeles Times" reports that Katie Porter rushed into the chaos to protect her supporters. Congresswoman Katie Porter will join us, next.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump proved, once again, yesterday, how much he loves political violence. Donald Trump`s mind actually perverts political violence into love, itself. Donald Trump did a telephone interview yesterday with the anti-vaccination propaganda network owned and operated by the fully-vaccinated Rupert Murdoch where the fully-vaccinated Donald Trump talked about seeing the, quote, love in the air. That was his phrase. Love in the air, produced by the violent Trump mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6th.


You see people trying to kill police officers while chanting "hang Mike Pence," and Donald Trump sees the love in the air.

There was Donald Trump`s kind of love in the air, yesterday, in Irvine, California, at Congresswoman Katie Porter`s open-air town hall. "The Los Angeles Times" reports, a melee broke out at Representative Katie Porter`s district town hall meeting Sunday, with her backers scuffling with supporters of former President Trump who were loudly interrupting the congresswoman as she spoke. Porter rushed into the scuffle, wrapping her arms around an elderly woman near the scrum.

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: What happened yesterday?

PORTER: Yesterday --

O`DONNELL: Tell us, in your own words, what happened yesterday. Go ahead, sorry.

PORTER: Yesterday, we had planned an open-air town hall. We had had a lot of space for people to spread out and be safe. We advertised it as a family-friendly event. And there were people who advertised a "confront Katie Porter" rally.

They attended the event, as they were welcomed to do. But they began to shout and, eventually, violence broke out. It was really disappointing and scary, especially for families and seniors and others who were there.

And I think we need to hear from every single elected official, regardless of party, that this is not democracy.

O`DONNELL: The group was led by a Republican who`s running against you, who is a white supremacist, among other things, and a Nazi sympathizer. And when you -- when you saw this happening, and -- and you decided to run toward the chaos, what were you thinking when you ran to protect that woman?

PORTER: Well, there were no police in the immediate area. There were police on the grounds. But they were not nearby. And I -- as it began to continue, you began to hear people cry for help.

And so, I went up to -- we had a couple people with disabilities, people using walkers, who couldn`t move out of the way. And I was very afraid that they were going to get knocked over. So, I simply put my arm around them, told her to stand there. I was going to stand there with her, until the police were able to disperse the situation.

O`DONNELL: Now, after January 6th, when there were people attacking the Capitol, looking for Democratic members of Congress, like you, to physically attack them, possibly kill them. We don`t know what they were going to do when they got there.

What is it like when you see something like this break out in otherwise- peaceable Irvine, California?

PORTER: I mean, it`s -- this is my home. So it`s incredibly disappointing to have it happen here.

Irvine has been the safest city of its size for 15 years running. And, you know, we made sure that we had plenty of space for everyone to attend. We took steps to make sure that every single person had an equal opportunity to ask a question, putting their questions in a bingo-ball spinner that we draw them from.

I made very clear, at the beginning, everyone is welcome here. But we need to be civil and listen to each other. And it was incredibly heartbreaking when that happened.

You know, I didn`t -- after January 6th, it`s hard to feel safe in Washington right now. And now, it`s hard to feel safe in Irvine.

O`DONNELL: And some of these people attacking your event yesterday may, very well, be recipients of the child-tax credit starting this week. And they, presumably, will have no idea that they have you to thank for that.

PORTER: Well, we were trying to share with all of the audience about the child tax credit. And I think that`s the real loss here. Everybody lost.

Whether you agree with me, or disagree with me, you weren`t able to hear what I was saying. You weren`t able to get an answer to your questions because you were creating such a disturbance. And ultimately, there was violence.

And so, I think, even for those who disagreed, they weren`t even to able to find out what is happening, and how it will affect them and then be able to make up their mind. And that`s when I say this event was really counter to the very purpose of a town hall. It also made it very hard for me to hear what constituents had to say over the shouting and the noise.

O`DONNELL: Your -- you -- you`re going to be having town halls. Presumably, you are trying to do this again. You are also going to be having a re-election campaign, next year, in the -- in these same places.

Do you expect this to just follow you around?

PORTER: I, certainly, hope not. We`re going to continue to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep anyone who wants to come hear me or speak with me safe. And that`s regardless of their party, regardless of their views.


PORTER: What was really, particularly upsetting about yesterday was the fact that people on both -- you know, people from one side, supporters. And people who were there to confront were all dragged into it. Like I said, innocent seniors, just simply, sitting there to listen, were nearly hurt.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, if you had a minute, as you do right now, to say the single-most important thing that you wanted to say at your town hall yesterday. What would that be?

PORTER: The most important thing I wanted to tell people is that we have to focus on an economic recovery that creates work and, also, helps workers.

So we were talking not just about infrastructure and job creation but also, about help for workers. Things like broadband and childcare. And that was really the message I was trying to convey and get feedback from my constituents about what kind of support, as workers, they needed.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

Thank you. And coming up Michael Wolff will join us with his reporting on what Donald Trump was actually doing during the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. It`s in his new book about the final days of the Trump White House.

That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Tonight, journalist Michael Wolff joins us for his first interview about his new book "Landslide: The Final Days Of The Trump Presidency". Michael Wolff writes that on January 6th, after 1:00 p.m., as the Capitol was being attacked quote, "White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump lawyer Eric Herschmann, and Trump Twitter manager, Dan Scavino began pressing the president to make some public acknowledgement of what was happening and to admonish the protestors but his attention was elsewhere. Still, focused on the vice president.

Approaching 3:00 p.m. the pressure for the president to say something quickly mounted. The president though was digging in his heels. He remained singularly focused on the electoral challenge, and had blinders on to everything else. Almost every stage of the panicked response and everybody`s push to get him to understand the urgency here, prompted the same reactions from him.

Denial -- this wasn`t on him. He couldn`t control what people did. Why couldn`t his people protest? It was mostly Antifa. Begrudging capitulation. He shouldn`t be blamed.

But ok. He`d say something. Fighting back. Why should he say anything? People were upset. The election had been stolen from him and them.

By 3:30 p.m., he was telling callers that, yes, he had decided to say something. A video became the plan. The safest sort of statement with everyone in agreement. The president couldn`t go live. But back in his overcoat out on the portico even with his script in hand, he mostly defaulted to his worst instincts.

At 4:17 p.m., now with little question that the singular event of the Trump administration was unfolding, the president tweeted out his video with his begrudging call that the rioters go home."

Joining us now is Michael Wolff. He`s author of the new book "Landslide: The Final Days Of The Trump Presidency". Michael, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And -- and I want to go with a kind of more basic question about this book. What did you learn in reporting on this book that you didn`t already know about Donald Trump?

MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "LANDSLIDE": That he was -- that he`s even crazier than I thought he was. And I think when -- one -- one of the things -- I mean, I -- from the beginning of this -- of this administration. From the beginning of my reporting on this -- this administration. It was clear that Donald Trump is not like you and he`s not like me. Something is off. Something is broken.

But I think this comes to a head on November 3rd. He has an experience that -- that -- that he can`t -- he can`t get his head around, that he has lost this election. And from -- from November 3rd on through to January 6th, through to January 20th.

O`DONNELL: I guess, we have a problem with Michael`s connection. If we can get Michael on a telephone or reestablish that connection, we will get -- there`s -- Michael, you have us. Go ahead.

WOLFF: Hello. Yes. How is it?


WOLFF: So at any rate, what -- what happens is he creates this -- this new reality for himself. And it is a reality that nobody else is a part of. I mean that`s the -- the -- the extraordinary thing that -- that -- that this whole story plays out. This -- this -- this steal the -- the election to try to challenge the election.

And there is really, only one person in this bubble. It`s Donald Trump. Well and occasionally, with -- with Rudy Giuliani making it even more alarming. But there is nobody else here.

Everybody -- everybody in his White House, in his campaign, in his family, is -- is kind of on the periphery watching this incredible meltdown.

And in many instances going out of their way to -- to undermine any efforts that -- that -- that -- that he is making. Donald Trump is a loon. Donald Trump is -- is crazy.


O`DONNELL: We saw part of this show today actually in this extraordinary hearing in Michigan where a federal judge is now considering sanctions against all of the Trump lawyers who were involved in the Michigan litigation that would ban them from ever practicing law in Michigan again.

You have passages in your book about -- about how Donald Trump picks up these kinds of lawyers. You -- you talk about him actually randomly asking people, do you know any good lawyers? I -- I won`t quote the book. The passages are extraordinary when you read them. But he is just kind of wandering around asking people about lawyers.

WOLFF: And -- and it`s important to note that he actually has good lawyers. There are good lawyers in the White House. There are good lawyers on the campaign. And they refused to have anything to do with this.

So he has to go out and find the -- the only lawyers that he can find, who will do this are, you know, along with -- with -- with Rudy Giuliani -- completely marginal, completely out there. Opportunists at a -- at a -- at -- at a -- at a degree that no longer makes them in anyone`s mind, serious lawyers. I mean, this is, to put it mildly, the gang that couldn`t shoot straight.

O`DONNELL: The president -- former president Trump is now under criminal investigation by a -- a criminal-grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, for the phone call that he made to the Georgia secretary of state. A phone call that we`ve all heard the tape of. We know what the grand jury is considering.

You have reporting that he made more phone calls than that including going around the attorney general and making phone calls directly to U.S. attorneys around the country. Is there any possibility we might ever be hearing tapes of those?

WOLFF: I -- there`s always possibility. I mean, I think that anyone who speaks to Donald Trump should be certainly switching on their -- their phone -- their iPhone to tape what`s going on here. I think, everybody knows -- knows that lesson.

But the -- the other thing and -- and why this becomes -- this will be a somewhat of a -- of a difficult thing to prosecute is that -- is that Donald Trump is always on the phone. Donald Trump is always talking. Donald Trump is only half aware of what he`s saying. It just -- it just spews out.

It -- there -- there is no rhyme, nor reason, to it. He talks -- I mean, the Georgia phone call lasted -- I can`t quite remember -- but it certainly lasted for -- for -- for close to an hour of -- of him just -- just repeating -- repetition, upon repetition. Him going -- going -- going out of the -- out of the lines and the boundaries of any logic.

You know, there were certain people on that call who are -- who are, you know, relatively astute politicians. Mark Meadows, for -- for one thing. I mean he`s highly conservative and whatever you think of him. I mean, you may politically disagree with him. But -- but he is a -- is a -- certainly a professional, a political professional. What was he doing on this call?

You know, and the only -- the only conclusion that I can come to is that all of these people are so used to Donald Trump just spewing meaningless, semi-deranged things, that no one really takes this -- takes this seriously.

And I think that`s what`s -- what`s -- what will be -- what the -- the result here and why this is going to be hard to prosecute is it`s just the rantings of a crazy man.

O`DONNELL: Michael Wolff`s new volume in his study inside the Trump presidency is entitled "Landslide: The Final Days Of The Trump Presidency".

Michael Wolff, thank you very, very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

WOLFF: Lawrence, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up. The two rivals for the latest-Democratic nomination -- most recent Democratic nomination for president had a one-on-one meeting today at the White House and Bernie Sanders emerged saying they are on the same page.

That`s next.



SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think we are on the same page. My job is to do everything I can to see that the senate comes forward with the strongest possible legislation to protect the needs of the working families of this country, our kids, our parents. The deal with the terrible climate crisis that we face and to pass that bill as soon as we can.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post". He`s an MSNBC political analyst. Also with us Steven Dennis, Senate correspondent for Bloomberg News.

And Gene, the Budget Committee Democrats led by Chairman Bernie Sanders met at the Capitol tonight with White House officials, Majority Leader Schumer. And they say they are close to an agreement within the committee about how to pass this Democrats-only version.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. They said it was (INAUDIBLE) long meeting. And they -- you know it -- look. Bernie Sanders went into this talking about a $6 trillion package. And -- and the -- in recent days, everybody`s been talking more about a $3.5 trillion package. You know -- a trillion here, a trillion there. Soon, you`re talking real money.

But -- and then, there`s a question of how -- how it`s going to be paid for. And there will be dynamic scoring of the, you know, which we don`t have to get into. But it`s, basically, the assumption that it`s going to make money for the economy.


ROBINSON: This is -- I think, Democrats see this as their big shot to actually do something on climate, in addition to -- to the human infrastructure they`re -- they`re talking about.

And so they`re still going to, I think try to go for what is really quite a big, big number. And -- and assume and think that they`re going to have all 50 Democrats onboard for this.

O`DONNELL: So, Steven, the -- the budget committee has Bernie Sanders at -- at -- representing one edge of the Democratic Party`s argument. You have Senator Mark Warner probably representing the other edge of it.

And so for those two to come to an agreement, it would be a similar kind of agreement that Bernie Sanders would come to with Joe Manchin, wouldn`t it?

STEVEN DENNIS, SENATE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: I think not quite. I mean I think what you are going to see is Mark Warner bringing this package probably in several -- you know, a few trillion probably less than Bernie Sanders might want, but then you can go be a bridge to Joe Manchin and try to bring Joe Manchin on board and say, hey, look, it is not this big, scary thing that you originally heard about.

Here are some things that we can sell as moderates. But they don`t yet have Mark Warner on board. They don`t yet have a deal. They`re talking about coming back again tomorrow night and hopefully hammering out something tomorrow night.

And they really want to have something ready to give to the budget crunchers, the staff on Thursday so they can have the weekend to really write it and be ready to go as soon as next week in the committee.

And you know, with Joe Manchin here, you know, he`s sort of still his own planet. You know, in the Senate every senator is their own planet, and Joe Manchin is almost his own galaxy right now.

And when you talk about something like climate change to get this guy on board, this is a guy who before he ran -- or when he ran for Senate the first time around, he took a copy of the Cap and Trade Climate bill, the biggest climate bill in history, and he shot it with a gun. And that sent a signal to folks in West Virginia that they could trust him to look after their interests.

So to get him on board you`re going to have to do some things in there that make him and make West Virginia feel like, hey, they`re getting something out of this. You know, they`ve lost a lot of jobs anyways on coal and other things, so there are -- when you are talking about trillions of dollars in spending and trillions of dollars in tax changes, there`s a lot you can do there for Joe Manchin. There`s a lot that you can do there for West Virginia.

So I think that this is sort of a real opportunity for Manchin and the Democrats. They really don`t want to mess this up. There`s a lot of momentum to do something, but you know, this is -- right now is when the negotiations are really starting to hit the road.

The next month is going to determine whether Joe Biden`s, you know, presidency is big and bold or whether it is going to be sort of, you know, a trillion here, not a radical change in American government.

O`DONNELL: We are days away from knowing. Steven Dennis, Eugene Robinson == thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

DENNIS: Great to be here.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And after the biggest protests against the government in Cuba in the last 60 years occurred this weekend, Republicans are cheering on their support of Cubans standing up for freedom and democracy. Democracy is, of course, the form of government that Republicans are now opposed to in this country.

That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Everyone has a tipping point. That`s what a Mariam Rosa, a 28- year-old mother with a toddler told "The New York Times" yesterday in Cuba, where it took 60 years to reach the tipping point that has produced the largest protest demonstrations against the government in the 60-year history of the Castro brothers` dictatorship that is now being managed by the designated successor, Cuba`s President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez.

A 43-year-old woman in Havana told "The New York Times", people are fed up with the abuse of power. We are desperate.

President Biden issued a statement saying, we stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba`s authoritarian regime.

Cuba refused to request international shipments of COVID vaccine from the World Health Organization, but it has developed its own COVID vaccine. As of now, only 15 percent of Cubans have been vaccinated.

The president of Cuba, like the Castros before him, blames all of Cuba`s problems on this country`s 60-year-old trade embargo with Cuba, which was supposed to force Cuba to the tipping point over 50 years ago.

The embargo does allow American shipments of food to Cuba, and Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world, but somehow "The New York Times" reports that Cuba has run out of basic medicines like penicillin and aspirin.

If the United States had been wise enough to remove the embargo 50 years ago, the Cuban dictatorship would have had no convenient excuse for the deprivations Cuba has suffered.

Cuba`s agonies tonight are only partially assignable to the embargo and almost entirely the fault of 60 years of dictatorial government by economic illiterates. Cuba`s problem is not too much socialism as Republicans would have you believe. It is too much dictatorship, second only to North Korea at this point.


O`DONNELL: The embargo is our longest-running foreign policy mistake, and a grotesque mistake at that. President Obama took significant steps to loosen the embargo, which was actually signed into federal law only in 1996 by President Clinton during his reelection campaign in which he won the state of Florida.

President Biden does not have the legal authority to simply end the embargo, but he does have the authority to issue an order on the basis of emergency humanitarian relief to send one of our great hospital ships to Cuba immediately. Let the U.S. naval hospital`s Mercy anchor off Havana where Cubans can see it ready to help and then let the Cuban dictatorship make its decision whether Mercy`s medicine can be delivered to the Cuban people.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.