RPT: Texas GOP donors host fundraiser for Manchin one day after meeting with Texas Dems on voting rights; VP Harris meets civil rights leaders and activists who were arrested in Senate Building protest.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: That does it for tonight. Rachel, we`ll be back here on Monday. I will see you from here in Portland, Oregon tomorrow morning on "Velshi" where I will air the rest of my interview with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
It is time now for "The Last Word with Lawrence O`Donnell." Lawrence, I have to tell you watching the arrests of Joyce Beatty and the others and these Texas representatives who are threatened with arrest and quite likely will be arrested when they return home to Texas, and - on the eve of the anniversary of the passing of John Lewis, I think to myself, there is deep pride that Americans should have in the long history of civil disobedience that this country has seen, that South Africa saw, that the country of my ancestry India saw under Mahatma Gandhi. This continues to be something that does sustain and does work.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And Ali, Joyce Betty was here last night after her arrest yesterday. LaTosha Brown is going to join us, she was with Joyce Beatty at the Hart Senate Office Building yesterday. And it is - it`s been a fascinating week with the Texas Democrats and with just a very, very high level of attention now that voting rights has in Washington this week.
VELSHI: As it should be. Sir, have a great show, and we`ll see you soon.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali. And viewer note of what was happening there at the very beginning of this TV show is that I was trying to deal with my allergy eyes and that Kleenex that quickly disappeared from your screen.
Tonight, we have a strange twist in the Texas Democrats go to Washington story. One of the people the Texas Democrats went to Washington to speak to has now gone to Texas. One of the most important meetings that the Texas Democrats have had, if not the most important meeting, was with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Yesterday, one of the Texas Democrats who was in the room with Senator Manchin, Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado will join us in a moment. The Texas Democrats made their case to Senator Manchin about the urgency of federal voting rights legislation to protect Texans` voting rights, which they say Texas Republicans are trying to restrict.
And today the day after his meeting with the Texas Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, reportedly went to Texas and went there for a fundraiser for himself. And at that fundraiser, many of the contributors are Republican political contributors to Donald Trump, as well as Republican governor - the Texas` Republican governor and lieutenant governor, who are both trying to crush the efforts of the Texas Democrats, who Senator Manchin met with yesterday.
"The Texas Tribune" reports, "the host committee includes titans of the Texas oil and gas industry, many of whom donate almost exclusively to Republicans. But there is a prominent Democrat included among the hosts, former Houston Mayor Bill White. Manchin`s office did not respond to requests for comment."
Today, some of the Texas Democrats cross the Potomac River into nearby Alexandria, Virginia, where in 1939, five Black men were arrested for the crime of applying for a library card. Here is Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson outside that library today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. SENFRONIA THOMPSON (D-TX): Haven`t we done enough? Haven`t we paid the price on that? What is going to take for us to be able to be Americans in this country? I am an American and I want to vote without somebody infringing upon my rights and the rights of my constituents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Our first guest tonight LaTosha Brown met with Vice President Kamala Harris today, in a group of Black women at the White House to discuss voting rights legislation.
LaTosha Brown participated in the singing session in the Hart Senate Office Building yesterday that was deemed criminal by the Capitol Police. The Capitol Police arrested nine people in the vast lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building, including Democratic Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who said this last night on this program after she was released from custody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): When we use our voices, and we speak up. And especially Black women, we have become power houses, we deliver presidents of the United States. We have a strong voting base, we have a strong working base, and this is our time to make sure that we pass the voting rights act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In that meeting today, Vice President Harris said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look at the leaders that are at this table who are also women and also Black women, and I see Sojourner Truth. When I look at the women at this table I see Ida B. Wells, Amelia Boynton. I see Fannie Lou Hamer; I see Constance Baker Motley. And these are the modern versions of those great women--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter Fund. She met today with Vice President Kamala Harris. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Before we get to today, I just want to cover tomorrow.
You were at the Hart Senate Office Building, why didn`t you get arrested? What did Congresswoman Beatty do that you didn`t do?
LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: Well, we all did the same thing. I think that part of - part of it is that there were some - there were nine people who were in a position where they got arrested and others of us, we had to make sure that they were taken care of, that they had their bail that, that is an organized strategy.
They`re part of what we wanted to do. We went in the spirit of peace. But we also went to really raise our voice and say that we`re going to be relentless around getting voting rights secured in this country. That is not something that no, we cannot wait.
As we`re looking at what is happening right now, we`re seeing attacks all across this country, on the county level, on the state level, and on the federal level. And that we wanted to make sure our voices are heard. That we`re going to be relentless in fighting for voting rights. And that not senator, two senators, but even the Senate is going to stop us, particularly on the eve of when we`re talking about celebrating John Lewis.
O`DONNELL: Well, just to be clear, no senator has tried to stop you. Right? I mean, you went into that vast Canyon of a lobby, and no one came out and objected to you being there, other than the Capitol Police, right?
BROWN: No. No one objected for us to be in there. Actually, we were able to go in. We were able to sing, we went very peacefully, because what we wanted to do is we wanted to use our democratic right of protesting. To really say that we were upset about what is happening, and that, in fact, we are going to fight for voting rights.
And I do think that the response was very different, though, because we came in a different kind of spirit than even those that came on January the 6th. And yet, even in the context of us coming in that wake, we were immediately arrested, but should not happen to the people in January 6th.
So you know, in this space, what we`re saying is that we need For the People Act and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act. That what we`re seeing is Black voters and Black women wanted to send this message loud and clear, that because we showed up and showed out and last election, what we`re seeing these punitive measures all across this nation to actually to create a system and an environment of fear, and we`re not going to stand for it. We`re going to be relentless.
We believe we`re going to have civil disobedience until we get the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act.
O`DONNELL: I want to get your advice for a guest coming up later in this program, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who`s the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee. She`s going to take her Committee to Georgia to have a field hearing, which is something that that Committee almost never does. They haven`t done it in at least 20 years - a field hearing outside of Washington about voting rights in Georgia.
What should the Chairwoman Klobuchar be focusing on? Where should she be aiming her questions when she`s at that hearing in Georgia?
BROWN: I think there`s three things. I think we need to really understand kind of not just the urgency about how this is a layered approach. That how the administrative process, while we`re talking about some things even in Georgia, around not being able to give out water - those pieces. But some of the most egregious is how they`re weaponizing the administrative process.
It was just a few days ago where the Secretary of State, who`s a Republican, Raffensperger, actually called for the resignation of election officials in Fulton County, the most populous county and heavily majority minority - Black county in the state. That this is the same county that Trump wanted to actually - he said that he wants to turn all the elections and was counted three times and still came up where the votes were correct.
And in that process, what he`s also saying is there plans to take over the election. So, they`re weaponizing the administrative process to undermine, what we think is one that actually comes down to really be able to get to the bottom of really hearing about what is happening on the county level, and on the state level. Really be able to hear people, their frustrations of voters and how this has created a barrier of having access to the ballot.
But I also think that we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. The bottom line is unless we address and deal with the filibuster. The filibuster has to end. And so we even need enclosure. We need all of the senators, really to really put pressure on whether that`s President Biden and the Senate that we are going to have to end the filibuster to move forward.
There has been no good faith on the side of the Republicans that we can even imagine that we`re going to have 10 votes that are going to ask Help that pass.
O`DONNELL: Listen to more of what the vice president had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Let`s be clear, not about any one racial group, or gender group, this is about all Americans. This is not an issue about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about Americans. And this group of national leaders are very clear about that. This is the fight for all people, regardless of who they voted for in the last election, or who they vote for in the next election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What was your reaction to that?
BROWN: I mean, I think she`s absolutely right. I think what we have to really recognize kind of the nuance of what is happening is that Black and Brown voters are being targeted in these communities. But that the impact of that will not just impact Black voters or Democratic voters, it will actually undermine democracy for all of us. And so, I think that`s a true statement.
I think that`s why we have to see this as the most critical and urgent issue in protecting democracy in this country. That the bottom line is literally when we`re affecting voting rights for a few, you`re actually impacting it for all of us. And so what is happening right now is actually criminal.
Matter of fact, it is an abuse of power. I think that is political corruption. When you have a party that is in power that says that the way that they`re going to maintain power by literally marginalized or silencing some of the citizens of that nation, that is the definition of political corruption. And so we have to really recognize the far reaching impact of what is happening right now, even though many of these attacks have been targeted at Black and Brown voters.
O`DONNELL: LaTosha Brown ordered out of the Hart Senate Office Building yesterday and welcomed into the White House today, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
BROWN: Thank you, Lawrence, for having me. Always great to be here.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And joining our discussion now as Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado. She represents Texas Sixth District, which includes parts of Houston, and that she is the Chair of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus.
Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I want to begin with your meeting with Senator Joe Manchin, and just what you believe was accomplished in that meeting.
STATE SEN. CAROL ALVARADO (D-TX): Thanks for having me. Well, first of all, he was very gracious with his time. He sat down for over an hour with us. And he wanted to know about things that were in the bill that the legislature has taken up now twice, and will take it up again, so total three times.
But we wanted to hear about things that were important to us. And we told him that having a provision in a bill that Congress can pass would be preclearance. That`s very important for a state like Texas that has a long history of discrimination, of gerrymandering intentionally. And Texas always ends up in courts when it comes to voting rights and all these issues.
And he was an agreement that something has to be done. We have to make sure that voting rights are protected. He knows, as we do, that the Voting Rights Act has been chipped away. And before you know it, it will no longer exist. And it will be detrimental to states like Texas and many others in the South.
O`DONNELL: Did a Senator Manchin mention to you that he was going to be visiting your state the next day as I would if I was talking to you today, and if I was going to Texas tomorrow, I think I might just mention something about. Did Senator Manchin mentioned that?
ALVARADO: No, sir.
O`DONNELL: Were you surprised to discover in "The Texas Tribune" report that he`s having a fundraiser in Texas earlier this evening with people who support governor and lieutenant governor and supported Donald Trump?
ALVARADO: I have not seen the list, so I`m not sure who`s on there. I know that a lot of people come to Texas to raise money.
O`DONNELL: In fairness, it is a bipartisan list. Former Mayor Bill White is on that list. There are other Democrats on that list. But it`s just such a striking juxtaposition. Did you ask him about Senate rules and the 60 vote threshold and what that would mean to voting rights?
ALVARADO: Well, we focused mostly on substance of the bill, and we`re leaving the tactics and the Senate procedures to he and leader Schumer and others in the Senate. We wanted to make sure that we made our case, how much of a time constraint we`re under. This special session will end in a few weeks, and we know that U.S. Senate may be taking a break in August and it`s right around the same time.
So, we wanted to press upon him the urgency to get something done. And he agrees that we have to pass legislation to protect voting rights. He wants something that is a little narrower than what you see in the For the People Act and also wants to make sure that we have something in there for preclearance.
O`DONNELL: Did Chuck Schumer or any other Washington hands give you any advice about how to discuss this with the various senators you`d be meeting with?
ALVARADO: We had a lengthy meeting with leader Schumer as well, and I think he gave some very helpful tips.
O`DONNELL: Have you had a chance to speak with Senator Sinema who`s in a similar position to Joe Manchin on this legislation?
ALVARADO: We had a phone call, I believe, yesterday or the day before. We are personal friends, and we spent a lot of time catching up. We talked a little bit about what`s taking place. She`s been following it very closely, and had some questions about what was taking place in Texas as far as the bill itself. So we talked about that.
O`DONNELL: So are you the only member of the Texas delegation who`s had direct communication with Senator Sinema on this trip?
ALVARADO: I believe so.
O`DONNELL: Do you expect to have more communication with Senator Sinema as this goes forward?
ALVARADO: I hope so. We`re friends. So I hope that we can continue the dialogue and hopefully the next time we talk, maybe there`s some movement.
O`DONNELL: Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
ALVARADO: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up. Senator Amy Klobuchar is taking the Senate Rules Committee to Georgia to hear from Georgia voters about the new Republican restrictions on voting there. Senator Amy Klobuchar joins us next.
O`DONNELL: Helen Butler was removed from her position last month as a county election official in Morgan County, Georgia after Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law voter restrictions that, among other things, gave the Republican controlled county commission, authority to appoint members to local election boards.
Helen Butler appeared on this program last month to discuss why she thought she was being removed from her position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HELEN BUTLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGIA COALITION FOR THE PEOPLE`S AGENDA: We had great turnout. We had people that were able to be hired as poll workers that can really implement the process. And the board members are also a part of the counting process. So they didn`t like that outcome. So they decided they wanted to change it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And in a remarkable TV moment, I was wearing the same shirt and tie that interview. The Senate Rules Committee is heading to Atlanta, Georgia on Monday to hold its first field hearing in two decades. The hearing is entitled, "Protecting the Freedom to Vote: Recent changes to Georgia voting laws and the need for basic federal standards to make sure all Americans can vote in the way that works best for them." One of the witnesses who will testify at that hearing is Helen Butler.
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. And, Senator, I hope you were listening earlier, because I was doing - trying to do some staff work for you with LaTosha Brown, who knows Georgia well and knows that election law well, on what you should be aiming for in Georgia. What do you hope to accomplish in Georgia?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, I think she had some great advice, and that is to allow the people like Helen, people like the voter, the veteran who stood in line for three hours, the state senator who fought this tooth and nail, let them do the talking. Because what we`re going to hear is the reason that Helen Butler was removed from her posts.
And that is because there is a concerted effort, not only in Georgia, but in Texas, as you just heard from the state senator, to basically take away people`s freedom to vote, Lawrence. And one of the - I think many of us are focused on the provision in the bill that passed in Georgia that said, you can`t give water to voters in line. Of course, egregious, egregious measure. But there`s so much more in that bill and that`s what LaTosha was getting at.
Basically, the state legislature kick people off the voting board. And then they said, and if we just find a few technical violations, we can replace you local officials. We will look for stuff and we will replace you.
One of the things people haven`t noticed very much is that you know they require a runoffs, that is Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff became great senators as they are. But they reduce the time for that runoff to only 28 days. So there is no time after the general election, they reduced it. And wait, they kept in place there law that you cannot register as a new voter. You have to do it 29 days before. Pretty obvious.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And that - and one - one of the things about that is we did see this astonishing thing in the runoff Senate campaigns in Georgia, and that was that they were able to get more voters engaged in in that Senate election for the second round of the Senate election.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And other things they do they, the ballot boxes, the drop off boxes so important in so many states. I bet a lot of your viewers used those. Well, they said, well, you have to have less of them and you can only have them at the early voting locations and only during those hours - a bit redundant.
So it`s just measure after measure after measure. And I`m looking forward to working with our two great senators in Georgia, members of the Rules Committee. And the day before I`ll be seeing the great Stacey Abrams. And we think it`s really important for the senators to go to Georgia and see exactly what`s going on and hear directly from the people.
And just as the Texas legislators came to Washington, I think it`s important that we go out in the field. We have to keep the pressure on. And they said to me, when I met with them after I talked to you this week, they said, we`re passing you the torch. They came to Washington for salvation, and it`s the one place it can find it, and only if we pass the bills.
O`DONNELL: Mitch McConnell said that you and the Democrats are just using this Georgia law, in what he says is a shameless effort to manufacture an air of crisis. What is your response to Mitch McConnell on that?
KLOBUCHAR: Crisis? You know what a crisis is? You know what chaos is? Chaos is those voters in Milwaukee standing in line in their garbage bags in the pouring rain, with homemade masks. Chaos was that law in North Carolina that the Republicans passed that got thrown out because the judges said it discriminated against African-Americans with surgical precision.
Chaos is what we see in Texas, when there`s one ballot drop off box in Harris County, Texas, with over 5 million people, with the lines we saw in Georgia, with voters waiting in the sun, with senior citizens not even being able to vote, because they couldn`t stand the heat. That is chaos and that is a crisis.
So we are going down there because the Republicans, in a concerted effort, are trying to take away people`s freedom to vote and he knows that. They can say what they want, but we are not going to stop fighting this fight.
Do you have any other field hearings planned or considered for any - in any other states, Texas, for example?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, we`re going to go to several other states and we`re working all that out with the people on the ground. Right now all the focus is on Georgia, and then we`ll go from there. And my main goal for doing this is to just continue to get people state by state to help us to put pressure on the Republicans, on our colleagues to get this done.
This is a concerted effort at people like Reverend Warnock, and he is someone who, in his own words, he decided to devote his maiden speech on the Florida voting rights. And as he summed it up better than I`ve said in this whole interview, some people don`t want some people to vote. That`s what this is about.
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, thank you for joining us once again tonight. We always appreciate.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, mad bombers for Trump. Two men were accused in federal court today of plotting to bomb Democratic headquarters in the hope of starting a war for Donald Trump. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Why don`t mad bombers love Donald Trump? Why do homicidal maniacs love Donald Trump? Why do aspiring mass murderers love Donald Trump?
Those questions will not be answered by the federal criminal trial of Ian Rogers and Jarrod Copeland, who were indicted today by a federal grand jury in California on federal charges, including that they "did knowingly conspired to destroy by fire or explosive a building to wit, the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento, California."
Five days before President Biden`s inauguration, the FBI raided Ian Rogers` home and business where they "recovered several guns and five pipe bombs." Rogers admitted making the pipe bombs for what he said was his own entertainment.
The FBI found text messages on Ian Rogers` phone to and from his now codefendant, Jarrod Copeland. "We can attack Twitter or the Democrats you pick. I think we can attack either easily. Let`s go after Soros. We can attack Twitter and Democrats easy right now, burn their crap down. I want to blow up the Democrat building bad. Plan attack. I`m thinking Sac office first target." Sac office, meaning Sacramento Office of the Democratic Party.
The jury in this criminal trial will be able to tell us if Rogers and Copeland are guilty of conspiring to bomb the Democratic Party Headquarters. But that jury will not be able to tell us why they wanted to do it.
And that jury will not be able to tell us how many other Trump supporters want to kill us. How many Trump supporters want to kill the people working at Twitter? How many Trump supporters want to kill the people working at Democratic Party headquarters? How many Trump supporters want to kill for Donald Trump? We don`t know.
We just know according to their own words, on January 6th, and the evidence in this California case that the number of Trump supporters who want to kill for Donald Trump is not zero.
Joining us now, Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney and a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. She`s an MSNBC Legal Contributor. Joyce, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I have to say reading these legal filings today was like reading about the what the filings would have been, it feels like if Timothy McVeigh had been caught in advance.
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think that`s exactly the feeling that you get here. This is a big arsenal that these two had amassed. They`ve got five pipe bombs, they`ve got fully automatic weapons, they`ve got 45 to 50 guns and 1000s of rounds of ammunition. If this is how you entertain yourself, well, that means that you`re a criminal.
And to your point, Tim McVeigh, who is the touchstone for so many of these people, they all use the anarchist cookbook is way to figure out how to make their devices and how to target their locations. And they all look back to Timothy McVeigh with this singular focus on using violence to overthrow the government, and using their own acts of violence to radicalize other people to their cause.
O`DONNELL: I just want to put up on the screen an image that was included in the criminal complaint filed in court of this White Privilege Card that Ian Rogers had. He had this in his home, this was part of what was collected in the raid - the White Privilege Card, Trump`s everything. This is what these people believe in - they. Joyce, it seems to me that as witnesses are against and about themselves, they are very clear.
VANCE: They don`t make any bones about their ideology. They don`t make any bones about their allegiance to the former president. The difficult issue here and I think Lawrence you are right to say it, may not be untangled in the criminal justice system, is not just what their motivation is, but also whether or not the former president holds some share of responsibility for their conduct, not in the obvious sense.
Because we can all look at this ongoing course of conduct and Trump`s failure to moderate his rhetoric over time after he knew, time and time again people were motivated to violence by his words. But whether there will ever be any legal accountability is still the open question here.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, the - so the FBI caught these guys and caught them in advance of what they were plotting to do. And that just feels lucky, Joyce, I have to say it. it just feels like great work, fantastic that they did that. But it`s hard to believe that these were the only two and that Democratic Building in Sacramento is the only building that anybody like this might be targeting.
VANCE: The FBI has a really tough job here playing defense, and I`ve been involved in this work for many years. You have to make the arrests in this case before they`re actually able to blow up the Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento. And then you`ve got to go back out there the next day and start worrying about the next guys that are coming at you with bombs and guns. It`s a tough job.
It`s encouraging that the FBI caught these two. There seems to have been newly enhanced recognition at the Bureau and in U.S. Attorney`s offices and in main justice, of the importance of focusing on domestic terrorism. It`s far too easy for us to focus on foreign terrorism at the expense of domestic terrorism.
If you`ve had found a jihadist with this kind of firepower, with five pipe bombs, everyone would have been up in arms, but we have a regrettable tendency to give the white supremacists a pass. Maybe they look a little bit too much like us or a little bit too much like law enforcement. They don`t seem as threatening. But these people pose a deadly threat to our country. We are fortunate that the FBI won today.
O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciated.
Coming up, a Colorado federal judge found - his words - not one iota of evidence of fraud in the presidential election. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold will join us. We will also be joined by Arizona`s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: President Joe Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes. The AP is reporting that election officials in Arizona have now identified exactly 182 potential cases of some kind of voter fraud out of the more than 3 million ballots cast in Arizona and only four of those 182 cases have actually led to criminal charges - two against registered Democrats and two against registered Republicans. No one has been convicted. No vote was counted twice.
In other words, fraud had nothing to do with the outcome of the election in Arizona. And that is the reason our next guest calls what Republicans are now doing with the ballots in Arizona, a "Fraudit." And now Congress has decided to investigate the Arizona Fraudit.
The House Oversight Committee, "is seeking to determine whether the privately funded audit protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories, undermine confidence in America`s elections and reverse the results of a free and fair election for partisan gain."
In Colorado today, a hearing was held in federal court that was virtually identical to a hearing held in Michigan Federal Court on Monday with a federal judge considering imposing sanctions on Trump lawyers for bringing a completely frivolous and fraudulent election lawsuit, which was dismissed by the court in April.
Today, the judge said that the Colorado lawyers, "not one iota of evidence to support their frivolous lawsuit." One of the Colorado lawyers facing sanctions in today`s hearing said that he relied in good faith on accusations about election fraud made by others, including the MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell.
The lawyer said, "these are serious allegations made by serious people." And when your defense rests on serious people like the MyPillow guy, you are in serious legal trouble.
Joining us now is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Secretary Hobbs thank you very much for joining us tonight. What is the latest state of what you have called the Fraudit in Arizona?
KATIE HOBBS, SECRETARY OF STATE (D) ARIZONA: Well, Lawrence, really your guess is as good as mine. What it seems like they`re doing and what they`ve been trying to do for a while now is continue to drag this out as long as possible, because they`re continuing to swindle people out of their money to fund this process. They`re channeling those private dollars through unknown organizations to unknown people and we don`t know who`s funding it.
So their bottom line benefits by continuing to drag it out. But the who suffers here is the voters of Arizona who continue to have their concerns mount over, not knowing where their ballots are, or what`s going on, having their taxpayer dollars spent on replacing equipment that is now not usable because of this Fraudit.
So this is damaging in many ways to Arizona and it is unfortunate that the folks running this show continue to try to drag it out for their political goals.
O`DONNELL: How would you advise the House Oversight Committee in Washington in their investigation of this, what you call a Fraudit? What should they be looking for and asking about?
HOBBS: Well, I think all the things that they highlighted in their letter hit all of the right points and the points that we`ve been making for months about all the problems associated with this exercise. I welcome their voices and their intervention into this fight.
And, quite frankly, our offices hear concerns from voters every single day over this exercise, and they`re tired of this these partisan games. And, that`s why I`m running for governor to get to work on real issues and problems that we have here in Arizona, not rehashing the 2020 election. And folks can join me in that at katiehobbs.org.
O`DONNELL: Now, let me ask you about that. You`re your secretary of state now. You are directly involved in elections and election security. Wouldn`t you have less authority or impact over that as governor?
HOBBS: Well, certainly, we`ve got all kinds of election officials in Arizona that are trying to tie my hands - the governor, the attorney general, the legislature. We`re going to keep overcoming those challenges in doing my job. But certainly, as governor, I`ll have a say in legislation that`s passed, and other things in terms of our elections.
And the number one thing I would do is stand up to these fraudsters that are trying to continue to undermine voter confidence in our elections, because there was no fraud, and that`s what we need the leaders in our state to stand up and say. And right now, there are too few and far between doing that.
O`DONNELL: And so, this Fraudit has been run by just the Republican Senate in Arizona, which I find incomprehensible how the Senate, without other authority could do that, that`s apparently unique to Arizona. And so - and they`re asking now - the people running are saying, Oh, we don`t have enough time to finish. We need more time and we need more information. They were handed all of the ballots. What more information could they possibly want?
HOBBS: Well, I think they`re trying to make it look like Maricopa County has not been cooperative with them, which is absolutely not the case. They`re trying to make it look like there are potentially incomplete results are because of this. But the bottom line is, they`re just continuing to try to drag this out so that they can continue to sow doubt all the way into the 2022 and 2024 elections.
O`DONNELL: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
HOBBS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And we`re joined now by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. She is the Chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State.
Secretary Griswold this case in your state, in Colorado, the federal judge is handling, saying not one iota of evidence of any kind of election fraud of any kind, in this lawsuit brought by lawyers, who are now facing sanctions for lying in court, in effect. And it seems, the way the judge handled that hearing today that those lawyers are in serious trouble, just like the lawyers we saw earlier this week in Michigan.
GRISWOLD: Well, Lawrence, thank you for having me on. As a lawyer, when you`re sworn in, you swear to uphold the Constitution. And that means you`re not allowed to use lies to file frivolous lawsuits, and you`re not allowed to use the courts to undermine democracy.
And as you pointed out, these lawyers that are now facing sanctions said that they relied on the MyPillow guy as a basis for lawsuit. Lawrence, at this point, the MyPillow guy gives pillows a bad name. So we really need to see lawyer stop lying, and everybody who is using the big lie to suppress the vote for their own political motivation needs to stop. So that`s what Democratic secretaries of state are fighting for every single day.
O`DONNELL: I have to say in reading about this proceeding today that this hearing where these lawyers had a chance - this was their chance to save their lives, save themselves from being sanctioned, barred from practicing in federal court and so forth in Colorado. And I didn`t hear - I didn`t read a single thing they said that was actually helpful to their defense. And everything I read that they offered, was actually more incriminating, like the point about the MyPillow guy is an authoritative source.
GRISWOLD: That`s right. Elections are not infomercials, they`re very serious endeavors. And what I can say, as chief election officer for the state of Colorado, is that we`re seeing the same type of lies that were flushed out in the hearing, being used as a basis to suppress the vote. There`s been attempts in Colorado and nationwide.
As a nation, we`ve seen 400 bills to suppress the vote in 47 states. We`re seeing the stripping of authority from secretaries of state who just oversaw one of the most secure elections in America`s history. And it`s all because some elected officials did not like the results of 2020. So now they`re trying to change the rules.
So I think today`s hearing is a good thing. I think these hearings across the nation underline accountability and that`s what we need more of in this nation. Lawyers and elected officials should not be able to lie to manipulate the American people.
O`DONNELL: Well, that`s what we thought law school was for. Is there some deficiency in ethics teaching in law school now? Has it kind of collapsed to the point where these guys think they can walk into a federal courtroom and lie and there won`t be sanctions?
GRISWOLD: Well, I think the hearings are pretty much showing that that is not going to fly in the United States. Attorneys are being stripped of their license. They are being sanctioned. But it`s a bigger problem than just lawyers.
We had a president of the United States lie and use the tools of the federal government to erect barriers to the vote. That`s about as un- American as you can get. So I think what we need to see is the recognition of the urgency of the moment we`re in.
We are seeing a systematic approach to strip away our freedoms, to strip away the very foundation of this country, the right of Americans to choose their elected officials. That`s why it`s so urgent for Congress to pass a voting reform to protect the right to vote. And if they do not, in 2022, American voters will be able to choose their secretaries of state to stand up and protect elections.
O`DONNELL: Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
GRISWOLD: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. "Tonight`s Last Word" is next.
O`DONNELL: How the mighty have fallen. Mark Zuckerberg has gone from visiting in the White House with a president who profited from the false propaganda disseminated by Facebook, to a president who now says Mark Zuckerberg`s Facebook is killing people with lies about COVID-19.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ALEXANDER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: On COVID misinformation, what`s your message to platforms like Facebook?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re killing people. I mean, it really - look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And that - and they`re killing people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy warned that health misinformation is "a serious threat to public health." And he criticized Facebook for not doing enough to stop the spread of false information on its platform.
Mark Zuckerberg did not reply to the president today, but Facebook issued a written statement saying, "we will not be distracted by accusations which aren`t supported by the facts. The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet."
And a programming note before we go tonight, on Monday night at this hour, in this place, Jonathan Capehart will be live in Washington, D.C. for an MSNBC special presentation. Jonathan Capehart will be joined by all of the Texas Democrats who are in our nation`s capital to plead for federal voting rights protections.
All of the Texas democrats will join Jonathan Capehart for the special, "Battleground Democracy: The Texas Democrats," Monday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.