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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 7/27/21

Guests: Jamie Raskin, Steven Dennis


Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the January 6th Select Committee, is interviewed. Officers describe January 6 rioters` racial slurs, attacks. Officer Dunn says rioters yelled racial slurs at him and expressed white nationalist beliefs. Officers recount physical, psychological violence experienced at hands of Trump mob. Department of Justice authorizes ex-Trump officials to testify about Trump`s efforts to overturn 2020 election. DOJ refuses to defend GOP Representative Mo Brooks in January 6 lawsuit brought by Representative Eric Swalwell. Senator Sinema, President Biden meet as bipartisan group continues infrastructure negotiations. More than 140 business executives urge Congress to pass Infrastructure Bill. Rep. Murphy says officers saved her life on January 6 Capitol insurrection.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I think Congressman Adam Kinzinger spoke for all of us when he expressed his surprise how emotional this hearing was for him and for us watching on television, and I believe for anyone who is watching anywhere because you`re right, we feel like we know this story.


O`DONNELL: We have heard from some of those police officers, not all of them. We`ve seen so much of the painful and agonizing video and we`ve had six months of coverage of it.

And so what could -- what new could today bring and it was all new. It was an experience like we`d never had watching any congressional hearing in history.

VELSHI: Agree. You covered a lot of them. One of the Americans that best captured the emotion of what it would have been like to be at the United States Capitol that day is about to be on your show.

O`DONNELL: Yes. We`re going to have a full hour and much more coverage is going to be on that hearing.

VELSHI: Have a good evening, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali.

Well, in today`s historic House hearing, we heard things we have never heard before in the history of congressional hearings. We heard on live television, on this network, words that have never been on this network before. Those words are going into print tonight in "The New York Times" where those words have never appeared before.

Those words are vivid descriptions of a president of the United States sending a mob to the Capitol to attack the Congress and the vice president and to violently overturn an election. Those words prove the Trump mob attacking the Capitol was full of white supremacists and racists. Race racists who revel in the use of racist epithets as the testimony of Officer Harry Dunn proved conclusively. Testimony we will be hearing later in this discussion.

Today`s hearing was the first in American congressional history to describe the political followers of a president who came to the Capitol to, according to their own words, murder people, murder elected officials and police officers trying to stop them. The Trump mob described to some of the officers how they were going to kill them.

No testimony like this exists in the history of the congressional record. Those words, those exact words that we heard in testimony today will live forever in the congressional record and will be quoted by historians forever.

From a purely technical evidence stand point, the single most important word said today were said by the very first witness who revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt who was to blame for everything that happened at the Capitol on January 6th.


SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: It was a prolonged and desperate struggle that rioters were shouting Trump sent us. Pick the right side. We want Trump.


O`DONNELL: Trump sent us.

None of the Republicans who are boycotting service on this committee could have refuted that statement today. Trump sent us.

That testimony will never be contradicted by anyone in this investigation or any other investigation of this -- of the January 6th events. Many of the criminals now charged with attacking the Capitol have already said in their own defense that Trump sent them to sent them to commit their crimes.

And so, the committee that is charged with investigating what happened on January 6th and who caused it to happen already has the smoking gun testimony against Donald Trump. Trump sent us. The Trump mob who were sent there by the president of the United States told the Officer Michael Fanone how they wanted to kill him.


OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC: At one point, I came face-to-face with an attacker who repeatedly lunged for me and attempted to remove my firearm. I heard chanting from some in the crowd, get his gun and kill him with his own gun.


O`DONNELL: Officer Fanone had a few words to say about the Republicans in the House and Senate who tried to block this investigation.


FANONE: I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room but too many are now telling me hell doesn`t exist or hell actually wasn`t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.

My law enforcement career prepared me to cope with some of the aspects of this experience. Being an officer, you know your life is at risk wherever you walk out the door, even if you don`t expect otherwise law-abiding citizens to take up arms against you. But nothing -- truly nothing -- has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office.


O`DONNELL: Officer Gonell believed that the criminals Trump sent were going to kill him.


SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I, too, was being crushed by the rioters. I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, this is how I`m going to die defending this entrance.


O`DONNELL: It took hours for Officer Aquilino Gonell to find the time to respond to all the messages on his phone from family members wondering if he was still alive.


GONELL: I arrive at home at nearly 4:00 a.m. on January 7. I had to push my wife away from me because she wanted to hug me and I tell her no because of all the chemical that I -- my uniform had on. Sorry.

I couldn`t sleep because the chemical reactivated after I took a shower, and my skin was burning. I finally fell asleep two hours later completely physically and mentally exhausted. Yet by 8:00 a.m., I was already back, on my way back to the Capitol.

And I continued to work for 15 consecutive days until after the inauguration.


O`DONNELL: Officer Gonell added another evidentiary point in the case against Donald Trump.


GONELL: It was his supporter he sent over to the Capitol and he could have done a lot of things, one of them was to tell them to stop.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s first tweet to the attackers who he sent to the Capitol was to encourage them while they were trying to kill Officer Gonell and Officer Fanone and Officer Daniel Hodges who we have all seen many times in video, this video being crushed, almost to death at one of the doors at the entrance of the Capitol. We have heard Officer Hodges screams on that video.

But today, we heard him describe what happened to him in that doorway.


OFFICER DANIEL HODGES, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC: My arms were pinned to effectively useless, trapped against the shield on my left or door frame on my right with my posture granting me no physical strength or movement. I was effectively defenseless and gradually sustaining injury from the increasing pressure of the mob.

Directly in front of me, a man seized the opportunity at my vulnerability to grab the front of my gas mask and use it to beat my head against the door and switched to pulling it off my head sketching my skull and straining me neck and never uttered words but opted for guttural screams. I remember him foaming at the mouth.


O`DONNELL: Some members of the front mob tried to convert Officer Hodges to join them because he is white and they are white supremacists. Others told him how he would die.


HODGES: One man tried and failed to build a rapport with me shouting, are you my brother? Another takes a different tactic shouting, you will die on your knees.



O`DONNELL: Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger near tears praised the officers` heroism.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You guys all talked about the effects you have to deal with and, you know, you talk about the impact of that day. But you guys won. You guys held. You know, democracies are not defined by our bad days. We`re defined how we come back from bad days and how we take accountability from that.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. He is a member of the January 6th Select Committee.

Congressman Raskin, thank you very much for joining us tonight after this important day`s work.

And I want to begin with you as a constitutional law professor and a former impeachment manager in this second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the lead impeachment manager for the insurrection of the Capitol.

From an evidentiary standpoint, you obtained the testimony today that the people attacking the Capitol were saying repeatedly, "Trump sent us, Trump sent us" That strikes me as an important point in your quest to find out how this happened and who made this happen.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Yes, you`re right, Lawrence. That was the unanimous sense of these witnesses that people were saying, Trump sent us. We were invited to be here by the president and some people, of course, started to use that as a defense saying, we thought that the president had jurisdiction over the Capitol and so we were invited to be there. We were not trespassing.

Of course, legally, that doesn`t work. I can tell people that I actually own your house and they can go in. You`re still trespassing when they go in, you know.

But what is so interesting about this is, of course, we already had robust bicameral, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate defining as a constitutional legislative fact that Trump incited a violent insurrection. So that was already established.

But what this is about with the select committee is who organized it, who mobilized it, who financed it, how did they do it? Why did they do it? Are we still under threat today but these forces?

So, we`re going to figure out these networks of association among domestic violent extremists groups like the Three Percenters, like the Oath Keepers, you know, they took Proud Boys, the militia groups, with the Trump White House and with different political operatives. We`re going to figure out how it was organized, and how they were able to get this far or this close to overthrowing the democratic Constitution of America.

O`DONNELL: Have you had meetings with the Justice Department yet about how to avoid bumping into what is now their criminal investigation of the same thing?

RASKIN: Well, let me just say, you know, that Chairman Thompson has said from the beginning, we are going to do anything that would compromise in any way any individual criminal investigation or criminal prosecution. However, there are clearly trends that had emerged in different patterns of association and interaction that we`re very interested in that they can educate us about that don`t compromise in any way the integrity of any particular investigation or prosecution.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney said today.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): When a threat to our constitutional order arises as it has here, we are obligated to rise above politics. This investigation must be non-partisan. What we begin today by taking the public testimony of these four heroic men, we must also realize that the task of this committee will require persistence. We must issue and enforce subpoenas promptly. We must get to objective truth. We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts.


O`DONNELL: Issue and enforce subpoenas that promptly. What has the House learned about enforcing subpoenas that against the Trump team?

RASKIN: Well, we`ve learned, of course, that they -- you know, they have no respect for the rule of law. They will fight us at every turn. But an ex president is in a very different posture from the current president, and nobody has even remotely plausible claim to any executive privilege to start in the first place.

So, look, this is not a game as my colleague Liz Cheney keeps saying.


This is not cat and mouse or hide and go seek. This is -- this is for real. There was a threat to topple the government of the United States of America and we got a bipartisan, non-partisan duty to determine the truth and figure out what needs to be done to protect ourselves.

And if they get in the way, we will exhaust every possible legal and legislative means to compel them to respect the rule of law because everybody owes the sovereign their honest testimony. And so, if we ask you your testimony, come and testify, 99.99 of the American public would, of course, do it because nobody has anything to hide. And if you start swim squirming and going to hide under your bed, then we`ll realize you`re concealing the truth about something and we`re not going to accept that. You want to plead the Fifth, come on out and plead the Fifth. But otherwise, you`re going to testify.

O`DONNELL: But they will all have the legal right to go to court to try to block these subpoenas that, which in Trump world is always used at minimum just to eat up time.

So you know you`re going to face the challenge of time consuming judicial process on probably every one of the subpoenas against Trump officials.

RASKIN: Well, we`re not going to waste any time in terms of issuing the subpoenas that that we want to issue and we`re determined to obtain everybody`s testimony. And, you know, if people are refusing to testify to the American public and doing everything they can and triple back flips to avoid it, that in itself will be revealing to people.

But we think we`re going to have the documentary evidence that we need, enough witness testimony that we need to fill in the picture about what actually took place on that day, and what do we -- what are the legislative changes that we need to make in order to protect our electoral system, to protect the Electoral College, to the extent that we`re going to be dealing with the Electoral College.

We got to try to make this rather antiquated system work in more responsive way, because with Donald Trump and the fanatics following him now, they basically view the Electoral College as a collection of bobby traps that they`re going to try to exploit in order to defeat the will of the majority, and we have to make sure that`s not going to happen.

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

RASKIN: Thank you so much for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, the painful testimony of Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn who told members of Congress and the country today the racist hate members of the Trump mob hurled at him and other black police officers during the Trump mob`s attack.



O`DONNELL: Officer Harry Dunn delivered shocking and painful testimony about the vicious racism of the Trump mob who Donald Trump sent to attack the Capitol.

The testimony came with no warning today, as it was broadcast live. But we can now warn you that this testimony includes racist language attributed to the Trump mob.


OFFICER HARRY DUNN, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I told them to just leave the Capitol, and in response they yelled, no, man, this is our House. President Trump invited us here. We`re here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden.

I`m a law enforcement officer and I do my best to keep politics out of my job. But in this circumstance, I responded, well, I voted for Joe Biden, does my vote not count? Am I nobody?

That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled, you hear that, guys? This nigger voted for Joe Biden.

Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, boo, fucking nigger.

No one had ever, ever called me a nigger while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.

In the days following the attempted insurrection, other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on January 6th. One officer told me he had never, in his entire 40 years of life, been called a nigger to his face. And that streak ended on January 6th.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Claire McCaskill, former Democratic senator from Missouri, and Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The Washington Post". Both are MSNBC political analysts.

And, Gene, the officer done wanted us to hear that language. He could have coated it. He could have kind of whited out the words in a way. And the committee wanted us to hear that specific language that was used. It is now in the congressional record, it is there.

The decision has been made at different times during the day to bleep out certain words which I completely understand, but there is a unique power in those words that I think the committee was -- I personally think the committee was right to want Washington and the country to hear.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think absolutely the committee was right because, that was the reality. That was real. They didn`t treat Officer Dunn even the way they treated the other officers who are they trying to kill.


But he was not just the enemy. He was and, you know, just apologies to MSNBC listeners, but he was to them a nigger, that`s what he was.

It`s not even -- it`s not even a millimeter before below the surface of this crowd, of this Trump cult crowd, of white supremacy, of racism, the anger, the rage at the fact that here was a powerful black man, in a position of authority, trying to defend the Capitol.

It went just enough in the snap of the fingers from, you know, he voted for the wrong guy to, he is -- he is beneath us. It went straight from -- the wrong guy, all the way back to 400 years of American history. It`s just a stunning piece of testimony. It is a stunning moment.

It was shocking to, I think, I hope, everyone`s core. It wasn`t surprising, it was not surprising. And that`s the experience that other black officers have described having that day. That`s what this crowd was about.

O`DONNELL: And, Claire, the confidence with which those people used that word, the ease, as Gene says, it just instantaneously came out of them. That`s the way white racist Americans talked 50 years ago, and 60 years ago, all over the place.

It was all over my neighborhood in Boston. You heard that everywhere, all the time, with confidence. Complete confidence.

That`s disappeared in those neighborhoods. The confidence anyway, public confidence, about using those words that way, those words, has disappeared in those formerly racist neighborhoods in Boston, some of which retain a lot of racism, but they don`t have the confidence to throw that word around that way, at people like that. The way the Trump mob has that confidence.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There were so many ugly things that Donald Trump brought out of this country. Maybe today we saw the ugliest. That is, as you say, Lawrence, it has become the norm in this country that if you are a pure racist, an ugly, ignorant racist, you typically do not shout it from the rooftops. You wait until you are in a quiet place with other like-minded people.

But what Donald Trump did, he empowered these races to be violent, and I think -- you and I have seen a lot of congressional hearings. I don`t think we have ever seen one as emotionally raw, as compelling, as riveting, as his hearing was today. And I think the part that was most heartbreaking, you can say it was Adam Kinzinger losing his composer, you can say it was the strength of Liz Cheney, you certainly could say it was all the police officers telling the facts of what happened that day.

But that moment, when that black officer explained to America how he was treated, that should be the moment that all these Republicans who are bowing at the knee of this jerk, who was president for four years, that`s what`s when they should say we`re sorry. We are very, very sorry that we gave this guy the kind of power that he clearly took and abused.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more about what Harry Dunn said was the experience of black officers that day.


DUNN: Everybody, even sitting at this table, with a different battle even though it was all for it`s the same war. As black officers, I believe we fought a different battle also. And the fact that we had our race attacked just because of the way we look, you know, to answer your question, frankly I guess it is America. It shouldn`t be, but I guess that`s the way that things are. It`s not the side of America that we like. It`s not the side that any of us here represent.


O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, Donald Trump says they went there with love and they were hugging and kissing those police officers.

ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah, big hug, big kiss.


It`s amazing, you know, it was Officer Dunn who is sitting, you know, in the rotunda just trying to process the day -- later on that day, trying to come to terms with it and said, you know, is this America?

And so, that was the question that was put back to him, is this America, and that was about -- what his answer. I guess it is. I mean, we have to believe our eyes and ears that -- and again, yes, Donald Trump made it acceptable and possible -- and made it possible for people to, you know, power in showing that sort of old fashioned mean racism as overtly as you possibly could.

But he didn`t invent it. You know, he didn`t -- he didn`t put that into all those people. It was there. He allowed it to come out. He gave it permission to come out in the ugliest possible way. But you know, we keep saying, you know, we have so many unresolved issues about race to deal with in this country. And if anybody ever needed any evidence, look at the confederate flags. Just -- you know, don`t anybody try to tell me that we talk too much about race in this country. We talk not nearly enough about raise in this country because, as I said, it`s not even a millimeter beneath the surface.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST (on camera): Yes. And Senator McCaskill, the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Those pictures of that crowd with their confederate flags, each one of those picture was worth 1,000 of those racial epithets that I, for one, I`m not surprised that that crowd was throwing around.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST (on camera): Yeah, and I think, frankly, Lawrence, the visuals that are now really on anyone`s hard drive, the confederate flags, the man hanging from the balcony in the Senate, the guy with no shirt and the animal horns on, and then the violence as they broke through the doors and smashed glass that has been touched by hundreds of people sent there by America do their work, it is -- it was -- those visuals are never going away.

And anyone who believes this going to get swept under the rug doesn`t understand the power of visuals. And I think this testimony today just absolutely augmented the visuals we`ve all seen but those visuals will continue to be the most powerful way American will remember what Donald Trump tried to do to America on that day.

O`DONNELL: Claire McCaskill, Eugene Robinson, we three --

MCCASKILL: Wait, wait, wait.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

MCCASKILL: I got to tell you something.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

MCCASKILL: I got to congratulate you on your Emmy nomination, Lawrence. Congratulations, well-deserved. I know that just came out today and I didn`t want to get off TV tonight without telling you how proud I am to work at the same network that you work and my most sincere congratulations on your nomination.

O`DONNELL: OK. So, credit correction.

ROBINSON: Same from me.

O`DONNELL: Because this is what I look like when I`m learning about an Emmy nomination for the very first time. It turns out, it turns out it was in this time slot but it was for a special by Jonathan Capehart and so well-deserved. And so, I will bask in Jonathan Capehart`s reflected glow for earning that Emmy nomination in this very time slot. So --

MCCASKILL: Well, you may be fact checking me, Lawrence, but you still deserve an Emmy.

O`DONNELL: Well, I got one at home. Claire McCaskill --

MCCASKILL: There you go.

O`DONNELL: Claire McCaskill, Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

And coming up, the Justice Department is not going to shield former Trump officials from testifying about Donald Trump`s actions leading up to the Trump mob attack on the Capitol January 6th. Neal Katyal, joins us next.



O`DONNELL: The Justice Department says that it will not shield former Trump administration officials from testifying to Congress about efforts by Donald Trump or other officials to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Jeffrey Rosen, who was acting Attorney General after William Barr stepped down, is among the officials being allowed to testify about reports that Donald Trump and then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pressured him to investigate false claims of voter fraud.

Another is Jeffrey Clark, then acting assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, who is accused of plotting to oust Rosen with Donald Trump`s help to make it easier to challenge the results of the election.

The Justice Department said while it typically resists such Congressional inquiries, this time, it is making an exception writing quote, "The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to Congress in this case. Congress has articulated compelling legislative interest in the matters being investigated, namely the question whether former President Donald Trump sought to cause the department to use its law enforcement and litigation authorities to advance his personal political interests."

The Justice Department adds that the White House agrees. President Biden has decided that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege.


Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Dirk Durbin, tweeted today, "The committee has been pushing DOJ for this waiver for months. Now that we have it we`ll proceed to interview relevant witnesses ASAP so we can get to the bottom of this plot to enlist DOJ and Donald Trump`s efforts to overturn the 2020 election."

And joining us now is Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. Solicitor General and a MSNBC legal contributor. Neal, interpret what this means for us.

NEAL KATYAL, NBC NEWS/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT Obama (on camera): Well, I think your viewers all recall that Donald Trump while president blocked a lot of testimony from executive branch officials using this doctrine called executive privilege and executive privilege has a long pedigree.

It`s used for all sorts of reasons to provide secrecy around government decision making usually at the time, because you don`t want basically courts or Congress meddling in the midst of like foreign affairs decisions or military decisions and the like, but executive privilege is always waivable.

And what the Justice Department today has said with President Biden`s support is that executive privilege shouldn`t be used here. That -- and you know, they make really the most commonsense obvious point, Lawrence, which is what we are talking about here is the president -- the former president weaponizing the Justice Department in order to advance his personal, political interest. That`s the language you just flashed on the screen a moment ago.

And that`s a pretty extraordinary accusation to make against the former president, but here the Justice Department is saying, look, that`s a serious accusation and we think the American public and Congress deserve to know the truth about what happened. And they should hear from Justice Department officials and former Justice Department officials in the Trump administration, those folks should tell their story to the Congress about what happened.

O`DONNELL: But it seems like the language here is rather mild. They`re saying advance his own personal political interest. It also could be described as election fraud. It could be described in criminal terms. It could turn into a criminal investigation, couldn`t it?

KATYAL: Absolutely. And the Justice Department of course is not going to tip their hand in a letter like this and use criminal statute language now because, you know, that`s something that they will speak through an indictment if that becomes appropriate.

But I honestly, Lawrence, I read this language and thought, wow, this is the kind of strong language I`ve hoping from the Justice Department now for, you know, almost a half year. I mean, a part that you didn`t show shows that you know, the accusations that Donald Trump conspired with the Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark to possibly over throw the election and the like. So, there is a lot in there that is really, really serious.

And so, now, those former officials will have to testify and possibly under this opinion, Donald Trump himself may have to testify because he doesn`t have executive privilege. He can try and claim it, claim he owns it and so on but the Supreme Court has said, executive privilege is for the incumbent, not for past presidents.

O`DONNELL: But presumably Donald Trump will eat up some time in court if he is subpoenaed and many of these other possible witnesses might also eat up some court time if they are subpoenaed.

KATYAL: Donald Trump will certainly try and eat up court time. That`s all he knows what to do. I mean, he doesn`t know how to tell the truth. And so, he will invoke every possible defense, all of this stuff. My only point to you, Lawrence, is it`s going nowhere. The Supreme Court precedent on this is very, very strongly against him now that the Attorney General and the White House has made this determination on executive privilege.

O`DONNELL: Another decision by the Justice Department on the lawsuit suing Mo Brooks -- Congressman Mo Brooks, for inciting the Capitol insurrection. Explain that one to us.

KATYAL: Yeah, this is a big deal. So, there is a law called the Westfall Act that says you can`t sue federal employees if they are acting within the scope of their employment. And in this lawsuit, Representative Eric Swalwell, a frequent, you know, guest on your program and this channel sued Representative Mo Brooks saying, Brooks, you basically conspired to ferment the January 6th insurrection. And get this, Lawrence, Brook`s defense was, no, what I did was in the scope of my employment as a member of Congress.

And the department today said is poppycock. You know, fermenting a coup turns out not to be in the job description of a member of Congress and organizing an attack on your employer is not within the scope of employment. So, what this means is that while Brooks can still try and argue this Westfall Act stuff, the Justice Department is coming against him and he`s likely to lose it.


Now, Donald Trump is also a defendant in this lawsuit and he`s also invoked the Westfall Act and the Justice Department today didn`t say anything about that. I suspect they will in the days to come. There is some language in the opinion today -- in the decision today, the brief that they filed that suggest they don`t believe Donald Trump has any Westfall Act immunity, but that`s going to be the subject of a separate filing later on.

But these two decisions today are pro-rule of law decisions, Lawrence, that basically say Trump and his minions, you know, the truth is going to come out. These folks will be held accountable.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, thank you very much for explaining all of that for us. I really appreciate it.

KATYAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, everyone involved is sounding optimistic about the bipartisan infrastructure bill tonight. That`s next.




SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UH): There will always be details that have to be worked out but I`m pretty optimistic at this stage, nothing is a 100 percent but it looks pretty good.


O`DONNELL: Today President Joe Biden met one on one with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, one of the lead Democratic negotiators on the bipartisan Senate Infrastructure Deal. After their meeting, White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki said the president and Senator Sinema feel optimistic.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Both feel optimistic about the path forward. We were quite encouraged by the conversations overnight and into this morning. We see momentum. It`s moving in a positive direction. You`ve heard that from Democrats and Republicans. That certainly is a good sign, and it`s only Tuesday.


O`DONNELL: A new jobs analysis released today shows that the bipartisan infrastructure deal could create close to 500,000 jobs by 2024. Yesterday, more than 140 business leaders sign a letter urging Congress to pass the infrastructure package, writing in quote, "We urge you to finalized and adopt this program to modernize and expand physical and digital assets that are unnecessary foundation for our nation`s sustainable growth."

That is the kind of support for legislation that Republicans used to pay attention to when they weren`t trying to destroy the legislative agenda of a Democratic president.

Joining us now is Steven Dennis, Senate correspondent for Bloomberg News. And Steven, I`m going to ask you that question that everybody asks in the hallways around the Senate and in the elevators, senators to senators, and it is always simply, what do you hear?

STEVEN DENNIS, SENATE CORRESPONDENT FOR BLOOMBERG NEWS: I think we are very, very close. You know, we`re up against the August recess, and that is, you know, jet fumes. August jet fumes are a pretty powerful and convincing senators to start wrapping up their discussions. There are a lot of cranky Senators who are worried their August plans are about to go puff the magic dragon because they`re not going to be able to get this stuff done.

And -- but if you actually talk to the Senators who are negotiating the deal, Senators like Rob Portman, he sees it as on track, and you know, whether it comes tomorrow -- there were hopes that it would may come yesterday. Every time you get close and any of these Congressional -- big Congressional deals at the last minute people are still saying, hey, I didn`t know that was in there. Or why isn`t this in there?

Things like, you know, not so much how much money is going to be spent or even where the money is going to come from, but how many strings you are going to attach to it. Are you going to have Davis-Bacon wage guarantees or not? Are you going to have restrictions on how much broadband companies can charge rural customers or not?

There are lots of little details in a package that is going to affect every American`s life whether you drive on a road or go to an airport or drink -- want to drink clean water. I mean, this really touches almost everything that you do. And so everybody in both chambers, frankly, is interested and wants to get some tweak here or there.

O`DONNELL: Steven Dennis, thank you very much for the update. We`ll be coming back to you on it. Thank you very much, Steven.

Today, Officer Daniel Hodges discovered exactly whose life he was saving while he was being crushed in a Capitol doorway by the Trump mob. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: In today`s hearing Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy told the police officers very specifically how they saved her life.


REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): While you were holding back the mob at the lower West Terrace entrance, I was holed up with Congresswoman Kathleen Rice in a small office about 40 paces from the tunnel that you all were in. That`s about from the distance where I`m sitting here on the dais to that back wall. And from that office, in close proximity to where you all held the line, I listened to you struggle. I listened to you yelling out to one another. What I`m telling you that you were our last line of defense.

And during the exact period of time, Officer Hodges, in that video where you were sacrificing your body to hold that door, it gave Congresswoman Rice and I and the Capitol police officers who had been sent to extract us the freedom of movement on that hallway to escape down the other end of that hallway.

And I shudder to think about what would have happened had you not held that line. You know, I have two young children. I have a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter, and they`re the light of my life. And the reason I was able to hug them again was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day. And so, just a really heartfelt thank you.

I think it`s important for everybody, though, to remember that the main reason rioters didn`t harm any members of Congress was because they didn`t encounter any members of Congress, and they didn`t encounter any members of Congress because law enforcement officers did your jobs that day, and you did it well. I think without you what would have been a terrible -- what was a terrible and tragic day would have been even more terrible and more tragic. So just very grateful for all of you.


O`DONNELL: The Trump mob thought they were winning when they heard Officer Daniel Hodges` screams of pain in that doorway --