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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 7/9/21

Guests: Armando Martinez, Lina Hildalgo, Jay Costa, Christina Greer, Jonathan Alter, David Cay Johnston, Glenn Kirschner, Zephyr Teachout, Kurt Braddock


Biden to deliver voting rights speech on Tuesday as GOP try to suppress vote, hold sham "audits" and subvert elections; Fight over voting rights heats up in Texas; Trump organization CFO Allen Weisselberg quits as director of Trump Scotland Golf Club.



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: All right. That is going to do it for us tonight. Happy Friday. I`ll see you again here on Monday night. Now it`s time for The Last Word where Mehdi Hasan is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening Mehdi. It`s great to see you.

MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. It is Friday night. Can you confirm for the viewers you have a fun packed weekend ahead?

MADDOW: No, not at all. I am just going to be reading transcripts and stuff, definitely not doing any fishing.


HASAN: Sunday afternoon, you must join me virtually at least and watch England win the European Football Championship, for the first time in my lifetime, Inshallah, as Joe Biden would say.


MADDOW: Fair enough. Fair enough. Good luck. Thanks buddy.


HASAN: Have a great weekend. Good evening. President Biden finally is planning on using the bully pulpit and making his case directly to the American people to focus attention on the most important issue of our time, the future of American democracy and the defense of our voting rights.

Today, the White House announced that the president will speak in Philadelphia on Tuesday about what his administration will do "to protect the sacred constitutional right to vote". Yesterday, Biden met with civil rights leaders who pushed him to do more and take a more urgent stand in support of the democrats sweeping election bills. Because federal action, specifically federal legislation, is the only surefire way to protect our right to vote from dangerous anti-democratic republicans in state houses across the country.

Like in Texas, where republicans are again, pushing to pass incredibly restrictive voter laws. It`s the top priority of the state special session currently underway. Today, Texas senate democrats unveiled their own voting legislation and called for a public hearing on their bill, which would expand vote by mail, lengthen the early voting period, and allow for online and election day voter registration. Here is Texas State Senator Royce West.


STATE SEN. ROYCE WEST (D-TX): We do everything in our power to get a hearing on this vote, on this bill, work with republicans and anyone else in terms of taking Senate Bill One, in this particular bill, the Jordan - Barbara Jordan Fair Elections Act and seeing whether we can strike compromises to make certain that all people in the state of Texas are able to vote, that is transparent and that is secure.


HASAN: Outside of Texas, Republicans have opted for other novel ways to undermine our democracy. For example, sham election audits, like the ones still taking place in Arizona. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that similar partisan reviews are now taking place or being proposed in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Georgia and in Pennsylvania. "The proposed election reviews failed to satisfy basic security, accuracy and reliability measures, and the auditors themselves failed to meet basic standards of objectivity".

In Pennsylvania, the fake audit is being pushed by a Trump ally, who attended the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6. I kid you not. Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano is calling on election officials in three counties to send him ballots and other election materials, despite two previous audits finding no evidence of fraud.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro instructed the counties to refuse to cooperate and vowed to take legal action to stop the process. State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa will join us in a moment, is demanding the state`s Republican leadership step in writing "should you allow this to continue?". Senator Mastriano will have built a Frankenstein creation of a committee with limitless power, frighteningly controlled by a Senate intent on tainting every level of our government. It is your duty as officers of this body to put a stop to this.

To be clear though, these republicans are not going to stop on their own. They are going to have to be stopped. Leading off our discussion tonight are Democratic Texas State Representative Armando Martinez and Harris County Judge Lina Hildalgo. She is the Chief Executive of Harris County, the most populous county in Texas. Thank you both for joining me on the show this Friday night.

Representative Martinez, let me start with you. You managed to stop the republicans by denying them quorum not so long ago, but they`re back now with this special session. They`re relentless. If at first you don`t succeed, try and try again, I guess, is their approach. What is your party in the state house`s plan for stopping them now? Is there one?

STATE REP. ARMANDO MARTINEZ (D-TX): Well, thank you very much, Mehdi, and I appreciate you having us on tonight. We already know that Texas is already among the most restrictive voting rights states in the country and has a history of discriminating.


So legislators on both sides of the aisle should be expanding the right to vote and are restricting it. And I can tell you that democrats are working hard to use every rule that we have in our power to make sure that our democracy is not challenged. And no matter our race, political party or zip code, all of us know that in a democracy, voters pick our leaders. Our leaders should not get picked by their voters.

HASAN: Yes. Well put. Judge Hildalgo, what the Texas GOP wants to get rid of, 24-hour voting, drive through voting? These are all heavily used in your county, Harris County, and heavily used by people of color. You don`t believe that`s a coincidence. Do you?

LINA HILDALGO, JUDGE, HARRIS COUNTRY, TEXAS: No. That`s right. Here in Harris County, we had these innovations. It led to the largest turnout we had seen in 30 years. We are home to Houston, 33 other cities, and it was beautiful voters of both parties, it was incredible. And of course, now, republicans at the state level are trying to ban these innovations under the guise of this idea of this lie that there was massive voter fraud. And what`s happening is, after the Representative and his colleagues courageously walked out to stop that from passing in the regular session, now the governor has called the legislature back into session, into special session--


HILDALGO: --we`re calling a suppression session. And he is trying to extort the legislators saying he will not find the legislative branch, not their salaries or their staff salaries, unless they pass these bills that allow poll watchers to get as close to voters as they want, that make it a crime for poll workers to ask these poll watchers to leave that ban and drive through voting, a 24-hour voting. I mean, the situation is urgent. This is happening right now in Texas, and we need everybody to pay attention.

HASAN: Yes, attention is very important. So Representative Martinez, when you see what republicans are doing in a state like yours, in a totally brazenly partisan way. And then you hear Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in Washington, D.C., saying, we have to be bipartisan. We have to work with republicans. What goes through your mind in Texas?

MARTINEZ: It is unconscionable to hear what is going on in Texas and what republicans are doing, not only in Texas, but across the nation. I can tell you that this session, there is not anything special about it. The suppression session is exactly what is called our governor has not done anything to address the fundamental needs of Texas. He is gone after a political ploy. He has gone after a political platform.

And you know that this is exactly what republicans are doing across this nation. And he has placed politics in front of people. He is going to restrict the vote in order to make sure that republicans get what they want. And he has placed a political agenda in front of what`s important, and that is the people of Texas. So it is just unconscionable. It`s reckless--


MARTINEZ: --and it`s juvenile what republicans are doing.

HASAN: And Judge Hildalgo, it`s not just a political agenda, as Representative Martinez points out. Real people are suffering here. Tonight, there is news out of Texas that the State Attorney General Ken Paxton, has arrested a Houston voter, Hervis Rogers, who went viral last year after lining up for six hours on Super Tuesday to vote. He is accused of illegal voting because he was on parole. His parole wasn`t done till June. He says he didn`t know he was registered to vote. He is in prison. He is in jail, and his bail has been set for $100,000. What is your reaction to that case from your county vote, in the Harris County?

HILDALGO: Well, it`s clear they`re trying to create fear. There is a difference between massive voter fraud which does not exist, and innocent mistakes. And we`re still running down the details of this case.

But look, fundamentally what they`re doing is tearing down our democracy, making up strengthening this idea that there is massive fraud that weakens trust in our democracy. And I don`t want people to think that the law that is being proposed, the bill that`s being proposed during this chill session, is any better that it`s a watered down somehow more palatable version. Anything that builds on this lie to pass laws in order to make it harder to vote, is threatening to democracy. It obviously makes it harder for certain groups to participate. But it is just a terrible path--


HILDALGO: --to get to go down and I`m so proud of these democrats. Situation here is dire. We need support from the federal level, and these guys deserve it, all of us in Harris County--


HILDALGO: --and these brave courageous legislators.

HASAN: It is horrific to see people being jailed for voting when they were registered to vote and believe they`ve done nothing wrong. Texas State Representative Armando Martinez and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, thank you so much for coming on the show tonight.


Well, it`s not just Texas, of course, the republicans are voter suppressing all over the place. They want to do a fraud it, shall we say, in Pennsylvania.

Joining me now is Pennsylvania State Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa. Thanks so much for joining me tonight. What is happening in Arizona with the fake recount or audit or whatever we call it, is mad, is ridiculous local republican election officials in Arizona have slammed it. Are republicans in Pennsylvania really going to copy Arizona and do the same?

STATE SEN. JAY COSTA (D-PA): Well, they`re trying to do that here in Pennsylvania, and my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus are taking every step that we can, to prevent them from continuing to put on this charade.

We`re fighting hard to make certain that our colleagues, Senator Mastriano, who is the leader of this group, doesn`t get the opportunity to do audits. And we`re working closely with our Department of State, as well as our Attorney General, and in governor`s administration, to prevent him from being able to conduct one of these audits. He doesn`t have the authority through his chairmanship of a committee. They seldom use committee. We will certainly not use for this purpose, to conduct audits along those lines. And we simply think that it`s the wrong thing to do, obviously, and we`re going to continue to fight it.

HASAN: Is Joe Biden, is the Democratic President of the United States, your party leader, is the federal government, doing enough to help democrats like yourself in swing states like Pennsylvania, where republicans are in the majority in the legislature?

COSTA: I think they have done enough. I think they`ve been very clear about what needs to be done and the conversation is taking place. It`s simply that our republican colleagues here in Pennsylvania and across the country, continue to travel down this path where they try to undermine the electoral process, here in Pennsylvania. We know that there were dozens and dozens of lawsuits that were filed, all against the trying to undermine the election. They were all unsuccessful.

And many issues that have developed along those lines have been no proof of any type of fraud in Pennsylvania, as was not been in many other states. But I do think that their federal government has done what they can along those lines. But collectively, state legislatures across the country have to review what`s taking place along those lines, and they will stand up--


COSTA: --and fight back against these types of things.

HASAN: And you also have the republicans, the party of prudence, have balanced budgets, small government spending a fortune on this stuff. This is your state AG speaking on MSNBC earlier. Have a listen.


JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is one insurrectionist state senator who is being enabled by the modern day republican party, which is beholden to Donald Trump, who is demanding the private voting information of 997,000 Pennsylvanians in an audit, if he were able to pull it off, which he won`t be, that will cost the taxpayers of just those three counties alone, over $30 million. So he is not only taking advantage of the taxpayers to the tune of $30 million, but what he is also doing is compromising their personal information. He will not get away with it.


HASAN: Are Pennsylvanians, republicans and democrats, are like OK with spending $30 million on this fraud it?

COSTA: Well, they`re not. I think, as the General indicated, it`s one person with some followers who are trying to accomplish this. We know that taxpayers are outraged with respect to what`s taking place on this whole audit conversation and are pushing back as well. I think there are reasonable democrats in our chamber who recognize and even some in the house who have rejected audits, republicans who said they would not do audits. And we think that that`s the appropriate step to take.

But you know what? This gentleman is going to continue to try to do this. There are many other things that he has done. He`s been part of the insurrection, brought people down to the insurrection. There is no credibility with respect to the people in our building. And I think what we have to do is continue to fight and that`s what our caucus is going to do.

HASAN: Fair enough. It`ll be a fight. Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, thank you for your time tonight.

Coming up. Time is of the essence. That`s the message Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has for his caucus, as their work kicks into high gear on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a more partisan budget resolution. Christina Greer and Jonathan Alter join us next.



HASAN: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is warning his caucus, prepare to work through the August recess, in order to pass the two track infrastructure plan. Well, good. Today, in a letter to Senate democrats, Schumer said my intention for this work period is for the Senate to consider both the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and a budget resolution, excuse me, with reconciliation instructions. Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do. Time is certainly of the essence for all Americans. As Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez pointed out on Twitter, in response to this video of a New York City expressway that flooded from heavy rain, the congresswoman said "so glad the filibuster is here to fix this". Oh, wait.




HASAN: Joining us now are Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, and Jonathan Alter, Columnist for "The Daily Beast" and an MSNBC political analyst. He is the author of "His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life". Thank you both for coming on the show this evening. Christina, let me start with you. Pandemic, economic crisis, climate change induced disasters. At what point do democrats just get on with it and try and get this stuff passed ASAP?

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOC. PROF. OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, as someone who is coming to you many from New York City and we saw what happened yesterday, I really wish Chuck Schumer would read Robert Caro`s book, Master of the Senate. I really think about how LBJ used his slim majority to get what he needed done, when he was majority senate leader. I`m really frustrated that we keep talking about why won`t the republicans compromise, why won`t they work with us?


Clearly something else needs to change and I`m putting some of the pressure at the feet of Chuck Schumer to make sure he puts his caucus fully together and is able to strongarm certain republicans into thinking about lead paint (ph) poisoning that`s across cities and towns, all across this nation, that are in republican districts. These bridges and routes are in republican districts and states, really help them think long term and largely about how all of this infrastructure not only connects us but directly relates to some of their constituent--


GREER: --surfaces that they should be concerned about.

HASAN: Indeed. And Jonathan, Christina has put it at Chuck Schumer`s feet. Let`s talk about what`s Joe Biden`s feet. You also wrote a book on FDR`s 100 days. Joe Biden, we know has Rooseveltian ambitions. But that means going with a Bernie Sanders size reconciliation bill around $6 trillion. Not a Joe Manchin sized one around $2 trillion, though by all accounts, the White House is leaning more towards Manchin than Sanders. What do you - what`s your take on this?

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, first of all, they are Rooseveltian ambitions. And I think he is on the right track. I wouldn`t be too hard on Chuck Schumer or Joe Biden. This is complicated. They have a very, very slim majority. And they have a really smart to track process where if they don`t get what they want in the bipartisan bill, they can put more infrastructure into the so called reconciliation bill. And they might not get to $6 trillion, but you think about it, they`ve already got $1.9 trillion in public investment in the American--


ALTER: --Rescue Act that they did in February. So if you add that, $2 trillion to the $4 trillion that they`re likely to get this summer, in this infrastructure summer, that total $6 trillion public investment, that is a huge amount of money.


So the idea that somehow they would be--

HASAN: It`s a good point.

ALTER: --betraying progressive dreams or something, if they fall short of $6 trillion is just falling. This is unprecedented public investment, the largest bill in American history, the two of these together, if they go through, and I believe they are on track to do it. They have a skillful legislative strategy.

HASAN: You--

ALTER: It`s difficult, but they`re getting it done.

HASAN: Do hope you`re right, Jonathan. Christina, Jonathan mentioned progressive dreams. At what point do we see progressive Democrats, especially in the House, flexing their own political muscles? We had Congressman John Yarmuth say this about Joe Manchin - to Joe Manchin on this show last week, have a listen.


REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): By the way, Senator Manchin, there are 221 of us who are in the same position in the House and another 49 in the Senate who are just like you. Every one of us basically has the leverage to kill or succeed on a passing a resolution. And so the attention that`s paid to him, I understand, but everybody - every one of us is in the same position.


HASAN: He is right. Isn`t he, Christina?

GREER: He is. I mean, we do know that there are certain geographic advantages that certain Senators play every now and again. I mean, I think the larger question, Mehdi, is the diversity within - the ideological diversity within the Democratic Party and all the different shades of blue. And so, sadly, the progressive progressives have been labeled, as you know, these people who are screaming at the sky asking for unreasonable things, but they`re asking for is some people to pay their fair share of taxes. They`re asking for the president and the republican party to really think long term and critically about how this infrastructure and how the environment will affect all of us, not just democrats.

So I think what we`re hearing is just a frustration with a certain faction within the democratic party, feeling as though their colleagues and this goes to Jonathan`s point, are way too eager to compromise and or roll over for republican needs and wins. And I think that`s where some of the tension is coming from, because many of the democrats are saying, well, the republicans asked for this. So let`s give them that. And let`s not fight too hard. And there is so many progressive democrats are saying, well, if we`re the democrats, we should actually be the ones that fight. And we shouldn`t just be happy that we`re taking $4 million--


GREER: --$4 trillion plus $2 trillion. If we want six, we should get six, and we`ll add it to the other $2 trillion, because that`s what we really need for the crumbling infrastructure in our nation.

HASAN: So, Jonathan, last question to you. Some people say, let me let me just throw a question at you. Some people say, well, FDR, LBJ, they had big majorities in Congress. Joe Biden doesn`t. But isn`t that the whole reason why he needs to move fast? I mean, if one single democratic senator--


HASAN: --god forbid, were to pass away tomorrow, that`s the majority gone tomorrow, not just next November. The window for action is very small, is it not?

ALTER: Absolutely. And also, there could be some external problem that gets everybody talking about something else, some international crisis or something. They must get this done during Infrastructure summer, or it may well not happen. So time is of the essence. Progressives are right to press as hard as they can as FDR said to a labor leader, make me, push me.


ALTER: That`s important right now. But it`s also important to remember that politics is the art of the possible and if at the end of the summer, they don`t get everything they want, progressives should still be celebrating because this will be a historic bill. So you have to hold these two ideas in your mind the same time to keep the goal,--


ALTER: --very ambitious, keep the pressure on, but also recognize that politics can be tough and to have some sympathy for legislators, we`re making the sausage.

HASAN: We`re going to have to leave it there, which is a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed that conversation. Christina Greer, Jonathan Alter, thank you so much for joining me tonight.

ALTER: Thank Mehdi.

HASAN: Coming up, the first sign that Allen Weisselberg`s indictment is having an effect on the Trump company. And what does the indictment tell us about Ivanka Trump`s potential legal Jeopardy, shall we say. That`s next. Don`t go away.


HASAN: Just one week after being indicted in a Manhattan court, Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been relieved of his duties as director of the Trump International Golf Club in Scotland. Weisselberg held that role since 2006. His removal is the first indication that the indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office has affected operations at the Trump Organization. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying records.

The Daily Beast reports today that in addition to Weisselberg the indictment lists seven Trump Organization companies, including one where Ivanka Trump held an executive role for eight years. According to The Daily Beast, while it`s impossible to know what charges are still to come, legal experts say the indictment suggests bigger targets are in line potentially including the former president`s adult children.

Joining us now is David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, who`s done extensive reporting on Donald Trump`s finances. He`s the author of the making of Donald Trump, and Glenn Kirschner, Former Federal Prosecutor and an MSNBC Legal Analyst. Thank you both for joining me this evening. It`s another big story about Trump and his finances.

David, is this news out of Scotland the Weisselberg removal, is this the Trump Organization trying to do damage control at one of its more prestigious outlets, the Trump International Golf course, what exactly is going on here? How big a deal is it?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP": Well, the one thing we know for sure is that Allen Weisselberg is still working for Donald Trump. So this does not represent a split between them, which is what prosecutors would really like to get because it will make it much easier to make a case against Donald Trump. It suggests to me, and I`m fascinated of what Glenn thinks about this, that Donald may be trying to consolidate closer to the family, it closes out Allen Weisselberg who has been for 48 years he`s not family, and secondly, there is an effort in Scotland to pursue what`s called an unexplained wealth inquiry, would that we had a law like that in America. And it may be that the lawyers have advised them to remove as a controlling person, Allen Weisselberg, as they try to avoid this unexplained wealth inquiry.

HASAN: So, Glenn, from Allen Weisselberg to Ivanka Trump, given The Daily Beast reporting about her alleged role in some of these controversial Trump businesses, how worried should she and her brothers be that at some point, the Manhattan prosecutors come after them too.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know Mehdi, there`s some pretty clear foreshadowing in that 24-page indictment that was handed down by the New York Grand Jury. I mean, when you read the indictment, the evidence of Allen Weisselberg`s guilt, it`s really overwhelming from the two sets of books to an indication that Allen Weisselberg`s own tax preparer has flipped on him to a pretty clear paper trail that shows he was criminally evading federal, state and New York City taxes.

But I think probably the most ominous part of that indictment is there are two unnamed people, presumably fairly high up in the Trump Organization, who enjoyed the same criminal perks that Allen Weisselberg enjoyed. So, they haven`t been named yet but we have to ask ourselves, who are two other individuals who would have been high up enough in the organization and firmly entrenched enough in Donald Trump`s inner circle, that they may have enjoyed the same off-the-books compensation as Allen Weisselberg. Could their last name be Trump? I mean, we will know soon enough.

HASAN: It`s a very, very, very good question, Glen. David, just returning to Weisselberg, there was some hope that he might turn on Trump, flip, but he hasn`t. He`s risking a prison sentence. You`ve been following The Donald. You`ve known him personally for decades. Now, why do so many people around him risk and even do jail time for this most disloyal of bosses, Weisselberg, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, et cetera.

JOHNSTON: Well, the people who work for Donald Trump are people who are willing to give up their own independence. Allen Weisselberg is a wholly owned psychological subsidiary of Donald Trump`s criminal mind. And if you work for Donald in any high level position, you have to commit criminal offenses, and they`ve committed many of them over the years. So, it would be difficult to get Weisselberg to flip in any circumstances.


There is no minimum prison sentence in the indictment that he now faces. He could get in theory 15 years. He`s a first time offender, he`s in his 70s, probably would get probation or at worst home confinement. That`s probably not enough to get him to flip. On the other hand, if they were to charge his son, (inaudible) a lot about their family dynamics.

HASAN: Oh, yes, family dynamics indeed. Glenn, last quick question to you before we run out of time, I have to ask, you and I have had this discussion many times before my friend, Donald Trump, his organization may go down for some sort of tax payment corruption crimes, but there are much bigger crimes he should be prosecuted for, right?

KIRSCHNER: Yes, Donald Trump is a federal problem, and we need a federal solution. It`s wonderful that New York has finally gotten off its duff and it seems like they`re moving toward indicting him for the New York State financial crimes he seems to have been engaged in for some time. It`s great that Georgia is investigating him for potential violation of Georgia State election laws. But he`s a federal problem. He`s committed federal crimes against the United States and we need a federal solution that looks like an indictment from the Department of Justice.

HASAN: I mean, 600,000 people are dead because of this guy. Let`s just be clear about that. David Cay Johnston, Glen Kirschner, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

KIRSCHNER: Thank you.

HASAN: Coming up, Joe Biden`s big populist punch at corporate power. That`s next.





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our economy isn`t about people working for capitalism. It`s about capitalism working for people.


HASAN: President Biden made a bold and very popular statement today announcing an expansive executive order to counter corporate power and reminding us that America is a country of people, not just of businesses. And those businesses, by the way, should be competing to have people as workers and customers.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have to up their game, better prices and services, new ideas and products. By the same token, competitive economy means companies must do all they do - everything they do to compete for workers, offering higher wages, more flexible hours, better benefits.


HASAN: Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued 72 directives to government agencies to empower workers and customers from helping import affordable drugs from Canada, yes, to ending burdensome licensing requirements, to ordering the airlines to refund you when you`re inflight WiFi is dodgy, and that happens to me all the time and it`s infuriating. In The Nation magazine, anti-trust expert and law professor, Zephyr Teachout called it Joe Biden`s big punch to corporate monopolies.

"Presidential power in this area is technically limited, but vast in practice. A clear signal of purpose and vision from the President has in practice an enormous energizing effect. This executive order is arguably most significant for the economic worldview it represents. If Biden keeps going down this road, it suggests a massive realignment for the Democratic Party and a return to the 1940s to 1970s attitude towards corporate concentration." Wow.

Joining us now is Zephyr Teachout, Professor at Fordham Law School and Author of Break `Em Up recovering our freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech and Big Money. You, Zephyr, welcome to the show, were a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2020, a big Joe Biden critic, I remember well, how surprised are you by this trust busting populist economic announcement today from this president?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: Well, actually, at this point, it`s a little less surprising. But if you`d asked me a year ago, I would have been very surprised, and I`ll explain. He`s made a series of very exciting choices, most notably appointing Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission, a really extraordinary move, but also bringing in Tim Wu to the White House, bringing in economic populist to key positions.

Having said that, today`s move was a really significant signal from the top. It`s Joe Biden himself saying, in an extraordinary speech, you quoted part of it, that the economic policy of the last 40 years has failed. And he actually, in both the speech and the comments accompanying these 72 directives, use the language of failure saying that the last 40 years, where we`ve sort of gone along and allowed for corporate concentration, has been bad for workers, bad certainly, for consumer prices, and bad for any quality. It really was a statement of economic philosophy that was really exciting to see.

HASAN: Out of all the things he announced today, and he announced a lot, 72 different directives, only some of which I just mentioned a moment ago, what stood out to you most? What do you think is most important and significant?

TEACHOUT: I think the most important are the suite of directives that are related to labor markets. And what we have seen again for generations is that the Federal Trade Commission and other enforcers have focused on consumer prices and in as much as they have used their power, it has been really focused on consumer welfare. There`s a series of directives, including to ban non-compete agreements is really significant. This affects may be 30 million Americans. And you can see Biden get really worked up about the unfairness of this that we allow companies to say, hey, you can only work for me if you agree to not work for my competitors.


This is the epitome of anti-competitive practice.

So it`s those particular rules but also the fact that he is focusing on labor markets and what we would call monopsony power, where the buyer, labor and other products uses their buying power to squeeze values. There`s another significant directive, addressing nature repair, for instance, making sure that buyers--

HASAN: So these big buyers

TEACHOUT: Yes, yes, big buyers.

HASAN: These big buyers, these big corporations, they`re not just going to sit back and take this, are they? They have their army of lobbyists, the members of Congress who they fund on both sides of the aisle, what should we expect in terms of corporate backlash to this really important anti- monopoly executive order?

TEACHOUT: Well, there are three things that Biden did today. One is, he laid out a vision. The second is, he issued these directives. And the third is that he set up a council to kind of ride herd on the agencies to making sure would follow through. And I think that`s actually quite important, because what you know is happening already is swarming (ph) and swamping the agencies with corporate arguments against this kind of rulemaking.

So it`s important that Biden made clear that it`s not just a moment in time where he issues these directives, but the White House will be following up. What have you done? Why haven`t you done it? What is your argument here for not moving fast? And for a long time, especially in those sort of democratic camp, you`ve seen hesitation to use rulemaking. And this is very clearly a recognition that the agencies are going to be running into lobbyists.

So the White House needs to be the countervailing force, giving those agencies that want to act, the cover, and really kicking those that want to relax back into a less aggressive mode to say, Hey, get your act together. We`ve got to, as Biden said, a major problem, a major problem in our economy, and so it won`t be easy--

HASAN: Let`s hope, therefore, let`s hope Joe Biden stays the course. Yes, let`s hope Joe Biden stays the course I`m sure you`ll continue to hold his feet to the fire. Zephyr Teachout, Author of Break `Em Up, thank you for joining us on the show tonight.

Coming up, the most dangerous Republican member of Congress is maybe not the one dropping Nazi references for the TV cameras, maybe not her, we`ll tell you who it is, and why, next.




HASAN: Far right Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Green and Matt Gaetz shamelessly spew white nationalist ideology in talking points. Their political message is beyond extreme. But Green and Gaetz are more or less Carnival Barkers. They`re in it for the self-promotion. The bigger danger comes from House Republicans like Paul Gosar. Gosar tends to fly under the radar because he`s not as loud a talker as the others but he is a doer and the doing makes him far more of a threat. In the weeks before the capital insurrection, Paul Gosar told Trump supporters this.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Once we conquer the hill, Donald Trump is returned to being the president.


HASAN: He`s been accused of being one of the organizers of the "Stop the Steal" rally that sparked the insurrection.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar.


HASAN: On January 6, Paul Gosar posted photos from the Trump rally that turned into a violent mob. And now Gosar has fully embraced White Nationalist Leader, Nick Fuentes in what the New York Times calls the most vivid example of the Republican Party`s growing acceptance of extremism. Nick Fuentes has been accused of Holocaust denial and has said disgusting things like the founders never intended for America to be a refugee camp for non-white people. Gosar was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Nick Fuentes in February. The GOP congressman has even written to the FBI to defend Fuentes. And last week Nick Fuentes claimed to be fundraising for Paul Gosar. Today Twitter finally suspended Fuentes but Paul Gosar continues to spread his lies and hate using his pulpit as a member of Congress while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says nothing and obsesses instead over Ilhan Omar.

Joining us now is Jennifer Gosar, Paul Gosar`s youngest sister, and a very outspoken critic of the congressman and Kurt Braddock, Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at American University. He`s also a Faculty Fellow at American University`s Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

Kurt, how dangerous is it to have elected members of the United States Congress playing footsie with Holocaust deniers and white nationalists, in fact, attending their conferences and just tweeting out their talking points.

KURT BRADDOCK, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, ASST. PROFESSOR, PUBLIC COMMUNICATION: I think it`s extremely dangerous. You rightly said earlier that Gosar is not so much a speaker but a doer. I think one of the biggest dangers of individuals like Paul Gosar isn`t just the things that he says, it`s more that he thinks he doesn`t say. He`s trying to distance himself now from Nick Fuentes and the America First movement. But the fact that Nick Fuentes and the America First movement and other far right groups think they have an ally in an elected representative in Congress, that`s a huge boon for them regardless of what Gosar says or doesn`t say.

HASAN: Yes, it is sadly. And Jennifer, you and your siblings first grabbed the headlines back in 2018 when you told voters in Arizona not to vote for your brother and accused him of antisemitism among other things, a pretty bold move.


But he`s only become worse since then. I guess it must be difficult having the family name Gosar when he`s the most famous one of you.

JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Yes, it is, but it`s important no matter what the name is to stand up to it in every way, shape or form. And I would agree he is a very powerful force within this type of cult, fascist group of people, right? Paul is there, he was a big proponent of the big lie, he was constantly out at those rallies. Ali Alexander isn`t referring to Paul out of nowhere.

I mean, there were multiple tweets back and forth between them, Nick Fuentes, which of course (inaudible) he is really a garbage fountain. He`s a garbage source. And Paul has been there with Nick Fuentes time and again, and where`s the center? Where`s explosion? Where are you from the charges?

HASAN: It`s awful. It is awful. Kurt, the Republican Party becomes more and more radicalized and racist as the years go by. I`m old enough to remember when it was Sarah Palin, then Michele Bachmann, then Donald Trump, and now it`s queuing on supporters in Congress, white nationalists in Congress. I feel like even if the party leadership wanted to stop all this, and they don`t seem to want to, they couldn`t. The ship has sailed. It`s too late. This is what the Grand Old Party is now.

BRADDOCK: It seems extremely difficult to do. I think you`re absolutely right. I think in the wake of the Donald Trump presidency, he left a huge constituency of these individuals on the far right. And I think what we see now are individuals who are left in the Republican Party trying to scrape up those constituents. There are a large number of disaffected individuals who still feel as though the election was stolen and individuals like Paul Gosar, MTG and others, they see it as an opportunity. They see it as a political opportunity for themselves. And unfortunately, it serves both the politician, to get those constituents, and it serves the far right constituents because they get the legitimacy of having a politician on their side.

HASAN: Yes, and Jennifer, no one expects Kevin McCarthy to do anything about your brother. But what about the democrats? I feel like I hear more public criticism of Paul Gosar`s role in the insurrection and the BIG LIE from you from his siblings than I hear from Nancy Pelosi or any other House Democratic leader.

GOSAR: We`ve been scratching our heads to try to figure that out as well. I mean, they`re in every way, shape or form. That was a lynch mob that was going after Mike Pence, and it was definitely targeting Nancy Pelosi, the Squad and others. Now, the Squad has been - they have been outspoken in so many parts of this (inaudible) for the past four years and continuing on, but Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, I mean, honestly, where is the Democratic leadership? I really only hear from Pramila Jayapal, who is my representative here in Washington State and they didn`t take her up on the other charges that she - the investigation that she initiated.

So, I don`t know where they are at, I don`t know what they need. I mean, their lives were in danger and here they are, allowing one day more for Paul and his ilk to fundraise. Another day more to go around in this narrative, distract with Ashli Babbitt, to distract with these other things. it continues the dialogue, it continues the narrative, and it continues the machine rolling.

HASAN: Every day he seems to get more extreme and there`s no ethics, complaints or charges, as you say, no stripping of committee assignments. We all just look at Marjorie Taylor Green`s carnival barking, Gosar goes under the radar. Kurt, the Anti-Defamation League wrote this about Nick Fuentes in a report published yesterday, "Fuentes largely avoids blatant white supremacist language, instead focuses on anti-establishment thinking targeting the GOP mainstream media and leftists. Their strategy along with the adoption of mainstream meme culture like Pepe the Frog allows the America First movement to attract younger mainstream conservatives who are then exposed to the group`s extremist ideology." That is the apt description of what is happening across parts of the right especially online. I`m guessing that`s what you see in your research. And it`s popular sadly, with a lot of people.

BRADDOCK: Absolutely. We actually just finished a study at the Polarization and Extremism Innovation Lab that found that individuals who are exposed to these kinds of memes and these kinds of messages, who are we call subversive kinds of outlets are more likely to be persuaded by right wing propaganda. So, these sorts of messages are getting in front of vulnerable eyes and they are appealing to them. It might not seem overtly racist or white supremacist at first, but they absolutely turn in that direction. And our research has shown these individuals are vulnerable to persuasion by right wing propaganda.

HASAN: It is very scary, and yes, you`re right, they are persuading people. Jennifer Gosar and Professor Kurt Braddock, thank you so much for your analysis and your time tonight.

That is tonight`s Last Word. I`m Mehdi Hasan. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again, I`m Ali Velshi in for Brian Williams.