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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 9/23/21

Guests: Adam Schiff, Norm Ornstein, John Yarmuth, Mark Pocan, Rebecca Rios, Maxwell Alejandro Frost


The January 6 Committee subpoenas Trump allies. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is interviewed. Democrats are working to solve debt crisis, avert government shutdown. AZ sham "audit" inspires GOP copycats in other states. Twenty-four-year-old gun control advocate running for Congress.



We have Congressman Schiff joining us on the subpoenas from the January 6 committee, fascinating, hard-hitting fast subpoena schedule. You`ve got two weeks to give us the documents. A week after that we`re going to do your deposition, really stacking them up fast. We`re eager to get to that.

But, Rachel, I just want to -- I have the most -- the most common question I get out there in the world about MSNBC is, how does Rachel do it? And I always say she`s the hardest working person I know.

But tonight I don`t know how she did it, okay? Because, because I am aware, let`s say half aware of how hard you were working today on the Arizona story and how much -- how far down that road into the Arizona story you were and how late in the game you were on that road.


O`DONNELL: And then your show comes on, and somewhere you have -- you`ve made the judgment, the news judgment that you can`t use what you found. We`re going to wait 24 hours or less and wise judgment. But you then pull this other show out from somewhere that fills -- that`s a whole hour of a TV show that as far as I know didn`t exist about a half an hour before you went on TV.

So now I officially do not know. I have no idea how Rachel does it. I just don`t know.

MADDOW: You know, you`re very kind. I had no idea where this was going when you started this line of inquiry. I will say for close watchers of MSNBC, if you go back to the handover between Chris Hayes and me, you will note that at the very beginning of the show I`m going like this. And I`m off screen still typing what`s going to be on the show in the A block, because everything we did have an entire show completely unrelated to what was on the air.

And then all of that stuff broke, including the Steven Hatfill stuff that broke about the coronavirus response. Luckily we were able to get Jamie Raskin here to talk about both the breaking news from the January 6 investigation and the breaking news from the COVID investigation because he is on both. And the Arizona stuff has been Mr. Toad`s wild ride all day today. You are absolutely correct about that.

I am -- I`m going to go sleep in my car. I don`t think I can even make it home. I`m just a mess.

O`DONNELL: If I had a whole show planned and it got kind of we made the judgment that we can`t do that at the last minute, I`d be sitting here reading weather reports or something. I don`t have another show. Rachel, there is no another show. I don`t have another one in my back pocket. I don`t. You`re walking around with a couple of shows ready to go at all times?

MADDOW: No. This is -- this is an occupational hazard. You make it happen. Luckily when the news proceeds this fast, you kick something to the curb and let the rest of the traffic hit you. Any way, you are very kind, my friend. Thank you very much.

O`DONNELL: By the way, we`re going to be joined by Senator Rebecca Rios, the Democratic leader of the Senate in Arizona to --

MADDOW: Oh, good.

O`DONNELL: -- give her preview of what she is expecting tomorrow when the results of this thing that has been called a fraudit in Arizona is released. So we`ll see what she can tell us.

MADDOW: I can -- you can tell -- regardless of what they say, you know that the Trump world is going to light itself on proverbial fire over whatever the results are in Arizona, whether they match these purported draft documents that were circulating today that we obtained and that other news organizations obtained, whether they`re something totally unrelated, whether they match all the fraud hysteria and all the conspiracy theories and wildest dreams or whether they wet blanket the whole thing, either way, Trump world is going to be absolutely bananas tomorrow, which is why I have to figure out some way to sleep tonight, because we got to be ready for that.

O`DONNELL: Rachel, I don`t know how she does it Maddow. Thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: See you tomorrow, Rachel. Thank you.

MADDOW: Well, the subpoenas are flying tonight from the special House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the capitol. Four high level former Trump staffers have been ordered to deliver subpoenaed documents and records to the committee by two weeks from tonight on October 7th. Two of them have been subpoenaed to appear for depositions a week after that on October 14th, and the other two have been subpoenaed to appear for depositions the next day on October 15th.


The committee subpoenaed Steve Bannon, the former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, former White House staffer Dan Scavino, and former White House Trump staffer who was moved to the Defense Department in the final months of the presidency Kash Patel.

Letters accompanying the subpoenas were signed by Bennie Thompson. The letter to Steve Bannon says: The select committee has reason to believe that you have information relevant to understanding important activities that lead to and informed the events at the Capitol on January 6. You have been identified as present at the Willard Hotel on January 5th, 2021 during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the election the next day. You are quoted as stating on January 5, 2021 that all hell is going to break lose tomorrow.

The chairman`s letter to Mark Meadows says, quote, you were with or in the vicinity of president Trump on January 6 and had communications with the president and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol. It has been reported that you were engaged in multiple elements telephone planning and efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of the electoral votes. According to documents provided by the Department of Justice, while you were the president`s chief of staff, you directly communicated with the highest officials at the Department of Justice requesting investigations into election fraud matters in several states.

The chairman`s letter to Daniel Scavino says: As the deputy chief of staff for communications, reporting indicates that you were with the president on January 5th when he and others were considering how to convince members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden. Your public Twitter account makes it clear that you were tweeting messages from the White House on January 6, 2021, and prior to January 6, 2021, you promoted through your Twitter messaging the January 6 march for Trump, which encouraged people to be a part of history.

You were with or in the vicinity of former President Trump on January 6 and are a witness regarding his activities that day. You may also have materials relevant to his videotaping and tweeting messages on January 6.

The chairman`s letter to Kash Patel says: Based on documents obtained by the select committee and published accounts, there is substantial reason to believe that you have additional documents and information relevant to understanding the role played by the Department of Defense and the White House in preparing for and responding to the attack on the U.S. Capitol as well as documents and information related to your personal involvement in planning for events on January 6. In addition, you were quoted by a reporter as saying that you were talking to the president`s chief of staff Mark Meadows nonstop that day.

Donald Trump released a written statement about the subpoenas tonight. It is, like all Trump statements, idiotic and childish. The only relevant words in the statement are, quote, we will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds.

To read any other line or any other words from the statement is to spread the demented madness that flows so freely from what is left of the mind of the 45th president of the United States, who is now clearly a target of the select committee to investigate the attack on the United States Capitol.

Leading off our discussion tonight is Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the capitol on January 6.

Chairman Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

This -- was this set of subpoenas issued by the committee the result of the unanimous vote or agreement of the committee to do this?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Our committee has been unanimous really on all the steps we have taken. There is a remarkable degree of commonality in terms of wanting to get to the truth, being ready to use whatever tools, tactics, techniques we have to get to the truth. There is a common acceptance of the fact that no one is beyond the limits of our investigation if they have relevant information about January 6, and we`re not fooling around. We`re not going to waste time.

And so, you see these subpoenas going out to four key players that based on what we know to date have very relevant information about the run-up to January 6 and what happened on the day of that bloody insurrection.

O`DONNELL: What is your response to Donald Trump saying that they are going to fight these subpoenas on executive privilege?


SCHIFF: Well, it`s more of the same that we saw for four years when he said they were going to stonewall all subpoenas. It would be against type to expect anything else of the former president.

But, down, I think, look, it`s an acknowledgment of his belief of his own guilt and his desire to hide what he was doing on the 5th, what he was doing on the 6th. He doesn`t want the country to know.

But then we knew this already, because of course he intervened to try to shut down efforts in the House and Senate to establish a January 6 commission. And he succeeded. Mitch McConnell did his dirty work, but Speaker Pelosi appointed this select committee. It`s bipartisan, and we go forward and we`re not going to let the former president stand in our way.

MADDOW: Does the committee have a strategy for dealing with what could be at minimum a very, very long procedural delay imposed by Donald Trump fighting on executive privilege a legal fight that he may lose, but could take in as we`ve seen in the past literally years going through appeals courts?

SCHIFF: Well, we`ve been strategizing with the general counsel, the house general counsel about what will happen if we meet opposition, and we have to expect that with respect to some of the subpoenas we issue, there are going to be parties that resist. And so, we`ll move as expeditiously as we can. We`ll move in court if necessary.

We do have tools that we didn`t have in the last administration in that we can also hold people in criminal contempt and make a referral to the Justice Department. Now during the Trump years when you had people like Bill Barr running the Justice Department, he wasn`t about to enforce the law against the president of the United States, even when people were violating the law.

Bill Barr would do anything essentially up until the very end apparently that the president wanted. But now, that we have a very different Justice Department, a very different attorney general. And so, there are methods of enforcement we didn`t have before.

O`DONNELL: Kevin McCarthy has commented about the investigation, saying the only questions that matter are why was the Capitol so -- left so ill- prepared? And how can we make sure that this never happens again? Kevin McCarthy is saying that you are not investigating the question of how can we make sure this never happens again.

SCHIFF: Well, of course we are. One of the central objectives of our committee is to write a comprehensive report with recommendations about how do we prevent this from happening again. But Mr. McCarthy doesn`t want to look into how this came about to begin with because he played a role in that, and we want to find out just what that role was.

We know his efforts to decertify the election, but we don`t know a lot about the conversations that he had with the former president or with others in the lead-up to January 6 or on that day. But we can see through his actions and his words that he doesn`t want us to get to the bottom of it. But we will.

And we will take a very broad view of our responsibilities. We`re going to look into the propagation of the big lie and the role that played in the insurrection. We`re going to look at the way Meadows and others reportedly tried to get the justice department to press states like Georgia to appoint a bogus slate of electors.

We`re going to look into all of this. And to do less I think does a disservice to the American people.

O`DONNELL: Will there be another wave of subpoenas coming before you complete the work on these subpoenas or will subpoenas follow what you get from depositions from these witnesses?

SCHIFF: You know, I don`t have a specific answer yet in terms of when the next subpoenas will go out, but I think they`ll go out when we`re ready. And it doesn`t mean that we have to sequence that we need to hold the depositions of these witnesses before we can do more. I would expect that we will be doing interviews with people who are cooperative. Some of those may be very much in the public view, and many won`t be. We will be working along contemporaneous lines of investigation as we get documents as we identify witnesses now that we have staffed up and have much greater capacity, we`ll be moving along parallel tracks.

So we`re going move quickly. We realize there is urgency here both in terms of protecting the country, but also making sure that we get these answers and we get them without allowing the kind of delay we did during the Russian and Ukraine investigations.

O`DONNELL: Chairman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for joining us on this breaking news story. We really appreciate it.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And joining our discussion now, Norm Ornstein, congressional scholar and emeritus scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, John Heilemann, NBC news and MSNBC national affairs analyst, executive producer of "The Circus" and host of the "Hell and High Water" podcast.


And Zerlina Maxwell, host of the program "Zerlina" that is on Peacock.

Zerlina, let me begin with you and your reaction to this first flurry of subpoenas this committee working quickly and according to what we`ve just heard from Adam Schiff, they have learned the lessons of the kinds of procedural delays that these investigations can face.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I certainly hope he is right, Lawrence, because as you mentioned, it was several years before we actually had Trump officials able to testify and to give us pertinent information. And in this case, it`s becoming increasingly clear that January 6 was not isolated. It wasn`t some random event that just happened to happen that day when Mike Pence, the vice president was certifying the election. It was the culmination of several moving pieces.

And as I sit here, I`m thinking they had more steps in their plan to attempt to steal the election and to coup than they did for COVID. It seems like now we have a memo with six points in it. Rudy Giuliani was running around state legislatures and courts all over the country, lying in court filings about election fraud, and then you had the insurrection, Lawrence.

And I think we absolutely need know exactly what the president said to his advisers during the insurrection because we need to know why there was a delay in reinforcements.

O`DONNELL: And, John, you know the way the Trump inner circle works, and this looks to me like the inner circle. This is Bannon, this is Meadows, this is people who really had access to the president and as the committee says, knew what he was doing on January 6. Scavino had eyes on him and constant contact with Mark Meadows.

And when you read these subpoena letters, accompanying letters, this committee already knows an awful lot about what these people were up to on January 6 and before.

HEILEMANN: Yes, Lawrence. And, you know, literally no one in the White House in some ways is closer to Donald Trump than Dan Scavino. You think about the Twitter feed as being the purest expression of Trump`s messaging and his politics and in many ways his psyche. Dan Scavino the only person in the White House who Trump would trust to tweet for him without always dictating the language. Dan Scavino was his voice, his Boswell, so to speak, his Twitter Boswell.

No one closer to Trump than Capitol Hill than Mark Meadows when he was on Capitol Hill, and, of course, he`s inside the White House chief of staff. And no one on the outside who for all of the misreporting and misunderstanding about Steve Bannon being cast out, which was true for a period of time, but there was a lot more communication between Bannon and Trump throughout the fall than is widely known now. We`re starting to get some of that in Bob Woodward and Bob Costa`s book. The recognition starting to dawn on people just how much Bannon was in touch with Trump.

I started hearing about it from Bannon in October before the election as the plans for what would happen if Trump lost started to come into play. And Bannon was a crucial agitator in that.

You think about the spokes of the wheel around Trump, these subpoenas is the most inner, inner circle in many respect, and it sounds the bell. You know, ask not for whom the bell tolls. The bell tolls for Trump here.

And I think what this is a clear testament to is the thing that we`ve all been paying attention to over the past few months is this committee is really serious. They are serious. They`ve learned lessons, but they`re also by every indication not going to take no for an answer. And they are coming for Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Norm, it does seem that they have learned lessons. You`ve seen and covered all the major congressional investigations of our time, and this one comes after all of those. They are starting at the top. They are starting just one layer down from Donald Trump himself, and clearly targeting Donald Trump.

Sometimes these investigations begin with a set of subpoenas where you say, well, I wonder where that`s going. I wonder what the angle is they`re going for there. It`s extremely clear where this investigation is aimed.

NORM ORNSTEIN, CONGRESSIONAL HISTORIAN: It absolutely is. And I will mention the one person we haven`t yet talked about, which is Kash Patel. Remember we had top defense officials including the secretary removed just literally days before all of this happened, replaced by these cronies of Trump like Kash Patel, who had formerly worked for Devin Nunes, and we know that there was a deliberate effort to keep the National Guard, which had to be authorized by the Defense Department from going to help out that undermanned Capitol Police force. People died as a consequence.


So this is really hitting a lot of areas that are extraordinarily sensitive. We know that Bannon has come pretty close to incriminating himself here by saying that he had lots of conversations with Trump about blocking Biden from becoming president. That`s already a smoking gun on the table. But we also know that we`re going to need aggressive Cooperation from the Justice Department here.

There is going to be resistance. They`ve already got a lot of documents. The documents may be even more critical than the testimony. But we are going have to have a Justice Department that holds these people`s feet to the fire and a committee that doesn`t allow them to get away with private discussions with staff and with more of these delays.

You can bring them to the bar of justice and the committee, as John said, is I think very, very serious. And that`s all of them, including Cheney and Kinzinger, the Republicans involved.

O`DONNELL: You know, the Republican participation is crucial, which is why I began with that question about how unanimous this approach has been so far.

Norm Ornstein, John Heilemann, Zerlina Maxwell, thank you very much for joining this discussion tonight.


MAXWELL: Thanks, Lawrence.

HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the chairman of the house budget committee has had enough. He has had enough of the debt ceiling madness, more than enough. Now he wants to abolish the debt ceiling so that Republicans can no longer threaten the full faith and credit of the United States. Chairman John Yarmuth joins us next.



O`DONNELL: Tonight, as we watch Congress careen toward disaster once again with Republicans refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling, our next guest, the chairman of the House Budget Committee says we should not have to raise the debt ceiling because we should abolish it. The country`s debt limit must be increased in order to cover the debts incurred by Donald Trump and by Republican members of Congress and those Republican members of Congress do not want to cover the debts that they incurred. Also covered in a debt ceiling increase would be the ability to pay the debts that have been incurred by emergency COVID relief legislation the Democrats have voted for and that President Biden has signed into law. The Democrats want to pay all of our newly incurred debt and the Republicans want to cover none of it.

And so, we are watching another doomsday develop that we have always managed to avoid at the last minute in the past, the doomsday in which the United States of America for the first time in its history defaults on its debt because Republicans say they are willing to put the country into default. Republicans say they are willing to take the chance of crashing the economy and creating a depression which would quickly spread internationally.

This used to be Republicans` most shocking demonstration of irresponsibility before Republicans became the party that actually opposes democracy itself.

Here`s what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said about the debt ceiling today.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Leader McConnell spinning a tale, a web of subterfuge, deception and outright contradictions has said that he is going to vote no, and he urges Republicans to vote no. The truth is we`ll be voting to pay for the vote accrued under presidents of both parties, including the $8 trillion added to the debt under President Trump. Both sides incurred the debt. Both sides should pay it.


O`DONNELL: With no progress to report on an agreement with Republicans on the debt ceiling, senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported on a bit, a bit of progress in negotiating an agreement among Democrats about how to pay for the $3.5 trillion piece of the infrastructure package that Democrats plan to vote -- plan to pass with only Democratic votes in the House and the Senate.


SCHUMER: The White House, the house, and the Senate have reached agreement on a framework that will pay for any final negotiated agreement. So the revenue side of this we have an agreement on.


O`DONNELL: And legislation, whenever you hear the word framework, that means they don`t actually have a full agreement on every item that will be in the tax legislation.

Here is the way White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki put it today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We certainly think it`s progress. It builds on the president`s meetings he had yesterday with leadership, with moderates, with progressives to talk about the path forward in an effort to unify members of the Democratic Party and caucus around our shared objective of lowering costs for Americans and making the tax code more fair.

As Leader Schumer said, I should say, he conveyed what has been agreed to as a menu of options that will pay for whatever the agreement on the investment may look like. And so it`s a menu of revenue raisers.


O`DONNELL: A menu of revenue raisers is not an immigrant on the tax bill. It`s an agreement on the menu from which you will make the final choices, the hard choices. There are significant disagreements between Congressman Richie Neal, the chairman of the House tax writing committee, the Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden, the chairman of Senate tax-writing committee, the Finance Committee.

Chairman Wyden said today, quote, I think there is more work to do to flesh this out, but I think we`re making progress.

This is one of those rare instances, if not the only instance in which the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is actually advocating a more liberal package of tax increases than the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. House Chairman Richard Neal has already drafted a proposal which would raise $2.3 trillion in new tax revenue. Speaker Pelosi was asked today whether she would deliver on the deal that she made with House moderates to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already been passed by the Senate to a vote in the House on Monday.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA HOUSE SPEAKER: We take it one day at a time, but I`m confident that we will pass both bills.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky. He is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. First of all, I want to get your view of what we should be doing on the debt ceiling?

REP. JOHN YARMUTH, (D-KY) CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: Well, as you said, it makes no sense that we have a debt, a statutory debt ceiling, we`re the only country in the world that has one like this. I think Denmark has one that actually automatically escalates as they appropriate more money to increase the debt. So, the debt ceiling never impedes their ability to spend more money. But we -- I think the national debt in 2017, when the debt limit statute was actually approved, was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to $12 billion. So, we`re now at $28 trillion dollars. And so, it`s obvious that whatever reason they initially created a debt ceiling, it hasn`t in any way, limited the debt that we have. Over the last 15 years since I`ve been in Congress, the debt, the national debt has tripled from $9 trillion to $28 trillion. So, this makes no sense. We`ve raised the -- Congress has raised the debt that limit about roughly 100 times in 100 years, it`s been routine. Right now, the only purpose it serves is to allow the party out of power to hold the whole the economy hostage and engage in brinkmanship, which doesn`t serve anybody`s interests. So, we need to get rid of it. It doesn`t make sense, and it`s ineffective. But, you know, it`s tough to ask members of Congress to say you`re going to eliminate the debt ceiling. Politically it`s tough but in terms of policy, it`s the only thing that makes sense.

O`DONNELL: So, the $3.5 trillion number that we`re talking about now, in what remains of the infrastructure legislation was actually written by you in the House Budget Resolution, it was the agreed upon number that was written into the Senate budget resolution, it was agreed -- the number was agreed upon with the president of the United States. And every one of the Democrats voted for the $3.5 trillion budget resolution. And now I`m hearing that there are Democrats who voted for that number, which you put in front of them very clearly, they knew what they were voting on. And now they seem to be saying, we`re not so sure about that number. They already voted on it. The time to have that debate was back at the budget resolution stage. I`ve never seen it work quite this way before. Can you see how you get to the finish line from here?

YARMUTH: Well, like I can see it, but it`s not going to be easy. We`re going to mark up the budget resolution on Saturday, which will actually move the process forward, it will send the bill, the all the bills, the $3.5 trillion in accumulated spending and also the revenue measures that the Ways and Means Committee has adopted as part of their process. We`re going to set, will advance that to the Rules Committee, and then presumably, it will go to the floor.

But you`re exactly right. This was an agreement in the Senate, this was agreement in the House. Bernie Sanders originally wanted to have gross spending and I want to -- I can`t emphasize enough that this was a compromise position. What we`ve been focused on and what the Biden administration has been focused on is not the dollar amount. It`s the policy, it`s the programs and the benefits that we think we need to give the American people so that we can create an opportunistic life form for all of our citizens and create an economy that`s going to serve them for not just the next year or two but for generations to come. That`s what we`re focused on.


You start with a policy, you start with the question, what do we need to do to serve the American people best? And then after you answer those questions, which I think has -- those answers have been in the legislation we`re advancing. And then you say, OK, how do we resource it? The top line number really doesn`t mean very much. I mean, if you talk about $3.5 trillion, over 10 years, you`re talking about one -- a little over 1% of GDP during that period, you`re talking about only 5%, more spending, growth spending, then we`re already on to be spending, and in exchange for that. And of course, we do have offsets. We do have the 2.3 trillion dollars in revenue that Richard Neal`s committee has legislated or has drafted. And for that you get childcare, you get paid family and medical leave, you get early childhood education, you get home care for seniors, you get significant investment in climate change policies. You know, the benefits are just unbelievable. They`re transformational. That`s what we need to be focusing on.

O`DONNELL: Chairman John Yarmuth, if anyone can do it, you`re the one who`s going to have to do it. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

YARMUTH: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin. He`s a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and he served as the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. The one of the suspense points that we`re watching for Monday is, will there be a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate, Speaker Pelosi basically promised a vote on that to members who wanted to vote on that on a date certain. But the rest of the House was hoping to be doing the reconciliation piece at the same time, which doesn`t seem ready. What is your understanding of what will happen Monday?

REP. MARK POCAN, (D-WI) PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS FORMER CHAIR: Yeah, first of all, thanks for having me, Lawrence. You know, my understanding is that the vast majority, literally over 200 Democrats in the House, want to get Joe Biden`s complete agenda done. And that complete agenda is the Build Back Better Act as well as the infrastructure bill. And as the Speaker Pelosi has said all along, we`re going to do these two bills together, because together they make up the President`s very powerful agenda for the American families. And, you know, I think the date was really a goal. But as you can tell, if we have committees meeting on Saturday to get things done, and we`re still advancing things that day is less important than what`s in the bills. And I think the things that Speaker Yarmuth just talked about, you know, the fact that 40 million American families are going to get a tax cut, those with children through the extension of the child tax credit, the fact that we`re lowering costs for American families through prescription drugs, and child care and family leave, and so many other issues, the fact that we`re creating 2 million jobs, and many of which will tackle climate change. And the fact that this is paid for, unlike the tax break for the wealthy that Donald Trump did, completely paid for, let`s get those values completely, right, because it`s so important for the American people. And whether it`s Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or the following Wednesday, we`re going to get the two bills done, because Democrats believe in this agenda. But that`s what`s important is what`s actually in the two bills.

O`DONNELL: So, we had another Republican announced today his support, House Member, for the bipartisan bill that has been passed by the Senate. Kevin McCarthy is trying to get all Republicans in the House to vote against it, because he believes that passing that enables the Democrats to complete the process that you`re struggling with now, which is that reconciliation bill. But is there any possibility that Speaker Pelosi would go forward relying on Republican votes to pass the that bipartisan infrastructure bill?

POCAN: You know, again, I think we just sat down with the President yesterday, his agenda is the two bills. And we`ve said all along, we`re going to do these two bills, and we`re going to do them together because they`re twin bills. And that`s how we have to get them done. So, you know, I hope Republicans will do something unusual for them to actually work with us on something and that would be great if they voted with us on the infrastructure bill, and on the bill back better agenda. But we`ve got to get those two bills completely right. We have the bills marked up through the House, well over 200 people support that. The vast majority of the Senate, Democrats support that, really, it`s just a couple people in the Senate, a handful or two people in the House that just need to come fully on board, maybe show us what exactly they want. But we`re really going to get this done. I feel very confident about that. And I am talking to the President yesterday. This is his agenda. He is very engaged on this. And this is going to be so important for the people who live back in places like my district in Wisconsin as Democrats, it may not always be pretty to watch the process, but our values are really represented in this plan, and I am very confident within the next several weeks, these bills will both get done.


O`DONNELL: Congressman, Mark Pocan, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I`d really appreciate it.

POCAN: Absolutely. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, the results of Arizona`s fraudit are set to be released tomorrow, the Democratic Leader of the Arizona State Senate Rebecca Rios will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Tomorrow, the infamous company named Cyber Ninjas with no election experience, no experience working on elections led by a man who has publicly supported Donald Trump`s lies about voter fraud plans to release the results of their analysis of the votes for president in Arizona and analysis which Arizona Secretary of State has called a "fraudit."

Joining us now is democratic Arizona State Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios. She represents Arizona`s 27th district covering South Central Maricopa County. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Senator Rios. What are you expecting tomorrow?


STATE SEN. REBECCA RIOS, (D-AZ) MINORITY LEADER: Well, I think it`s important to kind of lay the groundwork that this is, you know, basically a conspiracy driven process that has been funded to the tune of $5.7 million by Trump`s supporters. This is a complete partisan audit that, you know, was done after numerous audits and hand counts show that there was literally no fraud in Arizona. So, I don`t have high expectations, although I fully expect for them to continue the grift, right to continue the show. This is essentially throwing red meat to their base, and it should be a full out clown show tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: So, it`s a strange sounding presentation that I`m reading about, you would expect it to be -- since the Republicans in the senate asked for it, you`d expect it to be delivered in a hearing environment of some kind. But it`s going to be a situation where apparently, all of you are invited to attend members of the Senate. But only the two Republican leaders of the Senate will be allowed to ask any questions at all. And there won`t be any county voting officials who were there to respond to anything that said that that`s the -- what`s reporting is about how this is going to be unveiled tomorrow?

RIOS: And that has been how this process has been played out. This is going to be the third presentation they`ve had. The first presentation, Senate leadership attempted to go in and we were literally kick out by President. But in each of these past presentations, we are not allowed to speak, we`re not allowed to hold questions. And these are not official Senate meetings that are not being held in front of an official committee. However, in the budget, there was language that was put in that will require this final report to be heard and deliberated by the Elections Committee this coming fall. Now we fully expect that the outcome of that will be for them to justify the additional voter suppression bills. Arizona has led the nation in the number of bills that were introduced with regard to a number of ways to suppress the vote. And I fully expect that they`re going to use this as justification to introduce even more.

O`DONNELL: What are the -- do we even know what the total cost of this is at this stage?

RIOS: You know, we really don`t. The information that the media was able to glean has shown that there has been major fundraising done on this. I mean, weigh in the only "media outlet" that was able to get on the audit floor has been raising money from this. They have discovered that about 5.7 million have been raised by Trump supporters. So again, this is a completely partisan effort. And I think it would be funny if it weren`t for the fact that they are really sowing, you know, distrust in our electorate and really attempting to undermine democracy. It is hinged on dangerous. And the fact of the matter is Arizona has become the breeding ground for these conspiracy theories and these crazy ideas. And what we`ve seen now are other states like Pennsylvania, beginning to replicate this crazy product idea. So, this is an experiment that I believe their full intent is to take this nationwide for as long as they can, up until the next election, again, ultimately trying to sow, you know, distrust and doubt, but I think it really can destroy democracy. So, it is actually rather frightening and rather alarming.

O`DONNELL: Rebecca Rios, the Minority Leader of the State Senate in Arizona, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know you have a big day coming tomorrow.

RIOS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, a gunman attempted another mass murder in America today, this time in Tennessee. Stopping America`s mass murderers is the reason, our next guest got involved in politics as a teenager, which wasn`t that long ago, 24-year-old Maxwell Alejandro Frost is now a candidate for Congress. He joins us, next.



O`DONNELL: Today, a gunman attempted another mass murder in America. This time in a grocery store in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. The murderer shot and killed one person and injured at least 14 others before he shot and killed himself.

Stopping America`s mass murders is the reason our next guest got involved in politics as a teenager. Maxwell Alejandro Frost is now 24 years old, and he is now running for Congress in Florida`s 10th Congressional District, which includes the western half of Orlando and is currently represented by Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who is running to replace Republican Senator Marco Rubio in next year`s election. Maxwell Alejandro Frost is not yet old enough to be a member of the House of Representatives, but he will reach the constitutionally required minimum age of 25. By the time he is sworn in if he wins his campaign for Congress.


MAXWELL ALEJANDRO FROST, (D) RUNNING FOR U.S. CONGRESS: Politics started early for me. I`ve been involved since I was 15 years old. And I remember watching the Sandy Hook massacre on the news in stunned silence, knowing that my life had changed. My fight for justice never led up after that. Working for the ACLU and over the past two years, I`ve been a leader in the movement to end gun violence as the National Organizing Director for March for Our Lives. My name is Maxwell Alejandro Frost. I`m an Afro-Cuban young American, born and raised right here in Orlando, Florida. I`m not a politician. I`m an organizer. I`ve been a leader out here on the ground when others have. And now we have a real opportunity for Orlando to elect the first bold, progressive Generation Z member of Congress.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Maxwell Alejandro Frost, he is a Democratic candidate for Congress and Florida`s 10th District. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. I want to begin with what got you into political activity. And your -- you do tell the story that it was this gun violence, this mass murder epidemic in America. And the first thing you did was volunteer and work on the Obama reelection campaign. What drew you to that campaign and that candidate?

FROST: Yeah, well, thank you so much for having me, Lawrence. What drove me to that campaign was seeing someone that looked like me. I remember that day exactly. I was watching TV with my dad. And I saw the president speaking, saw President Obama speaking about hope, and about how we needed to get together to move forward to fight for folks. And seeing someone that looked like me, seeing someone who spoke in a way that inspired a conviction in me that changed my life forever, is what drove me to be an intern on his reelection campaign. And ultimately, is part of the reason why I`m here today.

O`DONNELL: The March for Our Lives movement and the other things you`ve been involved in, has involved a lot of lobbying, especially state government in Florida, trying to get gun laws changed there, you`ve had some successes, you`ve had some not successes. I won`t call them failures, because the people involved have stopped yet. So, they -- you don`t fail until you quit. What does that taught you about the legislative process that you hope to be engaged in, in Congress?

FROST: Definitely, what it`s taught me is sometimes things move slow. You know, I`ll tell you when I was young, I actually got to do a lobbying meeting with Senator Marco Rubio, our senator here in Florida. And it was just after a shooting, I remember being there with survivors of that shooting and speaking with him. And I left that meeting thinking that we completely changed his mind. In fact, I even called my mother that night, and was saying, Mom, we changed his mind. We did something here. And then the next day, he went and voted with the NRA, like he always have. And so, what that`s taught me is that, number one, folks in office need to be more genuine with people. And we as organizers, and people working to make this change need to understand that these folks will lie to our faces sometimes, but that`s OK. We`re going to continue to fight for justice because we need to honor those who have been killed due to senseless gun violence with action.

O`DONNELL: We saw once again, stalemate take over in Congress. Yesterday, Senator Cory Booker announced that his attempted negotiations on a bipartisan police reform bill basically came to nothing with Republican Senator Tim Scott. There were Democratic House Members who were involved, trying to make that happen on a bipartisan level. So, the issue that you -- that is driving your life so far, in politics, the issue that`s driven you to this point now running for office, is the one that seems possibly the most difficult to get any movement on in Congress. What would you hope to bring to that -- to Cory Booker, if you were to get sworn in into the next Congress, and you could -- you have a meeting with Cory Booker, what`s the first thing you`re hoping that the two of you can get done?

FROST: Definitely, I think the most important thing is first off being creative in the way that we`re going to advocate for what we believe in.

Part of the reason why I believe that more organizers and activists need to be elected to office is because when we come in, we`re obviously going to work within the system and work to get legislation passed. But on top of that, when you`re working as an organizer, you have to be creative about things. I remember, when I first started with March for Our Lives, a group of students and I went to Virginia to go lobby and speak with legislators about passing, sweeping gun reform. But we were cut a little bit short because there were 1000s of armed protesters outside of the Virginia Capitol, even some of them causing death threats to us. And so, we got creative, and we found some representatives that let us sleep overnight in that Capitol. And we actually came with about 13 students at night before slept overnight, woke up that morning, lobbied and with the help of tons of organizations across Virginia sweeping gun reform was passed. And so, we have to be creative. We have to find out other ways that we can push this agenda forward outside of the system as well.

O`DONNELL: Maxwell Alejandro Frost, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

FROST: Thank you so much. And folks can hear more about us at, thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Maxwell Alejandro Frost gets his first word on the Last Word. It will not be his last word on the Last Word.