IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 9/27/21

Guests: Joshua Matz, Jena Griswold, Dr. Kavita Patel


A Colorado election official is under investigation tonight for violating the integrity of Colorado`s voting system. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a Pfizer vaccine booster shot for people who are 65 years or older, people 18 or older with underlying health conditions, and people at increased risk of exposure because of their jobs. House is expected to vote on infrastructure bill on Thursday. Interview with Democratic Congresswoman Susie Lee of Nevada. Donald Trump returned to Georgia where he is under criminal investigation.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. I`d like you to take a look at something that happened exactly 11 years ago tonight at this very minute, the very first words that were ever spoken on THE LAST WORD. Let`s take a look at this.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Tonight, Lawrence interviews Vice President Joe Biden. Lawrence, congratulations. Hi.

O`DONNELL: Great to be here, Rachel. Ready to go on the first show.

MADDOW: We are all pulling for you and very excited

O`DONNELL: I could not have a better lead-in.

MADDOW: That`s very kind of you, sort of. Break a leg, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.


O`DONNELL: Could you tell how wicked nervous I was?

MADDOW: You actually looked fine. You looked like totally in control. I looked like I had no idea how to do this handover thing.

Also, what`s that shirt? That shirt is like I borrowed that from somebody who was never me I don`t even -- you look -- you look yourself. You`re totally in control. I was a mess.

O`DONELL: Well, it wasn`t in those days -- the network was actually running tape, rerunning a show at 10:00 p.m. So you never had somebody to hand off to, right?

MADDOW: Oh, yeah.

O`DONNELL: So, suddenly, there was a live show at 10:00 p.m. and you had a little job to do at the end and Rachel, because you say good evening to me in this show every night, you have kept this show here for 11 years because we wouldn`t be here without the strongest, greatest lead-in we could possibly have.

MADDOW: That is very kind of you to say. It`s also crazy talk. You have been here for these 11 years because you`re freaking fantastic. And -- listen, getting to three years in cable news means that you`re a senior citizen. Getting to 11 years in cable news means you are an institution and an icon. And you and THE LAST WORD deserve it and another 11 after this. And I just want you to stay exactly where you are.

O`DONNELL: Rachel, as the video shows, there is -- there is this one thing that you have forgotten to do in the last 11 years, and that in the last 11 years, and that is to the aging process that the rest of us have been subject to. The Dorian gray thing going on with you is just amazing, just incredible.

MADDOW: No, you know what it`s nice of you to say that, but first of all, was that an era where hair gel wasn`t invented? Literally, what was going listen to it`s like a badger died on my head I`ve never seen that shirt before or since.

You look like yourself you`re like this beautiful like cut glass profile like you always have been man, man, the passage of time. It is a troubling thing.

O`DONNELL: I think the audience has had just about enough of us on this particular look back. Thank you very much, Rachel.

MADDOW: Congratulations, Lawrence

O`DONNELL: Thank you

Well, today is the day, September 27th that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised would be the day that the House votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate, that vote did not happen today, and yesterday, Speaker Pelosi explained exactly why.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn`t have the votes.


MADDOW: Doesn`t have the votes yet. Speaker Pelosi has negotiated a delay in that vote with the ten or so moderate Democrats in the House who were demanding that vote. The vote will now probably take place on Thursday.

In the meantime, the speaker is solidifying Democratic support for the second part of the Biden infrastructure plan, the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Today, two of the House moderates who were pushing for vote on the bipartisan Senate bill have said they will now support the $3.5 trillion bill. Speaker Pelosi now has a few more days to line up the support of the rest of that group.

Here is what the speaker said today after meeting of all House Democrats to discuss the next step in passing both bills.


PELOSI: Our members are so idealistic, strategic, and interested at getting in results. It was a beautiful meeting I`m so proud of them.


O`DONNELL: The House and Senate are very different worlds. Speaker Pelosi says she will never bring up a bill to the floor if she doesn`t have the votes to pass it.

Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought a bill to the floor knowing he didn`t have the votes, knowing he didn`t have the 60 votes necessary to clear the procedural threshold that would then allow a vote on the actual bill itself.

Chuck Schumer knew he would need and not get ten Republicans to cast what used to be a routine vote in the Senate to simply continue current government funding levels for a couple of months and raise the debt ceiling to cover the increase in the debt already incurred by the government in this case, incurred by the tax cuts of Donald Trump and by the COVID relief packaged signed into law by Donald Trump and by President Joe Biden.


Knowing that all Republicans were going to vote against the bill and kill it, Chuck Schumer brought it to a vote so that he could make a speech telling the country just how irresponsible Senate Republicans are.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): What the Republicans in the Senate did tonight is not normal. This isn`t your typical Washington practice, and it shouldn`t be treated as such. It has far more severe consequences than the typical political cat fight.

Republicans know the consequences of their obstruction. They know its default would likely create a recession. They know that middle class families will suffer immensely they`ve heard the same warnings that we have, and by many calculations, the Republicans at fault will raise the deficit by more than the American rescue plan, and yet Republicans still obstruct it tonight.


O`DONNELL: Chuck Schumer is surely hoping Senator Joe Manchin is watching how unreasonable and reckless the Republicans are as Senator Manchin continues to resist changes in these Senate rules to change the 60-vote threshold, the rule that empowers Republican irresponsibility and empowers Republican attacks on voting rights in this country.

Senator Manchin is one of the few moderate Democrats in the Senate who has been negotiating for mostly unspecified reductions in the size of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Today, Senator Manchin said this --


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think it`s going to pass. I really do. I believe very strongly it will pass I think basically we can get some sort of both of them. Let`s just look and see. We have to work together


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congresswoman Susie Lee of Nevada.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

You were in the meeting with the speaker today. Where do you think the state of play is? Will there be a vote on the bipartisan bill by, say, Thursday and how soon after that or around that time will the reconciliation bill go?

REP. SUSIE LEE (D-NV): Yeah, listen, thank you for having me on and today during the caucus meeting, I think there was a lot of recognition that we can`t fail and that we need to come together and, again, this was a compromise. We were planning on voting on this bipartisan bill at least that was what was requested of the speaker, to vote on it today.

So, there was a obviously a compromise to move it to Thursday. I believe we`re going vote on it on Thursday. We`re going pass it and then have a general framework of what the Build Back Better Act will be and pass it in the next few weeks after that.

O`DONNELL: So it sounds like there is compromise now from both sides of this discussion within the House, which is the smaller group that was really hoping for the Monday, demanding the Monday vote today that didn`t get it, they`re going get a vote on Thursday. The much larger progressive group in the House that wants the reconciliation vote to go first before this bipartisan vote, from the bipartisan bill from the Senate, they`re going to go along. It sounds like you`re saying they`re going to go along with a Thursday vote. They`re going to go along with voting for that bill before they get a chance to vote on reconciliation

LEE: Well, listen, Thursday is the scheduled vote I think that we will come together and have a general agreement on what will be in the Build Back Better Act. And then be able to get the progressives who had threatened to not vote for the bipartisan bill, get them to agree, you know, listen, we have to come together and work within our own caucus. These are both large, large bills. We know what`s at stake and that we need to work together and get a compromise and get something done for the American people

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Biden said about this today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m more an optimist. I think things are going to go well. I think we`re going get it done. Have I meetings tonight, tomorrow, and for the next little bit.


O`DONNELL: So it sounds like what`s going to happen in Tuesday, Wednesday is a very intense work on getting an agreement on what the $3.5 trillion bill is going to look like, what it`s going to amount to, what the real number is going to be, what`s going to be inside that real number.


And once that`s understood and agreed to by all of the Democrats in the House, at least agreed to, not voted on, but agreed to, then you will vote on the bipartisan bill that`s already been written

LEE: That`s the plan. That`s what I think will transpire here in the next few days. Again, I think that we`ve all come to recognition that number one, we need to pass this bipartisan bill. As you know, I`m a member of the problem solvers caucus, was instrumental in helping craft the framework on which that was based.

And so important to get that passed everyone across this country needs to have investment in infrastructure in their state. But then there is also recognition that we need this investment in families again, it`s a big bill, $3.5 trillion. There is a lot of work to be done to make sure what`s included in this bill meets the rules of reconciliation.

So we have a lot of work to do in the next few days. But I think we`ll have a general understanding of what that will look like to get enough progressives on board to support the bipartisan bill on Thursday.

O`DONNELL: Do you expect that to be a $3.5 trillion bill at the end of this negotiation

LEE: You know, I`ve heard -- I haven`t been in the discussions on the inner works of exactly what`s going into the bill in terms of the cost, but there is understanding given Sinema and Manchin, that it`s going to be less than $3.5 trillion. I think it`s really up to us to decide what it is we want to accomplish and work on getting those key pieces into the bill and then coming to a compromise on how we`re going pay for it.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Susie Lee, thank you very much for starting off our discussion tonight.

LEE: Thank you, Lawrence. Good to see you.

O`DONNELL: Appreciate it.

Joining us now, David Plouffe, former campaign manager and White House senior adviser to President Barack Obama. He is MSNBC political analyst.

And Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for "The Washington Post." He is the host of "The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart" right here on MSNBC.

David Plouffe, you`ve been through this sort of thing in the White House. Now, let`s put you in the White House tonight. What do you see as the state of play?

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, you`ve been through it too. So, first of all, these things always look like all hope is lost until it`s not. Nancy Pelosi, this is so essential for the country, to Joe Biden`s agenda, I think the Democrats` chances in 2022, and most importantly, Democrats control the House, Senate and the White House.

They`ve got exercise that power on behalf as many people as you can. The country has big needs out there. Families have big needs.

So this is going get done. It`s got to get done soon. A, because the more this drags out, the more this thing looks uglier than it should. And B, you want to get out there to start touting what`s in the bill. I think most of the coverage is just about how much it costs and where is Manchin, where is Sinema? And what`s being lost is the actual benefits to the American people. And so, the sooner this gets done, you can basically spend the next 14 months out in communities talking about who benefitted from this and then really hit the Republicans for opposing it.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, as we get closer and closer to the realities of legislating, I`m hearing more -- the rhetoric is just softer on all sides. It softens and that`s the way it sounds as people are moving toward an agreement. I mean, Congressman Lee just sounded like this agreement is really beginning to gel in the House.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST, "SUNDAY SHOW WITH JONATHAN CAPEHART": Yes, I`ve been calling it what we`ve been seeing for the last week or so, the storm before the calm it`s always crazy, the red lines and everything. I`m listening to the red lines being drawn, but the tone is much softer now than it was, say, in the spring and early summer when the progressives and the moderates were at each other`s throats.

What I also find interesting is that when they talk about the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, we don`t know what`s in it. We don`t know what`s going to go in it. And that`s why I love the question that you asked Congresswoman Lee about the price tag, because I think the conversation now is going to be less on the price tag and more on what exactly is in the bill that is of benefit to the American people, what David was just talking about.

And if you can get the child income tax credit made permanent, get a bunch of stuff in there about climate, get a bunch of other stuff in there about, say, human -- I`m sorry, home health care and things like that, things that would have immediate impact for the American people, and it comes in at a price tag, over, $2 trillion, you think that folks aren`t going to vote for it if they can go back to their districts and say look, this is what we`ve done for you?


So the next few days are going to be very fascinating to watch to see if the rhetoric goes from calm and soft to well, we were always going to get here all along.

O`DONNELL: You know, I always take notes when Jonathan Capehart is speaking, especially Sunday morning on his show. But right here, I`ve written down "The storm before the calm" which I think, Jonathan, I`m going steal for the title of my memoirs. It`s just --

CAPEHART: Fantastic.

O`DONNELL: It`s too perfect. David, let`s listen to something that Joe Manchin`s former aide says -- this is Jonathan Kott. He has been on this program, former aid to Joe Manchin. He says don`t assume he`s going to vote any way until he actually casts his vote, Jonathan Kott said in an interview. I went with him to almost every vote, and there were times when he made up his decision when we walked into the floor.

By the way, that`s true of every senator, a certain amount of the time but it might be true of Joe Manchin more than others. If that`s true in this situation, David, that makes this is a highly suspenseful situation.

PLOUFFE: Yeah. But I think that may be true for a lot of -- you`ve been there, Lawrence not on this vote. I think one of the reasons you`re starting to see more confidence, people laying down their swords a little bit is I think there is a sense we`re heading to an agreement here on both packages. And so at the end of the day, there is going to be no suspense Chuck Schumer is going to have his votes. You know Nancy Pelosi will have her votes. She is as skilled as anyone we`ve ever seen sit in that chair in the country`s history.

So there is a lot of choreography going on, a lot of discussions. But I agree with Jonathan. I think the ultimate price tag, whether it`s 3.5, or 3 or 2.8, I hope this isn`t true, but this could be a once in a decade opportunity. When is the next time the Democratic Party is going have an ability to help this many people with the power they have?

But then speaking politically, you know, Lawrence, you have to go out there you`ve got to be in people`s homes, talking about the child credit you`ve got to be meeting with home health care workers you`ve got to talk about how people can work more hours because of child care assistance you got to talk about the broadband and the climate. And, by the way, let`s not forget the thing that`s more popular than any of the things you`re spending the money on is how you`re paying for it which is asking the wealthiest in this country and companies to pay more of their fair share. So the politics of this should take care of themselves. If you really spend the next 14 months really, really pounding this in, and then make the Republicans I think pay a price for being opposed to, this rather gleefully trying to ruin our democracy and ruin the global economy

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, whatever they vote for here, anything that`s been discussed is the biggest ever, even if you were to compromise it down, oh, you know, you shave a trillion off it, it`s still the biggest vote ever cast in this kind of arena.

CAPEHART: Right, still the biggest vote and votes being cast for things that this nation needs we`re not talk about bridges to nowhere. We`re not talking about, you know, no show projects we`re talking about putting in programs or buttressing programs that make it possible for the American people to go to work or get work or take care of their children or save the planet.

And so, you know, I was talking to a member of Congress earlier today where the point being made was, you know, why don`t we do a few things really well as opposed to showering money on a whole host of projects that, great, folks get to go and say I got this passed, but you got to go back and fix it because it wasn`t done well I think if we can look and see in the reconciliation package big things, a few big things being done really, really well, then it will be a home run, no matter what the price tag is.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe and Jonathan Capehart, thank you for joining us tonight. Always appreciate it.

PLOUFFE: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you

Coming up in tonight`s episode of Defendant Trump, the suspected criminal returns to the scene of the crime in Georgia where he attacked the star witness against him. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: On Saturday, the old saying about criminals always return to the scene of the crime came to mind when Donald Trump went to Georgia to hold an outdoor rally. Donald Trump could be spending a lot more time in Georgia as a criminal defendant. The new 109-page report from the Brookings institution co-authored by six lawyers is entitled Fulton county, Georgia`s Trump investigation.

Over 50 pages of the report analyzes the potential crimes Donald Trump may have committed in his interference of the presidential vote count in Georgia, especially his hour-long phone call with Georgia`s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, which Secretary Raffensperger recorded and released to the news media. The report says we conclude that Trump`s post- election conduct in Georgia leaves him at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.

These charges potentially include criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, intentional interference with performance of election duties, conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation, and state RICO violations.

Here is what Donald Trump said in Georgia on Saturday about g`s straight brad Raffensperger, whose recorded phone call of Donald Trump could be the smoking gun evidence that makes Donald Trump a convicted felon in Georgia.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: There is something wrong with this guy your secretary of state, Raffensperger, Raffensperger.


I`m telling you, I think there is something wrong with him, and we give him so much. Could you look at this, could you look at that election integrity and sometimes yes, I`m going look at -- nothing ever happens. Raffensperger, something really strange with him.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Joshua Matz, a co-author of the Brookings Institution report on Georgia`s case against Donald Trump. He also was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee in both impeachment trials of Donald Trump.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

What we just saw in that video seems to be part of this Trump method of maybe his belief that if he does it in public, it can`t be a crime. He seems to be doing an impression of his phone calls with the secretary of state, asking him to do things. And if he is talking about it in public, it can`t possibly be a crime. That seems to be the way he approached his previous high crimes in office.

JOSHUA MATZ, FORMER IMPEACHMENT COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, that`s absolutely right. And thank you for having me. I mean, when the impeachment proceedings went forward, obviously, earlier this year, that too was based on president Trump`s acts in public there the incitement to insurrection. But whether or not he thinks that carrying out some kind of real-time live stage parody is going to immunize him from criminal liability, the reality, as we conclude in our report is that President Trump`s repeated interference with the election administration in Georgia, his efforts to solicit and threaten senior state officials to certify the election for him falsely and to find exactly enough votes to rig the election back for him, that was a crime, and whatever he wants to say on stage, however much he might want to make fun of Secretary Raffensperger, I`m confident in the end, the facts will come out and that the Fulton County district attorney who is investigating will lead her wherever the facts in the law require.

O`DONNELL: You identify a possible felony in the list of offenses and this is a Georgia statute that makes the felony if you willfully tampers with any elector`s list, voter certificate, numbered list of voters, ballot box, voting machine, direct recording electronic equipment, electronic ballot marker or tabulating machine, anyone who does that shall will guilty of a felony with possible sentence of not less than one year, not more than ten years a fine not to exceed $100,000, or both, jail -- prison sentence and fine.

That -- how do you apply that statute to the evidence as we know it?

MATZ: That`s a fantastic question. This is a case where it wasn`t like President Trump was going to get on a plane, fly to Georgia and start messing around with the ballots, although god only knows what he would have done had that been a possibility. This is a case where he was calling senior state officials, most notably Secretary of State Raffensperger and a chief investigator in his office, Frances Watson on December 23rd and urging them to vary from state election procedures, and in Raffensperger`s case to find 11,780 ballots, the exact number needed to alter the election outcome.

Looking at a fact pattern like that, there is a strong case that President Trump committed the Georgia crime of solicitation of election fraud that what he was doing here was soliciting Secretary Raffensperger with the intent that Secretary Raffensperger perform a certain act, and that act itself was a crime, the crime that you just described, the crime of tampering with ballots, tampering with the vote tabulation in the state.

So I think looking at that, you`d probably see it charged as a solicitation offense, maybe a conspiracy offense it could even help support a charge of intentional interference with the carrying out of public duties by public officer. Again, in this case, Secretary Raffensperger. There is numerous avenues through which President Trump`s conduct could give rise to criminal liability here.

O`DONNELL: As soon as this phone call became public in the Raffensperger side released to it the media, we`re all listening to it, we brought Georgia lawyers on to this show to outline all of these statutes that they knew about, that we didn`t know about within Georgia law. And they were rattling off these things that don`t exist. Some of these statutes, they`re different from state to state, obviously as you know.

And as we kept hearing about them, kept looking at them, kept reading them, kept saying wow, these laws in Georgia are very solid, protective lines around the voting process.

MATZ: Well, that`s exactly right. And there is a reason why it`s so important that there are state level laws like this.

Obviously, in our federal system of government, you know, the federal law is what it is. There are powerful bases, compelling bases for the Justice Department to investigate a significant amount of what happened surrounding the 2020 presidential election. And obviously there is a select committee in the house that`s doing that too.

But under our constitutional system, states actually have the primary role in carrying out presidential elections. The federal government hardly has much of a role at all, and it`s really Congress, not the president that has a role, namely certifying the electoral ballots as occurred this past year, this year on January 6.

And that`s sort of an obvious point. You wouldn`t want the president, who might be a candidate or who might have very strong feelings on who replaces him or her have a big role in the presidential election so states are the key players here. And states like Georgia have put in place powerful laws to protect the integrity of their electoral process.

And those laws I think apply with full force here, you know, a circumstance where you have a candidate calling up and threatening senior state officials if they do not falsely alter the final count of votes to alter the outcome of the election in the state.

Frankly, if that weren`t a crime, you would think that we need to go rewrite the criminal laws to make sure that it is. And in this case, we don`t need to do that Georgia`s laws are solid. I think the public record powerfully supports potential criminal charges.

And that`s why I think it`s so crucially important that the district attorney in Fulton County is investigating this since her office in Georgia is the only investigating office that didn`t make itself a witness to the crimes here.

O`DONNELL: Joshua Matz, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it

MATZ: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold will join us to discuss the attack from within. A Colorado election official is under investigation tonight for violating the integrity of Colorado`s voting system. That`s next.




REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): When you look at the spread of these mistruths and the spread of the disinformation, you know, silence enables it. Silence enables the liar. And silence helps it to spread.

So the first thing you have to do is say no, I`m not going to accept that we`re going to live in a post-truth world. It`s a toxin, Leslie, in our political bloodstream.

Because when we allow that to continue to go on in the face of rulings of the courts, in the face of recounts, in the face of everything that`s gone on to demonstrate that there was not fraud that would have changed the outcome, then we all -- if we do that, we are contributing to the undermining of our system. And it`s a really serious and dangerous moment because of that.


O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Liz Cheney on "60 Minutes" last night.

Our next guest, Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Mesa County clerk Tina Peters from being involved in the state`s election in November. According to the lawsuit, Tina Peters and her deputy Belinda Kinsley (ph) snuck someone into the Mesa County elections offices to copy the hard drives of Dominion Voting System`s machines. Those copies later surfaced online and in the hands of conspiracy theorists election deniers.

In addition to the lawsuit, the local district attorney, state prosecutors and FBI are investigating whether criminal charges are warranted. "The Washington Post" reports "As baseless claims about election fraud are embraced by broad swaths of the Republican Party, experts fear the people who embrace those claims could be elected or appointed to offices where they oversee voting, potentially posing new security risks."

Secretary Griswold`s lawsuit seeks to remove Tina Peters and Belinda Kinsley of their election powers arguing that they were responsible for an unprecedented security breach.

Joining us now is Jena Griswold, Colorado secretary of state. She is also the chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Secretary Griswold.

How did you discover this -- this activity?


We discovered this activity actually when it was posted online. Not only did the clerk lie to my office saying someone was an employee of her office, but she helped facilitate the copying of images of the hard drive, but also sensitive passwords that are specific to her county election equipment.

So when those passwords were uploaded on to the Internet by a QAnon leader, we discovered the breach and immediately acted and investigated the voting equipment.

O`DONNELL: And the -- when you discovered this, how long did it take to track responsibility for it?

GRISWOLD: Well, a matter of days. I became aware of the situation on a Thursday evening. By Monday, I issued one of the first of three election orders, ordering the clerk to allow my civil servants to inspect the voting equipment. And we quickly realized through working with Mesa County that there indeed was a breach of security and that we could not verify the security of the voting equipment.


GRISWOLD: So Lawrence, I ended up having to decertify the voting equipment in Mesa County. The county replaced the voting equipment and I also placed a supervisor on top of the election, the former Republican county clerk who served prior to the current county clerk.

O`DONNELL: And what happened -- what are you hoping will be the outcome at the end of this story where would be the end of this story, if pursued through to the end?

GRISWOLD: Well, I think we need to take some bold actions to protect democracy. I hope that we win the litigation that we`re currently in to completely remove the clerk from all election activity and actually put in place the former county clerk and actually my predecessor, Republican clerk Wayne Williams to oversee the election this election.

But it`s more than just one county. We are seeing an unprecedented attack on democracy, from elected officials who are willingly, knowingly lying to the American public about 2020, to the 500 pieces of voter suppression legislation that are all across the state in 47 states being considered, passing in many states, to threats against the lives of election officials.

We need to take drastic action to disincentivize these bad actors from destroying democracy for their own personal gain.

O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" is reporting that the pillow guy Mike Lindell as saying that he has paid for Peters` lodging, security, and lawyers. "He hopes that other elections officials will come forward to join the fight. We want to get more Tinas out there," he said recently on his show. We need more Tinas out there. More Tinas seems to be exactly what you fear.

GRISWOLD: That`s right. And before getting in that, Lawrence, we cannot allow the My Pillow guy to destroy democracy. I know it sounds funny, but he is a leader in disinformation, trying to chip away not only at 2020, but at all confidence so every future election can be contested.

And one of the big things the nation has to brace itself for is more extreme election officials, county clerks, secretaries of state who are there to not serve voters, to not protect democracy, but to gain power, help their own party and lie.

So we have a major situation in fact, in every swing state, where there is a secretary of state race in 2022. There is someone who is lying about 2020 running to be the chief election official. The person who oversees a state`s election needs to respect the will of the voters, establish great elections, and certify those elections whether they like the outcome or not. And that very ideal that has worked for so many decades, so long in our country is under threat.

O`DONNELL: Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GRISWOLD: Thank you so much

O`DONNELL: Thank you

Coming up, today in the White House, Joe Biden got his COVID-19 booster shot. And Pfizer is preparing to submit its data on vaccines for elementary school age kids very soon. That`s next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be clear. Boosters are important but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated.


O`DONNELL: Today President Biden received his booster shot of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine eight months after receiving his second vaccine dose.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a Pfizer vaccine booster shot for people who are 65 years or older, people 18 or older with underlying health conditions, and people at increased risk of exposure because of their jobs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what do you say to the world health leaders like the World Health Organization say wealthy nations should help more countries without vaccinations to get vaccinated before they get boosters here in America?

BIDEN: We are helping. We`re doing more than every other nation in the world combined. We`re going have well over a 1.100 billion shots and we`re going to continue going. We`re going to do our part we`ve also given them a great deal of funding to COVAX which is the vehicle that does this.

So we have plenty, plenty of opportunities to make sure we get everyone in the world. We play our part, the largest part in the world to get everyone vaccinated.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Dr. Kavita Patel, a physician, fellow at the Brookings Institution and former White House health policy director in the Obama administration.

Dr. Patel, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I imagine as someone who worked in an administration, watching that moment today, that of the president getting the booster and the message that sends to people, especially people his age, 78 years old, to get the booster is a very strong message.

DR. KAVITA PATEL, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Yes. Lawrence, it literally in minutes, he probably did more to get Americans to ask and talk to their doctors and hopefully get some people vaccinated for the first time than many of us have tried to do over the last 19 months.

It`s incredibly effective, and he uses that pulpit the way he should. Raised his sleeve and kind of modeled good behavior. So I was really happy to see him come out publicly. Really excited when we can have the Moderna and J&J recipients do the same thing, which hopefully will be soon.

O`DONNELL: What do we know about side effects of the third shot?

PATEL: Yes, great question. So side effects of the third shot closely mimic side effects of the first and second shots. So you heard the president even say well I didn`t even really have any side effects with my first and second shot. I`m hoping I don`t for my third shot.


DR. PATEL: But if you did experience that kind of localized pain, soreness, you know, some aches and kind of flu-like symptoms for a couple of days, Lawrence, then that might occur with the third shot as well.

We did not see -- I want to stress something -- we did not see an excess of some of those cases of myocarditis or inflammation of the heart, or cases around those clots, or any other death or anaphylaxis and allergic reaction above what we would have expected with the first and second doses. So safe and effective from its profile.

O`DONNELL: I want to show a moment of Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor today.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I`m glad to share that a few minutes ago, I received a booster vaccination for COVID-19. Mountains of evidence tell us these shots are safe, effective, and dramatically shrink the odds of severe disease or death from COVID. All Americans should speak with their doctors and get vaccinated.


O`DONNELL: Dr. Patel, there is a 79-year-old. He has just gotten his shot, and that means that presumably, he sat for about 15 minutes after the shot to make sure that there was no immediate reaction to it.

And this is not a test of what the side effects are for him or what they might be over the next 24 hours. But there he is, able to go about his business in the Senate after that third shot.

DR. PATEL: Yes, and Lawrence, that`s generally what we would expect but I will say this. If you -- I don`t think it`s a bad idea to schedule -- I tell my patients this. Go ahead and schedule that booster shot when you know you might be able to take it easy or not have to do anything strenuous for the next 36 hours because all of the reactions we would expect typically, Lawrence, we would see kind of within that 36 to 48-hour period after the third shot and the second shot as well. And hopefully people`s first shot. O`DONNELL: Do you have a sense of what the timetable is for approvals for younger elementary school age children?

DR. PATEL: Yes. We`re waiting on Pfizer to actually file the beginning of their emergency use authorization for ages 5 to 11 literally any day now, Lawrence. I`m sure that will also make news but once that`s filed, the agency and the FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock actually echoed this that they`re ready.

They`re ready to get the data packets. They`re ready to do things as quickly as possible, but overseeing the safety. And typically, when the agency has done things in this kind of priority manner, three to four weeks of a turnaround, and then an FDA emergency authorization followed by some of those advisory committee meetings that we witnessed last week around the booster, Lawrence.

So we could be looking at first shot maybe as early as Halloween. But I have high optimism certainly before Thanksgiving if all of the safety and efficacy data show up to be what the Pfizer press release states.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.

DR. PATEL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, a look back at the first words spoken here on "THE LAST WORD" 11 years ago by our first guest in tonight`s episode of "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same".



O`DONNELL: At this hour exactly 11 years ago when this show premiered, our first guest was the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden."


BIDEN: And our Republican friends, I find them kind of fascinating. They keep lecturing us about the debt they created, and now they`re talking about wanting to extend a tax cut that costs $700 billion for the very wealthiest among us without paying for it.


O`DONNELL: Nothing has changed about Republicans` irresponsibility concerning the debt. Republicans are currently refusing to raise the debt limit to cover even the portion of the debt that Republicans created on their own, never mind the portion of the debt that was created by Republicans and Democrats.

11 years ago Joe Biden was complaining about Republicans forcing a 60-vote threshold on every vote in the senate.


BIDEN: The president has done a remarkable job given the fact that -- you and I have a mutual friend, Pat Moynihan when Pat Moynihan, when you were running his show and I was his colleague, a majority in the senate used to mean 51 votes.

Since we`ve gotten elected, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, there is a new majority in the senate, 60 votes.


O`DONNELL: And 11 years ago, Vice President Biden knew that the Republicans in Congress were no longer the Republicans with whom he was sometimes able to reach compromise agreements when he was Senator Biden.

I asked Vice President Biden about a statement he made saying Republicans now are not your grandfather`s Republican Party.


BIDEN: The fact of the matter is that what I really said was that this is not even your father`s Republican Party. These folks don`t want to talk. These folks don`t want to enter into a compromise. These folks don`t want to come up with practical solutions.

I know what they`re against. What I don`t know is what they`re for.


O`DONNELL: In 1855, Jean Baptiste Alfonse (ph) wrote a line in French that has become immortal in many languages which explains what you have just heard Joe Biden say. That line is "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Thank you very much for supporting this hour of television for these last 11 years. And I want to thank the LAST WORD staff led first by Izzy Povich, then by Greg Cordich (ph), now by Melissa Ryerson.


O`DONNELL: And I want to thank Phil Griffin for deciding this show was something this network should do. I want to thank Rashida Jones for deciding this show was something this network should keep doing. And Caesar Conde -- thank you all for reporting this hour. We really appreciate it.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.