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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, January 4, 2021

Guests: Adam Schiff, Michael Moore, Richard Hasen, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Lauren Groh Wargo


Georgia's secretary of state on Saturday received a phone call from the president of the United States, which several former prosecutors have now said contains evidence of federal and state election crimes committed by Donald Trump. Interview with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff from California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. In an hour-long telephone call, Trump pressures Georgia election officials to "find" votes. Three million people have already voted in Georgia's Senate elections. An expert on Georgia political campaigns and voter turnout will tell us what to look for in those election returns tomorrow night.


LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, we missed you but we know you needed some time away from this so more insanity could develop for your first night back, and you would need like 4 hours of TV to cover it. But you managed to somehow pull it off again.

Rachel, we have Adam Schiff joining us again to get his reaction to the president's phone call. He, of course, told us this was going to happen. He told us in the impeachment trial, of course, Donald Trump will do it again. We saw it coming.

But we also can thank you for Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta who's going to join us later in the hour. We all met him on your show several months ago. He will obviously have something to say about the challenge that apparently the Pennsylvania electors are going to face in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate on January 6th when that circus begins.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Yeah, these next few days are just going to be nutty. I mean, we knew that it was going to be amazing to have twin Senate elections the first week in January following an election where the incumbent president was turfed out and those twin Senate elections would determine control of the U.S. Senate and whether or not the incoming Democratic president would have a Senate and the House behind him or just the House. We knew that was going to be nuts. And that was before any of this insanity evolved with the president making this phone call that he made with the plan for the Republicans to come up with the electoral count.

I mean, this is -- I guess this is why we do what we do. This is what we trained for, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Yes. As long as Donald Trump has a telephone, access to a telephone, we have no idea what we're going to be talking about the next night. And here we are.

MADDOW: Exactly. Right on. Thanks, my friend.

O'DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

Well, tonight the person Donald Trump now has to fear most in the world is someone he has never heard of. Fani Willis.

Fani Willis is 49 years old, the mother of two daughters, and tonight Fani Willis stands on the threshold of history. She might become the first prosecutor in history to charge a president of the United States with committing a crime. Fani Willis is the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia.

Georgia's secretary of state was in Fulton County on Saturday when he received a phone call from the president of the United States, which several former prosecutors have now said contains evidence of federal and state election crimes committed by Donald Trump.

The president cannot pardon himself out of legal trouble in Fulton County because presidential pardons apply only to federal crimes, not state crimes. Fani Willis issued a written statement today saying, anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable. Anyone.

Fani Willis was elected district attorney on November 3rd in the same Georgia election that Donald Trump is now lying about. Fani Willis has by now heard Donald Trump say on that phone call to Georgia's secretary of state, quote, Fulton County is totally corrupt. Those were Donald Trump's exact words. Donald Trump repeatedly lies about the voting process in Fulton County that elected Fani Willis, the first female district attorney in Fulton County history, the second black district attorney in Fulton County history.

On that phone call Donald Trump doesn't just insult Fulton County, he insults the entire state of Georgia in one part of the call that has not made the highlights reel. Donald Trump makes it clear how ridiculous he thinks it is how anyone would choose to live in Georgia if they could choose to live anywhere else. That passage shows the absurdity of the lies of Donald Trump and his lawyers who might be as criminally liable as Donald Trump for what happened in that phone call.

Donald Trump says, quote, you have all these different people that voted but they don't live in Georgia anymore. Donald Trump then asks one of his lawyers, Cleta Mitchell, for the number they have invented for that category of Georgia voters, and she says, quote, I don't have that number right in front of me.

The lawyer for the office of the secretary of state, Ryan Germany, who was on that call, explained the truth to Donald Trump and his lying lawyer.


RYAN GERMANY: Every one we've been through are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately. And in many cases --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How many people do that? They moved out and then they said, ah, to hell with it, I'll move back. You know, it doesn't sound like very normal -- you mean they moved out and they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? It's crazy.

GERMANY: They moved back in years ago. This was not like something just before the election.


O'DONNELL: Donald Trump can't believe anyone could move out of Georgia and then, quote, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in.

That is exactly the story that Gladys Knight & the Pips turned into an everlasting hit in 1973 entitled "The Midnight Train to Georgia," a song Donald Trump has no doubt heard like the rest of us, and unlike the rest of us, never comprehended a single word of it.

That is the story of Fani Willis' life. She left Georgia to go to college at Howard University and then she came back. Donald Trump said that moving back to Georgia doesn't sound, quote, very normal. Of course, Donald Trump is the expert on what's very normal.

It is on the basis of truly perverse beliefs like that that Donald Trump asked the Georgia secretary of state to commit the crime of finding 11,780 votes.


TRUMP: So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


O'DONNELL: Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes. So Donald Trump wants to add that number plus one to his vote total, and he doesn't want any changes in Joe Biden's vote total. That number would give Donald Trump exactly a one-vote victory in Georgia, one vote out of nearly 5 million votes cast. Donald Trump thinks that would look perfectly normal.

NBC News is reporting that Saturday's phone call came after 18 failed attempts by the White House switchboard to connect the president to Georgia's secretary of state. Before the secretary of state decided to accept the president's call on Saturday, he also decided to tape the call. An adviser to the secretary of state told "Politico" why they decided to tape the president of the United States. Quote, this is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs, so if he's going to try to dispute anything on the call, it's nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he's claiming about the secretary.

Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So, yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this.

Donald Trump did get one thing right on the phone call. He twice -- twice -- called himself a schmuck. He said, quote, what a schmuck I was. Schmuck, of course, is Yiddish for a foolish person. A schmuck also now means a president who would call the secretary of state of Georgia and ask him to commit a crime while the conversation is being taped.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wisely let Donald Trump do most of the talking. He and his staff didn't bother replying to most of what the president said. If Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis does prosecute Donald Trump for attempted fraud, she will no doubt be playing this portion of the tape for the jury in her final argument.


TRUMP: So, tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election and it's not fair to take it away from us like this. And it's going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say you're going to re-examine it and you can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people that want to find answers, not people that don't want to find answers.


O'DONNELL: You have to say that you're going to re-examine it. Is that an order?

Secretary Raffensperger said, we have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right.

Re-examine. Re-examine this. Re-examine this phone call. What is going to be re-examined and re-examined by criminal investigators is the phone call Donald Trump made to Georgia's secretary of state. That's what's going to be re-examined.

The phone call ended after an hour and eight minutes, not because Donald Trump had anything else to do, but because Secretary Raffensperger finally ended it by saying, thank you, President Trump, for your time.

When you listen to the entire hour and eight minutes, there is nothing even slightly surprising about Donald Trump in that phone call. He has always been the person he is on the call. Everyone in New York who knew anything about him knew that this is the kind of person he would be in the presidency, because Donald Trump is incapable of change, and Donald Trump has always been too stupid and too clumsy to pretend to be anything other than what he is, a vulgar, uneducable, racist businessman who had to be bailed out of his bankruptcies by his racist businessman father.

If you only started watching Donald Trump when he became a presidential candidate and president of the United States, you saw enough to be completely unsurprised by what you hear on that phone call with Georgia's secretary of state. Our first guest, the chief prosecutor of Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial, told you. He told you this was going to happen.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He has done it before, he will do it again. What are the odds if left in office that he will continue trying to cheat? I will tell you, 100 percent. He will continue trying to cheat in the election until he succeeds. Then what shall you say?


O'DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff from California. He's chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Chairman Schiff, I have to ask you, I'm sure you have many reactions to this phone call, you have many feelings about this phone call. But I will be surprised --

SCHIFF: I certainly do.

O'DONNELL: I'm assuming surprise is not one of them.

SCHIFF: No, it's not.

I tell you, it took me back listening to that reporting. I think anyone who has ever worked on an organized crime case and listened to a wire tap of how organized crime figures talk with each other, it's just like this. You know, here the president is saying he wants the secretary of state to find him 11,000 -- he's got to get, what is it, 11,780 votes, just one more than is necessary, and he even goes on to talk about how that's all he's asking for. And you need to have people who want to find the answers. And this is how organized crime figures talk to each other.

And, you know, the other impression I had, frankly, was you can imagine that conversation with any number of third world dictators after an election in which either they lost or their mayor lost or their corrupt governor lost, and they call up election officials and they tell them what they need to find. To imagine that happening in this country, it just takes your breath away.

O'DONNELL: What was your reaction to the secretary of state's decision to tape the call? He knew the president was calling, the president made 18 attempts to get him on the phone, and he decided, okay, when I get on the phone, I'm going to make a tape recording of this call.

SCHIFF: Well, it was obviously very wise, and I can certainly understand why he made that decision to do it, because the president would misrepresent anything that took place on that call, and because it was very possible the president was going to ask for something that would be a crime and, indeed, I think this is going to require those local officials to look into the matter with an eye to whether Georgia laws have been violated.

So it was the right decision. It was, I think, a courageous act, one of many courageous acts, and I suppose the flip side of all of this, Lawrence, is there are any number of courageous acts by people all over the country, from local elections officials who refuse to be intimidated to top elections officials that are getting browbeaten by the president of the United States and standing up to him.

So, you know, from those health workers who went out during a pandemic, there is a lot of heroic stories in this face of this assault in our democracy.

O'DONNELL: Congressman Schiff, the president made that call yesterday. I personally believe with the full knowledge that he is going to self-pardon himself on the morning of January 20th retroactively for every day of his presidency and possibly 20 years before that to wipe out every statute of limitations he can possibly face in any federal criminal charge for his entire life.

He knows before he makes that phone call that he's going to pardon himself for all possible federal crimes during his presidency, and that is, it seems to me, part of the dynamic of what we're seeing on the call, why he knows -- he believes he won't be able to face any criminal prosecution federally because of this call.

SCHIFF: It's certainly very possible that that's part of what's going through his head, that he is going to try to protect himself. I don't think that's effective. It doesn't mean the president won't try, but I think that if he were to do so and ultimately were prosecuted in a federal criminal court, that case would be -- would go up to the Supreme Court, it would be offered as a defense against the prosecution, but I think ultimately even this court would reject the idea that a president is above the law and pardon themselves, particularly because the language of the Constitution says that the president can grant a pardon.

That suggests that you can't give it to yourself, you're granting it to another, but also because it would negate all other portions of the Constitution if the president didn't have to faithfully execute the laws, could encourage people to engage in criminality and then say they will pardon them and pardon himself.

So I think part of that self-defeating interpretation is not one even this court would give, but Lawrence, you may be right. He may feel he's got a get out of jail free card, or it may just be the nature of the beast, and that is that he can't help himself. This is who he is. He is without ethical compass. He will never find his way, and that may be part of the issue here, too.

O'DONNELL: Some of your Democratic colleagues have asked the FBI to investigate this phone call. Do you believe the FBI should get involved?

SCHIFF: You know, I would have to think more on that, Lawrence. Frankly I'm focused right now on Wednesday, when we have a very long day ahead of us, and there is another sorry story being told, and that is so many Republican members of the House and Senate going along with the president to essentially negate presidential election. So, all my focus is on that.

I haven't looked at that the call for a federal investigation or the censure resolution. We just need to make sure we get through Wednesday and keep our democracy intact.

O'DONNELL: Mr. Chairman, the rules call for two hours of debate in both bodies, House and Senate, for any challenge posed to electors. Is it possible that you won't use the full two hours in the House, that you'll cede back some of that time in order to make the process go quicker?

SCHIFF: It's certainly possible. We don't know how many states the Republicans will challenge. If they challenge all five or six that the president has been falsely contending, contain some kind of irregularity, then it will be a very long day and night. It may depend on how long the Republicans want to go within those two hours and how much we feel we need to rebut arguments that they make.

But we're going to try to keep the focus where it needs to be, on our Constitution, on the peaceful transition of power, and on the need to make sure this exercise of self-government continues and succeeds.

O'DONNELL: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We always appreciate it.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: And when we come back after this break, a former Georgia U.S. attorney will join us next to consider the words of Donald Trump in that phone call that might be used against him in court, in federal or state prosecutions.


O'DONNELL: Fani Willis served as an assistant district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, for 16 years before she won her election campaign for district attorney in November. She was sworn in as district attorney of Fulton County on New Year's Day, and the next day, the very next day, the president of the United States placed a phone call to Fulton County where Georgia's secretary of state sat and listened to the president of the United States tell him to find 11,780 votes. Donald Trump said, quote, fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.

Fani Willis now has to make the most important decision a district attorney has ever had to make. Did the president of the United States commit a crime in her county when he said, fellas, I need 11,000 votes, give me a break?

Joining me now is Richard Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine, and author of "Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy."

Also with us, Michael J. Moore, former U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia. He previously asked the Georgia state election board to investigate Senator Lindsey Graham for his phone call pressuring Brad Raffensperger to interfere in the election.

Michael Moore, welcome back to this discussion here on THE LAST WORD. I want to get your legal reaction, both state and federal, in terms of state and federal law as to what you heard in that phone call.

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT, GEORGIA: First, thanks for having me back, and you're right, I did file a complaint to the state election board about Senator Graham's conduct, and really this conduct by the president fits hand in hand with that.

It's pretty clear that he uses some threats. You can hear him. It's almost like listening to an episode of "The Sopranos" in his recorded call with the secretary where he essentially says, look, I need the votes, there are some bad things that will happen, people are laughing at you. By the way, you may be in legal trouble by not investigating certain things.

So, he threatens him, he coerces him, he tries to strong-arm him into not doing his job, or as he calls it, recalculating the outcome of the election. That seems to me to be a pretty clear effort of trying to influence a state official in the performance of their official duties but also to commit election fraud. And so, I think it's an interesting time.

If you ask me, I heard your prior guest, Congressman Schiff, this to me looks like a state offense. It happened in the state. The president just made the poor judgment of making a telephone call to a state that allows one-party consent for the recording. So we've got the recording, we listened to him on tape, and he's like a lot of other criminal defendants, and that is that they make stupid mistakes. That is if they don't now when they shut their mouth. They either talk too much on a call or a wire on sometimes they send silly messages, emails, or texts. That's essentially what's caught him here.

The problem he's got as well is he's in a state which does not have the governor's authority to pardon individuals. So, you mention his quest to do an all-encompassing burning of the incense to give himself a grand pardon for everything he's done, well, in Georgia, that would be a decision made for the Board of Pardons and Parole.

So, he really may have stepped in it as far as state law here, and while it's a lot to ask a new D.A. to look at, it seems pretty clear the president has laid out a case in that telephone conversation that merits some further investigation.

O'DONNELL: Richard Hasen, what about a federal case? You can have a federal prosecution investigation, anyway, on this call in the Washington, D.C., U.S. attorney's office where the call originated, or in the Georgia U.S. attorney's office where the call was received.

RICHARD HASEN, PROFESSOR OF LAW & POLITICAL SCIENCE AT UC IRVINE: Right, I think this is going to come down to a question of what the Biden attorney general is going to want to do. If you look at both the federal statute and the Georgia state statute, which you just heard about, they both prevent people from intentionally stuffing a ballot box. That is literally coming up in state votes to alter the state votes to alter the state votes to alter the election process. That is literally in line of how it naturally affects the people of Georgia.

The real question would come down to a political one, as to whether or not any federal prosecutors would want to go after a former president, and also the question of intent. It could be that Trump is so deluded by the kinds of false claims that he made in this rambling hour-long call that he actually believes that there are votes to be found that Raffensperger hasn't done his job and, in fact, he was entitled to win the election. That would be a jury question.

But before we ever get to a jury, it's a political question, as to whether any federal prosecutor is going to forward against the former president.

O'DONNELL: And, Michael Moore, it's an odd event today in Georgia where U.S. attorney with jurisdiction overt this area of Georgia suddenly resigned. He said because of unforeseeable circumstances. He was a Trump appointee. He was expected to resign on or the day before the inauguration day, that would be customary.

But he resigned today because of an unforeseeable circumstance. I guess the unforeseeable circumstance was that the president may commit a crime in your jurisdiction.

MOORE: Well, I don't believe much in coincidence, especially in politics like this. So, it strikes me as odd that he left today. I know Bjay Pak. He's a friend of mine.

While we may be in different political authorities, I consider him an honorable guy and has a lot of integrity, and he's done a good job running the office there.

So to leave in the abrupt manner that he did certainly raises some suspicion, and you have to wonder, was he asked to do something that he didn't want to do, was he asked to initiate some investigation perhaps into people who weren't seeing it the way the administration wanted things to come down? That's the question. I don't know that. But, again, I don't believe much in coincidence.

Let me say one thing, too, about intent if I can. The president basically told us his intent in this telephone call when he said he just needed this one vote over the amount. He pretty much gave it away that he's not concerned about general election fraud, he's not concerned about any other election, he's not concerned about investigating fraud, he's just saying, just give me personally enough to overcome the gap.

And that's a pretty good indication that there is an intent there to do something wrong as opposed to move further into an inquiry that you might say to somebody of some decent character, if there was some legitimate concern would ask for. He didn't do that.

He just said, look, I just need one, just find me some votes, find me enough votes. Surely you can find me enough. Not make sure that all the votes that all these conspiracy nuts think had been disenfranchised. He just said he just wants enough to flip it so that he could claim victory in the state.

So I think it's pretty clear intent. Certainly would be arguing that -- I' be happy any day of the year to make that argument to a jury.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And the other side of that particular evidentiary coin is he's very clearly saying you better not find one more vote for Joe Biden when you go looking for votes.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore of Georgia, Professor Rick Hassen, thank you both very much for joining us on this tonight. We really appreciate it.

MOORE: Great to be with you again, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up after this break: Eugene Robinson and Pennsylvania state representative Malcolm Kenyatta will consider the Trump phone call.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you've recalculated because the 2,236 in absentee ballots, I mean, they're all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. And even if you cut them in half, cut them in half and cut them in half again, it's more votes than we need.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post". He's an MSNBC political analyst. Also with us Pennsylvania state representative Malcolm Kenyatta.

Gene, let me start with you on what you just heard on that phone call. There is the president telling Georgia secretary of state what his story can be. This is what you can go out and sell publicly after you've suddenly come up with my 11,780 votes that lets me win the state of Georgia by one vote.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. Let's be clear what we hear in that conversation. What we hear is an hour's worth of Donald Trump trying to convince the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to falsify the results of the election. To find -- find -- 11,780 votes to give him one vote more than he needs to reverse his deficit in Georgia and win the state.

He's asking Raffensperger to commit a criminal act. Not just a criminal act, but an act that goes against the core principle of our democracy. I mean this is much worse than anything we heard in the Nixon tapes. And I don't minimize at all the Nixon tapes.

Richard Nixon was a crook, you know. He was using the CIA to try to shut down the FBI's investigation, using instruments of our government in that manner. It was outrageous and it was absolutely right that he had to resign.

But this is worse because it strikes really at the heart of our entire system. We have -- we all respect the results of our elections and we have a peaceful and orderly transfer of power, like it or not.

And that has to be the case. And that is the core that I thought was strong at the heart of our democracy. And it turns out to be quite fragile because Donald Trump is making serious, serious cracks in it. This is not just outrageous but it's really serious for the future of our democracy.

O'DONNELL: Representative Kenyatta, what was your reaction to what you heard on that phone call?

REP. MALCOLM KENYATTA (D-PA): Well, frankly, you know, this is what the president has done his entire term in office. And when I see folks like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, these stunt queens who are out embarrassing themselves, embarrassing their states, I'm reminded of the fact that this is not new, right?

The Republican Party using conspiracy theories for electoral gains. And with all due respect, I'm grateful to see statements from Mitt Romney and others, and we even see some statements from my senator here, Pat "Too Late" Toomey who are now putting out statements. And I'm happy that they are doing that.

But the reality is that they have been lockstep with this this entire time. And what we can't do is allow folks like them who have ridden the Trump train the entire time, jump off on the last stop and act like they weren't there for the ride. They were there for the ride.

If they have really turned over a new leaf, if folks like Pat Toomey, Mitt Romney, others, Paul Ryan -- if they have really turned over a new leaf, you know, listen, my Christian faith teaches me all about forgiveness, but it also teaches me that faith without works is dead.

And so I want them to keep that same energy about pushing back against Republican attempts to make it more difficult to vote. I want them to keep that same energy about passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. I want them to keep that same energy about speaking out against all the conspiracies that allowed us to get here in the first place.

And I think all the time about these folks who voted to allow Donald Trump to go scot-free after impeachment, what the hell did they think was going to happen?

O'DONNELL: Such a good point, Gene Robinson. Adam Schiff told them what was going to happen. It has now happened.

I think Gene, I was in high school and college watching the Nixon drama unfold. And so I know Malcolm wasn't with us yet to watch that, and I think what we discovered --

KENYATTA: I've listened to the tapes though, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Well, what we discovered was that Nixon had limits. There were things that his law school education had implanted in him and when the Supreme Court gave him an order, he didn't see any choice in the end but to comply with the order. He had limits.

And what you hear on the Donald Trump phone call is that there are absolutely no limits and no recognition that law has anything in any way can contain the behavior of Donald Trump.

ROBINSON: Yes, he simply doesn't care. He has absolutely no limits, and that should be no surprise at this point in the Trump presidency after four years.

We've seen no limits. When have we ever seen a limit that he imposed on himself or that he respected at all?

Just two quick points about the election. First of all because of the attempt at foreign interference in the 2016 election, all the questions and Trump going on and on about voter fraud of all time, the 2020 election was probably the most scrutinized, you know, election procedures were improved, money was thrown at it. These were probably the cleanest, most error-free elections we've ever had, right? This is probably the best we've ever done.

And yet President Trump is making all this noise, and again, you know, the votes in Georgia, for example, have been counted three times and he's lost three times and he'll lose yet again, but that's one point.

The other point is his special emphasis on Georgia. It can't -- it does not escape me that he has a thing about Stacey Abrams. He has a thing, I believe, about the fact that a strong African-American woman led African-American voters in delivering him a defeat in a state that he thinks he should have won. And, you know, that's into the racism of Donald Trump, but again, that's not a surprise.

O'DONNELL: And now he's facing a strong African-American woman as the district attorney of Fulton County who will decide his possible future as a defendant in that county.

Representative Kenyatta, what would you say to the House representatives of the Senate on January 6 when Pennsylvania's electors are challenged as senator Hawley promises he will do?

KENYATTA: What I would say to them is that I wish they would join me in reality. The water is really warm over here. At the end of the day, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States on January 20th at noon. Kamala Harris will make history as the next vice president of the United States of America, and they can scream and cry and embarrass themselves and ensure that they go down as laughingstocks in the history books. But that's a choice they're going to make.

At the end of the day, this was a historic victory for Joe Biden and for Kamala Harris. And, you know, these are theatrics. But at the end of the day, things and folks really can get hurt, and what I see at risk of getting hurt right now is our democracy.

And what they're setting up with this precedent is that any time there is an election, if your side doesn't win, you can claim that it was rigged, that it was a fraud and go to court and really make a plumb fool of yourself.

I've never seen somebody lose this badly, lose this often, lose this repeatedly and keep going back for more. But this is the story of Donald Trump and his sycophants.

O'DONNELL: Pennsylvania state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Eugene Robinson, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight. Really appreciate its.

KENYATTA: Thank you, Lawrence. Happy New Year.

ROBINSON: Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, three million people have already voted in Georgia's Senate elections. Tomorrow is Election Day. We'll be counting votes tomorrow night.

An expert on Georgia political campaigns and voter turnout will join us next to tell us what to look for in those election returns tomorrow night.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have you all heard about that recorded conversation?

Well, it was yes, certainly the voice of desperation. Most certainly that. And it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.


O'DONNELL: That was Kamala Harris campaigning yesterday in Georgia.

Here's Joe Biden campaigning in Georgia today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have two senators now who think they don't work for you, they work for Trump. I got elected when I was 29 years old and six more times in the United States senate from Delaware, and guess what? Not once did I think I took an oath to any president, Democrat or Republican. I took an oath to the United States constitution.

And as president, I don't believe your United States senators are going to work for me, they work for the people of Georgia. That's why I'm not asking your senators to be loyal to me. I believe they should be loyal to you, to Georgia, to the United States constitution, period.


O'DONNELL: And here's Raphael Warnock today campaigning against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.


REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: She had barely unpacked. Had been there three weeks. When she heard about the coronavirus pandemic, rather than focusing on the folk who were sheltering in, she was focused on sheltering her own investments.

Have you noticed she hasn't even bothered to make a case, Georgia, for why you should keep her in that seat? And that's because she has no case to make.


O'DONNELL: Democrat Jon Ossoff said this today about his Republican opponent David Perdue.


JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: David Perdue opposed direct stimulus for the people all year long.

Last week David Perdue changed his tune. Well, guess what? There's an election coming.

Georgia, you deserve senators who have your back not just when they're about to face the people but at all times.


O'DONNELL: The voter turnout efforts that led to Joe Biden's victory in Georgia started years ago with the organization Fair Fight action. The CEO of that group Lauren Groh-Wargo who was Stacey Abrams' campaign manager in her governor's race will join us next.


O'DONNELL: Here is President-Elect Joe Biden on the final day of campaigning today in Georgia at the end of a campaign for control of the United States senate unlike any we've ever seen.


BIDEN: The power -- the power is literally in your hands unlike anytime in my career. One state, one state can chart the course not just for the next four years but for the next generation. By electing Jon and the Reverend you can make an immediate difference in your own lives, the lives of the people all across this country because their election will put an end to the bloc in Washington --


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action. She managed Stacey Abrams' 2018 campaign for Georgia governor.

Lauren, what are you going to be watching tomorrow night in the returns and what do we know already in what has happened in early voting?

LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CEO, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

So look, Democrats have an incredible advantage at this moment but Republicans are planning on turning out tomorrow. Through all the disinformation and all of the conspiracy peddling that their party has been up to, their voters have been a little bit dubious about voting by mail and voting early, so they're very much planning on voting tomorrow.

So we're encouraging Georgians to make their plan to vote at If they didn't get their absentee ballot, if they got damaged, you know, coffee got spilled on it, they can go vote in person, cancel that ballot.

And it's just been a remarkable 24, 48 hours as I've been listening to your guests and at the same time my team is live texting updates from this horror show of a Trump rally that just wrapped up, Lawrence, during your show in north Georgia.

And the thing that struck me about that -- no mention of coronavirus. He's literally in a state where we have two of our 14 health regions over 100 percent ICU capacity. Right now tonight in Georgia in two regions of our state, the ICUs are so full they've got beds in hallways and in the patient lobbies.

I mean this is a painful, epic crisis and that's why you're seeing young voters, progressive voters, black voters, brown voters, all kinds of folks turn out in this run off at historic levels because they need help.

And you've got one party that's not even acknowledging the pain and the need and the fear that Georgians are experiencing right now. And all they're doing is throwing this whole just kitchen sink of voter suppression at our state and domestic terrorism to go along with it.

And then, you have this contrast with the vice president, president-elect coming to Georgia along with Warnock and Ossoff talking about people and their own hopes, dreams and fears. It's just the contrast couldn't be more stark sitting here in winter in Atlanta.

It's just unbelievable, and I think this is a why we have a real shot to make history tomorrow. So nobody should think this is in the bag. Georgians, make your plan to vote. This is serious.

We can do this, but this is going to be a tough fight tomorrow. So we're going to be watching everything, Lawrence. We're making sure that if there's a last minute poll closure -- you know, due to COVID, there's been some COVID staffing issues. There's been all kinds of challenges around the state related to voting and poll worker issues.

And so we'll be making sure voters get the information they need. That's who we're focused on, Lawrence. We're focused on voters being able to have their voice heard. And we've been advocating to make sure they stay in the rolls through these crazy voter suppression challenges.

We've been advocating for them to have good information in an environment of incredible disinformation. And that's what we're up to. We're up to that and we're making sure poll workers and election officials are protected in this domestic terrorism environment they're living through or focus on the people, Lawrence. We're making sure that they're voices are heard.

O'DONNELL: When you're watching the returns come in tomorrow night is there a county or couple of counties that will tell you how well the Republicans are going to do or how well the Democrats are going to do?

GROH-WARGO: Well, we'll certainly be looking at all of our counties. Georgia we have 159 counties. And the thing you need to know about Georgia for the national audience is that sure there are Republican leaning counties and Democratic leaning counties.

But even in our very deep red, for example, north Georgia counties where President Trump was tonight, we've got Democrats in those counties. And so we'll be looking in both small, medium and large counties no matter their overall partisanship. We're going to be looking for the vote numbers the Democratic leaning groups in those rural counties as well as throughout south Georgia where there's are lots of micropolitan, African-American towns and real diversity of communities in south Georgia and then really racial enough to create a diverse communities in Metro Atlanta.

So there's not one county. This is not like my home state of Ohio where, you know, you can look at (INAUDIBLE) and see the future. We have such diversity across our state and so I'll be looking at a couple of things.

I'll be looking at southwest Georgia down in Albany and in that whole region of the state. That's a really important area, Savannah where VP Elect Harris went in that region along the coast. It's critically important and then obviously Metro Atlanta, we'll be keeping a close eye on.

O'DONNELL: We have slammed up against the clock. Lauren Groh-Wargo, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

That is tonight's Last Word.


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