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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, November 13, 2020

Guests: Katie Hobbs, Latosha Brown


President-elect Joe Biden wins in Georgia to solidify his presidential election win and get a total of 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232. Lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania and Michigan by the Trump Campaign were rejected by federal and state courts. Federal prosecutors concerned over Attorney General Barr's policy change over election fraud investigations. Today the United States set a grim new record for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day at 170,473.


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Our experts might give you an answer on air. I'll tweet that our as well. And with that, it is time for "The Last Word" with my friend, Lawrence O'Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.

Lawrence, I had a chuckle last night. A whole bunch of viewers are saying, is there some tension between you and Lawrence? And I was explaining. I said, no, there is zero tension between us. I just don't know how the mechanics of this handoff go.

But what people don't know about us is that you are probably one of the few people at 30 Rock who will indulge my economic conversations at great length because while you don't publicize that part, I think you're kind of a secret economist at heart.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, you know, I majored in economics in college and so I wouldn't dare call myself an economist, but I know how to read the stuff. And Ali, we are so lucky to have you covering that corner for us at this network.

VELSHI: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: And by the way, I say it again, MyStory -- I was writing it down. Where do we go? MyStory.

VELSHI: We get great stories from people about the struggles they've got, and we'll load up with experts to answer those question.

O'DONNELL: And that's for the Sunday morning show?

VELSHI: That's for the Sunday morning 9:00 a.m. Show. We just want to know what people are worried about and what questions need answering because, you know, this is real for people who either run businesses or work in businesses. How do we get through the next six months until that vaccine shows up?

O'DONNELL: Ali, before you go, I have a new word for you, a word that I learned today. It's called -- it is -- the word is mobe-suasion. And I'm not going to explain it now. We're going to explain it later in the hour.

VELSHI: Mobe-suasion.

O'DONNELL: Mobe-suasion.

VELSHI: All right. I'd like to stay tuned then.

O'DONNELL: It's a combination of two -- it's a presidential campaign word that the Biden campaign was using. And what's fascinating about it is David Plouffe did not know that word until today when Jen O'Malley Dillon, the Biden campaign manager, explained it to him in their podcast discussion, which is absolutely fascinating to listen to. David Plouffe is going to join us later to talk about that.

VELSHI: I will stay tuned for it, my friend. Thank you and have yourself a great evening and a great show.

O'DONNELL: Thank you, Ali. Great weekend. Thank you.

Well, after calling Arizona for Joe Biden last night at 11:15 p.m. today, at 2:13 p.m. eastern time, NBC News projected president-elect Joe Biden as the winner of Georgia's 16 electoral votes. And Donald Trump the winner of North Carolina's 15 electoral votes.

That brings the final total of electoral votes for Joe Biden to 306, exactly the same number of electoral votes Donald Trump won four years ago. Joe Biden is now running more than 5 million votes ahead of Donald Trump in the total count.

The Trump legal team withdrew a lawsuit in Arizona today and lost lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Some law firms engaged by the Trump campaign to challenge the election are dropping out of those hopeless and frivolous lawsuits.

And there was a mutiny of sorts against Attorney General William Barr today by a group of assistant U.S. attorneys who are now treating the head of their department, William Barr, like a man whose days are numbered, which they are, 68 days. William Barr has 68 days left running the Justice Department.

And now assistant U.S. Attorneys are making sure William Barr knows what they think of him on his way out the door. Assistant U.S. Attorneys almost never have direct communication with the attorney general. Assistant U.S. Attorneys do all the work for the U.S. Attorneys in their federal district, and only the U.S. Attorney communicates with the attorney general.

But William Barr got a letter today from 16 assistant U.S. Attorneys who were assigned to monitor any irregulars in the election. The letter tells the attorney general that there is no evidence anywhere of any kind of election fraud anywhere in the country.

And in the letter, the assistant U.S. Attorneys criticized the attorney general for a memo that he issued on Monday, changing Justice Department policy for investigating possible election crimes. The assistant U.S. Attorney's letter, which was seen by "The Washington Post" says that William Barr's memo, "thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics."

So the memo by William Barr sent to all federal prosecutors on Monday is now being thrown back at him by the very prosecutors who William Barr was encouraging to investigate the election. There was an awful lot of worried reporting about that memo on Monday.

A lot of observers took it as a corrupt attorney general's first move in an ominous attempt to interfere with the outcome of the election. I for one tried to take down the temperature a bit on that story, and I ventured the opinion here that that William Barr memo was definitely improper, but it would amount to absolutely nothing.

I know more than a few assistant U.S. Attorneys, the federal prosecutors who actually do the real work, and I didn't think William Barr was going to be able to enlist any of them in some kind of Trumpian scheme. I expected to never hear about the William Barr memo again.

In fact, I absolutely did not expect -- did not expect 16 assistant U.S. Attorneys all over the country from New York to California to publicly rise up and sign their names to a letter that they knew would bring even more public disagrees to this attorney general.

It is the most profound act of public disrespect verging on insubordination that I have ever seen from assistant U.S. Attorneys. Their direct bosses, the U.S. Attorneys, are the ones who do the press conferences after the convictions.

The assistant U.S. Attorneys are the ones who do the trials and get the convictions. They are the real working prosecutors. And William Barr did not dare, did not dare say anything in response to their uprising against him today.

Maybe that's because William Barr knows that when he leaves office, assistant U.S. Attorneys might be assigned to investigate him, to investigate any legal lines William Barr might have crossed in his service as attorney general to the most corrupt president in history.

Those assistant U.S. Attorneys have more power now than William Barr does, and that's because those assistant U.S. Attorneys are still going to be on the job on the afternoon of January 20th when William Barr and Donald Trump become private citizens.

It's all over. It's all over for William Barr. It's all over for Donald Trump, and they both know it. There was something biblical about today, a seven-day cycle. A seven-day cycle of human life is suggested in the Old Testament where God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day he rested.

In the last seven days of our lives, the president of the United States was silent for six days, and on the seventh day, he spoke. Donald Trump went to the Rose Garden to once again declare victory over the coronavirus thanks to the emergence of a vaccine that will actually be distributed by president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris when they take office on January 20th.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of people will die and Donald Trump will refuse to acknowledge any of those deaths, and hundreds of thousands of people will be infected with the coronavirus, possibly left with permanent damage to their health, and Donald Trump will refuse to acknowledge any of that suffering.

Today, Donald Trump read laboriously from a written text and did not dare take any questions. After his six days of silence had amounted to an unmistakable admission of Joe Biden's decisive victory in the presidential election, Donald Trump said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ideally, we won't go to a lockdown. I will not go. This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully, the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.


O'DONNELL: That's it. That's the concession speech. He acknowledges right there that there might be another presidential administration on January 20th. He doesn't claim that he will be the president on January 20th.

Time will tell. Maybe time will tell the tiny number of people out there who might still believe Donald Trump's fundraising e-mails saying that all he needs to hold on to the presidency is money from them to pay lawyers who are now losing cases in court or dropping out of those cases no matter how much you pay them.

If you watched and listened to Donald Trump in the Rose Garden today, you should now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Donald Trump knows that it's all over. A "The New York Times" reports Porter Wright Morrison & Arthur, the law firm leading the Trump campaign's efforts to challenge the election results in Pennsylvania abruptly withdrew from a federal lawsuit that it had filed on behalf of the campaign.

That followed a similar move by an Arizona law firm that was representing the Republican Party as it challenged the state's results. And on Friday, a top layer at Jones Day, which has represented Mr. Trump's campaigns for more than four years, told colleagues during a video conference call that Jones Day would not get involved in additional litigation in this election.

An over five million vote lead for president-elect Joe Bide -- 306 electoral votes for Joe Biden, 232 for Donald Trump. God might have rested on the seventh day, but we can't because Joe Biden's win in Georgia makes it more possible for two Democrats to win two runoff elections for the United States Senate in Georgia that will be decided on January 5th.

Joining us in a moment from Atlanta will be Latosha Brown of the Black Voters Matter Fund. But first, we begin tonight with Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I hope this finally becomes the restful weekend that you deserve. You have earned your rest.

This election has really ran longer than the system is designed to bear. What did you see in the final tallies as Arizona was closing this down that made it clear to you where this was going?

KATIE HOBBS, SECRETARY OF STATE OF ARIZONA: Well, all along folks had said that the president's -- the margin that he needed to close the gap between him and president-elect Biden was increasing, and even though he made small gains every vote, he wasn't going to meet those margins.

And so yesterday when our votes left to tabulate fell below the gap between him and Joe Biden, that's when it became clear that he couldn't make up the difference. So, here we are today with our electoral votes going to president-elect Joe Biden.

O'DONNELL: Talk about what this means historically in Arizona for Democrats. Democrats now holding two senate seat there and now winning the presidency in Arizona.

HOBBS: Yes. Well, this will be the first time since 1952, except once that our electoral votes have gone to the democratic nominee for president. The last time was 1996 with Bill Clinton. So, that's a really big deal for Democrats here as certainly having two Democratic U.S. Senators.

I think down the ballot, I don't think the Democrats made the gains that they had hoped to. So there is certainly still work to do for them there.

O'DONNELL: Secretary Hobbs, what about lessons learned for Arizona and for conducting the vote the way it was conducted this year?

HOBBS: Well, I can tell you from my perspective as the chief election officer for the state, this is my first election in this office and I came here knowing that we needed to work really hard to build partnership across the state with the election officials, and we did that.

We invested a lot of time and resources last year doing that to be prepared for this election, which at the time we had no idea would be conducted with the additional challenges of the pandemic. And I think that we certainly rose to that challenge.

I would say that for my office as well as the election offices and the counties across the state because we really worked together to ensure that we were -- that we were conducting the election where voters were not going to have to choose between their health and safety and their right to vote.

And the unprecedented turnout that we've seen not just in this November election, but in our state's primary and presidential preference election really show that we did do that.

O'DONNELL: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thank you for your service to the voters of Arizona in this election, and thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. We appreciate it.

HOBBS: Thank you so much for having me.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Joining us now from Atlanta is Latosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund. Latosha, you did it. You've been telling people for a long time that Georgia was in play, and I have to tell you, no one sitting where I sit believed it until we started to see the polls telling us that Georgia was in play. And here we have it. Here we have the victory for a Democratic presidential candidate.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: Absolutely. You know, I think that what brought it was that the people who make this state great, those are the people that showed up. When you look at the increase in the African-American vote, more people voted for Joe Biden, president-elect Joe Biden that voted for Obama in the 2008, more African Americans.

When you look at the AAPI community, it was a 56 percent increase. There were 30,000 new Asian-American voters that voted for the first time. When you look at the increase in the Latinx vote, when you look at the right independent vote, what you saw is a new coalition what I call a new south is rising that came together and we beat back fascism. We knew that the danger to democracy. We saw a joint interest, and we showed up and showed out.

O'DONNELL: I want you to listen to what Jen O'Malley Dillon said in David Plouffe's podcast today. She is the Biden campaign manager and she like many of us, was a Georgia skeptic. That's where she began. Let's listen to this.


JEN O'MALLEY DILLON, BIDEN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I have always been a bit of a Georgia skeptic, in part because, you know, I think it's a really tough state. And we saw it as a real path. We had it on our expansion path, but we saw a positive movement. We saw real opportunity on the early vote.

We saw heavy in-person, we saw turnout really getting beyond even what we had expected, which is pretty high turnout across the country as well. And we saw real opportunity for growth even as we closed it out.


O'DONNELL: And Latosha, with that, Jen O'Malley Dillon made the decision to send the troops into Georgia and really fight it up.

BROWN: Absolutely. Even when you look at the young vote, young voters across the country is around 17 percent. They over-performed in Georgia. It is actually 21 percent in terms of young voters. What happened is there is a coalition, a multiracial, multigenerational coalition that are rising up, and we've been organizing.

What you saw happen in Georgia is a result of over 10 years of deep organizing and community where there is strong organizations on the ground that have been working together coordinating and that's why when I said -- and I'm not going to say I told you so, but that is why (inaudible).

O'DONNELL: Oh, please say I told you so because you did. Now tell us what happens in the senate campaigns that have until January 5th to rack up more Democratic wins in Georgia.

BROWN: I'm very, very hopeful about what is going to happen. One, we have the wind beneath our wings. We have the momentum behind us. Ever since the election, my phone has been blowing up. You know, when you look at there are almost 23,000 young people who will come of age between now and December who are eligible to vote.

And so when you start with the momentum. There is a lot of excitement, a lot of interest. We know how critical these senate seats are, and I see a lot of organizations that have continued the infrastructure in place. So I think once again that Georgia is on the verge of shocking the nation and shocking everybody to really be able to see the potential and the possibilities that exist in this state.

O'DONNELL: Latosha Brown, thank you for your guidance on Georgia and other states. Thank you for joining us tonight. And Latosha, before you go, just one more time I would like to hear you say "I told you so."

BROWN: Well, Lawrence, I told you so.

O'DONNELL: There you go. Save that video. Thank you, Latosha. Up next, the woman responsible for the Biden/Harris victory as the campaign manager. The woman who ran the whole operation, Jen O'Malley Dillon is impossible to get for an interview, but David Plouffe, one of the other winning presidential campaign managers, that rare club, managed to get that interview with Jen O'Malley Dillon. We're going let you hear some of it after this break with David Plouffe.


O'DONNELL: March 12th, 2020. Think back to that day. Businesses all over the country were closing shop and sending their employees home as the coronavirus pandemic rage across the country. Office workers were being told to work remotely from home.

Now imagine March 12th, 2020 was your first day starting a new job, and the stakes in that new job were nothing less than the future of the United States of America and the future of the world. That was Jen O'Malley Dillon's first day as the Biden campaign manager. Here's how she's described it to David Plouffe in his podcast today.


DILLON: So, you know, when I came in my first day in March was the same day we asked everyone to work remotely. And I never had the opportunity to meet with people and let them look me in the eye and know that, you know, we all want to be on a team together.

So, I was very conscious of the importance of over communicating and trying to create communication on a regular basis because we didn't have, you know, the opportunity to go jump into a meeting or walk by someone's office and be like oh, hey, I meant to ask you this.


O'DONNELL: I know most of you have devoted countless hours of your life to watching campaign coverage on this network and reading about this presidential campaign, but you owe yourself one more hour, because David Plouffe's podcast conversation with Biden campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon is a master class in presidential campaigning that will take your understanding to a whole new level.

These are two political hall of famers, winning presidential campaign managers, talking about how it's done, and showing that the way they conquer the crippling anxiety that can make watching presidential campaigns almost unbearable for the audience is that they never, ever take their eyes off their game plan for winning.


DILLON: Pennsylvania was the most important state I think in a lot of ways, and you really could see that if you paid attention to where we were going and then how we closed out the race. And we were very conscious that we had a unique opportunity in Pennsylvania, but we also knew that we had to go earn it, right?


O'DONNELL: In David Plouffe's podcast, you'll hear Jen O'Malley Dillon teach her former boss a new word about presidential campaigning.


DILLON: We were all looking at public polling that was just, you know, time and again overstating what our numbers were there. We knew that they weren't. You know, we weren't going to run away with it. But it also meant that from the beginning of the general election, we made no assumptions about just support. We called it mobe-suasion, which is kind of a ridiculous thing, but the combination of mobilization and persuasion.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now, David Plouffe, former campaign manager and White House senior adviser for President Barack Obama. He is the host of the invaluable Campaign HQ podcast and an MSNBC political analyst.

David, you can just retire from podcasting now because this is the best, this is the greatest, this is the best hour I've heard of what you've done and possibly in all of podcasting history, especially because no one can get Jen O'Malley Dillon to do interviews.

No one can get her to talk. It was so fascinating to hear the way she laid this out, but the way the story begins, David, on that day where the Biden campaign has decided no one can come to work anymore, that's her first day? That was just unimaginably difficult, as you made clear.

DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. So Lawrence, I'm having a little technical trouble, but let me -- hopefully you can hear me.

O'DONNELL: I can hear you.

PLOUFFE: Yes, it's a remarkable origin story because Jen started on the first day that everything shut down, including the Biden campaign. So running a presidential campaign, particularly a successful one is extraordinarily difficult.

But for Jen to do that under these circumstances where she didn't get to meet her new staff, they had to figure out a new way to organize in the states. They had to run an all-digital campaign until later in the fall and then began to do some in-person organizing.

It's remarkable the degree of difficulty, and presidential campaigns, I know from the outside seem like it is all strategy and ads and debates and tactics and that's important. But at their heart, they're an organization of human beings and how you lead those people, how you communicate with them, how you trust them.

And so, I thought just, you know, for me it was treat to listen to Jen today talk about what they put together and how laser-focused they were on the pathway to 270 when a lot of people were suggesting that they go chase Ohio or Iowa or Texas and kind of put some of those other battleground states aside.

They knew that this race was going to be close and come down to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. And then they also began to see real pathways in Arizona and Georgia. So, it was great to hear the history they made directly from the person who led the team that made it.

O'DONNELL: They also knew, as she says to you repeatedly, that the public polls that we were getting, polls done by news organizations were exaggerating the Biden leads. Their polls were much more accurate. What's the difference between their private polls and the public polls?

It looks like we've got trouble with David's connection. Let's go to David's podcast and let you hear more directly from Jen O'Malley Dillon. Here she is talking about the choice of Kamala Harris for vice president.


DILLON: There will be days ahead to continue to focus on this, but the history-making nature of the vice president-elect's tenure on this ticket is just so profound and is almost lost a little bit because of how long this race has played out and everything that is going on with Trump and what he is not doing.

But, you know, I think that that is really something that was so important to the president-elect from the beginning and so important to find this partner and a partner that, you know, he always said would be the last person with him to make a decision.

And it was clear, you know, from the beginning that that was -- that was Senator Harris. And so, you know, we really took our cues from that.


O'DONNELL: And David -- I think David Plouffe is back with us. I was told he was. There he is. David, can you hear us? It doesn't look like he can. Okay. So, we're going to go back to more of the podcast. Here is Jen O'Malley Dillon talking about the oddity of the presidential candidate who is challenging the incumbent president having to in a way function as president during the campaign. Let's listen to this.


DILLON: I often felt like in the campaign that the president-elect had to speak with the voice of a president while he was running for president because that voice was gone with Donald Trump. When it was addressing COVID in the early days, when we crossed, you know, the awful tragic milestone of 100,000 people dead from COVID.

It wasn't Trump ever speaking to heal or unify the country. It was always the vice president. And so, you know, I think you can take a lot from that leadership. And the focus that both the president-elect and the vice president-elect have had on what's at stake.


O'DONNELL: There is so much more in this podcast. It's David Plouffe's podcast. It's called Campaign HQ. You will hear Jen O'Malley Dillon describing the situation at home where she is running the winning presidential campaign in her attic while her two kids are going to school remotely in that same attic and the little toddler is kind of on the floor in another corner of the attic.

It is an hour-long movie in itself. It is David Plouffe's podcast, Campaign HQ. You've got to find it. You've got listen to it.

Too bad we lost David Plouffe's connection. We will have him back I'm sure next week.

And when we come back, there is a new vaccine, skyrocketing coronavirus numbers. In that situation, the person I really want to hear from is Pulitzer prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett, who will join us next.


O'DONNELL: Today the United States set a grim new record for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day at 170,473. The United States also reported its highest ever total of coronavirus hospitalizations for the fourth consecutive day, up now to 68,516.

Today President-Elect Joe Biden was briefed by his coronavirus advisory board. In a statement, Joe Biden said this crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response which has been woefully lacking. I am the President-Elect, but I will not be president until next year.

The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar. It is accelerating right now, urgent action is needed today, not but the current administration starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is that did not happen today from President Trump, an acknowledgment of the situation.

As of tonight, the United States has reported 10,791,975 confirmed cases of coronavirus and as of tonight the United States has suffered 245,304 deaths from the coronavirus.

At the White House today while discussing the possible delivery of a vaccine, Mike Pence repeatedly said help is on the way. Apparently not realizing that that help will be delivered by President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris.

Joining us now Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett. She's a columnist for Foreign Policy and an MSNBC science contributor. The is the author of "The New York Times" best-seller the coming plague which predicted a pandemic like COVID-19.

Laurie, first of all, let's go to the vaccine news of the day. How do we make sense of that?

LAURIE GARRETT, MSBNC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is just building on the Pfizer announcement, saying that they had 90 percent effective vaccine based on their early phase three trial results. That came out many days ago.

It has not come before the FDA for specific approval. FDA has not yet reviewed all the data. So there is a lot of jumping the gun going on here. But it makes sense to assume that yes, it might be the home run we're looking for or something close to it.

So let's get in gear. Let's get organized. Let's get a system in place. What worries me is that by the time it is in fact given an emergency use approval by the FDA, and we're ready to do some kind of a roll-out, the very beginning of the roll-out might be while Donald Trump is still the president of the United States, but the real thrust of the rule out would occur under the new president, Joseph Biden and a completely different team.

And right now, the two teams are not allowed to speak to each other and there is no real transition in understanding and in passing the batons, if you will.

So it's hard to take it really seriously and think that this could really work. It just seems chaotic right now.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to what Ron Klain said last night on this program.


RON KLAIN, CHIEF OF STAFF FOR JOE BIDEN: Right now there are officials Inside the department of health and human services who are busy planning a vaccination campaign for the months of February and March when Joe Biden will be president.

And so the sooner we can get our transition experts into with the folks who are planning the vaccination campaign, the more seamless the transition.


O'DONNELL: Go ahead, your reaction to that.

GARRETT: Absolutely true, spot on. I mean. The planning is about, you know, where will the refrigeration devices to go to negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit be placed. How will they be mobilized, who will mobilize them, how you logistically get vaccine around, how do you decide to triage, who gets first dosing, who gets second and so on.

And these decisions are being made now by a White House-led response, but would be executed weeks later by a different administration. It's just crazy. It's completely nuts.

O'DONNELL: Joe Biden said in his statement that one of the important this White House, the current White House needs to do is acknowledge the seriousness of the situation as it exists today with these numbers skyrocketing.

Donald Trump did not do that today. Mike Pence did not do that today. What is the -- what is the real description of the current situation of the rising numbers of the pandemic in this country today?

GARRETT: Lawrence, yesterday I wrote a story for foreign policy just to express the state of the seriousness and to go through the numbers and show what trends we're following right now, where that's going to lead as we go closer to December. The numbers were coming in so fast that I had to rewrite and recalculate the piece three times before it was published.

And now a whole new set of numbers has come out. This is what's going on now. It's pouring out. It's like Niagara Falls of data pouring in from all 50 states, every kind of size of hospital. We are in a true devastating epidemic surge now.

What we experienced in n the spring, horrible as it was, and in the summer as bad as it was, were just preliminary rounds. To give you a sense of this, I published in Foreign Policy a breakdown of how long it took to reach the various milestones, one million accumulative American cases, two million and so on.

And you can see that the length of time to make this next leap, this next surge has been shortening. So the jump from one million to two million took 44 days. The jump from nine million to ten million took 10 days. And it looks like we're on track now to go from 10 million to 11 million in eight days.

At this pace, you can see that we're -- whatever forecasts have been put out are going to be obsolete almost as soon as they're published. Today the Centers for Disease Control did a consolidated analysis of some 36 different models that have been put together from various academic institutions and government labs to forecast the epidemic.

And they're saying, look, it look likes 280,000 Americans will have died by December 1st. And some are saying no, it could actually be 300,000 by then.

O'DONNELL: Laurie Garrett, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.

GARRETT: Thank you, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: And when we come back, Donald Trump will never have another good day. That is the most important thing to know about what losing means to Donald Trump. That's next.


O'DONNELL: Two years ago, NBC's Peter Alexander asked Donald Trump the most important question facing Donald Trump tonight.


PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: On the pardon power, do you believe that you are above the law if you could pardon yourself?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not above the law. I never want anybody to be above the law. But the pardons are a very positive thing for a president. I think you see the way I'm using them, and yes, I do have an absolute right to pardon myself.


O'DONNELL: The constitution agrees with Donald Trump. There is not one word in the constitution that limits Donald Trump's ability to pardon himself. reports Trump has been asking aides since 2017 about whether he can self-pardon, former aides say.

One former White House official said Trump asked about self-pardons as well as pardons for his family. Trump even asked if he could issue pardons preemptively for things people could be charged with in the future, a former official said.

As Donald Trump by now has no doubt been told, yes, you can pardon yourself, Donald. And a Supreme Court with three Trump-appointed judges would probably support the president's right to pardon himself since the constitution does not specifically say that he cannot do it.

And yes, Donald Trump can pardon all of his family members. And yes, Donald Trump can issue pardons that don't mention any specific crimes. President Ford's pardon of President Nixon simply covered any possible violation of federal law during every day of the Nixon presidency.

Donald Trump will no doubt give himself a pardon that will cover every day of his life up until the day that the pardon is issued on January 20th.

But no pardon can cover future criminal activity. Any federal crimes Donald Trump might commit after noontime on January 20th will be prosecutable for the rest of his life.

Donald Trump is already under criminal investigation by New York State prosecutors who will not be limited by the federal pardon that Donald Trump will have when he leaves office, which only covers federal crimes.

Donald Trump is leaking word that he is considering running for president again in four years, but that ignores the changed legal circumstance of Donald Trump's life next year when he might be a criminal defendant in New York State and possibly by the end of the year a convicted felon in New York State.

"The New York Times" reports Mr. Trump is talking seriously about announcing that he is planning to run again in 2024, aware that whether he actually does it or not, it will freeze an already crowded field of possible Republican candidates, and Republicans say it will keep the wide support he showed even in defeat and could guarantee a lucrative book deal or speaking fees.

It's all over. Donald Trump's life as he knew it is all over. His future was perfectly summarized by "Washington Post Theater Critic Peter Marks in a tweet that foreshadowed the rest of Donald Trump's life. Quote, "His world is coming to an end. He will never have another good day. Loser label will haunt him. The law will pursue him. Mental illness will hobble him. His properties will bankrupt him.

After this break, we'll be joined by Yamiche Alcindor and Zerlina Maxwell to consider Donald Trump's final 68 days in office and the life that awaits him on the afternoon of January 20th.


O'DONNELL: Just before the election "The New York Times" reported in unguarded moments Mr. Trump has for weeks told advisers he expects to face intensifying he is concerned about scrutiny from prosecutors is . He is concerned not only about existing investigations in New York but the potential for new federal probes, as well, according to people who have spoken with him.

Joining us now, Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the PBS Newshour. She was in the Rose Garden today during Donald Trump's first public comments in seven days.

Also with us Zerlina Maxwell. Zerlna, Host of the Screaming Service Peacock, both are MSNBC political analysts.

And Yamiche, I'm not at all surprise that you weren't offered any chance to ask a question today in that Rose Garden exhibition that Donald Trump is still with us and can still speak.

But when we turn to the issue of what's happening in the final days of the Trump administration as Laurie Garrett just demonstrated. There is a very serious public health crisis involved in the Trump administration refusing to open the doors to the in coming Biden administration in these remaining 68 days.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And the more this transition goes on and is delayed by President Trump, the harder it can be for a president-elect Joe Biden to enact policies that keep Americans safe from this virus.

Chief among them is the actual distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine that President Trump was just talking about in the rose Garden. it could be slowed by the fact that Joe Biden's agency heads and personnel are not being allowed to get up to speed with what's going on with the vaccine.

I'm also not surprised, Lawrence, that this segment that you're talking about goes to a question I didn't get to pose to the president today. And the question I wanted to pose to him is how much are you concerned about the legal implications of what it means not to be president anymore, and how much is that factoring in to your decision not to acknowledge that you are the projected loser in this race?

Because of course he has a number of things to look forward to if he is not president next year including the idea he's going to be probed for state crimes. Possible state crimes related to his finances and there's of course several, several women, women, two at that have sued him for defamation, those aren't criminal charges but they're still legal charges. Sed him for defamation because they say he sexually assaulted them. So he has a number of legal problems. Add to that of course he's an unindicted coconspirator critics say when you look at the Michael Cohen case and the hush money case when it comes to Stormy Daniels case.

So this is all playing out while the president remains active and Zerlina and in complete denial.

O'DONNELL: yes, Zerlina, Donald Trump is already a defended, and is already a defendant in E-Jean Carroll's civil suite the crimes Michael Cohen was accused of committing that he confessed to prosecutors said we're committed at the direction of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump in those pleadings is as guilty of those same federal crimes as Michael Cohen is. And the only way he escapes being a criminal defendant in that federal case is he has to walk out of the White House with a pardon.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, Well, I think the immunity shield that that's gone . that's maybe that's thinking in today throughout as Joe Biden got 306 and it became projected that yes, he won. Even though for many days now we've been calling him the president-elect.

And I think certainly we know -- we don't have to speculate in terms of what could potentially happen if Donald Trump was indicted and charged with some of these crimes that his associates have been charged with because they've gone to jail. So we know what potentially could happen.

I also want to add that there's taxes that obviously "The New York Times" did many parts to -- an investigation in to his family businesses and his taxes. And evading taxes and so that case is also out there.

In addition to Letitia James, which recently deposed Eric Trump, right before the election so there's a lot going on. And I think the president is probably sinking in now that the immunity that he has been afforded as a result of the presidency is now over, and he has to face the music.

And I think that he's a little bit nervous to do that because It's not like he has a crack legal team waiting in the wings, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Yamiche, one of the things I find so odd about a lot of the public discussion going on now about you know, will Trump start some kind of media business and will he run for president again is all of those discussions take place as if he's not going to be a criminal defendant in the state of New York and as if he will not be a pardoned, a self-pardoned president, the first one in history.

ALCINDOR: Well, the issue is that he and the Republican Party in particular are still handcuffed by the politics of this and still really, really focused on pleasing millions of Americans who voted for President Trump despite all the things that critics would say were problematic about him.

So you have President Trump selling this idea that there's a deep state conspiracy theory, that he's the number one victim in America. So if he gets indicted, If he even goes to jail he might sell that idea to the millions of people who voted for him and he might become even more powerful. That's what you see the GOP scared of. Is really about. That's why you're seeing a not many people stand up to him.

O'DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor and Zerlina Maxwell, thank you both for joining us tonight.

ALCINDOR: Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

That is tonight's LAST WORD.




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