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

Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, November 20, 2020

Guests: Eric Swalwell, David Frum, Garlin Gilchrist, Jon Ossoff


President-elect Joe Biden has been certified by the secretary of state of Georgia after the hand recount confirming that Trump lost. General Services Administration administrator, Emily Murphy, asked by Congress to explain the delay for ascertainment for Joe Biden's election win; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is answers questions about Emily Murphy refusing to certify Biden's win for a government transition. Today on the day that President-Elect Joe Biden was certified as the winner of Georgia's 16 electoral votes, Mike Pence campaigned in Georgia for Republican Senator David Perdue, who is now facing new questions about his financial transactions.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I have run a little bit over, but that's going to do it for me tonight from the weirdest TV studio ever. I will see you again on Monday from who knows where. Might be here. It might be somewhere professional. Now it's time for "The Last Word" with the great Lawrence O'Donnell. Good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. And I love the background there. It looks great. It tells us a lot about you, by the way, so thank you for that.

MADDOW: Well, I'm trying -- I'm not trying to like leave clues or anything. There's just -- I'm not very good at keeping house so it's not -- I don't really know where to put stuff.

O'DONNELL: Well, you and I are very private people, relatively private people. And my mission -- I've done a few shots from home, just a few, and my mission each time is to leave absolutely no evidence of anything about me.

And so I have gotten the lowest room rater score of anybody who's ever done it. And that's exactly what I was going for. Like you, there is no trace of where I am. You can't tell a thing about it. It's just totally --

MADDOW: You're just trying to look, basically, like your driver's license photo but animated?

O'DONNELL: That's what I'm going for. That's what I'm going for. Yes, exactly. Rachel, I have to thank you so much for last night, everything about it. And the story you told and the way you brought us through this excruciating now couple of weeks of what you've been going through with Susan.

And doing it to teach us a lesson was so very important and it really landed on me. I really -- I really had to think again about what was happening on Thanksgiving. I was actually thinking of inviting a co-worker who's kind of stranded in, you know, nowhere land.

And I (inaudible) through it. I thought through again what you said last night and I realized, no. And I've been getting all the messages from everyone and, you know, I am with that co-worker a lot, you know, during the workday, but that co-worker has never been in my home with my family.

And so that would violate the bubble. That would violate the home bubble. And I had to relearn that lesson exactly what you were trying to teach us last night. And I had to learn it.

MADDOW: Thank you for telling me that, Lawrence. I mean, as you say, you and I are both private people and it takes a lot to put -- for me, when I got off the air last night, I have to say, I just like felt wrecked. You know, putting yourself out there in a real way, and I'm an easy crier and like, really trying not -- really trying to hold it together and not cry while telling that story is just hard.

My heart was just thumping through my chest, but I want -- I felt like I needed to say it because it was looming. People needed to know where I've been, but also because I hoped that it would help.

And I do feel like this time right now, it challenges us to come up with new ways to be kind to each other and to have fellowship with our family members and our co-workers and our friends. And to recognize that it is because we love our family members and our partners and our spouses and our kids and our parents and our grandparents.

It's because we love them that we have to reinvent the way we spend time with them and cherish them and appreciate them right now. And it's not tough or brave or even, you know, folly just in terms of your own fate to violate those things because you want to see people or you want to be with them.

You're putting them at risk. And if you love them, you don't do it. You see somebody -- you some macho man walking down the street with his mask around his chin or in his hand or something, and what that guy is telling you is I don't care if my wife gets this.

And it's not about you, it's about who's in your world. And I, boy, did I learn that the hard way, and I just hope that other people can learn it, at least a little bit through my experience.

O'DONNELL: Well, Just to be clear about the example I'm giving, it wasn't a done deal. I was thinking about it and Aisha (ph) and I had talked about, Aisha (ph) (inaudible), who of course, is always smarter than me about everything, and she really wasn't willing to come anyway.

She was already taking the Rachel position. You know, she didn't have to learn that from you last night, but I did. I needed it. And so, I know that the way it reached me is I'm sure it reached a lot of other people and I think it's clarified that for us that this Thanksgiving is really about next year's Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving is about living to this Christmas and to next Christmas. And that was so powerfully part of what you delivered to us last night. And Rachel, you know, you know, I'm a way bigger cry baby than you are, like, way bigger.

Like, I couldn't have gotten through 10 seconds of what you did last night. And as all the great acting teachers will tell you, not that there was any acting involved, if you cry, the audience doesn't have to. But if you don't cry, the audience will cry for you. And we did.

So, that feeling was there all over the country. Rachel, one more thing. Could you, Monday night, no matter where you are -- and I hope you're still there Monday night because it works so great there at home. Could you do that technical difficulty thing one more time because that was the most exciting -- No, no, no. The most exciting seconds of television I have ever watched.

And the mastery with which you became your own floor manager. You just did about seven jobs at once that I know about, and the wiring thing, which I had to learn recently too, that was -- I can watch that over and over again and your poise throughout the whole thing -- and I, of course, am the worst manager of technical difficulties in the history of an anchor chair. What you did last night was just a thing of beauty. That was just --

MADDOW: So, in terms of trying to hold it together, part of that meant I couldn't allow the train that I was on in terms of telling that story to be broken by anything. Like, I couldn't acknowledge that I was having to stop anything doing or I would have never gotten back the strength to tell the story because it was too upsetting.

But also, like, when you're alone -- I've been alone for two weeks now. Like, I am alone. There hasn't been anybody anywhere near me less than 30 feet from me. And, like, I think it's turned me into a person who's so comfortable talking to myself that that whole little chatter thing that I was doing, I was like, you just keep the camera running, that's got to go. There's a little thing over here. Here's the microphone, got to do the (inaudible).

Like, it's possible that I just talked to myself like that all the time now and I didn't notice. And so that's why it seemed like such easy patter because I'm now an insane person who constantly talks to the walls.

O'DONNELL: And Rachel, I think, I'm not sure, I think I could hear the screaming in the control room at home on my sofa. It was an amazing -- you know what was happening in that room. It was fantastic. And that -- when you said keep the camera on, I just thought, oh, boy, keep that camera on. Rachel, please, do it again. Just pick a random night, do it again. It was great.

MADDOW: I'll surprise you. I'll make it some other more exciting technical difficulty. I'll drop a light on myself or something, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Okay. All right, we're waiting. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, my friend. Thanks a lot.

O'DONNELL (on camera): Thank you. Well, today on his 78th birthday, President-elect Joe Biden's best birthday present was delivered by the Republican secretary of state of Georgia who formally certified Joe Biden's win of Georgia's 16 electoral votes. And in making that announcement today, Georgia's secretary of state felt compelled to describe himself as a proud Trump supporter.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, SECRETARY OF STATE OF GEORGIA: I'm a proud Trump supporter. I was with him early in the 2016 election cycle. And he's governed the nation by the same conservative principles that I hold dear. Like other Republicans, I'm disappointed our candidate didn't win Georgia's electoral votes.

Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don't lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.


O'DONNELL (on camera): Numbers don't lie. But Emily Murphy continues to lie about numbers. There are no Trump lawsuits pending anywhere in America tonight that can change the outcome of this election. The only states where Trump lawsuits are still pending are Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by 81,000 votes, 81,622 votes. Joe Biden won Nevada by 33,000 votes and there is no litigation in either of those states that is aimed at changing the vote count, which means that Joe Biden clearly fits the definition of apparent winner as described in the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.

The law that Emily Murphy is violating every day that she refuses to sign the document that would officially authorize the Biden/Harris transition. Emily Murphy is the administrator of the General Services Administration. The law gives the GSA administrator full and exclusive authority to authorize the transition.

The president of the United States has nothing to do with it. The White House press secretary has said that. The White House press secretary said it is up to the GSA to what we call reach ascertainment of an election. They are independent of us, and they haven't declared that just yet.

Every day, Emily Murphy's silence tells America and the world the lie that we don't have an apparent winner of the presidential election. Democrats in the House of Representatives have demanded that Emily Murphy brief them on Monday with the exact reasons why she has not formally ascertained the apparent winner in the election.

Congressman Eric Swalwell will join us to explain what House Democrats can do about this continued violation of law by Emily Murphy. Democrats are not the only ones concerned about this. Tennessee's senior Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, who is retiring at the end of the year and will never again have to beg Trump voters to keep him employed, said today that Emily Murphy should authorize the Biden/Harris transition.

Senator Alexander said, "If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump administration should provide the Biden team with all the transition materials, resources, and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one. That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution."

If Emily Murphy shows up to her Monday meeting with Democrats in the House of Representatives, the only excuse she can give for not ascertaining an apparent winner in the presidential election is that she believes this guy, who yesterday said that the Democratic Party masterminded a national conspiracy which operated like the mafia and included Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who has been dead for seven years.

Rudy Giuliani said this Democratic Party conspiracy stole the election for Joe Biden in the decisive Electoral College states like Georgia, but he forgot to explain why the same conspiracy failed to elect two Democratic senators in Georgia.

Rudy Giuliani said all of this while sweating profusely with hair dye dripping down each side of his face from his perfectly black side burns with the dye going right into the white collar of his shirt and remaining stained there.

Rudy Giuliani has delivered plenty of evidence over the years for us to conclude that his legal judgment is no better than the judgment he brings to his grooming.

It was Rudy Giuliani's considered judgment yesterday that he would somehow look better and somehow be more convincing and be a better presenter of a convincing case for Donald Trump if he put some very strange black stuff on his side burns and perhaps elsewhere on his head.

He thought about it, thought about it, looked in the mirror, thought about it and his judgment was, that's a very good idea. Like the accident on top of Donald Trump's head every day, Rudy Giuliani's hair accident yesterday tells us something important about his judgment.

But so does everything else Rudy Giuliani says. The only legal authority Rudy Giuliani cited yesterday, the only legal authority he cited was this.


RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP LAWYER: Did you all watch "My Cousin Vinny"? You know the movie? It's one of my favorite law movies because he comes from Brooklyn.


O'DONNELL (on camera): Vinny Gambini was a fictional character created by screenwriter Dale Launer and played brilliantly by Joe Pesci in 1992 before some of the reporters in the room for that press conference yesterday were born.

Joe Pesci has not played a lawyer since 1992, and neither has Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani doesn't actually practice law, and that shows every time he opens his mouth.

Would Emily Murphy believe Joe Pesci if Dale Launer wrote some lines for him to say about Joe Biden actually being the president-elect of the United States? Emily Murphy has sent her friends out once again to lie for her to reporters, this time to "The Washington Post," and this time one of her friends allowed his name to be used.

"By law, the GSA administrator reports to the president and is subject to his direction and control, said Jack St. John, who was Murphy's chief of staff and then general counsel before taking a private sector job last month. So to the extent Emily has been instructed to withhold ascertainments, she really doesn't have any good options."

That is a lie. That is all a lie. And the White House press secretary in the quote that I just read earlier says that that's all a lie. The White House press secretary agrees that the law gives sole authority to the GSA administrator, not the president.

And if Emily has been instructed to withhold ascertainment, she does, in fact, have very good options. She has legal options. She has the legal power to ascertain the apparent winner of the presidential election. And she has a sworn duty to do so in her oath of office, which she is violating every day.

"The Washington Post" article is filled with unnamed friends of Emily Murphy trying to portray her as a hard worker, as if that matters when you are violating the law. The most important quote in "The Washington Post" article is given to an unnamed source identified as a senior Trump administration official.

And this is one of those sources who is trying to get us to sympathize with Emily Murphy. And this source clearly believes that everything this source says is a positive statement about Emily Murphy like, "She doesn't want to be disloyal to the administration that hired her."

That's not what her oath of office says. Her oath of office does not say I pledge loyalty to the office that hired me. Believing this is all positive, this source goes on to say, "She is not a bona fide Trump person, the official said. She is not a Seb Gorka or Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller type."

No, she's not. She is something much, much worse. None of those people ever had the power that Emily Murphy has. Joe Biden said what Emily Murphy is doing means, "more people may die." Emily Murphy has that power of life and death over those people.

"Washington Post" journalist Bob Woodward and the author of the book "Rage" about the workings of Donald Trump's White House reacted to that statement by Joe Biden by saying that not just more people may die. Bob Woodward said on this program, Bob Woodward said I don't think it's May. I think it's obvious with the number of deaths.

The final words attributed to that unnamed Trump senior official are these. "The president does not want a transition, the official said. He's made that very clear. And we are following orders."

We are following orders. Where have we heard that before? You hear that in the most indefensible moments in the history of government. You hear it around the world. We were just following orders. We were just following orders is a statement that is indelibly etched in our consciences as what we should never become.

We are following orders is something that is only said by people who have taken an oath of office to the government they are serving in whatever country that is, in whatever era that is. We are following orders is now and always has been the last line of defense for the indefensible here and around the world.

We'll discuss the following of illegal orders and the progress of the Biden/Harris transition after this break with Congressman Eric Swalwell, Zerlina Maxwell, and David Frum.


O'DONNELL: The chairs of two House committees and two House subcommittees have demanded a meeting with General Services Administrator Emily Murphy on Monday to explain exactly why she has not ascertained an apparent winner in the presidential election.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Zerlina Maxwell is with us. She's the host of "Zerlina" on NBC's streaming service peacock and an MSNBC political analyst.

And David Frum is with us. He is a senior editor for the "Atlantic" and former speechwriter for President George W.Bush. He is the author of "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy." I should say "The New York Times" best seller, "Trumpocalypse".

Congressman Swalwell, this ascertainment is clearly obvious to everyone. We have a source close to Emily Murphy telling "The Washington Post" she's following orders from the president while the White House press secretary is saying the president has nothing to do with it. If she shows up for the meeting on Monday, what do you think can be accomplished?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): It's time for ascertainment. It's time for transition, Lawrence. But I'm going to go at this a little bit differently because I want to believe everything that you just read that sources are saying about Emily Murphy, that she's a consummate, hardworking government employee.

I've seen the sources. I've read the papers and what people are saying to defend her. And what I would say to Ms. Murphy if she were before me is that it's time to prove your friends right. It's time for the sake of a COVID transition to save lives, for the sake of national security, for the sake of our economy.

It's time to prove your friends right and do the right thing. And when you do that, you're going to join the company of people like Chris Krebs, the Homeland Security official who was just fired, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

And in your letter that you write when you grant ascertainment, you should note the absurd position that the president has put you in. And in Congress, what we should do is make sure in the future no one in your position has to make that decision.

It should probably be more independent so that the president's own appointees are not beholden to the president. But Ms. Murphy, join the company and join the ranks of the people who have stood honorably for this country because here, as Lieutenant Colonel Vindman said just a year ago yesterday, right still matters.

O'DONNELL: Zerlina Maxwell, the sources close to Emily Murphy try to defend her by citing Bush v. Gore in 2020, which was about exactly one state in a dispute over less than 1,000 votes. And the outcome there was clearly going to decide which one of these would become the president of the United States.

And so the delay of the ascertainment was completely dependent on the Supreme Court decision, and that's when the ascertainment came. This case has nothing to do with that.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it doesn't have anything to do with that, and I think every single thing that they put out as an excuse and she has put out as an excuse as to not beginning the transition that is necessary in this crisis, Lawrence, like let's be serious about this.

The transition is necessary in this moment because we need to get that vaccine distribution and the logistics of all of that under way under the new administration. Just because Donald Trump doesn't want to admit that he lost doesn't mean that that's not a fact.

Additionally, I think, you know, it is troubling to even realize, get to a point where there is one woman who because of partisan reasons, we don't really know, is not going to sign a letter and that is holding up the entire government response to a pandemic. So perhaps that's something legislatively the Congress, as Representative Swalwell just mentioned, can take a look at so that this never happens again.

But I think it's really interesting that Rudy Giuliani is the face of this entire thing because I'm old enough to remember when Rudy Giuliani was a part of the conspiracy that the president was impeached for when he attempted to cheat in the election that he just lost in.

So I just want everybody to remember that that is who we saw yesterday representing all of the weak legal arguments that the president is standing on in this moment.

O'DONNELL: Zerlina, one follow-up to that, are you old enough to remember "My Cousin Vinny"?

MAXWELL: Yes. Actually, it's a very good legal movie. And it has one of the best scenes explaining what the law is. But I wouldn't cite it if I'm the president's lawyer trying to overturn an election.

O'DONNELL: David Frum, it seems that Emily Murphy's memoirs should perhaps be titled "We Were Following Orders."

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: You know, we should think about the real-world consequences as you've been dong about what this means. I was in the George W. Bush administration that got to a late start because of the recount.

The recount raised authentically very difficult issues that divided the country, divided two great teams of lawyers. It divided the Florida Supreme Court on the one side and the U.S. Supreme court on the other. And Al Gore would have been in exactly the same position as George W. Bush.

But the fact is, I started work a couple of days after the inauguration. And I was in an empty administration. We would -- I didn't have a Senate-confirmed position, so they could just hire me. But the Senate-confirmed positions and those things that were sort of the next tier down, they were empty.

When you circulated papers, people weren't in the chairs to read the papers. It made the administration kind of lopsided. And the 9/11 Commission reported on the real-world damage it did to national security. But dozens of other issues that were less pressing than global terrorism also fell into (inaudible) because people just weren't hired.

I mean, what any new president does is ask thousands of people to choose a new school for their children, to spend the money on accountants to make financial disclosures, to be vetted. That's a time-consuming process that has real-world consequences for real people, and they need the time to do it and it's not going to happen.

And meanwhile, aside from Ms. Murphy, the other allies of the president who are less delusional with the president, are sowing seeds of economic sabotage for the incoming administration, destroying necessary loan faculties for the Federal Reserve, trying to cram pro-recession Federal Reserve governors.

And by the way, one of the things we should all be paying attention to is another opportunity for sabotage, is the federal government's funding runs out sometime early in December and there may be a government shutdown if President Trump continues to take this attitude beginning around the 10th of December.

O'DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, Joe Biden is saying that they are proceeding with the transition as well as they can under the circumstances. I want to listen to something he said yesterday after a discussion with governors about vaccine distribution, which included, by the way, a significant number of Republican governors who recognize who the next president's going to be. Let's listen to what Joe Biden said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no excuse not to share the data and let us begin to plan. Because on day one it's going to take us time if we don't have access to all this data, it's going to put us behind the 8-ball by a matter of a month or more. And that's lives.


O'DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, this would be one thing. It would be one level of outrage if this transition were being delayed in what we might call normal times. The idea that it's being delayed during a pandemic with vaccines coming to availability for the first time in the course of that pandemic, government distribution of the vaccines necessary, that takes it to a whole new level.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Lawrence, people will die every day that this transition is delayed. And the greatest challenge of our lifetime will be to go from vaccine to vaccination. They're not the same thing.

And it's going to take every government, community, and industry resource to make sure that happens. My grandparents were part of the greatest generation where if you weren't on the battlefield, chances are you were in a factory making boots, bullets, and bombs to assist in the effort to win for America.

Today Americans will be called with the right leadership and the right transition for all of us to be a part of the same process, to fund the testing, the treating, the tracing, and of course, the vaccine so that you can't miss a vaccine.

If you go to the gas station, a church, a CVS, a supermarket -- everywhere you go there needs to be a vaccine so that every American and every person in the world is inoculated.

But that will only happen if Joe Biden and his team are able to be ready on day one. They're going to get ready as well as they are able to, but it takes cooperation and an adult in the White House to pass over the keys so that they can be ready.

O'DONNELL: Zerlina, there is an unanticipated value to having chosen Kamala Harris as his vice president because Senator Harris now, being a member of the intelligence committee like Congressman Swalwell in the House, has access to intelligence briefings that would otherwise be unavailable in any way to the team of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But it must be awkward, Lawrence, because she can't talk to him about it. So that has to be a little bit of an odd thing for her to get these intelligence briefings and he is not getting them.

But I think, look, it's the best-case scenario that you have a former vice president coming into this position. I spoke with Alyssa Mastromonaco yesterday on my show and she was talking about how, you know, he has eight years of experience in the White House. He knows where everything is. He knows which levers to pull and who to call to get what he needs.

And I think that that is incredibly beneficial to the American people in this moment of crisis. But again, I feel like, you know, what we're watching is the president has completely ceased the job of actively being the president and he's trying very hard to avoid becoming a defendant.

And I think the American people's lives are on the line as he's trying to avoid that scenario. And that's really an unfortunate thing and I think he needs to be held to account.

O'DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, Zerlina Maxwell, David Frum, thank you very much for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

Thank you. The Republican leaders of the Michigan legislature flew to Washington today on commercial airliners, risking their health to visit Donald Trump in the White House.

Michigan's lieutenant governor will tell us why they wasted their time. That's next.


O'DONNELL: Donald Trump is desperately trying to raise money from people who can be tricked into believing that Donald Trump has a chance at overturning the will of the largest number of voters in American history who have made Joe Biden the President-Elect of the United States.

And in order to keep raising money with multiple emails a day sent to his supporters, Donald Trump needs stunts, publicity stunts, to give people hope that he can overturn the election.

Today's stunt was to invite the Republican leaders of the Michigan legislature to the White House for a discussion that Rudy Giuliani was not allowed to attend because he was exposed to the coronavirus yesterday through his son who has tested positive for COVID-19.

When Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey left the White House they issued this statement, completely deflating the entire stunt.

"We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan. And as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors just as we have said throughout this election."

Two Republicans and two Democrats on the state board of canvassers in Michigan will meet on Monday to certify the election results. But one of the Republicans, Norman Shinkle, told "The Washington Post" yesterday that he was leaning towards seeking a delay and requesting an audit of the votes citing debunked conspiracy theories touted by Trump and his attorneys about voting machines.

Today Michigan secretary of state Jocelyn Benson said this.


JOCELYN BENSON, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: The law is also very clear about what should happen in the circumstances and there's lots of checks and balances in place to protect and preserve the will of the people. And to protect and preserve the democratic process -- the small d democratic process. And so I fully expect, you know, no matter what avenue and how circuitous it is we'll take that path and that ultimately the will of the people of Michigan will direct the state's electors just as it's required under law.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. Lieutenant Governor, what is the legal situation there if on Monday one of the Republicans of this group of four has a problem doing his job?

LT. GOV. GARLINE GILCHRIST (D-MI): Well Lawrence, first of all, thank you for having me on to discuss this.

The truth is the four-person board and the board decides their decisions by majority vote.

And so we fully expect that a majority of the Michigan state board of canvassers will do their job and carry out their responsibility and certify the same election results that all 83 counties in Michigan have also certified.

That they don't participate in the kinds of Republican stunts and tactics that are being directed by the president when he summoned Republican lawmakers into, you know, I don't know, I'm a software guy to try to beta test his next theory about how to try to steal this election.

O'DONNELL: But it sounds like -- when I read the legislative leaders' statement after the Oval Office today, they said that no evidence whatsoever was presented to them in that room according to their statement.

GILCHRIST: Well, the truth is we haven't seen a readout. And I think if we'd learned anything in this post-election drama, we've seen that Republicans can't be trusted with democracy. And these particular Republicans, these legislative leaders in Michigan, their words can't be trusted. We need to watch what they do and not just what they say.

These are the same people whose words say that they believe that masks work but they are not willing to pass legislation to require masks in the state of Michigan. They have lied time and time again. And so I will trust this once the election results are certified and I expect that to happen on Monday.

O'DONNELL: And so if there is -- we just heard secretary of state sound very confident about the process, even if there was a speed bump on Monday. There's still an undeniable process that the voters of Michigan, their decision will be recorded and the electors will be voting for Joe Biden.

GILCHRIST: Well, that's right. The people of Michigan spoke with a clear and loud voice. Joe Biden won Michigan by a margin that is 15 times the margin that Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016.

The election is over. This is a process that now must be completed to certify that result. But these results are not going to change. And so these board of canvasser members, they now just need to do their jobs so we that can see our Biden electors and move forward with the Biden/Harris transition.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to what Debbie Dingell -- Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, from Michigan, had to say about this situation.


REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-Mi): There were literally thousands of people who had never been involved in politics before who were nonpartisan observers in precinct after precinct across the state of Michigan.

And they continue to tell us that they saw no misconduct, everything has been looked at, and we need to move on. We need to not undermine people's confidence in our democracy.


O'DONNELL: What is your sense of the state at this point? Clearly a majority of the voters are in favor of Joe Biden going forward. But how much political payoff is there for Republicans in somehow trying to appear to resist this?

GILCHRIST: Well, we have seen time and time again this election season is that when Republicans try to undermine democracy, the people and the voters step up to defend and protect democracy. We saw that with those people who worked the poll for the first time, 30,000 people as the congresswoman said.

But we also saw when the Wayne County board of canvassers attempted undermine the votes of black Detroit voters like me and my wife, we saw people step up and speak out and stand tall and say, no, you will certify our election results and you will not throw out the votes of voters in Detroit.

And so I think that the people can be trusted with democracy. And Republicans have demonstrated that they cannot be no matter what stunt they pull, no matter what words they use, their actions are speaking louder than those words.

O'DONNELL: Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. Thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

GILCHRIST: Thank you for having me, Lawrence. Everyone stay safe.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, remember when Jon Ossoff attacked Senator David Perdue for being a crook in their Georgia Senate debate? And then David Perdue refused to participate in any more debates? Well now there are new allegations that would make the crook section of the debate much, much longer.

Jon Ossoff will join us.


O'DONNELL: Today on the day that President-Elect Joe Biden was certified as the winner of Georgia's 16 electoral votes, Mike Pence campaigned in Georgia for Republican Senator David Perdue, who is now facing new questions about his financial transactions. "The Daily Beast" reports, "Right before he was put in charge of a powerful senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the U.S. Navy Senator David Perdue began buying up stock in a company that made submarine parts. Once he began work on a bill that ultimately directed additional navy funding for one of the firm's specialized products, Perdue sold off the stock, earning him tens of thousands of dollars in profits.

There seems to be something of a pattern here with Georgia's Republican senators. After a closed-senate briefing in January about the potential impacts of COVID-19, Senator Kelly Loeffler sold $3.1 million in stock while purchasing stock in a telework software company whose products would become all the more important for people forced to work from home during a pandemic.

At the same time, Senator Perdue purchased $1.8 million in stock, including in a company that produced personal protective equipment.

Here is Democratic candidate for senate, Jon Ossoff, during his last debate with Senator Perdue.


JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, perhaps Senator Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic would have been able to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic if you hadn't been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading.

It's not just that you're a crook, Senator. It's that you're attacking the health of the people that you represent.


O'DONNELL: Senator Perdue is now refusing to debate Jon Ossoff again before the January 5th senate election in Georgia. After this break, Jon Ossoff will join us and get tonight's LAST WORD.


O'DONNELL: Democrats are trying to do it all over again in the state of Georgia for the January 5th senate elections.


LAUREN GROH-WARGO, CEO, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: We just finally got in the last 24 hours the first file from the secretary of state on which Georgians have requested vote by mail ballots already for the January 5th runoff.

It is over 700,000 Georgians have already requested a mail ballot. To give you a sense of scale about 1.3 million Georgians cast mail ballots in the general election. So you can see there is clearly enthusiasm.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now Jon Ossoff, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia. Thank you very much for joining us once again tonight.

What is your reaction to that point that there's already a surge in requests for mail-in ballots?

OSSOFF: Lawrence, the enthusiasm here is off the charts. And Georgians are waking up now each morning with this feeling in our hearts we haven't felt in four years, and it's hope.

The Trump nightmare is ending. He's going whether he knows it or not. And now we have the opportunity to define the next era in American history, to enact legislation to get us out of this pandemic and economic crisis. But only if we win these two Senate races.

We understand the stakes here because if we don't win these two races McConnell will do to Joe and Kamala exactly what he tried to do to President Obama. So the stakes are high, we're working hard. And the people are already requesting their ballots to participate.

O'DONNELL: I have to say we've never seen anything like this. A very tough presidential campaign ends in a clear victory. And yet, and yet these very important campaigns continue in one state.

And I just can't imagine what it's like to be in Georgia now because the rest of us outside of Georgia, a lot of people are just relaxing. It's finally time in the hammock, you know, for politics they can pull back and relax.

How do you possibly keep that energy going? I mean I've seen, you know, the NBA go into -- you know, go beyond the standard time when they end in a tie, go into an extra quarter. But this is a much more difficult thing I think to keep that energy going.

OSSOFF: Well, we're invigorated. We're invigorated by the President-Elect's victory here. We're invigorated by ten years of organizing and turnout work and voter registration.

And all I can do is humbly ask those across the country to help us. Help us in Georgia. Help us get out the vote like we've never done it before in honor the departed Congressman Lewis.

Because two senate runoffs -- one state, the senate majority hanging in the balance, the capacity of the incoming administration to govern and to lead and to enact legislation, it all comes down to Georgia. And we recognize those stakes.

We humbly ask for the help of those who can help us get out the vote. It's --, log on, throw in a dollar and help us mobilize voters like never before.

O'DONNELL: You tweeted something today very simple saying that senators should not be allowed to trade stocks. And there it is from trading individual stocks, period.

And I have to say in my judgment having worked in the United States Senate that idea is at least 100 years overdue.

OSSOFF: I mean it's common sense. And I'll introduce legislation on day one to ban senators from trading individual stocks.

Lawrence, my opponent bragged about how he fought against and personally opposed a single round of $1,200 stimulus checks for working people here in Georgia while he's been treating the United States Senate like his personal stock trading desk.

Weeks before he took the chairmanship of the C power subcommittee he bought up shares in a manufacturer of nuclear propulsion components and weapon modules for Virginia class attack submarines.

Then his subcommittee proceeds to add funding to the program while he's cashing out on the stock. This is like the most flagrant corruption in the history of the U.S. Senate.

It's why David Perdue is too much of a coward to come out debate, and it's why we need to reform these senate rules so that officials serve us. We, who elect them and pay their salaries and not themselves.

O'DONNELL: I have to say that debate moment where you say it's not just that you're a crook, senator -- his silence in that moment, his frozen reaction was really something like I've never seen.

And now the case you have to make against him on this new reporting is so much stronger. He's just not going to agree to a debate I assume.

OSSOFF: He doesn't want to debate. He knows he can't defend the indefensible. His staff is barely even trying to defend him.

It is well-known across the political spectrum here in Georgia that this guy is bent. He's corrupt. He's using his office to line his own pockets.

Help us win. We can finish the job in Georgia.

Thank you, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Jon Ossoff, Democratic candidate for senate in Georgia. Thank you for joining us once again tonight. We appreciate it.

OSSOFF: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: Jon Ossoff gets tonight's LAST WORD.



Content and programming copyright 2020 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.