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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, November 24, 2020

Guests: Robert Garcia, Jane Mayer, Lucy McBath


A new report out is saying that Trump confidants are saying he plans to pardon Michael Flynn. Today on the same day that Joe Biden's vote count went above 80 million, making him the first presidential candidate in history to receive over 80 million votes, the stock market set a new record high as Joe Biden publicly presented his first cabinet choices and other members of his national security team. Today, the U.S. reported our highest number ever of current coronavirus hospitalizations for the 15th consecutive day with 88,080 people in the hospital suffering from coronavirus. Billionaire Charles Koch says that he now regrets pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars of his money and his brother's money into Republican partisanship that divides the country, but he doesn't regret it enough, apparently, to stop pouring almost $500,000 into Republican Senator David Perdue's campaign in Georgia. Lucy McBath is one of those people who has done what Joe Biden advises people to do if they suffer great loss. She has turned tragedy into purpose.



And on the day that the president pardoned the turkey, as it traditional, the talk of pardoned has started tonight. There's a new report out saying Trump confidants saying he plans to pardon Michael Flynn.

Now, try to act surprised when you hear that, Rachel. Try to act surprise.


O'DONNELL: It's pardon watch from now until the morning of January 20th.

MADDOW: Michael Flynn's lawyer, you'll remember, is the crazy QAnon lady who did the Grecian formula failure press conference with Rudy Giuliani and then said, you know, the Georgia Republican governor was in cahoots with Hugo Chavez who's dead in order to rig the election. I mean, that's Mike Flynn's lawyer.

So when the Trump folks put out the statement throwing her under the bus this weekend, maybe that was the agreement to soften the blow. Don't worry, we'll pardon your felon national security adviser client for lying about his contacts with the Russian government. Don't worry, we'll pardon him too, so you'll get something out of the deal.

It's just a really nice group of folks. We'll be sorry to see them go.

O'DONNELL: Well, I think he's the first of what will be a long list of first the rumor stage and then the moment the actual pardons get issued. It will be what we're watching during this transition.

MADDOW: Amazing. Amazing stuff. I will be both watching it and also not watching it.

O'DONNELL: I get it.

MADDOW: One of these.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, it will be. It will be.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence. Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, today on the same day that Joe Biden's vote count went above 80 million, making him the first presidential candidate in history to receive over 80 million votes, the stock market set a new record high as Joe Biden publicly presented his first cabinet choices and other members of his national security team.

Also today, president-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden, did an interview with NBC's Lester Holt. And the last time someone with the words "president of the United States" in his title did an interview with Lester Holt, it became evidence in a criminal investigation of obstruction of justice by the president of the United States.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.


O'DONNELL: Sorry for showing you that. It was just to remind you how refreshed you should feel at what you will hear in Lester Holt's interview with Joe Biden, which is sanity from beginning to end.

Here's what President-elect Biden told Lester Holt about the first full day of the transition being officially under way.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT: We've gotten outreach from -- from the national security shop, from just across the board. And they're already working out my ability to get presidential daily briefs. We're already working out meeting with the COVID team in the White House. And how to not only distribute but get from a vaccine being distributed to a person being able to get vaccinated.


O'DONNELL: Think about that, America. Now someone will actually be reading the president's daily brief. Something Donald Trump has refused to do because it involves reading.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Have you had any conversations with president Trump post-election about, you know, paving the way for this transition to happen? Any back channel communications?

BIDEN: No. I believe that his chief of staff and my chief of staff have spoken, but, no, I have not heard anything from President Trump.


O'DONNELL: I wish I could say the same. I hear from President Trump every day, dozens of times a day at one of my many email addresses where he begs me for money. Today at 12:18 p.m., Donald Trump sent me an email with the subject line that I instantly agreed with. It said, "You'll never believe this," and he was right, I didn't believe a word of what he said in his email begging for money to overturn the results of the election.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are assembling possibly the most experienced first term presidential administration that we have ever seen. Former secretaries of state rarely return to government service, but John Kerry is doing that as a climate adviser to the president.


JOHN KERRY, PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE DESIGNEE: No one should doubt the determination of this president and vice president. They shouldn't doubt the determination of a country that went to the moon, cured supposedly incurable diseases and beat back global tyranny to beat world -- to win World War II.

This kind of crisis demands that kind of leadership again. And President Biden will provide it.


O'DONNELL: The Biden's team qualifications are suburb and their personal stories are inspiring. That does not mean that they will always make the right decisions, but it does mean the return of a government that is not corrupt. It does mean the return of experience.

It does mean the return of competence. It does mean the return of decency. And it does mean the return of humanity to the White House.

Joining our discussion now, Democratic senator -- former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent from "PBS NewsHour". They are both MSNBC political analysts.

And, Senator McCaskill, what we couldn't pull off in our limited COVID resources, was basically a long run of videos of what was said by the nominees -- what President-elect Biden had to say about them and what they had to say. And the control room is telling me it's actually now ready. So, let's watch this and discuss the way this team was presented today.


HOLT: Tell me about day one in the White House and day 1 through 100, your first 100 days. What are your priorities going to be on those first days?

BIDEN: Some of it's going to depend on the kind of cooperation I can or cannot get from the United States Congress. But I am going to -- I made a commitment in the first 100 days. I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America.

I will also be moving to do away with some of the, I think, very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted on making the climate worse and making us less healthy, from methane to a whole range of things the president has done as, in my view, has eviscerated the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency.

There's also things that I want to do that relate to the ability to make sure we get immediate assistance to state and local governments to keep them from basically going under. So, it's going to be -- instead of what in a normal circumstance you'd set your priorities, there's multiple things that are going to have to be taking place at the same time.


O'DONNELL: And we're back with Claire McCaskill and Yamiche Alcindor.

And, Senator McCaskill, that was not the video I was hoping for, although we were going to show that, too. We have a long assembly, that I guess -- I tried to cut it together too late. We're not going to have it.

But it included Tony Blinken talking about his stepfather, that emotional scene that he described of his stepfather escaping Nazi custody and rushing up to the American troops with the only English words that he knew, God bless America. Other inspiring stories by our ambassador to the United Nations who Joe Biden has chosen, homeland security secretary, and it was a presentation unlike anything we have seen for the last four years, to put it mildly.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, you know what I noticed immediately is that none of the nominees said, you know, Joe Biden is the best of all best and he is so smart and isn't Joe Biden wonderful and he had the most amazing land slide victory and he probably won by even more and, you know, his transition crowd is the best. None of that, Lawrence.

These were people -- in fact, Avril Haines, the first woman to be put in charge as the director of national intelligence, she even said, I know you didn't select me to serve you, you selected me to serve the American people.

And that is such a difference. Everybody knows that if you went to work for Trump, there was one thing you had to do, and that was always grovel at his knee at his knee and build him up every time you spoke publicly.

That's not -- this is a stage full of humility and what a refreshing change that is.

O'DONNELL: And, Yamiche, there was Linda Thomas-Greenfield who Joe Biden when he was introducing her talking about her growing up in a small town in Louisiana, the first member of her family to finish high school and then go on to college. And to have the world open up for her, this is a U.N. ambassador who brings a worldly perspective and a uniquely American perspective.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And what we saw today was really a display of all of the American stories that together make America this melting pot, this idea that we can all come together with our cultures intact, not assimilating to one -- one whole different thing and not assimilating to one culture, but instead bringing all of our cultures, bringing our experience to the table.

You speak about Linda Thomas-Greenfield, she talked about gumbo diplomacy, saying that as a native of Louisiana, she would often make meals to try to bring Americans together and bring our allies together.

She said something profound in her statement. She said multilateralism is back. America is back. American diplomacy is back.

And that was the theme that we saw over and over again. It's really this idea that all of these nominees as well as President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, they were saying that America is going back to normal. We're now going to go back to having a role in the world stage as well as really leading on issues like climate change and also treating immigrants who come to this country humanely, looking at -- at secretary -- secretary nominee Mayorkas talking about the fact that his family immigrated from Cuba and fled communism to come to this country.

So, it was really a story displaying that President-elect Biden is dedicated to this idea of diversity and he's choosing these people with that in mind.

O'DONNELL: And, Senator McCaskill, I as having worked in the Senate, I'm sure you too, after we look at what it means for America and the inspirational qualities that were part of what we were witnessing today, we also sit there and look at it in terms of Senate confirmation. And I saw certain things that looked unassailable from -- by Republicans in this -- especially what Yamiche was just talking about with Alejandro Mayorkas, when he said, my father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism.

Marco Rubio -- Senator Marco Rubio who as a presidential candidate, which he is (ph) now, he will want to oppose every one of these nominees he can and attack every one of them. Here's the way he attacked them today.

In his tweet he said: Biden's cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences and will be polite and orderly caretakers of America's decline.

And, Senator McCaskill, Marco Rubio, I think, is going to struggle to find his attack angle on Alejandro Mayorkas and most of these cabinet nominees.

MCCASKILL: Yeah, this is a great group to begin with. I think Mitch McConnell will get some real blowback from the caucus if he tries to be obstructionist with this particular group of nominees we saw today.

And, you know, it's going to be painful to watch Marco Rubio and some of the others that are going to try to be Trump wannabes. They're going to try to bark when really there's nothing to bark about, and today was a great example of that.

And, you know, Lawrence, I've got to point out when Yamiche was talking about gumbo diplomacy, you know, I as I woman today watching her talk about that, you know, it's hard to say sometimes why it's important to have women in government, but can you imagine a man getting nominated to that job standing up and proudly talking about how she had foreign leaders over to her home to cut peppers and onions to make a gumbo?

That is a woman who understands that bringing people together is an important quality, and sometimes doing it in the kitchen around a pot of gumbo is just fine, and I thought it was a wonderful moment for women today.

O'DONNELL: Well, she's also -- Yamiche, she's also representative of ambassadors who I've met around the world in -- in -- in career diplomatic service who are very similar, and, by the way, many, many, many women in -- in that role around the world. And so there was something about it for me that was actually very familiar when I was hearing her say that.

ALCINDOR: That's right. And what we were hearing from her, talking about opening up her home, talking about bringing people together, was her also explaining her patriotism, her patriotism, talking about the fact that she welcomes the idea of serving the country, welcomes the idea of being the face of America, and introducing our culture in so many different ways.

I think that's one of the things that we saw that is different from the Trump administration because it was such an isolationist agenda that President Trump laid out.

I also think what was interesting here is when you think about the fact that President Trump has maligned some of these -- these agencies, when you think about the intelligence community. President Trump has made them out to be some sort of conspiracy theory deep state. When you see the fact that when Secretary Haines -- I should say when acting DNI or DNI Haines comes into office, she's not only going to have to be revitalizing the intelligence community as the first woman to be in that position, she's also going to have to be increasing morale.

And that probably is going to be the case at DHS, the department of secretary of state, all of those different departments, because the president has really -- really at some times criticized these people so much. I know so many Foreign Service officers that I've talked to who have really been sad covering and serving the Trump administration. Even people who support him because the president has really beat up career agents and really made them out to be political opponents.

So I think when we -- what we hear from these people is also saying, we are here to make these people proud again to serve America in these agencies.

O'DONNELL: We're going to have more on that exact point in the next segment.

Yamiche Alcindor and Senator Claire McCaskill, thank you both for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.


O'DONNELL: Coming up, after four years of Trump believing Vladimir Putin, a change is coming to the White House, including a director of national intelligence who doesn't think her job is all about pleasing the president of the United States. Former CIA Director John Brennan joins us next with his perspective on the Biden national security team.



BIDEN: As a director of national intelligence, I nominate Avril Haines, the first woman ever to hold this post. To lead our intelligence community, I didn't pick a politician or a political figure, I picked a professional. She's eminently qualified. Former deputy director of the CIA, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama, and a fierce advocate for telling the truth and leveling with her decisions with the decision-makers, straight up.


O'DONNELL: Avril Haines will take over the job currently held by John Ratcliffe, who has disgraced himself repeatedly as a Trump loyalist at the top of the intelligence community's pyramid, telling the president of the United States only what he wants to hear will end on the afternoon of January 20th.


AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE NOMINEE: I know, Mr. President-elect, and Madam Vice President-elect, that you've selected us not to serve you, but to serve on behalf of the American people.

Mr. President-elect, you know that I have never shied away from speaking truth to power. And that will be my charge as director of national intelligence.

I've worked for you for a long time, and I accept this nomination knowing that you would never want me to do otherwise, and that you value the perspective of the intelligence community and that you will do so even when what I have to say may be inconvenient or difficult, and I assure you there will be those times.


O'DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, John Brennan, former director of the CIA and MSNBC senior national security and intelligence analyst.

Director Brennan, those final words, where she promises him publicly that she will be walking in there telling him things that he does not want to hear, telling him things that will make his strategic decisions much more difficult than they were the day before is something that is inconceivable for anyone working for Donald Trump to ever say publicly or privately.

JOHN BRENNAN, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, that's exactly right, Lawrence. And the appointment of Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence is really a superb, superb selection.

All of our qualities, her deep national security expertise, her broad array of experiences in the White House, the National Security Council, at CIA, and even at Congress in the Department of State, these are all reasons why I wanted to select her as my deputy at CIA. It's because she does have that intellect, but also this fierce determination to make sure she gets to the truth.

And there were times that she told me things that were inconvenient or uncomfortable because she wanted to make sure that I understood what exactly what was going on in this intelligence environment and world. And so, therefore, I think Avril is going to be exactly what the intelligence community needs to get over what I think has been a very difficult time over the last several years.

O'DONNELL: I want to listen to what she said when she addressed herself directly to the intelligence community today.


HAINES: To our intelligence professionals, the work you do, often times under the most austere conditions imaginable, is just indispensable. It will become even more complex because you will be critical to helping this administration position itself not only against threats such as cyber attacks or terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, but also those challenges that will define the next generation, from climate change to pandemics and corruption.


O'DONNELL: Director Brennan, how was that received in the intelligence community today?

BRENNAN: Well, Lawrence, I know that there has been a collective sigh of relief that they're going to have somebody at the helm of the intelligence community who understands their work, who appreciates the sacrifices that they make, and really is going to ensure that intelligence serves the president and the senior policymakers. Intelligence professionals do what they do because they know how important it is to their fellow citizens.

And they want to be challenged, they want to be pushed, they want to be able to matter in the national security discussions, so, therefore, Avril is someone they widely know, respect and admire, and know that they're going to have a fierce advocate for them that is going to ensure that their views, their input, their perspective is going to be shared with those national security policymakers because it's so important, in light of the challenges we face around the globe, that intelligence has a very prominent and very independent voice in these national security discussions.

O'DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to the breaking news tonight by "Axios", which is now being supported by "The New York Times," saying that Donald Trump has been discussing pardoning Michael Flynn. "The New York Times" adds to it that it's one of a string of pardons that they expect the president to be issuing.

BRENNAN: Well, it's not surprising. I wouldn't be surprised that he's going to include his name among those he wants to pardon, and I think he's going to be trying his best to do what he can during his remaining time in office to try to protect himself as well as those who have supported his, I think, very unfortunate presidency.

But this should not come as a surprise to anybody, that he is going to flout what I think should be the appropriate justice that would be, in fact, meted out to individuals who violated the law.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to Jake Sullivan today because Michael Flynn was Donald Trump's first national security adviser four years ago. Here's who Joe Biden has chosen for that same job.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NOMINEE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We will be vigilant in the face of enduring threats, from nuclear weapons to terrorism. But you have also tasked us with reimagining our national security for the unprecedented combination of crises we face at home and abroad. The pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruption, threats to democracy, racial injustice and inequality in all forms. The work of the team behind me today will contribute to progress across all of these fronts.


O'DONNELL: Jake Sullivan is young for that job, by most recent standards. Is he up to it?

BRENNAN: I've worked closely with Jake as well as all the other members who were introduced as part of the national security team today, and I must say Jake is wise well beyond his years. He has an amazing intellect. He has a strong appreciation for not just the challenges that we face around the globe, but also those that we face here at home, and his -- really allows him, I think, to be that national security adviser that is going to help guide and direct the national security discussions that are going to be taking place in the White House.

So Jake is somebody who I think has the temperament, has the experience, and also has the vision that is needed in order to get us through what I think are going to still be very challenging times at home and abroad.

O'DONNELL: Former CIA Director John Brennan, thank you for your invaluable perspective on this announcement today of the Biden national security team. Really appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Lawrence. Have a good evening.

O'DONNELL: And when we come back, who is going to be at your Thanksgiving table? Robert Garcia's mother won't be with him this year. She died of COVID-19 in July. Robert Garcia is the mayor of Long Beach, California, and he participated in the conference of mayors with President-elect Joe Biden yesterday. Mayor Garcia will join us next.


O'DONNELL: Today the United States reported our highest number ever of current coronavirus hospitalizations for the 15th consecutive day with 88,080 people in the hospital suffering from coronavirus.

"The Washington Post" reports the Transportation Security Administration recorded its highest number of weekend passengers since the coronavirus pandemic began in March with over three million people traveling in the past three days, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance advising against Thanksgiving travel. Dr. Anthony Fauci said this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: A wonderful, traditional Thanksgiving holiday might actually, unfortunately, be a source of an even amplification of the surge. 2,000 to 3,000 deaths a day times, you know, a couple of months, and you're approaching a really stunning number of deaths.

Better be careful now and look forward to many, many more in the future than either endangering yourself or a vulnerable member of your family or friends.


O'DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Mayor Robert Garcia from Long Beach, California. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

You participated in the conference of mayors with President-Elect Biden and vice President-Elect Harris yesterday. What can you tell us about that in terms of guidance that they gave mayors on COVID-19 or that -- or that the mayors were able to give them?

MAYOR ROBERT GARCIA (D), LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA: Well, it's been a breath of fresh air. I mean, to have a President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris working with mayors, meeting with mayors, have managed (ph) a complete change from what we had before. And so on that agenda was a discussion around COVID-19, most importantly around relief.

I think that Joe Biden understands that we need immediate relief to our cities, to our states around testing, around making sure hospitals are prepared, and having an overall strategy when it comes to masking requirements and ensuring that people are actually modelling good behavior.

I mean the simple fact that we now have a president that will wear a mask, not go to super-spreader events and will listen to mayors on the ground is night and day. And so it was a great gathering. In fact, earlier today there was another smaller group of mayors that met with the transition team also. So he is already engaging with us regularly, and we expect a robust plan, I think very soon around COVID-19.

O'DONNELL: With 250,000 dead from coronavirus, that leaves us with a couple of million or more than a couple of million people in this country, including yourself, who will be having a first Thanksgiving without a loved one who has been lost to COVID-19.

You lost your mother in July, your stepfather. What are you telling people in Long Beach from your own experience about how to handle these holidays?

GARCIA: Well, I think, first of all, I think people need to understand that COVID-19 is still very serious and can take anyone's life. We're seeing a record number of cases.

I'm not going to have my mom, my stepdad at the dinner table this year. And I want people to know that if they really want to maintain their family, they want to enjoy their grandparents or their parents in the future, then this is the year they need to sacrifice.

This is the year where you should stay within your own family unit, have Thanksgiving at home and don't interact with your broader family. I know it's hard and it's a hard decision for us to make, but it's also the right one.

You know, I'm going to be at home with my husband and my brother who lives with us, and that is going to be our Thanksgiving. As much as I would like to see the rest of the family, I encourage all of us here locally, but all Americans should do the same thing. Keep your family safe.

O'DONNELL: Your mother was a health care worker and she's one of the people we were trying to protect by the rest of us engaging in safe behavior so that we wouldn't be going into doctors' offices and hospitals with symptoms. And it's a -- it's an issue -- the protection issue with that mask that we're supposed to wear is about so much more than just ourselves.

GARCIA: Absolutely. I mean, my mom was a strong, immigrant woman, health care worker, worked in the same clinic for 25 years. She understood how serious this virus is but she went to work. I'm proud of her work. Putting on her PPE. And I think in this moment as -- we have to understand that particularly a lot of these women of color and women from underserved communities are on the front lines trying to assist people every single day.

And even as we begin to talk about issues around the vaccine rolling out, we have to think about who is going to have access to the vaccine first? It's got to be our health care workers. It's got to be hard to reach communities.

I've been telling folks that we plan and we're already planning for the vaccine here in Long Beach. And the last folks that should be in line should be NBA players and billionaires. This has got to go to health care workers, to folks that really need our support and communities that are being hardest hit across the country.

O'DONNELL: Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach, California, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I am very sorry for your loss, Mr. Mayor. We really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us tonight.

GARCIA: Thank you, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back, billionaire Charles Koch says that he now regrets pouring so much of his money -- millions and millions and millions of dollars of his money and his brother's money into Republican partisanship that divides the country. But he doesn't regret it enough, apparently, to stop pouring almost $500,000 into Republican Senator David Perdue's campaign in Georgia. Jane Mayer of "The New Yorker" has studied and written about the Koch brothers. Jane Mayer joins us next.


O'DONNELL: Billionaire Charles Koch, who with his brother, has spent years of funding conservative causes and Republican candidates now says he has regrets.


CHARLES KOCH, BILLIONAIRE: Well, we just screwed it up by being partisan rather than approaching it nonpartisan. I mean if we're going to help elect people who are going to be champions for these policies that empower people so -- so they can realize their potential and succeed by helping others succeed.

MIKE ALLEN, HOST: When did you realize that you screwed up?

KOCH: Some of the politicians that we had helped get elected, I would see them on TV and -- and they would be talking about policies that were antithetical -- against immigration, against criminal justice reform, against a more peaceful foreign policy. I was horrified.


O'DONNELL: He was not horrified enough to stop funding Republican candidates who are against immigration and against criminal justice reform, like Republican Senator David Perdue, who is being challenged in a run-off election in Georgia, scheduled for January 5th, by Democrat Jon Ossoff.


JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, perhaps Senator Perdue 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: Joining us now is Jane Mayer, chief Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker". She is the author of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Rise of the Radical Right".

And Jane, Charles Koch is putting in close to a half a million dollars so far just in the run-off campaign on behalf of David Perdue on the election that will be decided on January 5th.

So how do you translate what you hear him saying to Mike Allen in that video?

JANE MAYER, CHIEF D.C. CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": I mean, and the current money that he's putting into the Perdue race is following money that the Koch machine has put behind five Republican senate candidates just in this past cycle, the 2020 cycle.

It's -- you know, basically about every two years the Kochs rebrand themselves and they do sort of a charm offensive. It happens about with every election cycle right after the election. At which point they announce that they're really not partisans they're just working for the public good.

And, you know, you'd -- I think at this point, having heard this every two years at least since 2014, I think you'd have to be an amnesiac to fall for it. But I'm sorry to say some of my colleagues in the press seemed to have not checked the clips and looked back at this.

It happens on a regular basis and then Charles Koch and his machine, which is a stunningly powerful political machine with an incredible amount of money behind it, goes ahead and funds another generation of Republican candidates. In this case, what Charles Koch is trying to do down in Georgia is hold the senate under Republican majority so that it will continue to serve the agenda of Charles Koch and Koch industries.

He owns the largest private company in America. And his greatest and most passionate interest is making sure that the U.S. Government, the federal government does nothing to try to ameliorate climate change because most of his money comes from fossil fuels. And in order to do that, he's got to hold the Republican majority in the Senate. He also likes to keep his taxes low.

And so, you know, anyway, this is just -- it's a kind of a routine thing, it's a charm offensive that happens on a regular basis --

O'DONNELL: Well, I've noticed --

MAYER: And he can have the best PR money can buy, basically, and they do it every few years.

O'DONNELL: Well, one of the striking things about that interview moment is he doesn't name names. He could tell us. He could say, well, here's who I gave money to who I regret giving money to. That's a much clearer expression of regret, if you'd actually put a name on it.

MAYER: Well, I mean, that would help. I mean I think the other thing is you can tell when he's talking about, for instance, immigration as an issue and criminal justice reform as an issue that he's saying he was horrified that people don't support.

In essence, he's criticizing Trump. And people all know that Charles Koch and the Koch machine did not back Trump's election in 2016. They were hoping a Republican would be elected, but not -- they didn't really like Trump.

But what people don't understand is that the Kochs have -- have been really pleased with Trump's policies. And the politics that the -- that the Kochs helped stoke during the Tea Party rebellion in 2010 have -- have become very much Trump's policies.

They -- they helped bring about things like the idea that climate change is a hoax. Withdrawing from the Paris Accords. Dropping taxes to historic lows on corporations and on the richest people in the country. And -- and putting sort of lobbyists for oil and gas industries in charge of the environment and energy in this country. And in front of, you know, leading the departments that handle these issues.

These are Koch policies and they've been actually very happy with Trump in many ways.

O'DONNELL: Jane Mayer, thank you for that invaluable interpretation and clarification of the Charles Koch interview. Really appreciate it.

Thank you, Jane.

MAYER: Thanks for having me.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Lucy McBath is one of those people who has done what Joe Biden advises people to do if they suffer great loss. She has turned tragedy into purpose. After her son was shot and killed she ran for congress and she flipped a Republican district in Georgia. Lucy McBath was one of the people who got Democrats to believe that winning Georgia was possible.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath will join us next and get tonight's LAST WORD.


O'DONNELL: After I heard about her story from a relative of hers Lucy McBath first joined us here on THE LAST WORD eight years ago on December 13, 2012, three weeks after her son Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida because he was in a car that was playing loud music

Lucy McBath followed the path that Joe Biden has described of turning personal loss into purpose.


REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): I want to know why was no one standing up for our children? Why was no one standing up to keep us safe? So I stood up and I ran for office myself.


O'DONNELL: Two years ago, Lucy McBath was one of the Democratic congressional candidates who flipped a Republican district when she beat Georgia's Republican Congresswoman Karen Handle. Lucy McBath was re-elected this year once again beating Karen Handle this time by nine points. The Honorable Lucy McBath holds the congressional seat now that was once held by Newt Gingrich.

Joining us now is Congresswoman Lucy McBath. She is the author of the book standing our ground, a mother's story.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it -- joining us I should say once again tonight. You've been with us so many times in the past.

This is a year where people have suffered so much. We have over 250,000 dead from COVID-19, lost loved ones. That means millions of people. You just do the math on 250,000 people, millions and millions of people this Thanksgiving will be spending the first Thanksgiving without that loved one who was lost.

What does your loss and your experience with it tell you about how to get through times like this?

MCBATH: Well, thank you, Lawrence, for that question. And I do want to say briefly that you were the first person to give me a national voice on television. So thank you so much for allowing me just to tell my story.

And that's basically what I have continued to do ever since is just tell my story because my story does have the ability to be able to resonate with families all around the country in particular parents who just don't want to wake up one day and find that their loved ones, their children are not coming back home.

And so that's what I've just continued to do, talk about my story with Jordan, also having been a two-time breast cancer survivor, taking care of aged parents, working with social security and Medicare and just all those life experiences that I've had.

I've just continued to tell my story so that the people that I wanted to represent would understand and know that I had credible experiences, that I could really speak for them and fight for them in Washington.

O'DONNELL: And you've won reelection, which tells us something about you and your district that you were able to go down there, get into that district two years ago, flip it.

And then holding it is the challenge. Two years later holding it. What did you learn in those two years, and what did your district learn about you in those two years?

MCBATH: Well, what I think I --

O'DONNELL: I guess we've lost -- I think the shot is frozen.

We might be able to get Congresswoman McBath on the telephone to get around this but I'm not sure we can.

Lucy McBath has suffered that horrible way of American death, that gunfire death. She got a phone call saying that she lost her son eight years ago.

And Congresswoman McBath, I'm glad we reestablished this connection. And I was just saying that you've lived through this suffering and yet turned it into this purpose and run now and run for reelection, one reelection.

What did the district learn about their congresswoman in the last two years that allowed you to win that re-election?

MCBATH: Well, I think what my constituents learned about me is that I really do care. And I didn't pave my way in a road to coming to Washington, but I have lived experiences that probably give me really good credibility to be able to fight and champion for them in Washington. And we have really worked very hard to represent every demographic in our district.

Because whether they voted for me or not, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, we all have the same needs, cares and wants. And specifically with COVID-19. Every single one of us needs to make sure that we have a better future in store for our families and our communities.

So what I think they know is that I do genuinely really care about what happens to them because what happens to them happens and it's representative of what happens to America.

O'DONNELL: The honorable Lucy McBath, thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. We always appreciate it.

MCBATH: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath gets tonight's Last Word.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again.


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