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Transcript: The Lasts Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/8/21

Guests: Ted Lieu, Eric Swalwell, Rick Stengel, Eddie Glaude, Lucas Kunce, Katie Porter


Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the January 6 committee as panel prepares to hold him in contempt. Interview with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D- CA). Mark Meadows sues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the January 6th Committee as the panel prepares to hold him in contempt of Congress. The White House has launched a new web site to provide information about the infrastructure law to governors, mayors, tribal leaders, business owners, union members, and anyone who want to know how the multiyear infrastructure spending is being implemented.



I have been reading the Mark Meadows so-called lawsuit, which it is not, actually, it is really just legal vandalism. It is an attempt to completely throw the federal courts in Washington into chaos.

And so far, and this is kind of a big crisis period, I think, for the federal courts in Washington, they are falling for it. This is the kind of thing that used to be dismissed without a single paragraph, just one sentence. The House would make a motion to have the case dismissed and it would be dismissed now they all want to be Oliver Holmes and write beautiful prose paragraphs and take several weeks doing it, and in the process they`re playing the Mark Meadows game, which is nothing but delay.


O`DONNELL: And the courts are now actively participating in the delay with the style of their deliberations and these kinds of absolutely ridiculous frivolous lawsuits.

MADDOW: I feel like the federal courts, the court system in general is pretty well-wired to handle lawsuits that are brought just for the purpose of either nonsense or craziness or delay or some other improper purpose, right. I mean, you know, like prose litigants and people who like bring stuff to the courts because the voices tell them to or, you know, people who write their -- who write petitions to the court on toilet paper and send it in a flaming bag. Courts are sort of wired to handle these things because they get a lot of craziness thrown their way.

But you think the art of the delaying lawsuit in the Trump administration has activated something in judges where they want to engage with these things?

O`DONNELL: No, it`s the 21st century judiciary and it started to happen in the late 20th century where in the past where it would have been a sentence, it became 16 pages. It`s not necessary. They don`t need to write these things, and they don`t need to take the several weeks that they do to write them. Their justification for writing it is well, it`s going to be appealed, therefore I want to lay out everything for the appeals courts and kind of trap the appeals courts into their own thinking, which does not work.

Just rule on it. Throw it out to the appeals court as fast as possible so we can get moving here. When you know the game is delay. It`s just delay.

MADDOW: I want you to be the editor for the district courts, I`m ready for it, for you to just be in there like red pencil, no, no, no, last word is all you need, bye. Last word, that`s the name of the game here.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, and these decisions can be made live on the bench, as soon as the lawyers stop talking. You don`t have to take this ridiculous thing into your chambers and read it again before realizing that there`s nothing there.

MADDOW: I`m all for it, and I would quit my job and become a court reporter, a, because it would be easy if everything was shorter, and b, because I would love to see you make it happen.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, when you look at the speed with which the judiciary used to handle these kinds of things, during my lifetime, never mind before my lifetime when it was even faster, there`s no real legitimate explanation about why the things that used to take days now take months, the things that used to take months now take years.

MADDOW: Judges are watching right now, I am sure, perhaps they will take it to heart, but I think you should stay on it, because this is an excellent harangue.

O`DONNELL: I`m going to harangue about it later in the hour, too. This is really -- they`ve gut me on this.

MADDOW: This is a new thing to be mad about. This never even occurred to me before, I love this.

O`DONNELL: It`s a new thing. It`s a failure of judiciary. They do not know how to handle the Trump moment.

MADDOW: You have convinced me. Go on. Let me get out of your way.

O`DONNELL: I`ll do my show. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Bye, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, George J. Terwilliger III is the latest Trump team lawyer to file a completely frivolous lawsuit, this one right here. This is the most frivolous lawsuit filed by the Trump team since Rudy Giuliani was sweating hair dye on national television.

Attorney Terwilliger is a lifetime Republican who served in the Reagan and Bush Justice Departments in the 1980s and 1990s with at one point, William Barr as his boss when William Barr was the attorney general.


A lifetime Republican has signed his name to a document that purports to be a lawsuit. Filed on behalf of Donald Trump`s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all the members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol. It is an attempt to block the committee`s subpoenas for testimony and documents, which Mark Meadows is now defying.

Harvard`s constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe said today Meadows has no conceivable basis for this frivolous suit. Its obvious motive is to try getting Trump back on his good side after outraging the former president with his tell-all book. Mark Meadow`s book is not doing well in the Amazon bestseller`s list. Trump is outraged about the book, much to Mark Meadows surprise, who wrongly believed his book was filled with enough fawning praise of Donald Trump.

And so now, Mark Meadows has chosen a publicly combative stance with the committee even though he has already handed over a significant amount of valuable information to the committee including a text of Mark Meadows saying "I love it," saying "I love it" when he was presented with a criminal plan to steal the presidential election after Joe Biden won the presidential election. I love it. That`s what he said to that criminal plot.

The Republican vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, told CNN when asked about the lawsuit, quote, we look forward to litigating that. Liz Cheney also said the committee has received a number of extremely interesting, non-privileged documents from Mr. Meadows.

These include text messages and e-mails from his private cell phone and private e-mail account. He`s produced these documents. They are not privileged. They include documents that are directly related to what president Trump should have been doing on January 6th during the attack, and now he is refusing to appear to answer questions about those non- privileged documents that he already turned over to the committee.

In a letter to Mark Meadows` lawyer last night before the frivolous lawsuit was filed, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson outlined some of what Mark Meadows has already supplied to the committee including quote, a November 7th, 2020 e-mail discussing the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a direct and collateral attack after the election. On January 5th, 2021, e-mail regarding a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled election fraud, foreign interference and options for 6 Jan that was to be provided on the Hill, and among others, a January 5th, 2021, e-mail about having the national guard on stand by.

Chairman Thompson also details text messages that the committee received from Mark Meadows, including a November 6th, 2020, text message with a member of Congress apparently about appointing alternate electors in certain states as part of a plan that the member acknowledged would be highly controversial and to which Mr. Meadows apparently said I love it.

And early January 2021 text message exchange between Mr. Meadows, and an organizer of the January 6 rally, a text message about the need for the former president to issue a public statement that could have stopped the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Congressman Pete Aguilar, a member of the committee said this today about Steve Bannon, Jeffrey Clark, Roger Stone, and Mark Meadows refusing to testify to the committee.


REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): If we weren`t receiving information that is helpful to the investigation then that could be a speed bump, but we continue to gather information each and every day, over 270 interviews that we`ve conducted. We continue to glean information from witnesses each and every day and to connect the investigative dots that are necessary. It`s a small group of individuals who are stonewalling the investigation that we`re having, and for every one of them, there`s dozens more who we`re are talking to us.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is Congressman Eric Swalwell, and Congressman Liu, both Democrats from California. They both served as House impeachment managers in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.


Congressman Liu, let me again with you, and I fear now that the federal judiciary is being played in this game.

Giving Steve Bannon a July 18th trial date for a trial that should take an hour. There is nothing to that trial. Did you get the subpoena, yes, I did. Did you show up, no, I didn`t. The judiciary is playing the Trump lawyers game, delay game with them.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Lawrence, for your question.

I agree with you, which is why I believe we need to execute the inherent contempt power of the House of Representatives. This power has been up held by the Supreme Court in the past. It would authorize the House of Representatives to find witnesses that disobey Congressional subpoenas or put them in confinement.

So, I have legislation on that, and I know people are starting to take seriously this inherent contempt power. I think that`s how we can get around the delays from the federal judiciary.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, there has been talk including at the Supreme Court itself about the perceived legitimacy of the Supreme Court were it to overturn itself by overturning Roe versus Wade. There has been no discussion about the perceived legitimacy of the federal district court in Washington, D.C. and the Circuit Court of appeals in Washington, D.C. and this system that Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Jeffrey Clark, Mark Meadows now, are all playing because they know that that judicial system will give them all of the delay, the months of delay possibly the years of delay that they`re looking for.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Lawrence, we saw this with Don McGahn. Ted and I were on the Judiciary Committee, we saw Don McGahn`s testimony after the Mueller report came out, and they ran out the clock. They kept taking a knee until the term expired and the voters went to the polls, and 2020 not knowing what Don McGahn`s testimony would be.

I support Ted`s legislation for inherent contempt. We should fine them $10,000 a day until they come in, and for Mark Meadows, the judge should hold him in contempt immediately once we refer it to them, and they should throw his own book at him for the privileges that he waived in his book. We can`t do enough.

And Adam Schiff`s legislation, by the way, Protecting Our Democracy Act, we will vote on that tomorrow, and that creates a fast track for Congress to get to the courts on these subpoenas.

O`DONNELL: And, Congressman Lieu, I have mentioned this before in this discussion this week in some of the biggest, most famous prosecutions in American legal history, the defense side never cooperated. They never testified.

You had to build a case without getting the criminals themselves to tell their story. And that has been done, and there are ways to do that, and this committee can do that, so as much as we can talk about the frustration of this delay game that`s being played, the fact is that it is possible to conduct an investigation about what Mark Meadows did without Mark Meadows` testimony, and what Donald Trump did without Donald Trump`s testimony.

LIEU: That is absolutely correct. Both Representative Swalwell and I are former prosecutors, and first of all, we both agree that the January 6th committee is doing an excellent job, and they are essentially building that case without these witnesses. They have already had hundreds of interviews with witnesses who cooperated. They have received thousands and thousands of documents, including 6,000 from Mark Meadows himself that he gave voluntarily.

And we need to ask and the American people need to ask why did Mark Meadows all of a sudden stop cooperating? What is he now trying to hide from the American people, and I think he suddenly realized that loot of these documents he produced are very incriminating.

O`DONNELL: Well, Congressman Swalwell, I love it, I love it is what he says after -- when he`s responding to the description of a criminal conspiracy to steal the election on January 6th. What was being described to him was against the law, and was a crime and he said I love it.

SWALWELL: Where have we heard that before, Lawrence? If I can give you stolen information on Hillary Clinton, would you like to receive it? Donald Trump Jr. says, if it`s true, I love it. These guys love to crime when it comes to elections.

And I would love to see them all held accountable, and it`s not just a legal obligation that Mark Meadows has because his lawsuit will go nowhere, he will be held in contempt by the Congress, and I believe the department of justice will seek this indictment. It`s a patriotic obligation.


If you truly had nothing to do with the insurrection, the treasonous act that took place on January 6th, you would help your country. If you had something to do with it, you would do what Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Clark, and others are doing, and that acting like a guilty person.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Lieu, the Trump gang for years now lead, of course, has been an attack on what we thought were reliable Washington institutions.

The new institution that I see under attack tonight by the Trump gang and the attack is succeeding is the federal judiciary, especially the federal judiciary centered in Washington, D.C. We never knew before that if you got a congressional subpoena, you could possibly sue the speaker of the House for being part of issuing a congressional subpoena, and then buy yourself possibly several months, Mark Meadows will buy himself of frivolous lawsuit litigation here because the federal courts in Washington, D.C. have fallen into the trap of this game, and they will -- they are, in effect, will delegitimize themselves as enforces of this kind of process.

LIEU: That is absolutely correct, and Representative Swalwell mentioned the Don McGahn case earlier. I want to note that we won a lot of those cases but it took two years. And so Donald Trump and his enablers have figured out that they can use this delay tactic, and there`s no other way to say this, but congressional subpoenas essentially are rendered meaningless if we can`t enforce them because it takes years to do so.

And again, that`s why I think we have to go back and rely on inherent contempt. That`s one reason Congress executed it in the first place, and we simply have to be able to enforce our own subpoenas, and not rely on the federal courts to take years and years, in some cases to decide the subpoena issues.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, what we`re learning in what has been revealed already from what Mark Meadows handed over is he obviously was using personal cell phones and personal e-mail accounts while working in the White House and using those personal account for governing communication, actual governing communication.

In other words, he was violating the Federal Records Act. He was doing what the Republicans accused Hillary Clinton of doing. I`m sure he was one of many in that White House who were doing exactly what they used to say was completely outrageous, and that`s been exposed in what he`s already handed over.

SWALWELL: They`re always projecting, Lawrence, and I also think of the Mueller report where Mueller said there were a number of blind spots in their investigation because of the apps that were being used, the number of encrypted devices in apps that were being used to conceal conversations and the fear here is that they may have been doing that, and we have to find that out.

I just want to put one fine point on what this means to every day Americans, to your viewers, because a lawyer called me earlier today, someone who practices in federal courts, and he was so upset, and he said to me, Lawrence, he said I go to court every day, I tell the truth, I try and present myself with integrity, and what is it worth if people like Mark Meadows and others can just blow off subpoenas, that`s the trickle down effect, the collateral effect is that if people start to believe that law and order doesn`t matter anymore, then as a democracy, and a country, we`re lost.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, and Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for joining us tonight and leading off our discussion.

LIEU: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: I appreciate it.

And coming up, we`ll have more of the legal vandalism of the Trump gang of lawyers who are now attacking the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, and how governing institutions must defend against that legal vandalism.



O`DONNELL: George J. Terwilliger III served as deputy attorney general in George H.W. Bush`s, his boss was Attorney General William Barr. In 2000, George J. Terwilliger III was a leader of the army of Republican lawyers who flew down to Florida to make sure the Florida recount would give the presidency to the candidate who came in second in the votes cast by American voters.

Today, George J. Terwilliger III signed his name to what Harvard`s constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe calls a frivolous lawsuit saying that the House of Representatives does not have the lawful authority. That`s the phrase this lawyer used, the lawful authority to issue subpoenas to Mark Meadows.

If George J. Terwilliger had written that in an exam when he was at Antioch School of Law in the 1970s, he may never have graduated from law school.

Tonight, George J. Terwilliger III personifies the dangerous decline and fall of the Republican Party of the Reagan era which seemed to be grounded in some principles, and seemed to pledge allegiance to the Constitution. Into what is now a chaos cult in support of all things Trump and in relentless opposition to anything in the Constitution that Donald Trump does not like on any given day.

The document that George J. Terwilliger III filed in federal court today to try to deny the legitimacy of the House of Representatives subpoenas to his client Mark Meadows is not really a lawsuit. It is an act of legal vandalism. This is a brick thrown through the window of the courtroom. Its objective is to cause chaos in federal courts with another completely frivolous lawsuit and this act of legal vandalism presents the federal courts in Washington, D.C. with a challenge to their legitimacy, unlike any in their history.

As soon as the House of Representatives moves to dismiss this stack of paper, the judge should dismiss it immediately without comment. Instead, we know. We know right now that the judges who will be involved with this lawsuit will take weeks upon weeks upon weeks upon weeks to write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph when only one sentence dismissing the case is what this document deserves. The federal courts are being played by the Trump gang of lawyers. And George J. Terwilliger is the latest to collect his paycheck to enter the Trump gang but he will not be the last.

Joining us now are Eddie Glaude, the chairman of African-American studies at Princeton University, and Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in the Obama administration. Both are MSNBC contributors.

And, Professor Glaude, I wanted to talk to people about this who are not lawyers because this is not about the law now. This document filed today has nothing to do with American jurisprudence and American law. This has to do, I believe, with creating as much chaos in the congressional subpoena process and in the federal courts and demonstrating the federal courts` inability to actually enforce these subpoenas because of their own judicial self-imposed delays, imposed by judges, that this is the Trump method to create this chaos in Washington, to say to people, nothing works, you can`t make anything work, give up, it`s not worth trying to pursue the honest answers to really important questions.

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You`re absolutely right, and you`re absolutely right about the fact that I`m not a lawyer. The first thing that came to mind as I read this, this is just the latest act in the theater of the absurd.

I was reminded of Samuel Beckett`s waiting for Godot, that famous line -- nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it`s awful.

And so, here we see this example of these illiberal forces using democratic processes and institutions to undermine democratic processes and institutions, and the institutions and the people who inhabit them don`t quite know what to do. And so this is part of, I think, this ongoing effort that Trumpism that the Republican Party seemed to represent, to really just kind of gut the foundation of our democratic polity, right, to undermine it all.

And so, I think we need to respond to it at the level and the scale at the crisis it presents. I think you`re absolutely right on every level with regards to this, Lawrence, absolutely.

O`DONNELL: So, Rick, as we know, the Republican Party that Terwilliger was working in the 1980s, the Ronald Reagan Republican Party, George H.W. Bush Republican Party, the Bob Dole Republican Party, for decades, for decades they were harping on trying to stop frivolous lawsuits. This was American corporate culture saying look, people are suing us for our products that are killing people. They`re suing us for product liability, all sorts of things. These are frivolous, American business shouldn`t be getting sued.

So the Republican policy position was we`ve got to shut down frivolous lawsuits, and now, frivolous lawsuits has become the business of the Republican Party, in order to shut down fair inquiry in Washington.

RICK STENGEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And, of course, the Republican Party, Lawrence, as you know, was the law and order party. By the way, you don`t have to be a lawyer to know the law, and that`s what the Framers thought.

And one reason this lawsuit is frivolous is because the investigative power of Congress is inherent in the legislative process. That is the most simple idea in Article I that lays out what Congress does. And in fact, as Laurence Tribe said, the speech clause actually says that the judicial branch cannot even get involved when Congress is investigating.

So as you say, a judge should just dismiss this out of hand because it doesn`t pass the laugh test.

But as Eddie said, and as Congressman Swalwell said, which I think was so important is this is undermining the rule of law. This is a stress test for the most basic rules of law in our society. And the Trumps are doing -- the Trumpists are doing this in this kind of frivolous way to undermine it.

And as Congressman Swalwell said, to most Americans, they think well, all of you guys are in this conspiracy to follow things that don`t matter, to do these frivolous lawsuits and it`s undermining the most basic principles that no man is above the law, that we`re a nation of laws and not of men. That`s what they`re trying to undermine.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I also think, Professor Glaude, there`s an attempt here to get people out there in the country to give up. You know, If you have been sitting there thinking, yes, we really have to investigate what happened on January 6.

And then you see all of this process stuff thrown at the committee and dragged into federal court and federal judges letting it drag on and on and saying that the Steve Bannon trial, which requires less than a day and requires less than a day of preparation will be July 18th.

This is an attempt to get the American public as an audience with a vested interest in this outcome to just give up on it.

PROFESSOR EDDIE GLAUDE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Absolutely, this political and judicial rope-a-dope as it were, it`s also about the midterms in June. There is this feeling that they are going to take over the House of Representatives. That`s at least, historically that`s what they believe will happen.

And so this kind of rope-a-dope is kind of getting us -- trying to delay it so that you can have this transition, this shift. Again, I think we need to sound the alarm, Lawrence. This is just the latest assault on the policy.

If we don`t understand it as such, we are in some ways complicit in what they`re trying to do.

O`DONNELL: And Rick -- all of Trumpism has been a stress test for the institutions of Washington, D.C. And it seems we`re in another one now that we didn`t know about. I mean, a few years ago, we didn`t know that you could just get a congressional subpoena and just kind of laugh at it, throw it away.

STENGEL: Well, one of the lessons of the four years of the Trump administration, and you talked about it night after night, was all of these norms that we accepted in Washington turned out to be norms, they`re not laws. And the Trump people are attempting to violate them at every venture.

I mean, you know, as Bart Gelman wrote, the crew in 2024, has started already. You know, they`re trying to work -- have state legislators be able to overturn the rule of voters. Even these frivolous lawsuits are in effect trying to overturn what are constitutional principles and things that voters have voted for.

We`re in a democratic emergency as Eddie said, and the fact that you`re highlighting it is important but people need to do something about it as well.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And lawyers can be sanctioned for frivolous lawsuits as some of the Trump lawyers have in the states. But the federal judiciary in Washington, D.C., I believe, will never do that. They will never meet this moment in the way that they should.

Professor Eddie Glaude and Rick Stengel, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

Thank you.

And coming up, President Biden goes to Missouri to explain what that state will be getting in the new Biden infrastructure law and to remind voters which recent president accomplished exactly nothing on infrastructure. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Finally, finally someone is finally telling voters that Donald Trump accomplished nothing on infrastructure. Absolutely nothing.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t think I could take one more phrase that`s going to be infrastructure weak. But guess what, it`s going to be infrastructure decade now, man.

No more talking. Action.


O`DONNELL: President Biden went to Kansas City, Missouri today where he toured the facilities of the Kansas City Area Transit Authority and explained how his new infrastructure law will support Kansas City`s acquisition of more electric buses.


BIDEN: Electric buses, you add them to the fleet, it`s a win-win-win. They`re manufactured here in America, creating good union jobs, they`re good for the environment, and they`re making them free for all riders.


O`DONNELL: The new Biden infrastructure law will help Kansas City continue to provide free bus service and help transition Kansas City`s bus fleet to electric buses. Today, the White House launched a new web site to provide information about the infrastructure law to governors, mayors, tribal leaders, business owners, union members, and anyone -- any of you out there who want to know how the multiyear infrastructure spending is being implemented.

Every Republican member of the Missouri congressional delegation voted against the Biden infrastructure bill except one. Retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt voted for the Biden infrastructure bill. Missouri`s junior senator, Josh Hawley, and all of Missouri`s Republican House members voted against the bill.

Joining us now is Lucas Kunce, a former U.S. Marine captain, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is now a Democratic candidate for Senate in Missouri running for that Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt.


O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

LUCAS KUNCE (D-MO), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Hey. Thanks for having me. It`s great to be back. I really enjoy it.

O`DONNELL: Well, it sounds like one thing you and Senator Blunt agree on is the need for this infrastructure law that Joe Biden was explaining to your state today.

KUNCE: Yes, we absolutely need to invest here in America. And you know it`s been -- it`s one of the themes of my campaign. We have talked about it before, but you know, I have been overseas, I have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. I watched us spend $6.4 trillion over there for basically nothing.

And then to see everyone just squabble over every single nickel that we`re talking about spending here was pretty painful for me. You know, most of us joined the service to serve the communities we grew up in and for many of us, we went overseas, we watched them spend all of this money over there.

And when we came home, like those communities we signed up to serve were worse off. And so I`m grateful that we`re finally investing here in our own country.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of what President Biden said today about what`s in the infrastructure bill.


BIDEN: It starts with the most significant investment in roads and bridges in America in 70 years. (AUDIO GAP)

It starts with the most significant investment in roads and bridges in America in 70 years, fixing many of those 3,500 bridges, nearly 10,000 miles of roads in Kansas and Missouri in poor condition.

The decaying roads cost Missouri and Kansas drivers more than $500 per person per year.


O`DONNELL: Is the message getting through to voters in your experience campaigning now?

KUNCE: Well, I mean, I sure hear the message about your car. I`ve already blown two tires on this campaign, and it hasn`t been cheap.

But for me, like, I think the thing that we really need to be cognizant here of is that this, it truly needs to be mission started, not mission accomplished.

Because, you know, when I go around the state, the thing I hear the most is skepticism, right, and it`s justified skepticism, because, you know, for a couple of decades now, the people of Missouri -- I mean this is the Show Me State, you got to show us when you`re going to do something, right.

For a couple of decades, what we have seen, is every time we have been told a bunch of money is being spent for our country, it gets captured by people at the top. It gets captured by, you know, great monopolies.

And it never -- it never comes down. Like the investment doesn`t -- it`s not felt by every day people. You know, we saw that with Wall Street. We saw that with the wars overseas. We have seen that over and over again.

And so like, my biggest concern, and something I share and that people talk about all the time when I go around the state is we`ve got to make sure that capture at the top doesn`t happen and the investment is actually felt for every day people. The people who deserve it, the people who are owed it.

And I mean you know, union members are super excited about the jobs. I`m thrilled we`re getting those good jobs here. We need to make sure that investment continues and it comes all the way down or, you know, frankly nobody is going to ever trust anything again.

O`DONNELL: Lucas Kunce, candidate for Senate in Missouri, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

KUNCE: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, class is in session with Congresswoman Katie Porter, who will join us next. I always learn something listening to Katie Porter, you will too. That`s next.



O`DONNELL: Our next guest Congresswoman Katie Porter used Instagram to explain President Biden`s Build Back Better Bill which is pending in the Senate in a way that only former professor Katie Porter can.


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): You`re going to see a theme here, which is taking care of workers. We talked about that already with our firefighters. We talked about making sure that we`re taking student teacher training, making sure that workers aren`t getting abused in the workplace, raising the pay of child care workers.

Here we`re talking about raising the pay of home care workers. So the Build Back Better Act really is about work. It`s about our economy.

It is every bit as much of an investment in our economy as the Infrastructure Act is. So we`re going to talk soon about some of the things in the Infrastructure Act. But these things really work together to create, like I said, a firm foundation for our economy.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Congresswoman Katie Porter, Democratic of California. She`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and the deputy chair of the House Progressive Caucus.

Thank you very much for joining us once again tonight.

So the Build Back Better Bill which the House has passed. It`s now pending in the Senate. The committees are doing their work on it. We don`t know exactly when the Senate will be ready to move on it.

What you -- the point you`re making in that video is that you`re reminding us about where this legislation began as two parts of the same Biden infrastructure approach.

PORTER: Absolutely. This is President Biden`s agenda to make sure that we have a strong, stable, globally competitive economy. And to do that, we have to make investments. And those investments are in all of the things that help us create jobs, make workers able to go to work, and make sure that we`re able to compete for the next generation of jobs.

So that means everything from investing in roads and bridges and cyber security, to investing in green energy jobs to the people who do that work. Investing in things like early childhood education, bringing down the price of prescription drugs.

And so I think that what I try to do is really I tried to use the kinds of building blocks, like those childhood blocks with the letters on them to help people see that all of these things put together what`s going to build that strong, stable, globally-competitive economy.


PORTER: Not just next year, not just for President Biden`s term, but for decades to come.

O`DONNELL: So Joe Manchin said some things in a "Wall Street Journal" conference about this. He said he`s worried said he`s worried about inflation. He didn`t say that he is not going to vote for the bill. But he said this about -- let`s listen to what he said about waiting to see exactly what`s in it. Let`s listen to what he said.


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We haven`t seen the final text on it. So for me to speak on it, to say, yes, I could be for this or no. I`m not going to be for that, you need to change this or that until I see the legislation. Hard to say that.


O`DONNELL: That seems to be the way he has been approaching this all along. So when this -- do you have any notion in the House about when the Senate will be moving on this?

PORTER: Well, I can only say I hope soon because literally I get up every day and ask myself that same thing. When will the Senate deliver for the American people?

You know, I will say that I think that the work that we did in the House putting together this bill, educating the American public about it is really building towards the pressure and the leverage and the momentum that the Senate needs to act on this bill.

So you know, we have heard a lot from Senator Manchin that he doesn`t know, that he is waiting for the parliamentarian, and that he`s waiting for the Byrd bath, and he`s waiting for the tax.

The day is going to come when this bill is going to come to the floor. And I very, very much hope that we see not only Senator Manchin and others but so we`ll see Republicans step up and vote for this. Because like I said, every American benefits from having that strong, stable, globally- competitive economy.

And as you know, Lawrence, I represent a district about equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Everybody is going to benefit from this stronger foundation for our economy going forward.

O`DONNELL: We just had candidate Kunce on who is running for Senate in Missouri talking about how when we passed bills for what ended up being hundreds of billions of dollars of spending -- immediate spending in Afghanistan -- infrastructure spending, by the way, in Afghanistan and Iraq it was never questioned. No one was asking CBO to study anything about it. No one was worried about what it might mean for inflation anywhere in the world, what it might mean for defense spending. What that might do on inflation in this country.

None of that. It just flew through with no attention to detail whatsoever, as Defense spending bills generally still do.

PORTER: Look, I think we have to start holding ourselves to account for every dollar that we spend, and there is no exception to the need for oversight, for accountability, for careful study, for careful and thoughtful use of our taxpayer dollars just because those dollars are going to defense or going to national security.

All of those dollars are tax dollars that families are playing. What they are asking the government to do with that money is protect our country, protect our society, and protect our economy.

And so I absolutely think that we ought to be holding ourselves to the same standard, whether that dollar is going out the door for national security or whether that dollar is going out the door, for example, for public health. And that`s really what I tried to do with putting a lot of emphasize on oversight. I think our government can and must help solve problems, can and must help keep Americans safe from everything from coronavirus to national security risks, but with that belief that government can help us comes the responsibility to make sure that at the end of the day those dollars are doing exactly that.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.

PORTER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.



O`DONNELL: Tonight`s LAST WORD is a thank you. Thank you for your generosity and kindness to the children who are helped every day by the KIND Fund -- Kids in Need of Desks, a partnership that I created with MSNBC and UNICEF to provide desks for schools in Malawi that have never had desks and to providing scholarships for girls to attend high school in Malawi where public high school is not free and the girls high school graduation rate is less than half of the boys` graduation rate.

Since I reminded you about the KIND Fund, you have already contributed $458,404. Your new contributions mean that thousands more desks will be delivered to schools and thousands more girls will be able to graduate from high school. The KIND Fund is also in effect a jobs program in Malawi for all of the factory workers and truck drivers and delivery workers who are employed in the manufacture and delivery of desks.

The families of those workers in Malawi never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from now that those workers have steady jobs, making desks in Malawi factories.

Some of the workers have had the pleasure of making desks for their own children`s schools and seeing their own kids sitting at the desks that they made. The children of those workers beam with pride when the desks made by their parents are delivered to their classrooms.

You can contribute at any time at No contribution is too small. You can contribute as a gift to anyone on your holiday gift list and UNICEF will send them an acknowledgment of your gift.

Like so many scholarship girls I`ve met in Malawi, 16-year-old Triza Katengeza feels very lucky that she will be able to finish high school. But last week she told us she remains concerned that so many kids in Malawi won`t get that chance.



TRIZA KATENGEZA, KIND FUNDS RECIPIENT: As for me, I am lucky that I got this scholarship. Everything for my education is paid for and I cannot complain for anything. I am assured that I will finish my high school education.

However there could be someone somewhere who really wanted to go further with education but could not find such an opportunity. I know it cannot be everybody but surely there are many people struggling.


O`DONNELL: Triza Katengeza gets tonight`s LAST WORD.