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The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 7/6/21


Summary

Donald Trump`s continued ranting is part of why Joe Biden`s approval polls are so strong, continued contrast with Donald Trump probably helps Joe Biden. Interview with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee. Texas Republicans now claim that they have absolutely no idea how a provision on overturning elections became part of their Republican voter suppression bill. President Joe Biden did something most of us never get to do. He thanked the farm workers at a cherry farm in Michigan. The Associated Press projects that Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams is the winner of the New York City Democratic primary for mayor.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.

And that is such a well-deserved parade, and it is simply the beginning of thanks that should be going on for years.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: Yeah, exactly, and you know what? The Canyon of Heroes is such a fascinating history. But it`s a national honor but it is such a New York thing, and I think it`s going to be a big deal and a very moving thing tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: So ticker tape? I mean, the stuff doesn`t actually exist anymore. Are they going to be throwing any kinds of paper out the window?

MADDOW: If my experience going to like the, you know, like the Women`s World Cup team coming home for their ticker tape parade, if my experience like that is anything to go by tomorrow, it is a huge, glorious mess with all kinds of stuff that is unidentifiable as anything other than confetti but then part of the process is it all gets cleaned up. It`s actually a pretty well-old machine.

O`DONNELL: All right. But we`re going to still call it ticker tape. There`s no reason to change it.

MADDOW: That`s exactly right.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, it is going to happen again. Republicans are going to try to steal a presidential election again. That is what they are basically telling us they`re going to do. That is what they are publicly planning to do with new election laws in some states that make it easier for Republicans to overturn the result of an election.

Democrats in Texas have won a huge victory on this front forcing Republicans to drop a provision on overturning elections from that new election law that Republicans are trying to pass in Texas. Some of those Democrats who have that — who got that win in Texas will be joining us later in the hour.

But Republicans have more wins than Democrats this year on election laws. Donald Trump`s attempts to steal the election, his attempt to steal the election was never, ever, ever about getting more votes than Joe Biden. He knew that was impossible, just as getting more votes than Hillary Clinton was impossible for Donald Trump.

The Trump steal is all about getting more electoral votes and future Republican attempts to steal presidential elections will be based on the cancer like weakness that controls presidential elections, the Electoral College. Our first guest tonight, Ezra Klein, recently interviewed democracy scholars around the world. Some of who find it laughable, literally laughable that the United States calls itself a democracy while maintaining the Electoral College.

We already know what Donald Trump did to try to steal the electoral votes of the state of Georgia. Now we have a new report of Donald Trump trying to steal the electoral votes of the state of Arizona. If Donald Trump had succeeded in his criminal attempt as he put it to find votes in those states, he still would have lost to Joe Biden by at least 6 million votes, but he could have stolen the presidential election thanks to the Electoral College, if you can pick up a few more states.

Georgia`s Fulton County`s district attorney Fani Willis is using a criminal grand jury to conduct the single most important investigation of Donald Trump in its history because it is focused on the most consequential crime Donald Trump has ever tried to commit, stealing the 2020 presidential election.

A similar criminal investigation might be underway tonight in Arizona, if only lifelong Republican Clint Hickman had decided to answer his phone.

“The Arizona Republic” reports, quote, then President Donald Trump tried to speak directly with the chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in the weeks after the November 2020 election as his allies sought to change the election results in a state he narrowly lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Donald Trump called lifelong Republican Clint Hickman twice through a White House operator.

“The Arizona Republic” reports Hickman`s phone rang about 8:30 p.m. on New Year`s Eve while he was on a date with his wife and friends in north central Phoenix. He didn`t recognize the number carrying Washington D.C.`s area code and let it go to voice mail. Hickman quickly listened to the message. The White House switchboard wanted him to call back so he could talk to the president he recalled in an interview with “The Arizona Republic”.

Hickman did not return the call and later deleted the voice mail, he said. Three days, news brook of Trump`s January 2nd phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump encouraged him to find enough votes to reverse Trump`s narrow loss there. Hickman recalled listening to the leaked audio of that hour-long phone call in January 3rd, after “The Washington Post” and other media outlets published the recording. I was horrified, Hickman said.

That same night at 9:22 p.m., approaching midnight in Washington, his phone buzzed again. It was the same area code. He let it go to voice mail again.

Here is that voicemail from the White House operator on January 3rd.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR: Hello, sir, this is the White House operator. I was calling to let you know that the president`s available to take your call if you`re free. If you could please give us a call back, sir, that would be great. You have a good evening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The man who could not get that phone call returned held a grotesque rally in Florida on Saturday night under a banner naming the event loser-palooza. That plane was hired by an anti-Trump PAC.

With the state of Florida in mourning over a deadly building collapse where workers are still searching the rubble, America`s most heartless vulgarian held a celebration of himself even though the governor said that the event should be rescheduled. Manhattan prosecutors are no doubt happier about the rally than possibly any of the people in the small rain-drenched crowd in attendance because Donald Trump talked about the criminal indictments against his company and his chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.

Donald Trump said: They go after good, hardworking people for not paying taxes on a company car. Those are his exact words.

The indictment says it was not a company car, and Donald Trump then went on to say — and don`t expect this to be coherent — you didn`t pay taxes on the car or a company apartment, you used an apartment because you need an apartment because you have to travel too far where your house is. So, Donald Trump is saying that Allen Weisselberg needed a free apartment in Manhattan because he had a house in a New York suburb, which is filled with people who commute to Manhattan every day and they don`t get anything called a company car or any car paid for illegally by Donald Trump.

Imagine Donald Trump on the witness stand in Allen Weisselberg`s trial after being subpoenaed by the Manhattan district attorney. If he says things like that, Allen Weisselberg is going to be found guilty and Donald Trump could be found guilty of perjury or specifically indicted himself for his own participation in tax fraud.

Donald Trump also mentioned these words exactly, education for your grandchildren, I don`t even know, do you have to — does anyone even know the answer to that stuff? He posed that tax question to his sadly rain drenched people in the audience, wanted to know if they know whether you have to pay taxes on $347,000 in private school tuition payments for your grandchildren.

Here`s someone who Donald Trump can ask about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know more about taxes than any human being that god ever created.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Allen Weisselberg is doing what ever criminal defendant is supposed to do. He`s not saying a public word, not one word. And Allen Weisselberg as he remains silent he watches Donald Trump help the prosecutors who are trying to put Allen Weisselberg in prison.

It may also be why Donald Trump`s continued ranting is part of why Joe Biden`s approval polls are so strong, continued contrast with Donald Trump probably helps Joe Biden.

And then there`s President Biden`s continued leadership in the most important job the president can have, making Americans safe.

Here`s President Joe Biden today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of our wartime effort to administer 300 million shots in arms in 150 days, more than 182 million Americans have received at least one shot, including nearly 90 percent of seniors and 70 percent of adults over the age of 27.

By the end of this week, we`ll have reached the mark of 160 million fully vaccinated Americans and that`s a goal I set in March that I`m thrilled we`re going to hit just a few days after July the 4th.

The bottom line is the virus is on the run and America is coming back. We`re coming back together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Ezra Klein, opinion columnist for “New York Times” where he hosts the podcast “The Ezra Klein Show.” He`s the author of “New York Times” best seller “Why We`re Polarized”.

Also joining us tonight, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzers Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post.” He is an MSNBC political analyst.

And, Eugene, let me begin with you, Allen Weisselberg sitting at home in silence. He has felt the handcuffs on his wrists. He knows what that feels like, and there`s Donald Trump out there making comments that help the prosecutor`s case against Allen Weisselberg, and Allen Weisselberg eventually has to make the decision do I cooperate with these prosecutors against someone who does not seem to be cooperating with me, Allen Weisselberg?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. When the indictments first came down, I wondered, is this really enough leverage to get Weisselberg to flip on Trump, let`s be honest. To get Weisselberg to give prosecutors information about activities or actions on the part of a former President Trump, the prosecutor might be interested.

I wasn`t quite sure, but I think Weisselberg having heard the president weaken Weisselberg`s case, weaken his defense might be rethinking and might be wondering just how far out on this limb he wants to be if the president is going to continue to undercut any, you know, potential lines of defense he might have, and he could end up jail. That`s a serious thing for a man his age.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, as I read Arizona`s new reports about the Trump attempt to steal the election there that was blocked only by someone not returning his phone call, I was reading it in tandem with your recent piece about democracy itself in this country and one of the central flaws to put it mildly in our democracy, the Electoral College, which is what these election schemes are all about.

It was — there`s no scheme to pick up an extra — find me an extra 7 million votes. There was no scheme along those lines. It was just can we find the votes in these pockets of the Electoral College and can we find them illegally that could reverse this, and that`s all thanks to this original design of the Electoral College.

EZRA KLEIN, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, this is an extraordinary thing about our system. As you say, when you talk to scholars from abroad, they are baffled by it. I mean, they look at you like you`re crazy when you explain it or frankly, they already know it. They talk to you like you are crazy when they are trying to ask you why.

But I want to know something, Lawrence, that I didn`t get to put in the piece, but you`ve given me a wonderful opportunity to talk about, something else we do that is very, very unusual is our election administration is partisan. So in other countries, the people Donald Trump would be calling are not appointees of the Republican Party and are not Republicans who ran for office as in the case of the Georgia secretary of state.

They are non-partisan civic officials who are outside of the two-party system. Do not have ambitions to succeed within the party and so are simply administering elections for the sake of elections. One of the things going on, there`s a series of bills that people know very well to impose about our ID laws, not let you bring water to people in line.

There`s also to bring it further under the control of Republican legislatures. If I remember the number right here, there are 28 bills that have passed like this in 14 states criminalizing, politicizing or otherwise giving Republican legislators more power over election administration. That too is really unusual. It is a compounding vulnerability in our system built atop the Electoral College.

We have these outcomes like ones we`ve seen in recent elections. The number is something like if you flip 22,000 or 24,000 votes in a couple of states you could have got an Electoral College tie which Trump would have won in the House of Representatives.

So having Republican partisan officials running elections where you then have margins that narrow because of the Electoral College, not because of the voters is an extraordinary vulnerability in our system.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, and gene, halfway to the Electoral College tie would be picking up Georgia and Arizona and then Trump just needed to get Wisconsin and Michigan, and then you have that tie, that crazy thing you`ve never seen before, brought to you by the founders who thought the Electoral College was such a great idea. I`ve been an election observer in a foreign country exactly once, and the best you can do is say I didn`t see any irregularities.

You can`t know what happened in every single voting spot in the country. You write a little report in effect saying we didn`t see any. If they ever told you five weeks after we leave we`re going to have this other meeting, you know, called an Electoral College, we can`t sign anything. This is outrageously anti-democratic.

ROBINSON: Yeah, I watched the elections in Argentina shortly after Argentina returned to democracy, Brazil, and Peru, and I saw irregularities. I didn`t see anything as weird and as just flat out undemocratic, unrepresentative as the Electoral College full stop. I just didn`t.

And actually, I have faith that in the elections that I did see in those countries that had very fragile democracies at the time, you know, the result we got was the actual will of the people, that`s just the way people voted, and that`s not the case here.

I mean, you know, Joe Biden could have won this election by millions of votes and lost the election in the Electoral College. The question is what is to be done about this. This is a fixture. It`s in the Constitution.

It`s there, and it will be very, very difficult to get rid of. It`s hard to figure out a path to getting rid of it short of a series of devastating — on the part of the Republican Party that leave Democrats in charge of most everything.

O`DONNELL: And, Ezra, you illuminated something for me that I had never really focused on before because we have this phrase that we are the oldest democracy in the world, and your — democracy experts from around the world kind of chuckle at that too because they say, well, I mean, you might have started voting before other country s, but it was only white men who were allowed to do it, and there`s many other countries that granted women the right to vote long before the United States. So they actually kind of count us as one of the younger democracies.

KLEIN: We are a very young inclusive democracy. So by the standards of a democracy in 1800s, yeah, we`re a pretty old democracy. By the standards of democracy in 2020, we are not an old democracy.

It is important to take this point really seriously. When you see these kinds of efforts to reverse elections, to move who can vote, to change who can vote, to put these impediments in front of people, these are not some kind of alien plant taking root in America`s deep Democratic soil. That`s the point of what some of these democracy scholars are telling me.

We have traditionally been a liberal state, and I mean liberal in the traditional sense of the term for white men, for white people, we give dramatic rights to some and not to others. The effort to turn back the clock on this has a deep soil in this country. This is not trying to make America something it has never been.

It`s trying to make something America it traditionally has been, a true multi-ethnic-ish democracy that we`ve been for the past couple of decades, you know, since the Civil Rights Act. That is a recent development in American politics and in American society. And so it is contested.

Younger things are more likely failures, and democracies traditionally are more likely failures. That`s one of the reasons to be worried about what Republicans are doing. I also want to say something optimistic about what Democrats are doing. Unlike in a lot of cases of Democratic backsliding, there is a party in this country that is currently in power nationally that is trying to dramatically expand democracy.

You`re not seeing a party with dominant power trying to choke off democracy. You`re seeing Joe Biden and the Democrats try and pass bills, to expand and deepen democracy in this country. That could be an optimistic end to the story if they get rid of the filibuster.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein and Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much for starting us off tonight.

ROBINSON: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, a Republican congressman says he believes some of his colleagues, Republican colleagues actually knew that the January 6th attack on the Capitol was coming.

And the FBI released new violent video today in the hope of arresting more of the Trump mob who attacked the capitol. Congressman Eric Swalwell joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today marks exactly six months since a violent Trump mob stormed the capitol injuring 141 Capitol Police officers in their declared mission to, among other things, overturn the presidential election, and while they were at it, hang the vice president of the United States. The FBI has arrested more than 500 of the now accused criminals.

And today, the FBI requested the public`s help in identifying 11 more suspects. The FBI released 11 new videos, which I must warn you show graphic violence at the Capitol.

In one video, a suspect in a black jacket and red hood struggles with an officer in an attempt to remove a baton from the officer`s hands.

In another video, a suspect wearing a blue Trump hat lungs at lunges at an officer attempting to grab the officer`s baton, the suspect yells, this is our house, while charging at the officer.

Another video shows a suspect in a black sweatshirt and yellow hat pulling a police officer to the ground by the neck.

And another video shows a suspect wearing clear safety goggles and a blue Trump hat lunging at Capitol Police officers.

Today, a federal judge rejected Jacob Chansley`s new request to be released to an undisclosed secure location with his family in Phoenix, Arizona, because the judge said, defense counsel has not provided any information to the court regarding that secure location.

Chansley who served two years in the Navy invaded the Capitol wearing horns.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger told “The New York Times” that he suspects some members of Congress, Republican members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen on January 6th. Quote: I won`t name names, but, yes, I do have that suspicion. If you have members of Congress who were involved in nurturing an insurrection, heck, yeah, we need to know.”

Congressman Eric Swalwell says this about the January 6th attack in his new book “Endgame: Inside the Impeachments of Donald J. Trump.” Quote: Little has been more maddening post-January 6th than to hear police leadership declare that they didn`t have intelligence justifying a tighter security posture. In the week leading up to the certification of the Electoral College results, a number of family and friends reached out to me expressing concern for my safety. To be clear, these are people who did not have security clearances or access to intelligence briefings. They were using their common sense and were reading with their own eyes that Donald Trump was assembling, inflaming and inciting a mob to come to Washington and “Stop the Steal”.

Social media posts by members of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other white nationalist groups had made it plainly clear that they intended violence on the 6th.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, and he`s the author of the new book, “Endgame: Inside the Impeachments of Donald J. Trump.”

Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

I want to get your reaction to the FBI`s release of new video today, which always shows us a new perspective on just how violent this was and shows us that they are still going after suspects who they have not yet identified asking the public`s help.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Lawrence, it shows that this indeed was the largest crime committed in the United States. That when it`s all said and done, there will never have been more criminal indictments from a single incident. So, that just disproves this idea that this was just a day at the park, or a tourist incident.

Donald Trump incited and inflamed and invited this mob here, and I`m convinced if Donald Trump did not do that, these folks otherwise never would have come. So, but for Donald Trump, January 6th does not happen.

Second, Lawrence — and this is important for your viewers — we can all play a role by going through the FBI twitter and Facebook accounts and reposting and re-tweeting these videos and play our own civic duty in making sure that those who participated that day are held accountable.

I can`t re-tweet those videos enough to try and do my part to bring them to justice.

O`DONNELL: You know, your book is about the impeachments of Donald Trump, the second impeachment was all about one day, it was all about January 6th and I guess in other ways, in evidentiary terms, it was also about what led up to it. And Donald Trump and others communication with this crowd that precedes January 6th.

SWALWELL: That`s right. Also, Lawrence, that this was entirely predictable for nearly 20 days leading up to the 6th, Donald Trump`s campaign and associates had spent $50 million on “Stop the Steal” campaign ads and they stopped paying for them on the 6th.

So they had every intention to bring this mob to the capitol, and then aim it at lawmakers as they were counting the votes. And one bit that I put in the book, Lawrence, that was surprising to me is we are setting up and getting ready for the impeachment trial a couple of days before it started, and an IT help desk essentially came and put up printers, copy machines, laptops and told us what the Wi-Fi network was that we used as managers.

And I thanked the team after they set that up. And I said, you know, you guys really set this up in record time considering we just impeached Donald Trump. And the young IT professional said, well, sir, to be honest, we were the team that did impeachment number one and we just left all the infrastructure up because we figured you all would be back. It was always predictable that this would happen.

O`DONNELL: Oh wow.

Yes, that really is — that`s an amazing — an amazing story in your book that they expected this to happen.

(CROSSTALK)

SWALWELL: He wasn`t saying it to be funny. He was just saying it as, look, we figured you guys were going to come back knowing who Donald Trump was.

O`DONNELL: And so by the way, when you came back, this was a very different thing. This was an impeachment about the essence of the work of Congress. We`ve never seen any grounds for impeachment, anything like that, even vaguely like that in history, never suggested by anyone. What was that like to represent in that trial?

SWALWELL: We were in the unique position where we were the victims but also the prosecutors. We were at the scene of the crime, which also served as the courtroom. And Lawrence, many of us were processing our own trauma as we were putting this case together.

And there were times where managers and staff members would get quite emotional as we were going through our presentation rehearsal sessions because we were watching the video footage that we had seen for the very first time.

And all of us did our best to hold it together when we were on the senate floor knowing the task that we had in front of us. But I would say in some ways it was cathartic for us to experience that as managers and process what had happened in our own individual way.

O`DONNELL: Eric Swalwell, a witness to history on January 6th and during the impeachment trial. Eric Swalwell`s new book is “Endgame: Inside the Impeachments of Donald J. Trump”.

Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SWALWELL: Thank you. My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Texas Republicans now claim that they have absolutely no idea how a provision on overturning elections became part of their Republican voter suppression bill. Two Texas Democrats who blocked that bill will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Horrendous policy. Texas Republicans have declared it a total mystery, who inserted what they now call their words, “horrendous policy”, in their own election law legislation that Democrats managed to block by staging a walkout of the Texas House of Representatives and denying a quorum necessary to pass the bill.

The “Houston Chronicle” reports that Texas state Representative Travis Clardy and State Senator Bryan Hughes, the chief authors of the bill now claim that they have absolutely no idea how the provisions about overturning elections ever got added to their bill.

Travis Clardy is now saying that making it easier for Texas judges to overturn elections, quote, “would be horrendous policy and it would never be healthy for the democracy”.

But Texas Republicans knew all it during the debate on the House floor because our next guests stressed that very issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE REP. CHRIS TURNER (D-TX): Are you ok with a judge being able to overturn an election, perhaps your own election simply because the math says that, well, you know, we think that there`s some illegal votes?

STATE REP. JULIE JOHNSON (D-TX): Just think about that, your election could be overturned without the other side being required to prove actual voter fraud.

STATE REP. JOHN BUCY (D-TX): Do we want to throw out our ability to let the voices be heard through elections? Because if we pass this resolution, we no longer have to prove voter fraud to throw out an election result. We can simply do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The Texas legislature will reconvene on Thursday to reconsider the bill. And the Republican authors of the bill now say that “horrendous policy”, that particular horrendous policy will not be in the bill.

Joining us now are Texas state representatives John Bucy and Julie Johnson. Thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

And Representative Johnson, let me begin with you. Are we ever going to find out who put this mystery provision in the bill?

JOHNSON: Well, we know exactly who put that provision in the bill. And that are the Republicans in the Senate. And they put that provision in the bill and sent it over to us in the House.

And so — and they did it, unfortunately, with about 11 hours left of the legislative session. So they slid it in at the last minute.

We didn`t get the bill until 4:52 on Sunday when the clock expired at midnight, and that provision mysteriously appeared. So yes, they knew exactly what they were doing. They were trying to get Democrats asleep at the wheel.

But fortunately we were paying very close attention and we didn`t let it happen.

O`DONNELL: Representative Bucy and Representative Johnson, let me congratulate you on your huge win here in forcing this out of the bill. If you hadn`t drawn attention to it as you did, they would have been clearly trying to hold on to this provision.

But Representative Bucy, I`m just surprised that — what is this? Are they just actually embarrassed about it? Are they capable of embarrassment? Why are they giving up on this provision?

BUCY: You know, they run policy through us, and they try to run us over all the time. They thought they would do that again here. We made it so clear to them what they were doing.

And now that the press and everybody`s covering this and they realize how bad this policy is, they`re trying to walk it back and trying not to own it.

So I think it just shows that our walkout and breaking quorum is paying dividends already and making a real impact for the people of Texas.

O`DONNELL: And Representative Johnson, these other legislatures — Georgia and others are trying to put in these provisions about what happens after people vote. What can we do after the votes have been cast to try to continue to control the outcome of an election.

They strike me as the most terrifying things in any of these laws. And you have managed to defeat this one in Texas. As I say, that must feel like a huge win at least on that provision.

JOHNSON: It is a huge win because that provision was critically important. They changed the standard of proof that one has to prove and then they removed any evidentiary requirements of actual fraud to overturn an election.

So by us standing up, walking out, taking the stance that we did as Democrats, I`m really glad that we were able to highlight the absurdity that this provision would bring on our democracy and that we were able achieve this result. It`s huge for our elections and huge for the voters of Texas and hopefully other states will take (ph) note as well and not try to do this in their states either.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And Representative Bucy, I have to say when I saw the walkout, it was dramatic. It was important. It stopped the clock. But it felt from this distance like all it was doing was stopping the clock. And at some point, that clock was going to start again with the same tremendous disadvantage that the Democrats have in that legislature, but while that clock has been stopped, you did get this win at least.

BUCY: Absolutely, we`ve seen this provision taken out. The attack on Sunday voting hours, which is really an attack on Souls to the Polls, which is so common in the South among our African-American voters and communities.

That`s a provision they`ve also walked back. So I think we`re seeing multiple wins here and our caucus — all 67 Democrats in the Texas House are committed to continuing this fight to fight for all the voting rights for the people of Texas.

O`DONNELL: And Representative Johnson, what remains in the struggle ahead over this legislation?

JOHNSON: Well, you know, the governor has called us in for a special session. We start on Thursday. They still have not issued the call, and they have not — we`ve not seen the newly filed bill.

So obviously we`ll have to see what they`re going to put forward on the table, and what they`re going to file. See if these provisions are in or out and what other crazy things they`ve come up with to try to put in this bill, or if we`re going to take the tenor of let`s pass a reasonable bill. The house offered a lot of reasonable amendments when we had the time in our Texas — in the process of the House.

We`ll see if any of those amendments make it back into this version. So we need to see what they actually try to do. And you know, fortunately the Democratic caucus, we`re united. We`re ready to fight in whatever means necessary to make sure that we have a fair elections bill for the people of Texas.

And if that means breaking quorum, that means breaking quorum. If that means offering a million amendments and everything else, and arguing and debating, we`re willing to do everything necessary to make sure that we have a fair elections process.

O`DONNELL: Texas state representatives John Bucy and Julie Johnson — I am in awe of the power you have exercised from your position in the minority in that legislature. It has been an amazing thing to watch. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BUCY: Thank you, Lawrence.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, a farm worker died in Oregon last week where temperatures went above 115. Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta will join us along with Congressman Raul Ruiz next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good to see you.

BIDEN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Joe Biden doing something most of us never get to do. He was thanking the farm workers at a cherry farm in Michigan.

I had California blueberries this weekend, but I didn`t get a chance to thanks Shelvy who took this picture from where she was harvesting blueberries in Richgrove, California where it was 104 degrees.

I also had California strawberries, and I didn`t get to thank any of the farm workers who were working in record heat this season to deliver those strawberries.

Sebastian Francisco Perez, a 38-year-old farm worker in Oregon died last week when temperatures rose above 115 degrees in Oregon.

If you had watermelon on the Fourth of July, you can thank Samuel, Mario and Juan who were hard at work in 105 degree weather.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz of California. He is the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and he is also a physician. Also with us, Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist and labor leader. She is the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez. And she is now and always will be my hero.

Dolores, let me begin with you and the question of what this heat wave means for the already difficult work that farm workers are doing?

DOLORES HUERTA, CO-FOUNDER, UNITED FARM WORKERS OF AMERICA: Well, we know that it is something that farm workers always have to suffer when they`re out in the heat. And only California and Washington state are the only two states that have any kind of provision in the law that farm workers have to be given shade. They have to be provided water — (INAUDIBLE) that is the law.

It`s very threatening for so many farm workers and we have had not only farm workers, but we say — we know that in Canada, about 500 people there died of heat also. So we know that this global warming is a big threat but especially for farm workers.

And unfortunately many of the employees of the farm workers, they`re (INAUDIBLE) the fields of the farm workers that have their offices in air- conditioned places in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

And so I guess farm workers are very, very definitely being threatened by global warming and by what`s happening out there. And they`re not being taken care in the way that they should be.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Ruiz, you have two perspectives on this. One as a member of Congress, another as a physician and a public health expert. Tell us what you`re seeing and how this heat wave effects the farm workers.

REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): Thank you, Lawrence. First let me just say what an honor it is to be on with Dolores Huerta. It`s like a dream come true as a son of farm workers myself.

I just want to thank her publicly on behalf of my parents and all the parents that toiled the field with callous hands and minimum rest. Thank you for all that you`ve done to make life better for us. And we have so much more to do.

And as a physician, Lawrence, I have taken care of farm workers in the emergency department. They come in with mental status changes, with heat rash, with dehydration. Severe dehydration that can lead to renal insufficiency, kidney problems.

Many of them, they had diabetes and they have worsened or they come in a diabetic coma because of their dehydration. So this is very serious. In fact, farm workers are 20 times more likely to suffer from heat illness and die from heatstroke than others.

And in fact, in 2015, a 48-year-old father of three by the name of Jaime in my district died from working out in the fields. It`s very difficult to be able to withstand ten hours of working in over 100-degree temperature and in the desert and the Coachella (ph) Valley, we can reach up to 115, 120 routinely, which we already have.

O`DONNELL: And Dolores, heat is not a new problem for farm workers — seasonal farm workers. But it`s focusing the difficulty of the work in a way that many people have not had to witness before thanks to social media and other ways of getting this message out that we didn`t have in the past.

HUERTA: And there`s a way to stop the illnesses and the deaths of farm workers, by getting them out of the field early. Get in some other field, you know, before the temperatures get too high.

And we had our contacts way back in the day, some farm worker died from heat exhaustion because they were out on the fields. And this is something that the employers have to do. They have to take responsibility, tell their foremen, the labor contractors, you know, once the temperature gets so high, get the people out of the field.

You may have to hire more workers to do the work, but that`s ok, as long as it prevents people from dying. This is what we have to do.

O`DONNELL: And also, Congressman, in some fields, they`re starting them basically in the middle of the night so that they`re not exposed to as much sun. Some as early as 3:00 in the morning to start working in the cooler temperatures.

RUIZ: Yes, sir. In fact, we actually have a bill in Congress introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu called the Asuncion Valdivia, Heat Illness and Fatalities Prevention Act. And that would federalize or nationalize paid breaks in four spaces, provide — make sure that there`s access to drinking water out in the fields and to limit their exposure to the extreme heat and also to hold growers accountable to initiate emergency services and not just send them home. But if there`s mental status changes or illness, to call 911.

It`s remarkable that in today we`re still fighting to give farm workers access to clean water and cool spaces to take breaks when it`s 115 degrees outside. And so these are basic preventions and public health measures that we can do today.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Raul Ruiz, thank you for joining us tonight. And thank you for taking that opportunity here on this show to thank Dolores Huerta directly.

And Dolores Huerta, thank you once again for joining us once again. And thank you for your life of service. We really appreciate it.

HUERTA: Thank you very much for bringing this to the attention of all the public, farm workers — thank you.

RUIZ: Thank you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.

And coming up, we have an apparent winner in the race to become the Democratic nominee for mayor in New York. And the Democratic nominee usually is the next mayor of New York. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: I wish Steve Kornacki could be here to tell you the Associated Press projects that Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams is the winner of the New York City Democratic primary for mayor. Eric Adams came in first in a large Democratic field in New York City`s first major election two use ranked-choice voting.

Results from the latest tabulations released earlier tonight show Adams leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,426 votes, or a little more than 1 percent of the vote.

In a statement, Eric Adams said, “While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear. An historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York.”

Eric Adams will face Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election on November 2nd.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

“THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” starts now.



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