tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC May 25, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
for us tonight. my big plan is that no news is going to happen tomorrow which will allow us to do the whole show that we had planned for today before the news blew it up. we're just carrying it over, assuming that news will still be fresh tomorrow, right? good plan? why not. i'll see you again tomorrow night, we're all be doing yesterday's news. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell, good evening lawrence. >> rachel i'm actually planning to do a short script that i wrote for monday night tomorrow night. it's still newsworthy, it's a nice little story. but who knows, i was planning to do it tonight. that's off. we are now going to have to stock up on our list of former assistant manhattan district attorneys as it seems with the impaling of the grand jury there. we're gonna need their
expertise. and tonight i've got the former chief assistant district attorney daniel alonso who joined us before on the workings of this investigation and he's becoming an mvp here because he's really been in there with these manhattan grand juries. he knows every wrinkle about this and this does feel like the beginning of what will be a significant chapter of our coverage of the world of trump material. >> and i will say dan alonso has been also he's been absolutely irreplaceable. irreplaceable. i've learned more from him i've heard more from state about prosecutions and how they work him and where the decision points are. and you can't really do that to
learn the different loss systems and 50. states what's happened in new york state, that alonso has been clarifying in terms of what that office can do and how they approach their work. >> i mean, the way i watch tv during the day is i don't really watch it. it's there in the corner of my eye, and when someone like daniel alonso comes, anna grab the remote and push up the volume. it's rare in the course of the day. how many times i actually push up the volume to hear what's being said is actually pretty rare. it takes a lot. but he's one of those people. >> i will never new to you, lawrence. never! no matter what. >> of course as easy for you to say because i am on after your work day is over, and, you know. [laughs] that changes everything! >> never mind! [laughs] >> thanks, rachel!
exactly one year ago today, 17 year olds darnella frazier and her phone at george floyd lying face down and handcuff on a street in minneapolis and she recorded the video of the last nine minutes and 29 seconds of his life in washington today, george floyd's now seven year old daughter gianna said what we saw, what the world saw on that but you can change the world. >> just like gianna said, her dad was a hero. [applause] you guys can see we all should be able to work together. >> darnella frazier doesn't do interviews. we heard her voice, but we
aren't allowed to see her face when she testified in a trial that convicted derek chauvin of the murder of george floyd. largely on the strength of her video recording. that's how that conviction was obtained. she spoke with anguish under oath in a trial about lying awake at night, wishing she had done more to help george floyd, and today, darnella frazier issued a written statement. it's a profound and pro attic and painful to read. she says, a part of my childhood was taken away for me. at the end of this hour, the poet and author, caroline randall williams, has agreed to join us to give wise to eternal rioters written statements in tonight's last word. a year ago, kamala harris was the united states senator who joined senator cory booker to cosponsor the george floyd justice in policing act in the senate and today kamala harris was the vice president of the
united states who received george floyd's family in a visit in the oval office with president biden. after the meeting, george floyd's brother said this -- >> i just want this policing act to be passed for the future. if you can make federal law to protect the bird which is the bald eagle, you can make laws to protect people of color. n make >> biden issued a statemf a mini george floyd's family. the negotiations on the george floyd justice in policing act in congress are ongoing. i have strongly supported the legislation that passed the house, and i appreciate the good faith efforts from democrats and republicans to pass a meaningful bill out of the senate. it is my hope they will get a bill to might as quickly. george floyd's family also met with members of congress including how speaker nancy pelosi, and congressman karen bass, chair of the congressional black caucus.
congresswoman bass said this. about negotiations on the police reform legislation that's named after george floyd. >> i stand here to renew the commitment we will get this bill on president biden's desk. we will get this bill on the desk, and what is important, is that when it reaches his desk, it is far more important than a specific date. we will work until we get the job done. it will be passed in a bipartisan manner. so, that is a commitment we are making. >> today, george floyd's family also met with south carolina's republican senators tim scott and lindsey graham before that meeting with the family. senator scott said this -- >> we continue to work on the process and i think it's -- we had good, good progress over the weekend. i thought. and i think we can see the end of the tunnel. >> really?
>> i think so. not this week coming, but i think we are, we are seeing a frame. >> the national conference on state legislators reports that significant police reform legislation has passed in 39 states, as late as april of this year. joining our discussion is valid demings of florida. she's a member of the house intelligence and judiciary committees and is a former chief of police for the orlando orlando police department. congressman -- thanks for joining us on this night. we heard gianna floyd say her father's death can change the world. so far, it's changed something in most legislators around the country. the big question facing washington tonight is what will it change in washington! what will happen on the george floyd bill! is there any real prospect of
getting it through the senate and intact? >>, lawrence it's good to be back with you. and what a day of reflection. i also feel it's a day of hope. when we look back over the last year, after this very track trick event, a lot has changed. i joined my colleagues in the house and the leaders on this effort in the senate really believing that we will get this legislation done. we don't have a choice. after the pain we've all, certainly the floyd family, has suffered over the last year. the pain minneapolis has suffered over the last year. the numerous thousands of people, all the witnesses who testified. darnella, we talked about earlier, we have got to get
this done. i do believe,, lawrence we will. >> i want to draw and your expertise in police work. tell us what you think are the most important elements of this legislation? >> one of the things i say is everybody counts. everybody is accountable. you heard me say many times that no one is above the law. i believe this legislation george floyd justice in policing act is not perfect, but i do believe it is a good start. the national database is a good thing. looking at training is a good thing. looking at policies is a good thing. i do believe we must, the senate and the house must come together and holding officers council, and look at how we can change qualified immunity, especially for the most egregious behavior. i believe good police officers i've worked with many of them
want to see this done. they understand it, and i believe while the legislation is not perfect, that it is a major step in the right direction. >> let's listen to what the vice president had to say about this today. >> we are waiting, listening, hearing, the work is happening. senator cory booker, he and i together will create the justice in policing act in the senate with karen bass and jerry nadler on the house side. and the work they have been doing has been, i think, intensive through the weekends. the house members including karen bass not going back to the district to continue eric on its. they're working around the clock from what i can see. and we are waiting to. here there's a bit of optimism coming from the hill, and that gives me a sense of optimism. we will wait and see.
>> congresswoman demings, your reaction to the? >> i believe vice president harris is absolutely correct. there is no doubt in my mind those who have been working around the clock over the weekend are serious about getting this done. i've spoken to senator scott with karen bass and others regarding this legislation. their commitment is there and that's why i do believe while it may be slow, a slow process, representative bass said it correctly, having substantive legislation is more important than meeting a deadline. we want to get this right, lawrence. we have to get right! >> do you think there's any possibility of getting your states to senators for those two senators to support this legislation! >> i don't think there's any possibility of getting, and i
say that with the most pain i can muster up, but i don't believe one or both for the senators will support this legislation. lawrence, we have a great two party system in this country, a strong two party system but we've always, if you look back historically, we've been able to come together to meet the moment, when it dealt with some of the toughest situations we face. it's one of those, moments but i don't believe, and i say this unfortunately with the utmost confidence, that neither florida's senator will rise to the occasion to meet this moment. >> it's been reported you are considering challenging senator over bio in florida and his reelection campaign next year. what does his position on this legislation -- how does that inform your
desire to run for the seat! >> i am considering a run for the u.s. senate, challenging marco rubio. the voters in florida, the people in florida deserve to have a senator that's not there to represent himself, or the most elitist. they deserve to have a senator that represents them, and cares about the issues they care about. reforming our criminal justice system is one of those issues, but i am convinced neither senator, certainly marco rubio, will not stand up and vote for legislation. number two, if he shows up at all. i'm considering challenging him, so stay tuned for that moment. >> congresswoman val demings, thanks for starting off our
conversation tonight. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> coming, up the breaking news from the washington post earlier this evening that the manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury to hear evidence and decide whether to indict donald trump. manhattan's former chief assistant district attorney daniel alonso joins us next. o joins us next. with the new freestyle libre 2 system, a continuous glucose monitor, you can check your glucose with a painless, one-second scan. and now with optional alarms, you can choose to be notified if you go too high or too low. and for those who qualify, the freestyle libre 2 system is now covered by medicare. ask your doctor for a prescription. you can do it without fingersticks. learn more at freestyle libre 2 dot u.s. ♪♪ ♪♪ thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor
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breaking news report in the washington post this evening that the men had to destroy attorney has convened a grand jury to hear evidence and, quote, to decide whether to indict former president donald trump other executives at his company, or the business itself should prosecutors present a panel with criminal charges according to two people familiar with the development. it suggests district attorney vance believes he has found evidence of a crime, if not by trump, then by someone potentially close to him or by his company. the grand jury convened recently and authorized to consider evidence for six months. one of the people familiar with the matter told washington post it's likely that trump earlier testimony in a secret proceeding has already begun. since the twice impeached and fully disgraced former president, was denied a second returned by 81 million voters is now banned from twitter and
other social media. donald trump was forced to issue an old-fashioned press release tonight about the grand jury. the first sentence is, this is a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in american history. that's followed by seven sentences you could write yourself because you've heard the mall before. joining us now is daniel alonso former chief assistant to the manhattan district attorney's office and the former federal prosecutor in the eastern district of new york. daniel, great to have you back tonight with this. when you got this news today, what was your first reaction to it? >> not surprised at all. this is a natural progression in all substantial white collar investigations in manhattan. what happens is, they spend a lot of time investigating, and if a case is relatively complex, which this one is, you have to panel a special grand jury
which sits longer than the usual four weeks which is the usual term of grand jury to get it all in. what it tells me is if you take that step of empaneling what's called a special grand jury, more highly likely to be presenting some criminal charges to that grand jury at some point. you also need to spend a lot of that time putting the evidence in, juries are very complex, you have cumbersome procedures. you have to bring witnesses in and you can also use it as investigative tool. you can compel witnesses to have to testify even if they don't want to. it's very powerful as a tool. the bottom line is, this tells me an already substantial investigation is heading to some charges at least at some point.least at som the >> six month authorization at this gradually doesn't mean they will necessarily use all of those six months before delivering charges? >> correct. the charges could be presented at anytime as longer sufficient
evidence has been presented to the grand jury. grand juries are allowed to consider charges piecemeal. they can vote out an indictment, decide on charges, heap investigating, while additional or superseding charges as well. >> the washington post reporting indicates it's possible it says the charges might be filed against his company, is it possible to bring criminal charges just against a company and not against any individuals in the company! >> more than possible. it's done time to time. here, there are lots of companies to choose from. the trump organization is kind of an umbrella over a lot of different companies. the way realistic works is it creates special purpose companies to do things. i don't know which of the companies was the vehicle for the loans, and the tax returns are an issue, and all the other
issues the da is investigating. corporate indictments, corporate resolutions, they are commonplace and white collar. >> how is it a company can commit a crime without any individual in the company committing that crime! >> great question, lawrence. technically it can't, right? new york long requires the act, the crime had been committed by a high managerial agent of the company. that's not well defined in the law, so the question is to whether it's middle management, requires an allen weisselberg litigation at the appropriate time. there are times when the evidence against a particular individual might not be particularly strong, but you think you might be able to
corporations but they usually do include individuals as well. >> daniel alonso that's the tip of our iceberg tonight. we are going to need you back on a regular basis, obviously, with this ground jury in place. thanks for your guidance tonight! >> thanks for having me. >> and coming, up joe manchin has gone from disheartening yesterday to extremely frustrating today. those are the words he's used now in describing his feelings about senate republicans refusal to support a bipartisan bill to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the january 6th attack on the capitol. when will it be so disheartening and extremely frustrating that joe manchin decides it's time to change the 60-foot procedural threshold in the senate? jennifer palmieri and eugene robinson joins us next. on joins us next and into the driver's seat.
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senate majority leader chuck schumer tonight filed a cultural motion in the senate that could allow a procedural vote by the end of this week on establishing a bipartisan january six investigation commission. the vote requires a 60 vote threshold in order to then proceed to a vote on the commission itself. yesterday was disheartening for democratic senator joe manchin who is trying to find what he called ten good solid patriots on the republican side of the senate to vote for a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the capitol by a trump mob on january 6th, who said they wanted to hang mike pence to prevent the constitutional process of counting the electoral votes that would deliver the presidency to joe biden. today, mitch mcconnell called the proposal for a bipartisan commission to investigate january 6th, quote, a purely political exercise. so, today was extremely
frustrating and disturbing for joe manchin. those were his exact words today, actually frustrating and disturbing. joe manchin went public with a written statement of what he has been saying to republican senators privately. the statement is co-signed by democratic senator kirsten cinema, and it says we implore our senate republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of january 6th. joe manchin is nine republicans short of the ten patriotic republicans needed for the bill to clear a 60 vote procedural threshold in the senate. the summer kasky said today, i am going to support it. mitt romney said he would supported only if there were significant changes made to the proposal to make it less effective, including putting a december 31st time limit on the investigation. dramatic was asked by reporters if he would support changing the senate rules at a 60 vote
procedural threshold in order to pass go in the senate. the report imagine replied no, i can't take the fallout and in his statement today imploring senate republicans to do the right thing, senator matches said the events of january 6th where apparently horrific. they were apparently not horrific not horrific enough to enough to change change the the 60 vote 60 vote procedural rule procedural rules and the united states senate. joining us now is jennifer, former communication the also eugene robinson. columnist for the washington post, he's an msnbc political analyst. okay jennifer, it's the biden white house and they're going for everywhere joe mentioned says about this. where does it stand tonight? struck schumer just bring it to evolve the senate? they lose it and they turn to joe manchin and say, see? it's impossible to negotiate
with these people. >> i think maybe there is shimmers indicating that that's what he's going to do and i think if i was in the biden white house beyond the vote that will happen on the commission, i would find it very interesting that mansion and sinema took it upon themselves to insert themselves in that way. it suggests to me that while they both very much been very clear that they want to filibuster why put out a statement like this? if you put out a statement like this then yes, we want to keep the filibuster but if we continue to obstruct things that should clearly, very clearly have bipartisan support the republican senators actually voted to impeach the president. there should be republican support for this commission as you've been putting them unnoticed we've been watching and our views could change here. i think it's not insignificant that they both put the
statement out. >> i agree jean. they could implore republican senators privately as i'm sure joe manchin is already done. doing it publicly is a way of him telling west virginia, look i'm imploring them i've been imploring them. this is an important thing and i think jennifer's completely right. this statement today is a statement to voters saying look at what we're doing here. and the question becomes, will those voters go along with joe manchin changing any kind of rules that would allow this to proceed? >> i agree with jennifer that this was a statement to voters but also to republicans. i've had a decent number of u.s. senators and not one of them has enjoyed being humiliated. that's what's happening was joe manchin as he continues but
there are these ten phantom republican patriot senators who -- at least get on board this bill at least allow overture on the bill to investigate the insurrection of the capital. this grave threat to our democracy, this horrible day that they all experience and he can only find one so far that will join in. that's humiliating and he's not going to enjoy that and i think he's letting his republican colleagues know that this is not an experience that he will tolerate indefinitely or forever. at least that's the message he sending, would he actually will do. it's unclear. well >> jennifer, the endgame here is a peculiar set of choices for democrats.
if this commission somehow was voted into law with republican cooperation, it then seems to me to be structured as a dysfunctional commission in which no subpoenas could issue without republican members voting for those subpoenas. those republican members will be chosen by mitch mcconnell and kevin mccarthy. we know kevin mccarthy will only choose members who are approved by donald trump. and mitch mcconnell will want to choose members who don't offend donald trump. the people the republicans put on this commission could just make the whole thing completely dysfunctional. >> they can, and the democrats and pelosi have been in this position before. this will be new for schumer where they've had to decide, do we participate in something like this knowing that how republicans are likely to behave and the benghazi committee comes to mind, right?
the republicans in charge of the house, ben gazis reform. do we put people on that committee? do we not? if we put them on the committee, or validating it. and they went ahead and did it because engaging in that way at least kept them in the game. yes, republicans are going to do with they're going to do but you have a platform to put your best investigations forward, understanding that they can't do subpoenas in all of the restrictions that they're putting on this. so i think they still believe that this is a worthwhile thing and they've got a lot of experience. republicans playing trump in playing the games if he wants to play but they still think that it's been worthwhile if they come out of these reports. they're very skilled members of congress, and its staff that will be working on this. i think they would produce a document and a record for history that would be important. >> >> and jean, the republicans know that if the democrats don't get this bipartisan commission they still have control of the house
committees. they still have control of the senate committees and they still have investigations through congressional committees instead using their power in the house without any consultation of republicans at all. >> that's absolutely true in that maybe what they end up having to do. i think it's clear that democrats and republican senator would prefer to do it would seems to be the right way. to have a bipartisan special commission look into every aspect of what happens on january 6th and issue an authoritative report and of course anything that the democratic house does, anything those committees do under control of the democrats will, no matter how good it is and how narrow it is, will be dismissed by republicans as
partisan. and you know no matter how it's ultimately structured. it's absolutely unavoidable for the democrats to lead the fifth best occasion. that's why everyone's trying to do it the way the old washington way. unfortunately, we live in the new washington and it's clear whether that's possible. >> jennifer palmieri, eugene robinson, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight. i really appreciate it. and coming up, texas wants to make guns even easier to get and ballots much harder to get if you live in democratic counties. that's next. that's next.
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largest people of color live in texas. texas republican governor greg abbott promised to pass a bill that will allow texans to carry concealed handguns without a license, without a background check, without training. texas governor is eager to sign another bill that would restrict voting in texas. it would limit the number of polling locations in the largest counties in the state. the texas tribune reports, the formula would reply formula would repl
joining us is democratic council who represents texas and san antonio. let's begin just for a moment with this gun legislation that the texas governor is signing. it's now completely legal to be carrying without ever going through any paperwork whatsoever to get your gun. >> the governor and republican legislature has made texas more dangerous. it's really tragic because texas has been a set -- aside of so many mass shootings. sutherland high school, el paso texas in 2019, you think about that, and an issue in 1991.
instead of making the people of texas safer by doing background checks, and it's a simple thing to do, the governor and legislator made it easier for people without permits or background checks or going through training, to get a gun. >> let's go to legislation, it's a second round of voter legislation in texas. aiming now at the big counties where the democrats vote. >> yeah, that's right. this is basically a naked power graph. texas republicans this legislative session have moved to the extreme right. e session havethey are trying ts democratic votes. elections have gotten closer and closer in the last few years. rather than putting out great ideas and getting voters to vote with them, what they try
to do is make it harder for people to come back and vote next time. it's a naked power grab. texas leadership is out of sync with the population of texas. texas is an incredibly diverse state. the republican leadership in texas is not. it's sad to say, but i think it's true, it's a lot of republican white males that are trying to hang on to power. they're trying to do anything they can in a diverse of state to do that. >> they are definitely in sync with the trump vote. we have a poll showing that 53% of republicans believe that donald trump is the president. that means 53% of republicans fail a basic mental competency
question. who is the president of the united states? carson castro, the texas legislator seems to be in service of those people only, at this point. >> donald trump owns the republican party in this country. he owns the texas republicans. not only is it a matter of self delusion, these people are delusional, but they've also got to be very dangerous to texas and the people of this country. >> as we go forward, what is your expectation of how you will counter, in the next election, what they're legislating now about how the election will be held in texas. >> there will be legal challenges that will hold up some of this legislation and hopefully stop it from taking effect. we will see how it goes. aside from that, it speaks to the fact that we need people to
get out and vote. we need to redouble our efforts to get people to vote. for congress, we need to pass hr one. the john lewis voting act as well. if we don't do that this term, if we let this term go without passing those significant pieces of legislation to protect our democracy, then by 2022, 2024, i don't know that we will recognize voting in this country, by then. >> carson joaquin castro. thank you for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, he will hear the moving words of 18 year old darnella frazier who released a statement today about what she has experience in the year since she recorded the video of george floyd's murder. her words as read by carole randall williams will be tonight's last word, next. d, next.
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frazier's written statement today about what she experienced in the year since she recorded the video of george floyd's murder, i thought i would read it to you here tonight. a few sentences in though, i realized i couldn't. i called author and poet caroline randall who teaches at vanderbilt that university. she agreed to read it for us before she read daniela frazier's statement. here is 18 year old darnella frazier statement read by carroll randall. >> a witness ago to -- a year ago today witnessed a murder. the victim's name was george floyd. although it wasn't the first time i had seen a black man get killed at the hands of the police, this is the first time
i witnessed it happen in front of me. right in front of my eyes. a few feet away, i didn't know this man from a can of paint. but i knew his life mattered. -- i knew that he was in pain, i knew he was another black man in danger with him no power. i was only 17 at the time. just normal day for me, walking my nine-year-old cousin to the corner store. not even prepared for what i was about to see. not even knowing my life was going to change on the exact day in those exact moments, it did. it changed me.
it changed how i viewed life. it made me realize how dangerous it is to be black in america. we shouldn't have to walk on eggshells around police officers, the same people who are supposed to protect and serve to them we are seen as criminals, animals, all because of the color of our skin. why are black people the only ones view this way, when every race has some type of wrongdoing? none of us are to judge. we are all human. i am 18 now and i still hold the weight and trauma of what i witnessed a year ago. wi tnessed it's a little easier noi
am not who i used to be. a part of my childhood was taken from me. my nine-year-old cousin, who witnessed the same thing is me, got a part of her childhood taken. having to up and leave because my home was no longer safe, waking up to reporters at my door, closing my eyes that night only to see a man who is brown like me. he was lifeless on the ground. i couldn't sleep properly for weeks. i used to shake so bad at night, my mom had to rock me to sleep. hopping from hotel to hotel, because we didn't have a home and looking over our back every
day in the process. having panic, and anxiety attacks, every time i saw a police car. not knowing who to trust, because a lot of people are evil, with bad intentions. i hold that weight. a lot of people call me a hero, even though i don't see myself as one. i was just in the right place, at the right time. behind the smile, behind these awards, beyond the publicity, i am a girl, trying to heal from something i am reminded of every day. everyone talks about the girl who recorded george floyd's death. but to actually be her, is a
different story. not only did this affect me, my family as well. we all experienced change. my mom the most. i strive every day to be strong for her. because she was strong for me when i couldn't be strong for myself. even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, i am proud of myself. if it weren't for my video, the world wouldn't have known the truth. i own not. my video didn't save george floyd, but it put his murderer away, and off the streets. , and off the streets. you can see george floyd anyway
you choose to see him, despite his past, because don't we all have one? he was a loved one. someone's son. someone's father. someone's brother. someone's friend. we the people, won't take the blame. we will keep pointing fingers at us as if it's our fault. as if we are criminal. i don't think people understand, how serious death is. that person is never coming back. these officers shouldn't get to decide if someone gets to live or not. it's time these officers start
getting held accountable. murdering people, and abusing your power while doing it, is not doing your job. it shouldn't have to take people, to actually go through something, to understand it's not okay. it's called having a heart. an understanding right from wrong. george floyd -- i can't express enough how i wish things would have gone different. but i want you to know, you will always be in my heart. i will always remember this day, because of you. mayor soul rest in peace.
may you rest in the most beautiful roses. darnella frazier. >> thank you to caroline randall williams for reading darnella frazier's statement that she released today. she gets the last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. >> >> and good evening once again, day 126 of the biden administration and there is breaking news tonight about the twice impeached former president. the washington post first to report the manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury that is, quote, expected to decide whether to indict trump executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges. the report continues to say that mentality district