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Transcript: Alex Wagner Tonight, 9/1/22

Guests: Jamie Raskin, Amy Klobuchar, Mary Peltola


President Joe Biden delivers speech on "Battle for the Soul of the

Nation". Interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).


ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Great coverage as always.

And we are excited to have a live interview tonight with the newest

Democrat elected to Congress. Last night, Mary Peltola defeated Sarah Palin

in the special election for Alaska`s deep red, at large congressional

district. She will join us right here live, coming up.

And we will have the latest from the courtroom where Donald Trump`s lawyers

faced off of the Department of Justice today.

But we start tonight with a stark warning from the president of the United



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Too much of what is happening

in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump in the MAGA Republicans

represented extremism that threatens the foundations of our republic. There

is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and

intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat

to this country.

MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in

the rule of the law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They

refused to accept the results of a free election and promote authoritarian

leaders. And they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat

to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to

the very soul of this country.

They look at the mob that stormed that United States Capitol on January

6th, brutally attacking law enforcement, not as insurrectionists who placed

a dagger the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.

They see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the

2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.

And now, America must choose to move forward or to move backwards, to build

a future obsessed about the past, to be a nation of hope and unity and

optimism or a nation of division, of fear, and of darkness.


WAGNER: That was President Biden tonight delivering a speech in

Philadelphia, calling on Americans to save democracy from authoritarian

forces within the Republican Party. It is the challenge the president has

called the battle for the soul of the nation. That battle was epitomized by

a hoard of angry insurrectionists attacking the Capitol and striking at the

heart of American democracy on January 6th, following Donald Trump`s claims

of a stolen election.

Today saw the longest sentence handed down by the DOJ for any rioter

involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former NYPD Officer Thomas

Webster was sentenced to years in prison for his role in January 6th

attack. Here is Thomas Webster on that day beating his brothers and sisters

in blue with a flagpole here he is seen trying to rip off the mask of a

police officer who had fallen to his knees while trying to protect the


The Justice Department says it has arrested more than 860 people involved

in the attack on our nation`s capitol. So far, eight January 6 defendants

have faced jury trials, all eight were convicted on every count they were

charged with including Thomas Webster. Many more January defendants have

pleaded guilty in court.

Today, January 6 writer Julian Khater pleaded guilty to two counts of

assaulting law enforcement officers. Khater was the insurrectionist who

attacked officers Brian Sicknick and Caroline Edwards with bear spray

during the melee outside the Capitol. He can be heard on a recording from

that day telling the telling a fellow writer give me that bear bleep before

spraying the officers with a highly toxic chemical mixture. Officer

Sicknick suffered two strokes following that attack he was taken to the

hospital and put on a ventilator and he died the next day.

Officer Edwards went on to give harrowing testimony um at the very first

January hearing about the injuries she suffered that day. She likened what

she saw on January to a war scene telling the country it was carnage. It

was chaos.

That is the kind of violence that Republicans have tried to whitewash or

explain away by calling it legitimate political discourse. Just today, the

de facto leader of the GOP, Donald Trump, told the host of a right-wing

Internet show that if he is re-elected president he would consider full

pardons for January 6th defendants.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT (via telephone): And I will tell you I will

look very, very favorably about full pardons if I decide to run and if I

win, I will be looking very, very strongly about pardon.


WAGNER: As Trump mulls over the idea of pardoning rioters, the Justice

Department continues to bring charges against those involved in the attack.

Today, the lawyer for the right-wing paramilitary group the Oath Keepers

was indicted on three felony counts of obstructing an official proceeding

and obstructing justice. Several members of that group were previously

charged with seditious conspiracy or an effort to overthrow the government.

They will go on trial at the end of this month.

The efforts to seek accountability for what happened inside the White House

that day also continued to move forward. Tomorrow, Trump White House

lawyers Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin are expected to testify before a

federal grand jury is part of the Justice Department`s ongoing

investigation into the attack.

Meanwhile, the January 6 Committee continues its own investigation.

Tonight, it sent a letter to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asking him

to voluntarily testify before the committee. Their letter to Gingrich is

full of new allegations about what the White House was planning both before

and after the Capitol attack.

The committee claims that after the election, Gingrich was involved in the

creation of TV ads promoting the false claim that the election was stolen.

They say he urged the Trump team to promote the false election fraud claims

that centered around election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss who both

testified to the committee about the harassment they faced as a result of

those lies.

The letter also alleges that the former house speaker was involved in the

fake electors scandal the one that`s being currently investigated by both

the committee and the Justice Department. After laying all of that out, the

committee writes to Gingrich, quote, accordingly, you appear to have been

involved with President Trump`s efforts to stop the certification of the

election results even after the attack on the Capitol.

The shocking revelations out of Mar-a-Lago may have pushed the January

investigations out of the headlines for a while. But as President Biden

laid out tonight the ongoing threat to democracy is still one of the

fundamental challenges of our time and the investigation into January 6 may

be the country`s best shot at holding accountable those men and women who

threaten one of the country`s most basic freedoms.

Joining us now is Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat from Maryland, a

member of the January 6 committee.

Congressman Raskin, thank you so much for joining us tonight.


WAGNER: Let me just first start with where you think the country is at.

The president offered a very pointed I would I would call it a line of

criticism. It was bluntly an attack on mega Republicans who he accuses of

being usurpers of democracy which is obviously paraphrasing. Do you think

we are on the precipice of civil war?

The polling around this shows that Democrats think it`s likely by a

percentage of 39 percent, Republicans 58 percent of the GOP believes we are

on the precipice of civil war. Where do you believe we are?

RASKIN: Well, it was a superb speech that President Biden gave in

Philadelphia and he talked about the defense of democracy and the defense

of equality. I think we need to elaborate further, the defense of freedom.

It was Lincoln after all who said that constitutional democracy is the

beautiful silver platter upon which rests the golden apple of freedom.

And in America, democracy is clearly under attack as we saw on January 6,

and as we see in these continuing assaults on elections and election

officials across the country. But freedom`s under attack too by a Supreme

Court that has been gerrymandered by Donald Trump`s party and by the

justices that he packed quite illegitimately on the court by preventing

hearings for example in the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme


So in any event, you know, there is a lot of chatter about Civil War.

Lincoln did say that a house divided cannot stand and the nation couldn`t

survive half slave and half free. I suppose the major political fault line

we`re seeing right now is between a nation that is half free choice for

women and half theocrat and half misogynist.

And I don`t know that that can last for a very long time. I think we will

become either a country that is equal and free for all citizens, including

women, including with the right to travel or as the Republicans want, as

Mike Pence has argued for, they will pass a national law banning abortion

and really driving women into a permanent second-class status in the


WAGNER: I mean, and I think you`re right to call into -- before

reproductive freedom but this is also -- it felt like a speech for history,

right? This was a moment when you have a president speaking to a country

that`s in crisis, that could be at a breaking point. And I wonder as

someone who`s on one of the key committees that`s investigating sort of how

we make amends, how we hold accountable the actors who are trying to

undermine democracy.

Do you feel like these investigations -- do you feel like this committee

work is getting us closer to a more peaceable union or is it fracturing us


RASKIN: No, it`s definitely unifying the country around the Constitution,

around the rule of law and around basic Democratic values. And I think that

that may have something to do with President Biden`s speech, the fact that

we`ve focused everybody`s attention on the fact that we`ve got the MAGA-

dominated Republican Party positioned outside of the constitutional order.

I would add only a couple of points to the president`s excellent speech.

One is that democracy is not a static thing but it is a dynamic process.

And Tocqueville remarked in democracy in America that voting rights and

democracy in our country are either shrinking and shriveling away and we`ve

certainly been in a contractionary mode, or they`re growing and they`re

expanding, and that`s been the history of course of the struggle of women

to be full participants in democracy, the struggle of African Americans to

have full voting rights and to be full participants and so on.

Well, I think that just as 37 states have had to argue for Democratic

inclusion, there are more would-be states seeking inclusion membership,

including Washington, D.C., 713,000 disenfranchised tax-paying American

citizens. They want statehood. Three and a half million people in Puerto

Rico who have tasted the bitter price of colonial disenfranchisement as

recently as Hurricane Maria where they got cheated out of hundreds of

millions of dollars of aid and instead Donald Trump threw paper towels at


We need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing everybody the right to

vote. We need the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. In other words, we`ve got

to get democracy moving again. It`s not just a defensive question of

protecting what we got, but making sure that democracy moves and adapts to

the challenges of the new century.

WAGNER: Well, right, and part of moving forward is coming to a conclusion

about what happened, right, and it`s agreeing what went wrong. For example,

on January 6, and I would love to turn our attention to the committee work

because there is fairly big breaking news this evening about your request -

- or your request to speak to former Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of the

president`s casual advisors, if you will.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the specific actions undertaken by

Mr. Gingrich that have piqued the committee`s interest?

RASKIN: Well, you know, we`ve spoken obviously to more than a thousand

witnesses at this point and we`re interested in talking to anybody who can

shed some light on why this dangerous assault on American democratic

institutions took place, how exactly it took place, and then what are we

going to need to do to fortify ourselves against coup`s insurrections

political violence, attempts to manipulate the nooks and crannies of the

electoral college in order to entrench minority rule and to get losers

propelled to the presidency.

So I think that Newt Gingrich speaking as one member to my mind was

involved in that process and used whatever knowledge he has to try to

promote and absolutely insidious and indefensible interpretation of the

Constitution, but we`ll see.

I mean, you know, this is why we ask people to come in, people tell us

things. We get certain kinds of indications. We want people to testify

themselves and most people have done that without lying and coming forward

and telling what they know there are other people who have tried to battle

us who have invoked phony privileges and tried to elude the process. But

the truth is being known and for every person who tries to lie and cover up

the truth, there are another five people who come forward to tell us

exactly what happened.

WAGNER: Yeah, I want to ask about that because Chairman Thompson, Benny

Thompson, has suggested that lots of Trump cabinet members are willing and

happy to accommodate the committee`s line of questioning that the work is -

- has been ongoing through the summer. Is there anything you can tell us

about what might happen next month? Is there a plan to hold more hearings?

Is there anything you could tell us about any of the topics you have been

focusing on? We`ve heard reporting about the 25th Amendment with this

Gingrich invitation. We`re hearing about the fake slates of electors. Is

there anything you could give us by way of guidance in terms of the

committee`s activities?

RASKIN: Well, the country has learned a remarkable amount from the

hearings that we`ve had. There are certain open questions on the table that

people approach me about all the time when you know I just bump into them

in the airport or on the street or whatever. I mean, people want to know

you know, yeah, was there in fact a cover-up, was there an effort to

destroy all of those texts in the Secret Service and in the Department of



People want more clarity on why the National Guard was not a visible

forceful presence from the beginning the way that it was, for example, when

Black Lives Matter came to the capitol on June the 2nd of 2020.

So we`re going to try to answer some of those questions and I am very

determined to find out what exactly Trump had in mind in trying to ride

back to the Capitol like Mussolini to storm in with the mob to get himself

declared president and how exactly did they think that was going to unfold

on the floor of the House of Representatives.

So we need to tie up some loose ends but the main thing really, Alex, now

is to make recommendations to the country and to the Congress about what

needs to be done to make sure that we are never caught like this again by a

fascist street movement and inside bad faith strategic actors who are

determined to overthrow the constitutional order.

And, you know, I wish only that Joe Biden had placed his excellent analysis

in a global context because the autocrats and the kleptocrats and the

theocrats all over earth are marching against democracy and trying to

destroy democratic institutions and we need to defend it here. We need to

make it work. We need to make democracy grow in order to turn around that

global trend.

America -- the cause of America like Tom Paine said really should be the

cause of all humanity in terms of promoting democracy and human rights and


WAGNER: I just have one last question for you about the investigation that

has been front and center in the news in the last several weeks that of the

Mar-a-Lago documents that were uh taken by the FBI. Does the committee have

an interest in those documents given that some of them seem to be fairly

key documents from the President Trump`s time in office? Have you been in

communication about reviewing those once the ODNI is done with its review?

RASKIN: Well, under House resolution 503, our charge is to examine what

happened on January 6 and why and then to make recommendations about

preventing any repetition in the future. To the extent those documents bear

on those set of questions then we`re interested. But you know, I`ll make a

remark as just one member of Congress who`s lived through the Trump period,

the guy is a one-man crime wave and I was completely unaware of the fact

that he had pilfered, you know, top secret classified documents from the

White House and taken them with him to Mar-a-Lago. I think most if not all

of the members of our committee were completely taken by surprise by all of


That`s a separate stream of investigation from what we`re looking at, just

like the alleged rapes and sexual assaults and the real estate fraud and

the bank fraud and Trump University, all of these different criminal and

civil offenses have a different genesis. But the guy is obviously like a

mob boss who wakes up and decides who he`s going to try to rip off or

exploit that day. But we`re paying attention to the protection of American

constitutional democracy because for us, that`s the center of the threat

that he poses to the republic.

Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat from Maryland and member of the January

6 committee, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

RASKIN: Thanks for having me.

WAGNER: We have much more to get to this hour. We are going to talk live

with the woman, the Democrat who beat Sarah Palin to be Alaska`s next

member of Congress.

We will talk to Senator Amy Klobuchar about President Biden`s speech and

what she as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee thinks about Trump`s

Mar-a-Lago document drama. But next former, U.S. attorney Joyce Vance will

join me to unpack what happened in a Florida courtroom today where DOJ

lawyers faced off with Donald Trump`s legal team.

Stay with us.



WAGNER: An overdue library book -- yes, folks that was Team Trump`s

argument today in a federal courtroom in Palm Beach, Florida, where they

were trying to characterize the pickle Donald Trump has gotten himself into

after repeatedly failing to return classified documents and records to the

National Archives.

Trump`s lawyers said in court today, quote, we`ve characterized it at times

as an overdue library book scenario. No biggie. Those classified and top

secret documents they are just like an overdue library book.

That interesting argument was made by Trump`s lawyers today during a

hearing this afternoon to determine whether or not a federal judge should

grant Trump`s request to appoint a special master to review the documents

that the FBI retrieved from Trump`s home. Yes, documents like these top

secret classified documents found squirreled away throughout Mar-a-Lago in

his office, his bedroom and his storage room.

The Trump-appointed judge did not issue a ruling from the bench as to

whether or not she would appoint a special master per Trump`s request, but

she did say she would unseal a more detailed inventory of the documents

taken from Mar-a-Lago. Her ruling and the unsealing of that document could

come at any time.


We have no idea when we are going to get it. So know that we have all of

our eyes on you, PACER. That`s a legal joke.

In court today, the Justice Department had a simple reminder for the former

president and his legal team about just whose documents they really are.

They pointed out today that Trump, quote, is no longer the president and

because he`s no longer the president, he had no rights to those documents.

He was unlawfully in possession of them. That ends the analysis, full stop.

It does not get any clearer than that. The Justice Department argued that

the appointment of a special master on claims of executive privilege would

be quote unprecedented because that`s claiming executive privilege against

the executive branch, which seems sort of impossible. The DOJ also argued

that adding a special master at this point would cause delays, not only for

its own ongoing criminal investigation, but for the Office of the Director

of National Intelligence and her ongoing damage assessment of the


Remember, the Justice Department has said their initial review of the

documents is complete its special review team, that filter team, has

already set aside a small handful of documents deemed privileged and the

appointment of a special master could delay the important work that damage

assessment about the fallout from those classified top secret documents

hanging around Trump`s club and what all that means for national security,

also whether or not those classified documents contain national secrets

that improperly held would be a violation under the Espionage Act.

Meanwhile, Team Trump said a special master must be appointed because we

need to lower the temperature on both sides. We need to take a deep breath

-- from the man who brought you calls of targeted violence against FBI

agents a plea for everybody to just please get along.

Joining us now is Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney for the northern

district of Alabama, current professor at the University of Alabama Law

School -- School of Law, and co-host of the podcast "Sisters in Law".

Joyce, thank you so much for being with me this evening.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me, Alex.

WAGNER: So let`s talk about this third party review this special master

where you know I`m I know you`ve seen the court minutes that we have and

the judge`s ruling, where -- where do you think she`s going to land on

this, do you have any indication based on the events of today?

VANCE: She`s given every indication that she`s inclined to use a special

master and her approach to the government has been a little bit of a plea,

come on, what`s it going to hurt to do this? But that`s not how the law

works, right?

You could say this in every case, every defendant would love to have an

investigation into their criminal conduct slowed down and have an outside

person reviewing everything that DOJ does, but that`s not how our system

works and doing this is just another way of Trump demanding that he receive

special treatment, that he be set above the law. I hope the judge will see

through this and not go along with it.

WAGNER: Well, it`s not just the appointment of the special master. It`s

what the Trump team wants from the special master. Today, in court the

Trump attorney said Trump they want a third party special master to share

all of the evidence with them, including the affidavit laying out the

government`s case.

Is that the bridge too far or do you think that that could be legitimately

under consideration?

VANCE: No, that would be an absolutely illegitimate step to take. This

judge is a former federal prosecutor. It`s tough to believe that she would

approve that sort of a strategy because what Trump is really trying to do

here if you take a step back and look at the pleadings. This is just an

effort to delegitimize the Justice Department.

There`s no legal basis for appointing a special master and giving him this

extra look-see into the government`s work. He`s in essence trying to argue

that the jury of public opinion, you can`t trust the Justice Department and

that`s what this is all about. He doesn`t have a defense. He`s acknowledged

having the documents. We can all see for ourselves that they`re classified.

So his only strategy is to trot out this tired old approach that he`s used

time and time again when he`s been in trouble and to say, you can`t trust

DOJ, they`re at fault. They`re coming after me. It`s a witch hunt. I should

have a level of oversight into their investigation that no other subject in

a criminal case is entitled to.

WAGNER: What about the unsealing of the detailed inventory of items seized

from Mar-a-Lago. What can we expect there? I mean what does that

practically mean?

VANCE: So it`s important to note that DOJ offered this up. In their

response brief, they specifically said in a footnote by the way judge we`re

submitting this enhanced return of service this inventory of what we took

from Mar-a-Lago under seal like you asked us to.

But in light of the extraordinary circumstances in this case, we`ll agree

to unseal it and we`ll agree to let President Trump take a look at what

we`ve got. So we know that this was something DOJ offered in good faith. I

don`t expect that we`ll learn much if anything about the nature of

classified documents. We might learn for instance more detailed information

about the number of top secret documents that have SCI access,

compartmented, sorts of access listed on them.

But, Alex, something that I`m looking for here is in the response, DOJ said

that some of the evidence that they seized had evidentiary value. It wasn`t

classified documents per se, but it had evidentiary value. And in a case

like this where you`re trying to establish who was in possession of

documents, it can be very helpful to know that you`ve found several

classified documents in a drawer with the former president`s passports. So

maybe some of this evidence that we`ll learn about will be more identifying

information, right?

I mean, if his wallet is in there, if it`s a notepad, he`s been taking

notes on is in there, that`s all very valuable in showing who`s in

possession, who had control of these items. Did he know that they were

there? It`s reasonable to believe that if you know his passports were in

there, he would know what else was in that drawer. Very helpful to DOJ if

it`s looking to develop a prosecutable case.

WAGNER: The irony is that we first learned about the seizure of the

passports from Donald Trump and it may turn out to be a sort of smoking gun

in all of this. The more information he puts out there or requests, the

worse the picture becomes for him.

Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney, thank you so much for your time and

expertise this evening. We always appreciate you.

VANCE: Thanks, Alex.

WAGNER: Still to come this hour, we will talk to the woman who beat Sara

Palin last night, Mary Peltola and is set to become the first Democrat to

represent Alaska in the House in half a century.

And then, could Democrats actually stand a chance at holding on to the

Senate and the House in November? Are they allowed to even express that out

loud? Senator Amy Klobuchar will join me next to talk about the midterms,

Trump`s latest legal woes, and her recent trip to Ukraine.

Stick around.



WAGNER: About an hour, President Joe Biden wrapped up his prime time

address to the nation. In addition to offering a broad thesis about

American democracy, the president gave Democrats their marching orders, a

playbook if you will for the November midterms as his party seeks to hold

off Republicans from retaking Congress.


BIDEN: Not every Republican, not even the majority Republicans are MAGA

Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know

because I`ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But

there`s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven

and intimidated by Donald Trump and the migrant Republicans, and that is a

threat to this country.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an

America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to

contraception no right to marry who you love.


WAGNER: So there it is, straight from the head of the Democratic Party,

hit Republican opponents hard on social issues from reproductive freedom to

gay marriage and don`t mince words about just how serious the stakes really


Joining us now to discuss that strategy and Democratic fortunes is Senator

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who sits of course on the Judiciary Committee.

We should note that she just returned from a trip to Ukraine, a country

fighting every day to preserve their own democracy.

Senator, it`s always great to see you. Thanks for joining me tonight.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, thanks, Alex, and congratulations on the

new show.

WAGNER: Thank you. Thank you for being on the new show.

I want to start first with your trip to Ukraine time the president laid out

a pretty epic thesis about the state of affairs here in America and the

darkness he sees encroaching on our democracy and I wonder having just

returned from Ukraine where it`s such a pitched battle between the forces

of light and darkness whether you see any parallels between the forces of

autocracy there and what`s happening at home domestically.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I certainly do in fact that`s what I was thinking as I

listened to the president`s beautiful and forceful speech. I was thinking

of the people of Ukraine putting their lives on the line, ballet dancers

wearing camo. You`ve got young men who have left their families behind gone

into danger`s way on the front line, all to stand up for democracy.

And when we met with President Zelenskyy, Senator Portman and I did for

over an hour, he wanted the people of America to know how grateful he is

for all we have done, humanitarian aid feeding their people economic aid

and, of course, military aid. An embassy employee told me that she got a

take out food from a Ukrainian restaurant and someone wrote on it knowing

she was American, thank you for the HIMARS, the rockets that we have -- the

missiles that we`ve let them uh use there in Ukraine. It`s an amazing


And so, how does it relate? These people are putting themselves on the

line, and what the president asked the American people to do, whether they

are independents, moderate Republicans, Democrats, put their votes on the



Vote for freedom, vote for democracy because as he gave this speech in

defense of democracy, Donald Trump in the very same day literally implied

that he wanted to pardon insurrectionists. That is a contrast, standing up

for democracy, putting our freedoms on the line, and that`s why you see

Democrats doing so well in these races across the country.

WAGNER: He`s also trying to do something that seems fairly tricky, because

on one hand, he`s painting this vivid picture of the threats on the

horizon. At the same time, the president`s saying I`ve never felt more

optimistic about America. You know, the hope and the unseen was a central

part of his message.

But it`s hard to do that, isn`t it, especially if you`re a Democrat, out on

the campaign trail. I mean, how do you balance those two seemingly

conflicting ideas?

I thought one sentence summed it up from the speech when he said we honor

the will of the people. We don`t deny it. That to me sums it up because,

yes, you`re talking about democracy, honoring the will of the people but

you`re talking about honoring the will of the people by having their backs,

by bringing down the cost of pharmaceuticals and by passing in bipartisan

infrastructure bill, it`s helping people getting broadband out to people in

every corner of this country, by standing up for our veterans who are

stationed next to burn pits. That`s honoring the will of the people.

And as you talked about earning earlier, honoring the will of the people is

also saying women should be able to have the right to make their own

decisions about their health care instead of a bunch of politicians.

And when you look at what just happened in Alaska, and I can`t wait to hear

our new congresswoman who I know is going to be on your show very soon,

look, look what happened in Kansas. People turned out in droves to stand up

for the principle that women should have the freedom to make their own

decisions about their health care instead of politicians.

So I think it all relates because I think he struck a good balance today

about talking about the -- what would happen if Donald Trump and his allies

took charge again, but also what is happening now can be if we keep putting

in people who respect that democracy and want to get things done.

WAGNER: And I think -- you know, it`s right to talk about abortion being

relevant in the midterms it`s something a Pew poll shows that 71 percent of

Democrats say abortion -- abortion is very important in the midterms. But

then you look on the flip side of that, a different poll in "The Wall

Street Journal" on today says that the Mar-a-Lago search, the Mar-a-Lago

search makes 64 percent of Republican voters more likely to vote in the


I mean, on one side, we`re talking about an essential sort of question of

freedom, abortion, and the other hand, on the Republican side, the

motivator is an FBI search of documents the president swirled away with him

that were not his. What does that tell you about the ability of two parties

to come together and the stakes in this in this November election?

KLOBUCHAR: Okay. Well, first of all, "The Wall Street Journal" must not

have talked to the people I talked to at the Minnesota state fair today

when I`m just walking around the fair. People are really concerned about

someone stealing the nation`s top secrets. They understand that there are

patriots all over the globe that are helping our country and revealing

their names and the intelligence that they brought us could put them at

grave risk. There are countries that want to do us in.

Look at the evil, inhuman barbarism of Vladimir Putin right now. There are

terrorists that want to do us in. And for the president -- to have the

former president, to have taken those documents and stored them away in his

desk as we just found out after saying he`d given them all back through his

lawyers and you`ve got a place where they`re literally renting out croquet

sets and golf carts and putting the nation`s top secrets in that situation

I think is absolutely outrageous. And that`s why the Justice Department is

looking into this.

So when you look at it in terms of national security, there are a whole lot

of moderate Republicans and independents that are on the side of national

security, on the side of the FBI, and that`s the case we have to make.

WAGNER: And hopefully, that`s what`s motivating them to vote and not

indignation over the fact that the FBI knocked on the front door of Mar-a-


Senator Amy Klobuchar, we are glad you`re back home safe and sound. Thank

you for your time tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

WAGNER: As Senator Klobuchar just said, we will be joined live by Democrat

Mary Peltola the first Alaska native elected to Congress and the woman who

beat Sarah Palin. She joins me live, coming up next.




TV ANCHOR: In Alaska, State Senator Don Young, a Republican, apparently

has won a narrow victory in yesterday`s election for Alaska`s only seat in

the U.S. Congress.


WAGNER: In 1973, Republican Don Young ran for and won Alaska`s only

congressional seat in a special election. That same year, Mary Peltola, the

Democrat who would one day replace him, she was born. She would also go on

to win Alaska`s lone House seat through a special election, although this

time around, the process was very different.


It was a ranked choice election, meaning that voters get to rank their

preferred candidates in order. If no candidate receives more than 50

percent of the first place votes, the race becomes an instant runoff in

round two. The candidate with the fewest votes gets eliminated and their

votes go to the next choice. This keeps happening until two candidates are

left and then the candidate with the most votes wins.

It sounds kind of confusing but to win an election like this requires a

sort of crossover appeal and as it turns out, that is just what Mary

Peltola has spent her career preparing for. She spent a decade serving in

Alaska state house where she developed a reputation for being, well, nice

and for working across the aisle with folks you might not expect. The most

surprising example of which is probably former Governor Sarah Palin. The

two say they bonded as expectant mothers working in the state capitol at

the same time.

And although Palin admits that the two have very different viewpoints, she

has said that Peltola is a beautiful soul who has a heart for Alaska. In

any other state, this sort of friendship might seem surprising but this is

Alaska and doing the unexpected has kind of become Peltola`s thing.

During her campaign, she vocally supported abortion rights. She also voiced

support for universal background checks while campaigning in a pro-gun

state. And in the end, it worked. Voters have elected her to finish the

term of the late Congressman Don Young. She is now the first native woman

to represent Alaska in Congress.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola of Alaska.

I know you`re not tired of hearing the intro Democratic congresswoman-

elect, am I right?


no, it hasn`t gotten old yet.

WAGNER: Good. First, congratulations, and second, let`s talk about what

went down. For people who aren`t that familiar with the way ranked choice

voting works, is it generally the case or usually the case that because of

the system, you often end up with candidates who are less partisan and more

palatable to both sides? Is that a fair assessment of how it all works in

the end?

PELTOLA: Well, we`re still learning the process in Alaska as well. This

was the very first election that has been conducted under the new rank

choice voting system. But I am very optimistic and I think what it allows

to happen is steering away from the closed primary process, which has

really shown us that that has created an environment where folks are trying

to out-Democrat each other or out Republican each other to the point that

we wind up with very extreme candidates, sometimes fringe candidates who

get elected and then are not able to negotiate well when it`s time to solve

our challenges and they`re not really able to compromise or build


And I think that the beauty of ranked choice voting is it`s going to

attract more middle-of-the-road candidates and allow more middle-of

candidate -- middle-of-the-road candidates who are much more in line with

the average voter I think in Alaska, as well as across the United States

who are we do tend to be very middle of the road as an electorate.

I wonder, I mean is that why Sarah Palin didn`t win and do you think she`s

learned that lesson? You all, you, Nick Begich and Sarah Palin are still

running for this seat the permanent seat come November. When she lost, she

impugned the ranked choice voting system and said though we`re disappointed

in this outcome Alaskans know I`m the last one who will ever retreat.

Instead, I`m going to reload.

I mean, I understand Alaska is a pro-gun state but Palin has a tendency to

speak in these kind of extreme, Trumpy, MAGA-ish semi-word salad epithets,

and I wonder if you think that kind of extremism has a place in not just

ranked choice voting but in the Republican Party if they`re going to do

well in November? I mean, is that why she lost?

PELTOLA: Well, I think this election -- for this special election, just to

fill out the remainder of Congressman Young`s term, I think that it really

showed us that there is an appetite for folks who are not consumed by

partisanship, who really want to bring people together.

You know, early in your -- earlier in your program, you talked about some

of the issues that we`re facing as a nation. I think we`ve seen some of the

foreign aggression come out of Russia and China which is very concerning to

me as an American, and it makes me realize that no other Americans are my

enemies. It doesn`t matter what party you`re from if you`re an American you

are not my enemy.

And I think that that kind of um messaging appeals to people there`s an

appetite for that I think that we saw where that takes us on January 6th.


And I just think that people are craving people who want to build

coalitions and unite us as Americans rather than divide us.

WAGNER: Do you think that there are Republicans in the House that feel the

same way?

I certainly hope so. I certainly hope so. And I`m very optimistic about

both ranked choice voting but where we`re going as a country, I think that

there is just such an appetite and such a demand for people who want to

work together and want to cooperate with each other.

We have very serious and pressing issues that are facing households across

the nation. We`ve got skyrocketing inflation. We`ve got housing shortages.

We all want jobs with livable wages. We all want good schools to send our

children to.

There are so many more things that unite us than divide us.

WAGNER: Democratic Congresswoman-elect -- I`ll say it again -- Democratic

Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola of Alaska, the first native person to

represent the state, it`s about damn time. Thank you for your time.

Congratulations on your win.

We`ll be right back.


WAGNER: That`s it for us. But before we go, we have an update for you. On

the heels of President Biden`s primetime speech about the ongoing threats

to democracy, Wisconsin election officials are seeking to establish a new

office to fight back on misinformation. On Wisconsin. Good luck to you.


Good evening, Lawrence.