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Transcript: Alex Wagner Tonight, 8/24/22

Guests: Elizabeth Warren, Pat Ryan, Mini Timmaraju


President Biden announces $10,000 student debt cancellation for borrowers marking less than $125,000 a year. Interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Interview with New York Democratic Congressman-elect Pat Ryan.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": I`ve got to say, I was fairly agnostic on this but, you know, whether this would be popular or not, but I think the polling has been consistent, that it is quite popular, and I think that you are right, some of the caterwauling today is because of that.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

That is "ALL IN" on this Wednesday night.

The Alex Wagner show starts right now, ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT, I should say. And I`m coming to 15 seconds late. I apologize, please?

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: It`s okay, because we are going to be talking about Republican caterwauling with our guest in the A-block, Senator Elizabeth Warren who had planned for all of this way back in 2019.

Chris, that was a very enlightening segment. It is okay that you took 15 seconds.

HAYES: I am psyched to see Senator Warren. That is a great get. I`m going to watch the interview.

WAGNER: Thank you, Chris.

And thank you all for being with us this hour.

Tonight, Democrats celebrated a very big win in a very real swing district, boosting hopes that they might hold on to the Senate. And, eke, maybe even the House. Pat Ryan, the Democrat headed to Congress after his extraordinary victory last night, he will join us live in studio.

President Biden says the government is canceling up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of Americans. Republicans call it socialism, while some on the left say it is not enough. Senator Elizabeth Warren has been advocating for student debt relief for years. She joins us live tonight.

And Donald Trump is calling for the affidavit in the Mar-a-Lago search to be made public. And the DOJ has until tomorrow to respond, expert analysis on why this might backfire for the former president, just ahead.

But first, Democrats ended primary night last evening feeling good about their winds, and surprisingly good about their momentum heading into November. In New York, voters elected a Democrat and a special house race in a notorious swing district, just two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The timing on that would not appear to be coincidental. That race offers signs that the Democratic electorate is as motivated as ever by the fight for abortion rights.

To be fair, Democrats can`t also credit some of their newfound positivity two major recent victories from the Biden administration. From the first gun safety bill in decades, to the CHIPS Act, to legislation on burn pits, to the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden`s signature health care and climate bill. The winds have been piling up this summer over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And today brought another policy victory for its party, with President Biden finally announcing his plan for student debt cancellation.

The president announced his decision to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and another $10,000 for any borrower making $125,000 or less.

That is in addition to extending the pause on student loan payments through the rest of this year.

Today`s actions expected to benefit 43 million Americans. And Biden now says he has delivered on his campaign promise, one he made back in 2020 after rival candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 candidate to propose full on student debt cancellation. It was one of more than 80 plans to pitch to voters during her campaign, as the I have a plan for that candidate.

Her plan to alleviate student debt gave a whole lot of traction, as the race went on. No small part because of her attention to detail, her call to action.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): African-Americans are more likely to borrow money to go to college, borrow more money while they`re in college, and have a harder time paying that debt off after they get out.

Today in America, a new study came out, 20 years out, whites who borrowed money, 94 percent of them have paid off their student loan debt, 5 percent of African Americans have paid off.

I believe that means that everyone on the stage should be embracing student loan debt forgiveness. It will help close the black white wealth care gap. Let`s do something tangible and real to make change in this country.


WAGNER: Everyone on the station helped close that gap. Well, in the years since, Senator Elizabeth Warren has worked to ensure that President Biden would do just that. We know that she was pushing the White House on the issue, as recently as Friday, when she, along with Senators Chuck Schumer, and Raphael Warnock met with White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

And then came today`s monumentous, much anticipated announcement. The White House says Biden`s plan will fully cancel the debt of 45 percent of borrowers, and 90 percent of the relief will go to those owning less than $75,000. Now, the plan is already facing predictable criticism on the right. Republicans say goes too far. And that leaves the jack with those who did not go to college, or those who have managed to pay off their debt. And that it could also add to inflation.

But Biden is also facing criticism on the left, for not going far enough.


He did not, after, all cancel abortion of student loan debt for all borrowers, the $50,000 of debt that Senator Warren had initially proposed.

Case in point, the president of the NAACP has called the $10,000 in relief for some borrowers, quote, meager, to say the least.

So, now, with certain Democrats voicing unhappiness. And a new line of GOP attacks emerging, how will this latest policy announcement reshaped the midterms and can Democrats successfully sell it to undecided voters?

I wonder who might have a plan for this.

Joining us now is Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and the woman with a plan for nearly everything, including one for student loan debt. She was, just to say it again, the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to propose flat out broad scale student debt cancellation when she announced that plan in April of 2019.

Senator Warren, thank you for being here tonight. I should say congratulations on what is a landmark achievement. I know people have issues with it, but let`s just first issued the congratulations.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Thank you. And let`s just celebrate because understand, 20 million Americans got the news today that they will never have to pay another nickel on student loan debts, and another 23 million Americans learned today that they owe less money than they did before the pandemic started.

This is historic. And actually, let`s do one more group. That is all of the parents who have younger kids, all of the folks who are thinking about going back to school, all of the people who are kind of mid-strike for getting an education, there was another part to the announcement today. And that is the income determined to repayment plan, it`s been reworked so that nobody who wants to get an education, but can`t afford to pay for it, has to go from debt hell in the future.

We actually got a plan for people to be able to make it to school without getting crushed by student loan debt. I love it.


WAGNER: I know you have thoughts about this. So I want to -- I want to ask you what`s response is to folks who say, the heads of the NAACP, for example, that this is a meager plan. What -- what rejoinder can you offer to people saying, listen, if you were going to go and do it, it`s politically risky, why didn`t you just go all the way?

WARREN: So, look, Derrick Johnson, who is the head of the NAACP, fights from the heart. And I give real props for that and real respect. The plan he was talking about was the initial $10,000 and nothing worked for nobody.

That`s not what actually came through. In fact, the majority of people who will get student loan debt will get $20,000 of debt forgiveness. It will be a smaller portion that get $10,000.

And of those that get $20,000 of debt forgiveness, these are people who were Pell grant eligible when they were in college. And that means disproportionately these are African Americans. They are veterans. They are parents, mommas who are trying to go back to work. They are first generation students.

In other words, we have done what Democrats try to do. And that is to push more of the resources to those for whom coming to college was a whole lot harder. Those who have a whole lot harder time paying off that debt.

So I think we are in a much better place right now with the plan, the one that the president has actually announced.

Now look, I`m going to keep fighting for more because I think there is more good that we can do. But we need to take a deep breath and acknowledge just how historic this moment is.

How the president of the United States has reached out to individuals, to middle class families, to working families. And said, I`m going to put government on your side.

WAGNER: You bring up communities of color. And I think we need to focus specifically on black women, because they are the most vulnerable, as it were, in terms of the hell of debt, as you call it.

Black women, on average, they borrow more than any other racial group. They have to, $41,466. Then if you look at who voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election? Black women went for Joe Biden, 90 percent, to Donald Trump`s 9 percent.

This is a key part of the president`s base. They, in many ways, the Black community, starting with the South Carolina primary, helped him get into the White House. When you were talking to the White House about the contours of this legislation, were they thinking about communities of color?


And were they specifically talking about Black women who, again, $41,000 of that? We are talking about $20,000 of relief. That is half of the burden, but is certainly it is not all of it.

WARREN: I certainly carry that message. I also want to give a big shout out to Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who has been one of our most passionate partners in making sure that the president, the administration, they get -- stay centered on acknowledging who is carrying this debt burden. That we focus on how to bring that burden down.

Look, like I said, I would like bigger numbers. I would like to be able to do more. I am very happy that the president has come this far, and it is going to make a huge difference in the lives of Black women. It is going to make a huge difference in the lives of those who have had the hardest time getting to college, and the hardest time paying off their debt after college.

In fact, by the design of this plan, one of the groups we know is going to be most helped, are those but -- pandemic and the pause under the pandemic. I just have to say, about this, we are moving things in the right direction, and it is taken a lot of passion. It has taken a lot of energy. Ayanna has been on the frontliners. The NAACP has been on the frontlines, with Derrick Johnson.

We have so many partners who have helped make this happen. So many people who started their own independent, not for profit, advocacy groups to make sure that the student loan debt burden is better understood across America. And that we make real changes. And that is where today marks, the first step in real big structural change. I love it.

WAGNER: We were waiting for that.

The Republican Party is certainly not throwing a ticker tape parade over this.

WARREN: Oh, yes.

WAGNER: And, in fact, they seem bullish on this -- the utility of this as a political cudgel. I will quote Tom Cotton.


WAGNER: There is no such thing as student loan forgiveness. This is a bailout, paid for the large majority of Americans who never went to college who responsibly paid off their debts. There is nothing the Republican Party loves more than a culture war. They see this as a right. This is, you know, we know that education is the dividing line in American politics. It is what really separates the Republican Party from the Democratic Party.

Republicans are going to make hay of this and say, hey, this is another head out to the liberal elitist base according to sea of Joe Biden. The Republican Party is the party of the grassroots working class.

Setting aside the validity of that, what is the Democratic response to that? How are Democrats going to field this line of complaints? And it will be something that you see a lot of between now and November.

WARREN: My answer is, bring it on. Bring it on! $20,000 in student loan debt forgiveness goes to people who had Pell grants, 95 percent of those that had a Pell grant come from families with incomes of less than $60,000.

The people who are being helped here, 42 percent of them don`t even have a college diploma. These are not people who went to Harvard, the way that Tom Cotton did.


WARREN: These are people who have been scratching it out at state schools and historically Black colleges and universities. They have had to borrow money to get there. They have had to borrow money to stay there and they have had the hardest time paying off their debts on the other side.

And here is the bottom line on this one. Debt cancellation is wildly popular across this country, two out of three Americans, basically say, yeah, when you do it. The big argument among those who think there should be that cancellation is whether you ought to cancel 100 percent of it, or whether you ought to focus more of the energy on those who need the help the most.

The Republicans have got nothing here. What we have to remember, as we have this fight. There is nobody left in America who doesn`t know someone who is struggling with student loan debt.

It`s everywhere around to this. It`s neighbors. It`s our friends. It`s our families. It`s our coworkers. It`s our fellow students. It`s the people we live with and work with.

And what`s happening to those folks right now? They can`t move out of mom`s basement.


They can`t save up money to buy a home. They can`t start a small business. Heck, a lot of them can`t even start a family. All because of the sin that they wanted to try to get an education and they weren`t born into a family that can write a check to make that happen.

Today, the president took a powerful step towards saying, we are just going to level the playing field, at least a little. We are going to say to folks, get out there, give it a try, if you do, we are going to invest in you. We are going to help a little with that student loan debt.

That`s the way that we build a stronger country. Understand this, when people can start those small businesses. When they can save up and try to buy a home. They not only help themselves. They helped build the economy for all of us.

Economists will tell you this, following World War II, when the returning GIs got the GI bill benefits, it not only helped them. It returned to the American economy, money many fold over what we invested. Why? Because it helped us become a richer nation overall.

That`s the first step that the president and the Democrats have taken today. And the Republicans? Would if they got to answer that with nothing?

WAGNER: Goose egg.

WARREN: They have got nothing. They are the party of no. They`ve got no idea. They`ve got nothing. So they`re going to try a little, their version of class warfare.

Well, let the Harvard boys try it. It`s not going to work.


I do wonder, is this thing, I mean, how are you feeling about the chances of the Democrats holding on to the Senate? Is this thing?

WARREN: I`m liking, it I`m liking it, I`m liking it.

And I will tell you why I`m liking. I`m liking it because Democrats have not only talked about what we want to do and who we want to fight for. We have actually gotten out and done it, with the skinniest possible majority.


WARREN: It`s not possible to have a skinnier majority year than we did, it doesn`t get skinnier than that.

We have delivered. We are going to have a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions paid for, paid for by a 15 percent minimum tax on these billion- dollar-plus profitable corporations, that right now are paying a little more than nothing in taxes. Think about that!

We are actually putting a cap on insulin for Medicare patients, and Republicans come in and strip it out for everybody else.


WARREN: We`re going to talk about, we are going to talk about hearing aids. People will be able to buy hearing aids over the counter. Prices are going to come down!

And we`re going to talk about the 43 million Americans who got helped on student loan debt. We are doing it. And we are doing it with the skinniest majority.

And you give us two more senators? Two Democratic senators who are willing to get rid of the filibuster? And yes -- Mandela Barnes, I`m looking at you in Wisconsin. John Fetterman, I`m looking at you in Pennsylvania.

And I`ve got to say, Tim Ryan in Ohio, I`m kind of glancing your way from time to time, you are looking good out there.


WARREN: We`ve got these folks in the United States Senate, we get rid of the filibuster, and then we do the real things we need to do.

We make Roe versus Wade the law of the land. We protect voting, every American citizen has a right to get that vote counted. We can do universal child care.


WARREN: We can do real gun safety. We can do the things we need to do as a nation, so that this government works, not just for a handful at the top, so that it works for everyone. That`s why we are here.

WAGNER: I think, under the dictionary definition of happy warrior, there is a picture of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts.

WARREN: You bet.

WAGNER: The lady with a plan, congratulations again, thank you for your time tonight, Senator.

WARREN: Thank you.

WAGNER: Today`s policy on student debt relief may not be the only thing that can help Democrats in November. Last night special election New York through the Democrats can put abortion rights on the front burner and win.

Congressman-elect Pat Ryan won doing just that. He joins us live, right here in the studio, coming up next.

And the DOJ has just hours to tell a judge which part of the affidavit used to get a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, which part of it cannot be released, details ahead.




AD ANNOUNCER: When our country called, he served. Pat Ryan graduated from West Point, and risked his life in combat. He fought for our families, for our freedom.

PAT RYAN (D-NY), CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: And freedom includes a woman`s right to choose.

How can we be a free country if the government tries to control women`s bodies?

That is not the country I fought to defend.

I`m Pat Ryan, and I approve this message because in Congress, I will fight to protect all of our freedoms.


WAGNER: That was the very first ad released by Democratic candidate Pat Ryan in his bid to win a special election for Congress in Upstate New York, in the 19th district. Following the Supreme Court`s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Pat Ryan went out of his way to center his campaign around the issue of reproductive freedom. Long in science with the team named -- choices on the ballot, big bold tax, and put Pat Ryan for Congress, smaller texts.

By contrast, Ryan`s Republican opponent tried desperately to avoid the issue, focusing instead on crime in inflation, issues that Republicans had hoped could propel them to victory them in the fall.


This race was one of the first major tests to see how the courts decision on Roe will affect the outcome of this year`s midterm elections. A near perfect controlled trial in a district that flip from Obama to Trump in 2016, from Trump to Biden in 2020.

And the result was clear. Last night, Democrats path Ryan won that special election by just two points. His reproductive justice focused campaign managed to overcome Republican`s midterm election advantage. And it will now send him to the United States congress.

So what can Democrats learn from a candidate like Pat Ryan as they hope to hold on to their majority in November?

Let us ask Pat Ryan himself.

Joining us now, is Democratic Congressman-elect Pat Ryan, fresh off his victory in New York`s 19th congressional district.


RYAN: Thank you, thank you. Fresh, I mean, I haven`t really slept. So fresh might not be the right --

WAGNER: Understandable, but hope of an entire party rests on your shoulder, heavy stuff.

RYAN: So proud, so proud.

WAGNER: That ad is really indicative of how early you saw this becoming the issue. You have been campaigning longer than the Dobbs decision has been handed down. What was it like on the campaign trail after the Supreme Court made that call? Could you feel a difference in the crowds? Tell me.

RYAN: So the campaign started right about when the draft opinion was leaked. Even those days after, they were marches, protests, rallies. We were marching. I remember this one woman, we were marching a few hundred people into uptown Kingston and the district. There was a woman in her mid or late 60s, just bawling, bawling, crying.

And we stopped, she just, she was in total disbelief. She said, I cannot believe we are doing this again. It was just so clear that that decision to rip away a fundamental right and freedom had just struck such a nerve that even transcends the very partisan dynamics in our country right now.

WAGNER: I think for a lot of people, when you say the 19th is a swing district, people don`t really understand how much it is a bellwether. I went there in previous years during the first President Trump impeachment to go to town halls to see how voters were talking or not talking about that. I mean, people look at the 19th as the Petri dish.

When you were hearing these stories, and this indignation, this grief about Roe, was it coming from older women, younger women, independents? I mean, did you have a sense that this -- I mean you set across party lines? But I would love to know a little bit more about who, specifically, was most vocal about this?

RYAN: So this is right has been really powerful. This is such a wide and broad coalition. We have really deliberately talked about freedom. The idea that this is such a unifying American value going back to our original DNA as a country. That one rights and freedoms are trampled on, all American stand up.

And we felt that, I felt that on the ground. I mean, in a way that I kept trying to explain this to people as the campaign was building momentum. I think people were like, yeah, yeah. And then, just volunteers were pouring, in grassroots donations were pouring in. Yard signs were popping up. It got bigger than, certainly me, got bigger than the district. It became this powerful, like, movement.

That`s when you know, I mean that`s when you know when something visceral has been unleashed. Now, I think that momentum from Kansas to now this. I mean, it is powerful, it is palpable. It is actually positive. People have something to not only hope for but fight for. People are ready to fight and certainly I think that is how we really marshaled the energy.

WAGNER: What about this narrative -- well, the Republicans say that this is, they say that they want this to be an election about crime. They want to talk about economic issues. Where did that factor into your strategy? I mean, is that something Democrats need to work on and find out. Where should their messaging be on that? And also, Donald Trump?

RYAN: So, we talked a lot about both economic relief, providing desperately needed economic relief. Our other ad, it`s gotten a little less national attention. But it`s really resonated at home, how a really big corporate utility -- our utility -- which wrapping us off. I had a lot of people on the ground saying -- struggling to pay my utility bills and this company is making record-breaking profits and taxes.

So, we were doing both. We`re providing relief, talking about what we can do to deliver, on that relief. And stand up for peoples freedoms, on a foundational level, and that one-two combo, I think that is -- that is what we need to continue to do and build on.

WAGNER: When we talk about Democratic freedoms, we look at the polling, I think voters are legitimately concerned about freedoms.


Some people sort of read into that Democratic norms, elections, the threat posed by Donald Trump. Is that someone you talked about on the campaign trail? There are so many investigations right now, it makes peoples head spin, right? I think it`s worth covering because this is a former president of the United States.

RYAN: Of course.

WAGNER: As a politician in a swing district was trying to win a seat, hold on to the seat, how much of the words Donald Trump uttered?

RYAN: I mean, we are not afraid to call out Donald Trump as someone who, I believe, essentially traitorous at this point.

I mean, I had a top secret clearance. I was an army officer. If I had done what he did, I would have been in jail, 100 percent. No questions asked. And that is has some certainly been part of it.

But I think it`s just gotten bigger than that. The polling that we saw a few days ago, the threats to democracy, are now top-of mind, above all these other issues for people, it`s this cumulative effect of, okay, in 48 hours, you put more assault weapons on the street, you ripped away reproductive freedom, access to abortion, then you dismantled the EPA, we are hearing more about January 6th, we are continuing to happen see what`s happening with the presidency. It`s just guardrails of democracy increasingly being hit. And that`s a wake up call for folks.

WAGNER: What about -- we have to talk about student loan cancellation, right? There are critics on both sides. Is that something you are going to be talking about as you are in for -- I`m not even going to get into the ins and outs of all the elections you have to run for what you are going to be on the campaign trail this fall. Are you going to be talking about student loans? How do you think that that is going to play?

RYAN: Absolutely. We have to talk about all the things we are doing at every level of government to deliver relief to people. As a county executive, I cut our gas tax and have to provide relief at the pumps, one of the most popular and effective ways we have provided relief. We cut our property tax.

At the federal level, the Inflation Reduction Act, to bring down much friction prescription drug prices, and now to see the --

WAGNER: Student loan --

RYAN: -- the fact that 40 plus million people today felt a weight lifted off of their shoulder, that is powerful, powerful stuff. We have to lean into that. That is providing exactly what people are asking for right now.

And I am a big believer in, it`s about delivering. And we are delivering at all levels right now.

WAGNER: I`ve got to say. You say you live on three hours of sleep, your eyes, my friend, are bright.

Democratic Congressman-elect Pat Ryan, congrats.

RYAN: Thank you.

WAGNER: Go forth and prosper, we hope to talk to you again soon.

RYAN: Thanks for having me.

WAGNER: Thanks for joining me on set.

New York and Kansas are not the only place where turning over row has turned out voters. New data show it is happening in several states. That`s ahead.

And up next, former President Trump -- we are mentioning his name -- is pushing for the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit to be released. We`ll get some expert help to help us understand why that might not be the brightest or best idea for the former president.



WAGNER: I don`t know if there is a Guinness World record for how many times you can shoot yourself in the foot in a three-week span. But President Trump and his legal team certainly appear to be trying for it.

Right after the FBI search President Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home, the former president and his supporters clamor for the Justice Department to release the search warrant that the FBI east to conduct that raid. They were sure that releasing that warrant would exonerate former president.

Days later, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave them exactly what they asked for. He released the search warrant. Far from exonerating Trump, that warrant was how we learned that the FBI investigation puts potential violations of the Espionage Act.

Then on Monday, one of President Trump`s representatives in his dealings with the National Archives published a letter from the National Archives about the documents Trump had taken with him to Mar-a-Lago.

Surely, this representative seems to have thought, if that became public, it would clear Trump`s name. But that letter confirmed that among the 15 boxes Trump returned to the national archives back in January, there were 700 pages of classified material. That is 700 pages of classified material we`re turned before whatever the FBI collected this June and in their search earlier this month.

And now, the Trump demands, the thing that will supposedly clear his name for real this time, now the demand is for the department of justice to release the affidavit for the Mar-a-Lago search. That affidavit, of course, would explain why prosecutors think Trump may have committed crimes here. So, I am not sure that this is going to exactly work out the way team Trump was hoping it will.

The justice department has until tomorrow at noon to file their proposed redactions of that affidavit. So, what should we expect?

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 and co-host of the podcast sisters in law.

Joyce, thank you for being with us tonight.

What is your expectation about this affidavit and the redactions and it`s utility generally speaking?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, I suspect the answer is, we won`t know unless until someone is indicted in this case, because DOJ will likely file under seal tomorrow.


We won`t know what redactions it is proposing. And Trump is very safe, frankly, making the argument that the affidavits should be concealed and that the government has something to hide, because something that his two lawyers -- or former DOJ employees know -- is that this affidavit will need to remain sealed for a number of reasons, perhaps there is some small parts of it that the magistrate judge might decide to release.

But most of it will remain redacted. A lot of the information contained in it will be classified. Some of it will be grand jury material that cannot be released. So, say for the Trump campaign here to say something -- not be forthcoming. As you point, out there is nothing good in the search warrant affidavit for Trump. This is the government`s case against him. This is the government probable cause to search Mar-a-Lago.

WAGNER: The more we learn al about this, not to affidavits, but through the reporting -- the worst, it seems to look for President Trump. "The Washington Post" had been reporting last night that Trump himself was involved in selecting the documents that were initially returned to the National Archives. And that he oversaw the process himself and did so with great secrecy. Put an underlying under great secrecy. How did you read that reporting and what kind of potential exposure does that give him?

VANCE: Well, very often, we find that the decision point on cases like this has to do with the potential defendants` mens rea, their state of mind. Did they actually know the consequences of their action? So, this reporting on the former president determined what went to NARA and what stayed at Mar-a-Lago, or stayed with him, is an absolutely critical piece of evidence for DOJ.

But it is important to say, I think, that we don`t know whether it is there will be indictments are not in this case. Typically, though, the sorts of cases where indictments are brought in this sort of a situation have would I would call a plus factor. It is not just the retention of the classified material. It is something that goes beyond that.

And the fact that we are learning through reporting here are starting. There are a lot of documents. We are learning that these are highly classified materials that could have a grave impact on national security if they are released.

And we have also learned -- and I think this may weigh the most heavily with folks at main justice -- that they were repeated efforts to get these classified materials back from a former president of the United States, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and who could not even return classified materials to the archives.

WAGNER: I am just struck also by the fact that even Trump appointed judges, who were involved in all of this, seemed to be scolding Trump`s legal representatives in terms of how they`re filing for some of these motions and their general sort of handling of this case. This is not a president who has the executive branch behind him. He does not have White House counsel anymore.

Do you think he has the tools in his arsenal to mount a defense, given the mounting evidence that we are seeing, at least in the press?

VANCE: You know, the best part of a good defense is preventing your client from ever being charged. So, what you want if you learn that you are the subject or target of a federal investigation is to have lawyers who can engage upfront with federal prosecutors and convince them, for whatever reason, that you should not be indicted.

Trump now has to folks with some DOJ experience in their background, presumably they are doing that sort of thing. They had some difficulty getting their case filed down in Florida in the 11th circuit, which is Alabama and Georgia and Florida. We take local rule seriously in our local courts, as we do in our appellate courts. And they had some stumbles there.

But more than these technical stumbles, Alex, it doesn`t appear that they have filed the sort of lawsuit with actionable claims that could protect the former president. So, this civil action seems to be a real stumbling block for them.

WAGNER: Joyce Vance, former district attorney for the northern district of Alabama, thank you as always, Joyce Vance, for joining us tonight.

VANCE: Thanks, Alex.

WAGNER: Up next, on a day when we learn just how powerful outrage over the Supreme Court overturning Roe is at the ballot box, we are going to be joined by the head of the group that has led the political fight to keep abortion legal for decades. Mini Timmaraju joins this next. Stay with us.



WAGNER: As we mentioned earlier in the show, a woman`s right to choose was a decisive factor in the congressional race for New York`s 19th district. But it also appears to be motivating voters in states across the country where abortion access is at risk. An analysis by the political data from Target Smart shows a massive increase in women in registering to vote following the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs.

In Kansas, for example, women made up 70 percent of all new registered voters, 70 percent, following the Dobbs ruling.

In Wisconsin, women have out-registered men by more than 15 percent. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, there are similar gender gaps, with women signing up to vote at a higher rate than their male counterparts.


And it makes sense, especially given the disturbing headlines we continue to see day after day, in the months after Roe versus Wade was overturned. Headlines like this one -- Louisiana hospital denies abortion for fetus without a skull. Or this one -- Florida team may be forced to give worth after court ruled she is not mature enough for abortion.

Or this -- doctors refuse potentially lifesaving abortion treatment over legal fears, Indiana doctor says.

Those are headlines that we will very likely see more of, given the new wave of trigger bands restricting access to abortion are slated to go into effect tomorrow in Texas, Tennessee and Idaho, that we have just learned that the Iowa ban will include a small court ordered carve out for women`s health emergencies.

Joining us now is Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Mini, thanks so much for joining me.


WAGNER: So, I just want to talk about those headlines for a second, because I remember after Dobbs was handed down, there was a story of a ten year old in Ohio who had been raped, whose mother had to take her across state lines to Indiana to get an abortion. And reproductive rights advocates say, these are the kinds of horror stories we are going to hear again and again and again. And, as if -- like clockwork, we are hearing those horror stories.

And yet it has not deemed the rights push to condemn reproductive freedoms at all. Are you surprised at any of this?

TIMMARAJU: I hate to be cynical, but I`m not. Here is why. Reproductive rights advocates, particularly women of color leaders or reproductive justice organizations have been shouting for decades about the impacts on communities like this and these exact stories for so long because of the drip, drip, drip restrictions -- targeted restrictions -- against abortion providers that made Roe ineffective and unavailable, the promise of Roe, the vast parts of this country. Rural parts of America, women of color who cannot access abortion because of restrictions on federal funding -- we were already in a very dire state for abortion access in this country before Dobbs fell.

But, of course, I don`t want to make the mistake of saying it is not increasingly more horrific. But to answer your question, these legislators, these Republican extremists, they knew these stories because we have been telling these stories for decades.

And so, frankly, they are not surprised, but they are pushing through because this is all about power and control in their season the moment, even though people in their own party -- as we said, in Kansas -- are horrified and don`t agree with them.

So, I think it is an overall trend of drifting extremism of the extreme right. And it is indicative of a lot of challenges in this country.

WAGNER: What are these trigger bands that are slated to go into the effect? What do they mean for women in the states and the surrounding area?

TIMMARAJU: It`s interesting. The breaking news on Idaho, it`s good news, it`s a great step, the department of intervened. And a federal court did say that Idaho`s ban could move forward but with health of the mother restrictions -- with the health of the mother exceptions. So, it is a step.

But the challenge, pragmatically, if you put yourself in the shoes in the of a person Idaho, who needs access to an abortion, unless they can prove that they fall into that restriction and they can get a committee of hospitals and doctors and hospital -- you are seeing all the stories of deciding to deem that case as an exception, a ban is not a ban, without exceptions. And in Texas in Tennessee we already have six-week bands -- so, that was an important window. But it was frankly, already, before most people know they are pregnant.

WAGNER: Yes! And I remember to go into Texas and talking to abortion providers about that six-week bans. And they said it is effectively outlawing abortion.

TIMMARAJU: Absolutely.

WAGNER: I do -- so, there is a full ban on abortion in at least ten states. South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri -- I think we have a map of this -- Missouri, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Does this mean that women are crossing -- I mean, look at that area of that map, I mean, how do you -- how do you -- you can`t go to a neighboring state anymore. What happens?

TIMMARAJU: That is why Kansas was so important, if you look at that map.

WAGNER: Right!

TIMMARAJU: And you look at some of the electoral and political fights happening right now on that map, and is 14 states with bans of some sort, ten, as you said, with total bans.

Look, again, if you are a person in a state with a ban, even if it is not a total ban, you have to find a doctor, and you either have to have a forced pregnancy first, or you either have to find the resources -- and thanks to the good work of our friends in the abortion community and the provider community, there`s a lot of people working overtime to get pregnant people to point B from point A, but think about the hurdles you have to go through.

You are a mom. I`m a mom. Who`s taking care of your kids?

WAGNER: Right.

TIMMARAJU: How do you take time off? So, suppose you are lucky enough to find a provider in the another state, how do you get funds to compensate for your time? And then, in the process, of going through this bureaucracy, would if you are running up on other restrictions?


What if you are running up on other deadlines where you, even if you are going to a state that does not have the same restrictions, they have other bans by weeks? So, unless you`re going to California or New York -- and how hard is it, looking at that map, to get someone there -- we are talking about a draconian nightmare in this country for pregnant people, for women.

WAGNER: Yeah. We need kind of a underground railroad for women seeking reproductive freedom. This is America we are talking about and we did not even talk about the abolitionist movement that is looking to criminalize women seeking abortions.

This conversation continues.

Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you for joining me tonight.

We`ll be right back.


WAGNER: That does for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.