IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Stacey Abrams TRANSCRIPT: 6/23/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Dan Diamond, Nanette Barragan, Jon Ossoff, Stacey Abrams

  STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Viewers will have the chance to participate in the town hall. You can go to to submit a question for that event on Friday night. And that`s going to do it for me. Don`t go anywhere, "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. American failure, Trump continues his super spreader behavior as the outbreaks in Arizona, Texas, and Florida shatter records, our out of control Coronavirus crisis. And why other countries now want to keep Americans out?

Then, the Trump gang. New accusations from inside the Justice Department they went easy on Roger Stone to please the president. Plus, Stacey Abrams and Jon Ossoff are here on another pandemic election night in America.

And the U.S. Army soldier arrested in a neo-Nazi terror plot. Why the right-wing domestic terrorism doesn`t break through the headline? When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight in Washington D.C., you are watching as a new wall is being erected around the White House, a new structure to protect the president from the citizens he`s sworn to protect.

Today, the president flew down to Arizona to visit his other wall. That`s the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. The wall they shut the government down over the wall that is three total miles, completely new miles of fencing being built, three.

As the President was in Arizona checking out that wall, signing it apparently, we got news of a possible new travel ban, a new attempt at border security, a type of wall if you will. This one, not by the president, a guy who loves travel bans to keep people out, no, by the European Union to keep us out.

It turns out the E.U. having successfully contain the Coronavirus is about to open up for business on July 1st to open the borders, and they`re trying to figure out who is too dangerous to be led into the E.U. Right now, that list appears to include countries that cannot contain the virus within their borders. Countries like Brazil, Russia, and us. Call it the axis of infection.

A cursory glance at just this chart tells us how they arrived at this assessment. Brazil, Russia, and the U.S. are definitely three of the countries that are doing the worst job controlling the virus right now. The E.U. of course was hard hit, but they are now down to 4,000 new cases a day across the entire E.U. and we`re back up to 30,000 new cases a day. That is back where we were in April when things were at their absolute worst.

There might be a travel ban coming, a wall, and we are on the wrong side of it. And it makes a lot of sense in one 24-hour period after the island nation of Jamaica reopened its borders on June 15th, there were 14 new cases all from the U.S. Americans are literally too dangerous to be led out of our country. Just look at today for proof.

This is what the international community is seeing when they look at data from the state like Arizona. That is not a curve being flattened. That is exponential growth. We have been here before. Arizona has the worst outbreak in the country now -- right now based on daily case growth rate per capita. I mean, take the state`s population out of the equation zone as growth is twice as fast as the next highest state. It`s also at the top of the list for percent increase in new cases up nearly 50 percent since last week.

This chart -- this chart shows the dramatic increase in Coronavirus hospitalizations in the state. For weeks now, every day is more than the previous up and up and up. In the midst of all this, Arizona is the place that, lo and behold, the president chose to visit today, not to offer aid or support, but to visit his wall and then hold the rally indoors inside a mega church.

I`m sure it does not help E.U. decision-makers when they look at scenes like this from outside the President`s megachurch rally, people packed in close proximity, and a fan blowing mist on people about to go into an indoor facility.

It was just over the weekend when the President visited Tulsa, Oklahoma with an entourage that included six people that tested positive for the virus. And yesterday, we learned that an additional two staffers tested positive. Today, three days later, he goes into the epicenter of the American outbreak right now to speak to another crowd of people in an indoor space.

It`s not a question anymore of incompetence or being not up to the job though clearly, there`s that. The President is actively trying to cover up the virus, it`s cover up, and made people forget about it long enough to win reelection, no matter how many people it infects and kills.

Today, he basically told us this again that he was not joking about slowing Coronavirus testing down. He keeps talking about how it`s a double-edged sword and the numbers go up, insisting that he slowed down testing to keep the case number small, the President.

Meanwhile, the public health officials tasked with saving this country from the virus including Dr. Anthony Fauci exists in an alternate universe barely tethered to the President himself or the administration. Today, Dr. Fauci testified before Congress that he was disturbed by the recent increase in new cases. And then he added, "it is imperative to wear a mask at all times."

But the medical experts can go to hearings and say what they want. The fact of the matter is the person who`s running the executive branch does not care and wants to hide the truth no matter how many people kills. That`s just the plain way it is. And that is what is controlling the country`s abjectly miserable response.

As long as Donald Trump is the President, the maddening deeply depressing and a raging truth is it is increasingly hard to imagine us getting this under control. That`s our lot right now. And the rest of the world is just going to look on in horror and just tell us to stay put until we can figure this out. And can you blame them?

Joining me now Politico Reporter Dan Diamond who`s got a fantastic piece in Politico titled The U.S. Has Hamstrung Itself: How America became the new Italy on Coronavirus. And your piece looks, Dan, exactly at this question, right? I mean, there was so long in America that Italy was the warning. Things were so bad there the healthcare system was melting down particularly in the north. We were tracking their curve. And then we overtook them. And they now have things under control and we do not. What happened?

DAN DIAMOND, REPORTER, POLITICO: What happened was we did not follow a path that Italy laid out for a country like the United States. At the beginning, Italians were much more centralized in their response. It was certainly a bad failure for Italy and for Spain, some of the other European nations, but they weren`t able to come together in a centralized government response that we generally lacked, helped let the country follow a path to containing the virus.

I think a second issue, Chris That we in the United States have had partisan fights over public health advice that in Italy is going unquestioned. There is no fight in Italy over masks. There is no president or prime minister who is undermining the Italian equivalent of Tony Fauci.

And then I think a third factor, when I spoke with a Rafael (INAUDIBLE), a Harvard Business School professor who has advised on the Italian response, is that the Italians went through a much more rigorous lockdown. There was no jogging, there was no bicycling. And as one public health expert put it to me, our version of lockdown is like Italy`s version of a phased recovery. The United States never got to the point of Italy in keeping people home.

HAYES: This first point I want to -- I want to really focus on, about sort of national policy because I think this is really the key of where we are as a President is down Arizona, as we look at these states. You know, every country that had bad outbreaks had a fairly intensely localized one.

Obviously, China`s outbreak was in Wuhan province -- in Wuhan in Hubei province, and they locked down the whole country. Italy was very much focused in the north. And what your reporting points out, and I think this is crucial is they put a national standard of action across the entire country.

Italy is -- you can say, well, it`s a small country. Let me tell you Sicilians don`t necessarily think like, oh, well, they`re doing something Milan, we have to do it too. Like, that`s not an easy thing in Italy. Is a very fractious society. There are strong regional differences, but they figured it out and they put a national solution in place and we have not.

DIAMOND: Well, I also think, Chris, not only is it fractious in a way that the United States might not be, the political system is very different. The leading political party only has about 25 percent of the popular vote. So even when these fractious groups and these politicians are fighting over what to do next, it is not from the United States` simple two-party system. There are a lot more pieces that are moving. And yet Italians were scared into action in a way that much of the United States was not.

I think it`s interesting to draw a comparison between New York and Italy. New York had a very Italy-like experience where people there saw firsthand devastation of COVID. It`s very different in parts of the United States that were not touched by COVID until maybe more recently, and now they`re catching up.

HAYES: I mean, what is so maddening about this, right, is that in some ways, the federal government exists to regularize this. The CDC exists as this vaunted institution respected around the world to come in and help states think this through. And there`s this kind of like memento-like quality of just watching people unlearn the lessons.

I mean, I watched the -- when I look at the Arizona hospitalization numbers, I think to myself, I`ve been covering this story from February like, I know what this looks like. I`ve seen it now. I`ve seen what it does. We know what it does. How are we -- how are we having to relearn this again in June?

DIAMOND: I`ve been talking with administrator officials and experts on the outside. This feels like deja vu. It feels like with the numbers rising and the White House largely playing it down, somewhat of a reprise of where we were and where the rest of the world was. But the difference is Italy, Spain got walloped, they got better.

The Daily numbers in terms of cases in Italy are down now in the low hundreds. The cases in the United States -- now granted, we are a bigger country, but even adjusted for population 25,000, 30,000, if you map it out against Italy, our case count right now is roughly on par with Italy`s worst day. And that`s why Italy has now moved forward and can reopen more safely. Here in the United States, I`m still worried. There`s a reason I haven`t gotten my hair cut.

If I was in Naples, Italy, I might feel safer than I was in Naples, Florida right now. And that`s actually a question I asked most experts, where would you want to be in the coming weeks? And nearly to a person they said, I`d rather be in Italy to the United States.

HAYES: It`s really -- it`s stunning but I have to say, given where this pandemic was and where we are now and watching those numbers in Arizona, and Texas, and other places. Dan Diamond, great reporting. People should check out that piece. Thanks for being with me tonight.

DIAMOND: Thank you and my colleague Sarah Wheaton worked on it as well.

HAYES: Joining me now Democratic Congresswoman Nanette Barragan of California, a member of that House Energy and Commerce Committee, which conducted a hearing today, an oversight hearing on the Trump administration`s response to pandemic and included Dr. Anthony Fauci, among others. Congresswoman, what did you learn today?

REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CA): Well, thanks for having me, Chris. What we learned is -- what we`re hearing from public health officials is very different than the conduct we`re seeing the president have. You heard today Dr. Fauci talking about his concern about the rise in numbers.

He also talked about the need as well as CDC Dr. Redfield talked about the need to wear masks, to social -- be socially distant and not gather in large you know, crowds, and yet the President is doing just that. It`s what`s going to save our lives if we can listen to public health officials.

And I think what we need to do, Chris, is we need to make sure the public health officials message is what`s getting out to the American people, not the images of the president doing what he`s doing, because he`s not leading, and he`s not setting the example that his own public health officials are telling Congress that we need to do to stop this virus.

HAYES: But the problem -- but you see the problem there. I mean -- I mean, you know this, but the President is the president. The President has the bully pulpit. The president is not -- you know, you guys can have a hearing. It was good hearing. We watch parts of it and, you know, there are some sober-minded experts out there. It`s not -- you know, America doesn`t watch Anthony Fauci. He`s not the leader of America. Like that`s the problem here. You need unanimity and sort of consensus messaging going out from all parties.

BARRAGAN: I completely agree with you. I mean, even on the Hill, we`ve had to have the speaker put in a requirement for everybody to wear masks for members to wear masks for the same reason. This division is costing lives and that`s the bottom line. The division and making this political is going to cost lives and it has been.

We`ve seen the responses from people who were in Arizona today, frankly, not believing the numbers, not believing the information. I think part of that is a product that the President and his messaging that we can`t believe media, that we can`t believe certain things, that he doesn`t believe science.

So we have to continue to get the public health officials to continue to send this message. We need our Republican colleagues, frankly, to stand up or when they hear the President do something that`s not right, like these big massive rallies that he`s having, call it out, to make sure that we`re reinforcing to the American people what they should be doing and setting the example. That`s how we`re going to lead and that`s how we`re going to save lives.

HAYES: I want to zoom in on a moment in the hearing today and I believe it was your question if I`m not mistaken about when the individuals before you had last talked to the President of the United States. And the context here, of course, is that the last few weeks have really been troubling. And we pay attention very closely to data. We track it every day. It`s in the last two weeks that you started to see the data that go wrong way. And really in the last week, it`s really started to look bad and even fatalities may be starting to pick up again.

While testifying, the CDC director did not specify. Dr. Anthony Fauci said two and a half weeks ago was the last time he spoke the president. He said he regularly speaks to Vice President. The admiral who`s in charge of the testing and vaccine undertaking said two and a half to three weeks. I mean, the President`s not talking to these people. What does that say to you?

BARRAGAN: Well, that`s concerning. And that means the President is not taking this seriously unlike his public health officials are. Look, this is the task force that the President turned to, to get advice from on how to handle this, and he has spoken to them in weeks, and in one case, we don`t even know. I mean, that is just showing you how this president isn`t taking this seriously, how it really is endangering us, and he`s not listening to the people he should be listening to.

That`s why I asked the question. I wanted to know how long it had been so that we could see who the President is listening to if anybody on the public health side. Clearly, he`s not doing that.

HAYES: So what`s the game plan here? I mean, honestly, I feel like I`m losing my mind a little bit on this. We know what this disease does. We have seen these curves happen before. There is real reason to worry about what`s happening in Arizona and Texas and Florida. There`s other reasons to maybe be hopeful it doesn`t get as bad as it has gotten in other places. The President doesn`t care. He`s going to go to indoor rallies. What do we do? What does the U.S. government do? What does Congress do?

BARRAGAN: Well, what I think we need to focus on is testing, testing, testing, and contact tracing. We need make sure to continue that and invest in that. Even if the President doesn`t believe in it, we as leaders have to put money behind that. We need to work with our local and state governments to make sure that they`re doing that, because that is what is going to help save us. That is what`s going to help us open this economy, and that`s what`s going to keep us safe.

So even if the President doesn`t believe in it, as Dr. Fauci said today, we need to expand the testing, we need to do more of that contact tracing. And that is what we need to do. Congress has to continue to fund that effort.

HAYES: Congresswoman Nanette Barragan of California, thank you for your time tonight.

BARRAGAN: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next, pretty shocking new allegations from a DOJ whistleblower who`s still at the department that top justice officials pressured prosecutors to give Roger Stone special treatment because he was buds with the president. Natasha Bertrand is here to explain it all after this.


HAYES: Just a few days after Attorney General William Barr`s embarrassing botched attempt to get away with removing the U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York and to install somebody apparently more malleable, two Department of Justice whistleblowers will be appearing before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. One of them is Aaron Zelinsky who was one of the prosecutors who worked on the Mueller team and the case involving the President`s longtime friend and ally Roger Stone.

Now, Zelinsky was one of the four prosecutors, if you remember, who quit that case earlier this year after William Barr`s DOJ intervened directly in a line of prosecution and lowered Stone`s sentencing recommendations. He resigned or took his name off the briefs. Today, on the eve of that hearing, that prosecutors opening statement was posted online and it is really something profoundly incriminating.

The short version is Attorney General William Barr`s machinations are exactly what they look like. In the statement, Aaron Zelinsky describes a deeply corrupt process for coming to a sentencing recommendation for the President`s buddy Roger Stone. "What I heard repeatedly was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President."

Zelinsky also describes how Stone was the Trump campaign source in 2016 for information on what WikiLeaks would be doing, confirming what is described and a newly released less redacted version of the Mueller report. Here with the details, Natasha Bertrand, a national security correspondent at Politico.

Natasha, what`s striking here is that Zelinsky is still at the Department of Justice. He took his name off the Stone case, but he stayed at the Department of Justice. And this statement is just excoriating. Walk us through what`s in it.

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Chris, it`s really hard to overstate just how remarkable this is coming from someone who is still currently at DOJ. He still is at the U.S. Attorney`s Office in Maryland. And in that sense, he really is a whistleblower. And so, any kind of retaliation against him while he still has his position, that, of course, is something that we have to watch for.

But essentially, in this memo, he laid out the sequence of events during the Stone sentencing process. He and his four colleagues, four-line attorneys, they recommended that Stone be sentenced between seven and nine years. That was what the guidelines according to all of his crimes, suggested in terms of how long Roger Stone should be in prison for obstruction of justice, for witness tampering, for lying to Congress. These were all in lines with -- in line with the guidelines.

Now, that was overturned by the U.S. attorney at the time in D.C., Timothy Shea who was in talks with the Attorney General, who both found the guidelines and what the prosecutors had recommended to be too harsh. And of course, they considered it to be too harsh right after the president tweeted, following that initial sentencing recommendation that this was a miscarriage of justice and that it was very unfair to his pal Roger Stone.

So, what he describes, he lays out all of Stone`s brazen lies that he told Congress how it impeded the Russia investigation. He lays out how Roger Stone showed no regrets and no remorse for the way he had acted in terms of intimidating witnesses, intimidating the judge in the case by posting images of her and crosshairs on social media, just no remorse whatsoever. And said that all of that just makes it remarkable really, something that he had never seen before in his career at DOJ for the Justice Department -- for the Attorney General to then intervene and say, actually, we want a downward departure from the guideline sentence. We want you to go lighter on Roger Stone.

And ultimately, he says that this was the result of pressure by the President on senior Justice Department leadership.

HAYES: Yes. I want to -- I want to read this part where he basically says -- where he just comes out and says it. I was explicitly told the motivation for changing the sentencing memo was political. And because the U.S. Attorney was "afraid of the President," right.

He also says this, we were told by a supervisor, the U.S. Attorney had political reasons for his instructions which our supervisor agreed was unethical and wrong. However, we were instructed, we should go along with the US Attorney`s instructions because this case was "not the hill worth dying on," that we could lose our jobs if we do not toe the line.

I mean, he is saying this, the Department of Justice has been corrupted, that there are exceptions. malicious machinations happening on behalf of the President`s friends and allies who are convicted criminals to give them sweetheart deals just like it looked in person. And then William Barr tonight with a statement basically saying, well, this is all hearsay and there`s no first-hand knowledge and I`ve ever talked to the President about it.

BERTRAND: And I think the important thing to remember about that is that he is not the only one who was saying this. There are three other prosecutors who write the case because of this political pressure. And one of them, Jonathan Kravis, actually wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post just after the charges against the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn were essentially abandoned by the Justice Department saying that this is totally outside the bounds of anything that is normal.

And he revealed as well that the reasons why he quit the Stone case were in line with what we saw from Zelinsky. There was political pressure. He found it to be completely inappropriate. And one of the things that concerns me reading that statement by Zelinsky was that there were superiors that were not just -- that were not senior department leadership that were actually saying look, you know, this isn`t really worth it. This isn`t the hill to die on and seem to be willing to give Attorney General Barr and Timothy Shea that victory.

So Zelinsky I think is trying to write that wrong here, what he sees is a wrong, and he is going to go in front of Congress tomorrow. And he, depending on the questions he`s asked, he may reveal even more about what went on at DOJ during this time.

HAYES: The key thing too is it adds a lot of context to that botched Friday night massacre from William Barr to get rid of the U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in southern district, because Zelinsky is saying it`s his boss, the U.S. Attorney here who is essentially the henchmen, right? He`s the one who`s afraid of the President. He`s the one dispatching this corrupt political pressure. He is the one who sort of, you know, torquing them. You now can see exactly what he was trying to do in the Southern District, right? I mean, the dots kind of connect themselves.

BERTRAND: Right. And we have yet to have any real reporting on what was the final straw that caused the Attorney General to oust on late on Friday night, the U.S. -- the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, but that is just part of the larger pattern, right? And for the Attorney General to actually brazenly lie about the circumstances surrounding that dismissal, circumstances surrounding Berman`s dismissal, saying that he had agreed to step down when in fact he hadn`t, just tarnishes Barr`s credibility even more than it has been over the last few --

HAYES: Yes. It`s wild to get a statement from the DOJ, you know, from Kerri Kupec who`s the press person there, you know, a few days after they just lied in black and white to all of us. Like we should listen to what they say when just four days ago, they lied to us. Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much for sharing that reporting.

BERTRAND: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, election night drama in Kentucky where voters were locked out of one of the few polling places available to them. We`ll tell you what happened there and talk about the unprecedented challenges of campaigning and voting in the middle of a pandemic with Stacey Abrams and Jon Ossoff, next.


CROWD (chanting): Let us vote! Let us vote! Let us vote! Let us vote! Let us vote!


HAYES: That was video posted not long ago by the Courier-Journal`s Matt Mencarini, this from his colleague Joe Sonka, people locked out of the Expo Center in Louisville, that`s Kentucky`s Expo Center, the only polling place open for in-person same-day voting in Jefferson County. They are chanting "let us vote."

According to journalists on the scene, doors were locked at 6:03 p.m. local time as people stood outside in line, then about 20 minutes later after a judicial order that anyone outside the venue must be allowed to vote, people then streamed in to cast their ballots.

That`s another scene from yet another election day in pandemic America. And we`re monitoring how things are going in the six states that have elections today.

But unlike most elections that we have covered throughout my time doing this job, we`re not going to have results tonight, that`s the new normal. In Kentucky, Amy McGrath and State Representative Charles Booker are the front-runners in the Democratic Senate primary race. The winner will be taking on Mitch McConnell in November.

In New York City, there`s a very contested congressional primary. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel is facing a serious primary change from middle school principal Jamal Bowman in the Bronx. Full disclosure, my brother works on that campaign.

But again, we won`t know the results tonight. And that is a new normal as states try to hold elections with a combination of mail-in votes and in-person votes in the middle of a massive public health crisis. it`s not just the administration of elections that is a challenge right now.

Campaigning is really tough, too. I mean, campaigning usually means big crowds of people next to each other. The president got a rude awakening on that front this weekend.

Now, Biden on the other hand has been leaning in to pandemic era campaigning with social distancing at in-person events and a virtual fundraiser with Barack Obama tonight.

As the country prepares for a general election in the era of Coronavirus, the normal playbook for politics is going to have to change.

Joining me to talk about that, Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action, election reform and education advocacy group. She ran for governor of Georgia against Brian Kemp in 2018, and Jon Ossoff, who won his party`s primary earlier this month and will face Georgia Republican Senator David Purdue in November.

It`s great to have you both.

Jon, let me start with you since you`re right now on the campaign trail and you have a kind of apples to apples comparison, which is you ran in a special election in 2017 and you`re running now and you started running before COVID and now you have to run in the COVID era. What does it mean? How do you do that?

JON OSSOFF, (D) GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the door-to-door canvassing we would like to do is not possible. We`re putting public health first. But we are still running a robust volunteer program with hundreds of thousands of phone calls and text messages being sent.

And when you look at what happened in Georgia on election day, I mean, those are not issues unique to the COVID era, we have these issues in Georgia election after election. Stacey can speak to more detail to the specifics of the problems.

I think the good news is that despite six to eight-hour lines, despite absentee ballots that never arrived, there was record-setting turnout and record-setting Democratic turnout in Georgia, and people demonstrated were galvanized and energized to vote here in Georgia, which is the premiere battleground state this year, in this election.

HAYES: Stacey, what do you think about that in terms of the ways in which campaign -- election administration has to change, and we`ve heard people having issues in New York and we saw the images you saw from Louisville, as well as campaigns needing to change?

STACEY ABRAMS, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Well, I think what Jon is absolutely right about is that we are seeing record turnout and record enthusiasm. And that`s half the battle in the campaign. But the other half is making sure that that enthusiasm can be harnessed, that we can stoke more enthusiasm through contact.

One of the ways we were so successful in 2018 was reaching out to people who didn`t think they belonged in the process. And I think the way that Jon is going about it, the way Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is running for our second Senate seat is going about it, is reaching people where they are, using digital, but also going analog, just making phone calls, doing the hard work of touching voters.

But the problem is, if we can get all that enthusiasm up, if we can generate the voter turnout, we must have election administrators who are prepared and who are resourced to actually conduct our elections. And what we saw happen in Kentucky and in New York today, what happened in Georgia, Wisconsin, what is happening again and again is the clarion call that tells us we have to get investment in our elections to meet this moment.

HAYES: Yeah, I want to -- Kentucky, just in slight defense of the administration there, I will note that the reporters who were covering that one location all day in Jefferson County there, it was an enormous location, there were no lines, people were moving through. So the general operation throughout that day was not these huge bottlenecks that we saw, Stacey, in the state of Georgia, to their credit.

But to the point that you both made, what`s so fascinating to me, right, as we run the experiment of what democracy looks like in a pandemic is we keep seeing record turnout. So in Georgia, the primary set a record in Georgia. It was more than 2.1 million votes cast, Democrats exceeded Republicans by more than 182,000 votes, according to the secretary of state`s office, early numbers we`re getting from Kentucky tonight is that absentee ballots alone are going to exceed typical primary turnout for Kentucky.

And John, it looks like when you add in-person, you`re seeing the same level of just intense voter enthusiasm in the midst of all the challenges in the state of Kentucky, as we saw in Georgia. What do you attribute that to?

OSSOFF: Well, there`s two factors at play here. The first is that we are in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, that is apparent to everyone, has been exacerbated by poor political leadership and bad government. And so bad politics for all of us is a matter of life and death, during a pandemic and during an economic crisis like this, has been hammered home in a way that I think is galvanizing record turnout and record enthusiasm.

And the other thing that`s at play, particularly in Georgia, where we had the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, where we just had the tragic shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, where we`ve had these massive issues with election administration and voting rights, not just this year, but election after election after election, is this awakening that there is fundamentally a need for civil rights, criminal justice, and voting rights advocacy and reform at the highest levels in this government, and we`re seeing people galvanized to come out and demand those rights.

I closed this primary that we just finished, focused relentlessly on the need for a new civil rights act and a new voting rights act and how I will champion those priorities in the United States Senate. And people are turning out in defense of civil rights, in defense of voting rights, and because they`re passionate about expanding and strengthening those rights here in America, in Georgia and across the country.

HAYES: Stacey, what do you think? As you look at these numbers, because I think we saw it in Wisconsin, too, I should note. You know, there`s some part of me that didn`t know how this was all going to go. Are people going to stay home? Are they not going to want to use the machinery of the mail-in ballot, because they haven`t done it before. And yet we really are seeing now, we have a enough data to show that like people are more determined than ever to vote in this election year.

ABRAMS: I think there are two piece. Is one, they`re determined to vote because they understand what`s at stake. It`s not that we`re simply redoing the 2016 election, we`re also redoing the 2010 election. It`s going to set the stage for the next decade of our lives. And folks remember what it felt like to win in `08 and lose in 2010.

But I think the other piece, and this goes back to Jon`s point, we have people who want to be involved, but -- and part of that is the fact that they know that they can mail in their votes. They don`t have to sacrifice their health to vote. And so we`re going to see an increase, but that increase has to be met with increased investment.

What we are witnessing in a lot of these states like Kentucky, where I give credit to both Governor Beshear and to the secretary of state Michael Adams, they both did their best to make sure that vote by mail works, but we always have to remember that not everyone can vote by mail and that`s why we have to maintain in-person early voting and in-person voting.

But more than that, we need the federal government to step in and help cash strapped states step up and scale up, because we are going to see unprecedented turnout. But we can`t let this primary turnout blind us to the fact that there are still millions of Americans who do not know, not whether they will vote for Biden or not, they don`t know if voting matters or not. And that`s why Georgia is so excited to have Jon Ossoff, a warrior who has spent his business life fighting corruption, documenting corruption and being a warrior against corruption, which we certainly have in our senators -- our current senators -- and Raphael Warnock, a moral warrior who has done his best to lift up the voices and needs of people across the state.

Those are the kinds of people we need to send to the senate, and that`s why I`m so excited that Georgia is a battleground this year.

HAYES: Georgia, a very rare thing happening in Georgia this year. Of course, there will be the presidential. Of course, it is a contested, probably swing state at the presidential level. And there are two senate races, doesn`t happen that often, so all of that means that Georgia is going to be the center of a lot of the political world for the next few months. Stacey Abrams and Jon Ossoff, thank you both.

ABRAMS: Thank you, Chris.

OSSOFF: Thank you.

ABRAMS: Coming up, the myth of the roving Antifa mobs and the very real threat of white supremacist violence, the growing alarm over extremist influences within the U.S. military, just ahead.


HAYES: The story the right has been telling about this moment is about these marauding anti-fascist mobs from Antifa, as the president calls them, coming to your town to cause mayhem, to start riots, to tear down your statues, to take everything you love and hold dear.

The president predictably, you know, getting along with this, heightening the tension and fear, threatening anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue, or other such federal property, like, say, pulling down the statue of a Confederate traitor on public land with 10 years in prison.

You might have seen that yesterday in Lafayette Square, just outside the White House, U.S. Park Police officers in riot gear pepper sprayed protesters who were attempting to topple the statue of President Andrew Jackson. You will remember Jackson as the guy who ordered the violent ethnic cleansing of nearly 4,000 Native Americans in direct violation of a Supreme Court order not to. Now that statue did not come down in the end.

But while statues have come down across America, the country is not being overrun. Across the country, people in 41cities and towns were so scared by false rumors spread on social media saying that Antifa was coming to their area, we started seeing some amazing images like these from Washington state showing white men in tactical gear carrying long guns ready to defend against their local Ross Dress for Less and Hobby Lobby from the Antifa mob.

Of course, the mobs never showed up, because they were never coming. Antifa does not even really exist as a coherent organization in any traditional sense, certainly not in the way the president and right wing imagine.

That said, there has been a real story of organized, concerted, planned terrorist violence undertaken and plotted,sometimes successfully, to take advantage of this moment. It is right wing violence, the genuine organized terror we have seen recently in this country is coming from white supremacists.

When a sheriff`s deputy in Santa Cruz, California was killed earlier this month, conservatives tried to tie the suspect to Antifa. As it turns out, the suspect who has also been charged in the shooting death of a federal security officer in Oakland, appears to be connected to far right white supremacist fringe group called the Boogaloo Boys.

And then just yesterday, the Department of Justice brought a shocking indictment against a U.S. service member for allegedly planning an attack on his own army unit with a Neo-Nazi and white supremacist group.

For more details on that story and the growing concern about right-wing violence next.


HAYES: There`s an extraordinary indictment unsealed by the U.S. attorney`s office in the southern district of New York yesterday, quoting from the press release, as alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within. He allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on its own unit, unlawfully revealing its location, stringing some armaments to a Neo-Nazi anarchist white supremacist group.

This is not the first U.S. service member linked to white supremacist movements. There`s been growing alarm about white nationalists and extremists influences within the U.S. military and growing alarm about the rise of organized violent right-wing groups in the Trump era.

The House even held a hearing last year to examine hate crimes and the impact white nationalist groups have on American communities and the spread of white identity ideology.

And one of the people who has been tracking all of this very closely, NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny and she joins me now.

Brandy, I wonder if you can just talk a little bit about what`s in this indictment, which is just an incredibly shocking thing to read.

BRANDY ZADROZNY, NBC NEWS: You know, it is shocking, and yet it`s absolutely not if you`ve been following any of this news for the last six months. Month after month, we just get another shocking indictment that says that a member of the far-right with the far-right ideology is planning or has carried out a sort of violent attack.

This new one comes from an army private out of Louisville who had shared location and other sort of details in a sort of orchestrated plan with this group Order of the Nine Angels, a UK-based Neo-Nazi occult-linked group and was hoping to ambush his own -- his own unit. And, you know, really now he faces life in prison.

And it`s -- it`s like you said, it`s just one of many examples over the last few months of service members, active reserve service members, who had carried out attacks on American citizens or were planning to carry out attacks on American citizens.

HAYES: Yeah, when you say it`s not surprising, and I`ve been following you and Ben Collins, who you often write with together on this sort of world of the extreme right, particularly online, like what has that world been like? And why is it not surprising insofar as the tenor of the conversation among those segments of the extreme far right right now?

ZADROZNY: I think in the a few months, starting around January in the Virginia gun lobby day when we saw really, you know, Second Amendment enthusiasts, militia groups, but then you also saw a convergence of Boogaloo Boys waring sort of extremist patches, it really did seem like that was the beginning of something special where online hate groups and extremist groups were meeting with real militia groups in real-time to protest the stay-at-home orders, the idea that the government was coming for your guns, you know, match that with the pandemic and everybody really seems to have lost their minds, and the most extreme among these groups, especially the Boogaloo Boys right now in two separate federal cases we have evidence that people are using the George Floyd protests to co-opt them and spread violence at though events.

HAYES: The Boogaloo Boys, which is the origin is somewhat obscure, refers to the sequel to the movie Breakin`, Breakin` 2: Electric Boogaloo. It`s a reference -- a sort of tongue-in-cheek reference that people use online to a second civil war basically. What it is referring to is we had one civil war and these are people that are thinking about planning for or want to bring on a second one.

In this case in California, had someone tied to this group who it appears, or is accused of, shooting two police officers.

ZADROZNY: Yeah. So Steve Carillo in Santa Cruz, California, he allegedly according to investigators, he used, with an accomplice, the Oakland Black Lives Mater protests and admitted to this in a Facebook group, where these groups proliferate online, admitted that they are using that as a way to, you know, cloak their violence.

And so he went and he shot and killed a federal officer in Oakland, then went on the run. And while he was on the run, he shot and killed a Santa Cruz sheriff deputy. And before he was captured, started writing Boogaloo memes on his car.

So, again, again, we`re just seeing this play out in real life, and it seems to us only inevitable that the next thing is going to occur.

HAYES: You have -- you have tracked this both sort of in real life and online. And I think there is some question about what the role of different platforms -- what role they should play in this sort of thing. What do you see as the sort of situation now in terms of particularly Facebook and others in hosting activity for thee kinds of groups?

ZADROZNY: I talked to someone on the Homeland Security Advisory Council in March, and he said to me, you know, when we have groups of heavily armed people loudly talking about their plans for insurrection and to kill law enforcement officials, we should probably listen to them. It seems that we haven`t.

And Facebook right now continues to host Boogaloo groups who are getting around their very -- just the basic level of content moderation they`re doing for these groups. And, you know, right now they`re existing on Reddit, and they`re even siphoning off to smaller, more private forums that we`re seeing like Discord.

I mean, the long and short of it is that these groups continue to exist even after all this violence. So in terms of what the platform, their role in it, their responsibility, it seems they`re taking very, very little.

HAYES: It`s striking, too, I mean, the sort of role of both sort of Second Amendment fetishization as a kind of ideological theme and wanting the second civil war, and also guns at the ready. I mean, one of the things we have seen at all these right-wing protests is -- you know, whether it`s the people who are going to show up to defend their town from Antifa or these folks, that they are -- they are armed to the teeth, like, there is no question about that.

ZADROZNY: Yeah, they are. They have lots of guns and they show their power level. And that`s sort of -- that`s the one plus in this is that, you know, a lot of these extremists really do -- are open about their extremist ties, so we can see the fact that they`re all wearing, you know, Hawaiian shirts, for example, as another sort of stupid in-joke that sort of masks the real danger that they pose.

We see them, you know, with Boogaloo patches and other sort of insignia that can sort of call them out, but the scary thing for protesters that we`ve talked to, Black Lives Matter protesters and others, is that when they`re at these protests, they can`t tell the difference between who`s there, you know, advocating for their second amendment right and who is an actual, you know, real threat. And I think it`s just -- it`s a terrifying situation.

HAYES: Brandy Zadrozny, who does great reporting on this for us and NBC News, thank you for joining us tonight.

ZADROZNY: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.