Today President Biden announced that he would be waiving executive privilege for the White House visitor logs from Trump`s presidency, clearing the way for the bipartisan committee investigating January 6 to get their hands on them. After Mazars dumping the Trump Organization, Donald Trump released this unusually lengthy statement, four raging pages insisting the whole thing is a witch hunt. Former acting Solicitor General of the United States, Walter Dellinger, a legendary constitutional scholar, passed away today at the age of 80. Sen. Ted Cruz and the GOP, in a confirmation hearing, link Innocence Project lawyer, Nina Morrison, to a rise in crime.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That court of arbitration, they`re the absolute worst, for allowing this absolute fiasco to drag on as dozens of Olympic athletes and their dreams are left in limbo.
And that is tonight`s "REIDOUT" -- that is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.
The White House requests in expedited release of Trump visitor logs as new text messages reveal new characters lobbying Trump before the Capitol attack. I`ll ask January 6 Committee Member Elaine Luria about all of it. Then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are these prosecutors? Where is the DA? Isn`t that a federal -- isn`t that a -- you know, isn`t that fraud? Isn`t that all sorts of offenses?
HAYES: Why the Trump family panic after their accountant dropped them isn`t exactly misplaced.
And guess who`s added again on Capitol Hill?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Why is it that you keep being part of the transition team helping advise district attorneys on how to release violent criminals and you`re the head of the Innocence Project.
HAYES: The sad returned to the battle days of criminal justice backlash politics when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. President Joe Biden is taking steps to answer one of the biggest lingering mysteries of the Trump administration, who was Donald Trump talking to the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection.
Today President Biden announced that he would be waiving executive privilege for the White House visitor logs from Trump`s presidency, clearing the way for the bipartisan committee investigating January 6 to get their hands on them. Although Trump will likely sue to block the documents release again.
It`s important because Donald Trump has a talent for surrounding himself with the worst people, people often encouraged as most lawless and authoritarian tendencies. And when it came to the day of the insurrection, there were basically two groups of people in Donald Trump`s orbit. Those who, despite whatever odious other things they may believe, were adamantly opposed to Trump`s coup, and then the wackos and the sycophants who encouraged or even assisted the plan to steal a free and fair election and end American democracy as we know it.
And then there`s another category, category one, with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. That guy. It`s not exactly clear which group he fell into. He certainly assisted the coup in his official capacity in multiple instances. But he also did not appear to be one of the true believers like Rudy Giuliani. One of the reasons it would be so beneficial for Meadows to speak with the committee investigating the attack.
Now, we now know in the run-up to January 6, Meadows acted as a kind of intermediate, a clearinghouse, a waystation for the then-President fielding messages from both pro and anti-coup camps as helpfully aggregated by the Washington Post in a new piece out today.
And the days leading up to January 6, for example, Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of Trump`s closest outside advisors, was adamant that the coup plot was destined to fail. First, texting Meadows on December 31, "We cannot lose the entire White House Counsel`s Office. I do not see January six happening the way he`s being told. After the sixth, he should announce you will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity."
Then, again, on January 5, as things are getting very close, "I`m very worried about the next 48 hours. Pence pressure, White House counsel will leave." Boy, it seems like Sean knows a lot about what`s going on and he`s not sharing with the rest of us. At least one Republican member of the far- right House Freedom Caucus also appear to have issues with the coup plot. This is pretty interesting.
Texting Meadows on either January 1st or second, "If the president knighted states allows this to occur, we`re driving a stake in the heart of the Federal Republic. Strong words. But the voices against the coup seem to get drowned out by those who were abetting it. I mean, way back in November 2020, before the election had even been called, a phone number linked to former Texas governor and Trump`s Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, texted Meadows "Here`s an aggressive strategy. Why can`t the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other Republican-controlled state houses declare this is BS where conference -- conflicts and election not called that night and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the Supreme Court?
HAYES: Yes, that is aggressive. That`s an aggressive way to kill American democracy. We should note, Rick Perry denies sending that text message but the January 6 Committee staff tell the Washington Post it came from a number identified as Perry`s, so I`ll leave it to you to decide who`s telling the truth.
We also know that Meadows received the previously revealed text forwarded by Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, who supposedly got it from some random lawyer, you know, copy-paste it, passed it along, instructing Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election on the sixth.
The Washington Post is also reporting that Mark Meadows was fielding texts from other coup plotters, including Cleta Mitchell, a conservative attorney who helped push Trump`s big lie and who was on that now-infamous phone call when Trump tried to bully John Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger into finding the votes he needed to flip the state.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have all these different people that that voted but they don`t live in Georgia anymore. What was that number, Cleta? It was a pretty good number too.
CLETA MITCHELL, TRUMP ATTORNEY: Well, the number who had registered out of state after they moved from Georgia. So, they had a date when they moved from Georgia, they registered to vote out of state, and then it`s like to 4,500. I don`t have that right in front of me.
TRUMP: And then they came back in and they voted.
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HAYES: By the way, 4500 people who were not Georgia voters did not vote. That`s wrong. But Mitchell was not the only bad actor with a direct line of access to the White House. The Post also reports that -- I`m not quite sure how to describe him -- right-wing troublemaker James O`Keefe, a guy who does all the deceptively edited gotcha stings that never really amounted to anything.
He was texting Mark Meadows, that guy, leading up to the sixth. "Thousands registered devoted to church addresses in Atlanta. These admissions were obtained today, James." You got James O`Keefe, like I`m the case. Go get them, buddy.
We should note again, there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Georgia or anywhere else. All this stuff is nonsense. It`s all nonsense. All of it, garbage in and garbage out. And O`Keefe is to put it lightly, someone who should be nowhere close to the levers of power in this country. And yet in the final days, the Trump ministration seems like absolutely everyone a lot of communication open the Meadows.
A trend continued on the six when everyone from Fox News hosts Hannity or Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, to unidentified members of Congress, you know, trapped in the capitol while the mob is beating down the doors, to the President`s own son, Donald Trump Jr., are desperately trying to get the president to call off the violent riot he incited.
But at least when it came to the President himself, again, the pro-coup force is one. Those messages made it to Trump. He ignored them because he was too busy watching the violent and deadly riot on TV reportedly gleefully rewinding as the mob he whipped into a frenzy threatened to hang Mike Pence and assaulted police officers with flagpoles bear spray and their own weapons.
And of all this speaks the worst proclivities of Trump which he surround himself with and listen to the worst people with terrible information.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria is a Democrat representing Virginia`s Second District. She sits on the bipartisan committee investigating January 6, and she joins me now. First, let`s start with the current President Joe Biden`s actions on waiving privilege on the visitor logs and the significance and importance of that -- importance of that.
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, again, this is a great step forward for the committee. It`s been very helpful the records we`ve already received from the archives and the fact that we`ll now have access to the visitor logs, as you mentioned. Of course, Trump could challenge this, like everything else in the courts.
But you know, the President has shown that the courts have upheld the need of the committee to have this information. And within 15 days, we could have these logs. It`s very important to us to understand who was there with the president who had access to the White House, who was meeting with him with other people in the White House during this time frame surrounding January 6.
So, it really is a good step forward for the committee. And we`re very hopeful that we`ll receive those in the 15-day time frame.
HAYES: You said something to the Washington Post I want to read to you and have you elaborate on. You said the texts describe that Meadows received are key to the investigation because they tie things together. There`s an immediacy to them. You can seize up the facts and learn more about personal relationships, Luria said, noting text messages often allow investigators to see how familiar people are with each other and how they interact in real-time.
It seems like the committee`s learn quite a bit from mapping this out.
LURIA: Certainly. You know, you`ve mentioned a few texts that have been cited and requests for interviews and subpoenas that we`ve issued to different people we want to hear from, from the committee. But these are just a few of thousands of texts. So, it is -- it`s fascinating to be able to review these documents and understand.
First of all, I mean, who had access to the cellphone number for the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States? And then to look at, you know, who were these people who were texting with the frequency? What did he respond to? I mean, I think that`s key to say, you know, these are things he thought were important. These were things he didn`t think were important.
You have media personalities, you have current and former members of Congress, you have a whole host of people that were familiar with in this plot in this scenario, who are just bombarding the former chief of staff with this information. And you know, teasing that out and understanding who are the players in this is just, it`s really fascinating.
You can see personal connections. You can see relationships, who was asking for favors. It really does provide an insight in how the Trump White House was functioning, and who had access to the people closest to the President. So, it`s incredibly useful for the committee to have this information.
HAYES: I wonder if you could clarify something for me. You may not be able to but the Washington Post piece cited this one text from a Freedom Caucus member which, you know, the sort of ultra conservative wing of the Republican Party in that House, saying, if POTUS allows this to occur -- and this is before January 6. It`s on the first or second when they sort of get the plan -- we`re driving a stake in the heart of the Federal Republic.
And I couldn`t tell it that was someone saying allowing to occur, meaning allowing Joe Biden to be certified as the President or allows this plot to occur in which Mike Pence overturns the election. Like, that member was pro-coup or anti-coup?
LURIA: So, the way I read the text, and the way I understand it is that if we allow this to occur i.e. if we allow the Vice President to follow this plot of these, you know, false selectors and say that he can change the outcome of the election. So, that`s the context in which I understand that text.
HAYES: I mean, there`s something about that language was driving a stake in the heart of the Federal Republic that was so striking to me, because it`s exactly the kind of thing that it`s language close to what I`ve used on this program. It`s an accurate description of how -- what the existential stakes were here.
And here, you have, apparently, a very conservative Republican recognizing in real-time precisely what they were seeing in front of their faces, as is evidenced in many of the other texts of people whose politics I hate and have nothing in common with, who at the very least understood that what was being contemplated was essentially an existential threat to American democracy.
LURIA: I think that`s true. And I think very few of those people who understand that thread have stood up and come forward. I applaud my colleagues, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, those who understood that and voted in favor of the impeachment of Donald Trump.
But I think that there are many more who could provide a voice and information to the committee that would be important in understanding what the different camps thought and felt and the influence that they were trying to apply on the former president, you know, as we approached January 6 and the events of that day unfolded.
HAYES: We expect there will be some lawsuit and some legal wrangling of the White House visitor logs, but we also expect, I think, given how courts have ruled and have ruled fair -- in a fairly expedited fashion, the Committee will get access to them. Where are you in the arc of this investigation?
LURIA: Well, we`ve received a lot of information from the archivist. We still have additional information that, you know, the archivist is compiling and provided to the committee or were preparing to provide to the committee, and then information is coming in on a regular basis.
So, it is key to the investigation that we`re carrying out. And, you know, this visitor logs are really important. I think I`ve said before, you know, that 187 minutes, over three hours that the President observed via TV, like you said, what was going on, and he didn`t take action. He didn`t stand up. He didn`t make a public statement to say stop this violence, go home in a forceful way.
It`s really important to us to understand, you know, who was there in the White House who might have been having conversations with him on that very day and, you know, all of the times we`re talking about leading up to January 6.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, thank you for your time.
LURIA: Thank you.
HAYES: After he was formally and publicly dumped by his accountant this week, Donald Trump did the only thing that he knows how to do, firing off a classic statement full of wild claims and inflammatory language and really long. The only problem is it looks like his response to getting dumped may have made things even worse.
Next, what we know now about those financial documents and why the Attorney General might have caught -- of New York might have caught Trump in a lie after this.
HAYES: There`s a collective shock in the Trump world following the announcement that his company was dumped by its longtime accounting firm Mazars. Earlier this week, the New York Attorney General who`s been investigating Donald Trump`s business practices since 2019, release this letter from the accounting firm which says that their work for him from 2011 to 2020 "should not be relied upon."
A person close to Trump told The Daily Beast, I have said for years, this whole thing is one big fishing expedition. The Mazars news was the first time I started thinking, hey, this might be serious.
Trump himself is clearly freaking out about this. He was kicked off Twitter. So, yesterday, he released this unusually lengthy statement, four raging pages insisting the whole thing is a witch hunt. And then, in a move he seemed to think was helpful to his case, he posted another Mazars letter from 2014 which carried the same warning about the reliability of his financial statement saying, we have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statements, and accordingly do not provide any assurance about whether the financial statement is in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
And a letter like this was apparently attached to "each financial statement dating back many years." It close to the line, users of this financial statement should recognize they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of Donald Trump if they have access to properly prepared records.
He posted that one himself. Make no mistake, it`s a very big deal. I mean, Trump uses financial statements to get millions of dollars-worth of loans to prop up his images as a successful businessman as well.
Asawin Suebsaeng is a Senior Political Reporter of The Daily Beast, one of the reporters chronicling the reaction of those close to Trump on the Mazars decision. Danya Perry is both a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York and a former New York State Deputy Attorney General. And they both join me now.
Asawin, let`s start with your reporting about the reaction side of the circle to this which seems to have people spooked.
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Absolutely. Look, these are people who have operated under the assumption that if you are Donald Trump, or you work very close to him, the story of Trumpism over the past half decade has been escaping consequences.
But for the first time in a while, when you hear it in the content of what they`re saying, and also in the tambour of the voice when you`re talking to people who are very close still to former President Trump, whether they`re operating in his legal orbit, in his business empire or in his political realm, when they talk about the letter that was just sent, there are many of them who view it as important.
Do they think this will definitely bring down his business empire 100 percent? No, not necessarily, or at the very least, they think it`s way too early to tell. But when they actually read this thing, some of them tried to get directly in Donald Trump`s ear to tell him over the past several days or so, look, you need to take this more seriously. They are not messing around. And Mazars just doesn`t do this if there`s nothing for you to worry about.
HAYES: Yes. And then, after this long statement, there`s this letter from the Attorney General basically says your statement defending yourself contradicts things that you have, you know, essentially filed in court. You`re contradicting yourself, Danya.
This is the letter to the judge dated today. It is not unusual for parties to a legal proceeding to disagree about the facts. But it`s truly rare for a party to publicly disagree with statements submitted by his own attorneys and assigned pleading, let alone one day after the pleading was filed. That is what Mr. Trump has done here. What`s the significance of that?
DANYA PERRY, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK: Highly significant. This is, as you said, Chris, a very big deal. You know, it is a big deal in his business life. It`s a big deal in the legal proceedings against him, but the civil enforcement proceedings and potentially the criminal proceedings.
In this letter, he -- or his public statement, he admits a lot of the facts that are in contest.
PERRY: He -- I mean -- and you do rarely see that as the attorney general said in her papers to the judge today. Rarely within a day or ever do you see a counseled client or target of an investigation come out and make admissions that go both to knowledge and to intent.
So, in the short term, he has contested some facts that he, through his lawyers, have alleged in the proceedings against the Attorney General`s Office, including his knowledge of the financial statements, his understanding of the business, its assets, its values, and the like.
He just in his answer, a short while ago, contested any knowledge of those things. And then today, made this public statement that shows not only was he aware that the financial statements could not be relied upon, but he also showed this intimate familiarity with a lot of the underlying assets and values of them. That will not serve him well going forward.
HAYES: Yes. One of the examples I think, if I`m not mistaken here, is that previously they had sort of, you know, under sworn pleading, said he didn`t know what brand value was. It just never, you know -- and in this, he has a lot disquisition on brand values. Like, well, you clearly do know what brand value is. Like, you are contradicting directly.
And a lot of -- my understanding is a lot of the pleadings they put in was kind of like, I don`t know anything was the sort of theme here which is belied by the very lengthy statement, Danya, that he released getting into some of the weeds of the business` valuation.
PERRY: Correct. And that`s going to be a defense of his in both in the attorney general`s investigation and the district attorney`s investigation is that, you know, he`s at the top of this organization, he doesn`t know, he`s not familiar, other people do this. He hires the best accountants, the best lawyers. And here he is, in a publicly filed statement saying, actually, I do know.
I mean, to the extent anyone thought maybe he didn`t understand the value of the brand, here he is saying it in his four page statement over and over and over. So, the Attorney General seized on it immediately, put that in front of the judge to say, judge, you shouldn`t listen to anything they`re saying in the answer, and you should go ahead and order these depositions to take place immediately.
HAYES: And Asawin, you know, there`s -- I mean, I think we`ve all covered what you said, the theme of sort of, you know, lack of accountability and sort of getting away with stuff for decades, really. I mean, if you if you go back, and certainly over the course of his presidency, though he was impeached twice, I think there`s a lot of focus on the possibility of criminal charges, the how you would make that.
But it strikes me that the civil case moving forward here could present an enormous, almost existential threat to the business. I mean, you know, they shut down the Trump Foundation, that was a relatively small thing, but they can have very, very serious -- like, business-wise, the enterprise can have very serious problems on its hands and in the civil channel. And I wonder how much that sinking in.
SUEBSAENG: Absolutely. I mean, with Trump himself, he`s been telling people for days that if you`re asked about it, or you`re -- if you`re on TV talking about it, just say my business empire is doing great, never been better, no matter what the witch-hunting prosecutors or whatever they`re trying to do to it. So, that`s the swagger he`s trying to project that, again, might be belied by developments in actual reality.
But going back to your point about how this actually could spell significant trouble for his business empire, which in many ways was built upon as was his political ascension, not -- maybe not necessarily legally speaking, but at least morally and substantively speaking, a sort of fraud, kind of bravado that he was something more than he was.
But to the people we spoke to who are still close to the former president, all of them said across the board that they believe that this latest development, if anything, if it`s going to have a political consequence, one of them is probably going to simply be that it could definitely harden his resolve to run again for the White House in 2024. Because as we all know here, if you`re sitting in the Oval Office, you enjoy the protections of president that he considerably does not enjoy right now that he`s a post-president.
HAYES: Yes, it is -- I mean, there is a stay out of jail issue about running for president now that I think is -- looms over all this. Asawin Suebsaeng and Danya Perry, thank you both.
PERRY: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the return of fearmongering over criminal justice reform as a group of Republican senators tried to blame all crime in America on a lawyer for the Innocence Project. That unbelievable scene coming up.
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WALTER DELLINGER, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: I do think that we`re eroding our fundamental sense of the rule of law. When the President has his chief of staff go out and say, in the face of a clear statute requiring his tax returns, his Chief of Staff says that issue was litigated during the election.
Well, now, that`s not how we change the law. You don`t get to not comply with the law. And also if it were litigated, he lost by three million votes. I mean, he`s lawfully entitled to be president but you can`t -- one saving grace of the electoral college is that presidents aren`t the voice of the people like some plebiscite dictator in a third world country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Walter Dellinger, former acting Solicitor General of the United States, a legendary constitutional scholar who passed away today at the age of 80. And Dellinger was a regular guest on this program, a friend of the show who we regularly turn to for his legal expertise and his grounded analysis and these very strange times. I spoke to him frequently during the first impeachment of Donald Trump.
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DELLINGER: What`s important here is not just that it`s -- that senators or House members are in favor of impeachment or not, they`ve got to say this is wrong.
DELLINGER: Even if you chose not to impeach and remove the president. There`s a core principle, American presidential elections are to be decided by Americans. I thought that went without saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And even just before his death, Walter Dellinger was still writing about the most important legal issues in this country. Earlier this month, in fact, he made the case against the backlash President Joe Biden`s promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court in this opinion essay for the New York Times titled, Yes, the Supreme Court Should Look Like the Country.
He argued that considering the backgrounds of prospective juror -- justices is "Not some form of quota design merely to appease political constituencies. Rather, it stems from bedrock principles of democratic governance. After all, the Supreme Court exercises immense power to issue decisions that affect to bind all Americans. For that power to be legitimate for Americans to continue fake placing faith in the court, its members must be representative of all of America."
It was a fitting cap to Walter Dellinger`s storied career which began in his beloved home state where he attended the University of North Carolina. That took him to Yale Law School and the Supreme Court itself, where he clerked for Justice Hugo Black.
In 1969, Dellinger joined the faculty of Duke Law School, where he worked continuously for nearly 25 years and remained a professor emeritus. By the early 1990s, he was the go-to analyst on NBC News for legal issues. Here he is speaking on the balance of the Supreme Court in 1992.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELLINGER: The most surprising thing about this court is that it`s one on which a strong pragmatic center is emerged that led by Justices O`Connor, Kennedy, and Souter. And they`re proceeding much more cautiously with the kind of restraint we expected of Justice Powell and the former Justice Harlan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And the following year, Dellinger join the Clinton administration serving as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, which is an incredibly important position. And from 1996-97, he served as Acting Solicitor General, arguing nine cases for the government at the Supreme Court on physician-assisted suicide, the Brady Act, and the line item veto.
Over the course of his career, Dellinger appeared in front of the Supreme Court a total of 24 times famously representing the District of Columbia in the Major Second Amendment case D.C. versus Heller. Back in 1993, Joe Biden, then the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee described Walter Dellinger perfectly at his confirmation hearing.
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JOE BIDEN, THEN-CHAIR, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We will begin with Professor Dellinger, a man who has devoted his professional career to thinking, writing, and teaching about our Constitution. And I might add, I think is probably one of the best teachers in the country and clearly one of the nation`s leading constitutional scholars.
Because if he could teach me to understand some very complicated issues, I`m confident his students have benefited over the years immeasurably.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There are a lot of brilliant and talented people in this world. They come from all walks of life and all stations. But it`s a special joy, a rare treat to find someone who`s also decent and righteous and good. Walter Dellinger was that incredible combination. And he will be greatly missed.
HAYES: Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for four Biden`s judicial nominees including Nina Morrison, who is nominated to be a federal judge for the Eastern District of New York. Morrison has been a lawyer for the Innocence Project which works to overturn wrongful convictions for 20 years. In that role, she has served as lead counsel for -- or co-counsel for approximately 30 wrongly convicted persons who are ultimately freed from prison or death row in more than 10 states.
She has an impressive record of ensuring innocent people are freed from prison. But you might not be surprised to learn that is not what Republicans on the committee wanted to talk about. Instead, Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz of Cancun tried to conflate Morrison`s role in freeing the wrongly convicted with progressive prosecutors she has supported and a rising crime rates.
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CRUZ: Across this country Americans are horrified at skyrocketing crime rates, skyrocketing homicide rates, skyrocketing burglary rates, skyrocketing carjacking rates. And all of those are the direct result of the policies you`ve spent your entire lifetime advocating.
You have repeatedly praised steps the new "progressive prosecutors have taken," refusing to prosecute violent crime and letting violent criminals go. And as a result, far too many innocent people have died. And you`re the head of the Innocence Project.
Innocence Project actually does good work for people who are wrongfully committed -- convicted. They should be released. But do you care about the innocent people who are murdered because you keep advising people who put policies in place that result in more innocent people being murdered?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hey, that`s a disgusting question. Nina Morrison`s whole career is about helping innocent people, the people who did not commit the crime. And when Ted Cruz finally let Nina Morrison respond, she explained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Why do you keep advising radical district attorneys who let violent criminals go and result in homicide rates skyrocketing? Do you care about the innocent people being killed because of the policies you`re implementing?
NINA MORRISON, DISTRICT JUDGE NOMINEE, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Absolutely, Senator. And to clarify, my role in those transition committees were only on the issue of what`s called conviction integrity, not the front-end prosecution policies but on the review of old cases. That is the limited capacity on which I worked.
I played no role in formulating the front-end policies. But it is because when the wrong person is convicted of murder, the person who`s actually committed the crime isn`t brought to justice that I think the work connects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, wait a second, Ted Cruz was just speaking total nonsense, she was advising the prosecutors on making sure that their officers reviewed dodgy old convictions to make sure that innocent people weren`t behind bars. Boy, he`s really upset about people dying, which makes sense. 2800 people died yesterday from COVID, the day before that, the day before that.
There`s no question that crime has risen across the country since the pandemic began. There are a lot of important nuanced, tough debates we had about the reasons for that increase, which is clear. It`s happening, and how to reverse it. And there are criminologists I respect and who read who support hiring more police.
And there are other people I respect and who I read who think we should abolish prisons and police. It`s a wide degree of debate I am personally open to hearing. I wrote my second book of Colony In A Nation about these issues.
But what Ted Cruz and his colleagues displayed today is not part of that debate. It`s just sheer, disgusting, super predator, crack baby, Willie Horton-style fearmongering. It is the latest step in the crazy backlash criminal justice politics straight out of the 80s and 90s that gave us the highest incarceration rate in the world. And that has regained so much steam on the right.
I mean, look, this is not anything original. Ted Cruz is not coming up with anything original here. He`s just using the oldest playbook imaginable because it works.
Josie Duffy Rice is a journalist focusing on the criminal justice system. She`s also co-creator and co-host of justice in America podcast. And she joins me now. Josie, you know, Cruz`s performance today wasn`t that surprising. But it did feel familiar in a way that is a bad familiarity, like a very much battle days kind of criminal justice politics. And he`s not alone. What do you make of it?
JOSIE DUFFY RICE, CREATOR AND CO-HOST, JUSTICE IN AMERICA PODCAST: Yes. I mean, if Republicans were operating by their supposed principles, right, they`d be throwing a parade for Nina Morrison. Nina Morrison is one of the people in this country who has fought against big government, right, a government that has put innocent people in prison, and she`s fought for regular civilians to ensure that they get justice.
But, you know, this isn`t about principle. It`s not about principle at all. It`s really just about political opportunity. And the chance for Republicans to once again, manipulate the conversation around crime and an increase in crime or at least certain crimes in certain places to make it seem as if Democrats are the ones causing that instead of Republicans.
But make no mistake, the reason that crime has increased can be directly traced back to right-wing policies, not left-wing DAs.
HAYES: Well, say more about that. I mean, one of the things I think that was very misleading about what he said is, you know, there`s these progressive prosecutors, their letting out violent criminals, that`s why crime is skyrocketing. What we do know is that -- and crime can be fuzzy character category. We have index crimes.
Let`s just talk about interpersonal violence, which I think is a better more concrete, right? So, assaults and homicides, particularly. We know that they`re in a sort of strikingly uniform way across large cities and small cities, across areas in Republican conservative jurisdictions and very liberal ones. So, there`s something happening. There`s a real thing happening, and it`s happening across some of these policy lines. How do you understand what`s happening?
RICE: Yes. I mean, I think this conversation has been weaponized right now and not just by Republicans, but largely by Republicans, right, to indicate that this is a lack of police or prosecutors. But what I think is happening and what I think a lot of people who think about the system holistically can see is that we`re in the middle of a pandemic. We`ve dealt with unprecedented isolation, uncertainty. Kids aren`t in school, people aren`t necessarily working. You know, unemployment went up drastically a couple of -- almost two years ago now, which is a shocking amount of time.
We are in a moment of deep societal flux. And it`s not surprising to me that in a country that doesn`t actually provide the social services or, you know, safety nets that people need, that crime has gone up, right? What Ted Cruz wants you to think as Nina Morrison, an appellate lawyer, is having an impact on crime rates, is news to me that appellate lawyers have that much, you know, social power.
But the truth is that the reality is that criminal justice solutions are back in solutions. By the time the prosecutor or the police officer gets involved, something has already happened, right? An accusation has been made, a harm has been caused. What we know addresses crime -- and actually, we know this, right?
The statistics show that when you ensure that people have a living wage, that they can put food on the table, that they have schools to go to, that they have it opportunity and housing, and that they have you know the tools necessary to live a full and stable life to take care of their family and feel safe, crime goes down. That`s what we know.
You know, the Republicans have been on a 40-plus, 60-plus -- I mean, 200- plus year attempt to make it seem as if the answer to crime is police, the answer to crime is more prosecution. The answer to crime is more prison. It`s just not true. Nothing about the statistics bears that out.
HAYES: Eric Adams -- I mean, it shouldn`t -- we should know there`s not just Republicans. Eric Adams today showed this chart which I thought was striking. And again, like, you know, I want to be clear here that like, I think there`s a little bit of denialism in certain quarters when this started of like, are we seeing something real? Like, we really are. Like, we are seeing more violence. We just are, and it`s bad, and it`s causing lots of trauma, and we need to reverse it. That`s my, my strong contention.
HAYES: But like this chart is was so striking. Like, what he`s showing there is actually a seven and a half percent increase, but he`s like, lopped off. So it`s from -- goes from 95,000 to 102,000. But he`s lapped off. And again, this is part of his message, right? It`s not that different from Ted Cruz. You`re seeing it from a lot of Democratic mayors and police chiefs as well.
RICE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, but this is the business, right? I mean, Eric Adams is former law enforcement. We live in a country where a lot of former law enforcement, a lot of former prosecutors are moving on to different positions like mayor, like senator, right? And that we are -- my office, in a general sense, among elected officials here that think that the only answer to harm is punishment.
But the question is whether or not we want to invest in people and to ensure people`s safety, or do we want to punish them after the harm has already been done? I think you`re absolutely right that there is an increase in harm, there is an increase in trauma, there is an increase in violence that I think needs to be addressed.
I never ever want to play that down, although I do think crime is complicated and regional and worth discussing in a complicated way. But the point I`m trying to make here is that that doesn`t immediately lead to more law enforcement. In fact, more law enforcement engenders that kind of violence, crime, and distrust in the system that we are trying to address, right?
And so, in that way, Ted Cruz and Eric Adams are two sides of the same coin. It`s hard to say that -- you know, it`s hard to see that as you know, one is a Texas Republican senator, one is a supposedly big-city Democratic mayor in New York, but they operate under the same understanding that punishment is the only way to address harm, and to fix the problems that we see post-pandemic in this country.
HAYES: Josie Duffy Rice, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
RICE: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, there are few things you can get a majority of Americans to agree on. But there`s an incredible new poll out that shows the overwhelming majority of everyone in America is satisfied with how their things are going in their personal lives. The problem is that almost nobody thinks the same thing about the country as a whole. We`ll talk about what`s going on next.
HAYES: Because we`re living through it, it is easy to lose sight of just how profoundly weird this period of American life is, deeply weird and alienating across so many lines. And we`ve been seeing that play out in all kinds of ways.
For example, as we pointed out on the show, the Biden economy is in many senses booming. Unemployment at four percent. We`re the fastest to recover GDP in the world. Last month, the country added nearly 500,000 jobs far exceeding expectations. But because of very high inflation and the relentless doom and gloom pushed by hyper-partisan news networks, nearly six in 10 Americans say the economy is getting worse, even though the economy hasn`t grown this fast literally since Reagan.
It`s a weird disconnect. You can see it reflected in the national mood right now. Take a look at this -- the latest chart from Gallup, OK. Since 1979, Gallup has been periodically asking Americans the same two questions over time. First, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in your personal life? And second, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in the U.S.?
This chart shows the answers to both of those two questions over the last 40 plus years. The green line at the top is a level of personal satisfaction. The navy blue line at the bottom is a level of satisfaction about the direction of the country. Right now, people`s personal satisfaction is nearly a 40 year high with the country it`s nearly 40 year low. 85 percent are satisfied with things are going in their personal lives, only 17 percent are satisfied with direction the country. That`s not as low as was right after January 6 insurrection are right after the Great Recession, but still very low.
And I think it does capture something about where we are right now when people`s satisfaction with their own lives is five times higher than their satisfaction with the country. Joining me now to talk about the mood of the nation, Michelle Goldberg, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, and Eddie Glaude, chair the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.
It`s great to have you both on. This is -- I guess, this segments kind of a vibe check here for the nation.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The vibes are bad.
HAYES: Well, the vibes are bad. Yes, I mean, that`s basically the headline for everything right now is like the vibes are bad, I think, basically. But I was sort of surprised to see the personal happiness number which I would have anticipated would have been lower, and the gap between the two. What`s your -- what your theory of rumination on this, Michelle?
GOLDBERG" Well, you know, it`s hard to see because there is another graph that you`ve seen going around with sort of happiness and unhappiness you know, crisscrossing recently so that more people are being unhappy than very happy with what we have seen before.
You know, are you satisfied with the way things are going in your personal life can also just mean like, are you, you know, happy with your family, are you sort of -- you know, as supposed to are you personally happy. So, it`s kind of hard -- it`s a -- it`s a -- I think a hard question can be a hard question to parse. And it can also be -- you know, to say no is almost to admit kind of personal failure, right?
GOLDBERG: To say no is to say things in my personal life are going bad is quite a thing to admit to a stranger at the other end of phone line.
HAYES: What is your thinking, Eddie?
EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I`m thinking -- you know, this poll has been taken since 1979. In some ways, it`s a measure of the logic of neoliberalism. I`m thinking about Wendy Brown`s the political theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study here at Princeton. Talking about the political rationality of liberalism -- of neoliberalism, I mean, what is that? That is, we`ve been transformed from citizens to self- interested persons in pursuit of our own interest in competition and rivalry with others.
And so, you could see that there is a concern about my own interest, right? I`m satisfied with my kind of disregard for any notion of the public good. So, one way to read this is the kind of -- you know, a turning away from a robust conception of the public good that my well-being is tied to others, and a kind of deep selfishness that has in some ways overrun the polity, it seems to me.
HAYES: Yes, although I also think there`s something good about being able to distinguish those, right? Because I do think that like, you don`t want the national -- I mean, there`s a sense -- a profound sense, I think, that the nation is not in a great place. And I would probably answer that question the same way as the majority of pollsters. I think probably you guys would as well.
Like, is the U.S. headed in a good direction? Like, it`s hard to say yes. But it`s also like -- I think you`re getting to something about this sort of distinction between how we think about the fate -- the trajectory we`re on as a nation right now, and what`s going on in our daily lives. Both of which I think have been really torn asunder. I mean, that to me is the thing I keep coming back to is, there`s a failure to reckon with the depth of the trauma that everyone has gone through in this period, because of all the reasons we want to get back to normal and have normality and be normal that paper is over, the ripple effects that you see everywhere from like car crashes to homicides to opioid deaths, Michelle?
GOLDBERG: Well, right. There`s a huge mental health crisis in this country. You know, people -- therapists will tell you that they are being deluged with calls. People are trying to get appointments or on long waiting lists. And you know, there`s so people are really, really struggling, and there`s all kinds of signs -- and sometimes when people talk about the economy or the direction of the country, it is just another word for, you know, the sort of the vibe out there, right?
GOLDBERG: So, things still feel unsettled, apocalyptic, even if people -- you know, even if financially, people are in a relatively more stable position than a few years ago.
HAYES: How do you think -- how do you -- how do you think you communicate or repair here, Eddie?
GLAUDE: Well, it seems to me that we have to -- we have to begin to think about what is our relationship to each other? What our responsibilities to each other? What`s the underlying ethical and moral contract that we share with each, our obligation? So, what does it mean for this figure to be at this level in a moment in which close to a million Americans are dead?
GLAUDE: What does it mean to kind of wrap our minds around the kind of sense of social dislocation, disruption, the feeling -- the feeling that the country is broken, and yet we`re satisfied with our individual lives? That seems to me to indicate a fundamental rupture in the very ways in which our democracy is working.
So, how do we resolve it? We have to give voice to a more robust sense of obligation to each other, a new moral and social contract with each other it seems to me. That`s what I think.
HAYES: Yes. And I think that -- there`s something also -- there was a -- I felt a kind of -- there was a feeling of solidarity, I think, of the early days of the pandemic, as awful as it was disruptive as it was. You know, I love -- remember, in the early, early days of watching these Italians sing, you know, out their window every day. They were -- they were singing a beautiful anti-fascist anthem Bella Ciao, which is one of my favorites. I play it for my kid because I`m a walking stereotype.
And I remember that that thinking and watching, you know, the bells being wrong and the people applauding everyday for the healthcare workers, when you talk about the sort of what we owe each other, the moral contract would felt very strong intensely there for a little bit. And then it`s felt so torn asunder, so profoundly torn asunder ever since, Michelle.
GOLDBERG: I mean, I think you see that everywhere that the pandemic has just been utterly corrosive, to the polity, to social solidarity, to trust in authority, and that`s reverberating all over the world.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Eddie Glaude, it`s so great to have both of you. That was wonderful.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
HAYES: And hopefully you come back for a good vibe check soon, right?
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is -- with Alex Wagner starts right now. Good evening, Alex.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening, Chris.