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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/31/22

Guests: Pete Aguilar, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Andrei Kozyrev, Jennifer Granholm, Mark Joseph Stern

Summary

Today, Jared Kushner, the president`s son-in-law became the highest- profile witness to appear before the bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the invasion has reached a turning point as Russian forces launched attacks across the country despite saying they were going to withdraw forces. President Biden on announced that he will release one million barrels a day from the nation`s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to offset the loss of Russian crude oil from world markets starve Russia of revenue, and cut the cost American consumers are paying at the pump. President Joe Biden marks Transgender Day of Visibility today as the Republican Party has set its sights back on the LGBTQ community.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It will be fascinating. You don`t want to miss it. And that is "THE REIDOUT" for now. ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN. The January 6 Committee speaks to their first Trump family member, as the DOJ probe approaches Trump`s inner circle. Tonight, why Trump`s former caddy may be the key to the investigation. Then --

SIR JEREMY FLEMING, HEAD, UK`S GCHQ: We`ve seen Russian soldiers, short of weapons and morale, refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.

HAYES: What we know about what`s really happening to the Russian army.

Plus, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on today`s White House announcement to drive down gas prices.

And from Florida`s governor to Fox News. How the conservative movement decided to reopen their front on gay and lesbian people.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Why not just renamed the roller coaster, you know, sex mountain? Come on kid, it`ll be a blast.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Today, Jared Kushner, the president`s son-in-law became the highest-profile witness to appear before the bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Kushner appeared virtually and answered questions for about seven hours. Although his willingness to cooperate may seem at first surprising, it should be noted that unlike many other high profile Trump aides, he doesn`t appear as though Kushner was all that involved in the run-up to insurrection.

He was out of the country in the days leading up to the attack working on his Middle East Peace Plan and did not return until the day of the sixth. Still, Kushner is the highest-ranking former Trump official to speak to the committee as well as the first member of Donald Trump`s family.

A source in the room says he was cooperative and friendly, talking at length, and not invoking privilege. And as we move closer to the plan public hearings by the January 6 Committee scheduled for later this spring, it is kind of remarkable when you think about how much the committee has already accomplished.

As of this month, they`ve spoken in nearly 600 witnesses and issued 90 subpoenas, gathering evidence and testimony, provide the definitive account in the days and weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol and the attack itself. And after months of criticism, it appears that the Department of Justice is taking some meaningful action in response to the committee`s investigation.

The unit of DOJ investigating January 6 is reportedly planning to add over 130 more attorneys to pursue prosecutions. And as the Washington Post first reported, the department is expanding the scope of its investigation. Now focusing on the Trump allies who planned and funded the Stop the Steal rally the Ellipse where Donald Trump, in front of everyone, on national television, incited the insurrection.

New York Times is reporting that at least one of the new subpoenas from the Department of Justice mentions certain individuals who have been "Classified as VIP attendees at that rally." Again, this is the Department of Justice we`re talking about. That indicates the department could be focusing in on Trump`s inner circle and the planning around that day independent of the individuals who ransack the Capitol.

The January 6, Committee members have been clear they feel there`s still more DOJ needs to do in order to hold those responsible for Donald Trump`s attempted coup and the instruction that followed.

This week, the January 6 Committee voted to hold former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and Trump`s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Director of social Media Dan Scavino in contempt for just outright refusing to comply with committee subpoenas.

The vote now moves the House Rules Committee next Monday with a full House vote expected later in the week. There is every indication that House will hold both men in contempt. Then, it will be up to the Department of Justice to criminally charge Navarro and Scavino in contempt, like it already has for former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon who refused to comply with a subpoena. His trial is set for the summer.

And while Navarro and Scavino claim they`re protected by executive privilege, earlier this week, committee members explain exactly why that is not true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): So, please spare us the nonsense talk about executive privilege rejected now by every court that has looked at it. This is America. And there`s no executive privilege here for presidents, much less trade advisors to plot coups and organize insurrections against the People`s Government and the People`s Constitution, and then to cover up the evidence of their crimes. The courts aren`t buying it and neither are we.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The committee has many questions for Mr. Scavino about his political, social media work for President Trump including his interactions with an online forum called The Donald and with QAnon, a bizarre and dangerous cult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:05:08]

HAYES: The man that she`s talking about there, Dan Scavino, it`s actually worth taking a moment to just give the context for why he is the focus of this committee. He`s the guy who ran social media for Trump. And getting him to cooperate will be crucial to piecing together exactly who Donald Trump was talking to on January 6 and when.

Now, Scavino`s name is all over Trump`s official White House daily diary on the sixth. He`s one of the former president`s most trusted advisors. Scavino began working for Trump when he was just 16 years old when he was hired as his golf caddy. In 2016, Trump appointed him the Social Media Manager for his campaign.

And Scavino`s role on January 6 is especially intriguing because we know from prior reporting, he was often a conduit for Trump`s conversations. "One Source witness Scavino routinely handing his phone to Trump to take calls. Scavino, according to source, have an official phone and a personal phone.

And as the New York Times reported earlier this week, because of Scavino`s role as a social media guru, he may have even had some knowledge of what was going to transpire on the sixth. "On December 19, 2020, the same day Mr. Trump tweeted big protests in D.C. on January 6th, be there, will be wild, users of the Donald.win, a website for Trump supporters begin sharing specific techniques, tactics, and procedures for the assault on the capitol. The ensuing weeks for communication on the site included information on how to use a flagpole as a weapon, how to smuggle firearms into D.C. measurements for a guillotine, and maps of the tunnel systems under the Capitol building."

So, Mr. Scavino is key to understanding what really happened on January 6. The committee is reportedly triangulating to get a picture of what Trump was doing on that day, who he was talking to, when he was talking to them, and what about. And Scavino`s cooperation is key to filling in some of those blanks.

Congressman Pete Aguilar is a Democrat of California who sits on the January 6 Committee, and he joins me now. Congressman, I know that you can`t speak specifically about the committee`s work. I guess I will ask, are you -- is the committee pleased with what transpired today in terms of its interviews with Jared Kushner?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): I can`t talk about any specific individuals who were talking to as well. But what I can tell you is that each and every day, we`re piecing together more of this puzzle. We`re making significant progress to help tell the full and complete story about what happened on January 6 which includes the rallies on January 5 and everything that has led up to that.

HAYES: What`s -- what is the work product here? I mean, I think that`s part of what I think folks are watching here, right? So you`ve got the Department of Justice is the entity that`s empowered with the ability to criminally prosecute part of the federal government. Your committee obviously lacks that. It`s not what congressional committees do. What do you see as the end goal when all this is said and done?

AGUILAR: Our job is to tell the story and to make sure that this never happens again. That`s our objective and our goal. Our house resolution 503 talks specifically about that. The Department of Justice has their own responsibility to deliver justice and accountability and to make sure that individuals who committed crimes are prosecuted. That`s exactly what they can and should do.

And by the way, it`s a crime to be held in contempt of Congress, like Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, and hopefully, by next week, Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro, for not talking to Congress. Just like anybody who received a subpoena, we would expect them to comply. These individuals did not and they should be held to that standard of accountability.

HAYES: Yes, there were some reporting the Washington Post talking to fellow committee member Adam Schiff, who was on this program last night, the headline frustrations with Garland growing up on January 6 Committee members. To me, these cases are pretty clear cut in that two of the witnesses simply refuse to appear. So, it shouldn`t be that difficult for DOJ to act. Do you share that that that sentiment with the others on the committee?

AGUILAR: Yes, I think that`s fair. If individuals didn`t even make an attempt, I think that`s pretty clear cut that they didn`t -- that they didn`t meet a level of compliance that`s necessary. So, they should be held to that same standard, and they should be held in contempt. And the Department of Justice could -- should pursue that.

And so -- but our job on the committee is to take all of the information that we can and to give that complete report of what happened. And clearly, based on Judge Carter`s ruling in California, this is something in his ruling specifically called out accountability, but also highlighted making sure that this doesn`t happen again.

HAYES: Yes. And --

AGUILAR: He feared it could potentially happen again.

HAYES: In terms of -- in terms of enforcing subpoenas. The committee`s had a lot of success I think with competing subpoenas. It`s had a lot of success with witness cooperation in the grand scheme of things, right? We focused on those who thumbed their nose, but the vast majority of cooperated.

Subpoenas have been issued for phone records as pertaining to Dan Scavino and others. Are you confident that those issues that are being contested in courts can be litigated at a pace that they could be resolved in time for the committee to issue its final report?

[20:10:25]

AGUILAR: We are working -- yes, I`m confident that we will have a full and complete report. We`re working through those litigation steps and have an amazing team that is helping us do that. And what I would also highlight, Chris, is for every subpoena that you have seen, nearly 100 that have been public, you also noted earlier and we have increased that number. It is now 800 interviews that we`ve had.

So, for 100 subpoenas that we have made public, 800 interviews, there is a lot going on. For every shiny object that that people want to talk about, we understand that, but there is a lot more individuals who are coming forward and are sharing that information and that is helping piece together this puzzle and giving us more information to carry on in having conversations with other witnesses.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Pete Aguilar who serves on that committee, thank you for your time tonight.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Betsy Woodruff Swan is a national correspondent with Politico. She and a colleague obtained a memo drafted by former Vice President Mike Pence`s chief counsel a month before the January 6 insurrection, laying out the history of counting electoral votes. Joyce Vance is a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She now teaches law at the University of Alabama. And both join me now.

Betsy, I want to start on your reporting because I thought, you know, Jared Kushner is the closest to the innermost circle of ex-President Trump to comply and to come and cooperate -- and cooperate with the committee. The other big question is Pence world because some of Mike Pence`s senior aides have definitely cooperated. We know that they took a dim view of what Pence was being demanded to do and has to do. There is a question about Pence. What is your reporting indicate about this memo and what light might it cast on the possibility of Pence actually talking to the committee?

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, POLITICO, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The memo shows that as early as December 7th of 2020, Pence himself had a sense of urgency when it came to figuring out how exactly the Electoral Account Act worked and what his job, what his abilities, what his limits would be on January 6.

He recognized that early that there was one person who was familiar with a memo called a disinformation campaign launched by the President`s allies and targeted directly at Pence to try to persuade him to buy into the lie that he could reverse the election results.

This memo captures that moment in a way that is very fresh and bracing, and it just highlights the extent to which the select committee already has incredibly detailed thorough visibility into Pence world. The author of the memo, Greg Jacob, who was Pence`s top White House lawyer spoke at length to the committee. Even if the committee doesn`t get Pence, they already know so much about the before, during, after of his role on January 6.

HAYES: Joyce, I wanted to ask you about some of the institutional politics here reflected in some of the questions I asked Congressman Aguilar and the conversation with Adam Schiff. I mean, there`s clear frustration on the part of the committee at DOJ, particularly around the contempt not prosecuting contempt that they`ve passed on Mark Meadows.

I don`t have vision into the decision making process over there at DOJ, but it does seem like the stories about DOJ expanding the scope of this investigation, if not directly a kind of response to those frustrations, they`re just seeing what kind of dialogue between these two bodies that are investigating the same event. How do you see it?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, it`s a fascinating question because we heard so much frustration from the committee over DOJ`s failure to proceed on subpoena issues. And the question is, is that just DOJ being slow, not in a negative sense, but parsing these important institutional issues, because these subpoenas don`t just stand on their own.

DOJ doesn`t make a decision about whether to enforce these or not, and then the issue goes away. There will be future subpoenas issued to future members of future White House`s and future executive branch and employees. And DOJ has to be methodical and careful in making sure that it uses rigorous standards and careful analysis in deciding which subpoenas to enforce and which subpoenas not to.

And perhaps, Chris, lesson in making that decision because many of these subpoenas should be enforced, but perhaps in how they reach that decision. So, there`s that issue. And then the question is whether there`s some interplay with what we now know to at least be a grand jury investigation where DOJ is issuing some subpoenas, and could that for instance interfere in the case of Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff.

Do you want to go ahead and prosecute him for obstruction when you`re looking at substantive charges? And the answer might be yes. It might be that you want something to hold over his head and flip them to us as a witness. It might also be a good reason for DOJ to exercise some restraint.

[20:15:17]

HAYES: Yes, you know, I hadn`t thought of that. It`s a -- it`s a good point. And obviously, the sort of developments that we`ve been -- had been uncovered by reporters in the last few days shed some new light on that.

I do wonder, Betsy, it does seem like we are down to a small group of holdouts. I mean, Ivanka Trump has gone -- going back and forth with the committee. It`s notable that her husband came in and cooperated. Of course, there`s a big difference because he`s on a plane back from Middle East on the day that by all accounts, she`s in close contact to her father and perhaps seen as this kind of vessel to persuade him to do something.

SWAN: Yes, that`s right. While Jared Kushner was on a plane on history`s best time, the Middle East trip, Ivanka was in the President`s private dining room with him, watching him, watch the chaos on TV. The level of information that she has is just exponentially larger, exponentially higher quality than the level of information that Jared has.

Of course, Jared Kushner would know what his wife told him. He would know what people who were there told him. He would know what happened before and after the attack. But lots of people frankly, also would know stuff that fits into those baskets. Only Ivanka knows what she saw when she was in that room.

I think if she testifies, it might be the single most consequential witness that the committee would be able to secure. And of course, the fact that her husband is playing ball is something that`s ground, no question, of a lot -- for a lot of optimism for committee investigators. But it doesn`t mean it`s game over.

And remember, there are lines that the committee so far has been unwilling to cross. They asked Sean Hannity politely to share information with them. We don`t know if he`s shared information with them or not. There`s no sign that there`s been any subpoena issued.

Of course, they asked Republican members of Congress to share information. Those members have been vociferous about the fact that they will not share information with the Select Committee. The committee hasn`t subpoenaed them.

So, even though they`re being very aggressive in gathering lots of information, there are still some areas where they`re being lower -- see a little bit conservative. And the question is, do they -- do they get even more aggressive in the final months?

HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Joyce Vance, thank you both. I really appreciate it.

Don`t go anywhere. There`s a new Biden plan to lower gas prices and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is here to explain what we can expect just ahead.

Plus, what we know about what`s happening inside the Russian Army as a top U.K. official says Putin massively misjudged his war. The latest after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:00]

HAYES: We are more than a month into Russia`s invasion of Ukraine and things are not going well for Russia. Speaking Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the invasion has reached a turning point as Russian forces launched attacks across the country despite saying they were going to withdraw forces.

Earlier today, the head of the UK`s intelligence agency said it is increasingly clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin has massively misjudged the situation, confirming U.S. intelligence estimates that Putin is not being told the full extent of Russia`s failures.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIR JEREMY FLEMING, HEAD, UK`S GCHQ: We`ve seen Russian soldiers short of weapons and morale, refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft. And even though we believe Putin`s advisors are afraid to tell him the truth, what`s going on, and the extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In a fascinating interview with French TV, the mayor of Melitopol in southwestern Ukraine said he was kidnapped by Russian soldiers. And those soldiers seem to have no clear objective.

According to NPR Paris correspondent who watched the segment and translated, they told him we`re going to get the Nazis. He said, I`ve been in this town 30 years, I`ve never met one. Then they said, well, we`re here to help the Russian speakers. He said 95 percent of us speak Russian and we`re fine.

Ukraine Security Service released what they say is an intercepted call from Russian soldier`s wife that the soldier appears to complain about how badly things are going, saying, "The whole army with us is stupid morons. It`s unclear why we are even here.

Joining me now is someone who could tell us about the dynamics inside the Russian corridors of power, Andrei Kozyrev, who served as the Russian Foreign Minister from 1991 to 1996, the first person to serve in that role in the post-Soviet era.

It`s wonderful to have you. I`m curious to hear your reaction to some of the accounts we`ve gotten first about how Russian soldiers themselves understand why they`re there, the mission, and what seems to be the considerable challenges and setbacks they`ve faced.

ANDREI KOZYREV, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA: Thank you for having me. Yes, I guess the soldiers particularly but even officers, some officers have very vague idea. And of course, it`s just world -- the glass between the propaganda that they will tread for a long time, actually, that there are Nazis or whatever in Ukraine. And then they come to the country and they look around, and they see normal people and they see beautiful cities if they have an opportunity.

And actually, I believe that Ukrainians are waging the war in a kind of still you know, civilized way. So, it`s not like, in former Yugoslavia where both sides committed a lot of atrocities. But in this case, we don`t hear atrocities from a Ukrainian side. So, they probably have a shock between the propaganda and ideas and what they need.

[20:25:12]

HAYES: There`s some reporting by a Russian journalist I saw today about what Russian elite are thinking, how they`re reacting to this. And it seems that sort of two things have happened, a certain amount of dissidents, those who object to the regime have fled. And those close to the inner circle, that they`ve essentially rallied around Putin, that even if they thought this was a mistake, that the intensity of the sanctions has sort of gotten their pride and backup.

And I wonder what your sense is of the reaction among those in the upper echelons of power inside Putin`s Russia?

KOZYREV: Well, it`s very difficult to judge. There are even poles of the population. But again, I mean, it`s very difficult to have a real information. You know, even private conversation, people might not be honest of what they say, because it`s police state and they double down on the repression. There is a repression machine.

And, you know, if you ask somebody who is there under this kind of pressure, under this kind of intimidation, people might not necessarily tell you what they feel. You ask, do you support President Putin? People will say, of course, I do. But -- and that`s also -- that`s kind of Russian tradition. You know, many Russians are used to their doublespeak. It comes not from Orwell, but from their own experience of their fathers and grandfathers experience in the Soviet Union when they were lying with every word.

So, with this doublespeak, you never know. And I lived in the Soviet Union. And I was about 39 when the Soviet Union which looked like a monolith, you know, for inside and outside, all of a sudden, crumbled and was the dissolved. Thanks that we succeeded to do it peacefully at that time. But it crumbled just like -- just like that. You know, in a year time, we were surprised. I was surprised there was a participant of dissolution of the Soviet Union. But that came is surprised even to me.

HAYES: It`s a really good.

KOZYREV: So, you never know what people actually think and what they will do.

HAYES: Yes, it`s a great -- it`s a great point and you`re really a useful historical reminder. Andrei Kozyrev, thank you very much.

KOZYREV: Thank you so much. Thank you.

HAYES: His book Firebird: The Elusive Fate of Russian Democracy is available everywhere.

When we come back, President Biden announces a historic effort to bring down gas prices. I`ll ask Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm what it means and how quickly it will take effect right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our family budgets, your family budgets to fill a tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war. So, today, I`m laying out a two-part plan, not only to ease the pain that families are feeling right now, but to end this era of dependence and uncertainty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: But the truth is, it takes months not days for companies to increase production. That`s why the next part of my plan is so important. Today, I`m authorizing the release of one million barrels per day for the next six months, over 180 million barrels, for the strategic -- from the -- from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is a war time bridge to increase oil supply until production ramps up later this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Maybe someday the answer to every problem will not be drill for more oil. But today, with gas prices still soaring due in part to the Russian war on Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced he will be releasing oil from the country`s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. "Ordering release of up to 180 million barrels of oil over the next six months, making it the largest release in reserve in it`s nearly 50-year history."

That announcement caused oil futures to fall about 4.5 percent today though the administration hopes for more significant drop to translate into lower gas prices. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is at the forefront of this issue. And she joins me now.

Madam Secretary, I have -- I`ve covered energy policy for a while and what always happens in these situations, if gas prices go up, there`s discussion of accessing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And usually what ends up happening is they do a little bit or they don`t do it, because the amount that you have to put on the market to get appreciable declines is so large. Why will this work given that in the past, we`ve sort of declined to do it?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, U.S. SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Yes, first of all, I think it`s important to realize that what he announced really was a bridge, this was making sure that we can replace the oil that has been taken off of the market, at least a portion of it, because of the war while we exhort the domestic oil and gas producers to up their supply, because right now we have a supply mismatch.

So, this is a six months bridge to be able to get to the point where the oil and gas companies have had enough time to be able to increase supply.

[20:35:07]

HAYES: So, the idea is that we`ve got a bunch of -- there`s a lot of supply that`s not online. And that has to do with capital investment, you know, the fossil fuel industry will say it has to do with regulation, but that`s largely nonsense. So, essentially, it`s capital discipline. People have lost their shirts in past boom and bust cycles, particularly in the in the shale drilling.

I want to play what he had to say about the use it or lose it policy and have you just explained what that means on the flip side. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: To help execute this first part of my plan, I`m calling for use it or lose it policy. Congress should make companies pay fees on wells on federal leases they haven`t used in years and acres of public land they`re hoarding without production. Companies that are already producing from these wells won`t be affected. But those sitting on unused leases and idle wells will either have to start producing or pay the price for their inaction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, how would that work?

GRANHOLM: Well, first of all, it`s important to note that there are 9000 permits that have been issued that the companies are not using, and that`s what he`s really talking about, over 12 million acres of leases that have been issued that are not being used. And a lot of that is due, as you say, to that "fiscal discipline" that Wall Street has asked the oil and gas companies to exercise, which means that they basically don`t have to invest capital to turn on rigs, but they can benefit from the very high prices of gas right now.

So, what the President is saying, don`t just sit on that stuff, use it to produce more supply, so that we -- that we can get to that point when we replaced that million barrels a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with the oil that they should be producing so that they can meet demand.

HAYES: So, if I were the President of the United States, I`d probably do something similar. And if I were your position, I would be doing something similar. The fact of the matter is, you know, we`re dependent on oil in this country. That`s how people get around their cars, the vast majority. Huge increases in that price really hurt people and in their, you know, economic life.

At the same time, it just seems so depressingly insane that we are here in 2022 and it`s like, let`s drill baby, drill. Let`s get more oil in those markets. This is the solution. And it`s like, it`s always the next cigarette is the one we`re going to give up. But for now we need to buy another carton. Why should I not be depressed by it?

GRANHOLM: It`s -- yes, no, I totally get it, Chris. Believe me, I think a lot of us came into this hoping that we would be focusing solely on clean energy solutions, renewable, making that transition. But we didn`t anticipate that Vladimir Putin would wage war on Ukraine and cause these markets to go out of control.

And so, that`s why the President said this is a two-step solution. One is let`s increase supply right now because we`re on a wartime footing and we want to reduce people`s pain at the pump and, you know, safeguard them against this incredible volatility. But second, we have got to use this reason to become energy independent with clean energy.

We don`t want to be relying upon the fossil fuel markets that are incredibly volatile or from countries that don`t have our interests at heart. So, ultimately, the best solution is to go clean. And that`s why the second part of what he announced was invoking the defense production act to help increase the building of batteries for electric vehicles in the United States.

He also referred to the Weatherization Assistance Program which we released $3.2 billion to the states to make sure that people don`t use as much energy as they are right now, because their homes may be leaky. We want to invest in renewables. We want to invest in the technologies that decarbonize the fossil fuel industry. And that`s why the second part to become energy independent with clean energy is the medium to long term strategy.

HAYES: What`s the benchmark for success here? I mean, again, I think that to go back to this sort of SPR release, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, right, there`s always this worry about, you know, firing that bullet in the gun, right, and it`s not working. So, what is your benchmark for success over these next six months?

GRANHOLM: Well, what we want to do is see the price of gas at the pump really stabilize? You know, we know that there`s volatility because we don`t know how much more oil we`ll be able to put on the market, not just us in the United States, but globally. We don`t know what other countries who are producers will do like OPEC, which had a meeting today and did not increase significantly their supply.

So -- but the benchmark is really a stable oil market, but really a move to clean energy. This is why you know, the uptake in demand for electric vehicles is a good sign. I know electric vehicles can be expensive at the - - at the dealer, but it`s one of the reasons why the President wants to see those tax credits to bring down the price at the dealer so that people can buy electric vehicles and don`t have to ever worry about going to fill it up at the gas pump.

Can I just say, Chris, one of the things that I think is a really great example of this is that if you filled up your 15-gallon tank today, you`d be paying about 62 bucks to go 300 miles. If you plugged in an electric vehicle in your garage with your three-prong plug, you`d be paying about 10 bucks.

So, 10 bucks versus 62 bucks, that`s 50 bucks, you`re saving every time you fill up. That`s a huge savings for real people. So, the question is, how do we bring down the cost of those EVs at the dealership? There`s going to be no question that people will prefer electric vehicles.

[20:40:42]

HAYES: Yes, an unappreciated part of the electric cars. It`s just a much more efficient from the sort of thermodynamics, right? It`s because it`s not creating heat like combustion engine, the heat that has to be put on the pistons. All that heat goes off everywhere. You got to get rid of it, right? All that is wasted energy. It`s just a much more efficient machinery. So, that`s part of why that ---

GRANHOLM: And so many fewer moving parts.

HAYES: Exactly.

GRANHOLM: Exactly. And 6000 -- go ahead.

HAYES: No, well, I`m just going to say, the Weatherization Assistance Program, maybe we`ll have you back on that, which is like the nerdiest in the world, but actually, there`s just huge, huge demand for it. You should Google it. It`s a really, really great program. There`s a -- there`s a rap song by Cardi B about it, but definitely check it out, the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, thank you very much.

GRANHOLM: Thanks so much.

HAYES: Coming up, why is Fox News going to war with Disney? From the Florida Governor to right-wing media, the disgusting culture war over anti- LGBT law bills after this.

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[20:45:00]

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Wonderful World of Disney is now the woke World of Disney.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Their main "goal" as a company is now to teach kindergartens in Florida that they can in fact change their gender just by wishing it so.

GREG GUTFELD, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: If you really want to talk to a 5- year-old or a 7-year-old or an 8-year-old about their sexuality and gender, that`s on you. You`re a pervert. You`re a weirdo.

SEAN DUFFY, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The fact that they want to sexualize our children and our children`s childhoods for their own political agenda is incredibly disturbing.

CARLSON: It sounds like the behavior of a sex offender. I mean, normal people don`t sexualize underage children, period. They have nothing to do with sex. They`re little kids. They`re prepubescent. But Disney doesn`t feel that way.

INGRAHAM: Why not just rename the roller coaster, you know, sex mountain. Come on, kids, it`ll be a blast.

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HAYES: The right has declared war on Disney. Just since yesterday morning, Fox News mentioned the company more than 250 times. Their crusade is based on that new law signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida prohibiting instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in early elementary school classrooms.

Under the guise of protecting children from being sexualized, the law essentially bans the discussion of gayness. Obviously, an enormously stigmatizing situation for the thousands and thousands of Florida children with LGBTQ family members.

Opponents of the legislation have dubbed it the Don`t Say Gay Bill. They have pushed for Disney, which of course is a huge presence in Florida, to weigh in. On Monday, as governor DeSantis signed the bill, Disney released a strongly worded statement saying the bill "Should never pass and should never have been signed into law." Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down the courts. We remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that."

Now that really sent everyone on the right side into the stratosphere. The most unhinged faction of the right which is you heard on Fox News is now vilifying Disney as some sort of like creepy QAnon adjacent nefarious group of sexual deviance. But all that obscures what I think is really going on here.

We`re seeing and it`s -- I really, really gathered steam in the last month or so a seismic change in our politics with the conservative movement restarting its war against gay people. A Republican congresswoman recently revealed that ugly truth. I`ll tell you what she said next.

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BIDEN: To parents of transgender children, affirming your child`s identity is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep them safe and healthy. To any transgender American who`s struggling, please know you`re not alone. To parents and children alike, please ask for help. And know this, you`re so brave, you belong, and we have your back.

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HAYES: As President Joe Biden marks Transgender Day of Visibility today, the Republican Party has set its sights back on the LGBTQ community. A lot of the language the right has adopted around discussions of being gay or gender identity has focused around what they are calling grooming.

Now, that`s a term that`s associated with abusers and molesters of children who kind of coerce their victims into the abuse. In Florida, before the Don`t Say Gay Bill was signed to law, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis` press secretary called it "The Anti-Grooming Bill.

Now, just again, the -- what she`s saying there is the only reason to talk about sexual orientation or gender identity with children is because a person wants to molest them. She later clarified that it`s just her personal view and not the governor`s. But the suggestion here is that any discussion about the fact that people are gay or trans is in a serious attempt to sexualize or sexually groom young children. It`s not only false it`s obviously offensive.

But lately, the Republican Party seems emboldened to make all kinds of rank old school bigoted comments about gay, lesbian, trans people. Like, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for example.

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REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We`re going to drill oil right here in the USA. And you know what, Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycles and he and his husband can stay out of our girl`s bathroom.

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HAYES: You could -- you could have a stroke trying to evaluate he and his husband could stay out of girls bathrooms. But these attacks on people in the gay queer community are all part of what Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern identified as the end to the tactical truth right and declared on some of these issues. And Mark Joseph Stern joins me now.

Mark, I really like what you had to say that made me think about this differently. So, I just want to start by saying on this Trans Day of Visibility, obviously, there was never a truce on trans issues, right? Republicans have been -- they viewed this as a very advantageous cultural war issue. They`ve been pursuing it at a statutory level and in lawsuits and in policies all over the country. That`s not what you`re talking about. What are you talking about?

[20:55:13]

MARK JOSEPH STERN, SENIOR WRITER, SLATE: I am talking about Republicans and conservatives, especially media figures testing the waters on homophobia, the kinds of which we have not really seen from major figures for quite some time. So, you mentioned earlier this allegation that anyone who would want to simply acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ families in the classroom, that they are seeking to molest children, disclaim that, you know, same sex parents do not make good parents, that they are harming their children, that other children must be shielded from them.

And also, on the legal level. We are now hearing an increasing number of Republican members of Congress openly condemn the Supreme Court`s decision legalizing marriage equality, and really saying that it should be overturned, that states should be able to ban and nullify same-sex marriages once again.

We just didn`t hear stuff like that for the past seven years. Absolutely. We heard unrelenting and vicious attacks on trans equality. But there was an obvious tactical treats on gay rights that seems to me to be pretty much over.

HAYES: Yes. And I want to just read this, the language issue in the Florida bill because there has been a lot of back and forth on it so just could people hear it. It is -- it`s HB-1557. It is incredibly vague, right? So, classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three, or in a matter that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

Now, I have a hard time parsing that but like, it says classroom instruction on sexual orientation may not occur in kindergarten through grade three. Like, that`s a huge, huge, huge ban on like real basic stuff like Heather Has Two Mommies, or like the Gay Penguins in Central Park children`s book, that is like 100 percent gay -- you know, age-appropriate that talks about the fact that there are different kinds of relationships in the world.

STERN: Right. And in grades four through 12, any discussion of LGBTQ people has to be in accordance with state standards, and those standards do not exist and Republicans have not indicated that they will draft them. And that leads to I think the most important thing to understand about this bill. It is not enforced like a regular law. It is modeled after the Texas vigilante abortion bill and that it allows parents to file lawsuits against school districts that allegedly violate its provisions.

It can collect money damages and attorney`s fees if they can prove in court that a teacher violated this law. So, it is designed to chill a maximum amount of speech in the classroom. What reasonable teacher would even have Heather Has Two Mommies on her shelf in third grade, knowing that a parent could sue her for thousands of dollars and she might face a month-long investigation, have her reputation dragged through the mud, and ultimately be terminated even if she`s exonerated.

So, this is not a normal law. It is a gag order and it is enforced in the most disturbing sort of vigilante manner possible.

HAYES: And to go back to your point here, and this is a Back to the Future When Heather Has Two Mommies was a culture war fight of my youth when I was 12 or 13 in New York City, right? That this was like, Oh, my God. This was the example of like, the ridiculousness of the Liberals that, you know, this bifurcation, the tactical retreat on gay marriage, gay equality, the really vicious culture war on trans issues. Why do you think that tactical retreat is giving way now on things like as bread and butter marriage equality?

STERN: I think that Republicans have had extraordinary success attacking and vilifying trans people and eroding rights that seem secure even a few years ago. I mean, as recently as 2016, it seems pretty clear that the issue of trans schoolchildren, using the right bathroom was settled. Like many courts had agreed upon it. It didn`t look like Justice Kennedy wanted to deal with it. It seemed like OK, we can let trans kids be safely at school.

And now, here we are. And we`re seeing state after state passed these odious bans, keeping kids out of bathrooms, keeping kids off sports teams if they`re trans, and also prohibiting them from getting basic gender affirming care. They are on this winning streak, and they`re a little bit drunk on their success. And trying to see where they can push next, what`s the next frontier, this culture war, you always have to be feeding the fire.

And I think they`re looking around at these gay issues and they`re saying we left some stuff on the table there. You know, these arguments for religious liberty exemptions to non-discrimination laws, those are gaining steam in federal courts. What`s next? And what they settled on is this idea that LGBTQ families have to be erased from public schools. And that will certainly not be the end of this.

HAYES: Yes. You may not be interested in the cultural war, but the culture war is interested in you. Mark Joseph Stern, thank you very much.

STERN: Thanks so much for having me on.

HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts with Ali Velshi right now. Good evening, Ali.