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

Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/14/22

Guests: Phillip Moskos, Phillip Atiba Goff, Masha Gessen, Jamie Raskin, Stuart Stevens


The man arrested for the violent shooting attacks in New York City subway this week made his first appearance in federal court today. There`s intensifying debate about crime, policing, and justice in America. Ukrainian defense officials said they hit The Moskva with two missiles yesterday about 75 miles off the Ukrainian coast, while Russia said there was an internal munitions fire. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury found Dustin Thompson guilty on six charges including felony obstruction of Congress, which contains a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they`re actually ending of production of ICV vehicles. So, we don`t have to choose between big cars and green cars anymore.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: If you can get them charged. I have a hybrid and there`s not enough charger. They were supposed to do Build Back Better and get some charges, and they didn`t do it. Anyway, Rachel Bitecofer and David Wallace-Wells, thank you both very much. That`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN. From the subway in Brooklyn to the police shooting in Michigan, tonight, the intensifying debate about crime, policing, and justice in America. What is policing for and what do we want police to do?

Then the flagship of Russia`s Black Sea Fleet is at the bottom of the sea. Tonight, the sinking of The Moskva and what it means for the war.

Plus, Jamie Raskin on the end game for the January 6 Committee as Stephen Miller comes in for his interview. And guess which major political party led by an aspiring autocrat just withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I`m going to give you a minute to answer, sir. You have repeatedly --


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The man arrested for the violent shooting attacks in New York City subway this make -- week made his first appearance in federal court today. The judge ordered Frank James to be held without bail -- not that surprising --on charges of carrying out a terrorist attack on a mass transit system.

Now, that terrorist attack is sort of a technical legal term in this instance. The James apprehension comes amidst both the trauma of yet another mass shooting in America and all too common occurrence in this country, almost daily, as well as an intensifying debate on policy grounds and politically across the country about crime, policing, and justice. Specifically, what policing is for and what we want it to do, and whether we need more or less police to accomplish that, bigger or smaller police budgets.

I think this is actually an important and clarifying moment in that debate, one that often gets oversimplified, but I think reflects a bunch of really complicated issues. First of all, a person opening fire in a public space like a subway car really clarifies I think some bedrock shared beliefs about what we want from a public safety system generally. We don`t want to be shot on the subway.

We don`t want to be shot in walking down the street randomly, right? And if someone does open fire on people on a subway, if someone shoots pee on the subway, I think sort of in consensus, we want that person to be apprehended quickly. We don`t want them roaming around freely.

And indeed, when the subway shooter was apprehended yesterday afternoon, the commissioner in New York City Police Department tweeted this triumphant, I would even say braggadocious statement, "Frank Robert James had nowhere else to run or hide and is now in NYPD custody. The work of our detectives is second to none. And the dedication of our patrol officers has never ended."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams himself former police officer echoed that tone.


ERIC ADAMS, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: To my fellow New Yorkers, we got him. We got him.


HAYES: OK, now that`s true. And it was great news. I think there`s relief that this man was no longer at large. Again, he`s charged with this crime, innocent until proven guilty. But he had been roaming free around New York City for nearly 30 hours after he shot 10 people on the subway. He was, and I think people realize this, retroactively spotted around Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Later on the morning of the shooting, James was seen entering a subway station in Park Slope, a Brooklyn neighborhood north of where the shooting took place. Then the next morning, New Yorkers report in St. James in lower Manhattan, first near a popular cafe called Dimes, where you can get an oat milk latte. And this is all while police were fanned out across the city searching for this guy. Anyone who was in New York saw tons of them all over the place.

In the end, just to be clear, Frank James called himself in. A senior law enforcement official has confirmed that James actually called the Crimestoppers Tip Line, told them he was at a McDonald`s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He even described the clothes he was wearing, and the green backpack he was carrying. And then on top of that, it was astute observers like these three men who spotted James while they were installing a security camera who pointed police in the right direction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was doing the business of security cameras, and we showed this guy. I was with my cousin and amigo guy. And I see him, that guy. And we say, oh my God, this is that guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re ready to call the police. We saw the two guys from the police department and pulling up on the street. So, we go to them and tell them oh, he`s like, one block away. He`s over there wearing a cap, carrying his bag, and going over there. We went to them and they catch him right away.


HAYES: Zach, they`re not a professional broadcaster, but showing some pretty good technique in the interviewing. Now, a lot of people in the wake of all this -- and again, there`s some relief here and this could have been so much worse -- but they`ve been critical to the NYPD and the policing in general after this incident. Certainly, they`re sort of crowing about it.


I mean, at the same time, there are others who look at a traumatic incident of public violence, like the shooting and immediately say, we need more police. You`ve heard that a lot over the last 24 hours that we need more officers in the subways to prevent this from happening again.

And again, that`s not a crazy impulse. But those who are critical the way policing does work, right, point out that we already have a lot of police, a lot in the transit system. We had thousands of officers out looking for Frank James. And in the end, they didn`t really find him. I mean, he called himself in and citizens spotted him and directed him to police, which again, brings up the question, what exactly is policing for?

We don`t ask this question a lot in our public debates, and there`s a lot of demagoguery and, you know, anger around this. It`s really the existential question we`re facing as a society and what we`ve been arguing about without ever really naming what is policing for.

Just look at what was happening in Harlem early this week, where New York City police officers and the Parks Department cleared out a long-standing fitness club in a public park, according to the Parks Department, for violating park rules. They did not permit to have that fitness equipment there. But at the same time, people the neighborhoods say it serves as a safe place for kids to participate in healthy activities, to stay out of trouble, and away from violence.

So, you look at this and you think, is this what policing is for? Do we want policing to do that. And then, of course, there`s the truly upsetting story coming out of Grand Rapids, Michigan where a white police officer shot and killed a Black man after a struggle at a traffic stop. I am not going to play the video of the shooting, which is like so many of these videos, just unspeakably upsetting.

And it shows the officer lying on the man`s back before appearing to shoot him in the back of the head. This is after the officer pulled him over because his license plates did not match his car. Now, the man was a 26- year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who`d lived in the area for five years, Mr. Lyoya.

Again, I think there is a broadly shared consensus across all sorts of lines, I would imagine, that this is an awful situation. It shouldn`t have happened. This should not have been the way this man`s life ended. I think a lot of people will look at that and say maybe the traffic stop should not have even taken place.

But of course, there`s a lot of room for debate between that and the reality of violent crime going up in this country. And it is. Look at the increase in the murder rate over the last couple of years. It was up nearly 30 percent in 2020, another six percent in 2021. In the first month of this year, New York City saw nearly 40 percent increase in the overall crime index compared with January 2021.

And amidst all this, the debate ends up being, do we want more police or less police? Do you want to increase police budgets or decrease them as opposed to really thinking about what we want the institution of policing to do? Or more broadly, and I would say much more fundamentally, what safety looks like in this country and what it should look like. What would be the mechanisms to provide it? Because to tell you the truth, I think there are arguments to make, that there`s both too much and too little policing in this country at the same time.

There are too many young men of color and generally marginalized people being stopped, whether in traffic or just on the street. And yet at the same time, look what happens with the most serious crime homicide. We all know the phrase getting away with murder, an idiom that describes zero consequences for the most egregious of actions. But that is increasingly the reality in America.

Homicide clearance rates for the number of murders actually solved at a historic national low in 2020, about 54 percent. Think of that. That means nearly half of all murders went unsolved. That is crazy. Half the people who commit murder are literally getting away with murder. And we have been seeing a real reactionary backlash build.

On the one hand, there`s an impulse to add more cops in the interest of increasing safety. On the other hand, there`s a reformed community that is skeptical that but also been I think, a little slow to acknowledge that violence, some of the serious crimes really are going up, that it`s not a, you know, phantasm. So, it does seem like a perfect time to actually have a conversation about what policing is for and what we want policing to do.

Peter Moskos is a former Baltimore police officer, now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he writes about policing. Phillip Atiba Goff is co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity as well as a professor of psychology and professor of African-American Studies at Yale University. And they both join me now. And they both are people that I read and listen to on this question.

Let`s start, Peter, with you on the sort of critique you saw people offering yesterday. It was this sort of interesting thing, right? Because you`ve got a city that`s traumatized and people were like, well, clearly we want to catch the guy that shot everyone. I don`t think that`s like a controversial opinion. But then there`s a little bit of this feeling of like, what did the NYPD really do here?

PETER MOSKOS, FORMER BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER: The idea that somehow it reflects poorly on the -- on police that a citizen help cops is something - - it`s a theory that sprung from nowhere literally 24 hours ago. I think people said, oh my God, cops did something effective.

HAYES: Right.


MOSKOS: So, how can we find fault? If you think that -- I mean, this is how crimes are solved. They didn`t just stop the guy because they imagined what he looked like. Cops did an investigation, they got his image out. There`s a lot of back end of police work there that allowed the people to recognize him, and also, then to have a car that happened to be driving by to flag down. That`s good policing. 30 hours is pretty quick. I don`t -- I mean, it`s still a tragic incident.

HAYES: Right. Well, of course.

MOSKOS: But the idea that the police did something wrong in his apprehension because a citizen helped cops, I thought that`s the idea.

HAYES: Well, and in some ways, I would say that the connection between, Philip, the citizens and policing, right, is sort of a key part of this whole conversation, which is to say, like, do you trust the police enough that you were willing to call them? Or do you want them to come around?

And again, in this case, you know, this is a real kind of once-in-a- generation thing. I mean, literally, there`s never been a mass shooting at the subway, this guy`s face is everywhere, but all sorts of things are happening all other kinds of times where people are experiencing violence, or they`re seeing something that happened that they don`t think should happen. But they also think to themselves, well, I don`t want to involve the police. And I think a lot of people think that`s a problem.

PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CO-FOUNDER, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Yes, no, that`s exactly right. Now, you have many communities that are thinking, well, there`s this violent thing that`s happened in my community and I want that to stop. So, I could call people who I`m worried are going to be violent in my community, and have done that without themselves ever getting caught. So, how much violence do I want to introduce to get rid of the violence? That`s its own set of problems.

But I think in the context of, you know, what is the mission of policing, right? Like, what do we want police to do? I think that we want to make sure we cast the net wider than just who do we want to respond to an incident. Because in this case, we got -- you know, this individual who has allegedly committed the shooting on the subway, who`s been in police custody multiple times before, right, who`s we`ve had lots of opportunity to get this individual whatever they needed, so that they didn`t end up in the situation on the subway in a gas mask, right?

So, if all we`re doing is saying, well, who do we want to respond to this situation, how much did they really do in response to the situation, we`re not thinking about how we stopped the situation from happening in the first place. And I think you`re talking about trying to find the places where we all agree on some things. I think we also all agree -- and by the way, law enforcement has agreed for decades that when we disinvest, when we take money out of -- resources out of communities, were going to end up sending responders to violence in those communities.

So, that`s got to be -- the violence of poverty has to be part of the same conversation when we`re talking about the violence of street crime.

HAYES: So, I want to just -- just to follow up with you, and then I`m going to come to you, Peter. The argument that people make, you know, Eric Adams makes, and it`s an argument you`re stating, right, which is like, right, yes, of course, we want to prevent it. And the way to prevent it is we have more cops, and we have more apprehensions of turnstile jumpers.

And we have more searches on gut instinct, because one of those searches, if you see someone, and you`re a cop, one of them maybe does find a gun. Maybe you do get the guy before he does it. And that`s precisely the kind of proactive mode of policing that the ACLU and progressive activism folks have essentially shut down by saying A, that`s racially discriminatory, that`s harassment, etcetera.

GOFF: Yes, so there is absolutely one surefire way to make sure there is no violence on the streets in the United States, which is to lock up everyone in the United States so that they are not on the streets. That will 100 percent work, and you can follow that for as long as you want.

We tried that or done close to that in Black communities for a couple of decades. It did do some of the work to drive down crime 1,000 percent. But the goal here is not to prevent any violence or to make sure that anyone who`s committed violence is then taken away forever. The goal is to try and prevent it in the first place.

And it turns out that while having police on street corners, just their existence, does kind of reduce the likelihood you`re going to engage in something illegal right then. Far better than that is treating trauma, having resources so you know where you`re going to sleep, where your food is coming from, that you`ve got a way to engage productively with society, that your kids are safe.

These are all what communities say keeps them safe. And I think interestingly, the Adams administration just put out a survey of 62,000 New Yorkers and more policing was not the thing that defined safety for them. It was these resources in their communities.

HAYES: And the example of this to me, Peter, that were this brought home and I want to talk about clearance rates after this, but we`re seeing this homelessness discussion, and this is a national thing. I mean, if you go on Fox News, right, the whole thing is like, look at these disgusting cities with all these people everywhere.

MOSKOS: I didn`t know that because I don`t --

HAYES: Right. But that`s -- you know, that`s the discussion there. Eric Adams has been doing these sort of homeless sweeps, the people that do that tend to be New York City police officers, right? And this to me feels like one of these things where it`s like, we want to not see this problem. We want to get rid of this.

But like, what is happening on the back end for these folks is all sort of indeterminate. It does feel like this sort of hammer nail kind of solution to public space or public workers.


MOSKOS: I mean, the issue is there`s a hardcore of people experiencing homelessness who don`t want help. And as society, we have, I think, to decide. Sometimes that helped me have to be imposed against will. I mean, we do that in certain cases. Now, the question is how often. How can we balance freedom and what`s good for people.

But the idea that somehow it`s morally just to allow people to stay and to live in the subway system where the fatality rate is incredibly high. As a civilized society, that`s not acceptable to sleep in tunnels in the subway. So, we can -- we don`t have to fix everything about housing and inequality before we say no, this isn`t acceptable in New York, it`s unusual and being a right to shelter state. We have more services than most people. So, then it becomes a political debate.

HAYES: Right. But I mean, on the back end, right, the question is, like, are those people going to have a place to go?

MOSKOS: There -- and it might not be a great place --

HAYES: Right.

MOSKOS: But it`s safer than the subway.

HAYES: Right.

MOSKOS: And if they think the subway is safer, they`re actually mistaken because the crime rate, the death rate -- there are a million ways to kill yourself down there.

HAYES: Yes. Obviously, it`s very dangerous to be around with trains. And lots of people do.

MOSKOS: I mean, a lot of people died out there.

HAYES: Yes, a lot of people do.

MOSKOS: And it`s -- I don`t -- that usually doesn`t make the news. It`s just another service disruption. Well, that was a human life, and that life could have been saved. But because of politics -- remember, we -- this is a problem, not the great problems that have been around decades and centuries.

But the recent decrease in quality of life in New York City -- which I also want to say New York is still a nice place. I live here and I love it here -- but there`s been -- it`s gotten worse. That`s the recent thing. It`s not because suddenly poverty appeared in America, it`s not because suddenly racism appeared. These are political choices. And we`ve been making some bad choices recently.

You know, the violence rate was half of what it was just a few years ago --

HAYES: Well, right. But the --

MOSKOS: -- when the criminal justice system shut down, courts closed. Those things have impacts.

HAYES: Right. I mean, the other thing I would just say there, and we`ve observed -- obviously not going to settle this question here, is that you know, we also had a once in a century disruption to normal life in every single way.

MOSKOS: You know, what`s so unique about Americans that that only made us violent? I don`t believe we`re worse.

HAYES: I think we are more unique, though. Don`t -- aren`t we?

MOSKOS: No other country in the world have this. And also, violence didn`t start with COVID. It started in the wake of social disorder, of protests, of riots after the murder of George Floyd.

HAYES: Yes, but it was nothing like what happened in 2020 and -- I mean, in the midst of COVID.

MOSKOS: When COVID started, violence went down, and everywhere else in the world violence didn`t go up. So, I`m saying the idea that it was COVID, first of all, well, I don`t believe it, but reasonable people can differ. Nobody knows. Second of all, is too much of a cop out. OK, COVID is a reality. Now, what? COVID is fading, violence isn`t going down.

You know, something else happen. You have to look at what really -- what changed in the system. And I don`t want to discount what Professor Goff said earlier too. I mean, I`ve -- those -- start at the beginning, start with the community, but it`s not -- it shouldn`t be seen as an either or situation.

New York is spending a lot of money on social services, including for this man who`s the, you know, presumably the alleged shooter. And I don`t want to give too much credence to his rantings, but you know, he blamed the treatment he got. So, I don`t -- I don`t know what that solution is. But it doesn`t -- it shouldn`t be framed as either or. I mean, it`s not necessarily more cops or fewer cops. It`s what -- it`s what you started with, what do we want policing to do in society? And I think it`s prevent crime, prevent fear, and prevent a certain amount of public disorder.

HAYES: Yes, the public disorder is one I think is the -- is in some ways the trickiest, right, because that ends up being like the weights in Marcus Garvey Park.

MOSKOS: But why do you -- why do you blame cops for that? Cops didn`t make that decision. You think they want to do it?

HAYES: No, of course. But there are --

MOSKOS: It was the Park Department.

HAYES: Right, of course, but they`re implementer of it.

MOSKOS: Yes, they are the tool. They`re the muscle.

HAYES: They are the implementer and often they have the judgment call to do that.

MOSKOS: But you either want the park cleared or not. It`s strange to me to say, oh, look at what police are doing.

HAYES: Right, that`s a democratic decision. I agree with that.


HAYES: Phillip Atiba Goff and Peter Moskos, thank you both. I really enjoyed that.

MOSKOS: It`s good to see you.

HAYES: Up next, Russia suffers a historic military lost. Masha Gessen on the sinking of the battleship Moskva and the state of the war. Plus, a marathon day of testimony for the January 6 Committee as Stephen Miller meets with the investigators. Committee member Jamie Raskin joins me on that in just ahead.



HAYES: For 40 years, The Moskva, the guided-missile cruiser was the most fearsome ship in the Russian Navy. It was literally the flagship, that`s where the term comes from, of course, of Russia`s Black Sea Fleet. A January article described the ship is having enough anti-ship missiles to wipe out the entire Ukrainian Navy and enough air defense missiles to swat away any conceivable aerial attack on the Black Sea fleets amphibious flotilla.

Well, not anymore. Ukrainian defense officials said they hit The Moskva with two missiles yesterday about 75 miles off the Ukrainian coast, while Russia said there was an internal munitions fire. And then earlier today, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that The Moskva sunk while being towed to port.

A senior U.S. official told The Washington Post on Thursday evening, the ship sunk as a result of Ukrainian attack, but did not confirm what weapon was used. Now, to be clear, this is a really, really big deal. I mean, Ukraine doesn`t really even have a functioning navy. This is one of the most fearsome ships, probably the largest ship sunk in combat since World War Two.

The Moskva was the pride of the Russian Navy. And if it was indeed Ukraine that sunk it, then it`s the biggest warship to be sunk by enemy action 60, 70 years. And it really sums up the asymmetrical success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in a nutshell.


But again, the reality is still that Russia is a nuclear power in a land war in Europe and NATO is directly supplying Ukraine with weapons to kill Russians. On top of that, Finland and Sweden have both announced they are officially considering joining NATO, which is literally the opposite of what Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted. In fact, it might be the thing that most freaks him out. And now, Putin has warned that if those countries do join NATO, he will move nuclear weapons to the Baltic region.

I`m joined now by Masha Gessen who not only has written several phenomenal books about Russia and authoritarianism, including Surviving Autocracy. She was also been extensively covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine for The New Yorker, most recently writing about the Russian destruction of Ukrainian Holocaust Memorial. Marsha, it`s great to have you here.


HAYES: So, I have this very complicated sort of emotional reaction to the news of like, say The Moskva sinking, right, which is what -- I mean, you know, it`s not a game, it`s real people with real lives, right? So, it`s not like, oh, yes, go. Like -- but on one level, I think -- you know, I want the Ukrainians to successfully repel the Russian aggression. But every time something like that happens, you think you get scared that Putin is then back further into a corner and what that will mean. How do you think about it?

GESSEN: Pretty much the same way. It`s, it`s sort of spectacular that The Moskva was sunk. Yesterday and today, because it was the very ship that started this war, the ship that gave us the first great war meme when Ukrainian sailors --Ukrainian border guard told the ship to go --

HAYES: Eff itself. Yes.

GESSEN: Yes. And now this very ship is sunk days after the Ukrainian postal service issues a postal stamp with the middle finger pointed at the ship. It`s beautiful, right. And in a weird sense, it`s heartwarming. And at the same time, we knew exactly the kind of reaction that would provoke. There are air raid sirens heard all over Ukraine right now. There are reports of huge explosions in Kyiv.

And every -- you know, this is how it works. Every military success on the sight, especially in the sight of the underdog, is going to draw a greater, more vengeful reaction from the aggressor, even without, you know, going into the specifics of this particularly horrible war that Russia has been prosecuting that systematically targets civilians.

HAYES: Yes, there`s a -- there`s a phrase in the army that the enemy gets a vote, and that`s -- you know, that`s exactly the -- you know, you`re going to be in a loop of that. It does strike me that, you know, this question about what Putin`s mindset is, and can he think clearly and rationally, and is he making calculations that can be fit into the framework of mutually assured destruction game theory. I found it slightly reassurance that the Russian military at Putin`s direction, one imagines, did assess at some point like, OK, this part isn`t working, we`re not going to take -- like, there was a rational calculation, any rational retreat from that goal into the South and the east that at least gave me some little sliver that like, this is not a madman running this.

GESSEN: It`s not a madman running this. I think there`s a problem and possibly a mistake in asking whether Putin is rational, right? Everyone is rational in some universe. The question is, what is the universe in which Putin is rational. And he`s rational in the universe where the most important thing to do is for him to reestablish Russia as a superpower at any cost. And part of doing that is obliterating Ukraine, which he believes doesn`t have a right to exist.

Now, the fact that he is trying different tacks to achieve this particular goal isn`t surprising. It doesn`t tell us that his goal has changed, right? His goal is to obliterate Ukraine, to make it stop existing as a nation and to reestablish Russia as a superpower, because the world is not going to give him this. Ukraine is putting up a hell of a fight. In the end, Russia has overwhelming military power and overwhelming resources.

And in addition, NATO is certainly not going to agree to dealing with Vladimir Putin as the other power -- world power. He believes that that`s the kind of world he doesn`t want to live in. And that`s the kind of world that he is rattling nuclear arms.

HAYES: You just mentioned, you know, that his -- he doesn`t believe Ukraine exists or he wants to stamp out Ukrainian-ness as a distinct thing. The President of the United States refer to that as genocide the other day. And there`s this complexity of hear the Russian -- Putin saying it`s a Nazi regime with the only Jewish head of state outside of Israel, and a nation that has a very complicated relationship to its Jewish minority and Judaism. And you just wrote an incredible piece about its reckoning with precisely that history at this particular moment.


GESSEN: Thank you. I mean, this is a piece that I was reporting for a while before this invasion, but it was completed in a horrible way by the invasion. This is what should have been -- would have been the last Holocaust Memorial, right? All of Europe has sort of museum-fide the Holocaust. But the largest site of the holocaust by bullets, the kind of -- the kind of mass murder that were much less used to memorializing, that side in Babin Yar, right in Kyiv had never been memorialized.

And so, there was a -- there was an incredible effort to try to memorialize it under the two administration since the 2014 revolution in Ukraine. And now, yes, that memorial site has been hit by a Russian missile that was apparently aimed at the television tower that`s nearby. But I think even more importantly, what the story is really bad as that we`re done with the post-World War II period of history in Europe. Whatever comes after this war is going to be the post-Ukrainian war period in history.

HAYES: You could feel that in your bones. I really can. And I mean, I have one-one thousandth connection to it than you do, but it feels very clear. Again, your reporting and writing on this has been essential. And I thank you for making time with us tonight.

GESSEN: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: All right, coming up, an update on a story we brought you last night on a January 6 defendant who blamed Trump for his actions at the Capitol. Well, it didn`t take long for the jury to come back with a verdict. We`ll give that to you after this.




SAM SHAMANSKY, ATTORNEY FOR DUSTIN THOMPSON: You`ve got this President, this gangster imploring a crowd of people whom he`s groomed over the last year with his associates to help him with his desperate last-ditch effort to overturn the results of a lawful election.

Imagine that you`ve been used and abused and left out to dry. What other conclusion would you embrace, right? I mean, it`s sickening. What`s happened to these people who would have otherwise had no business coming to Washington D.C. and certainly wouldn`t have stormed the capitol in this fashion.


HAYES: Last night, attorney Sam Shamansky made that same argument on this show that he had been making in a jury -- to a jury in a federal court in Washington D.C. this week, that his client, a man named Dustin Thompson, should not be held responsible for storming the Capitol on January 6, that he and others were, "cajoled, groomed, and directed by one Donald J. Trump, that they were merely pawns in Trump`s attempt to stay in power so the real blame lies only with the former president.

Dustin Thompson drove from Ohio to Washington D.C. Once there, according to his testimony, he broke into the Capitol on presidential orders, then he ransacked the Senate parliamentarians office, stole a coat rack and a bottle of liquor as souvenirs before running away when confronted by the police.

Thompson was one of the first rioters to argue that Trump was to blame for his actions. His lawyer even tried unsuccessfully to subpoena the ex- President testifying. But while prosecutors did not dispute the Trump likely incited the violence, they argued that did not excuse Thompson`s behavior, telling the jury that they don`t have to choose between Thompson and Trump, that both men could have done wrong.

Well, today the jury agreed. After deliberating for just three hours, they found Dustin Thompson guilty on six charges including felony obstruction of Congress, which contains a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Judge Reggie Walton ordered him held without bond, saying he was convinced that Thompson lied on the stand and show that he was weak minded and couldn`t be trusted.

But the judge who was appointed to the district court in Washington D.C. by George W. Bush saved his harshest words for Donald Trump. "I think our democracy is in trouble because unfortunately, we have charlatans like our foreign president who doesn`t in my view really care about democracy but only about power."

The latest on the investigation to the role of that foreign president and the insurrection, and the testimony of one of his top aides to the January 6 committee with Congressman Jamie Raskin next.



HAYES: Today, the January 6 Committee heard one from one of Trump`s closest White House aides, Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser in the Trump White House testified virtually before the committee for eight and a half hours, just the latest high profile member of the Trump administration to appear before the committee.

Yesterday, the two top lawyers in the Trump White House Pat Cipollone of the former White House Counsel and Patrick Philbin, who was Cipollone`s deputy, met separately with the panel. And in recent weeks, the former president`s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat for combined 15 hours of questioning.

Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland serves on the January 6 Committee, and he joins me now. It`s striking at the end of that list, Congressman, that in the end of it, it seems that a lot of people very close to the President have cooperated with the committee and given testimony.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, nobody wants to get left behind because the truth is coming out in the way it`s supposed to in a democracy. And that`s kind of the way you journalists operate. You say, well, we`re going to have everybody else speaking to us, but not you unless you decide to come forward.

And so, that seems to be working for everybody except for those --

HAYES: It`s like a wood -- it`s like (INAUDIBLE).

RASKIN: Exactly. Nobody wants to get left on the dock, you know. But, look, the truth is, the whole country now knows the basic outlines of the story. We don`t know exactly what every single person was doing at every moment. But we know that there was a one line of attack, which was a violent insurrection, unprecedented in our history, which ended up injuring, wounding, hospitalizing more than 150 of our police officers and interrupting the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in American history as they shut down the counting of Electoral College votes.

And then another line of attack, which was the coup or what the political scientists call a self-coup, where it`s not the military going against the president, it`s the President trying to overturn the constitutional process and the results of an election. And that`s precisely what happened there. And we`re just putting the pieces together on all of the different actors and how these two different plots were coordinated.


HAYES: You know, obviously, your committee doesn`t have criminal jurisdiction. This is a functional legislative body that has been impaneled for this purpose. You did say this. We have not been shy about criminal evidence we encounter and our report will perfuse -- be perfused in setting forth crimes that have not yet been alleged.

How do you think about your role, the Department of Justice`s role, and how to write about or lay out evidence if you feel that you have found evidence of crimes?

RASKIN: Well, yes, I don`t understand this, you know, recent media controversy around purported conflicts within our committee about whether or not to make criminal referrals. We`ve not been reticent in any way at all about setting forth what we know when Judge Carter in the Eastman litigation which dealt with Eastman`s attempt to get Chapman University not to turn over the call records we`re looking for.

When he asked the question of whether or not Eastman`s claim of attorney- client privilege could be defeated by the crime-fraud exception, we briefed that out and we set forth a number of potential federal criminal statutory offenses that we thought would dilute or negate any claim of attorney- client privilege.

And Judge Carter basically followed us in that and he said it was more likely than not that that Donald Trump had engaged in federal crimes in trying to interfere with a Federal proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people of an honest election. So, he set that forth. And so, we`re going to lay out everything that we see.

But we also want people to understand this is not just like an Agatha Christie novel here. I mean, we know who`s done it. It`s a question of going forward. How are we going to fortify ourselves and fortify democratic institutions in processes against coups, and insurrections, and subversion in the future?

HAYES: This is maybe a strange question, but it`s a narrative one and one that I have some expertise in, which is when you say it`s not Agatha Christie, right, why does a mystery novel exist? Well, it exists because you want to find out who done it, right? And the thing that pulls you through the book is precisely the suspense of that.

In this case, again, there isn`t suspense about who did it. We know who did. So, then the question becomes from the sort of attention standpoint or the storytelling standpoint, how you communicate and capture the public`s attention about that story?

RASKIN: Well, there are lots of characters who are not known to the broad public today who were involved in this. There were a number of heroes who surfaced throughout this process. And we want to make sure we`re profiling them as well as the villains of this story. But it`s very important to know how it was done as well as who done it. And that`s what the citizens in the world`s greatest multiracial, multi-religious, multicultural constitutional democracy need to know what are the weaknesses that these reactionary, alt- right, neo-fascist forces conspired to take advantage of because they did.

And it will be, I think, both agonizing and riveting for the country to see how close we came to losing it all. It`s certainly as close to fascism as I ever want to come in my life. And we need people to understand what the weaknesses were and then how we`re going to seal up the weaknesses so we can move forward in democracy to deal with the pressing issues of our time like climate change, which is bearing down on everybody.

HAYES: Well, in my business, we call that a good tease. So, you have me. Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

RASKIN: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Up next, the Republican Party is already dodging the debate stage ahead of the next presidential election. What today`s unanimous vote mean for the cancel culture party and a potential Trump run after this.



HAYES: If you need any further proof that an aspiring autocrat is leading one of the two major political parties in America, look no further than the votes the Republican National Committee has taken this year. They voted to censure members of their own party, Representatives Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger back in February, over their participation in the January 6 Committee. In that same vote, the RNC described the attack on the capitol as "legitimate political discourse."

Today, they voted unanimously to pull out of the presidential debates that have been run by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates since 1988. Trump had repeatedly criticized the commission after his widely panned debate performances in 2020. Today, the Republican National Committee made sure he wouldn`t have to suffer through such an ordeal again.

Calling the commission biased, the RNC said they would be looking for "newer, better debate platforms." They did not elaborate on exactly what those platforms would be.

Stuart Stevens is very familiar with presidential debates, especially from his work on the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, also political consultant and senior adviser of the Lincoln Project. And he joins me now.

I thought at first this was maybe a bluff. This was -- you know, this was a way of kissing up to Trump, but it looks like they`re actually doing it. And it seems to me like a pretty big deal. Like, it`s the end -- like, it`s the end of something. It`s the breaking of something that can`t be put back together. What do you -- how do you feel about it?


STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: Well, look, this is just the process. It`s an autocratic playbook, and they`re very methodically going through it. We -- the idea is that they`ll do it piece by piece, and therefore we won`t notice the big picture. But when you read How Democracies Die by the two Harvard professors, their number one first rule of how autocrats rise to power is rejecting of democratic norms. And debate is at the heart of a democratic norm.

I mean, in England, the Prime Minister has to do it every day. It really goes to sort of two trends in the Republican Party. One is Republican Party has become a party of fear. What is not debating, but you`re afraid to debate? Nobody dodges a debate they think they`re going to win or they think they did win. It`s fearfulness.

Why do you make it harder for people to vote? Because you`re afraid what will happen if a lot of people vote? Why do you make it harder for immigrants? It`s a fearfulness, a fearfulness of gays, a fearfulness of higher education. Somehow the conservative movement in America has become a place that appeals to sort of that within us that is fearful.

And it`s a -- it`s a really disturbing autocratic tendency, because autocrats, their purpose is to make you feel safer. We`re going to -- I`m going to -- I will be the big brother. I will be the strong man and I will make you feel safer. That`s what the Republican Party wants.

HAYES: You know it, there`s a few things here. One is this is about Trump`s ego because he got his butt kicked in those debates. He looked ridiculous and petulant in that first one, which -- and now appears in retrospect, he probably had COVID at it, that they were hiding, which is really wild to consider. But there`s also a broader thing.

I mean, ABC News did this roundup that Republican candidates in battleground states have been skipping debates quite a lot. Over half dozen GOP candidates and crucial state, federal races, have either skipped or not committed to prior debates. And there`s this idea here of like, withdraw from any institutions you don`t control that aren`t in your bubble. That everything from the Committee on Presidential Debates to Hollywood, to the Pentagon, are all like foreign other institutions that are part of the deep state that you want nothing to do with.

STEVENS: Yes, I mean, you look at Ron DeSantis. His press secretary is kicking legitimate reporters out of press conferences because they don`t like the questions they ask. This is absolutely what it`s about. And you know, there`s a shamefulness at -- and we think that somehow they`re going to come to their senses, but this is their senses, this is what they want. They`re not going to revert.

This is really coming down to a choice. And as somebody who pointed out flaws in Democratic Party for a long time, it`s strange for me to say, but I don`t know any other conclusion but there are two parties in America now. One is a Democratic Party, and that is the big D Democratic Party. And the other is a party that Republicans that have become an autocratic movement. And that`s really the choice. I think it`s between democracy and autocracy.

HAYES: And one of the things that`s highlighted here in this decision to withdraw from this, right, is that there aren`t necessarily tangible or short-term political consequences or electoral consequences for these kinds of moves. Like, I don`t -- I don`t know in the end whether this hurts the Republican Party at the polls. I don`t think anyone will care about one way or the other in the Midterms. I don`t know if it hurts the candidate who`s the eventual nominee whether Trump or not.

And -- but the thing that kept it together was a shared sense of like, we`re in a democracy, we`re candidates for office and you debate. And you negotiate about what the rules are, and you fight over that. You take that away, there`s nothing propping it up in a short-term political sense I think is part of what`s been so unnerving about these last few years.

STEVENS: Yes. Nobody is a good word because I think one of the things that we`re learning here is how much of a democracy is based on goodwill and how much of it is based upon sort of a civil contract between a government, its politicians, and its people. So, there`s not a law that says you have to debate. Look, there`s not a law that says the Republican National Committee can`t meet tomorrow and declare that Donald Trump will be the nominee in 2024. You don`t have to have primaries.

HAYES: Right.

STEVENS: And this is an eroding of this process that it`s very methodical. What they want to be is what`s happened in Hungary as for the national -- CPAC is meeting in Hungry. That`s their goal.

HAYES: They`ve been very, very clear about that. Stuart Stevens, as always, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

STEVENS: Thank you.

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