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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/18/22

Guests: Shane Goldmacher, Carlos Curbelo, Ruben Gallego, Yevhenia Kravchuk, Molly Jong-Fast


Republican candidates scramble for Donald Trump`s endorsements. New York Times reports that Trump has turned Mar-a-Lago into a shadow GOP headquarters. Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, also the chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Committee, recently released what New York magazine calls an ultra-MAGA agenda for the Midterm Elections. Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego discussed how Democrats can avoid Midterm Elections defeat.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: As a result of that, they`re very close to taking power once again.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We know that there is no lack of men. Men are not going anywhere. We`ve had lots of great men on this show tonight. So, fear not. Men are in fine shape. Professors Timothy Snyder and Michael Eric Dyson, thank you both very much. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN, explosive reporting from the New York Times. How the twice impeached ex-president has turned himself into a modern-day party boss and now he`s cashing in at Mar-a-Lago.

Also, can Republicans really take back power with a plan to raise your taxes? What are the Democrats doing to try and stop them? Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve never seen a cruise missile in there myself. It was so big. I thought it was an airplane.

We`ll go live to Ukraine where a new Russian offensive has apparently begun. Plus, conservative cancel culture rages in Florida where math books are ludicrously being accused of advancing critical race theory. And from the congressman who resigned after a felony indictment of the Utah senator who helped Trump try and overturn the election, how Republicans get away with non-stop scandals by just flooding the zone. When ALL IN starts now.


HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. Nearly seven years ago, Donald Trump entered the race for president. He came down that gold escalator at Trump Tower and proceeded to defeat 16 eminently qualified candidates, including senators, governors, and even the brother and son of a president. He beat them all and took over the Republican Party.

And then his presidency was a total car crash. He led Republicans to defeat in the House in 2018, and then lost the Senate and the presidency in 2020, making him the first president to lose all three in a single term since Herbert Hoover in 1932.

Now, you would think that after all of that the Republican Party would want to rid itself of Donald J. Trump, that they would want to kick him out into the wilderness and move on. But they have not moved on and the ex-president has an even more iron grip on the party than before. He may even have more power over the Republican Party today sitting in exile in Mar-a-Lago than he did while in the Oval Office.

In a new piece for The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher describes it as the Mar-a-Lago machine and Trump as a modern-day party boss. "Inspiring fear, hoarding cash, doling out favors, and seeking to crush rivals, Mr. Trump is behaving not merely as a power broker, but as something closer to the head of a 19th-century political machine."

A former Trump advisor describes the ex-president`s exile at his South Florida Resort as quote a developing Tammany situation, referring of course to Tammany Hall, the political machine that essentially controlled New York City for nearly 200 years. Goldmacher also compares Trump to Tammany halls most notorious, deeply corrupt leader Boss Tweed, shown in this famous cartoon saying as long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?

That certainly sounds familiar. You`ll remember when Donald Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to just find him 11,780 votes to overturn Joe Biden`s win in that crucial state. Of course, Raffensperger thankfully refused. And so, Trump has since endorsed his challenger, along with many other far-right Secretary of State candidates around the country who plan on doing his bidding come 2024, who plan on counting the votes for him.

He is as Shane Goldmacher puts it, "Aggressively pursuing an agenda of vengeance against Republicans who have wronged him, endorsing more than 140 candidates nationwide and turning the 2022 primaries into a stress test of his continued sway.

For example, last week, Trump issued this anti endorsement telling Pennsylvanians to not vote for Republican Bill McSwain for governor. That is in retaliation for McSwain as Trump says, doing absolutely nothing as then-U.S. Attorney General on the massive election fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the Commonwealth.

Of course, there was no massive fraud. But perhaps the best demonstration of Donald Trump`s Mar-a-lago machine comes from the parade of Republicans who make the pilgrimage to Palm Beach to kiss their leaders ring and beg him for assistance.

Goldmacher paints the picture. "Working from a large wooden desk reminiscent of the one he used in the Oval Office, Trump has transformed a Mar-a-lago`s old bridal suite into a shadow GOP headquarters. And the ex- president has amassed more than $120 million, a war chest more than doubled out of the Republican National Committee itself, which he doles out stingily to candidates seeking his approval. Some of those candidates even pay to attend Mar-a-Lago fundraisers for others clamoring for a fleeting moment of Mr. Trump`s attention or better yet a photo."

One North Carolina candidate for Congress posted this video of her opportunity to step up to Trump`s makeshift Mar-a-Lago stage and snap a picture. She called it "an epic moment." The candidates often play to the ex-president`s ego. Surprise!

Of course, Trump enjoys flattery and is not above rewarding sycophants. And they try to feed him information just the way he likes it. Insiders say bringing compelling visual material matters. Big funds are crucial. I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Some have used Trump`s favorite medium, television, even running ads far away from their voters.

In an attempt to catch his eye, Michelle Fiore, a Las Vegas City councilwoman announced her candidacy for Governor of Nevada in this ad that aired over 2000 miles away in West Palm Beach, Florida.



MICHELE FIORE, MEMBER, LAS VEGAS CITY COUNCIL: I spent my whole life fighting the establishment. I was the first female majority leader in Nevada assembly and one of the first elected to endorse Donald J. Trump. And you better believe I was attacked for it.

Washington Post called me a gun-toting calendar girl, and Politico magazine says I was the lady Trump and I don`t care.


HASAN: And apparently she did get Trump`s attention. Last month, she changed her mind and moved down to the race for State Treasurer saying in another ad that she made the decision after talking to the ex-President`s team.

So, while it seems fair to compare Donald Trump to boss Tweed of Tammany Hall or even former President Richard Nixon, there is an important difference. Those figures for all their corruption were accomplished political operators in their own right. Donald Trump is clearly not. He should not be where he is. He`s still leading the Republican Party after bringing them to a crushing defeat. And that tells you as much about that party as it does about Trump.

Shane Goldmacher is a national political reporter with The New York Times. He profiled Trump`s party boss turn in that latest piece of his which is a must-read. And he joins me now. Shane, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening.

I want to talk about some of the stuff you reveal. But first, I`ve got to ask, what is the atmosphere like in a place like Mar-a-Lago. What kind of people show up there aside from the candidates looking for attention?

SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Look, it`s developed its own political economy, its own political gravity. You have Republican candidates from across the country coming to seek meetings with them. And if they don`t have a meeting, to go to fundraisers for others to try at, again, get that chance of the photo.

That clip you showed of the candidate from North Carolina getting her moment, there were at least three other candidates from three other states that same night who posted pictures or had a moment with Trump or said that they were there. You`ve got donors from across the country who are coming, who have homes in Palm Beach area, or just they`re trying to, you know, stay in touch with the president. You have political operatives. Very much the center of the Republican Party`s power right now is in South Florida, again, despite the fact that Trump is out of the White House, and that he lost power in 2020 despite his efforts to say otherwise.

HASAN: Shane, as with every member of the Trump family, you have to ask, follow the money, and where`s the money going? Do we know where the money in Trump`s coffers is going? You report that he has doubled the money of the RNC, and yet he`s quite stingy with it. "For many, his support goes no further than an email and a $5,000 check."

GOLDMACHER: So far, he hasn`t spent much of the money. He raised a lot of this money in the aftermath of the 2020 election telling his supporters that there was fraud, and he needed this money to fight the fraud. But he banked much of their money for his future endeavors and didn`t spend it on those legal fights they mostly lost after 2020. So, he`s sitting on this huge war chest and heading into the 2022 midterms.

Now, he`s endorsed, as you said, more than 140 candidates across the country, and he is beginning to spend a little bit more. He`s investing in the Georgia governor`s race upcoming where his preferred handpicked candidate is behind in the polls and running against one of the sort of top people on that vengeance agenda that I described, Governor Brian Kemp who certified the 2020 election, much -- despite much opposition from Trump.

And Trump has been after him ever since. And so, that`s where it`s where he`s going to dip in a little bit to the money. But again, mostly this money is going to fund his future political endeavors. And for Trump, having the money is power. One of the power he has it`s not just his popularity among Republican voters, it`s that the party that is raising money, when he`s doubling the money of the party itself, when they send out their fundraising emails, they`re sending it out with his name. His name is the one reason so much of the money for Republicans.

HASAN: So, Shane, how is the tension between Trump and Republican Party leaders in D.C. in particular, playing out? You report that Trump`s enduring popularity with the base frightened some of them, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who has "tried to keep Trump on the sidelines in some primaries. This, of course, is the same McCarthy who made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to take a photo with Trump after 1/6.

GOLDMACHER: Yes, the relationship between McCarthy and Trump is fairly different than McConnell and Trump, the Senate Republican leader. McConnell has broken with Trump pretty clearly. And Trump is out there attacking McConnell publicly and by name. McCarthy has kept Trump closer.

And one of the reasons is that he doesn`t have the same iron grip on his own conference that McConnell does. So, presuming the Republicans can win the majority this fall, which history says they have a big advantage to do, Kevin McCarthy needs to keep almost all the Republican votes to become the next speaker.


And to do that, he`s going to need some pro-Trump Republicans who might not necessarily be pro-Kevin McCarthy were Republicans. And so he`s kept the former president pretty closely. Again, he visited multiple times. He`s tried to keep them out of races where maybe an anti-McCarthy kind of Republican would be entering the House. But look, they try to do the best they can.

Trump brings in enormous energy for the base of the Republican Party. But he continues in private polls and private focus groups to turn off that kind of election-deciding mid-tier voters swing voters are turned off by Trump still. And that`s one of the hopes that Democrats have in 2022 is that look, things may not be going well for the Democratic Party. Can they scare some Democrats into thinking Trump and Trump Republicans could be coming back into power?

HASAN: Yes, and remind those swing voters you mentioned that the Republican Party is now basically a personality cult. Shane Goldmacher, thank you for your reporting. I appreciate it.

As Donald Trump maintained inexplicably, his grip on the Republican Party his foot soldiers are following his lead. Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, also the chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Committee recently released what New York magazine calls an ultra-MAGA agenda for the Midterm Elections. It`s an 11 point plan reads like a Trumpian fever dream.

Scott introduces his proposal in this letter to Americans writing, "The militant left now controls the entire federal government, the news media, academia, Hollywood, and most corporate boardrooms. But they want more. They are redefining America and silencing their opponents."

He goes on to list some of the things they plan to change or destroy, including American history, patriotism, border security, the nuclear family, gender, traditional morality, and capitalism. That`s where people in boardrooms are going to destroy capitalism. Interesting.

Rick Scott`s ideas are perhaps even wilder than his words. He proposes cutting the IRS by 50 percent while requiring a minimum income tax on all Americans. He also recommends letting all federal legislation expire in five years, even Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.

The plan is so out there, it could actually backfire on Republicans and help Democrats. In fact, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently field-tested Scott`s plan with swing-state voters and found strong aversion to the tax increase language, as well as the idea of sunsetting all federally funded programs in five years.

Democrats are preparing to use that to their advantage in what promises to be a tough battle in the Midterms to keep hold of the House and the Senate.

Carlos Curbelo is a former Republican Congressman from Florida where he represented the state`s 26th Congressional District from 2015 to 2019. He joins me now. Thanks so much for coming on the show. You know Florida, you know Rick Scott. What is he playing out here? Does he really think these proposals will be popular? Is this part of a bid to replace McConnell or to run for president? What is going on?

CARLOS CURBELO, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Well, Mehdi, it`s clear that Senator Scott did not vet this proposal with other Republican senators because Senator McConnell at a press conference very obviously and visibly distanced himself from the Scott proposal. And I think one of the main reasons is that as Republicans have made gains with working-class voters in recent elections, a part of this plan would, you`d have to assume, raise taxes on a lot of working-class voters when we`re talking about a minimum tax that every single person would pay.

So, this was Senator Scott`s plan. It looked like he was freelancing, not representing all Senate Republicans. And Senator McConnell has definitely created a lot of space between himself and this proposal.

HASAN: But does Mitch McConnell -- I mean, he threw cold water on Rick Scott`s plan, as you point out, saying, he`s going to decide what goes in the Senate agenda. I have a listen, actually.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): If we`re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I`ll be the majority leader. I`ll decide in consultation with my members. What to put on the floor. We will not have as part of our agenda of Bill that raises taxes on half of the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.


HASAN: But does Mitch McConnell still control the agenda? I mean, you have Donald Trump openly attacking him as old crow. You have Republican Senate candidates who are going to be much more loyal to Trump if they win, the J.D. Vances, Josh Mandels of this world than they are to McConnell. Does he still have that iron fist that he always have?

CURBELO: I really do think so, Mehdi. It is pretty remarkable. Mitch McConnell is one of the few Republicans who has publicly attacked Trump, publicly criticized Trump, and yet is still in full control in his conference. There are a few of handful of members who would maybe vote for someone else, but McConnell is still fully in control in a lot of these races. McConnell candidates might actually beat Trump candidates.

In some races, they`re supporting the same candidate. Mitch McConnell, I think, is still the hope for a lot of Republicans that would like to see the party return to a more traditional position on policy and move away from I think what you aptly called this cult of personality where everything seems to revolve around Donald Trump. McConnell is trying to change that. That battle is playing out. But something that Donald Trump has not been able to do is significantly weaken McConnell`s grip around the Senate Republican Conference.


HASAN: Just on the issue of the return, you said return which it makes me think, return to what? Because I do wonder, what does it say about the pre- Trump Republican Party that you were part of, that they allowed this carnival barker to take it over and remake it in his own image so firmly?

CURBELO: Well, that`s right, Mehdi. People just, you know, bent the knee. They gave up. They didn`t bother them that Trump was out there lying, tricking people, doing everything he could for self-preservation. I mean, all this stuff he`s doing at Mar-a-Lago which was as detailed, you know, so effectively in that piece in The New York Times. This is not about the Republican Party. Donald Trump does not care about the Republican Party.

He cares about the Republican Party, as long as they say fully owned subsidiary of the Trump Organization, and that`s what he`s trying to make it remain. But if the Republican Party starts going another way, Donald Trump will disavow it and won`t lift a finger for a single Republican who doesn`t support him.

HASAN: Oh, 100 percent. 100 percent. If he were to run for the nomination and not win it, can you imagine what he would do, how many toys he would throw out of that pram? Carlos Curbelo, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

CURBELO: Thank you, Mehdi.

HASAN: Right now, the Republican Party has nothing to sell to voters other than yanking scary math books out of schools and screaming critical race theory, which we`ll tell you all about later tonight. But they have no plans for the economy either, no solutions for inflation. They`re effectively leaving wide-open goals for the Democrats going into the Midterms. The question is, Will Democrats do anything about it? Will they go on the offense? I`ll ask Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego after a short break.



HASAN: Right now, there are a whole bunch of layups that Democrats are just not taking. In schools across the country, Republicans are banning books that acknowledge racism and the existence of LGBTQ people. Their party leader Donald Trump is vocally pro-Vladimir Putin, calling his invasion of Ukraine "genius."

Despite the repeated attacks on Democrats for inflation, for high gas prices, Republicans have failed to offer a way to tackle those problems. And at the state level, they`re also consumed with ridiculous cultural vendettas like banning transgender children from playing sports. Republicans have no plan for childcare or for wages or for the climate. Their agenda is not popular, according to the polls, and yet Democrats now trailed in the polls.

So, could it be because Democrats are not going on the attack enough? Congressman Ruben Gallego is a Democrat from Arizona, and he joins me now. Congressman, thanks for coming on the show tonight. You`re a Marine Corps veteran. You know all about strategy. When it comes to the Midterms, what is the democratic strategy to win this fight and hold on to the House? Is there one because I don`t see it?

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Well, I think there needs to be one. I do agree that it has been slow to come. But you`re correct, the best strategy is an offensive strategy because Republicans don`t have any ideas. And this is nothing new. Republicans have always been running on divisiveness. That`s the only way they win elections by essentially getting people to get mad at each other or gets people to get really dissuaded from you in voting. And that`s what happens in Republican wave years. It`s not that Republican -- more Republicans come and vote, is that the Democrats are discouraged to come out and vote because we ended up not doing anything.

And now, we`ve got some great successes, the American Rescue Plan. We basically rescue the country from poverty, from a recession. We`ve rescued Ukraine out of the grips of autocrat that Republicans many just a couple months ago were cheering on, by the way, including their leader, Donald Trump. And you know, we are -- now, we`re moving on to the phase where we do two more things.

Number one, protect American democracy in terms of what we`re going to do with the January 6 Committee. And number two, protect the American paycheck. And how do we do that? We get back to what we know works, child tax credit, childcare subsidies, increase the minimum wage, protect the Affordable Health Care Act, the things that actually make people`s lives easier and actually are counter inflationary.

But you have to go on the offense. We have to remind the voters that Republicans are a party of nothing, right? This is why they`re screaming and trying to distract us with people`s genitals instead of actually focusing on people`s paychecks in their back pockets.

HASAN: But, but the reality is, Congressman, you and I both know that the screaming often works. That`s how they win elections. And Republicans always want to fight the culture wars, and Democrats always seem to want to run away from them. And I have a question for you. Why not fight the culture wars and win them, on abortion, on bookbanning, on teaching history? The public is on your side.

GALLEGO: I certainly think that, you know, our arguments are always going to be better because they`re actually based on rationality instead of fear. If you look at the Republican platforms in general, you know, my general thinking of what a party says says a lot about you, and especially when it comes to how you say it. And I say very clearly, you know, power whispers and weakness screams.


The Republican Party has to scream because their platform is so weak. But we are right on this. We should not be abandoning, you know, these poor transgender kids that are being bullied when there`s only two or three of them that are playing sports in some of these states. And at least you`d have some governors, Republican governor from Utah that are showing some real courage. We should be standing up for women`s right to choose and a family`s right to choose and not some government bureaucrat telling a woman when she should or should not be having kids.

And certainly, we know that book banning is not something that is popular in this country. And for a party that is always been talking about cancel culture, there`s nothing bigger than canceling books, and especially some of the books that we know are very popular, they`re started getting canceled like To Kill a Mockingbird, and other books such as that.

So you know, I think it`s one we push back on the cultural issues where we know we`re correct. But let`s remind people, at the end of the day, everything they`re doing is to distract one thing, Republic parties have no plan to make your life better. If anything, all they want to do is to distract you to get a cut -- they could cut taxes for the big corporate buddies, and at the end of the day cut regulations that end up not protecting you. That`s what the Republican Party is going to end up giving should they get elected.

HASAN: So, Congressman, you and I agree, they don`t have an economic plan that`s why they`re screaming about culture wars issues. The problem is when they say stuff, like Democrats are all pro-pedophile, and so is a Supreme Court Justice. And then you have Democrats quoted saying, including your colleague Hakeem Jeffries, from leadership saying, look, we`re not going to deal with that stuff. We`re going to focus on kitchen-table issues. It sounds nice, but then when you look at the kitchen table issues, you weren`t able to lower prescription drug costs or improve childcare or raise the minimum wage to $15 build up by the dime in the Senate.

GALLEGO: Yes, but you got to be doing both. Right, yes.

HASAN: But I`m saying, even on the kitchen table issue --

GALLEGO: But the Republican Party -- well, the kitchen table issues are fine, but you also have to fight back. The Republican Party -- you know, calling them policies is ridiculous. You have Matt Gaetz who was paying for underage sex with girls.

HASAN: Allegedly.

GALLEGO: You have a speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert -- Dennis Hastert, who you know, is basically remove his photo from the speaker guys because he did molest young boys.

HASAN: Yes, he did.

GALLEGO: You know, this is the party of -- if there`s any party right now, they`re the last party that should be talking about that, right. And lastly, the fact that they`re just using it to attack our LGBT community, they don`t -- you know, this is clearly homophobic. And instead of saying, you know, they`re coming out with their homophobia, they have to use decrypted words. You know what, at least be straight up of what you`re doing.

And I think it`s ridiculous that they`re using this to basically create more angst against our LGBT community and our youth which have the highest suicide rate in this country. And that`s just sad.

HASAN: Well said. Well said, Congressman. I would like to say, I think you`re the first Democrat, maybe I missed it on TV to bring up Dennis Hastert, a convicted child molester who was House Speaker for the Republican Party. It`s amazing that Democrats don`t talk more about him. Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you for your time tonight. I appreciate you.

GALLEGO: There`s tons of more. So, they`re the last issue --


HASAN: We need a whole hour with you to go through the list.

GALLEGO: Absolutely.

HASAN: Thank you for your time tonight.

GALLEGO: Thank you.

HASAN: When we return, after failing to take Kyiv, Russia began redirecting its forces to the east. And now President Zelenskyy says the Russians have launched their new attack. The latest from Ukraine after this short break.



HASAN: Russian forces have started an offensive to take full control of the Donbass region in southeastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a speech, the President announced a large part of the Russian forces now focused on the roughly 300-mile front line.

Earlier today, on the other side of the country, a Russian missile attack on the city of Lviv killed at least seven people and injured 11 others according to the mayor. The attack caused the first civilian deaths in a city that until now was largely spared of any severe consistent bombing campaigns.

NBC News correspondent Ali Arouzi described seeing the strike firsthand on MSNBC.


ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: I`ve never seen a cruise missile in there myself. This is the first time. So, when it flew over our heads, it was so big, I thought it was an airplane. And then, Malcolm then informed us that no, this is a cruise missile. And there`s this very disconcerting loud whistling sound when it flies over your head. And then a massive thump.

And you know what? We immediately realize there as well, this isn`t a very crowded residential area found in the center of Lviv.


HASAN: Yevhenia Kravchuk is a member of the Ukrainian parliament and deputy chair of President Zelenskyy`s party. She joins me now in the dark due to curfew restrictions throughout Ukraine. Thank you so much for joining me on the show tonight. What is going on in the east of your country right now?


HASAN: How have things changed today?

KRAVCHUK: Well, I would say that the history is, you know, being written in our eyes right now, because it`s night in Ukraine and on the old territory of east and also on the south, Russian troops are trying to break the resistance of our army. So you know, all the prayers in every house in Ukraine goes to our army who is defending not only just lives, but the state, you know, the possibility to be Ukrainian in this world.

Right now, the most three -- you know, three hotspots would be Mariupol, would be Mykolaiv which is in on the south. And Mykolaiv actually, you know, stops Russians from going further and to take Odessa, a big port city on the Black Sea, and also in the Kharkiv region. And we`ve had the constant air alerts on all the territory of Ukraine.

You`ve just seen what a cruise missile can do in Lviv. Lviv is in western Ukraine which is rather peaceful. But Russians tried to terrorize the whole country and the whole nation so no one could feel safe. [20:35:23]

HASAN: Russian troops gave the Ukrainian troops defending Mariupol a deadline to surrender and they ignored it. How much longer can these Ukrainian troops there hold out without being resupplied? And what happens if Mariupol falls?

KRAVCHUK: I think they are one of the bravest soldiers and men in the world, those who defend Mariupol. But also, we want Russians to let civilians go out from Mariupol because right now in this every moment, more than thousands of civilians, children, women are in the basements of Azovstal factory as well. And they cannot leave because the city is gone. It`s completely ruined. And the Russians will not give the green corridor to them.

We`re asking, you know, all the political leaders to help with that. But Russians do not have any moral standards or red lines. And our troops will stand there as long as they can. And I think it`s not just a military targets Mariupol, but also a symbolic target, because it`s been 54 days. And this completely Russian-speaking city is not surrendering.

HASAN: President Zelenskyy told Jake Tapper of CNN an interview over the weekend that he wanted President Biden to visit Kyiv. Take a listen.


JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR CNN: Do you want President Biden to come here?


TAPPER: Are there any plans for him to come?

ZELENSKYY: I think he will.

TAPPER: You think you will?

ZELENSKYY: I think he will. And I think he is -- it`s his decision, of course, and about the safety situation, it depends. I mean, that -- but I think -- I think he`s the leader of the United States. And that that`s why he should come here to see.


HASAN: How do you expect a trip to Kyiv from the United States president would be received by most Ukrainians?

KRAVCHUK: I mean, you`ve seen how it was received by Prime Minister Johnson, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. It was a great, very powerful signal. And would you understand all the security issues. You know, we understand that. But I think that the leader of free world should be the place where democracy has been defended at the -- you know, at this very moment.

But frankly, speaking, all the Ukrainians would say that, I mean, give us weapons, arm us, and, you know -- and we will be thankful for that as well.

HASAN: And one last question, a darker topic. President Zelenskyy was also asked about the CIA director`s concerned that Putin may use tactical nuclear weapons, how worried are you about that?

KRAVCHUK: I mean, Russians killed so many people already, thousands of people. They crossed, you know, every red line. I can`t say you know, it will stop us from defending the country. We will not, you know, stand on our knees begging not to use the chemical weapon or begging not to use the nuclear weapon.

I mean, in Ukrainian vocabulary, you do not have the word impossible anymore. So, we will defend our country no matter what.

HASAN: Well said.

KRAVCHUK: But we will need, you know, more support from our partners to do that. And that`s why we`re asking for artillery and MLRS systems to kick them out because Putin needs to be punched in his nose, in his teeth. And he needs to feel this trance from the civilized world.

HASAN: The word impossible doesn`t exist in Ukraine anymore. Well said. Yevhenia Kravchuk, thank you so much for your time.

KRAVCHUK: Thank you.

HASAN: And please do stay safe. Still ahead, the right-wing obsession with bookbinding reaches new levels of absurd. And now they`re finding the critical race theory boogeyman in math textbooks. I kid you not. That story next.



HASAN: Kim Morrison was in her fourth year as an English teacher at Greenville High School in Missouri. As part of her curriculum, she taught the book Dear Martin by Nick Stone, a novel about systemic racism seen through the eyes of a Black teenager. Part of Morrison`s lesson plan included a worksheet on racial privilege for her students to fill out which prompted students to mock true or untrue for statements like if a traffic cop pulls me over, I can be sure I haven`t been singled out because of my race. And I`ve never been told a sound or act white.

And it was that worksheet in particular that made her one of the latest targets of the American rights, hysterical war on education. Morrison says she was called into a meeting with the school`s principal who accused her of teaching the Republican boogeyman critical race theory.

Morrison said, "Well, it`s not critical race theory. I don`t know what Critical Race Theory is because I didn`t go to law school and we didn`t cover it in grad school. This isn`t it." But her justifications did not matter. The damage had already been done. She was forced to meet with the superintendent for the district who said her future at the school was uncertain.


And late last month, behind closed doors, the school board voted not to renew her contract for the next school year. They didn`t try to push some phony excuse either. They were happy to admit why. When Morrison asked why her contract was not renewed, she was told "Your decision to incorporate the worksheet associated with the novel Dear Martin, due to the content and subject matter."

And this ridiculous right-wing cancel culture, shall we call it, is not just happening in Greenfield, Missouri. It`s happening all over the country. In Florida, the State Education Department rejected more than 50 math textbooks for reasons including, you guessed it, promoting critical race theory. Math, not history or literature, they say math books are pushing CRT.

Maybe they`re slipping graduate-level discussions of systemic racism into the quadratic equations. But I kind of doubt it. The state has not said what specific mathematical problems it finds so objectionable, big surprise there. And while many of these fights are taking place in schools, Republicans are not stopping there. Now they`re coming for your local library as well.

As The Washington Post`s report, one library network in Llano, Texas has been overrun by white Christian conservatives. They stack the library board with a bunch of like-minded censors, some of whom do not even hold library cards themselves. They close meetings to the public and they started purging books that don`t conform to their reactionary worldview. And one librarian was, yes, you guessed it, fired last month for refusing to comply.


As head librarian at the Kingsland Branch Library in Llano County, she says when she didn`t remove certain books from her shelves, the county removed her.

SUZETTE BAKER, FORMER KINGSLAND LIBRARIAN: The books in my library and Kingsland were not taken off the shelves, we did not move them. I told my boss that was censorship.


HASAN: Last year, the county closed its three libraries for three days, so they could go through and remove books from the shelves just like that. The list includes a sex education book for kids going through puberty. Caste, a book on systemic racism by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson. And a children`s book called Freddy the Farting Snowman. That`s gone too.

This is censorship, plain and simple. Removing public access to books that do not conform to a right-wing, Christian fundamentalist view of the world, well, it`s censorship. I mean, what did Freddie do to them? Look, the hypocrisy here is brazen. Republicans love to complain about canceled culture, but they don`t actually have a problem with it. They just want to be the ones doing the canceling.


HASAN: On Friday, the big story was that Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah was texting with Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows soon after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and began what became his rolling coup attempt. Lee sent Meadows messages like this one. "If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path."

It`s a huge revelation that shows the Republican plot to steal the election was more widespread than we knew. It involves sitting senators, not just called Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. But this week that story is gone. Nobody`s talking about it anymore. But it`s not just Mike Lee who has disappeared from our news headlines. There`s Donald Trump Jr. texting Meadows a strategy to overturn the election, and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, also urging Meadows to overturn the election.

There`s Mark Meadows himself being investigated for possible voter fraud. There`s Trump`s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, getting what looks like a $2 billion kickback from the Saudis. There`s Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina accusing his congressional colleagues of attending Koch-fueled orgies and never really taking that accusation back.

There`s Republican members of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar speaking at a conference of white supremacists and Holocaust deniers, and getting not even a slap on the wrist from their party leadership. There`s Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska resigning after being convicted of lying to the FBI about foreign money given to his campaign fund.

I mean, look, this is an almost endless list. I could go on and on and on. And all of these stories happened really recently in recent weeks. Each of them is a huge scandal, and in normal times, would dominate the news for weeks. But these are not normal times. And so, these Republicans just get away with it.

Joining me now to discuss is Molly Jong-Fast, contributing writer to the Atlantic Magazine, and the author of their Wait, What Newsletter. Molly, thanks for coming on. Why don`t these stories I just mentioned, especially the ones related to Republicans trying to overturn our democracy, Mike Lee, Ginni Thomas, Don, Jr., why don`t they have more staying power in our news cycles?

MOLLY JONG-FAST, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, ATLANTIC MAGAZINE: I wonder how much of the mainstream media is worried about appearing bias, right? Like, the truth has a Democratic bias. We`ve seen research about that, right? The idea that a lot of you know, Republicans, one of the reasons why they`re leaving the debates is because they don`t like the fact-checking, right?

So, I wonder how much this is mainstream media`s anxiety of about looking partisan, especially when the right is so committed to making mainstream media very sort of worried. I definitely think that the argument that people don`t care about that is wrong because the media`s job is to make people care about things. That`s what they do. And I mean, certainly, Democrats could push harder and have more hearings and more implicate them.


HASAN: Yes, oh, yes. Yes, definitely the Democrats could do more to make people care and to force media coverage. And we`ll come back to that in a moment. I just wonder also, in addition to the blatant both sides-ism and, you know, journalists, clearly, you know, Republicans working the rest so successfully as the phrase goes, I also think there is this problem we have to be honest and open about, which is just the sheer volume of all this corruption and seeming criminality.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon once said, The Democrats don`t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with excrement. And it`s worked, hasn`t it, the zone flooding by the GOP on an epic level?

JONG-FAST: Yes, it absolutely has worked. And I think people have trouble keeping track. I think that there`s so many text messages now. I mean, Mike Lee stuff is a big deal. I mean, I was pretty shocked by the Republican senator -- what`s his name -- the Republican senators text from Texas who was texting with --

HASAN: Oh, Chip Roy, the congressman.

JONG-FAST: Yes, Chip Roy. But I was even more shocked by these Mike Lee texts, because I hadn`t -- I had read some stuff about it, but I was super surprised at just how involved he was, and how he was trying to get Sidney Powell involved. And Sidney Powell is thought of as pretty kooky. And he was the one who was pushing Sidney Powell on Trump.

So, these text messages are very disturbing. I mean, and also, you know, he`s up for reelection. I mean, Mike Lee is up for reelection in 2022.

HASAN: So, Molly, what do you think is the solution to this lack of coverage, this inability to stay focused on these GOP stories of corruption and scandal? As I said, part of me thinks Democrats need to go on the attack more, because if Democrats didn`t move on from Mike Lee, or Ginni Thomas and kept talking about them, it`d be much harder for the media to move on.

JONG-FAST: Right. Oh, that`s for sure. And you see that right. Republicans did Benghazi, right, when she was just -- Hillary Clinton was just Secretary of State and they held endless hearings about Benghazi. So, 100 percent that I think it`s super important that Democrats hold hearings, and they`re going to have to walk and chew gum, right>

They are the one party that`s interested in keeping democracy going. Republicans have hardened against democracy, they are committed to just you know, getting power at any cost -- you know, at any tact. And Democrats have to be the ones who hold the hearings who say, this is not OK that the president`s son was texting with his chief of staff about a fake electorate.

And you see with these text messages, there`s clearly a coordination because the see -- you know, we saw those text messages from Don Jr. and from Chip Roy, and from Mike Lee, and they`re all basically saying the same kind of plan. So, yes, I think it`s very important that Democrats hold hearings, push the media to cover this, and talk about it. Because if they don`t talk about it, no one else will.

HASAN: No, exactly. And I just find, as you mentioned, holding hearings, the Democrats control the House for what, a few more months probably, if that. And where is the investigation into Jared Kushner? Senator Elizabeth Warren told the Podsafe folks the other day in an interview, she would like to see a congressional investigation. They need to get on with it.

You mentioned Benghazi, I mean, multiple hearings, multiple committees. Here we have the 1/6 Committee over a year after 1/6, still no televised hearings. If we ever get to those hearings, do you think they could change things in the public imagination or no?

JONG-FAST: I think they could. I think that narrative is one of the few things that can really fight autocracy. And when you have a narrative, when you have people talking, and even if these -- a lot of these Trump people won`t participate, remember, they`re bad faith actors, but even if you have an empty chair, and you have the narrative, and you read the tax, you know, there is space for that.

But Democrats and also the two Republicans on the 1/6 Committee need to make sure that that`s hard and they tend to have those hearings in prime time so that people can see them with their own eyes and hear the text and hear them read. And I think there`s really a chance there. I mean, look, Democrats have to try because they are like the last thing stopping us from becoming a Trump autocracy.

HAYES: Yes, well said. Depressing but important and well said. Molly Jong- Fast, as ever, thank you for your time and your analysis. I appreciate it.

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


HASAN: It`s so good to have you back on TV.

MADDOW: Thank you, Mehdi. It`s nice to see you. Thank you, my friend. It`s -- it is both good to be back and a little intimidating coming on after you when you just covered 40 stories in 14 minutes.

HASAN: We tried. We tried to keep people on their toes.

MADDOW: Well done, my friend. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.