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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/20/22

Guests: Jason Blazakis, Luke Broadwater, Ron Fein, Symone Sanders, Corbin Trent

Summary

The Biden Administration is preparing to announce a new military aid package for Ukraine. The January 6 Committee is considering revising the Insurrection Act. A federal court in Georgia ruled that the bid to disqualify the re-election of Marjorie Taylor Greene can proceed. Yesterday, State Senator McMorrow took to the floor of the Michigan Senate to defend herself and debunk the right-wing attacks that were being thrown at her by her Republican colleague Lana Tice. Symone Sanders and Corbin Trent joined Mohyeldin to discuss how Democrats can energize voters ahead of the 2022 Midterm Election.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC ANCHOR (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that the West is doing quite enough.

MOHYELDIN: As Russia begins a new assault on Eastern Ukraine, new sanctions and more weapons from the United States. But is America considering every option to help end the suffering?

LEON PANETTA FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The most important mission right now is to do whatever is necessary to provide the weapons to the Ukrainians so that they can stop the Russian advance in Donbas.

MOHYELDIN: Then, the lawsuit to kick Marjorie Taylor Greene off the ballot will go forward.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): They`re actually putting me on the witness stand on Friday. I cannot believe that I`m being forced to do this.

MOHYELDIN: Tonight, the lawyer who will cross-examine the congresswoman joins me live.

And did a Michigan lawmaker just give Democrats have blueprint for bidding back right-wing culture war attacks.

MALLORY MCMORROW, MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR: Hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.

MOHYELDIN: ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN (on camera): Good evening, everyone from New York. I`m Ayman Mohyeldin in for Chris Hayes this evening. It has been nearly two months since Russia launched its unprovoked war on Ukraine. Russian troops are now bearing down on the eastern part of the country, an area that is known as the Donbas and it`s fueling their new assault with artillery and missile strikes all along the 300-mile eastern front.

Now, in the utterly devastated city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian government estimates the death toll now stands at more than 20,000. Let that sink in for a moment. The commander of the last remaining Ukrainian troops in that city holed up in a steel plant with hundreds of wounded troops and civilians is literally begging the world for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): This is our appeal to the world. This could be the last appeal to our lives. We are probably facing our last days, if not hours. The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to 1. We appeal and plead to all world leaders to help us. we ask them to use the procedure of extraction and take us to the territory of a third-party state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: Today, Ukraine`s deputy prime minister said that a planned humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians out of Mariupol did not work as planned, blaming the Russian government for its disorganization and negligence. And according to the United Nations, more than five million refugees have now fled the violence in Ukraine.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is asking the United States to do more to punish Russia. And during a recent phone call with President Joe Biden, Zelenskyy at one point reportedly requested that the United States designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. And that`s a classification that is currently reserved for just four countries, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Syria.

Now, the Washington Post is reporting that Biden did not commit to any specific actions on that call, but he did tell Zelenskyy he is willing to explore a range of proposals to exert greater pressure on Moscow.

And today, Russian President Vladimir Putin ratcheted up tensions even further, with a nuclear-capable missile test saying that the new weapon, "will force all who are trying to threaten our country in the heat of a frenzied aggressive rhetoric to think twice."

Now, amidst all of the threats and the devastation on the ground that is taking place in Ukraine and Ukrainians and Russians losing their lives, there is a real fundamental question here that I think is actually not being discussed enough, about how we should be responding to all of this and whether our involvement, the United States involvement and the West, is actually helping the Ukrainians or not.

Now military continues to pour in into Ukraine from all over the world. Although it has sparked a fierce debate in some countries, take for example, Germany. Germany has pledged more than $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, but its government is divided over whether to send heavy weapons including artillery and tanks.

Here in the U.S., the Biden administration is actually planning to send another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. That to be clear is in addition to the $800 million package that was announced just last week. And that would bring the total amount of U.S. military aid to Ukraine since the start of the war well above $3 billion.

In just two months, we have pledged about the same amount of military aid to Ukraine as we did to Israel. Of course, Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. And that would be in the entire year of 2020. And there has been practically no debate over sending it in Congress.

Now, of course, the Ukrainian people are being terrorized, and of course, they need help. And they have every right to defend themselves by any means necessary. But as the dead continue to pile up in Ukraine, are we just beating the drums of war instead of trying to make this awful conflict end?

[20:05:17]

Now, should we be doing more to try to bring about a peaceful resolution? President Zelenskyy has indicated multiple times that he`s willing to come to the negotiating table. Over the weekend, he talked about the balance between continuing to fight and protecting his people`s lives. And he said that Ukraine and Russia have to talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): They can send millions, but we could still lose our state. That`s why one has to strike a balance. Whether you want to or not, you are not the only hero. The people are the heroes and we must protect their lives maximally. We cannot give up our territory. but we must find at least some dialogue with Russia if they are capable and if we are still ready.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: At the end of last month, there was optimism when Ukrainian and Russian negotiations actually met in Istanbul. Ukraine offered a detailed peace proposal, and Russia said that it would drastically reduce military activity in the capital region. Unfortunately, there has not been any real progress since then.

But here`s the thing, we continue to send more and more weapons, and our own national security apparatus is regularly speaking out in a way that pretty much sounds like it is encouraging war. Just listen to what former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told my colleague Andrea Mitchell earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PANETTA: I think the most important mission right now is to do whatever is necessary to provide the weapons to the Ukrainians so that they can stop the Russian advance in Donbas. If they can successfully stop that advance, that will be another defeat for the Russians and a real signal to Putin that it`s time to leave. I think that`s the primary mission right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: Now, the primary mission for the United States should be doing what is best for the Ukrainian people, not running some sort of proxy war against Vladimir Putin. And the best thing for the Ukrainian people who are being slaughtered and terrorized and forced to flee their homeland is to bring this war to an end.

Jason Blazakis is the former director of the Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office at the State Department. He is now professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. And he joins me now. Jason, it`s great to have you on the show. Thanks so much for making time for us.

JASON BLAZAKIS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE COUNTERTERRORISM FINANCE AND DESIGNATIONS OFFICE, STATE DEPARTMENT: Thanks for having me.

MOHYELDIN: Should the United States be doing more to bring the war to an end? I mean, what could or should we be doing at this point? Because I could be wrong, but the way that I see it is it`s this binary choice whereby if we continue to send more weapons for the Ukrainians to defend themselves, it may not bring about a peaceful end to the war. It may defeat the Russians, but it may come at a great cost for the Ukrainians who are suffering and losing cities and lives by the thousands.

BLAZAKIS: Well, we can expand what we`re doing vis-a-vis sanctions. We haven`t used every sanction tool at this point. And one of the arguments I made back in March in the LA Times was the possibility of adding the Russian Federation to the state sponsor of terrorism, further restricting the flow of finance and assets to the Russian Federation.

From my perspective, the Russian Federation meets the legal criteria for listing. It`s a country that has engaged in assassinations overseas. Obviously, what it`s doing in Ukraine is terrorizing Ukrainians every day. And listing itself was going to have significant impact as well that we can`t ignore. And I think it`s time for the Biden administration to take into account Zelenskyy`s recent request to add Russia Federation to the state sponsor of terrorism.

So, that`s one thing we can do. That doesn`t up the ante in the context of military-related kinetic support.

MOHYELDIN: As I was mentioning there in the setup, the amount of military that we have sent has been basically gone through without so much of debate in Congress. Isn`t the best use of our energy and resources to be sending this much military aid to Ukraine at this moment in this war?

BLAZAKIS: I think we`re at an inflection point in the eastern portion of Ukraine. I think the Donbas situation is becoming increasingly dire. And if the United States doesn`t continue that support, I think the Ukrainian efforts are going to collapse in eastern Ukraine.

So, the Donbas situation I think, is requiring plus up of U.S. military support to the region. And I think we have to be selective about what we provide. I think the Ukrainians need additional S300 and S400 air defense systems. There are Soviet-era tanks that can be helpful in the context of the eastern Ukrainian surge by the Russians as well. That can be provided to the Ukrainians as in addition to javelins and other items that we`ve provided before.

So, there are things we should do. We are at this inflection point. And I think it`s important that the international community and the United States inflicts more pain on the Russian Federation for its illegal invasion in Ukraine.

[20:10:14]

MOHYELDIN: We have heard people warn of World War III. We have people say World War III has officially started or has actually started. Some are saying we are fighting a potentially dangerous proxy war with Russia that is currently underway. Are we fighting a proxy war with Russia? What are the ramifications of us being so deliberate and open about the fact that we are providing these arms even though as we saw last week, Russia sending a cable to Washington warning that some of the weapons were sending risks elevating or escalating tensions?

BLAZAKIS: I think let`s be clear. The Russian Federation is using proxies right now in Ukraine. They`re using paramilitary groups like the Wagner group to carry out illegal operations. They have used the Russian Imperial movement, a white supremacist group to carry out operations in Donbas region as well.

So, the Russians are using proxies right now. We cannot ignore that. And I think in the context of the U.S. response, we have to take that into account. And that`s another reason why I think the state sponsor of terrorism listing is appropriate. It is a non-military tool that we can use right now to do economic harm to the Russian Federation, because it would have real-world consequences.

One example of a consequence is that expand the secondary sanctions the U.S. government can place on countries that may be providing economic support to the Russian Federation. Countries, like China, for instance, may think twice about providing economic support to the Russian Federation.

And I would also add the reputational risk for businesses, private multinational companies to continue to business -- do their business operations in the Russian Federation would also, I think, put a lot of stain in the reputations and could lead to more shuttering of businesses in the Russian Federation.

And I think we have hundreds that have decided to stop business, but there`s still hundreds more that can make the decision to leave. And I think the state sponsor of terrorism tool would help them make that decision.

MOHYELDIN: Let me get your thoughts, Jason, on negotiations here for a moment. As I was saying, I was questioning whether the U.S. is doing enough to encourage negotiations. But the truth of the matter is, Vladimir Putin does not seem willing or capable of negotiating at this point. And perhaps he`s just going through the motions.

Do you think it is even possible that Vladimir Putin would be willing to negotiate at this point? And more importantly, does he need to negotiate with Ukraine or does he need to negotiate with the U.S. about how he gets not just himself and his, you know, cronies or oligarchy, but Russia back into the world financial systems?

BLAZAKIS: Well, he hasn`t been serious to this point. One question is whether or not there are tools in the arsenal, economic tools that could bring Putin to the negotiating table. And again, I would argue that the state sponsor of terrorism tool, you know, may -- some may think that`s going to have a negative impact on diplomatic relations, that it would not allow for the United States and Russia to engage diplomatically.

But in my experience at the State Department, we have had other countries like Iran on the state sponsor of terrorism, there`s North Korea and many others who have actually wanted to come off that list. So, in fact, I would argue that this would be an additional piece of leverage for the Biden administration to use with Putin to essentially incentivize negotiations. And in fact, at this point, we haven`t seen that seriousness.

So, I think we need to explore using this both as a carrot and a stick to bring the Russian Federation to the negotiating table.

MOHYELDIN: All right, Jason Blazakis, Jason, thank you so much for your time. I greatly appreciate your insights and your opinions this evening.

BLAZAKIS: Thank you.

MOHYELDIN: Still become, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene will testify under oath, believe it or not, about the January 6 insurrection. That story and why it may disqualify her from running for reelection straight ahead.

Plus, the latest from the January 6 committee and why they are considering changes to the Insurrection Act. Don`t go anywhere. We`re going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:00]

MOHYELDIN: As the January 6 Committee gets closer to holding public hearings, committee members like Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland are shedding more light on what actually happened the day the Capitol was attacked. This was a coup organized by the president against the Vice President and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Raskin said in an interview with The Guardian and other news outlets.

He added, Trump was prepared to seize the presidency and likely to invoke the Insurrection Act and declare martial law. And that really gets to the heart of the committee`s purpose here, not only just to find out what happened, but how to prevent another January 6 from occurring again.

Now, the New York Times is reporting that the committee may recommend changes to the 1807 Insurrection Act which gives the President the power to actually put federal troops on American streets to literally put down a rebellion.

Luke Broadwater is a congressional reporter with The New York Times who reported that story about the committee`s plans. He joins me now. Luke, it`s great to see you again. Thanks for making time for us. What specific changes, if any, to the Insurrection Act are under discussion and why would those changes potentially prevent another Trump-like scenario that we saw on January 6 from happening again?

LUKE BROADWATER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, as the committee is doing its work uncovering all this evidence, they`ve interviewed more than 850 witnesses. They`re increasingly getting information about the extent to which the Insurrection Act could have played a role in January 6.

[20:20:07]

We know during 2020 president from several times threatening to use the act of put down protests and even to use it on the southern border to deploy the United States active-duty military within the United States. But as the events of January 6 were getting closer, extremist groups were encouraging President Trump to use the act to maintain power, to send out troops to interfere with the election.

And this was such a cause for alarm that even former Defense Secretaries wrote a letter about keeping the military out of the election. General Mark Milley was concerned about it. Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, wrote an open letter calling for the Insurrection Act to be used.

And so, now, what`s under discussion is whether the acts should be altered to prevent a future president from doing what these extremists wanted done. And that is sending the military in to interfere with an election.

There are a couple of changes under discussion, one would be having Congress have to authorize the invocation of the Insurrection Act, or at least consult on it. Another would be to define the terms in specific ways that a president can`t just cite it for any reason. And there`s also discussion of lengthening the period when a president could deploy the military.

Right now, it has no stop date if the Insurrection Act is put into effect. So, there`s a number of changes that could come out of this committee`s work.

MOHYELDIN: So, even if they -- Luke, even if they agree on a recommendation, if the committee does, ultimately any meaningful change would have to pass Congress. Do they think there`s a political path there? Because ultimately, it would require getting approved not just through the House, but ultimately, the Senate. And obviously, the window on that is counting down ahead of the Midterms if one is to assume that Democrats might not at the very least control the House after the Midterm Elections.

BROADWATER: Yes, I would think the politics of this would be difficult if it rolls into next year. This committee`s recommendations would likely be endorsed by Democrats and issued by Republicans. And you know, many people do believe Republicans will take over the House next year.

Now, it`s possible things can change. Politics can change by the month. And one of the goals of this committee is to bring out as much evidence about this attempted takeover of the 2020 election, of the overturning of the 2020 election, and inform the public about how alarming that was. And potentially, that could have some impact when the report comes out and their findings are made public on the election.

But right now, it does look very much like Republicans have all the advantages to taking back the House. And it would seem that any of the committee`s recommendations would be unlikely to be passed in that event.

MOHYELDIN: Let me ask you also not just about the Insurrection Act to prevent another January 6, but what do we have to do -- and I know that you`ve reported on this, potential changes to the Electoral Count Act. What recommendations should we expect there to prevent the situation from November 20th getting to -- excuse me, from early November, November 7th getting to what we saw on January 6, 2020?

BROADWATER: Well, one of the main things that President Trump tried to exploit with the Electoral Count Act was this idea that the Vice President could throw out the votes of states if there were competing states of electors. And so, one of the main things we`re looking at doing is making it very clear in the act of the vice president does not have that authority.

You know, of course, the whole crowd that masses The Ellipse that Marshal in the Capitol was trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election. And if that wasn`t even on the table, if that was an idea in anyone`s head, that crowd might not have been there or at least would not have that talking point to go and threaten Mike Pence.

There are some other changes as well about objections and make it much more difficult for single members of Congress to stand up and object and try to, you know, throw out the will of the people from a single state. So, they do have a number of reforms in mind there. There is also the Senate. A group of senators led by Susan Collins is working on this as well, and they`re probably going to come up with their own recommendations and their own bill.

[20:25:00]

MOHYELDIN: All right, Luke Broadwater, thank you, Luke. It`s always a pleasure to see you. I greatly appreciate your reporting and insights this evening.

BROADWATER: Thank you.

MOHYELDIN: Coming up next, the legal fight happening in Georgia to disqualify Marjorie Taylor Greene from seeking reelection. And part of that case will require the congresswoman to actually testify under oath about January 6. We`re going to talk to the lawyer who will lead that questioning right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: They`re going to allow the press in the courtroom. They`re going to allow the whole thing to be videoed live out to go anywhere in the world. They want to -- and you know what, that`s going to look like --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: I`m just finished with our meetings here at the White House this afternoon. We got -- had a great planning session for January 6 objection. We aren`t going to let this election be stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats. President Trump won by a landslide. Call your house reps, call your senators from your states. We`ve got to make sure they`re on board and we already have a lot of people engaged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: All right, so we know that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was among the Republican lawmakers who are instrumental in trying to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden`s election as President Biden of -- President of the United States on January 6. We all know that. We saw it. You heard it right there.

And last month, a group called Free Speech for People filed a complaint with Georgia Secretary of State arguing that because of Greene`s actions, "she is constitutionally disqualified from congressional office and as such ineligible to run as a candidate under section three of the 14th Amendment.

Now, the group asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to call a hearing to determine whether Representative Greene is eligible for office, and if it is determined she is not eligible, withhold her name from the ballot or even strike her name from the ballot if the ballots have been printed.

In response, Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a lawsuit trying to block the complaint from being considered. But on Monday, a federal judge actually ruled that the group can proceed and that a State Administrative Court, or judge rather, is scheduled to hear the case on Friday.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is clearly rattled by the judge`s ruling. And you can hear this in her appearance on OAN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: My case right now is in the administrative law court. And they`re actually putting me on the witness stand on Friday. I am the first Republican member of Congress that is going to be forced to take the witness stand under oath and defend myself against a lie in something that I never did.

And so this is a precedent. This is a very dangerous precedent. I cannot believe that I`m being forced to do this. I can`t believe this judge has not thrown this case out and seen it for what it is. It`s nothing but a big funded scam for the Democrats trying to control our elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: And as she just said right there on Friday, Marjorie Taylor Greene is expected to go under oath to answer questions live in court. Ron Fein is the legal director of Free Speech for People and co-lead counsel on this complaint, meaning that he`s actually going to be the one in that courtroom questioning Congresswoman Greene at the hearing on Friday. And he joins me now.

It`s great to have you with us, Ron. I greatly appreciate your time. What do you plan to ask Congresswoman Greene? What is the information that you want to get out of her?

RON FEIN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE: Well, thanks for having me on. As you know, I can`t give a sneak preview of the questions that we`re going to ask a hostile witness.

MOHYELDIN: Fair enough.

FEIN: But even before we asked -- even before we ask a single question, we know four things already. One is that she called for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden to be executed for treason. She told her followers that they couldn`t allow a peaceful transfer of power. She worked with the planners of some -- of the events of January 6. And then the day before the attack, she signaled to her followers a code word that meant to storm federal buildings and supposedly overthrow tyrants. So, we`re going to ask her about all that and more.

MOHYELDIN: In her dismissal filing, she argued that the 14th Amendment`s Disqualification Clause only applied to members of the Confederacy. What would you say to that? What would your response be to that claim that she is making?

FEIN: Well, there was a debate about that in 1866 when they were deciding how to write the 14th amendment. And some people did say that. They lost that debate. And the 14th Amendment was written in a way that applies for all time for all insurrections. And both Congress and the Supreme Court have repeatedly emphasized that the disqualification clause is a live and viable part of our Constitution.

MOHYELDIN: You`re probably aware, sir, that a judge in a similar case, I guess, in North Carolina that was actually filed against Congressman Madison Cawthorn was blocked. Basically, you know, they blocked a challenge to his eligibility based on the same argument that Greene is trying to use.

Are you at all concerned this effort could be derailed by a higher court? Do you see similarities or differences between what happened in the Madison Cawthorn legal challenge and what you`re trying to do with Marjorie Taylor Greene?

FEIN: Madison Cawthorn somehow got a federal judge in North Carolina to say that in 1872 congressional amnesty for ex-Confederates applies to Madison Cawthorn and any future insurrectionists. That ruling is so bizarre that not one outside expert has stood up to defend it and the Court of Appeals has agreed to fast track our appeal.

And furthermore, when Greene tried to use that exact same argument in federal court in Georgia, the judge said that both she and the North Carolina judge were wrong. So, Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to have to answer questions on Friday.

[20:35:34]

MOHYELDIN: And there have been a pair of law professors, I understand, Ron, that published an op-ed in New York Times arguing that Section 3 is not self-executing, Congress must establish or at least authorize the process that affords accused insurrectionists an opportunity to contest the allegations brought against them. What do you make of that theory, that legal theory?

FEIN: They quoted an old case, and I wish they`d supplied more context which is that case came from a quirky period during Reconstruction when Virginia was under federal military occupation, and it had no state government whatsoever. So, much like today, sometimes the District of Columbia can`t do something and it requires Congress to take action.

In those days, in Virginia, if anyone was going to pass a law, it had to be Congress, because there literally was no state government. That is a weird period of time. It`s over. And in the years after the Civil War, other southern states like North Carolina and Louisiana, their courts applied Section 3 to ex-confederates, and there`s no reason that Georgia can`t do that today.

MOHYELDIN: If the hearing does not agree with you, is that it or do you have any other recourses?

FEIN: Well, if the judge fairly and impartially applies the facts in the law, then he`ll agree with us that Marjorie Taylor Greene is disqualified from public office because of her aiding and facilitating the January 6 insurrection. But if he doesn`t, then we`re prepared to appeal and we`ll take it all the way.

MOHYELDIN: And if she does end up -- if it does end up going your way, do you think this sets a precedent for other members of Congress that you might have your sights on who may have played similar roles, if not, more egregious ones?

FEIN: Absolutely. If the judge agrees with us that Marjorie Taylor Greene is disqualified, then that sets a precedent not only for other members of Congress, but also if he chooses to run for office again in 2024 for Donald Trump.

MOHYELDIN: All right, Ron Fein. Ron, thank you so much. We look forward to talking to you again after Friday. Thanks for your time.

FEIN: Thank you.

MOHYELDIN: Coming up, one state senator`s masterful takedown of right-wing culture war nonsense and why Democrats should actually be taking notes on this. Stick around. You don`t want to miss it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMORROW: I want every child in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white, and Christian. We cannot let hateful people tell you otherwise to scapegoat and deflect from the fact that they are not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact people`s lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:40:00]

MOHYELDIN: Mallory McMorrow is a 35-year-old Democratic legislator in the state of Michigan. She joined the state Senate back in 2019. She`s one of the very latest Democrats to be wrongly attacked by a Republican colleague for being "sympathetic to child abuse."

Now, that colleague, a Republican state senator named Lana Tice has recently gone after McMorrow in a fundraising email where she baselessly accused McMorrow of trying to "groom and sexualize kindergarteners."

So, yesterday, State Senator McMorrow took to the floor of the Michigan Senate to defend herself and debunk the baseless right-wing attacks that were being thrown at her. Senator McMorrow`s five minutes speech was I have to say incredibly moving. And I want to play you some of it at length. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMURROW: I didn`t expect to wake up yesterday to the news that the senator from the 22nd district had overnight accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself. So, I sat on it for a while wondering why me. And then I realized, because I am the biggest threat to your hollow hateful scheme. Because you can`t claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of "parental rights" if another parent is standing up to say no.

So, then what? Then you dehumanize and marginalize me? You say that I`m one of them. You say she`s a groomer, she supports pedophilia. She wants children to believe that they were responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they`re White.

So who am I? I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism somehow means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense.

No child alive today is responsible for slavery. No one in this room is responsible for slavery. But each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history. Each and every single one of us decides what happens next and how we respond to history and the world around us.

[20:45:14]

We are not responsible for the past. We also cannot change the past. We can`t pretend that it didn`t happen, or deny people their very right to exist. People who are different are not the reason that our roads are in bad shape after decades of disinvestment, or that health care costs are too high, or that teachers are leaving the profession.

I want every child in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white, and Christian. Call me whatever you want. I hope you brought in a few dollars. I hope it made you sleep good last night. I know who I am. I know what faith and service means and what it calls for in this moment. We will not let hate win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: That response to the speech has been overwhelming. There`s no doubt about it. And today, a veteran Democratic strategist told the Washington Post that McMurrow`speech was actually about as an effective rebuke of Republican culture war attacks as any that he has seen. And he said in part, "I chose this clip as an instructional video."

Now, the question is this. Is it something that Democrats can duplicate and would it make a difference in time for the Midterms? We`re going to have that debate next. Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:50:00]

MOHYELDIN: With less than seven months left until the Midterm Elections, President Joe Biden`s poll numbers are underwater. The latest polls from Reuters-Ipsos shows that Biden`s approval rating has fallen to 41 percent. A breakdown of that poll shows the President`s scoring low on major domestic issues like his handling of the economy, which stands at 36 percent approval, and immigration 35 percent approval. Right now, Biden faces disappointment within his progressive base as well as vicious attacks from the right on issues like inflation and gas prices.

And historically, the President`s party does not fare well during Midterm Elections. We`ve seen that in the last three presidencies. So, a little over than -- or over about half a year left with big kitchen table issues flaring up, a raging culture war being waged by Republicans, what if anything can Democrats do to avoid a Midterm defeat.

Here to answer that question and more Symone Sanders, former chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, former senior adviser to the Biden campaign, and host of the new MSNBC show Symone which debuts next month. And Corbin Trent, former communications director for representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now with the progressive think tank New Consensus.

Welcome to you both. I`m really curious to get your thoughts on this amount. Symone, I`ll start with you. Does the administration understand the real danger here for the party come November? And is there a strategy? Should they have a strategy between now and the Midterms to turn it around?

SYMONE SANDERS, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESPERSON FOR VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: Yes, yes, and yes, Ayman. I do think the administration understands. The question is, can they implement what they know needs to be done? You know, look, at any given day at the White House, the folks who worked in that building are not only juggling the things that we are here talking about on television, they`re issues that don`t make it to primetime cable news, but things that need the White House`s attention. They need the President`s attention.

Obviously, the war in Ukraine, something that is in the headlines, is taking up a lot of the White House`s time, talent and energy, so much so that they don`t get the opportunity to talk about some of what is happening and is being done. I think about immigration, I think about the President`s trip to New Hampshire yesterday. We heard a lot about that he went to New Hampshire, not a lot about what he talked about.

He`s going to Seattle to not just do a fundraiser, but to also talk to people, tout the Infrastructure Plan and Bill and what it has done. So, I think those -- that`s the kind of playbook. The question is how do you break through, not do they know that it needs to be done, because they know it needs to be done.

MOHYELDIN: Yes. And they`ve actually -- they`ve accomplished a lot, they have done a lot. And so the question is more about whether or not is just messaging that it`s not able to break through. And a lot of the narrative is oftentimes defined by Republicans.

Corbin, I`m curious to get your thoughts about the progressives in this. What is the mood right now, among progressive Democrats? Do they feel like they`ve been taken for granted when they look at some of the issues that they wanted delivered by the Biden presidency that have not yet come through?

CORBIN TRENT, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO- CORTEZ: Yes, I don`t think it`s so much that they feel taken for granted as they feel like they`ve been trying to offer some solutions to the problems that we`re seeing in the polls, problems we`re seeing in America, and that those solutions just keep getting pushed off the table before they`re really considered highly.

And I think when you when you see a party that doesn`t have a coherent strategy to make a vision for America that resonates with American people, I think that you should be looking at all your options and using all the resources you have. You got one of the most popular politicians in America, Bernie Sanders, and he does have the time, I think, to go out there and, you know, sort of push a little bit of adrenaline into the Democratic Party base and get people fired up about turning out in the Midterms.

And so, I understand that the President has got a lot going on and Democratic folks that are in the White House have a lot going on. But there`s other people in the party that could be out there really fighting against the narrative that the Republicans are spinning, and I don`t see that working.

And I mean, you mentioned that we`ve done a lot already as a party. And I that`s --

[20:55:07]

MOHYELDIN: Symone, let me pick up on what Corbin was saying there. I think we may have lost him where he is -- yes, Corbin, I`m sorry. You froze up for a minute, so we lost a little bit of your connection there.

TRENT: Infrastructure right. That`s so (INAUDIBLE).

MOHYELDIN: But I wanted to pose what you are raising to Symone and share with you, Symone, what Elizabeth Warren wrote in the New York Times. She wrote that Democrats win elections. When we show that we understand the painful economic realities facing American families and convince voters that we will deliver meaningful change.

To put it bluntly, if we fail to use the months remaining before the elections to deliver on more of our agenda, Democrats are headed toward big losses in the Midterms. Your assessment of what she said, and how can Democrats deliver more on that agenda.

SANDERS: So, I don`t want to throw cold water on anybody out there in America. I want people to do everything they can, regardless of party to go out and get people excited about the Midterm Election. But I think that, frankly, Democrats could still do a lot and still lose the House and hold the Senate. I think that`s the political reality.

The question is that they could -- maybe they could hold the House. I don`t know. That`s not my thought, Ayman. But I do think that it is very likely that the House is lost, the question is by how much? I 100,000 percent agree with Corbin. I think the reality is what Corbin is describing, it`s called a surrogate operation, folks.

It is when you coordinate people up to go to different places across the country and you have someone or team who is dedicated to calling up folks like Senator Sanders, calling up people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, calling up people like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, calling up maybe former elected folks that are popular in various spaces in places like Senator Claire McCaskill and asking them that you get on the road and go here. Can we send you there?

That I -- from my knowledge that I have I don`t think is happening. And that is something that speaks to what Senator Warren wrote about in that op-ed for the New York Times. And if that happens, it will help get people excited about the Midterm Election and hopefully stave off those losses. I would like to be wrong. Ayman, but I don`t know.

MOHYELDIN: So, Corbin, Simone, name-checked your former boss there, AOC, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was asked about President Biden`s low poll numbers. Let me play for you what she said. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We need to acknowledge that this isn`t just about middle of the road and increasingly narrow band of independent voters. But this is really about the collapse and support among young people, among the Democratic, base feeling like they are not -- that they worked overtime to get this president elected and they aren`t necessarily being seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHYELDIN: Is she right? And if so, what can Democrats do to win back that portion of their base?

TRENT: I think she`s absolutely right. There -- you know, I think there`s a big portion of the Democratic base that feels forgotten. I mean, we`re not just losing, you know, rural white voters like we have been for decades, we`re losing across the board. We`re losing national voters. I`m from Tennessee. You know, Nashville starting to slip away from us.

I think the Democratic Party has got sort of an identity crisis happening. And what`s -- you know, the bad part of that is the right-wing Republican Party is definitely articulating a vision. There`s going to -- you know, if you give them more power, they`re going to have smaller government, less immigration. They`re going to -- you know, they want to ban abortion, restrict women`s rights to choice.

There is a vision, a coherent if you elect this, this will happen, right? And I think that we`ve done a bad job as a party of creating that vision, then we`ve certainly done a bad job of picking low-hanging fruit that improves the lives of people. And you know what, we did. Like, you know, I think we were putting money in people`s pockets all last year and for quite some time, and then we didn`t really go around and tout that as an accomplishment. We didn`t show the people whose lives that change.

We reduced childhood poverty in a dramatic fashion, but didn`t tell that story, and then cut that off. So, I think that there`s no question that there`s a lot of people that feel taken for granted and that they`re, they`re not getting the satisfaction they deserve from putting Democrats in charge.

MOHYELDIN: Symone, we got about 30 seconds left. One of those low-hanging fruits that Corbin is talking about probably the issue of canceling $10,000 worth of student debt. Why hasn`t President Biden not done that yet?

SANDERS: Well, it`s my understanding that, yes, that is one of the campaign promises President Biden made. It`s my understanding that the White House feels as though that Congress can send them a bill. And if Congress sends a bill, the President would sign the bill. And that`s something that the White House believes would be more long-lasting.

But I also know that they hear the people who have been protesting in the streets. They are getting the calls from members of Congress and advocates. And I think that they`re going to be poised to do something. What that something is, well, I`ll have to wait and see.

MOHYELDIN: Indeed we will. Symone Sanders, Corbin Trent, thank you so much. I greatly appreciate your insights tonight.

That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. You can find me Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Sundays at 9:00 Eastern right here on MSNBC. And of course, you can stream new original episodes of the Ayman Show Fridays on Peacock.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.