Donald Trump has backed Nebraska Gubernatorial Candidate Charles Herbster despite having multiple sexual assault allegations. The primary election is underway in West Virginia and Nebraska. OAN who is peddling election fraud conspiracy theories finally admits no voter fraud in Georgia and settles with Ruby Freeman and her daughter. Protests continued in Washington D.C. today outside the Supreme Court amid the widespread fallout from the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Keith Richburg former Washington Post Correspondent and foreign editor based in Southeast Asia has a theory as to why. He writes, in tough economic times, nostalgia and amnesia might be more powerful motivators than concern about democratic institutions and guardrails. Americans worried about a return of Donald Trump had better take note.
And that is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.
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ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC ANCHOR (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right here in Nebraska, you have the chance to elect a die-hard MAGA champion as your governor of Charles W. Herbster.
MENENDEZ: Election Night in America and an accused groper with the MAGA nod. Tonight, a new test of the Trump brand and what it all means for November. Then --
TRUMP: I`ll take on anybody you want with regard to Ruby Freeman.
MENENDEZ: An update on the election worker targeted in 2020. Plus, the fight for Roe. Senator Stabenow on what the Senate is trying to do now.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): Women have a right to make our own health care decisions.
MENENDEZ: And is American democracy able to hold with Donald Trump returning to Twitter?
ELON MUSK, CEO, SPACEX AND TESLA: It was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was his mistake.
MENENDEZ: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Alicia Menendez in for Chris Hayes. And it is Election Night in America. Tonight, there are major primary contests in Nebraska and West Virginia. It is the next big test for Trump endorsed candidates as the ex-president seeks to tighten his grip on the Republican Party.
We all saw what happened last week in Ohio and Trump`s candidate J.D. Vance surge to an unexpected victory after Trump`s endorsement. And when Trump`s former aide Max Miller win a contested primary to replace Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was of course one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach trump the second time. And Miller won despite being accused of slapping his ex-girlfriend, former Trump White House official Stephanie Grisham. He denies those allegations.
So, in many ways, the Republican Party is still the party of Trump. And boy has he backed quite a candidate for Nebraska`s governor. His name is Charles Herbster. He`s a conservative businessman who`s donated more than $1 million to Trump`s campaigns. He also attended Trump`s Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse on January 6. You know, the one where he incited the insurrection.
And there are the sexual assault allegations from eight women that Herbster grope them, including when he served as a beauty pageant judge. One of the allegations comes from Nebraska Republican State Senator Julie Slama.
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JULIE SLAMA, NEBRASKA REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR: I was groped at a political event by someone who is not a member of this body and not a current or former officeholder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s Republican state senator Julie Slama speaking on the Florida legislature back in February. Thursday, she spoke up more saying in a statement she was not going to deny the truth that Charles Herbster, a candidate for governor, sexually assaulted her.
She told the Nebraska Examiner`s Aaron Sanderford it happened at this event in 2019 at the Douglas County Republican Party event called Elephant Remembers that brings in local politicians, donors, and everyday Republicans. Slama, a first-year state senator at the time, confirmed that Herbster reached up her skirt without consent and touched her. An unnamed witness backed up the story to the Nebraska Examiner.
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MENENDEZ: The Nebraska Examiner reports another woman alleges "Herbster once cornered her privately and kissed her forcibly." The others allege, "Herbster touched them inappropriately when they were saying hello or goodbye to him or when they were posing for a photograph by his side." These allegations date back just five years from 2017 to now. All eight women say they were in their late teens or early 20s at the time of the assault. And the examiner says it has independently corroborated six of the incidents with an outside witness.
Herbster denies the allegations. He has called them libelous, fake news. He has filed a defamation suit against the state senator who says he reached up her skirt. And he is even running an attack ad arguing the accusations are part of a political hit job from his opponent, Jim Pillen.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And even after the supposedly incident, if she kept contacting Herbster, texts, calls, meetings, even invited Herbster to her destination wedding. Jim Pillen`s attack on Herbster built on lies.
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MENENDEZ: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump has come to Herbster`s defense saying, "He is innocent of these despicable charges." Not too long ago, serious allegations like this would have been enough to end a campaign. But those days appear to be over. Allegations of sexual misconduct not enough to end Trump`s career and it`s his party now. And so tonight, a man who was at the Stop the Steal rally, a man accused of sexual assault by multiple women, is on the ballot with Trump`s endorsement to be Nebraska`s next Republican Governor.
Jane Kleeb is the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and she joins me now. Jane, this is a close race as I understand it. The Nebraska Examiner has a new analysis of a forecasting model that gives Herbster a 44 percent chance of winning, Pillen a 42 percent chance of winning, Lindstrom a 14 percent chance. What does it say, Jane, about the Nebraska Republican Party that Herbster might still win this nomination?
JANE KLEEB, CHAIR, NEBRASKA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: The reality is in red states, they are absolutely Trump states. And unless the Democratic Party is going to invest in red states, we are not going to be able to compete statewide. And we`re going to continue to get the worst of the worst of the Republicans.
It is absolutely bonkers, that we have somebody who not only has incredible sexual assault cases against him, but he is spreading, you know, lies about critical race theory, about the stolen election, of banning books. And all of the Republicans, even the so-called moderate in the race wants to ban abortions, not even making exceptions for rape and incest.
So, as a party, this should be a major wake-up call that we have to invest in red states, because we have good candidates, we have good messaging. But when you don`t have resources, the Democrats can`t win.
MENENDEZ: I promise Jane to loop back to that point. But before I do, we saw with Donald Trump and the candidate he endorsed in Ohio, Max Miller, allegations of misconduct are not a deal-breaker if the candidate has Trump`s endorsement. Why do you think that is?
KLEEB: I think because Trump has a complete lock on the Republican Party. There was a void, I think for so long of actual Republicans giving clear kind of a platform of the Republican Party in where their vision was going to go. And so, Trump gave them that.
And Trump really spoke to the worst of their values. He spoke to them being essentially the individuals who always want it to be the biggest, the best, and only care about their individuals.
MENENDEZ: The winner of tonight`s Republican primary, of course, has a solid advantage in a red state. I take your point about what national Democrats need to do what the infrastructure, needs to do in order to invest in these red states. I got to ask you, though, you`re leading the state party. What are Nebraska Democrats doing to make sure that a man accused of sexual assault isn`t in the governor`s mansion?
KLEEB: So, when we have 500 Democrats running across the entire state of Nebraska. We are obviously running an aggressive grassroots campaign to make sure that our voters have vote by mail, voter registration, all the things that a party infrastructure does. We`ll be also are not going to let up on the issue of choice.
And I think in red states, we cannot shy away from these issues. We still, of course, will talk about other issues to make the Republicans on the defense, things like property rights. The Republicans in our state continue to support the Keystone XL Pipeline, something that conservatives and Republicans rallied around at the grassroots level to be against because it was imposing on their property rights and a foreign corporation was using eminent domain.
So, we`re going to lift up issues like that to put Republicans on the defense, which is what we as Democrats nationwide have to start doing. We can only be on the offense all of the time. So, that`s something that we`re going to do. We`re going to put the Republicans on the defense, we are going to lift up the issue of choice, and we are going to constantly make sure that voters know that Herbster will bring our state in the wrong direction, and that people can vote for Carol Blood, the Democrat, who has all of the right issues and all the right direction for our state.
MENENDEZ: Jane Kleeb, I know tonight was a busy night for you. So, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.
KLEEB: Of course. Thank you.
MENENDEZ: Symone Sanders grew up in Omaha and worked on the Sanders campaign in 2016, the Biden campaign in 2020, before working from Vice President Kamala Harris. She is the new host of "SYMONE" which airs weekend on MSNBC at 4:00 p.m. with new episodes on Peacock Monday and Tuesday. She joins me tonight along with Tim Miller, a veteran of Jeb Bush`s 2016 campaign, writer at large at the Bulwark, and the author of the upcoming book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell.
Symone, you are from Nebraska. And I think what can get lost in this conversation is this is not always what Nebraska has looked like, right? I mean, even at the time you were going to college, Republicans -- lots of Republicans in the state, they were fairly moderate, or at least that`s how they sold themselves. There wasn`t that much daylight between many of the moderate Republicans and the moderate Democrats.
How did we get here and what is the future look like for these deep red states as long as you have Trump controlling the Republican Party?
SYMONE SANDERS, MSNBC HOST: Well, look, I think the story of Nebraska is the story of many places across the country. I`ve worked at governors raised in Nebraska in 2014. I have traveled across the country from Omaha to Scottsbluff more times than I ever thought would have been possible.
And I will tell you that voters in Nebraska are people who are concerned about -- again, you got a lot of farmland, so these are folks who are concerned -- these are small businesses. They are concerned about agriculture. They are concerned about the economy just like voters in places like Omaha and Lincoln, which are larger cities within the state.
I think what it`s really important to note about this race and particularly about the governor`s race in the Republican primary, every single woman who serves in the unicameral in Nebraska, everybody is a state senator, it`s a unicameral, one house, one chamber. Every woman who serves as a state senator in the unicameral signed on to a letter denouncing the Trump-back candidate for governor Mr. Herbster.
Every single woman, Democrats, Republicans, and independents. I think that speaks volumes. And if Republicans do advance the Trump-backed candidate to the -- to the general election, which is not a foregone conclusion, right? There to other folks in this race is really split. So, I really think that we`ll have to watch the numbers tonight.
If the truck back candidate, though, is advanced I do think for probably the first time in a long time, the Democratic candidate for governor in Nebraska who was a State Senator Carol Blood, currently, she has a fighting chance.
MENENDEZ: Right. Tim, you`ve written extensively about Trump`s control over your party, including in your forthcoming book. It doesn`t look like his strangleholds ending anytime soon.
TIM MILLER, WRITER AT LARGE, THE BULWARK: No, look, there going to be a lot of primaries in a lot of states. We just went through this in Ohio where, you know, you had the Senate race in Ohio we have actual results from, so you can look at it, right? And there were four MAGA candidates, one had the Trump endorsement, and there was one of more of a traditional old school Republican, like the ones that I used to vote for that, you know, actually believes that Joe Biden is a legitimate president, for example.
You know, that guy finished in third place with about a fifth of the vote. The Trump-endorsed candidate JD Vance won. But the three others that lost were also for Trump. You see a similar situation in Nebraska, right, where it`s like Trump heavy versus Trump lights, you know, versus one more traditional candidate.
So, we`ll see how this breaks down in a three-way race. I think governor`s races are a little bit different because governors actually have to do something. They have a job. Voters want their governors to be able to, you know, be competent. And so, there`s a little bit more pragmatism in voting than for the Senate where voters I think, just want people to -- whatever, own the libs on Twitter, is what the Republican voters are looking for. Democratic voters actually want their senators to do stuff.
So, you know, we`ll see what happens in the governor`s race. But regardless what actually happens in Nebraska, here`s the key thing. Here`s a concerning thing, Alicia. Of the 154 candidates Trump has endorsed, 25 have been involved in sexual scandals. 25 -- that 16 percent. My friends at the Republican Accountability Project looked into this. 16 percent, it`s like, look, one -- you know, two is a coincidence, three is a trend, 25 is an epidemic, right?
So, you know, even if Herbster loses tonight, there`s still 23 -- you mentioned Max Miller. There`s one that`s already made it through the primary, there are 23 others. And this is what, unfortunately, Republican base voters are looking for. And there`s only about a 20 percent part of the party that doesn`t want this as evidenced by the Ohio race. And if Herbster gets through, I think to Symone`s point, that 20 percent is who Democrats need to talk to if they want -- if they want to win races like this where extreme Republicans get through.
MENENDEZ: Here`s the thing. So, it`s not just the allegations, it`s the way that they are responding to these allegations. So, you have Herbster suing one of his accusers. I am struck by this Trumpian effort to use the legal process to go after women who come forward with allegations of sexual assault.
There`s the political piece of this, there`s also just the chilling effect this could have on people who are weighing whether or not it is worth it to come forward.
SANDERS: Oh, it`s disgusting to say the least, Alicia. And furthermore, I do think that it is a trend, OK. You know, Tim is talking about trends. Think about what is happening as it relates to Roe, for example. That is an assault on women, the criminalization of women. Juxtapose that with how some of our Republican friends out there respond to issues of sexual assault, respond to allegations of misconduct. There is a pattern here.
I do think that people have to wake up and have to call things out for what it is. And that is why I really do believe that in Nebraska specifically, this could be a case study for what could happen going forward in other states across the country.
What has happened in this particular race is not only did Mr. Herbster go after his opponents -- and people he`s viewing his opponents i.e. these women, who have -- he`s been credibly accused of sexual assault by, he ran ads. He had Donald Trump come in and using video of the rally with him where former President Trump says I trust him and I believe in him. And if I didn`t believe in him, if I didn`t believe him, I would not be here.
This is just an ugly place to be. And I really think that regardless of who you voted for in the last election, folks have to be willing to call it for what it is and call a spade a spade.
MENENDEZ: Tim, speaking to that ugliness that Symone just referenced there, one op-ed in the New York Times describes Herbster as someone who "sees conspiracies everywhere. Conspiracy is to destroy him, conspiracies to undermine Trump, conspiracies to unravel the very fabric of the nation. This sense of Republican injustice, it`s not new, but at the very least, it seems more paranoid, more amped up under Trump. No?
MILLER: No, definitely, that`s the case. And this is the problem when you`re trying to decide how to deal with this Republican Party right now. Because, you know, if I said there`s about a fifth of the party that wants to maybe move on for Trump, irrational, maybe a quarter if you`re -- if you`re being optimistic, unfortunately, you have about clear half of the party that not just with Trump, but has been fully engrossed in these conspiracies.
And those are the candidates -- and those are the voters that people like Herbster are trying to reach. They don`t believe that Joe Biden is legitimate president. You know, they thought that the pandemic was a planp- demic being pushed by Bill Gates.
And this is the sort of stuff that used to be kind of on the outskirts of the party. There were always conspiratorial candidates that were running in Republican primaries from way back, but they now have -- they now have grown and grown over time. Trump supercharged it. And now they`re a plurality of the -- of the of the electorate.
And so, you know, how can, you know, if you`re a more mainstream candidate win when half of the party wants you to advance conspiracies and that`s why as we see this primary in Nebraska and we go all through primary season, we`re going to continue to see conspiracy-oriented candidates win. And that`s a problem. And that`s, you know, something that we need to break through that bubble, you know, or else we`re just going to keep having groundhog day over and over again with us.
MENENDEZ: Election Night in America. I am happy to spend it with you, Tim Miller and Symone Sanders. Thank you both.
Still to come, one of the main networks peddling election fraud conspiracy theories finally admits no voter fraud in Georgia and settles with the election worker at the center of their attacks. And later, Senator Debbie Stabenow is here ahead of tomorrow`s critical vote on a federal abortion protection law and what Democrats plan to do if and when Republicans block that bill. That is all just ahead.
MENENDEZ: Looking back at the Trump election subversion push of 2020, you can make a pretty good case that the future of American democracy rested on the shoulders of one woman in Georgia named Ruby Freeman. She was a nonpartisan ballot counter in Fulton County, and she was being falsely accused by a number of conservative outlets of committing election fraud with her daughter by stuffing thousands of fake ballots.
The ex-President even named dropped her more than a dozen times in his now- infamous call to get Georgia Secretary of State to find votes to steal the election.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re so far ahead of these numbers. Even the phony ballots of a Ruby Freeman, known scammer -- you know the internet, you know what was trending on the internet? Where`s Ruby? Because they thought you`d be in jail. Where`s Ruby?
It`s crazy. It`s crazy. That was -- the minimum number is 18,000 for Ruby, but they think it`s probably about 56,000. But the minimum number is 18,000 on the Ruby Freeman night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuff. She stuffed the ballot boxes. Let`s face it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: And just days after that Ruby Freeman was approached by a publicist who previously worked with Kanye West, threatening her to admit to the crazy claims that she committed fraud. Freeman refused.
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TREVIAN KUTTI, PUBLICIST: I cannot say what specifically will take place. I just know that it will disrupt your freedom. And the freedom of one or more of your family members. I would like to connect now on the phone Harrison Floyd who would be taking this situation to a detailed level for you to let you know exactly what is at stake.
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MENENDEZ: Can you imagine? Well, almost a year and a half after all of this chaos and all of these lies, Ruby Freeman and her daughter finally reached a settlement with OAN, one of the conservative outlets that maligned her. And while the details were not disclosed in court documents, OAN did air this tiny 32nd-hour bad spot last night.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now provide you with this updated report from Georgia officials. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Georgia officials have concluded that there was no widespread voter fraud by election workers who counted ballots at the State Farm Arena in November 2020. The results of this investigation indicate that Ruby Freeman and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss did not engage in ballot fraud or criminal misconduct while working at State Farm Arena on election night.
A legal matter with this network and the two election workers has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties through a fair and reasonable settlement.
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MENENDEZ: Meanwhile, the democracy that Ruby Freeman fought and defended in the face of threats still under attack. Ian Bassin is the co-founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, the group that represented Ruby and her daughter in their defamation suit. He joins me now.
Ian, what does it mean to have gotten the settlement with OAN for both Mr. Freeman and for our democracy?
IAN BASSIN, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: Well, thanks Alicia for having me. I can`t talk about the settlement beyond saying that the matter has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties through a fair and reasonable settlement. But what I can say is why our clients brought a series of lawsuits to begin with.
There were really three goals, three reasons. First, justice. Our clients had their lives turned upside down as the result of being falsely accused of corrupting the election. They were at one point -- one of them was advised by the FBI to leave her home for her own physical safety. Under our system of laws, when someone has been injured like that, they are entitled to be made whole at a court of law. And that`s, that`s one reason our clients brought these cases.
The second is about truth and correcting the record because the lies weren`t just injurious to our clients lives, it were injurious to our democracy and to truth. And our clients wanted to make sure that the record was corrected not only for their own reputations, but for the sake of our democracy and for the sake of truth.
And then third, deterrence, because if these sorts of attacks are able to be conducted with impunity, they are going to continue and they are going to get worse. But if in fact, the law holds people accountable for intentionally spreading injurious, defamatory lies, that sends a message to others in the future that they need to comply with the rules of our First Amendment, of our media space and what good journalism is about, which is trying to produce actual truth.
MENENDEZ: It`s just so wild that she was being accused of corruption by the people who were actually corrupt, and that what happened to her does not exist in isolation of trial in Dominion voting systems lawsuit against Fox News set for April of next year. How do you think Miss Freeman`s settlement with OAN plays into that trial?
BASSIN: Well, I think one thing that`s clear already is that defamation litigation is working as a method to correct injurious and intentional lies. So, for example, one day after the voting machine company Smartmatic sued Lou Dobbs and Fox News, Fox severed ties with Lou Dobbs. And I would speculate that Fox calculated that Dobbs was costing them potentially more money and liability on the air than it would cost them to buy out his contract.
DirecTV has dropped One American News from its channel lineup. And just this week, it was reported that Newsmax apparently canceled a segment about a new conspiracy fell about the election. And they are too, I would speculate, that the fact that Newsmax settled with an employee of another voting machine company of defamation case probably had something to do with that.
Aaron Blake has an excellent piece in The Washington Post today counting all of the situations in which defamation litigation is actually really helping address the problem of this sort of pervasive intentional lying in our information space. I think even before that case goes to trial in April, we`re already seeing the positive impact of simply applying the law that exists.
MENENDEZ: I mean, here`s the thing, The Big Lie is one piece of this, and we`re watching it play out in different ways in different states. So, in Michigan, Republicans replaced election officials who certified Joe Biden`s win in the Electoral College. Is there any way to protect future elections from partisan interference like this?
BASSIN: Well, I mean, first, we got to be -- we got to understand the plot that was afoot in 2020 because there is an attempt now to actually make that plot succeed in the future. And it involves, essentially five pieces. First, make it harder for people to vote. I mean, unfortunately, this country has a long history of voter suppression, racist voter suppression, and that`s -- that was part one of the plot in 2020.
The second was for the former president, the disgraced former president, to falsely claim victory the night of the election and allege that all of the late counted ballots were somehow fraudulent. The third was to file a series of spurious litigations that were designed to amplify those claims of fraud and delay certification. That was key. So, that`s step four. The former disgrace precedent could induce state legislatures like the one in Michigan to step in and substitute their own slate of electors for the one selected by the people of that state.
And then, of course, finally, step five, get Congress on January 6 to accept that ultimate slate of electors. And what we are seeing is because that plot was thwarted at every turn by a powerful coalition of Americans who stood up for democracy in 2020, the disgraced former president and his allies are now trying to change different aspects of where it failed last time to make it succeed next time like changing officials in Michigan.
The thing that is standing in the way of that right now, changing laws in Michigan, etcetera, is Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who`s up for reelection in November, is standing in the way of hyper-partisan changes to election rules that would potentially corrupt the election. So, keeping Gretchen Whitmer in office is really important.
And then second, there were key Republicans in office in Michigan who stood up against pressure in 2020. And that`s why Donald Trump is intervening in some of those state legislative races now to get those people out. We need those Republicans who believe in democracy to stay there to hold strong and for the people of Michigan to make sure that Trump isn`t able to stack the deck with people who are loyal to him.
MENENDEZ: Ian Bassin, thank you so much for bringing us the story. Still to come, as protests continue over the possible overturning of Roe, a look at the already perilous state of maternal health in America. That is next.
MENENDEZ: Protests continued in Washington D.C. today outside the Supreme Court amid the widespread fallout from leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe versus Wade. And as a powerful minority are trying to make it so that Americans would be forced to give birth, we are seeing more examples of how difficult and even dangerous it is to have a child in this country.
Just feeding a baby is a major challenge for so many right now. There is a dire shortage of baby formula nationwide. 40 percent of the most popular brands out of stock as of the end of last month. Supply chain issues and a recall by one of the largest manufacturers led to the empty shelves.
And giving birth has become significantly more deadly in recent years. The maternal death rate in the United States jumped 20 percent in 2020. And it is nearly three times higher than any other industrialized nation.
Today, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen mince no words arguing that overturning abortion rights would also harm the nation`s economy.
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JANET YELLEN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades.
Roe v Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation. It enabled many women to finish school that increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers.
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MENENDEZ: And many people believe that the anti-abortion forces will not stop at overturning Roe. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut told The Washington Post, he thinks that when Republicans are back in power, they will end the filibuster to get what they want. When the opportunity presents itself, there`s no doubt in my mind that they`ll change the rules to pass a bill criminalizing abortion federally.
Tomorrow, Democrats will get their chance to take action to protect the rights enshrined in Roe before they are gone. But will they even get 50 votes? More on that next.
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SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): I don`t think we should be banning abortion and the only legislation now that is in front of us is this bill which would prevent a ban like that from going forward. I was surprised last week in light of the opinion that Republicans have already prepared to introduce legislation and actively across the country.
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MENENDEZ: Today, Senator Bob Casey came out in support of Democrats bill to make Roe versus Wade national law. It is a notable shift for the Pennsylvania Democrat who is relatively conservative on abortion rights and who said he was undecided on this bill as recently as last night.
Right now, the only Senate Democrat who still has not announced where he stands, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He will have to decide by tomorrow when the Senate votes to advance debate on the bill. Even if mentioned supports it, the bill is expected to fail in the face of Republican opposition.
Senator Debbie Stabenow is a Democrat from Michigan, a state with an old law on the books which would make abortion a felony if Roe versus Wade is overturned. And she joins us now. Senator, thank you for being with us. Talk me through the goal of tomorrow`s vote.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): Well, at least it`s wonderful to be with you. And tomorrow in the United States Senate, each one of us is going to have the opportunity and the responsibility to vote yes or no on whether or not we support a woman`s freedom to make our own reproductive decisions. That`s the vote.
For the folks that say our freedom should be taken away, they`re on the side of saying politicians should decide for each of us what should happen in our most intimate health care decisions that there should be government regulation on women for these most personal decision.
So, tomorrow, we`ll know. Tomorrow, there will be the vote. And then we will go forward and continue to shine a light on what is happening across this country all the way until November when we have an opportunity to change it by electing a bigger majority in the Democratic Senate and keeping the U.S. House and electing great people across the country.
MENENDEZ: Senator, understanding that most of the opposition to this is coming from Republicans. What would you say to your still undecided colleague Joe Manchin?
STABENOW: Well, I appreciate Joe will have to decide for himself. He comes from a very -- certainly a very conservative, very different state from mine in Michigan. I think for me, though, I want to keep focus on what has really brought us here. What has brought us here, Republicans for years, Mitch McConnell for years and years and years, working hard to set up this situation, right-wing members of the United States Supreme Court, putting others on the federal benches that are right-wing, supporting those in state legislatures, where Republicans have been chipping away at our freedoms now for years.
I mean, there`s no mistake about it. We are here because of the Republican Party and the fact that they are willing to say that they as politicians should be making our decisions about what we`re going to do in terms of our most intimate reproductive decisions.
And so, I find that incredibly outrageous. And 50 years of severed law should be enough for all of us in the United States, and tomorrow is an accumulation of what the Republicans have been doing for years.
MENENDEZ: Senator, I want to get personal for just a moment, if you`ll allow me. You know, I`m born `83. I was born into a post Roe world. I have two daughters. I am watching all of this unfold with them in mind. You were a young adult when Roe was decided.
MENENDEZ: Tell me what you remember from that time. What did the decision mean to you? And what does it mean to you now to watch this all unfold?
STABENOW: I have lived through -- I mean, I was in college when Roe was passed. And I had friends in situations where they had to decide what to do or whether or not to go to another state. I mean, this also affects women very differently. If you have means you have more choices than if you are a poor woman. Disproportionately, women of color are affected by this because of their circumstances, their lack of other kinds of choices.
But I`ve watched that. I watched what happened before Roe. And what happened when we were told as a country that in America, that we have a right to privacy, that we have the freedom to decide our most intimate health care decisions. I`ve had people in my extended families struggling with situations, wanting a baby, coming to the end of their pregnancy, and then finding horrible things happen and their own -- their life is on the line.
We all know of situations of someone being raped or incest, you know, 12- year-old or 14-year-old. Why in the world should government, should politicians step in front of the family, step in front of the woman with her faith, her doctor, her family, and say that they should make those decisions, Mitch McConnell should make those decisions, other Republicans should make those decisions. Really? I mean, that is really quite extraordinary. And that is the fundamental question that we`re talking about is who decides? Who decides?
MENENDEZ: Senator, we only have about 30 seconds left. But part of the reason I do want to talk to you tonight is because what we`re watching play out in your state in Michigan. You have youƒ_Tre A.G. Dana Nessel saying she`s not going to enforce that 1931 abortion ban that is still on the books. You have Governor Whitmer sued to vacate the ban last month.
It all makes me wonder how much of this -- as you try to riddle this out federally, how much of this is just going to fall to the states?
STABENOW: Well, we know right now that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, there are 26 states that have laws like Michigan that will kick in in terms of banning abortion services, and that 17 of those like Michigan have no exception for rape and incest. And so, this goes right to the States.
Thank goodness we have Governor Whitmer in Michigan and our Attorney General Dana Nessel and they`re challenging under Michigan Supreme Court. Hopefully, the Michigan Supreme Court will in fact rule that this is not constitutional under our Constitution. But we continually then still have a problem which is we have Republican majorities in the State House and State Senate who will run immediately to try to overturn it.
So, it ends up coming back to the fall elections in terms of who`s in the majorities in the Michigan State Legislature, who`s in the governorships, who`s in the majority in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Ultimately, this is about all of us voting and in speaking up, by the way, all along the way.
And I can`t think of a more important time. Do we want a robot back the clock 50 years -- 50 years for women in this country or are we going to continue to move forward as a country and respect women and respect our own capacity to make our own decisions?
MENENDEZ: Senator Debbie Stabenow, thank you so much for spending some time with us.
STABENOW: Thank you.
MENENDEZ: Still to come, is Donald Trump`s Twitter ban are about to come to an end. What the replatforming of the former president would mean for the Midterms. The Republican Party and democracy for this.
MENENDEZ: There was a brief moment after the January 6 attack on the Capitol where everyone seemed to understand how potentially dangerous social media platforms could be when they were weaponized to try and end American democracy. Even Republican leaders like Kevin McCarthy understood it.
According to The New York Times, just four days after the insurrection he "told other GOP leaders, he wished the big tech companies which stripped some Republican lawmakers of their social media accounts as Twitter and Facebook and done with Donald Trump, saying, can`t they take their Twitter accounts away too?
But now tech billionaire Elon Musk who is in the process of purchasing Twitter wants to give Donald Trump, the person who bears probably the most responsibility for the Capitol riot, his old platform back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, CEO, SPACEX AND TESLA: I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was -- that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice. He is now going to be on Truth Social. I guess the answer is that I would reverse the ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: What could this mean for American democracy? Quinta Jurecic is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. She wrote an article for The Atlantic in May 2021 about Trump`s deplatforming titled, The Ringmaster Is Gone. And she joins me now.
Quinta, I was reading your piece again and it is as relevant today as it was when you wrote it in 2021. Your response to Musk`s claim there that deplatforming Trump did not ultimately curb his online influence and reach.
QUINTA JURECIC, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think that`s just not true. There`s -- you know, it`s a little hard to put data to such a sort of a fuzzy question. But there have been studies, Zignal Labs, which looks into these kinds of things has done -- you know, looking into the media mentions of Trump after his deplatforming, and you see a really sharp downturn.
You know, if you look at Trump`s social media endeavors, like Truth Social which Elon Musk mentioned, that`s not doing particularly well. It really seems to be floundering. Trump`s blog, which he tried before that, which was sort of Twitter but he was the only one using it, he shut that down after less than a month because it wasn`t getting enough readership.
So, I think it`s pretty clear that, you know, removing him from Twitter definitely led to a decrease in his influence. Now, (AUDIO GAP) to what extent we can trace that to his loss of his Twitter account as opposed to his departure from the presidency. But the two certainly do seem to be linked.
MENENDEZ: Understanding that it`s hard to track influence, can you track disinformation, misinformation that he was putting out or is that equally hard to quantify?
JURECIC: Again, it`s a little tricky. I`ll point to Zignal Labs also. So, they looked at a misinformation around the election, around the 2020 election in the period after Trump left Twitter and saw a really sharp drop off. And I`m referring to a study here that was conducted immediately after he left.
Now, it`s a little hard to trace that to Trump specifically because when Trump was removed from Twitter, there was also a huge content moderation on Twitter of a lot of accounts that were linked to QAnon, for example. So, it`s a little hard to say, you know, what`s Trump, what was all those other accounts. But again, after he leaves, you do see that downturn.
MENENDEZ: Musk offered an alternative solution to a permanent ban today in his remarks. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even after he egged on the crowds who went to the U.S. Capitol, some of them carrying nooses, you still think it was a mistake to remove him?
MUSK: I think the -- if there are tweets that are wrong, they should -- and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible. And a suspension, a temporary suspension is appropriate but not a permanent ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: Tweet deletion, a temporary suspension, is any of that adequate?
JURECIC: I think what we`re seeing here is, you know, Elon Musk said he wanted to purchase Twitter to return it to sort of its free speech roots, but he didn`t like the way it was going about content moderation. And I think what we see here when he says, you know, I`m potentially open to hiding tweets that are in his words wrong and bad, which is a pretty vague standard, you see that, you know, he`s -- he is implicitly embracing the idea that we don`t want all speech on Twitter. We do want some amount of moderation.
And I think what he`s really doing here in terms of saying, well, maybe not a permanent ban but hide some tweets, that`s really just haggling over the price. He`s essentially acknowledged that, you know, Twitter should be engaging in some level of control over its platform, including potentially tweets by the president himself.
MENENDEZ: I`ve got about 30 seconds. If Trump does return to Twitter, the implications of that?
JURECIC: I think his Twitter is a very powerful tool. Not as powerful as it was when he was president, of course, but I wouldn`t be surprised if it played a significant role in the Midterms, you know, blasting out news, attacking opponents. It would certainly up and I think where the Midterm seem to be right now.
MENENDEZ: Quinta Jurecic, thank you so much for being with us.
That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. I`m Alicia Menendez. As always, you can catch me on "AMERICAN VOICES" which airs every Saturday and Sunday nights 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern. "MSNBC PRIME" starts right now with Mehdi Hasan. Hi, Mehdi. addie.
MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: Hello, and thank you, Alicia. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. As Alicia said, this is MSNBC PRIME airing at this hour Tuesday through Friday. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" continues to at this hour on Mondays. I`m glad to have you with us tonight.
And this hour, polls have just closed in the great state of Nebraska in that state`s primary election. Voters today chose nominees for Congress, for Governor, and other statewide offices in Nebraska. And as you know, Nebraska is a pretty red state.