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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 5/13/22

Guests: David Plouffe, Pete Aguilar, Michael Weiss

Summary

Fox News and Donald Trump are in a panic over a surging campaign in Pennsylvania of Kathy Barnette. It`s been 30 hours since the January 6 Committee issued subpoenas to five sitting House Republicans, including Kevin McCarthy, but they still keep dodging the simple question of whether they will comply with subpoenas. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that next week the House will bring up a bill to "grant emergency authority to address supply chain disruptions and recalls of formula." Ayman Mohyeldin gave a tribute to legendary Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was shot in the head and killed while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It is such a cool, cool thing and only Dolly Parton could make reading even cooler than it already is. Because you know I love a library, so I love a book. So, we love you Dolly Parton. You`re awesome. You won the week. Michelle Goldberg, Dean Obeidallah also won the week because you guys are amazing.

And that is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES STARTS right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: I don`t see any scenario where Kathy Barnette can win a general election.

HAYES: The MAGA establishment turns on one of their own.

HANNITY: President Trump weighed in today. Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election.

HAYES: Tonight, why Fox News and Donald Trump are in a panic over a surging campaign in Pennsylvania. Then --

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We`re seeking the truth and we`re not going to be cowards about it.

HAYES: Why Kevin McCarthy still isn`t ruling out testimony in the wake of his January 6 subpoena. Plus, why Republican politicians are actually calling for America to intentionally starve children amid the baby formula shortage. And new reporting on what we really know about those rumors surrounding Vladimir Putin`s health when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We are just a few days away from the next major primary night, this time in Pennsylvania. Both the governor`s mansion and one of the state`s Senate seats are open races without an incumbent on the ticket, which means both parties see real opportunity there.

In the Senate race, Republicans are hoping to hold the seat that is being vacated by retiring Senator Pat Toomey, but they face some obstacles along the way. You see, Donald Trump of course was the anti-establishment candidate in 2016 and 2015, so self-styled as such, but he is now the Republican establishment and recreating the party in his image has caused some headaches.

Trump`s preferred candidate in that open Senate race in Pennsylvania was guy named Sean Parnell, a former Army Ranger and of course frequent Fox News guest. He had to suspend his campaign after he lost a custody battle with his estranged wife, during which she accused him of domestic abuse. She says Parnell choked her and slapped one of their children so hard, it left a handprint. Parnell denies the allegations, but nevertheless dropped out of that Senate race.

So, then the MAGA establishment wing of the party was left scrambling for a new candidate. And it`s settled on TV doctor and dietary supplement salesman Mehmet Oz, Trump`s second endorsed candidate in the race. Republicans using the same strategy Trump used in 2016, hoping a wealthy celebrity with strong name recognition will be able to clear the field.

But things have not been going great for Dr. Oz. I mean to start with, and maybe this is overly basic, but Dr. Oz doesn`t live in Pennsylvania. He doesn`t live close to Pennsylvania. He lives in New Jersey across the Hudson mirror from New York, like as far from Pennsylvania as I do, some 90 miles from the house he rents from his wife`s parents.

And while, of course, being of Turkish descent certainly isn`t disqualifying, the fact that he voted in the 2018 Turkish election has the MAGA faithful scratching their heads a little bit. But his very tenuous connections of Pennsylvania may or may not be a deal-breaker. Instead, Oz appears to suffer from what you might call an authenticity issue.

The multimillionaire TV surgeon has had a difficult time connecting with voters in the Pennsylvania heartland. And so, he made an ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEHMET OZ (R-PA), SENATE CANDIDATE: My father taught me how to handle my first gun. I taught my son Oliver how to do the same. I`ve been shooting hunting my whole life. So, when people say I won`t support guns, they`re dead wrong. Other conservatives know that I`m strong on the Second Amendment, Ted Nugent, Rick Perry, President Trump. But our Second Amendment is not just about hunting, it`s about our constitutional right to protect ourselves from intruders or an overly intrusive government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You notice the cutaway when the clay pigeon gets hit by the bullet. you think he shot it? Maybe someone else did. I don`t know. So, how does a syndicated TV doctor let the MAGA faithful know that he`s not some liberal vaccine mandating doctor? Will you spell it out to the crowd with some Trumpian pandering?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OZ: Are you willing to fight China? Will you fight for our kids in our schools? Are you going to fight back to keep our borders clean. Are you going to fight back to make sure we don`t have Fauci? Who would fire Fauci? I thought that will get you worked up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I thought that would get you worked up, saying the quiet part loud. But the openly cynical approach. It has worked in the past, we have to say, but it may not be working as well as Oz had hoped here. Just listen to the assessment of one man who attended that very rally.

STEVE VELIKY, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I personally don`t care for Dr. Oz that much. I`m not exactly sure why Trump supported him but you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you for sure not going to vote for him though?

VELIKY: Probably not at this point in time unless something is changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:05:02]

HAYES: OK, so Dr. Oz not exactly clearing the field. His other major opponent, businessman David McCormick doesn`t seem to be firing up the base either. Now, either Oz or McCormick are likely favourites to win the seat. But there`s another candidate in the race as well and she was a distant third and has just been shooting up the charts.

Kathy Barnette is a veteran and a radical right political commentator who appears to be gaining traction with Republican primary voters in large part to her authentically extremist views. In an old blog post, just for one example, she was referred to the, "homosexual agenda" as "immoral and perverse." Going on to write, "make no mistake about it. Homosexuality is a targeted group in the Bible, right along with cheats, drunkards, liars, foul mouthed, extortionist, robbers, and any other habitual sin."

But Burnett is perhaps best known for her, frankly, disgusting anti-Muslim bigotry. Just listen to comments she made in a YouTube video uploaded back in 2015 uncovered by journalist Andrew Kaczynski.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY BARNETTE (R-PA), SENATE CANDIDATE: The mindset of a Muslim is very different from the mindset of Americans. And that`s the reason why we cannot fully understand the level -- the depth of the depravity, the depth of the evil, because it`s just not a part of the American fabric for the most part.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Oh, it`s useful to run the test for your place Muslims with Jews and see how that sounds. See if it scans, see if that person would be a candidate for mainstream office. Truly horrible stuff, whichever religion you`re talking about there.

That same year, Barnette also posted a tweet saying, "pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam." Now, NBC News reported Dasha Burns, actually asked Burnette about that tweet. Take a listen to what Barnette had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DASHA BURNS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this tweet says pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam.

BARNETTE: Yes, no, I don`t think that`s me. I would never have said that.

BURNS: OK.

BARNETTE: I would have never said that because I don`t believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Yes, no, it doesn`t ring a bell. Now Barnette`s defense appears to be that someone else posted it, but I got to say, the tweet is still up. As of today, it is available to view on her page, which is public. You can just pull it up on your browser, so you can be the judge there.

But since the first week of April, Barnette has been surging in the polls. Just look at the purple line on your screen. She`s gone from single digits to the top of the pack in just the past six weeks. It`s basically a dead heat. And that has made the MAGA establishment scared of Kathy Barnette. And they are now bringing out the big guns against her.

Conservative hero and former intelligence officer Rick Grinnell himself, a noxious social media troll, has been tweeting about being unfit for office. And Fox News star Sean Hannity came out today with a simple message, "Kathy Barnett cannot win a general election in PA." And that is after Hannity dedicated the first 20 minutes, 20 minutes of his show last night just to attacking Barnette, which even for Fox, which has never shied away from endorsing specific candidates, is laying it on pretty thick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Let me put it very simply here. I don`t see any scenario where Kathy Barnett can win a general election in Pennsylvania.

You see what`s going on in Pennsylvania. Now, Kathy Barnette had, you know, very low polling numbers. Then she surges. Nobody vetted her. Nobody. And by the way, in 24 hours, it wasn`t hard to do. And these are so incendiary, they render her clearly unelectable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So incendiary, clearly unelectable. Now, Hannity`s Fox colleague Laura Ingraham did offer a mild defense of Barnette during her show. But even Donald Trump himself went on the attack yesterday releasing a statement that seemed to come out of nowhere unless you were following this whole backstory, saying, "Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats. She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained and vetted. But if she`s able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party, and I will be behind her all the way. Dr. Oz is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the crazed lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania. A vote for anyone else in the primary is a vote against victory in the fall."

HAYES: Two things. First, as an aside, notice that there`s no nominee in the Democratic Party. They`re just the crazed lunatic because they haven`t actually picked it. But also, do you see what Trump is doing there, right? He`s saying she can`t win, but if he does, he`ll support her hedging his bets so he can turn around and say he wasn`t wrong if she wins the nomination.

More importantly, and you`ve probably caught on to this, there`s more than a little irony at play here. Donald Trump and his allies in the right wing media are being put in the exact same position they put the establishment Republicans back in 2015. Their closing ranks against an outside candidate with extremist noxious bigoted views and calling her unelectable. And there`s something truly astounding about Donald Trump of all people and Sean Hannity saying Barnette should be disqualified for incendiary comments about Muslims, when Trump himself won the primary in 2016 in no small part it appears by calling for a complete ban on Muslims entering the country.

Republicans have a very specific fear here. Reince Priebus, Trump`s chief of staff, the former head of the RNC, articulated it plainly on Hannity last night.

[20:10:11]

REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: But I`m afraid it`s like a Christine O`Donnell waiting to happen again if anyone remembers that. And in 2010 or 2011 --

HANNITY: Sharron Angle.

PRIEBUS: Yes. I mean, that was a crazy year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Priebus is using Christine O`Donnell a uniquely bad candidate who cost Republicans a Senate seat, a very winnable one in Delaware back in 2010, as a shorthand for the party`s tendency to blow winnable races, particularly Senate races, by nominating fringe candidates. And Kathy Barnette would surely have some trouble in the general, though I got to say, it is worth asking in a post-Donald Trump World, are there Christine O`Donnell`s anymore where his party affiliation and the sort of larger political environment alone enough to carry candidate victory no matter how thoroughly noxious their views are.

David Plouffe was the campaign manager on Barack Obama`s 28 presidential campaigns, served as a senior adviser to the President Obama, and he joins me now. And David, I thought of you for this segment today because you have been talking so much about the key role these primaries will play and who the nominee is and whether candidate quality matters.

And so, first of all, just your reaction to the like, all alarm bells going off. That`s everybody rushing to the cameras to denounce this woman desperately in the last three or four days of this campaign.

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: It`s remarkable. It`s highly entertaining, Chris. And what`s interesting, I think there`s a new term now that`s been coined that we didn`t have previously, the MAGA establishment, establishment being the keyword.

And so, you know, you`ve got candidates like Barnett and others basically trying to out-MAGA the MAGA establishment. So, we`ll see what will happen. She obviously was in single digits not too long ago. She`s got the momentum. But I`m not sure that the establishment, you know, even as good a reach as Hannity has into those primary voters in Pennsylvania and Trump kind of rallying around, you know, the cause against her is going to be affected.

Because as you just said, this has really interesting correlation to 2016. And now the -- you know, hats on these folks, Trump who benefited from that dynamic back in 16. So, by the way, it`s a scary thing for the country that there`s going to be people more to the extreme of the MAGA establishment. But I think this is really interesting.

I also think it shows you that, you know, people are getting more and more comfortable separating from Donald Trump. And as we think about 2024 in that presidential race, if he runs, I happen to think he won`t, I know I`m in the minority there, it`s going to be a much different race. He bullied that people in 2016 all over the stage.

And that`s going to be the one requirement for anybody who runs against Trump says, I am not going to be bullied by this guy. And I don`t think he`s going to wear well in that regard. But this is fascinating. And of course, in a tough political environment for Democrats, you have to catch breaks. And the most important break will be in a number of places, House, Senate, and Governor, that they nominate people that are, you know, the mainstream for moderate voters will say the other thing, you`ll run out a little bit in political data in all of these states.

We certainly saw this in Ohio, you`re going to see this in Pennsylvania, and other states. You`re going to know which voters, suburban Republicans, you know, did not vote for that nominee if the most macro person wins. And even if you can get only 10 percent of those people, either not voted on the Senate race, or to vote Democratic, that wins you those races.

HAYES: Right. Yes, I mean, I should say that I`ve -- you know, Lenin had expression the worst the better, right, this sort of accelerationist view about capitalism collapsing in on itself. And there`s a kind of accelerationist view of really ugly primary battles, and some people took that view in 2016 about Trump.

I`ve retired from any accelerationist or Leninist view of the worst, the better, because it just seems plausible to me that like you could have Kathy Burnette as US senator, which I think would be really truly awful. But I do think that them identifying our electoral weaknesses. I mean, I want to play this because it`s important to her bio, and it`s a -- it`s a grueling and gripping part of her bio, which is that she is the -- herself is a product of rape. Her mother, I believe, was raped at the age of 11 and gave birth at 12. Here she talks about that a little bit. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARNETTE: I am the byproduct of a rape. And I have been very firm in the fact that I am unapologetically pro-life. I believe that that is a life.

BURNS: No exceptions?

BARNETTE: Well, no exceptions. And I recognize that, you know, that we often hear the red herring about a woman`s life but an abortion is meant to end, to terminate a pregnancy whereas delivery is something very different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Again, I don`t -- I don`t doubt her sincerity here at all. She comes by this view, honestly, clearly. But it`s a radical view that`s very out of line. I mean, as the court is posed -- poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, like in Pennsylvania itself, abortion being illegal under all circumstances, which is her position is a 16 percent proposition. I mean, I do think the Republican establishment and Hannity identifying her as a -- as a as having some liabilities are not wrong.

[20:15:08]

PLOUFFE: Right, in a general election for sure. But in this Republican primary, that`s 16 percent, may be more like 30 or 35. And that may be enough to win it. The other thing here is, you know, she is, you know, authentic, whatever you think of her views. And both Oz and McCormack, I mean, give me a break. I mean, these guys are trying to pretend, you know, that they are true conservatives, true MAGA. I mean, Oz is out in the field, you know, holding the gun in a strange way.

I mean, this is just -- these guys are not out of central casting, no matter how much money they spend. So, that`s the other lesson here is not everybody is going to be able to replicate this Trump stick. And you know, she`s got an authentic story, whatever you think about it, and it may be enough to get her.

I don`t think she`s going to get, you know, north of 40 in the Republican primary, but she may not need to.

HAYES: That`s a three way race and you just got to win by one vote. There`s no -- there`s no runoff as far as I -- as far as I know in that race.

PLOUFFE: Right.

HAYES: And again, your point about authenticity, the race this reminds me of is the -- was the open-seat race for Jeff Sessions Senate seat in which there was an incumbent Luther Strange who`s endorsed by the -- by the establishment, Trump endorses him over Roy Moore, sorry, the name has floated my head. And Roy Moore -- you know, the thing about Roy Moore was like, the base was correct to identify Roy Moore as one of them. Like, they were correct. They were like, we want Roy Moore. That`s what we want. We don`t care if Trump endorsed Luther Strange. Like, he`s not our dude.

And in this case, they`re -- there`s a certain segment of them that are like Kathy Barnette is actually one of us, Dr. Oz is not. And they`re not wrong I think that determination.

PLOUFFE: Oh, there`s no question. Listen, I think you know, Roy Moore, Kathy Barnette, this is where a large chunk of Republican primary voters are, not just the social media stars with a big following. This is where the base is. And I think you`re going to see that replicated again and again.

So -- and I think in a way, the establishment -- and it used to be just the Republican establishment -- now, it is the MAGA establishment, including Donald Trump, looking like they`re selling out in a way, not being true to their principles.

HAYES: Right.

PLOUFFE: So, generally, what I have seen in my life, Democrat and Republican, is when the establishment tries to slap down an insurgent, more often than not, it backfires. Not always, more often than not, it backfires. And it won`t see Tuesday. But you know, the other thing is momentum is king in politics. And she has it right now. Her line is going up into the right, and the other ones are either stagnant or going a little bit down.

HAYES: And that point is so key too because I think that, you know -- I think that`s true in both -- in both parties, right, this sort of coordinated attack sometimes backfires. But also the Republican base has been trained to be suspicious of revelations of, you know, bad character information about one of their heroes. And to basically think it`s a liberal plot.

You saw this down in Alabama with Roy Moore. Like, oh, the Washington Post cooked this up the fact that he was lurking around the courthouse trying to lure underage girls and to sexually assault them. Like that`s invented. You know, like you -- they`ve created their own conditions by which they`re now turning around while the headline is going on rants about like, she said these wildly offensive things about Islam. And it`s like, who do you think that`s persuading, bro?

PLOUFFE: Yes, Chris, there`s no limits anymore. There`s no -- there`s nothing out of bounds, I believe, for Republican candidates in terms of what they say, what they believe. And the other things we saw with Barnette. You also can just lie. I didn`t -- I don`t know what that tweet is. So, there`s two things.

HAYES: Yes.

PLOUFFE: There`s no bottom on beliefs on issues, and then there`s no accountability. So, it is the Wild, Wild West. And I think the wilder you are right now, the more successful you`re going to be in Republican primary politics, particularly when you`ve got a multi-candidate field. So, that`s -- again, there`s a lot of Republicans out there that I would consider to be unelectable in general elections that can`t get 50 percent of the primary vote, but they can get 30. They can get 32. They can get 34. And I think that`s what we may see on Tuesday potentially.

HAYES: All right, David Plouffe, thank you so much. That was informative.

Coming up, the sitting Republican congressman, including the House Minority Leader, running away instead of answering the basic question of whether or not they will comply with the subpoenas from their congressional colleagues on the January 6 Committee. That`s next.

[20:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: I know you say you believe that the committee is illegitimate. Does that mean that you will not comply with the subpoena?

REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): Well, I haven`t even seen the subpoena. So, how can -- I really can`t tell you whether I`m going to comply or not.

HARRIS FAULKNER, HOST, FOX NEWS: Will you comply with that subpoena from the January 6 Commission?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Well, Harris, I haven`t seen that either. They haven`t given me the subpoena, which is, you know, amazing because the press has had information, knowledge of this for, you know, what, 24 hours almost now --

FAULKNER: Yes.

JORDAN: I still have yet to see the subpoena to look at the subpoena. When you look at the subpoena, when we get it, I will go from there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: It`s been, you know, 30 hours since the January 6 Committee issued subpoenas to five sitting House Republicans, including the Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy. And as you can see, they keep dodging the simple question of whether they will comply with subpoenas and appear before the committee investigating the insurrection.

Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about the subpoenas and whether she was worried about reciprocation if Republicans were to take over the chamber in November. She responded, "we are seeing the truth -- we are seeking the truth and we are not going to be cowards about it.

Congressman Pete Aguilar is a democratic California. He serves on the January 6 Committee, and he joins me now, Congressman, good to have you. I suspect that at some point, those subpoenas will make their way into possession of the five individuals subpoenaed, and they won`t be able to say that they haven`t gotten it yet and have to make a decision. What do you -- how do you interpret the delay in them answering the question?

[20:25:19]

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Well, the bottom line is that they have received these. They in their offices have taken receipt of these. Whether they physically seen them or not, is between them and their offices. But they`ve acknowledged that receipt.

But this is beside the point, because this is exactly what Republicans do when it comes to tough questions, just like Jim Jordan answered that interview, you know, months ago about when he talked to President Trump that day, whether he talked to President Trump on the sixth? And he would - - gosh, I don`t know, I don`t remember, maybe, I talk to him a little here, a little there.

You know, so the bottom line is this is about accountability. In order for us to seek the truth and to ensure that we`re doing everything we can and that we can look the American public in the eye and to tell them that we turned over every rock to seek the truth, we needed to take this step. And unfortunately, you know, the Republican leadership and the Republican members had not complied to the letters that we sent, so we had to take this step.

HAYES: This is the characterization of this step in Politico, a story by Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney, both of whom we`ve had on the program frequently talk about this. The January 6, select panel subpoenas a five House Republicans are a huge risk by any measure. It could fail to yield new evidence, while piling additional stress on an institution already buckling under partisan strain. Do you agree with that characterization?

AGUILAR: Well, I agree that the institution should be protected. And in order to protect the institution, we should have rules. And our committees have subpoena power. We should not go around and defy those subpoenas. Those are lawful subpoenas. And so, the members should come forward.

And keep in mind, again, they had letters, they had an opportunity to come address us before we took this step. They chose not to. But we have rules, and we have laws in our country. And individuals, you and I, if we received a subpoena, would have to comply. And so it`s unfortunate that they have felt otherwise. And it`s our hope that expectation that they provide evidence and show up.

HAYES: I mean, we should note here -- and again, I don`t think there`s a comprehensive list that`s been, you know, publicly kept of who hasn`t had - - how many people have been either invited voluntarily or subpoena to come give testimony, how many have complied, how many have not but, you know, it`s running in the 99 percent range as I understand.

I mean, even individuals like Ali Alexander who himself was an organizer of the Stop and Steal rally himself, who said that he coordinated with Congressman Andy Biggs, who`s now hemming and hawing about. Like. they`ve come and given testimony of your committee. That has been the overwhelming norm for everyone across the political and ideological spectrum.

AGUILAR: 1000 -- nearly 1000 individuals through interviews and depositions have come forward and given us testimony. That`s exactly right. Just a few Trump loyalists are the ones who have not complied. Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, you know, Jeffrey Clark, you know, those types of individuals. So, you know, the overwhelming number of people who know what happened, know things about what happened on January 6, and have given us insight have come forward, including a number of White House aides.

And so, I think it speaks volumes that these members have so far not come before us and not shared what they know about a violent attack on the Capitol, where five Capitol Police officers, five police officers lost their lives.

HAYES: You know, it always strikes me I mean, having covered Jim Jordan for a while now, you know, and he`s a colleague of yours, like, he seems like he likes to talk. He`s a talker. He likes to get in front -- like, it just seems like, you know, go talk to your colleagues, like, like under oath. And if you -- you know, if you`re worried about something, just take the fifth. That`s your legal right. But just you-- you`re not a reticent or shy dude.

AGUILAR: It really begs the question that, you know, why wouldn`t they come forward? Why haven`t they? Why didn`t they respond to those letters? And in the letters, we were very clear that, you know, they know information about what happened. We were very specific. And we would be, you know, happy and willing to talk with them about the scope of the questions that we -- that we plan.

And that is not unusual for this type of discussion. So -- but it does beg the question, what are they hiding? And I think it`s on us, it`s on this, you know, nonpartisan committee to find out the truth.

HAYES: Well, I personally, have come to the conclusion, the best way to own the libs, stick it in our faces is for them to show up and talk to you guys. And I hope they hear that loud and clear. Nothing would make me feel more owned than for them to talk to you. Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you very much.

AGUILAR: Thanks so much, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, one governor`s novel attempt to solve the baby formula shortage by effectively starving certain children in the care of the U.S. government. I`m not making that up. I`ll explain next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:34:42]

HAYES: So, we`ve reached the point where prominent figures -- prominent figures in the conservative movement, including Republican politicians, officeholders and Fox News hosts are calling for the United States to intentionally starve babies in its care.

That is not hyperbole, and it`s not satire, it is the actual stated position now on the right. As you`ve probably heard, there is a nationwide shortage of baby formula. We`re going to discuss the complicated causes and possible solutions for that urgent crisis in a moment.

[20:35:14]

HAYES: But causes and solutions are not what the modern conservative movement really does when faced with a legitimate governing crisis. What they do is sniffed around like a dog after a carcass to find the grossest way to demagogue the issue. And they have certainly found that here.

Now, there are at least 20,000 migrants total held in U.S. detention facility on any given day. A very, very small portion of them are infants, like nursing children, OK.

We have a legal obligation under something called the Flores settlement, to give those children in our custody food and water for babies of course, that often needs formula.

So, the right solution to this formula crisis shortage is to stop feeding the immigrant babies.

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement in part "While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in panic, the Biden administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border. Our children deserve a president who puts their needs in survival first, not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve".

The conservative hosts on Fox News had just run that through the echo chamber.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Our border children, the illegal immigrant children are getting formula.

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: American families, there`s a shortage but if you`re a migrant, don`t worry because Uncle Sam has a stash of that.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: These are not people that respected our borders, our laws and our sovereignty. Why wouldn`t all the pallets go to American families first?

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Apparently, there`s no shortage of baby formula for illegal aliens. Why are we feeding illegal babies ahead of American babies?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Because they`re babies, you doofus. Why are we feeding illegal babies, that guy just asked? His name is Jesse. He is of course pro-life.

Of course, Jesse`s idea is to starve the babies and migrant detention centers. And that of course, wouldn`t also solve anything.

First of all, how many babies are there at the border? A few hundred, maybe a thousand? Government doesn`t release the exact number. It`s somewhere in that ballpark.

In the United States, there are about 3.7 million babies, OK? So, clearly, the border baby`s hogging all that formula is not the problem here. Not to mention the fact like have you taken leave of your moral senses, it would be a crime against humanity and mass murder to intentionally starve babies that you have in your custody, not to mention blatantly illegal. What is -- what is wrong with you?

This is what you get. This is what you get from the absurd logic of the conservative mind. And don`t think it`s a rhetoric, think about what would happen if they could control this, if they can actually have the levers to cut off the supply of formula to the hundreds of babies in our custody, would they do it? Question ask yourself.

Now, in the real world, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that next week the House will bring up a bill to "grant emergency authority to address supply chain disruptions and recalls of formula".

And here with me to get into what the actual problem is with the supply baby formula and how it can be solved is my colleague Stephanie Ruhle, hosts of the "11TH HOUR" here on MSNBC who`s been doing tons of reporting on this very topic.

So, Stephanie, let`s just start with why this has happened? Why we have this shortage?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS ANALYST: OK, I too am feeling sassy as you are but sort of a different flavor. And it`s not necessarily so partisan. It`s a look at all lawmakers.

This is about super restrictive regulation, baby formula. Clearly and essential supply is produced by a handful, three, four-ish major producers in this country produce over 90 percent of formula to the whole country. We`ve got really restrictive rules around tariffs, around importing formula.

So, yes, the FDA is now saying next week we`re going to look to import some, but they shouldn`t be surprised. This has been happening for months and even before that, this is how these oligopolies work. You know, it works this way in big ag the same exact way.

During the Trump administration, when they renegotiated NAFTA and they made the USMCA, guess what they did? Made it harder for Canada -- made it more expensive for Canada to import baby formula here.

So, this has been brewing over time, and for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to suddenly be so shocked and dismayed, they`re the ones who sign off on regulation, right?

We often think that regulation is here to protect, it`s good for everyone. And in theory it is if it`s smart regulation, but oftentimes, there`s what`s known as regulatory capture where the biggest guys out there push for regulation that helps only them and we`re exactly in that place right now.

[20:40:03]

HAYES: So, I`ve heard people make the comparison to -- you know, we have this in the testing situation, right? Where we couldn`t -- the FDA wasn`t approving a European test during coronavirus, even though, obviously they were effective. European formula there`s (INAUDIBLE).

Now, the other thing we should note here, though, there`s a little bit of a kind of under regulation issue, which is that my understanding is that a lot of the recall in the Abbott Labs happened because bacteria got into the plant, right? Which is also taken a sizable part of the supply out.

RUHLE: That is absolutely true. Now, Abbott Labs that did a recall. And when they did a recall of their own product, that cure caused a huge ripple effect, because they have such a huge portion of the market, with many people asking, how did you have plants that were not meeting standards? When what did Abbott lab do in the last year? A huge buyback.

So, when you think about who does any of this serve in terms of stakeholders, right? Just having three or four producers, does it serve consumers? Nope. Does it serve employees of these companies? No. Who does it serve? Shareholders.

And are shareholder is a priority when it comes to baby formula? The answer to that, Chris Hayes, is absolutely not.

And to everyone out there who`s saying why don`t women just breastfeed? Give me a break. That is a ridiculous idea. Most there are women out there who simply can`t produce enough. There are women out there who have children on formula for months, if not years, and they can`t.

And for any man out there who`s right now saying just go with breastfeeding, go pick up a breast pump. I invite each and every one of them to purchase a breast pump, put it on their tongue and as tight as they possibly can, and have it go for 20, 20, 20 minutes, six times a day, because that`s what using a breast pump is like and it`s absurd if they think that`s going to solve this problem.

HAYES: Yes, I have seen those takes. I mean, it`s not a faucet gentleman. It doesn`t -- you don`t just turn it on and off.

RUHLE: Correct.

HAYES: OK, so here`s the problem, right? So, you`re already running a very like, a lot of supply chains that we`ve learned, right? They run very thin, right? They`re not particularly duplicative. We`ve got like, you know, there`s a few factories that make all our pet food. There`s a few factories that make like this good that we need.

If they go down or chips, right, the chip shortage, we`ve seen this happen time and time again. And if the thing is important, all of a sudden you got a shortage, right?

The question is, are there short-term things you could do? Right, that`s a market structure question. So, there`s a longer medium-term question about how do you get more competitors? How do you get more imports? Are there short-term solutions? The house is looking at possible waivers through WIC. I don`t know if there are short-term solutions on the table that would work.

RUHLE: OK, that one could potentially work. Just the idea that yes, we`re going to ramp up production, that doesn`t really solve anything in the immediate.

And stay with me here, WIC, women and children in need, we`ve got millions of mothers across this country who get their formula through that voucher system. But the way those vouchers work, they have contracts with every state. And those contracts are only for you can use your WIC voucher on one type of formula. And you might say, why would that formula maker offer formula at a discount?

Here`s why. Because they basically get a monopoly, they get more shelf space, they get doctors in those states recommending that formula. So, you`ve got people in many states saying I can`t use my WIC voucher on the formula that`s available in my store. So, that`s what they`re looking to make a change to in the immediate because imagine that, you need to get your formula, you need to use your WIC voucher, oh, but the one that`s on the shelf at your store doesn`t work on that one.

HAYES: So, that really seems like a fairly common sense thing here, we should note, I think about half of all infant formula in the country is purchased through the WIC program. So, there`s a huge policy lever here if they can pass that waiver, which appears to be queued up in the house, which again, seems like it would offer at least short and immediate long term relief at scale, unlike starving babies.

Stephanie Ruhle will be back here on MSNBC tonight with the "11TH HOUR" and by her own admission, she`s feeling sassy. So you should definitely tune in. Thank you, Stephanie.

RUHLE: So are you.

HAYES: Always.

All right, still ahead, some actual new reporting on the rumors about Vladimir Putin`s failing health and how that`s all playing out in the power circles of Russia`s elite, that`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:48:50]

HAYES: So, while I was out earlier this week, my colleague Ayman Mohyeldin gave this really beautiful tribute to his friend and mentor, legendary Palestinian-American journalists Shireen Abu Akleh.

On Wednesday, Shireen was shot in the head and killed while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. Today, the Israeli army released their initial findings about her killing, saying it is still unclear whether she was hit by Israeli or Palestinian fire.

But Palestine (AUDIO GAP) were present with Shireen when she was killed, say she was shot by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian leaders maintain Israel is responsible for her death.

Now, Shireen was a legendary figure throughout the region and her funeral took place in Jerusalem amid a very upsetting scene today.

This began outside of a hospital where the funeral procession was to start, as mourners carried Shireen`s casket on their shoulders, Israeli officials rushed the crowd -- of officers rushed the crowd, beating people with sticks and firing stun grenades. You can see this caused the pallbearers to nearly drop the casket.

According to an Israeli government official officers dispersed what they referred to as a riot, as the gathered crowd was preventing the procession from moving on the intended route, that`s what they say.

[20:50:09]

HAYES: They also say and video does show that some mourners were throwing objects at police. But whatever the ostensible predicate, it`s pretty damn hard to justify the beating of defenseless pallbearers who are occupied by attempting to carry the casket of a beloved journalist whose life was cut far too short, and whose very funeral was marred with yet more violence visit upon those who gathered to mourn her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:55:13]

HAYES: Two huge developments today in Russia`s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the first is the leaders of Finland announced they are looking to expeditiously join the NATO alliance, creating a potential nightmare scenario for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country shares a border with Finland.

And the second development is that for the first time since the conflict began in February, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu. Both of these developments appear to reflect the vastly diminished strategic leverage that Russia now has for itself after several months of fighting that has gone frankly miserably.

On top of that, rumors continue to swirl that Putin is in failing health. Michael Weiss recently reported on this for New Lines Magazine and a piece titled is Putin sick? Or are we meant to think he is? About how the rumors which are completely unverified are playing out inside the inner sanctum of the Russian state.

And Michael Weiss joins me now. Michael, it`s always tricky to sort of report or talk about rumors, I just want to be clear up front. Like, you`re very clear in the piece, like we don`t know what the -- if he could be perfectly healthy. This could be all like completely fabricated and invented.

But what is very clear is that rumors about his declining health are very persistent in the inner sanctum of Russian power elite, tell me about what you learned in your reporting.

MICHAEL WEISS, NEWS DIRECTOR, NEW LINES MAGAZINE: That`s right. So, I mean, rumors have persisted that Putin is ailing from some malady, including cancer for many, many years going back way before the invasion of Ukraine.

However, a few weeks ago, I came into possession of a tape of a Russian oligarch who I know and was -- I could easily authenticate who he was because he more or less identifies himself on the tape chattering to a Western venture capitalist about various things.

One, how miserable this war is for oligarchs like himself. He says that Putin has single-handedly driven Russia back 50 years, he has the blood of 15,000 Russian soldiers on his hands. This is more of a calamity than the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

But then he says, Putin is very, very ill with blood cancer, he says, and he makes the suggestion that we all, meaning, either this is a slip of the tongue, and he`s speaking in the sort of editorial or royal we, or he`s referring to his cohort of fellow Russian billionaires, we all believe that he is going to die before this war is out. And we all hope that he will.

Which is kind of a shocking disclosure in a number of ways, Chris, because one, if this is the truth, well, wow. If this oligarch is talking out of his hat, speculating, you know, idly doing kind of remote diagnosis, the way that a lot of people that are quoted in the tabloid press are doing, OK.

Or number three and perhaps most tantalizing of all, if this is some cleverly cooked up piece of disinformation that Russian elites have disseminated into the West and also within Moscow itself in the sort of inner sanctum of the Russian government. Then it suggested it`s designed to make Putin look vulnerable and weak and perhaps susceptible to a coup.

Now, there`s some other reporting in this piece, courtesy of Christo Grozev. He`s the rather brilliant investigator at Bellingcat. You know, the website that has unmasked Russian spies and assassins, including the Navalny poisoners and the Skripal poisoners.

And Christo, I put this across to him several weeks ago, he came back and he said, look, I was skeptical of this at first, but I have a source in the FSB, which was the domestic security arm of the Russian intelligence, one of the successor agencies of the KGB, who said that several weeks before, the Lubyanka FSB headquarters issued a communique or a decree to all the regional directorates inside of the Russian Federation territory to the FSB, saying any rumors about the president`s terminal health conditions should be treated incredibly, suspiciously almost a sabotage. Please ignore and please dismiss that well.

Of course, this had the opposite effect of convincing a lot of people in the FSB that in fact, these rumors are true.

Now, again, I cannot verify, I want to stress this, I cannot stress this enough, I am not saying Putin has got blood cancer. I`m not saying he`s going to die in the near future. But the fact that a guy of this stature on tape is telling it to a Western businessman that he`s looking to do some kind of transaction with is itself newsworthy.

HAYES: Yes, we should note, I mean, I have encountered this very rumor, again, through people fairly connected in Russian power leads. So, it`s, again, it is something that circulates amongst people that have -- again, could be totally delusional because believe me, I know in the American context totally delusional rumors certainly with among very powerful people. So, let`s just be very clear, that happens all the time. I can tell you a few but that is playing a role at least in the perception of what`s - - of what`s happening here particularly as we find a Russia in a -- in a strategically weakened place.

A fascinating piece, people should check it out. Michael Weiss, thanks for your time.

WEISS: Sure, thanks for having me.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this week, "MSNBC PRIME" starts now with Ali Velshi. Good evening, Ali.