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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 5/19/22

Guests: Robert Reich, Eric Holder, Ivo Daalder


The Republican Party demanded government intervention in the baby formula shortage only to vote against government intervention in the baby formula shortage. The January 6 Committee sent a letter to Congressman Barry Loudermilk asking for his voluntary cooperation. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined Hayes to talk about the threat to American democracy. President Joe Biden hosted the Finnish President and the Swedish Prime Minister in a Rose Garden ceremony showing high-level support for their applications to join NATO.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Both of those things, my friend. So, best of luck to you. We will be watching to see how things turn out. Thank you so much for spending some time with us and talking earth stuff with me because I got to get the nerd self in us.


REID: Thank you. Chris Jones, thank you very much. I appreciate you. And that is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that parents are struggling in America.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R-WA): This is a matter of life or death.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Joe Biden simply has no plan.

HAYES: Guess which party demanded government intervention in the baby formula shortage only to vote against government intervention in the baby formula shortage. It only makes sense if you understand what really drives Republicans and I`ll explain.

Then, as yet another Republican Congressman gets called before the January 6 Committee, former Attorney General Eric Holder on the threats to American democracy and who should be held accountable.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Given what we have learned, I think that he probably has to be held accountable.

HAYES: Plus, the dangers of redistricting to the Democratic Party and the welcome to NATO party at the White House when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The nationwide baby formula shortage has been a terrifying experience for lots of families, which is why Congress and the White House just took action. The House passed two bills, one which would make it easier for poor families to access formula.

Now, that passed with near-universal support which that`s good. The second bill, the ones specifically designed to address the baby formula crisis by giving the Food and Drug Administration $28 million towards that end, that bill was opposed by nearly 200 House Republicans, just voted no.

Now, that might come as something of a surprise to you if you`ve been paying attention to politics over the past few weeks. Republicans across the country have been using the formula shortage as a cudgel to attack Democrats ahead of November`s Midterm Elections. The attacks are everywhere, TV, social media, right-wing radio.

Elise Stefanik, the highest-ranking Republican on the House even held a press conference on the formula issue last week.


STEFANIK: Right now, families across America are struggling to feed their babies due to a horrific nationwide baby formula shortage. And I cannot think of a more harrowing panic crisis for parents to face than desperately trying to find food and formula for their newborn babies. Joe Biden simply has no plan.

House Republicans are here to push for action from the FDA and the Biden administration who should have had a plan for this shortage months ago. Instead, bare shelves Biden has continued to pass the buck.


HAYES: Well, the Biden restriction has a plan. Now, they invoked the Defense Production Act. Yesterday, they announced that. And Elise Stefanik, the third most powerful person in the House just voted against a big part of the plan. And she`s not alone. Every single person in the soundbite I`m going to play you also voted against it.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Moms and dads all over the country are some of them are traveling hours every single day looking for baby formula. This is a crisis that should never be happening. And this is completely squarely on the shoulders of the Biden administration and the Democrats that are controlling our government.

RODGERS: President Biden and the FDA must do more. This is a matter of life or death.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Maybe that`s where this shortage is coming from or it could be the pallets that are being sent to the southern border for all the illegal aliens breaking our laws to come into our country.


HAYES: Stark reminder about the ceaseless cultural war of American life what most of governing is actually about, like the $28 million to the FDA to try to help solve this crisis, right? Governing, real governing, the actual thing that our elected representatives do or should be doing is dealing with the allocation of resources, implementing regulations, attempting to solve difficult problems, trying to make a wide swath of people`s lives materially better, giving them the tools and ability to flourish.

Those fundamentals of governance, like the brass tacks stuff is basically the last thing Republicans want to talk about. It`s become even more obvious during these high profile Republican primaries, like in Pennsylvania where the too close to call race between the hedge fund millionaire David McCormick and the millionaire TV Dr. Mehmet Oz is basically all cultural war grievance politics.

Now, I should be fair, there are essentially two issues Republican candidates will tell you squarely where they stand, abortion, which they think should be banned increasingly, in all cases, maybe even criminalized for doctors and women, and guns which they think should be widely available and not regulated or restricted in any other way.

Other than that, Republicans running for office do not talk about actual policy. It`s just fear-mongering about critical race theory and LGBTQ rights, and pledging to fire Dr. Fauci, and to lift the COVID mandates that have already been lifted, and the "invasion of the border."

A big part of the reason Republicans don`t want to talk actual policy is because their entire economic agenda such as it exists, which can be a little hard to figure out, is wildly unpopular. Cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, give handouts to big business, cut benefits for working families, kneecap labor unions, do nothing to improve the lives of regular working people.


Which is why when Donald Trump first ran for president back in 2016, he didn`t really focused on his economic agenda or the Republican Party`s economic agenda. He ran a nativist campaign built on cultural grievances and white identity politics and trade. That was the one area of policy trade where he disagreed with the Republican mainstream correctly so and intuiting what he wanted to hear.

But then once he actually took office, remember this, there was one big legislative domestic policy accomplishment, one. It was an enormous tax cut focused on corporations, the largest corporate tax cut in 30 years, and also disproportionately going to the wealthy.

And it is worth noting that the lowest point in Donald Trump`s approval rating over four years, other than the days immediately after January 6, was in late 2017 when Republicans were publicly debating their tax cuts, which were then and remain remarkably unpopular with voters.

And I got to say, give them credit. Republicans, most of them are savvy enough and they know this. In fact, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell put it best when asked about his party`s agenda heading into the Midterms.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Republicans take back control of Congress after the Midterms, what would be your agenda?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): That is a very good question. And I`ll let you know when we take it back.


HAYES: Ha-ha-ha, I`m not telling you. I know that telling you what I`m going to do will make it less likely we win. Now, the only person as far as I can tell in the Republican Party, one of the few, who is not in on the joke, who didn`t get the memo, is Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida. He`s the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the guy in charge of getting Republicans elected in the Senate.

Now, he just went released his own agenda full of things Republicans actually want to do, instead of just the culture war distractions they talked about in the campaign trail. In a draconian move that brings new meaning to the term regressive taxation, Scott`s plan would raise taxes for poor and working families.

He says they need to "have skin in the game." While cutting funding and employees of the IRS making it harder to audit the super-rich for tax evasion. Oh, get this. Scott`s plan would also end Social Security and Medicare within five years. End it. And in many ways, Senator Scott is a perfect messenger for this agenda because he himself, good for him, richest member of Congress, multimillionaire from the time running his for profit health care companies including the one which was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. They were keeping two sets of books while he was the CEO.

But Scott committed the cardinal sin here. He talked about actual policy, particularly actual economic policy. And unsurprisingly, guess what, no one likes him. His ideas are very unpopular, which is why his fellow senators and allies in the right-wing media are trying to get him to shut up.


JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, FOX NEWS: I spoke to several senators and they said nobody signed on to Rick Scott`s plan. Nobody, and that means nobody. It`s ever going to make the floor. Mitch McConnell doesn`t like it. Rick Scott is a junior senator from Florida. Who cares?


HAYES: Pay no attention to the agenda outlined by the man trying to win a Senate majority. But you know what? Good for Rick Scott. At least he`s being honest and somewhat transparent about what he wants to do, while the rest of Republicans want you to pay attention to the imaginary immigrant invasion and the 1619 Project.

But here`s the thing, and I can`t stress this strongly enough. Politics ultimately, is not a cable news show. It`s not a Twitter fight. It`s real people, real groups of people with real material interests, which brings me to the latest outburst from the billionaires. Elon Musk, you may have noticed, has now declared Democrats are to mean it hurt his feelings. And because of that, he will now be voting Republican from now on. And Jeff Bezos, the third richest man in the world has suddenly started attacking President Biden on Twitter after Biden held an event with leaders from the Amazon union.

Let me say my suspicion is that musk and Bezos ire towards Biden and the Democrats has nothing to do with tone and everything to do with their fortunes, which is to say their material interests. They know which party is better for billionaires. And to that I say, good. If Democrats are doing anything right, billionaires should be voting Republican. The fact that billionaires are coming out against them means they are.

So, the Biden administration should keep supporting unions and aggressively enforcing existing labor laws. And Democrats should focus on actually improving the material conditions of people`s lives and making sure that voters know whatever the cultural controversy of the day is, as soon as Republicans take power, they will use that power to benefit corporate America and the interest of the very rich.

They`ve done it time and time again, they`ll do it again, and as Rick Scott believed, they`ll hike taxes for working people to boot. Everyone across the country should know that when they vote.


Robert Reich served as Secretary of Labor during Clinton administration. He`s now the Chancellor`s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. He`s the author of The System Who Rigged It: How He Fix It. And he joins me now.

You know, Robert, it`s striking to me that one of the things that you do when you`re an opposition party is you run a kind of referendum on how things are going. And this is not rocket science. If you`re Republican, inflation is eight percent. And there`s lots of things about American life that feel disturbed and sort of strange and not settled, right? Easy enough.

But it also seems to me it`s incumbent both on the media and Democrats to say, what would you do about it? What are you going to do? And to the extent they can get away with not answering it, they`re going to be benefited? And to the extent they have to answer it, I think that would be better for voters, and probably in the end, better for the Democratic Party.

ROBERT REICH, CHANCELLOR`S PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, THE GOLDMAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY: Well, I agree with you, Chris. I mean, it`s interesting. We have one party, the Republican Party right now, that is using the cultural grievances as a major distraction from the fact that they have no agenda.

I mean, as you play that clip of Mitch McConnell, what are you going to do if you actually get control of Congress? I just don`t know. There`s nothing there. There`s no there-there. I think the real problem is the Republican Party is great at attacks. They have perfected the art of attacking, but they are not a governing party. They don`t know how to come up with policies.

And that is -- that`s bad for the country. It`s bad for Democrats. And it is also a problem with regard to average working people who -- you know, kitchen table economics, they need better jobs, they need childcare, they need lower prescription drug pricing. They need all sorts of things. Democrats are actually passing this stuff or trying to pass it, And Republicans are saying no.

HAYES: Well, and the trying I think is part of the problem too, right? I mean, to the extent that you can`t pass big parts of your agenda, that`s a harder thing to run on when you can`t. Although I should note, you know, one of the amazing ironies here is the big thing they did pass, right, the American Rescue Plan, you`ve got this bizarre situation, right? Every Republican votes against it in the in the U.S. Senate. Every Democrat votes for it.

It gave all this money to the states who are now using the largest from the federal government to dole out goodies while attacking the Democrats, right? So ,this is the Orlando Sentinel talking about Ron DeSantis who`s going around to events cutting checks. "We`re proud we didn`t do like Washington and spent money like a drunken sailor when all of a sudden you end up with all these problems," he said a recent event in Trenton, where he doled out federally funded grants.

DeSantis never mentioned the largesse he is sharing comes from Washington. Instead he attributes the money to Florida`s strong economy. Democrats in this position are the worst of both worlds, which is the policy success they voted for, that Republicans are opposed, local Republicans get to claim credit for.

REICH: And this is not a new phenomenon, Chris. This has been going on for years. It`s just a more of it right now. I mean, back in 1936, what -- Franklin D. Roosevelt was opposed by, you know, the rich and the powerful and Republicans. And he said, I welcome their hatred. I welcome their hatred, because that hatred made it clear to the public that he was on their side.

I think the Democrats ought to be -- ought to be very clear about this. I welcome Elon Musk`s. moving to the Republican Party. We welcome the fact that Jeff Bezos is attacking the president. I mean, the billionaires are on the side of billionaires and the Democrats are on the side of average working people and poor people and people who need some help and people who actually are working harder than ever as CEO pay goes through the roof as corporate profits hit record levels, as prices go up. Why?

You tell me why corporations that have never had in 70 years as profitable a run as they have right now, why are they raising prices? Well, they don`t have to raise prices, and that`s what Democrats ought to be talking about.

HAYES: Robert Reich, as always, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

REICH: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Next up, the January 6 Select Committee calls another House Republican to testify, this time over a tour of the Capitol Complex the day before the insurrection. Plus, new reporting that Bill Barr is in talks to cooperate with the investigation. Former Attorney General Eric Holder weighs in right after this.



HAYES: You may remember last year in the days after January 6, there were several Democratic members of Congress who accused Republicans of giving weird tours the day before the insurrection. Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey said on January 5, she saw "members of Congress who had groups coming to the Capitol a reconnaissance for the next day."

A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police even told NBC News "it is under investigation." But then nothing really came to the whole thing. A year ago, Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk of Georgia even filed an ethics complaint against Sherrill and three of her colleagues saying they accused Republicans without evidence.

Well, now today, more than a year later, the January 6 Committee sent Congressman Loudermilk a letter asking for his voluntary cooperation saying, "Based on our review of evidence in the select committee`s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5 2021. Republicans on the committee on House administration of which you are a member claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6 and determined there were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on. However, the Select Committee`s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial."


This letter highlights the persistent justified sense from Democrats in Congress and members in the bipartisan committee, including Republicans that people in the highest echelons of Republican Party were collaborators in the coup in the assault on democracy, a position that we`ve seen rewarded, frankly, by Republican voters across the country. And there remain outstanding questions about who will be held to account ultimately.

Last week, for instance, former Attorney General Eric Holder said he expected the Department of Justice if it finds sufficient information and proof of intent that would have to indict Donald Trump and hold him accountable for his attempt to overturn the election. Holder`s his new book is titled Our Unfinished March: The Violent Past And Imperiled Future Vote, A History, A Crisis, A Plan. And Eric Holder joins me now.

I know that you are loath to do any second-guessing or coaching of the man who now occupies the office that you had. And I`m sure when you were in that office, you didn`t like to be coached or second-guessed yourself. But in an abstract sense, just take me through your understanding of the evidence that`s accruing and the decision process that would happen inside the Department of Justice about questions about indictments with respect to people from the President or in is his inner circle for the kinds of crimes that other people at lower levels along the chain have already been indicted?

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: Well, you certainly got to draw the connections and show that they were substantively involved and also show that they had the requisite intent. You know, I started my career as a public corruption prosecutor. And after a while, these kinds of matters get -- you get a sense of direction of where they`re heading and I`m at that point now.

After the revelations from the January 6 Committee, the great job that journalists have done in revealing a whole variety of things, I think you get a sense of the direction of this. And I think that you`re going to end up with high level prosecutions of people close to Donald Trump. I think people at the Justice Department are certainly going to be examined. Certainly people who were involved in the matter actually there on January 6 and people who directed them.

And the question ultimately is, what happens to the ex-President. My guess is going to be is that they`re going to have sufficient substantive proof, they`re going to be able to show that you have the requisite intent. And what I`ve said before, if that is the case, I think he has to be held accountable.

I`ve said, you know, that`s going to be a very divisive thing and I got a lot of criticism for that. But I think that is a legitimate thing that can be taken into consideration how divisive that would be. But I also think it has to be balanced against the notion of accountability and really, most importantly, deterrence.

We cannot allow what happened on January 6 to go unpunished, because then it would invite something like that to happen again in the future. Future people who would consider doing something like this have to be deterred.

HAYES: Yes, I want to -- I want to follow up on that given some of the races we see around the country. But just one more question about this. Because, you know, you talk about public corruption, right? So, it`s not like the Department of Justice has never indicted politicians before. In fact, it happens fairly frequently. I used to practice journalism in Chicago where it basically happen every week.

You`ve got, you know, a very high-profile prosecution of the district attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby and her husband, also politician, right? So, this kind of thing happens. There`s a kind of human and institutional calculation that happens in that context, even when you`re not talking about Donald Trump, just any place where you`re going to bring a high-profile corruption case against an elected official. What is the thinking there in the general sense, even when you`re not talking about someone as high profile as Donald Trump or as possibly divisive, about how you -- how you think through a case like that?

HOLDER: I think the President is really fundamentally different from almost any other -- any other person, any other office in terms of thinking about what the collateral impacts are? I mean, you know, if you`re going to think about the vice president, may be that -- those kinds of considerations into your mind, as well.

And I don`t mean to say that because he`s president he is beyond reach or was president he is beyond reach, not that at all. But taking into account what the national impact of this case or a potential case would be is certainly something that I think can be legitimately considered by the prosecutor who has to make that ultimate determination.

But having said that, having said that, and understanding that this is going to divide the nation, I think a non-prosecution would divide the nation as well. And if we don`t have that deterrent impact coming out of the consideration of what happened on January 6, we put this republic at risk in the future.


HAYES: Yes, I mean, that, you know, I`ve said this before in the program, but you know, coups happen in certain places or attempted self-coups. They happen throughout history, they happen in different countries and different regions. They tend to go on in two ways, right? They`re successful, in which case, the people seize power, and they could do whatever they want to their political enemies, or they`re not successful, and the people that fail, you know, they tend to get arrested or worse, right?

It`s not that often that you get like an attempt and then it doesn`t work out and everyone just kind of says, well, which is a little bit what`s happening here. And you see it in the -- in the crop of Republican candidates. Doug Mastriano, as we`ve heard on this program, is going to be the nominee in the gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania.

You know, he very actively talked about and sought to replace the electors duly elected by the people of Pennsylvania and sub in, you know, Donald Trump electors. And I just wonder what you think -- you`re someone who`s very focused on the integrity and strength of our democracy. We`re going to talk about your book in a second. What it says to you about the fact that Mastriano can occupy this position, you know, two years after this happened, a year after this happened?

HOLDER: I think that says a lot of really disturbing things about the Republican Party, the notion that a person who was actually engaged in what happened on January 6, whether he went in the building or not, a person who says that the election was stolen, that there was fraud, when in fact, there`s no proof at all, that is in fact, the case.

The person who appears to want to substitute his candidate Donald Trump for the legitimately elected person, Joe Biden, should not be the next Governor of Pennsylvania. And my hope would be that that will be a central part of the campaign. Democrats need to focus on this. We need to be the pro- democracy party up and down the ballot. That needs to be talked about for people with regarding people running for governor, for Senator, for other elected offices.

Every Republican needs to be asked, Do you think that Joe Biden is the legitimately elected President of the United States or do you think that the election was stolen from Donald Trump? They need to be forced to answer those questions.

HAYES: You`ve got a new book out about voting rights, which find themselves in a very perilous situation right now. And you`ve been very involved in redistricting, which of course is related to that. I want to ask you to stick around if that`s all right. And we`re going to talk about that right after this break. Don`t go anywhere.



HAYES: Across country, both parties are doing their best to make sure the electoral map is as favorable to their party as possible except there`s a huge asymmetry. Only one party is respecting the courts and the rules. So, in Ohio, as we`ve covered, the state Supreme Court has struck down Republican-drawn maps several times. But rather than respect the court, Republicans have continued to just stall for time to keep the current gerrymandered map in place as long as they can and maybe steamroll the courts.

Meanwhile, in New York Democrats have their map struck down also by a state court. But the new map the Democrats have accepted issued by a court special master pits five groups of incumbent Democrats against each other and might end up costing the Democrats control the House of Representatives.

Still with me tonight, former Attorney General Eric Holder who`s now the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, working to create fair districts where Democrats can compete. His new book is titled, our Unfinished March about voting right.

So, we`ve got this really crazy situation. We`ve been following this. You`ve got this in Florida, they struck down the maps there which are facially unconstitutional in the Florida constitution. DeSantis is going to try to keep pushing through. In Ohio, they basically have a staredown with the courts, whereas in New York, they got struck down in the New York Democrats are listening.

This seems an untenable situation to me if you`ve only got one party listening to court decisions about fair maps.

HOLDER: Well, we`ll see what the final maps look like in New York, I guess, tomorrow or the next day. But you know, the Democratic Party, I think we have to stand for the rule of law. We have to fight Republicans who like Republicans in Ohio, who are basically not paying attention to the Supreme Court there. We have to bring lawsuits where we can and try to make sure that we do all that we possibly can to have a system where politicians are not picking their voters where citizens are choosing their elected representatives.

Now, that`s a difficult thing. And it`s been something I`ve been fighting for as the head of the NDRC since 2017. But I`m not saying that we should be for unilateral disarmament. I`m saying that we should be fighting for fairness. And I think we fight for fairness. And if we get fairness, Democrats, progressives, we will do -- we`ll do just fine.

HAYES: Your latest book is a history of voting rights and an examination of the -- of the perilous situation that we find voting rights in this country. I was thinking about the book and you today when I saw this, a GOP candidate for Colorado governor, listen to this. He wants to get rid of one person one vote in Colorado and basically make a kind of like Colorado Electoral College that would give more weight to rural counties.

And one of the thing I think we`re seeing is just a move away from the basic fidelity to democracy, one person one vote at an ideological level across the conservative movement. What do you make of it?


HOLDER: Yes, I mean, Republicans just ink that into democracy. That`s just the reality. I mean, we have to confront that. In the book, we talk about how people of generations past fought for our democracy, did all they could to save our democracy to enhance our democracy. We talk about a young woman named Alice Paul who was beaten as she walked down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1913 for women`s rights, a woman`s right to vote. She was one of the suffragettes. She was actually beaten.

A guy named Thomas Dorr who fomented a revolution or rebellion in Rhode Island in the 1840s so that white men -- white men without property could have the right to vote. So, there are a bunch of interesting stories in in the book. And the reality is that we also talked about what the present date situation is.

And the present-day situation is that our democracy is under attack, our democracy is at peril. And unless we have the kind of courage that Alice Paul, Thomas Dorr exhibited in the past, in addition to the other people we mentioned in the book, we could lose our democracy.

The reality is that democracy was lost in many countries in Europe in the 20th century, the early part of the 20th century, not because fascism was strong, but because the defense of democracy was weak. And that can happen here unless we do the necessary things, sacrifice as those before us did, commit ourselves to the kinds of concrete proposals that we have in the book. Our democracy can be irreparably harmed.

HAYES: Well, when you say defense was weak, what does what does that mean? Because it seems to me that part of the issue here is that democracy is not -- is often -- is often an abstract enough concept that it is hard to sort of mobilize electorates for it, right? I mean, you can mobilize their electorates around, you know, culture war issues, you can mobilize them around material interests as we talked about in the opening block of this program. But preserving democracy is a harder thing to mobilize an electorate around. How do you -- how do you conceive of defending it?

HOLDER: Well, you have to attach democracy -- it is a difficult thing when you talk about democracy as a concept, but we have to reduce it to really concrete things. If you think about all the furor that we have seen, legitimate concern about the fact that Roe versus Wade might be overturned. And think about the fact that that came from the cases that are being considered by the Supreme Court, came from gerrymandered state legislatures, where even in the most conservative of states people do not want to see Roe versus Wade overturned.

And yet, because you`ve got these partisan and racial gerrymandered legislatures there, they can pass bills, this like these anti these anti- choice bills inconsistent with the desires of the people, and yet the people who pass this, these legislators who pass these bills, face no political consequence.

So, it`s a question of saying, you should defend democracy as a concept, but let me make it real for you. If you care about climate, if you care about a woman`s right to choose, if you care about protecting the right to vote, all these things, all of these things are directly connected to making sure that our system of democracy -- system of democracy works.

HAYES: All right, Eric Holder`s new book is titled Our Unfinished March: The Violent Past And Imperiled Future Of The Vote: A History of Crisis Plan. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, thank you so much for making time tonight.

HOLDER: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Next up, shockwaves through the Democratic Party after the Congressman tasked with getting more Democrats elected decides to abandon his district and run against his own colleague. I cannot get over this story and I will explain why after this.



HAYES: There`s a chaotic situation playing out right now in New York as the state is still trying to finalize its new map of congressional districts. So last month, the Court of Appeals for the state struck down a map drawn by Democrats ruling that the maps violated a state ban on partisan gerrymandering. And as I noted, unlike in states like Ohio where Republicans and power have simply decided to run roughshod over the courts, New York Democrats are basically just sucking it up and obeying this ruling.

That has left them scrambling with candidates still unsure where they`re running, and the congressional primary postponed until August. Now, on Monday, the Court Appointed Special Master released a revised draft map that threw everything into further disarray. Because under the newly proposed lines, long-time members in House leadership, Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney would be pitted against each other in the same district.

And in the wake of this new map, we`ve seen action from one member of Congress that I have to say is among the most egregious political malpractice I think I`ve ever seen in my life. So, here`s the deal. Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney represents New York`s 18th district. He`s also the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee known as the DCCC. That`s a big job.

And his job is to help Democrats win midterm elections this year. He`s tasked with helping fundraise and message and strategize particularly for Democrats in tough races in frontline districts. That is a really, really hard job and I do not envy him, and I praise him for taking it on. It`s kind of thankless, OK.

Now, in this new draft map, the 18th district that Sean Patrick Maloney currently represents has been redrawn. On the left you`ll see the district as it`s been since 2012. On the right is a new proposal, but basically covers around 70 percent or more of Maloney`s current constituents. It`s still his district.

Now, here`s the thing. This new version, which has more than 70 percent of his current district no longer includes his actual home, though members of Congress are not required we should note to live in their districts. In 2020, the 18th District that Sean Patrick Maloney represents voted for Joe Biden by five points. The newly redrawn version would be a bit more favorable to Democrats backing Biden by eight points.

OK, within half an hour of this new map being released, Sean Patrick Maloney announces on Twitter that if the maps are finalized, he will abandon his current district and run instead in the neighboring redrawn 17 district. But the 17th District already has a sitting Democratic member of Congress. His name is Mondaire Jones, a young Black man, freshman, now facing a primary from the head of the DCCC, the person whose job it is is to keep the Democratic majority by winning difficult races.

According to Politico, as the drop map currently stands, that 17th district is an easier one for Democrats. It supports Joe Biden by 10 points, two more points more favorable for Democrats than 18th that Sean Patrick Maloney now represents. But rather than putting his money where his mouth is and running in the slightly harder district, Sean Patrick Maloney is abandoning it. Even though he says he is only shifting districts because of where his home is.


REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): I`m the only city member who lives in the district which is now numbered New York 17 which remains a competitive district by the way that we have to win in the fall. From my point of view, I`m just running where they -- where I landed.


HAYES: OK, but maybe you could have waited more than 25 minutes to announce that A. B, you don`t have to run living in the district. And C, your decisions still puts a freshman Democrat at risk, right? Like, you`re going to primary a freshman Democrat who`s going to run in the 17th And that decision has prompted a lot of criticism.

Today New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez called for Maloney to resign as chair of the DCCC if he primaries his freshman colleague. She called the decision "terrible, hypocritical, adding it absolutely further imperils our majority."

Mondaire Jones told Politico, "Sean Patrick Maloney did not even give me a heads up before he went on Twitter to make that announcement. And I think that tells you everything you need to know about Sean Patrick Maloney."

Now, I should say for full transparency, as I`ve said before, my brother works with a representative from the 16th district in New York, Jamaal Bowman, who is also implicated in all this chaos, because it`s possible in the face of a primary from Maloney, Mondaire Jones can move to the 16th District and primary the incumbent there who is Jamaal Bowman.

And to be honest, I try very hard to keep clear of this conflict. It`s so hard I normally don`t even talk about anything that has to do with Jamal Bowman that much. I don`t like to discuss anything directly involving that Congressman because my brother worked for him. But this is such an outlandishly egregious thing to do. I seriously cannot believe it.

Now, there are a few things that might happen. Tomorrow, the draft map is supposed to be finalized, and maybe some revisions before then, or maybe Sean Patrick Maloney will be embarrassed for the fact that he looks like he doesn`t have the courage of his own convictions, would decide to remain the teens district and hold the seats of the Democrats.

We invited him to come on the show, Congressman Maloney, to talk about redistricting in New York because you know where I`m wrong, I`d love to be corrected. His office told us he`s traveling today and tomorrow and referred us back to the comments the Congressman made earlier this week.



HAYES: When Russian President Vladimir Putin orders his troops to invade Ukraine 85 days ago, it was clear that one of his goals was to make sure Ukraine did not join NATO. Stopping NATO expansion has been explicit goal of the Russian leader. In fact, earlier this year, he said any possible membership of Ukraine in NATO would undermine Russia`s security, calling missile launchers in Romania and Poland "a threat to Russia."

And so when Sweden and Finland started to show interest in joining NATO, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation. And in February, Russia`s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman warned of military and political consequences. But that did not deter Sweden and Finland who announced over the weekend they had made their decision and would like to join.

Today President Joe Biden hosted the Finnish President and the Swedish Prime Minister in a Rose Garden ceremony showing high-level support for their applications to join the defensive alliance.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I`m proud to welcome and offer the strong support of the United States for the applications of two great democracies, and two close highly capable partners to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world. Two proud independent countries exercising their sovereign rights all states possess to decide their own security.


HAYES: Ivo Daalder is the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He`s now president of Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and he joins me how. This strikes me is a pretty big deal. What do you make of it?

IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Yes, it`s a tremendous deal. One because of the reason you mentioned. Vladimir Putin, in fact, went to war ostensibly in order to send a message to NATO not to come closer to Russian borders, while Finland which has an 830-mile long border with Russia, once it becomes a member, will double the border between NATO and Russia just in one fell swoop.


And secondly, it`s significant because these are two countries that for a very long time have maintained their non-alignment initiative in the case of Sweden. Since 1814, they have not been part of any alliance and they`ve been neutral in two world wars. Now, they have decided that the threat that Russia poses that we see in Ukraine is such that they not -- must be only secure by being members of NATO. It`s a huge deal both for NATO, for these countries, and of course, for Vladimir Putin.

HAYES: Yes, the Russian response was, was notably fairly muted. Putin said Finland and Sweden bids -- posed no direct threat, warn the Western military alliance against moving weapons into the two countries territories. It does strike me that part of the calculation here also has to do with the military setbacks Russia has experienced in Ukraine. Had they marched through Ukraine and we`re now occupying the country or topple the government, I feel like maybe the calculations would be different. What do you think?

DAALDER: Yes, I think they`re just accepting something that they can`t do anything about. And so they can scream a lot, even threaten which they`ve done before. But the reality is, there`s nothing they can do to stop Finland and Sweden joining NATO. That`s a decision for NATO and for Finland and Sweden.

And indeed, the more he protests and the more he threatens, the more likely it is that these countries will want to join NATO. So, I think it`s basically another indication that he has miscalculated, and he`s starting to realize how badly he has miscalculated. We also have expected him a couple of weeks ago at the May 9th parade to announce a major escalation. He didn`t do that.

Here again, we see him stepping back and saying, well, NATO enlargement, no big deal, even though remember this whole war was in the first place because NATO was coming too close to Russia`s border. I think we`ve just called them out and he`s understood that.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, it strikes me as one of the lessons here, right, for -- particularly for Finland and Sweden, is that you`re either the nuke -- under the nuclear umbrella of NATO or you`re not. And if you`re not, you could -- you`re liable to be invaded. I mean, that was kind of what was demonstrated by the invasion of Ukraine, which I think shocked a lot of people and European capitals and governments, even intelligence officials who were saying they didn`t think it was going to happen until the last moment.

I do worry, though, about, you know, when you -- when you studied World War I, right, the idea was the latticework of alliances would be a bulwark against war. And instead, what it ended up being was the opposite, right, a set of dominoes that pulled the entire continent into war, that the extension of the alliance creates more susceptibility to possible nuclear escalation. What do you say about that?

DAALDER: Well, I mean, you have to be worried about it. And one of the reasons you want to do a careful examination, and I think the Senate hopefully will do such a careful examination when they consider and approve the accession of these two countries to NATO, you have to look at what does this -- what does this do?

Does it enhance, in fact, the security of NATO of Europe to bring these countries in or does it diminish it? And one of those issues is, are the chances of war going to be -- going up or going down? Well, I think we, as you just mentioned, have just had a very, very good real-life example. It turns out that when you apply for NATO membership, and you kind of ignored for a long time, then Vladimir Putin is going to say, well, you know, they`re not going to take it seriously. We will invade.

And indeed, not only did he invade, we told him that if he did, we wouldn`t come into the direct defense of that country. Finland and Sweden now decided, well, they don`t want to be in the same position. And we`re basically, I think, also learned in the lesson that if you want to prevent war, being part of NATO is a good thing.

HAYES: Well, I mean, I think the one conclusion I`ve drawn from this whole thing, and again, hindsight is 2020, is that the worst thing you could do is say a country is on track to join NATO, and then just have it hanging out in the liminal space, as happened with both Georgia and Ukraine.

The 2008 declaration by the Bush administration coming out of that, which he was counseled against and many people thought was a mistake, produce precisely that situation for both Ukraine and Georgia, both of which have ended up invaded, which was someday, you`ll join NATO, but not now giving - - you know, you got kind of the worst of both worlds in that situation.

DAALDER: Absolutely. And you know, this is serious business. Taking countries into an alliance is serious business for both of them. And it`s not about politics or anything else. NATO learned the lesson which they should have learned before 2008 in 2008 that you need to have a consensus before you make these moves, that you need to have people agree.

And the problem was in 2008, there was no agreement on Ukraine or Georgia joining NATO. In 2022, hopefully there is an agreement to bring Finland and Sweden. And we were having a hiccup with Turkey and apparently, Croatia is now also saying that well if the Turks can play this game, maybe we can too. I think this is you know, domestic politics in part and trying to get the best deal possible. I don`t think this is going to be an obstacle.

In 2008, Germany and France made very clear they didn`t want Ukraine into NATO. And so, you have to be clear. You either are willing to defend the country, in which case you bring it on a quick path to bring them in or don`t go on that path.

HAYES: Yes. That is one of the enduring lessons that we find ourselves in. Ivo Daalder, thank you very much. I appreciate it. That is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "MSNBC PRIME" starts with Mehdi Hasan right now. Good evening, Mehdi.