In an interview with 60 Minutes, Mark Esper described some of the dangerous ideas that were coming from the ex-president Donald Trump and his inner circle that he says "could have taken the country in a dark direction." Yesterday, the former Attorney General Eric Holder, in an interview, said that the former President Trump should be held accountable for what happened on January 6. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Mohyeldin to discuss Russia`s war in Ukraine and abortion rights in America. There are over a dozen states in the U.S. that already have abortion bans and restrictions that are currently on the books that will automatically go into effect if Roe versus Wade is overturned.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It`s scary stuff. Thank you very much, sir. I really appreciate you. That is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.
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AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC ANCHOR (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.
MIKE ESPER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: To tell the story about things we prevented, really bad things, dangerous things that could have taken the country in a dark direction.
MOHYELDIN: The people trying to stop Trump doing dangerous things and the people outright encouraging it. Harrowing details tonight on the final days of the last administration. Plus --
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Given what we have learned, I think that he probably has to be held accountable.
MOHYELDIN: Are we getting any closer to an actual Trump indictment from the Justice Department? Then --
GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): At the end of the day, there is no right to an abortion in the United States Constitution.
MOHYELDIN: The threat to women`s health in dozens of states and the local Democrats trying to hold it at bay.
And as Putin celebrates his invasion of Ukraine, what is the U.S. trying to do about it? When ALL IN starts right now.
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MOHYELDIN: Good evening, everyone from New York. I`m Ayman Mohyeldin in for Chris Hayes. We have some new revelations from Donald Trump`s Secretary of Defense about the absolute chaos that he and others face during the last year of the Trump administration.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Mark Esper described some of the dangerous ideas that were coming from the ex-president and his inner circle that he says "could have taken the country in a dark direction."
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ESPER: At various times, during the -- certainly the last year of the administration, you have folks in the White House are proposing to take military action against Venezuela, to strike Iran. At one point, somebody proposed we blockade Cuba. These ideas would happen it seemed every few weeks, something like this would come up, and we`d have to swat them down.
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MOHYELDIN: And Donald Trump even proposed ordering the United States military to actually shoot Americans. Esper says this happened during a meeting in June of 2020. Of course, it was when Trump was furious about protests against the murder of George Floyd. And he was considering at the time, according to Esper, sending thousands of troops into the streets of Washington D.C.
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ESPER: The President is ranting at the room. He`s using a lot of, you know, foul language, you know, you all are effing losers, right? And then he says it to the Vice President Mike Pence -- he`s using the same language and he`s looking at Pence.
NORAH O`DONNELL, CBS NEWS HOST: He called Mike Pence at effing loser?
ESPER: He didn`t call him directly, but he was looking at him when he was saying it. And it really caught my attention and I thought that we`re at a different spot now. He`s going to finally give a direct order to deploy paratroopers into the streets of Washington DC and I`m thinking with weapons and bayonets, and this would be horrible.
O`DONNELL: What specifically was he suggesting that the U.S. military should do to these protesters there?
ESPER: He says, can`t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something. And heƒ_Ts suggesting thatƒ_Ts what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protestors.
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MOHYELDIN: An absolutely scary thought. And to counter that, Esper says that he and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley actually came up with a system, a system to deal with these types of crazy ideas and to prevent catastrophic events from happening in the waning months of the Trump administration.
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ESPER: Mark Milley and I discuss it, what we call the four nos. The four things we had to prevent from happening between then and the election. And one was no strategic retreats, no unnecessary wars, no politicization of the military, and no misuse of the military. And so, as we went through the next five to six months, that became the metric by which we would measure things.
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MOHYELDIN: All right, so we know how this ends, right? Trump fires as per just days after the 2020 election. So, he was no longer in office during the ex-president`s insurrection on January 6. But Esper pointed to the events of that day when he was asked whether Donald Trump was an actual threat to our democracy.
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BRET BAIER, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Do you think Donald Trump was a threat to democracy?
ESPER: I think that, given the events of January 6, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to D.C., stir them up that morning and fail to call them off, to me that threatens our democracy.
BRET: So, yes.
ESPER: I think the answer would -- what else can you conclude, Bret?
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MOHYELDIN: All right, so let`s be clear here. It is a good thing that Mark Esper is sharing these disturbing stories and these insights. It is important for the American people to know the truth about what really happened during the Trump years as we continue to learn more and more about them and just how dangerous the ex-president was to American democracy.
But the fact that Esper is only warning about the threat now does beg the question why didn`t he sound the alarm sooner when Esper says that he thinks Trump created dangerous situations? Should he have done something in the moment, leaked the stories to the press, perhaps even stand up and resign from serving under this man? Shouldn`t voters have had this information before they went to the polls in 2020 knowing they may be reelecting the most dangerous threat to our democracy?
Now as per did respond to that criticism on 60 Minutes, arguing that it could have made things actually worse.
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ESPER: It`s very simple. If I spoke out at the time, I would be fired, number one. And secondly, I had no confidence that anybody that came in behind me would not be a real Trump loyalist, and Lord knows what would have happened then.
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MOHYELDIN: Now, of course, there is also the fact that he is now trying to sell a book. And while Mark Esper says that he was working to prevent Trump from doing reckless, destructive things, we know that there were a number of people in Trump`s inner circle who are doing the exact opposite.
In fact, a new piece from the Washington Post details how Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, orchestrated a "final push to keep Trump in power." And as we know, Meadows was instrumental in promoting the big lie in the weeks leading up to the insurrection on January 6. For example, Meadows granted those peddling theories about a stolen election direct access to the Oval Office and personally connected some with the President.
And in a new interview, former Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham elaborated. She said in part, "He was allowing people to come into the White House who had his -- who had this false information. He was participating in these meetings that were causing the president to really believe in voter fraud."
Grisham said that she never heard Meadows tell Trump he was wrong about anything. Although she and other former White House officials noted that they didn`t know what he told the President in private.
Now, the post also reveals new details about how "on New Year`s Eve, Meadows became more directly involved in the effort to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to cooperate with Trump`s last ditch plan to stay in power. Of course, Pence`s chief of staff Marc Short says they had already rejected that plan, which called for Pence to refuse to certify the Electoral College votes on January 6.
I have no doubt -- "I have no doubt that Mark was aware that our office position was that the Vice President did not have extraordinary powers and that instead, we interpreted the constitutional role of the vice president as pretty straightforward. But Meadows still, even despite this, he still forwarded a memo outlining that plan from the Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, and according to Short, asked that the memo be shared with the Vice President." And of course, as we know from the text that Mark Meadows shared with the January 6 Committee, he loved that plan.
Michael Kranish is a national political investigative reporter with The Washington Post, who has chronicled ways of how high level Republicans actually worked and tried to keep Donald Trump in power. He joins me now.
Michael, I can`t think of a better person to talk to about this. Talk to me about the executive branch sources that you`ve been speaking to and what they have told you about the reaction to Meadows seemingly being so dedicated to election fraud conspiracy theories.
MICHAEL KRANISH, NATIONAL POLITICAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, thanks for having me. You know, if you give Mark Meadows the benefit of the doubt, you say, OK, everything between Election Day and December 14, when the states made their certification on the election of Joe Biden, you can give that aside.
But what I focused on in the story really was that three weeks after that December 14 date. That`s when Mitch McConnell called Joe Biden to congratulate them on winning the presidency. And you see after that, that Mark Meadows is playing a very instrumental role in promoting these theories and encouraging that there`d be all sorts of ways that you look at how you might go ahead and overturn the results in six key states.
So, I document that, you know, almost day by day as I tried to do go back with emails, the texts, recent court filings. Just a couple of weeks ago, there was one -- two weeks ago in which Mark Meadows on the morning of January 6 responded to a congressman who texted him about having been somehow not certify certain results, saying that he`s pushed that.
So, you have for Meadows`s own words how we did try to push in these final days to keep Trump in power.
MOHYELDIN: You know, I don`t want to ask you to reveal any your sources, obviously, but how willing are people to talk to you for these stories? I mean, do you see any kind of stonewalling or perhaps even an overlap with what we`re seeing planned with the January 6 Committee.
KRANISH: Well, as often happens in these stories, a lot of people don`t want to go on the record. I do quote some people like you put on the screen there who were on the record, and I encouraged them to do that. But there`s also in the filing of two weeks ago, there were new depositions, hundreds of pages, that gave us new insights, I think, into what Mark Meadows did.
So, there has been this release of text messages in various reports and media reports and elsewhere. But putting that together with the depositions from, for example, the Acting Attorney General, the Deputy Acting Attorney General, and other officials, who saw some of this, you really get a better sense, I think, putting together reporting and other documents over the last year as to Meadows actual role.
So, for example, Meadows met with Trump and Republicans who are pushing this idea of overturning the election. And after that meeting, he tweeted, on the same day that William Barr, the Attorney General was resigning, and it said for the second time, there`s no evidence of fraud that would overturn the election, Meadows had this meeting and then he tweeted that they were looking at mounting evidence of voter fraud.
So, you had on the one hand, William Barr, saying there`s not evidence to overturn an election. And at the same day, Mark Meadows tweeting, mounting evidence of voter fraud. And the next day, he goes to Georgia to meet with Georgia election officials where they`re going over absentee ballots with the idea that Trump wanted to talk to those election officials about, in effect, overturning the results here in Georgia.
MOHYELDIN: Absolutely incredible. We`re going to see. Of course, obviously, the big question today is whether or not that actually produces any kind of legal indictments against the former president for what he tried to do in Georgia. Michael Kranish, thank you so much. I greatly appreciate your insights and reporting.
Congressman Ruben Gallego is a Democrat of Arizona. He has spoken out and about his experience on the floor of the house during the siege on January 6. He joins me now. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us and making time for us this evening. First of all, what is your reaction as you learn about high-level Republicans, as we just heard there, somebody like Mark Meadows, attempting to keep Donald Trump in power despite the fact that it became overwhelmingly clear there was no fraud and that the President had lost the election.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Well, number one, I mean, it tells you what kind of little man that Mark Meadows is that he`s willing to destroy this democracy for such an amoral person as Donald Trump and his followers. The fact that you`re willing to throw away this, you know, great culture that we have, this democracy, the history of democracy for someone like Donald Trump, it shows you what a low human being you are.
And really, it also tells you another problem. Like, Mark Meadows has always been a problem. He had -- you know, he was one of the original, you know, birthers when it was, you know, accusing Barack Obama of not being born poor in the United States. And, you know, I got to say, D.C., the media that kind of just kept on accepting him as being some kind of normal politician. So, we shouldn`t be surprised, though, that if we accepted him as a birther, we didn`t really ostracize him for that, that he didn`t think that, you know, taking one step further and actually try and destroy democracy, there would be no repercussions to it.
So, it really is upon really the whole D.C. media, the whole D.C. culture that, you know, Mark Meadows felt that he could do this. And we should really learn from our mistakes. I would not be surprised to see Mark Meadows and a bunch of, you know, boards and commissions the next couple years to find him some Fortune 500 -- you know, some fortune 500 boards, getting his little salaries here and there, and everyone`s going to pretend like nothing really happened.
And that`s why this continues because we allow this -- we normalize this type of behavior. But what Mark Meadows did was wrong. It was treacherous. It was a betrayal to this country. And literally, I do believe he should be in jail right now. He should be in jail for a long last time.
MOHYELDIN: You served with Mark Meadows in Congress for a few years before he became the White House Chief of Staff. You`ve seen his evolution, if you will. How does the behavior we have seen through his text messages and this reporting track for you with the man that you know when he served in Congress?
GALLEGO: There was no evolution. I think the press had an evolution believing that somehow when he became a chief of staff, he rose to the occasion. He never rose to the occasion. He was always a pretty foul human being. If you understand what he was voting for, what he was trying to destroy when he was in Congress, there`s nothing that should surprise you about that.
But because -- but because we get into this like Washington D.C. bubble where we believe somehow someone who gets a title they become better, we -- you know, I think a lot of people are making mistakes for him -- or making mistake, making excuses for him.
Mark Meadows is a horrible human being he has been a horrible human being since he was in Congress. And he continue to be a horrible human being and a horrible, you know, American when he was Chief of Staff to the -- to the President. So, don`t be surprised. Don`t be surprised by any type of, you know, attempts to rehabilitate his persona. But he`s always been this person.
Again, the person that was trying to spread the rumors that the President was not born in the United States, we should not be surprised that later he`s also trying to overthrow, you know, this country. And again, I`m sure I`ll see him at some point in one of the D.C. circuits because as it always happens, somehow these people just get allowed back in and they normalize that behavior.
MOHYELDIN: Let me get your thoughts really quickly, Congressman, about what we heard there from Mark Esper, another person who served under President Trump. And as you see now trying to sell his book promote his book, but also revealing some very dangerous revelations about what the President considered, deliberated, discussed to do not just against the protests, but against our adversaries, and more troublingly, against our allies, like a country such as Mexico. What do you make of this revelation, its timing of it, and just how profoundly troubling it is.
GALLEGO: Well, number one, it tells you how stupid Donald Trump is. How did he think a rocket was going to land in Mexico and Mexico and the rest of world not be able to attribute it to the United States. There`s only a couple of countries in North America that actually have rocket capabilities. And it`s U.S. and Canada. And I doubt Cuba would actually get involved in something like this. So, it`s -- it just tells you how profoundly stupid the Trump people are that they even consider this.
Number two, it also tells you how they`re willing to just break all norms altogether, whether it is firing, you know, a missile into another country that is aligned with us, or trying to shoot innocent, you know, protesters using American U.S. forces. They are so profoundly corrupt. And they`re not really more to any type of, you know, any type of idea of what this country should be that it makes them extremely dangerous.
And it really tells you how dangerous it is that if they get back in power, right, a lot of things they weren`t able to accomplish because they weren`t smart enough and they just didn`t have an experience. And they actually had a lot of people that were layered they`re stopping them from doing a lot of their abuses.
If they get back into power, they actually know exactly what`s going to do next. And what we know of fundamentally as the United States is going to absolutely change. You can -- these people are not going to shame. Trump is going to be even more corrupt, more amoral, and more dangerous should he get back in power.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, I`m so glad you brought that point up because I just noted it a short while ago saying, you know, the most dangerous threat to America was the man who led it for four years. And he is by all accounts the front runner for the GOP nomination in 2024. So, that should tell you where the Republican Party is and unfortunately where America is in this moment of history.
Congressman Ruben Gallego, you did not mince your words tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. I greatly appreciate your insights.
Still to come, Former Attorney General Eric Holder now says Donald Trump should be indicted. The question is, given everything that we have learned will Merrick Garland come to the same conclusion. The DOJ investigation into Donald Trump after this.
MOHYELDIN: All right, so the January 6 Committee has interviewed nearly 1000 people as a part of its far-ranging investigation. But so far they have not called Donald Trump or Mike Pence to testify even though Trump pressured Pence for up to two weeks to overturn the election as we`ve learned.
In April, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said the panel has been able to validate a lot of the statements attributed to both Trump and Pence without their testimony. We can likely expect a final decision about those two interviews later this month with public hearings slated to begin in June.
Yesterday, the former Attorney General under President Barack Obama, Eric Holder, who will be live on a 10:00 p.m. with my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell, was actually asked about the Department of Justice`s apparent silence on whether it will go after Trump in some way. And Holder changed course and said that the ex-President, in fact, should be held accountable.
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HOLDER: I have great faith in Merrick and the people at the Justice Department. We won`t really know how aggressive they have been until they are before a camera and announcing a decision either to indict certain people or not indict certain people. Here`s my prediction. At some point, people at the Justice Department, perhaps that prosecutor in Atlanta, are going to have to make a determination about whether or not they want to indict Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What she`s doing?
HOLDER: Well, I think there`s going to be sufficient factual information and I think that there`s going to be sufficient proof of intent. And then the question becomes what`s the impact of such an indictment? I`m an institutionalist. My initial thought was not to indict the former president out of concern of what -- how divisive it would be. But given what we have learned, I think that he probably has to be held accountable.
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MOHYELDIN: Sufficient proof of intent. Barbara McQuade served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She joins me now. Barbara, it`s great to see you. So, you know, a lot of people out there are looking at the same information that you and I and Eric Holder are seeing. We may not be able to analyze it the way that brilliant legal minds like yourself and the Attorney General can.
So, looking at what the Department of Justice has so far, what do you see that might have tipped former Attorney General Eric Holder over to this prosecutorial position? Because for me, he said sufficient proof of intent, and I would love to know which piece of evidence he sees that gives him that confidence.
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I don`t know which particular piece of evidence but my guess is, it really has been mounting in recent months. You know, we all have known specifically what Donald Trump did when he was trying to pressure Mike Pence and gather all these people to -- with these alternate slates of electors and things like that.
But the key and the hardest part of many cases is proving intent. You have to show that Donald Trump knew that he lost the election, that he knew there was no fraud. But there now is it really enormous amount of evidence on this. We know his own cybersecurity director issued a statement that there was no fraud. William Barr, the Attorney General said there was no widespread fraud. All of his successors that the Justice Department who threatened to resign over this issue said there was no fraud.
We know that Secretary of State of Georgia Raffensperger told him there was no fraud. His own Director of National Intelligence told him there was no fraud. And more than 60, judges told him that there`s no fraud. And in fact, the judge who suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani said, in fact, there was not even a scintilla of evidence of fraud. They just made it up.
And so in the face of that, at some point, you have to believe that Donald Trump knew there was no fraud. There`s an instruction in the law that juries get about willful blindness. And that is, you can`t avoid the problem -- the high probability of a fact just by pretending it doesn`t exist. So, I think some combination of those factors is likely what has caused him to changes his view and believe that there`s sufficient intent evidence.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. So, basically, you`re saying like, you can`t just play dumb and say, I didn`t know despite the fact that almost everybody in your orbit, and as the president of the United States, officials that you`re hearing from statements online, agencies that report to you are all saying, and even the FBI, all saying, William Barr and others saying there is no fraud, right? You can`t just play dumb and say you didn`t know.
MCQUADE: Right. That`s that whole concept of willful blindness. So, at some point, you know, you can say I believe the Earth is flat, but if people are telling you it`s round, and you`ve seen pictures from outer space, that it`s round, and the science -- scientific data is there that it`s round, at some point, people say, you know, it`s not flat. We all know it. You may want to pretend it is, but there`s just too much evidence to the contrary. So, I think that`s the argument.
And at some point, the scales are tipped. And I think, for Eric Holder, for me, it`s there. The thing that could take longer to investigate is one of the things -- you know, people say, well, so what`s taking them so long? Why is it takes so long? The Justice Department will also want to explore if the negative can be proved, right? Because Donald Trump would likely put on a vigorous defense, is there some alternative explanation? Are there some witnesses who would give evidence that tend to show he did not believe?
So, what they need to do is talk to everybody who had information about that, to pin down whether there`s any possible negative out there that would tend to negate this. You know, in the public, I don`t think we`ve seen it. But that`s why you need to be able to make sure you can prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt unanimously to 12 people that you choose from, you know, the streets of Washington.
So, if you`ve got one or two strong stalwart Trump supporters there, you`ve got to be able to convince them too.
MOHYELDIN: So, you know, you bring up an interesting point about all the people they`ve spoken to, and they`re trying to hear from. The Department of Justice has secured more than 250 guilty pleas, several convictions, all of them related to January 6. Is there one that might help in any prosecution of Donald Trump? Is there someone that you would look at and say, this has some way brings this crime that they pled guilty to or were convicted of closer to the White House?
MCQUADE: They`re working their way up. You know, just as Merrick Garland said on January 5, the way the Department of Justice works is we charged the people right in front of us where we can see their crimes. And then we build a case by using them and cooperating and finding more information.
And so, to date, we`ve had two members of the Oath Keepers pled guilty to seditious conspiracy and agreed to cooperate. And we know that one of them, Joshua James, was actually at the Willard Hotel with Roger Stone on January 6. And so, I think by talking to some of these people, you may be able to connect them up to some of the things that were happening with that group that storm the Capitol.
But I think even if you can`t connect Donald Trump directly to that group, you can still prove conspiracy to defraud the United States, or conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding just by showing his efforts to put pressure on Mike Pence so long as you can prove intent. And I believe that what`s already in the public domain is sufficient.
MOHYELDIN: All right, Barbara McQuade breaking it down for us this this evening. Barbara, thank you as always. I greatly appreciate your insights.
Coming up, as the U.S. announces another aid package for Ukraine, has the goal of the Biden administration shifted from simply stopping the invasion and going beyond that. The signs of mission creep after this?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think we`ve been pretty clear that we`re going to do everything possible to make sure President Putin and Russia recognize this as a strategic loss, that the President is a pariah on the global stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the most important mission right now is to do whatever is necessary to provide the weapons to the Ukrainians so that they can stop the Russian advance in Donbas. If they can successfully stop that advance, that will be another defeat for the Russians and a real signal to Putin that it`s time to leave.
REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): And we`re not just at war to support the Ukrainians, we`re fundamentally at war, although it`s somewhat through a proxy with Russia, and it`s important that we win.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Putin must go. If Putin still standing after all this, then the world is going to be a very dark place.
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MOHYELDIN: All right, so ever since Russia invaded Ukraine 74 days ago, the United States has provided billions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine. It continues to do so including more than 5500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, over 700 switchblade drones, 90 long range weapons known as howitzers, and 183,000 rounds to go along with them, and over 50 million rounds of small arms ammunition.
But as we are hearing more and more, it sounds like some people believe America`s mission is not just to protect Ukraine sovereignty, rather, it is a proxy war to ultimately put Russia on its back legs and perhaps even drive Vladimir Putin out of power. So, the question is, are the U.S. objective the same as they were back in February or are we starting to see some sort of mission creep.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia is a member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. He joins me now. Senator, it`s great to see you again. Thank you for making time for us this evening.
So, you`re privileged to a lot more information than I certainly am. You see things differently than I do. Are we in a proxy war with Russia right now? And how should Americans think about our involvement in that war?
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Ayman, we`re not in a war with Russia. We have no designs on Russia. We wouldn`t have invaded Russia. Putin is lying about all of this. But we do want to protect Ukraine sovereign democracy from an illegal invasion conducted by a war criminal. And so, we and our allies, not just NATO allies, but democracies that care about the rule of law, are trying to help Ukraine repel this invasion, and maintain their sovereignty.
And if Russia calls out, then we`re happy and they can go figure it out within Russia themselves. But we`re in this to stopping illegal invasion.
MOHYELDIN: So, is there a danger of the U.S. getting drawn into a bigger conflict if we try to do more than just help Ukraine protect itself? There is obviously the reporting that you know, U.S. intelligence is being used by the Ukrainians in a very effective way that is leading to direct consequences to both Russian lives, Russian military assets inside of Ukraine, perhaps even outside, the question then becomes what if Russia interprets that as directs U.S. involvement? Is there that threat?
KAINE: There are risks there, Ayman, certainly. And you know, like, people ask the question, will this provoke Putin? The guy was born provoked. So, I mean, I`m not sure that anything we do is a provocation. Again, we have no designs on Russia, no interest in any incursions into Russia. You guys run your own country and do what you want. But when you decide that you want to invade another country and violate their sovereignty and lie about it and commit war crimes and claim that one of the few nations in the world with a Jewish president is rife with Nazis, if you`re going to do that, we`re going to stick up for a democracy that wants to be even more democratic.
And it`s not just the U.S. sticking up for Ukraine. It`s other NATO allies and countries that have never been in NATO like Sweden and Finland, and countries that always sit on the sidelines like Switzerland. Many, many nations are realizing that the Russian illegal invasion and the war crimes they`re committing have to have a deep and consequential response. And I give credit to the Biden administration for enabling so many nations to link arms and do that.
MOHYELDIN: Senator, while I have you, I`d like to switch gears for a moment if I may and talk to you about another big story this week, obviously. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer officially saying that the Senate will vote Wednesday on legislation to codify broad abortion rights protections in this country.
It seems that legislation will not pass because it does not have enough Republican support. It certainly would not pass even if Democrats got rid of the filibuster. What can the Senate Democrats specifically do to protect abortion rights? What do you want to see the President and your party do?
KAINE: Ayman, beginning in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court in the -- in the case of Meyer versus Nebraska, started to say that look, due process that`s guaranteed to all Americans in the 14th Amendment, which might be the powerhouse amendment the Constitution, due process includes giving people rights to make personal decisions in their intimate lives and relationships without unnecessary government interference. And there`s been 100 years of cases basically laying that principle out.
The leak last week suggested that some on the Supreme Court want to throw that overboard. But in Congress, we shouldn`t throw it overboard because a century of Americans have grown more and more accustomed to living their lives making personal decisions about relationships, pregnancy, reproduction, who they`re going to marry who they can have relationships with without government needlessly intruding.
The vote we`re going to have Wednesday is going to be a really historic vote, trying to codify for the first time a federal statute protecting people`s right to make their intimate decisions without unnecessary government interference. You`re right. It`s likely to go down because we won`t have sufficient Republican support but we`re not giving up on this.
We`re going to do what we can to protect people`s rights to make their own decisions about contraception, about carrying a pregnancy to term or terminating a pregnancy. And this is not going to end on Wednesday.
MOHYELDIN: Senator, we`re almost out of time, but I do want to just ask you really quickly. Do you believe the members of the Supreme Court that justices based on this leaked memo misled the Congress when they testified under oath that they believed Roe versus Wade was either settled law of the land or that Americans had a right to privacy and that this was not going to be something they were prepared to overturn? Lied or misled?
KAINE: Yes, no, I think they misled. In the past, it`s not unusual for a justice with life tenure to do things that surprised the people that put them on the court. But I think what we`re seeing now is a little bit different. People looking the Judiciary Committee (AUDIO GAP) and telling them one thing but doing something else.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, it is a troubling trend if that continues. Senator Tim Kaine, I greatly appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us this evening.
Coming up, what can individual states do to protect reproductive rights in a post Roe America? The Republican governors who seem eager to criminalize abortion and the Democrats fighting back just ahead.
MOHYELDIN: Just moments ago, demonstrators held a protest and candlelight vigil outside the house of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the author of that leaked draft decision overturning Roe versus Wade. This protest falls demonstrations over the weekend when 100 people showed up at the house of Alito`s fellow conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is also expected to vote to overturn Roe.
But even as these activists are doing their best to stand up for their fundamental rights, some Republican governors are practically gleeful at the prospect of taking them away from millions, including in some cases, survivors of rape and incest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, CNN: Why is it acceptable in your state to force girls who are victims of incest to carry those child -- children to term?
GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): When you look at the number of those that actually are involved, incest is less than one percent. And if we need to have that conversation in the future about potential --
TAPPER: This is your law.
REEVES: -- exceptions options in the trigger law, we can certainly do that. But the reality is that again, that affects less than one percent of all abortions in America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you say to those women who seek an abortion, who don`t have the money to travel, who don`t have the money to raise a child? What would you say to them?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Well, first of all, again, that`s where your heart goes out to them. I`ve had to deal with those very difficult circumstances of rape and incest as governor. And it`s difficult.
REEVES: At the end of the day, there is no right to an abortion in the United States Constitution.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: You`ve just said that you believe life begins at conception. If there is legislation brought to you to ban contraception, would you sign it?
REEVESa: Well, I don`t think that`s going to happen in Mississippi. I`m sure they`ll have those conversations in other states.
TODD: You`re not answering the question.
REEVES: As is always the case with -- well, that`s always the case. There`s so many things that we can talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: So, with all of these threats to abortion rights, and as you just heard there, potentially contraceptive rights as well, some Democrats are mobilizing at the state and local level to try and make sure those rights are protected. We`re going to have more on that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Politicians do not belong in our doctor`s offices, they don`t belong in our bedrooms, and they should not be making these kinds of decisions on behalf of the American public and on behalf of women across America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right, so just before the break, we were saying that there are over a dozen states in the U.S. that already have abortion bans and restrictions that are currently on the books that will automatically go into effect if Roe versus Wade is overturned, which it appears the Supreme Court is poised to do later this summer.
In anticipation of this, some Democrat attorneys general across the country are actually taking matters into their own hands and are fighting back. They are not waiting for that decision. Dana Nessel is the Democratic Attorney General from Michigan. Josh Kaul is the Democratic Attorney General from Wisconsin. They both join me now.
It`s great to have both of you with us on this timely conversation. Both of you have said that you would not enforce abortion bans that are on the books in your states. Josh, let me start with you. What does it mean to not enforce the ban? What exactly happens in this case?
JOSHUA KAUL, WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: In Wisconsin, we have a band on the books that goes back to 1849. And it`s been dormant for almost 50 years, two generations. If Roe is struck down, there`s going to be a lot of litigation in my state over what the state of the law even is.
But I take the position that regardless of what happens with those court decisions, the resources of our State Department of Justice are far better used investigating and prosecuting serious offenses, and that there is no reason to use those resources instead to infringe on fundamental reproductive freedom by investigating or prosecuting cases under an abortion ban that is over 170 years old.
MOHYELDIN: In Michigan, Dana, your governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has actually sued to vacate your state`s ban. Explain to us what that means. Do you think that this is a course of action that other states could take and should take?
NESSEL: Well, we`re you know, suing -- and when I say we, my attorneys are representing the governor. And our -- you know, our theory is that our constitution under the Michigan Constitution under the Equal Protection Clause, under the Due Process Clause, the rights of women in our state are protected, and that this is a fundamental right, even under our state constitution, even if the United States Supreme Court does not agree any longer that it should be protected under the federal constitution.
So, our hope is that there will be some sort of a preliminary injunction or restraining order that goes into effect as soon as the Dobbs decision comes down, assuming that it`ll be the same majority opinion that strikes down Roe, so that we won`t have abortion care that is ceased immediately, which would otherwise be the case, and that our Supreme Court will, upon further evaluation, hopefully decide that we have protections under our own constitution.
Otherwise, we have a petition drive, and hopefully that`ll make the ballot and will enshrine into our Constitution abortion rights, but that won`t happen until November.
MOHYELDIN: One of the scenarios that is envisioned if Roe is overturned is that states, perhaps those, you know, that are fighting this will become like sanctuary states where people can cross state lines to get abortions. Josh, I`m wondering, are there legal risks for those people if they cross over from a state that bans it, potentially to a state that allows it, and then return to their home state where it is illegal?
KAUL: They will be in totally uncharted territory because we`re talking about laws in the case of my state that were passed over 170 years ago. And so there was no conception at the time of things like medication abortion or interstate travel to obtain access to reproductive health care.
Now, there has been discussion about doctors perhaps setting up clinics just across the Wisconsin-Illinois border if necessary. But we also have to bear in mind that that state legislatures and governors in a lot of states are trying to take actions to prevent folks from getting around these restrictive bans.
And so, the bottom line is that if Roe is overturned, there`s going to be a dramatic rollback in access to reproductive health care, and the health and the safety of women in our state and in states around the country is going to be seriously in danger.
MOHYELDIN: And Dana, I wanted to get your thoughts on the legal argument made here by Justice Sam Alito in that leaked draft opinion reversing Roe versus Wade. he writes, the Constitution makes no Express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, and therefore those who claim that it protects such a right must show that the right is somehow implicit in the constitutional text. Roe held that the abortion right, which is not mentioned in the Constitution is part of a right to privacy, which is also not mentioned.
And I think that has a lot of legal minds wondering, you know, there are a lot of things that are not mentioned in the Constitution. But legally speaking, what do you make of the argument that Samuel Alito is putting forward here that if it`s not mentioned in the Constitution, in the text of the Constitution, it is therefore, you know, unexplainable.
NESSEL: It`s a means to an end, that`s all it is. The majority knew that they wanted to overturn Roe. They have very right wing radicalized beliefs about whether or not women should have control over their own bodies and bodily autonomy. These are -- you know, let`s be frank about this, this isn`t really just about abortion. And as you played in your earlier clip about the Mississippi Governor, we know where this is going.
I mean, this is also going to go into birth control. And we`re going to see a number of other significant cases that are likely to be overturned in the near future. Because, you know, if you`re saying anything that`s not in the Constitution is not protected, well, then certainly birth control is protected. That`s not in the Constitution. Same-sex marriage is education, miscegenation, you know, interracial marriage. I mean, the list goes on and on.
But there -- I mean, theoretically, to that end, desegregation of public schools is not in the constitution. So, you know, let`s be honest about what they`re trying to do here. They`re trying to regulate women`s bodies, and that`s what they`ve wanted to do from the very beginning. And that`s the path that they`ve charted. This has nothing to do with constitutional purity.
And that`s why I think people like myself, and like A.G. Kaul are doing everything we can to fight back to protect women in our individual states.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. And I think as Attorney General Kaul was saying there, this is uncharted territory if in fact this does go through. Attorneys General Josh Kaul and Dana Nessel, thank you both very much for making time for us tonight. I greatly appreciate your insights.
That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.