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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 6/17/22

Guests: Katie Benner, Ilhan Omar, Al Franken, Maggie Toulouse Oliver


The January 6 Committee may share transcripts with the Justice Department as soon as July. Attorney General Merrick Garland says the January 6 prosecutors are watching all of the January 6 Committee hearings. The Washington Post reported that the January 6 Committee has obtained emails between Eastman and Ginni Thomas which show that Thomas` efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known. The Washington Post reports "Senator Ted Cruz`s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol".


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Now, in addition to that tea and my old hairstyle, this special also includes Nikole Hannah-Jones, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, comedian Robin Thede, and the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, plus many, many more. Join me and Tiffany Cross for The Culture is Black Women, Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC and streaming on Peacock.

And that`s it. That is tonight`s "REIDOUT." Happy Juneteenth Weekend, everybody. ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): The Proud Boys would have killed Mike Pence if given a chance.

HASAN: How close the dangerous mob got to the Vice President on January 6 thanks to the President himself. Will Donald Trump face any criminal charges for inciting the mob? And if so, when?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We are not going to stop what we`re doing to share the information that we`ve gotten so far with the Department of Justice.

HASAN: Tonight, the latest on the back and forth between the 1/6 Committee and the Justice Department, the connection between the coup plotters and the Supreme Court, and the alleged complicity of certain members of Congress including the senator from Cancun.

Then, the Republican governor found vacationing in Europe while his state deals with historic flooding.

And we`ll talk New Mexico where they`re experiencing the rather disturbing real-life on the ground consequences of the big lie.

COUY GRIFFIN, OTERO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: I still believe our elections are fraudulent. I believe that we already have enough evidence.

HASAN: When ALL IN starts right now.


HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington DC. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. The attempted coup that took place on January 6, 2021 infected all three branches of government. Tonight, we`re going to talk about how members of each branch are culpable for or complicit in the insurrection and how none of them have so far been held to account. And we begin tonight with the executive. We have now seen three public hearings from the January 6 Committee revealing all sorts of incriminating details about how the ex- president and his allies plotted and incited the coup.

And that has a lot of people wondering, where is the Department of Justice? They are the ones with the authority to actually bring criminal charges. Well, we do know that they have been engaged in a behind-the-scenes fight with the 1/6 Committee over access to transcripts of the committee`s witness interviews. And today, we learned that the committee could start sharing those transcripts with the DOJ as soon as next month.

The New York Times reports that negotiations between Justice Department officials and the House panel have intensified in recent days as the two sides wrangle over the timing and content of the material to be turned over. That comes as DOJ officials "are growing increasingly impatient to obtain the transcripts which they see as an essential source of information needed to guide their own interviews with former President Trump`s allies.

Earlier this week, the DOJ sent this letter to the committee renewing their request for the transcripts. They claimed that the interviews are not just potentially relevant to our overall criminal investigations but are likely relevant to specific prosecutions that have already commenced. And they allege that the committee`s failure to turn over the documents "complicates the department`s ability to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct in relation to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Yesterday, Chairman Bennie Thompson defended the Committee`s decision to withhold the transcripts for now.


THOMPSON: But we are in the midst of conducting our hearings. We have a program to get over we have to get the facts and circumstances behind January 6. We will work with them but we have a report to do. We are not going to stop what we`re doing to share the information that we`ve gotten so far with the Department of Justice, we have to do our work.


HASAN: That lines up with the reported timing that the handover could take place as soon as July. But the committee has other concerns as well. The Times reports that they are still interviewing witnesses and hope the high- profile hearings will prompt more to come forward and they are concerned that some people might be reluctant to testify if they know their statements will be quickly shared with prosecutors. There are also logistical challenges. "The Committee has conducted more than 1000 interviews and accommodating the DOJ`s request would require a diversion of labor on a staff that has already exhausted and overstretched. Some members have also reportedly been frustrated by the Justice Department`s refusal thus far to share information and interviews the committee has requested."

Now, on the one hand, this fight over the transcripts is a good sign, especially for those of us who were concerned that the DOJ was not doing much to investigate the coup plot. If they want these documents, they must be seriously looking at bringing charges. But let`s not forget that they already inexplicably declined to prosecute Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino for refusing to cooperate with the committee. And it does beg the question, how much is the DOJ relying on the committee`s investigation as opposed to doing their own work?


We do know that Attorney General Merrick Garland and the January 6 prosecutors at the DOJ are closely watching the committee, which is a good thing because it does not matter how many millions of other people watch the hearings, they are ultimately for an audience of one, the Attorney General, the man who can decide whether or not to bring charges against Donald Trump and his allies for their roles in the coup.

And as the committee has been making the case, the open question is what could Trump be charged with? former federal prosecutor Harry Litman suggested an outside-the-box possibility after hearing the evidence presented at yesterday`s hearing. "Not clear if you can convict him of attempted murder of the Vice President, but not clear you couldn`t. This has to be the darkest moment in presidential history."

Yesterday`s hearing included a lot of new revelations about just how close Vice President Pence was to danger on January 6. The Committee described how at one point during his evacuation to a secure location, Pence was just 40 feet away from the mob. And Congressman Pete Aguilar revealed new information about what the far-right extremists in that mob intended to do.


AGUILAR: A recent court filing by the Department of Justice explains that a confidential informant from the Proud Boys told the FBI, the Proud Boys would have killed Mike Pence if given a chance.


HASAN: The Committee also confirmed that Donald Trump knew the Capitol had been breached when he sent a tweet condemning Mike Pence for not having the "courage to do what needed to be done." And the committee showed video evidence of how the crowd reacted to Trump`s message.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right. You`ve heard it here first. Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck you, Mike Pence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence has betrayed this President and he has betrayed the people of the United States and we will never, ever forget.


HASAN: So Donald Trump knew that Mike Pence was in danger when he sent that inflammatory tweet intended to further rile up the crowd. One of his own aides described it as pouring gasoline on the fire. And all of these new details totally rebut the narrative that the right has been pushing for a year and a half that these were peaceful protesters who got carried away and just did a little trespassing, not major criminals or domestic terrorists. No, the vice president could have been killed, as well as multiple members of Congress. One of whom, Ilhan Omar, I`ll speak to in just a moment.

Look, Donald Trump incited the group that by their own admission would have carried out deadly violence have they been given the chance? So, frankly, I don`t care whether Merrick Garland is watching these hearings live or just binging them all in one go? I just hope he`s paying close attention to what is coming out of them.

Katie Benner covers the Department of Justice for the New York Times. She has been reporting on the January 6 Committee and she joins me now. Thank you so much for joining me on the show this evening. The January 6 Committee is now cooperating with the DOJ and yet your colleagues at the Times reported that "Democrats on the committee was stunned by the confrontational tone of the letter from the Justice Department and believed that the negotiations had been proceeding amicably after some initial public sniping, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Katie, why is this all happening out in the open? Isn`t that unusual for the DOJ?

KATIE BENNER, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It`s unusual for the Justice Department. But keep in mind, the committee itself has been pressuring the department. We`ve seen members of the panel come out and publicly say we want the department to bring charges against Donald Trump. We want the department to bring charges against members of Trump`s inner circle. That has been publicly happening.

And so what the Justice Department`s been saying behind the scenes is, if you do want us, in fact, to bring those charges, we cannot bring charges unless we have all the available evidence, which in this case does include the witness interviews that you`ve conducted. So, for example, the Justice Department would need to know what the witnesses have told the committee because, for example, if they tell the committee one thing, and they tell the Justice Department something else and DOJ does not know that, that actually takes off the table a really specific charge, lying to the federal government. That would be an easy charge to make against somebody close to Trump`s inner circle.

But you can`t make any charge unless you have all of the evidence. And if the committee is not going to give the evidence to the Justice Department, I don`t think we could expect any kinds of charges until that happened.

HASAN: Does the DOJ`s keen interest to the point of writing these letters and getting annoyed in the witness statements, does it kind of put to bed the criticism from a lot in the Democratic Party. A lot of people I`m sure watching at home tonight that the DOJ doesn`t seem to be interested in prosecuting Trump and his cabal.

BENNER: Well, I think that we had evidence before this that the Justice Department`s very interested in investigating all of the people who had any sort of relationship to the attack on January 6 or any of the planning that led up to it. We`ve reported that the January -- that the January 6 investigation at the Justice Department includes a strong look at the lawyers involved in the plan to have Mike Pence tried to decertify the election, the plan to submit fake slates of electors to Congress and to the National Archives, falsely stating that Trump had won, and the plan -- and the -- you know, the planning of the rally itself.

And so, those things have started to already creep out into the open weeks and weeks before we saw this back and forth about the transcripts.


HASAN: Katie, do you have a sense of how much the DOJ and the 1/6 Committee understand how crucial it is to move ultra-quick here, because if/when Republicans win the house in November, they`re just going to shut down the January 6 Committee as soon as possible. And then they`re going to go after Attorney General Garland too, aren`t they?

BENNER: Well, so there`s a difference here. You`re right that when the Republicans do in the House, if they win the House, that they would shut down the January 6 Committee, but investigations do not end with the change in political parties. A great example of this I think it`s a Hunter Biden investigation. It began under the Obama administration. It continued through the Trump administration. It is continuing through the Biden administration. That`s three different presidential administrations and multiple attorneys general.

So, career prosecutors don`t end their work just because of a change in party in Congress. So I don`t think that`s as much of a concern for A.G. Garland. Even if A.G. Garland were to be removed, which I think is highly unlikely, the investigation would still continue. It`s in the hands of career prosecutors.

You`re right, though about the January 6 Committee had been very conscientious about this. And they said that`s why they want to move with all speed and they want to have report out before the Midterms.

HASAN: Very good points. Katie Benner, I appreciate your analysis and reporting. Thank you.

BENNER: Thank you.

HASAN: One of the people`s -- one of the lives that was undoubtedly threatened by violent rioters storming the Capitol looking for members of Congress was Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and an outspoken member of the "Squad" who has become a kind of hate figure for the MAGA folks, and she joins me now.

Congressman, thanks for coming on the show this evening. Along with Speaker Pelosi --

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): Thank you for having me.

HASAN: -- you also had heightened security on January 6 because of all the many threats against you. The Committee quoted rioters saying they would have killed members of Congress. What is it like for someone like yourself to hear that said out loud on TV?

OMAR: It`s terrifying. And I just have to say I`m really grateful for the Capitol Police officers who are on my detail who ushered me out of that building before the insurrectionists were able to get to us and for actually removing me from the premises and taking me to a safe place with the leaders of both the Senate and the House.

I remember distinctively seeing the look of fear in all of the congressional leaders. I remember, you know, what McCarthy`s face look like, what Mitch McConnell`s face look like. I remember Scalise`s face. These were people who understood the gravity of what was happening. They were literally afraid for their lives and for our country. And to see them now change their tone and downplay the insurrection and the likelihood of us being in danger when they understood the imminent danger we were under, it`s shocking to me but it`s not surprising because to them, everything is political. They will put their politics before our country.

HASAN: Shocking but not surprising. Well put. Talking of putting politics before country, The Committee released surveillance footage of a man who marched on the Capitol and showed that he was also on a tour with GOP Congressman Barry Loudermilk of Georgia the day before this rioter threatened Speaker Pelosi and Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez by name. How does it feel knowing that your congressional colleague gave him a tour and then denied it for the past year?

OMAR: Yes, I mean, it`s it to me it sounds criminal to continue to say, one, you didn`t give a tour and deny the whole thing ever happening when you realize the video evidence was coming out, then to say, you know, you didn`t give a tour that was problematic. And then when we see that the tour that he gave was problematic, because people were taking photos of areas that no tourist is interested in, it`s really scary. And I feel like there needs to be some accountability for his actions and I hope the committee is investigating him.

HASAN: Yes. Loudermilk`s defense is that it wasn`t a tour. These were visiting constituents and he was taking them to the gift shop and all sorts of other nonsensical arguments. He has a chance to speak to the committee but hasn`t done so.

Today, Congressman, we learned from a plea agreement that on January 6 rioter Mark Mazza was armed with a "45 caliber Taurus revolver that can fire both shotgun shells and regular bullets through the barrel." The gun was also loaded. Doesn`t this finally dispel the right-wing myth pushed by Tucker Carlson on Fox just the other night that no one showed up with guns at an insurrection?


OMAR: It does. We also haven`t gotten to the bottom of the pipe bombs that were there. I remember as the Capitol Police was escorting me in a car that was armored, I remember hearing on the radio on the police -- Capitol Police radio them talking about potential snipers that were out there. We are going to learn a lot more that is going to confirm the real fears that existed for members of Congress and just how close our country was to have a revolution that would have really ended the kind of democracy that we have grown to love and the world has revered.

HASAN: It`s amazing that the country has just stopped talking about the pipe bomber still wondering out there. Congressman, stick around, please, because I want to ask you after the break about Ginni Thomas and what her support for a coup means considering that her husband sits on the Supreme Court. I know you have a strong view on what should happen to him. That`s coming up next. Don`t go away.




GREG JACOB, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: We had an extended discussion an hour and a half to two hours on January 5. And when I pressed him on the point, I said, John, if the Vice President did what you were asking him to do, we would lose nine to nothing and the Supreme Court, wouldn`t we. And he initially started, well, I think maybe he would lose only seven to two. And after some further discussion acknowledged, well, yes, you`re right, we would lose nine-nothing.


HASAN: That was Greg Jacob, Mike Pence`s White House Counsel testifying before the January 6 Committee yesterday about a conversation he had with lawyer John Eastman, the man who wrote the coup memo on what would happen if pence overturn the election on January 6, and if it went to the Supreme Court. At one point, he thought, Eastman thought that maybe they would have two justices, presumably Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, a very telling moment as we continue to learn about the connections between the wife of Clarence Thomas, Ginni, and Trump world, and the coup attempt itself.

The Washington Post reported that the January 6 Committee has obtained emails between Eastman and Ginni Thomas which "show that Thomas` efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, leading the committee to ask Thomas to testify. The story of the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and her involvement in the plot to overturn our democracy has been building since back in January.

Back in March, I wrote about it too noting that unlike others on the court, Clarence Thomas has never recused themselves from a case because of Ginni Thomas or her work. And that given Thomas probably isn`t going to recuse himself going forward and definitely won`t resign, impeachment seems to be the only remedy if that is Democrats in Congress are determined enough.

Back with me now is a Democrat in Congress, Ilhan Omar, Democrat from Minnesota who has also called for Thomas`s impeachment. Congresswoman, it has been almost three months since we learned about Ginni Thomas` text to Mark Meadows. What is it like when you see some of these texts they endorsed some of the craziest, far-right conspiracy theories from a wife of a Supreme Court justice, watermarks on ballot papers proving corruption, having the Biden`s tried by a military tribunal at Gitmo? This is insane stuff.

OMAR: Yes, Mehdi, it`s not only insane but dangerous.


OMAR: And, you know, I want to talk a little bit about the author of the coup memo, Mr. Eastman, isn`t just only the author of that memo, he clerked with Justice Thompson. And so, we know that the connection between him and Ginni is long and deep, which is alarming, right? And so, you have to think about the kind of circle that she`s involved in. We`ve learned about the kind of pressure that she put on legislators across the country to do what she wanted to do. We know that she`s had -- she harassed Meadows.

You know, we recently learned that she said, you know, Pence was disgusting when he didn`t do the actual thing of overturning the election, which is only him carrying out his constitutional duty. It does not make sense for us to continue to ignore the involvement this wife has on the decisions Justice Thompson makes. And it just doesn`t -- to me it doesn`t make any sense that we are not calling for his impeachment and proceeding with that.

HASAN: So, Congresswoman, I`m with you on that. But let me ask you this. A lot of defenders of Clarence Thomas, including Senator Josh Hawley, Republican, say, well, it`s misogyny to suggest she doesn`t have her own views, to say that her views are her husband`s views, even though in a recent interview Ginni Thomas talked about how she and her husband shared "many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America."

Do you think it`s possible they do not influence one another? That if Ginni Thomas wanted to overturn the election based on deranged conspiracies, she was reading online, Clarence Thomas didn`t?


OMAR: I really don`t understand how we can believe what we -- the text of the emails that we are reading where she is pressuring Meadows and that belief that she was pressuring her husband and the fact that Mr. Eastman thought they could possibly be too, maybe including her husband, that that information wasn`t coming from her.

HASAN: Yes, those texts to Meadows, you put them alongside her emails to Arizona lawmakers, it`s all very disturbing. You have called for Clarence Thomas who didn`t mention any of this when he was judging on relevant cases, didn`t recuse himself. You`ve called for him to be impeached. Your colleague, Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey called this week for him to resign. Why isn`t the Democratic Party at large taking a much stronger line on the Thomas`s?

OMAR: They need to be. And you know, the fact that the January 6 Committee is thinking about calling her in to be interviewed, it`s the start the seriousness and the danger that Miss Thompson poses to our democracy and our Republic cannot be overstated. And her husband has a huge role. And to me, it is dangerous to allow him to get away with what he`s been able to get away with.

HASAN: I can -- I can only imagine what Republicans would be saying if this was Sotomayor`s husband or Stephen Breyer`s wife involved in a coup attempt against Donald Trump. We can only imagine what they would be screaming for. Congresswoman Omar, we will have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

OMAR: Thank you for having me.

HASAN: Up next, the complicity of certain members of the Senate in the planned coup and the fourth hearing from the January 6 Committee coming on Tuesday. Don`t miss the special recap of that with Rachel Maddow and the whole MSNBC primetime gang right here from 8:00 to 10:00 Eastern. We`ll be right back.




REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): In the days before January 6th, President Trump told his top Justice Department officials "just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman".


MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: It has become clear since January the 6th that the actions in Congress were at least adjacent to Donald Trump`s coup plot.

In the Senate, the Washington Post reports "Senator Ted Cruz`s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol".

In particular, whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyer John Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades, and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden`s victory.

Eastman wrote in the first of his two memos about overturning the election that his plan relied on a senator delaying certification. And he specifically mentioned the possibility that Cruz could do it.

And this is what Ted Cruz was yelling about from the back of a pickup truck in Georgia just days before the insurrection.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we defend the United States of America as we defend our Constitution as we defend our freedom. And we will not go quietly into the night, we will defend liberty into the future and we are going to win.


HASAN: Cruz voted to overturn the election after the violent insurrection, after.

The question you have to ask yourself is this, if Democrats really want to stop this from happening again, how on earth is Ted Cruz still in the Senate? How has he not been expelled? How has he not faced any consequence?

Al Franken represented Minnesota in the Senate for nearly a decade, where he served with Senator Ted Cruz on the Judiciary Committee. He now hosts the Al Franken podcast and founded the Midwest Values Political Action Committee. Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

You`ve been watching the hearings, I know. How big, how serious, how existential was the threat, is the threat to American democracy based on what we`ve learned just in these first three hearings?

AL FRANKEN, FORMER SENATOR OF MINNESOTA: I don`t think you can overstate it. I think Judge Luttig, said that still presents a clear and present danger. But there`s no question, I`ve been very impressed with the hearings, they exceeded my expectations, wonderfully presented. This is -- we`ve only had three. We`ve seen a lot of -- learned a lot of shocking stuff that didn`t actually shock me.

But there`s no question that there`s a wide -- was widespread conspiracy to overturn a legitimate election. And that`s -- I think that`s as bad thing as you can possibly do in our democracy.

HASAN: One name we haven`t heard mentioned in the hearing so far, but we know he`s of interest to the committee. And we all saw what he did on January the 6th, Ted Cruz, you served with him in the Senate. What do you make of his role in all of this? Should we be hearing more about him?


FRANKEN: Absolutely, I said after the 6th very publicly that there should be an ethics investigation of Cruz and of Hawley and those who were going to deny certification.

Basically, what they`re trying to do is, I guess, do what Eastman wanted -- the Vice President to do, which is to throw this back to the states. That`s what their intention was. And absolutely, we should be seeing who he is in contact with.

You know, it`s interesting, because you brought up the question, was he in contact with Eastman? And I guess his office today released not to the best of his recollection. They didn`t even have it from him saying that`s the best of my recollection, it was his office saying, to the best of his recollection, he doesn`t, that`s pretty suspicious.

And Ted, is, you know, he lies a lot.

HASAN: So, I have to ask then, you have to ask this question. You are no longer in the Senate because people in your own party were upset about stuff you reportedly did before you were a senator. How is it possible that Republican senators like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have faced no consequences at all for their role in trying to upend democracy in this country?

They`re still in the Senate 18 months later, forget expelling them. You mentioned ethics investigation. I`ve not heard of a result of any ethics investigation 18 months later.

FRANKEN: No, there hasn`t been one as far as I know. They usually say when there`s an ethics investigation and obviously, again, I very publicly called for that they should have due process, but there should be an ethics investigation.

Also, the January 6 committee should call Cruz and Hawley and if they have nothing to hide, they should be happy to testify.

HASAN: Yes, that`s always been the Republican line, right? If you`ve got nothing to hide.

Mike Pence has been portrayed this week, including by Chairman Bennie Thompson as a courageous hero for not rejecting the electoral vote, for not listening to Donald Trump.

How do you square that with the idea that it should never have been a difficult decision for him in the first place? I mean, he was just doing his job at the end of the day.

FRANKEN: Yes, it`s kind of crazy. During the last hearing, they had vice president, former Vice President Gore, and he did very quickly, he said, well, if you`re choosing between your own ambition and the Constitution and democracy, it`s not really a hard choice. It should not have been a hard choice for Vice President Trump.

And not only that, he should have said something -- he should have said something before January 6th publicly, but certainly he should have testified during the impeachment trial.

And so, should all of those members of the administration who testified because right now, as Judge Luttig said, Trump presents a clear and present danger and his supporters that impeachment was about not letting -- not allowing him to run for office ever again.

And so, those people who testified are not heroes. They were -- they had to testify. They were called to testify.

HASAN: Yes. I mean, you`re right, he should have spoken out before January the 6th. He should have spoken after January the 6th. He should have testified in the impeachment trial as you rightly point out. He should be testifying in the 1/6 Committee. He was the kind of elephant not in the room.

Quick last question, we talked earlier on the show about Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk. Apparently giving a tour to somebody who then turned up at the insurrection.

I just got to ask you, you`re a former senator, how many personal tours did you give to constituents who you didn`t know who took pictures of security checkpoints and tunnels on those tours?

FRANKEN: I did that all the time. No, I gave my family tours and some of my daughter`s in-laws. But they didn`t take pictures of tunnels.

HASAN: No, most people who -- don`t take pictures of tunnels. So, we do need to hear more from Congressman Loudermilk.

Senator Al Franken -- former Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, thank you for your time tonight. Appreciate it.

FRANKEN: Thank you, Mehdi. Thank you.

HASAN: The very next month after he tried to keep Trump in power, Ted Cruz famously abandoned his constituents during a massive winter storm and fled to Cancun.

Tonight, another Republican just pulled a cruise, that story next.



HASAN: President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration for the state of Montana, after a combination of heavy rainfall and warm temperatures melted the snow and caused unprecedented flooding in Yellowstone National Park.

Over 10,000 people were evacuated in response to raging waters and subsequent road slides, which of course sustained damage to roads and destroyed bridges. At least one house was completely swept away by the water sent careening down the river after it detached from its base.

And as the state dealt with this unprecedented devastation at the height of tourist season, Montana`s Republican governor has been missing in action.

People first started getting suspicious when the request for the emergency declaration was signed by the state`s Lieutenant Governor and not Governor Greg Gianforte, who was previously best known for physically assaulting a journalist and getting away with it.

The governor`s office first played coy only saying that Gianforte was away on a long-scheduled personal trip. They wouldn`t say where.

That is, of course until the governor was spotted vacationing in Tuscany in Italy with his wife. According to the outlet Newsy, Gianforte`s office circulated a memo on Wednesday saying that the governor would be returning home "early and as quickly as possible", but it sounds like Gianforte did not get the message because the website news, they also obtained a photo which has not been seen or verified by NBC News, reportedly showing the governor and his wife enjoying dinner at a Tuscan restaurant on Wednesday.

And here`s the kicker, the photo is time-stamped 12 minutes after Gianforte`s office said he would be returning home as quickly as possible.

So, not really as quickly as possible, a governor had to stop for a nice Tuscan dinner first. He finally arrived back home last night.

But the irony, the hypocrisy, the double standards here are palpable. Republicans go on and on about so-called elite Democrats with their posh parties and posh vacations while they try to frame themselves as working- class populist, servants of the people and yet, here is Gianforte who as of 2018, reportedly had a net worth of nearly $200 million following in the footsteps of another Republican millionaire Ted Cruz, and taking a lavish foreign vacation in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, while rural voters in his red state are left behind to suffer.

Always remember, no one has more contempt for ordinary Republican voters than elected Republican leaders.



HASAN: One of the starkest warnings from the January 6 hearings came from that conservative judge who proclaimed that Donald Trump and his allies present a clear and present danger to democracy. And we`re seeing that present danger, that existing threat play out right now in New Mexico.

In Otero County, a group of three Republican commissioners refused to certify the results of last week`s primary, not because of any allegations of widespread fraud, but because Otero county uses Dominion voting machines, which have been the target of false and defamatory conspiracy theories from Trump coup sympathizers for more than a year now.

And these three county commissioners apparently believe them, and so they refuse to give the results, their seal of approval, citing no data, no country facts, they chose to trust their gut feelings based on lies from the Trump campaign, and the right-wing media machine. Lies that these machines just can`t be trusted.

New Mexico secretary of state then sued to force the commission to do its job. The state Supreme Court then ruled in her favor, demanding the commission to certify the results by today.

So, the Commission held a hearing just hours ago, pursuant to the court`s order to determine whether or not they would comply.

But one of the commissioners, a man named Couy Griffin was physically absent or had to call into the hearing.

He couldn`t be there in person because he spent the day in Washington D.C. so he could be sentenced for breaching the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. During you guessed it, the January 6th insurrection.

So, this afternoon, Griffin was sentenced to 14 days time served and fined $3,000. And this evening, by speakerphone, he announced he would not vote to certify the results of the Otero county primary.


COUY GRIFFIN, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2 OTERO COUNTY: My vote tonight is going to be no. and my vote to remain a no isn`t based on any evidence, it`s not based on any facts. It`s only based on my gut and my gut feeling and my own intuition. And that`s all I need to base my vote on the elections right there. So, that`s my peace on this. I still believe that our elections are fraudulent, I believe that we already have enough evidence to prove and substantiate what the media keeps calling unsubstantiated.

Well, we have substantiated it in Otero County and we did through a great vote through our commission board and through the valiant efforts of all those that went out and canvassed the vote and knocked on doors and found out that there was ghost voters and missing voters.

So, that`s my peace. My vote is going to be no tonight and I think we need to hold our ground.


HASAN: The insurrectionist says the elections cannot be trusted without evidence, because his gut tells him so. T.V. writers truly could not script it better.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver is the Democratic Party Secretary of State for New Mexico. She is the one behind that lawsuit, forcing the Otero County commissioners to certify the election.

Secretary Oliver, welcome to the show. We should note Griffin sentiment did not carry the day. I want to show our audience how that hearing ended. Have a watch.


VICKIE MARQUARDT, OTERO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: I don`t want to let anybody down. I know there`s a lot of people that want us to stand our ground. And I totally understand that. But I don`t -- I don`t think that it`s worth getting us removed from our seats in order to do that. And I hope that all of you will understand that.

I`m going to make a motion for the approval to certify the canvass of the 2022 primary election. Can I get a second?


MARQUARDT: All in favor?


MARQUARDT: Aye. All opposed.


MARQUARDT: OK, motion passes.



HASAN: So, what happens next?

MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER, SECRETARY OF STATE, NEW MEXICO: Well, Mehdi thank you, first of all, for bringing this up and bringing this before national audience because I think what folks need to know is this is a canary in the coal mine for not only 2022 but 2024.

Individuals who are charged with very clear mandatory duties can just choose because they have feelings that are not based in any facts and evidence about how our elections are run to not certify our elections, we face a breakdown of our democracy.

And what you saw in that clip just now, quite frankly, was two individuals who backed up from the brink, quite honestly, of falling into chaos. You know, have these commissioners not certified that election result, the county level candidates in that county would not have been put on the general election ballot, voters would have been disenfranchised. 7,300 voters, Republicans, Democrats and libertarians in that county here in New Mexico would not have had their votes counted. And that would have been an absolute travesty for our democracy.

HASAN: It`s such an important point you make Secretary of State, because these votes that are thrown out whether they`re in the 2020 presidential election or in Otero county primary are not Democratic voters. They are American voters across the board. They include Republicans, Independents, whatever. And it`s amazing that Republicans support the idea of their own leaders throwing out their own votes.

But let me ask you this, the crowd reacted very positively to Griffin`s announcement that he will vote no. Does it concern you that so many voters in New Mexico at this local county level have bought into the big lie?

OLIVER: It`s absolutely concerning. And what troubles me the most is that the beliefs that these folks have bought into, besides the fact that they are not based in evidence or facts or reality, they are also being propagated intentionally.

So, we have folks that are big lies sort of cheerleaders, they`re going around the country. And here in our state, they are deliberately picking these county venues, because they quite frankly see these county commissioners as prey. Their prey to not only propagate their point of view, which is of course the big lie, but they are prey to utilize to make money.

In fact, the individuals who got this particular county commission and several people in Otero County to believe in this have a GoFundMe page where they`ve raised over $300,000 for their own personal use to continue their roadshow.


OLIVER: Right, so we can see what`s happening here. And the most concerning thing is there`s so much factual evidence to counter what these individuals are selling, what Donald Trump and what the folks here in Otero County were selling, and nobody wanted to hear any of it. They didn`t want to listen to any of it or consider any of it.

HASAN: Because they have alternative facts. It doesn`t matter what the factual evidence is.

Let me ask you this, just focusing on Couy Griffin himself, according to NBC News, and I quote, "during the riot on January the 6th, Griffin shouted his unsubstantiated belief that the election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump, climbed a toppled fence and another barrier to access to Capitol steps, and used a bullhorn to lead the throngs in prayer".

Is someone who participated in an insurrection and was prosecuted for it really someone who should be able to oversee our elections going forward? How is that OK? How is that normal?

OLIVER: It`s not OK. It`s not normal. And I think the important thing that folks should know and I think what he and his colleagues really didn`t understand is that they have a ministerial duty and their duty is to make sure that a process was followed, to make sure that a county clerk and an individual county which by the way in Otero County, the county clerk is fabulous. She`s a Republican, she does an excellent job.

But to make sure she did her job, sign off on it, and that`s it, not to have control over the outcome of the election.

HASAN: Yes, I guess the problem is that that is fundamentally what they want. They want control over the outcome of the election. They don`t accept any results if they don`t agree with it even if it`s legitimate. And they`ve sadly bought into these insane conspiracy theories about Dominion and foreign control and all of that stuff.

I worry sometimes that we focus so much on what`s happening on Capitol Hill and the federal level and the insurrection in Washington D.C., when it`s the local level that`s the real issue.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, thank you for your time.

That is ALL IN on this Friday night, I`ll be back this Sunday night right here on MSNBC at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with "THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW".

"MSNBC PRIME" starts right now with Ari Melber. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. Thank you very much.