IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/16/22

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, George Conway, Robert Draper


President Joe Biden has signed a climate change, healthcare, and tax bill into law, the Inflation Reduction Act, handing the Democratic Party a much-needed win ahead of the November midterm elections. Former White House lawyers Cipollone and Philbin is being interviewed by the FBI about the Mar-a-Lago materials. A hearing is set on a request to unseal the Mar-a- Lago affidavit despite the DOJ warning it would irreparably harm the investigation. Top Democrats accuse DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari of blocking testimony in January 6 investigation. Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Vice Chair of the January 6 Committee, is fighting what looks to be a losing battle to keep her seat. In Arizona, the Trump-endorsed election deniers won the nomination for the top three state offices.


TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: The President and his Cabinet Secretaries are set to hit the road in the coming weeks in an effort to sell these victories ahead of the Midterms where control of both the House and the Senate are very much up for grabs.

And that does it for me. That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Be sure please to watch the premiere of "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. I`ll be watching Alex. Good luck and welcome to the team. But first, "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With this law, the American people won, and the special interest lost.

HAYES: Joe Biden spikes the ball and signs a bill.

BIDEN: This law -- this law that I`m about to sign finally deliver on a promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people.

HAYES: Tonight, actual reason for hope and optimism as a historic climate and health care bill becomes law.

Then, Team Trump sets its sights on confidential sources.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand the witness protection issue, but at the same time, these witnesses are truly not going to be concealed for very long.

HAYES: I`ll talk to George Conway on the fight over unsealing the FBI affidavit. Plus --

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We`re facing very challenging and difficult times. We`re facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat.

HAYES: Robert Draper on the anti-democratic forces advancing state by state. And Steve Kornacki at the big board for Election Night in America when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It is a big day here at MSNBC. In just an hour, we`ve got the debut of "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT." It is also a huge day for the country, for the planet, for Joe Biden, for the White House, for everyone. Because today, President Joe Biden signed, well, the first as insane as it is to say that, the first true climate bill in this country`s history.

It is the largest ever piece of American legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. It will invest $370 billion to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and the law will as well reduce health care costs, close tax loopholes on large corporations, and in the end, reduce the deficit. This afternoon, President Biden spoke about the long and really quite torturous path to get to this point.


BIDEN: This administration began amid a dark time in America. As Jim said, a once-in-a-century pandemic, devastating joblessness, clear and present threats to democracy and the rule of law, doubts about America`s future itself. And yet, we`ve not wavered, we`ve not flinched, and we`ve not given in. Instead, we`re delivering results for the American people.


HAYES: This new law, the Inflation Reduction Act, has been a long time in the making. As of just a few weeks ago, it looked dead. I mean, dead, dead, dead. I believe personally and the people that I was reporting with texting, thought it was done, OK. It was not going to happen. And on Friday, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was still trying to stop it. Here he is. He`s speaking on the House floor. And he posed Ronald Reagan`s famous question from that 1980 presidential election that Reagan won over Jimmy Carter, questioning what Democrats have accomplished.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): As they continue to raise trillions after trillions. When everybody warns them what they do is wrong, they don`t care. They just want to double down to the mistakes they`ve already made. Answer me this question. Is America better off today than they were two years ago?


HAYES: Now, that`s a classic, classic opposition party question, right? Opposition parties, Midterm Elections, and opposition parties across the world, right? They are running against a party in power, and they want to generally turn those elections into a referendum on the party in power.

But I saw that clip, and what was striking about Kevin McCarthy asking it last week in his somewhat mangled syntax is that I don`t think he or his speechwriter really thought it through because the answer is pretty obviously yes, yes, yes. We are better off today than we were two years ago. Do you remember what the summer of 2020 was like?


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Tonight, the fired police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. The mass protests coast to coast, the scenes in New York, Atlanta, Houston. In Denver, an SUV plowing into a protester. That major show of force outside the White House.

Police backed by National Guard firing rubber bullets on peaceful protesters. Moments later President Trump walking out to a nearby church for a photo with a Bible.

The plunge on Wall Street, the worst day for stocks in three months as fears grow of a second wave of COVID-19. The staggering new Coronavirus record the U.S. topping 50,000 cases, new cases. The highest daily death toll in months as the COVID pandemic reaches dangerous new proportions. The economic disaster. Almost a million and a half more Americans file for unemployment.



HAYES: Guys, that was three months, OK. We gave -- we gave you three months. We could have done a monologue an hour long on that. From May to July, the virus was raging, vaccine still many months away, the country was in mourning and an angst over the death of George Floyd. We had a president who was running around the country holding super spreader events, getting Secret Service agents sick, telling people to inject themselves with bleach, the entire world had shut down taking a lot of the economy with it.

We lost more than 10 million jobs in America. There were miles long lines at food banks around the country. People struggled to stay afloat and feed their families. And that summer, Americans took the street in droves protesting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Now, here we are. Is everything perfect now? No, but two years later, are things better? Yes, thanks to the American Rescue Plan passed by the Democratic Party in Congress, House and Senate, on a party-line vote in the Senate, signed into law by Joe Biden, we have seen the fastest economic recovery and fastest job growth in American history. We have seen the most jobs under any president ever. We`ve regained all the jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic way ahead of schedule, way ahead of everyone`s projections.

Now, of course, at the same time that rapid growth has produced its own other problem, which is rapid inflation, which has been awful, and has been an enormous problem for Americans, has squeezed wages, it squeezed people`s purchasing power, a huge political problem as well for the Democrats. But we finally, finally, seem to be turning the corner on that too, with the most important metric Consumer Price Index remaining flat in July. That means prices did not increase for the first time in months.

Meanwhile, gas prices have also now fallen for nine straight weeks. I saw gas under $4 a gallon today. And as brutal as a pandemic has continued to be, and we are very still very much still in it, we don`t know what mutations will come, it`s also the case that we are right now as I speak to you tonight, were coming out of the first ever wave of this virus in which deaths did not spike even as cases did.

Here look at this. You can see it really clearly on this graph. In all of the other previous waves, we would see cases go up and we would see a big spike in deaths would follow. This time cases and deaths finally became untethered. There was no major spike in deaths. We appear to have now reached a point where we`ve built up enough of a wall of immunity to prevent a huge amount of mortality.

It`s not normal. It`s not pre-pandemic, but it`s the best position we`ve been in. And more than a year and a half after the ex-president tried to foment a coup to undo American democracy to end the American experiment as we know it, to ignore the will of voters, we have an actual committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The Department of Justice appears to also be knee-deep in multiple investigations as it relates to this, including most recently, the FBI search of Donald Trump`s Florida residents. It appears the ex-president is finally being held accountable for his actions.

And on the foreign policy front, A lot of coverage this week, understandably, correctly, on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan. Now, that was one of the first moments of true political crisis in Joe Biden`s presidency. Again, that situation was awful, brutal, and the situation in Afghanistan remains awful and brutal for many Afghans thanks in no small part to our government`s continued egregious decision to withhold billions in Afghan dollars that belongs to that government. But the fact remains that President Biden ended the war after 20 years and did what other presidents including Donald Trump could not and would not.

And in the months since Russia`s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, President Biden has, I think, quite effectively rallied allies in NATO shepherding support for the Ukrainians in their fight to beat back the Russians. A war that we thought, many thought, would be a cakewalk for Russia, roll right into Kyiv. That`s not the case.

And especially after today`s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration has a genuine record of accomplishments. It includes the American Rescue Plan, the first bipartisan gun legislation in decades, a major infrastructure law, again, a big bipartisan infrastructure law, the $280 billion industrial policy bill for investing in science and technology and computer chip manufacturing the United States. That`s a real list to take to voters.


After today, thanks to this legislation, Americans will see lower drug prices, extended ObamaCare subsidies, and really crucially, huge clean energy tax credits for everything from rooftop, solar, to electric vehicles, to heat pumps. Not to mention unemployment is down to 3.5 percent.

So, again, it`s -- when you`re running as the incumbent party, you own all the problems. That`s just the way it is. But the Democratic Party right now can answer Kevin McCarthy`s question I think with a pretty resounding yes. Yes, yes, we are better off. And while we know the historical patterns, that means that the outcome of this year`s Midterms is not written in stone.

Joining me now is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Congressman, what is your -- you and your colleague`s message to voters about the legislation today in a kind of tangible sense of you know, what does it mean for me if I`m not super tuned into politics or I don`t necessarily care one way or the other about what Democrats or Republicans are doing? Like, what does this tangibly mean for folks this legislation signed today?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, the Inflation Reduction Act is going to make a deep -- big difference in the lives of everyday Americans, the first meaningful action to confront the climate crisis. And we`ve done it with the fierce urgency of now -- we put our planet on a sustainable path forward. We`re going to lower energy costs. We strengthen the Affordable Care Act. We`re going to lower health care costs. And we give Medicare the ability to use its bulk price purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of the seniors of this country.

It is going to improve the quality of life of people who have been struggling for decades. And it builds upon a tremendous record of accomplishment that the Biden administration, Democrats in the House and Senate have delivered during this Congressional session.

HAYES: Yes, you know, it is interesting to me that David Leonhard at the New York Times is pointing this out, others have, that there has been more bipartisan legislation than I think I would have bet going into this. I mean, part of the theory of the case of Joe Biden`s presidential campaign was, I`ve worked in the Senate for a huge portion of my adult life, I probably know that body as well as anyone on the planet. And I have the ability to kind of transcend the polarization. And it seemed always, to me a slightly ludicrous story to tell. But some thought -- what has happened? Like, there actually -- this has been a very productive Congress more than I would have bet.

JEFFRIES: Well, we have a vision, to put people over politics and to fight to deliver lower costs, better-paying jobs, and safer communities. And that`s exactly what we`ve done. We started with the American Rescue Plan, save the economy, put shots in arms, money in pockets, kids back in school, and then we pass the infrastructure investment and jobs act, which will help fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, mass transportation system, make sure there`s clean water in every single community. It will create millions of good-paying jobs.

Then we pass gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years, including making gun trafficking over the objections of the NRA a federal crime for the first time in American history. It`s going to help us stop the flow of illegal guns into places like New York City and other inner- city communities and save lives. Then we pass the Chips and Science Act to help bring back domestic manufacturing jobs to the United States of America, when for the last several decades, those jobs have been moving in the other direction. And finally, the Inflation Reduction Act.

So, President Biden articulated a big vision. Some people dismissed that big vision and said in this divided Congress and this divided country, you`ll never be able to get it done. But we`ve actually got it done bipartisan, whenever possible, and doing it as Democrats whenever necessary.

HAYES: Obviously, the you know, the kind of headline issue in politics has been inflation and that`s understandable because it`s the rare issue, right, that literally everyone experiences at some level, right? Not all issues are like that, right? They`re -- you know, even things like the outrageous cost of insulin, like, that`s a huge issue to the folks that need insulin, not to those necessarily who don`t, whereas inflation is everywhere.

If you look at the campaign happening in the U.K., right, you see the Labour Party, the center-left party, they`re banging on inflation just the way the Republicans are here. It`s the perfect out party issue, right? It`s the people in powers fault that you`re paying too much. What do you say to voters and how central is that in the messaging for these upcoming Midterms?


JEFFRIES: Well, we`re going to continue to work on an agenda that does lower costs for everyday Americans. And we`ve delivered in some areas on energy costs, on prescription drug prices, on health care costs. And also we`ve created an environment led by our President where now gas prices are in decline for nine consecutive weeks. Every single day of this summer, gas prices have dropped. Job creation continues to be robust, but we of course, recognize that there`s more to be done.

And this election is not a referendum, it`s a choice. And the choice is Democrats who are delivering, putting people over politics, and extreme Republicans. They`re extreme on reproductive freedom. They want to criminalize abortion, extreme on Social Security. They actually want to end it in five years. And of course, extreme on democracy. Chris, apparently, they don`t believe in it anymore.

And so, we think when we can go to the voters with a very clear choice, we`ve got a strong chance to defy history and hold the majority in the House of Representatives.

HAYES: Yes. I thought that insulin vote was a really interesting one. Obviously, the cap on -- price cap on insulin that people talked about forever, it passed out of the House in Democratic control. It got some votes from Republicans, but not enough to clear the filibuster in that voter-o-rama. And that -- even Ron Johnson saying, nope, we don`t believe in caps in insulin. I thought that was a pretty elucidating moment about the two parties and their visions.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, even more bad news for Donald Trump. A new report that not one but two former White House lawyers have talked to the FBI not in that investigation, the one we were talking about yesterday, but also about Trump`s secret documents stash. George Conway joins me right here in the studio next. Stick around.



HAYES: So, Trump, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin were both interviewed by the FBI about the location of those classified documents at the ex-president`s Florida home. That`s as part of the investigation that led to last week`s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

Right now, Cipollone and Philbin seen there during that first impeachment trial, are the two most senior officials that we know of to be interviewed as part of this investigation. Last year, when Trump left office, both men acted as liaisons between Trump at the National Archives and as the New York Times reports, "Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, but the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisors. It`s not theirs, it`s mine, several advisors say Trump told them."

We still don`t know what exactly those documents are, especially the ones labeled Top Secret, the ones that have some of the highest classification. That could change this week, however. On Thursday, a federal judge will hear arguments to unseal the affidavit that preceded the search warrant, which lays out exactly what documents the Department of Justice was looking for.

Now, we should say, the Department of Justice opposes making that document public. They argue it would undermine their current and ongoing investigation. Writing in a court filing, "If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government`s ongoing investigation, produced providing specific details about its direction and likely course in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps." Adding, "This investigation implicates highly classified materials."

George Conway is a prominent conservative lawyer, former Republican, and he joins me now. Nice to see you here in person.


HAYES: So, what do you make of the significance of the fact that the FBI interviewed these two former White House lawyers prior to the execution of the search warrant?

CONWAY: Oh, it doesn`t surprise me at all. I mean, it`s clear that they interview basically everybody who had something to do with these documents, and they had substantial basis laid out in the affidavit that Donald Trump isn`t going to get to see for the search warrant. So, it doesn`t surprise me at all.

And what is interesting about it is it`s actually -- it`s very incriminating. The story is very incriminating of Donald Trump. He was told you have to give this stuff back and he would do it.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, it`s the specificity of all this. It`s the repeated attempts to get it.

CONWAY: Absolutely.

HAYES: It`s the liaisons to the lawyers that makes it -- because you can imagine the defense being like, clerical error, right?

CONWAY: I was basically the clue.

HAYES: Right, exactly, which he`s been trying to argue.

CONWAY: Right.

HAYES: But to lay the groundwork in this way, including this attestation, apparently, that two of his lawyers signed telling the FBI that --

CONWAY: He would not be in criminal jeopardy at all, the former President of the United States, if when they were first contacted by the National Archives, he said, come on down, every -- search the place.


CONWAY: Take anything you want. Just let me know what it is. And hopefully, I`ll get back in, you know, for my library someday, and I`d like to -- I look forward to working with you for my presidential library. And that`s what the normal president who made a mistake would do. And that`s not Donald Trump.


HAYES: Well, and it`s also the case that quote there brings into the willfulness, right?


HAYES: I mean, the motive to me remains, I have to say, somewhat obscure. I mean, we just don`t know what it is.

CONWAY: Oh, no.

HAYES: You don`t think it --

CONWAY: The motive says he`s 5 years old. He said, these are mine, my toys. He`s a narcissist. He wants to have this stuff because it`s cool to have this stuff. He wants to be able to show it off. He wants -- he doesn`t -- he believes he owns everything. He owns the generals across the river. They`re my river -- I mean, my generals, right?

HAYES: right.

CONWAY: Everything`s his. He`s 5 years old.

HAYES: Right. And so, what do you think about this? So, you`ve got -- we now know they`ve talked to Philbin and Cipollone, right, who have also been subpoenaed by the grand jury.

CONWAY: Right.

HAYES: You`ve got this filing now on Thursday, the judge is going to hear arguments. You said there -- he`s not going to see the affidavit.

CONWAY: Not a snowball`s chance.

HAYES: Yes. This doesn`t seem like a hard case. Why?

CONWAY: Well, because first of all, you don`t get this stuff in the middle of investigation. You don`t? I mean, if he`s going to get this stuff, he`s going to have to earn it by getting indicted, and maybe then he could get it. Maybe he could get it in discovery, but right now, you know, it`s a roadmap to the investigations that the Justice Department put in its brief.

And, you know, you don`t have to go there. But this is a guy with a history of obstruction, right? Several incidents of the Mueller report, you`ve got him dangling pardons out in public, you`ve got him trashing on witnesses in public. And then you`ve got the recent January 6 offense.

HAYES: Exactly. The phone call to the --

CONWAY: The phone call to the -- to the White House, whatever he was, and then -- and then the attempt to reach out and intimidate Cassidy Hutchinson. I mean, this is the last guy. I mean, even if there were some circumstances where you give this stuff up to a criminal defendant who`s being -- or potential criminal defendant who`s being investigated, he certainly wouldn`t do it for this one.

HAYES: Yes. And we should note --

CONWAY: But it doesn`t -- it just this does not happen. I mean, it`s ludicrous that -- to even suggest that the -- that the affidavit can be released at this point in time.

HAYES: Yes, the government saying that there are many compelling reasons including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security. That supports keeping the affidavit sealed. The fact this investigation implicates -- and I thought it was interesting -- highly classified materials, further underscores the need to protect the integrity investigation, exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly.

We should also note that his lawyer, he has some lawyer representing him on this who I have not seen before.

CONWAY: There`s so many to keep track of.

HAYES: Yes, he`s been -- he`s been -- he is a man who has gone through many lawyers. Basically saying, if you indict him, there will be mayhem, and also saying they want to see the affidavit which --

CONWAY: Right. I mean, you know, you`re -- on the one hand, you`re making threats and you`re going to -- you`re encouraging mayhem against the FBI. I mean, that`s what -- that`s what basically the Trump supporters have been doing, encouraging -- you know, I mean, we`ve seen unprecedented threats to the FBI. Imagine what it would be to -- what`s going to happen to the witnesses who were listed in the affidavit. It`s just never -- it just -- it`s inconceivable that they -- that this could be allowed.

HAYES: I`m going to ask you a question that I asked -- I have Cynthia Alksne and Harry Litman on the program last night. I mean -- so one way of looking at this is they just wanted the documents, right? NARA wants the documents, the FBI and counterintelligence -- the head of counterintelligence. And they kept -- trying to get him and they escalated all the way up to the search warrant to get it, right? But then that`s it. Now, they have the documents. There`s no more -- they`re not going to go any further down the line of this case.

Cynthia and Harry thought that was I was wrong about that. I`m not saying that`s the case, but what --

CONWAY: I don`t because I think he went too far. He jerked them around. I mean, this is -- you know, again, as I said, if he had just turned the documents over in the first place, it would be one thing. But then you turn some of the documents over, and then you submit an affidavit to your lawyers that turns out to be false, you need to basically defy a subpoena. And, you know, he`s showing incredible amounts of bad faith.

It`s like, this is -- the one thing you can -- you know, Chris Christie once said, he told Donald Trump that there`s no way you can make an investigation shorter, but there`s way -- lots of ways you can make it longer. And this is what -- like what he did in the Mueller investigation. He engaged -- he had a whole volume of the Mueller report that talks about all the things he did to obstruct the investigation. And if you or I had done that, we`d have been indicted.

HAYES: Right. And that gets us to the final question which is, you know, people have invoked the Al Capone for tax evasion cliche all the time. The reason that they were able to do that was because it was black -- it was black and white, right? They could show the money coming in, they can show -- they can show the government, boom. This seems closer to black and white than many of the other things which to me seem morally and legally more profound.

CONWAY: It`s sort of like -- let`s say you`re a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and you`re conducting this massive murder RICO investigation into a mob family. And all of a sudden, you get a phone call from the NYPD out in Kennedy airport saying, hey, we just caught these people loading jewelry off a truck out of a warehouse. And guess who was driving the car? The don. You know, you`re not going to turn down that case, you`re going to prosecute that case. And that`s why I think they`re going to prosecute this one.


HAYES: All right, George Conway, thanks. Good to see you in person.

Still ahead, the Secret Service text scandal that won`t go away. Why Democrats are now targeting -- remember this guy, the guy that was supposed to be investigating the agency but now is blocking that investigation? That`s next.



HAYES: It is becoming increasingly clear that the watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security, that`s the person who`s overseeing that agency investigations among other things, the insane disappearance of vital Secret Service text surrounding the January 6 attack, that individual is himself at best not up to the task, at worst, compromised

Back in July of 2019, Joseph Cuffari was confirmed under Donald Trump to be the top watchdog of DHS, the Inspector General. He is exactly the kind of overseer the ex-President Donald Trump would want. From signing his letters with Ph.D. even though his degree is from an unaccredited school that was investigated by the Government Accountability Office who was found to run a diploma mill, to accusations that his office delayed and suppress reports about sexual misconduct and domestic violence at DHS.

Then there`s the stuff that we`ve been reporting now most recently, that Cuffari knew about those missing Secret Service text messages as early as May 2021 and not only failed to notify us Congress, but also took no steps -- I`m sorry, took steps to stop their retrieval. It is of the utmost importance to get those text messages back, right? What were Secret Service agents texting on the fifth and the sixth, we know from the testimony we`ve gotten that that is going to be pretty illuminating stuff. It`s vital in terms of the integrity of Secret Service so we can get to the bottom of the January 6 attack.

But Cuffari, the guy whose job it is to investigate misconduct is now actively an obstacle to that. Last week, he sent a letter to both the chairs of two committees House Oversight and Department of Homeland Security saying that he will not discuss investigation, share information, or allow his top staff to sit for transcribed interviews with the committee`s investigating the January 6 attack.

Now, today, the chairs replied to Cuffari telling him that if he continues to obstruct the investigations, "We will have no choice but to consider alternative means to ensure compliance." Whatever it takes to investigate the January 6 attack, the Department of Homeland Security`s Inspector General should not be the obstacle preventing investigators from getting to the bottom of it. It certainly looks like this is not going to be the last we`re going to hear about it.

Still to come, she was the number three House Republican, now she`s fighting for her political career. Steve Kornacki joins me to explain why doing the right thing might cost Liz Cheney just about everything, next.



HAYES: It`s Election Night in America with primaries being held in Wyoming and Alaska. Polls are still open for just over another hour in Wyoming. Alaskans will keep voting until 1:00 a.m. Eastern. Of course, that makes sense. They`re all the way over there in the West Coast. But the race everyone is watching tonight is in Wyoming where Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Vice Chair of the January 6 Committee is fighting what looks to be a losing battle to keep her seat.

Back in 2016, Cheney was elected to represent Wyoming`s one at-large district, coming to Washington the same time as Donald Trump. Two years later, she was elected Chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third most powerful Republicans in the entire -- in the entire caucus. Cheney was so Republican, so conservative, she was so orthodox in fact, that according to FiveThirtyEight, she voted with Trump`s position nearly 93 percent of the time during his administration. She even voted with Trump, more than the guy the ex-President chose to be his final Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

But of course, she notably did defy Trump in one crucial way. In January 2021, just a week after the Capitol attack, Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him. That, along with her pushback against the big lie of a stolen election, cost Cheney pretty much everything she had politically, at least that she built up during her two terms.

In May of 2021, House Republicans voted to kick her out of her leadership role. Soon after she joined the January 6 Committee further and raging Trump and the Republican caucus. Now, in her second reelection bid, she is being primaried from the MAGA right by an opponent endorsed by Donald Trump. She talked about what is at stake earlier today on CBS.


CHENEY: Well, look, I think today, no matter what the outcome is, it`s certainly the beginning of a battle that is going to continue, is going to go on. And as a country, we`re facing very challenging and difficult times. We`re facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat. And those of us across the board Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who believe deeply in freedom and who care about the Constitution and the future of the country, I think have an obligation to put that above party. And I think that fight is clearly going to continue.


HAYES: Tonight, because of her defiance of the ex-president because she has chosen democracy over party, she is poised to lose her seat in Congress. NBC News National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki joins me with the latest at the big board. Steve, what are you looking at tonight?

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we got returns. The polls, I should say, closed in Wyoming probably about 20 minutes from now, maybe a little bit less. Here`s the matchup. There are three candidates on the ballot here, but really Bouchard hasn`t gotten much traction. It`s Hageman who has Trump`s endorsement. This is essentially going to be a one on one race right here.

And as you say, things -- the deck look stacked against Cheney here. You look at other primaries around the country where you`ve had this dynamic of a Republican who supported impeachment of Trump back challenger. Trump has been doing very well in those primaries. The polling coming in tonight has put Hageman -- we`ve had two polls come out in the final month here. Both of them have put Hageman ahead by more than 20 points in this race.

You just look at the political sort of breakdown of Wyoming. You know, 19 of the state`s two dozen counties didn`t just vote for Trump against Joe Biden. They gave Trump more than 70 percent of the vote. This is probably the most Republican pro-Trump state in America. That`s where Liz Cheney is trying to make this stand.


And just to give you a sense of what she`s up against here besides everything I just mentioned. One of the things her campaign and her supporters are hoping for here is the way the primary is going to work tonight is right up until today, anyone could choose to vote in this Republican primary. You go to the polls today, you could say you know what, I`m registering as a Republican. OK, you get a Republican primary ballot.

So, there`s been some talk of, hey, maybe Democrats, maybe independent voters in Wyoming might come into that Republican primary and give Cheney a boost. Just look at the math she`s up against here. This is as of today, what the party registration figures look like in Wyoming. Now, let`s show you January 1st, because I think it is a thing that there are some Democrats in Wyoming who have actually chosen to reregister as Republicans to back Liz Cheney, but this is what it looks like.

At the start of the year, there were 45,000 registered Democrats, now there`s 36,000. Now, if you just said and this would be purely, you know, for the sake of argument that all of those Democrats reregistered as Republicans to back Cheney, she`s getting an extra nine or 10,000 votes out of that. In a Republican universe that`s got more than 200,000 registered members, and when you look at the polling, she`s getting clobbered among Republican voters, registered Republican voters by Hageman.

So, this is the kind of thing that would look like it might help Cheney around the margins. But what she needs to do if she`s going to have any chance tonight, we`ll see the results start rolling in and hopefully, pretty quickly although Wyoming can be one of those slow states. She needs to make inroads among Republican voters who were Republicans before 2022.

The polling has not indicated that and other Republicans in her shoes and other races have not indicated an ability to do that. She`d need to pull off something tonight. We haven`t seen another Republican really do this year.

HAYES: Yes, we should also note -- I mean, my understanding, Hageman, her opponent, you know, in the same way that Liz Cheney has this trajectory of essentially a kind of, you know, doctrinaire Republican, right? Hageman was -- had endorsed Liz Cheney, right? SHE had a background of -- she had said some, like many Republicans, negative things about Donald Trump. So, she`s done her own trajectory in the era of the MAGA party in which, you know, the plants tend to grow towards the light. She understands where the light is.

KORNACKI: And she -- opportunities, I guess you could say she saw the opportunity because this is what the opportunity looks like. These are the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump following January 6, and we`re just looking at how they -- things fair for them here in 2022. And you can see right away, look at this, there are four of them who right away just said, you know what, not even going to try, not going to run. They retired, didn`t seek reelection.

You got Tom Rice in South Carolina. He got clobbered in a primary. Peter Meijer in Michigan came kind of close, but he lost. Herrera Beutler lost in Washington. David Valadao survived in California`s primary. Trump didn`t make an endorsement there. Trump stayed out of that race, very notable. And the only other one to get through is Dan Newhouse, Washington State, top two primary, tons of candidates, both parties on the ballot. Trump did endorse a candidate who has got 25 percent of the vote, squeaks through to the general. Cheney is trying to pull up something of a completely different level tonight.

HAYES: All right, Steve Kornacki, as always, it is great to have you at the board. Thank you so much.

Coming up, the pro-democracy Republican is quickly becoming an endangered species in Washington. New York Times Magazine`s Robert Draper joins me with his latest reporting on the rising specter of a just fully authoritarian Republican Party, next.



HAYES: As we continue to keep an eye on the primaries in Wyoming and Alaska later tonight, it`s important to note of course that all these elections follow other primaries that we`ve been having throughout this election season around the country where we have seen one Trump-endorsed anti democracy candidate after another win Republican nominations, putting them on the threshold of wielding very, very important power.

Most notably in Arizona where Trump endorsed election deniers won the nomination for the top three state offices. That includes Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, as well as the U.S. Senate. New York Times Magazine writer Robert Draper went to Arizona for his latest piece on the Arizona Republican Party`s anti-democracy experiment.

He writes, " What is different now is the use of democracy as a kind of shorthand and even a slur for Democrats themselves for the left and all the positions espoused by the left, for hordes of would be but surely unqualified, or even illegal voters who are fundamentally anti-American and must be opposed and stopped at all costs. That anti-democracy and anti- democracy sentiment repeatedly voiced over the course of my travels for Arizona is distinct from anything I have encountered in over two decades of covering conservative politics."

And Robert Draper joins me now. You know, Robert, I read your piece as soon as it came out. And that line brought me up short, because I`ve been reading your excellent work for years now about the conservative movement. And when you say that, it lands for me. What do you mean by that?


ROBERT DRAPER, WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, among other things, Chris, there`s -- you know, I`ve written a couple of books about George W. Bush, for example, who conservative though he clearly was, at least as conservatism was defined then, was very pro-democracy, arguably, you know, to the detriment of world affairs, because the push democratization overseas albeit through military aggression.

I`ve never heard -- I mean, well, you know, so we see these spasms over time where anti-democratic things take place in America promulgated by conservatives. We see even, you know, Goldwater and other people make a point of saying, we are not a democracy, we`re a republic. I`ve never been, however, to a state as I did with Arizona over a period of several months where proactively I would hear a grassroots activist, just volunteer, the notion that, hey, we`re not a democracy, we`re a republic.

And it came clear to me over time that what they were trying to say, was not just to win some scholarly point, but instead to say that democracy had become in their eyes and offending object, something that endured to the detriment of the America that they knew and they love that they wish to push back against.

And so, I began to realize, during my time in Arizona that what I happened upon was this kind of anti-democracy laboratory that I had not expected existed here in America.

HAYES: Yes, because what`s striking about your piece and the quotes in it, right, is that there`s a certain line of left progressive critique of the right which basically says that as the country has grown more diverse, as it`s grown -- as moved away from this sort of like centered citizen, being a white man, a white Christian man and woman, that the people who adhere to those identities that are conservatives had basically said, we don`t care in the end if we`re outnumbered, it`s our country, whether there`s more of you or not.

And that`s a kind of like left critique that often people will then argue and say, well, that`s oversimplified. But the people you were interviewing were basically saying that, like, explicitly.

DRAPER: Yes, right. Yes, and so a couple of points on that, Chris. First, you`re correct, that grassroots activists that I would interview would just volunteer the fact that, you know, democracy to us means mob rule, democracy to us means 50 plus one which means we can take your property. Property also being a proxy for schools, our way of life, etc.

But the other thing that I like to bear in mind is that what we`re talking about here is a state, Arizona, that is in fact, a swing state now. So, it`s a state where Republicans are losing. They have -- they do not have a U.S. senator. They`re on a -- Trump very famously lost the 2020, you know, election in the -- in the state of Arizona.

And so, you would think that it would be to their benefit to move towards the center, to at least consider that. Instead, there`s been this almost McCarthistic (PH) trend among the Arizona Republican Party to censure, essentially to blacklist, any Republican who they deemed to be a Republican in name only, which by the way, begins, you know, with John McCain, who had been, you know, arguably the most important figure in Arizona politics since Barry Goldwater, but who now is basically persona non grata and anyone who associated with him by the standards of today`s Arizona GOP.

HAYES: Yes, you say that it has become -- you say the state`s well-regarded pollster Mike Noble characterize it as magenta, the lightest state of red. And in some ways, you know, these places where the contest is most closely fought counter-intuitively, I`ve noticed, have led to some of the most radicalization, which is the paradox precisely in Arizona where you`ve got, you know, these people -- I mean, Kari Lake and the other folks that are going to be on that statewide ticket, I mean, they are fully pro-coup, like a validly pro-coup is the only way to accurately characterize their views on the 2020 election, and I think even more broadly about democratic legitimacy.

DRAPER: Yes. And so, mentioning Kari Lake who is the gubernatorial nominee and who is an extremely polished performance artists given her many years in the media as a local Fox host. I mean, she has among the most extreme views I`ve ever encountered of any major candidate in recent Republican Party history. I mean, she`s not just an election denier, she`s a COVID denier. She`s this whole, you know, God, guns -- you know, guns and glory, and actually talks about the godless left.

I mean, using a programming language that comes very much from the Joe McCarthy Era. And she stands an excellent chance of winning. I mean, because she`s going up against Katie Hobbs, a Democrat Secretary of State who is somewhat charisma challenged and, you know, like, has a lot of momentum behind her. But it remains to be seen whether, you know, those kinds of views will play to the general electorate. And if they don`t, then it begs the question, what in the world is the Arizona Republican Party doing?

HAYES: All right, Robert Draper, thank you so much for making time for us tonight.

DRAPER: Sure. My pleasure.

HAYES: Oh, this is a big moment. This is a big moment, America. That does it for ALL IN on this Tuesday night. And now, for the first time ever here on primetime, the premier of "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT" starts right now. Good evening, Alex.