Jackson, Mississippi residents remain under boiling water advisory in the midst of a water crisis. Former NFL star Brett Favre and former Governor Phil Bryant are caught up in the Mississippi welfare fraud scandal. Judge Aileen Cannon has until tomorrow to decide on a motion from the Justice Department, otherwise federal prosecutors have said they will seek an appeal from the 11th Circuit. Inflation ticks up as unemployment stays low. Donald Trump and the GOP are making one Capitol rioter become a MAGA martyr. GOP candidates try to hide their election denials before the November Midterm Elections
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ROBERT LUCKETT, HISTORY PROFESSOR, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY: There has been in the history of the state resistance to progress for the poorest and the neediest of people, predominantly African-American. And so the work that is needed today and that is happening today is very much a direct result of ongoing work since then. The Civil Rights Movement never ended. It`s still happening today.
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JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Now, there have been a few positive developments in the past week but the EPA launching an inquiry in the county allocating $17 million to fix the water tower. But the problem is going to take more than a billion dollars to fix. Again, this is the capital city of Mississippi. And that`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on "ALL IN."
SHANNON SHARP, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Oh, you see what Brett Favre did for his Alma matter. No, he didn`t get no money that came out of his pocket. He stole money from people that really needed that money.
HAYES: Dirty water, a Hall of Fame quarterback in one badly broken state, tonight the unbelievable collapse of the Conservative government in Mississippi. Then, Chuck Rosenberg on what could be the end of the Mar-a- Lago special master fight, plus fanning the flames of extremism at a pro- coup vigil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love Ashley and it was so horrible what happened to her.
HAYES: The genuine danger from the ex-president`s attempt to martyr insurrectionists and what Republicans are losing by nominating even more MAGA candidates in New Hampshire and beyond, when "ALL IN "starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
It was less than two months until these midterm elections. People all over the country, as we`ve documented are mobilizing to protect abortion rights while Republican politicians across the country are pledging to ban abortion any way they can. In Mississippi, the Republican House Speaker there has said his state "has an opportunity to lead the nation in protecting, promoting and supporting life." It`s a pretty remarkable statement for a number of reasons.
Now, it`s true. Mississippi has been a leader in the assault on abortion rights in this country. There`s no question about that. It was their law, Mississippi`s law, and its challenge to Roe v. Wade that ultimately overturned Roe. The state had a Trigger Law in effect as well, which automatically banned nearly all abortions after Roe was overturned.
But to say that Mississippi is a leader in supporting life is just objectively not true. In fact, in many ways, it`s the opposite. The state perfectly embodies the stark reality of what conservative governance looks like on the ground where life is cheap. This is a state that has one of the most, if not the most, potent legacies of racism in the history of this nation.
In 1860, right before the start of the Civil War, there were more than 430,000 slaves in Mississippi, comprising 55 percent of the state`s population. And even after the war, the state`s government under Jim Crow was essentially a white authoritarian single-party state, arguably the most brutal in the entire south, which is saying something.
And today at the state and federal level, the state government is dominated exclusively by white Republicans with the party holding massive majorities in both the State House and the Senate, the governorship. Both the state`s Senators Roger Wicker, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, are conservative Republicans. The state has consistently elected Republican governors for nearly two decades most recently, the current Republican, Tate Reeves. Under unified Republican control, there is just no earthly way Mississippi can plausibly describe as "promoting and supporting life."
The state has the highest COVID death rate per capita in the country. And in turn, it has the lowest life expectancy in the country at just about 72 years. Mississippi also has the highest infant mortality rate in the entire country. Mississippi has the most gun deaths per capita of any state in the entire country. Mississippi is also the poorest state in the nation. And to be perfectly clear here, none of this is an indictment of the great people who live in that state, rather than the abject negligence of the Republicans who have been running it for so long.
Case in point, much of Jackson, Mississippi, the state`s capital does not currently have drinkable water. You may have seen this story. Jackson residents have been told they have to boil their water. This is in the United States of America in the year 2022. They have had to boil their water before it is potable since July. The problem was exacerbated last month when heavy flooding caused a water treatment plant to fail due to widespread issues with the water pressure. Meaning, the water was just not drinkable, you couldn`t actually get it up through the pipes. The state was forced to install fancy porta-potties at the state capitol building in Jackson so members of the legislature dominated by Republicans could use the bathroom there.
Thankfully, water pressure has been restored. But the city still lacks clean water, with residents being told to shower with their mouths closed. That`s not due to some kind of unforeseen natural disaster. No, rather systematic negligence of a problem that officials particularly federal officials warned about years ago. You see, back in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency warned that the Jackson water system "presented, listen to this, an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons served by the system."
While Jackson residents and local leaders, many of whom are Democrats have been sounding the alarm of this threat for years, Republicans at the state level -- state level have not made the capital whose population is about 83 percent Black much of a priority. Get this. Last year, the city of Jackson asked the state for $47 million to shore up its water and sewage systems. The Republican legislature approved just 3 million.
Meanwhile, the State of Mississippi received billions in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan signed by Joe Biden pass on a party-line vote by Democrats, opposed, of course, by both of its Republican senators. It`s about $6 billion came from the state. About $450 million was set aside by the legislature for water infrastructure. But the legislature demanded that cities max the funds, which Jackson couldn`t afford to do. Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, Mississippi who represents part of Jackson is the state`s only Democrat in Congress lays the blame firmly with Republicans.
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REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D-MS): What we have is a reluctant office of governor who has decided that for whatever reason, Jackson will be treated differently. That`s unfortunate. That was not the intent of the legislation.
ANA CABRERA, ANCHOR, CNN: Why do you think Jackson is being treated differently?
THOMPSON: Well, every other elected government around Jackson is Republican. Jackson is the only democratic city that`s surrounded by Republican-elected suburban officials. They have been taken care of. The majority of the money that we`ve sent from Washington, at this point has gone to the suburbs, and the inner city, the capital city is being left out.
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HAYES: OK. This is important because we`re going to come back to this. This will be the establishment of a team. Federal money coming to Mississippi for the needs of some of Mississippi`s poorest, most marginalized members, right, of the state, and then being diverted away from them to affluent white communities. OK. Now, the Biden infrastructure plan is going to send even more federal money into Mississippi but that rollout takes a very long time and there`s no guarantee state Republicans will use that any more efficiently than they have in the past.
But what makes it worse is that this is not even the only high-profile controversy engulfing Mississippi`s government because there`s another one. You may have heard about this one because it involves a very famous man, a retired football player named Brett Favre, born and raised in Mississippi and played football at Southern Miss, then became a star quarterback, spent nearly two decades in the NFL, including 15 years in the Green Bay Packers, won a Super Bowl, voted MVP three times. He`s an enormous deal. I mean, you probably know this watching but if you don`t watch football, trust me.
His time in the NFL made him extremely wealthy. Think about it. You know, 14, 15 years in the NFL, including $140 million contracts money just from his contracts alone, that doesn`t count untold millions more in sponsorship deals, of which he had many. Favre is also an outspoken conservative and ally of former President Donald Trump. There they are on the golf course together, thumbs up.
Now, Favre is currently embroiled in a controversy involving the use of federal welfare funds set aside for the state of Mississippi`s most vulnerable residents, which were reportedly diverted to Favre and others. Because you see Mississippi, not unlike what happened with the water money, does this very Republican thing, where flexible welfare funds that come from the federal government are funneled to nonprofit organizations because the private sector can figure it out, communities can figure out where the money is most needed right, and those private organizations can pay out the money as they see fit with very little oversight.
Now, the woman who ran one of those nonprofits in Mississippi that oversaw this money named Nancy New claims she was directed by the state`s then- Governor Republican Phil Bryant to direct money to Favre and others. And she has since pleaded guilty to charges of welfare fraud. You see, Favre coordinated with that woman, Nancy New. This is the woman who`s running this nonprofit that`s overseeing vast amounts of supposedly welfare money. He coordinated with Nancy New to get funding for a new Volleyball Stadium at his alma mater, Southern Miss, where his daughter went to school and played volleyball.
Again, this is federal money for welfare for poor Mississippians going to a volleyball facility that Brett Favre`s daughter is going to play in. Favre also met with then-Governor Phil Bryant, who then reportedly texted New "just left Brett Favre. Can we help him with his project? We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course." Again, he`s talking to the woman who oversees welfare money from the federal government. Now, Phil Bryant denies any involvement in the plan to use welfare funds to construct the -- I have to say very nice volleyball facility. He`s not responded to our request to comment on the story, although we`d love to hear from him.
The woman who ran the nonprofit, Nancy New, reportedly coughed up $4 million in misused welfare money. And when that was not enough, she then allegedly paid Favre -- paid Favre, millionaire Brett Favre an additional $1.1 million personally to him, supposedly for radio ads paid for out of a fund for welfare recipients. Favre has since been asked by the state to repay that money with interest. He repaid the money but not the interest.
Now, we should note, Brett Favre has not been charged with the crime though our own reporting indicates the FBI is looking into the case. His lawyer says he was "totally honorable and everything." Favre had no idea that the money was coming from a program for again, needy families in Mississippi, the poorest state in the union. But one text exchange does appear to highlight that Favre may have had some concerns about what was going on. Here it is, texting "if you were to pay me, is there any way the media can find out where it came from, and how much?
Well, since we`re telling you this story on national television, it turns out the answer is yes. There is a way for the media to find out. I mean, even by the standards of a state that I think is very poorly governed by the ruling Republican Party, this is an almost cartoonish scandal if it were not so devastating. A multimillionaire football star, a guy who doesn`t lack for money who could -- I don`t know, give his daughter`s school a check.
This guy, MAGA Brett Favre, Republican governor, appears to be involved in the scandal with the misuse of federal dollars, federal dollars for the poorest members of the poorest state diverted to a volleyball facility. Even as then-Governor Phil Bryant, of course, of course, of course, preach the gospel of so-called fiscal responsibility when he was in office.
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PHIL BRYANT, FORMER MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR: I wanted to give Mississippians that had not gained success and had not lived the American dream, I wanted to give them hope that they can do that, the break that generational cycle of poverty and the dependency that the government actually led them into. And so, we had families that had for three generations never seen a father or mother come home from work. And so, we said, we`re going to give you hope. We said if you`re going to receive benefits from our government food stamps, the SNAP program, you must be in a workforce training program.
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HAYES: Yes. You hear that? You want to feed your kid, you better get to work. If you want to volleyball facility -- my next guest is the reporter who broke this story, who got a hold of those texts, and one image that demonstrates the state of contemporary Mississippi where she lives in works. She tweeted out this photo with this jug of water next to a keyboard. The caption reads "when you`re writing about how Mississippi officials misspent tens of millions of federal welfare funds, and you`re also at month three of having no clean drinking water."
Anna Wolf is an investigative reporter writing about poverty and economic justice. As I mentioned, she`s the one who broke open this story for Mississippi today. Anna, it`s great to have you, and great reporting. I want to start because I think it`s a little confusing to those of us following us from the outside. And I have to admit myself, as I`ve been following the story of just first start with Nancy New, this individual, and how it was that she appeared to have like, the unlimited veto-proof authority of how to spend tens of millions of dollars from the federal government for poor people in Mississippi.
ANNA WOLF, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, MISSISSIPPI TODAY: Sure, so, thank you for having me, first of all, and thank you for caring about this story and about Mississippi. Nancy New was a nonprofit founder who was actually really good friends with Phil Bryant`s wife. And Phil Bryant was overseeing the Department of Human Services. That`s the welfare agency that administers this money. And he told his director that he wanted welfare grants and these are grants that go to organizations who provide services to people in poverty like workforce development, you know that stuff that Bryant was talking about in that earlier interview.
WOLF: And he wanted the director to consolidate those grants to essentially giving them to one or two organizations instead of many organizations across the state. And the department selected Nancy New`s organization to be one of those that would facilitate the statewide program that they were calling families first for Mississippi. That is the program through which all of this misspending and theft, the volleyball stadium, that is the program through which this occurred.
And you know, there`s such a conversation right now, just to bring it back to the water about, you know, why the state is stepping in for this water crisis right now. You know, we`ve been drinking bottled water and crying out for a long time about this. And I think it really just speaks to the state`s regard for people who are suffering, people who are vulnerable and marginalized.
Jackson`s an 80 percent Black City like you said a city with a high poverty rate. I think that just makes it easier to ignore. And the welfare story just fits right into that. You know, I`ve always thought it was astonishing that in the most poverty-stricken state in the country, we weren`t using the funds that we get to solve poverty in any kind of way that would make a meaningful impact for families that I interview on a regular basis. And this TANF program was of particular interest to me because as you said, the rules are so lacks around how states can spend the money.
I knew that I could look at this program to determine or as an indicator of how the state addresses poverty. You know, are they using the money on evidence-based practices to end generational poverty as Bryant said in that interview? You know, and if not, what does that say about how the state feels about the poor? And you know I don`t even have to answer that question because I think the facts speak for themselves.
HAYES: Yes. Just to -- just to sort of reiterate here. So you can imagine a version of this that was not corrupt right, and not liable to misuse with lots of small grants, lots of community-based organizations saying, hey, we run this workforce development program in Jackson, we`re in the Delta doing this -- you know this, we do summer jobs, and, you know, give us these grants. But instead, it all gets consolidated under Nancy New who`s a friend of the governor`s wife. And then I want to read this because this is now the largest fraud case in state history.
I`m reading your reporting here. New, a friend of Bryant`s wife, Deborah, ran a nonprofit that was in charge of spending tens of millions of federal flexible welfare dollars outside of public view. What followed was the biggest public fraud case in state history. It is according to the state auditor`s office. Nonprofit leaders had misspent at least $77 million in funds that were supposed to help the needy, forensic auditors found.
Now the second question here is, how on earth does Brett Favre end up in the middle of this?
WOLF: You know, I think that in Mississippi, you know, Brett Favre is Mississippi`s favorite son, right? And our leaders are -- and Phil Bryant, in particular, pretty starstruck individuals. These are people who wanted to use their position to get close to athletes and famous people and people that made them feel important and powerful. And so I think when Favre started trying to get, you know, money and support for programs that he was interested in the volleyball stadium, there was a pharmaceutical startup company that he was investing in, that he wanted the state to help him out on. And that company also ended up receiving 2 million and stolen welfare funds.
He went to the governor and the governor was more than willing to help his friend out. And it was -- you know, the governor was the one in charge of telling John Davis you know, what to do with the -- with the welfare program. And I think that the text messages that we revealed this week, you know, really illustrate how those people were communicating ways to get around federal regulations so that they could use this money in the way that Brett Favre wanted it to be used.
HAYES: Yes, this is one text and this is again him calling -- it`s Brett Favre going back on Nancy New trying to find a way to move this money towards the projects he wants. And this is another text uncovered here. And I think the key here is he just talked to the governor, right? Brett Favre said. He said to me just a second ago that he has seen it but hint hint you need to reword it to get it accepted. Reword? Wonder what he means. I`m making a call now to get a little more information from someone on the inside and will get back to you. Just let them know that it was submitted by him reworking today.
What -- is this -- this is he`s -- he is submitting for what? Is this for the money that he gets personally to promote Mississippi or for the volleyball stadium?
WOLF: This is for the volleyball stadium. They needed more money because as they were going through construction, the project ended up being more expensive and so they needed to go back and call the department to get more money.
HAYES: Come on.
WOLF: Yes. And you know they knew that they couldn`t just embezzle it and give it to the university, right?
They weren`t trying to do that. They had to come up with a creative grant in order to get around restrictions on TANF spending. There is a strict restrictions. You can`t spend it on brick-and-mortar construction projects. And so the texts show that the governor actually helped them write the grant so that it would pass muster at the Department of Human Services. Knowing all along that the volleyball stadium wasn`t -- did not satisfy TANF purposes, they did say that the building was going to be used by the nonprofit to provide programming to people in poverty, which anyone looking at that proposal can probably see how thin it is. But the texts show, you know, sort of this coordinated effort to perpetuate the scheme to do that.
HAYES: Well, and I know you`re sitting there in Jackson. You don`t have great drinking water. It`s not potable. But I got to say the Southern Mississippi volleyball facility is a state of the art top notch, truly, really beautiful color coordinated, well designed. So there`s that, not really helping you or the residents of Jackson. Anna Wolf at Mississippi today who is done -- I can`t say enough about the work that you`ve done on this story and the work that Mississippi Today has done fantastic work, thank you for sharing it with us. I really appreciate it.
WOLF: Thanks so much.
HAYES: Coming up, Donald Trump`s hand-pick judge could name a special master at any time. We`re watching for that. Chuck Rosenberg joins me on what the ruling would mean for the investigation next.
HAYES: The fight over a special master in the wake of the search of Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago residence is about to come to a head. Judge Aileen Cannon has until tomorrow to decide on a motion from the Justice Department, otherwise federal prosecutors have said they will seek an appeal from the 11th circuit. The motion to the DOJ asked for a partial stay of Judge Cannon`s order, which had halted the FBI and DOJ from investigating basically from using the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago for their investigative purposes while a special master is chosen.
DOJ argues that this delay could irreparably hurt their probe. And they say, hey, let us just investigate using the 100 classified documents we found. The special master can go through everything else. At the same time, the department appears open to accepting one of the Trump team`s picks to do the job of a special master. But as we wait for that decision, still, a ton of questions about ongoing investigations in the ex-president in a bunch of different directions.
Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney, senior FBI official, he`s been following investigations into Donald Trump and he joins me now. Chuck, we have no news yet on this proposal, both an individual special master agrees, like -- seems like both sides have agreed on someone but more importantly, whether Judge Cannon grants this motion by the Department of Justice. What`s the timeline here? Let`s say she doesn`t. How expedited could you imagine the appellate review here and the departments are getting back on track?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL: Yes, I would think it would be pretty quick, Chris. I mean, the department has an urgent need that I don`t think that`s hyperbolic, to resolve the issue. They need to do a damage assessment. They need the FBI to help the intelligence community do it. And they have a widespread ongoing investigation. So I imagine they`ll ask for an expedited appeal. If that`s possible, the 11th circuit, the appellate court down that covers Florida should grant that. Moreover, it doesn`t strike me as a particularly difficult issue.
HAYES: Now, there`s developments happening in other legal cases involving the president. This classified -- the classified materials found at Mar-a- Lago are before Judge Cannon right now, but of course, there is this clearly, a quite large investigation happening out of the DC grand jury into January 6, more and more subpoenas being served. I want to play -- this is Bernie Kerik, of course, he used to be here -- he used to be in New York City. He was one of the advisors of the ex-President Trump as he was sort of fomenting the coup. He is among the many who had been served a subpoena. Here`s his first-person account of what happened. Take a listen.
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BERNIE KERIK, FORMER NYPD CHIEF & RUDY GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: When I looked at the subpoena, there was over 120 people mentioned in that subpoena, I don`t know 90 percent of them. I`ve never heard of many of the people in that subpoena, which was kind of odd. But the thing that stood out more than anything else, is that every single one of Donald Trump`s lawyers that was on the legal team investigating voter fraud and election fraud, they`re named in that subpoena.
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HAYES: Now, that`s not surprising, Chuck. Those are precisely individuals who might have been doing something illegal. But what conclusions you -- can you draw from the scope and the status of this investigation based on what we`ve learned in this last week of just the sheer number of people receiving subpoenas?
ROSENBERG: Yes. To your point, Chris, it would have been surprising if those names weren`t mentioned in the subpoena, but as to scope, right? So we`re seeing now -- we`re getting glimpses of the Department of Justice`s investigation. Dozens of subpoenas going out according to Mr. Kerik, hundreds of names -- 120 names he said on the subpoena that he received, assuming he`s right.
You know that they`re talking to a lot of people and they`re talking to a lot of people about a lot of other people. The plot, and that`s what was, to steal an election involves many people in many states doing many things that were illegal. And so, this is exactly what you would expect to see. But also, Chris, remember, and your viewers should remember, these types of investigations take time. If you have to talk to that many people, it`s going to take time and the department to audit take its time and get this thing right.
HAYES: Yes, this is from the New York Times today by Katie Benner who`s a great reporter there basically echoing that, saying that evidence in the spate of subpoenas yields compelling information that advances the -- even if it yields compelling information that advances the investigation, unlikely that Garland would be in a position to weigh criminal charges against Trump in either the January 6 related inquiry or in the documents investigation before the Midterm Elections.
I think we already know that. I think there`s just no way, also, given the department. With one case tied up in courts, investigators still gathering and evaluating large amounts of information. The other such decision might not even happen this year. That syncs with what my -- I don`t expect any decisions this year. How about you?
ROSENBERG: Nor should you. I completely agree. I`d be very surprised, in part, because of the department`s election year interference policy, which I think they will construe broadly and be very careful. And also because these types of investigations, Chris, as we discussed, take time.
By the way, there`s nothing wrong with taking your time. It`s not an ongoing, violent crime where people`s lives are at risk. I mean, the democracy may be at risk, but people aren`t dying as a result of what -- of the election blot. Take your time. Talk to everyone you have to talk to. Get it right. And then if charges are appropriate, bring them.
HAYES: Yes. You get one chance to get it right. Better to be -- better to be correct than fast. Chuck Rosenberg, thank you very much.
ROSENBERG: You bet.
HAYES" Still ahead, Donald Trump`s attempt to turn insurrectionist into heroes. The dangerous glorification of one of the country`s darkest moments after this.
HAYES: There`s a scene at the White House yesterday that perfectly embodies the strange contradictions of the American economy at this moment. President Joe Biden and the Congressional Democrats celebrating the passing of the inflation Reduction Act hours after new inflation numbers for August were worse than expected, which in turn sent Stock Market spiraling, the Dow having its worst day since June of 2020.
Now, under Biden, the U.S. has recovered all the jobs that lost during the pandemic. This summer, the unemployment rate hit the lowest level in the last 50 years. U.S. poverty hit a record low, lowest in the history of measurement in 2021, with the Bureau behind the data saying the drop was mostly attributable to the enhanced refundable Child Tax Credit enacted under President Joe Biden`s American rescue plan.
Yet the persistence of high inflation has lots of people scared that the Federal Reserve will essentially induce recession to get rid of it. So, what actually is going on with this very weird economic climate? Well, this week on my podcast, Why Is This Happening, I talked to economics writer Matthew Klein about the challenge that policymakers like the Fed have, especially since the one tool they have to counter inflation is something that makes most people`s lives harder.
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MICHAEL KLEIN, ECONOMICS WRITER: The dilemma the Fed always faced was how long can we wait before people start to embed expectations of prices going up and have that change their behavior? Because as long as people weren`t thinking that prices would keep going up, as long as everyone believed that this is going to be a one off problem and eventually would go away, then that gave them a lot of flexibility to wait.
And their concern for whatever reason is that, that no longer is the case. They have to be seen to be doing something. And so, that creates a challenge because they know just as well as you do that, you know, they can`t fix these problems except by making people poor. But, you know, that might be from their perspective, you know, the only option that`s really available at this point.
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HAYES: That`s on this week`s Why Is This Happening? You can listen wherever you get your podcasts.
HAYES: There`s a cult of martyrdom that has grown up on the right around the insurrectionists who attack the Capitol on January 6. Not only is it frightening, but it`s also dangerous. There`s one figure who this group is elevated and organized around more than any other. Her name, of course, is Ashli Babbitt. She`s a 35-year-old woman who was shot and killed by an officer on January 6.
You may remember this video. It`s really upsetting. It`s showing how Babbitt tried to propel herself through a broken window into an area just outside the House chamber. She was and that crowd behind her a clear and imminent threat to the members of Congress who are right there on the other side of that door at that moment still being evacuated. And so the loan officer they`re fired one shot, very tragically, ending actually bad it`s life.
I should add an internal investigation clear that officer of any wrongdoing. But despite those clear facts, some Republicans have been twisting Ashli Babbitt`s story to further their own political motives. Like Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona who claimed she was executed. Gosar also posted this picture of himself on Twitter wearing a bracelet with the words For Ashley. Several of Gosar`s colleagues have followed suit including Troy Nehls of Texas who called Babbitt`s shooting "murder," Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia who compared her death to the killing of George Floyd.
And of course, Fox News has amplified this message. Host Tucker Carlson says Ashli Babbitt was shot because she had the "wrong politics." The person leading the charge to betray Ashley Babbitt as a martyr of the MAGA movement is, of course, the ex-President himself. Earlier this year, he attacked the Capitol police officer who shot her calling him ruthless. And just yesterday, Trump called Ashley Babbitt`s mother while she was attending a rally in support of the January 6 insurrectionist jailed in Washington D.C.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mickey, it`s an honor to be with you and to everybody listening. It`s a terrible thing that has happened to a lot of people that are being treated very, very unfairly. We love Ashley and it was so horrible what happened to her. That man who shot Ashley is a disgrace. And then he goes on television and it looked like he was actually bragging about it. There`s never been a thing like this has happened in our country. And I just want to tell everybody that`s listening. We`re with you. We`re working with a lot of different people on this, and we can`t let this happen.
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HAYES: Of course, this also comes after Trump vowed to pardon the January 6 rioters if he is reelected. What makes us move in especially dangerous is that we know what can happen. When right-wing authoritarian movements celebrate their insurrection as rioters, we have historical examples, multiple ones, of fascist movements that turn their foot soldiers who are caught trying to overthrow the government and imprisoned into symbols of martyrdom.
This MAGA culture of holding extremists in great esteem extends well beyond Ashli Babbitt and the mob. We`re seeing it all across the country. It`s Republican candidates who deny that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election win their own primary after primary. We`ll talk about the latest election denier on the ballot next.
HAYES: New Hampshire Republicans just nominated their candidate challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan. His name is Donald Bolduc, and he won the Republican Senate primary last night. That`s there. You can see him celebrating, holding a big shield with the letter V on it and arrows. He`s a retired Army General and a big Trump guy.
Last year, he was one of more than 100 retired admirals and generals who signed a letter claiming there was fraud in the 2020 election. There was not. In October 2021, he gave an interview in The New Yorker where he was asked what do you would do if he were elected the Senate, would he vote not to certify the 2024 election? He replied, "Oh, absolutely."
And Bolduc`s opponent in the primary was a non-coup Republican State Senate president. In fact, Republican length groups dumped more than $4 million into the state trying to get them more recognizably normal guy on the left the nomination. Now, National Republican fundraising resources will go to supporting the election-denying, shield-caring Don Bolduc. Just the latest example, particularly in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states of pro- coup Trumpist being nominated to run in statewide races where we know that non-MAGA Republicans have actually had a fair amount of success.
I mean, a poll from April found that Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan is the third most popular governor in the nation, 71 percent approval rating. Hogan is term-limited, and you would think the party would listen to such a popular governor in nominating a potential replacement, but no. The man who won the primary is someone Hogan himself campaigned against calling him a "QAnon whack job" and "not mentally stable."
But Maryland Republicans voted and that QAnon whack job is now their nominee for governor. It`s even more striking in a place like Massachusetts where Republican Charlie Baker is the most popular governor in the country, a whopping 74 percent approval rating. Baker is not running for reelection this fall. Nominated as his replacement is a Trump-backed former State Rep. Ultimately, this means these states will probably not have very competitive gubernatorial elections.
But if you want a really stark example of this, take a look at Ohio. Governor Mike DeWine is a very conservative Republican. He`s just not a MAGA guy while Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance very much is. And look at the recent polling. In his reelection race, DeWine is pulling a solid 54 percent while Vance gets just 39 percent in the very same poll, same electorate.
Now, these two guys are not running against each other, but what this poll shows, and I think a lot of data, is that the non-Trump Republican Governor Mike DeWine poll significantly better than the Trump guy running for Senate, JD Vance. Republicans have seem to be convinced that the utter fluke of Donald Trump`s 2016 election where he lost popular vote means that his brand of MAGA politics is the future of the party, but it`s just not clear that that`s the actual case.
Natalie Allison is the national political reporter at Politico covering Senate campaigns. Mona Charen is a columnist and policy editor at The Bulwark. And they both join me now. Mona, let me start with you on that last bit of polling. I thought -- I mean, look, it`s a poll, right, so it`s one poll, but it illustrates something that I think is part of something broader.
Like, again, Mike DeWine. You know, if I --he`s not my cup of tea, politically. I don`t like some of the things he`s done. But he is also like, a recognizably non-Trumpist Republican. He doesn`t think the election was rigged. He listened to public health advice when Coronavirus hits. And here`s this guy go 15 points better than JD Vance. Everyone thinks that like Trumpism is the magic bullet to the electorate, but it seems like in a lot of places, it`s a bullet into your own foot.
MONA CHAREN, COLUMNIST AND POLICY EDITOR, THE BULWARK: But Chris, you`re expecting people to act rationally. And Republicans at this moment are not acting rationally. They`re not making a calculation about who`s most likely to be popular and to be able to draw independence and even perhaps some Democrats. No, it`s all about emotion. It`s about owning the Libs. It`s about expressing their grievance. And, you know, it may take a number of cycles for Republicans to get the message that this is an electoral dead end.
Now, you would think, you know, that Trump`s failure to win reelection in 2020 would have been that lesson, but no. They`ve convinced themselves that he actually won and then it was stolen from them. So it`s obviously going to take more pounding. They`re going to have to be defeated over and over and over again before it gets through their heads that this is a bad strategy.
I agree with that, actually. And I think -- I hope that -- I think that`s the way out here. In the case of the New Hampshire primary electorate, Natalie, you`ve got -- you know, Bolduc was not the favored choice of the sort of party establishment. And they thought he would be less competitive against Maggie Hassan. Rick Scott today saying they`re going to put money behind him.
But I got to imagine for handy -- people handicapping this race, it puts Republicans at a disadvantage to have a guy who says like, yes, I would vote to overturn the 2024 election in a state like New Hampshire.
NATALIE ALLISON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes. And the irony here is that if Republicans want to have a shot in New Hampshire, the Mitch McConnell super PAC money is going to have to stay in that race. And a lot of people think that that super PAC is the super PAC that was funding efforts to keep a Bolduc off the ballot. So, this is a guy that establishment Republican money has been attacking on air the last couple of weeks saying he has crazy idea saying he`ll lose to Hassan, then suddenly he is their nominee.
And the irony is if they want to be competitive in New Hampshire, they`re going to have to put money behind this guy that they tried to keep off the ballot the last few weeks.
CHAREN: Yes, they were late though. They only did it at the last minute, Chris.
HAYES: Yes, go ahead.
CHAREN: They really should have put money in long ago, right? I mean, they this threat was obvious. They saw what happened with Mastriano in Pennsylvania. I mean, there are many other examples. 60 percent of ballots in America in this fall`s election will feature election deniers. So, at the very last minute Republican, sort of establishment types got it got behind the opponent of Bolduc, but it was too little way too late.
HAYES: Yes, it`s a good point. And there`s also, you know, there`s also the strange thing that`s happening in the states like New Hampshire and Maryland and Massachusetts, right, where at one level, these are states that -- I mean, New Hampshire is sort of a swing state. Maryland and Massachusetts are quite, you know, Democratic state, heavily Democratic. They have these, you know, incredibly popular Republican governors, right?
And I remember, like a generation ago, when I first started covering politics, one of the things that would happen when people start to scuttlebutt about who`s going to be a presidential contender, you look at, like, someone who is governing a state successfully. You know, Bill Clinton in Arkansas, Phil Bredesen in Tennessee, Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.
Like, Larry Hogan, and Charlie Baker in another universe, you think like, well, they figured something out politically. They have 70 percent approval rating. And the base of the party was just like, we hate you, shut up, go away forever in the primaries.
CHAREN: Yes. Yes, we have to try to get -- sorry, go ahead.
ALLISON: I was going to say I think, it`s worth noting that in several cases, in these really competitive Senate races, these moderate, pretty popular governors have the shot to be on the ballot. So, in the case of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu was being courted by national Republicans to run for the Senate race, to have this very position that Don Bolduc now has, and he walked away from. And he said, I`m not interested.
You know, he didn`t want to go through the drama of probably being challenged from the right, being at odds with Trump in the primary. The same thing with Larry Hogan. Republicans thought they might actually have a chance at flipping Maryland in the Senate this year if Hogan ran because he was so popular. And Hogan said, I don`t want to deal with this. Same thing with Doug Ducey. There`s Blake Masters on the ballot right now this fall who`s not particularly popular in that state. And that`s because Doug Ducey said no, I don`t want any part of this.
HAYES: It`s a good point, because it also --
CHAREN: Yes, we are --
HAYES: -- it points to how toxic Trump`s presence is not just in a sort of electoral fashion, Mona, but just who wants to go -- if you`re Chris Sununu, you`re the governor of New Hampshire, right? You`re not really answering to anyone other than the voters. You don`t -- it doesn`t really matter if Donald Trump is like, doesn`t like you. But you`re going to the Senate, all of a sudden, it`s like you`re dancing to whatever tune he`s playing.
CHAREN: And not only that, you`ve got to have lunch with Ted Cruz and other crazies in the -- in the Republican caucus. And if you`re a sane person, who wouldn`t want to avoid that. But look, you know, we -- the kind of politics you`re talking about, Chris, is something that we have to strive to get back to. But at the moment, our polarization is so extreme and I think that the only sort of structural way to begin to pare away at that is by open primaries, nonpartisan primaries where candidates have an incentive to appeal to a broader constituency than just the hard right or the hard left.
And, you know -- because at the moment, I don`t see us getting back to the kind of sane politics that you were talking about where yes, you would look at a -- you know, a Democratic governor and in a Republican state who was doing well or Republican governor in Democratic state who was doing well. You would think those people have cross-appeal. But our politics has gotten to the point where people don`t want to appeal to the middle anymore. There`s no incentive to.
HAYES: Well, the incentive comes with winning or losing. And that`s really -- I agree with you that in the end, that`s what will out over iterative cycles. We`ll see how long it takes.
HAYES: Natalie Allison, Mona Charen, thank you both.
That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT" starts right now. Good evening, Alex.