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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/11/22

Guests: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Jamie Raskin, Anna Eskamani


Canadian truckers protests prompts state of emergency in Ontario. The White House warns of `distinct possibility" that Russia could invade Ukraine during the Olympics. Interview with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Chris, have yourself a good evening. We`ll see you next week.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Let me show you a photo. The photo that you`re looking at shows 200 people in their cars.


Now let me show you another picture. It`s the same 200 people in the same space, without their cars, just sitting on the city street.

Looks pretty empty this way, right? Urban planners actually use images like these two to drive home the point about how much space each individual takes up because of their vehicle. Now, this is useful information, when you think about how to design cities.

And for the moment, we need to borrow this way of thinking if we are going to properly understand what exactly is happening with these anti-vaccine mandate trucker protests, right now in Canada. The group that shut down the entire city center of Canada`s capital, Ottawa, for two weeks, is around 400 trucks. The group that stop the flow of traffic on this bridge, the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, the bridge that is used for more than one quarter of all of the trade between the United States and Canada, this group is about 75 trucks.

Now usually, when we`re trying to measure a protest, or analyze it success, we look at crowd size. But in this case, crowd sizes deceptive. If just 400 people were protesting in Ottawa, heck if 2,000 people in Ottawa, it would be that big of a deal. If 75 people were brought blocking the ambassador bridge, it`d be a decent sized deal, but to be a big local story in Windsor or Detroit, not an international one.

And yet, here we are, it cannot be said enough that these protesters are not in any way representative of Canada at large. These truckers are, ostensibly, protesting against vaccine requirements, and pandemic public health measures. But both of those things are pretty popular in Canada, more than 80 percent of Canadians are vaccinated. Get this, 90 percent of all Canadian truckers are vaccinated.

The largest truckers union in Canada has publicly condemned these protests. The Teamsters Union has publicly denounced these protests. This is a very small group of individuals, in the hundreds probably, representing a view that is not at all popular. But, because of the literal physical enormity of their trucks, it`s having a massive impact on Canada, and now the world.

In addition to shutting down auto city center, protesters and their trucks have now started camping out in the streets of Calgary, Winnipeg, my hometown of Toronto, and Quebec City.

They`ve blocked major roadways between United States and Canada, at four key entry points. One of those points, the one we`ve been talking about tonight, the Ambassador Bridge, is the biggest trade route between the U.S. and Canada, period. It handles $300 million of goods per day. Again, that one has largely been shut down since Monday, because of about 75 trucks.

We are already starting to see the impact of those blockades. Toyota has said that the disruption of the supply train from the blockades, has led to periodic downtime for plants as far away as West Virginia and Alabama. Ford has curtailed capacity had to move its plants and fully shut down an entire assembly plant in Ohio, because of part shortages, and if you don`t care about car manufacturers, but there are canary in the coal mine of what this could do to our supply chain overall.

It`s not just car parts, by the way, that are being blocked from going over these bridges. Our COVID area supply chain is already spread thin, so these blockades have a lot of potential to cause very real damage.

So you maybe wondering, why after weeks, Canadian officials have interest arrested everyone involved in these protests, or towed their trucks. The answer is complicated. It`s partially because Canadian police are the polite sort, they don`t typically do this type of thing. It`s also because trucks this big are actually incredibly difficult to tow, and some local towing companies have refused to help.

Ottawa police are currently investigating threats made against at least one towing company, threats made to believe the company internal helping the police. But regardless of why Canadian officials have been arrested or told these guys yet, it looks like this passive stance might now be changing.

Today, the very conservative premier of Ontario declared a state of emergency, and announced that the punishment for truckers who refused to leave will be severe. He announced a maximum penalty of $100, 000, and up to a year in prison, they can also see their licenses revoked.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued his own warning, today, after talking on the phone with President Biden on how to end the blockades.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: President Biden and I both agree that for the security of the people and the economy, these blockades cannot continue. So make no mistake, the border cannot and will not remain closed. Everything is on the table, because this on lawful activity has to end, and it will end. If you are still participating in illegal blockades, you are hurting your neighbors. It`s time to go home.


VELSHI: But while the Canadian prime minister and President Biden are trying to end the blockades, American Republicans are supporting them. Republican politicians like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have probably supported with the small group of truckers have been doing in Canada, and we are now starting to see American Republican politicians outright ask for the truck protests in the United States.

Here is a sitting United States senator, Rand Paul, today, with the conservative outlet, "The Daily Signal".


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I hope the truckers do come to America, I hope they clog up cities.


VELSHI: Since before that, Senator Paul we can get part of these protests to the civil rights movement, which is truly something else. And conservative media has been cheerleading these protests for weeks.

Fox News, in particular, has dedicated our day to our the coverage of them, is now egging on Americans who want to copy the protests in the United States.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: The question for us, however, could there be an American version of this trucker convoy for freedom. Well, apparently truckers in the United States are planning to convoy to Washington, D.C., a Facebook group called convoy to D.C. 2022, gained over 130,000 members in recent days. Now, that`s effective community organizing, the kind we`re told is good. It`s an exercise of democracy.


VELSHI: Exercise of democracy.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security, issued a vote a bulletin warning that they have reason to believe that there are at least aspirational plans for a copycat trucker convoy in the United States. According to DHS, this copycat convoy could start as early as this Sunday, in an attempt to disrupt the super bowl, and then caravan to D.C. to disrupt Biden`s state of the union in early March.

I think the keyword here is aspirational. We spent some time to get through the social media groups that are supposedly plane in these convoys, today, and at least from what we saw, they didn`t seem particularly organized, or like there is much of a plan. But conservative media and conservative politicians in the United States are fanning the flames here, which could make this real.

And the U.S. is not like Canada. While nearly 90 percent of Canadian truckers are vaccinated, only about 50 percent of American truckers are. So, conservatives are fanning the flames near a potentially much larger pile of timber in the United States. While this is a potential issue in the United States, it is still very live issue in Canada, on the border.

The issue has exfoliated so much that the United States is now reportedly offering support from the homeland security to end these blockades.

Now, late this afternoon, an Ontario judge issued an order, demanding that roughly 150 protesters around the ambassador bridge clear the area. The judge was order gave police the authority to remove them by force, if necessary, if they refused to disperse. The ruling went into effect two hours ago, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. They gave protesters plenty of time to clear the area.

But as the deadline arrived, protesters were not moving. Some of them were advocating that any efforts to remove them by police will be met with resistance. Instead, they locked arms, they waved flags, they chanted slogans like freedom, as nearby police looked on. Freedom.

Okay, the situation is tense there, it remains unclear when, if, long enforcement is going to move in a clear the protesters and those were awfully 75 trucks from the area surrounding the bridge.

Joining us live now from the Canadian side of the ambassador bridge, Windsor, Ontario, is MSNBC news correspondent Kal Perry.

Kal, good evening to you. Police are there on the scene, they don`t appear to have moved in to make arrests and remove the cut trucks. What is the latest?

CAL PERRY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Now, I`m not seen any of the staging that we would normally see, that sort of obviously met surge to protesters that police are arriving. There is a bit of a development on the ground. We`ve seen a flyer being handed out by police to some of the protesters. I`m just going to read a portion of one of the bullet points here.

It says, the new orders about that ruling those made earlier today by the superior court judge that you laid out. The new orders will be aimed at protecting the international border crossings, 400 highways, ports, and railways, not a surprise.

We are talking, as you have been, about hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here. A prime minister, here in Canada, who is in a politically very difficult situation, his phone rang today from the American president.

So, something has to give. You can feel it here, that`s on the nasty give. As you said, it`s a dozen or so pick up trucks, a couple of those big rigs, and I both 70 people.

So the question is, when it does happen, will happen peacefully, or will police have to come in here in some kind of force? I cannot imagine, Ali, based on everything that you laid out, that this goes through the weekend, the pressure really seems to be on local politicians to deal with the situation.

HANNITY: And, of course, local politicians, at least provincial politicians in Ontario, they are conservatives. You and I have talked many times about Canada, you can`t really get through a conversation without mentioning I`m from Canada. This doesn`t feel like when I`m used to.


Who are these folks, and where they motivated by?

PERRY: There is a Trumpian feel to this demonstration. There is, exactly as you`ve laid out, this want to be connected to America and a movement that is viewed as a larger movement. This is not, as you said, representative of what is happening in Canada as far as vaccines, as far as mask requirements. But it is representative, in a broader movement, and a broader frustration.

A lot of these folks who came out here are just frustrated. It may not necessarily be about the vaccine, it may not be about the masks, but it is definitely about the political system that they find themselves in. And so, as this kind of moves west, there is a kind of yearning to be heard.

I just want to mention, Ali, we talked visually about the Trump rallies, we have so many of the same visuals here, we have the Trump flags, the red hats with him writing in white for the truckers. It`s designed after those Trump`s logos. There are t-shirts being sold.

So, you have that atmosphere that is very eerily similar to what we saw in the United States five or six years ago.

VELSHI: And you`ve seen not a lot, because you are a lot of those rallies.

Cal, good to see you. Thanks again for being with us tonight, keep us posted if anything happens. Just wave into the camera, we`ll come right back to you.

MSNBC news correspondent, Cal Perry, on the Canadian side of the Detroit- Windsor Ambassador Bridge right now.

In addition to the immediate pressing issue of these protesters blocking supply lines, and occupying Canadian cities. There is actually a bigger and more interesting question, here, about democracy. I want to return, for a second, to the photo I used to start tonight`s show.

If those protesters in Canada were out in the streets, without their trucks, this would be a different issue. But the scale of the trucks mean there are civil disobedience creates a magnified level of chaos. And that magnification is only made greater, it`s amplified, by conservative media here in the United States, and social media.

So, how are we supposed to react to protests like this? Protests were very small groups of people can cause this much commotion?

Joining us now is Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She`s a professor of history at New York University and someone I consider an authority figure on authoritarians, propaganda, protecting democracy.

Professor, I -- this is an interesting experiment here, because it`s not a big demonstration. It`s not a popular cause. They`re not really succeeding in anything because people don`t really share their views on anything. And yet, getting a lot of news, and they closed an international border.

What do you make of this?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT, HISTORY PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Well, they are succeeding, they`ve done hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the point where car manufacturers on both sides of the border are having slowdowns, the BBC estimated $300 million a day in damage. There also is a huge victory in terms of the empowerment of the idea of the fringe can really do something very prominence.

And though some of it is not organized, some of these people, like Tamara Leak (ph), a key organizer, was involved in succession-ism in Western Canada. So there is a design here, for some of the British fans to create a far-right insurgency, this is a state of affairs where you create economic hardship. You disrupt the supply chain, low level violence.

The point is to show that democracy doesn`t work, the democracy cannot handle the crisis that you`ve created, and create an appetite for another form of rule, only I can fix it, I alone can fix that type of rule, and authoritarian rule.

VELSHI: It`s intriguing to bring this up, because there have been secessionist movements in Canada, obviously, notably, and Quebec and Western Canada. In every country that you have study, there is always a pocket of people with an ongoing grievance with the governments, and there is validity with these things. But it seems like the world is more ripe for this.

I have a conversation with Professor Tim Snyder the other night, who said this is worrisome that this is getting this kind of energy in a place like Canada.

BEN-GHIAT: It is worrisome, and you see with social media, the far-right has always been a transnational movement. In the 30s, it was the fascist international, today with social media, you see these things spread, and it`s very concerning that in the U.S., Tucker Carlson is calling it a human rights protest, and actively inciting this to come to the U.S.. And with Rand Paul, you had that clip before, he says he wants to see the cities clogged, you have to ask why. They want to show that democracy is under stress, and it can`t handle crisis.

The other thing that is very concerning to me as a scholar of democracy, is you see these GOP lawmakers, and not only Marjorie Taylor Greene, but Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, they are actually supporting a movement which aims to topple a democratic government, and create chaos for a foreign government.


And so, not only is the GOP throwing away the rule of law in the United States, it is actively acting -- it`s throwing away diplomacy, and the kind of rule of law in foreign affairs, and acting as a rogue. These people are acting as rogue operatives, and yet they are elected lawmakers. So this is very concerning.

HANNITY: We are two hours after the judge said it should be cleared out, who knows what this could happen, everybody could just go home and in very peacefully, and register a win for whoever wants to win about it.

What history informs us about what we should think about this, you have examples where little things like this became much bigger things?

BEN-GHIAT: Unfortunately, there is. In the 1970s when the U.S. and the far right in Chile and Brazil wanted to topple the democratically elected government of Allende, a socialist. They created this state of emergency, with bomb threats and all kinds of psychological warfare, the tipping point with truck strikes, 200,000 truckers disrupted the slot supply chain so badly that there is no food, there is a sense of scarcity in crisis. And again, the goal was to create a psychological and political climate for the acceptance of authoritarian rule.

So truck actions have had a starting role, at times, in anti-democratic history. So we have to be very, very vigilant about people calling for them to come here.

VELSHI: I want to ask you about some of the things that Cal was saying. Cal Perry has covered a lot of truck rallies, he said there were similarities, we also saw things. We don`t typically see in Canada. There have been Trump flags in some of these places. There are Confederate flags and there are some sort of extremist tendencies here.

How do you -- how does that inform how we look at these protests?

BEN-GHIAT: Well, you know, things like this, they bring together people who are true extremists from all kinds of extremes, the neo-Nazis, secessionists, with people who were not previously affiliated. The act of gathering for these protests becomes a kind of recruiting toll. The more immediate attention they get, the more empowered they feel, the more people -- it`s kind of a lesson on the ground they`re getting. The same thing that happened with January 6th, which brought together, in that rally, every type of extremist from within our institutions, but also unaffiliated individuals who are disgruntled.

So, these are moments that can light a match for a larger movement, and bring people together and radicalize them.

VELSHI: I think it`s important to point out that these people are, there are exceptions, 80 percent of Canadians are vaccinated, 90 percent of truckers are vaccinated, they`re vaccinated a higher rate than the population, the Canadian you know supported, the teachers union don`t support it, and yet it continues.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, thanks for joining us tonight. Professor Ben-Ghiat is professor of history at New York University.

One more quick thing on COVID before we go. Parents of young kids have anxiously awaiting the day that the COVID vaccine is approved for kids under five. Unfortunately, the days going to come a bit later than expected.

Pfizer announced today that it postponed its application to the FDA for the vaccine to be distributed to children under the age of five. They want to wait for more data to come in, to see of young kids benefit from a three dose regimen, instead of just the standard two. And that data is expected in early April.

So parents likely have to wait another few months to get their little ones that jab. More ahead tonight. Stay with us.



VELSHI: This is the dispatch from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. "The Washington Post" reports that, quote, in the blistering cold, ordinary Ukrainians gather each weekend at an old and dilapidated Soviet youth camp on the eastern edge of Kyiv, with one mission, to protect their country against possible Russian aggression. Veterans and new unlikely combatants are trained by active military.

One new volunteer, a 59 year old woman from eastern Ukraine, wielding a prop wooden rifle, explains she had to flee from her village. I want to fight, so that I can return home, she said.

I want to fight, so that I can return home.

That incredible reports on the grounds, comes as Ukraine reports that they are almost fully surrounded by hostile forces. New satellite imagery shows new Russian deployments in key locations and Crimea. These images show Russia is increasing its buildup in Belarus, just north of Ukraine, and in Russia.

And here in the United States, we keep hearing these startling data points about an aggressive Russian buildup. It`s a drip, drip, drip of new details. The White House said today that Russia could invade Ukraine and any day now.

The million dollar question that we are all eager to answer is simple, is Vladimir Putin going to invade? It`s hard to get a sense of what is actually happening, and what we should really be focusing on. NBC News is reporting, tonight, the Russia has amassed nearly 80 percent of the forces needed for a full scale invasion, that`s up from 70 percent last week, and on track with what we were expecting.

And the country has brought in more dangerous missile systems, while moving closer to the border with Ukraine. PBS NewsHour reports today that the United States believes that Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, and that he was told the Russian military about those plans.

But, Jake Sullivan, Biden`s national security advisor, adamantly push back against those claims, saying there is, quote, no indication that Putin has made a final decision about whether or not he will invade Ukraine.


At the same time, Sullivan strongly urge Americans Ukraine to leave the country and to leave now, within the next 24 to 48 hours.

"BuzzFeed News" reports tonight that the State Department is actually picking up the phone, and individually calling U.S. citizens in Ukraine, telling them to leave the country immediately. Not an automated message, according to "BuzzFeed".

Meanwhile, the guardian newspaper citing diplomatic sources that Biden has told NATO and EU leaders, that the United States believes that Putin has decided to invade. We should note that NBC News has not confirmed that reports.

So, this all comes as the U.S. has ordered an extra 3,000 troops in Poland to join in nearly 2,000 troops that President Biden ordered last week. The United States will also be to sending 1,000 troops to Romania, to Ukraine`s southwestern border. This all comes as President Biden is said to speak on the phone tomorrow morning with Vladimir Putin, from Camp David. The last time the two leaders spoke directly was in December, there`s a lot of catching up to do.

Joining us now is Michael McFaul. He served as United States ambassador to Russia, under Obama. His new piece today in "Foreign Affairs" is titled, "How to Make a Deal with Putin: Only a comprehensive pact can avoid war".

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being with us tonight.

It is important and crucial time. You have a suggestion on the table. Your article suggest there is a way out of this, it is a look like?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Ali, first I want to say, I`m not optimistic that my proposal would be accepted by Vladimir Putin, I want to be clear about that. But I think if Putin wants to negotiate about European security, and not just about small things, and not about things that we cannot do, like closing the door to NATO forever, that will never happen. There`s a lot of concrete things that American, Russian, Canadian, and European negotiators can do.

I call it Helsinki 2.0 because Helsinki was signed in 1975. By the way, we`re in a very confrontational relationship with the communist Soviet Union, we had many disagreements around the world. Remember, communist had just taken over in Southeast Asia in southern Africa. And yet, in that context, we managed to negotiate, it took several years, a treaty that made European -- all of Europe safer.

And that`s basically when I wrote about, and I think that`s on offer if Putin decides he wants to negotiate.

VELSHI: Let me read a little bit from that suggestion about what you are just talking about in Helsinki. You said, to launch these ambitious negotiations, all OSCE leaders, Biden and Putin included, could meet in Helsinki this year. The countries couldn`t station special envoy is there, dedicated to hatching a new agreement. It would be complemented by negotiations at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna, the NATO Russia council in Brussels, and in bilateral U.S. Russian channels.

Diplomats could aim to complete their final product by 2025, the 50th anniversary of the Helsinki final act.

This seems like a really reasonable approach to people who have been longtime combatants looking for a solution. Maybe something like that could work with the Israel in the Palestinians.

Does this meet the goals that Putin has right now? Is he not enjoying the fact that we are all talking about this, and not sure about when he`s going to do?

MCFAUL: Yes and no. Yes, he`s enjoying all the attention, right? He`s enjoying all these phone calls, all the visitors. And he`s really enjoying the fact that this frame that he put on this crisis about NATO expansion is what a lot of us are spending our time arguing about.

We`re not arguing about annexation of Crimea, right? We`re not arguing about the illegal recognition, excuse me, of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia from 2008. He loves that.

But I actually do think that if he wants to negotiate, there are real things we can do in terms of transparency, pulling our soldiers back, maybe limiting some weapons. But we can`t meet his maximalist demands, right? We can`t entertain the ideas of closing NATO`s door, and by the way, he probably won`t meet our maximalist demands of leaving Crimea, anytime soon.

So sometimes, in negotiations, you have to agree to disagree about maximalist positions, that`s what we did during the start of the negotiations with the Russians when I was in the government. You agree to disagree, you write him down inside letters, and then you try to find some agreement about the limited things that you can agree on, based on reciprocity, and mutual interest.

And I think on European security, there are some issues where we could agree with the Russians, if Vladimir Putin wants to negotiate. I want to emphasize, I don`t think he does, but if he does, I think this way forward.

VELSHI: And that is a great unknown. What it is the unknown, in which people like you throw yourselves into, because diplomacy is always better than the alternative.

Michael McFaul, thank you for being with us, former ambassador to Russia under President Obama.

The January 6th commission met virtually today after a week of explosive new developments about Donald Trump`s involvement with the insurrection. Congressman Jamie Raskin joins us next. Please stay with us.



MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: What we are looking at is the kind of material -- we are talking about what was flushed down a toilet. We were very diligent making sure we secure those documents and ultimately I think the records will show that.


VELSHI: That was former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. In an interview with the station Newsmax, making an eyebrow raising defense of the Trump administration`s record keeping habits, just a day after learning that former President Trump tried to flush records down the toilet while his time in office.

But what is even more eyebrow raising is that Mark Meadows is there on television talking about presidential records and the January 6 investigation at the same time he is violating a subpoena from those very same investigators.


It`s been almost two months since the House of Representatives officially voted to recommend contempt charges for Mark Meadows because of his refusal to cooperate with that investigation. The Justice Department still has not said whether it is not going to charge -- or whether or not it is going to charge Meadows with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. The committee is still waiting on Attorney General Merrick Garland to make that attorney determination.

It would be one thing if that was the only outstanding thing the investigators had to deal with right now. But there are a lot of balls right now in the air for those investigators. There is the question of missing call records in documents turned over, first reported by "The New York Times" yesterday. And questions about whether Trump is still keeping classified material belong to the federal government at his home in Mar-a- Lago or somewhere else.

Today, CNN reports that the National Archives only receive the documents from Mar-a-Lago after threatening to alert Congress and the Justice Department if the records were not turned over. That same CNN reporting also cites a source which says that the document turnover has, quote, not been fully resolved. And that Trump remains in possession of some documents that the Archives wants.

Today, members of the January 6th investigation meant to discuss the issue of whether or not to hold this guy, Trump`s TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in contempt for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. This comes after report this week that Giuliani had asked a local prosecutor in Michigan to turn over voting machines to the Trump team in the aftermath of the election. While still waiting to learn whether investigators will be able to secure an interview with Trump`s daughter, White House advisor Ivanka Trump, to discuss whether she saw in the White House on January 6th.

All of that is still in front of the investigators as they are reportedly about to enter a new, public phase of their investigation open to televised hearings. A face that investigator Liz Cheney says will show once and for all that Trump`s lies provoked the violence on January 6th. So, what can we expect in the coming days?

Joining us now is Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. He`s a member of the January 6th investigation. He`s a former lead impeachment manager for Donald Trump`s second impeachment.

Congressman, thank you for being with us tonight. We appreciate your time.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You got it, Ali.

VELSHI: Liz Cheney, your Republican colleague, who is on the committee, one of only two Republicans on the committee, censured by the Republican National Committee, has said that your investigation will prove that Donald Trump`s lies motivated the violence on January 6th.

What does that do? What happens if she is right and you are right and you have the proof? Does it change anyone`s mind about anything?

RASKIN: Well, our mandate, of course, is to get to the bottom of the events. And to tell America the truth so that people can see the clear chronology of events and the causation of different things.

Now, of course, the House already impeached Donald Trump for inciting the violent insurrection against the Union in a 57 to 43 vote also agreeing to that factual causation. But what we are doing here is we are filling in, with very empirically rooted, fine grained detail exactly what took place, who spoke to who. We are trying to fill in the operational hierarchy of who gave orders to who.

And so, we are trying to put together the activities of that most obstructionist and defiant coterie of advisors, the Steve Bannons and Rudy Giulianis, and the Roger Stone`s, and the people who were more forthcoming from the three percenters and the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, the people from the mob, with people in the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland of Security, people throughout the government.

So, the vast majority of the people involved have told us the truth, want to tell us the truth and are cooperating. And it is really that tight, little entourage surrounding Donald Trump who are trying to hold out. That is what is slowing us down a little bit. But I think that, though the time is on their side, all of the momentum is on our side.

VELSHI: So, this is interesting, the language use, empirically rooted, fine-grained detail. I remember when I watch the proceedings, I thought you had a lot of empirically rooted, fine-grained detail they are and you allowed about what happened.

What to you is new? A lot of it is new to me. But what is new to you that changes how you see January 6th and Donald Trump`s culpability in that event?

RASKIN: Well, it was so manifest at the trial were all of Donald Trump statements inciting the mob.


You`ve got to go and fight and fight like hell or you`re not going to have a country anymore. And when there is fraud involved, there is a completely different set of rules.

We follow that all the way back to the storming of the Michigan state capitol, where he was inciting those people. And so, we were able to follow that all the way up to the point of violence. And at that point, the video took over and the testimony of people who saw what happened took over.

But what we didn`t know what is the operational hierarchies behind the scene, who was giving order, who is interfacing between Trump`s political entourage and neo-Nazi storm trooper groups, white nationalist groups, and how who was this mob activated? And how were the decisions to commit violence made?

You know, look, Donald Trump is right now out there defending his decision to try to over throw Biden`s majority in the Electoral College, saying Mike Pence had the authority to overturn the election. That was his entire political purpose there. But he was willing to surround that coup with a violent insurrection and he was willing to surround that violent insurrection with mob violence against our police officers, 150 of whom ended up wounded and injured after being hit over the head and smashed in the guts and having the ribs broken and so on.

So, we are going to tell that story, that there were actual human voice the indispensable for this. It was not Donald Trump alone. There were a lot of other enablers and handlers who were responsible.

VELSHI: Congressman, we appreciate your time as always. Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, he`s a member of the January 6th investigation. Thanks for being with us.

And one quick programming note, tonight, after the show, you can catch MSNBC`s exclusive new documentary, "Love & the Constitution", it is about Congressman Raskin`s fight to hold all Trump accountable while grieving the loss of his son. It`s a must watch documentary tonight.

We still have much more to get to, including the story and how conservative lawmakers in one state are trying to create their own government database to track people who wish to exercise a certain constitutional right.

Stay with us.



VELSHI: Oklahoma`s legislative session started back up this week. The lawmakers are considering a slate of antiabortion measures, including one bill that would create a database of pregnant people in the state, seeking an abortion. And another measure that would ban abortion after 30 days since a missed period, 30 days, that sooner than many women know that they are pregnant, and it`s definitely sooner than many people decide if they want to seek abortion.

Over in New Hampshire, the state house debated a bill that would allow any manning who claims to be the father to sue a woman seeking an abortion, and ultimately force or to keep the pregnancy, even against her will. One State House Republican explained, quote, it`s actually not recognizing that men have the rights, fathers have some rights, but how do we go about making sure those rights are recognized? End of quote.

This bill suggests lawmakers want to do that by usurping a woman`s control over her own body. It`s nothing short of alarming that any of these bills are being considered anywhere in the democratic United States, in which the Constitution is guaranteed -- an abortion is guaranteed by the Constitution.

But if you want a better chance of the trend lines in this country, when it comes to the reproductive rights, take a look at Florida. Just a few months ago, Florida lawmakers were cooking up a bill that would imitate the Texas vigilante law, that effectively bans all abortion after six weeks. But since the Texas law has been kicked around from court to court, Florida dropped that model, in favor of a different kind of anti-abortion bill, one that`s more like Mississippi`s law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, and is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Florida Republicans are supportive of the new bill, because they say, compared to the Texas law which bans the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, there is a holds 15 weeks, a time difference that they call, generous.

According to Florida House Republican Dana Trabulsy, 15 weeks is quote, a long time, and quote, even if it`s less than the 24-week time limit that Roe v. Wade guarantees for him to get an abortion.

Florida Republicans say, hey, this bill is a compromise bill, even though it provides no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape, incest, or human trafficking. State Senator Kelli Stargel says, quote, we`re not banning anything, we`re not being mean.

We`re not being mean. Chill out, guys, it`s generous, not being mean.

The bill passed Florida`s Senate committee last week, a state house committee, subcommittee advanced the bill earlier this week. The state health and human services committee held their first hearing on the bill on Thursday.

Now, they asked Republicans when it came time for public testimony, several Florida residents had a lot to say about this generous bill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is so exhausting trying to find new ways to beg you to hear my pleas, about my right to choose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There should be no room, no right for anyone, especially any politician, and more specifically any male politician, to interfere in a very intimate moments, and tell a woman what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a woman of color, a wife, and a mom of three, this bill is taken away the access and choice that people in the state should respectfully have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I drove two and half hours this morning to ask why, why do you feel the need to make a decision on women`s bodies?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Allowing it further restricting abortion by passing this bill, would not bring wellness to people of Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifteen weeks is an undue burden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raped my freshman year of college. Afterwards, I feel like no matter when I did, I didn`t have agency or control over my own body, and that`s how I feel again today sitting in this room.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really not your business why someone cares and wants to have an abortion. What should be your business is providing health care, housing, therapy, and child care for expecting parents. Please say no on HB5.


VELSHI: Even after all that testimony, the committee voted to pass a bill, now it`s going to go to the full house for consideration on Tuesday. Democrats say they will oppose it, but they are, as we have discussed several times on the show, in the minority.

Joining us now is the Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani, a Democrat who opposes the build of the House will vote on next week.

Representative Eskamani, good to see you. Thank you for joining us again today.

STATE REP. ANNA ESKAMANI (D), FLORIDA: Thanks for having me.

VELSHI: What can happen here? This is another situation where Florida representatives have a plan, and they`ve got the numbers, So, what does your sustain fight look like?

ESKAMANI: Well, first of all, Ali, there is no way this is a generous or reasonable abortion ban. This is gaslighting by my Republican colleagues who will do anything to ban abortion, even if it takes step-by-step, bill by bill. This is a dangerous agenda that would force those seeking to access at abortion beyond 15 weeks in Florida to go to North Carolina, as their closest option, assuming North Carolina doesn`t ban abortion as well.

And, of course, Democrats as a minority, our options are to fight like hell to not only delay the passage of this bill, but of course, amplify public attention. The reality is that Republicans know the banning abortion is not popular in Florida, and that`s why they continue trying to avoid this is, a ban on abortion.

VELSHI: So you mentioned this idea that many people might have to go to North Carolina. Let`s follow the reality of this. There are a lot of women who testified there who said, look, this is a hardship, this is difficult.

But that`s the goal, right? The goal is to make board abortions inaccessible, critical early for people who do not have the luxury of traveling to states, extra gas, and housing, and waiting periods, and tests that are not necessary. But that`s actually the intent of this bill.

ESKAMANI: Absolutely. First of all, abortion access is already highly restricted in Florida, as we`re seeing that trend in conservative states across America.

The reality is that abortion bans impact any type of person, but as you mentioned, those who have access to means will find a way to express bodily autonomy, have that agency, and decide the outcome of the pregnancy. It`s going to be those of no wealth, those who are pieces people of color, undocumented, people with disabilities, minor nurse, people who live in foster care, these are the populations of Floridians who will have no other alternatives, and will be either forced to travel out of state, or force to become parents, which they know they`re not ready or would not wish to pursue.

So we`re locking people deeper into poverty. There`s already so much research that helps us understand what happens when someone cannot make a personal decision about their pregnancy. The outcomes are dangerous, the outcomes are just systematically brutal, and this really is a bill that tries to punish people for being poor.

VELSHI: You did tweet that your House Democrats have filed 17 amendments. Did those amendments do anything? Do those amendments, will any of them be considered, and if they were to take place, with a changes build meaningfully?

ESKAMANI: Absolutely. I worked at Planned Parenthood for six years before I play ran for office. I was a Planned Parenthood patient before then. These issues are personal to me, not only as a woman, as someone of reproductive age, but as someone who cares about the next generation of Floridians who deserve full body autonomy.

The 17 amendments that have filed range from removing the ban, to adding more exceptions, doing all we can to amplify not only how dangerous this bill is, but hopefully of course to make it less harmful if it does actually become law. And we wished it set this up for litigation, because we do know this is unconstitutional, and we`re going to do everything we can for American people to know that.

VELSHI: Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani, thank you for time tonight. We appreciate it.

ESKAMANI: Thank you.

VELSHI: Last night, we reported that Biden had narrowed his options down to just four people, now NBC has a confirmed three of those names. We`ll tell you who they are, next.


VELSHI: President Biden is spending the weekend at Camp David where he will not only have a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow. He will also spend weekend reviewing materials about his short list of Supreme Court contenders to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Things seem to be moving fast on that front.

Last night, President Biden told NBC`s Lester Holt in an interview that he has taken a deep dive on about four people. Today, several sources are telling NBC News that the list is down to three women: Judges Ketanji Brown Jackson, Michelle Childs, and Leondra Kruger. As you know, the president promised to name a Black woman to the job. The White House also weighed about a dispute about one of those candidates today, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, thereby officially conforming she is on the short list.

The clock is ticking. Democrats want the interview process to begin as early as next week, and the name of the final contender is desired by the end of the month. We shall see. As Rachel says, watch this space.

That does it for me tonight. You can catch me Saturday and Sunday morning on my show "Velshi" at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. I`m particularly excited about our shows this week. Last week, we launched the Velshi banned book club, and this week, we got our first author for the series. Our first banned book is "All Boys Aren`t Blue". It`s a manifesto, a memoir of growing up black and queer in America.

There is time for you to get in on the conversation. If you have read the book and you want to share your thoughts or questions for the author. Email us at The author, George M. Johnson joins me this weekend. You don`t want to miss it.

Up next tonight, though, it`s time for "Love & The Constitution", a new documentary from MSNBC films about the Congressman Jamie Raskin`s fight to hold Donald Trump accountable for January 6 while grieving the loss of his son.

"Love & The Constitution: A Heart Shattered, a Purpose Unshaken" begins now.