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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/13/22

Guests: Nicole Perlroth, Elaine Luria, Aaron Blake


Ukraine claims it has hit an important Russian navy ship off the coast of Odessa. Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin were both talking to the January 6th investigation today. Interview with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA).


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is "ALL IN" on this Wednesday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. I`m sorry that I teased you about your sweats.

HAYES: I think they were very sweet and stylish sweats. My wife got them for me for my birthday. And I think they look very nice.

But you know what, that`s what I do. It`s 2022. It`s third year of the pandemic. I took my kid to his baseball practice and I got on the trade in my sweats.

And then I rolled through 30 Rock in my sweats. Am I in sweats now? No, I changed. But that`s just where we are.

MADDOW: Is it like a match set? Is it like Garanimals where it`s like -- or it`s complimentary --

HAYES: No, I`m not quite there yet. I`m not quite a Tony Soprano yet. But I am definitely on my way -- I am definitely on my way there.

MADDOW: All respect to you. All respect to you, Chris, no problem. Well done, my friend.

You know, and coming from a person who`s been wearing the exact same thing on TV for 13 straight years like I can criticize anyone.

Anyway, good to have you here with us. Thanks for joining us this hour.

You know how when you go to the store, the hardware store, the grocery store or whatever, sometimes you still get individual price tags that are stickers. That are like stuck on to each individual thing you might buy?

But also sometimes, I feel like increasingly now, there isn`t an individual price tag stuck on to each thing. Instead they`re just a label on the shelf, a price label on the show for that item is sitting, and it tells you what that item costs. I feel like, that`s been sort of changing overtime, you find a particularly at big box stores, big chain stores like Home Depot and stuff.

Well, I ask, I bring this up because there is an international chain that`s kind of like Home Depot. In particular, it`s in lots of lots of countries in Europe. It`s hardware, house wares, home improvement, gardening stuff. It`s a little like they`re Home Depot and it`s called Leroy Merlin.

Well, as of last week, if you popped into your local Leroy Merlin store in Poland. Let`s say you want to buy a news broom and dust pan, you might have been surprised, if you are paying attention closely, you might even surprise when you look at the price of this item, to see this. As you see, here`s the items, the brooms for the dust pan standing up in the bin and you see that there is the price tag there on the bin. It`s marked at 21:50.

What`s the description of what this is?

Remember, this is Poland. So we`ve translated here. On the left side of your screen, you can see the original, the Polish as it was posted. On the right side of your screen, that`s the translation. Describes was for sale there as kit for sweeping your guilt away. And then a smaller print there it says, Leroy Merlin supports the Russian invasion.

Same store, here`s the display of hammers in that store, and actually in this one, you can see sort of normal life versus what`s changed. The tag on the hammer on the right, in Polish, that`s the original tag, it says carpentry, which makes sense because that`s a hammer.

But the tag on the left, that one has been switched out and says, "For killing". And then in the small print, just there with the price, just there above the price, $51.99. Leroy Merlin support genocide in Ukraine.

It says that same thing here on this, I think this is a table saw on that same store. You see the tag there kind of underneath the shelf. It says Leroy Merlin supports genocide in Ukraine -- sort of perfectly matched to the font and the size of the normal signage in the store. But it`s just posted there like it`s a normal thing.

God forbid you wanted to buy a trash can in that same store. Here it is marked at $21.50, but again, this one has been re-labeled. What this says in Polish is, bin for corpse. And again, in small sort of tidy print there right next to the price tag, it says Leroy Merlin supports the Russian invasion.

When Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked war, unprovoked invasion of the neighboring nation of Ukraine, you might remember one of the first things that happen is that businesses all over the world, including American businesses, pulled out of Russia. Pulled out stakes, pulled out stores in Russia, even big gigantic businesses like Western oil majors, they all pulled out of Russia immediately, so as to not inadvertently and indirectly assist in the Russian war effort as they attacked this neighboring country.

This chain of home depot like stores, though, this Leroy Merlin chain of stores. They did not pull out of Russia, when Russia invaded its neighbor. They actually shut all their stores and Ukraine, but they kept their stores open in Russia. They even announced plans to expand their operations in Russia, given that everyone else was pulling out. Leroy Merlin`s own employees were reportedly horrified by this decision and protested to the company.

But now, as part of the protests about how this company has behaved, Leroy Merlin stores are being transformed, one by one, into little well harbored surprises for shoppers, about how to think of that business and what they sell. For killing, corpse bin, for sweeping away your guilt.

This is just in the last few days. Last week, we learned about this effort in Poland. And it got picked up in "The Wall Street Journal" and elsewhere. But now, in a much more risky environment to do something like this. We`re also seeing Russians do it as well.

Russian citizens inside Russia, where Putin has made a criminal offense to criticize this war, look what they`re doing now. This is inside a Russian grocery store. You can see on the shelf there, that`s instant coffee on the top shelf there, 400 rubles means it`s about five bucks a jar. But the disruption they`re just not say instant coffee, the description says, quote, the Russian army has bombed an art school in Mariupol, around 400 people were hiding -- inside a hiding from the shooting. That`s what it says next the price on that instant coffee.

Here is a display of picnic candy bars, again, a Russian supermarket, 14 rubles. The description of the product, it says, Russian soldiers did not lead 14 trucks with humanitarian cargo into the Kherson oblast. Peaceful civilians there need food and medicine.

These replaced price tag than Russian supermarkets of start to turn up in wild -- starts the social media reporters documenting them. But now we`ve got kind of a master list, a grid of them that have reportedly been created by a Russian feminist anti-war group that was founded the day after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Again, this is a homegrown group of Russians. That are doing what they can to try to speak out against the war, and as you see, there is a whole bunch of these, like 15 of these that they`ve made. But you can see how under the radar they are, right? They look just like the kind of price tags you see on supermarket shelves, you would notice unless you look carefully. But if you look carefully and, I mean look, we translated these.

This one, the price tag is 20 rubles and waiting for sale there, it says the Russian army has destroyed over 20 medical establishment in Ukraine. Here`s another one, price tag of zero rubles, that might stand out to you. But then once the description, here people I know are hiding from Russian bombings in the metro, zero of them are Nazis, stop the war.

Here is one that lifted at 4,300 rubles. This is about -- roughly about 50 bucks. It says, stop the war, in the first three days, 4,300 Russian soldiers died. Why is this not being talked about on TV?

Here`s another, price tag 80 rubles. The description here, says Russian war forces have destroyed 80 percent of the city of Mariupol, what for?

I`ll show you one more, this one has a price tag, eight rubles. It says, quote, I haven`t been in touch with my sister for Ukraine for eight days, I don`t know what`s happened to her, stop the war.

The group that put these out, implicitly encouraging Russians to print them out and put them up on supermarket shelves, in that country, the group that put this out said on their Telegram channel, by replacing something very routine with something alien and unnatural, we show that there is not a single place in our country that will not be affected by the war. We do not let people simply close our eyes to what is happening.

Again, these are Russians, these are Russians citizens inside Russia, now illegally trying to get this word out, illegally trying to sneak their stated opposition to Putin and his war into some place, someplace and civil society, someplace everyday life where the Russians might see it and might know that other people are against the war to. And they`re being arrested for it.

Yesterday, a man was arrested for replacing price tags in a supermarket, reportedly with little homemade signs that said no to war. He is facing ten years in prison, according to local press.

Today, a young woman in St. Petersburg, an artist, was ordered, held in prison until June, that`s pre-trial the tension before she`ll go on trial to face ten or potentially even 15 years in prison for allegedly putting notes on price tags in a St. Petersburg supermarket. Notes, in her case, that allegedly described Russia has bombed in Mariupol.

Remarkably, we have this photo of some of her friends turning up at the police station, to bring her her things and try to support her, I think they hope that this will be released after her closed-door court hearing today.


But, you know, honestly, if your friend is facing a decade in prison, specifically for putting a note on a price tag, a note containing true information, it takes some bravery for you to even show up at the police station to support your friends are having done that. But look, these people did it.

And this was her being brought out of that closed-door court hearing today before they took her off to jail.


MADDOW: And then they take her away.

But it`s remarkable that Russians were willing to show up at the police station to show their support for her, to applaud for her, given the threat to them, for being seen, to support someone who said something true about Putin`s war. Credit to "The Wall Street Journal`s" reporters in Russia for their reporting on that, and credit to Amnesty International for staying on the case of this one woman who is looking at a decade or potentially 15 years in prison, again, for putting true information next to a price tag in a Russian supermarket. Because what else can you do?

What is going to stop Putin from grinding away at Ukraine in this war for more days, more weeks, maybe more months? What`s going to stop him from killing thousands more, tens of thousands more civilians? We don`t know.

But we do know that some Russians are trying. It is illegal for them to speak against the war. It`s illegal for the Russian media team described it as a war. But Russians are still trying and they`re being arrested for it. But they`re still trying.

In Ukraine today, we learned that Ukrainian forces have succeeded in stopping one part of the Russian war. One part that apparently maybe threatening us as well. This is an interesting story that has evolved, sort of scary direction over the course of the day today. The first reports came in this morning that Russia had finally unleashed one of the things that everybody didn`t kind of waiting to see from them in this war.

They`d unleash, or at least try to unleash, a major cyberattack against Ukraine. Russia, after all, has you cyberattacks against Ukraine like for target practice in recent years. You will recall, they shut down the electrical grid in Ukraine in the winter of 2015 and then they did it again in the winter 2016. The United States government, U.S. justice department actually indicted six Russian military intelligence officers, six GRU officers in 2020.

We even have their FBI wanted posters from that indictment. That U.S. indictment of those six Russians was for them being part of this military unit that allegedly used cyberattacks to shut down the electrical grid in Ukraine, twice, also cyberattacks in the last French presidential election, also cyberattacks on the 2018 Olympics.

The U.S. Justice Department indicted those Russian officers from that military hacking group in 2020. Are they going to face trial? Well, as long as those guys in Russia, the U.S. is never actually going to arrest them but that is a live indictment and those Russian military officers are wanted in the United States.

But today, early today, the Ukrainian authorities announced that that same Russian military hacking unit, the one that we have all those officers under indictment for. That same hacking unit just tried the biggest cyberattack yet on Ukraine, since Russia launched this invasion.

What happened is, they had apparently updated and made worse the same bug, the same cyber tool that Russia used to take down the electrical grid in Ukraine six and seven years ago. They made it so it would target, this time, multiple major Ukrainian power stations. And then, once they took out the power by shutting down those stations, apparently, this thing was programmed, the bogus program to wipe the computers and those facilities.

So once the power was shut down, the computers in those facilities could be used to get it back up, there be no way to turn on backup systems or otherwise recover from the outage. So, it would be a wholesale electrical outage in Ukraine that couldn`t be repaired.

And this massive attack was primed to turn off the power in Ukraine for millions of people, this past Friday night, about 5:00 p.m. Friday night local time. The reason it didn`t happen is apparently Ukrainian authorities caught it in time, and they defeated the attack and they disclose the details about it publicly today.

And that raises all sort of answering questions write about how the Russians are at this.


We know they`ve been very ambitious about this. They put a lot of resources into it. How good are they at this? Particularly against an enemy who knows they are coming, and has been fighting them for a long time?

Those are interesting questions as to whether the big conventional war that Russia is waging and losing, whether that makes them any worse at cyber? Whether that diverts resources they might otherwise be using to be good at these kinds of attacks.

It raises interesting questions about how they could Ukrainian defenses are, particularly after they`ve been hit by the Russians sometimes in the past. Also now that they`ve been invaded and the world is on their side, raises interesting questions to how many Ukrainians have been able to avail themselves of help from friendly countries around the world including the United States. Fascinating story raises all sorts of interesting questions.

And I will say, as these things go this is sort of understandable one. This is a fairly easy one for those of us who aren`t that tech-minded about these things. I know cyber stories can sometimes be hard. But in this case, all of us get it, right?

The intended harm here is shutting off the electricity in the country. Something that we can all easily relate to, it`s something where we can all understand exactly how bad the threat would be. Beyond that, not for nothing, the malware that Russia is using here to carry out these attacks is something called "Industroyer".

It was Industroyer1 I guess in 2015 and 2016. It`s now Industroyer2, and as these things go, that`s kind of a memorable name. Kind of speaks for itself in terms of what it is intended to do.

But then as we`ve been following the story from this morning into today, this story took another twist tonight, twist that brings that much closer to home. Tonight, this joint security alert has been issued by the FBI, the NSA, National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy. This is a big urgent joint security alert, just released tonight, and it`s a tactical alert so I`m not going to quote from it too much directly, because it`s all this technical stuff.

But at "The A.P" I thought summed it up well. They described it as quote, warning of the discovery of malicious cyber tools that the agency said are capable of gaining full system access to multiple industrial control systems here in the United States and in north America.

In other words, the U.S. government tonight is urgently warning that someone, they`re not saying who, but presumably Russia, has deployed malicious weapons that could shut down U.S. infrastructure. Specifically, they say this thing is targeting energy infrastructure in North America. To get more specific than that, it is reportedly targeted as liquefied natural gas facilities and our electrical grids.

One security company, Mandiant, says we should understand the threat this way, telling the "A.P." that this malware could be used to shut down critical machinery, sabotage industrial processes and disable safety controllers leading to physical destruction machinery that could lead to the loss of human lives.

Cybersecurity Nicole Perlroth -- veteran cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth -- who we have turned to multiple times on this show to explain things to us in plain English. Those of us without a tech background who might otherwise not get. When this alert came out tonight, she put and even finer point on it. Kind of puts a shiver down your spine.

She linked to this new joint alert from the U.S. government tonight, she said this. Quote: Here we go, new unnamed state hackers are infecting U.S. critical infrastructure, like electrical grid operators, would custom tools capable of worst-case scenario attacks. There is no soft peddling it, she said. This is very serious.

Joining us now is Nicole Perlroth, cybersecurity journalist, author. She`s also now an adviser to CISA, to the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, which is housed at Homeland Security.

Ms. Perlroth, it`s a pleasure to have you with us tonight. Thanks for taking time.

NICOLE PERLROTH, CISA CYBERSECURITY ADVISOR: Thanks, Rachel. It`s so good to see you. And you really set this up well. You and I have had these conversations for years now about Russian potential attacks on the grid and we`ve seen what they`ve done in Ukraine. And the reason you and I know that we are in a heightened threat landscape right now is because we know they`ve had the access, we know they have the capabilities to shut the power down. We`ve seen it in Ukraine.

What they have not had until now is the geopolitical impetus to pull the trigger. And so, there is really interesting questions about the timing of these attacks right now.

MADDOW: Now, I said presumably Russia, when I was describing with this alert was about tonight. You just mentioned Russia in summarizing it that way. There isn`t anything in the actual security alert from these agencies that names Russia, correct?


Why would that be and why do you think it might be safe to assume that that is who they`re talking about?

PERLROTH: Well, there is a lot going on right now. So, in Ukraine, it appears to be the GRU. This is the Russian military attackers that have taken down the Ukrainian grid twice before. Have shown up here. In probes, let`s call them, of our power system in the past.

What was reported today in this department of energy, and a say advisory. Basically said, something very similar to what is happening in Ukraine is happening here. But that the tools are highly customized, which make it much harder to attribute.

So, no one is coming out and saying, this is Russia, this is the GRU. We`re still in very early days here. And it`s really important to give forensic investigators the time they need to attribute these attacks, but when we have seen this level of highly customized malware before, on an industrial control network, critical infrastructure network. It has always generally been Russia -- an attack that comes to mind is on Petro (INAUDIBLE) -- Saudi petrochemical facility a couple years ago, where hackers using customize -- the spoke code that never had been seen before, use that code to do something very serious which was neutralize the safety locks at this petrochemical plant, basically, the very last thing that can stave off an explosion.

And it took a long time for Mandiant and others to attribute that attack back to a graduate research university near Moscow that was essentially an arm of the Kremlin. And so, when you see this kind of highly customized malware. You always have to stop and let these investigations take time.

But given the situation we are in right now, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with sanctions, then saying that the more we tighten the screws on Russia, the more likely it is that at some point, Putin will retaliate on the West and one a very likely method of retaliation is cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure.

MADDOW: And, Nicole, when this came out tonight, and I saw you writing about it online, you link to the report itself. This is a public facing document and it`s, you can download from their website, it`s not something they`re keeping secret or they`re only giving to people who are in the know.

And you, writing about on twitter tonight, you said read CISA`s advisory in full and do everything they say now. Who is that advice targeted at? Who should take steps to make that kind of technical changes, very technical changes that are described in this alert in order to protect the United States from this urgent threat?

PERLROTH: Well, I think the number one thing is that, this is aimed towards the technical community, right? But it`s also aim towards senior leadership at these organizations. You need to empower your chief information security officer, you need to give them the money and the tools right now more than ever to log what is happening on their network, to hunt what is happening on our network, to flag any suspicious activity for CISA, because this is a very serious threat.

These are attacks on electrical operations. They mention one company, Schneider Electric in there, whose devices have been compromised in this attack, and those devices are used to control key aspects of the grid, of manufacturing, of automation, of pipelines. And so, if these hackers have the ability to take over those devices, you could imagine how they could be used for nefarious purposes.

But the key thing is, really read the CISA advisory if you are an executive or if you are in IT leadership at any of these critical infrastructure organizations. It`s really, really important.

MADDOW: Nicole Perlroth, cybersecurity journalist, author, known advisor to CISA, the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency at Homeland Security -- Nicole, thank you, as always, for clarity on this, could do without you. Really appreciate it. It

PERLROTH: Thank you. And it`s so good to see you back.

MADDOW: Thank you. It`s good to be back.

All right. We got much more to get tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: We`ve got two stories that have just been breaking in the last few minutes which we are going to try to get to right now. Luckily, we have a guest on deck who is actually a very good person to talk to about both of these stories. But I want to bring you the basics first before we bring her in.

The first story is breaking news out of the Russian war in Ukraine tonight. There are reports circulating, started this afternoon, and they are increasingly circulating as we get later into the evening. That Ukraine has hit an important Russian navy ship off the coast of Odessa.

This is the footage that we have got of that ship. This is file footage of a cruiser called the Moskva, which is, of course, the Russian word for Moscow. The Moskva is a really important. It is the flagship of the Russian navy`s fleet in the Black Sea.


It`s their flagship vessel.

Now, the governor of Odessa says Ukrainian forces hit that ship with two missiles and caused serious damage to it. NBC News has not confirmed Ukraine`s account, but I need to tell you that Russian news agencies have started to report something along the same lines. TASS and Interfax have now both pushed out stories saying that that ship has been seriously damaged, and in fact the crew has been evacuated off of it.

Now, those Russian you sources are not attributing the damage to the ship to a Ukrainian missile strike. They are saying it was a fire on board that set off ammunition. Who knows?

Bottom line, though, if the flagship of the Russian fleet is out of commission and Ukraine, that is a big deal for the Russian war in Ukraine. And if Ukraine`s account of how the ship got damaged is true, if they have effectively sunk it with a missile strike, that is an even bigger deal. We will bring you more on this as we learn it.

But I want to tell you about this other story which is also breaking. This actually is news that started last night when we learned from that Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin were both talking to the January 6th investigation today. That appearance apparently did happen today.

Just as we were getting on the air tonight, we got a new report from "The New York Times" saying, interestingly, perhaps bizarrely, that Trump himself authorized this, authorized his White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and his deputy Patrick Philbin to go ahead and speak with the committee. Why would he do that given that he is fighting everyone else appearing before the committee?

"The Times" says this man was not under oath when they testify, today and there is a possibility of future meetings between them and future investigators. But the fact remains, they did reportedly meet with the investigation today. These are two top White House lawyers. That in itself is news because -- I mean, they agreed to do it.

Since the January 6 investigation started, we have seen one Trump official after another say they cannot talk to the investigators, setting some variation of privilege, right? Citing executive privilege or attorney- client privilege. Trump officials say they cannot talk to the investigators because they have worked in the White House, or because they were lawyers who worked on Trump`s legal team.

Well, now, we`ve got the White Houses two top lawyers talking with investigators, and according to these new reports from a few minutes ago, Trump authorized them to do it.

So again, both these stories are breaking within the last hour. What`s happened here? What has this meant for the other former White House officials who refused to testify? And what is this breaking news on the Ukraine war mean in terms of the understanding of the ongoing capabilities here.

Now, these are disparate stores both breaking simultaneously. Luckily, we have the one person in the United States Congress best suited to answer queries about both of these breaking news stories.

Virginia congresswoman and navy veteran, Elaine Luria, is a member of the January 6th investigation, and the Armed Services Committee.

Thank you so much for being here.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Thank you.

MADDOW: Let me -- I am sorry to interrupt you to talk about these two stories at once. I would like to talk first if you do not mind a little bit about what we know about this news out of Ukraine. I don`t know that the U.S. government, or indeed any U.S. news agency has confirmed these reports that the Russian flagship vessel in this Black Sea fleet might have been some, or very seriously damaged. But as a Navy veteran, somebody in the Armed Services Committee, can you talk about what it would mean if these reports are borne out?

LURIA: Well, you know, as you said, I felt like this has been independently verified. But it is interesting. Also coming from the Russians that they have indicated that there was a fire, which led to an explosion, and that the crew of about 500 has been evacuated from the ship. And meanwhile, Ukraine also claims that they launched two of these long- range anti-surface cruise missiles, the Neptune missile, but is the part that truly has not been verified.

But I think the impact of it either way, whatever caused the explosion, caused the fire, the disabling of this ship, is going to have huge impacts for Russia`s ability to control its forces. The other ships are in the Black Sea. We did see a few weeks ago, and it was verified, that a Russian ship was struck by the Ukrainians, and damaged. So these things, they appear to continue to disable, and remove some of Russia`s ability to continue this onslaught against Ukraine.

Specifically, there have been concerns about how they could use their forces that have amassed in the Black Sea to strike against port cities such as Odessa, and others. So I think it would be encouraging to know that they have perhaps lost this capability.

MADDOW: A ship of that size, as well. As you say, a crew of 500, a vessel that is considered to be the flagship of the fleet that has to have a psychological impact as well as the practical impact.


Again, if indeed these reports are borne out. We don`t want to get to four head of the news as the things are not confirmed. But let me switch gears and ask you about what happened today with the January 6 investigation?

Obviously, these interviews today with the White House counsel and his deputy, former White House counsel and his deputy from the Trump years, they were behind closed doors. I know you cannot tell us specifically what was discussed, but can you tell us anything about the fact that they decided to speak with you? Particularly given the claims of privilege that so many other Trump officials have used to try to avoid the committee`s questions?

LURIA: Rachel, I think that is the point. We have had 160 interviews at this point. The vast majority of people who have been approached by the committee, and come forward either voluntarily or by subpoenas issued to them from the committee, they have chosen to do the right thing, to show up, to speak to Congress, and provide information.

You showed pictures of three specific people who have refused to do that, and who we have contempt charges against. Because apparently, there are some people who are close to the situation, or close to the former president, you would think that they are above the law, and that they don`t have to show, up they don`t have to speak to the committee, but the truth is that we are getting a massive amount of information and facts from those who are cooperating.

MADDOW: Is it significant, or is it true to your knowledge, that former President Trump authorized these two White House lawyers to meet with investigators, and how should we understand the importance of that?

LURIA: You know, as I said it is breaking news, I cannot speculate on that. If it is true, I would say amongst many other things that we have encountered over the last several years, they are often hard to understand his thought process. But we do know for example, that his daughter and son- in-law did voluntarily come and speak before the committee, and provide factual information about the events on January 6th, and surrounding that day.

It is few and far between, the people who have chosen not to speak to the committee, and to obstruct. So I think that the committee is getting the information we need to paint a very thorough picture of what led up to January 6th, what happened on that day, and the purpose of our committee is to provide recommendations to have something like this, an attempted coup, and insurrection, can ever happen again in the future.

MADDOW: Should we still be expecting that there will be public hearings? That had been discussed before the end of the, year that we should expect sometime in the spring that your committee would do hearings, televised hearings, open door hearings, so the public could see you conduct some of your work and present some of what you`ve learned.

Are we still expecting that?

LURIA: Certainly. That is what we are working towards. We want to be able to. The purpose of this investigation is to truly show this information with the public. So that everyone can understand all of the events that transpired, the dangers that it poses to the future, and we are still aiming towards potentially late May, early June is a timeframe we are looking at to begin those hearings. Our entire goal has always been to provide this information to the public, and a really thorough and easily understandable way.

MADDOW: Virginia congresswoman, Navy veteran, Elaine Luria, member of the January 6 investigation, thank you for being designated hitter for us tonight on these multiple stories as they broke. I really appreciate your time and expertise, ma`am. Thank you.

LURIA: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more news ahead tonight. Stay with us.



MADDOW: As we talked about here last night on the show, one of the things quickly coming down the pike in terms of how the war in Ukraine is progressing, and how it is changing the world, is that Finland and Sweden are moving quickly towards potentially joining NATO. Two new countries added to the NATO alliance.

Now, Finland has an 800-mile long land border with Russia. They have been invaded by the Soviet Union in the past. Finland had previously wanted to stay on the line, to stay out of NATO. As had Sweden, but Putin waging war on Ukraine has changed that in both countries.

It looks like Finland and Sweden both might ask, Finland will likely go first. Today, the prime minister in Finland said she expects the decision to be made in her country about asking to join NATO, quote, within weeks, not within months. Her government presented it security review of the issue to their parliament today. Their parliament is expected to vote soon to make the NATO ask.

I mean, bottom line here, if Putin started this were to try to push NATO back from Russia`s border, he is accomplishing exactly the opposite. He is going to have a lot more NATO on the borders when this is all over -- unless of course we decide to screw things up. The other NATO countries actually have to vote to allow any new members to join the alliance.

Aaron Blake writes in "The Washington Post" today about the possibility that the country that is perhaps most likely to block that possibility might be us, because of our Senate, and the Republicans within it.

Quote: Joining NATO isn`t just a matter of Finland and Sweden deciding to become members, it is also about whether current members would agree to this. In the United States, that would require at least two thirds of the U.S. Senate to vote to ratify their membership.


Exactly how that debate would go down could be quite interesting, especially in light of the Republican parties slight that significant Trump era drift into more skepticism of NATO, and the looming unknown would be Trump himself weighing in on the process, and not necessarily in favor.

Mr. Blake points out, quote, that just last week, more than 30 percent of House Republicans voted against even a symbolic measure reaffirming support for NATO. I mean, on the one hand it would be very unexpected for a NATO member like the U.S. to block new countries joining the alliance, on the other hand, given the parties involved, and given the weird Trumpy feelings about Putin and the Republican Party now, maybe this is a real thing to worry about?

Joining us now is "Washington Post" senior political reporter who wrote that piece for "The Washington Post", Aaron Blake.

Mr. Blake, it is nice to see you. Thank you for making time to be here tonight.


MADDOW: I have oversimplified this a little bit. I acknowledge. But let me just ask you to correct me if I have got any of the basic points wrong here. You are basically raising the prospect that because of internal Republican Party dynamics, and ideological shifts within the Republican Party, particularly in the Trump era, they might not vote to let these two new countries join NATO.

BLAKE: Look, I think the conventional wisdom is that Republicans in Congress more broadly would sign off on this, on a pretty bipartisan basis. But remember, this is something that requires two thirds majority in the Senate. This has been a consensus issue in the past, in 2003 and 2000, four it was actually unanimous when there were seven countries joining.

In 1999, `98, it was an overwhelming vote, 80 to 19. But that was an interesting one, because while it ended up being a very significant majority in favor, if there were concerns about this being provocative to Russia. Those were bipartisan concerns.

So I think if you overlay that on some of the shift away from NATO, and away from foreign alliances in the Republican Party, you layer on top of that a president who has wreck shop in NATO to some degree, has called into question the alliance. And according to his own advisers, considered pulling out of it in the second term, I think that there really has a lot of unintended consequences when it comes to how this might play out. Even if that might not ultimately mean that this is any real danger of feeling in the U.S. senate.

MADDOW: It was interesting, I think it was important that you noted that just last week there was that vote, again, a symbolic resolution expressing support for NATO, where we had 30 percent of the House Republican caucus vote no on that, even though it was not binding, even though it wasn`t going to effectuate anything in the real world, simply to show the spirit of the United States of supporting the alliance, as a stand united against the Russian invasion.

Did you hear around that vote, new arguments, or new rationale from Republicans in terms of why they might not stand with NATO, even for a vote like that?

BLAKE: Well, a lot of it, there were not a whole lot of explanations that came out. You did see some of the more long established NATO critics basically saying that they do not like the idea of being a home to this alliance. I think what struck me from some of the other reactions that I saw from more ranking members, Freedom Caucus types, was the idea that this commitment should not be open-ended, that this should not be something where we should be unequivocal in our continued support for NATO.

So I think that is where we start to get into these issues of, if this really comes to ahead. If you see the Republican Party, not necessarily opposing Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, but maybe casting things in a more ambivalent away, like he has in the past when it comes to Ukraine joining NATO in 2015, he was very noncommittal about that.

It really is a situation in which, there is going to be pressure on some of these Republicans to tow that more NATO skeptical line. And it may not manifest itself in the Senate, where there have been more independence of Trump from Senate Republicans, but I think the party as a whole would be forced into some kind of uncomfortable conversations if their leader is not going to come on board and endorse this kind of thing. I think that is very much an open question.

MADDOW: Yeah. If their leader is not going to come on board and if he is willing to not just be NATO skeptical, but to be pro-Putin and his analysis of it as he has been in the past. Hopefully, there is a higher political cost for that now. But we will know when we get there.

Arron Blake, senior political reporter for "The Washington Post", I appreciate your analysis, and your time here tonight. Thank you.

BLAKE: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. Lots to come here tonight. We`ll be right back.



MADDOW: Late breaking news tonight, this is interesting. This is a real U- turn.

The Department of Justice has just announced a settlement over the Trump police riot at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2020. Remember, this was amid the protest for the killing of George Floyd.

Trump, then president, decided he would wobble through the park himself, so he could go hold a Bible in front of a church for a photo op. So that he could do that, law enforcement officers took off their name placed, took off their insignia, and violently seized the park from non-violent protesters.


Today, the Justice Department reached a settlement to resolve portions of force of a lawsuit brought on behalf of people were beat up by law enforcement that day. Lawsuits focused in part on how officers had removed their name badges, and their insignia.

Well, the Justice Department announced tonight that within 30 days, the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Secret Service will implement major reforms and policy changes as part of the settlement. Quote, changes to the agency`s policies include more specific requirements for visible identification of officers, limits on the use of non lethal force, and procedures to facilitate safe crowd dispersal.

And specifically, as part of the settlement, the Park Police will quote, to require officers to wear fully visible name badges, and name plates including -- fully visible badges and name plates, including an outerwear tactical gear and helmets. They will implement guidelines concerning the use of non-lethal force, including de-escalation tactics.

These are changes and reforms that do not happen every day. But this means the Park Police on the secret service can never do what they did in Lafayette Square Park again. This will presumably set a standard for all federal on enforcement organizations. Like I said, quite a U-turn.

We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


O`DONNELL: Before we go tonight, I do just want to underscore one thing that we heard from one of our guests here tonight. Congresswoman Elaine Luria who is a member of the January 6 investigation, I asked her this evening we are still expecting that the January six investigation will hold televised hearings, open door hearings, she said yes. She put a date on it. She said those are expected that late May, early June. Plan on it.

All right, see you again tomorrow night.


Good evening, Lawrence.