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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/9/22

Guests: David Remnick, Maggie Hassan


MSNBC continues its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is interviewed.


DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: And that`s why I think people like myself, and like AG Kaul doing everything we can to fight back to protect women in our individual states.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: Yeah, I think as Attorney General Josh Kaul was saying there, this is uncharted territory if it doesn`t fact go through.

Attorney General Josh Kaul and Dana Nessel, thank you both very much for making time for us tonight. I greatly appreciate your insights.

That is ALL IN on this Monday night.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ayman. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks to you at home for joining us on this hour. Happy to have you here. Not everybody`s TV works the same. But for lots of TVs, probably most TVs, now I should probably more of an expert on this. For most TVs, something like this is what it looks like when you look on the television and you want to cite on something to watch.

You get the electronic grid on screen, right? That shows you the channels that you have to choose from, and that`s on the left side. And then there`s like the timeslots for various shows and the access that`s across the top. You look at the titles for the shows.

And this is what it looks like. You click on what you want to report, and what you want to wash, and that`s how you get there. In my house, the remote never works, so you like to have to open up three cabinet doors, and bench press one of the dogs with the left arm, while you aim the remote in your right arm, and a bank shot of a piece of tinfoil, and get that thing to actually notice that you`re getting on it while you swear. That`s how it works in my house.

But, the thing that you are pointing at and swearing at when you`re trying to click something on TV, kind of looks like that electronic grid. That`s what you also used to now, in terms of watching television.

It turns out that is not just an American thing, it`s like that in lots of places all over the world, anywhere where there is so cold, smart TVs.

But check this out. This was today in Russia. This happened on at least three different major TV production providers in Russia today. The great looks at first like a normal run down of channels and shows, but if you go for example to channel one, if you go to any of the other big state sponsored TV channels, it looks on the grid like every single program has the same name. For all the channels, for all the time slots, all the shows now have the same name!

I mean, even if you don`t brush them, you can see they`re all the same. I don`t re-brush in, but we have it translated. It turns out, according to your TV today in, Russia every single show, on every single station in timeslot was titled, on your hand is the blood of thousands of Ukrainians, and hundreds of their murdered children, TV and authorities are lying, no to war.

That was the title of every show on Russian television today, according to everybody`s TV grid, when they turned on their TVs. Somebody hacked at least three of the biggest TV cable providers in Russia today. So, that is what it looked like all over Russia, when people went to flip on the tube, to see what was on, to see what the options were.

Also today, a fairly major Russian news outlet, one called Lenta, l-e-n-t- a. This is their website, And today, same day that somebody hacked all the TVs in Russia, today, somebody also rewrote what appeared to be dozens of headlines and dozens of articles on the Lenta News website.

Now, as you know, as we`ve been reporting here for the last couple of months. No independent media is allowed to operate anymore in Russia. Putin has made it literally a crime, a crime punishable by 15 years in prison to report on his war in Ukraine or even to call it a war.

But look at what the Lenta website looked like earlier today in Russia. Now this is with English translation, so you can see what these headlines look at but, oh, boy, wow, this isn`t normal. Vladimir Putin lied about Russia`s plans in Ukraine. Putin unleashed one of the bloodiest wars of the 21st century. These are all the headlines on the news website today.

Record spending on the army did not help Russia defeat Ukraine. The ministry of defense lied to the relatives of those killed on the cruiser Moskva, that big Russian naval ship that was sunk by a Ukrainian missile.

Also this one, Russia completely destroyed the city of Mariupol. Russia leaves the corpses of its soldiers in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is afraid to reveal the truth about his family.

Putin turned the state into the main robber, meaning like the main thief, of Russians. Vladimir Putin has turned into a pathetic dictator and paranoid. Russia threatens to destroy the whole world. Zelenskyy turned out to be cooler than Putin.

War makes it easier to cover up failures in the economy. Putin must go. He unleashed a senseless war and is leading Russia into the abyss.

Again this was all today those were all separate headlines today on one of the biggest pro-Kremlin state-controlled news sites in Russia.


And it wasn`t just the headlines that they changed. Each one of those that I just described to you, each one of those headlines I just read goes to a full article that has also been rewritten.

I mean, in a country where they do not allow journalism anymore, they do not allow criticism of the government and especially of the war, these sentences posted today on a Russian news site, these were like a DefCon 1 level threat to the state. Look at this, quote, Russian President Vladimir Putin bears full responsibility for the senseless and bloody war against Ukraine.

Guided by far-fetched pretexts about threats to Russia, the head of state plunged two neighboring peoples into a war in which there will be no winners, only losers. The president`s decision will cost the country isolation, poverty and a rollback to the very `90s that Putin loves to scare Russians with. In more than 20 years of his reign, he has turned into a dictator who began to believe in conspiracy theories and who lost touch with reality.

Right now, Putin is depriving millions of Russians of their future and taking the lives of innocent Ukrainians. Vladimir Putin must immediately stop the war and resign.

It is one thing to read that in a western news source or to read that in any news source in the world anywhere other than in Russia. But to read that in Russia? But again, today, that was a Russian major news site today altered to include that article and dozens of others like it.

And if you started going through them, you noticed that there were a few things that were consistent in each of the new articles that was posted. For example, near the top of each of the articles that was posted on this Russian news site today, there was a disclaimer warning that this had been posted without the permission of the news organization saying that it was definitely going to be taken down. So if you want to read this, take a screenshot of it immediately because this won`t last, and indeed that disclaimer was true. All those articles and headlines were almost immediately taken down off that Russian news site today.

But they were up there for long enough that the great and good people at the Internet archive, the Wayback Machine, they captured and saved all of it. They`ve got screenshots. They`ve got the historical record of what those news sites looked like when the truthful anti-Putin stuff was posted just for moments. They`ve got the archive of it, so it can`t be erased now, even though the Russian government took it down.

And in this case, what`s fascinating is that we know who did it. Two journalists, two young journalists who used to work for Lenta, for this news organization, they say that they did it. They have reportedly fled Russia. They are outside Russia personally. They apparently still had logins to access the news site so that is how they did it.

They obviously prepared all this material, logged in, uploaded everything, logged out and got out. But they posted today, identifying themselves by name as the people who did it, Egor Polyakov and Alexandra Miroshnikova. They gave their names they stood up and said we`re the ones who did this and then they said, quote, we are looking for work and lawyers and probably political asylum.

And then they sign off with this, quote, do not be afraid. Do not be silent. Resist. You are not alone. We are many. The future is ours. F war. Peace to Ukraine.

And we do not know where those two brave Russian journalists are tonight, the ones who did that. Again, it has been reported that they are outside Russia but we do not know where they are. We also don`t know who hacked all the TVs in Russia today either, but man, this is living manifest hope that bravery is contagious. That dictatorships are brittle but they have to criminalize journalism and criticism of all kinds, because they know it`s powerful, because they know they can`t survive the truth.

The reason this all happened today of all days is because today is the biggest non-religious holiday in Russia. It`s the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War II, what we call V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day, we celebrated on May 8th. They call it Victory Day, they celebrated on May 9th and they make a way bigger deal out of it than we do.

On the occasion of victory day today, they held a big, big military parade in Moscow like a North Korea-style military parade. Putin gave a speech, which is usually something no one outside of Russia much cares about. But in this case, there was rampant speculation that Putin would use Victory Day today, that he would use his speech on this huge day, this huge occasion with the military parade and all the rest of it, there was widespread expectation that he would use the speech to declare something about the war that he has started in Ukraine, speculation that he might declare victory himself in this war and announce how Russia intended to leave things in Ukraine.


Or maybe he`d do the opposite. Maybe he would formally declare war, no longer call this a special military operation. Maybe he would call it a war, declare war and announce that Russia had not yet begun to fight and he was going to call up a mass mobilization of even more Russian troops to go into Ukraine and to permanently occupy it. Widespread international and well-informed speculation that Putin was going to announce something today about this insane war that he is stuck in.

Some way to get out or to get way further in. That is what everybody thought he was going to do today and then he did not do it. He just gave us standard Putin talking points speech including all the weird stuff about how Ukraine was going to attack Russia. Really?

And so this was a defensive invasion, yeah, and the war was going great and everybody else but him as a Nazi. It was just his standard weird conspiratorial blather. He announced nothing new at all not even new weird insane backwards justifications for what he`s done. Why? Why didn`t the dog bark today?

I mean, hackers who hit the TV stations in in Russia and brave dissident journalists and regular Russian people know that this would have been the day for Putin. This day is all the symbolism he wants for this war. I mean, he spent so much time trying to make this war seem like some variation on World War II. When he finally gets to the day that commemorates Russia in World War II, he was out he decides not to say anything at all. He`s like days into what he thought would be a week-long war and he`s not winning and he`s not going to change anything.

Today, the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. Pulitzer Prize board gave a special citation to the, quote, journalists of Ukraine, for their courage endurance and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin`s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia, despite bombardment abductions occupation and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honor to Ukraine and to journalists around the world. Again that was the Pulitzer special citation today for the courage of Ukrainian journalists.

Also today, the U.S. government announced another round of sanctions against Russia including uh sanctions today specifically against Channel One. The bombastic Kremlin propaganda TV channel that had the name of every one of its programs today, changed by hackers into statements against the war.

Today, the president of the United States once again pressed Congress to quickly approve billions more dollars in aid and weapons to Ukraine to help the Ukrainians fight Russia off. This weekend, as I`m sure you saw First Lady Jill Biden went to Ukraine a surprise trip she brought flowers and a hug to the first lady of Ukraine who has been in hiding since the start of the war, since the Ukrainian government announced at the start of the war that they believed part of the Russia -- the Russian invasion plan was not only to immediately seize Ukraine`s capital but to kill President Zelenskyy and his wife and their kids as well. Mrs. Zelenskyy has not been seen in public since that announcement since the very start of the war not until this weekend not until this moment you`re seeing here when she welcomed Jill Biden and they embraced in the street.

Recent reporting from NBC News and from "The New York Times" has revealed that the United States has provided intelligence to the Ukrainians that they have used to target and kill an astonishingly large number of Russian generals on the front lines of the war and also to target and sync the Moskva, that flagship navy cruiser of Russia`s fleet in the Black Sea, which was sunk in the black sea by Ukrainian missiles today. They`re followed further news from Washington that President Biden`s President Biden wants no further leaks about matters like those, reporting today that he has summoned both the CIA director and the director of national intelligence to make sure that sensitive information like that doesn`t see the light of day again.

But how sensitive is it? I mean, sensitive in terms of sources and methods and how we know where the generals are, and how we know where their ships are sure. But sensitive in terms of what it might mean for Russia to know that we give that information to Ukraine, given what Ukraine has done with that information once they`ve got it. Sensitive in terms of worrying about what that might provoke from Russia?

How sensitive is that anymore? Do we need to recalibrate that, our sense of that? I mean, today, President Biden signed a new Lend Lease Act for Ukraine. Is that ringing a distant bell for you? Do you remember that phrase from sophomore year history class lend lease?


Lend lease is what FDR called it in 1941 when he came up with a way for the U.S. to go whole hog in arming the British and arming our allies to fight against the Nazis. FDR went to the White House Correspondents Dinner in March 1941 and he said these plain people, civilians as well as soldiers and sailors and airmen, women and girls, as well as men and boys, they are fighting in the front line of civilization at this moment and they are holding that line with fortitude.

He said: The British people need ships. From America, they will get ships. They need planes. From America, they will get planes. They need tanks and guns and ammunition and supplies of all kinds. From America, they will get tanks and guns and ammunition and supplies of all kinds.

And he set it to deafening applause at the White House Correspondents Dinner in the spring of 1941. That was the Lend Lease Act in 1941. That was FDR fighting against the Nazis in 1941 and how he explained to the press what it would mean to sign this Lend Lease Act, to empower our allies, to fight with everything that not only they had, but everything that we had, to push Germany back. That was Lend Lease. That`s the only thing Lend Lease has ever been.

This year, they literally just updated the language of Lend Lease from 1941, so now instead of being for the British people, it is for the Ukrainian people and it is 2022, and President Biden signed it today. And for everything that is wrong in Washington and everything that is dissimilar and discordant and wrong between the two parties, lend lease for the people of Ukraine it passed the United States Senate unanimously. It passed the House almost unanimously, with only the Trumpiest Republicans saying no.

I mean, if it is a sensitive thing for the United States to be helping Ukraine against Russia too much if we`re worried about what Putin might do if we help Ukraine too much, honestly, we`re helping Ukraine a lot and more and more all the time and more and more in Putin`s face all the time, using the kind of language and historical allegory that Putin wants for himself that isn`t working for him.

And today, given the -- given the chance given the best chance he`ll ever have to triple down today and declare that all bets are off and it`s not some special operation it`s a real war and Russia`s all in, today, he did nothing of the sort. Today, he did nothing. Why is that and what does that tell us about how risky our own behavior is right now? What does that tell us about what our reasonable expectations should be about what Russia will do in response to our actions to help Ukraine? What does that tell us about what else can be done by us, by everybody else in the world who wants to help them to help Ukraine win this and end this?

Joining us now is David Remnick. He is editor of "The New Yorker". He`s also a former Moscow correspondent for "The Washington Post". He won a Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote based on his time there, which is called "Lenin`s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire". Mr. Remnick, it`s a real pleasure to have you here. Thank you for being here.

I`m asking those questions in that introduction tonight, because I honestly don`t know what the answer to them is. But I feel like our assumptions are getting a little wobbly. Our expectations about Putin`s behavior not just towards Ukraine but toward us are starting to be mismatched with what we`re seeing from him in reality. Do you think that`s fair?

DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: I think it`s very fair. Let`s put it this way. I woke up deliberately at 4:30 in the morning, hoping to read in real time or watch Putin`s speech on Red Square. As you pointed out in your really excellent summation of what happened today and what`s going on, May 9th is always a big deal because it is the great national unifying narrative, the victory in what`s called the Great Patriotic War.

As important as it is here, it`s in many ways much more important in Soviet history and even in the post-Soviet space. He said nothing. You have it exactly right. I kept -- I read immediately in Russian and then in English thinking, you know, my Russian is lagging. I read it on the Kremlin website and I kept waiting for the payoff pitch. And it never came. It never came.

And what you found there was just the resuscitation the repetition of what I would call a salvation narrative. You can`t possibly say in real terms why he invaded Ukraine he invaded Ukraine because he wants to battle do battle with the West. After long years of resentment, he invaded Ukraine because it was growing fitfully more and more democratic, more and more away from Russia, and more and more away from his conception of some form of modern imperial Russia.


So, he`s needs a vocabulary for that to relate to the Russian people and it`s not there and so that`s where the invention of Nazis comes from. Yes, there are people on that are -- there are some people who are on the far right, nationalists in Ukraine. But to call this a national trend or to not fail to see or to fail to see that that nationalism comes from somewhere is to know nothing about Ukrainian history.

MADDOW: Or the idea that Putin has a problem with far-right nationalism. I mean, given Russia --


REMNICK: -- nationalism all over the place in Russia, including in his own -- in his own house.


REMNICK: And he`s losing it. He`s losing it. And, you know, I thought I was full of news here, coming -- having read, you know, a Russian website, all about and all those amazing things that went up and you obviously -- you had it and it`s a terrific thing. It made me think of a different time.

In 1968, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to put down what was called the Prague Spring. What happened? Nothing happened, right? In Soviet terms, seven or eight very brave people, including somebody pushing a baby carriage came to Red Square and took out banners and said Czechoslovakia, we are with you, we are against this invasion.

Within a minute, within a minute, predictably, KGB officers are obviously guarding Red Square, in the Kremlin, were on these people, beat the hell out of them and all those people were arrested and most went off to prison camps, Pavel Ivanov (ph), somebody I wrote about Lenin`s who many, many years ago, that was a one-minute long, almost invisible protest, and it had immense repercussions with the years the dissident movement was inspired by Sakharov, was inspired by, you know, became more and more overtly -- Andrei Sakharov, leader of a dissonant movement.

It`s hard to know what instances like this like this demonstration on, incredible bravery or that woman who some weeks ago ran behind uh the TV presenter and also --

MADDOW: During the nightly news, yes, yes, incredible.

REMNICK: And I think it you know it is the presumption is that everybody is for this war because everybody listens to propaganda television, and that`s that. I think as time goes by, because people are not stupid because mothers are receiving phone calls from their sons at the front, because casualties are building up and the economic repercussions are making themselves known, that the ability to keep all this information out of the public consciousness will recede and his problems will not only be just military, his problems will not only be just his confrontations with the west, but I think it is entirely possible that as his fury grows, so too will his problems.

MADDOW: Which should change our expectations in terms of what he believes he can ask the Russian people for, or he can tell the Russian people they`re about to deliver.

REMNICK: What we were waiting for this morning was mobilization --

MADDOW: Was a big mobilization movement, yes.

REMNICK: -- so people that were reservists, kids from all over the country or young men from all over the country, first of all, that would have enormous economic repercussions, it would heighten alarm among the general population about what`s at stake in Ukraine why is this taking so long what is this special military operation it seems a lot more serious than that and the nonsense begins to corrode.

You know, one of the one of the information things that happened this year, this week, there`s an awful guy on Russian television named Vladimir Solovyov (ph), and he runs some spectacular propaganda television shows. He was sent to Mariupol to kind of lead the propaganda. Imagine Tucker Carlson being sent to, I don`t know, Charlottesville to whip up the fervor in a kind of civil war. That`s the move. That`s the move.

And it doesn`t really work. It doesn`t really work.

MADDOW: He was supposed to inspire the people of Mariupol to get excited about Russia invading them?

REMNICK: Well, and also to be filmed and show it to the folks back.

MADDOW: David --

REMINICK: That we`re liberators --

MADDOW: This understanding about how this -- what the room in which Putin feels he can maneuver, even if he is, as you say, losing it, I think is going to change the American calibration in terms of how much we can maneuver and how he may respond.


I feel like we are only starting to figure it out.

David Remnick is the editor of "The New Yorker," which is the best magazine in the English language. He`s also the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Lenin`s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire" -- thank you for getting up at four in the morning, reading the reading the speech in Russian --

REMNICK: For you, anything.

MADDOW: It`s great to see you, David.

REMNICK: Thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.




REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R-NE): Hi. This is Jeff Fortenberry, and I`m out for drive in my 1963 Ford F-100 pickup truck with our dog Pippin and this is my wife, Celeste. We do this every now and then. I wanted to send you a video because we do have something hard to tell you.


MADDOW: We do this every now and then. Whenever I have to report that I`ve been indicted, and that was Nebraska Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry last October. The thing he had to tell us, the news he piled his wife and his dog into his very nice pickup truck to deliver was in fact that he had been indicted on felony charges in federal court. He was charged with lying to the FBI about illegal foreign contributions to his campaign.

Despite those charges, Jeff Fortenberry vowed to press on, vowed to stay in office. It will not surprise you to learn that Donald Trump immediately issued a statement of support for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, as he does for basically all Republican politicians indicted for corruption.

But, unfortunately, for Congressman Fortenberry, Trump was no longer president by the time he issued his statement of support so he couldn`t pardon him like he did all the other indicted Republicans of the Trump era. Three months after the initial we`re in the truck ad, Mr. Fortenberry piled his wife and his dog into the pickup again and announced that never mind the federal felony corruption charges pending against him, he would be running for re-election. He said he`d be running for re-election then his trial got underway in March.

When his trial got underway, he became the first sitting member of Congress to stand trial in over two decades. But a jury convicted him. On three felony counts, they only deliberated for two hours, then and only then did Republican leadership finally give him a shove out the door. Turns out you can`t simultaneously be in prison and in Congress apparently. That is the line now. It`s a dotted line and a fine one but that`s the line.

Because of Jeff Fortenberry`s recent turn through the federal courts with his recent conviction, voters in Nebraska`s first congressional district are going to the polls tomorrow. There will be a primary election to nominate a new Republican to run for the seat vacated by their recently convicted congressmen.

And that`s just not good for the Republican Party. I mean, it`s never good for a party to have to be fighting to retain a seat in Congress when they have lost it under those circumstances, right? When your party`s previous guy can`t run because he has to go to the crowbar hotel, that is not good for your party.

But on the same ballot in the same state in the same election tomorrow, the Trump endorsed Republican candidate for Nebraska governor is a guy who has been accused of groping by eight different women, including a Republican state senator.

Trump nevertheless felt so strongly about supporting this guy that he went and held a rally for him last weekend in Nebraska, said the guy is totally innocent. He called the groping allegations from eight different women, called them despicable. He called the allegations despicable, not the alleged behavior.

So tomorrow`s not a good day for the Republican Party in Nebraska, no matter how they do in the polls. But it`s not just Nebraska, there`s more. There`s much more to a point that it`s getting weird and that story`s next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: See if you can spot the theme here. We`re going to start in Missouri, the field running to be the Republican candidate for U.S. senator in Missouri. It includes the state`s disgraced former governor, Eric Greitens. Now, the reason Republican Eric Greitens is the former governor of Missouri is because he was forced to resign amid multiple scandals, including allegations that he forced a woman into a non-consensual sexual encounter, photographed it and then blackmailed her about it with the photos. That`s why he was forced out of the governorship in Missouri.

He has since decided that he`s over it, and the people of Missouri should be too. And so, he`s jumped into the U.S. Senate race in that state as well. Since jumping into the Senate race, Mr. Greitens has faced brand new allegations from his ex-wife. She says that he physically abused both her and their children. Wow, things like this sort of keep coming up with this guy.

Nevertheless, an internal poll the Greitens campaign shared with reporters today purportedly shows him leading the Republican primary field for Missouri Senate. If you believe their poll, that guy with that record is the leading candidate to be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate from Missouri. That`s Missouri.

How about Georgia? The leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia is this guy, his name is Herschel Walker. Mr. Walker`s ex-wife accused him of physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior during their marriage, including holding a pistol to her head and threatening to quote blow her brains out.

According to documents obtained by the "AP" several years after their divorce, Herschel Walker`s ex-wife secured a protective order against him after he repeatedly called her sister and her father threatening again that he was going to kill her. So that`s the Republican Party`s leading candidate for Senate in the great state of Georgia.

How about in the great state of Pennsylvania? Well, not only is there leading Republican candidate for governor a guy who was literally part of the mob that attacked the U.S. capitol on January 6th, but the guy he endorsed for lieutenant governor has just been ordered by a judge to stay away from his own home after his wife obtained a protective order over claims of physical and mental abuse.


She accuses him of stalking her at work and screaming at her, grabbing her by the shirt and threatening to kill the family dog. Okay, Pennsylvania Republicans.

How about Ohio? Republican voters in Ohio`s 9th congressional district have been getting a lot of attention over the last few days because they just handed the Republican nomination for one congressional seat to another guy who was at the January sixth riot. But in the seventh congressional district, a former Donald Trump staffer won that Republican primary a few days ago as well even after he was publicly accused of assault by his ex- girlfriend.

And in his case, the ex-girlfriend making the allegations of physical assault was the Trump White House press secretary, a senior member of the Trump White House, says he physically abused her. Doesn`t seem to matter. Trump endorsed him. He won his primary with of 70 percent the vote.

And I know this almost sounds like I`m like being hyperbolic or I`m like rounding up to the next worst thing when you line all these guys up, but honestly, that`s just all the facts.

We haven`t even gotten to this headline out of Indiana this weekend not exaggerating this is a real headline, quote, man accused of killing his wife wins Republican primary from jail. Dude is in jail on charges of murdering his wife and he won his Republican primary for a municipal board in Indiana. He will be on the ballot in November unless he is convicted by then of murdering his wife. But being in jail on those charges wasn`t a problem.

If the Republican Party was a private company, their HR department would be blowing through all their overtime just this week. And, you know, things like this happen from time to time you definitely get people accused of doing horrible things who never the less end up rising in politics, right? But this is an unusually dense concentration of them for this cycle for the Republican Party. Like how many of these do we need before we start calling it this year`s pattern?

And it is absolutely stunning that the Republican Party is fielding all of these men accused of all of these horrible things involving women that that is happening in such an incredible concentration, while the Republican Party this year is set to be running in the context of banning abortion, right?

In the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court majority ruling overturning Roe versus Wade, the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this weekend that it`s possible Republicans will pursue a federal nationwide abortion ban if the Republicans are lucky enough to take over Congress.

In Louisiana, Republicans have advanced a bill that would not only ban abortion it would declare anybody who has an abortion to have committed murder if you`ve had an abortion in Louisiana, you will be considered to have had to have committed murder. Louisiana is a state in which murder is punishable by the death penalty. So they`re sort of rushing right to the end of the story with that one Louisiana Republicans.

Mississippi`s Republican governor under questioning by CNN anchor Jake Tapper this weekend, he would not rule out that Mississippi Republicans after they get abortion ban, they might move on to banning contraception. Might happen don`t want to talk about it yet.

In Arizona a Republican U.S. Senate candidate backed up by billionaire Trump pal Peter Thiel says if he`s elected senator he will only vote to confirm judges who will not just vote to overturn Roe, the Supreme Court willing that guarantees the right to an abortion he says, he will only vote for judicial nominees who pledge to overturn the ruling that guarantees access to contraception. That`s a litmus test for him.

Marsha Blackburn, sitting U.S. senator from Tennessee, also recently denounced that Supreme Court ruling protecting access to contraception, as did all of the Republican candidates for attorney general in Michigan this year, they all apparently think that the government should be able to ban contraception and we need to get rid of the Supreme Court precedent that prevents the government from being able to do that. It`s not like there`s been a weird little outbreak of radicalism in one corner of the country here, right? I mean, this is -- this is a very stark thing and it is happening in Republican primaries in every state in the country.

With the context in the backdrop being so stark and so radical, here`s a very practical, very pragmatic question. Say you`re kind of a moderate Democrat running in a moderate purple state and that`s the kind of radicalism that you`re running against on the right, you would expect just in terms of political science math that you have an advantage over that kind of extremism and radicalism coming from the Republican Party. But it`s always in the details, right? How do you actually handle that kind of a confrontation with that kind of Republican Party on a practical level?


It seems like this should hurt them but if it is going to hurt them it`s going to be the Democrats are going to have to use it against the Republicans in their campaigns.

It is a practical question here as to how Democrats do that. Campaign ads don`t write themselves. They do not run themselves. There are choices that need to be made about how and where and when to do this.

One very moderate, very bipartisan minded Democratic senator in a very tough reelection fight has just fired the first shot of this new battle and we can see how she is approaching it. She joins us live here next. Stay with us.




AD ANNOUNCER: Three men, one agenda. Mitch McConnell`s decade-long crusade to criminalize abortion.

AD ANNOUNCER: The news media identify Chuck Morse as, quote, a key architect of New Hampshire`s abortion ban, who says he will bring New Hampshire`s abortion ban to Washington. Don Bolduc said New Hampshire`s abortion ban is, quote, better than nothing, but complains doesn`t go far enough. And Kevin Smith, he says, quote, we are so close to ending abortion once and for all.

AD ANNOUNCER: That is their agenda. It they all supported New Hampshire`s abortion ban, and now, with Roe v. Wade on the verge of being overturned, these three men and their one agenda. A woman`s fundamental rights, our freedoms hang in the balance.


MADDOW: It`s a brand-new political ad, targeting the three Republican men who are competing to be the Republican Party`s nominee for the United States Senate in New Hampshire this year. All three are competing to run against the senator whose campaign just started running that ad. She is Senator Maggie Hassan.

The fight over abortion will be nationwide, this year, given where the Supreme Court is about to do on Roe versus Wade. But that fight will not just be a fight between conservatives and on the one side, and fire breathing progress is on the other. Senator Maggie Hassan is a moderate. She is a workhorse senator, who is known for being fiercely bipartisan. She`s a legitimate centrist in a world where that is not supposed to be possible anymore.

Last week, Georgetown University School of Public Policy literally ranked her the most bipartisan senator in the United States senate.

But this fight is joined, including by senators like Maggie Hassan.

Senator Hassan joins us now live.

Senator, it`s a real pleasure to have you with us this night. Thank you for making time.

SEN. MAGGIE HASSAN (D-NH): Thanks for having me on, Rachel.

MADDOW: I think for a long time we have imagined the fight over a post-Roe America, being one that would be fought between the left and the right, clearly defied. And that this would be something where it would be sort of predictable to find the combatants here. It goes like that it`s upon us, those assumptions have been proven wrong. And this is a fight that will be in every state in the country, in every race. And it seems largely just to be between the two parties.

That`s how I see it. But I want to ask, if you see that same way?

HASSAN: Well you know, in New Hampshire, we have a strong bipartisan tradition of supporting women`s right to make our own fundamental health care decisions, her right, essentially to freedom. And so, it is very, very concerning that extremists in our state capital have inserted an abortion ban into our state budget last year. And now, one of them is one of my opponents in the Senate race.

The Republicans are eager to come to Washington, and help Mitch McConnell fulfill what his clearly been his goal for decades, which is to not only overturn Roe v. Wade, but now it seems, passed an abortion ban, a national abortion ban. This is an issue where the vast majority of Americans across party lines support Roe v. Wade, and support codifying it.

So this is really about which party will listen to voters and uphold their values, and protect fundamental freedoms for every American, regardless of political party.

MADDOW: We look at some of the polling today in New Hampshire on this issue, and in New Hampshire, just as in the country, that public opinion does line up the way that you just described. There are strong majorities in New Hampshire, just this there are nationwide, for leaving in place that protections of Roe.

It really doesn`t map on to our national, political party divisions. There aren`t pro-life Republicans anymore. There aren`t Republicans who are arguing for moderation or for even slowing down, in terms of what the Supreme Court is about to do.

Should we take it from this new ad, just released by your campaign, that you think will this be a central issue in your reelection effort this fall?

HASSAN: You know, the right of people to make their own personal decisions, their right to bodily autonomy is foundational to everything else. And as we talk about the ways we come together to address the challenges we need to address, including lowering people`s prices, helping people afford things like prescription drugs, or child care, they need to know that they have representation in Washington, that is actually listening to them.

And what we see in my state, and I think we`re seeing around the country on this issue, is candidates for Senate who are wildly out of step with where their constituents are, that is certainly the case of the opponents that I have on the Republican side, when it comes to this issue of a woman`s fundamental right to make her own choices, to chart her own path, including her own economic path.


So, I think what you are going to see is all around the country. There is real concern about how out of touch the Republicans are on this fundamental and key issue, which raises the issues for voters, if they won`t listen to you on this, are they going to listen to you on anything? On the need to lower the cost of prescription drugs and stand up to big pharma? Or lower the price of gas by standing up to big oil?

This is about a fundamental right of protecting our freedom and recognizing that if the Republican Party is willing to go after a woman`s fundamental freedom, if they are willing to rollback the rights of half of the population, will they be willing to stand up for anyone`s freedom? And what that does to our democracy is of critical concern to my constituents, and I think Americans everywhere.

MADDOW: New Hampshire Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, who has a difficult reelection fight ahead of her this year -- Senator Hassan, it`s always better to have a little bit of time with you. Thanks for joining us tonight.

HASSAN: Thank you so much for having me. Be safe.

MADDOW: Indeed.

I should mention that I misspoke there when I was trying to make the case that there aren`t any pro-choice Republicans in this fight right now. I said there aren`t any pro life Republicans, which is exactly backwards, which I shouldn`t do, because I`m still so pro. But I fail all the time. Sorry.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: If you records this show on your DVR. If you have your TV or your DVR to set up to record the Rachel Maddow show, every night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, first of all, thank you. You`ve got me all these years, thank you.

But also I meant to do one other thing. Keep the DVR setting what you`ve got now, where you record THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. That`s still good.

But you also now need to add the show, MSNBC PRIME, to your DVR recordings. And the reason you need both of those is that I`m mostly going to be here on Mondays, even though our whole team is working to produce the show every night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. But in addition to every Monday that I`m here, I will also be here for big news events, including some that might arise on short notice.

So you need to set your DVR to recorded every night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, which means setting it to record THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW and also MSNBC PRIME. Please. Thank you.

That`s going to do it for me for tonight. Ali Velshi will be here tomorrow with MSNBC PRIME.


Good evening, Lawrence.