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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/22/22

Guests: Amy Gardner, Michael Scherer

Summary

"Washington Post" first broke the unsettling news today the members of Congress that were part of the January 6th investigation has been subject to a sudden surge in violent threats made against them. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation`s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom on Friday to sound an alarm about the coming elections.

Transcript

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): So, this is a big deal.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

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. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks to you a joining us this hour, happy to have you here.

All right. It is a very simple progression. I`ll tell you, the bottom line, it is still not easy to figure out how this is all going to end, ultimately. But in terms of where we are now, it is easy, it is very, very, logical injury far-right figure out where we are in this story, because these are the questions that we now know to ask.

Question number one, was illegal? If the answer is, yes, it was illegal, then the next question is, did they know it was illegal? If the answer was yes, they knew it was illegal, the next question is, did they try to pull it off anyway? If the answer to that is yes they try to pull it off anyway, my next personal question is always -- well, when they try to pull it off, was it occasionally hilarious?

Whether or not the answer that is yes, then next obvious question is, did they get caught? And then of course the final question is, will they get in trouble for it? That`s pretty simply where we are. And sort of how we know how to orient ourselves in this ongoing saga which will be, you know, our generation story in American history.

Was it illegal? Did they know? Did they do it anyway? Was it ridiculous when they did? Did they get caught? Will they get in trouble?

Now, the answer to all the first five questions, we now know, is yes. It`s only that last one that is uncertain. But in this particular part of the plot to overthrow the U.S. government, I didn`t really expect to be talking about this is our lead story tonight.

It surprised me as much as a surprise anyone today than we learn that the FBI started showing up at all these guys houses today, today of all days. And so that makes it our lead story. Here we are.

But let`s get to it. You might have seen the headline today about the January 6th investigators changing up their plans for the next hearings. There is still hearing plan for tomorrow, that`s the one about them, the Trump folks trying to put people involved in the plot to overthrow the election in charge at the Justice Department. Specifically so they could use the Justice Department to help overthrow the government.

That next hearing is still on for tomorrow, as planned. It starts at 3:00 p.m., Eastern Time. And of course tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern, we will be doing our special primetime recap of that hearing. So, that is still on.

But we had expected that after that hearing tomorrow, they would do the rest of the hearings next week. The January 6th investigators said explicitly they plan to do all of their hearings in June. They plan to be done with all the hearings in this calendar month.

That is no longer the plan. Apparently, since they have started showing the public with they`ve turned up in their investigation, and these blockbuster hearings, that it had millions of Americans watching everyone, apparently that have opened the floodgates, and they now say they have received so much new evidence, just since the hearing started, that they need time to incorporated into the findings.

And so, yes there is still that 3:00 pm hearing tomorrow, but then no hearings after that for a few weeks. After tomorrow, they are going to pick back up with them only starting, apparently, maybe mid July.

So what is all this new evidence that they are getting? That is caused him to make this very big changes schedule? And decide to extend these hearings much deeper into the summer? Well, in terms of what we know they have received, or at least what they told us they have received that`s new, "Politico" was first to report yesterday that the Trump family apparently had arranged for a documentary filmmaker to closely shadow them, including the president, starting in September, 2020, through the election in November, 2020 and then thereafter, as the president refused to recognize the results of the election, as he plotted to overthrow the government and stay in power anyway, right through January 6th itself, and even after January 6th, toward the inauguration.

A British documentary filmmaker and his crew, they were apparently with President Trump and his adult children throughout that time. Learning that, the January 6th investigation subpoenaed that documentary filmmaker for basically all of his relevant raw footage. He released a statement yesterday saying, he has hired a lawyer and he is cooperating with the committee. The upshot as they apparently are getting everything from him.

[21:05:01]

"Rolling Stone" was first reported the Trump White House officials didn`t know that guy was doing this film. Trump White House official did know the Trumps have allowed this to happen. Or that they had all set for interviews with this guy, let alone around the events of January 6th. Which itself is amazing that the White House, more broadly, didn`t not know, that people did not sign off. That this was the Trump family project?

But that footage, what`s down from the subpoena like a lot of footage, is part of the new material the January 6 investigators have just started to receive. That they now have to review, that is part of the reason the next hearings are being delayed. The chairman of the investigation, Congressman Bennie Thompson, also says the investigation has a tide of nutrition information from the public.

You will recall that Chairman Thompson has recalled at the close at least one of these hearing, that the committee has a tip line. And that you can call in and let them know about any evidence you may have, that you think you want them to see.

Chairman Thompson has also specifically mention that they have lots of new material, new evidence that they need to process from the National Archives, from the National Archives and records administration. Now what is that? What is that likely to be?

This could mean new documents from the Trump White House that are just being cleared now for release to the investigation. All White House documents, all presidential papers go through the National Archives. They are handled by the National Archives. That`s always an intriguing possibility, that the committee has just received a big, new dump of material from the Trump White House that they didn`t have before.

But I also feel like I should point out one other thing here, that that could be. In addition to handling all of the documents from the former presidency, from the Trump White House, the National Archives also has had its own role in this investigation. They`ve also had their own investigators working on unraveling a specific part of the plot to overthrow the government. And it is the part that relates to this.

These are the forged documents, the counterfeit, Electoral College votes that the Trump campaign had sent into the National Archives from seven different states. These were all states that were won by Joe Biden. So these were all states where the Electoral College votes were going to be cast for Joe Biden. But the Trump campaign, nevertheless, directed this effort where they try to cast Trump votes in the Electoral College from the states the Trump did not win. They sort of counterfeited these electoral slates.

We were able to turn up correspondence from the National Archives to state officials in the state. Basically notifying state officials, hey, just be aware, yeah, we`ve got your real elector certificates once you sent them in. You should know that we also got a fix that as well, someone is trying to pass off as real.

These fake documents, these forged documents, with fake electoral votes, this part of the plot has since emerged as a matter of potential criminal prosecution in at least two states, and at the federal level. And National Archives investigators, because they have investigators, they have reportedly been accompanying FBI agents who have been investigating this matter on behalf of federal prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice.

So, when the committee says they need to delay their next set of hearings, they`re going to extend the hearings into July, they have more material to deal with, it`s important, they need to process it, when they say some of that new material is from the National Archives, new information coming in from the National Archives. That is of interest.

It`s of interest because it could be more White House materials. It could also be stuff that relates to the National Archives specifically. Especially because the January 6 investigation keeps rolling out all this new stuff they found about these fake electoral slates that were sent to the National Archives.

So, for example, on the first question here, was it illegal? And did -- the first question here -- was it illegal? Did they not was illegal? The January 6th investigators have given us a resounding yes, on both of those. The January 6th investigators have shown testimony that not only to the White House counsel`s office conclude that the fake electors plan was illegal, the White House counsel`s office formally notified White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows and Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and all of the other people who happen to be allowed into the meeting about it.

The White House counsel`s office told them outright, at the White House, that the fake electors thing was illegal. So, it was illegal, they knew it was illegal. The January 6th investigators have also shown testimony from not one but two top Trump campaign lawyers, concluding themselves that the fake electors plot was illegal, and explaining that they themselves refused to work on that part of the plot.

[21:10:05]

Because it was illegal and they wanted nothing to do with it.

They have even show the Trump lawyer, John Eastman, who appears to have been pushing the fake electors plot most aggressively on Trump`s behalf, they showed him saying, in writing, genius move, that the fake electors plot was, quote, DOA, dead on arrival. Since the fake electors aren`t actually a legal thing.

So, the January 6th investigators have answered the most crucial questions here, resoundingly. Even beyond them showing that just all of the lawyers knew it was illegal, the investigation also shows the some of the people who participated, some of the people who signed their names on these forged documents, who signed up to be the fake electors, they asked, as they did so for the Trump campaign to please agree in advance to pay their legal fees. In case they were sued or arrested for trying to pull this off.

So, the key first questions, was illegal? Yes? Do they know for sure was, illegal? Yes. They knew for sure it was illegal.

Next crucial question, did they try to pull it off anyway? Of course, they tried to pull it off anyway. They did in fact forge, vague electoral slates. They mailed into the National Archives as if they were real. Hoping they would be counted as if they were real.

So, was it illegal? Yes. Did they know it? Yes. Did they try to pull it off anyway? Yes. Was it occasionally hilarious when they did so? Yes.

We have been covering this part of Trump`s plot very closely from the beginning. We`ve been covering it here on the show for months. So heading into the hearings where we knew they were going to address this part of the plot, I thought that I got -- new a lot about. I was confident in my knowledge of all the different looks and crannies of the fake electors plot. But I definitely did not know this. I did not see this one coming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One group of fake elector even considered hiding overnight to ensure that they could access the state capital as required in Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Mr. Norris say who he was working with it all on this effort to have electors meet?

LAURA COX, FORMER MICHIGAN REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIR: He said he was working with the president`s campaign. He told me that the Michigan Republican electors were planning to meet in the capitol and hide overnight so that they could fulfill the role of casting their vote in, per law, in the Michigan chambers. And I told him in no uncertain terms that that was insane and inappropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: They plan to meet in the capitol and hide overnight.

So, yes, was it occasionally hilarious the way they try to pull it off? Yes. As you heard the witness say there, it was occasionally insane and inappropriate, especially in Michigan. Plotting to sneak into the capitol the night before, and hideout overnight, like an cupboards, or something. So they could pop out and surprise everybody at the right moment. And say, we have been the real electors to the punch! So now we are the real electors! Or something.

Like, as if that is how presidents are chosen. Tag, you`re it! Maybe some dodgeball to pick who gets to be in the cabinet. Neener-neener, I had my fingers crossed, it doesn`t count.

Absolutely insane. Beyond Michigan, though, we also know that there was this. This was a text message exchange showed by the January 6th investigators, Vice President Pence`s staffer are the little bubbles on the right. The first one starting the conversation there from that staffer, sup? As in, what`s up.

And then on the left side, you see bubbles there from a staffer, chief staff to Senator Ron Johnson. Senator Ron Johnson staffer says, Johnson needs the heads up into the vice president. Please advise.

The vice president staffer says, what is? Senator Ron Johnson chief of staff responds, alternate slate of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin because archives did not receive them. The vice president staffer says in response: do not give that to him.

This was just -- these are all timestamp, right? So, you can see this is January 6th, in the noon hour. This was just minutes before Vice President Pence was supposed to actually count the Electoral College vote, which is actually how we count the votes for president in this country.

Hey, Senator Johnson needs to hand the vice president to of these forged, fake electors lift difficult before the counting starts. How do we do that? What?

Also, why was Senator Ron Johnson volunteering to do that?

[21:15:00]

Why was he even involved?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: How much did you know about what your chief of staff was doing with the alternate slates of electors?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I`m on the phone right now.

REPORTER: No, you`re not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen.

REPORTER: Senator, can you explain what your chief of staff was doing?

REPORTER: Does you chief of staff still work for you, Senator?

REPORTER: Can you explain what happened there? Why was your chief of staff even offering this to the vice president?

JOHNSON: That`s a complete non-story. We`ve issued a statement, and this is a complete non-story. I don`t know what you`re even concerned about here.

REPORTER: Well, they said that your chief of staff is saying that you offered, you wanted to provide alternate electors of Michigan and Wisconsin to Vice President Pence.

JOHNSON: This was a staff to staff exchange. And I was basically unaware of it. And the chief of staff contacted the vice president`s staff, said, "Do you want this?" They said no and we didn`t deliver it, and that`s the end of story.

REPORTER: But why was he even asking for that?

JOHNSON: Because somebody delivered this to our office and asked to deliver that to the vice president.

REPORTER: Did you support his efforts to try to get those slates to the vice president?

JOHNSON: No, I had no knowledge of this.

REPORTER: Who was, who was the person that delivered --

JOHNSON: I had no involvement in an alternate state of electors. I had no idea this`d even delivered to us, got delivered. It got delivered staff to staff. My chief of staff did the right thing, contacted the vice president`s staff. They said they didn`t want it so we didn`t deliver it. That`s the end of story.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I have no knowledge of, this I don`t even know who gave this thing to us. I don`t have anything to do with it. I didn`t ask where it came from. I just volunteered that I would take this thing that I did know anything about and I didn`t know what came from. And I didn`t have anything to do with it. And I didn`t support.

But it was something I don`t know what, that needed to go to the vice president. And, hey, I`m a senator, and that`s one of things we do. We handle deliver mail in packages to the vice president all the time. You know, sometimes it`s catalogs, and you can assume he probably doesn`t want them, but maybe something he really likes. He likes go through this catalogs.

Sometimes it looks important. I don`t know, I`m just a mule. I also take out the recycling sometime. And I do beer runs, whatever. I`m -- you know, what else do senators do?

Senator Ron Johnson -- I`m on the phone. No, you`re not, Senator. We can see that there is nothing happening on the screen on your phone. I`m just going to keep holding this to my face for a while, so you will pretend that you didn`t notice that I`m not on the phone. And then I put it out without saying anything.

Senator Ron Johnson, his explanation for what was going on here, his chief of staff saying that he needed to hand something to the vice president with something that nothing to do with him, definitely a non story. Wow.

Senator Ron Johnson, always amazing -- particularly amazing in his newly apparent role in this part of the plot to overthrow the government. Just astonishing.

But it also should be noted, this part of it, this line that we have highlighted here from the senators chief of staff. Senator Johnson needs to hand deliver these fake electors -- to the vice president because the archivist didn`t receive them.

Well, no. We know in fact the archives did receive them. I mean, here they are, sent registered mail, weeks earlier from Wisconsin and Michigan, and received by the National Archives. These were the National Archives records.

As Kyle Cheney at "Politico" was first to point out earlier today, we know that the National Archives received these. This is not some lost in the mail problem where Senator Ron Johnson had to sub in at the last second at the slowest leg ever on the pony express. I mean, the archivist had these. The archivist, in reality, is in charge of receiving the actual, certified, legal electoral votes from the states, and then giving those real electoral votes to the vice president. So he can count them on January 6th.

The archivist did that. That is why Pence had the real, certified electoral votes, physically, hard copies of them to count on January 6th.

The archivist sent Mike Pence the real vote. The archivist just didn`t also give Pence the junk mail. The illegal, counterfeit, not certify fake electoral slates to.

Yes, they had them. We know that they had received them. They just not pass that junk on to the actual vice president for the actual counting of the real, electoral votes. So what Senator Ron Johnson his officer trying to arrange, at the very last minute, before Pence started to count, was to use this false claim.

Oh, hey, we understand the vice president is supposed to have these. But for some reason, the archive didn`t get them. But don`t worry, Senator Ron Johnson can carry them over himself and hand-delivered them. They were using this false claim about the archives to try to give the vice president forged, fake votes in time for the count.

Nice. Call your office, Senator.

[21:20:01]

And turn your phone on this time.

So, was illegal? Yes. Do they know it? Yes. Did they try anyway? Sadly, yes.

Was occasionally hilarious when they did so? Of course, it was.

Next crucial question: Did they get caught? Well, yes. Here`s a federal judge ruling that Trump`s lawyer, John Eastman, his communication on this matter, must be released to the January 6th investigation because those communications are evidence of a possible crime.

Yes, they got caught. I mean, here is the January 6th investigation, looking at this very closely, starting to reveal all of their findings about it, including Trump campaign lawyers, and people who worked on this game for the Trump campaign in multiple states, saying -- saying in their sworn depositions, yeah, it was illegal. And they wish they never had anything to do with it.

Here is the pained deposition they played excerpts from yesterday, a pained deposition from the head of the Republican Party, RNC chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel. The RNC had previously denied to reporters that they had anything to do with this fake elector skiing. But hey, look, under oath there`s Ronna Romney McDaniel now admitting that, yes, actually, the RNC helped put the fake electors together. And, and that it was Trump, personally, Trump himself, former president himself, who called her personally and asked her to help with the fake electors scheme.

So, yes they got caught, up to and including the presidents personal involvement in it. And this much discussion as there has been about whether there will be criminal prosecutions for the plot to overthrow the government that has been exposed by the January 6th investigation, this part of it, this part of it is where we already know there are multiple federal and state criminal investigations underway.

You will remember as breaking the news here on this show in January when the Michigan attorney general started investigating the federal electors in her state, as a matter of potential violations of state laws in Michigan. She then referred that matter to federal prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice. In late January, you remember the deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, announcing that, in fact, the fake elector scheme was a matter being investigated by federal prosecutors as well.

In May, "The New York Times" and CNN were first to report that FBI agents and federal investigators from the National Archives were conducting interviews with people potentially implicated in the fake elector scheme. They were starting to hand out federal grand jury subpoenas, compelling people to testify about the fake elector scheme, because a federal grand jury was considering indictments in this matter, as for potential violations for criminal law.

We have been able to report here on the show, including today, that multiple Georgia Republicans who were asked to participate in the fake elector scheme, but who chose not to for whatever reason, multiple Georgia Republicans in that position have been interviewed and or have testified before three different entities. The January 6 committee, the FBI and also the criminal investigation being led by state prosecutors working out of Fulton County, Georgia.

And now today, what is being described as a major escalation of the federal criminal investigation into these matters. "The Washington Post" was first of the story, with this headline today. January 6th probe expands with fresh subpoenas in multiple states. Recipient of subpoenas included state party chairman, as officials probe deeper into pro-Trump efforts to use invalid electors to try to thwart Biden`s 2020 victory.

That was "The Washington Post", again, first on the story. They`ve been updating the story all day, as this is been developing. We`ve been learning more about these federal subpoenas across the country.

"The New York Times" and CNN have since matched and expanded on the post reporting. What`s coming into focus from all these different news agencies now pursuing this story is that in Georgia, In Pennsylvania and in Michigan, at least, FBI agents, today, serves subpoenas on multiple people who appear to have been involved in the fake elector scheme, people who served, themselves, as fake electors. People who helped organize the fickle lectures effort for the Trump campaign.

Also, at least one subpoena was deliberately crump campaign staffer at his home in Virginia. He appears to have worked for the Trump campaign in Arizona and New Mexico. So that means the federal investigation implicate the fickle lectures in those states to. Even the Republican Party state chairman in Georgia, who reportedly played a major role in organizing the illegal, fake electors plot in Georgia, he apparently received a federal grand jury subpoena today as well.

So, that`s all today. Illegal? Yes. They knew it? Yes. They tried it anyway? Yes. To hilarious effect? Yes, of course.

Yes, they`ve been caught doing it, with active criminal grand jury investigations of both federal investigation today appears to have widely expanded.

[21:25:04]

And that, of course, just leaves us with the last question. Is anybody actually going to end up getting in trouble here?

Watch this space.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: On January 5th, he rented a car, drove nine hours from central Indiana to D.C. He took his gun with him, a .45 caliber revolver, like this one.

[21:30:03]

He loaded up with three rounds of shotgun shells. This is one of those gigantic 45 caliber revolver the can be loaded with shotgun shells. As well as the kind of bullets you typically associate with a gun like this.

He loaded with some shotgun shells, and also with hollow point rounds. Hollow point rounds are designed for maximum lethally. The shape of the bullet means it mushrooms outward on impact, to causes much tissue damage as possible for anyone who gets shot with one -- the shotgun shells and hollow point bullets in this revolver.

The next morning after he set out the, morning of January 6th, he got up, he hid the gun, a loaded gun, in a holster underneath his shirt and he went to the Trump rally at the ellipse, outside the White House. From there, he marched with the crowd, the Trump had directed to go to the capital.

When he was there, he jumped over the bike rack barriers. He joined the pro-Trump mob that was trying to violently push their way past the police and inside the Capitol Hill. It was at this point he says he somehow lost the gun that he had stowed underneath his shirt.

From there, though, he made his way to the entrances of one of the capital tunnels, the tunnels that lead right inside the Capitol. You actually see him. Here he is circled in red. He put on a white scarf with dark stars across state. And he joined the crowd in assaulting police officers who were trying to protect the tunnel, protect the Capitol.

When one officer tried to use the baton to beat the protesters back, this man, the guy who just lost his gun, he ripped the police baton at of the officer`s hands. He lost his gun, but he now had a new weapon. He had that baton that he took off the cup, and he swung that baton overhead and downward. Hitting at least one officer.

The man eventually left the Capitol, got back in his rental car and drove to Indiana. When this detail, he kept the police baton he had stolen off that officer and used to beat up other policeman. He later told federal officers that he regretted not making it further into the Capitol that day because he really regrets that he never saw Nancy Pelosi in person that day.

He told federal investigators that if he had seen Nancy Pelosi that day, that he would`ve been brought to court, quote, for another reason.

This is the, man. His name is Mark Mazza. He was charged with illegally carrying a loaded firearm on the U.S. Capitol grounds and for assaulting police officers. Just a few days ago, he pled guilty to both charges. He`s facing up to 25 years in federal prison.

Individual attackers continue to be prosecuted for their part in the attack on the Capitol of January 6. There`s more than 800 of them charge so far. Now we`re in the moment, we have the January 6 hearings continuing apace, right? And these individual prosecutions continuing, apace.

And in some cases, they are running on a parallel track. You have a guy like Mr. Mazza pleading guilty, facing up to 25 years in prison for him bringing a loaded gun to the capital and then using a police baton to beat officers, and saying he wish he would`ve been able to murder Nancy Pelosi, that`s what he hoped he`d been able to do that day.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the hearings is how quickly the Trump effort to stay in power, after losing the election, slid from the political round into violence. The fact with showcase multiple times, particularly in yesterday`s hearings, starting with these comments from the top official in Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABRIEL STERLING, COO, OFFICE OF THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: It all gone too far. All of it. Joe diGenova asked for Chris Krebs, this patriot who ran CISA, to be shot. A 20-something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and got a noose put outside, saying he should be hung for treason, because he would transferring a report on a batches from an EMS to a county computer so he could read it. It has to stop!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was public comment from December, 2020 from the top election official in Georgia, repeated, showed at the committee hearing yesterday, in terms of slide in violence.

There`s also newly-revealed yesterday`s hearing, that before January 6th, before the January 6th attackers started a federal lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol, some tested out those violent tactics in the states, going after the state level target the Trump had singled out. The committee revealed new video showing how a group of protesters illegally occupied the Arizona House of Representatives, right after the election. Some of the protesters were armed with rifles, they were there trying to bully Arizona Republicans, again, using rifles that they should overturn the election for Donald Trump.

At least one of those protesters in that illegal incursion of the state capital Arizona went on to participate in the capital in January 6th, and was at the years in prison.

[21:35:02]

We know there were similar armed incursions charging state houses in the homes of state governors, not just in Arizona, but also in Michigan, Washington, Oregon, all in the months leading up to January 6th. And so, given -- given that, given the slide from Trump supporting -- Trump supporters -- from politics into violence, an armed confrontation, given that, that has been documented at this hearing, is that particularly surprising but it`s still scary to read the scope that was on the front page of "The Washington Post" today.

Lawmakers on the January 6 investigation that to ramp up their security due to sharply increase cadence of threats of violence against them. "The Post" reporting that in the past 24 hours, there`s been a notable uptick in the number of violent threats made against members of Congress who were part of the January 6 investigation, because of those threats. We learn today from "The Washington Post" that all members of the investigation are likely to receive a full security detail from here on out.

More ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:40:42]

MADDOW: "Washington Post" first broke the unsettling news today the members of Congress that were part of the January 6th investigation has been subject to a sudden surge in violent threats made against them. Because of these threats, all members of the January 6th investigation will soon be receiving security details.

I should tell you that CNN also reported today and explicit assassination threats being made online against members of the investigation, including on former President Trump`s new social media platform.

Joining us now is "Washington Post" national political reporter, Amy Gardner, who broke the story today.

Ms. Gardner, thank you very much for being here. Appreciate you making the time.

AMY GARDNER, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: It is unfortunately not unheard of for members of Congress to be subjected to threats. Can you tell us anything about the nature of these threats, or the cadence of them? Or what it was that led to this dramatic step?

When you said that this uptick and threats against them was over the last 24 hours, that seems like a very acute threat to make this kind of security response to.

GARDNER: The only specific threat that we know about, was actually the one that I`m considering -- a member of the committee publicized himself on Twitter over the weekend, in which his wife, actually received a handwritten note threatening her and their child and her husband. And it was explicit and vulgar and terrifying.

But what we -- what we do know there have been additional threats as we reported today over the last 24 hours. And I think it`s worth noting that it really -- it shouldn`t come as the price of this is the case. It`s obviously horrifying. But we just sat through this hearing yesterday, in which all of the state officials talked about why they stood up to Trump and the pressure campaign, and the threats that they received as a result of that.

And so, the fact that you have this public hearing, a series of hearings going on, in which people are continuing to state the reasons why Trump`s false claims about the election are in fact false, it shouldn`t come as any surprise to us that this is attracting even more threatening behavior from those who support President Trump. I have received them in my own inbox. So have many other journalists.

MADDOW: For which I am sorry. I am sorry that is a cost, particularly covering this beat.

Let me ask, this is the practical question. It may be sound small. But it`ll probably be important to these individual members of Congress who have to have their lives changed by this, a security environment. One of the things you wrote about today was the vice chair of the investigation, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, she`s had to have security detail since last year, and that the threat level against her is actually meant that she can`t have large events for her reelection campaign because the security concerns there.

I mean, having a security detail and working in a high threat environment can really change how these members of Congress have to live. Do you know anything about how they are coping with the fact that their lives are going to have be sort of overturned by these new security measures?

GARDNER: Look, every member of this committee is up for reelection this year, right? It`s the House. It`s every two years.

And there are some of them during quite competitive races. Representative Elaine Luria of the Virginia Beach area, Virginia, where I live, is on the committee. She is going to be one of the co-presenters in, we think, the final hearing, which is supposed to focus all on Trump`s actions, and his culpability for what happened on January 6th.

There`s no doubt in my mind that that high-profile hearing, which is supposed to at the moment be broadcasted in primetime, will attract even more of these kinds of threats. And, of course, it affects the actions and activities of these members of Congress who try to get back to their districts every weekend, and even a between when they can to meet with constituents, to campaign electioneer, as we are in right now.

There`s no question that the effects of this are going to continue as this summer continues.

MADDOW: Amy Gardner, national political reporter for "The Washington Post", congratulations on the scoop.

[21:45:01]

It`s a dark topic, but it`s important to know. Thank you. Thanks for being here.

GARDNER: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Much more to come here tonight. Stay with us.

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[21:49:43]

MADDOW: I will show you a list of the top 20 donors, political donors, candidates in the United States this current election cycle. It is a list of very, very rich people who donate more money than anybody else to political candidates.

The top political contributor in the U.S.`s Democratic donor George Soros. You probably recognize his name.

[21:50:01]

He`s the person your crazy uncle who watches Fox News all day blames. Every time the sun goes down at night or he does not win the power ball again. Darn you, Soros!

Despite the prominence of George Soros on the list, the majority of these donors are actually people who donate to Republicans, like Trump mega donors Peter Teal, who say it is such a drag that women were ever allowed to vote. Things would actually be better for Peter if that hadn`t happened.

But there are a handful of other Democratic donors on the list, including Reid Hoffman. He`s the founder of the website LinkedIn. Reid Hoffman is now one of the top donors to Democratic campaigns in the country in this cycle.

And now, this is the lead from "The Washington Post" today in terms of what to watch out for in donations in the next cycle. Look at this. Quote: LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation`s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom on Friday to sound an alarm about the coming elections. Hoffman was pitching some of the nation`s wealthiest people on a doomsday idea that has become a growing obsession.

One slide of the PowerPoint presentation that Hoffman gave to the group said, quote, MAGA, Make America Great Again, leaders intend to use the 2022 midterms to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote. A second slide, titled how MAGA midterms can install Trump, laid out a step by step doomsday hypothetical scenario.

Republicans win statewide offices in key battleground states this year in 2022, and they change state laws in 2023 to give legislators control over presidential electors.

This new group of billionaires for democracy is called Investing in U.S. "The Washington Post" points out that they`re one of the most aggressive groups a big dollar donors invested in pushing back against what they see as a Republican plan to un-knit the sweater of American democracy so that Republicans just choose the next president regardless of how Americans vote.

Joining us now is Michael Scherer. He`s the national political reporter for "The Washington Post" who broke the story today.

Mr. Scherer, thank you for your time tonight.

MICHAEL SCHERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: You wrote about a number of different donor groups in some of their priorities and what they are spending on today. I am focused on this bit of a reporting related to Reid Hoffman and his efforts, because I feel that doomsday scenario that he is describing the billionaire donors is a thing that a lot of people in the left and center, and even not Trump Republicans have been talking about as an inevitability for the country ahead of 2024.

It sounds like there is a lot of overlap between the elite donor composition here and the kind of word on the street for people who care about politics. You get the sense that that is fair?

SCHERER: Yeah. And I think I was surprised reporting this story how broad that concern was among the donor community. I focused on Reid`s presentation because it was so recent and stark. But, really, if you go through all the big donor groups on the Democratic side, these are mostly groups that cold donations for nonprofits. A lot of this is not recorded in the list of political donations. Lots of organizations that don`t have to report where there are getting their money.

This theme that the 2022 elections could determine the 2024 elections has become a dominant one. And so, what you have is a narrowing and shifting of where they`re focusing their money, instead of focusing just on the House map or just the Senate map, which is typically what you do in a midterm election, they are focused narrowly on five of seven states where there are governor races, where there are state Supreme Court races, secretary of state races.

And they`re trying to win in those places to basically prevent Republicans from getting trifecta control about the legislative and governorship, so that they can change laws, either for voting, the rules of voting or changing how electors are awarded.

MADDOW: And, Michael, is there effectively a sort of public education component to this to beyond funding individual candidates or ballot measures? The way that you said that they spelled this out in the call, this step-by-step ethical nightmare scenario, Republicans win statewide offices in keep out around states this year, next year they change state laws to give legislators control of the presidential electors, and then and the next presidential election in 2024, those state legislators declare votes from urban centers to be tainted, and they decide that they will overrule the popular vote and their states by sending their own state electors to Washington.

I mean, that prospect -- if there is a public education component telling people that that is the plan that they are investing against, potentially has the impact of inoculating the public against some kind of scheme.

SCHERER: I think that`s true in some constituencies. What`s interesting is a lot of this money will not go to spread that message. So, you know, for instance, in Pennsylvania, there is a $6 million effort that has been announced by one of these funding groups` efforts to educate people that Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

[21:55:13]

Most of that advertising campaign, door knocking campaign, is going to be about issues of abortion, minimum wage, unions, other issues of democracy, because they have found through the research that those are the issues that will win voters. That is really what this is about, getting voters who would otherwise vote, persuading voters, or in the case of Reid Hoffman`s group, dissuading Republicans from voting Republican.

So, I think you are right. I think there`s going to be a lot of education around this. But in a lot of cases, it won`t be the primary thing. And I think a lot of voters are getting messages from these groups won`t know the underlying idea behind the money being spent, which is to try to protect the 2024 democratic process.

MADDOW: Except for the fact that you`re looking to cash out of the bag with this, with this excellent reporting, which has its own excellent public education component to it.

Michael Scherer, national political reporter for "The Washington Post" -- sir, thank you for joining us. Well done.

SCHERER: Thanks so much having me.

MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

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MADDOW: There will be another hearing at the January 6 investigation tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow`s hearing is going to focus on Trump`s efforts to use the Justice Department as part of his plot to overthrow the government. This will be the final hearing before the committee picks up again we think in mid-July.

This will be the last one for a while. The hearing itself starts at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Then tomorrow night, starting at 8:00, we`re going to have our primetime recap of what happened. I will be along for that with our busload colleagues.

So, I`ll see you then, 8:00 tomorrow night.

Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.