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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/9/22

Guests: Meredith McGraw, Pramila Jayapal


"The New York Times" reports that this Justice Department investigation to Trump`s handling of the alleged classified documents is separate from the department`s January 6th inquiry. Interview with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Nice to see you. It was a -- it was a great surprise as we are getting ready for our shows to run into you in real life again.

Alicia, we`ll see you soon. We`ll see you tomorrow.


VELSHI: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. We`re happy to have you with, us.

And in normal times, this is not what you`d expect to see emblazoned across the front page of "The New York Times". A headline, in all caps, that a former president`s home was just searched by the FBI in south Florida. Then again, normal went out the window along time ago.

"The Times" adds that the focus is said to be on White House files, and sign that inquiries are widening. Here is "The Washington Post" today. Quote, FBI agents urged Trump safe in documents probe. In all caps, the sub-headline, quote, unusual move ordered by court, handling of classified papers under scrutiny. The past 24 hours have been a doozy.

It was yesterday evening when the former president, Donald Trump, put out a rambling, chest-pounding, feet-stomping statement, announcing to the world that the FBI had raided, his words, his Florida home. A so-called law and order president decried the search, and called it a witch, out and even gave a shout out to Hillary Clinton. But her emails.

He did, however, let the world know a fascinating detail, that the FBI got into his safe, as part of their search.

So, let`s take a step back, now it`s been 24 hours, acknowledge the seriousness of what happened yesterday. Justice Department officials didn`t just wake up yesterday and decide, hey, let`s send some federal agents to search the past presidents home, because we think a crime is committed there. What this hours-long as search on Trump`s home means, is that law enforcement had to convince a federal judge that there is probable cause that a crime was committed there. Federal prosecutors had to present evidence, and make their case, and they obviously succeeded in convincing a judge, and were able to obtain a search warrant, they executed yesterday on Trump`s Florida state.

Now, let`s go back in time. We learned in February, thanks to some interrupted reporters at "The Washington Post", that the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents, some including highly classified and sensitive material from Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home. In the following months, we learned that the Justice Department was investigating the handling of that material, and that we -- took a dramatic turn yesterday, when federal agents were dressed in plain clothes, so is not to garner attention, descended on Trump`s home.

NBC News reports the FBI notified Trump`s Secret Service details before the search, and showed agents a copy of the search warrant. And you absolutely know and surprise, the FBI search warrant was met by his Republicans coming, out one by one, falling in line to defend the former president, while along with right-wing media, denouncing the federal search as a deep state plot to stop Trump from running for office in 2024.

We`re going to have much more on the bombastic responses from the right later in the show. But while on the one hand it`s shocking that FBI agents executed a search warrant on a former president`s home, it`s not particularly surprising.

Let`s take a trip down memory lane. Remember these blurry cell phone photos overtake him less than one month into Donald Trump`s presidency by a Mar-a- Lago club visitor? You can see Trump sitting next to the Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe, in another, someone is shining a light over Shinzo Abe`s shoulder onto what appears to be some documents. We soon learned that Trump had turned his clubs terrorism to a sort of situation room. The two leaders were reacting to North Korea launching a ballistic missile in the middle of a crowded country club.

Then there was this meeting inside the Oval Office, with Trump hosting and being chummy with Russia`s foreign minister, and the Russian ambassador. This is the meeting where Trump barred U.S. press, but allowed Russian photographers to bring equipment inside the Oval Office, prompting a flurry of security concerns.

But, there is more. We soon learned that Trump had divulged highly classified information of the Russian officials. Information that was so sensitive that it was not even shared with U.S. allies.

And then there is Trump`s meetings with Putin, where in one instance, Trump seized notes from his interpreter, while also instructing the interpreter not to discuss what transpired during the meeting with anyone. This is the same president that revealed the sensitive information, of the locations of two nuclear submarines to the authoritarian leader of the Philippines. And tweeted out a high resolution satellite photo, of what is not to be a classified image of a fire at a rocket launch site in Iran.

He ignored repeated calls from aides to stop using his personal cell phone, despite reporting that foreign spies would listen in from time to time. We first heard report that Trump had a habit of ripping up notes in 2018. This is not a one-off. He did this, including ripping up sensitive memos, despite repeated warnings from two chiefs of staff, and the White House counsel.

Trump did this so often, that staffers put the ripped up papers and burn bags to destroy them. He also, reportedly, had a habit of flushing documents down the toilet.

All of those instances took place while Trump was president. Now, it`s entirely different matter to have a former officeholder potentially compromising national security material. Given that, it`s perhaps not really all that surprising that the Justice Department has ramped up its investigation into Donald Trump`s removal of documents from the White House by taking the aggressive action of executing a search warrant on a former presidents home.

But, I`ve got questions. Remember that boxes of documents were eventually retrieved from Trump`s estate. So, why would a federal magistrate, a judge in West Palm Beach sign off on a search warrant? What else did they think was being held by Trump?

We know that the judge agreed with the DOJ that there is probable cause of potential crime. But what is a crime, exactly?

Earlier today, CNN was first to report that federal officials visited Trump`s Palm Beach home in June to discuss those materials. Including, some potential classified materials that were found there.

According to multiple outlets, one of those Justice Department officials, who was a counter intelligence official, visited Trump`s home and met with two with his lawyers and his sit in the spring.

Tonight, "The Wall Street Journal" was one of the first to report that federal agents executed that search warrant, in part, because they were concerned the classified materials remained at Mar-a-Lago, after 15 boxes had been retrieved earlier this year.

"The Washington Post" also has new reporting on the search warrant tonight, here is a lead, in the months before the FBI`s dramatic move to executed a search warrant and former president Donald Trump`s Florida home. Federal authorities grew increasingly concerned that Trump or his lawyers and aides had not, in fact, returned all the documents and other material that we are government property. Officials became suspicious that when Trump gave back items to the national archives, about seven months ago, either the former president or people close to him held on two key records.

Trump`s lawyer, Christina Bond, confirmed tonight to NBC news that federal agents took roughly a dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago yesterday. This is in addition to the 15 boxes they recovered in January.

"The New York Times" reports that this Justice Department investigation to Trump`s handling of the alleged classified documents is separate from the department`s January 6th inquiry.

So, we certainly have an awful lot to unpack.

Joining us now is the perfect person to go to. Katie Benner, she covers the Justice Department for "The New York Times".

Katie, it`s good to see you. Thank you for being with us today.

I`ve tried to sort of laid out, it`s a bit confusing, because there`s the mechanics of the search warrant, and then there is the one of the looking for, and what do they think the crime is? To the best of your knowledge at this point, one of the answers to those questions?

KATIE BENNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. So, at this point, the search warrant was for documents related to the National Archives matter, and really nothing more. Now, that said, we have spoken to many experts who say that, if, in obtaining information from Mar-a-Lago, investigators find items for documents, or anything else they couldn`t pertain to other investigations, they are allowed use that information.

However, in terms of the actual search warrant itself with -- a lead out for the judge. We understand this to be the issue of whether or not Trump returned all the documents you should`ve to the National Archives. Interestingly, the person who has the answer to this question of what was taken from Mar-a-Lago is Donald Trump himself, because we know that when federal agents execute the search warrant and take items from somebody`s property, they`ll leave an inventory list of what they`ve taken.

So, the person who could answer this question for us today is Donald Trump.

VELSHI: So, this is always been a tricky one. How to know what`s should be with the archives, and should`ve stayed with Trump, right? Like what -- do we -- have we always known what we were looking for here, because there were those 15 boxes that were taken out in January, now they`re 12 more boxes, does somebody have a list of this is the stuff I needed is not where it supposed to be and it`s important to either national security or the January 6th investigation, or just isn`t supposed to be with Donald Trump?

BENNER: So initially the National Archives, they felt that they were not getting everything they share from the Trump White House after he left the residence. And in part, they`re doing an archival project, so they can tell but documents are discussed, they are cross referencing documents. They heard about documents.

So, they knew they were there was some material they were getting, and they asked for those documents. That`s when they receive those 15 boxes the beginning of this year. Now, what`s interesting is that the Archives was not confident that Donald Trump had given them absolutely everything.


And you see in their communications with Congress in February, that the National Archives said that we have asked Donald Trump to please turn over anything more he may or may not find. So they were not confident those 15 boxes with the last word. They`re also notified the Justice Department at that time and said, of what we have obtained, at least 15 boxes, we do think there is classified material here you might want to investigate and understand, because mishandling of classified information can be criminally charged. So, the Justice Department then began to look into it.

VELSHI: Now, you reported today that the FBI`s search of Mar-a-Lago is not related to the Justice Department`s probe of January 6th. There are two separate matters. Tell me again, as you head to this in the beginning, that if they find something that they`re looking for, what`s -- what`s the overlap if there is any between what happened yesterday, and the Department of Justice separate investigation into January 6th.

BENNER: So far, as we, know there is no overlap. They executed a search warrant related to whether or not Donald Trump had given back everything he should`ve to the National Archives, and whether or not hit mishandled classified information. There could be overlap in the future. And again, I say, could because we don`t know whether this could happen, and it may not happen.

But there could be overlap in the future, in looking through the materials obtained, the Justice Department finds any documents related to its ongoing information, or any documents that look like they point to criminal activity.

VELSHI: Earlier tonight, the Republican Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania released a statement saying that the FBI had confiscated his cell phone. We heard at a previous January 6 hearing that Congressman Perry allegedly saw a pardon from Donald Trump after the Capitol attack. These matters related? Is it a coincidence that FBI got his cell phone, a talk about it today, yesterday -- are they related or unrelated, as far as you know?

BENNER: So, I would say that these matters are related, per se, it`s interesting that Congressman Perry wants to intertwined them together, once them to be related, because we`ve seen the really strong Republican reaction to the Trump search -- the search warrant on Mar-a-Lago. We`ve seen Republicans coalesce around Donald Trump, even those who had been sort of moving away from him, really in lockstep move to defend him, and show that he is the leader of the Republican Party.

So, politically, it really behooves Scott Perry to say that these things are one of the same. However, we know that Congressman Perry could have information that is important to other ongoing Justice Department investigations. Particularly, the plane to the fake electors, scheme which is submitting alternate slates of electors, saying that Trump falsely one swing states, as well as the investigation into Jeffrey Clark who is working with president Trump to try to undo the election. And their liaison was Congressman Scott Perry.

VELSHI: Katie, no one better than you to break this all down, this is a complicated matter, and we`re grateful you to come to join us. "The New York Times" Justice Department reporter Katie Benner, we appreciate it, Katie.

I want to bring in Andrew Weissmann, he previously served as the FBI general counsel, and was former senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigative team.

Andrew, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Nice to see you. It`s always good to follow Katie Benner.

VELSHI: Yeah, she lays it out very well and hence allows me to ask you for your sort of top line reactions everything we learned in the last 24 hours, in the last 13 minutes. And what you think prompted this, the DOJ to execute and issue the search warrant.

WEISSMANN: My intuition is that Merrick Garland was given information that there was national security information of such importance and so sensitive, and that he could not trust that Donald Trump will simply turn it back over to the government, that they had to have information that is still extent in Mar-a-Lago.

And given the national security concerns, that`s the kind of thing that I could see Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco, and Christopher Wray, and frankly the entire intelligence community thinking is so important to the national security of the United States that it warrants this kind of step. That is my gut, but that is the kind of thing that would warrant this kind of action.

My other reaction is, we should not be distracted by this search, as stunning as it is, and as unique as it is in American history, as Katie alluded to, this is very separate from the January 6th investigation. I think, if there were to be charges against the former president, it`s going to emanate from the January 6th investigation, and I could see Merrick Garland being fairly reluctant to bring a technical Records Act case.


That those are not often prosecuted. They are, at times, but it seems like that would be the kind of thing that might get added to a criminal case made with respect to January 6, but it`s hard for me to see that would be a stand-alone criminal case.

Having said that we don`t know what they will find in Mar-a-Lago, and I could be totally wrong because they could find information that really makes it beyond the pale what the former president did, and that criminal prosecution of some of those warrants.

VELSHI: So help me out with this non-lawyer question, because I know you prosecuted a lot of bodies in your time. People went into Mar-a-Lago, got these 15 boxes in January, at which point, the president and folks around him should`ve been aware that someone is looking for documents, that shouldn`t have been in Mar-a-Lago.

I can`t believe those 12 more boxes of stuff. I don`t know if they organize the 12 boxes, but if there is bad incriminating stuff in your house and you know that the Department of Justice is on to you, why would that be more about an incriminating stuff later?

WEISSMANN: So, you know, I used to say this when I was summing up to a jury, when the defense lawyers would say why would a defendant do this, I would generally say that the jury the defendant here is not accused of being smart. He`s accused of committing a crime.

And, you know, a lot of defendants and certainly you`ve seen this with the former president, have a lot of hubris and think that they`re above the law. And frankly, in the former president`s case, he`s managed to dodge quite a few legal bullets in his lifetime.

So you can imagine him thinking, I complied enough, but not completely. And, so, again, I think time will tell, but whatever his circumstance is they would leave him not simply to comply and return government documents, it`s pretty clear that government at least has evidence that, in fact, he did not do that, and they must present that evidence to a court, which is why they got the search warrant.

VELSHI: So this is another question, where it`s helpful, given your experience both of the FBI and the Department of Justice, to help us understand this. There`s some reporting today that in the spring, a small team from the Department of Justice, including the head of its counterintelligence and export control office, went to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump`s lawyers about the documents that were taken to Mar-a-Lago.

I don`t know when any of that possibly could mean, do you?

WEISSMANN: Yeah, so I know Jay Bratt. He is a career official in the National Security Division. And it seems that that was, by all accounts, seems to be an effort to try and obtain from the former president the government documents, whether classified or not, they would belong to the government.

Your question about what is it that formal officials are allowed to take? The answer is nothing. When I left the government, the number of documents I took from my office was zero. And that`s because, those are not personal documents, those are government documents.

So, I think that effort in June with Jay Bratt and his colleagues was an effort to see if all of documents were being returned, and I think that we don`t know, but there must be evidence that was presented to Merrick Garland and to the court, is that they have information that in fact the former president did not return information and documents to the government, and for this kind of action to have been taken, the information has to be about seriously national security information that with the Justice Department and the intelligence community are very we concerned being in the hands of civilians.

VELSHI: Andrew, good to see you. Thank you for your expertise and your analysis tonight. Andrew Weissmann is the former FBI general counsel, and a former senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigative team. We appreciate your time.

Well, after the search of Mar-a-Lago yesterday, Trump supporters on the worst parts of the Internet started moorings of a, quote, civil war. Now, I would love to write that kind of top off as typical Internet hot air. But, after January 6th, I don`t know if we have that luxury. We`ll have that story, next.



VELSHI: In the wake of the news that type caption text here in the wake of the news that the FBI has conducted a search of President Trump`s Florida home, Republicans and conservative media have responded, about the way you`d expect them to. By rallying around Donald Trump, and castigating the FBI.

The Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, has vowed investigations into the Attorney General Merrick Garland, if Republicans retake the House. And after managing to stay silent on the issue for nearly 24 hours, today, the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying, quote: The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people, and must do so immediately.


Several members of Congress have, without a hint of irony, called for defunding the federal law enforcement. Trump`s Political Action Committee, and the Republican National Committee have already started trying to fund- raise off the news of the FBI`s search. Even Mike Pence has popped back into public life, to defend the man who once inspired an angry mob to try to hang him.

All of this is what we have come to expect from the modern Republican Party, when faced with a potential criminal behavior of its de facto leader. But beneath the service, we are also seeing a more alarming and dangerous reaction from Trump`s far-right supporters.

According to a new report from NBC`s Ben Collins and Ryan Reilly, users on far-right social media sites in messaging for his have responded to the FBI searched by advocating for civil war. Quote: In the minutes after news of the search broke, users on pro-Trump forums like the, Donald urged immediate violence. Asking, when does the shooting start? And calling on Trump to summon militias.

In other extremist chat, users share a post from the Proud Boys Telegram, adding that the FBI is Biden`s Gestapo, and that civil war is imminent. Users of pro-Trump extremist forums also urged supporters to stage a rally outside of Trump`s Florida home. Just after news of the search first broke, one far-right YouTube star with over 5 million followers wrote on Twitter: Tomorrow is war. Sleep well.

All of that alone is cause for concern, but it is increasingly clear that Donald Trump intends to keep fanning these flames. "Politico`s" Meredith McGraw reports today that Donald Trump`s team and allies, are moving quickly to draw political benefit from an unannounced search by FBI agents at the former president`s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, including by keeping tabs on Republicans who aren`t, in their view sufficiently rushing to his defense, and quote.

One person close of the Trump operation told "Politico", quote: They are going to drastically use this to rally their allies, GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, and use for his political agenda, and run for 2024. If there was a 99 percent chance, it`s 100 percent now. He makes it part of his platform, going after the FBI.

Joining us now is the reporter on that story, Meredith McGraw, the reporter who wrote.

Meredith, it`s good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

Let`s talk about this, an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton for potentially mishandling classified information, by some account, was enough to tank her campaign in 2016. The Trump team seems to be thinking this is good for them. Why?

MEREDITH MCGRAW, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, they see this as a galvanizing political force. And, as we saw yesterday after the news broke, Republicans from every corner of the party of seems, gathered around Trump to support him, and to express outrage over the FBI`s search warrant there at Mar-a-Lago. And, in talking to allies and aides of the former president, he has been getting calls from his allies on Capitol Hill, encouraging him to expedite potential 2024 announcement. And for a lot of people in the right, they`ve seen this as a kind of unifying force for them, especially as they move into the midterms.

VELSHI: So, if Donald Trump sees this as a nascent focus for his campaign for president, are you aware of anyone around him in the circle of advisers who are suggesting maybe this isn`t the hill to die on?

MCGRAW: Well, I think in some ways, this makes him talk about some things that aren`t the 2020 election, talking about the corruption of the federal government, as something that has been a theme of Republicans for years now, especially under the Trump administration, has been something that has gotten a lot of support, and has been popularized on the right. This talk of schedule F, and the quote, weaponization of the bureaucracy, has been a popular idea on the right, and something that they feel like they can get their arms around, and uses momentum.

HANNITY: Let`s talk about the Republicans who didn`t rush to Donald Trump`s defense, and then ultimately came out. Mitch McConnell for instance released a statement tonight, after staying silent for most of the day, and his statement was, how this needs to be explained.

I just saw news of another Republican senator who said the same thing. They talk to the FBI director, and this is got to be explained.

Tell me what the thinking is here.

MCGRAW: Well, there have been Republicans who have come to Trump`s defense, I know at the house Republican conference call today, it was talked about, and then Trump`s meeting with the Republican committee at -- where I`m sure they will talk about this FBI raid, and more.


There have been some Republicans who have said hold on, let`s wait (AUDIO GAP) among those who have done that, of course have been Mitch McConnell who is criticized for taking so long to come to Trump`s defense, Senator Rick Scott who has been talked about and buzzed about as a potential vice president candidate, and even 2024 contender.

They were among the ones who said, let`s wait a minute, let`s pause, and let`s see how things play out. And that actually got them a lot of criticism from the right, and especially from people in Trump world who said that it wasn`t sufficient enough, and that they should be taking it a step further in going after the FBI for their actions.

VELSHI: What`s the level of concern that Trump and his responses and actions could lead to another January 6th-ish type of violent event? We`ve seen some talking about that some of it showing up on right-wing media, right-wing social media at the moment. Is there any concern in Republican or Trump circles about this escalating to something they don`t want it to become?

MCGRAW: Well, it hasn`t seemed to be the case with a lot of the language we`ve seen today come out of Republican Party. Senator Rex Scott compared the FBI`s actions to the Gestapo. We`ve seen a lot of that come from the heated rhetoric come from the leaders of the party.

But it is really concerning to see some of the far-right faction factions being showcased in far-right corners the web using violent terms to talk about their outrage over this raid. I would hope in the coming days, that there would be some cooling of the temperatures here, because right now, Republicans have really been united over their outrage for what happened in Mar-a-Lago.

VELSHI: Meredith, thank you for joining us this evening. "Politico" reporter Meredith McGraw has been reporting over the last 24 hours.

Donald Trump`s weeks only got worse. Today, on the heels of that FBI search of his Florida home, a federal rule court ruled unanimously that Trump has to hand over his tax returns in the House of Representatives. Trump has been fighting to release`s tax returns obviously for years now, and his lawyers are almost certain to appeal this ruling and further delay the release of those documents.

But, again, Trump`s lawyers have a lot on their plate right now between the FBI investigation, the January 6 investigation, and multiple investigations into their client. But Trump isn`t the only Republican for whom the investigations are starting to pile up. We`ll have that story next.



VELSHI: These are some of the findings of the attorney general`s investigation into efforts to mess with voting equipment in Michigan after the 2020 election. Quote: Person one and a Barry County deputy sheriff previously met with the Irving Township clerk at a coffee shop in Hastings to discuss a possible vote-shaving investigation they were conducting. The representation was made a person one was acting on behalf of the sheriff`s department and asked the clerk to cooperate with him.

Once person one arrived in Irving Township on March 9th, 2021 the clear gave him a vote tabulator that he used in the 2020 general election, end quote.

Then there`s this incredible important footnote. Quote, person one is not a law enforcement officer. From there, the attorney general`s office describes person one as calling Michigan clerks falsely asserting that they were conducting an investigation with law enforcement and convincing them to turn over lot thumb drives and laptops and voting tabulators, all sorts of voting equipment.

Person one and their collaborators then took that equipment to hotels and Airbnb`s outside of Detroit where they pick them apart for almost a month. They told at least one clerk not to worry what was happening because quote, her name would never come up.

Now, this all puts the Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a tough spot. Not because her office doesn`t have enough evidence. They have plenty of evidence lots of people cooperating with this investigation. It puts in a tough spot because one of the alleged conspirators in this whole plot is Matthew Deperno, the presumptive Republican nominee to run against Dana Nessel for attorney general this fall.

Yesterday, Nessel formally announced that she was referring the investigation to a special prosecutor so in this case it`s officially out of her hands and she avoids any conflict of interest. But if Deperno wins in November, it`s not relitigating the election of 2020 we have to worry about, he would then be in charge of any such investigations in the future like this.

What is truly nuts is that Deperno is just one of the multiple Republicans running for important statewide office while currently under investigation for their efforts to overturn elections. Just today, Pennsylvania`s Republican nominee for Governor Doug Mastriano appeared virtually before the House January 6th investigation.

Mastriano was the Trump campaign`s Pennsylvania point person in the fake elector`s scheme to overturn election in that state. He was in the crowd himself on January 6th. Today he reportedly would not answer a single question that the committee asked. The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes.


Again, this is the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania who if elected would appoint the state secretary of state to oversee elections.

He also told radio show back in March he would, quote, decertify every voting machine in the state with a stroke of a pen by the secretary of state. So that`s fun.

And then, of course, there`s the former president himself. President Trump`s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was interviewed by the January 6th investigation today after Trump`s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was supposed to testify before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, today. He managed to get that pushback at least a week.

Not to mention that just last week the justice department has started reaching out to Trump`s lawyers directly as part of its investigation into January 6th. And, though, Trump is not formally announced his candidacy for 2024 yet, but the fact that he`s a center of multiple investigations might be the push he needs to make that announcement.

And that`s in addition to the other election deniers on the ballot all across the country.

We are truly entering uncharted waters right now. Not only is the rule of law on the ballot, but with that potentially democracy itself.



VELSHI: The FBI`s search of Donald Trump`s golf resort has been overshadowed what`s shaping up to a better week for Democrats. Earlier today, President Joe Biden signed a major manufacturing bill into law, and the ceremony on the White House South Lawn praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer for getting a pass. The $280 billion package includes tens of billions of dollars to bolster the semiconductor industry in here in the United States, and investment that will go a long way and helping U.S. manufacturers build ships that will help our everything from smartphones to cars.

Few hours later, President Biden was signing documents that will bring Sweden and Finland closer to joining NATO. This all follows the Senate`s near unanimous vote to approve their membership to the alliance, a vote that exceeded the 2/3 support needed.

And the victory lap isn`t over yet as Biden pointed out earlier today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope to be signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law that`s going to lowering the cost of health care and energy and make historic investments to tackle climate crisis.


VELSHI: Tat bill could head to the presidents desk as soon as Friday. Now, that historical legislation is a smaller version of the President Biden`s landmark Build Back Better bill. But major pieces of that original legislation exist in this new bill. That legislation was result the result of hard negotiations by the leader of the progressive caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She held the line when monumental parts of that legislation more on the chopping block. So it`s worth hearing from her about what she thinks of the Inflation Reduction Act and what is being left out of it.

Joining us now is Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington. She`s the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, member of the House Budget Committee.

Congresswoman, good to see you again. Thank you for being here.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Ali, it`s always great to be with you. Thanks for having me.

VELSHI: Look, you have long struggled to get progressive priorities into the sort of bill back when it was the other bill we were talking about and now this one. Some of your progressive colleagues have argued that this is baby steps. It`s not 100 percent of where you wanted to be in any particular place.

How do you characterize it?

JAYAPAL: Well, Ali, first of all, I am very proud of the Progressive Caucus for holding the light as you said. If you remember when the infrastructure bill came over to us, there was no Build Back Better Act, there were no negotiations, there was no (AUDIO GAP) passed through the House, and what you are seeing today in the Inflation Reduction Act is significant (AUDIO GAP) in this bill.

And I will tell you that while I am heartbroken for the pieces that aren`t in it, this is a massive step forward. It is a massive step forward in a couple of ways. First, it is really the biggest investment we`ve ever had and reducing carbon emissions, 40 percent by 2030, and that is net of some bad provisions that we don`t particularly like that are in the bill.

Second, it is a real cost-cutting measure because not only are we bringing energy costs down about 1000 bucks a year for the average American family and energy cost reduction, but also health care costs. We are continuing to health care subsidies.

And for the first time, Ali, not enough for me but we are going to get a toll in the door of taking on big pharma and price gouging and allowing Medicare to negotiate a small set of drugs and mentally but still it`s a beginning to really taking on big pharma.

And third, this is about finally getting the wealthiest corporations and the wealthiest individuals to pay their fair share. It`s the beginning, 15 percent minimum tax including for large corporations like Amazon right here in my home district. Everyone should pay their fair share.

And so, I think an all three of those counts, this is lowering costs, investing and bringing us forward on addressing climate change, $60 billion by the way in environmental justice in this bill and of course making the wealthiest pay their fair share -- all big progressive priorities.

VELSHI: Now you managed to get the two recalcitrant Democratic senators to not only side on, Joe Manchin, but be active in the formation of this bill, obviously in exchange for things he wanted done and Kyrsten Sinema wanted done.


But when you look at the exam below that, the politics of getting this bill done, it took months to do it. Is there some likelihood that the things that you`re not happy about that didn`t that get in there, is there`s some likelihood about building consensus to get more of that done during your term?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think that it`s probably unlikely it we are going to get more legislation done as much as I would like to get to see that happen. The pieces of the bill that I`m heartbroken about that we`re not passing are of course the investment in the care economy which would help bring women back in the economy and the workforce.

But when I want to say to people who are impatient that we haven`t got that done, is that we took a giant step forward in drafting the language and getting that consensus for 99 percent of the Democratic Party to be on board for universal child, universal pre-k, investments in housing, improving dental and hearing visits for Medicare.

And so, all we need to do, Ali, is now get a couple more people, couple more Democrats in the Senate who are on the president`s economic agenda and then we can pass it very quickly. In the meantime, we have an executive action slate that includes canceling student debt, that includes raising the overtime threshold so that millions of workers can get a pay raise and many other things around abortion, the Dobbs decision, and we are going to push on the executive branch to make sure the president is using every tool in his tool box.

VELSHI: What happened on insulin? I can`t get my head around what happened there. There was legislation amid a lot of sense to limit how much people pay for insulin which is a very old drug upon which the patent has run out a long time ago. I don`t understand that.

JAYAPAL: This is absolute heresy in my mind because we had a permit provision, Democrats did, to cap the price of insulin at 35 bucks not only for Medicare recipients but for anyone on private insurance as well. That, of course, is a much, much larger group of people who would see the cost of insulin come down.

And the Republicans refused to go along with the provision to extend that cap on insulin to a larger group of people. Now, of course, I should remind people that not a single Republican voted for any of this. Not a single Republican wants to cut health care costs for Americans or energy costs for Americans, or climate change, this was passed on the Democratic only vote.

But it is particularly galling to see Republicans vote against and I should say there were seven, six or seven that voted with Democrats on this, but the vast majority of Republicans voted against capping the cost of insulin. That was just cruel and my view to all the people out there who were suffering with this high cost of insulin and price gouging.

VELSHI: Millions and millions of people. It`s one of the most common of afflictions in the United States.

Congresswoman, good to see you .Thank you the work you did on this. Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, we appreciate your time as always.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: There are key primary elections in four key states tonight. Special election in Minnesota that could shrink them at Democratic majority in the House. We`re going to get to those races next.




JOE KENT (R-WA), U.S. HOUSE CANDIDATE: When Jaime Herrera Beutler voted to certify the election of 2020, I had major reservations. And then when she voted for the impeachment of President Trump after the riot on January 6th, I realized that she was not capable of defending our district and really our nation against the onslaught of what the radical left is doing to our country right now.


VELSHI: One full week after the Washington state primary race for incumbent Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler` seat, she has conceded the race tonight. The congresswoman narrowly lost to the man you just heard, Joe Kent. That man you heard speaking is a Trump-endorsed Republican who believes the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, and he hired a member of the Proud Boys as a campaign consultant.

He wants to hold a white nationalist youth group, quote: I don`t think there`s anything wrong being with the white people`s interest group. Well, that guy now has the Herrera Beutler beat. He will move on to the November general election, even though he only beater by half a percentage point. So, that`s how last week`s rounds of primaries wrapped up. Big victories for election deniers far right Trump candidates.

Today, we get a fresh base of primaries in Connecticut, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The stakes are just as high. In the Minnesota, the governor`s race is shaping up to be a microcosm of the political dynamics that we`re seeing across the country.

NBC has a projected winner in the Republican primary for governor. Scott Jensen, a physicist who spent months criticizing Congressman Tim Walz for imposing public health measures to fight COVID. He`s also spoken out against vaccination and abortion. He said we try to ban abortion in the state if he`s elected governor.

Unlike many Republican candidates who won primaries last Tuesday, Jensen had suggested that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Even called for the Minnesota secretary of state to be thrown in jail. Quote, Steve Simon, you maybe better check out to see if you look good in stripes because you`ve gotten away with too much too long, end quote.

That`s the man who according to NBCc`s predictions tonight has won today`s Republican primary and will square off against the incumbent Minnesota Tim Walz in November.

Meanwhile, some exciting news in Vermont looks like the state will likely elect a woman to Congress ever. Vermont is the only state that has never elected a woman to the House or the Senate. It will likely also be the first time Vermont open and likes and openly gay Congress person. That`s because State Senate President Becca Balint just won the state`s with more than 59 percent of the vote, she`s favored to win in November as well.

Votes are also trickling in and other races, so watch this space.

And that does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.