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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 9/26/22

Guests: Amy Klobuchar


"American Psychosis" examines the rise of the extremist right in the U.S. Interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Good to see you. Much appreciated.


And thanks to at home for joining us here this hour. Really happy to have you here.

It was almost exactly 100 years ago. It was 1922. It was October 1922. And the fascist party announced that they would march into the nation`s capital. They would march on Rome.

And the prime minister at the time knew that if they were going to march on Rome, this meant that the fascists were going to try to take over. They were going to try to mount a physical fascist coup.

To defend against that, he wanted to call it the military, to defend Rome, to stop the coup. But the king at the time wouldn`t agree to that. So the military wasn`t called up to defend the capital, and instead what the king did is he caved to the fascists. He invited the leader of the fascists to form a government, to become the new prime minister and the head of the fascists enthusiastically agreed.

And the tens of thousands of his supporters who he had threatened would march on Rome to seize power in a coup, they didn`t march on Rome to Steve`s power. Instead, they marched on Rome in a victory parade because just the threat of them had made it so that he was handed power, bloodlessly.

That is how the fascists took power in Italy 100 years ago next month. They threatened to take power by force, didn`t have to, because they intimidated everybody into giving them power ahead of their march be on Rome. That`s the famous march on Rome, October 1922. The centennial of that event will be next month.

What happened in 1922, things in Italy changed pretty quickly. Within three years, by 1925, Italy was a one-party state. Within three years after that, by 1928, Mussolini had abolished elections all together. It was a full on fascist dictatorship.

You know, not to spoil the plot or anything, but as you may know, things ended poorly for everyone. We think of the world of World War II I think mostly here in the United States, we think of it as August 1945, right? The U.S. dropped atopic bombs on Japan in August, Japan surrendered a few days later.

But, of course, Japan was just one of the Axis Powers. Things ended months earlier in Europe. April of that year, April 25, 1945, is when Italy celebrates its liberation day, the day they were liberated from fascist rule and Nazi occupation. On that day, April 25, 1945, the fascist leader who had been in power since 1922, Benito Mussolini, he tried to flee the country. He fled the country or tried to flee the country starting April 25th, 1945.

Within two days, he was caught. He was disguised as a Nazi soldier wearing German army gear. He was caught on a rural road near Lake Como just north of Milan. He tried to flee starting on the 25th. They caught him on the 27th. They held him overnight, and then early in the morning, on the side of her rural road on April 28th, they shot him dead.

And then for something I think more than in dignity, something more than just the end, they didn`t just leave them there on the side of the road. They threw Mussolini`s corpse into a truck and drove it back to Milan.

Now I have to warn you if you`re squeamish or if you`ve got kids watching with you, you may not want to see this, I`m only going to show this for a second, and I`m only going to show it once. So if you don`t want to see it, I understand but this is what they did with him in Milan. They hung his corpse upside down from the feet, off of a metal girder and they left it there hanging in the square in Milan.

It was him and his mistress and other top fascist officials who were executed alongside him. And believe it or not, it kind of got worse from there. The U.S. military ordered him -- his body taken down they ordered his body autopsied cause of death, not hard to figure out at that point.

They buried him in an unmarked grave, but it apparently wasn`t unmarked enough. The following year, 1946, a fascist supporter of Mussolini, found him in that unmarked grave, dug him up and stole his body, whereupon the fascists started shuttling that corpse all over the place. They dragged this thing so all over the place that at least one report suggests that it lost one of its legs along the way.

But they ended up hiding his body such as it was in a monastery for more than a decade until the mid-1950s. In 1957, they decided to dig him up again at that monastery and they put him in his family`s tomb in his hometown.


And so, now fascist the world over can have little fascist pilgrimages to the maybe final resting place of old peg leg Mussolini.

Like I said, it did not end well for anyone, less -- let alone him, but you know, supporters of that dictatorship, supporters of that variety of fascism, they don`t only have the mausoleum to remember Mussolini by, because the year after he was killed, right around the time that his body was getting dug up and shuttled around by his supporters, a year after the end of World War II, 1946, a man who had served as chief of staff in Mussolini`s government founded a new political party to carry on the spirit of Mussolini, to carry on the Mussolini dream.

By then, of course, you know, Italy had lost World War II. Mussolini had come to the end that he had come to. By then, it was overtly illegal to form a fascist party in Italy. It`s understandable given what they had been through.

Because an overt fascist party was illegal when they founded this new party sort of to keep alive the spirit of Mussolini, they couldn`t use as the symbol of the new party the old symbol that he had used, that old cluster of rods that he used as the symbol of fascism from his day. So they instead picked a different symbol. They picked a flame colored red, green and white, colored -- the colors of the Italian flag. It`s supposed to represent the eternal flame that is maintained at the grave of Mussolini. The grave of Mussolini which is now the pilgrimage site for fascists worldwide.

So, again, Mussolini`s dead, really dead in April 1945. The guy who was the chief of staff in Mussolini`s government, the next year, 1946, forms this new party to keep fascism, to keep the spirit of Mussolini alive. That guy who had been the chief of staff in the Mussolini government, he ran that party for years.

The next head of the party after him said publicly that Mussolini was the greatest statesman of the 20th century. The party chief after him declared about his party, quote, we are all heirs of el duce, we are all heirs of Mussolini, right?

They weren`t exactly hiding their light under a bushel. This is the party designed to keep the legacy of Mussolini alive. But that guy who said we are all the heirs of el duce, we`re all the heirs of Mussolini, that was the last head of that party before now. The head of that party now today just claimed victory for her party and she is about to become the next prime minister of Italy.

Here she is with Steve Bannon. Here she is doing interviews from Washington D.C., when she was invited during the Trump years to the National Prayer Breakfast, invited by Republicans. Here she is at CPAC. This is this year, just a few months ago.


GIORGIA MELON, BROTHERS OF ITALY LEADER: And that`s exactly what they want, a right wing on a leash, irrelevant and trained as a monkey. But you know what? We`re not monkeys. We are not even rhinos. We want their part -- we won`t be part of their zoo. We will not be part of their inner circles.


MADDOW: Yay, everybody stands up at CPAC and claps for that.

Before today, the highest profile member of her party was Benito Mussolini`s granddaughter, who happens to be on the city council in Rome now. But now, today, we know that the head of Mussolini`s post-fascist party in Italy is not taking some city council job somewhere. She`s about to take over and run that country.

And like I said, they`re not hiding their light under a bushel here. They`re not being subtle about this. Here she is in her younger days, in an interview from French TV.


MELONI (translated): I think Mussolini was a good politician. That is to say that everything he did, he did for Italy.


MADDOW: I think Mussolini was a good politician. Everything he did, he did for Italy.

Well, now, she will be the new leader of Italy. It`s kind of a gangbusters way to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Mussolini`s march on Rome, right? Kind of -- kind of on the nose.

But, you know, I think it`s important to remember that these things don`t always work. Back in 1922, Mussolini`s success with his march on Rome, the fascist coup he was able to pull off in Italy, at the time, that was -- seemed so successful, it seems like it could be replicated elsewhere, it inspired a particular guy in Germany to try the same thing in Bavaria.


He planned the basically same approach a show of force, a relatively small violent cadre trying to take over through pure intimidation. In Bavaria, what he tried was called the beer hall putsch. It was just a year after the march on Rome. That was November 1923 that they tried that.

But even though it worked in Rome, in Bavaria, it didn`t work. The dude running that effort got arrested was tried and convicted, was sentenced to five years in prison, but then was released after only serving about nine months. During his nine months in jail, he wrote a book that ended up doing very well for him. It was called "Mein Kampf".

After he got released, he then set about capitalizing on his newfound fame and all the time, he`d had to think about how he was going to seize power for good the next time, which he did.

Incidentally, I should mention historians are pretty sure, not totally sure, but pretty sure that Hitler was informed as to what happened to Mussolini right before he died, and in that one fateful week in 1945, you`ve got Mussolini trying to flee the country on the 25th, you`ve got him shot on the 28th, you`ve got him strung up upside down in Milan on the 29th, and then it is the 30th, the very next day when Hitler killed himself in his bunker. And maybe learning what happened to Mussolini is part of what led to his decision to do that.

But even though both Germany and Italy were defeated in World War II, right, both Germany and Italy surrendered, and the fascist leaders of both of those countries died within 48 hours of each other, coincidentally or not, Germany subsequently famously went through an aggressive decades-long painful process of denazification, right, plumbing the depths of why their country went that direction, committing to the concept and to the practical realities that they can never do anything like that again. That happened in Germany, but no other country in Europe, including Italy went through a process like that.

And so, we are at this very capital H historical moment right now, where history keeps telling us that the last time such and such happened is during these very, very, very dark times from the last century. And it is, I know, uncomfortable to talk about this part of history. It is uncomfortable to talk about the Second World War, and the fascism of that time.

But the reason we have to talk about it now is not to make a comparison. This is not to make an allegory between then and today. It`s actually this history on its own terms. Mussolini really was the fascist dictator of Italy and this is the party founded by his supporters and his staffers after his death that as of today is now going to rule Italy again.

And this is obviously rattling everyone this side of Steve Bannon and CPAC. They apparently think it`s delightful. But everybody else is kind of, you know, back at the envelope tallying this up, right? I mean, you look at the leaders who are congratulating Giorgia Meloni on her big win in Italy today.

We`ve got Viktor Orban in Hungary, great hero of the American right and Fox News now, right? Viktor Orban runs Hungary where the European parliament says he has now effectively ended real democracy.

We`ve also got the law and justice party in Poland, which is following the same playbook, to do the same thing that Orban has done in Hungary, this time in Poland.

We`ve got Marine Le Pen, the fascist leader in France who came very close to winning the French presidency against Emmanuel Macron earlier this year. We`ve got the new far-right party that won the second highest share of the vote in Sweden, a few weeks ago. The party literally founded by neo-Nazis and skinheads that may now be part of the Swedish government.

And, of course, we`ve got the Kremlin, with Putin running a fascist dictatorship that is not only treating its own people in unspeakable ways, but it`s now bursting out of its borders, invading its neighbors, taking territory away from other countries which is the first time that has happened in Europe since I`m sorry to say World War II.

In Russia, tomorrow they`re going to announce the so-called results of these sham Potemkin little votes that they are holding in parts of Ukraine. Ukraine has pushed Russia way back on the battlefield, so in areas that Russian troops can still operate, the Kremlin has now decided, that they`re going to declare democracy to be in effect, and they`re going to hold a vote -- a real good -- real fair vote at the point of a gun where they`ve already proclaimed that the result of the foe will be that Ukrainians want to be taken over by Russia.

These sham referendums they`re doing, they`re going to announce the results tomorrow. They`re patently ridiculous. There`s no sense in which these are real or legitimate elections, but they will use these fake elections, these fake votes to do two things.

To justify moving the border, to justify taking these parts of this other country, taking parts of Ukraine and declaring that these are now part of Russia instead.


That`s one of the things they are doing with this set of sham referenda, these fake votes they`re taking in eastern Ukrainian. Another reason they`re doing this is to make a mockery of democracy, right? Make is it seem like elections are fake.

Oh, hey, you in the West, you say voting makes things legitimate. Well, here`s what we call a vote. What? Are you going to criticize our democracy? We thought you loved voting. This is just what the people love. We are following the desires of the people.

So take a sort of back of the envelope tally in terms of how we are heading, as a world, in terms of authoritarian and indeed fascist forms of government versus small-D democracy. One side is winning right now.

In our country, we are six weeks out as of tomorrow from our first big national election since the party of the ousted right wing president tried to maintain him in power by force, by a mass assault on the U.S. capitol from his supporters. It was just two years ago this past week in the run-up to that 2020 election when Trump started saying outright that he would not accept the results of that election unless he won. That was a crazy benchmark for American politics at the time. It`s now the new normal not just for him, but political candidates of his party.

Hundreds of Republican candidates for office are standing for office six weeks from now on the premise that the last election result from 2020 shouldn`t have counted and maybe the next shouldn`t either. Let`s see how it turns out.

And I think we think of this as a sort of tactical radicalism on the part of Trump-era Republicans. A threat to the, you know, the technical nuts and bolts, you know, first Tuesday in July system by which we pick winners by voting. But it`s actually a simpler problem than that, which I think you can see more easily when you see it happening in other countries. And it is. And when you can see what changes in other countries Republicans here are cheering for abroad.

And, yes, I think it is easier to see when you see when it has happened before, what this is descended from in history, because no longer respecting election results isn`t just about messing with elections themselves. It`s about a different kind of governance, a different kind of power. If they do not want your vote to determine who is in power, that means they don`t want to have to use power to try to meet your needs.

I`m just -- I`ll say that one more time. If they to not want it to be your vote that determines who is in power, it means that they don`t want to have to use power to try to meet your needs, to try to earn your vote. Yes, this is about messing with elections. Yes, this is about minority rule instead of majority rule.

But fundamentally, basically, as the very simplest level, this is what -- this is the big thing that history tells us about, right? This is the thing that is easier to see in other countries than in our own. But this is a very simple thing. It is about separating power from the preferences of the people. And instead, just ruling over the people by force for their own purposes and to meet their own needs instead of the needs of the people.

If you are trying to get and hold power by force and intimidation and not because the people want you there, that doesn`t end well for anyone. Not just in history, not just as a political abstraction. But in terms of how we live and what the prospects are for our families, right? What are the prospects for you and for your future and for your kids and their future?

Whether or not you care about how it`s gone in history. Whether or not you care about how it`s gone in history when the antecedents to these folks got in power. Whether or not you care about majority rule or minority rule as concepts, the isms at the heart of these discussions -- this is about your life.

In a practical, everyday sense, if there is a party trying to cast doubt on elections as the way we choose who is in power, they want to stay in power regardless of elections. They want to stay in power without your consent and without your ability to remove them, which means they do not want to serve you. And that means if you want government to do anything at all to make your family`s life materially better, more stable, more dignified, this is a flashing red siren about the abandonment of that task. And it is sometimes easier to see that in far away countries than it is here and close up.

And it is sometimes easier to see it in history so we can recognize how it both leads to and rhymes with what we are going through today.

Joining us now is my friend David Corn. He is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones". He likely has been marinating in history to try to get us -- to try to help us get our heads around our moment.


His new excellent book is called "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy".

David Corn, thank you so much for writing this book and thank you for being here. I`m sorry that I haven`t been here enough to have you on right when it came out. But I`m really glad you could be here tonight.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, thanks a lot, Rachel, and -- I appreciate your respect for history. You know, talking about what happened in Italy, this -- you know, this past few days over the hundred year stretch, you see the patterns, you see what you call the rhymes of history. And in doing this book, "American Psychosis", I saw the same thing in American history. We see patterns again and again, that even we live through, that we don`t recognize, that, you know, the Republican Party.

And, you know, we`re now having a debate about whether MAGA extremism is something akin to fascism, but the Republican Party for 70 years keeps having this dance with extremism. You know, encouraging, exploiting extremism. It`s happened all the time. What we see now with Donald Trump and the Republican Party is not -- is not a aberration, it`s a continuation.

And I was struck because I was, you know, reading up on the Italian election earlier today, and there was an academic in Europe who was talking about the history and he said, what we`re seeing in Italy is nothing new. I mean, you make that point quite obviously, but even in the last 50 years, the far right has always been there, starting at the end of World War II, and it has bubbled up and bubbled down, bubbled up and bubbled down, and now, it`s just emerging.

But it`s always been there, the same way that I think we`ve always had a fringe far-right fanaticism here that the Republican Party has always tried to exploit to its own benefit, whether it was McCarthyism, the Birchers, white segregationists, and this in the `60s and `70s, and Donald Trump just made it burst out.

And it`s interesting. In Italy, you know, they have a multiple party system. So in Italy, the fringe elements, the far right, the fascistic elements get their own parties. In America, it doesn`t work that way. We don`t have multiple parties, but we have seen the expansion of the influence of these extremists within the Republican Party. The Republican Party acting like a coalition in Europe, taking them in to get power and juice to the extent that we even see Donald Trump in recent days welcoming the QAnon movement into his Trumpest Republican Party, the way that the majority or the close to majority coalition in Italy has taken and has been led by the fascists..

MADDOW: David, I was struck by the fact that you document over and over again these moments where what we consider to be the mainstream Republican Party has to confront how much they want to be associated with people who they see and movements they see as toxic, anti-democratic, extreme, and in most cases embarrassing. You talk about that with the John Birch Society, for example, and elements of the Goldwater campaign, and the conservative media around that time.

We talk about it with Dwight Eisenhower. General Eisenhower, as President Eisenhower, having to confront McCarthyism and the appeal of Joe McCarthy, both at home in Wisconsin, where he was an incredibly towering figure, but also in terms of the way he tapped into some real dangerous energy on the far right. And I feel like this you busted a bunch of myths in terms of these sort of self-serving histories where we have sort of told ourselves, left, right and center, that the Republican Party, the mainstream Republican Party has effectively policed those extremes and kept them at bay until now.

And in fact, I think, tell me if I`m wrong, what I took from your book is that there are multiple instances in which the guys we think are the good guys, or at least the mainstream people, actually chose deliberately to keep cultivating those extremes, to keep those, you know, the QAnon moments of their time alive and agitating for the Republican cause.

CORN: You know, again, the pattern is obvious when you look. There is not a single major Republican president or presidential candidate who did not embrace extremism to some degree. It waxes and wanes and some have done it more intensely than others, but it`s always in part of the Republican playbook.

A recent example that, of course, you will remember, most of the viewers will, will be John Boehner embracing the Tea Party. The Tea Party was an extremist movement that was arguing that Barack Obama was a secret socialist Muslim born in Africa, had a secret plan to destroy the American economy so he can impose a totalitarian dictatorship. I mean, it`s irrational the way McCarthyism was irrational and the way that QAnon is irrational.

And John Boehner, country club Republican, he knew that, but he invited the Tea Party literally on to the steps of the Capitol for demonstrations, brought them into the party because they helped him get elected speaker, and they then chased him out.


But he validated and authenticated the Tea Party perspective. And like, you know, McCarthyism, the Birchers, or the fascists of Europe, there is a core there. The element that I see uniting all is they look at the other side, their political enemies, and they demonize and dehumanize them. There is they are subversive. They want to destroy their society.

The McCarthyites believe there was a cabal, wanted to turn the U.S. over to the Soviets run by people in the U.S. government. I described the Tea Party conspiracy theory. We know the QAnon conspiracy theory is.

And if you listen to what Meloni is saying, she`s saying, literally, the other day, I saw a speech of hers, she says financial speculators -- I don`t know what that is code for -- and woke activists want to steal our identity, our identities as Italians, Christians and women and men and turn us into consumer slaves.

I mean, that`s very QAnon-ish in a way. So, but it`s all about challenging the other side. Not a matter of policy disputes or disagreeing whether it`s abortion or tax policy. But calling them subversives who want to destroy the country we love, take away our culture from us.

And the Republicans have played that game again and again and again. I am sorry, you know, we can`t both-sides this. There is no equivalent on the Democratic side. This is an asymmetrical political history. And it`s true.

I mean, the book, you know, describes this. And I think it portrays the dark side of the GOP for 70 years that the party itself has not acknowledged and that history and journalists have often not paid enough attention to, as they should. Now we see it in, you know, full view because Donald Trump has made it center stage.

MADDOW: David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones". His new book is called "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy", David, congratulations on the book. And thanks for being here tonight, my friend.

CORN: Thank you so much, Rachel.

MADDOW: It`s great to see you.

All right. We`ve got much more ahead here tonight, including a stand-up and cheer, yes we can, yes we did it moment that just happened within the past couple of hours. This is something we didn`t know was going to work. It worked. We have the footage from it. That`s next.

Stay with us.



MADDOW: If you leave earth and head towards Mars, about 7 million miles away in that direction, there is a little tiny asteroid called Didymos. This is a view of Didymos from a telescope here on Earth. This was footage taken in July. It`s real footage, sped up 900 times.

Didymos is an asteroid. It orbits the sun, just like we do. It takes about two years to go around the sun.

And even as Didymos is little, it also like has a moon, has a little moonlet which circles around Didymos like a moth around a flame like our moth -- our moon circles around us. That little moonlet is so small, you can`t see it from here on Earth. But we know it`s there because when it crosses between us and Didymos, the light that we can see from didymos dims for a second and then brightens. So we know that there is something there passing between us and Didymos.

We know that little moonlet is circling around. It takes less than 12 hours for that moonlet to make it around that asteroid. Less than 12 hours. Or at least that`s how long it took before tonight because we earthlings maybe just changed that.

About ten months ago, NASA launched a rocket at that little moonlet. Seriously. The hope was that the rocket would smash into the moonlet and knock it off course, nudge it enough to change its orbit.

Something like this had been tried before in the movies. It had never before been tried in real space before tonight. A couple of hours ago, the smash happened. And we`ve got footage thanks to an onboard camera on the NASA rocket. This is what the asteroid and its moon looked like as the NASA rocket approached.

And then a few minutes later, came the moment of impact. Watch.


MADDOW: The signal drops. The image drops because the camera was on the rocket, that successfully smashed into that moonlet. It worked.

Now, you may be wondering, why do this? What is the point of demolishing a spacecraft and whacking into a little moonlet asteroid thingy that never did anything to us?

The point is as you heard the NASA staffer say there is for humanity and in the name of planetary defense. The point is the survival of life on Earth. This mission is a test to see whether humanity can deflect an as yet undiscovered asteroid that God forbid may be heading for our planet whose impact could obliterate life on our planet the way that asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago when it smacked into us.


We are awaiting data from the mission to tell us whether the technique worked, whether the moonlet was nudged and would land somewhere else if it were coming at us, sort of waiting for the proof of concept, if you will. But basically, they were aiming to hit this thing and they hit it.

And, you know, who knows if one of the things humankind is ever going to be called upon to do is shoot a spaceship to an asteroid to avert a coalition that woolly mammoth us all into mass extinction. We don`t know if we ever need this skill, but if we do need it, clearly, we should work on developing it, we should get going on that.

This test tonight as to prove the concept we can do it. Turns out we can do it.

There is a lot of cynicism in the world in our country in particular, a lot of ideological undercutting of the idea that governments can do anything, right? I think we can agree that saving Earth from instant death from above would be a good thing to be able to do. So, yay for the asteroid moonlet direct hit thing tonight.

But proving that the government can do that, proving we can do something important like that -- I mean, it`s more than its own reward. So let it inspire us in ways large and small.

Back here on Earth right now, our own Congress, which nobody has faith in at all, right now, our won Congress is trying to can-do something else to stave off a much more immediate threat. They are trying to stave off the threat that a band of criminals can`t overthrow the next presidential election the way they tried to overthrow the last one. It`s something that they believe they can do. They are about to have proof of concept of that tomorrow. We are going to hear about that here next.

Stay with us.



MADDOW: Last week, the House passed a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act. All the Democrats in the House supported, plus nine Republicans. This is a bill that would clearly stop any effort to do what Trump and his supporters tried to pull off January 6th, to try to not count the electoral votes or miscount the electoral votes in order to upend the results of the election. Now, again, this passed the house. Now, it goes to the Senate.

It has the support of the all Democrats in the Senate, as far as we know, plus, it has ten Republican senators as co-sponsors. So, make maybe it could pass? Maybe?

This is a bill that would clarify that the vice president`s role in counting the votes is solely ministerial. It would make it harder for members of Congress to object to certifying the election results. It would make it so states can`t really send in fake electors like the Trump folks did in seven different states last time.

These all are reforms that we shouldn`t need because nobody should try these schemes but now that they`ve tried them once, everybody expects that they`ll try them again. Will Republicans join Democrats in making sure that this part of our election system is clear enough that those strategies would be impossible to mount again?

The bill heads for a markup tomorrow in the Senate Rules Committee.

Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. She`s chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

Senator Klobuchar, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here tonight.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, thanks, Rachel. I`ve never had a lead-in with the spacecraft hitting an asteroid 6.8 million miles away and how the relevance to this is it`s a we can do it moment as you point out, just like the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS Act, the gun safety bill -- all these things we`ve gotten done where people had counted us out.

MADDOW: I know that I have a weird way of thinking about government, and the things that we can do. But I sort of feel like, you know, prospect of asteroid wiping out life on Earth used to be same likelihood in my mind as the prospect that somebody wouldn`t really count the electrical votes and instead we`d get a president that somebody just forced through. Each of these things seemed equally impossible improbable.


MADDOW: We`re working on the one that should be even more difficult, but I feel like -- I feel some hope that there`s so many Republican co-sponsors on this effort to fix this particular problem in our elections.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, there are. And the House has done great work, but actually, there was an effort that started in the Senate with a bipartisan group of senators led by Senator Collins and Manchin, and Senator Blunt and I is head of the Rules Committee, advise them throughout the process, and we`re pretty excited about our bill that`s coming up tomorrow. We`re going to make some changes that we`ve agreed to, and I think we`re going to have a really strong vote in the Senate Committee tomorrow.

This is the only committee, Rachel, that includes both Senator Schumer, our leader, as well as Senator McConnell and Ted Cruz. So what can go wrong?

But, actually, this is so important. As you`ve pointed out, voting is about where`s the power? I love what you said earlier in the show, and if you disregard people`s votes, you disregard their power.

So what we`re doing here is saying, the role of the vice president is ceremonial. You know, the insurrections got within 40 feet of Vice President Pence as they were yelling "hang Mike Pence", because Donald Trump had bloated the role of the vice president in this proceeding.

Number two, you can`t have just two out of 535 people be able to object to and bring down the will of the people state by state by state.


So we increase the number of the percentage of people in the Congress that would have to be able to lodge an objection to then have us go back and vote on this.

The third thing, as you point out, they shouldn`t be able to just make up electors after the fact. And the fourth is an appeals process that makes sense. This has been a lot of intricate bipartisan work and the markup is tomorrow afternoon.

MADDOW: Are you expecting anybody to throw sand in the gears here? Obviously with Senator McConnell not voicing objections thus far with 10 Republican co-sponsors, with Senator Collins being so key and Senator Blunt being so key on the Republican side in terms of getting this far, are you expecting shenanigans to try to either stop it or pervert it for some other purpose?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, you can always anticipate that it could happen. But so far, we have not seen signs of that because it has been such a lengthy good faith effort on both sides. I will say, we had a major hearing on the bill where we had Democratic and Republican witnesses agreeing that there should be some changes made to this archaic law from the late 1800s, and Senator Cruz then did say that he liked the commission that was set up back in the year 1886.

I pointed out to him that I didn`t really like that year because I couldn`t have voted and I don`t think we want to hearken back to the time of Rutherford B. Hayes, and that it is time to in fact update this law. So, so far, I think we`re going to get a very strong vote on this bill and then we`ll take it to the floor.

MADDOW: Well, if we can both nudge an asteroid out of the way and get a bipartisan vote to save our democracy in the same week, I feel like our work here is done and it`s time for everybody to go on vacation.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, not quite yet. We do have an election. We want people to -- one vote -- very important in the midterms and to volunteer and help out our great candidates because we`ve got to win this midterm.

MADDOW: That is fair enough and very grounded.

KLOBUCHAR: Excellent.

MADDOW: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota --

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

MADDOW: -- chair of the rules committee, thank you. Thank you, Senator.

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



MADDOW: The very first time it happened was in New Mexico earlier this month. The judge in New Mexico ousted a county commissioner from his office, threw him out of office and barred him from ever serving in elected office again, specifically because he participated in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The judge ruled that this commissioner had to be thrown out of office and was disqualified from ever serving again because of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That section of the Constitution says bars from office any state or federal office holder who`s taken an oath to support the Constitution but who has then quote engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

So that judge`s ruling in New Mexico earlier this month, that was the first time since 1869 that a court had disqualified an American public official under that clause in the U.S. Constitution. It was also the first time that the January 6th attack was formally found by a court to be an insurrection against the United States.

And although that sounds like kind of a technical determination, a finding like that has lots of consequences. And now, this has happened again this time not in New Mexico but in Alaska.

A judge in Alaska has just ruled that a sitting state representative, a Republican member of the state legislature in Alaska is likely ineligible to hold public office, including the office he`s in now because he`s a member of the far-right pro-Trump paramilitary group the Oath Keepers. The Oath Keepers, of course, were a big force in the January 6th attack. That group`s leader and a bunch of its members are currently under indictment for seditious conspiracy against the United States for their actions leading up to and on that day.

This Alaska state rep, his name is David Eastman, he is a lifetime member - - has a life membership in the Oath Keepers, whatever that means. He also says that he did attend Trump`s rally on the morning of January 6th although he denies participating in any violence at the Capitol that day. The judge hearing this case in Alaska has ruled that this Republican state rep is likely to be found ineligible to hold public office in Alaska because of his membership in this group that helped lead the attack on the Capitol and that`s now on trial for sedition.

It`s interesting, though, unlike in the New Mexico case, this judge in Alaska didn`t base his ruling on the U.S. Constitution. He based it on Alaska`s state constitution. Alaska`s state constitution contains a disloyalty clause which says no person who advocates or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the state shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution.

No person who belongs to an organization that advocates the overthrow by force of the government of the United States shall hold any public office of trust.

Well, he`s in the Oath Keepers.

Mr. Eastman, Representative Eastman, is up for re-election this November. The judge in Alaska ordered even if he wins re-election, the results of that election cannot be certified by the state of Alaska until this issue of whether he is qualified to serve in public office ever again can be settled.


So, they will hold the certification of that election in abeyance until his eligibility can be determined based on his membership in the Oath Keepers.

So, there is two of these cases so far, New Mexico and now Alaska. The fact that this is happening, the fact that we are starting to see this in multiple jurisdictions citing federal and state constitutions, this is something that could grow and it is something that potentially comes with national consequences, which I am sure you could imagine.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: Before we go, I want to let you know that I will be back here Wednesday night this week, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday night, the January 6th investigation is holding its next hearing, possibly the final hearing Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern during the day. You can, of course, watch it live here as it happens on MSNBC.

But that night, Wednesday night at 8:00 Eastern, I will be here, along with a cast of thousands to help with our special primetime recap of the hearing. Whether or not you are able to watch it live, join us here Wednesday night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC. Looking forward to seeing you there.

That does it for me for now. Alex Wagner will be back here tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.