New details emerge on the FBI`s search of Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home. Donald Trump invokes his right to refuse to answer questions during a deposition in a civil case brought by the New York state attorney general. President Biden signs a veterans health care bill into law, as his climate and drug pricing package nears the finish line. Congressman Raul Ruiz speaks out. State Representative Bee Nguyen, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state Georgia, discusses her campaign.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on THE REIDOUT:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So they have five people taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? You see, the mob takes the Fifth. If you`re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: So, guess what Trump did today? If you said he pleaded The Fifth, you`re correct, 1,000 points for you.
Also tonight, the MAGA enablers are all on the same page about the FBI`s search at Mar-a-Lago. They have no idea what the evidence is, but they firmly believe it was planted by the FBI.
Plus, why voters need to pay attention to the critical position of secretary of state. Republicans in yet another state have nominated someone who seems eager to overturn results that she doesn`t like.
Good evening, Jason Johnson, in for Joy Reid.
And we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the latest on the FBI`s search at Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home. While Trump and his allies have been raging, the Department of Justice and FBI have remain conspicuously quiet.
Here`s what we have learned about the weeks and months leading up to the search. According to new reporting, the federal authorities grew increasingly concerned that Trump, a man known for, I don`t know, skirting law for the last 40 years, and his lawyers had not returned all of the classified material that he had carted off with him when he went scurrying down to Florida after he was booted out of office by Joe Biden.
According to "The Washington Post," officials -- quote -- "blame suspicious" -- "became suspicious that when Trump gave 15 boxes of items to the National Archives about seven months ago, either the former president or people close to him held onto key records."
Trump attorney Christina Bobb, the former OAN reporter who helped spearhead the Arizona recount, told NBC News that Trump`s legal team were in discussions with the Justice Department this spring about records stored at Mar-a-Lago.
Bobb, who was present when the FBI arrived, along with a number of other lawyers, said the agents took 12 boxes of material. Trump and his lawyers received the search warrant for his estate and the manifest of the materials the agents gathered and removed. He knows what they took, but has so far refused to make that public.
And that`s no coincidence. It allows the former president his followers to dishonestly accuse the FBI, the same agency responsible for capturing the Oklahoma City bombers, Boston Marathon bombers and some of the world`s child predators, of planting evidence.
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SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-Lago, that they won`t put things in those boxes to entrap him? How do we know? Their lawyers weren`t allowed to see the boxes.
FMR. REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): They didn`t allow anybody on the Trump side into Mar-a-Lago. So we have no idea whether or not they planted evidence.
CHARLIE KIRK, FOUNDER, TURNING POINT USA: Yes, that`s exactly right. And, Newt, I have a couple of thoughts. Number one, I wish I trusted our law enforcement. You need some form of law enforcement to have a civil society. But I`m right with you. I say, oh, they`re planting evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, quite honestly, I`m concerned that they may have planted something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: It`s amazing to me. Charlie Kirk always trust law enforcement when they`re killing black people, but not when they`re investigating Trump.
This search has left Trump supporters not just triggered, but also paranoid. Sources tell Axios that people in Trump`s circle are speculating about which close aid or aides flipped and provided additional sensitive information to the FBI about what former President Trump was keeping at Mar-a-Lago.
What`s missing in their defense of the president is that he was engaged in for years, if not decades, of legally questionable behavior. So when they say, if they can do it to him, they can do it to you, what they leave out is the fact that he may have engaged in illegal activity.
So, yes, if you break the law and steal classified material and lie to the IRS or defame a woman who accused you of rape, the feds are probably going to eventually want to talk to you.
What they`re also glossing over is that, back in 2018, after calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed, Trump himself actually signed the law that stiffened the penalty for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents from one to five years. This is what we call the find out phase.
Joining me now is NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard, who is not far from Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach.
Vaughn, it`s great to talk to you.
I will start with this. I have been around Trump rallies. I have been around the hospital when Trump had COVID. What is the mood like on the ground? Is it a clown car? Are people praying? Are they yelling at reporters who have the audacity to try to see what`s going on? What`s sort of the feeling in around the area of Mar-a-Lago?
VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Jason, there were several hundred folks who were here yesterday.
Actually, when I flew in overnight to make my way here, there was a gentleman who was sitting next to me that was flying in from Georgia with his Trump gear on to come in what he considered defense of the former president.
And I think that is what is important about these last 48 hours when we put it into the context. The Department of Justice has still not officially commented or provided any information.
We saw Christopher Wray, who was in Nebraska today, say that he could not comment on any investigation here. And what has happened as a result of that is that the Republicans have essentially filled that void here. You hear -- often hear conspiracy theories coming from the Donald Trump corners of the right-wing politics of today.
But this conspiracy theory that you mentioned here about the idea of planting material, that started at the top, Donald Trump, but then also by -- echoed by the likes of U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
Last night on Sean Hannity, you saw U.S. Senator Marco Rubio warn millions of Americans that they were going to be next, that they were going to have their social media accounts watched and they were going to be targeted and potentially arrested for defending Donald Trump here.
There is so much that has been unanswered by the Department of Justice, and exactly what they were looking for. I think it`s important to note that there were multiple boxes that had been removed previously this summer here from Mar-a-Lago, but then Donald Trump, one would assume, knew what other materials he had...
HILLYARD: ... potentially other classified documents here.
And, ultimately, it is a matter of what was in those documents there. And that is what ultimately, at some point, we hope to understand, have a better clarification for from the Department of Justice.
JOHNSON: NBC`s Vaughn Hillyard, thank you so much.
Let`s bring in Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney and current president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Nick Akerman, former assistant U.S. attorney and assistant special Watergate prosecutor.
Maya, I will start with you.
The sort of timeline that Vaughn laid out there was interesting, that there were documents that were taken earlier. But they realized that Trump had other additional documents. I`m fairly confident that these weren`t boxes that were marked like old VHS tapes or family photos, and they just kind of forgot where they were in the middle of the move after he had to flee the White House.
So my question is, just from an investigative standpoint, what would be the logic behind someone holding on to additional documents that you know that the federal government and the Archives are still looking for? Did he think they were eventually not going to ask him to return these things?
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, look, he was on full notice, to your point, Jason, that the National Archives are saying, these documents belong to the federal government, they do not belong to you, and it is unlawful for you to have them, and you have to return them.
When they got the 15 boxes back, they alerted the Department of Justice, because they already knew they didn`t have all the documents. And what transpires over the past seven months and, obviously, we don`t know all the steps. But we do know that there were efforts made, including FBI having this conversation with Donald Trump, with his lawyers about additional documents.
So what we have seen is, frankly, what is probably a lengthy process of trying to get the documents, knowing they exist, some documents, because there was some reason the National Archives said, hey, 15 boxes, and we still don`t have them all, oh, and by the way, national security secrets, things that the National Archives said in February would be very dangerous to national security if they became public.
So when you look at this timeline, what you see is actually a timeline that suggests investigators did everything they could to get cooperation, and that there was something so dangerous, so concerning for them that they were able to get an independent judge, someone who does not report to the White House...
WILEY: ... someone who does not report to Merrick Garland, has no reason to fear the loss of that position because of any of them, and doing something that is historic, which means no judge would do it lightly, has to be presented with evidence, by the way, evidence that the FBI is not going to share with Donald Trump`s attorney, that they are likely to find something if they`re given permission to search.
That`s what we`re talking about. And that`s what happened here. And one other thing. There is not one shred of indication that anything was planted. In fact, there are witnesses to the search in public reporting, two journalists saying, it looked pretty low key. They showed up. They did this. They did that.
I mean, there`s no -- so they`re actually trying to distract, deflect and share, essentially, disinformation to try to undermine law enforcement on what is fairly serious concerns about documents that may have national security in them.
JOHNSON: Nick, one of the things that you`re hearing from Trump world is that somebody ratted us out, right? Somebody -- there`s a leak. Somebody snitched.
And we all know snitch stands for, sorry, I need to come home. It means that somebody there is incentivized to tell the FBI, hey, look, it`s in the kitchen, behind the knife, behind the statue, et cetera, et cetera.
Do you think that the FBI`s ability to go in and out fairly quickly and obtain these boxes was because they had a pretty good idea where they were to begin with, because they had to get documentation before? Or do you really think it`s because somebody in Trump world, perhaps under investigation for some other reason, gave them this information and said, hey, if you turn left when you go to the second bathroom, I think you will be interested in what you find under the cover?
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Oh, I think that somebody in Trump world did give them information.
I mean, not only do you need probable cause that a crime was committed, you need probable cause that the evidence of the crime exists in Mar-a-Lago. And it has to be recent. It can`t be stale information. This whole business with classified documents, we don`t really know if that`s what this was all about, because the source on all of this are the Donald Trump people who were at Mar-a-Lago.
I mean, this is not government sources. The one way you could find this -- and, certainly, there has to be somebody who was an insider that basically directed the FBI agents as to where this was in order for this information not to be stale.
I mean, it`s got to be in the last 30 days. So, Donald Trump probably does have the snitch in his midst. And what we really don`t know is what exactly they were looking for and what it is they seized.
Now, Donald Trump has the ability to clear this up pretty quickly by turning over to the public that search warrant that would give us the details of what they were looking for and where they were looking for it, because where they were looking for, if they knew it was in the safe, you don`t put classified documents that you`re trying to steal necessarily in a safe.
I mean, there would be all kinds of things he could be using and putting in the safe. And he also has the inventory of everything that was taken.
AKERMAN: If we had that information, we`d have a much better idea of what is going on, what was taken, why this search was done, and what the purpose of it was.
I mean, all of this other stuff is exactly what the Trump people have been doing over the last year about claiming that the election was stolen.
AKERMAN: It`s the same nonsense that we have been listening to for the last four years.
JOHNSON: Six, actually, if we really think about it.
AKERMAN: Six, right.
JOHNSON: Maya, I might want to play you some sound from FOX News, Marco Rubio basically being part of this big freak-out. And I want some of your thoughts on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We need to clean house and prosecute all of these bad guys for prosecutorial misconduct.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I`m telling you the next thing you`re going to see here, Sean, because it`s the playbook.
And that is they are now going to begin to say, oh, these Trump supporters, these Republicans, they`re very upset. They`re saying very angry things. We think they might be a threat. We think they`re radical extremists. Let`s start arresting them.
DAN BONGINO, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We`re beyond a banana republic. We`re into like tin-pot dictator Third World stuff.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, America is under attack.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We have got to change our federal government. The way our federal government has gone, it`s like what we thought about the Gestapo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Now, Maya, I -- obviously, the hyperbole is very common from them, et cetera, et cetera.
But what I want you to take a look at sort of just from a legal analysis is, do you think any of these people are trying to either create distance between themselves and Trump, trying to set up some sort of legal explanation for old people who don`t know, or there`s some sort of prosecution, or lay out the groundwork for counterinvestigations this fall?
Because, at the end of the day, as Nick just said, this is all pretty simple. Donald Trump can tell us tomorrow what was taken from the building and everything else would be fine. So what do you think this freak-out is really about behind the sort of rhetoric on TV?
WILEY: Well, I have to say there`s nothing legal about this freak-out.
I mean, really, what we`re saying is, the news is bad. It`s dangerous and bad for Donald Trump.
WILEY: It`s dangerous and bad for anybody who`s spoken up in favor and for Donald Trump, and that, frankly, they`re going back to a playbook that says, let`s just get people to distrust government.
WILEY: We don`t have to say what the facts are. We don`t have to know what the facts are. We don`t have to say whether we even believe Donald Trump or not Donald Trump. We just have to cast aspersions at the FBI. We just have to cast aspersions at the attorney general, someone, by the way, who the left and the center spent a lot of time complaining about for not going after Donald Trump sooner.
So it`s like, no matter how you slice it, no, I don`t think there`s any question what purpose it serves. But I want to add one other thing, because the only thing that has been serving this narrative is having an attorney for Donald Trump suggest -- plant the suggestion that evidence was planted, frankly, out of whole cloth and out of thin air.
But here`s the pattern with Donald Trump that is a fact. We know from the Mueller report that he has asked attorneys to lie for him before.
WILEY: He did it before the -- that was part of the obstruction count in the first impeachment, where he asked three emissaries and -- to ask Don McGahn and then he asked Don McGahn himself, his White House counsel, to lie.
JOHNSON: Right. So we know -- yes, we know this is not -- none of these people are honest brokers.
Maya Wiley and Nick Akerman, thank you so much for starting us off on THE REIDOUT today.
Up next on THE REIDOUT: Trump pleads the Fifth, something he once ridiculed when others did it.
THE REIDOUT continues right after this.
JOHNSON: Donald Trump has long mocked those who invoke their Fifth Amendment rights in legal proceedings, including comparing them to the mob.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they`re not prosecuted.
Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment. Horrible. Her staffers taking the Fifth Amendment, how about that? So they have five people taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? You see, the mob takes the Fifth. If you`re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: So, today, it was Mr. America first pleading the Fifth, when Trump chose not to give up his right against self-incrimination as he was set to testify under oath for a deposition in a civil case brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump released a statement saying -- quote -- "I once asked, if you`re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment? Now I know the answer to that question. When your family, your company and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch- hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the fake news media, you have no choice."
The so-called witch-hunt he is referring to is the civil suit James has been considering filing against a former president and his real estate company alleging that he inflated the value of his assets by hundreds of millions of dollars for tax purposes. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Following their meeting, the attorney general`s office released a statement confirming that Trump had actually pled the Fifth and added -- quote -- "Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Our investigation continues."
Joining me now is Tim O`Brien, senior executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion and an MSNBC political analyst, and Tristan Snell, former assistant attorney general for the state of New York.
Thank you so much.
Tristan, I will start with you. Not a lawyer. I always say this. When I hear somebody plead the Fifth, I basically here, face it, not guilty. That`s how I stay filthy, right? Like, that`s somebody`s way of getting out of any sort of responsibility whatsoever.
Legally, what does it actually mean to plead the Fifth in this kind of investigation?
TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER NEW YORK ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, the key here is that this is a civil investigation, a civil prosecution, not a criminal one.
In a criminal case, if you plead the Fifth, you can`t actually say that that means the person was guilty. In a civil case, you can then draw the inference, as it`s referred to, that the person is liable of the conduct that they`re being alleged of doing.
So, in this case, the court is going to be able to say, well, anything that he took the Fifth on is something that we can say that he -- that was evidence of his liability.
JOHNSON: So, Tim, this is another part of this that always gets me.
We know that Trump is a liar. We know that he isn`t reliable in any sort of context one way or another. But I have always wondered if, from the perspective of Trump world, if this is actually the case that gives him the most heartburn.
This is the one that has him up eating stale hamburgers at night, right? Because we don`t know what`s going to happen with January 6. We don`t know what`s going to happen in any other investigations. But these financial crimes are the kinds of things that people do actually get in trouble for.
Do you think that this is a turning point, him having to come in and plead the Fifth is a turning point in a case that might actually concern Trump world?
TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Jason, I just want you to repeat taking the Fifth in that high tone again. I`d love to use it as a ringtone on my phone or something.
O`BRIEN: I cannot -- I cannot hit that note. I was impressed by that.
I think -- Tish James has a very high bar in this case. She has to prove that Trump knowingly misled his lenders and knowingly misled tax collectors when he represented the valuations of various properties. That will really hinge on the kind of evidence she has, and whether or not she can prove intent.
Again, that`s a very high hurdle. She also has to prove, I think, in the case of the banks, that very sophisticated lenders were duped by Donald Trump, that they didn`t do their own due diligence when he made claims to them about how much his properties are worth.
I think -- I think it was -- there`s a different standard with tax collectors. I don`t think you should assume that the tax collector has the same kind of sophistication as a bank. And it might have been easier for Trump to dupe them. So it could break along those lines.
It is no surprise that he took the Fifth multiple times because, Donald Trump is a lawyer`s worst nightmare under deposition. He`s a habitual liar. He exaggerates. He embellishes. He doesn`t stay on script.
No lawyer really wants to put someone like that under oath, because, basically, it`s a time bomb. When we -- when I litigated with Trump in my case, and we deposed him, we deposed him for two days, eight hours a day, during those 16 hours of deposition, our lawyers caught him in more than 30 lies...
JOHNSON: Goodness gracious.
O`BRIEN: ... claims because he had made in the past that were completely false on a wide variety of topics, including everything from how much he got paid to give speeches, to more material things, like the value we placed on the sale of condominiums and other items.
So, in that context, not surprising. I do think it`s a turning point that he took the Fifth, not -- I don`t know, in terms of a turning point. I think what this represents is that Tish James is near the end of her investigation.
O`BRIEN: And I think she`s going to have to make a decision now about whether or not to indict him.
So I think we`re about to get clarity on where this case is headed.
JOHNSON: And, Tristan, with that in mind, we have some details of the deposition from an attorney.
Donald Trump, he answered one question, his name. And, frankly, I can imagine he lied about that. I mean, he did at one point. That was one of his biographies mentioned it. He read a statement where he called the inquiry of the greatest witch-hunt in the history of our country. He accused A.G. James openly campaigning on a policy of destroying me.
This is the thing, Tristan. Look, lawyers and investigators are people too. Do you think this kind of antagonism actually inspires and motivates these people to be even more aggressive in their investigation? I mean, look, if somebody comes in and is constantly yelling at you, that probably makes them even more dedicated to this.
Or do you think that they are stone-cold robots, they`re outside of Buckingham Palace, they`re unmoved by this, and that this campaign and this investigation will continue regardless of how aggressive Trump is with them during the investigation?
SNELL: It`s a little bit of both. I wouldn`t say aggressive. I would say dedicated. I would say determined.
When you get -- and we had this in the Trump University matter. When you get them coming at you like this, it just turns you into that kind of stone-cold robot outside of Buckingham Palace. It turns you into a Winston fricking Churchill is what it does. Like, you`re just going to stand tough, and you`re going to be a bulldog, and you`re not going to let go, because you can`t let them move you off your blocks.
So the more that he does something like this, it`s not going to make things better for him. It`s -- I don`t think it`s going to cause the A.G.`s office to get overly aggressive. I think it`s going to cause them to say, nope, we`re going to stand our ground.
And one thing I would note here is that this is actually a civil case. Under Executive Law 6312 is likely what -- we don`t have the papers yet, but that`s what is likely going to get brought here, that this is a civil investigation.
They do not need to prove knowing conduct, they do not need to prove intent. And they do not need to prove that the lenders reasonably relied on the misrepresentations. Those are the standards for common law fraud. So we don`t know this 100 percent for sure, but there`s a high probability.
I used to work on the civil prosecution side at the A.G.`s office. That`s - - 6312 is what we brought Trump University under. It`s a different standard that the A.G. has to meet here. And it`s not nearly as high as it would be for a criminal case.
So that is something that`s very much working in the A.G.`s office favor here. I think they`re going to stand their ground, keep it moving. And I think that they just got exactly what they were looking for by deposing Trump.
Quickly, another point from Trump world. We have got Rudy Giuliani, who`s basically trying to find any excuse he can to not show up to court down in Fulton County. His lawyers tried to say that his recent heart issues were the reason he can`t fly to Atlanta.
And the judge said, look, unless you can provide me with a better medical excuse, I think Uber actually works on Highway 75.
Do you think that these -- I mean, look, we see this in mob movies all the time. People pretend that they have got mental illness, they pretend that they have got heart issues. Do you think this kind of thing is going to be common with Giuliani? Is he going to eventually have to come down? Or do you think this guy may put himself in a home or claim that he has some sort of massive medical issue, so he can avoid finally facing prosecution?
SNELL: You know, Rudy Giuliani is a riddle inside of enigma inside of a, gosh, who cares? Can someone just actually like get the guy to follow the law at some point here?
Look, maybe Atlanta has a Four Seasons Landscaping that he can go work out of and call his home base for a couple of weeks.
SNELL: He just needs to find a place down there that he can call his own. And he can order some more hair dye.
Like, look, the thing is that these excuses are excuses that judges hear all the time from sort of your two-bit criminals. Everybody always has the dog eat their homework. They`re not going to -- the judges aren`t stupid. This isn`t their first rodeo. They`re not going to fall for this kind of stuff.
So when you come in saying, the dog ate my indictment, or I can`t come because my parakeet is sick...
JOHNSON: They don`t.
SNELL: ... like, no one`s going to care.
SNELL: No one`s going to care. They`re just going, you need to come down.
JOHNSON: They don`t play that in Atlanta.
JOHNSON: Tim O`Brien and Tristan Snell, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
President Biden extends his winning streak, signing the veterans health care bill into law, as his climate and drug pricing package nears the finish line.
We`re back in a second to talk all about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the most significant law our nation has ever passed to help millions of veterans who are exposed to toxic substances during their military services.
Secretary McDonough can tell you, I was going to get this done, come hell or high water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Today, the bill expanding health care for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits officially became law.
President Biden signed the PACT Act surrounded by veterans families, lawmakers, as well as comedian Jon Stewart. It`s just one accomplishment in what may be the best week of Joe Biden`s presidency so far.
Yesterday, he signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which will boost domestic manufacturing of high-tech computer chips. And, on Friday, the House is expected to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. It includes the largest investment in climate the country has ever seen, a $35 price cap on insulin for many Medicare users, as well as a 15 percent minimum tax on large corporations, all initiatives Democrats have been trying to get done for decades.
They passed the Senate Sunday with -- spoiler alert -- no help from Republicans. Shocker.
More good news, gas prices fell for the 56th straight day, the national average now dipping below $4 a gallon. Yes, gas is now cheaper than coffee. And Biden did all of this while more than 50 percent of Americans still claim they don`t think he`s doing a good job.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Don Calloway, Democratic strategist and founder of the National Voter Protection Fund.
Congressman, I will start with you.
The PACT Act is huge. Just tell me a little bit about how important that is to you, as a member of the Veterans Committee, and even specific members of your community whose lives are going to be altered and saved by the passage of this legislation.
REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): Jason, I started fighting this fight five years ago when a local constituent by name of Jennifer Kepner died. She was 39 years old. She was stationed in Balad Air Force Base, where Beau Biden was stationed.
She died of pancreatic cancer, and she told me it was due to her burn pits, and she made me promise to lead this fight. Since then, we have been fighting tooth and nail to get the recognition, the attention and the momentum that culminated in today to fulfill the promise I made to her and to all the other veterans.
There were widows today that were crying because they were finally recognized. And there were veterans on oxygen that were barely able to breathe walking to this event telling me in tears that they now have hope that, if they die, their families will be taken care of.
Look, this is an historic accomplishment by President Biden to -- with the most expansive access to health care for veterans in generations. Over 3.5 million veterans and their families will be positively impacted. Their pain and suffering will be relieved because they will have access to health care, based on my Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act that was included.
And they`re -- if they die, their widows and families will be able to be cared for, because there will be -- they will receive their benefits, based on my bill the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act.
This bill will save countless of lives.
JOHNSON: And, Congressman, I want to add to this, because I don`t think a lot of people realize the large percentage of men and women who have served this country overseas who come back sick and are still financially strapped by their medical bills, whose families are still bankrupted by their medical bills.
Talk a little bit about what the economic impact of this kind of policy will be on those families all across the country that have been burdened after having given up everything they could for our country.
RUIZ: Well, right -- before this law, over 70 percent of claims that veterans applied for their benefits, the proof was on them to show that their illness was due to their exposure to burn pits; 70 percent of those claims were denied.
That means that they had to scramble for money, scramble the system to find health care, even if they were uninsured or underinsured. And that would mean financial catastrophe. Now this bill is the law of the land. They won`t have to go very far, because the VA will have to take care of their illnesses and give them the benefits that they have earned and that they deserve.
JOHNSON: You know, I have to say this. We have so many -- we popularize it, from "The Rock," to the recent movie "Ambulance," this movie coming out with John Boyega.
We have literally made Hollywood films about people who have served in the military who got taken advantage of who didn`t get their just due who commit crimes. We finally have seen this president do something that will help those kinds of people. Maybe we won`t have to hear about those stories in Hollywood anymore.
Don, I want to start with you. This is what`s interesting to me. I and many of us -- I have been quite critical of President Biden on many different areas, but the guy is having a fantastic last two weeks. I don`t know if he`s suddenly Mike Jones, Dark Brandon, whatever it is. But it seems like something has turned around these last couple of weeks.
What do you think strategically may have been happening in Washington with the president? Or is it just great timing that all of these policies and all these bills get signed around now?
DON CALLOWAY, FOUNDER, NATIONAL VOTER PROTECTION ACTION FUND: You know, none of this stuff happens overnight.
Ideas are germinated at the beginning of an administration. They are cycled through several different staffers, through different committees, through different folks who have jurisdiction to write these things. And, hopefully, some of those seeds come to root at the right time.
It`s coming together at a very good time for Joe Biden, because let`s all be clear about what this is. We are going into the midterms. And we`re going into the midterms with some substantial legislative wins, but also a president, a former president, who is on the brink of a perp walk.
So it was a great week for not only Joe Biden, but it`s a great way to show that representative democracy -- representative democracy can still get things done.
I just want to say really quickly one quick word on the veterans health care bill. The toxins infecting our warriors is nothing new. This is a generational plague that we have visited upon those who served.
You hear about people coming back from World War II and Korea with bad breath. We certainly are well aware of Agent Orange and the Vietnam generation and the burn pits of the Iraq Afghanistan generation.
If we do nothing else, then may our legislation be instructive for the future. Unfortunately, there will be future conflicts, but we can move faster and more humanely to address those chronic illnesses that our soldiers unfortunately will likely come back from in future conflicts. We can address them at the beginning.
We won`t have to have celebrities and famous advocates getting behind their cause, because we can hopefully take what Congressman Ruiz and his colleagues have done today and use that as a blueprint for taking care of our soldiers in the future. So it`s extremely important what they have gotten done.
JOHNSON: Don, very quickly, we`re coming up on a break. You have great jobs numbers. Inflation is down to zero. Gas prices have been going down.
Which of these things do you think Democrats should be crowing about the most? Which of these things should they be putting in every single campaign commercial for the next 35 days to remind America of what they have been able to do while they were governing, and the other side was trying to overthrow the country?
CALLOWAY: All of that plus the element you left out, which is, for the first time, you can negotiate prescription drug prices as a recipient of Medicare. That is the biggest thing that`s going to make a direct impact on everybody`s kitchen table, regardless of party, race, geography -- geography, as some may pronounce it -- or otherwise.
CALLOWAY: That`s the biggest piece. And that can change the tide of the midterms.
JOHNSON: Congressman Raul Ruiz and Don Calloway, thank you so much for some good news. I love hearing good news. It`s out of character. I love this stuff.
Republican primary voters in Wisconsin and Minnesota go all in on Trump`s big lie, backing election deniers to the hilt.
We will be right back to talk about it.
JOHNSON: Yesterday`s primaries reveal the former president still has a firm grip on the Republican organization, because they`re no longer a party.
Take Wisconsin. Trump`s pick for governor, election denier Tim Michels, won the Republican nomination. He will face incumbent Democrat Tony Evers in the fall.
And in Wisconsin`s U.S. Senate race, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes won the Democratic primary. He will take on incumbent Republican Ron Johnson, who`s questioned electoral integrity, when he isn`t pushing to get rid of Social Security.
Meanwhile, a growing number of Republican secretary of state candidates who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election are being nominated. And if they win, they would oversee the next election in 2024. Minnesota joined the list last night. Republicans nominated Kim Crockett, who has called the 2020 election rigged.
Like most Republicans, she wants to restrict early voting, limit drop boxes and implement voter I.D. Kim Crockett also has a history of ridiculous, over-the-top, even for Republicans, bigotry.
As the head of a right-wing think tank in 2019, she attacked efforts to resettle Somali migrants and Minnesota, telling "The New York Times" that America was at a -- quote -- "breaking point," adding: "These aren`t people coming from Norway. Let`s put it that way. These people are very visible."
I think she meant black.
More recently, she questioned whether disabled and non-English-speaking citizens should have the right to vote, you know, citizens, after the Minnesota Supreme Court affirming that those individuals can receive help with voting.
All the more reason that you must pay attention to who`s running to oversee elections in your state.
Bee Nguyen, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state in Georgia, joins me next.
JOHNSON: Republican 2020 election deniers have been nominated to the November ballot for secretary of state in several states. Seven have won Republican primary so far, including one in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Next week, the former president will host a fund-raiser for Michigan`s Kristina Karamo. She`s one of a coalition of secretary of state candidates running to -- quote, unquote -- "fix" -- that means overturn -- the 2020 election.
Joining me now to discuss is state Representative Bee Nguyen, the Democratic nominee for Georgia secretary of state.
Bee, it is great to finally meet you. I feel like I have heard a lot about you, and finally get to meet you in person live on the show.
I want to start with this. I feel like secretary of states and this office in 2022 is what district attorneys were in, say, 2018, right? After we saw police violence in Ferguson, people were like, oh, my gosh, this is an important position. We should pay attention to our county prosecutors, our district attorneys.
Now they`re recognizing that about secretary of state.
Tell me, in the state of Georgia, what does the secretary of state actually do? What is your job? Do you run the elections? Do you organize business? What`s the responsibility that you`re seeking from the voters in Georgia?
STATE REP. BEE NGUYEN (D-GA), SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: The secretary of state`s office has tremendous responsibilities.
And one of the most important things is overseeing our elections in the state of Georgia. And that means having a secretary of state who is not going to put their thumb on the scale on the front end.
So, in our history here in Georgia, we have had a secretary of state under Brian Kemp who was known for purging hundreds of thousands of Georgians off the rolls, specifically black voters. And then we see that same tradition being carried on by our current secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger.
So it`s about making sure that we have a secretary of state who will run free, fair and efficient elections in all 159 of our counties, resource our local election boards, instead of throw them under the bus, and make sure that we`re investing in voter education, voter communication, and, most importantly, upholding all the tenets of democracy, which is ensuring that every eligible voter in Georgia has access to the ballot box and has access without barriers.
JOHNSON: So, your opponent, the incumbent, Brad Raffensperger, is someone who certainly I never made the mistake, someone who was occasionally lauded and praised for having the strength to actually say, oh, I`m not going to throw the election completely for Donald Trump.
And he did manage to fight off a challenge from a Trump-backed challenger. My question to you is, what are you going to do specifically that would be different from Brad Raffensperger? How would you try to set up rules or responsibilities or statutes as secretary of state that will prevent some of the things that we were basically dependent on his integrity to fix when he was in office in 2020?
NGUYEN: Well, there is certainly a lot of room to grow as it pertains to what a secretary of state should be doing and what the current secretary of state is doing right now.
And I think that it goes to show that the Republican Party has gone so far to the right that, when an officer who has taken the oath to swear allegiance to our Constitution and to our country simply follows the law, we are met with the reaction of believing that is the bar that should be met. But, in fact, we deserve much better.
I want to give you a very specific example of something that`s happening here in Georgia right now. Our Public Service Commission, it is elected by a mechanism called at-large voting for a specific district voting. And there was a lawsuit that was led by a voting rights group, including the NAACP, and a Trump-appointed judge just ruled that the current method that we have in place for public service commissioners, the people who set the rates of our utility -- that is a pocketbook issue -- it is violating Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act.
And instead of accepting that ruling, the current secretary of state is appealing it. And we know it dilutes the power of black voters. So that is certainly something that I would not have done if I were in this position, I would use it as an opportunity to ensure that there are free and fair elections happening in the state of Georgia.
JOHNSON: Now, you`re running in a very diverse slate. There are only six non-white secretaries of state in all of the United States right now.
But the top of your ticket is obviously Stacey Abrams, who is challenging Brian Kemp again for governor. You two would have to work very closely together, not only to protect the election in 2024, but local elections and midterm elections and everything else like that.
What are some ways that you think that Stacey Abrams presents sort of a better option for Georgia voters, whether that`s economics, whether that`s voting rights, than the current incumbent, Brian Kemp?
NGUYEN: Well, we know that Stacey Abrams has been a leader on voting rights in the state of Georgia.
And we saw, in 2021, after we delivered these wins for the two U.S. Senate seats that have been crucial to our success as a country, we know that Republicans went into the legislature and they passed this 98-page voter suppression bill that makes it a crime to hand out a bottle of water to vote or waiting in line, that cripples the ability to vote by mail and takes away secure drop boxes.
That was endorsed by both the governor, who signed it into law, and the secretary of state. And I have to remind voters that that bill was also based on conspiracy theories, based on lies.
If we had a governor like Stacey Abrams and a Democratic legislature, a Democratic secretary of state, we can take steps to repeal those voter- suppressive bills on the books.
We also know that extreme bills such as that one, they are bad for business. We have seen the fallout of these far right bills. Just recently, the gun expansions that have been supported by Republicans for a number of years led to the pulling out of a major music festival in here -- here in Georgia.
NGUYEN: And the same happened after the passing of that 98-page voter suppression bill, where we lost the All-Star Game.
So these are economic issues, because people do not want to live in a state where the government is restricting fundamental rights.
Georgia state Representative Bee Nguyen, also the Democratic nominee for secretary of state of Georgia, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.