DOJ awaits decision from judge on Mar-a-Lago docs. Jan. 6 Committee gets trove of new evidence. Trump-aligned candidate wins NH GOP Senate Primary. Republicans split on how aggressively to limit abortion. Trump struggles to find top-notch lawyer to defend him.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tonight`s "LAST WORD", THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, significant new evidence for the January 6 committee and the important decision we`re waiting for from the judge and the Trump documents case.
Plus, 27 states will have election deniers on the ballot in November. And a surprising new poll in Georgia tonight.
Then Lindsey Graham wants to remake the country and South Carolina`s image with a nationwide abortion ban. But even his home state is divided on abortion, as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this Wednesday night.
Good evening. Once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. We are waiting for the Justice Department`s next move in a showdown with Donald Trump over those classified documents that were seized from his club Mar-a-Lago. The Department of Justice has given Judge Aileen Cannon until tomorrow to decide whether to restore their access to the classified material. If she refuses DOJ lawyers say they will go to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge Cannon temporarily blocked the DOJ has access to the documents until a special master was assigned. On Tuesday, the department told the judge any delay in the case would cause, "irreparable harm to the government and the public."
Meanwhile, the January 6 congressional committee has been busy gathering new evidence. The committee`s repeated Secret Service for records after learning some agency text messages from January 5 and 6 went missing. Today, one panel member told our Nicolle Wallace, they are now getting a lot of new information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Do you have new evidence that wasn`t at your disposal at the time that the last public hearing ended new radio traffic or new communications?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE MEMBER: Yes, it`s been a large volume of information that we really pressed hard for the agency to release. There`s now a very steady flow of data coming in to the Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Wasn`t just a large volume, not long after that the committee`s Chairman revealed exactly what were in those documents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: It`s a combination number of text messages, radio traffic, that kind of thing. It`s thousands of exhibits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Text messages from January 5th and 6th?
THOMPSON: Primarily. The traunches we`ve received have been significant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: We might get a closer look at those messages because on September 28, we will leave, we will be resuming those public hearings. We heard that from the committee earlier today.
With that let`s get smarter with the help of tonight`s leadoff panel. Yamiche Alcindo joins us, NBC News Correspondent and Moderator of Washington Week on PBS, former Federal Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner. He has tried hundreds of cases in his 30-year career and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, she spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor and she is now a law professor at the University of Alabama.
Joyce, to you first, what exactly is the Justice Department looking for in terms of what they want judge Cannon to do?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what DOJ has asked Judge Cannon to do is to release the classified documents that were seized at Mar-a-Lago both so that they can use them in criminal investigation in the intelligence community`s work, but also to exempt them from review by the special master. So, this is a very limited focus. This is a request that the judge stayed just a part of her own order.
And of course, DOJ is sort of, you know, that sort of the carrot the stick is, and if you don`t do this will go ahead and make the same request in Atlanta to the 11th Circuit. But also, we can anticipate a much broader appeal from DOJ, when they get to the 11th Circuit in their opening pleading to judge Cannon. They told her that although they were limiting their request for a stay to declassified documents, they had a much broader disagreement with her order on a range of issues.
RUHLE: All right, but Glenn, let`s say they go to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. That doesn`t mean, it`s smooth sailing. That thing`s got six Trump appointees on it?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It`s going to be the luck of the draw. We`ll have to see, you know, who the three-judge panel ends up being. It`s supposed to be a random choice. And let`s hope that`s how it plays out. But, you know, it`s interesting, because when you read the filings by the Department of Justice as compared to the filings by Trump`s defense team, it really is not a fair fight. In Trump`s briefs that his defense attorneys continue to file, he seems you know, intent on playing this silly parlor game of did I declassified document? Did I not declassify documents?
On page two of the most recent DOJ filing, Steph, the Department of Justice very pointedly tells Judge Cannon, that is entirely irrelevant to the crimes that served as the basis for the search warrant. If I were Judge Cannon, I would be insulted by, you know, Trump`s obsession to continue to offer an argument that is entirely irrelevant to the litigation.
RUHLE: OK. But here`s the thing, Glenn, you would be insulted, she`s not. Judge Cannon did exactly what Trump would want her to do. So, let`s say she continues to side with him, Joyce, let`s say the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals does nothing to side with the DOJ, and what happens to all of this?
VANCE: So, I need to push back a little bit on the suggestion that the 11th Circuit won`t take any action. This is of course, the circuit that I practice in, I was the appellate chief in our U.S. Attorney`s office for years before I became the U.S. attorney. And by and large, when judges become courts of appeals judges, they sort of shake off the trappings of the party that put them on the bench. That`s not always true. And I think we have to be eyes wide open about issues in the judiciary. But many of these folks, you know, the only way to get on the federal bench is because a president from one party or the other appoints you.
So, I think that we should actually try to engage in healthy appreciation for the work that the courts have done, particularly after the election and 2020, many Trump appointed judges went ahead and ruled in ways that did not help out the former president, they were the people that nailed the -- put the nail in the coffin, on the big lie.
In this situation, as Glenn says, this case goes to a three-judge panel, that panel has the opportunity to hear the substantive case that DOJ brings. We don`t know what it will consist of yet. Either party, if they lose, if they`re unhappy with the three-judge panel`s ruling, they would then be in a position to ask the full court on bonk to listen to the case. That`s all of the active judges, there are 12 in this circuit, 11 of those seats are filled currently. So that would take on a patina of bipartisanship, that might be the best way to go in this case. But Glenn makes a good point here, which is that the issues are relatively clear. This is a conservative circuit that in many ways ruled with a pro law enforcement bias. If anything, and DOJ may well come out of this ahead of the Trump folks after this case goes through Atlanta.
RUHLE: Yamiche, last night, we had reporting that the DOJ was a long way from making any decisions on charging Trump, does that align with what you`re reporting?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS WASHINGTON WEEK MODERATOR: Well, here`s -- what I can say is that in talking to folks, there are a lot of people who are waiting to see what the DOJ will do. I don`t know that I can say that DOJ is any closer to charging Trump but we know of course, the former Attorney General Bill Barr, he said himself, I don`t want former President Trump to be charged. But just looking at this Bill Barr believes that they`re getting closer and closer to having enough evidence to indict him.
And then he questioned he put the question, if it was anyone else, would they be charged? The answer is likely yes. So, in that regard, there`s sort of that going on. But there`s also the politics of this, which is really sort of what I`ve been focusing a lot of my reporting on. And it`s this idea that while this is sort of being treated like a public relations problem by the Trump administration -- by former President Trump, and by his lawyers, in some ways, their legal arguments have had success. And that is, in some ways, giving the sort of push for other Republicans to continue to support him even as this gets to be more and more challenging for him.
RUHLE: Glenn, you just said it, what Trump is doing in terms of his defense is playing parlor games. We`re five weeks out, I know, I`ve said it before. And still, we`ve heard nothing about why he took the documents, why he kept the documents, and why he lied about having them. Instead, what he is doing is giving these cockamamie defenses about what was classified or not classified. Now, the Presidential Records Act, what`s he doing?
KIRSCHNER: You know, Steph, can you imagine any other former president who had in his possession or in his head information that could protect our national security, and that former President just sat back, folded his arms and said, I`m not providing it. I mean, that is almost unfathomable. But let`s face it, that`s what Donald Trump is doing. It feels like he`s withholding information that could help protect our national security as leverage in some litigation in this parlor game that he`s playing. You know, I would love to see the Department of Justice find really aggressive, proactive, appropriate ways to try to extract information from Donald Trump about how he may have shared these documents or exposed these documents to others while he was unlawfully retaining them at Mar-a-Lago.
RUHLE: Glenn Kirschner, can you imagine any other former president fill in the blank and the answer is going to be no, remember the four years we had?
Joyce, let`s talk about the January 6 congressional committee, because now they`re getting a whole lot of information from the Secret Service. Remember those phones were all those messages were somehow deleted, vanished from January 5, and 6, why is this so important?
VANCE: So, these are contemporaneous communications. And it`ll be intriguing. The reporting says that included in these documents is radio traffic. So that`s Secret Service agents in a moment of great stress, talking to other agents, also text messages, other sorts of messaging. Together, this will provide a real time picture of what was going on January 16. And this is the Committee`s mandate. It`s to get to the bottom, to find out what the truth is. So, I hope that they go out -- this not with a preordained approach. I think what they`ve done all along is they followed the facts very carefully. And they`ve gone wherever they`ve led. Now, they know exactly what was going on, on that day, they`ll find out if that conflicts or corroborate earlier witnesses. And a bigger, more truthful picture of that day will emerge.
RUHLE: As they comb through all of this data, all this information they`re getting off these phones, Yamiche, could members of the Secret Service be in trouble here?
ALCINDO: I mean, that`s the big question, Stephanie. Think about the fact that we`re still I think processing at least I am in some ways, Cassidy Hutchinson`s statements, right? Her blockbuster surprise hearing where she said that the former president of the United States god, will physical altercation with a Secret Service agent. Now, there were people in Trump`s camp and others who are pushing back on that, but there hasn`t been someone on the record to say that`s not true.
So, there`s a lot of questions about sort of what was the -- what was the interaction going on, as a former President Trump was being told that he could not go to the Capitol after channeling his supporters to go there. And then of course, there`s all of this back and forth about sort of what was the role of law enforcement. And there are a lot of people, frankly, when I talked to especially civil rights leaders, because I covered a lot of Black Lives Matter protesters where I have to tell you there was more sort of -- there was more force being used sometimes by grandmothers who were peacefully protesting police brutality than by these protesters. So, there`s a lot of questions in people`s minds about sort of the role that he could serve as the role of law enforcement. And that`s to say that people weren`t serving honorably. We obviously know that a lot of these Capitol Police officers are traumatized. And some of them have lost their lives because of the trauma. But there`s some real questions about the things that have gone on there. And as someone who was now watched, full (inaudible). The committee does have its work cut out for it. And that is to make this a really high-level new information kind of hearing, because while we -- it`s still striking to see video and hear new information about January 6, I think the big question is what else don`t we know?
RUHLE: Joyce, I want to go back to something Yamiche just said and I want you to underline it for us because after Cassidy Hutchinson testified, we heard that several one or maybe several members of the Secret Service, were going to come out on the record under oath and refute what she said in her testimony, that never actually happened. How significant is that, right? They put it out there in the conservative media ether, but nobody ever sat in front of a judge.
VANCE: So, it`s a flag. It`s a flag that they said that they would contradict her testimony, but no one ever came forward to testify at the committee. That`s one of the reasons they`ll be so interested in going through these new communications that they have. And you know, Cassidy Hutchinson`s testimony, she was telling Congress, facts and stories that had been related to her. So, she wasn`t in essence saying this is the truth. She was saying this is what I was told. And here`s who said it to me. It will be deeply interesting to go back to those people`s communications and see what their communications looked like on January 6, and whether they back that up, whether there appears to have maybe been some propping up of the story or whether it`s in fact accurate.
RUHLE: Glenn, I need to hit you with a Trump doubleheader here. Earlier today, Trump himself called Ashli Babbitt`s mother during a protest that was taking place outside of D.C. jail, a protest that was supporting the Capitol rioters if you remember, Babbitt was fatally shot while she was trying to climb through the window during the January 6 riot. And I want to share what Trump said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: He it`s a terrible thing that has happened to a lot of people that have been treated very, very unfairly. We love Ashli and it was so horrible what happened to her and I just want to tell everybody that`s listening, we`re with you. We`re working with a lot of different people on this. And we can`t let this happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: That actually took place yesterday. We`re with you. We`re working with a lot of people. Glenn, what`s he trying to do here? Some work with anybody. Trump was in office after January 6 and he had ample time to pardon people so any of those rioters he didn`t do it.
KIRSCHNER: Steph, it seems to me that he is always trying to say things that he can then use to raise funds, put another way, grift from his supporters, and you know, every time I hear Donald Trump say something like, I`m going to pardon the insurrectionists. I`m paying legal fees for the insurrectionists. I`m not sure any of us believe that, or they`re being treated so terribly.
You know, what immediately leaps to mind for me is, it kind of sounds like he`s giving aid and comfort to the insurrectionists. I`m not necessarily saying in the legal sense, but in the common sense, in the lay sense, he is providing aid and comfort to the people that were beating police officers, hunting for our elected officials and trying to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power. And I have to believe that, you know, the prosecutors are listening to everything he says. And they are, you know, preparing to include it all, hopefully, in both a speaking indictment and an ultimate prosecution.
RUHLE: Glenn, I want to get your take on one other thing, the image, Trump on Monday at his golf club in Virginia, he was not huddled up with his lawyers in an office. There he was on a golf course with perceivably his homeboys he had nobody seems to be playing golf. What do you think about when you see this pic?
KIRSCHNER: You know, I think of a meeting outside the Bada Bing club myself. But not only are they are not playing --
RUHLE: OK. That is a -- in case our audience is not aware, that is a fictional strip club in New Jersey, from the television show, The Sopranos.
KIRSCHNER: And not only are they not playing golf, it was reported that they didn`t even have their golf clubs in the cart. So, what were they doing? We`re left to speculate. You know what you can`t help but think as they`re gathering together at a place where nobody can overhear them. What they were talking about maybe we`ll know someday if any of these gentlemen choose to share information with law enforcement.
RUHLE: Gophers may have learned a lot that afternoon. Yamiche Alcindor, Joyce Vance, Glenn Kirschner, bringing us the Bada Bing club on this busy night.
When we come back, election denier is on the ballot in dozens of states. And we have a surprising poll in Georgia tonight. Jonathan Capehart and Stuart Stevens are here.
And later, from Lindsey Graham. He may have given Democrats a gift with his proposed nationwide abortion ban. But here`s what makes no sense. Even his home state is split on it.
And later, the lawyers willing to represent Donald Trump. What does he find out? The 11th hour we`re just getting underway on this Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON BOLDUC, (R) NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE CANDIDATE: I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and damn it I stand by my -- fix the unconstitutionality of voting machines, fix IDs, fix college students who don`t live here from voting. Fix balloting. It`s out of control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Untrue, it does not matter what he signed. Trump did not win the last election. But New Hampshire Republican voters have chosen Trump loyalists and election denier right there. Don Bolduc as their candidate to face off against Democratic senator Maggie Hassan in November.
New Hampshire is just one of at least 27 states that are going to have election deniers on the ballot this fall. Many of them running for offices that oversee or certify elections.
Let`s get scared and bring in Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, our friend Jonathan Capehart, Associate Editor at the Washington Post and of course Anchor of the Sunday show right here on MSNBC. And Stuart Stevens joins us, a Veteran of the Mitt Romney and George W. Bush Presidential Campaigns. He is now with the Lincoln Project.
Guys, let`s get scared. What is at stake with election deniers on the ballot in key states, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan. Jonathan, I turned to you first, right? The whole thought was, let`s get these far-right crazies on the ballot, they`ll be easy to beat. Is that a good idea?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST ASSOCIATE EDITOR: You know, well, we will find out for sure, Stephanie in November. But I`ve been concerned that things have been so volatile in American politics for quite a while now that this is a gamble that I hope Democrats win. Because if some of these election deniers get elected to some of these key places, Democrats will rue the day that they gambled with democracy this way.
The key the key state I`m thinking of and have been thinking of this whole time is Pennsylvania, with Doug Mastriano as the Republican nominee for governor. Now, why am I talking about a governor`s race and why Pennsylvania because the Pennsylvania Governor, whether Democrat or Republican, gets to appoint the Secretary of State and as we all know now as a result of the 2020 election, the Secretary of State is the person who runs elections in those states and so come 2024 if Governor Mastriano is the governor of Pennsylvania, then he will have a say in who runs those elections.
And so, the hell and trauma that we went through with the 2020 presidential election will only be repeated and be on steroids in 2024. That`s why having these election deniers up and down the ballot across the country is so concerning.
RUHLE: Stuart, how worried are you about this?
STUART STEVENS, THE LINCOLN PROJECT SENIOR ADVISER: I`m incredibly worried. Look, I just make a point that I don`t think gets made enough about this idea that there was some -- something wrong with the election. There`s not one secretary of state, in any state in America, Republican or Democrat, who has said that the election in their state was not conducted properly, not one. And there`s a lot of Republicans out there. So ultimately, this all goes back to race. Because when you look at the states and the areas that they have said where there were illegal votes, there are all predominantly non-white areas, many of them African Americans. Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, this is not so much just about these candidates running. But we have to go back to fact there`s not one Republican incumbent senator on the ballot, or Republican nominee for the Senate, who has not said that they will -- who has said that they will not support Donald Trump if he`s the Republican nominee.
So that`s where we`re headed. So, when you vote for each of these Republicans, you`re voting to support Donald Trump and increase the chances that Donald Trump will be the next president. It`s a complete collapse of the party. There`s no moral structure to the party. There`s no one there except for a couple of people like Liz Cheney, who, you know, they drum to Cheney out of the party. And I think we have to consider it the greatest threat to democracy since 1860.
RUHLE: Well, Stuart, you can only understand where we`re headed if you can explain how we got here. How did we get here in terms of the GOP?
STEVENS: Listen, you know, Stephanie, there`s a lot of people that were wrong about Donald Trump in 2016. But it`s really hard to find anybody who was more wrong than me. I didn`t think he`d win the primary. I didn`t think he`d win the general. And when he did, I had to ask myself a lot of tough questions. How is it that I didn`t see this.
And there`s the sort of a trope of books that people write about Washington, if only they had listened to me. I couldn`t write that book, because they did listen to me. I helped elect a lot of these people. And I never in a million years saw this coming. And I think that the conclusion I came to was that there really had been two strains in the Republican Party and post-World War Two. And Eisenhower`s strain, which was a boring conservative governing strain, and then a McCarthy`s train, conspiratorial, non-governing, xenophobic, often racist.
And I think a lot of us who worked particularly for George W. Bush, and this idea of compassionate conservatism, we assumed that we were the dominant gene, that if for no other reason than political necessity, because the country is changing so much, that we saw this dark side. And we probably played to that dark side too much. I have said, you know, I was a guy that tried to help elect people. I was good at it.
I thought a lot more about winning elections than saving the country. And I regret that deeply. And I don`t know what to do about it now, except to sound this alarm, and to try to go out. So, we`re doing it the Lincoln Project and use the skills we have to try to make it clear what the choice is here.
And, you know, it`s the inability to imagine democracies ending. That is always a key element when democracy slide into autocracy. And these people think they`re going to win. We look at someone, you know, like Mastriano, we think they`re crazy, think they`re nuts. This is not a group of people who lack confidence. They have financiers like Peter Thiel. They have a vast propaganda network with Fox and the right-wing media stream. They`re evolving a legal structure to justify what they want to do.
I mean, think about it, if the pass a law that the Georgia legislature can overturn the popular vote, when the Georgia legislature overturns the popular vote, it won`t be illegal. And that`s how democracy is in. It`s not the end of the ballot box now, and in the courtroom.
RUHLE: Jonathan, I feel like Stuart just sat down and presented a full Holy Confession to us. I`m afraid we`ve eaten a whole lot of time up but before we go, I have to ask about Georgia. Because this is a state where 41% of likely voters are saying inflation is their top issue more than abortion, more than election laws, more than gun violence, all those things combined less than inflation. Given that, how to Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams play that. We can say all day long that Herschel Walker`s nuts, but inflation falls on the incumbent.
CAPEHART: Right. And I do think that they are, at a minimum. They are able to talk about things that certainly Senator Warnock can talk about things that Democrats have done in Washington, that he has done in Washington, that he has brought to Georgia as a result of being in the Senate and can make an affirmative case as to why he should be returned to the Senate. There`s a new poll out that has -- if I`m remembering right, Senator Warnock now slightly above Herschel Walker in the latest poll, but as that poll -- that poll number that you showed there, with inflation being the number one concern, and 41% of people polled is sort of the warning shot to Georgia Democrats, but also to Democrats writ large, that as much as there is this energy and passion behind the issue of abortion. And, you know, Republicans not being able to help themselves by continuing to put the issue out there for people to continue to be passionate about Senator Lindsey Graham.
They still - Georgians -- Stacey Abrams, and Senator Warnock are going to have to be able to talk to Georgians about what are they going to do, how are they going to be a part of this solution?
And one more thing back to Stuart Stevens, the name of his book is, It Was All a Lie, I encourage -- I urge everyone to read it, because he taught, he hurls himself on the sword and talks about what he did to get us to this point, but he also offers a solution. And so, I am very proud to share the screen with Stuart Stevens.
RUHLE: Me too. Stuart, thank you. Jonathan. Thank you. And also, a reminder, while Republicans are going after Democrats on inflation, they have yet to offer their plan to combat it.
When we come back a total ban on abortion falls in South Carolina after disagreements between Republicans, our next guest was there for the action. He tells us what is going on in South Carolina and what is behind the so- called gift Lindsey Graham just gave Democrats, when they love it our continues.
RUHLE: The Republican controlled South Carolina State Senate failed to pass a total abortion ban last week. That measure was defeated through the combined effort of a handful of Republicans along with all Democrats.
Republicans in Washington also, well, they can`t seem to get on the same page when it comes to abortion either. Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a national 15 week ban and it is divided members of his own party. And he was confronted with some very pointed questions at his press conference earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Graham, what would you say to somebody like me who found out that their son had an anomaly that would make him incompatible with life at 16 weeks? I had regular appointments, I did everything right, and at 16 weeks we found out that our son would likely not live. When he was born, he lived for 8 days. He bled from every orifice on his body, but we were not allowed to make that choice for him. You would be robbing that choice from those women when you say that someone like me?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Here`s what I would say the world pretty much has spoken on this issue. And as to your particular case, there`ll be exceptions for life of the mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: This one`s baffling. So, I want to bring in South Carolina Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto. Brad, I want to start with those exceptions that they were talking about right now, right there. They were a big deal in the debate, how did it all play out?
STATE SENATOR BRAD HUTTO, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA MINORITY LEADER: Well, when the bill came over to the Senate from the House, it only had exceptions for rape and incest. Otherwise, it was a total ban. So, when I got in my truck last Tuesday and drove to Colombia, I knew we were in for a fight. We had 15 Democrats, there were 30 Republicans. The Democrats had vowed to fight as long and as hard as it took.
We were hoping to pick up some Republican allies and reasonable Republicans along the way. And that`s what we did. We said to ourselves, we -- quite frankly, we`re going to fight till hell freezes over. And then we`re going to strap on skates and fight on ice. And we were able to hold a coalition together and keep a total ban from going in place.
Now, we don`t have a good bill. There`s a six week ban that was in place once a Roe was overturned by Dobbs, a six week ban that had passed part of that went into place. That bill is currently enjoined by our state Supreme Court because we have a right to privacy in the state constitution.
RUHLE: So, we`re scratching our heads up here in New York. What do you think Lindsey Graham is up to and why?
HUTTO: Well, you know, when Lindsey Graham had John McCain as his Alpha Dog and had somebody to follow who was reasonable, we all thought Lindsey was a reasonable guy, all about policy, but we found out he`s all about power, and now that he`s President Trump`s minime, he`s sort of gone off the rails.
RUHLE: I want to share a portion of the floor speech from a Republican colleague of yours Katrina Shealy. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. KATRINA SHEALY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: But you asked, why am I talking about this isn`t she pro-life? Yes, I`m pro-life. I`m also pro-life of the mother, the life she has with her children who are already born. I care about the children who are forced into adulthood that was made up by a legislature full of men, so they can make take a victory lap and feel good about it. You won`t children raising children, who will most likely suffer domestic violence and live in poverty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Were you surprised to have any Republicans on your side on this issue?
HUTTO: There were a few that I thought I could count on. And that was one tough lady you just showed right there, Katrina Shealy. We actually had all three of the Republican women stick with our coalition and a few other moderate Republican men. They needed 26 votes to cut off our debate and the most they could ever get was 24.
RUHLE: You know, we always hear state`s right, state`s rights, tell me what most people in South Carolina want. Do they want a total abortion ban?
HUTTO: No, they don`t. You know, when we were operating prior to the Dobbs decision, we had a 20-week decision process which when they can make the decision within 20 weeks. And I thought at that time, we said look, we trust women, we trust doctors, let`s sort of make the decision in their best interest. But the Republicans, politics drove them and I think that vote in Kansas was an eye opener. I know they did some individual polling in South Carolina, following the Kansas referendum. And they found out that the vote really wasn`t where they thought it was going to be. The vast majority of people were satisfied with the 20-week ban that we had before.
RUHLE: So why, why, why is all this happening? Brad Hutto, thank you for joining us tonight. I really nice to have you here.
HUTTO: Thank you.
RUHLE: When we come back, I got a question that I`ve been asking all week. Where does the former president fine lawyers willing to represent him? Especially now that so many of his own attorneys have had to get their own attorneys? The person who came in to answer that question joins us next when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: I know crimes, I can smell them. You don`t have to smell this one. I can prove it, you`re 18 different ways. I can prove to you that he won Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: I can prove to you that some sort of paint was dripping down Rudy Giuliani`s face right there. One of Donald Trump`s former attorneys who right there in front of America was lying about the 2020 election. And as the former guy now faces multiple investigations, he`s been having a hard time finding top lawyers to represent him.
Now, he`s dodged consequences for a very long time. But many of his attorneys that haven`t been so lucky. As the New York Times points out, time after time, his attorneys have been asked to testify as witnesses to potential crimes, or evaluated as possible criminal conspirators themselves.
So, let`s discuss. I want to bring in David Enrich, Business Investigations Editor for The New York Times and author of the new book Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump and the Corruption of Justice. It`s a bedtime story.
David, Donald Trump has a history of getting away. I almost said getting away with murder, but getting away with a lot of things, have things finally caught up with him and lawyers are saying I don`t want to stand next to you?
DAVID ENRICH, THE NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR: Yeah, I think that`s absolutely the moment we have finally arrived at and it`s a really long time coming.
RUHLE: But isn`t that extraordinary? A former president of the United States, wouldn`t you think all sorts of conservative lawyers would want to be representing him?
ENRICH: I think that a lot of conservative lawyers are, you know, very practice in the act of self-preservation. And this is a man who for his entire career, going back many decades, has used lawyers as in a way that ends up getting the lawyers in a lot of trouble, if not with a law than ethically, or certainly reputationally. And I think a lot of people are very wary about making that same mistake again, right now.
RUHLE: Well, the lawyers he has now for the most part, are not from top, top law firms, don`t have Sterling reputations. It`s kind of a grab bag of folks. Are they there, even though they might not get paid, which is his track record? Because they want the fame and the glory?
ENRICH: You know, it`s a good question. I`m not quite sure what makes someone at this point in the process in this point in history decide that the right decision for them is to go represent someone like Trump. And look, everyone`s entitled to competent legal counsel and Trump is included in that. And yet, not everyone is always entitled to the best legal counsel under all circumstances. And so, I think that there, I think it is a tough road for a lot of lawyers to walk down.
RUHLE: But that hasn`t always been the case for a long, long time. There was Jones Day, you write all about it in this book, they aligned themselves with Trump, speak to us about this.
ENRICH: Yeah, well, Jones Day for more than a century had been this law firm though, as the trusted partner for any big corporation that found itself in trouble and starting several years ago, they decided that in addition to that they were going to become the law firm of choice for conservative politicians and they started a practice that was devoted to helping elect Republicans.
And one of the first clients they took on with a new practice was Donald Trump. And this was back in early 2015. Trump was his campaign, no one was taking that seriously. And John says, right from the get go, it started lending him a lot of institutional credibility that he really just couldn`t have gotten anywhere else. And this immediately paid dividends for -- if not for John state institutionally, and for a lot of the people at the top of the firm who were almost to a man, very conservative, kind of very closely aligned with the Federalist Society. And through the relationship that they forged with Donald Trump managed to get many of their senior lawyers into the Trump administration, where they exerted enormous sway over the course of national events.
RUHLE: How`d that work out for them? Where are they on now?
ENRICH: For the most part, they`re back at Jones Day, some of them are on the federal bench. Others are waiting for people like Ron DeSantis. And Jones Day has become I think, very quietly, but also very effectively, this crucial power center in the conservative movement.
RUHLE: Wow. You know, we often say that after elections, who wins lawyers, then most specifically, was it Jones Day that won the election?
ENRICH: I think certainly they were vaulted into this upper echelon of conservative politics. And, you know, normally you think of lawyers and I thought of lawyers as chasing the almighty dollar. In this case, they were chasing something else, which was power and prestige, and really achieving these political ambitions and ecological ambitions that had been out of reach for Republicans in the conservative movement for generations. Jones Day goes into power with Trump. And there are there are at least at once, and future lawyers go into power with Trump. And they achieved many of these ambitions that had been so elusive for so long.
RUHLE: So now still in power, many of them on the federal bench, where are they with relation to Donald Trump? They`re not standing with them now, was there a notable rift?
ENRICH: You know, there have been a Don McGahn who is -- was Trump`s longtime White House Counsel, as a senior partner at Jones Day. He`s obviously had a fairly public falling out with the President. But the reality is that, first of all, Jones Day continues to receive fairly substantial legal fees from various Trump political action committees and campaign committees. And to this day, they`re still receiving look at their FEC filings 10s, if not hundreds of 1000s of dollars pouring in. But more important, they think, is that the whole can diaspora of trumpets that are out there, either running for office or already in office, many of them and people like Ron Johnson, Wisconsin, Dr. Oz, Herschel Walker, many of these people are either directly receiving legal assistance from Jones Day, or campaign committees and PACs that are associated with them are. So, Jones Day has really managed to spread throughout the conservative movement in a way that is really I think, very unusual, and very powerful.
RUHLE: As I said, a bedtime story. David, thank you so much. Congratulations on your new book.
ENRICH: Thank you.
RUHLE: Again, Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms Donald Trump and the Corruption of Justice. It`s out now.
When we come back, the scandal that got Brett Favre wrapped up in a scheme that took tax dollars meant for poor people in one of the poorest states. We read the story a few days ago. Well guess what we have tonight, some even worse chapters. When THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, the fleecing of America. New Text Messages shed more light on the NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre role in the Mississippi welfare scandal. Our colleague Ken Dilanian has more tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, a new twist in the growing investigation into the misuse of government welfare funds in Mississippi showing NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre and the state`s former governor might have been more deeply involved in first known. Text messages included in newly released court documents so Favre asked then Governor Phil Bryant for help securing state money for a college volleyball facility where Favre`s daughter played the sport. And Bryant sent him to the state welfare agency.
Favre soon began texting with a nonprofit executive named Nancy New who was doling out millions in federal funds sent to Mississippi for families in poverty. New has since pleaded guilty to fraud and is cooperating with prosecutors.
After New was able to secure $4 million in welfare funds for the volleyball project, Favre texted very big deal and can`t thank you enough. Two years later Favre asked for more money. Just left Brett Farve, Bryant texted new in 2019. Can we help him with his project? Text messages show New proposed paying Favre $1.1 million for radio ads. But the tech show Favre was worried about how it might look. He wrote, "If you were to pay me, is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much?"
New replied, "No." But added I understand you being uneasy about that. It`s all part of a broader welfare spending scandal that has led to an FBI investigation. Though there is no indication Favre is under law enforcement scrutiny. He paid back the $1.1 million.
Brad Pigott was hired by the state welfare agency to claw back $77 million that was misspent. But when Pigott demanded answers on the volleyball building, he was fired. The state agency says they weren`t on the same page. We asked him tonight about the New texts.
BRAD PIGOTT: Mr. Favre all but badgered the governor of Mississippi to get this public money to his -- the purpose of building a volleyball facility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DILANIAN: We reached out tonight to Brett Favre`s attorney who told us Favre behaved honorably and never knew the state grants came from federal welfare money. A lawyer for former Governor Phil Bryant declined to comment on the text and criticize their release.
RUHLE: The story`s not over and we`ll keep asking questions. Thank you to my colleague Ken Dilanian for that reporting tonight.
And on that note, I wish you all a very good night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for staying up late with us. I`ll see you at the end of tomorrow.