Several 1000 people showed up to the march from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial in what organizers called it, Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming. Bernie Kerik told the January 6 Committee that a former Army colonel came up with the idea to seize voting machines. Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr met with the January 6 Committee. New Virginia Attorney General fired the lawyer for the University of Virginia who is currently on leave assisting the Bipartisan Congressional Committee investigating the January 6 Insurrection. The State Department ordered family members of U.S. embassy personnel in Ukraine`s capital Kyiv to evacuate the country and authorizing some diplomats leave as well.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I love that. This is your dad`s message to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It tell, why don`t you do something --
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That is tonight "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even in Hitler`s Germany, you could -- you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You can hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.
HAYES: American dystopia on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not unlike the Nuremberg trials that only tried those doctors that destroyed the lives of human beings. We are going to come after the press that lied to the world.
HAYES: Tonight, new reporting on the growth of the anti-Vax movement in America and its political, cultural, and societal impact. Then, the special Grand Jury investigating Trump in Georgia gets green light as a key Trump world figure volunteers for a committee interview.
Plus, Senator Chris Murphy on where America stands as a Russian threat to invade Ukraine continues and how Donald Trump`s chosen governor of Virginia is already doing his best to make the boss proud.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope Glenn gets in there and he`ll straight down Virginia, he`ll lower taxes, do all of the things that we want a governor to do.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The anti- vaccine movement has been coming out in party in Washington DC this weekend. We should say that as almost 2000 Americans are still dying every single day from COVID, and all data we have access to indicates that the vast, overwhelming majority of them are unvaccinated.
Several 1000 people showed up to the march from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial in what organizers called it, defeat the mandates an American homecoming. The paranoid movement of conspiracy theorists crosses ideological lines sweeping up people who identify with both the right and the left.
Speakers of the rally range from right wing Dr. Robert Malone to of course a members of America`s most famous democratic family, anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Some of it was promoted by some of the most powerful voices of anti-vaccine messaging in this country, Fox News primetime host particularly Tucker Carlson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: There is a massive march this weekend on Sunday in Washington DC against vaccine mandates. There`s probably a lot of vaccinated people there. That`s not the point. The point is, they cannot force you to get a medical procedure you don`t want because they don`t own your body. If you let them, you`re going to regret it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This is very funny because they like to make this distinction between like it`s not about the vaccines, it`s the vaccine mandates is a very fine distinction. But if you spend 60 seconds around the crowd, that goes away very quickly. We saw in the crowd, a lot of echoes of the themes that Tucker Carlson has elk have been pushing. Plenty of pro-Trump sentiment, like this guy in America first hat smoking a cigar, a lot of anti-Biden imagery, a lot of Let`s go Brandon`s out there.
The biggest boogeyman was clearly Dr. Fauci with many rally-goers calling for him to be fired or even arrested. The crowd did seem to find a few doctors they liked though, like this group in their white coats who touted disproven claims about COVID treatments and vaccines. And Dr. Robert Malone who has become a prominent face the movement with appearances on Joe Rogan`s podcast and Tucker Carlson show. He began his speech full of misinformation by invoking Martin Luther King Jr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT MALONE, ANTI-VACCINE ADVOCATE: In March of 1963, a great man came to Washington, stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial right there and changed the world by speaking from his heart about his dream, simple words that continue to resonate through time.
We all stand on the shoulders of giants. The simple truths are what matter most. These are my truths. And I believe they`re self-evident. Regarding the genetic COVID vaccines, the science is settled. They`re not working. They are not completely safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I should note, part of that is true. The science is pretty settled. It`s been incredible, hundreds of millions of doses throughout the world, if not billions. Though settled, to the extent that science has ever settled in the opposite direction from what he`s saying, the vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing death and serious illness. We`ve seen it in country after country. And more than that, they`re safer than say, many common over-the-counter medications.
Now, throughout the crowd and the speeches, there are also a lot of comparisons of vaccine mandates to various forms of authoritarian tyranny. In several cases, they equated mandates to the actual holocaust. This is a common trope. You keep seeing it pop up over and over again. We saw signs depicting everything swastikas made up of syringes, to this yellow star of David which has been very popular meme.
In his speech to the gathered crowd though, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made the comparison explicit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., ANTI-VACCINE ADVOCATE: It`s been the ambition of every totalitarian state on the beginning of mankind, to control every aspect of behavior of conduct of thought and to obliterate dissent. None of them have been able to do it. It didn`t have the technological capacity.
Even in Hitler`s Germany, you could --you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You can hide in an attic like Anne Frank did. I visited in 1962 East Germany with my father, and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died doing it but it is possible.
Today, the mechanisms are being put in place and will make it so none of us can run and none of us can hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, clearly, the folks who defend the mandate rally were -- well, I would humbly submit wildly wrong in their conception of history and what`s happening right now and the situation as it stands.
But it`s important to note here, this was a group of several 1000 people in the country 330 million, right? I mean, you know, it`s a big country. There`s all kinds of people have all kinds of views. They get together for protests, as is their First Amendment right, and God bless them. Over
80 percent of the eligible population in this country has received at least one dose of the vaccine. People are voting with their arms, so to speak. The vast majority of Americans are vaccinated, and thank goodness for that.
But here`s the thing. The scope and the intensity of the American anti vaccination movement on display in Washington is a genuine outlier among poorer countries. It`s important to understand this. We`ve got this data from Morning Consult which I think is really useful way of looking at it.
Now, these numbers, they look a little different you might have seen than other numbers about vaccination because rather than using official vaccination data which has some real comparison issues across different countries, Morning Consult just surveyed people asking if they got the vaccine, or if they plan to, or if they`re unwilling. And you can see how this stacks up, right?
In every country, the vast majority of people have gotten the vaccine except for Russia. Those dark green represent those who are vaccinated, so you see those numbers. The light green are those who are planning on getting vaccinated, right. Those are people who are not opposed to it, they haven`t gotten around to it. The yellowish color are those who are uncertain. And the red -- the red is the most important number here, I think. The red are the hardcore anti-vaxxers, the unwilling, I will not get vaccinated.
And what you see in this chart is that the wealthy developed country in the world, from Spain, to Australia, UK, Canada, Japan, different, you know, parts of the world, different languages and different traditions, they are all in the same range of 84 to 90% vaccinated with a very small people who say that they`re unvaxxed -- they`re unwilling.
And then there are these two outliers at the top, the U.S. and Russia, the top of the list, 20 percent, one out of five people unwilling to get vaccinated, dead set against it. And this big group of vaccine resistors, which is a total outlier, is having a profound and tangible effect.
Now, let me be clear, as we said on the show before, there are a bunch of ways the Biden ministration, I think, has fallen short in dealing with the virus from testing capacity to some confusion around quarantine guidance. But what really stands out in terms of this country`s battle against COVID, especially as the deal with this Omicron wave which is washed over places as varied as South Africa, to Denmark, UK, the pandemic we have right now and that other countries are having is proving to be much less deadly in other countries where they are more vaccinated and more boosted than us. That`s the plain brutal truth.
You can see it plainly on this graph showing deaths for millions of people just since the beginning of December when Omicron really starting to wrap up. We`re an outlier. Again, another thing where we`re an outlier. U.S. is seeing more deaths in Switzerland, and France, and the UK. It is even worse here than South Africa, which is a lower vaccination rate, and had the first massive wave of Omicron cases, although it appears they may have had way more immunity from previous waves.
Our country is an outlier. And it`s an outlier in this fundamental inescapable way, in terms of the virulence and the breadth of anti-vaccine sentiment, and the number of people resisting vaccination. And the human toll of that, of this pandemic, thousands and thousands of deaths rolling on day after day after day.
And people gathering to say it`s nonsense, or it`s not actually killing them, or the vaccines are causing it. Are we on an island here? I really think it`s important for everyone to understand American exceptionalism in this moment. And a huge part of it, a huge part of it, maybe the biggest central factor is it powerful people with platforms like Tucker Carlson and the organizers at Defeat the Mandate March are powering and cultivating this for attention and for profit.
They are extending the reach of vaccine misinformation into all corners of our country in our society. And it is everywhere. I mean everywhere we look. NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton just said in an interview with The Spokesman Review, "I think it`s highly recorded now there`s 150, I believe now, it`s over 100 professional athletes dead. Professional athletes at the prime their life dropping dead that are vaccinated right in the pitch, right on the field, right on the court."
This is a good example of a little rule of thumb we have here at the ALL IN program which is that of a number sounds too good to be true or too crazy to be true, it probably is. That one falls in that category. That`s utter nonsense. But of course, it gets blasted out to the whole world, and then spreads all over the place among regular folks on social media and to neighbors and family. And it results in this kind of stuff that we heard at the March yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re comparing us to slavery. Why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason it`s compared to slavery is because with these continual boosters that really don`t protect you, you have to continuously subscribe to their drugs in order to be able to participate in society, which is a form of slavery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve never been forced to take anything for myself for any kind of medical reason or anything. And I feel like to coerce somebody to make that decision is really unjust. It`s sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, look, there is something profoundly worrying about what this portends for the rest of this pandemic, as again, it`s happening now. I mean, thousands of people dying day after day. But not just this pandemic, I mean, so many other challenges we face in the future. This is how a very sizable portion of Americans -- and again, I don`t want to, you know, vilify them. I mean, these people may be perfectly lovely, wonderful, decent people, caring to their neighbors, maybe they even have politics and other phases I agree with, but this is where we`re at where a huge chunk of Americans respond to the deadliest pandemic in 100 years like this.
The next guests were both at the rally this weekend. Brandy Zadrozny is a senior reporter for NBC News, who`s been covering the online disinformation of anti-vax movement, and Kara Voght is a politics reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine. She wrote about this weekend`s rally in her latest piece, I`m a full anti-vaxxer. How the conspiracies are winning over fresh converts.
Kara, let me just start with you a little bit of what you saw there, what you heard from folks at this rally.
KARA VOGHT, POLITICS REPORTER, ROLLING STONE: Sure. So, I heard a lot of, you know, people who have been in the anti-vax movement for a long time. What surprised me the most for how many people I met who were brand new to it, people who over the course of the pandemic had become more radicalized, had talked to a trusted neighbor, in one case, who said, oh, you know, Robert F. Kennedy`s book, I try to talk to people who actually through the mandate had become against the vaccines. The folk with a nurse who said that when she was told to get a vaccine, she became very fearful, it risked her job, she was afraid for her reproductive health, she didn`t know exactly what it meant for her to get a vaccine.
And, you know, I think one thing that was really clear to me in the conversations I had with people is that there`s a lot of ways into the anti-vaccine movement. It can be fear. It can be a feeling of injustice. It can be frustration with the ongoing pandemic. But the anti-vaccine movement has found a way through rallies like the one that we saw yesterday, by couching it as a anti-mandate rally, they find a lot of ways to draw people into their movement.
And very much so, the speakers who heard are much more radical than maybe some of the people who were there. But I bet you, over the course of a day, I heard a lot of rhetoric that made me really question, you know, just how safe and effective vaccines are.
HAYES: Yes, it`s interesting, yes. I mean, A, it`s important I think to note this sort of fine line which isn`t actually there in practice, which is like against the mandates against vaccines. It`s like, you go to that rally, you`re hearing a lot of stuff about the vaccines are going to kill you or, you know, they`re going to be dangerous. It`s not like, oh, it`s just this narrow principle, mandates.
But also just the, the general gestalt of the of the rhetoric as I watched this and read reports, Brandy, it`s really hyperbolic stuff about essentially Nazism, essentially the second coming of the Holocaust, essentially, the second coming of the Third Reich. Here`s Del Bigtree calling for Nuremberg trials of Fauci and the press. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEL BIGTREE, ANTI-VACCINE ADVOCATE: Mark my words. We will hold Tony Fauci accountable. We will hold Deborah Brooks accountable, we will hold Joe Biden accountable . But unlike the Nuremberg Trials that only tried those doctors that destroyed the lives of human beings, we are going to come after the press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How common is this kind of language and rhetoric in this movement you`ve been reporting on for a while, Brandy?
BRANDY ZADROZNY, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes, Del Bigtree has a show. It comes on Thursdays online. And he bragged yesterday that millions of people watch it. And it`s just that over and over again, every single week, so -- and it`s on Facebook, and it`s on Instagram. You know, this is just the internet sort of come to life.
And it really was. Like Kara was saying, it`s like you had the weirdest bunch of people all sort of slam together. It was really a conspiracy fest yesterday. And you know, I think it`s really important to talk about how extreme these folks are.
So, like, I was asked yesterday were there any extremists there, and I said yes, everywhere. They were on the stage. And, you know, you can frame it as I just don`t agree with mandates, that doesn`t really feel right to me.
But then when you share a stage with, you know, a man who says that vaccines are going to kill your kids, and that proof of vaccination is an elaborate plan to enslave you and track you with Bill Gates satellites, which is what R.F. Kennedy said yesterday, and when he said that being vaccinated is worse than the face of Holocaust victims, if you share a stage with those people, or if you are going to rally in your like, I`m just against mandates, but you listen to this and clap and say yes, and you know, jail, all of the reporters, that is a quick, quick march to extremism.
HAYES: Yes. And I think -- I mean, Del Bigtree is such a great example. His -- the group that he runs is called the Informed Consent Action Network, which is kind of a -- kind of microcosm of the bait and switch here, which is like, well, who`s against informed consent? We want informed consent on what are you going to put in my body to like, the Nuremberg trials 2.0 are coming and you`re going to be up there, like, facing the gallows reports and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
And that kind of, Kara, engine of radicalization -- because again, I saw some of your reporting which was excellent and Brandy `s and like, I know people who say this kind of stuff. Like, this is -- I don`t want this to be seen l ike, there`s some awful alien group of people that, you know, have these questions or concerns or scepticism. Like, we -- they`re friends, loved ones. They might be people you`ve dated, or people whose Christmas you went to, but like the slide from that to Nuremberg trials is what`s so unnerving here.
ZADROZNY: Yes, and it`s all -- I mean, this is all a grift. It`s such a grift. You know, that -- these like, new doctors organizations that came up and want to sell you ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, which is what the people in white coats that looks so formal, that`s what they were hawking. RFK is Hawking a book.
His group brought in $6.8 million in 2020. They doubled -- during a pandemic, they doubled the money that they brought in. ICAN is -- that`s Del Bigtree`s org. It is -- every year, it doubles its profit. And every year, he gets paid more. I mean, it`s just so obvious that this is a -- it`s a show, right?
Like, Del gets up there and he had to get up there before they cut the end of the program off and just yelled and yelled about freedom and about, you know, jailing everybody. And it was just -- he was walked out. It was just such a moment, because he was walked out by all of his security guards, and just like feeling good, and people were treating him like a rock star. And unfortunately, he does not care a whit about the real harm that comes from vaccine hesitancy.
HAYES: Kara, what was your takeaway from this rally in terms of how -- where do you think this goes, or the trajectory of this?
VOGHT: It`s some of what I saw yesterday, and as you talked about, at the top, Chris, and as Brandy said, there`s a lot of people who are part of this. I saw lots of people who said, you know, proud Democrat against medical mandates. That was one sign I heard if I remember it correctly. And people who have just found their way into this, you know, in any particular way, which to me means that there`s a powerful coalition coming together right now.
People who otherwise don`t have anything to do with each other are banded together on the single issue. And if the, you know, Republicans decide to really plug into this, they can have a lot of success in the coming elections. And who knows what else this movement will make demands of. You know, that seems like a really important thing to keep an eye on here, especially as we`re heading into the midterms.
HAYES: All right, Brandy Zadrozny and Kara Voght, thank you both.
Coming up, the investigation into Donald Trump`s effort to overturn the Georgia election gets the green light for a grand jury. Plus, what we know about the January 6 Committee`s conversations with former Attorney General Bill Barr. And brand new reporting on who is behind the scheme to seize voting machines. All that after this break.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s Georgia phone call as I argued last week may be the most obvious of all the chargeable criminal offenses Trump committed at least in his effort to overturn the election. Last week we learned the Fulton County district attorney was asking for a special grand jury to investigate Trump`s actions when he asked the Secretary of State to manufacture 11,000 votes.
Well, tonight, we know the special grand jury will go forward. That`s because the judges on Fulton County Superior Court bench approve that request. And the special grand jury will be impaneled May 2 and can continue for a period not to exceed 12 months.
Meanwhile, the January 6 Select Committee has apparently already had a prolific amount of interviews and conversations finding out the information they want. They are still in the process of putting it all together.
Last week on this show, Congressman Adam Schiff who of course a member of the committee, estimated over 400 witnesses have cooperated just so far. As we learned last week, one of the people they would like to speak with is the President`s senior advisor Ivanka Trump who the Committee claims witnessed a conversation between Trump and Mike Pence on the morning of January 6, among other things.
The former president was apparently displeased about the inquiry and lashed out at the committee for not respecting the iron law of nepotism. It`s a disgrace what`s going on. They`re using these things to try and get people`s minds off how incompetently our country is being run. And they don`t care. They`ll go after children. Little babies.
To be clear, Ivanka Trump is 40 years old and served as Senior Advisor in the White House throughout her father`s presidency. Meanwhile, yesterday, the committee`s chair Congressman Bennie Thompson revealed the man who helped Donald Trump wriggle out of the Mueller investigation, Former Attorney General Barr, has spoken already to the Committee.
You may remember, Barr left the Trump administration very abruptly, just weeks before January 6. But he was still running the department when a draft executive order was created that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and basically announced a full-fledged coup in the United States of America.
Now, just this evening, Politico reports that former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who worked with Rudy Giuliani to help undermine Joe Biden`s win and who Trump pardoned for crimes including tax fraud back in 2020, told the January 6 Committee the person responsible for coming up with the plan to seize the voting machines.
Betsy Woodruff Swan is the Politico National Correspondent broke that story about Bernie Kerik`s testimony, as well as the original story about the draft executive order to seize the voting machines. And she joins me now.
You`re the perfect person to have, Betsy. What do we know about this executive order and what Kerik told the committee about its origins?
BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Kerik testified to the committee earlier this month that Phil Waldron was the person who to Kerik`s knowledge first came up with the idea of presenting an executive order to Trump encouraging the president to direct the Secretary of Defense to seize these voting machines.
Now, to be clear, this is testimony that Kerik has given to the January 6 Select Committee as part of an interview. We reached out to Waldron for comment and have not heard back. And remember, the folks who talked to the January 6 Select Committee are not necessarily reliable narrators. But Kerik is a really important witness for them because he was actually part of Trump`s outside legal team that worked on all these -- all these lawsuits trying to challenge the election results.
It`s actually pretty unusual and a very big deal that somebody who was on that legal team is playing ball with the committee and cooperating with them at least in as extensive of a way as Kerik has engaged.
Now, Phil Waldron might not be a household name. He`s not even a household name necessarily in my household. Waldron is really interesting, though, because he`s most associated with, I think, a 38-page PowerPoint plan that circulated on Capitol Hill that found its way to Mark Meadows inbox when he was White House Chief of Staff, and that laid out a very sort of extensive plan for trying to overturn the election results.
Additionally, Waldron has told reporters that he -- that when he was in the Defense Intelligence Agency, that he worked with Michael Flynn, that Michael Flynn was there as well. And while -- so, Waldron claims to have that connection. The U.S. Defense Department hasn`t commented on the nature of Waldron`s military service, but he says he has that relationship with Flynn, of course.
And there`s been extensive reporting that Flynn also was pushing in the final weeks of Trump`s presidency for these extreme measures to -- for Trump to take these extreme measures to try to overturn the results of the election.
HAYES: And Waldron was just -- as you he said, he served in the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the sort of big intelligence unit within the actual Pentagon, or one of -- one of several. And, and that sort of explains a bit a bit of reporting you had earlier when the memo came out, which is that in the first few sentences, the memo references to classified presidential memoranda, which would require for them to reference the person conceiving or drafting this word or to have some classified access him or herself. SWAN: Yes, that`s right. And we don`t know that Waldron is the author of the memo. We don`t know that he`s the only person who was advocating for this case. It`s a story that we`re still working on. But yes, that first paragraph is so interesting, because it refers to a classified document that Trump signed off on during his presidency that nobody -- no public, civilian, non-government officials knew existed. It certainly wasn`t publicly reported anywhere until I obtained this copy of the executive order.
I`ve not been told by any of the sources I`ve spoken about that document with it that it`s anything sort of scary or nefarious. My understanding is that it`s an adjustment to a prior executive order that had been -- that had been -- that had a lot more visibility to the public. But the fact that the author of this draft Executive Order knew about this secret document is really jaw-dropping and frankly, in my view, one of the most interesting things about the document.
HAYES: Final question for you is about Barr who we also have learned is cooperating. Now, Barr, we got to say, Barr is there during this time -- all reporting indicates that he was rebuffing efforts to essentially enlist the Department of Justice in this pursuit to, you know, put out official investigations of voter fraud. He actually came before the cameras and knock that down.
But he then -- he just like up and quits, releases a statement talking about how incredible Donald Trump is, and basically, let`s simply try to deal with like stopping the coup. He`s now apparently talking to committee. What do we know about those conversations?
SWAN: I think the Washington Post has the most detailed reporting on it. And what they reported is that Barr was in communication with the Select Committee last year, so before the select committee got the text of the executive order that politico published.
And additionally, the Post reported that the select committee investigators have not asked Barr about this draft executive order. One of the biggest questions for Barr and anyone at DOJ would be did anyone at the Justice Department know about this proposed plan to use the military to seize voting machines?
Of course, one thing that we`re confident the select committee has asked Barr about is all the wackiness that was going on between the White House and the Justice Department in Trump`s final weeks. That`s a very big topic. They would have a lot to talk about. Based on what`s out there and what we know, my expectation is that the Select Committee is going to have many more questions for Barr.
And the question is how fulsome and thorough is his cooperation? Does he continue to be someone who they view as a good actor or do they get to the point where they have to think about using more hardball tactics to get cooperation from him? Thus far, it`s been only positive signals from the Select Committee involving Bill Barr and that in and of itself is a big deal.
HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff Swan, thank you very much. Next up, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has been in office for 10 days, he`s already being sued. Plus, the suspicious firing of a Virginia lawyer working with the January 6 Committee, after this.
HAYES: Remember last November when the entire country was supposed to infer some divine lesson from the victory of the so-called moderate candidate in Virginia`s gubernatorial race? That was Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin who basically ran a kind of Mitt Romney 2.0 campaign, amiable rich guidance sweater vest.
Youngkin had a very delicate tightrope to walk just less than a year after the coup because even in a state Joe Biden won by 10 points, there was no way a Republican could get elected without the support of Donald Trump`s base. But he also couldn`t tack too hard to the right or else he would lose ground with the moderate suburbanites who needed to flip away from Biden.
So, Youngkin found himself in the position of unequivocally supporting Donald Trump by also not actually talking very much about the former president, trying to have it both ways. He skipped both virtual rallies that Trump and his allies held on his behalf, including this downright bizarre and unsettling Steve Bannon event where attendees pledged allegiance to a flag that was apparently in DC during the insurrection.
After that happened Youngkin correctly called that display "weird and wrong," which accurate. But at the same time, he found a way to pay very distinct coded lip service to Trump`s big lie about a stolen election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): I think we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines. And I just think -- like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year. In businesses, you have an audit. So, let`s just audit the voting machines, publish it so everybody can see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Youngkin did say that Joe Biden was the winner of a free and fair election, but that got him in hot water with the Trump base and he had to go on a radio show of one of Trump`s former top terrorism advisors, a guy named Sebastian Gorka, and make nice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN GORKA, RADIO HOST: What can you do to reassure Trump supporters that that is not who you are?
YOUNGKIN: Well, as the President knows I am a Virginia first governor`s candidate. I am going to stand up for Virginians.
GORKA: Well, you`re listening to Glenn Youngkin. We had issues getting him on the show. I was worried who he was surrounded by. He took the decision. He came on the show. Give him credit for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You see what he did there, pretty depth, right? He goes on Sebastian Gorka`s program, says he`s a Virginia first governor, which is utterly meaningless, but kind of echoes America first. So, after all that, in November, Youngkin won the state. Since then, the big question has been how would Youngkin actually govern? Would he be a moderate blue-state Republican like Maryland`s Larry Hogan or (INAUDIBLE) or would be hard- right ideologue like Florida`s Ron DeSantis or South Dakota is Kristi Noem?
Well, we got our first set of answers this month. Since being sworn in on January 15, Youngkin has signed an executive order banning critical race theory, which of course was already not taught in Virginia Public Schools, though he did kind of campaign on that.
He signed another order lifting mask mandates in schools. That`s set to take effect today although it`s already subject to a legal challenge. Youngkin backed a number of right wing bills which was slash state revenue and make it more difficult to raise property taxes.
And he announced -- this is my favorite reveal. He would appoint Andrew Wheeler to be the State Secretary of Natural Resource Resources. Now, if that name sounds familiar it has become -- because he was one of the many swamp creatures to inhabit Donald Trump`s administration.
Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist who ran the EPA under Trump. That`s after Trump`s first EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace amidst a number of corruption scandals. Perhaps the most eye-raising decision to come out of the first few weeks of unified Republican governors is in the state was the new Republican attorney general who won in that same state raise firing dozens of staffers, including a lawyer for the University of Virginia who is currently on leave assisting the Bipartisan Congressional Committee investigating the January 6 Insurrection.
Now, the AG`s office says that decision was not politically motivated. But it would appear not everyone agrees. Committee Member Congresswoman Elaine Luria who represents Virginia told The Washington Post "I`m very concerned about this. I`m concerned that someone in a position like this would be fired for political reasons."
One person who is surely pleased however is of course Donald Trump who`s relished every opportunity to undermine the committee investigating the insurrection that he incited.
Tom Perriello is a former Democratic Congressman from Virginia, now serves as the executive director for U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, and he joins me now.
Tom, what do you think about the first 10 days of Republican governance Youngkin, the attorney general as well, particularly this firing. The individual at issue was the general counsel for UVA. He was on leave. It just seems there`s no plausible theory for the firing other than it is what it looks like.
TOM PERRIELLO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.S. PROGRAMS AT THE OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: I mean, he is an incredibly respected lawyer, a former prosecutor, someone who is -- got allies on all sides of the aisle, someone who helped investigate the horrible events in our hometown of Charlottesville. He`s the General Counsel of the University of Virginia, the crown jewel of our public universities here in Virginia, something beloved by people again, across the political aisle.
And this is a disastrous decision not only in its seeming political vengeance, but also what it may mean for being able to attract top faculty at UVA. And as you said, you know, the question was, who was he baiting and who is he switching, Glenn Youngkin? And the thought was, he was going to bait and switch the Trump base and both govern as a moderate. And unfortunately, it looks like he was doing bait and switch on moderate voters and has instead decided to govern very much as a Radical Republican.
HAYES: Yes, it`s going to be very interesting to see in this regard because, I mean, you have -- you have three people -- we mentioned Phil Scott, Charlie Baker, and Larry Hogan. These are all Republican governors in heavily Democratic state, states that are more democratic than Virginia, but who have also been in positions where, because in all three cases, Democrats control the legislature, they`re acting more as the brakes than the engine of the car.
You know, they`ll veto stuff. They`ll say, no, we`re not doing this. That`s not the case of Virginia where Youngkin is going to get some leeway in his agenda.
PERRIELLO: He has some room and he certainly has Democrats who would be ready to work with him on bipartisan common-sense solutions. But talk about misreading your mandate, what parents were clearly saying in this election was they want these schools open. They want to be listened to. Instead, Governor Youngkin has made moves that probably significantly increase the chance that schools will have to shut. He`s overruling local school officials. He`s already upset not only parents that are suing him, but the American Academy of Pediatrics Virginia chapter.
This is not what people were looking for, which was pragmatic problem- solving. But instead really a culture warrior agenda from the right that Virginians didn`t vote for and don`t want to see.
HAYES: We should say that there`s also going to be a lot of push among Republicans in the state legislature for a whole variety of kind of election insurrection-related causes. Senator Amanda Chase who calls herself Trump in Heels has several bills, including one that require a forensic audit of each election. Other Republican proposals would eliminate several facets of the broader voting policies passed by Democrats that contributed a record turnout in last year`s elections, including permanent absentee voter roll, no excuse million votes, drop-off boxes for absentee voting.
This is remarkable to me because you have a situation in which Democrats expanded access to the to the polls, you had a record turnout election your state that Republicans did well in, thereby showing they are capable of competing of high turnout elections and are already contemplating ways of cutting off access to the ballot box.
PERRIELLO: Well, first of all, it shows democracy reform should be a bipartisan issue. It used to be a bipartisan issue. It`s really disappointing to see senators like Murkowski and Collins and Snow and Romney not be willing to step up on the voting rights act at the federal level. It shouldn`t be something that at least moderate Republicans fear as we saw in Virginia.
But also as we too often have to see in the United States, it`s Black women coming to the rescue in Virginia. Senators like Louise Lucas and Jen McClellan, along with folks like Scott Surovell who are holding the line there in the Senate. These reforms are wildly popular among Virginians.
You know, Glenn Youngkin tried last year to make crime an issue. That went nowhere for him. You still see bipartisan support for common-sense criminal justice reform, as well as voting reform issues. So, at some point, Governor Youngkin is going to have to make a choice between whether he`s actually listening to Virginians first or whether he`s putting the Gorkas of the world and the Trumps of the world in charge. And we know what Virginians want. And sadly, that`s not what we`ve seen so far in these first 10 days.
HAYES: All right, Tom Perriello, thank you very much.
PERRIELLO: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Tonight, fresh from his recent trip to Ukraine, Senator Chris Murphy is here to discuss the mounting fears of a Russian invasion with thousands of American troops were prepared for the possibility of deployment, after this.
HAYES: So, every day, our team here has a meeting where we plan out what stories we`re going to cover on that night show. It`s called our rundown meeting and it dictates the layout of our day and then what you see the evening. Sometimes in those meetings, you might say I get a little sidelined. I spent five or 10 or 15 minutes or longer on a tangent I`m really worked up about but likely will not make it into the show.
Way, way back in the before times, I used to joke well, I`ll save that for the podcast. And that`s kind of how Why Is This Happening? came about back in 2018. When we launched that podcast, we had no idea how it would go or if it would last, but you guys seem to like it. It`s now over three years later we are coming up on our 200th episode. And we want to hear from our loyal WITH pod listeners.
Tomorrow we`re releasing our semi-annual mailbag episode where I answer questions folks have sent in. Mailbags are always a lot of fun. But make sure you listen to this week`s episode because we will tell you what you can do to help us celebrate hitting 200. That`s out tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.
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JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think our commitment to our NATO partners is clear. Our commitment to Ukrainians is clear. We`ve sent more security assistance over the last year than in any year in recent history. We`ve been in constant contact as evidenced by the President`s call this afternoon with our European partners as we work to ensure we`re in lockstep as we approach the next stage and anticipate what President Putin may or may not do.
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HAYES: So, that`s where we are right now. We are at the next stage where we`re trying to anticipate what the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, might do. Will he mount an invasion of Ukraine? If that -- if he does that, what happens after that?
Today, the Biden administration as you saw sought to show a unified front with allies against Vladimir Putin. While House Pentagon State Department all held briefings addressing the escalating situation in Ukraine, President Joe Biden held an 80-minute video call with European allies this afternoon briefly telling reporters a short time ago, there was unanimity on the call but not getting into details.
Over the weekend, there were reports Biden`s considering sending troops to Eastern Europe. Those reports were confirmed today that isn`t consideration as the Pentagon announced as many as 8500 U.S. based troops are now on high alert and ready to deploy within days.
Yesterday, the State Department ordered family members of U.S. embassy personnel in Ukraine`s capital Kyiv to evacuate the country and authorizing some diplomats leave as well, blaring do not travel alert is now on the State Department website warning Americans Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine would severely impact the U.S. Embassy`s ability to provide consular services including assistance to U.S. citizens in departing Ukraine.
Senator Chris Murphy is a Democrat of Connecticut who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. He recently went on a bipartisan trip to Ukraine to meet and assess situation with U.S. Embassy staff and Ukrainian government officials. He and the other senators briefed the President when they arrived home. Senator Murphy joins me now.
Senator, what were your impressions from that trip just a short -- I think, few days a week ago?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, my impressions were that Vladimir Putin is likely getting really horrible advice. Reporting suggests that some are telling the Russian president he`s going to be created as a liberator if he enters Ukraine, at least if he moves further than he already is in Eastern Ukraine.
And what I saw in Kiev when we were there for 24 hours is a country that is ready to defend itself, a country whose military is stronger than Russia thinks it is, a country that has new levels of assistance from NATO and the United States arriving on a daily basis, and a country that is likely prepared to mount a long term counterinsurgency that is going to rival Russia`s invasion of Afghanistan in 1980.
So, I think this is going to be bloody. I think it`s going to come with a huge cost, both in terms of lives to the Russian army, but also in rubles and dollars to the Russian economy. And I don`t think we know what his choice is going to be, but we obviously are taking steps right now to prepare for the worst.
HAYES: So, there`s something interesting I noticed the last day is that the messaging from Ukrainian officials is a little different than what we`ve heard from Americans insofar as President Zelensky is saying, well, you know, they might incur further but they`ve been in the Donbas for years. And you`ve got the head of the National Security Council of Ukraine saying this is nothing new.
I mean, attempting I think to sort of tamp down panic, you even at President Zelensky saying, don`t make a run on the banks. On the back, you`ve got the Ukrainians reacting with some anger today about the evacuation of embassy personnel, that you know, that this is -- this is unfairly inducing panic. What do you -- what do you make of that?
MURPHY: Well, so let`s reverse, you know, about eight years. So, Putin in the wake of the Euromaidan, this decision Ukraine makes to align itself with Europe and the West, Russia decides to undergo a pretty rigorous attempt to undermine the legitimate democratic government of Ukraine now aligned to towards Europe and to try to crater it, try to destroy it so that in its place, a government will be stood up that will once again live under the thumb of Putin.
For the last eight years, Putin has been trying this unsuccessful. Yes, he`s moved troops in eastern Ukraine, he`s taken Crimea, but he has basically tried to use subterfuge in order to get the Ukrainian government to reorient itself towards Moscow. He doesn`t want to have to invade if he doesn`t have to.
So, his first play here is to put all these troops on the border, create enough panic inside Kiev, so that the government falls apart. And the Ukrainians decide to rush in a government that will make a deal with the Kremlin.
I don`t think that`s going to happen. But that`s why you see this effort in Kiev, understandably by the Ukrainian government to try to keep everyone as calm as possible while they ready their nation for war, because they know Russia would rather take the country by default.
HAYES: So, I think that, you and all right-thinking people would agree that the U.S. is not going to send ground forces into Ukraine. We are not going to get into a shooting war with nuclear power Russia. That`s not on the table and it should not be on the table.
The question is, you know, what is the diplomatic off-ramp here and how that can be achieved in a way that that secures the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people and their right to self-determination, but produces some outcome in which I don`t know what it would mean for Putin to not feel so freaked out by this country on his doorstep.
MURPHY: Yes, I`m skeptical that there is a true traditional diplomatic off ramp in part because these claims that Putin makes are imaginary, and he likely knows that they are imaginary. And he thinks that NATO presents a territorial threat to Russia. It does not he knows that we have no designs to invade Russia.
He`s making these claims up I think as a way to try to raise the stakes, such that he`s allowed to say that diplomacy fell apart and he was left with nothing other than invasion. He essentially is asking us to give Russia a veto power over who enters NATO. And that is, quite frankly, contrary to the entire essence of democracy that we would take away from a democratic country, Ukraine who is free to decide for itself who it joins.
So, I think the only way he doesn`t do this is because he just makes a decision in the end that the cost is too high. I think I`m rooting for our diplomats, but I think a big diplomatic agreement is probably unlikely in the offing.
HAYES: Well, on that point, I mean, your point about counterinsurgency. And I mean, there was a reason for all the creepy subterfuge about the little green men in Crimea which was to kind of create this sort of era of plausible deniability, which was necessary in some ways for it not to be like a Hungary in the 1950s moment of like tanks rolling in.
And it just seemed to me like that that`s not what`s going to happen here. And there is a kind of shocked to the conscience when one country rolls tanks into a bordering country.
MURPHY: Yes, I mean, this invasion and the atrocities that come with it will be televised. The whole world is watching because there has been so much hype in the lead up to this potential invasion, so much attention.
And again, as I said, I think the damage is just going to be absolutely catastrophic to Russia if they go forward with this. I mean, yes, right now there is some division within the transatlantic alliance about exactly how tough we get with sanctions, but to the extent there are a couple European nations that right now are willing to do the tough stuff. It might be because they don`t believe Russia is going to really go through with this.
MURPHY: And when they do, and when the cell phone video has come out of all the awful atrocities, that set sanctions. It might be a lot tougher than Putin really thinks it`s going to be.
HAYES: All right, Sen. Chris Murphy, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.