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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 1/3/22

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Jesse Wegman, Michelle Goldberg, Dana Goldstein


Rep. Liz Cheney was at it again this weekend sharing new information the committee learned on just how reckless and dangerous and aberrant Donald Trump`s behavior was as he watched the insurrection unfold live on television. Domestic extremist groups ranging from the QAnon conspiracy movement and the Proud Boys, to militia organizations and avowed white nationalists, have reemerged in recent months frequently trying to affect change at the local level. In polling conducted just over the holidays, Morning Consult found the 34 percent of voters that the Republican Party is headed in the right direction. The New York Times Editorial Board argues the republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got people waiting hours all over the state. We`re just unwan1ted. We don`t need to unwind testing. We need to remove Ron DeSantis.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It seems that his -- they have a prett1y strong case for that. Daniel Uhlfelder, Barnard -- Dr. Bernard Ashby, I wish we had more time? Thank you both very much. That is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television to tell people to stop.

HAYES: New revelations from the January 6 Committee.

CHENEY: We have first-hand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.

HAYES: Tonight, how Donald Trump is solidifying support amid dire warnings about the state of our democracy one year after the insurrection.

Then, Jesse Wegman of The New York Times editorial board on why his newspaper is now sounding alarms over an authoritarian Republican Party.

Plus, Brandy Zadrozny with new reporting on how January 6 extremism is being felt on the local level across the country and what we`re learning from the chaos of another back to school moment in year three of the pandemic when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. And Happy New Year to you all. As we enter this New Year and brace for the anniversary of January 6, now one of the most ignominious dates in American history, the future of American democracy still hangs in the balance resting on a knife`s edge.

And one of the most important roles of the bipartisan committee investigating the insurrection is taking on aside from fact-finding which is important, is just a simple act of reminding the country what was true in the moments while the attack unfolded, and in the moments afterwards, which is that what happened was horrific and extremely existentially dangerous to the democratic -- country`s democratic present and future. It was a crime against the basic principle of self-governance which lies at the heart of this country`s proud identity.

The Republican vice-chair of the committee, I have to say, Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming has been very effective at doing that, of just reminding the American people that this was the consensus view shared by fellow conservatives like her during and immediately following the storming of the Capitol.

She did it a few weeks ago when she read aloud the texts of legislators and Fox News personalities and even Don Jr. begging that Trump stopped the attack. And she was at it again this weekend sharing new information the committee learned on just how reckless and dangerous and aberrant Trump`s behavior was, as he watched the insurrection unfold live on television.


CHENEY: The committee has first-hand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television as the assault on the Capitol occurred. The President could have at any moment walked those very few steps into the Briefing Room, gone on live television, and told his supporters who were assaulting the Capitol to stop.

We know as he was sitting there in the dining room next to the Oval Office, members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television to tell people to stop. We know Leader McCarthy was pleading with him to do that. We know members of his family, we know his daughter -- we have first-hand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.


HAYES: And one key point here that I think Congresswoman Cheney is laying out is that as the committee looks into potential recommendation of criminal charges stemming from the reckless indifference that Trump displayed by just sitting there watching TV, that nearly everyone around the then-President saved for a tiny group of his most diehard supporters, were horrified.

I mean, if you`re keeping track, both Donald Trump`s daughter Ivanka and his son, Don Jr., wanted him to call off the riot. Some of Trumps most vocal defenders on Fox News, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were pleading with then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to get Trump to step in and end the violence.

And for a short time after the attack, it felt like it was a real breaking point for many members of Republican Party. There was a consensus opinion, the correct one, that Donald Trump is uniquely dangerous. And what he did by enabling this insurrection crossed a line that simply cannot be tolerated in American democratic politics. And that moment has since been memory hold over the last year.

But it`s worth remembering that a number of very prominent Republicans either resigned from the Trump administration or publicly condemned the then-sitting president following the attack. Then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even reportedly considering -- considered invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office in his final days. And that`s because they believed he proved such a unique threat to our democracy.


But a number of those allies who drew a red line after the insurrection have of course quietly returned the former president side as he publicly molds and other runs the White House. The most prominent perhaps among them, listen to diehard Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham on the evening of the six saying he would no longer be party to Trump`s attempted coup.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Trump and I, we`ve had a hell of a journey. All I can say is, count me out. Enough is enough. If you`re a conservative, this is the most offensive concept in the world that a single person could disenfranchise 155 million people.


HAYES: Yes, Senator, you`re correct. That is an odious and offensive idea. Here`s Senator Graham just last week on Fox News essentially endorsing Donald Trump, the same man Graham admitted wanted to use the Vice President, one man, as part of a coup plot to disenfranchise more than half the country.


GRAHAM: It`s his nomination if he wants it. The Republican base appreciated him. We don`t appreciate all the things he does sometimes. But from a policy point of view, he was the most successful president. From our conservative`s point of view since Ronald Reagan, it is his nomination if he wants it. And he will be in the White House in 2024 if he runs a discipline campaign.


HAYES: It`s telling there right that he`s so successful, three Supreme Court justices and big tax cuts for corporations. Of course, Senator Graham is not the only Republican have made such a public about-face. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy struck notably hardline against Trump after the insurrection.

Again, in the light of the moment in which people`s moral faculties were functioning, the two men Trump and McCarthy reportedly caught in a screaming match over the phone while the insurrection was happening where McCarthy demanded Trump to call off the rioters. And Trump apparently said of the people violently beating the cops on the steps, "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

McCarthy even publicly floated the idea of censuring Trump and arguing the then-President was responsible for the attack on the Capitol. Something that is obviously true but nonetheless surprising to hear from a prominent Republican.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action for President Trump except to share responsibility, quell the brewing unrest, and ensure President-Elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.


HAYES: Again, the consensus view at the time, you didn`t imagine it, you didn`t misrecollect what you thought of the time, what you saw at the time. Now, famously, McCarthy`s spat with Trump did not last long. Just over two weeks after he made those comments, he flew to Florida to visit Trump, now essentially living as a Republican leader at exile and to kiss the former presidents ring and show exactly whose side he`s on. In fact, just a few months after that meeting, McCarthy then changed his story.


MCCARTHY: When I talked to President Trump about it, I was the first person to contact him when the riots was going on. He didn`t see it. When he ended the call was saying, telling me, he`ll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that`s what he did. He put a video out later.


HAYES: There`s so much amazing BS. And that was my favorite is the he didn`t see it. Like, Trump has just got his nose buried in a book. Like, oh, something`s going on at the Capitol? I didn`t see that. Now, the video that McCarthy is talking about, of course, came out much later after most of the damage had been done. And it was hardly the strong condemnation McCarthy is implying.

Trump repeated the big lie of stolen election that instigate the riot in the first place, he told the insurrections he felt their pain, and that he loved them all before he told them to go home. And reportedly, there were multiple attempts made at that same video that were left on the cutting room floor.

But again, it wasn`t just members of Congress either. And I honestly, I`m telling you something, I had basically forgotten about this. I`d remember him hold it myself as someone who covers this every night of my life that a number of Trump administration officials stepped down immediately following the insurrection even though they have just days left on the job anyway.

In her resignation letter, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the attack "Has deeply troubled me in a way I simply cannot set aside." Education Secretary Betsy DeVos heard of Trump, "There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and is the inflection point for me. Impressionable children are watching all this and they are learning from us."

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney who at that point was working as Trump`s Special Envoy to Northern Ireland told CNBC on January 7 that he quit because he believed his boss to become increasingly unhinged following the election. "Clearly he is not the same as he was eight months ago. And certainly, the people advising him are not the same as there were eight months ago. And that leads to a dangerous sort of combination as you saw yesterday."


Now, Politico had the smart idea to reach out to Chao, and DeVos, and Mulvaney among multiple others to see if they would comment on those statements nearly one year later. And you`ll never guess what. They all refuse to be on the record except one, the former chief of staff to Melania Trump Stephanie Grisham, who is of course now selling a tell-all book that it is attempting to rebrand as something of a never-Trumper.

So, now we are left in this weird kind of Groundhog Day reality. After all these one-time Trump allies realized exactly how dangerous he was in the moment and in the immediate aftermath after they called out this horrifying dereliction of duty, after they issued statements saying think about the children. All of this exemplified by his actions leading up to January 6. And the day itself the entire Republican Party is basically developed collective amnesia.

And worse than that, now falling in line behind the same guy who we all very clearly know, all of them know, McCarthy knows, Graham knows, everyone knows, simply cannot be trusted with that power again. It`s as obvious and clear as day. Because he will try to complete the attack on our democracy failed to pull off the first time.

And those threats to democracy were there from the very beginning from his first campaign to a theme in Trump`s second impeachment for inciting the January 6 insurrection. And at the time, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, was one of the impeachment managers who warned about the danger of his actions during the trial.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This was a deliberate, premeditated incitement to his base to attack our Capitol while accounting was going on and it was foreseeable especially to President Trump, who warned us he knew what was coming.


HAYES: And Congressman Eric Swalwell joins me now. Congressman, it`s good to have you. As you return back to Congress for this year and we`re about to mark this anniversary, just sort of level set where your head is at as we entered this year.

SWALWELL: Well, Chris, happy New Year. And going into this new year, we want to be a party that delivers, that delivered us out of the chaos of the Trump administration that delivers on ending the pandemic, gets people vaccinated, gets people back to work and addresses, you know, a lot of the issues that still persist around climate.

Now, we`re up against the course, chaos. We`re up against a Republican Party that chooses violence over voting and on January 6, as we commemorate and honor the fallen officers and the wounded officers of that day, the Republicans will be celebrating the arsonist of that day and Donald Trump. And that`s a contrast we have to draw for every American.

HAYES: You said this, I believe, yesterday. You said every politician says it`s the most important election of our lifetime. And that`s true. fact- checked, have having covered many elections. It may be but it could also be the last one. Republicans have chosen violence over voting. We have to out- vote the violence. Saddle up. What does that mean?

SWALWELL: Chris, I`m worried that if Republicans win in the midterm elections, that voting as we know it in this country will be gone. They`re already putting as many barriers to the ballot box as possible in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Georgia. And on the other side of the finish line, they`re putting in place processes where they could reverse the outcome, even if we crawl through glass and run through the fire to get to the ballot box.

And so if they are able to win the House, the damage they could do, you know, to permanently make it difficult to vote and just alter the way that we participate in a democratic process could be irreversible. And so, this may not be -- as I said, this is not only the most important election. If we don`t get it right, it could be the last election because they`re also putting in place what I believe is a way to make sure that Donald Trump wins with what they`re doing across state legislatures to allow them to reverse the outcome in the electoral college.

And that`s why I also put in a link to, a nonpartisan group that allows you to check your registration status and register to vote if you`re not already registered.

HAYES: If the stakes are this high, and they`re as high as you say they are, I mean, it seems to me that it`s absolutely incumbent upon the Democratic Party to use the majority they have in the House and the Senate to do something about it legislatively. Obviously, you can`t control that. You certainly can`t control it from your perch in the house. But are you optimistic?

Chuck Schumer has made some noises about that this year that the Senate and the full 50 Senator caucus on the Democratic side understands that same urgency that you do.

SWALWELL: We`ve done our work in the House, Chris. The For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And now we have to create the public sentiment that moves the senators to do their job. Because Chris, as I said, this is it. If we don`t get this right, we know what we`re up against. We`re up against a party that prefers violence over voting.

They are disaligned with where everyday Americans are. They lie about the vaccine. Overwhelmingly, Americans want us to be vaccinated. They lie and they continue to promote laws that make us less safe around gun safety when overwhelmingly Americans want to be free from gun violence, as it relates to a woman`s right to make her own health care decisions. They are dis aligned with where the majority of Americans are. But they are taking away that right in states like Texas. They would do that all over the country. So, this is truly a pivotal election.

There cannot be enough downward pressure put from President Biden on senators Manchin and Sinema and there cannot be enough outside pressure put on them from everyday voters like your viewers.


HAYES: There`s polling data which I think we`ll talk about also later in the program that just shows that the Republican party`s reputation has recovered, basically, in the last year, that the percentage of voters saying they`re headed in the right direction went down to 24 percent right after January 6. It`s now back up to basically where it was, in the summer of 2020.

Again, only 34 % of voters, not like a majority saying like yay, Republican Party. But I guess the question is, how do you navigate this -- the conditions of basically talking to voters who may not be thinking about the fate of American democracy as a front of mind issue, and I think a lot of voters probably aren`t, with the stakes of what you feel this moment mean.

SWALWELL: We have to tell them what we delivered on, as I said, the Rescue Plan, infrastructure, jobs, ending this pandemic once we get enough Americans vaccinated. But we need to remind them what it would mean to have the Republicans in power And every Republican candidate should have to answer a few questions. Will you acknowledge Joe Biden is the President? Will you disavow QAnon? Will you support the candidate who wins your state in 2024? And will you disavow Donald Trump and the violence that he continues to contribute to it?

If they can`t answer those four questions, they will contribute to chaos. We are a law and order country, Chris. And this Republican Party has chosen chaos. And the voters need to know that and it`s our job to make sure that that`s clear as we go to the ballot box.

HAYES: You have a lawsuit in which you have sued a number of folks for the role they played in January 6, including Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump Jr., and your colleague, Representative Mo Brooks, in his personal capacity along with Rudolph Giuliani. I know Congressman Brooks tried to evade service for that for a long time. What is the status of that lawsuit?

SWALWELL: We have a pivotal hearing on January 10. It`s on the President`s motion to dismiss essentially saying that he is immune, he has absolute immunity because he`s president. Our theory is that there are boundaries to that, and that when you incites in a mob at the Capitol to stop lawmakers from certifying the election, that you are outside the boundaries of your immunity.

And so Chris, look, theory of the case is Donald Trump and those others who were there invited the mob to the Capitol. That`s why Donald Trump was the one who had to tell them to go home. You don`t tell someone to go home unless you invited them there in the first place, and that they must be held accountable. And then the next stage, if we survived this motion, would be depositions and discovery.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you so much for your time.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

HAYES: Over 700 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack where their effort overturn the election was by violence and brute force failed. The election was certified, Donald Trump left office, but the efforts of those thousands of people who stormed the Capitol have not stopped. They`ve evolved.

Tonight, NBC Reporter Brandy Zadrozny reveals how those groups have transformed and the local battles they`re winning in plain sight after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A white nationalist groups show up at a school board meeting. Members of the Proud Boys stood watch at the meeting of the Hanover County Board of Education. They didn`t speak but they did applaud others who did.


HAYES: Some of the same groups who stormed the Capitol on January 6, even some of the same people are now battling local officials in their own neighborhoods.


DENISE AGUILAR, FOUNDER MAMALITIA AND FREEDOM ANGELS: It`s all about local legislation, your local school districts, your city council board of supervisors. So it kicked off as a national movement that it`s now parents are realizing we need to start coming to the local government.


HAYES: As NBC News Reporters BrandyZadrozny and Ben Collins document in great new peace out today, Domestic extremist groups ranging from the QAnon conspiracy movement and the Proud Boys, to militia organizations and avowed white nationalists, have reemerged in recent months frequently trying to affect change at the local level.

Many of the groups are quote focused on local politics, most notably school boards and county health boards, but they have found success in pushing back against everything from COVID mitigation proposals to public school curricula.

According to at least one of the people researching and tracking violent domestic extremism since January 6, it`s all building up to something bigger.


JARED HOLT, RESIDENT FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Going down to the local level and using these cultural narratives for causes of the day, it does offer them a chance to recruit, but it also does something a bit bigger, which is to build sympathy on a local level that they can then, you know, according to the way their leaders talk about it, work up back into the national sphere.


HAYES: NBC News Reporter Brandy Zadrozny who worked on that piece joins me now. Brandy, really fascinating piece. Describe the basic phenomena that you had been sort of reported out in this piece.

BRADY ZADROZNY, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Sure. So, you know, it`s been a year and we wanted to know what was happening with the general landscape of domestic extremism in America. And so, we talked to several people, we tracked ones that we knew of, we looked at telegram groups and you know, counted. We watched a bunch of white supremacist podcasts.

And we saw -- we saw the story of a group of people that are very different, but that all went through this sort of cooling off period after January 6, dealt with sort of a PR crisis, and honestly, the chance of being arrested, and then sort of took a breath and evolved. Almost took a step back actually and acted a lot like they acted in early 2020.

And that is, you know, retreating to their own backyards, recruiting, spreading their messages through culture or debates, stuff like vaccine, race, education, local elections.


HAYES: So, one of the individuals that you profile here is Denise Aguilar, sort of a remarkable story. To tell me what she -- who she is and what she`s up to.

ZADROZNY: So, I`ve been reporting on the anti-vaccination movement for about a decade. So, I`ve known Denise Aguilar who is an activist out of California for years now. She`s always been an anti-vaxxer for the last -- when California was putting in place laws to get rid of school exemptions. She was very vocal.

And you could see her progression through 202o who was a person who was an anti-vaxxer, became a sort of Proud Boys friend. She was detained at the -- at the California State Capitol. And then she ended up going to the Capitol on January 6. She spoke at a health freedom stage. And then according to her own selfie, she was at the Capitol and she stormed -- she said, we stormed the Capitol. She said she was sprayed with bear mace.

She came home and she started an all-women`s militia. There is a website with a bunch of women all holding very large weapons. And her telegram channel is just a spiral down into extremism. And so, we watched this happen in real-time.

When we caught up with her in California -- in front of a California school board meeting, she said, you know, it`s all about local now. So, you saw the progression. She started local, and then she moved to national politics fueled by Donald Trump`s big lie. And now she`s backward where she feels comfortable.

But she`s also gathering people for her women`s only militia using the school boards which she doesn`t have children in these school boards in these schools, in public schools. But she`s out there recruiting, spreading her messaging, and getting people in these more extreme groups.

HAYES: You know, what struck me reading your pieces as someone who previously my career reported on local politics, particularly like local community board meetings about a new development that was going to happen or a school curriculum issue. These sorts of settings are kind of ideal places for small, well-organized vanguards, essentially, to be able to get their way.

And that can be morally neutral. Those can be folks that are, you know, have enlightened views, it can be people who just have sort of, you know, nimby views, and there`s all kinds of views. But if you have a small group of people particularly loud, and in the case of some of the stuff you documenting in the piece we started the piece with of like Proud Boys standing in the back, there`s a certain kind of intimidation that can happen those settings that`s very visceral and can be very effective.

ZADROZNY: Oh, it absolutely works. I mean, beyond -- like, the Proud Boys at that meeting actually turned a photo that the media took of them sitting at that meeting into propaganda and the line was saved you a seat. So, it`s very effective in terms of recruiting and in terms of, you know, getting their message out.

But it`s also very effective in terms of like you said, just getting the policies that they want in place. You know, I actually call the North Carolina Board of Health and talk to the head of the Board of Health after they came to that meeting. And she said I don`t think they`ll be back because we did away with the -- with the mask mandate.

So, like, I can`t say that necessarily that is why they did it. But they think and lots of other things that they`re having a real effect here. And so, you know, they might still be smarting come January 6, but at the local level, that`s where they can make a name for themselves. And that`s where they can get things done.

HAYES: Well, they feel -- they look like they`re so enthusiastic about masking and covering their faces in those -- in those videos. Brandy Zadrozny, great reporting as always. Thank you very much.

Next, new polling reveals Donald Trump`s hold in the Republican Party is only getting stronger. Where does the country go from here? There`s some promising news out after this.



HAYES: There`s a disturbing new poll out showing that Donald Trump`s grip on the Republican Party is getting even stronger. The embrace of authoritarian ideas in the right becoming more intense. This comes as we watch the threat to democracy further exacerbated during the anniversary January 6.

But as that happens, this new poll shows the Republican Party`s reputation in the country at large among voters is actually rebounding. In polling conducted just over the holidays, Morning Consult found the 34 percent of voters that a party`s headed in the right direction. That`s up 10 points the day is immediately following the attack on the Capitol.

You see a similar story and much of the data from this same survey. There`s a vast partisan divide in how important January 6 remains to voters to 68 percent of Democrats saying had a major impact on their worldview, compared to just 24 percent of Republicans. And voters are viewing the ex-President more favourably. Since the weekend after January 6, Donald Trump`s unfavorability rating has dropped 12 points from 63 percent of 51 percent.

Now, to be clear, some of this is just the normal gravity, the back and forth of democratic politics in a two-party system. Obviously, after January 6 was a real low point for public opinion towards Donald Trump. And also, when one party`s in power as Democrats are right now with at least control the White House and both houses of Congress, we tend to see public opinion swing towards the opposition. It`s a well-documented phenomenon. over many, many years. People get frustrated the status quo, age, or dynamic.

But as normal as that is, the problem in a nutshell that we are seeing for the Republican Party is that its behavior is distinctively abnormal and indeed in many ways unprecedented. All sorts of people ringing the alarm bells about this moment.

Today, Zack Beauchamp wrote for Vox in a piece titled How Does This End. "No other established Western democracy is at such risk of democratic collapse. That follows the news from late last year, the United States had been labeled a backsliding democracy for the first time in a report from a European Think Tank. And just last week, the Associated Press who are not really like alarm ringers by nature, published a comprehensive warning of the slow motion insurrection happening in the country.

But if you step back and look at the broad picture of this new polling again, which has a lot of really disturbing elements in it, there`s some actually promising news in it. Political scientists Lee Drutman pointed this out that the anti-democratic pro-Trump MAGA base is a minority faction. In fact, minority the Republican Party, but certainly a minority of the voters at large.

And a not insignificant portion of the Republican Party really does want to defend democracy. I mean, here you look at this. 16 percent of Republicans even approve of the Democratic-led House committee investigating January 6.

The question is how do you put in place a coalition that can withstand the attack that is surely coming from that anti-democratic minority in this election year? We`ll talk about that next.



HAYES: On New Year`s Day, the New York Times editorial board published an editorial that some, you know, pretty remarkable considering the board has not given to hyperbole in august institution, of course, part of the establishment I think you can call the New York Times. The title is Every day is January 6 Now. And the piece compares the Republican Party with authoritarian movements have rolled over.

The Editorial Board argues, "The Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy, and has shown it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying it exists. Americans of all stripes who value their self-government must mobilize at every level, not simply once every four years, but today and tomorrow the next day to win elections and help protect the basic functions of democracy. If people believe in conspiracy theories can win, so can those who live in the reality-based world.

Jesse Wegman is a member of the New York Times Editorial Board that authored that piece, and Michelle Goldberg is an opinion columnist at the New York Times. And they both join me now.

Jesse, I was -- I was really struck by the tone of that editorial from the board itself, it`s not an op-ed column, warming in very stark terms about the precipice that we`re on, and particularly calling -- linking the Republican Party to authoritarian movements around the world. I imagined that was a debated turn of phrase.

JESSE WEGMAN, MEMBER, THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: Sure. You know, I mean, this is something that we`ve talked about for years. And I think it`s taken a lot of us not just in journalism but among the American people a while to come to terms with what we`re looking at here. And I think it`s really after, you know, the last five to six years.

It`s really indisputable that you have one party in a two party system that has turned openly and eagerly almost against democracy and against the basic functions of that democracy. So, you know -- you know that the piece of written as much in sadness as it is in sort of, you know, chest-thumping anger.

This is a -- this is a sad moment for the country and one where I think we really are at a point of, you know, a reckoning, of needing to determine how do we move forward, how do we -- how do we build up the democracy and how do we live out a democracy on a day to day basis when faced with a threat of this nature?

HAYES: You know, part of the -- part of the trickiness here, Michelle, is that I think there`s a desire -- and David Plouffe talked about this on this program last week, and others have talked about building a kind of popular front, right, a political coalition that stitches together people that really do care about these basic democratic institutions of America and self-rule into a -- into a political block.

And yet, you know, for the majority of voters, the vast majority, I think, are not going to be voting in November with that front of mind. You can watch this party that is behaving in abnormal ways sort of gather up the gains of just kind of being the opposition in the midterm election. And then it`s like, what happens then?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. I mean, the gubernatorial election in Virginia was a wake-up call that a lot of people have either for giving the Republican Party or weren`t associating the Republican Party writ large with the insurrection.

And we see it in that polling that you just pointed to that the Republican Party`s reputation has largely recovered. And so, I think it`s a very difficult thing for Democrats because I think a lot of people who are inside politics rightly see this as an existential threat to American politics, that is also not necessarily good politics to talk about all the time, right, for a couple of reasons. Both because people have -- many people feel that they have more urgent concerns, you know, one kind of Maslow`s hierarchy of needs, the perpetuation of liberal democracy is under preserving your health from a raging pandemic.

And also, it`s -- you know, it`s demoralizing, it`s dispiriting because there are clear ways to address what`s going on but they`re almost certainly not going to happen absent some sort of, you know, conversion by Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. So, there`s this sort of pounding your head on the wall aspect to what`s going on, right? You can keep screaming and screaming that American democracy is in danger, but we don`t have a clear answer about what to do about that.

HAYES: Right. And we should say, I mean, this gets to something that -- Jesse, that I wrestle with a lot, which is, I`ve seen a lot of warnings about the stakes here. And I`m generally as a descriptive matter, I`m pretty in line with them. I like to think that things really are quite perilous for democratic breakdown.

At the same time, it seems to me that, you know, predicting well, if the Republicans win, that`s like the end of American democracy, which is something I`ve heard a lot and in some ways, even Eric Swalwell, the congressman said something similar is like, I don`t know if you really want to be predicting that because everyone is going to have go wake up the next day if that`s what happens, and figure out what you do with the country that we love.


WEGMAN: It`s a great point, Chris. And, you know, I mean, I often -- when I get to the deepest, darkest places in, you know, in the middle of the night, I`m staring at the ceiling and, you know, expecting the world to fall down, I remember that there have been people throughout American history who themselves have faced that kind of hostility to democracy that we all I think are feeling now.

I mean, obviously, people of color have for the entire history of this country not been able to enjoy the promises or the ideals anyway, of democracy in the way that other people have. And I think, you know, they`re -- they`ve continued to fight. People who have been kept out of this promise have continued to fight for a better America and have created much of the America that we know today and much of the representative democracy that I think has so value in the 21st century.

So, I think that`s, that`s the place to come at it from and just say, you know, people have been doing this all along. As you say, people have been waking up the next day since the beginning and fighting back. And I think that`s where people who care about preserving representative democracy and political equality have to come from. They have to get involved in in local elections. They have to get elected to local positions, And they have to build up a community of like-minded people who can actually work together rather than just sort of staring glumly at the ceiling.

HAYES: Yes. I think to Michelle, your point about the bashing the head against a wall, which is something I empathize with and relate to, I think you can see the dent maybe on the camera. But I -- you know, I do think -- I mean, Schumer writes his letter today basically saying, look, we`re going to try to move forward on some kind -- carving out some exceptions to filibuster and voting rights legislation. It`s unclear whether he has the support.

But there is pressure being brought to bear. I mean, it`s not nothing. I don`t know if it`s going to work. But there -- it does feel like this year starts at least with a renewed emphasis from some key players on trying to push this.

GOLDBERG: Absolutely. I mean -- but I think, again, I think we keep coming back to the problem is that the problem isn`t that people in the highest echelons of the Democratic Party don`t recognize the danger. I mean, I think if you talk to them, they absolutely do. It`s that, you know, American minority rule is self-perpetuating in a lot of ways.

And so, the system is kind of frozen, and it has these choke points. And so, it`s those chokepoints that have to move. And I really do think that Chuck Schumer is doing what he can to try to move it forward. And, you know, miracles happen. Maybe Joe Manchin will see the light and do what`s necessary to pass his own voting rights legislation. But again, you know, the system --

HAYES: That would be --

GOLDBERG: The system is frozen. There`s all there`s this kind of -- there`s this kind of paralysis that people recognize. So, you hear people screaming, do something. But, you know, there`s only so much, you know, absent the consent of these few players that we can do.

HAYES: Jesse Wegman and Michelle Goldberg, thank you both.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

WEGMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, there are big questions about what`s actually going to happen now that kids are back in school during the age of Omicron. We`ll talk about what answers we`re beginning to get with one of the best education reporters in the country next.




ERIC ADAMS, DEMOCRATIC MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Schools play a role of safety and stability for our children. And that is why the chancellor and I, an entire team of educators across the city, we have been so focused on keeping our schools open and sending that message. We`re not sending an unclear message of what is going to happen day to day. I`m going to tell you what`s going to happen day to day. We are staying open.


HAYES: That was new mayor of New York City as of January 1st. Eric Adams today talking about the largest public school system in the United States decision to stay open on a day that marks what you could consider the fifth back-to-school week in the age of the Coronavirus pandemic.

There was spring of 2020 return after almost everything shut down. There was virtual return for many kids there was the fall of 2020, which has a lot of in-person return depending on where you are in the country, the return from the holidays in 2021 which is when they started rolling out vaccines. There was this past fall which is around the time they started rolling out vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds, and now the return from the holidays in 2022.

We`ve been dealing with this thing for so long that some people are calling this the pandemic`s junior year which really made me chuckle. Except now we`re facing our biggest outbreak yet based on the number of infections with the U.S. averaging hundreds of thousands of new cases per day.

And although the majority of U.S. public schools are operating as planned, The New York Times Dana Goldstein writes, many schools do not have enough Coronavirus tests and principals are part of large numbers of teachers and other employees calling in sick either because they are infected with the virus or other illnesses are caring for sick family members who were fearful of the conditions within school buildings.

And Dana Goldstein, New York Times National Education Correspondent who has been closely following the Coronavirus effect on schools for two years now joins me now. It`s great to have you -- great to have you, Dana.

Obviously, it`s a complicated -- incredibly complicated system we have here in the U.S. with tens of thousands of individual, school districts. How would you sort of describe the general approach that that sort of highest level of abstraction American schools are taking to this moment in the pandemic with the Omicron surge?

DANA GOLDSTEIN, NATIONAL EDUCATION CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think what`s really notable to say is that while the first year of the pandemic was defined in terms of education, in terms of how divisive and fractious the debate was about whether classroom should be open, that has not been the case this school year.

This school year, it`s just been remarkable how widespread the consensus is among parents, teachers, policymakers in blue states and red states, labor leaders that schools just have to be open. We`ve seen devastating academic, social, mental health impacts on kids and nobody wants to continue to see that.


What we are seeing right now is some of the sort of hasty ways or lack of detailed planning that have led us to this point is catching up with the school system. And in some places, it`s becoming difficult to move forward with the will, and intense desire which is very broad to keep schools open.

HAYES: So, the biggest threat to schools staying open as I understand it, and I had Randi Weingarten on last week, and we talked about this is, it`s a little similar to the airlines or NBA teams, right? Like, the NBA wants to play its games, and they`ve got a lot of money, and they`ve got all the testing in the world. They`re very resource outfit, compared to say a random New York City public school. But if 12 players on the team have COVID, the team cannot play.

And similarly, Delta wants to run its airlines. But if 30 percent of their pilots are out with COVID, they cannot fly a bunch of routes. I mean, that`s the -- that seems to be the biggest threat right now to schools remaining open and attacked is just the level of outbreaks, particularly among staff and teachers.

GOLDSTEIN: Yes. For sure the adults getting sick and calling in sick is a really big issue. And we`re hearing from some principals that say 30 percent of their staff are calling in sick. And we`re hearing stories out of places like New York City and Chicago that kids are being corralled together in an auditorium or a gym because there`s just a lot of teachers out and other support staff, whether it`s custodians, that are cleaning and sanitizing are doing a really important job during the pandemic, or those that work with our students who have special needs with disabled students, nurses who are doing some of the virus testing.

I did want to mention that the other really big barrier here is the lack of rapid tests. The Biden administration and the CDC have been clear that we should no longer be doing this widespread quarantining of kids when they come into contact with the virus. Instead, they should take two rapid virus tests per week, and they should only be staying home from school if they test positive. You know, those are the tests that you should hopefully be able to get at a low cost or for free in a drugstore through health insurance.

Unfortunately, our country is way behind other countries like the U.K. in making these available to citizens and to schools. And the shortage of these, which was totally foreseeable, and which is something that people have been talking about for at least a year here in the States, is causing a major issue for schools.

HAYES: Yes. Do schools -- I know -- I know -- again, I know as a parent, interested party in New York City about the school system there has some cash of rapid tests. They`re using them in a certain way. Do all school systems have that or is there a fairly uniform distribution of this? How are this -- how are the schools getting to access to tests?

GOLDSTEIN: No, I mean, the production and availability of the test is increasing very rapidly right now. So, that`s a good news story. But there`s still a huge shortage of these tests being where they need to be in schools, for kids, for families, for teachers. The tests are not very widespread in many cities. It`s still really, really hard for schools to get them. A lot of schools that shuttered this week told me today that they did so because they`re awaiting a shipment of these antigen rapid tests from their states.

And so, whether they made the right call in halting schools to wait for those tests is something that people disagree about. But there`s certainly not widespread availability of these yet.

HAYES: Are there any major districts that have announced an online learning, essentially, that they`re not going to be doing in person school?

GOLDSTEIN: Yes, there are, Atlanta, Newark, New Jersey, Cleveland, Yonkers, Prince George`s County outside Washington D.C. The list is growing. And actually, I can report here tonight due to the digging my colleagues and I have been doing all day to day that it looks to be that about half a million American students are out of school this week, not because they`re sick or because they`re quarantined, but because their whole district has shifted to remote learning. So, that`s half a million American kids impacted by shuttered schools this week.

HAYES: All right. Dana Goldstein who has been doing great reporting on this beat, thank you so much.

GOLDSTEIN: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. How was your holiday?

HAYES: Oh, it was wonderful.