The January 6 Select Committee now has information in its possession indicating Sean Hannity had advance knowledge regarding President Trump and his legal team planning for January 6. The Select Committee releases new Sean Hannity texts. Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague detailed in their new book, The Steal, that there were efforts across the country to steal the election in multiple states, and there were people locally who stopped the Trump coup plot. Yesterday, Donald Trump, the former president of the United States took the extraordinary step of endorsing Hungary`s Prime Minister Victor Orban for his reelection.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well, the government just doesn`t have the range. And it goes without saying, being stuck in your car trapped on a highway for an entire day is definitely the absolute worst.
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (on camera): Tonight on ALL IN.
GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: I beg you, Sean, to remember the frame of mind you`re in when you wrote that text on January 6.
HAYES: We have more Hannity texts.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He was more than a Fox host. He was also a confident advisor, campaigner for the former president.
HAYES: New messages from Sean Hannity released by the January 6 Committee. And new questions about exactly what he knew about Trump`s plans.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol, Sean Hannity urged.
HAYES: Tonight, as the committee officially asked Kennedy to cooperate, Congressman Adam Schiff joins me on that. Then --
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, what are we going to do here, folks. I only need 11,000 votes. Fellows, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
HAYES: From threatening state officials to interfering with Congress.
TRUMP: And I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you.
HAYES: What we now know about Trump`s efforts to steal the election a year ago today. When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The Congressional Select Committee investigating the conspiracy to overthrow American self-governance and the attack on the Capitol has just made another huge move tonight, releasing private text messages sent from the Fox News personality to the Chief of Staff of the former President of the United States and others in the days before and during the January 6 insurrection. The texts were released in a letter to Sean Hannity asking that he cooperate with their investigation.
As you probably remember, this is not the first time Hannity has been featured in the investigation surrounding January 6. Much of that is thanks to Donald Trump`s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Back in November, Meadows turned over a trove about 9000 documents, combination of texts and e-mails, things that he said were not privileged.
And then right before it was time to appear before the committee, he backed out. But here`s the thing he`d already turned over thousands and thousands of documents. And so, on the night the committee voted to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for refusing to answer their questions, members of the committee went through just some of the material they pulled from the documents he willingly passed along.
And they included text sent to Mark Meadows in the middle of the violent insurrection. The vice-chair of the committee, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming read many of them out loud. Texts like "Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol, breaking windows and doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?
She read text from the President`s own son Don Jr., who apparently didn`t have dad`s phone and had to text the chief of staff that read, "He`s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough." And texts from multiple Fox News personalities like Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, and of course, Sean Hannity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: According to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the president needed to act immediately. They texted Mr. Meadows and he has turned over those texts. "Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol," Sean Hannity urged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After she read those truly explosive texts, Sean Hannity sat in silence, ignoring what just happened. In fact, he even went on to have Mark Meadows on his show that night, the guy who passed along those texts to the committee, and just asked him nothing about it. Nothing to see here. Just two bros blown it up. And then the following day, he issued this rebuttal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Where is the outrage in the media over my private text messages being released again, publicly? Do we believe in privacy in this country? Apparently not. I am an honest, straightforward person. I say the same thing and private that I say to all of you. Liz Cheney knows this. She doesn`t seem to care. She`s interested in one thing and one thing only, smearing Trump and purging him from the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m an honest, straightforward person. I say the same thing in private that I say to you. But clearly, you didn`t. That`s the whole point. And that`s all he had to say. Well, tonight there are more tax. As I said at the top of the show, they come in the form of a letter this letter was sent to Sean Hannity today from the January 6 Committee asking him to cooperate in their investigation.
I`m going to read you big chunks of this letter because its contents are really something and you will see why.
"The Select Committee now has information in its possession indicating you had advance knowledge regarding President Trump and his -- and his legal team planning for January 6. It also appears you were expressing concerns and providing advice to the President and certain White House staff regarding that planning. You also had relevant communications while the riot was underway and in the days thereafter."
The letter then says the committee has dozens of texts between Hannity, Meadows, and notably other unnamed people about Trump`s efforts to contest the outcome of the election including one Hannity sent to Meadows on December 31, 2020. That`s less than a week before the insurrection.
I`m reading. "We can`t lose the entire White House Counsel`s Office. I do not see January 6 happened the ways that he is being told. After the sixth, he should announce he will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Florida and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engage. When he speaks, people listen."
Go get him, slugger. Now, that is Sean Hannity warning Mark Meadows one week before the insurrection that January 6 is not going to go to the way that Trump thinks it will and is being told it will and that Trump should gracefully step aside. Which I got a few things to say about that, he`s right. You go, Sean.
But also prompts the question, what did he know about the plan? We can`t lose the White House Counsel`s Office. Someone is looping in. According to the letter on January 5th, the night before the riot, Hannity sent a series of text saying, "I`m very worried about the next 40 hours -- 48 hours." I`m very worried about the next 48 hours, then referencing the counting of the electoral votes.: And "Pence pressure White House counsel will leave."
Again, man, he`s well-sourced, this Sean Hannity. The message indicates that for some reason, Hannity thought the White House counsel would leave. And we have reporting indicating the White House counsel had threatened to do just that. So, what did Sean Hannity know?
The Committee also writes, "It also appears from other text messages that you have may had a conversation directly with President Trump on the evening of January 5, and perhaps at other times, regarding his planning for January 6." Sean Hannity may have been talking to Donald Trump about his January 6 plans the night before it happened. What did they discuss?
There was this other part in the letter that also just made my head turn. It appears that Sean Hannity may have also been talking to members of Trump`s cabinet about possibly removing him from office. Quoting the letter again, "Later on January 6, you texted to Meadows press coverage relating to a potential effort by members of President Trump`s cabinet to remove him from office under the 25th Amendment." As you may recall, Secretary DeVos and Chao both resigned following the President`s conduct on January 6, as did members of the President`s White House staff. We would like to question you regarding any conversations you had with Mr. Meadows or others about any effort to remove the president under the 25th Amendment."
Let that sink in for a second. Was Sean Hannity having discussions with Trump`s chief of staff and maybe others about removing Trump? Boy, you think you know a guy. And as bad as all that is, as worried as Sean Hannity seems to have been about Donald Trump, this last text I`m going to read you indicates he was worried Trump was not done on the sixth. This is really interesting.
So, the letter says that Hannity spoke to Trump on January 10, before sending this message to Mark Meadows and Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. "Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine days. He can`t mention the election again, ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I`m not sure what is left to do or say and I don`t like not knowing if it`s truly understood. Ideas?"
Wow. The idea that Sean Hannity was truly appropriately worried about what Trump would do should scare all of us. Because it sure looks like he knew more about the plot than any of us. And the thing is, this is really just the beginning. The letter reads very much like a kind of warning shot. It`s explosive, obviously, but it`s really just a preview of the stuff they have.
Sean Hannity knows what else they have, presumably. And with that leverage, the committee is asking nicely for Sean Hannity of Fox News to cooperate with his investigation.
Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat of California who serves on the committee investigating January 6 says the committee is hoping to get Hannity cooperate. And Congressman Schiff joins me now. Well, what do you make of this?
SCHIFF: Well, that he knows a great deal that should be shared with the committee, that should be shared with the American people, about planning before the sixth about conversations or text messages on the sixth about things after the sixth of January. That he was plainly concerned, that he may be concerned among other things that the White House Counsel`s Office would potentially on en mass leave office if Trump persisted in whatever they were plotting.
So, clearly, he has very relevant information. We`re not interested in his political commentary. We`re not interested in what he does on Fox. We`re interested in the communications he had around the sixth that shed light on this effort to overturn the election, and he knows a great deal.
HAYES: Well, let me just follow up on that. There`s a -- there`s a big preamble in the letter saying, look, we respect the First Amendment and journalism, and your right to free expression, and we`re not asking you for any of that. And I`m glad you said that.
But one could argue you`re slicing the salami, pretty thin. I mean, if some government body got ahold of my tax sources and said, well, on this one, you`re being an advisor, and this one, you`re being a reporter, which, by the way, my text to whoever don`t sound like that. I`m not telling anyone how to land their plane. But that said, like, there is an argument to be made here that this is the kind of stuff that would -- that a robust Free Press should be able to protect from the prying eyes of government.
SCHIFF: First of all, we`re asking him to come in voluntarily. And of course, there`s nothing about his responsibilities with his show that would preclude him from coming in and say, I can certainly answer these questions. These go to my role as an advocate, as someone who the President would rely on for advice, and nothing to do with anything journalistic.
So, there`s nothing precluding him from coming in except, you know, maybe he doesn`t want to share with the country what he knows. But, you know, beyond that, we`re very careful to say what we`re interested in. We`re interested in what he can say as a fact witness. We`re not interested in anything that is covered by the First Amendment. I appreciate what you`re saying. And we`re very careful about that as well.
HAYES: It`s striking the tone here. And I think one of the things that we have learned and has been useful in some ways of the committee releasing the tidbits it has is just reminding everyone that everyone, aside from Trump in a tiny coterie, were freaked out by all of this, including it appears Sean Hannity.
I have to note though, this is how he opened -- this is January 5th. So, he`s texting. I`m worried about the next 48 hours. He seems to know that the White House Counsel which as far as I know was not reported at the time. We`ve subsequently seen it reported the White House Counsel threatened to resign if he pulled off this crazy fakakta plan at the Attorney General. Here`s the opening on the night of January 5th, the day before the big day. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Well, preview tomorrow`s massive pro-Trump march in Washington, we`ll hear from Senator Ted Cruz, leading an effort to force an election audit for 10 days prior to the electoral votes being confirmed by Congress.
A big day tomorrow, big crowds apparently showed up to the point where the West Wing could hear the music and the chanting of the people that were there already. And this all kicks off in the morning tomorrow.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Well, Sean, that`s right. And tomorrow is an important day. We have an obligation, I believe, to protect the integrity of the election, and to protect the integrity of the democratic system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, it is striking how many people are facilitating this in public as they`re privately ringing the alarm bells about where it`s headed.
SCHIFF: That`s exactly right. It is really, I think, quite shocking when you see the contrast of what is being said publicly and what is being said privately. But even more striking is you see the alarm from some of the president -- former President`s closest, most conservative allies, the striking alarm in around January 6.
And you contrast that now with what you hear on that same network that he appears on, which is trying to whitewash the whole thing. That to me is also quite shocking.
HAYES: Yes. Let me just reread this because this is after January 6 has happened. Again, there`s widespread, almost unanimous consensus that it was an abomination and a dark, dark day. And you`ve got guys -- this is to two members. This is to Meadows and Jordan. We have a clear plant -- path to land the plane in nine days he can`t mention the election again, ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I`m not sure what is left to do or say. I don`t like knowing if it`s really understood. Ideas?
Well guess what? Trump won that battle. Because their plan was you can`t talk about this ever again because this is so toxic, and so aberrant and so offensive to American democracy and such a dark day. But Trump ignored them, kept talking and everyone is back in the boat.
SCHIFF: You`re absolutely right. And it`s not just the, you know, Fox personalities like, like Hannity and maybe others. But look at the legislative leadership in Congress. You know, McCarthy putting his finger to the wind immediately after the sixth, the attack of that day and blaming Trump. You have the vigorous statement of condemnation by Mitch McConnell.
And then both of them coming around. McCarthy, you know, within a matter of days down in Mar-a-Lago kissing the ring, begging forgiveness. But similarly, you know, others like Hannity, Carlson and others, you know, singing a very different tune.
Now, Trump did show that, you know, if he couldn`t shoot someone in the street and retain his base, he could lead an insurrection and still get people to follow him.
HAYES: All right, we will be -- I imagining see more of this or see public testimony at some point. When are we going to see public testimony?
SCHIFF: I think within a matter of weeks. You know, we`re planning a series of hearings or several series of hearings. We want to bring the public along with what we`re learning. But you can tell from these text messages that we have learned a great deal, and we want to share them with the American people. We want to make sure we do it in an appropriate way that we can tell the story of what happened, but also that we do it in a way where we`re not compromising or further fact finding. But I would imagine those hearings -- excuse me, those hearings will start within a matter of weeks.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: Now, I want to bring in Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group, Barbara McQuade, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Angelo, I want to start on just the theme here, which I think is really sort of, I think, unintentionally funny, which is the big sort of embarrassing revelation for Hannity and Ingraham is that they were correctly opposed to the coup and tried to do what they could behind the scenes to make it not happen.
They were prematurely anti coup, because the anti-coup is no longer an ideological acceptable position. So, the reason this causes them embarrassment is precisely because they were behind the scenes in private, correct on one of the key moral, ethical questions in American democracy.
Oh, sorry, I think we`re -- there you go.
ANGELO CARUSONE, PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS: I`m sorry.
HAYES: No, that`s all right.
CARUSONE: They immediately -- they, you know, they simultaneously were facilitating the coup. And then immediately afterwards, started to basically retcon all of the circumstances around it. And I mean, on the same day as the fifth, for example, on his radio show, Peter Navarro called in to Hannity`s radio show. So, Hannity had him on. And Navarro was talking about how the sixth was going to be one of the biggest days in history. And he likened it to Washington Crossing the Delaware, which, if you remember, was a surprise attack.
I mean, so you know, there`s a lot of context for what Hannity may have been hearing in, you know, off air that would have given some alarm on why he -- you know, why we`re seeing these text messages sort of leaked out now?
HAYES: Yes. I mean, it`s a good point. The amount of playing with fire that is happening during this period is off the charts, right? And then, oh, gosh, it looks like stuff is burning, like desperate texts behind the scenes. And then that night like, lighting off the firework.
Barbara as someone who is who`s overseen investigations, factfinding enterprises in the role as U.S. Attorney, what do you think the significance here is just in terms of the development of this investigation?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think documents can be an absolute goldmine, because people will tell you one thing, but the documents can really show you what was in their mind and what was happening at the time. And so, looking at these text messages that they apparently received from Mark Meadows can really bring in a lot of these other players and show the level of alarm that they had.
Some of the things that get identified in this letter from Chairman Thompson talk about -- you know, it appears in these text messages, you were talking to Donald Trump. It appears from these text messages that you were aware that White House Council members were preparing to resign en mass. It appears that you had advanced knowledge about this attack on January 6. Please come talk to us about that because we want to learn more.
So, it makes it very difficult for people to wiggle away when you`ve got documents that show what was happening in real time. It`s a really important key to any kind of white-collar investigation. And in this one, I guess there`s a little bit of white color and an awful lot of street crime involved.
HAYES: Yes. The call on the fifth -- I mean, the mention of the White House Counsel is really interesting to me, Angelo, because we didn`t know about that at the time, right? So, we`ve subsequently learned that there was this huge showdown that is essentially this -- a coup within the coup of the Department of Justice and with Jeffrey Clark is going to basically team up with Donald Trump to decapitate leadership at DOJ, install himself to send out these letters at least to Georgia basically saying, the election is tainted. If you guys want to send, you know, Trump electors, have at it.
And that the only thing that stops that is the thread of that resignation. No one knew that at the time except apparently had gotten out to Sean.
CARUSONE: That`s right. And this is where the significant. Aside from the substantive part of this, it also totally obliterates his idea that somehow he was engaging in journalism, or it was a part of his job. It absolutely exposes him as essentially a part of the team, as a operative, as the type of adviser.
People used to tongue in cheek refer to him as Donald Trump`s Chief of Staff. But this is the kind of information that chief of staff would hold close to their chest while a person in the media would absolutely put out there because it`s such a big and explosive story.
And I think that`s the -- to me, the big part about this is that it just obliterates his claim that somehow this undermines his job or you know, his role as investigative journalist.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, it was pretty big scoop he sat on. And I bet you, he`s bummed that he didn`t -- he didn`t get to own that scoop. I think the big question too here is what the public portion of this might look like as Schiff talked about it, Barbara.
And it does seemed to me like, when he said we`ve learned a lot, I`ve come to believe they have. Every sort of subsequent interview I`ve done with them, it`s just been clearer and clearer to me that for whatever stonewalling, people like Bannon or Meadows have done, a lot of people have talked to them.
MCQUADE: Yes, it sounds like talking to many of the members of Pence`s team who are you know, his chief of staff and some of his key aides. They may want to talk to Pence himself, but even if not, Pence isn`t blocking their testimony. And so, it sounds like they`re telling him a lot. I think what I heard Congressman Schiff say is that they want to put together some public hearings to show the highlights of what they`ve been hearing and bring the public along with the committee where they are to date.
Now, whenever you conduct interview with someone like say, Mike Pence`s chief of staff, you probably spend you know eight to 15 hours talking with him. But there`s only about an hour of it that`s actually of value. And so, at these public hearings, they can present that key testimony as opposed to having it lost in the mass of all the details.
HAYES: Angelo Carusone, Barbara McQuade, thank you both.
One year ago today, Donald Trump`s desperate efforts to overturn the election and remain in office against the will of the voters was already as you just saw, well under way. There`s a lot going on that we didn`t know at the time that only later came to light. That`s crucial to giving a full account of the days leading up to assault on the Nation`s Capitol.
Next, what we now know about the pressure campaign that extended from local election workers all the way up to the vice president, after this.
HAYES: One year ago today, January 4, 2021 was a Monday. It was the first business day after holidays and the New Year. We were just over two weeks from Inauguration Day, only two days from Congress` certification of electoral votes or counting of the electoral votes.
And there was one big story driving the news on that Monday. I remember it well. Here`s the headline blaring costs front page at the New York Times. On tape, Trump pushes Georgia to "find votes." Everyone was rightfully talking about the recorded phone call of then-President Donald Trump trying to pull off a coup, trying to steal the election in Georgia by bullying the Secretary of State there Brad Raffensperger.
The Washington Post had obtained a copy of the recording and they published it the previous day on the Sunday on the third. And of course, the key moment in an hour long call is when Donald Trump asked Raffensperger to just find him enough votes to win to flip the outcome of the race in George.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have, because we won to state. So, what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellows, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
HAYES: So, this time last year, we knew about that. It was everywhere. But there was so much more coup-related plotting and planning going on. Here`s another headline from the last January the fourth that went a bit under the radar and it`s from the Associated Press.
Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney resigns in Georgia. B.J. Pak, then the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta, which is a big deal job, abruptly left his job in the wake of the Trump-Raffensperger call and just one day before the runoff, Georgia Senate elections.
"The statement announcing his resignation did not say why Pak was leaving or what he plans to do next which seemed pretty odd at the time. We now know why. It was what it looked like. The White House had forced B.J. Pak to resign because, as the Wall Street Journal reported, President Trump was upset he wasn`t doing enough to investigate the President`s unproven claims of election fraud.
"A senior Justice Department official at the behest of the White House called Pak late on the night of January 3. In that call the official said Mr. Trump was furious there was no investigation related to election fraud, and the President wanted to fire Mr. Pak. B.J. Pak himself confirmed that story reportedly in closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in August.
Now, there was something else even fishy or going down in Georgia on January 4, all in the same day. And we did not know about it at the time and we did not find out about it until just a few weeks ago, because on January 4, an emissary from the Trump campaign paid a visit to Ruby Freeman, a Georgia woman who worked in the Fulton County election office and had become the target of a slew, an avalanche of false accusations about fraud.
In fact, Donald Trump brought up Ruby Freeman`s name no less than 18 times during his phone call to Brad Raffensperger referring to her as a professional vote scammer, a hustler, a known political operative who stuffed the ballot boxes.
On the fourth, that Trump campaign emissary who happened to be a one-time publicist for Kanye West because sure, why not, showed up at Freeman`s home and threatened her. She said, according to Freeman, that Freeman must, "Confess to Trump`s voter fraud allegations or people would come to her home in 48 hours, and she`d go to jail."
This was all part of the coordinated campaign to keep President Trump in power against the will of the American people. Some of his allies were doing their own part publicly on national TV. Over on Fox News, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri alluded to more behind-the-scenes plotting going on ahead of the sixth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: I`m going to pin you down on what you`re trying to do. You know, are you trying to say that as of January 20th that President Trump will be President?
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Well, that depends on what happens on Wednesday. I mean, this is why we have the debate. This is why we have --
BAIER: No, it doesn`t. I mean, the states, by the Constitution, say they certify the election. They did certify it. By the Constitution, Congress doesn`t have the right to overturn the certification.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In private, at the White House, We now know that Donald Trump was meeting with his vice president, Mike Pence, attempting to convince Pence to thwart the law and steal the election for him. ABC News reported that Trump made clear to Pence privately. He expected him to use his role as president of the Senate to deny Biden the presidency during the joint session.
That evening, at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, Trump put the pressure on Pence again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you. i hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He`s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn`t come through, I won`t like it. But as much -- no, Mike is a great guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We heard that at the time on this day, one year ago. I don`t think it quite sunk in. Donald Trump was plotting a coup out in the open. He was deadly serious about retaining power. But we do not have that excuse anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He`s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn`t come through, I won`t like it. But as much --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Of course, Pence didn`t come through in the end, but the electoral count wasn`t the only way Trump was trying to stay in power. As Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague detail in their excellent new book, The Steal, there were quiet efforts across the country to steal the election in multiple states. And it was only because of ordinary American, state and local officials, election workers that democracy managed to survive at all.
Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague, authors of the new book, join me now. There`s great reporting in this and I thought maybe I`d sort of go to each of you because there`s a lot in here and there`s a sort of ground eye view of this. We just sort of did what the version of it was up in New York -- I`m sorry, up in Washington D.C. and in the White House, and the Capitol.
And Mark, and then Matthew, maybe, what most surprised you? What did you uncover about what was happening in these various states? Mark, why don`t you go first?
MARK BOWDEN, CO-AUTHOR, THE STEAL: Well, I was surprised, Chris, by how concerted the effort was. Basically, the Trump Organization sent lawyers and activists to the six swing states where the vote was close. So, this was a very concerted effort that filed 60 some lawsuits, organized demonstrations, pressure campaigns. Trump was on the phone with local and state elected officials.
So, it was -- it was not as slapdash as what happened on January 6. And I think I was also very pleasantly surprised to learn that these state and local officials, many of them are Republicans, many of them Trumpist, refuse to be bullied and cajoled into falsifying the results of the election. That was actually quite a heartening thing to discover.
HAYES: Yes. I want to talk about a few of those examples. But, Matthew, going to you about the level of coordination here. I mean, you`ve got receptive voices at the local level, pressure coming -- sometimes people traveling to these states to try to make this happen not just in Washington, but at the state level as well.
MATTHEW TEAGUE, CO-AUTHOR, THE STEAL: Yes. That -- you mentioned Ruby Freeman, the election worker there in Georgia, who was approached by publicist who was working in some capacity with Kanye West. That was one that we found out and the story we broke in the book. It was just a level of harassment that was poured out on these election workers who are not in it for a lot of money. They`re just there to do a civic duty. And there was coordination internationally to heap pain on these people`s lives.
HAYES: Yes, that -- this sort of mob mentality, the you know, the way that these people are deluged, particularly Ruby Freeman, and I think her daughter are deluged with these death threats -- and you`ve got Gabe Sterling who works for Brad Raffensperger at one point coming out and saying, like, you guys need to cool it. Like, someone is going to get hurt here. And someone did get hurt on January 6. I mean, that came to fruition.
But the other part of this was ultimately I think we think well, the guardrails were, you know, Mike Pence wouldn`t go along with it, the White House Counsel threatened to resign. But you guys document some of the guardrails at the local level, including like you said, Mark, Trump`s supporting Republicans who just in -- when faced with doing the wrong thing or the right thing, do the right thing and stick by it.
BOWDEN: Yes, Chris, I mean, for better or worse, in America, elections are not conducted by federal agency in Washington D.C. They`re conducted by your neighbors and my neighbors in every community all across the country. And you know, these folks take it very seriously. They take the responsibility seriously.
And I think that, you know, a lot of the pressure being put on them was coming from people, including at the very highest levels, who had very little understanding of how elections are run in the United States. So, I really think that the most significant effort that was made to overturn the election had to have been made in this -- in the States, had to be made with local and state officials with whom was the responsibility for certifying the election results in their states.
And these people, to a man and woman pretty much-held firm. They refused to falsify the results of the election. I think that speaks well. The American people apparently are not as dishonest as Donald Trump would like them to be.
HAYES: I want to play an example that Michigan Republican canvasser, a man by the name of Van Langevelde who came under enormous pressure not to certify, and in Michigan, and did. And I want to play what he said on November 23, 2020 because it`s -- it sort of embodies this kind of civic spirit that ended up I think saving the day. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON VAN LANGEVELDE, FORMER MEMBER OF MICHIGAN BOARD OF STATE CANVASSERS: We have a clear legal duty to certify the results of the election as shown by the return that were given to us. We cannot and should not go beyond that. As John Adams once said, we are a government of laws, not men. And this board needs to adhere to that principle here today.
This board must do its part to uphold the new law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election. I will be supporting the motion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Matt. Aaron Van Langevelde is one of a number of officials who have essentially been turfed out because they did the right thing by the local GOP. I think he`s been removed from that canvassing board. You`ve got raffles burger facing a primary challenge. There`s been a lot of motion to go after precisely the people who held the line last time and make sure they`re not there next time.
TEAGUE: Yes. There in Michigan, there`s a longtime county clerk named Cheryl Guy who made a mistake on election day. She accidentally shifted about 3000 votes from Trump to Biden. He just wasn`t very computer savvy and made a mistake. One of those votes was probably her own because she voted for Trump. And she quickly corrected the mistake within a few hours.
But by the time she did, there were private jets on the way, teams that were working with Trump were coming to her office. They really turned her life inside out and she is resolved to not run again to the county clerk because people whose very birth certificate she had signed accused her of being unpatriotic and anti-America and much worse even than that. So, there`s a cost to telling the truth.
HAYES: Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague, whose excellent new book The Steal: The Attempt To Overturn the 2020 Election and the People Who Stopped It is out now. Many thanks to you both, gentlemen.
Next, Trump`s endorsement of his authoritarian role model, what it reveals about the MAGA party`s vision of America after this.
HAYES: We have talked at length tonight about Fox News 9:00 p.m. anchor and his role and Donald Trump`s attempted coup. Right now, we want to take a look at their 8:00 p.m. host and his work to undermine democracy both here and abroad.
First, some context, it is not uncommon for a cable news show to take the show on the road every now and then, broadcasting live from swing states that have an election, for example, or the site of some natural disaster or news event. In fact, before the pandemic, we would do it all the time.
Back in August, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson went outside the usual scope of the traveling broadcast. He spent an entire week anchoring his show from Budapest, Hungary. And it was not to cover a specific story per se, but just rather to be like Hungary is awesome, offer a glowing endorsement of life in Hungary under its aspiring authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
You may have heard Orban`s name before. We`ve mentioned him on the show several times. Orban has ruled Hungary for more than a decade where he has worked to transform the country into what he proudly calls an illiberal democracy. He has sharply cut immigration, limited the power of the free press, and rewritten election laws in his favor.
He has transformed Hungary from a thriving democracy into one bordering on one-party rule. And he has been routinely criticized by fellow European Union countries for undermining the rule of law. So, it should come as no surprise that he is something of a hero to those on the American right who harbored their own authoritarian dreams.
They respect Oregon both his willingness to subvert liberal democracy, his brazen and bigoted brand of social conservatism. Just listen to what Tucker had to say about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Of the nearly 200 different countries on the face of the earth, precisely one of them as an elected leader who publicly identifies as a western-style conservative. His name is Viktor Orban. He`s the Prime Minister of Hungary.
What does Viktor Orban believe? Just a few years ago, his views would have seemed moderate and conventional. He thinks families are more important than banks. He believes countries need borders. For saying these things out loud, Orban has been vilified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, literally every ruler on Earth thinks that countries need borders. So, that`s clearly not what`s going on. But Tucker Carlson is not Orban`s only high profile fanboy on the American right. Yesterday, Donald Trump, the former president of the United States took the extraordinary step of endorsing the foreign leader writing, "Viktor Orban of Hungary truly loves his country and wants safety for his people." I`m laughing because you know, this is the best he can work up. "He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming capital E election. He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my complete support and endorsement for reelection as prime minister."
It`s articulating a vision of the end of American liberal democracy by endorsing a guy who is trying to do that and is doing it another country. When conservatives like Trump and Carlson say they want to use the power of the state to defang liberal society, believe them. I`ll talk to an expert on right-wing strong men and the danger their fandom presents here in the U.S. next.
HAYES: Ruth Ben-Ghiat literally wrote the book on right-wing authoritarians in Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present. She tracks a history of right-wing demagogues and the ways in which they dismantle the norms of liberal democracy to keep themselves in power.
Ben-Ghiat discusses figures like Russia`s Vladimir Putin and Hungary`s Viktor Orban. The later ones especially is a hero to a portion of the American Conservative Movement who admire his willingness to subvert Democratic conventions in order to pursue a far-right political agenda.
Ben-Ghiat also tracks the ways in which American right-wing populist, specifically Donald Trump and his political movement mirror those far right groups which are working to dismantle liberal democracy in Europe and elsewhere abroad.
One year ago today, just as we were starting to learn more about Donald Trump`s behind-the-scenes coup attempt, Ben-Ghiat wrote a prescient article, where she wrote up Donald Trump`s desperate attempts to come to power.
"Trump has followed an authoritarian rather than a democratic playbook as president. It is fitting he would end up like some of history`s best known autocrats, hunkered down in a safe space surrounded by his latest crop of unhinged loyalists, trying pathetically to escape the reality of his defeat."
And Ruth Ben-Ghiat joins me now. Ruth, I thought maybe we would start with the significance of Orban because he`s a really an important figure, I think, in Europe, to the European right in the -- in the context of the European Union in a sort of post-liberal world, if that`s what we`re headed towards, and for American Conservative. So, what should people know about what he has done in Hungary?
RUTH BEN-GHIAT, AUTHOR, STRONGMAN. Viktor Orban is the poster boy of the new global right, and he`s tried very hard to make Budapest and Hungary the kind of note of what I call Access 2.0. And his policies have kind of -- they`re like a checklist of what the GOP kind of aspires to. He, you know, homophobic transphobia, so he banned gender studies in 2018. As of 2020, you can`t be a person bureaucratically if you`re not a man or a woman.
He`s domesticated the media. And we don`t hear about people being poisoned or falling out of windows, so he`s more palatable than Putin. But he uses a huge amount of pressure and economic and promises to make people`s lives difficult economically. So, for example, hundreds of media companies, "donated their assets to a foundation run by one of his cronies." So, that`s an example of his pressure tactics.
And above all, he has pioneered this kind of electoral democracy -- autocracy where you hold -- you don`t ban elections today, you hold them, but you fix them. You control the judiciary. You control the electoral apparatus, so the results are the ones you need to stay in power. And all that may sound very familiar if we`ve been following what the GOP wants to do.
HAYES: What is your reaction to Trump coming out and endorsing him from his, you know, his sort of weird exile, sort of out of nowhere, and what it means. I mean, it`s not surprising, but it strikes me as fairly forthright in terms of what his aspirations are.
BEN-GHIAT: So, Trump, it`s interesting that Trump identifies with Orban because Orban was voted out of power. There`s a much longer timeframe. Because Orban is an opportunist, just like Trump, and he was a centrist and he was voted out of power. And then he spent time remaking himself as a rightist. He saw where the wind was blowing, and he got back in, and he, you know, determined that he would never leave again.
And so, he`s proceeded to kind of severely damaged democracy, but he`s also a client of Putin. So, in endorsing Orban, Trump is sending a message to Putin. And so, there`s that going on as well. And it goes also with the GOP`s embrace of Hungary. And the GOP really sees Hungary`s present as America`s future.
And that`s why C-PAC will be there this year. That`s why even Pence who`s not the biggest global traveler, when he trotted over to Budapest, to talk about how he hoped abortion rights would be taken away in America. That`s why Tucker Carlson spent an entire week there broadcasting. So, Trump`s endorsement is in line with this kind of Republican admiration for Orban.
HAYES: I will say that I don`t know why he went to Budapest. But I definitely have the thought of like, maybe we need a week of themed shows about like why the south of Spain is an awesome spot of liberal democracy on NBC`s dime. You know, it`s nice work if you can get it.
What are the sort of lessons I guess a from Orban`s rise in terms of how institutions have been molded or shaped or subverted by him?
BEN-GHIAT: Well, he`s been able to use pressure in a very effective way. And he`s got this kind of crony capitalism. And what was so maddening about what Tom Carlson`s whitewashing is so you know Orban has styled himself as the defender of white Christianity. So, he`s anti-migrant, he`s anti- Semitic with his obsession with George Soros. And so, he`s the defender of Christianity all the way back to Medieval Christian time. There`s all these things with statues, of saints.
But Tucker Carlson did not say that Orban has, you know, persecuted hundreds of churches that are not in line, they`re not run by his loyalists. So, he`s this classic autocrat in that regard. The other thing we`re not hearing about is preying on business.
Now, he doesn`t do this to the extent that Putin does but many people who have a profitable business, the state has come calling or Orban`s cronies have come calling and you`re pressured to sell your asset just like I talked about the media properties that were pressured to be "donated." So, the state is a predator. And some people call it a mafia state for that reason.
HAYES: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, thank you so much for your time tonight.
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.