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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 1/5/22

Rick Hasen, Harry Dunn, Matt Fuller, Glenn Kirschner, Zoe Tillman


After the ridiculous lawsuits and the intimidation tactics against local officials, Donald Trump, and his allies settled on a brazen anti- democratic strategy that rested on just one person, Mike Pence, who in the end refused to cooperate. Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell write in the Washington Post today, only when the whole truth is made public and all the people responsible for the atrocity of January 6 are held to account can true healing begin. Matt Fuller of the Daily Beast got a gripping new report about how shocking that little has changed one year later after January 6 and why the real tragedy of that date is still not over. On the eve of the anniversary of January 6, the worst attack on American democracy arguably since the Civil War, the top law enforcement officer of the United States, Merrick Garland, delivered a speech marking this moment.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And that`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN. The January 6 Committee wants to talk to Mike Pence.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee.

HAYES: Tonight, new insight into how Trump`s coup nearly worked, and how his vice president got in the way.

MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO MIKE PENCE: She did not want our adversaries across the globe to see a 15 car motorcade fleeing the Capitol.

HAYES: Then, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn on seeking the full truth what happened one year after January 6. Plus, the Daily Beast`s Matt Fuller on his front-row seat to the riot and why he says nothing has changed. And the big picture of where we stand on investigations as the Attorney General attempts to answer his critics.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. And tonight, on the eve of that violent day, there is still one major lingering question from Donald Trump`s attempted coup. Well, there are many, but this is the one I keep coming back to.

We know now, it`s quite established, after a year of reporting that the former president and a small group of allies were deadly serious about overthrowing the results of a free and fair election. And we know that most of their schemes were both at once dangerous and absurd. There`s still one remaining question, which is, how close were they to succeeding?

And this has been the subject of quite some debate. And contrary to some folks out there, and I`ve read a lot along these lines, who argue that the whole thing was preposterous and doomed to fail from the beginning. After the ridiculous lawsuits and the intimidation tactics against local officials, Donald Trump and his allies settled on a brazen anti-democratic strategy that rested on just one person.

And here`s the thing. It could have worked. What they wanted, what they settled on, was for Vice President Mike Pence to essentially throw out the electors in key states over entirely fabricated bogus claims of fraud and irregularities. And had he done that it cannot be overstated how dangerous and unprecedented that would have been.

And anyone who says they know for sure, what would have happened next is wrong. It almost certainly would have precipitated a full-blown constitutional crisis, because there would be no real blueprint at that point. There`s no precedent. It`s never happened.

Now, maybe the Senate would have come together across party lines to try to rectify the situation. But that is not guaranteed, especially with this Senate. It might have probably would have ended up in the Supreme Court. And maybe the court would have issued a kind of definitive ruling that ended the whole thing like they didn`t Bush v Gore. But of course, there`s no telling which candidate the 6-3 court would have supported.

It`s also entirely possible the court would have said, look, this is not justiciable because it`s fundamentally a political question and we`re staying out of it. In which case, we`d be back to square one. All of which is a long way of saying it would be a catastrophic mess with no clear path forward or easy answers.

Ultimately, Mike Pence did not throw out the electors and this nightmare scenario did not play out. But the pressure campaign on Pence to play along with this scheme was enormous. It started with Donald Trump himself who would tell everyone that would listen that it all depended on Pence. This is from Trump`s January 4 rally in Georgia.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. Because if he doesn`t come through, I won`t like him quite as much. No, Mike is a great guy.


HAYES: We`ve got a great relationship. Mike would be terrible if something happened to it. The day after those comments, January 5, Pence reportedly told Trump he did not have the power to block the certification of the election. Undeterred, Trump just pretended Pence was on the side anyway.

That same night, that same night after Trump reportedly said I`m not doing this, Trump orders the White House to release a statement reading in part, "The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act. Think about the pressure that puts on Mike Pence who has just told him I can`t do it.

Pence also felt pressure from Trump`s allies in the coup attempt like Rudy Giuliani and of course coup architect John Eastman and from the President Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who would forward coup plans to Pence`s office, as well as from unlikely sources like the President`s economic adviser Peter Navarro, who we know now was directed by Trump, at least according Navarro, personally to brief Republicans in Congress on the plan. He even came up with a cute little name for the coup plot, the Green Bay Sweep.

On the day of the insurrection, Trump called out Pence multiple times in his speech at The Ellipse saying if he does not act, "It will be a sad day for the country." And then after Pence doesn`t do it, after he doesn`t do it, mob entering the Capitol, he goes on to tweet that Pence did not have the courage to protect the country and the Constitution.

I mean, it`s hard to pin down if the crowd was chanting hang Mike Pence at exactly the same moment as that tweet, but they`re pretty contemporaneous. All of this is to say nothing, of course, of the literal angry mob of insurrectionists, who stormed the Capitol shouting hang Mike Pence, hoping to use the threat of violence and death against the vice president.

Now, with hindsight, we know Pence refuse to cooperate. But in the moments leading up to January 6, one year ago at this moment, on the evening of January 5, it was a real question whether or not he would throw out the results of a democratic election to help along the coup. And it was a question for a number of reasons. First, because it is worth remembering who Mike Pence is.

This is a man who understood his assignment from the day he was added to the ticket to be the most sycophantic of Trump`s sycophants itself a difficult challenge. To always be the last yes man in the room. In fact, Pence his image in the public consciousness was widely seen as nothing more than Trump`s toady. So, there was a reasonable amount of concern he would simply refuse to decline a direct order from his boss like that.

Secondly, as we mentioned, there was no telling what would happen next. Presumably, Pence wanted to stay vice president. Here was an opportunity that might very well have allowed him to. We now know from some great reporting that Pence wanted to get to yes or at least he was going around looking for a yes.

As Bob Woodward and Robert Cost report in a book Peril, Pence asked former Vice President Dan Quayle for advice, and according to the reporting in their book, Pence poked and prodded Quayle for a way in which you could go along with the President`s plan, but Quayle was unequivocal.

"Mike, you have no flexibility on this, none, zero. Forget it. Put it away. Quayle reportedly told him. Pence also reached out to legal scholar Michael Luttig who is a big deal in the conservative legal world. He was a federal judge for a while. And he similarly told Pence the coup plot was unconstitutional and non-starter, as did Pence`s own Chief of Staff Marc Short who came to the same conclusion that one man, the obvious conclusion, could not unilaterally overturn an election disenfranchising 80 plus million voters.

And to be clear here, and I think it`s probably already clear, Quayle, Luttig, Short, Pence, I think they all have pretty terrible, even odious politics. They`ve all enabled a lot of terrible policies, or politicians that actively made the country worse place. Pence especially deserves enduring infamy for politely overseeing one of the most destructive presidencies in my lifetime and egging it on and apologizing for it and vouching for it.

But in this one instance, I think these men, Pence chief among them, deserve credit for doing the right thing. There was enormous pressure to cast this country in a constitutional crisis, and they refused.

I thought back to the book by Tim O`Brien, The Things They Carried. And in his book about the Vietnam War, O`Brien writes about peer pressure and shame in the context of war in the battlefield. He writes, "Men killed and died because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor."

And that phrase has stuck with me over the decades since I first read it, the blush of dishonor, because that mentality can translate over to many other of life`s experiences. A desire to not disappoint your peers or your team, to not appear cowardly or unwilling to fight, that can motivate people to do things they otherwise would not. It is worth considering what you yourself would do in Pence`s situation.

When the eyes of the entire country are watching and waiting for you to make a decision that you know deep down is wrong, I mean, historically unprecedentedly wrong, could render the country in two, and it includes the man who served for the past four years, a man who also happens to be the most powerful figure on the face of the earth, no one for his demands of complete loyalty and refusal to forgive so-called traitors who essentially hold your political future in his hand.

And that is not even including what the decision would mean for your family, what type of danger it could put them in. Indeed, Trump came out swinging against Pence immediately. And Pence`s approval rating among Republicans dropped significantly following the events of the sixth and they never recovered.


Again, there is so much to criticize Mike Pence for. We`ve done it on this show. But one year later, I think he deserves credit for having in this moment the courage to do the right thing. We also know now Pence even refused to flee the Capitol as rioters were calling for his execution because, as his former chief of staff Marc Short tells it, he did not want to be seen as handing a victory to the angry mob.


SHORT: A couple of different times they asked to evacuate the Capitol. But you know, the Vice President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t want to go.

SHORT: No. He said, I`m not leaving. And the reason he say he`s not leaving is because he said he did not want our adversaries across the globe to see a 15 car motorcade fleeing the Capitol. I also was very, I think, proud to be -- to be with the Vice President because they -- he exerted enormous leadership under enormous pressure. And I think he again, despite efforts to have him evacuated, he said, I don`t want that visual for the world to see.


HAYES: So, yes, Pence did the right thing. The most important takeaway here is that the entire venture, in the end, rested on one guy making the right call. That is how close we came. This idea of the coup attempt did not come that close or the plan was obviously doomed to failure from the start are preposterous, it just flat wrong. Pence just as easily could have agreed to play along and literally no one knows what happens next.

Rick Hasen is a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine. He`s the founder of Election Law Blog, the author of the upcoming book, Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics and How To Cure It, and an expert in election law who has been thinking and writing about these issues for a long time. And he joins me now.

And Professor first, I guess, as someone who is far more steeped in the law here. I wonder if you feel the same way. That if Pence buckles to Trump, and declares that certain slates of electors are ruled out of order, or that -- or he says from the view of the chair, there`s competing slates of electors, that the roadmap past that point is unclear? Is that -- is that your feeling too?

RICK HASEN, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, UC IRVINE: Chris, I have to say, just listening to your opening, my heart is racing because it`s reminding me of what things were like a year ago. I think you`re absolutely right. That we don`t know. It`s uncharted territory.

I think one of the mistakes that I made and I think others made was assuming that more people would follow the rule of law, that of course, Mike Pence wouldn`t see that he had unilateral authority to throw out Electoral College votes or to delay the certification of electors.

But what we learned when we saw all of those Republican members of Congress who voted to sustain objections to the vote counts in Arizona and Pennsylvania is that the law doesn`t matter if people are lawless. And it really did take people of integrity in order to keep us from plunging into a constitutional and political crisis.

HAYES: Right. Because if you`re out past the kind of frontiers of the law, but you`re doing it ostensibly under the color of law -- this is what I think is so dangerous and I think sort of a little misunderstood about this moment is, you know, yes, it wasn`t the tanks rolled through the streets and the opposition was locked away. What it was was the thinnest possible predicate of some lawful action undertaken by a small group of people with wildly lawless aspirations that they were trying to go ahead and do. And there`s no guide if you get far enough in that project.

HASEN: Oh, that`s right. I mean, this is why I`m so worried about 2024 because, you know, we`re -- we depended on Brian Kemp, Dan Quayle, Mike Pence, Brad Raffensperger. I mean, these are the Republicans who saved our democracy. And those people for the most part are not going to be in place in 2024.

And if you have people who are not willing to abide by the rule of law, I mean, what is that going to look like? What if Kevin McCarthy is Speaker of the House and bogus competing slights of electors come in? You know, it really, how much can law be a deterrent if you`re willing to just use the veneer of law to accomplish political ends, a kind of bloodless coup.

HAYES: I want to read Michael Luttig who again is a very revered figure in in in conservative legal circles and was a federal judge and left -- and left that job for the private sector said this to ABC News. Had the Supreme Court refused to decide these issues, as I think might have been likely, the country in our democracy would have spiraled into a chaos from which neither would have soon recovered, literally jeopardizing the national security. The legitimacy of our democracy would have been forever drawn to doubt and its luster could never been restored.

I think the question now is, now that -- you know, now that you`ve got this situation in which the fence has been tested for its weaknesses, again on these sort of technical matters, right, what you do to reinforce them? You just said the state is sending competing slates of electors, there`s the idea of state legislators just getting in and saying, oh, Arizona is going to send its electors for Donald Trump, no matter what his voters. I mean, there`s so much room -- more room for mischief than they even got to the last time around.

HASEN: Right. So, what I think we`re talking about now is making both legal change and political change. Certainly, we need to fix the Electoral Count Act, that arcane 1887 law that governs the mechanics of how we have Congress counts and certify those Electoral College votes. But if law is not going to be really, you know, a full deterrent, we need political action.

We need a coalition of people, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, who believe in the rule of law, you know, who take just at the very basic bottom principle that the winner of the election should be the person who got the most votes. And, you know, we have to form a coalition around that and work to strengthen civil society so that if there are attempts to try and steal an election in the future, we`re girded against that, because law alone is not going to save us.

HAYES: Well, and I think the other lesson which is I think adjacent to that is -- and maybe this is an overly psychological explanation for the facts that we have, but that these kinds of -- these pure effects matter, that the people you talk to matter, and when you go and consult them, their integrity and their just sort of acculturated sense of the rule of law end up being very important, which is that Dan Quayle and Michael Luttig say, of course not, are you out of your mind, you can`t do this.

HASEN: And there were many Trump-appointed federal judges have said the same thing and state judges, Republican judges.

HAYES: Right.

HASEN: But, you know, when you replace Brad Raffensperger with Jody Hice, then what? Are we even going to accept the results of an election when the person running the election is someone who embraces the big lie that the election was stolen? I mean, what`s this going to do to legitimacy if Trump actually wins the election if he runs again?

HAYES: This is -- that last question is a really under-considered one too, because it`s a two-way door. Like, this legitimacy genie is out of the bottle, very hard to stuff back in. And I worry about it in both directions actually. That`s a very good point and worth meditating on.

Rick Hasen, thank you very much.

HASEN: Thanks. On the eve of the anniversary of one of the worst attacks on American democracy, Capitol police officers who face down the violent mob on the sixth are again demanding full accountability. Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell who have been vocal leaders in that fight write in the Washington Post today, only when the whole truth is made public and all the people responsible for the atrocity of January 6 are held to account can true healing begin.

Next, my interview with Officer Harry Dunn about life one year later, and the work that still needs to be done. Don`t go anywhere.



Harry Dunn is a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police. He grew up in the D.C. suburbs in Prince George`s County, Maryland. He joined the Capitol police force after graduating with a master`s degree from James Madison University.

And on January 6, 2021, he was posted at the East front of the Capitol Building on the steps leading to the Senate chamber. As rioters began assaulting the Capitol`s west front, Dunn rushed around the building to aid the officers on the other side who were under attack. They ended up inside the building defending an area where officers were recovering from chemical irritants. In fact, he helped carry it Rosanne Boyland, one of the rioters who lost conscious during the attack and would later die away from the fray.

This past July, at the first hearing held by the committee investigating January 6, Dunn was one of four officers to testify. His testimony was incredibly powerful. He described the ugliness he experienced that day and the need for accountability.


HARRY DUNN, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled, you hear that guys? This (BLEEP) voted for Joe Biden. Then the crowd perhaps around 20 people joined in screaming boo. (BLEEP). No one had ever, ever called me (BLEEP) while wearing the uniform of a Capitol police officer.

I use an analogy to describe what I want as a hitman. If a hitman is hired, and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does. There was an attack carried out on January 6, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.


HAYES: This week, Harry Dunn and his colleague wrote a moving opinion piece for The Washington Post titled The government we defended last January six has a duty to hold all perpetrators accountable. Writing, the calendar says it happened a year ago but it feels like yesterday because the two of us U.S. Capitol police officers, together with many other officers, defended the Capitol on January 6 from a violent mob of insurrectionists, the wounds from that horrific day persist.

Both of us continue to experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. Even more painful, though, is a shocking effort by former President Donald Trump and his acolytes including some of the members of Congress whom we protected from violence that day, to whitewash what happened. We urge the Justice Department not only to bring appropriate prosecutions of those who defy congressional subpoenas, but also to fully investigate whether additional individuals including current or former government officials should be held criminally liable for their conduct in connection with the attack on the Capitol.


Joining me now is U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn. Officer Dunn, it`s great to have you. Thank you for joining me. I know that you`re speaking me tonight in your personal capacity, not in any spokesperson capacity for the U.S. Capitol Police or anything like that. So, let me just ask first in your personal capacity, how you`re doing? How day to day life in your job and generally are going?

DUNN: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story about what happened. How am I doing? Like I said in the op-ed, the calendar says a year ago. Everybody keeps referring to January 6 tomorrow as the anniversary of what happened. There hasn`t really been an end of January 6, so tomorrow just seems like just another day.

I don`t believe that you can have true healing regarding any kind of incident until there`s full accountability about what happened. And there hasn`t been accountability fully yet. There have been a couple of sentences that have happened. But there are two aspects of accountability. And the way I see it, you cannot heal until there`s accountability. So, we`re still suffering, I`m still suffering. But I`m doing a lot better than I was on January 7 so --

HAYES: Do you feel -- I mean, do you -- I guess -- you said it never ended. Do you feel the presence of it in that building still? Does it -- does it loom there in that -- in that structure where this happened?

DUNN: I mean, if you`re asking if I`m having like, flashbacks or you know - - you know, violent memories and stuff like that, no, not really. But you`re constantly reminded about what you went through that day. I mean, you walk through that building, and you`re reminded of this situation, or even just watching the news, you know, you see a news clip, or new subpoenas, new text messages released, you can`t really escape January 6 even if you try to.

Fortunately, I`m not trying to because I am doing whatever I can do to see that accountability is served in his head because I believe that will bring about true healing.

HAYES: What does -- what does accountability mean for you?

DUNN: Understanding the full picture about what happened, you know, it`s easy to interpret my thoughts as I`m talking about specifically just the former president. Him, anybody that`s included -- that contributed to the downfalls of that day, the planners, not just the people who carried out the attack on us, but the people who planned it, the people who had anything to do with egging it on, encouraging it, on covering it up. Anybody who had anything to do with the failures of that day, that dark day in our country, they need to be held accountable.

I don`t necessary -- it`s not my job to talk about sentences and all that stuff. But paint a public picture about what happened and just lay all the facts out and let`s go from there because there`s so much stuff that we do not know. Just think about the things that we don`t know now, think about what we didn`t know, last January 6 -- excuse me, January 7. Think about what we will know on January 7, 2023.

There`s just so much stuff that needs to come out and that`s why I`m pushing for all the facts to come out wherever they lead.

HAYES: In terms of that, I mean, one of the -- one of the things -- and this is from my position reporting on this and observing it at a remove and not you haven`t gone through it is there seemed at least after the crowd was cleared, and in the well that night, and in the days after, a consensus, pretty broad consensus, that this was horrific, that it was unprecedented, that it was on American, that it must never be allowed to happen again. And we`ve watched over the past year because of certain political actors, undoing that consensus.

And I wonder what it`s like for you to watch that consensus being undone over the course of the year from what it was a year ago to now.

DUNN: I just -- the trick is on my side. I can`t describe with anything -- the facts are indisputable about what happened that day. I mean, the actual rioters recorded it and posted it themselves. They`re we`re proud of what they did. So, there`s no way that anybody can say anything otherwise.

If they do -- like, everybody says whitewashing, it`s just flat out lying, period. It is what it is. Like, the truth is on my side. Now, as far as you know, the people that are white washing it, that it just -- it just getting frustrated even just thinking about it right now. That`s why it`s very important for all the facts that come out so accountability and justice can be served.

HAYES: I want to play for you -- obviously there`s different entities that are doing fact-finding. The Select Committee is one, the Department of Justice is another. They have overseen the prosecution of 700-plus individuals were actually in that capitol. And today, the Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a speech about that. I want to just play you a little bit of what he said and get your reaction to it. Here`s what he had to say.


GARLAND: Those who assaulted officers or damaged the Capitol faced greater charges. Those who conspired with others to obstruct the vote count, also face greater charges. Those who did not undertake such conduct have been charged with lesser offenses, particularly if they accepted their responsibility early and cooperated with the investigation.


HAYES: What`s your reaction to that?

DUNN: And it`s encouraging. In the society that we live in, everybody wants instant justice, right? You know, it happened yesterday, it needs to be on resolved today. Unfortunately, that`s not how investigations go. I`m not any part of the Justice Department. I`m a police officer. And I`m just going to do my job. And I`m glad that the Justice Department is doing theirs. And like I said, I just urge them to do their job and I`ll continue to do mine.

HAYES: All right, Officer Harry Dunn, I really appreciate you making time tonight. Be well. Thank you very much.

DUNN: Thanks for having me. Have a good day.

HAYES: You too.

Next, he was a reporter in the gallery as the violent mob tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power. Tonight, he`s got a gripping new report about how shocking the little has changed one year later and why the real tragedy of that date is still -- that it`s still not over. Matt Fuller of the Daily Beast joins me next.



HAYES: It took less than half an hour for the rioters who breached the Capitol reach the House chamber where they started banging on the doors. There were roughly 100 Members of Congress still on the House floor, 30 more in the gallery along with members of the media. And among them was Matt Fuller, then a congressional reporter for The Huffington Post. This is his footage filmed inside the House chamber as rioters tried to break down the door to enter it.

Matt Fuller is now a senior politics editor for The Daily Beast. And as he reflects on that day and everything that has happened since, he says one thing is clear. "Nothing has changed." And Matt Fuller joins me now.

Matt, I remember having you on shortly after that day, and you recount a little bit of your day there. Just take us through your memories of that day as you put them in the piece.

MATT FULLER, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, I mean, as I lay out sort of starts with me arriving at the Hill a little bit late, walking through the sea of protesters. You know, I didn`t really think that they pose the actual threat that obviously they posed.

So, when I`m walking through them, and it`s like 12:30 and Trump is speaking on the other end of Pennsylvania, I see a bunch of cops trying to get through. And you know, my entry into the capital is blocked off, so I have to figure out a way to, you know, get through the bicycle racks, basically.

And I`m flashing my congressional badge to the cops. And they`re like, you know, just get in line with us. Like, what are you doing showing us your badge? Just like get out of here. And that was sort of one of the -- one of those first moments like oh, like, the cops seem to think something`s up here, you know.

And then like, just the slow drumbeat of things going wrong where we`re getting alerts that the Capitol has been breached. And then we`re getting alerts that there`s protesters in the rotunda. And then it`s like, please pull up the escape hoods underneath your seat. And, you know, tear gas has been deployed in the rotunda. By the way, your seats are bulletproof if we have to start having a shootout in the chamber.

It was a steady escalation of events. And I think that, you know, lost on that day was sort of the goofy coverage of the QAnon Shaman and people sort of marching through the halls. But this was a true security threat. And I think that that`s been made clear in the last year how serious this was. And I think the other part of this insurrection was the lawmakers themselves giving, you know, a voice to Trump in his voter fraud election claims and then actually voting to overturn an election. And as you`ve laid out in this show today, you know, this is an ongoing threat, and it`s only getting more serious.

HAYES: Yes. What do you mean by nothing`s changed?

FULLER: I mean, look, the -- it`s the same lawmakers who are there, we haven`t had any real accountability for those votes or that day. Yes, we`ve arrested over 700 people, but the threat remains that we could have another January 6 anytime.

I think the security of the Capitol is better than maybe ever before. But the idea that lawmakers, you know, say things didn`t go the Republicans way in 2024, it`s very conceivable -- again, as you laid out today, that we have another situation where they just vote to overturn the election. And I think that people are now started -- starting to understand how close we came already to that reality.

And look, you know, Trump is going to run again. I have very little doubt about that. I have no doubt that he will ask whoever he chooses to be his vice president, what would you do in this scenario? And I don`t think he would choose someone who was going to say, I would act like Mike Pence did.

These are real threats to democracy and Republicans haven`t learned their lesson in any way. They are very much committed to this course of action even more so today than they were a year ago, I think.

HAYES: Well, and part of the reason for that to show the favourability ratings of -- I mean, this is really the key to it, right? The favorability ratings among Republicans, Donald Trump, compared to McConnell and Pence, if you look over the past year, you know, they sided with him. And, you know, he sort of drove a wedge and ended up with a bigger chunk on his side.

You know, his favorability, net favorability is extremely high and McConnell`s is underwater, even with Republicans. Pence is, you know, much lower than his which brings us to Kevin McCarthy who knows this and who NBC news just reported won`t be attending the events tomorrow on January 6, just the commemoration that was planned. And I got to interpret that as a tacit -- in some ways is not tacit, explicit symbol to Trump. Like, I`m down with you, dude.


FULLER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, Kevin McCarthy, he made his one small stand on the night of January 6, and ever since then, has bent over backwards in service to Trump. I mean, he`s made that his sort of his cause, and he`s tied his entire political being to Donald Trump at this point.

So, he understands he can`t piss off Trump. He`s going to play this is as closely -- he was closely to Donald Trump as possible. And that, you know, part of that is not, you know, not -- I don`t if he wants to celebrate Jeremy 6, but recognizing the threat that it was and recognizing the trauma and the damage that it did to Capitol Hill as a community.

HAYES: All right, Matt Fuller, as always, thanks a lot, man.

FULLER: I appreciate it.

HAYES: Earlier today, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave an update on the investigations into January 6 and seem to address critics who say DOJ isn`t doing enough. What he said about those charges yet to come after this.



HAYES: On the eve of the anniversary of January 6, the worst attack on American democracy arguably since the Civil War, the top law enforcement officer of the United States delivered a speech marking this moment. Attorney General Merrick Garland noted the progress made over the past year by nearly 150 prosecutors around the country in bringing justice to the perpetrators of the insurrection. He said the Department of Justice has issued over 5000 subpoenas and search warrants, seized 2000 devices, examined over 20,000 hours of video footage and search through 15 terabytes of data.

The investigation in which Garland called one of the largest and most complex in the department`s history has so far resulted in the arrest of more than 725 defendants, over 325 of whom have been charged with felonies. The Attorney General promise the work will continue until all those responsible are held accountable.


GARLAND: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators at any level, accountable under law, whether they were present that day, or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.


HAYES: Garland also, interestingly, hearken back to perhaps the biggest political scandal in modern times before January 6, Watergate. He reflected on how the lessons from that investigation inform their work today in a political environment filled with partisanship and misinformation.


GARLAND: Over 40 years ago, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, the Justice Department concluded that the best way to ensure the department`s independence, integrity, and fair application of our laws, and therefore the best way to ensure the health of our democracy, is to have a set of norms to govern our work.

The central norm is that in our criminal investigations, there cannot be different rules depending on one`s political party or affiliation. There cannot be different rules for friends and foes, and there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless.


HAYES: The Attorney General concluded with a warning about the other ways our democracy has been under attack all the time, not just on the sixth. We`ve often referred to this as the slow-motion insurrection and the incursion into voting rights is one of the biggest threats to American democracy.


GARLAND: The protection of the Voting Rights Act have been drastically weakened. There has been a dramatic increase in legislative enactments that make it harder for millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect representatives of their own choosing.

The Department of Justice will continue to do all it can to protect voting rights with the enforcement powers we have. It is essential that Congress act to give the department the powers we need to ensure that every eligible voter can cast a vote that counts.


HAYES: So, on this eve of the somber anniversary January 6, what is next in the Justice Department`s investigation, and what new evidence is coming to light? That`s next.



HAYES: Today in an address marking the anniversary of the attack in the Capitol, Attorney General Merrick Garland attempted to answer some of his critics who were upset over the lack of charges for the organizers of the attempted coup.

As Garland pointed out, there have been hundreds of charges filed against the low-level footsoldiers, those who formed the mob on January 6. And the House Select Committee investigating the attack is now floating the idea of holding primetime hearings to allow the public to hear directly from some of the more prominent figures they have called testify.

Zoe Tillman is a Senior Legal reporter at BuzzFeed News, Glenn Kirschner is a former federal prosecutor who spent 30 years in the Washington D.C. U.S. Attorney`s Office. And they both join me now.

And Glenn, let me go to you as someone who spent a lot of time in the office that has been overseeing these cases. Your reaction to the Garland speech today.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, I think Merrick Garland`s speech was even a little bit more forward-leaning than I had expected. I was hoping we weren`t just going to hear more about how the Department of Justice will follow the facts and follow the law wherever it leads. That`s nothing more than saying the prosecutors will breathe in followed by breathing out.

What he said that I thought was actually pretty important was that the Department of Justice is determined to hold all January 6 perpetrators accountable, his words, at any level. And then he added, whether they were at the Capitol or not or otherwise criminally responsible.

That, frankly, is what I had been waiting to hear because that conjures up notions of, you know, lawyers like Jeffrey Clark who were authoring arguably seditious letters to state election officials giving them a blueprint to undermine Joe Biden`s win. And lawyers like John Eastman, you know, issuing -- drafting these memos basically had a coup for fun and profit.

It also conjures up the people who were part of the war council enjoying, you know, the cushy environs of the Willard Hotel while they were plotting democracy`s demise. And, of course, people in the Oval Office.

So, I was really pleased to hear Attorney General Garland reinforce that they`re going to be focusing on and holding accountable people at any level, whether present at the Capitol or not. So much more than just Donald Trump`s foot soldiers of the insurrection, but the powerful not just the powerless.


HAYES: Yes, I agree. That is exactly my read of that speech, which is that it was about where I thought except for those few moments where he said that, which obviously that`s a very closely watched speech in terms of what words they put in, put out. And I wanted to get your reaction Zoe, because you are among a small group of reporters who really have been on this beat at the ground level in terms of how the Department of Justice has gone about these cases of the people that have been arrested. What your takeaway from the speech was?

ZOE TILLMAN, SENIOR LEGAL REPORTER, BUZZFEED: You know, I agree with Glenn, that it did seem to send a stronger message than we`ve seen from the Justice Department about the potential reach of the investigation. I do think at the same time, it was meant to temper expectations.

He tried to walk through the steps of a normal investigation. The message - - the overarching message seems to be if you want norms restored to the Justice Department, you need to sit tight and wait, and that it starts small, and it builds up from there.

And you know, so far we haven`t seen any indication that they`re going after some of the boldface names or the bigger fish that Glenn was talking about. So we haven`t seen any kind of public publicly recognized investigatory steps that indicates they`re really looking at pursuing charges against those types of people.

So, you know, we know what`s on the calendar in the cases. We know that we can expect to see a lot more plea deals in more of the small misdemeanor- level cases. It will be, I think, more of the same for some time. And you know, that the big question is really looking ahead to more felony plea deals for people who committed more serious crimes like assaulting police, obstruction, conspiracy.

We have trials on the calendar for the first time in 2022. So, there are some major steps coming up in the prosecution effort, I think, you know, midway to some of the much bigger potential steps that Garland, the Attorney General, alluded to, but aren`t quite there yet.

HAYES: Yes. The quote was, we build investigations by laying a foundation. We resolve more straightforward cases first, because they provide the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases.

Glenn, let me ask you about the other criticism that`s come in is -- and this has come from actually a number of federal judges, is the severity of punishment being requested by the government in some of these cases.

This was a Politico. Of the 70-plus people who have been sentenced, fewer than half have received prison time for their actions in the days surrounding the riot. Among those defendants who are being incarcerated, their stint in prison are somewhat brief. The median prison sentence to date is 45 days.

And we should note, there`s -- I think the Department Justice, as Garland said in that clip I played for Harry Dunn is making that distinction, which I think is a justified one between people that essentially trespassed and didn`t do anything other than enter unlawfully, and those who planned or assaulted people. But I wonder what you think of the sort of effort so far at the ground level.

KIRSCHNER: So, you know, these are my friends and my former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney`s Office for the District of Columbia where I worked for decades. So, I know that people who are working this case. I know how much time, energy, and effort they`re pouring into it. And I think Merrick Garland did the best he could do in explaining why there are so many seemingly light sentences but -- because these don`t feel like picketing and protesting cases.

But the fact of the matter is, in my experience, no matter what prosecutorial decisions you make, somebody`s always going to criticize it as being too harsh to light, not exactly right. The reality is when you have 700, 750, 800 defendants, that strains the system, it strains the Department of Justice, it strains the courts, and so the prosecutors have to look at every case in isolation, not as part of some big angry mob and say, what does this person deserve?

Does this person deserve to go to prison? Does this person deserve probation? These are really difficult calls to make. But when Merrick Garland said you should expect to see lower sentences early on. The sentences will ratchet up as we tackle the more serious cases. And his quote was, this is purposeful. They`re building from the ground up which is the way we make these cases.

HAYES: And to Zoe`s point, we will see that trial, and we`ll be looking ahead to that. And Zoe, we`ll have you back on to talk about that as we get closer. Zoe Tillman and Glenn Kirschner, thank you both.

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