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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 1/7/22

Guests: Ruben Gallego, Bart Gellman, Jocelyn Benson, Josh Kaul, Paul Krugman


The chair of that committee investigating January 6, Bennie Thompson, told NPR the committee could send former Vice President Mike Pence a request to appear before the committee as early as this month. Fox News Host Tucker Carlson spars with Sen. Ted Cruz on live TV after Cruz calls the January 6 attack a terrorist attack. Liz and Dick Cheney are the only Republicans to attend the January 6 events in the U.S. Capitol. Washington Post reports, at least 163 Republicans who have embraced Donald Trump`s false 2020 election plans are running for statewide positions that would give them authority over the administration of elections.


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

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.

HAYES: Sen. Ted Cruz canceled for observing reality.

CRUZ: The way I phrase things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb.


HAYES: Tonight, the real world danger of disqualifying Republicans who oppose political violence.

Plus, can we just talk about the surprise appearance of Dick Cheney on the right side of history? Then --

ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Courts are not politically accountable. Courts have not been elected. Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?

HAYES: Today`s Supreme Court arguments to overturn vaccine requirements during a pandemic.

And Paul Krugman on the underappreciated evidence of a booming Biden economy.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I reject the idea that we should somehow punish people because they finally have a little more breathing room.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. There`s breaking news tonight about the January 6 Committee and Mike Pence. The chair of that committee investigating January 6, Bennie Thompson, told NPR the committee could send former Vice President Mike Pence a request to appear as early as this month.

"I think you could expect that before the months out." The Vice President was put in tough spot. The President was putting a lot of pressure on him to break the law and he stood fast. And because of his respect for the law, there were people who came to the Capitol a year ago, wanting to hang him. And so, for no other reason our committee really needs to hear what are his opinions about what happened on January 6.

NBC News has now confirmed that reporting with a committee aid saying, "the chairman`s comments indicate the Select Committee is contemplating issuing an invitation to the former vice president sometime this month.

Earlier this week, the Chairman said he was hoping to speak to Pence directly. The vice chairwoman of the committee, Liz Cheney, said yesterday she is looking forward to Pence`s "cooperation." Of course, it`s unclear if Mike Pence would agree to talk to the committee voluntarily, or if the committee would ever consider issuing a subpoena.

But there are a number of lingering questions the former vice president can answer. He was one of the few people with security detail on the sixth and those agents can provide more information about what the White House knew about the threat of violence.

Perhaps most importantly, Pence can also answer questions about conversations he had with Donald Trump in the days leading up to the insurrection. We know from extensive media reporting that Trump himself, along with his allies, repeatedly pressured Pence to enable his coup plot by throwing out tens of millions of votes on the sixth and handing the election to Trump instead.

Now, Pence who we`ve talked about here all week was the one man who may have most prevented in the final moment Donald Trump from destroying American democracy on a day an angry mob was looking to hang him and chanting so. But a year later, Mike Pence seems very much back in the fold or trying to be back in the fold downplaying January 6 as just another day, just another day where they were chanting to hang me. And sucking up the fringe elements now fully in charge of the Republican Party. And he is of course, is by no means alone.

And perhaps the most pathetic example of this we have seen is the sad Republican senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. He released an official statement that began "The attack of the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system." That was one year ago. He used that language again in a statement on February 13. "As I said repeatedly, what we saw on January 6 was a despicable terrorist attack on the United States Capitol. And again, on May 28. He said, "The January 6 terrorist attack on the Capitol was a dark moment in our nation`s history."

Now, that`s all over the past year, month after month after month. The day after, month after month. And then, on Wednesday this week, commemorating, memorializing this anniversary, Cruz said it yet again this time during a Senate Rules Committee hearing.


CRUZ: We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage.


HAYES: Now, we should know that over the past year, Cruz has managed to make those occasional statements while simultaneously downplaying Donald Trump`s role in the insurrection and, of course, attacking liberals for being too obsessed with it. Of course, Cruz was also one of the key enablers and plotters of the coup on January 6. The only reason that it had a chance of working was senators joining the House in objecting to electoral certification. And he led a group of senators planning to object the electoral vote, voted to overturn the election results on that fateful day after the violent insurrection.

So, let`s be clear that Cruz was -- is on the side of the mob in its goals if not its means. All of that said, I should say for myself, terrorism is not the word that I used, tend to use to describe what happened at the Capitol. On this show, we tend to call it political violence or violent insurrection, which it was. But putting definitional questions aside, the important thing here about rhetoric from Cruz and other Republicans when they engage in it is simply to draw a line between what is and is not acceptable in political conflict, right?


What happened on January 6 was a mass mobilized violent attack. Five police officers who defended the Capitol died in the following days and weeks, 150 officers were injured with some sustaining brain injuries, one even being stabbed with a metal fence of steak. The insurrection was one of the worst days for injuries for law enforcement since September 11.

There was also, let`s remember, an attempted pipe bombing at the headquarters of the Democratic National -- Democratic and Republican National Committee`s. In fact, a year later, no one has been apprehended in relation to those bombs. In fact, we just found out that Vice President Kamala Harris was inside the DNC headquarters on January 6 when the pipe bomb was discovered outside the building.

What exactly would you call someone planting pipe bombs outside of two major party headquarters? Whatever term you want to use, the attempted insurrection was a violent act meant to overthrow a free and fair election to install a ruler over the will of the people by force. But of course, either tacitly passing over that fact or strenuously endorsing it are the only open positions allowed the Republican Party.

Vehemently condemning it, as you would think all sensible and decent people across the spectrum would is not allowed anymore. It`s not allowed. The litmus test for Republicans is that the attempted coup was all fine and good that whatever Donald Trump says goes and political violence is not to be condemned certainly when it is done by your side.

One of the people who enforces that line along with Donald Trump and his increasingly authoritarian political movement is the 8:00 p.m. host on the insurrection channel. Tucker Carlson seeing here posing with Roger Stone and members of the far right group the Proud Boys, attacks Ted Cruz for disparaging those finepeople who tried to violently overthrow our government that day.

Now, we know that Ted Cruz has a long, well-established and well documented thing for self-humiliation. And I mean, I don`t want to kink shame here, OK. He genuinely seems to enjoy it. He seems to seek it out. That`s his -- that`s his business. You may remember, when Cruz endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign after Trump insulted his wife and accused his father being involved in the Kennedy assassination.

So, in that regard, it is not at all surprising that Ted Cruz went on Tucker Carlson show last night the night after Tucker attacked him to humiliate himself, to grovel, to apologize in a mealy mouthed fashion and get walloped.


CARLSON: You call this a terror attack when by no definition was it a terror attack. That`s a lie. You told that lie on purpose, and I`m wondering why you did.

CRUZ: Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on. When you aired your episode last night, I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, listen, I`d like to go on because the way I phrase things yesterday, it was sloppy, and it was frankly dumb.

CARLSON: I don`t buy that. I don`t buy that. Look, I`ve known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You`re a Supreme Court contender. You take words as seriously as any man who`s ever served in the Senate. And every word you repeated that phrase, I do not believe that you use that accidentally. I just don`t.

CRUZ: And so, Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it`s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. Let me tell you what I meant to say. What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers.


HAYES: All right, we cut it off before he says, thank you, sir, may I have another. But Ted Cruz still had not had enough. So, he then proudly tweeted out the video of that interview along with some extra sniffling. He said in part, "I was not calling the thousands of peaceful protesters on January 6 terrorists. I would never do so. I have repeatedly explicitly said the opposite denouncing the Democrats shameful efforts to do so and to try to paint every Trump voter in America as terrorists and insurrectionists." OK.

Now, keep in mind, the violence on January 6 was not an accident. It was the point. I really feel like people haven`t quite like gotten their heads around this. Like, oh, how did we let that happen? How did Donald Trump let it happen? No, no, no, no, it was the plan, OK.

According to a former aide, Donald Trump initially refused to include the phrase stay peaceful in the tweet he sent while the mob was descending on the Capitol. You refuse to say stay peaceful. Why would he refuse to say stay peaceful? Well, because he did not want them to be peaceful. He didn`t want to tell them to be peaceful because he didn`t want them to be peaceful, because he wanted the insurrection to work.

He wanted the mob to occupy the Capitol so as to overthrow the fairly and democratically elected government and install him. The violence was the point. And supporting that violence is the litmus test for those remaining in the party.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut put it plainly in a tweet replying to Ted Cruz. "The scariest thing about this is it`s now 100 percent clear you can`t win the Republican nomination for president if you oppose political violence."


And he is right. We are seeing that play out all the time. This is not just high-profile Ted Cruz with his humiliation fetish, OK. Even at the lowest levels of the Republican Party, a Republican state senator in Wisconsin who had the audacity to say that the election was not stolen and to oppose a Republican phony investigation into the results, has now foreclosed the possibility of her future in the Republican Party. Today, she announced she is not running for reelection. She says she was not forced out, but one of the leaders in the election investigation recently called on her to resign. So, you know, you do the math, no career for you.

Opposing the big lie, opposing the insurrection, condemning political violence whipped up by Donald Trump, they are not allowed in the Republican Party. That`s where they draw the line, opposing political violence where your side is behind it and Donald Trump is in favor of it is not allowed. So, Ted Cruz is a lot of things, but his decision to do what he did yesterday shows that he understands where the future of the Republican Party lies.

Congressman Ruben Gallego is a Democrat representing Arizona seventh congressional district. He`s spoken extensively about his experience on the sixth and he joins me now. You know, I spent a lot of time around politicians, and there`s a lot of things politicians do. I think there`s a lot of stereotypes in them that are unfair, that they`re shifty, that they speak out of both sides of their mouth. They do one thing in public and one thing in private. They`re ambitious and conniving. I`ve never seen anything quite like Ted Cruz in terms of embodying these. But what do you make of what he did?

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): I mean, he is the ultimate craven politician who will do anything, sell anything, you know, not defend anything that matters to him, provided that it, you know, ultimately leads them to his whatever aspirational goal is, which I think is still president.

But look, you know, this is a problem that is across the Republican Party, they`ve lost all sense of direction. They`re no longer a party of policy and ideas. They`re a party that is just a cult of personality. And if you are a good Republican elected official, you have to stand by Donald Trump, and you have to basically align with him.

And part of that is the sheer denial of the fact that there was political violence, that there was terrorism, you know, on January 6. It`s a sad statement for Cruz. And you know, I`ve been in politics now for 10 years. It`s just not worth it. It`s not worth selling out your family like he did when he sold out his dad and his wife. It`s not worth selling out your own soul, especially for someone like Donald Trump. And to grovel at the, you know, at the knees of somebody like Tucker Carlson, it`s definitely not worth it. I would rather be out of politics than have to do something like that.

HAYES: Yes. I remember -- you know, I once -- I had a friend once who ran for office, and I remember having a conversation with him before he ran where we were going to, like, make a list of things he wouldn`t do or say and put it in a safe when he went to run so that we -- and we would have the key for it that we could go and like, take it out and be like, you can`t do that, buddy. And I think someone should do that there.

GALLEGO: It`s your family that does that.

HAYES: What`s that?

GALLEGO: It`s usually your family that does that for you.

HAYES: Yes, or someone, some sort of intervention. But your point here -- I mean, Cruz is sort of ridiculous example, but like this is now -- this is the litmus test. I mean, I think what you saw a year ago was people felt like they could say we can -- this was horrible. And the Senate -- I remember the Senate Republicans tweeted out like, this is not who we are. There`s a lot of like -- now, granted, the majority of the caucus in the house that you serve with voted for the coup, OK, but they could at least condemn the violence.

Even that now condemning violence, it seems to me important thing if you`re going to run a liberal democracy in which conflict is resolved through nonviolent means, even condemning the violence now is not allowed.

GALLEGO: Again, like because the violence points directly at Donald Trump, it is a direct attack on Donald Trump. So, if you are attacking -- if you`re saying this was a violent coup, or if it was a violent act, you`re basically saying that that was pushed by dear leader. And when you can`t attack dear leader, dear leader is perfect, right. So, that`s what`s happening right here.

This all points back to the cult of personality that is surrounding Donald Trump. And it is being reinforced by the unified media messaging that they have there through Fox News, through, you know, their particular, you know, blogs, you know, telegram lists, WhatsApp lists. And what`s happening more and more is that because these decisions are being made in primaries, the Republican Party is becoming even more extremely because, you know, moderates are just leaving the Republican Party and not participating in primary.

So, this thing is going to keep evolving. The way you stop this -- we`ve seen it pushed back here in Arizona is you have to stop -- you have to start giving them ultra-losses and prove to the point where extremists can`t win. And then, hopefully, there is some type of fixing.

Now, the problem you have here is that Donald Trump controls the message and the money of the Republican Party, so it`s going to be very difficult for them to do that until Donald Trump is defeated one more time.


HAYES: So, Cruz is one figure, Kevin McCarthy strikes me as somewhat similar figures. I mean, you know, he has gone from, I think, you know, saying the President bears responsibility to, you know, going kissing his ring. And now essentially -- go ahead.

GALLEGO: I mean, Kevin McCarthy is that -- is Ted Cruz but just not as smart. So, he is -- he`s the -- you know, he`s the dumber version of Ted Cruz, still empty shell of a human being, just as crazy as a politician, but just not as smart. But he will do anything to become Speaker of the House. He`ll align himself with QAnon crazies, you know, Matt Gaetz who is, you know, pretty close at some point to hopefully be indicted for being a pedophile.

You know, this type of person that he is, and he`ll do it because he wants that title of Speaker of the House. And you know, he`s just again, the dumber version of Ted Cruz in the House.

HAYES: What is your judgment of Mike Pence and all this who it looks like the committee is going to ask to speak to voluntarily this month.

GALLEGO: Look, I think Mike -- the former president -- former Vice President Pence needs to understand he`s not going to be president. He`s not going to win a primary because Donald Trump is never going to support him.

HAYES: Correct.

GALLEGO: And so, he should, you know, go and follow up on the integrity he showed on January 6. I was on the floor on January 6. I waited until the final vote was done and I went up and shook his hand. I`ve disagreed with him a lot. And -- but, you know, that day he showed some integrity, and I was going to commend him for that.

He should solidify his reputation and, you know, if anything, cleanse his reputation from being so in line with Donald Trump. And, you know, that`s exactly what I would be doing. Sorry. I have a little guy that just popped it in.

HAYES: Oh, good. Oh, we love -- we`re big fans of little guys. Hey, buddy. Well, good --

GALLEGO: I got to buy him a dessert after this.

HAYES: Well, you just offer good advice and for any children within earshot about -- earshot about how to conduct yourself. Congressman Reuben Gallego, thank you for your time.

GALLEGO: Thank you for your time too.

HAYES: You don`t have to be that old to remember the pretty dark legacy that Dick Cheney earned during his tenure in the Bush administration and the less than flattering nickname that went along with it.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Vice President Cheney came up to see the Republicans yesterday. You can always tell when the Republicans are restless because the Vice President`s motorcade pulls into the Capitol. And Darth Vader emerges.


HAYES: It`s kind of an amazing turn to see people like Nancy Pelosi embracing Darth Vader on the floor of the house last night. I have the perfect guest to talk about Dick Cheney sudden appearance on the right side of history next.



HAYES: So here`s a plot twist -- plot twist I did not see coming. In the season five finale of this national nightmare ahead of the one year anniversary the January 6 insurrection, Karl Rove, the Republican architect of George W. Bush`s political success, wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on the Republicans January 6 responsibility.

In it he writes, "To move beyond January 6, 2021, we must put country ahead of party. There can be no soft-pedaling what happened, no absolution for those who planned, encouraged, and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less. That`s true patriotism."

OK. The twists do not end there, though. Yesterday, as the House commemorated the one year anniversary of the insurrection with a moment of silence, the only Republicans in the floor observing the moment were Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

As they made their way around the Capitol, Vice President Cheney was asked his thoughts about the Republican response of the insurrection. It`s a bit hard to hear but you can follow along with subtitles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your reaction to the Republican leadership`s handling of this, of the reaction to January 6?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for ten years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, everybody, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Come on, guys, we need to stay. Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you disappointed with the way that they`ve treated your daughter?

D. CHENEY: My daughter can take care of herself.


HAYES: Dick Cheney, Karl Rove back in surprise appearances as our democracy hangs in the balance. So, to make these former Republican leaders with I got to say truly vile pass, trying to step in as a moral conscience for the Republican Party.

Bart Gellman is a staff writer for The Atlantic who literally wrote the book on Dick Cheney in 2008, which is titled Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, now covers democracy and the threat to it for the Atlantic. And he joins me now.

My first thought was about you, Bart, because I read your book, right when it came out. It`s a fantastic biography. And I had been thinking watching Liz Cheney like, where`s the old man on all this? And we got our view. What do you make of his appearance yesterday?

BART GELLMAN, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, the first thing you got to say is he`s a really good dad. I mean, he`s there as the father supporting his daughter. Now, it happens to be that they both have been minority whip of the House of Representatives. And he`s been standing back watching her career and letting her do her thing.

I think it`s clearly loathe Donald Trump. And he, you know, he did a lot of things that were terrible for the country. He made a lot of big mistakes, but they were always sincere. He`s a -- he`s an ideologue. He`s a zealot. But he truly believes what he`s saying. And he truly believes in the virtue of what he`s doing.

And one of the things he believes in apparently is the constitution. In fact, one of his final acts as Vice President was to go do the USS Constitution up in Boston, the old wooden fighting ship and swear in some Navy Seaman for realism and he had them do the oath right there with him.

He`s there for his daughter. I don`t know whether he or she think that she has a way back politically having made the stand she`s made but -- and they`re standing up with it.


HAYES: You know, my sort of take on this is A, the Bush people and people around Bush genuinely loathed Trump personally, viscerally, hate him. Hate him because of the way that he talked about George Bush and Jeb and we`ve seen this over the years. I got lots of you know, Bush people, you know, hate Trump.

So, there`s a sort of personal animus. There`s a principal objection to what he is and what he did. I think Liz Cheney truly believes the January 6 was horrifying. But I also wonder like, you know, so many people in the Republican Party had basically gone broke shorting Trump`s stock. But at some point, somewhat like, it can`t last forever, right?

Like, I think you got to be thinking if you`re Liz Cheney that if the thing blows up, if it does come to some sort of end, someone is going to be there to pick up whatever`s left. And I got to think that`s part of at least the strategic political thinking as she negotiates the situation.

GELLMAN: True. And she`s young enough to ride this out. I mean, her dad is in the Trump and Biden generation. He`s walking pretty slowly. He`s only one year older than Biden. But she`s got time. She`s got time if the Republican Party falls apart, and has to remake itself, and someone standing there and saying, you know, I told you not to go down that road. But we`ve seen quite a ways off from that at the moment.

HAYES: Well, that`s the thing. I mean, I do think the primary that she`s going to get in Wyoming is going to be a real showdown over this. And obviously, there`s someone who`s incredibly ambitious. I mean, she primary incumbent Republican in Wyoming for Senate and last for basically no reason other than her last name was changed. She wanted to be a senator.

So, I mean there`s going to be a lot of -- that fight will end up being a kind of fascinating war of the roses proxy fight, you know, between I think that -- the sort of Cheney-Bush world and MAGA world.

GELLMAN: Yes , I think that`s right. I mean, look, she got real risk in the primary.


GELLMAN: Because of the primary electorate but -- and because of who turns up at primaries. But in a general election, she would easily be the favorite with all Republicans and Democrats voting. She`d be easily the favorite to win again, whether she gets past the hard core and the kinds of loyalists who turn up at the primary is a different question. And I don`t know why I`m in politics well enough to tell you.

HAYES: Yes. She may have to pull Murkowski there. We`ll see what happens. Bart Gellman, thank you very much.

GELLMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Statewide elections are inundated with Republican candidates who`ve embraced Trump`s bogus election frauds, including races for governor, attorney general, secretary of state. So, what happens if they win? That`s next.



HAYES: The now concerted effort underway right now to co-op elections of local level across the country.

As the Washington Post reports, at least 163 Republicans who have embraced Donald Trump`s false 2020 election plans are running for statewide positions that would give them authority over the administration of elections, that includes 69 candidates for governor in 30 states, as well as 55 candidates for the U.S. Senate, 13 candidates for state attorney general and 18 candidates for Secretary of State in places where that person is the state`s top election official.

Trump tried to overturn the will of the voters in at least six battleground states in 2020.

And honestly, it was only through the integrity of the officials in charge of those elections, some of them Republicans, that he did not succeed. So, those are the stakes at the local and state level right now.

I`m joined now by officials from frontlines of two of these vital battleground states. Jocelyn Benson, the Secretary of State of Michigan, and Josh Kaul the Attorney General of Wisconsin.

And Josh, let me start with you with what`s going on in Wisconsin, which has not quite gotten the amount of national attention as the, you know, ridiculous fraudulent audit that happened in Arizona. But you have Republicans in your state undergoing their own kind of investigation of the 2020 election as we speak right now.

JOSH KAUL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, WISCONSIN: That`s right, what`s happening in Wisconsin is different than what unfolded in Arizona, but equally harmful. And it`s doing a similar thing to perpetuate the big lie. It`s being led by a former state Supreme Court justice, who has made a number of wild accusations about what`s happening.

But so far, it hasn`t proven anything. And we`ve had a number of reviews in Wisconsin and time after time, they`ve shown what we all know and have known since the election happened, which is that we have a safe and secure elections in Wisconsin.

HAYES: Secretary Benson, talk to me about how the sort of authority of elections flows in a state like Michigan, and who the people are at these sort of local levels, and how much who they are matters to preserving the integrity of the system itself.

JOCELYN BENSON, SECRETARY OF STATE, MICHIGAN: Well, thanks, Chris, for having us and really again, highlighting this very critical matter for all of us tonight and this whole year.

In Michigan, we have a very decentralized system of elections, which is good because it ensures that we have over 1,600 clerks administering the process elected or appointed at the local level.


And then, as the state chief election officer, I help and oversee and support those individuals. But then, after the election is done, we have a similarly decentralized certification process, where partisans appointed in the canvassing boards for every county (AUDIO GAP) at the state, review the details of the election and certify it. And that is how an election results become finalized.

And the interesting thing that`s happening in Michigan that`s also happening in different ways around the country, is that the Republican appointees, particularly in Wayne County, where Detroit is and at the state level, who essentially did the right thing with integrity, follow the law and certified our election results in 2020 have since been replaced by individuals who believe falsely that the 2020 election results were inaccurate, the election was stolen and everything else about the big lie.

So, we are facing a potential challenge in future elections where you have people in charge of certifying elections who don`t seem to believe in democracy.

HAYES: Yes, I want to come back to Attorney General Kaul in a second. Let me just follow up with you on one more question about that.

So, I mean, not to get too into the weeds of Michigan State of election law. But, you know, if you`ve got these bipartisan boards, right, they essentially have these kind of ministerial roles, like, from their administrator, right? We counted it, these are the votes, we looked at the spreadsheet, we made sure there`s no errors, boom, stamp it.

If you have essentially people on those boards who are like, no, we don`t like these results. We`re not certifying this, what happens?

BENSON: We go to court to force them to do their jobs and follow the law. And that`s exactly what will happen if that occurs in future elections, it`s what happened (PH) in 2020.

HAYES: Yes. OK. That`s right. That`s the recourse and Attorney General Kaul, you talked about the sort of this investigation, and Secretary Benson just talked about, you know, Republicans that sort of, you know, upheld integrity last time being weeded out.

Today, where it was news, we mentioned her in the top, Kathy Bernier, who`s a GOP state senator, who`s been quite critical of that investigation in your state, said she`s not running for reelection. And it seems pretty clear that`s because that view has placed her outside the acceptable boundaries for the Republican Party in the state of Wisconsin.

KAUL: You know, Senator Bernier is the one Republican in our state legislature who has had the courage to stand up and call out these attacks in our democracy. She`s also the chair of our Senate Elections Commission.

And so, when she leaves office, she`s going to be replaced by somebody who hasn`t been willing to stand up to these attacks.

And I think it`s really important to follow up on the point that Secretary Benson made, which is that since the attacks in the 2020 presidential election, and since the insurrection, rather than seeing the Republican Party step back and realize they had gone way too far, we`ve seen efforts to purge Republican officials who did the right thing in 2020. And of course, there are going to be efforts to unseat the Democratic officials who stood in the way of those attacks on our democracy.

And our system worked in part because people who were in those key positions did the right thing. But 2022 is going to have an impact on what happens with those positions in the future.

HAYES: What is the path forward here? I mean, the thing that seems most key here is the position of Secretary of State, Secretary Benson, where, you know, you would be the one, right, so in that -- in the hypothetical effort (PH), right, it would be your office bringing suit.

Now, in the absence of that someone else would have standing probably to bring that same suit. But those positions, I mean, really seem crucial and important heading into these midterms.

BENSON: Oh, yes, the ballgame. I mean, in Michigan, I`m fortunate enough to have a great partner in the Attorney General`s Office, where we can work in concert to defend and protect democracy.

And unsurprisingly, we`re both being challenged up for reelection this year, being challenged by advocates of the big lie.

So, certainly, these statewide roles are pivotal. And democracy is ability to survive in the future will be determined by who wins and loses this November.

And so, I think it`s important for our citizens to know they have the power to either reject a proponents of the big lie or support, in some cases reelect those who`ve stood guard on both sides of the aisle to protect their vote, their voices and their democracy.

HAYES: Yes, we should -- we should be clear here that I think there are -- there are -- there exists Republicans who are perfectly trustworthy to run an election. It`s just a question of whether they can make it through a primary in this situation.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, thank you both.

BENSON: Thanks for having us, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, you don`t hear this really anywhere. But I`m going to tell you, there really is a victory lap to be taken over the booming American economy. And today, Joe Biden did just that.

Paul Krugman on why the American Recovery is going so much better than you may think, coming up.



HAYES: To the most morally indefensible aspects of the political right during the COVID pandemic have been its increasing celebration and embrace of anti-democratic methods and means, and its nihilistic vaccine skepticism and outright denial. Both of those traits on full display today, when Donald Trump`s six-three Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Biden`s vaccine mandate for large employers.

We witnessed firsthand why Mitch McConnell did everything in his power to get conservatives on board with Trump in exchange for the ability to remake the judiciary as a tool of movement conservatism.

Because you see back in 1970, both Houses of Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was then signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon, which established the Occupational Safe and Health -- Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA to oversee worker safety.

And according to the law, OSHA, "Shall declare an emergency temporary standard to take immediate effect if employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances, or agents determined to be toxic, or physically harmful, or from new hazards, and that such emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger.


Now, I`m not a lawyer, but that seems pretty cut and dry. OSHA is obligated to take emergency measures to protect employees from substances, agents or hazards that put workers in grave danger.

Like say, oh, I don`t know, a highly infectious virus that`s already killed 830,000 Americans.


Federal action to fight COVID. He won that election by seven million votes, he won the Electoral College and then he used his victory to take that action within the scope of the OSHA law, again, passed by Congress and signed by President Nixon.

But the thing is, conservatives don`t like it. So, guess what? They`ve got their own little supervisory legislature we now call the Supreme Court.

It`s a court the solid Trump majority, which now looks at to overturn the vaccine requirement for large employers.

In an emergency appeal session today, the audio of which was broadcast live, the conservative justices made it clear what they thought of Biden`s plan.


CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: The 20-year-olds who are unvaccinated are actually safer than the older workers who are vaccinated.

So, there are obviously some differences. Would you just talk about how efficacious the vaccine is in the workplace?

AMY CONEY BARRETT, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: So, now, full vaccination might not just be the two jobs, it might include a booster as well.

So, when does the emergency end? When must OSHA actually resorts to its regular authority and go through notice and comment and not simply be kind of doing it in this quick way, which doesn`t afford people the voice in the process that they`re otherwise entitled to?

JOHN ROBERTS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: You`re saying that Congress acted, don`t complain the Congress hasn`t done anything. And that, you know, that was 50 years ago that you`re saying Congress acted. I don`t think it had COVID in mind.


HAYES: There hasn`t been any official decision by the Supreme Court yet. But it sure sounds like this handful of right wing judges are just going to legislate from the bench and be very activist and quite open to swooping in to tell the duly elected president that despite the authority explicitly granted to the executive branch under the OSHA law, his mandate is nonetheless unconstitutional because Clarence Thomas doesn`t like it.

Even though as Justice Elena Kagan tried to point out today, this extraordinary action by the Biden administration is pretty clearly justified by the horrific ongoing toll of the pandemic.


ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: This is a pandemic in which nearly a million people have died. It is by far the greatest public health danger that this country has faced in the last century.

Whatever necessary means, whatever grave means, why isn`t this necessary and grave?

It`s an extraordinary use of emergency power occurring in an extraordinary circumstance.





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A couple of months ago, we heard a lot of dire warnings about supply chain problems leading to a crisis around the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We acted.

We brought together business and labor to solve the problems. The much predicted crisis didn`t occur. The Grinch did not steal Christmas, nor any votes.


HAYES: President Joe Biden today was out touting the success of his administration economy, which is something we do not hear enough about. Things look much better, better than they did four or five months ago when all you heard about was inflation and disrupted supply chains.

Look at this graph, that dotted red line is the jobs recovery from the Great Recession back in 2008. Look how long and shallow that recovery is, right? How long it took the economy to bounce back, over 70 months to get back to where it was.

The solid blue line is the COVID recovery. The jobs line drops really quickly when the pandemic starts, also starts rebounding really quickly. That`s when everything opened back up. There`s still a long way to go. But look how much further we are along 21 months in.

As President Biden tweeted "Today the nation`s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent. That`s the sharpest one year drop in unemployment in U.S. history."

Yes, there are lots of bumps there. Lots of dislocations. But in the aggregate, Democrats are able to come in and pass two huge bills ERP and the bipartisan infrastructure bill to stimulate the economy. And we`re seeing the effects.

It`s one of the things that drives me a little insane about this whole situation in conversation. The left specifically, won the intellectual debate about the Great Recession, the Republican driven austerity slowed down the post 2008 recovery, and it consigned millions to unnecessary misery for years, likely, I think paving the way for Trump`s rise.

This time, Democrats did the opposite. They invested a lot of money in the recovery, and it has had really positive effects. But for some reason, there`s not nearly enough of the victory lap, especially since one of the key factors that will determine who wins the midterms, therefore control the future U.S. politics, possibly American democracy is the economy.

Now, today, December jobs numbers came out, they were below expectations. It`s also worth noting, for the past four months, these reports have been wildly inaccurate. They had to do revisions and read just the numbers higher three of the past four months.

And another thing, just two days ago, the payroll processing firm ADP reported private job growth in December had more than doubled estimates.

So, it`s pretty clear the data is very noisy right now, but the job market is very strong. I`ll leave you with one final graph to make my point about the progress that has been made.

Whatever the jobs report is for December, 2021 as a year saw the fastest job growth in more than four decades. See that big spike all the way at the end? The last time that happened was 1978.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning economist and opinion columnist from New York Times where he recently wrote a piece titled Don`t tell anyone, but 2021 was pretty amazing and he joins me now.


On the economy, I agree with you. And I feel like it`s a bizarrely under articulated view. Why do you think it was pretty amazing?

PAUL KRUGMAN, OPINION COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, look, the -- we`ve become accustomed to these long, slow jobless recoveries. And yet, it took a long time to dig out of the hole from each of the past three recessions. And this time, we came out really fast.

I mean, we are -- by a number of measures, we`re pretty close to where we were before the pandemic hit. Well, unemployment is back below four percent. Prime age employment is not quite back to where it was, but it`s back where it was in 2018, which I don`t remember people calling a bad year.

So, yes, I mean, if you were -- and this is not -- I mean, some of us did suspect that this was going to be a fast recovery. But they -- you know, the average forecast was for something much more sluggish. So, this is -- this should be considered, hey, we faced the greatest economic blow, certainly since the oil crises, possibly since the Great Depression. And we bounced back from it in almost no time, you know, as these things go.

HAYES: You know, there`s a bunch of indicators. I mean, you saw household wealth in the bottom 50 percent increased measurably the amount of savings that Americans had, particularly in the bottom half, the distribution increased as well, we have the most competitive job market we`ve probably ever seen in our lifetime with records of what`s called quits, which is people leaving work to usually to go pursue other jobs.

And yet, you polled people on the economy, and they`re like, I don`t like it. How do you square that circle in your mind?

KRUGMAN: OK, first, inflation is a real thing. Let`s admit that.

HAYES: Yes, keep going.

KRUGMAN: A lot of people`s wages have not kept up with prices, that the inflation -- the inflation was probably unavoidable. It`s hard to see, you know, given all of the disruptions, the lingering effects of the pandemic, the only way to have not have had inflation would have been to really screw up this jobs recovery, which would have been a bad deal for everybody.

But you know, so that`s the real part. The other thing is there are two kinds of questions that you get in service. One is how is the economy doing? And the other is how are you doing?

And when you ask people, how are you doing, by and large they say fine, (INAUDIBLE). When you ask people about their personal financial situation, you ask them, how are they doing compared with the way they were five years ago? Those are all looking pretty good.

If you ask them about the economy, they say it`s awful. And Chris is very much along the partisan lines. Self-identified Republicans say that this is the worst economy that is as bad as 2009 when the unemployment rate was insanely high, and the economy was crashing.

So, a lot of what -- you know, is kind of I`m OK, but somehow things must be terrible for other people, because that`s what I`m hearing on the news and that`s what my politics says I should believe.

HAYES: You know, and on that -- on that inflation point, which I agree with you, like it`s real, and there`s no you know, you can`t what about it. It really matters and it matters in people`s lives and experience of the economy.

I thought Biden`s speech today was sort of surprisingly and remarkably like sophisticated as a piece of sort of economic analysis. He talks about prices going up for cars, he`s got a great references (PH), look, prices are going up for cars, because more people now have money to be able to buy cars, which is boosting demand and we can`t make enough.

And he`s like, so there`s two ways to deal with that. We can figure out ways to make more cars or we can make people poorer so there`s less demand.

He says, surprisingly, there`s a lot of people in the latter camp, which is to say the people who want to slow down job growth or, you know, banging on the Fed for rate hikes, want to slow down the recovery. And I thought it was a very -- a pretty elegant articulation of his vision out of this.

KRUGMAN: Yes, I was -- I was really surprised that it was so well. They read so much like something that I or my friends might have written, right? I actually have to focus, (INAUDIBLE) same thing on the ports.

Yes, we`ve got -- we`ve got congestion at the ports of Long Beach in Los Angeles, where a lot of imports come in. how many hundreds of thousands of American workers should be without jobs, so as to ease the congestion at the ports.

Now, that`s not to say we should never ever raise rates. I think, you know, the Federal Reserve is talking about raising rates a bit, because in the, you know, in the year ahead, which makes some sense, because we look like we`re getting pretty close to full employment. So, that`s not a crazy thing to be doing.

But the idea that we should have done something very different, that we should not have had this rapid recovery. You know, because the ports are clogged. That is just a crazy trade off and nothing that any responsible president should be -- should have been advocating.

HAYES: Paul Krugman, always a pleasure to talk to you about all this stuff. I appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

That is ALL IN for this week. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good to see you my friend and you have yourself an excellent weekend. We`ll see you next week.

HAYES: You too.

VELSHI: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Rachel`s got the night off. So, here`s how it went down.