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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 10/15/21

Guests: Jelani Cobb, David Becker, Ryan Reilly, Maria Hadden

Summary

Followers of former President Trump are pushing out independent knowledgeable professionals who run their local elections with expertise and integrity and attempting to replace them with partisans who are prepared to help Trump steal the election should he need to. A Capitol police officer is under arrest facing charges related to the January 6th investigation. Vaccination rates in police departments across the country lagged behind the national average and police unions have vehemently, strenuously pushed back against any sort of mandate. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that will essentially ban gas-powered lawn equipment.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: The Afro-Latino experience and the lack of Latino representation in the media and in entertainment. You can watch Tiffany`s special tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. right here on MSNBC. You`re going to love it. That is tonight`s "REIDOUT," everybody. Have a great weekend.

And now you can watch ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. The hollowing out of American democracy continues as qualified non-partisan election officials keep getting purged for MAGA replacements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people think all Indians look alike. I think all Chinese look alike. So, how would you tell?

HAYES: Then, what we know about the Capitol police officer charged with helping a January 6th rioter attempt to obstruct justice. Plus --

JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: The city cannot keep doing what they`re doing. They have an obligation to worry about public safety, not about someone`s health status.

HAYES: A showdown in Chicago and across the country as police unions refuse public health orders on vaccines.

And how one reckless law in Texas is causing chaos for teachers across the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you oppose the Holocaust?

HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. According to one estimate, there are more than 10 000 local election jurisdictions in the United States and they are run for the most part by everyday bureaucrats, county clerks and election commissioners. At wager before 2020, the vast overwhelming majority of Americans had absolutely no idea who their local elections official was. Most probably still do not.

It`s kind of like the power grid or the supply chain. You do not want to hear about it or do not hear about it when it is working. You only really think about it when it is in crisis. And our election system are in crisis thanks to Donald Trump`s authoritarian aspirations.

At the ground level, followers of the ex-president are pushing out independent knowledgeable professionals who run their local elections with expertise and integrity and attempting to replace them with partisans who are prepared to help Trump steal the election should he need to.

Let`s look at Wayne County, Michigan. That`s the county that contains the city of Detroit which is of course home to predominantly Black voters who tend to support Democrats. In other words, the kind of voters Republicans have been working to demonize and disenfranchise for years.

Now, let`s remember, last November, a vote-counting center in that county was swarmed by pro-Trump activists trying to do their best impression of the so-called Brooks Brothers Riot which took place in the aftermath of the 2000 election. That`s when Republican operatives tried to shut down counting in the Florida recount.

You might also remember the brief period following the 2020 election when the entire nation was watching Wayne County after the two Republicans on the county board of canvassers, again, the kind of thing you don`t think about when things are working, right? Two people on the county board of canvassers the Republicans refused to vote to certify Joe Biden`s victory in that county for no reason only for both to reverse course a few days later and vote to certify the election.

Now, one of those board members, one of the republicans who initially voted not to certify was Monica Palmer. And she says Donald Trump actually called her personally, the President of the United States calling the Wayne County Board of Canvasser person after she belatedly decided not to overturn the will of the voters.

Monica Palmer`s term on that counting board is now up and local Republicans chose not to re-nominate her to the board. Now, she says it is because she committed the grave sin of eventually certifying Joe Biden`s overwhelming win in Wayne County. Wayne County Republicans then nominated three options to replace her.

We`re going to get into those nominees in a moment, they`re pretty special, but for some context. There were many surreal moments after the 2020 election. They may have all run together in your head. As Donald Trump`s legal team was trying with increasing desperation to keep him in the White House.

And one of the marquee events was this truly bizarre hearing before the Michigan House Oversight Committee which you might remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA CARONE, WITNESS FOR TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: The poll book -- the poll book is completely off, completely off. That poll --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Off by 30,000?

CARONE: I`d say that poll book is off by over 100,000. That poll book -- why don`t you look at the registered voters on there. How many registered voters are on there? Did you do you even know the answer to that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I guess it`s -- I`m trying to get to the bottom of this here.

CARONE: Zero, zero, there`s zero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people think all Indians look alike. I think all Chinese look alike. So, how would you tell? If some Chow Chu shows up, you can be anybody and you can vote. So, ID should be the basic requirement.

[20:05:01]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK, actually there`s signature matching we use for that, but that second woman, the one who made that claim about Chinese-Americans all looking like ergo needing voter ID, she appears to be one of the people Republicans nominated for the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. This is someone who gave testimony at that crazy circus of a hearing.

But that`s not all. A second Republican nominee for the same position was at the January 6th insurrection with the rioters who tried to overturn the results of the election by force. They failed, obviously, which is why they are now trying to infiltrate the very mechanics of our election systems and potentially subvert them from the inside.

Now, we`ve got some developments on this story as we started looking into it. In the process of reporting this out, we`re trying to find out, OK, when is this position going to be filled and who else might be nominated? We reached out to the Wayne County government who got back to us in the last hour.

And as far as we can tell, this has not been reported anywhere. They appointed the third nominee to the vacancy, not those two individuals I just named, a man named Robert Thomas Boyd. We don`t know much about him at this time so not clear if a bullet has been dodged, maybe this guy is going to be great in this job, maybe not. Also not clear if the publicity about these extremely controversial and worrying nominations had an impact.

But again, the Republican Party of Wayne County nominating these individuals themselves highlights the kind of people being considered for such important local positions, what`s happening to the party at the grassroots level because it`s far from an isolated incident. This kind of thing is happening across the country.

In Hood County, Texas which Donald Trump won by a landslide, and I mean real landslide, 81 to 17, Republicans are still not satisfied. Their election in that county was overseen by a woman named Michele Carew. She had a 14-year career managing local election. She is a nonpartisan figure. In fact, public records indicate she has voted in Republican primaries for the past 11 years.

So, that`s the kind of person probably you would want running local elections in a red county in Texas unless you are the local Republican executive committee in Hood County which tried to push Carew out. They accused her of being a secret liberal, criticized her, refusing to allow a far-right journalist to crash a private training session for election officials.

But it`s clear their real beef with Carew is that she competently ran an election which again, Donald Trump won with 81 percent of the vote. Joe Biden received a whopping 17 percent. So, if there was an attempt to steal the election for Biden, which of course there was not, it would have been comically inept.

Local Republicans tried and failed to force Carew out of her job after she oversees this landslide in Hood County but she eventually resigned from her position anyway following the deluge of criticism. The Republican chair in Hood County now wants to eliminate the independent election commissioner position altogether and let elections be run by a partisan county clerk instead in order to, as the Texas Tribune reports, "make the election administration process more accountable to the county`s Republican majority" Does that sound like a good idea to you?

In Hood County, that partisan clerk would be a woman named Katie Lang who has shared memes and videos on social media questioning the results of the election and made headlines in 2018 for refusing to issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples. Texas Republicans want to replace a career elections official with a local partisan who appears to think the election was stolen in a county Donald Trump won with 81 percent of the vote.

But as we have said before, this is not really about the mechanics of local election boards. I mean that`s where it`s playing out. It`s about destabilizing the very idea of elections, about a definitive outcome in which the majority elects someone, in which the loser succumbs to the winner, in which outcomes can be definitively established and who gets to wield power and make those decisions as a result comes from those election results. And we are seeing it unfold successfully all over the country.

Republicans in Arizona and Nevada are running to replace top-level election officials they view as insufficiently pro-Trump. The Associated Press reports that about a third of Pennsylvania`s county election officials have left in the last year and a half. And in Wisconsin, more than two dozen clerks have retired since the presidential election.

Sadly, departures do not come as much of a surprise when you consider Reuters identified more than 100 threats of death or violence made to election officials based on Trump`s claims of fraud. The fact the matter is that most folks are busy -- frankly not if you pay attention to their election infrastructure -- I mean, I include myself in that.

That creates an opening for these bad-faith actors to really try to reshape democracy if you can call that at local level. Because if Donald Trump cannot get local canvassers or clerks to bend to his will and bind to the idea that 2020 election is a fraud, the next best thing is to get people in place who will bend to his will the next time around.

As one Michigan Democrat put it, "These conspiracy theorists are in it for the long haul. They`re in it to completely crumble our republic and they`re looking at these election administrator positions they`re playing the long game."

[20:10:27]

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at the New Yorker, who`s written about the Republican attacks on the democratic process in a comment piece titled Why Republicans are Still Recounting Votes. And David Becker is the founder and executive director of the Center for local -- for Election and Innovation Research which works to build voter trust in elections and improve the efficiency of our election infrastructure. Before that, he worked in the voting section of the Department of Justice`s civil rights division.

David, let me -- let me start with you. And I just want to kind of maybe check or argue against myself first thing out here, which is it`s a big country. The two examples we just gave are really unnerving both in Wayne County and in Hood County in Texas, but maybe these really are isolated and there`s not something broader happening at the local level. You monitor this for a living. What would you say?

DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ELECTION AND INNOVATION RESEARCH: Well, if anything, you`re understating the problem. I mean, it`s a real problem. We are now almost a year past the November election, an election the Trump administration itself recognized was the most secure transparent and scrutinized election in American history. There were more paper ballots and more audits than we`ve ever seen in American history. We had more judges and courts confirm the results of those elections including many, many, Trump judges.

And despite that, we still see election officials from the secretary of state level all the way down to volunteer poll workers being threatened and harassed. Threats are directed at them, at their families at their children. They`re being harassed with frivolous subpoenas. They are seeing legislatures criminalize their professional conduct.

And it`s very important. These are both Republicans and Democrats, people who were in swing states and in states like Texas and Florida and North Carolina that voted for Donald Trump in 2020. And what I hear consistently from election officials, hundreds of them all over the country, is that the stress -- the stress is getting to them.

They are really thinking whether this is all worth it. These are professionals. We`re probably at the most professional point of election administration in American history. And we`re not only suffering from the prospect of losing a generation of election professionalism. The question is what will replace it. It will be replaced with partisan hackery.

HAYES: The Texas aspect of this, and David, you just made this point. I mean this started with you know, obviously the president calling -- the ex- president calling the Georgia secretary of state saying find me one more vote than what I need for the margin, right, and focusing on those states that would have been determined of the outcome. It has now metastasized.

I mean, I find the Texas part of this really fascinating, grimly fascinating because it indicates something even deeper and more pernicious than just a power play to try to overturn the election. So, Jelani, you`ve got the hood -- this Hood County example in which Trump wins 81.

Over the weekend, on Saturday, the ex-president issuing a statement basically calling on the Texas speaker to immediately move a forensic audit bill, like the Arizona bill in that state. "If it doesn`t pass soon, we look forward to seeing him in the Texas Primary. It will get done one way or the other.

Again, Trump carried Texas. There`s not a question about who won Texas. There`s something more profoundly destabilizing happening here I think. What do you think?

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Sure, there is. I mean, for the record, George Washington is the only president of the United States who ever won with a unanimous electoral college tally. And it seems that that`s the standard that they`re aiming for.

It`s not enough that you win, it`s kind of like the autocratic states, you know, where the opposition has zero votes and the dictator uh has, you know, as many votes as there are, often more votes than there are actual people in the -- in the state.

And so, this is you know where we`re headed. And the other part of it is I think there`s a COVID tie-in to all of this because one of the strange things that COVID and the reaction to COVID has made clear to us is that the logic of self-preservation doesn`t apply, that people doing things that would just normally not be controversial because it will tend to keep you alive with something that you could rely upon whether you viewed the world from the left or from the right or from whatever political position.

But now, we have people saying things that blatantly are hostile to people`s ability to continue living. And so, that happens in the pandemic. We have less hope that people will be able to apply that logic to what`s happening in our elections which is plainly suicidal from the perspective of democracy.

[20:15:12]

HAYES: Yes. And that that moment -- I mean, the Wayne County moment to me, David, was a real record scratch moment I think for all of us when that happened, because again, we were sort of getting a look at the -- at the plumbing, at the -- at the electric grid, right, of the -- of the elections. Like, it never occurred to me that like the Wayne County Board of Canvassers got to have a vote, and they`ve got some Republicans, some Democrats, because they just certify because, you know, you make sure the election has been run smoothly, you make sure there`s -- you know, that the account is accurate and you certify.

But the idea that those can pop up in all kinds of places -- I mean there`s another story about Forsyth, Georgia where you`ve got essentially a local tea party faction of the Republican Party there that have taken over a number of seats on the -- on the board there. This has been reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And you know, they have very explicitly said they`re motivated by Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. And the question comes like, when it comes time to count and certify those votes, what happens?

BECKER: Right. And there -- and you`re exactly right. We actually owe a debt of gratitude for people of -- for people of both parties, Republicans and Democrats, who stood up for the will of the voters, the actual will of the voters. I mean, Michigan was not close. It was 154,000 vote margin in Michigan.

And something Jelani said I think is really important, the logic of self- preservation and how detached from reality this all is. We are talking about a lot of legislators in states and others who are actually on the same ballots that they`re challenging and questioning.

HAYES: Yes.

BECKER: 11 of the 16 Republican members of the Arizona Senate were on those Maricopa County ballots, people in -- legislators in Wisconsin, in Michigan, congresspeople in Georgia, in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. They`re actually debasing themselves to such a degree that they are questioning the very ballots that gave them their authority in the first place. That`s how detached from reality all of this is.

HAYES: Well, and the thing that`s really worrying about that, Jelani, is that -- and you`re someone who, you know, your -- I know your history -- scholarship revolved around states that were not democracies. But you know, when you have a situation in which you remove the election as the determinants, right, of who holds power, right? You have an election that`s the mechanics of democracy. There`s a winner, there`s a loser. The winner assumes power and represents the people. If that is -- if you take away the ability to determine a winner, what you are left with is force. Like, that`s what you`re left with.

So, the logic here is even worse than self-defeating. It means you you`re taking the cornerstone of what democracy is built upon.

COBB: Yes, but I think that it`s -- the point is that they`ve been talking about this for a really long time. And we were capable of kind of thinking these were isolated wing nuts of people who just, you know, had watched too many civil war documentaries and were gaming out ways in which the south could have won.

But now, we see that there are factions that really believe that they have to use violent force. And they`ve been waiting for the opportune moment to exert violent force in pursuit of their own political goals.

And so, what we`re looking at in a rational sober sense, as catastrophic to the existence of American democracy, catastrophic and hostile to the United States standing in the world and completely inimical to any sort of peaceful future for our children, they`re looking at as the culmination of things they`ve been waiting for a long time. And so, I think we have to understand that again, the logic of self-preservation fails here.

HAYES: Jelani Cobb and David Becker, thank you both. That was great.

Tonight, a Capitol police officer is under arrest facing charges related to the January 6th investigation not for what he did on the day of the attack, but what he did in the days after. Why he could face up to 20 years in prison after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:00]

HAYES: We spent the last nine months doing a lot of stories on this show about the Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th. We`ve covered how -- nearly 700 people have been charged in connection with the insurrection, how some of them are even serving jail time for it.

Well, tonight, we have another one of those stories, but this time it is about a Capital Police officer. His name is Michael Angelo Riley and he is a 25-year veteran of the Capitol Police force. And he was just indicted by a grand jury on two counts of obstruction of justice punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Riley warned a Facebook friend who was at the Capitol on January 6 to delete photos he had posted to avoid charges. In the criminal complaint, prosecutors say Riley sent a message saying, "I`m a Capital Police officer who agrees with your political stance. Take down the part about being in the building. They are currently investigating. And everyone who is in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out."

The complaint says that after the rioter known in the complaint as Person One turned himself in, he wrote to the Capitol officer saying the FBI was very curious that they had been speaking to each other. Officer Riley responded, that`s fine. That same day, Riley, again, according to their complaint, deleted all their messages.

Ryan Reilly is a Senior Justice Reporter for the Huffington Post. He is currently writing a book on the FBI`s manhunt for January 6 insurrectionist, and he joins me now. Ryan, as best we know, is this the first time a Capitol police officer has been charged?

RYAN REILLY, SENIOR JUSTICE REPORTER, HUFFINGTON POST: Yes. In this capacity, certainly. I mean, this is really a remarkable moment here because you had someone who had this instinct -- you know, this is -- this is someone he was Facebook friends with through a fishing group so it wasn`t even someone he knew personally. And apparently, they only became friends a few days before the actual Capitol riot.

And his instinct upon seeing that someone that he knew online had unlawfully entered the Capitol and had valuable footage that could be of potential relevance to investigators was to protect this person that he never met before and only knew from social media from any potential harm down the road.

And if you look at some of the images, you know, we`ve been able to report who this individual was in this -- in this case, and it was this guy who actually was a boat charter captain in Virginia Beach. And that`s sort of how they had this relationship over fishing. And he`s someone who was wearing like an F Antifa sweatshirt and all of this military gear when he stormed the Capitol.

And like, the -- to see those images and to see how he was dressed and then for the police officer to respond like this and basically help him engage in a cover-up is a really, really remarkable and troubling set of circumstances. That is enraging a lot of Capitol police officers that day.

HAYES: I can imagine. And particularly, I mean, there`s -- you know, this is after the fact, right? So, I mean, there are people who, in attempting to kind of excavate themselves for what they did entering the Capitol, said I was just sort of going the flow, I didn`t really know what was going on, I had no idea.

But this is -- he`s doing this after, you know, the Capitol police have had various members that had their heads bashed in and going to the hospital and presumably after Officer Sicknick`s death. I mean, it`s really striking to help someone essentially cover up as alleged here when you have seen firsthand what happened.

REILLY: Yes. And also, if you look at even the, you know, not being aware of the potential repercussions for himself potentially. He`s communicating with this individual on Facebook, an unencrypted social media platform where you know -- and his response after he realizes that this guy has been arrested and the FBI is interested in him is to delete all of his messages to him which obviously isn`t going to do anything. That only deletes it on your side. That doesn`t delete it on his side. And the FBI had already downloaded everything off of his phone.

So, this wasn`t going to help, and it actually earned him another charge for trying to engage in the second cover-up. And just I think -- you know, that sort of speaks to some of the lack of awareness about the potential ways that your digital footprint can be used against you and policing in general. You know, that`s something that someone in law enforcement really should have known that that wasn`t going to work. And that covering his tracks by deleting unencrypted Facebook messages wasn`t actually going to be able to cover up for what he did that day.

HAYES: Yes. There`s also a subtext -- well, there`s a context here I think that`s important. And I know that you and I have actually spoken about this which is, you know, there were a lot of people who saw what happened on January 6 and said to themselves, how could this be possible. How could it be the case that Capitol police were unprepared, that they were able to get in.

And a lot of people I think, based on that instinct, not based on actual you know things that we knew were reported, said there had to be some inside job component, there had to be some, you know, part of the Capitol Police. And I think that has not borne out in the investigation so far. In fact, what we know is that they were mostly just sort of scared, intimidated, overwhelmed. Many of them fighting very hard to keep people out. This is the first instance we have of a police officer with political sympathies acting allegedly in concert with the insurrection.

REILLY: Yes. And I think you know, in these early days, we didn`t really have the full scope of the activity on the Capitol. And there was a lot of speculation that this was something that law enforcement essentially allowed and they were politically completely aligned.

HAYES: Right.

REILLY: And in reality, I think what we`ve seen is that yes, the political bias played a role here. But I think that that played a role in the lack of preparation. It wasn`t when there was an active attack on the Capitol. I don`t think you saw a lot of instances where oh, I`m going to allow this active attack in my brothers in arms to sort of be, you know, beaten and clubbed and pepper-sprayed and tased. Like, that wasn`t something that they just backed away from and allowed themselves to be -- to be beat up. But I don`t think that in the days afterwards, we immediately, you know, saw that association.

But the larger, you know, alignment between the MAGA movement and law enforcement and the military is something that i think is now sort of -- sort of breaking down and showing some of the colors here because you know, there is another individual who actually after being identified, we reported on this week, after he was identified by his workplace as being in the Capitol, he lost his job.

He was interviewed by the FBI in January. Fast forward to a few months later, he rejoins and re-enlists in the U.S. Army and goes down to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and spent several months in the U.S. Army after storming the Capitol, after being interviewed by the FBI.

And it`s a pretty disremarkable set of circumstances that really shows this alignment between law enforcement and you know, potentially military and some of the troubling things that we need to look at here.

HAYES: Yes. And James Mault is the individual. And there`s a piece that you wrote about reporting about him on HuffPo along with Christopher Mathias. Ryan, thanks so much.

REILLY: Thanks so much for having me.

HAYES: Ahead, the coronavirus accounts for two-thirds of all line of duty deaths for police in America over last two years, two-thirds. So why on earth are police unions refusing life-saving magazines? That story and showdown in Chicago next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:oo]

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Being a police officer in law enforcement during a pandemic is a dangerous job. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit group that has tracked line of duty deaths for over 20 years, COVID was the number one killer of law enforcement officers in both 2020 and 2021.

In fact, one study found more active duty police officers in the U.S. died of COVID in 2020 than all other causes combined.

Since COVID first appeared in the U.S., police officers have been, you know, on the front lines of battling the virus. They`re essential workers, they worked through COVID, they interacted with the public and others.

It would have made sense for every one of them to get vaccinated quickly once a vaccine became available. They are uniquely exposed to the virus but that has not been the case, no, no.

Instead, vaccination rates in police departments across the country lagged behind the national average and police unions have vehemently, strenuously pushed back against any sort of mandate.

Right now, that showdown is playing out in Chicago. In August, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all city workers, all of them need to be vaccinated by October 15th. So, that was back in August, gave them some time that happens to be today.

[20:35:09]

HAYES: The city`s police union, which is the second-largest municipal police union in the country is refusing to comply.

Just so you understand, the context of how all this is playing out. The Union`s former president who used to be the head of this union just died of COVID on Tuesday.

His successor, the current head of the union initially responded to the mayor`s mandate saying and I am quoting here directly. "We`re in America, God damn it. We don`t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This isn`t Nazi expletive Germany, where they say, step into the expletive showers. The pills won`t hurt you. What the expletive?"

That`s right. This is all true. We fact-checked this. The president of the Chicago police union explicitly compared vaccine mandates to Nazi death camps, and his predecessor died of COVID on Tuesday.

The current union president, the one who said it was like Nazi Germany was on Fox News this morning pushing Chicago police to reject the mandate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: OK, so what are your police officers say? How many of them are vaccinated or choosing not to?

JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: The numbers we have are probably around half are not. We had a meeting the other night and our lodge had never been more filled with members. It`s -- they are literally engaged in this fight going forward. They were willing to go into a no pay status at midnight tonight and get sent home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, according to police union, only half of the city`s police force is vaccinated which is way behind the 63 percent of eligible people in Illinois who were fully vaccinated. And again, they became eligible much faster than others.

Just a few hours ago, a judge issued a temporary restraining order to stop the Chicago police union president from making public statements, encouraging officers not to share their vaccination status with the city.

Something to consider here, when you are a citizen, you do not have a choice whether or not to allow a police officer approach you. You`re not allowed to just walk away if you`re worried the officer is unvaccinated. You don`t have a choice about interacting with members of the public.

If we really believe the purpose of police is to keep people safe, public safety and if police want to continue to claim they need military vehicles and assault weapons to keep themselves safe, getting a free safe FDA- approved vaccine should be a no-brainer.

Alderwoman Maria Hadden represents the 49th ward in Chicago and she joins me now.

Alderwoman, I wonder what this is -- how this is playing out in the ward you represent on the north side in Rogers Park and throughout the city? This is obviously made national news now, I know it`s front-page news in Chicago.

What message do you think it`s sending to the residents of Chicago that the police union is taking the stance?

MARIA HADDEN, CHICAGO ALDERWOMAN: It`s a terrible message. It`s a message that says we`re not prioritizing the safety of the residents of the city of Chicago because we`re not prioritizing our own safety.

It`s confusing, and especially at a time where, you know, we`re at odds with a lot of issues around our policing reforms. We`re hearing from police officers that morale is down and that they need more support. This is something that people we would like to support them on, right? We want to support getting them the vaccine, the protections that they need so they can continue to serve the public to do that public service.

HAYES: What is the nature of the political stance of the union president here? I mean, those comments about, you know, get in the showers, they again made national headlines. I know that police union presidents tend to speak like that in many cities across the country. But I can`t imagine that that goes over particularly well.

HADDEN: It certainly hasn`t. Myself, several other colleagues actually signed on to a letter condemning those statements and asking for an apology.

We`ve got a lot of big personalities in the city of Chicago. What we don`t need are divisive personalities. We don`t need people using highly important topics, right?

We`ve lost over 700,000 residents to COVID-19. We`ve -- as you mentioned, we`ve lost police officers, number one -- number one cause of inline duty deaths this year. This isn`t a joke, and it should not be used for someone`s political platform.

We don`t need it. It`s not good for Chicago, it`s causing a mess. And anyone who is making these types of basic compliance and public safety issues a joke is not someone that we need serving Chicago.

[30:40:07]

HAYES: There`s a deeper issue here, too. This has played out in a number of cities in which, you know, the other city workers have a vaccine requirement or testing. Police basically stand up and say no, and in some places, they`ve just said, OK, fine.

And it -- I think it makes people feel like are the police actually under democratic control? Or are they an independent authority to themselves that no one can actually tell what to do, which seems to have broader implications for, as you said, questions around police reform and accountability.

HADDEN: One thing I`ll say is, as you mentioned, this vaccine requirement for the city of Chicago is for all employees. I`m an employee at the city of Chicago. And though some ruling has been made that older people don`t count, (INAUDIBLE) myself and everyone in my office has met this requirement.

And I think it`s also important to note that the mayor, she compromised, she listened to some of the union groups, it`s not just the FOP, where they had members with lower rates or who were hesitant and more concerned about this, right? She`s made some compromise on this, where she by today it`s have you been vaccinated? Tell us yes or no. If you are not vaccinated, you need to do twice-weekly testing, right?

So, this was a change from her original mandate. And other bargain for groups in the city, other public employees have had some questions and challenges, but only one -- only one union labor leader is standing up and asking and encouraging his members to not comply.

An action that would have very negative impacts for those officers who don`t comply, but also for the services owed to the city of Chicago.

So, I know that he is representative of his labor union. But I don`t know that he`s representative of all the police officers in the city of Chicago.

HAYES: All right, Chicago Alderwoman Maria Hadden, thank you so much for making time for us tonight.

HADDEN: Thank you.

HAYES: Silicone, why were teachers in a Texas School District instructed by law to have books offering opposing views of the Holocaust? That story and the law that inspired it, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:46:27]

HAYES: There are so many sources of emissions that are warming our atmosphere. It can be very hard even to know where to start to make a dent in the issue. That`s everywhere, right?

Well, this week, the state of California has made a move which at first, I think you`re going to think sounds small, but actually is likely to have a huge impact.

Here`s the edict, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that will essentially ban gas-powered lawn equipment.

OK, the law would require all new small offered engines, the kinds that you find in things like leaf blowers and weed trimmers, lawnmowers and like to be zero emissions.

According to the Associated Press, California has more than 16.7 million of these small engines in the state, about three million more than the number of passenger cars on the road, which I wouldn`t have necessarily bet that was the case.

And even though the engines are small, they are emission nightmares. Let`s take leaf blowers for instance. Like other lawn care equipment, especially the kind you have to carry, they typically have what`s called a two-stroke engine which allows them to be both powerful and lightweight. That`s why they use two-stroke engines.

A 2011 test performed by automotive information website Edmunds found that if you fire up a two-stroke leaf blower for just 30 minutes, say clearing off the yard on the driveway. That leaf blower would release about as many hydrocarbons as if you drove a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck from Savannah, Georgia to Juneau, Alaska.

OK, that`s 3,900 miles three days of driving all day and all night to produce the equivalent of half an hour of leaf blower hydrocarbons.

The new bill will go into effect after January 1st 2024, or as soon as the state board determines is feasible, whichever is later. And includes funding for commercial rebates to incentivize the transition to zero- emission, a provision clearly aimed at getting landscaping businesses on board by helping them switch over their equipment.

And there are some really good electric alternatives already on the market. So, this is welcome news all around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:52:39]

HAYES: You may have seen this story, it`s making the rounds. Administrator tells teacher to present alternate view of the Holocaust. Just about every news organization that has covered it for good reason. And if you do not know what is going on in Texas, it might really confuse and disturb you.

An opposing view to the Holocaust. What does that mean? You can hear how shocked the teachers in this secretly recorded audio from the school training last Friday. Sound obtained exclusively by NBC News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINA PEDDY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM, CARROLL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: We are in the middle of a political mess. And you are in the middle of a political mess, and so we just have to do the best that we can. And so, we`re going to go and we`re going to do, you`re going to do what you do best. And that`s to teach kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we`re all just really terrified.

PEDDY: I think you are terrified. And I wish I could take that away. I do. I can`t. I can`t do that.

You are professionals. We hired you as professionals. We trust you with our children. So, if you think the book is OK, then let`s go with it. And whatever happens, we will fight it together. We will.

There`s a lot of districts that are in the exact same spot we`re in. And no one knows how to navigate these waters. I mean, no one.

As you go through, just try to remember the concepts of 3979 and make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you oppose the Holocaust?

PEDDY: Believe me, that`s come up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Number the Stars?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK, as you can hear, the woman in question is not some rogue official with like secret Holocaust denial sympathies telling teachers crazy things. It`s someone who appears to genuinely try -- be trying to navigate this utterly ridiculous new law in Texas.

The laws that House Bill 3979 you heard mentioned, here`s the part the administrator was likely referencing. Teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs shall, to the best of their ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.

That law, you might ask, where`d that come from? Well, it`s a direct result of Texas lawmakers trying to ban specifically the teaching of what the right calls critical race theory, which they have basically defined is just about anything having to do with the history of American racial supremacy hierarchy and slavery in Texas schools.

[20:55:16]

HAYES: And one of the school districts that spurred that anti-CRT movement is the same district where teachers are now being told to find diverse views on the Holocaust, that`s in South Lake, Texas.

It`s also the district where a parent complained when her daughter brought home a copy of This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell from her fourth- grade teacher`s class library.

While the school decided against disciplinary action earlier this month, the school board voted to formally reprimand the teacher.

Days later, an e-mail was sent directing teachers to close their classroom libraries until they can be vetted by the teacher, leaving one educator to cover their bookshelves with caution tape as you see in this picture obtained by NBC News.

South Lake, Texas is also a place that NBC News reporter Antonia Hylton, along with her colleague Mike Hixenbaugh explored in depth in a podcast titled South Lake, and Antonia joins me now.

Antonia, I would love for you to give us a little context of what -- of the sound because it is everywhere, the story is everywhere, it`s shocking sound. What was the context? What was the meeting this was happening in? And why would this educational administrator be saying this?

ANTONIA HYLTON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think there`s a couple important layers of context here, Chris. The first is that South Lake is a community right outside of Dallas. And it`s one of the ground zero top towns where these fights over critical race theory, over how to talk about diversity and differences in schools really got its start. Their fight started in 2018, well before most people had even heard the phrase CRT.

And so, that`s an important thing to note here, is that South Lake has when you look at these fights, always been ahead of the curve. And now that fight is coming to books.

And what we glean from our reporting around that Friday meeting is, look, this is an administrator, a top administrator who`s across curriculum and instruction. She`s the director of those things.

Speaking directly to teachers who are actively trying to figure out what`s safe for them to have in their classroom, libraries, what materials can they start working through with kids, because the school year is ongoing right now.

And what I take away from that audio that you just played there is, you know, it`s less about what her personal feelings may be about the Holocaust, her personal beliefs, but it shows you the immense pressures that educators, teachers, administrators are under right now as these laws come into effect.

And it`s not just that House bill that you mentioned, there`s also a Senate bill. Senate Bill 3 in Texas that added an additional layer of restrictions around the teaching of race and history here.

And so, this is an evolving situation where administrators like the one you just heard there here have been actively trying to interpret these laws and take action to protect their employees while also continuing to provide an education.

But when you restrict these laws, and you use vague language, what many teachers tell me is that the obvious endpoint is going to be conversations where people say things like this about subjects like the Holocaust, where, you know, we know what happened, it`s a well-documented historical event. There really aren`t two sides to the Holocaust, Chris.

HAYES: Yes, and I mean, there`s a really fascinating little moment in there where the teacher -- she says this about the Holocaust, the teacher says, the Holocaust, the opposing side of the Holocaust, and she says, believe meit`s come up.

And I thought to myself, what`s going on there? Like, that she has had complaints from parents that they`re getting one -- like, you know, that`s a fascinating little window into just what`s going on in that school district.

HYLTON: It is, Mike Hixenbaugh and I have been covering this school district the entire year through our podcast and all NBC platforms.

And what, you know, we have seen consistently is that there are the national pressures. These laws that at first were sort of theoretical, lawmakers were working on them, talking about them, educators were fearing them coming into effect. And now the laws are here.

But then, there`s also local grassroots of conflicts that bubbled up in towns like South Lake. And so, when you hear her say, believe me that`s come up. What you`re hearing is that teachers, community members, residents in South Lake have reached out and have criticized the district about the books, the materials that they teach students with.

And Mike and I have been to school board meetings where these materials, these fights have come up.

And so, what I take away from that is, you know, it`s important to acknowledge the national level fight here, the laws that are being passed all over the country, the pressures that the teachers are under because of those, but it`s also bubbling up from a local level. These pressures are also coming from people who live and work among them.

HAYES: Antonia Hylton, thank you so much. This is incredible reporting. This news is everywhere and people should make sure to check out their original reporting which is phenomenal in the six-part podcast series Southlake.

You -- and don`t forget to download also the latest episode of my podcast. Why Is This Happening? This week`s guest is author Darren Byler on China`s High-Tech Penal Colonies. It is really an eye-opening conversation.

[21:00:12]

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