House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection just voted unanimously to advance an effort to hold former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with subpoenas for documents and testimony related to that riot. Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager says he caught COVID on purpose by hugging people to achieve natural immunity. Texas lawmakers signed off on a new map of congressional districts drawn up by Republicans in that state placing a new district, 37th congressional district, in the Austin area to capture Democratic-leaning voters that were endangering the prospects of Republican incumbents, and 38th district that would offer Republicans safe territory in the Houston area. The President is more confident this evening about the path forward for the Reconciliation Bill.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: And now, we`ll have to look to the full house vote.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Kurt -- OK, we do not have much more time, so I just want to thank Kurt Bardela, Maya Wiley, Glenn Kirschner. Thank you all. Thank you all for joining us tonight for this broadcast.
ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES is going to pick it up from here. Chris Hayes will pick it up on the other side of this break. Oh no, he will not. No break. We`re just going to right to you, Chris.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: I`m right here. Thank you, Joy. I appreciate it. The bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection just voted, as you might have seen, unanimously to advance an effort to hold former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with subpoenas for documents and testimony related to that riot.
The matter is now set to go to the full House for a vote possibly as early as this week. If it passes the House, and it is expected to, a criminal referral will then be sent to the U.S. Attorney`s Office in D.C. which will decide whether or not it will proceed with a criminal investigation into Bannon`s lack of compliance.
If he is ultimately convicted, Bannon could phase up to a year in prison. But before we get to that which is a long way off, let`s take a step back for a second and look at the background here. The January 6 Committee has subpoenaed a whole bunch of Trump associates for information related to the insurrection. There have been some high-profile targets like Bannon and then lesser-known subjects with ties to various groups supporting Trump who may have been involved in the planning of that January 6 rally, the big one that the president spoke at before the insurrection happened.
Now, some folks that the committee have been trying to talk to, like for instance, Jeffrey Rosen who was Donald Trump`s former Acting Attorney General have complied. They`ve actually given testimony. There have been reports that former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is "engaging with the committee.
And this is all happening of course as the former president himself has now filed a lawsuit as of yesterday claiming executive privilege over the documents related to the insurrection even though he is no longer the executive branch. And the current executive, that would be of course Joe Biden, has pointedly and formally refused to assert privilege on Donald Trump`s behalf.
But that lawsuit, as frivolous as it may be, at least has the trappings of a formal legal objection. That`s different than what Steve Bannon is doing. Steve Bannon is basically just thumbing his nose at the committee, refusing to comply with anything they ask and citing Trump`s contested claim of executive privilege as a shield.
His attorney writing in a letter to the committee "Until such time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as the extent scope and application of the executive privilege, Mr. Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying."
Of course, just a point of fact here, unlike other Trump ally, Steve Bannon was not employed by the executive branch during the insurrection. He`s just a guy with a podcast, OK. And he`s trying to get executive privilege.
Trump fired him quite famously years prior back in 2017, a fact the committee noted when it understandably rejected Bannon`s privilege argument. "Even if Bannon had been a senior aide to the president during the time period covered by the contemplative testimony which he was most assuredly not, he is not permitted by law to the type of immunity he suggests."
Now, many of these subpoenas are somewhat broad in their scope. It`s true. And it is not always apparent at least to the public what the committee is looking for, but that`s not really the case with Bannon. Actually, you just might have heard Liz Chaney, the vice chair of the committee, recite some of the reason they`re looking into what Bannon was up to. But just according to the subpoena, there is ample evidence of the former presidential advisor being right there in the fold in the days leading up to January 6th.
He spoke to Trump in December of 2020 urging him to focus his efforts to overturn the election specifically on that date, on the date of January 6. On the 5th, just one day before the violent insurrection, Bannon was present at a meeting trying to convince members of Congress to refuse to certify Joe Biden`s victory. And perhaps most damning are the comments that Bannon made again, on his podcast. That`s what he does. He`s a podcaster. That same day, again, this is just a 24 hours before a violent mob storm the capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANNON: Listen, all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It`s going to be moving. It`s going to be quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bannon`s prediction, if you can call it a prediction, came true sadly. The hell being the assault on police officers, the concussions, the heads being bashed in by the angry crowd, the use of bear spray, the death of multiple people on that day. But after all that happened, I mean after people had their heads bashed in and concussed on live television, and after people had died including people loyal to Donald Trump who were on the steps of the Capitol, because of that loyalty, maybe because they listened to Steve Bannon, after all that happened, he wasn`t backing down. He was still pushing the big lie that Trump really had won.
In fact, Bannon had John Eastman, the man who literally wrote the memo on how to overturn the election on his show that night to whine about Mike Pence not overthrowing the will of the voters and handing the election to Trump.
Now, that said, there`s some more context here that I think is also worth acknowledging while we`re talking about Steve Bannon and whatever his job is. While Bannon was publicly pushing Trump`s claim of a bogus election on his podcast, even after those claims inspired a deadly insurrection, he was also apparently engaging himself to the president in private, counseling him on the election and afterwards the attempted coup.
And that line of communication between the two men is notable because Bannon very publicly fell out of favor of Trump years earlier when he was quoted making disparaging remarks about the president and his children in Michael Wolff`s book Fire and Fury.
But of course, Bannon was in an interesting situation you might recall. He needed a favor. As you might remember, he was in some legal trouble at the time. You know, when he was arrested on a Chinese billionaire`s yacht by the Postal Service Policemen. Bannon was charged with federal crimes, with wire fraud and conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Those are serious criminal offenses stemming from an alleged grift wherein he and his associates allegedly conned diehard Trump supporters out of millions of dollars with bogus promises to use the money to privately fund a border wall only to turn around and use some of the funds on lavish personal expenses.
If you`re saying yourself that`s not the Steve Bannon I know, who knows? We`ll never really know. He`s not going to go to trial for it. Bannon was in trouble. Perhaps he wanted to be back in the good graces the man with unequivocal pardon power. He began publicly and privately telling Trump the things that Trump wanted to hear. And I got to say, it did pay off it appears.
In his final hours in the White House, reportedly after much back and forth, Donald Trump, the president, pardoned Bannon at the last minute. So, now, it appears the one-time Trump campaign chairman feels particularly confident about where he stands as he willfully defies congressional oversight with bogus claims of privilege. But while this evening`s vote was just a very preliminary step, it appears as though Steve Bannon`s legal headaches may be far from over in the end.
Congressman Adam Schiff is a Democrat representing California`s 28th Congressional District. He sits on the select committee investigating January 6. He just voted to proceed with holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt.
Congressman, you have said this in the days leading up to this. I don`t think it was unexpected that Bannon would thumb his nose at the committee, but you have said and others in the committee have said look, we`re not messing around here. And I am struck by the speed at which this is going. The vote happened tonight. What happens next?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I expect we`ll take this up on the floor very soon. And I`m not in a position to announce how soon, but I think it`s going to happen very soon just as we took up this criminal contempt. And as the chairman pointed out tonight, for anyone else who is watching, any other witnesses that request -- that we demand to come in and testify, we will hold them in contempt as well if they refuse to do their lawful duty.
So, I`m pleased that we have moved so quickly. I think the vice-chair, Liz Cheney`s statement was really powerful tonight rebutting and rebuking the big lie and those who continue to push it. And I`m really pleased we`re moving with alacrity.
HAYES: I want to just play something the chairman said about moving forward on this step on Bannon when there have been many targets of subpoenas who are in various states of full partial or negotiated towards some kind of compliance. This is what Chairman Thompson had to say about why Bannon here specifically stands out in his actions. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RE. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): It`s a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position. But we won`t take no for an answer. We believe Mr. Bannon has information relevant to our probe and we`ll use the tools at our disposal to get that information. Mr. Bannon stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena. That`s not acceptable. No one in this country, no matter how wealthy or how powerful, is above the law. Left unaddressed, this defiance may encourage others to follow Mr. Bannon down the same path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How important is this moment for the overall inquiry that you are involved in?
SCHIFF: Well, I think it`s extremely important. And you know, we have to take notice of the breadth of what Bannon tried to do which is not come to committee and assert some kind of privilege, but claim that he doesn`t even need to show up, that he`s somehow absolutely immune from legal process.
Well, others tried that too, and the courts rejected that argument. It is rejected here and I`m confident it will be rejected by the Justice Department. And the fact that we`re referring him for prosecution, we`ll get the attention of others. Now, he`s important his own right. He`s got very relevant information. The day before the insurrection, he was talking about how all hell was going to break loose. And for those who, you know, had talked about wanting to be there during the time of the revolution, that here was another opportunity for them to be there for a revolution.
So, he`s clearly got information relevant to our committee, our country, but also he`s an important example of what should happen if people refuse their lawful duty.
HAYES: I want to play something Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican, said about all this. I mean, I think that, you know, people have noted this before and it continues to be true that in the aftermath of a violent attempt to overturn the election with a -- with an angry crowd chanting hang Mike Pence, having erected gallows outside the Capitol, that some members were shaken understandably.
But I think a lot of Republican members have sort of moved on. And as long as the crowd isn`t in their ear chanting hang Mike Pence at that moment, they prefer to not think about it. Here`s what Kevin Cramer a Senate Republican had to say about today`s vote on Bannon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): I actually think the whole commission is a bit irrelevant. I don`t see Steve Bannon being all that dangerous. I frankly don`t know how many people are paying a lot of attention to it. And there aren`t very many people paying attention to the January 6 Commission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Is paying attention the point here? What is the point?
SCHIFF: Well, the point is that the rule of law needs to be observed and it`s surprising to hear senators uh you know talk so blindly about an attack on our Capitol that resulted in the deaths of Americans, the beating of police officers, but also essentially undermining Congress` role in doing oversight, undermining uh our oversight into, you know, the most brutal attack on our Capitol in over 100 years.
So, look, Donald Trump sets the tone. And the tone Donald Trump wants to set is do not consider what happened on January 6, or if you do, you should praise those who took up arms against our government. They`re heroes, they`re political prisoners, we want to, you know, some way deify them. That`s Donald Trump`s message. And, you know, like dutiful carriers, many in his party are trying to carry that message.
But the facts are the facts. It was a brutal assault. We still have so much to learn about what went into it, what the president or then-President Trump knew about it in advance. What they do about the participation of these white national groups -- white nationalist groups in advance. And we want to make a set of recommendations to protect the country going forward. That`s our mission.
HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff who serves on that select committee that just voted a report unanimously out of that committee to go to the full floor. Thank you very much, Congressman.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: The Republican vice-chair of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming gave a statement before the bipartisan committee unanimously voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Because he has categorically refused to appear, we have no choice but to seek consequences for Mr. Bannon`s failure to comply. Those consequences are not just important for this investigation. They are important for all congressional investigations.
Mr. Bannon`s and Mr. Trump`s privilege arguments do however appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ian Bassin served as Associate White House Counsel under President Barack Obama, co-founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, a non-partisan organization dedicated to fighting efforts to undermine democracy.
Ian, we all expect in the next few days this will be voted out of the full House and then go to the Department of Justice. And I think there`s a real open question about what happens when this lands on Merrick Garland`s desk. And you`ve worked as a government lawyer. You worked in the White House. You`ve sort of been around the circles of people that will be making the decisions on this. I`m wondering what your perspective is on it.
IAN BASSIN, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: Well, I think a good sign is in the letter from White House Counsel Dana Remus that rejected any spurious claims of executive privilege in turning over documents. She made clear that this is a unique and exceptional circumstance.
And I think it`s important to remember what the stakes are here which is that Steve Bannon and Donald Trump very much want the failed coup attempt of last fall to be practice for a future successful coup attempt. And one way to do that is to do what Trump and Bannon have been trying to do since day one which is to prove that rules don`t matter, that laws are for losers that, they are above the law.
And for a long time, they`ve really gotten away with that, whether that is stonewalling Congress so the American people cannot conduct oversight while it`s tied up in courts, or whether that is engaging in a treasonous insurrection getting your allies in Congress to acquit you on impeachment, or whether it is defrauding and stealing money from your supporters and getting your friend, the president, to pardon you.
They have proven time and again that they are getting away with it. And the question for Merrick Garland is, is that what the rule of law means to him. And I don`t think it is.
HAYES: You`re the lawyer but I have to say allegedly, allegedly defrauding his supporters. I mean, Steve Bannon, you know --
HAYES: Yes. He`s a -- he`s a he`s a real match. I can`t see him doing that. We`ve got a situation too where look, the law -- I mean, part of what`s so maddening here right, is we -- this has been true from the -- you know, the earliest days is like this is a guy who skated his whole life. He`s wriggled out of stuff. He -- you know, the New York Times ran a 10,000-word piece that basically accused him of criminal tax fraud, you know, in black and white. I mean, another thing the New York Times says lightly, right?
There`s multiple criminal investigations. There`s one in Fulton County, there`s one in the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office. He`s been impeached twice. He whipped up a violent insurrection in front of all of us which we all saw. Here`s Bannon who`s been pardoned, you know, saying I`m going to get away with it.
The law here though isn`t that super clear or is it? I mean, what controls here? I mean, that is really the worry too is what a 6-3 court does with all this and whether the House has essentially the power that they want to have and believe they should have here.
BASSIN: I mean, there`s no question that the House has the power to compel this testimony, and that any claims of executive privilege are completely spurious for this reason. Executive privilege, to the extent it does exist, attaches to the constitutional acts of the president when the president is fulfilling his oath of office.
But in this case, the president wasn`t involved in any power that the constitution gave him. The president was involved in inciting a violent insurrection to overthrow the republic of the United States. Because that is not an official constitutional act of a president, there simply is no executive privilege to attach to it.
HAYES: What do you think of the approach of the committee right now and the general understanding amongst the kind of democratic governing class and lawyer class more broadly of the peril of this moment? Because it does seem -- at one level, they say the right things and today was a market example of sort of moving with dispatch and seriously. But I sometimes worry that they don`t really believe that we`re in the peril they`re in and I think sometimes you share that concern. And I wonder what your assessment is.
BASSIN: I do. And I want to give credit to Representative Schiff who is on just before because he really has been one of the few members of our government, Congress, executive, anywhere, who really does deeply get this. And I think some of the other members of the January 6 select committee do as well.
But for most of the leadership of this country, they are looking at what is a five-alarm fire that is engulfing our democracy and walking slowly over to it with a bucket of water. And that is not what it is going to take to protect our democracy right now. If you look at what`s going on, what is leading to this January 6 Committee and the Bannon defiance of a subpoena, it is straight out of a playbook that every scholar that has studied the downfall of democracies around the world warned is the playbook, right?
There`s six things that every autocrat around the world has done to dismantle democracies. They have politicized independent institutions like law enforcement, the civil service. They`ve spread disinformation. They`ve quashed dissent. They`ve corrupted elections. They`ve attacked vulnerable populations, and they`ve sought to undermine checks and balances.
Donald Trump has tried to do all of them and he`s trying to do the undermining of checks and balances with his accomplice Steve Bannon right here. And unless our institution starts stepping up, we are going to see a successful coup in the future in the way that the last one failed.
HAYES: All right, Ian Bassin with the dark warning, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Next, getting coveted on purpose. The right wing campaign against life- saving vaccines reaches new levels, and the Fox News hosts who haven`t found the courage to just call out their bosses. We`ll be right back.
DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO HOST: You can`t say the N-word. It`s idiotic. Of course, you should never call anybody the N-word. That`s despicable. But to say the word, it`s just -- you can`t even say that the word is despicable. You have to say the N-word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Dennis Prager, a 73-year-old right-wing radio host. You may have heard him before for some of his takes like that one. He`s also the founder of something called a PragerU which is not a real university but a website of five-minute clips that present a conservative twist on nearly every single issue.
And like many on the far right, Dennis Prager has been a vocal anti-vaccine voice encouraging people to get COVID so they have natural immunity. Yesterday, Prager announced that he finally got COVID too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRAGER: I wanted to achieve natural immunity which is by far the more robust immunity that one can have against a COVID or any virus. And I hugged strangers in the thousands, literally in the thousands while not being inoculated. And it was a gamble based on the knowledge not based on being a gambler. I am not a gambler. I certainly don`t gamble with my health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, I would argue that hugging thousands of strangers as an unvaccinated 73-year-old is in fact gambling with your health. Although, what is your daily hugging schedule looking like if you`re hugging thousands of people?
Prager said he is taking a variety of at best in effectual remedies including the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. He said he`s taken it for a while and the deworming drug, Ivermectin, of course, as well as the monoclonal antibodies which have been shown to be effective.
Prager says he`s feeling better and I am glad to hear that. But he`s just the latest of a slew of conservative radio hosts to come down with COVID including several who have died, including a Nashville conservative talk radio host named Phil Valentine who "advised those who are not in the high- risk demo to not get the vaccine and bet that his odds of dying from COVID- 19 were way less than one percent, before dying of COVID in August.
Shortly before his death, Cumulus Media, the radio conglomerate he worked for, told employees they must be fully vaccinated by October 11th. Over the past week, at least four radio hosts have left the company after refusing to be vaccinated. Now, one of the stars of Cumulus Media Organization is threatening to leave unless they remove the mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BONGINO, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Do these companies ever thought of that, the countless numbers of moms and dads who are sitting at some kitchen table explaining to their kids how they may have to move out, how daddy doesn`t have a job because a bunch of people in a c-suite thought it would be a good idea to sit around and play pretend Dr. Fauci for a moment and mandate people jam something in their bodies that they don`t want to take? You can have me or you can have the mandate, but you can`t have both of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, well, that`s a tough choice. If you do not have an uncle who shares his videos on Facebook, that is Dan Bongino, a guy who`s found a niche as one of the MAGA universe side characters, a rage-filled former Secret Service agent.
Now, I should tell you, that guy threatening to quit over a vaccine mandate is in fact fully vaccinated. And a part of me wants to give him credit for sticking to his principles and at the very least calling out his employer over its vaccine policy, something that as we noted repeatedly, people like Tucker Carlson don`t have the courage to do. But the thing is, like Tucker, Dan Bongino is also a Fox News host. And weirdly enough, he has not threatened nor said one single word about Fox`s strict vaccine protocols that you either vaccinate or test daily. I guess the tough guy routine only goes so far.
Anna Merlan is a senior staff writer at Vice. She`s authored the book The Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and their Surprising Rise to Power. And she joins me now.
Anna, I was struck by Prager saying I was trying to get it and natural immunity is best because I have been hearing a lot of this and there`s like -- the tip of the iceberg is natural immunity which is of course a real thing when you get COVID and you survive it, your body produces antibodies. But something deeper than that which is that that`s the really good way to go about this public health development. And my understanding is this is a broadly propagated view in certain circles.
ANNA MERLAN, SENIOR WRITER, VICE: Yes. So, the idea that natural immunity is somehow better than the immunity conferred by vaccines is something that`s been promoted not just during the COVID-19 pandemic but in the anti- vax world well before that.
During previous enormous measles outbreaks in 2015 and 2019 anti-vax personalities and radio hosts claimed that it would be far better for instance for your children to get measles than to get the MMR vaccine. So, this is not a new idea. It`s not even necessarily a new idea in the context of the pandemic.
Some of these folks have been making this claim really since COVID-19 appeared. You know, people like Del Bigtree who`s an anti-vax radio host urged his viewers I believe last June to go out, and as he put it, get this cold. So this is a -- this is a common talking point and a dangerous one.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, what I think is clarifying about it is that in some ways it reaches what to me is the ideological bedrock, because I have a very hard time understanding or empathizing with this view which I think has been one of the most deadly views that I`ve seen propagated in my time in public life.
There are 750 000 people who have died from this -- from this virus. But what it comes down to is basically kind of this social Darwinism. Like, yes, a lot of people are going to die and like them`s the breaks and they`re probably just old poor vulnerable anyway. And then, if you survive, then it shows that you`re strong. And you can kind of get that vibe a little bit off the Prager stuff and the Joe Rogan interview with Sanjay Gupta as well.
MERLAN: Yes. The idea that natural immunity is better and the idea fundamentally that people who get sick or die of COVID are in some way responsible for their sickness is a, commonly propagated view. And it`s important to remember that it`s not just, you know, the fringe anti-vaccine world this proposal that healthy folks should go out and get COVID and we would reach herd immunity more quickly that way was for instance suggested by Boris Johnson in an earlier part of the pandemic, a suggestion that he quickly dropped when he himself got COVID and I think realized very quickly that it`s unpleasant.
It was also the suggestion of the so-called Great Barrington Declaration which was written by a group of academics from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford in the earlier part of the pandemic. And again, this suggestion that it`s a good idea to go out and get COVID to avoid getting COVID is on its face ridiculous but it also doesn`t acknowledge a couple things.
First of all, the existence of things like long COVID, the idea that even a mild infection can leave you with health issues which millions of people are struggling from at the moment. But also more fundamentally, the idea that we should avoid getting sick to avoid getting other people sick. You know, in large part, you know, this is how we got these dangerous variants for instance.
HAYES: Yes. And as I thought about Dennis Prager doing all his hugging, I mean so much hugging. I mean really --
MERLAN: So much hugging.
HAYES: Really legendary amounts of hugging by his own account, and I`m taking him at his word at the thousands and thousands of people that he hugged literally, that yes some of them were exposed to the virus which is of course how all of this work and that`s a problem.
Also, Scott Atlas, we should mention, when you`re talking about people proposing this. I mean the guy that was -- took over essentially the chief advisor to President Trump for a key period of the pandemic appeared to basically have this view as well.
MERLAN: Right. It is a social Darwinist view. And it essentially says that if you are immune-compromised, if you are someone for whom the vaccines will innately work less well, then, just too bad. That is -- that is just your problem. And it is especially sort of surprising that this view continues to be promoted at a time when folks have their children going back to school, many of whom are not old enough to get vaccinated at the moment. What it is saying is that we are willing to take that risk of sickening our kids who have no protection at the moment.
HAYES: Anna Merlan, that was great. Thank you very much.
MERLAN: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Next, the new Texas redistricting maps that gerrymanders the state deeper into the red, weakening the vote from communities of color. There`s a lawsuit trying to stop it and we`ll talk to one of the people suing after this.
HAYES: At 3:30 this morning Central time, Texas lawmakers signed off on a new map of congressional districts drawn up by Republicans in that state. States do this once in a decade following the census although there was a time when Texas took two bites of the apple under the Bush administration.
The new districts do not look great for democratic representation, I mean that`s small D democratic representation. The state has awarded two new seats in the House of Representatives. The Texas Tribune explains Republicans placed a new district, 37th congressional district in the Austin area to capture Democratic-leaning voters that were endangering the prospects of Republican incumbents. And the other district, 38th, would offer Republicans safe territory in the Houston area.
In both districts, white residents would make up more than 60 percent of eligible voters. That`s part of a larger trend of what`s happening in Texas. Senior reporter Ari Berman broke down the details in his latest Mother Jones Piece. Texas population is just shy of 40 percent white but, white voters are majority in 60 percent of the map`s districts.
Hispanic voters who make up a comparable 39 of the state population are a majority in just 18 percent of the districts. Black and Asian Texans who make up just under 12 and five of the state population respectively are a majority in zero districts.
The thing that makes it so notable is the population growth which allowed Texas these two new seats is 95 attributable to people of color. Now, a Latino legal rights organization, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is suing Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the deputy secretary of state to block the map from taking effect saying it "illegally and unconstitutionally dilutes the voting strength of Latino voters in Texas.
Nina Perales is the organization`s vice president for litigation and she joins me now. First, I guess let`s just start with what the ground rules of the voting rights act and the constitution say about this process. What`s the sort of guidance in terms of equal representation here. We know that there`s an imperative for majority minority districts or at least districts where non-white members can be elected because of the diversity of the constituency. What`s the general baseline that we should be looking at to judge this map by?
NINA PERALES, VICE PRESIDENT FOR LITIGATION, MEXICAN-AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: Well, that`s exactly right. There is a legal requirement to draw majority-minority districts under the Voting Rights Act when certain factors are present. And those factors are what we look for when we embark on redistricting.
One of the most important being what does the population look like. And here in Texas, over the past 10 years, we`ve had significant demographic change in the state, and really a dramatic growth in the Latino community as well as other minority groups in such a way that more majority and minority districts should have been drawn in these maps.
HAYES: So that`s -- I mean, that is the basic baseline I`m hearing from you, that there are not enough, that there are I think three members of the Texas delegation who are African-American. They`re not in majority Black districts, but they`re in districts with large portions of Black voters. What are you -- what do you want from the court?
PERALES: Well, we`ve challenged all four statewide redistricting plans. So, you were mentioning the congressional plan. That discriminates against Latino voters, but so do the House of Representatives plan within Texas, the Texas House, the Texas Senate, and the state board of education. All of those maps do not have uh Latino majority districts in them commensurate with what the law requires.
And so, what we`re asking the court to do is to block the maps that were drawn by the Texas legislature and draw maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act.
HAYES: There`s something of an irony here, right, which is that Republicans are drawing these maps. And you know, Latinos in Texas are politically across the spectrum in terms of their politics. We saw very uh clearly in the Rio Grande Valley what happened in the 2020 election. There`s all kinds of folks of all kinds of politics.
There`s a universe in which you could have more Latino representation that doesn`t necessarily imperil the Republican Party yet they`ve chosen quite clearly in a targeted fashion not to make that happen.
PERALES: It`s correct. Latinos are very politically diverse all around the United States. But what is the enduring constant in Texas? Regardless of which political party is in charge of drawing the lines because Texas used to be a one-party democratic state, what endures across all of these decades that we`ve been doing this work is to advantage white political influence and to diminish Latino political influence even when it`s growing so quickly as it is now and was shown in the most recent census.
HAYES: All right, Nina Perales, thank you so much for your time tonight.
PERALES: Thank you.
HAYES: There was a time in the career of Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry when the most important problem on his radar was this defaced campaign sign. Luckily for the congressman, the vandals are no longer an issue. The bad news is his biggest problem now has to do with a federal grand jury. That story is next.
HAYES: It`s campaign season again with election day just two weeks away. And that means that campaign signs are once again all over the place from brizzy street corners to your neighbor`s front yard. But I was reminded today with one of the more memorable campaign signs in recent years. It was back in 2018, a sign for Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry running for reelection in Nebraska`s first district.
This was his sign. And as you can see, some no good nick has had the audacity to vandalize that sign giving him big googly eyes which obviously he doesn`t have, and changing the O and his name to an A, a very juvenile joke all around which we wholeheartedly condemn, and when we covered it at the time, and we do so now again.
Congressman Fortenberry was apparently so upset that anyone who even laughed at that sign was in trouble which is how we found out about it when his chief of staff called up and threatened a local college professor who had simply liked the photo of the deface sign on Facebook.
But the whole thing blew over and Fortenberry was reelected in 2018 and again last year. He doesn`t have to run again until next year, so he`s safe from sign vandals for a while. But then yesterday, the nine-term congressman released what looked at first glance to be a new campaign video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R-NE): Hi this is Jeff Fortenberry and I`m out for a drive in my 1963 Ford F-100 pickup truck with our dog pippin and this is my wife Celeste. We do this every now and then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, isn`t that a nice scene on a vintage truck, his wife, a dog, beautiful Nebraska cornfield? But this was no campaign video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORTENBERRY: I wanted to send you a video because we do have something hard to tell you. About five and a half years ago, a person from overseas illegally moved money to my campaign. I didn`t know anything about this, and used some other Americans to do so. They were all caught and punished, thankfully.
About two and a half years ago, I had a knock on my door on a weekend. They were FBI agents from California. I let them in my house. I answered their questions. Later we went back and answered further questions. I told them what I knew and what I understood. They`ve accused me of lying to them and are charging me with this.
We`re shocked. We`re stunned. I feel so personally betrayed. We thought we were trying to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, Jeff Fortenberry was right. Today, the Congressman wasn`t indicted by a federal grand jury charged with one count of scheming to falsifying concealed material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.
As the congressman alluded to in that video in early 2016, a billionaire foreign national prohibited by federal law from contributing to any U.S. elections arranged for $30,000 of his money to be contributed through other individuals to Fortenberry`s campaign during a fundraiser held in Los Angeles.
The indictment says that despite learning of the illegal campaign contributions from a co-host of that fundraiser who cooperated with authorities, Fortenberry did not file an amended report with the Federal Elections Commission. It also charges the congressman lied about what he knew about the whole scheme during two interviews in 2019 with federal investigators and prosecutors.
This is where I pop in to say, always have a lawyer present when you talk to law enforcement. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry will be arraigned tomorrow in Los Angeles. He faces a maximum of five years in prison for each of the three charges. Although, I have to say, at least they spelled his name correctly in that indictment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We had a very spirited discussion at our lunch, passionate, strong, and there was universal, universal agreement in that room that we have to come to an agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats are in agreement that they need an agreement. Negotiations still very much ongoing on the President`s Build Back Better agenda. Today, Biden himself met with Senators Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, held separate discussions with moderate and progressive members of Congress at the White House. He has been extremely hands-on shuttling back and forth.
Moments ago, the White House released a statement saying he`s more confident this evening about the path forward and that there`s urgency in moving forward over the next several days. Now, there`s been some I think encouraging news they`re closer to deal and the back and forth is both difficult to follow and somewhat agonizing and maddening. What I have just been trying to keep laser-focused on are the must-haves in the bill because from where I`m coming from, in terms of priorities, this is a once in a decade chance to pass something to keep the planet habitable.
So, what needs to be in this bill to really combat the climate crisis or at least get us towards the goal that we`re setting, that`s been my north star in following these negotiations. And there was a huge development over the weekend, not a good one, when sources told NBC News the biggest climate measure in the bill, the Clean Energy Performance Program which we have covered multiple times was likely going to get dropped because Joe Manchin opposes it.
OK, so my question now is what does that mean for the value of the package for the planet and what is really like the -- what`s the red line here? What`s the litmus test for a climate in this legislation? How should i feel about this?
I can think of no one better to walk through that question than my next guest, John Podesta, who has been working on this decade -- issue for decades on the Hill, in the White House, at the Center for American Progress which he co-founded. He`s a former counselor to President Barack Obama where he`s responsible for coordinating the administration`s climate policy. He`s a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.
All right, John, I -- my reporting indicates that this program which had been structured in a bit of a weird way but was going to make essentially bulk payments to utilities so as to get them to meet targets to move off of fossil fuel towards clean energy so that we could be on track for our Paris commitments, that that is -- Joe Manchin doesn`t like it and it`s probably not going to be in the bill which seems terrible to me. What should I think about that?
JOHN PODESTA, FORMER COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look it`s clear that we`re not going to get everything we want. But I still think we can get what we need. The other critical provision in this bill that it seems to be in good shape are the clean energy tax credits both for the power sector to produce more clean energy and the consumer credits to help people purchase electric vehicles. Those remain popular across the board from moderates to progressives.
There`s a new report out today by probably the premier modeling firm in the country Rhodium Analysis that suggested that with those provisions, plus action by states, if corporations make -- keep to the pledges they`ve made, and the administration takes administrative action that it`s capable of doing and has the legal authority to do, we can hit the so-called climate test, what President Biden has put forward to the -- to the global community, which is to reduce emissions by more than 50 percent by 2030.
That package of investments is transformational. And while the program you talked about, the Clean Energy Payment Program, would have been very helpful in getting us there. Even without it, we can still get to the goal that President Biden has laid out.
These investments, though, need to happen. So, the biggest question is, will they come together, get this package done, keep those clean energy tax credits intact, make the important investments in environmental justice that are continued to be included in this package. If that happens, it`ll be a very good day for the planet.
HAYES: OK. I mean, I guess that encourages me somewhat, but walk me through what -- like, the sort of carbon accounting here is such that, you know, the modeling said this was going to account for somewhere near 40 percent of the carbon -- of the emissions reductions, right, the CEPP.
Again, it`s very weirdly structured because it had to go to reconciliation. So, it`s budgetary, its payments, utilities, as opposed to just a national standard, which will be easier and more straightforward, frankly. But fine, we`re dealing with reconciliation.
So, if that`s going to account for it, I guess the question is like, well, what makes up for it? Or is it just that everyone has to be more aggressive at the state level? Like how -- where does that makeup for what`s gone?
PODESTA: First of all, I think the -- and a lot of the reporting is discounted how much work that these clean energy tax credits in the power sector do, which will deploy a tremendous amount of solar, wind and, and other zero-carbon energy. And that worked in conjunction with this payment program that was aimed at utilities.
But even without that payment program, those tax -- that tax support for clean energy is going to be a powerful driver of changing the energy system in this country. There are more that could be done. There`s other ideas that are being pursued to try to replace the emissions that are -- will be lost from the loss of this program. If it is lost, people are still fighting for it. Although, I think Senator Manchin is pretty adamant that we need all 50 votes, including grants for the states to accelerate clean energy deployment at the state level and more money for transit. There are other ways to get those tons.
The other thing that I think this means is that the administration is going to just have to do more work. They`ve put together an all of government approach. They put together an all-star cabinet on climate, but they`re going to have to go get and use the authorities they have to reduce, you know, traditional pollutants, coal, ash, mercury, other kinds of pollutants, which will rapidly change the energy sector.
We need to get about 80 percent reduction in the power sector alone. But again, that is doable with this package of tax credits, plus aggressive action by the government, plus the state action that I described.
So, would I rather have that program? Of course. But can we still hit the mark? I think we can. And I think by doing so, we`ll create hundreds of thousands of jobs the (INAUDIBLE) report suggested 600,000 jobs in the power sector alone, and tackle the real problem of environmental injustice in this country by directing those investments to the places that borne the brunt of industrial and power sector pollution.
HAYES: All right, while I had you on to make me feel better, and I think that worked more or less, if you`re still giving it a thumbs up. I mean, look, if you take a step back, it`s utter madness that this one senator from a state that is obviously got a very long fossil fuel history and who has personal financial stakes in fossil fuel business is the veto on like, you know, this relatively small investment.
But again, I could bang my head against the wall all day over that, if that`s what it`s going to be. I`m slightly encouraged, I guess, by the rest of that. But we`ll have you back as this continues. John Podesta, thank you.
PODESTA: Well, the planet needs us to get it done. So, we just got to use every tool we can to drive this thing forward.
HAYES: All right. That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.