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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 10/27/21

Guests: Charles Homans, Shannon Watts, Timothy Zick, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Jack Nicas, Tristan Harris


The Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Four in 10 American adults say they live in a household with a gun and those guns are primarily in one portion of the electorate. The Second Amendment has become a threat to the First. The chairman of the January 6 committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, told The Washington Post that a subpoena of John Eastman will happen.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Either way, it makes him tonight`s absolute worse.

And that`s tonight`s "THE REIDOUT". ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight, on ALL IN the creeping embrace violence on the right.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.

HAYES: Tonight, at what point does the Second Amendment become a threat to the First Amendment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we`re living under a corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns?

HAYES: Then, new undercover video of Trump`s coup lawyer explaining the former president`s plans to head down to the Capitol.

Plus, the vote to charge the sitting president of Brazil with crimes against humanity on the same day he gets a fresh endorsement from Donald Trump.

And new evidence the Facebook P.R. crisis could be turning into a legal one, when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

Today, the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and much of his four hours at this hearing with lots of very important things happening, obviously the Justice Department and everything.

Much of it was spent being yelled at by Republicans performing righteous anger, claiming to be upset that the attorney general would send federal agents to spy on American parents.

Now, if you`re asking yourself, wait a second, is the federal government sending federal agents to spy on American parents? Don`t worry, they aren`t. But that did not stop Republican senators from running with it.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): You`re going to create a taskforce that includes the National Security Division. What on earth does the National Security Division have to do with parents who are expressing disagreements at school boards?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): You don`t think there are parents out there in the real world that said, oh my god, maybe we shouldn`t go to the school board meeting, there`ll be FBI agents there.

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Would you really honestly put parents in the same category as a Terry Nichols or a Timothy McVeigh?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): My God, a parent did a Nazi salute at a school board because they thought that the policies were oppressive. General Garland is doing a Nazi salute at an elected official, is that protected by the First Amendment?




HAYES: That`s an interesting way to go.

Now, the actual issue here is the growing number of threats against school boards across the country, we have covered this. Last month, the National Association of School Boards sent a letter to the Department of Justice, expressing alarm about the threats of violence and intimidation and asking for help from federal law enforcement.

We spoke with the superintendent of a California district where on the first day of classes this year, the father of a little girl got so angry because she had to wear a face mask. He cussed out a principal and punched a teacher in the face.

In Michigan, a father was rejected from a school board meeting because he gave the Nazi a salute and yelled heil Hitler after another parents spoke in favor of masks.

At a school board meeting in Florida, a protester doused a tray of masks with lighter fluid and set it on fire. Those are just some examples. This has been rampant nationwide.

Now, in that letter, the National Association of School Boards referred to the actions aimed at school boards as equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.

Personally, I would have taken a red pen to that because it`s pretty inflammatory language and I don`t think accurate.

But the Justice Department responded to this letter with a fairly pro forma letter themselves saying it takes these incidents seriously, is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur and prosecute them when appropriate.

That is the long and short of it. Republicans are trying to turn this into a big issue.

And again, to be fair, there`s some real conflict or at least ambiguity here, hear me out. Part of having a free country. And I got to agree with Ted Cruz on this is allowing citizens to yell at people in power. It`s almost a definition of freedom.

That can be yelling at the president, yelling at your elected representative or yelling at a school board meeting, I`ve covered school board meetings as a reporter and man, people yell, it can get very ugly.

And you know, that`s good in a way it`s part of freedom. Of course, that`s very close to a line you don`t want to cross which is a line into threats and menace and attempt to use either explicitly or implicitly a kind of threatening atmosphere to coerce publican officials into not doing their job or do what you want them to do. And we have seen threats escalating against all sorts of officials.

I mean, just today in Michigan after we already have put together this monologue, in fact, a meeting hosted by the commission in charge of redistricting was delayed for hours over a death threat.


The idea of explicitly using violence against political foes is also really bubbling up among certain portions of the American right.

Here`s one example of what that looks like just the other day at Boise State University.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we`re living under a corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns? No, and I`m not -- that`s not a joke. I`m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where`s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?


HAYES: When do we get to use the guns? I`ve been thinking about that question? That was a question that was posed to right-wing activist Charlie Kirk on his exposing critical racism tour, which was in Idaho on Monday night.

It was an open event. And let`s be clear, anyone could get up and ask any questions, say anything into a microphone. I`ve been to events where people say nutty stuff.

But the logic of what the question is, is not crazy. If you look at it as being in line with a lot of the messaging that has been proposed to people on the right, they have been told by Donald Trump on down the election was stolen, they are essentially living under a explicitly illegitimate tyranny.

They have also been told that the core purpose of the Second Amendment, the reason for what that question refers to as the guns, definite article, is to resist tyranny.

So, to his mind, at least apparently, one plus one equals two. This is precisely the message the right is putting out.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): The purpose of the Second Amendment was and is to hold back a tyrannical government.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): If you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it.

It`s not about hunting. It`s not about recreation. It`s not about sports. The Second Amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary. I hope it never does.


HAYES: So clever there, I hope it never does. I`m not calling for it.

So, that questioner who referred to again, the guns, right, the guns that we all know exist, the guns we all know we have.

That question -- here`s this, and again, apparently believes that the guns are our last bastion to resist and overthrow tyranny. And because the election was stolen from Donald Trump, we have tyrants.

Now, Charlie Kirk is not the most -- how can I say this? Not the most sparkling intellect on the American political scene right now. But he`s smart enough to know that he has to denounce that question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we`re living under a corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns? No, and I`m not -- that`s not a joke. I`m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where`s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?

CHARLIE KIRK, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TURNING POINT USA: So, no, hold on. Stop, hold on. Now, I`m going to denounce them and tell you why. Because you`re playing into all their plans, and they`re trying to make you do this, they are trying to provoke you and everyone here. They are trying to make you do something that will be violent, that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties, the likes of which we have never seen.

We are close to have -- hold on, we are close, to have momentum to be able to get this country back on a trajectory using the peaceful means that we have at us.

So, to answer your question, and I just think it`s, you know, overly blunt, we have to be the ones that do not play into the violent aims and ambitions of the other side.


HAYES: OK, credit where due. That`s a decent answer. He`s arguing violence will discredit the cause. Kind of an instrumental answer, not a sort of moral absolute one. But, again, I`m glad he said that, but that is not what some of the loudest voices on the right including elected members of Congress are saying.

The core problems of millions of people are being told every day that they are living under an illegitimate government or they are threatened by Antifa. And to quote the gentleman there, medical fascism, and that the gun is the tool to resist that.

At a certain point, some people will listen. Like for instance, Kyle Rittenhouse the Illinois teenager who is now on trial for shooting three people during a protest against a police shooting of a black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.

This week, the judge in Rittenhouse`s case has ruled the prosecutors "Will not be able to refer to the people whose shot as victims while defense attorneys may be able to call them arsonists or looters".

Kyle Rittenhouse was steeped in right-wing culture. He was a Trump supporter, he attended a campaign rally in January of last year. He frequently posted on his Facebook page about Blue Lives Matter, a pro- police counter movement created in response to Black Lives Matter.

Rittenhouse did what he was told by a lot of the right-wing media, he used his Second Amendment rights. He showed at a protest against police brutality that had -- let`s be clear, spiraled into chaos.

It`s a place where he was told Antifa riots were happening and he showed up there with an AR-15. And he shot three people and he killed two. Two lives gone, two people who would probably still be here on Earth if Kyle Rittenhouse had just stayed home.


And after this, he became a hero on the right. There`s an entire world built up around him that believes he is a martyr. They think we did was the right thing to do, a model for what others should do. That is the specter of the Kyle Rittenhouse.

The specter of the guy getting up to the microphone, saying, when do we use the guns. At specter is what now hangs over every school board meeting and every public health meeting and every public interaction officials have with people who are angry because we are the most armed country on earth with more guns than citizens.

Four in 10 American adults say they live in a household with a gun and those guns are primarily in one portion of the electorate. 44 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they personally own a gun compared with just 20 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic.

In fact, in lots of corners of the right-wing internet, they will hold this up and say that`s why we`ll win the Civil War when it happens.

And so, you end up in a situation where in the words of Diana Palmer and Timothy Zick at The Atlantic of the Second Amendment has become a threat first. Because as they say, "People cannot freely exercise their speech rights when they fear for their lives".

Charles Homans is a Story Editor for The New York Times Magazine. His latest piece is titled Kyle Rittenhouse in the new era of political violence and he joins me now. Great to have you here.


HAYES: It`s a really great piece because it`s precisely about this milieu. How would you describe the milieu that Rittenhouse was in that propelled him to leave his house and show up in Kenosha armed with a long gun?

HOMANS: Well, Chris, I mean, I think what`s really interesting about his case, so there was this real push early on to define him as an extremist in the context of what he believed in what he did. And I don`t think there`s really a lot of evidence that he -- you know, from the admittedly scant evidence available from his social media accounts and so forth, that he really held views that were at all outside of the mainstream and the American right today. That, you know, he was in many respects, so he seems to have been a fairly conventional, you know, conservative leaning suburban teenager who`s sort of followed those priors and I think that it`s -- you know, everything that was on his, you know, various accounts was it was thin blue line, it was -- you know, he`d gone to a Trump rally, things like that.

And he was, you know, interested in guns. And this all I think would describe a very large portion of this country right now. And you saw sort of the kind of extreme place that could go, but I don`t think the politics driving it was necessarily extreme.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, I think they were -- they were quite mainstream among the American, right? And you note in the piece, there are a lot of people who come to Kenosha in a similar way and they sort of set up shop.

And to be clear, there had been -- there had been violence. There have been, you know, there had been sort of exchanges with people protecting a store and someone trying to break into it and hitting with a brick.

So, it wasn`t like this was this completely peaceful scene. And then these these folks showed up, there had been chaos, there had been violence. And then there`s you relay this conversation that`s happened, there`s a streaming host there who`s the kind of -- we call him like a junior cousin Alex Jones, and he`s walking around the scene.

He says, I got friends on the other side too streaming show host, Kristan Harris told one paramilitary he met on the street shortly before the shootings. We tried to have conscious debates and conversations. You can`t have that anymore, man, the other man replied, that really stuck with me.

HOMANS: Yes, I mean, it`s a really striking moment among many if you watch all the footage. And one interesting thing about Kenosha and this is true, more and more of these incidences, that we just have so much footage of it, you can really see, you know, what people were thinking and how they were kind of articulating what they were doing in the moment.

And there was this real sense that something different that happened that have sort of switched and flipped. And Kristan have talked about this when we spoke that, you know, he had been at a lot of rallies where people -- it was, you know, it`s been pretty normal for a while now to see people out with AR-15 style rifles.

Demonstrating as sort of part of the political theater of these protests, but it really felt like some line had been crossed there that we sort of crossed over from the sort of theatrical display of weapons to a kind of almost operational display of them in some cases, in the sense that people were done with talking.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, when you call it a new era political violence, like that`s what political violence looks like. And it`s not uncommon in the world. It happens in lots of different societies under lots of district conditions and people stop talking.

And we should note again, I mean, one of the things about Kenosha and again, what I think connects to my fear here is that, you know, I think it`s very hard to make the argument that the present -- I mean, some people try to make the argument the presence of guns actually helps for civil peace, right? There are people on the right who make that argument. People who make that argument of gun ownership.

But in Kenosha, what we saw was lots of guns. And in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, people who saw a guy with a gun, and then, you know, thought that was reason to chase him, and then he falls down. And then he has one person above him who appears to be armed, another, he shoots two of them. All of those guns around led to those guns being discharged.


HOMANS: Right. Yes and I think that`s a really important aspect of this is that there were just so many guns and guns really on all sides of this.

I mean, you saw the -- what I call the paramilitaries in the story, but you know, other people have described them as, you know, militia.

But you basically had a very large kind of ad hoc group of armed people on the side of, you know, "defending businesses" in town.

You also had a lot of demonstrators who were carrying concealed weapons, that was a big part of what happened and two of those played into the very specific circumstances. The moment that we`ll see litigated at great length in the next couple of weeks in the Rittenhouse trial.

And I do think if you -- if you go back and look at there are a couple of really striking moments that night, when you see the two sides kind of encounter each other on the street where it`s really just very frightening.

I mean, the level of chaos, the number of guns and the degree to which nobody has any control of what`s happening. That a lot of people have told themselves they`re there to, you know, defend the city or they`re there to defend property.

But there`s -- a lot of them clearly don`t really know what they`re doing or haven`t really prepared for the situation they placed themselves in. And I think that includes Rittenhouse.

I don`t think that, you know, any of these people, you know, certainly had fully thought through what would happen if there was some genuine altercation which sort of ended up being.

HAYES: Yes. Charles Homans whose piece on this in New York Times Magazine is very good reading. Thank you very much.

HOMANS: Thank you.

HAYES: I want to turn now to Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and author of Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Timothy Zick, a law professor at William and Mary law school, he co-authored that recent piece in The Atlantic titled The Second Amendment Has Become a Threat to the First.

Professor Zick, let me first start there and just laying out your argument because it captures something that I`ve spent a lot of time thinking about. Because it is the case that we want people to peaceably assemble. We want people even to be loud or unruly, or say insults or, you know, bad stuff. It`s just -- it`s the First Amendment, that`s protected speech. There`s something that happens with the threat of a gun that changes the complexion of that. How do you explain that?

TIMOTHY ZICK, LAW PROFESSOR, WILLIAM AND MARY LAW SCHOOL: Yes, I mean, first of all, thanks for having me. It`s a pleasure to be here. There is this sort of intuition or common sense that taking a gun to a protest is going to deter people from participating, speaking, carrying signs or even bringing children to a protest to a peaceable assembly.

But we have now thanks to my coauthor, Diana Palmer, is some data to attach to that intuition. And her study, in particular, demonstrates that there`s this fundamental tension between public carry on the one hand, and public protest on the other.

And when people talk about gun safety, they`re usually talking about physical safety. And that`s a big, big part of this context as well.

But we should also consider the threat to constitutional democracy, the threat to peaceable assembly in speech and the threat comes, whatever the intention of people bringing arms to public protests might be.

The threat comes from the social perception, the, you know, idea that they`re going to fear violence is going to beset them for what they say, or what they do to protest.

So, that`s the concept of chilling public protest is what the piece is all about.

HAYES: And Shannon, I feel like folks, yourself included, and folks in your organization have experienced this firsthand. In fact, we`ve had you on the show we`ve reported on. We`ve talked to people that are engaged in First Amendment protected speech, a rally or some kind of an event, and then someone else is engaged in their First Amendment protected speech in the state of Texas where they`re holding a gun.

And the question is, is, well, is everyone`s First Amendment really mean protected here if you`re standing in a parking lot protesting and someone stands across you with a gun?

SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION: You know, I think that`s what was so shocking to Moms Demand Action volunteers when we started doing this work about nine years ago, is that we would show up with our kids and these extremists would show up with AR-15s. And we were just trying to ask for background checks, and they were trying to threaten and intimidate and silence us.

And that`s why our organization just came out with this report in August that showed after looking at thousands of protests, armed demonstrators are nearly six times as likely to turn destructive compared to unarmed demonstrators.

And that`s not shocking, that sort of intuitive but who makes up the majority of these armed protesters, about 84 percent of them are right-wing extremists like the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the Boogaloo Bois.

And so, you know, the gun lobby loves to claim that more guns make us safer. But what our report found was that at recent demonstrations, the presence of an armed person actually correlates to more, not less violence and destruction.

HAYES: And I think so there`s one level past this, Professor, which I think is the civic culture that we have, OK. So, I think it`s clear, I think people have the intuition. Someone shows up, open carrying at a protest, that`s going to have a chilling effect.


But when you`re looking at these very heated school board meetings, you know, public health officials, someone yelling into the car, I know where you live, I know where you live, like they did down in Tennessee.

Again, you don`t have to have the -- the presence of the gun, the specter of the -- of the guns in the words of the questioner essentially looms over all of Americans at a culture at all times, whether displayed or not.

ZICK: Yes, I mean, the research I`m talking about, and we write about in the piece focuses on open carry and open display, which would seem to have the greatest effect in terms of chilling people`s protest of rights.

But it`s true that concealed carry, you know, whether you know, the gun is there or not, whether it`s visible to you or not, may not make much of a difference if you think the threat is still present.

In other words, if you think that what you say may result in someone pulling a firearm that`s concealed and harming you because of what you say. So, I think there is something to that.

There`s an interesting part of the study that may go against sort of common intuition, and that is that with respect to public protest, if you ask people who own guns and didn`t own guns, and you ask people who were identifying as Democrat or Republican, they all seem to agree that this is a bad idea. They all seem to fear the specter of violence. They just disagree about who the threat is.

HAYES: And I think taking guns out of the equation in all of these cases is better than adding them.

Shannon Watts and Timothy Zick, thank you both. We really appreciate it.

The guy who told Trump just how he could steal the election from Biden and tried to walk it back just got caught on camera defending his plan. No wonder there`s reportedly a subpoena in the works in the January 6 committee, one of the members of the committee joins me next.




JOHN EASTMAN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP LAWYER: All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00, he let the legislators of the state look into this, so we get to the bottom of it and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not.


HAYES: That man John Eastman, pretty worked up there is the lawyer who wrote the now infamous memo detailing step by step how to overturn the Democratic election the country had just undergone and installed the loser of the winner.

Well, he is now facing a subpoena from the House committee investigating January 6th. The chairman of that committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi is told The Washington Post that a subpoena of John Eastman will happen.

Meanwhile, Eastman has been attempting to distance himself from any potential culpability. He did these long telephone interviews in the National Review and telling the memo does not reflect his own views or legal advice that Trump repents, which is weird because he wrote the memo.

But then, he was recently caught on camera defending his memo. He was approached at an event by a progressive activist named Lauren Windsor. She pretended to be enthusiastic Trump supporter who was there on January 6th, and surreptitiously recorded this conversation.


LAUREN WINDSOR, PROGRESSIVE ACTIVIST: I just -- I was floored that Mike Pence didn`t do anything. I mean, why didn`t he act on it? Because you gave him the legal reasoning to do that.

EASTMAN: I know. Now it`s -- and now, in a piece in The Atlantic two days ago, they`re already anticipating Trump winning in 2024 and they`re using my arguments in that memo that they all said had no credibility to argument Kamala Harris can block Trump`s electoral votes. And it`s like, you know, it`s like, I mean, come on.

WINDSOR: Basically, everyone`s going to say you`re being proven right.

EASTMAN: Yes, exactly. Except they`re not saying that, right?

WINDSOR: But that`s what they mean?

EASTMAN: Yes, exactly.

WINDSOR: Like, all your legal reasoning is totally solid.

EASTMAN: Yes, there`s no question.


HAYES: It really seems like John Eastman very much believes in his memo, which again, that`s the Occam`s razor interpretation of the document that he authored.

NBC News did reach out to John Eastman, he had no comment. Today, Windsor posted more of the video from a conversation with Eastman in which he discusses Trump`s plans to walk down to the Capitol after a speech on January 6th.


EASTMAN: Yes, I don`t know because the breaking of the windows stuff had already started before his speech was over. And if he got -- if he got down there, then all of that would have been blamed on him. I mean, they`re still blaming him, but they would have had more basis for it. So, you know --

WINDSOR: But he`d been planning on coming down, though.

EASTMAN: Yes, I know.


HAYES: Congressman Jamie Raskin is a Democrat from Maryland, who serves on the select committee investigating January 6th. He`s also a member of the Judiciary Committee, and he joins me now.

Well, Congressman Raskin, I mean, that memo has attracted a lot of attention. It`s incredibly controversial. It`s been disowned by its author seemingly, what is your understanding of its status and Eastman`s relationship to it?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, I think it was the driving political and legislative and constitutional strategy of the political coup on January the 6th.

Then, if you look at Eastman`s interview with Steve Bannon on the 6th, clearly, Steve Bannon had bought into it, and it was the organizing principle of what they were doing.

You know, the whole point was to inflate the Vice President`s role to the size of the Goodyear Blimp and say for the first time in American history, the vice president could himself repudiate and reject electoral college votes from Arizona, Georgia and P.A. denying Biden a majority in the electoral college and kicking the whole thing into the House for a contingent election where we know the state by state voting would have favored Trump.

And so, you know, politically, it was a great strategy for them. Constitutionally, it was utterly fraudulent as Eastman himself seemed to recognize a couple of days ago when he said it was crazy, facing disbarment charges, he decided to say it was crazy, but then in that interview, you know, like, I suppose he thought it was confidential. He expressed great pride in what he had done.

HAYES: Well, so there`s one theme here that I think has emerged from at least the public reporting, partly from the Senate Judiciary report, and I imagine you`re involved, the fact gathering is the president is looking for anyone that will help him overturn the election. It`s very clear.


The vast majority of the lawyers he encounters say no, or don`t help him. The White House Counsel`s office doesn`t really -- that the top part of the DOJ, there`s kind of two lawyers who stand out. One is Eastman who`s just a random law professor. And then there`s Jeffrey Clark, who`s the number three at the Department of Justice and their key fingers because they give some kind of plausible claim that this is more than just essentially a coup to Donald Trump.

RASKIN: Well, it had been rejected by the coterie of legal advisors really around Trump and Pence and then Richard Cullen, who was Pence`s lawyer said that it was ridiculous, Judge Luttig told him, it was ridiculous. All of them were trying to explain and get it into Trump`s skull that it was ludicrous.

But he was, of course, looking for someone who would say what he wanted. And so, he kept reaching for more and more extreme views. And that`s how he ended up with Eastman.

And, you know, Eastman performed, he delivered by saying, this is something we can do. And of course, it was eaten up by everyone. And they coordinated that political coup with the violent insurrection.

And so, a lot of what I`m looking for in the January 6th committee is what were the Nexus points between the quasi parliamentary political coup side and the violent insurrection side with the Proud Boys in the Oath Keepers and so on.

HAYES: Are you interviewing Clark this week? Is that correct?

RASKIN: Clark I think the committee has acknowledged was scheduled this Friday for an interview. So, I believe that that is still on.

I saw some reportage today that his current lawyer had quit and I don`t know whether or not that`s affected the timing of it. If it did, you know, obviously, the committee is trying to accommodate people for their various issues.

But, you know, we`re not going to play cat mouse and hide and go seek with these people.

So, but I would expect that he`s still coming Friday. If not, you know, the committee will be reasonable and accommodating whatever schedule change he needs.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin sitting on the select committee, thank you very much.

RASKIN: Thank you very much, Chris.

HAYES: Next, Brazilian lawmakers voted in favor today of recommending criminal charges for the sitting president of Brazil, Bolsonaro, for his mishandling of the pandemic. Will he be charged with crimes against humanity? That`s next.



HAYES: The president of Brazil is a man named Jair Bolsonaro and he is often called his country`s version of Donald Trump and it is easy to see why. Both men are right-wing populists with authoritarian tendencies, much of their appeal is based on their willingness to say outrageous, offensive, controversial things to make the right people angry.

And perhaps, most damningly in their actual records. Both men utterly failed to protect their citizens from the coronavirus.

United States and Brazil are first and second respectively for total COVID deaths, that is due in large part to the ways in which Trump and Bolsonaro refused to take combating the virus seriously.

Both men discouraged mask wearing and even mocked those who wear them. Both men touted the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID despite evidence that it is not effective for that purpose.

Both of them encouraged mass rallies, both of them refuse to moderate their rhetoric after contracting the virus themselves.

Now, I said before that, given the scope of the catastrophe that has been American COVID. We need something like a truth and reconciliation commission this country to get to the bottom of how the Trump administration and everyone and all of the public health origins of this country allowed a once in a century pandemic to spiral so far out of control.

Well, now it looks like Brazil might actually be approaching something like that. A Brazilian Senate panel has now recommended to vote -- has voted to recommend charging the sitting president of Brazil who`s up for reelection with crimes against humanity over his handling of the virus.

They also recommended among other things, charges of inciting an epidemic as well as charlatanism for promoting hydroxychloroquine.

And in a perfectly paired moment like something out of a movie script shortly after that panel recommended those charges against Bolsonaro, he was endorsed for reelection by none other than Donald Trump.

"Brazil is lucky to have a man such as Jair Bolsonaro working for them. He is a great president and will never let the people of his great country down."

Jack Nicas covers Brazil for the New York Times where he`s reported extensively on the recommended charges against Bolsonaro and he joins me tonight from Rio.

Jack, can you just give us a little bit of context? It`s such a striking thing to hear. Charges -- you know, crimes against humanity recommended, like who wrote the report? How did it come about? And who`s voting on it? What happens now?

JACK NICAS, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure, it absolutely is extraordinary. I mean, this is a pretty unprecedented time we`re living in and this is one example of it.

So, this is a report that comes out of a six-month investigation that was leading the nightly news throughout much of the summer here in Brazil. There were a lot of eyes on this investigation, and it was a special Senate panel convened specifically to investigate the handling of the pandemic. And so, there were 11 voting members on this panel.

From the beginning, there were seven of them who oppose the president and they really control things. And the vote last night came down along those political lines where seven of the senators who essentially opposed the president voted for this nearly 1,300-page report and four senators who oppose the president -- who support the president rather, actually voted against it.

HAYES: Could he face actual criminal charges? Like, what becomes of this recommendation now?


NICAS: So, this morning, the report was delivered to Brazil`s effective Attorney General. He now has 30 days to review the report and decide whether or not to press criminal charges against the president here in Brazil.

It is expected that he will not. He is generally a supporter of the president. He was nominated, he was appointed by the president.

If he were to pursue criminal charges, those charges would also have to be approved by the lower House of Congress here that also is unexpected, because of their support for the president.

So, it looks like at this point, there won`t be criminal charges against President Bolsonaro in the short term.

However, if he leaves office or when he leaves office, of course, he could be facing more legal exposure.

HAYES: The context here, of course, is that the pandemic has been brutal on Brazil and at a per capita basis, even worse than the U.S. and Bolsonaro has taken a position very similar to Trump.

I mean, he`s kind of been, you know, flouting the kind of namby-pamby public health experts, and he, you know, rode around his jet ski and said to everyone, everyone`s going to get it, and then, he got it and he was feeding his pet birds and came back.

And there`s been a kind of laissez faire approach. I just wonder how like, what has that done to the country`s politics and culture as this death toll has soared as high as it has?

NICAS: Well, it hasn`t been good for President Bolsonaro politically. His poll numbers, of course, have spiraled here as the death toll has risen.

And you`re right, the president really took a similar approach to President Trump in many ways, and even more striking approach to COVID and that he downplayed it and has continued to downplay it.

He actually -- you know, remember at the U.N. meeting just last month, he was essentially, you know, the only world leader that hadn`t been vaccinated. There were photos of him having to eat pizza on the sidewalk because he couldn`t get into New York City restaurants.

But he, you know, there were many things in this report that we should know. They talked about the fact that President Bolsonaro essentially sought to reach herd immunity, so he wanted the virus to spread unchecked. He ignored vaccines, ignored more than a hundred -- his administration ignored more than a hundred e-mails from Pfizer offering the vaccine. they instead sought a vaccine from India that had not even yet been approved, and there were allegations of fraud in that deal.

He continued to promote unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine. And he discouraged the use of masks and encouraged gatherings.

All of this amounting to as the Senate panel voted last night, crimes against humanity. And they essentially laid the blame for, you know, at least more than 100,000 if not more deaths, at the feet of this government.

HAYES: We should note that the Daily Beast reported that there was some talk of a rally with Trump and Bolsonaro, who had been very close. Their kids had been close. Bolsonaro`s son has been up in the states and Donald Trump Jr.

The Daily Beast reported this summer according to two (INAUDIBLE), Trump told confidants he was open to publicly endorsing Bolsonaro`s reelection potentially in a mega rally in Brazil, where he and Bolsonaro could appear together side by side to rail against what each deem undesired election outcomes.

When is the election, Jack?

NICAS: The election is just about a year away here.

HAYES: All right, Jack Nicas, a reporter for the New York Times, reporting live from one of the greatest cities in the entire world, Rio de Janeiro. Thank you very much.

NICAS: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, amidst the continued fallout from the thousands of documents released by a Facebook whistleblower, there are now signs the tech giant is preparing to face investigations, that story just ahead.



HAYES: Early voting is already underway in the Virginia gubernatorial race with the latest polling showing Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe effectively in a dead heat with former Carlyle Group CEO Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin.

If there was ever a test the politics of this post Trump moment it`s this election and we will be covering it live next Tuesday with the help of Steve Kornacki at the big board.

It`s not the only race were watching. There`s also a really fascinating mayoral race happening up in Buffalo, New York. With India Walton, 39-year- old socialist and former nurse who last June just came out of nowhere and defeated the four-term incumbent in the Democratic primary.

On Tuesday, she will be up against the vanquished incumbent mayor who is now mounting a furious comeback as a write-in candidate. Like I said, fascinating race to watch.

And luckily, I got a chance to sit down with India Walton to talk all about the election, as well as her own story. How she went from giving birth to her first child at 14 years old, a preemie born at 27 weeks to becoming a nurse in that same NICU. And now maybe the next mayor of Buffalo.



HAYES: Each day the thousands of internal Facebook documents leaked by a whistleblower provide new light into the company`s priorities and its shortcomings. And now appears Facebook is preparing for some kind of investigation.

New York Times reported this afternoon "Facebook has told employees to preserve internal documents and communications since 2016 that pertain to its businesses because governments and legislative bodies have started increase into its operations according to accompany e-mail sent out on Tuesday night".

Remains unclear whether Facebook will face any sort of legal ramifications. But the whistleblower`s documents revealed the company`s quite aware of the dangers of its platform and downplayed those problems and the pursuit of, well, making more money.

Tristan Harris, co-founder and president of Center for Humane Technology, which is pushing for technology to support our well-being, democracy and shared information environment.

He appeared in the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma to discuss the dangers of unchecked social media and he joins me now.

Tristan, you worked in social -- you worked at Google, if I`m not mistaken. You`ve worked on the sort of inside of this. And I`m curious what has jumped out to you about the revelations from this tranche of documents that have been leak that all these different organizations have been working on?

TRISTAN HARRIS, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR HUMANE TECHNOLOGY: Well, Chris, it`s good to see you again. And you know, we`ve been talking about this topic for a long time.

I mean, really to people who`ve been studying this, there`s nothing new here, right? What we`ve been saying for the last eight years people like Jaron Lanier, people like Renee DiResta, fits so long as the business model is sorting by what engages people`s attention, and then putting amplifiers on that.

You`re basically selecting for the seven deadly sins, even the founder of LinkedIn himself, Reid Hoffman said, the most successful social networks tap into one or more of the seven deadly sins.

And everything that the Facebook files is showing is just an epiphenomenon. It`s just another predictable consequence. It`s like climate change, right? It`s like we have another hurricane, we have another wildfire and we`re reporting on the news as these individual events as opposed to the system that we are trapped within, is this global climate change of culture that`s caused by the engagementification (PH), the outragefication (PH), the conspiracification (PH) of our politics and of our culture.

And I would actually say, as I think we spoke a few weeks ago, this is fundamentally incompatible with democracy, because so long as you`re personalizing what engages people, you`re personalizing a more extreme position, no matter what someone believes at my role as Facebook is to want -- or Twitter or Tik Tok is to give you a more extreme confirmation of your existing views that outrageous view.

And what that does is it selects for a more polarized representative class who cannot actually agree on anything in a democracy starts grinding to a halt in a world where we have increasing crisis. We have migrant crisis, we have climate crisis, we have many more crises that are going to come hit us and we don`t have the functional democratic governance to actually help us respond to that.

And so, that leads to a drive towards authoritarianism around the world. So, I think people should really zoom out from the the local revelations of Frances Haugen in the Facebook files to what does this mean as a society, as a -- as a civilization? Can we work as a democracy with this running our information system?

HAYES: So, there`s a bunch of things you said there that I want to zoom in on. And I`ve been doing -- I`ve been writing and working on this topic myself recently.

And so, one of them is just the nature -- you know, we`re focused on Facebook, but what you`re saying is, this is endemic to the market for attention, which is to say, ruthlessly efficient markets for attention on social media, which can be better at getting attention than anything else, because they have essentially A.I. powered algorithms that are constantly testing what gets attention, will -- are sort of necessarily perverse that they won`t necessarily go to the place that we`re seeing all these revelations about, which is like outrage and conspiracy theory and QAnon and all that stuff. Because that is there`s something deep in us where that is what grabs our attention.

Aaa That`s exactly right. And so, that`s why we shouldn`t be surprised by any of this. The real question is what is actually survivable for our society.

And I think we said this two weeks ago when we spoke, that so long as the business model is we are the product and not the customer. And whatever hijacks my limbic system, my emotional system, my lizard brain, is what creates success for the company that`s going to select out of me, my worst vices. It`s going to mean a more addicted, outraged, polarized, narcissistic, distracted and misinformed society, because each of those words represents a success case of an A.I. pointed at your brain, trying to suck out that next attention.

And just like we`re hitting planetary boundaries on the extractive sort of economies that`s running our -- you know, our oil economy, and we`re hitting the planetary boundaries of what`s the carrying capacity of emissions we can take, I think we`re hitting planetary boundaries on the culture of sucking out so much attention and personalizing information so much that it breaks democracy.

And you know, let alone the fact that the Founding Fathers have said, that we need a functional Fourth Estate and the second in addition to polarizing the political base, and a representative class, it also bankrupts basically the news.

And so, basically, the news has to become an increasingly click baity (PH) thing where you have to appeal to the algorithm. Everyone has to appeal the algorithm. Small, medium sized businesses have to appeal to the algorithm. Politicians have to appeal to the algorithm. And newspapers have to appeal to the algorithm. So, we don`t have a regular marketplace with an invisible hand of Adam Smith.

Again, we have the digital hand of Zuckerberg that everyone has to appeal to. That is the new species of power when you`re talking about three billion people who are plugged into that system.

HAYES: Right, although, but again, it`s not the -- I mean, the key point here right is the algorithm is just a very efficient means of aggregating pre-conscious attentional desires.

Which is to say, all the algorithm does is surface the stuff that grabs our limbic system, and the stuff that grabs our limbic system, which is the brainstem, the core parts of us, the parts that are sort of the most ancient, right? And the least associated with, like, contemplative consciousness is like threat, fear, lost all that stuff, the seven deadly sins.

Aaa Exactly.

HAYES: So, it`s -- I mean, I don`t want to say like, the problem is us. But the -- but the reason it`s dangerous is precisely because of its efficiency of grabbing something in us, as opposed to foisting something onto us.

Aaa What was the question there?

HAYES: That it`s not foisting something onto us, that it is having something within us which is what gives it power.

Aaa Correct. Yes, of the things to tease out of us. It`s like a harmonic frequency, you know, you`re throwing up a tuner and you`re resonating, but you`re resonating for the parts of us that are again, the seven deadly sins. And it`s against what all religions and you know, sort of practice -- wisdom practices would preach and tell us is the exact opposite of what you would expect running the brain implant of your society.

HAYES: That`s right. Facebook -- on all sides, politically, the left and the right, right? It does it to all of us. I think it`s one thing we`re coming together on is that we have polarizes each of us into more extreme positions where we can`t see our fellow countrymen and women.


HAYES: Yes, that`s right. The Facebook newsfeed is the opposite of prayer or Buddhist meditation, literally.

Tristan Harris, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

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