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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 11/19/21

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Norm Ornstein, Jonathan Cohn, Kris Brown, David Henderson, Reid Epstein


The House Democrats passed the Build Back Better Bill after the marathon speech of Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The MAGA Republicans prepare to ditch Leader McCarthy. Part of the Build Back Better Bill is the insulin price reduction plan which would lower the price of insulin in the U.S. Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges, even though there was never a question that Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them during protests in Kenosha last summer. In Wisconsin, Republican officials led by Senator Ron Johnson are taking aim at the bipartisan State Elections Commission.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Now that you`ve been told, you are not welcome in their neighborhood. You are all welcome to hang out with me on my street. And we can teach Matt Schlapp who`s tonight`s absolute worst about the letter I for inclusivity.

Bye, bye now. And that`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." I`ll be back on Monday. ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.


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

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The Build Back Better Bill is passed.

HAYES: An undeniable victory and the opposition can`t find the words.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): So, let this sink in. You are encouraging more of the (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: Tonight, why the troll caucus is already planning the -- to ditch Kevin McCarthy and the foolproof way Democrats can sell Build Back Better in the Senate.

Then, Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts. Why this is such a dangerous tipping point for armed violence in America. Plus, another infamous claim of voter fraud goes poof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dead people voted in Clark County.

HAYES: And the jaw-dropping Republican plan to choke off any chance a Democrat could ever win in Wisconsin when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We begin tonight with this moment, something you just don`t actually see a lot of in American politics, I got to say, where a majority party with control of government passes something bold and ambitious that it truly believes in.


PELOSI: The yays are 220, the nays are 213. The Build Back Better Bill is passed.


HAYES: Now, yes the bill still has to pass the Senate where a lot of the real fight will be, but there`s a whole host of truly groundbreaking provisions in this legislation that passed this morning we`re going to explain in just a bit.

First though, how did we get to this moment? Because this vote was a victory for the Biden agenda, for a lot of working folks in this country, for Democrats in more ways than one, because it came after some truly odd theatrics from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the chamber.

It`s worth talking about who he is and how he of all people stumbled into the top spot in his party. Back in 2011, you may remember, this man, John Boehner, Republican from Ohio, was sworn in as Speaker of the House. Republicans had just decimated the Democrats in the midterms, they took control of the House, writing a waiver of resentment and backlash politics. They`re ready to take control of Washington. It was speaker Boehner`s responsibility to lead his party, set the agenda, whip votes, generally keep his new caucus of inexperienced far-right activists in line.

And Boehner, to put it mildly, was not up to the task. I got to be honest. I`m not sure if anyone could have been. His new tea partiers shut down the government, they refused to play ball on a number of key issues like the budget. They made Boehner`s life a living hell. They also caused tremendous substantive damage to the country by imposing austerity that immisrated millions.

Eventually, after a few years of pushing, the base won. They ran Boehner out of the job entirely. Not to worry, that Boehner guy was old news anyway. There had to be a better way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a better way. And the new team is ready to bring America back. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, joined by common sense conservative candidates from across the country. Together, they are ready to make history. Together, they are the young guns.


HAYES: That`s right. Republicans` young guns will save you from the old guard. Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, we`re here to rescue the party from despair. So, where did all those guys end up?

Well, famously, Cantor was the first and so far only House Majority Leader in history to lose his primary. He lost to a tea party guy named Dave Brat who ended up eventually losing the seat himself to a Democrat Abigail Spanberger who still holds it to this day.

And Paul Ryan, well, he fulfilled his wunderkind potential, became Speaker of the House just 45 years old, and he managed to pass the wildly unpopular Trump tax cuts for corporations and the rich. But much like Boehner, Ryan struggled hold together a fractious coalition, failed to accomplish any other conservative priorities like repealing ObamaCare or slashing entitlements. Remember, they fell on their face twice trying to repeal ObamaCare. And just after a little over three years, he quit to help run Fox News and bring in that sweet, sweet cash.

That brings us to California Republican Kevin McCarthy. He is the current House minority leader who hopes to be the next Speaker of the House. He very well could be. Unlike Boehner who worked his way up through leadership for years or Paul Ryan who is a kind of breakout star within his party, widely respected for his intellect, he even ran on Mitt Romney`s vice- presidential ticket, Kevin McCarthy`s just kind of there.


And I got to say, just based on my conversations with people on Capitol Hill, staffers and members, setting aside ideological differences or political beliefs, purely talking about leadership capabilities here, Kevin McCarthy is not widely believed to be one of the great strategic thinkers of his generation, not a commanding figure within the Republican Party, not redoubtable in the way Nancy Pelosi is.

No one expects Kevin McCarthy to strike fear in the hearts of the Republican conference or the opposition even. Which is why I think he delivered this kind of outlandish speech last night to try as hard as he could to prove to the base that he can really bring the fire in response to the Democrats agenda. And you couldn`t judge for yourself whether he succeeded.


MCCARTHY: This isn`t a Republican or Democrat issue. This is the safety of this nation, gas prices, Thanksgiving, a border. I was in the sixth grade. I turn on the TV. I watch Jimmy Carter have a sweater on and tell me to turn the heater down. Mr. President, come to the grocery store with me.

Have you ever eaten one of these baby carrots? I`ll leave you in a little secret. There`s no such thing. They`re just big carrots, they chop them and they charge you more when you buy them. You know, there could be members here who didn`t want to change their airline ticket, Madam Speaker and already are in Puerto Rico, because they can vote proxy. Maybe they`re down there. I don`t know.


HAYES: Now, setting aside McCarthy`s skills as an orator, we should note his speech had a strategic aspect as well. It was a well-known fact among both parties in Washington, been true as long as I`ve been covering stuff up there that you want to try to delay the opposition`s key votes as much as possible so that you can then accuse them of passing their priorities in the dead of the night.

Except it seems as though McCarthy may have overshot his goal. He spoke for eight and a half hours, eight and a half hours of that. I gave you the short part. I spared you. By his own admission, that was longer than he expected to, and he wrapped up around 5:00 in the morning, and then the Democrats just passed the bill a few hours later, just as millions of Americans were waking up to hear about it on the morning news. So, A for effort, F for execution there, Congressman.

But as I mentioned a moment ago, McCarthy`s real goal was to impress the GOP`s powerful troll caucus, the new wave of Republicans whose only organizing principle is being as ostentatiously anti-social as possible because they are furious McCarthy let the bipartisan infrastructure bill pass two weeks ago even though there wasn`t much you could do about it, and they could already smell blood in the water.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia is telling reporters she`s not sure whether McCarthy would be the next speaker. Trump`s old Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is publicly floating Trump to be the next speaker instead which while unlikely only serves to remind McCarthy that the base does not want him in charge.

And so, how did the troll caucus receive McCarthy`s speech? We`ll just ask one of its key players, Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida.


REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): While we heard Leader McCarthy speak for a great duration of time, it was like a really long death rattle. The outcome was already determined as a consequence of poor leadership and poor strategy.


HAYES: Not really a glowing reception for Kevin McCarthy. And let`s be clear, for McCarthy, McCarthy has got the wind in his back political right now, but in terms of impressing those people and managing them, it`s going to get worse and harder from here on out almost certainly.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and he joins me now. Congressman Jeffries, there was some -- there were some tense moments in your caucus between various factions and divisions for over the last month about the hold up on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. There were times where the leadership said we`re going to have a vote and then it didn`t happen because the votes weren`t there. What is the morale sentiment among House Democrats after this morning?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well this was a great day and a great week for the American people, a great week for the country, a great week for the Biden agenda as well as the House Democratic Caucus agenda.

We began the week, of course, with President Biden signing the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. It`s going to create millions of good-paying jobs, invest in our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, our mass transit system, our water and sewage system, bring about high-speed internet all throughout the country, urban America, rural America all points in between.

And then we ended the week by passing this transformational legislation that will also create millions of good-paying jobs, cut taxes for working families, and drive down and lower costs in areas like child care and health care, life-saving prescription drugs, housing, higher education. And so, it`s fair to say we`re feeling pretty good because we`re delivering in a meaningful way for the American people.


You just mentioned the tax cuts for working families. And I have to ask one of the most controversial elements of this, I think one of the most politically hard to defend, is that because of negotiations in the caucus, particularly Josh Gottheimer who represents New Jersey suburbs.

There`s a repeal on part of the Republicans tax bill which will end up effectively cutting taxes for lots of millionaires who live in high tax states like New Jersey and New York and California. And people said, you ran on raising taxes on the rich. And in fact, you`re giving them a huge tax cut in this. Bill how do you defend that?

JEFFRIES: Well, when you look at the overall amount of revenue that`s being generated, that will come from the wealthy, the well-off, and the well- connected paying their fair share across the country as well as additional taxes from corporations not as high as I would have liked. I think we should have raised the corporate tax rate, but that does not appear feasible given the dynamics in the Senate.

But with respect to the SALT tax cap, you`re talking about often in places like New York, or Northern New Jersey, or Connecticut, parts of Illinois, certainly in California, high cost jurisdictions where you could have a police officer and a teacher, a nurse and a firefighter, a social worker, two public employees who are middle class or maybe even solidly middle class who the SALT tax cap has put them in a worse position than they were in prior to the passage of the GOP tax game in 2017.

And this was aimed directly at blue states by Republicans uh in a bill where 83 of the benefits went to the wealthiest one percent. And so, I do believe that we need some SALT reform. And some of the public employee unions including the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the state and local and county employees actually support this effort that we`ve undertaken because they recognize that the Republicans were trying to punish the ability of states like New York and California to raise revenue that can then be poured into the well-being of the people that we serve in the states. As opposed to what happens in red states where they raise no revenue, they don`t have local income taxes, and they treat their people very differently needless to say.

HAYES: You mention that you would have liked to see maybe the corporate rate raise and made reference to the Senate. Of course, that`s what looms over all this. And you saying that -- I want you to clarify. And I don`t know if you can be honest about this but I`ll ask you. Do you -- like, are you just in suspense about whether this will be OK with King Joe Manchin and Queen Kyrsten Sinema over there in the Senate and they`re going to sign it, or do you have some sense that you are in the ballpark? Because, otherwise, this all feels a little bit like pretend.

JEFFRIES: Yes, in my view, we certainly are in the ballpark. And I do believe that all 50 of the senators are operating in good faith in terms of trying to land the plane. But what gives I think many of us confidence in the House is that President Biden has given us his explicit commitment that what has been outlined in terms of the tremendous drives we will be taking for the American people, in the Build Back Better Act, we`ll get the support of 50 senators and he will personally make sure that occurs.

And we know that Joe Biden, one, is not just a man of his word, this is his agenda. He cares about advancing the Build Back Better Act. And he`s a creature of the Senate having served 30 plus years there. If anyone can get this done in the Senate, it`s President Joe Biden, of course, in partnership with great leadership from Chuck Schumer.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, I think -- I think you`re right that -- and everyone I`ve talked to in the process says it`s got to come from the president and he`s been working hard. And ultimately, it`s his agenda and it`s going to - - it`s succeed or fail based on that. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much for being with us.

JEFFRIES: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: I`d like to bring in Norm Ornstein, resident scholar emeritus of the American Enterprise Institute. He`s written at length about congressional dysfunction, including during the Boehner baner and Ryan years.

And Norm, I thought about how long you have been ringing the alarm bell about particularly this trajectory and tendency of the Republican caucus which is now sort of moved through different iterations into this -- you know, the Boeberts, and the Marjorie Taylor-Greenes, and the Gaetz of potentially being the forces that have to appease towards likely be joined by another dozen that are going to be sort of driving the caucus no matter who the leader is. And I think we have seen that on display. What do you think?


NORM ORNSTEIN, SCHOLAR EMERITUS, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: You`re absolutely right. And you know, Chris, when Tom Mann and I wrote almost 10 years ago that the Republican Party was an insurgent outlier, we still call them a political party. I don`t believe it`s a party anymore. It`s a cult. And it`s a cult that is now moving to glorified violence.

You know, we not only saw Kevin McCarthy and the rest of his caucus almost uniformly try to protect Paul Gosar who had done this horrific and anime video, but also Kevin McCarthy then said that if he becomes speaker, they`re not only going to give back Gosar his committee assignments, but that he and Marjorie Taylor-Greene who is also basically threatened her own members -- Democratic members of Congress, even better committee assignments.

You know, there`s a new young gun and it`s a -- it is Kyle Rittenhouse. And now, we`ve had several members say that they want to offer him internships. It wouldn`t surprise me that they`ll bring him in and celebrate him in the Republican conference. This is a deterioration that is absolutely alarming.

HAYES: Yes. I just --

ORNSTEIN: And while Kevin McCarthy is, as I said, a weak leader, he is following now the most violent and anarchic elements of his caucus.

HAYES: Yes, just to give people context here because I think it`s important, that subsequent to Kyle Rittenhouse`s acquittal today, you had these like, celebratory exaltation from members of this exact caucus, all sort of joking about how they were going to arm wrestle each other. And Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Madison Cawthorn to hire Kyle Rittenhouse as an intern, a young man who killed two people, who took his gun illegally obtained to go to a protest where he killed two people and wounded a third.

And this -- I mean, it`s -- the celebration of him is a vigor by members of Congress. Now, we`re not talking about right wing trolls. It`s honestly one of the more despicable, dark, and ominous developments I`ve seen recently have -- and I`ve seen a lot of them.

ORNSTEIN: And, you know, we`ve seen -- you know, Kevin McCarthy`s ridiculous speech, eight and a half hours, I watched three hours of it before I gave up. I`m expecting he`ll do a commercial with Mike Lindell on my catheter before the week is out. But it`s a reflection of where they are.

He feels the hot breath of Jim Jordan on his neck who is likely to be the alternative of the radicals in his caucus. We know as you said what Mark Meadows said. He`s trying desperately to stay in leadership. But the fact is that the entire leadership of this party, and that includes Mitch McConnell, who is a slightly more benign version, is doing nothing to put any guardrails around the people who are supporting a violent insurrection. And we`re seeing this play out outside of Washington as well, including the alarming actions by Robin Voss and the leaders of the Wisconsin legislature trying to hijack the election process.

Honestly, it`s not a party. It`s a cult. And we have to be utterly alarmed at the direction that this is taking. We can`t survive as a country without a viable two-party system. And if we don`t have leaders willing to stand up to these set of violent responses, and Kevin McCarthy is pathetic in that respect, we`re in deep, deep trouble.

HAYES: Yes, that -- the pathos, and the weakness really kind of lost off McCarthy. It kind of always has. And I think, you know, Meadows floating that Trump idea, which by the way, that`s -- at first, I thought that was a troll. That`s a real thing out there that I think will probably pick -- almost certainly pick up steam. And I think it`s done for a variety of reasons, but one of them is to put pressure on McCarthy, is to say, do the full MAGA bid or you`re out.

ORNSTEIN: And we know the strategy here. And they`ve made it pretty overt, that what they`re going to try to do is take control of the House. And of course, if they do take control of the House, we`re going to see 500 Benghazi-style hearings on Hunter Biden, Afghanistan, and many other matters. But then it`s going to be an attempt, if they lose in 2024, to try and send the election to the House where they will almost certainly have a majority of state delegations.

You know, it was so interesting to me to see and it`s the cult coming out again, all of those Republican members who voted for the infrastructure plan, the bipartisan infrastructure plan, all of the ones with two exceptions who voted to impeach Donald Trump, none of them were willing to stand up when it came to Paul Gosar.

None of them have been willing to do anything to move in the direction because they know that they`ll be shunned and excommunicated from their own friends and constituents, not to mention by Donald Trump. This is people caving in. It`s a lack of moral courage that is absolutely stunning.

I`ve been around for five decades. I knew Republican leaders in the past. They wouldn`t have responded this way I`m sure.

HAYES: Norm Ornstein, as always, thank you, sir.

So, there are literally dozens, dozens, and dozens of provisions in this new bill that was passed by the House today. I want to single out just one of them, just one concrete, tangible thing that is going to benefit tens of millions of Americans if it becomes law, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, whether they like Donald Trump or not, whether they hate Joe Biden or not. A good thing for all of those folks, all of us, and not a single Republican voted for it. That`s next.



HAYES: There is so much going on in the Build Back Better Bill. It`s a social welfare bill, it`s a climate bill. It`s kind of hard to get your arms around it. But if you broke it up into a bunch of individual bills, the individual provisions, they`d all be pretty popular.

Here`s an example. Here`s a bill that you could just call the insulin price reduction act. Insulin prices are one of those problems in American life that are rightly considered indefensible and outrageous across the political spectrum, and yet they persist.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Over the last 20 years, the list price of insulin has shot up more than 1000 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, desperate patients are pleading online, saying they can`t afford the insulin they need to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve decided it`s worth the risk to go to one of Mexico`s most dangerous cities as insulin prices in the U.S. have more than doubled in recent years.



HAYES: So, one of the provisions in the legislation that passed early this morning is that finally after years of this being a problem and people talking about doing something, insulin deductibles and co-pays will be capped at $35.00 for a 30-day supply. And to put that in perspective, right now, the average cost per month is a staggering $590.

I`m joined now by a reporter who has been covering the insulin issue and the drug pricing section of this bill extensively. Jonathan, it`s great -- Jonathan Cohn, Senior National Correspondent at the HuffPost. I`m sorry, I forgot to say your name because I wanted to get into the conversation.

So, you`ve been covering this and this is something I`m sort of obsessed with. So, we`ve got -- the prevalence of diabetes in this country is quite high. About 10 percent of Americans, which is high in the list of OECD. This is -- you know, we`re talking about 35 million Americans who have been dealing with it. First of all, why and how did the problem get so bad?

JONATHAN COHN, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, HUFFPOST: Right. Well, you know, as is the case with so many drugs, we here in the United States, we pay a lot more for insulin than citizens of other countries do. That`s because in every other country, the government takes uh takes responsibility for negotiating with drug companies and saying look, we`re going to demand a fair price for drugs and they work out a price with the drug companies and that`s what the drug sells for.

We don`t have that kind of system in the United States. At least we don`t yet. And so, drug companies really have much more power to set prices as they want. And in theory, you know, insurance companies are supposed to negotiate lower prices. But the way the system works in this country, there`s this complicated set of middlemen with back and forth rebates, and the prices just don`t come down that much.

And then finally, the drug companies have become really good at manipulating the patent system. And so, what they do is, you know, insulin -- I mean, it`s -- you know, their usual argument for high prices is oh, you know, we`re inventing this new breakthrough drug --

HAYES: Right, exactly.

COHN: This one has been around for a hundred years. They make incremental improvements but then they add patent after patent on the ingredients and the delivery system and then no one can make a competitor, and they can charge what they want.

HAYES: Yes. In fact, the original developers of insulin in 1920 -- I learned this from our second producer Alexander Price who told me this today -- that there -- they wouldn`t patent it. They sold the patent for $1.00 because they thought it was outrageous to patent this thing. And then, Eli Lilly came in. They keep updating the patent so that they could keep the IP.

Again, this is not some like -- you know, it`s not some mind-blowing new development. It`s a 100-year-old drug. And here`s the thing that`s also wild about this. Here`s the cost to manufacture $6.16, the cost to purchase $332.00. They are printing money off the backs of people who literally have no option in order to survive.

COHN: Yes, yes. And they have no option in order to survive. And they are responding by rationing their own care. They don`t take the pills when they should. Then they get sick. And people are literally dying because of this. It`s a crazy thing. And yes, the inventors of insulin, they thought it would be greedy. They thought it would be wrong morally to jack up the prices and have some kind of, you know, monopolistic claim on this drug. They wanted everybody to have it. Quite obviously, that`s not the case right now.

HAYES: So, this is one of these issues. It`s like surprise medical billing where it`s not even been that partisan. I mean, you know , you got 35 million Americans with diabetes. You got Republicans and Democrats across the board got it, right, have to deal with this. You`ve got complaints. You`ve had Republicans and Democrats complain about it. Chuck Grassley has complained about it. You -- how did this get done finally?

COHN: It got done finally by sheer will, years of lobbying to push to do some kind of real prescription drug reform. You know, two years ago, when Trump was President, the House Democrats under Pelosi, they worked, they worked, they fought with each other. They came up with a plan.

When Biden got elected, they said, we`re going to do prescription drugs. It`s been a fight. It`s been a slug. The pharmaceutical industry has fought it tooth and nail. They had to make all kinds of compromises. But at least, the bill that came out of the House, they were able to preserve some of the elements. And one of them were these provisions on insulin. Now, of course, we have to see what happens in the Senate

HAYES: Well, that`s the big question, right? So, there -- originally, it was a much larger suite of drugs that this sort of price capping was going to happen or negotiations for prices. That got whittled down by the conservative members of the caucus and signals from the Senate.

The question is, you know, Joe Manchin with like his daughter who runs a big pharma company, like, is he going to take the ax to this? I just -- it`s so obviously the right thing morally, substantively, and politically. I just -- please tell me someone is not going to ride in to kill this in the Senate.

COHN: You know, look, I mean, the saying in Washington is you never want to bet against the drug industry. But it`s gotten this far. I actually don`t think Joe Manchin necessarily would be the problem. There are some other senators I would worry about more. And certainly, there`s going to be a pushback.

But you know, like you said, this has such an obvious logic. It is so popular, it is so easy to sell that, you know, even conservative Democrats, who usually are the ones who are more skeptical of government regulation.

Now, they see this as something that can -- they can sell to the voters, they need to sell to the voters and can so obviously do a lot of good.

So, I do think this has a good shot of making it all the way. But again, you know, we`ll have to see.


HAYES: I mean, honestly, if you can`t message -- we took insulin for $500 to $35.00. Get out of politics, and if you can`t deliver that for people, get out of politics, that`s it. That`s what you`re there to do.

I don`t like -- I don`t care about the drug companies or whoever is writing you checks on this stuff. Honestly, like this is such a clear-cut win for all involved, do it.

HAYES: Jonathan Cohn, great reporting. Thank you.

COHN: Thanks.

HAYES: Coming up, what the utterly predictable and utterly disheartening verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial means for open carry laws self- defense claims in this country, that`s next.



HAYES: Today, Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges, even though there was never a question that Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them during protests in Kenosha last summer.

Those protests which came after George Floyd`s death, and after those protests, the protests in which some of those on the streets of Kenosha also burned stores. They arose in response to the police shooting of another unarmed black man named Jacob Blake who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer, Blake survived.

Two of the men Rittenhouse shot did not survive. Their names are Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and their families must be mourning them even more intensely today.

Huber`s parents released a statement saying "Today`s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street."

That was outcome was not particularly surprising to those who`ve been following the case and the trial. But it does present some very unnerving ideas about self-defense.

As Eric Levitz writes in New York Magazine: "If Rittenhouse had a right to shoot two people in self-defense, the ladder had a similarly legitimate basis for shooting Rittenhouse dead. Put differently: Once Rittenhouse fired his first shots, he and his attackers plausibly entered a context in which neither could be held legally liable for killing the other."

Verdict also raises real questions about what open carry laws will mean for free speech and the right to peaceably assemble that many of those people on the streets of Kenosha were attempting to engage in going forward, especially in a world where someone could bring a gun to a protest, shoot three people and face no criminal repercussions.

Kris Brown is president of Brady, the National Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. David Henderson is a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney and they both join me now.

David, let me start with you as someone who has been a lot of trials on both sides and watch this trial closely. I think the people that were watching it closely, this was essentially the anticipated outcome. What was your reaction today? What do you think of this verdict?

DAVID HENDERSON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I`m not surprised, this was what I expected in terms of the verdict. I do think the verdict is unjust. And I think it puts public safety at risk. And here`s the reason why.

It`s not just Rittenhouse won, it`s the way that he won. He was able to claim self-defense in a circumstance where a man who is 5` 3" was running at him. And his basic argument was because of the way he ran at me, I had to kill him.

And he went on to say I knew that what he was going to do is take my gun which was strapped to his body. And Rosenbaum never physically touched Rittenhouse or his gun.

And despite that, he`s still prevailed with this argument of self-defense. And so, to the point that you`re making earlier, we were already teetering on the brink, because people already take assault rifles out to these protests.

But in light of this verdict, I think they`re going to feel comfortable firing them as emotions rise, because they won`t feel any consequences.

HAYES: Yes, this is -- Kris, this is an example of what -- this is not my phrase, but I use it a lot because it`s useful to the Second Amendment eating the First in some ways.

If you can open carry, I mean, folks that are peaceably assembling under the First Amendment protection to peaceably assemble, to protest, to petition, grievances from their government. It just changes everything if there`s someone standing around you open carrying a weapon like that, and then, can say they were scared enough to shoot and kill people and be acquitted on that. What does that do to society?

KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY: That does terrible things to society, Chris, in every way imaginable.

Obviously, based on what I do professionally on behalf of victims across this country, I`m often out in public and protests, it makes me reconsider how I feel out in the public square as a mother, it makes me reconsider it.

And I think the larger implications for this ruling are exactly as you say. It`s an insurrectionist really view of the Second Amendment that has no limit that is part of the underpinning I think that`s very, very upsetting about how the judge proceeded with this trial.

Obviously, the verdict because our change in society that we`ve been able to achieve, think about the Civil Rights Movement, think about women`s suffrage, think about antiwar protests, has relied on exercise of our First Amendment rights, exercise of our rights to assembly, and part of those rights is premised on the right to live, the right not to be shot in our society.

And a larger implication here is it says if gun owners have super rights, super constitutional rights, because here, Kyle Rittenhouse was the one who decided who lived or died.


HENDERSON: The two people who are dead, they don`t get to claim self- defense, because they were unarmed and they`re dead. So, this is just simply a colossally concerning ruling in terms of the implication not just for this, but also the Supreme Court case that`s pending right now about permitting systems in New York, and, indeed, about a quarter of the states across the country where there are systems in place to determine who should carry guns in public. The Supreme Court is going to determine whether all of those laws should be overturned.

HAYES: David, as someone again, who practice in the criminal justice system, which, you know, is both a criminal justice system as constituting the U.S. as inescapable from racial hierarchy in this country.

I mean, if you`ve ever set foot in the criminal court, particularly this case, as well, given that it came out of a protest of a Black man being shot and a Black Lives Matter protest, and that was the motivation in some ways for Rittenhouse to go there, his three victims were all white, the two that died and one that survived. He was white as well. And I wonder what role you saw as race playing in that context.

BROWN: Chris, to say that race played no role in this case which some people have argued is like saying that race played no role in the murder of James Reed and the court case that resulted from it. Of course, it did because of what`s directly connectable to this case.

Now, as I say that, I do think that influenced the way that prosecutors went about this case. And I think -- I think that the mistakes that they made in the case were so egregious, you have to wonder why their hearts were not in it.

For example, they charged Rittenhouse with shooting and killing Rosenbaum, essentially under manslaughter charge, and yet, called Rittenhouse himself confessed to a higher-level offense when he took the stand.

So, how do you explain that gap but for the fact that the way the prosecutors bought into the defense`s narrative is part of the reason why they lost this case the way that they did. It should have been narrowed down to the basic issue of public safety and the prosecutors should have taken the position here.

Look, folks, do we really want 17-year-olds running around with assault rifles killing people, permanently disabling people and putting other people at risk? That is what this case is about.

And the reason here that that`s important is because you don`t change people`s minds in court. You appeal to what they already believe in. And these people who go around carrying these guns supposedly claim that what they`re concerned about is safety, as a prosecution, you`ve got to see well then, put your money where your mouth is and hold this person accountable for compromising everyone`s safety that night, resulting in two deaths.

HAYES: Quickly, Kris here, we`ve got several Republican members of Congress falling over themselves to offer internships to Rittenhouse from one of the most despicable spectacles I`ve seen recently. What message does that send in the wake of this verdict?

HENDERSON: Horrible message. This is really about armed vigilantism in this country, Chris, which we already know is hugely on the rise. And when you have a situation where an individual can murder two individuals and grievously injure a third with no consequences, you are encouraging and inciting that across the country and we see the linkages with this with so much happening, the threats against public officials, the January 6th insurrection, all of these things are linked.

And the targets too often, Chris, are individuals of color that the linkage here between white supremacy guns and and our fundamental rights being put at risk are huge.

HAYES: Kris Brown and David Henderson, thank you both, really appreciate it.

Still ahead, one of the Republican`s most ballyhooed stories of voter fraud, Chuck just took the most perfect, perfect twist. I cannot wait to tell it to you. That`s next.



HAYES: In the wake of the election last year, Republicans were searching high and low for examples of voter fraud, looking for any excuse to undermine democracy, overturn the results of the election and to keep Donald Trump in office.

And one of the first stories they latched on to came out of Las Vegas.


KIRK HARTLE, BALLOT CAST IN DECEASED WIFE`S NAME: That was a disbelief, just made no sense to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kirk Hartle said he was surprised when he found out his wife who died in 2017 had sent in a mail-in ballot.

HARTLE: I was surprised because she passed away three years ago, I was surprised to even get that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rosemarie Hartle died at 52 from breast cancer. Her name is still on Clark County`s voter rolls and since everyone in those rolls got a ballot, one was sent to Rosemarie but Kirk says a ballot never got to his house.

HARTLE: That is pretty sickening to me to be honest with you.


HAYES: Sickening indeed. Now that sounds like an awful story of grieving widower attempting to deal with this attempted fraud. And it soon became part of the Trump team`s talking points as they work to undermine the election results.


MATT SCHLAPP, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION, CHAIRMAN: Dead people voted in Clark County. That is a tricky thing, because obviously for these families, this is a very tragic reminder of a loss that they have just recently had to go through. We have two examples that we -- that we have talked about and want to talk about today. One is the death of Rosemarie Hartle in 2017.


HAYES: Nevada Republican Party shared the Hartle story too. "The media needs to understand, we are finding concrete cases of voter irregularities they must expose and Fox News host Tucker Carlson answered the call.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: According to her 2017 obituary, Rosemarie Hartle was a loving, fun, sassy and sarcastic in a fun way. Beautiful, powerful, relentless and inspiring.

Sadly, now she`s gone. But her voter registration remains, she`s still on the rolls. Someone received Rosemarie Hartle`s ballot in the mail, and then cast it. Who did this? We don`t know who did it. We wish we did. We should know. It`s fraud. It`s a threat to our system.



HAYES: Yes, it is fraud. And we should know who did this and now we do. It was Kirk Hartle himself, Rosemarie`s husband.

This week he appeared in court, where he pleaded guilty to the charge of voting more than once in the same election. Hartle was sentenced to probation and fined $2,000.

So, this case, a supposed voter fraud turned out to be bogus, just like pretty much every other voter fraud claim the right -- the right made, that has not stopped them from trying to rig the games the Democrats cannot win again.

In fact, it`s happening right now in Wisconsin. We`ll bring you those shocking details next.


HAYES: All across the country, Republicans are trying to take more control over elections and working to break down some of the defenses that managed to protect us from Democratic catastrophe after the 2020 election.


HAYES: In Wisconsin, Republican officials led by Senator Ron Johnson are taking aim at the bipartisan State Elections Commission.

According to The New York Times, they are trying to eliminate it transferring power to Republican state lawmakers and even attempting to send several of its members to jail.

Reid Epstein brought us that great reporting for the New York Times and he joins me now.

Reid, that was a great piece. I want to start with just letting -- setting the table of what is this Elections Commission, who`s on it, what does it do?

REID EPSTEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Chris, it`s a bipartisan six-member commission, three Republicans and three Democrats. It was actually created by Wisconsin Republicans in 2015 to replace an agency that had a little bit more investigatory power and more teeth that Republicans didn`t like, because it spent a lot of time investigating Scott Walker.

So, they eliminated it and replaced it with this commission, which is a relatively toothless agency that is -- does administer the state`s elections.

But Republicans are upset at how the 2020 election went. They`re upset certainly that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Wisconsin.

But at the moment, they`re angry about measures at the commissioners allowed to make voting easier during the pandemic, things like allowing res -- specifically allowing residents of long term care facilities and nursing homes to vote without visits from what`s called a special voting deputy to come help them vote, which of course, wouldn`t have been allowed during the pandemic when visitors weren`t being allowed into nursing homes.

HAYES: Right. I mean, not to editorialize, but that a sensible defensible position that they are -- that they are very angry about?

And I mean, the other thing is that this kind of institution, it`s not -- these are common. I mean, one of the things we saw in 2020 is you`ve got all these bipartisan three, three, four, four kind of boards that are running at a kind of administrative level elections all over the place, that are bipartisan for a reason, because they`re supposed to be essentially ministerial administrative, that are now coming under political pressure particularly by Republicans like we`re seeing in Wisconsin.

EPSTEIN: That`s right. You know, Republicans in Wisconsin are used for running the state government, they have near supermajority -- super majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

And now, they have a Democratic governor who has vetoed much of what they`ve put forward in the last couple of years. And there`s an enormous amount of frustration that they don`t have more control over how the elections are run and without much chance for them to change it through the normal legislative measures before the midterm elections when Ron Johnson and the governor`s race are on the ballot.

What they`re trying to do is find ways to circumvent that, and what Ron Johnson has proposed is sort of an extraordinary legal maneuver. That is, you know, legal scholars say is extremely dubious, that would essentially seize power for federal elections from the elections commission on the governor and have it taken over by the legislature.

HAYES: But based on what -- like, how can you do that?

EPSTEIN: Well, it`s based on an extremely strict reading of the Constitution that says state legislatures shall select the time, place and manner for elections for the Senate and House of Representatives.

Of course, there`s a Supreme Court ruling, there`s a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that say that his argument is bogus. But stranger things have happened in Wisconsin in a decade that Republicans have been in power.

HAYES: This is an important point. So, this is Johnson saying: The state legislature has to reassert its constitutional role, assert its constitutional responsibility, to set the times, place and manner of the election, not continue to outsource it through the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

This is a constitutional argument that was the argument that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are making. It`s a constitutional argument that appears in one of the Bush V. Gore opinions. It`s actually in the Kennedy opinion, and I think Scalia signs on to it, which basically says the Constitution only gives to state legislators and legislators only and basically, they`re determinative of all this stuff.

They can come in, no matter what state law says, no matter what state bodies have been produced, no matter what the governor, the attorney general says. Only they -- they and only they can control how an election is run in the state.

And that has become -- if I`m not mistaken, Johnson`s argument here, but it`s part of a broader conservative theory they have now developed.

EPSTEIN: That`s true. Unfortunately for them, the courts have determined that if legislators have setup Election Commissions by a statute, the only way to undo them is also by statute. And that`s part of the issue of what may run into if they go into the court.

But you know, we shall see.

HAYES: Constitutionally aggressive, legally dubious. Great, great reporting, Reid Epstein out of Wisconsin. Thank you very much.

EPSTEIN: Thank you, Chris.

By the way, earlier, I mentioned Senator Joe Manchin`s daughter and a pharma company. She actually retired from that job three years ago at the age of 49. Good for her.

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


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I know that had nothing to do with me but as a 48-year-old, that really hit me right here.