The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued five new subpoenas to several ex- Trump allies, including Roger Stone, spokesman Taylor Budowich and InfoWars founder Alex Jones. Two Conservative Fox News commentators have resigned pointing at Tucker`s January 6 conspiracy-laced special as the breaking point. The United States was listed for the first time as a "backsliding democracy" in a report issued by a European think tank.
ERIC BOEHLERT, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, PRESSRUN MEDIA: They`re not even invited over there. So, it`s tough.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Right.
BOEHLERT: So it`s tough.
REID: And as you and I -- we`ll play you for a moment -- the media also -- the other journalists still try to treat them as a normal journalistic outlet when clearly there`s something else going on over there, the journalism. Eric Boehlert, thank you.
BOEHLERT: Super quick. Democrats should not be on Fox News ever. Do not appear on Fox News.
REID: Indeed. Thank you, Eric Boehlert. That`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: So, hopefully, we have this today, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shall see.
STONE: We shall see.
HAYES: New subpoenas from the January 6 Committee for Trump confidant Roger Stone, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and three other people including Trump`s current spokesperson. Then -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a beautiful thing, huh? Not guilty on all counts.
HAYES: The dangerous celebration of a kid who killed two people. Plus, the internal pushback at Fox News as the channel goes full MAGA. And Paul Krugman on what could be the most single most consequential decision of the Biden Presidency.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some will no doubt question why I`m renominating Jay when he was the choice of a Republican predecessor. Why am I not picking a Democrat?
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Roger Stone long time infamous Republican political operative, dirty trickster dating all the way back to the Richard Nixon administration. In fact, he likes Richard Nixon so much he`s got a tattoo of Nixon on his back.
Stone also somewhat notoriously is Donald Trump`s longtime associate, ally, henchman and fixer, which is why in 2019 Stone was convicted of seven felony counts stemming from the Russia investigation including obstruction of the investigation, lying to investigators, and witness tampering.
That then only resulted in President Trump commuting his sentence in July 2020, just in time for Stone to help plan the January 6th insurrection. Stone appeared at multiple Stop the Steal events in the days leading up to the attack. And just this evening, he was subpoenaed by the bipartisan House committee investigating the insurrection.
According to the subpoena issued to Stone, "You reportedly spoke on January 5th at rallies at the U.S. Supreme Court held by a group affiliated with the right-wing militia the Three Percenters and Freedom Plaza, while in Washington, you reportedly used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards, several of whom were reportedly involved in the attack on the Capitol. You`ve stated that you were invited to lead a march to the Capitol from the ellipse rally on January 6 but did not -- doing so or going to the ellipse rally or the Capitol that day."
The Ellipse rally of course is that rally that took place just before the mob descended upon the Capitol. And it`s where Donald Trump spoke and whipped up the crowd and told them we`re all going to march down to the Capitol. In a statement, Stone denied any advanced knowledge of the insurrection or involvement in its planning. He says, he has not yet been served a subpoena but Stone was just one of five Trump adjacent targets of subpoenas today.
They also want to hear from Alex Jones, the disgraced right-wing conspiracy theorist who just lost a defamation lawsuit over his allegations that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. He was sued by family members of those who were killed.
Jones repeatedly promoted Donald Trump`s bogus live election fraud leading up to the insurrection including on the night of January 5th where he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, FOUNDER, INFOWARS: We have only begun to resist the globalists. We have only begun our fight against their tyranny. They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone. As I told them 20 years ago, I tell them again, (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: Boy, a real kind of foreign content merger there with some unsettling historical resonances. According to Jones subpoena, "The White House told you on or about January 3, 2021 that after the Ellipse rally ended on January 6, you were to lead a march to the Capitol where President Trump would meet the group. You did in fact march from the Ellipse to the Capitol.
The committee has also subpoenaed two people who we`ve not really heard that much about, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence -- not that Jennifer Lawrence. A couple who were heavily involved in a number of Stop the Steal rallies and who Politico once called "The Bonnie and Clyde of MAGA world."
According to both subpoenas, the couple helped plan the Trump rally of Ellipse. Stockton`s subpoena also says he was in contact with Trump and chief of staff Mark Meadows that he wanted to warn the White House about the possible danger of the Stop this Steal march to the Capitol. "You were reportedly concerned about plans by the Stop the Steal movement to organize an unpermitted march that would reach the steps of the Capital as Congress gather to certify the election results. In a statement, the couple said they are committed to transparency.
Finally, the committee wants to hear from Trump world associate Taylor Budowich who currently serves as communications director for the former president. According to his subpoena, he offered an organization $200,000 from an undisclosed source to plan social media and radio advertisements for the Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse on January 6th.
Now, Roger Stone and Alex Jones are notorious trolls, notorious figures. They have built their brands off their obstinance, their willingness to divide -- defy what they perceive to be their liberal enemies even at personal cost. The extent of their cooperation to this investigation truly remains to be seen especially since Steve Bannon who is a sort of similar kind of guy, has been criminally indicted for contempt of Congress for refusing to appear before the committee and turn over documents.
Now, the committee is warning they`re going to try to do the same to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who has so far defied the committee subpoena. But today`s subpoena has make a clear -- make clear that a significant number of public figures in Trump`s orbit were at the very least aware that something was going to happen after that January 6 rally by Donald Trump. The question is what.
Joining me now are two reporters who have been doing stellar reporting on the events surrounding January 6 and the investigation currently underway in the House, Betsy Woodrow-Swan of Politico and Luke Broadwater of the New York Times.
Betsy, let me start with you on Stone. I may be recalling this incorrectly, but I think Stop the Steal was a phrase that Stone was using in the run-up to the 2016 election sort of prophylactically to discredit an anticipated Hillary Clinton win. And that that has carried over and he was really central to the Stop the Steal drum beat in 2020 and always around the kind of orbit of Trump.
How do you -- I mean, I guess you`re not surprised by the subpoena, but how would you characterize his role as we know it so far?
BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, POLITICO: It`s a good question. Stone is part of this constellation of far-right media personalities who sort of -- who sort of feed on the notoriety that they experience and are almost indefatigable in terms of any sort of press revealing the actual activity that they`ve engaged in over the course of their professional lives.
Of course, Stone, Alex Jones is in this category. Steve Bannon is in this category to your point. There are people who are not formally part of Trump`s companies or part of his campaigns or the administration that he ran but that are close enough by association that they can engage in activity that moves the ball forward for Trump without necessarily producing backlash for him by virtue of being part of the administration itself or part of the campaign itself.
And that`s why this Stop the Steal term is something that fits so seamlessly into what Trump himself would say. It was a term that was helpful for Roger Stone to use, that he and Ali Alexander really promoted and pushed out there as this encapsulation of what was going wrong and what needed to be done. And that was very easy for Trump to adopt because perhaps more than anybody else, Roger Stone is fluent in Trump and he knows how to produce slogans and commentary that fit into his vernacular.
HAYES: Luke, I was also reminded by these subpoenas. I mean, I remember at the time seeing Alex Jones crop up. He`s someone that, you know, is sort of again in that circle. I had forgotten how present he was actually until I read the subpoenas. And I thought that bit about how the subpoena says that he was told by the White House to lead the march which I didn`t -- you`ve been reporting on this so closely. Is that new information? Did we know that already about that allegation at least as stipulated in the subpoena letter?
LUKE BROADWATER, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well the January 6 Committee has certainly put a highlighter right across that. It`s actually something Alex Jones says on his -- whatever you call it -- internet show the day after the attack on the Capitol. He`s out there. He`s claiming Antifa did this, all sorts of wild conspiracy theories.
But he says in the course of this long rant that the White House contacted him three days before January 6, told him to lead a march on the Capitol. He said the Secret Service would show him where to go, and that Trump would tell the crowd, go to the Capitol and I`ll meet you there.
Now, Trump in fact does tell the crowd to march to the Capitol. He does promise to meet them. He tells them to fight like hell, and then he doesn`t show up. But Alex Jones does make the march along with Ali Alexander.
And so, the committee obviously has been doing a good bit of listening not only to Steve Bannon`s podcast but Alex Jones`. And picking up on these details that people are saying out in public, but take some unearthing to dig up and sort of piece together where you can sort of put all the puzzle together the way the committee wants to lead to the conclusion of what happened on January 6.
HAYES: Yes, that`s a great point. I mean, there`s a sort of hiding in plain sight aspect to it which we`ve seen at the lower level, of course, of the people that have been uh indicted the hundreds and hundreds of arrests. Many of whom documented what they were doing on social media, confessed to what they did on social media, and then it just had to, you know, to go and find the stuff which is now being used as evidence against them.
But it wasn`t like the January 6 rally or even the plan to go to the Capitol, Betsy was particularly private as Donald Trump says now we`re going to march down to the Capitol and I`m going to come with you and you need to fight like hell. Like, we all saw that happen. And these two people that were involved in the planning of that rally, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence -- not that Jennifer Lawrence.
I want to play a little bit of Stockton at that January 5th Stop the Steal rally just to get a sense for him. Take a listen.
DUSTIN STOCKTON, PROMOTER OF THE JANUARY 6 RALLY: Obviously we know what`s going to happen at the Capitol and that we need these legislators to do the right thing. We need them to look at the evidence that this election was stolen and then do the right thing. Because if our votes don`t count nothing counts.
We`re going to try to give you guys real-time updates about what`s happening in the Capitol if it goes to the Supreme Court and where we need people to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I thought that last line, Betsy, was pretty striking given the subpoena where we need people to be in real-time updates.
SWAN: Yes. It`s -- many of the comments that people made on January 5th and January 6th operate as a sort of Rorschach test. And the speakers can say well, I didn`t call for people to go into the Capitol. I didn`t say they should engage in violence. Alex Jones, in fact, as he cited in the subpoenas, said he was telling people as the attack unfolded not to engage in violence because it was colluding with the globalists or something to that effect.
But when you have a massive crowd of people who are extremely exercised and you make comments like that one, the big question is what did you think was going to happen.
SWAN: Another big question is why didn`t Trump go to the Capitol Building. A third big question is specifically what`s going on with Stockton`s involvement with the committee. We reported a couple of weeks ago that he had answered some questions from investigators there clearly they aren`t satisfied with everything because they`ve issued a subpoena. What`s the backstory there is something we`re going to be tracking closely.
One last thing out of -- out of this batch of subpoenas to the Rorschach test point and to the hiding and plain sight point as well is it highlighted the fact that a guest host on Alec Jones`s radio show on December 31st explicitly talked about people going into the Capitol building itself.
You can`t organize a rally secretly. You can`t plan these types of marches secretly. It all has to be overt. And that`s why the work the committee is doing is to bring together these massive tranches and hours and hours and hours of audio. To put it all into one place and kind of process it and make sense of it is so revelatory even though some of it is stuff that, you know, technically is public already.
HAYES: Yes. That`s a -- it`s a really good point. And Luke, on the Stockton point, to Betsy`s point about that, I mean, the subpoena letter to Stockton basically says you were kind of a whistleblower or at least shared your concerns. This is one of the things that it says. It says together with Miss Kremer, you reportedly escalated your shared concerns to KATRINA Pierson who is liaison between the group and President Trump. She of course has also been subpoenaed.
So, there`s a stipulation in this subpoena letter to Stockton that he was concerned, freaked out, trying to get the White House to do something about it, which again seems new to me.
BROADWATER: Well, right. I believe he made those comments in the Politico magazine article. But he -- right -- so, he`s one of the people who`s planning this rally. He sees they`re going to bring all these people to the Capitol. He knows some of them are going to be very angry based on what they`re being told. And he actually gets kind of worried and says, you know, we probably need some better security. Can we get this up to the Chief of Staff Mark Meadows?
And so, you know, there`s a number of people that day who do say things yeah about, you know, foaming down the violence. I mean, even Alex Jones, as Betsy points out, says be peaceful. But then he`s also directing them to the west side of the Capitol where the works of the violence breaks out.
So, it`s -- you know, it`s a -- it`s a bit of both. They`re doing things to escalate tensions, to spread lies, to spread fear, to spread anger. And then they`re also saying, but don`t -- you know, don`t go too far sometimes.
BROADWATER: So it`s a lot of walking people right up to the line and then seeing what happens.
HAYES: Yes. And there`s a -- there`s a very -- I mean, I`ll editorialize here. You guys are straight reporters. But there`s a -- there`s a very -- there`s a kind of plausible deniability aspect that hangs over all of this. You know, intelligence -- you know, intelligence agencies will run an operation that they want to have kind of plausible deniability or sort of arms-length distance. Well, we never -- we never authorized that you could go do that black bag job.
There`s a feeling to that about this whole thing. Like, none of the connections are quite there. There`s never any order given like, go storm the Capitol. But a lot of stuff happens and is encouraged at arm`s length that maybe you could plausibly deny. But we also saw one plus one equaling two in real-time. That`s at least my summation. Betsy Woodruff Swan and Luke Broadwater, thank you both.
SWAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, has Tucker Carlson has gone too far even for his fellow on-air talent? The breaking point for two contributors who are resigning in protest and the host reportedly pushing back behind the scenes, after this.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Congresswoman Cheney, there is talk now -- talk that January 6th was a false flag operation, that it was a case of liberals in the deep state setting up conservatives and Trump supporters. Is there any truth to that?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): None at all. You know, it`s the same kind of thing that you hear from people who say that 911 was an inside job for example. It is -- it`s un-American to be spreading those kinds of lies, and they are lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Sunday after Tucker Carlson`s crazy special came out suggesting the January 6 attack was a false flag operation staged by the government, his fellow Fox News host Chris Wallace invited the vice-chair of the January 6 Select Committee, Republican Liz Cheney to ask her if that was true.
And the time -- at the time, it appeared it was a little bit of a dig at his colleague. It was pretty obviously that. Well, we are now learning there was a little more to it. NPR`s David Folkenflik reports "veteran figures on Fox`s News side, including political anchors Bret Baer and Chris Wallace shared their objections about the Tucker Carlson false flag special with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its president of news Jay Wallace but nothing happened.
Now, two Conservative Fox News commentators have resigned pointing at Tucker`s January 6 conspiracy laced special as the breaking point. The aforementioned David Folkenflik who did that reporting is the Media Correspondent for the NPR News and he joins me now. David, what can you tell us about the reaction inside -- I mean, I have to say, people -- when that trailer came out and the actual thing people thought, well, this is galling and just you know, beyond the pale. And it seems like that was the reaction at least of some people inside the building.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Not just a handful either. I think that there was a growing sentiment among people on the news side and not exclusively the news side that this was different and that this was dangerous. And that what Tucker Carlson was doing was in a sense gathering up a lot of the string that he had amplified or touched on in his various broadcasts since the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol and tied it together in a narrative. Giving credence to every claim, allegation, characterization, and conspiracy theory seemingly that he had run across in furtherance of undercutting both the seriousness of what occurred on January 6th and also the connection of Trump supporters and anyone in sort of the larger Trump penumbra or Trump circle with what happened on that day and what led up to it.
And you know, there had already been not just hand-wringing but angst and acrimony internally about the role that some Fox opinion personalities played in fueling the emotions that led to not just the so-called Stop the Steal rally on that day but what followed. But in terms of Carlson`s claiming that there were perhaps a false flag elements, that is protesters there who really Antifa or other leftists who are anti-Trump fueling this clearly pro-Trump movement despite what arrested pro-Trump supporters said about their involvement that day, you know, really was shocking to people.
They said, these are people who not give credit to on Fox News`s news programs. And they also said these are things that our own reporting have already disproved.
HAYES: You`re making a distinction here between the news and the opinion side which is -- reflects the institutional and structural reality there. I will just note here for myself that I think that`s a fairly porous border. That`s more on the spectrum than a kind of hard and fast distinction.
But I will say that part of it too is -- I mean there`s a broader thing happening here which is that that show is really vile. And vile in a way that is I think distinctive qualitatively from other things on the network and other things they have done before. And it`s clearly the focus of internal dissent more broadly than just this instance that is happening inside and getting nowhere is my takeaway from your reporting.
FOLKENFLIK: Well, one of the questions I asked the two commentators, the conservative anti-Trump commentators who resigned Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg was why this? After all the things we`ve seen, after the lies that were propagated on Fox News about the idea that President Biden somehow won fraudulently, about all the incendiary rhetoric that led up as I mentioned, the one-sixth siege, about the claims about the siege itself, and in fact all the rhetoric that we had seen leading up to this election, the rhetoric about President Obama. Why this?
And they said it was a camel that broke -- the straw that broke the camel`s back. And that it was too much for them to abide anymore. That the conceit that somehow they were offering a counter argument trying to convince people, reach people, it wasn`t happening anymore.
And here`s what else they argued. They acknowledge what you and I can see from the outside that opinion is the point of Fox News. The word news is in the title. It`s not the reason that they really make money. It`s not the reason people gravitate towards them. It`s not the point of the enterprise. It`s not the engine that drives them or their profits.
And opinion has become so big. And also, you know, Tucker Carlson and pro- Trump sentiment has become so sprawling that the top executives seem to feel they can`t control it. And I think that`s what you`re seeing right now at Fox News in a sense is you don`t have -- you know, Roger Ailes was a tyrant, Roger Ailes proved to be a sexual predator. On the other hand he never let a figure at Fox get bigger than the network. And we saw that when he essentially accepted Glenn Beck from that network.
HAYES: Yes, that is true. And we should note also here. It`s just a matter of public record that the network`s own lawyers argued successfully in court that the host and show in question, Tucker Carlson, is not news and should not be believed. And that essentially -- and that is so over the top that if you believe it, you`re essentially it`s kind of a sucker like buyer beware.
This was -- they used this to defend against a claim of slander I think or libel. And I think it`s noteworthy that that has been deployed successfully about what the network`s own official legal status of what comes out of that show is.
FOLKENFLIK: Yes. You know, lawyers will occasionally say well, look, that`s a very useful defense to have. But they need it in the case of some of these more incendiary programs making more wild, outrages, and untrue claims. In the case of Tucker Carlson, you know, what you`re not hearing is the network defend him or defend the facts.
I`ve asked the question numerous times about this and other claims Carlson has made, and they just point back to Carlson`s own claims. They`re not standing by it. A news organization, even an opinion-laden news organization should be able to defend the factual basis of what it presents even when it`s strong and is opinionated.
And Fox isn`t doing that here because they -- you know, they have already in a sense had their own news side undercut any foundation for making this claim credibly with a straight face. Carlson it would appear doesn`t care. He`s interested in scoring points. He`s interested in former President Trump`s critics, and he`s interested particularly in getting in a back and forth with the rest of the media so that it`s all -- it`s all vitriol and it`s all open for debate.
HAYES: Yes. He`s also interested in cashing the millions of dollars in checks. David Folkenflik, thank you very much.
FOLKENFLIK: You bet.
HAYES: Next, as the right celebrates the Rittenhouse acquittal, while the growing obsession with the vigilante justice is an active threat to American society. What can be done about it, ahead.
HAYES: You may have seen there`s a concerning piece of news today reported all across the American press and the headlines were similar. Basically, the United States was listed for the first time as a "backsliding democracy in a report issued by a European think tank. The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance referred to the U.S. as the bastion of global democracy but noted that our country fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale.
You will notice that the Washington Post chose to illustrate the story of the photo of the insurrectionist mob facing off against police officers on January 6th. That day of course is the most striking example of our democratic backsliding. But this report reflects something deeper that is happening in our political culture, one -- something we document often here.
One faction in particular on the American right is giving up on some of the basic tenets of liberal democracy. They`re giving up on the rule of law and the non-violent use of civic action to settle political differences and turning towards much darker traditions.
Now, of course, these dark violent movements have always existed. They`ve flourished at different moments throughout our own history of course. The lynching of Black Americans throughout the 19th and then 20th century is just one example, the redeemers in the south after reconstruction. Various armed vigilantes and other forces of violence are not in any way alien to us. They are part of our traditions as well. But they are the opposite of our best traditions. They are the opposite of the better angels of our nature as Lincoln put it.
And we`re seeing enthusiasm support for that kind of model cropping up again in the idea among some on the far right growing and embodied by Trump that politics is nothing but sheer will to power, that the strong must conquer their enemies. That idea is completely antithetical to the ethos we have to the extent we have one in this country of collective self- governance in a pluralistic democracy in which conflicts are inevitable, battles between interests and worldviews, but are resolved between people non-violently mediated by our shared institutions.
And I think that notion, the notion that is the opposite of that of vigilantism and a repudiation of those institutions is what Kyle Rittenhouse, at least the figure in the conservative imagination represents.
Last summer, Kyle Rittenhouse, the person, a child in the eyes of the law, did something indefensibly stupid and reckless and went to a protest in the aftermath of police violence armed with a semi-automatic rifle and killed two people wounding a third man. He has done literally irreparable harm to those three families, irreparable harm.
And last week, he was found not guilty by a juror of his peers. And the same people have been casting aspersions on our institutional safeguards like the prosecution of the January 6 insurrectionists have now turned around and are championing that jury and its decision.
Now, independent of what anyone may think about the verdict, the idea that Kyle Rittenhouse is in any way a victim, a martyr, or God forbid, a hero is deranged and despicable. And the idea is also an expression of what is fundamentally a vigilante ethos, one that is totally incompatible with a healthy liberal democracy.
And this view of Rittenhouse is not just coming from the fringes. It goes all the way from the far right, to the punitively more moderate center of the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a beautiful thing. Not guilty on all counts. Kyle Rittenhouse did not deserve the ordeal he went through but he certainly deserved today`s verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, Laura, the defining aspect of Kyle Rittenhouse is not his tears, it`s in fact his unbelievable bravery. If I were on the jury, I wouldn`t just acquit him, I`d give the kid a medal.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: He was not guilty. He shouldn`t have been indicted. And we should now move forward. And I hope that everyone will leave this young man alone now and let him go to living his life. I`m so proud of the jury and the jury system because it gave Kyle Rittenhouse a chance that all these other talking heads on television didn`t give him damn and convicted him a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That of course former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, praising the jury that acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse and also buying into the broader notion that being prosecuted and getting acquitted was itself some sort of violation of his rights after he killed two people.
Let`s be very clear here. Kyle Rittenhouse got a lot more process than most people in the criminal justice system do. I mean, a lot more. Here`s one example that comes to mind. It`s in some sense as a parallel example. It`s the case of a left-wing Antifa member who shot and killed a far-right Trump supporter named Aaron Danielson on the streets of Portland, Oregon last summer, a horrible thing.
And this was during the protest in that city sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. And a few days after that killing, members of a U.S. Marshall Task Force located the shooter, 48-year-old Michael Reinoehl North of Portland and "unleashed a hail of bullets that left him dead in the street. We`ve covered this before, the New York Times investigate the incident and learn details that "raise questions about whether law enforcement officers made any serious attempt to arrest him before killing him."
Then-President Donald Trump even bragged about what seems to have essentially been, again, as best we can tell from the evidence assembled by that investigatory team of the times and from talking to white witnesses, seems to have been at least in Donald Trump`s understanding and possibly in reality, an extrajudicial killing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The U.S. Marshals went in to get him and in a short period of time, they ended in a gunfight. This guy was a violent criminal and the U.S. Marshals killed him. And I will tell you something. That`s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There has to be retribution when you have crime like this. This idea of retribution, meaning violence with violence of essentially vigilante justice, in this case, backed by the state is embodied by Donald Trump`s worldview and his followers and it is unraveling this country.
Just look at the spectacle around Kyle Rittenhouse, the grotesque carnival atmosphere, celebration for a teenager who took a weapon of war to a protest and shot three people, killing two, rendering a child an orphan, fatherless at least. It was an act of stunning stupidity, recklessness, and predation and yet the right has turned Kyle Rittenhouse into a cause celeb.
The mentality of Kyle Rittenhouse`s supporters is exactly what is producing our democratic decline so noted by the Stockholm-based think tank. That view, the celebration of a world in which vigilante justice is how society should look, is a view that poses an existential threat to what we cherish about this country, and it must be defeated.
HAYES: It is often the case in the American criminal justice system that you get as much process as you can afford. And Kyle Rittenhouse backed by his legions of right-wing supporters could afford a lot. As Paul Butler notes in the Washington Post, Rittenhouse had a $2 million defense fund which brought him -- bought him a first-class defense.
That fund enabled his lawyers before his trial to stage separate practice jury trials, also allowed Rittenhouse`s lawyers to retain O.J. Simpson`s jury consultant. What butler reminds us, it is not the same situation. In another high-profile trial we are watching against the three men on trial for murder in Georgia after they killed Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood.
Joining me now is Paul Butler, Contributing Columnist for the Washington Post, author of that piece, also teaches criminal law at Georgetown University. And Heather McGhee, board chair at Color of Change, a racial justice organization, also the author of the great The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, something that I think everyone should read if they get a chance.
Paul, let me start with you because I thought the point that you made in that piece was really important and I think overlooked here in the broader context of the criminal justice system and how it tends to operate which is that he had a very high price defense and you could see it in the trial.
PAUL BUTLER, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Mr. Rittenhouse beat his case because he has the best defense money can buy. That $2 million- plus legal defense fund allowed his lawyers to use O.J. Simpson`s jury consultant and they got the same not guilty verdict.
I would expect Rittenhouse to now say he will spend his time looking for the real killer except we already know. He is the real killer. All of that money also helped Rittenhouse two practice jury trials. That paid off with his well-rehearsed testimony when you took the stand. And most criminal defendants just don`t have those resources.
And Rittenhouse wouldn`t either but for people like Donald Trump and Matt Gaetz acting as cheerleaders for a man who gunned down three people.
HAYES: Heather, there`s something really I find -- I mean, again, I`m never -- I guess I`m never surprised by the depths that we tend to sink to. But there is something truly dark and awful about the celebration. I mean, I think there are people out there who think well, he was not guilty in a sort of technical legal sense or you know, he shouldn`t have been held guilty. But it`s another thing to go from that to celebration of what this person did.
And that is -- that`s a kind of mainstream view among an enormous class of political media leadership which is incredibly dark both in what it says and what message it sends.
HEATHER MCGHEE, BOARD CHAIR, COLOR OF CHANGE: That`s exactly right. I mean, what we`re seeing right now is self-interested elites spending billions of dollars broadly in the media and social media and in politics and they`re trying to teach Americans who think of themselves as white to reject democracy and the rule of law, to reject these sort of common norms.
If they have to share democracy with Americans of color, there`s a lot of evidence about that. But as we think about this evidence that we keep seeing stack up, right, the backsliding that you spoke about at the top, as we think about all this evidence, my question has been throughout our history, who wins when democracy is defeated, right? Who wins when property owner`s rights are held above the pursuit of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyday people, right?
It is always the self-interested elites who are vying right now for the hearts and minds of white Americans and they`re saying reject democracy. And the problem is, Chris, they`re winning in the Republican Party, right? The study by Larry Bartel shows that the majority of Republicans think that through the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast, right, this is demographic change, that we may have to use force to save it.
A plurality thinks that patriotic Americans are going to have to take the law into their own hands. And this study was done and fielded before the big lie became the sort of common sense on the American right.
HAYES: Right. That you got to take matters into your own hands. And what -- and what`s strange about this moment too that I have to say, Paul, and I`ve read some of your writing. You wrote an incredible essay once about um your times as a prosecutor and what you think about prosecution and the sort of way the criminal justice works which again people should read that. It`s a great piece of writing.
And what`s so complex and bizarre about this moment is I think if you come up in the left particularly in progressives like, you`re taught to be critical of institutions and the structural inequities that they can promote and the way that they can serve as a kind of force for maintaining inequality. But then also, at the same time, you want them to be better.
And there`s this kind of nihilistic desire to just go around them now that I see on the right that is really scary, right? Like, it`s -- like, don`t go out to the street with your gun is a -- is a really dangerous message about what it means to live in a society with other people.
BUTLER: Yes. And Chris, this verdict does not mean that the jurors bought the Boy Scout image of Rittenhouse that the defense presented, that he was just in Kenosha to help everybody. The verdict means that they had reasonable doubt, they weren`t 95 certain that Rittenhouse was guilty. But I can`t imagine that those jurors who live in Kenosha are happy about an immature and reckless 17-year-old bringing an assault-style weapon to patrol their streets.
And now, Rittenhouse will be the poster child, whether he deserves it or not, for reactionary white men who want to take the law into their own hands, who want to bring assault weapons to Black Lives Matter protests, and who think that violence is a legitimate form of political discourse.
HAYES: Yes. And Heather, that part of it, like, what kind of society we`re going to live in and how we`re going to be able to talk with each other and what we can do together is incredibly imperiled by the appearance of a person holding a gun like that in a public space. You know, it just -- that`s the other part of this that I find so troubling.
MCGHEE: That`s right. It`s the second amendment over all other rights including the first one, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to protest, the freedom to raise your voice against state violence which is what people were doing in Kenosha.
You know, this is a core question. Are we going to have a multiracial democracy in this country or are we going to have a country where you`re banning history in 12 states, where you are banning protests, where you are making it permissible for people to drive through protesters, right?
This is all laws that are being put in place in states across the country that I just spoke about with the cheerleading of the Republican Party because they see it as their path to minority rule. But the thing is that people don`t have to despair. This is a very scary conversation. I want to make clear that people can make sure that we pass the freedom to vote act in this country, that we make sure that minority rule is not our future for the next three generations. And it`s actually on the line right now.
150 democracy scholars put in a letter today in Congress that was very well covered. They think this is sort of a twilight moment for American democracy if the Freedom to Vote Act isn`t passed.
HAYES: Paul Butler and Heather McGhee, great to talk to you both tonight. Thank you very much.
Coming up, why President Biden`s decision to keep a Trump appointee as Fed Chair is one of the most important steps he could take for the nation`s economic recovery? I`ll talk to Paul Krugman about it next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some will no doubt question why I`m re-nominating Jay when he was a choice of a Republican predecessor? Why am I not picking a Democrat? Why am I -- why am I not picking fresh blood or taking the Fed in a different direction?
Put directly, at this moment, both -- of both enormous potential and enormous uncertainty for our economy, we need stability and independence at the Federal Reserve. Jay has proven the independence that I value in the federal chair -- in the fed chair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Joe Biden today renominated Jerome Powell for chairman of the Federal Reserve entrusting a second term to the man who has so far guided U.S. monetary policy through a once in a cent -- generation -- once in a century global pandemic.
All eyes are on Biden`s pick because the Fed chair is in charge of the Central Bank which uses monetary policy to try and keep prices low, that means inflation low, the economy`s stable and unemployment levels up. Right now, the pandemic has created a ton of lingering economic uncertainty including the largest increase in inflation in over 30 years.
And so, many consider re-nominating Jerome Powell to be a controversial move even though it does represent continuity in very tumultuous times. Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, opinion columnist for the New York Times where he writes about macroeconomics and policy and he joins me now.
And you know, I`m very curious to hear your thoughts on Powell because I`ve seen arguments in a million different directions about whether this was the right way to go. What do you think?
PAUL KRUGMAN, ECONOMIST: Yes. I mean, it`s an interesting -- I mean the choice was between a monetary dove who thinks that inflation is probably transitory and is reluctant to raise rates and a monetary dove who thinks that inflation is probably transitory and reluctant to -- I mean, there really wasn`t very much air between Jay Powell and Lael Brainard who was the other likely choice on this.
And so, in terms of the issues that seem likely right now, it just doesn`t look like there`s a big deal. Yes, Powell is a Republican or was a Republican -- I think, you know, he`s rational and that almost makes him not a Republican now. But in terms of his actual policy stance, he`s pretty much in line with a lot of the Democratic Party. It`s not clear that there was a crucial policy issue at stake here. And Biden probably just didn`t want to fight on this particular front.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, the big question here, right, is what the Fed does and what it`s done. I mean, I think a lot of people -- so, there`s -- we should divide out the different roles. On the monetary policy front, in terms of rates and in terms of more extraordinary means, asset purchases and bond purchases, things like that, that what the Fed has done has been quite aggressive.
And I think people who are in the dovish category -- I think you would be in that category. I would count myself in that category. People really, really believe that full employment is so important for as a justice issue, for working people in this country. Powell has been pretty darn good, right? I mean that`s the general feeling.
KRUGMAN: Yes. His response. We had -- we came amazingly close to a real financial meltdown in March of last year. And Powell just threw an enormous amount of money at. He basically responded extremely aggressively and he has been very much in the camp that says look, inflation might be a problem but let`s not rush. We`ve made that mistake too often of choking off an economic recovery before it really gets a chance to improve people`s lives.
And so, i think it`s very, very hard for anybody to -- for progressives to have a complaint there. He does have a history. The Fed does regulate banks. It has a -- it plays a role to some extent on other fronts and Powell has not always been what the people on the center left would have wanted there.
But it`s not clear that, first of all, that that`s really what`s crucial now, and second that Powell is still the person who was maybe a little bit slower on that front than you might have wanted 10 years ago.
HAYES: Yes. We should say, Elizabeth Warren has come out against him and says that it`s no secret I oppose his dream of nomination, I will vote against him, and then she cites this. His failure in regulation, climate, and ethics makes a still vacant position of vice-chair supervision critically important. Vice-chair of supervision is that more specifically regulatory role.
But there`s also the question about like, what next, right? And this big -- you know, we have inflation. It is high. It`s the highest it`s been in 30 years. People don`t like it. I mean, I think there`s a certain amount of kind of, you know, there`s a whipping up into a frenzy about it the media is partly doing. But also people can tell when things cost more. They don`t like it.
And this huge question before us which is does it persist, if so for how long, and what the Fed does about it. How are you thinking about that?
KRUGMAN: OK, I mean, this -- the -- this is a hard one. I mean, this is -- this is very different. The inflation fears of, you know, 10 years ago were clearly silly. This time, yes, this is -- this is a tougher one. The best bet still -- I mean we have not in fact had massive spending in this economy. Spending has been not all that high relative to past trends. But what we`ve had is all of these constraints.
Constraints of, you know, clogged ports and insufficient warehouse space, and then also the great resignation, a lot of people reluctant to go back to jobs. And nobody knows how long that lasts. There`s a balancing of risks. There is the risk that inflation can become embedded, that it`d be hard to get rid of.
But on the other hand, there`s the risk that look, the -- you know, the American Rescue Plan, the big-spending is receding in the rearview mirror now. And if you tighten -- you might be tightening just at the moment when the economy actually is going to start to falter. So, you want people who are alert, who are willing -- I mean, I don`t -- I think the odds are that by this time next year, we`ll be saying, what was all that about. Why were people so worried about inflation? But we don`t know that and -- but you want smart people at the Fed who are alert to the possibilities.
HAYES: Yes. That`s the -- I mean, that`s the bullish case I think that the Wall Street Journal noting that some of those supply chain problems appear to be unwinding. We know that we`ve seen price rises across the country. We`ve also getting new big investment announcements about superconductor factories come to the U.S. I mean there is -- the standard macroeconomic idea here is that demand should lead to more investment, right? That you should actually see productive capacity and supply increase to meet it and we`re seeing some example of that.
So, I think I share that -- I share that hope. No one really cares what I think. You`re the one with the Nobel Prize. And Powell is going to matter more than the two of us come by. But Paul Krugman, it was great to have you on tonight. Thank you very much.
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Everybody cares what you think, Chris. You can`t be all self-deprecating about it.
HAYES: Well, I`m giving -- yes, I`m giving the Chris Hayes house view.