Donald Trump and his allies did everything that they possibly could, tried every possible avenue to overthrow a Democratic election and install an authoritarian ruler in defiance of the people`s will. January 2nd, Donald Trump infamously made that call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to find 11,780 votes to put him one vote ahead of Joe Biden. A publicist who apparently worked for Kanye West traveled to Georgia to intimidate and threaten a poll worker in an attempt to keep Donald Trump in the White House reveals a frightening truth just how close we came to a coup this year. Supreme Court announced a complex but ultimately quite unnerving series of decisions on that near total abortion ban that is in effect right now in Texas, that`s the law that allows private citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets an abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It has been an incredible, incredible journey. I watch it every Saturday. I would never miss it.
REID: In a normal world, I would have said Joe Biden because I mean, the economic numbers look incredible, but I got to go with Tiffany Cross. But Joe Biden, you co-won the week with Tiffany.
Thank you so much, Dean Obeidallah, Tiffany Cross. Be sure to join Tiffany tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on "THE CROSS CONNECTION".
Her guests include Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what was trending on the internet? Where`s Ruby? Because they thought she`d be in jail. Where`s Ruby?
HAYES: What sure looks like another piece of the Trump coup plot is exposed in Georgia.
TREVIAN KUTTI, PUBLICIST: We didn`t want to frighten you but we had to find you within this timeframe. You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up.
HAYES: Bombshell reporting from Reuters, a Kanye West publicist pressured a Georgia election worker to confess to bogus election fraud, two days before January 6.
KUTTI: I cannot say what specifically will take place. I just know it will disrupt your freedom.
HAYES: Tonight, what this revelation means for the investigation of Donald Trump`s coup attempt, and what it means to the ongoing march to undermine democracy.
Then, what we learned from the alarming Supreme Court decision on the Texas abortion ban, and why there`s genuinely good news on the vaccination drive in a place you might not expect, when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
They attempted a coup. We use that word a lot on this show to describe Donald Trump`s attempts to stay in power following the 2020 election. We use coop. We use it in scripts and graphics and the banners that you see on the bottom of your T.V.
And when we first started calling it that, and we made a choice to do so, we first started after January 6 that sounded provocative, I think.
Coup is not a term you throw around lightly when you`re talking about the United States of America.
By definition, a coup is a sudden illegal, often violent seizure of power from a government. And it`s something that happens at all around the world, in other countries.
Some examples, places like Chile in 1973, or Bolivia 1971. It`s happened in Turkey and Pakistan and on and on and on.
But the way that we think about a coup is that it doesn`t happen here. Not here in what is supposed to be the beacon of democracy throughout the world.
And there were some initial debate among political scientists about what exactly a coup is. Does it need to involve the military? And wasn`t this technically an auto coup because Trump was trying to cement his existing control and stay in power?
But all those semantic hairsplitting, sort of avoid the fact that we don`t have a better word. There`s no better way to describe what happened.
Donald Trump and his allies did everything that they possibly could, tried every possible avenue to overthrow a Democratic election and install an authoritarian ruler in defiance of the people`s will. And there is no real precedent for it in American history.
I mean, even Fort Sumter, a violent secession that began the American Civil War in 1861, in certain ways, more violent and more jarring and started an era of, you know, horrific violence.
But that -- even that isn`t quite what this was. What this was has never happened before. And it wasn`t a contested election. It wasn`t even Bush v. Gore, which you might say was -- well, sort of legally purloined. It was an attempted coup.
This fact that they tried a coup has not sufficiently sunk into either public or elite consciousness. And that is in part because of people who planned it in carrying it out were in many ways incompetent.
Donald Trump despite his many dangers is comically inept.
But just because he did not succeed in overthrowing American democracy, does not mean he did not try.
What he and his collaborators and cronies were trying to do at each and every turn had a unified strategic purpose. They weren`t just randomly trying stuff. They were trying to find the weakest link in the chain of Democratic transfer to break it. And they kept trying each different link in the chain.
The most recent one involving, an employee of the rapper Kanye West, who now wants to be known as Ye, showing up the doorstep of the Fulton County, Georgia election worker named Ruby Freeman to threaten her into confessing to some completely bogus election fraud charges.
HAYES: Her outrageous and menacing threats were captured on police body cam. I`m going to play them for you in just a minute.
But before that, and before we get to that story, which I honestly can`t believe I just said the words that I said. It`s just worth stepping back and just look it at all the ways that Donald Trump previously tried to overthrow the election in just the state where this took place. Just one state, Georgia, let`s just focus on that.
So, first, there was the audit of ballot signatures in Cobb County, which came after immense pressure from Donald Trump.
In fact, in the press conference announcing that audit, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, conceded it was indirect spot response to Trump`s ongoing bogus claims of fraud. "Now that the signature matching has been attacked again and again with no evidence, I feel we need to take steps to restore confidence in our elections."
Of course, the audit didn`t find anything nefarious. But that did not stop then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows from traveling to Georgia to oversee it.
And it is unclear exactly what expertise Meadows would bring to an operation like that, other than lending these wild conspiracy theories legitimacy of the White House, which of course was a real objective.
An objective that was also on display when Trump personally called George`s Republican Governor Brian Kemp on December 5th of last year.
Trump wanted to pressure him to call a special legislative session to override the results of the election in his state.
Think about that, just throw out the votes of the voters of Georgia, appoint new electors that would keep Trump in office despite the fact that voters of Georgia voted to not do that.
And then, when that did not work, he moves to the next link in the chain, he made the now infamous call to the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he threatened him to try to get him to overthrow the will of the voters.
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TRUMP: The ballots are corrupt. And you`re going to find that they are, which is totally illegal. It`s more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know what they did and you`re not reporting it. That`s a -- you know, that`s a criminal -- that`s a criminal offense.
And you know, you can`t let that happen. That`s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that`s a big risk.
So, look, all I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You hear that? That sort of weird combination of wheedling and pleading and menace, you`re going to be criminally liable and just cough up one more vote than we need. That happened on January 2nd, that`s four days before Congress was set to certify the election.
Also notable in that call was this exchange where Trump disparages a U.S. attorney that he appointed.
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TRUMP: But nobody can make a case for that, Brad. Nobody. I mean, look, that`s -- you`d have to be a child to think anything other than that. Just a child. I mean, you have you never-Trumper U.S. attorney there --
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HAYES: A little hard to hear there, but Trump refers to you got your Georgia`s never-Trumper U.S. attorney. That`s a reference to a man named B.J. Pak.
Before Trump appointed him as U.S. attorney in Georgia, he serves a Republican in the state legislature. The day after that phone call to the Secretary of State, Pak got a phone call from the Justice Department, where an official "relayed that Mr. Trump remain fixated on the false notion that he had won Georgia and said the president was angry that Mr. Pak did not support that conclusion."
Right? So, I mean, stay with me here, right? He`s trying the governor first. First, he does the audit. Then, he tries the governor. He goes to the Secretary of State, tries a U.S. Attorney Pak. Pak says he was told the DOJ was prepared to fire him for not pushing the ridiculous fraud claims, he resigned the next day.
This was set against the backdrop of something to shake up the Justice Department when this man Jeffrey Clark, a nondescript Republican lawyer and DOJ flack, scheme to oust the acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and install himself in that position instead, so he could do what? So he could weaponize the Department of Justice to force lawmakers in Georgia to do Trump`s bidding.
Right? He`s getting nowhere with the audits. He`s getting nowhere with camp. He`s getting nowhere with Raffensperger. He`s getting nowhere of the U.S. attorney. So, use the Department of Justice. Use Jeffrey Clark to draft a letter to Georgia`s governor and the legislative leaders.
Writing "at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia.
Now, just to be abundantly clear, that is a lie. It`s all lies.
HAYES: But in the absence of anyone else willing to go along with a lie, he gets Jeffrey Clark at DOJ. And Clark wanted to use legitimacy the Department of Justice to disseminate that lie, to stamp it with DOJ letterhead to give it to Georgia`s top lawmakers and say maybe you should call your special sessions to send your electors. To pressure them into holding that special legislative session to throw out the results of a Democratic election and install the loser over the winner. It`s the same scheme Trump would mention in that phone call to Brian Kemp.
Now, of course, none of this works. He tries every link in the chain and with the clock ticking down in the final 48 hours before the electoral votes will be counted on January 6th, with every court in the land having dismissed the allegations of voter fraud is completely baseless. With every single audit that has been undertaken, showing the election was free and fair. With literally nothing to sustain this coup plot, we come to a woman named Ruby Freeman.
She is a Georgia election worker who was smeared with false conspiracies and viral videos that she and her daughter helped steal the election by smuggling suitcases full of illegal Biden ballots on election day.
She was smeared by among others, Donald Trump, who mentioned her name 18 times in that phone call to the Secretary of State.
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TRUMP: You know the internet? You know what was trending on the internet? Where`s Ruby? Because they thought she`d be in jail. Where`s Ruby?
It`s crazy -- it`s crazy. That was -- the minimum number is 18,000 for Ruby, but they think it`s probably about 56,000.
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HAYES: Ah, yes, this individual, this one woman on the viral video that my former caddie must have showed me in the Oval Office stuffed 56,000 ballots.
Well, today we learned that Ruby Freeman experienced a harrowing and what could only be called surreal visit just two days before January 6. Remember, that clock is ticking, right? Clock is ticking.
A woman named Trevian Kutti showed up at Ruby Freeman`s doorstep. She said she was representing a high-profile individual who wanted to help Freeman.
But Kutti did not reveal is that she was a publicist to Kanye West, a Trump ally who himself ran a halfhearted campaign for president in 2020.
Now, we reached out to Kutti to ask who she appeared on behalf of that day. Who was this high-profile individual, we`ve not heard back.
Now, put yourself in Ruby Freeman`s shoes, OK? At this point, she has been harassed to her breaking point by Trump allies for weeks. Her name, she`s been doxed, they know her address.
There are people outside her house. She`s calling the cops. This woman shows up. I`m coming to help you from a high-profile individual.
So, she agrees to meet with Kanye`s publicist in a safe location, a local police station where Kutti outlined a threat wherein mysterious figures would show up to Freeman`s house and put her and her family in jail if she did not publicly admit to stealing the election for Joe Biden, something she did not do.
It would -- it is so ridiculous what I just told you. It`s real. It is so ridiculous it would be laughable were it not so dark.
But there is real threat and menace here. Ruby Freeman is scared for her life, OK? She`s told that if she does not cooperate, if she does not make this big confession, she and members of her family will lose their freedom, that`s the quote. She was told she will -- she is a loose end and that federal people are involved.
She is then instructed to connect with an associate named and I`m not making this up either, Harrison Ford. And she is instructed to implicate herself in the imaginary fabricated claims of voter fraud.
And thanks to some truly excellent reporting from Reuters, we have video of that meeting because remember, Ruby Freeman`s holed up in her apartment, just a random poll worker facing death threats.
And so, she goes and meets Kanye West publicists at a police station where an officer with a body cam captured the meeting.
Now, fair warning, this is a little long, about three minutes. But I promise you, it is absolutely worth listening to in full.
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KUTTI: Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with us. We didn`t want to frighten you but we had to find you within this timeframe.
I`m here because I received a call, not that I didn`t know about this situation before because I had heard, but it wasn`t serious concern for me because I had (INAUDIBLE).
KUTTI: We would like to let you know first and foremost, we have put in placement a way to move you, to secure you, from what may be authorized over the next 48 hours. We have probably 48 hours in which to move you. we would do it in your schedule.
I cannot say what specifically will take place. I just know it will disrupt your freedom and (INAUDIBLE), the freedom of one or more of your family members.
I would like to connect now on the phone, Harrison Ford, who would be taking this situation to a detailed level for you, to let you know exactly what is at stake, what choices you have. Whether you would choose or not to deal with us, I am not your enemy. This is Garrison, he works with me.
You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up. I`ve worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, crisis is my thing. One thing we don`t want to do for you is create another crisis.
I`m going to call Harrison Ford, I`m going to put him on speaker.
RUBY FREEMAN, ELECTIONS WORKER, FULTON COUNTY: And who is Harrison Ford?
KUTTI: Harrison Ford, Harrison Ford is a Black progressive crisis manager, very high level, with authoritative powers to get you protection that you need.
I do (INAUDIBLE) the officer to know this is at this moment, a conversation between private citizens. I am hoping that you are trusting that this information doesn`t go any further.
I have to honestly advise, I don`t know her background.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could step over there if you`re -- if you`re comfortable, that`s fine?
KUTTI: Yes, I want her to be comfortable, but I also want to advise her that there are federal people who are involved here, that I don`t know who is connected to who.
And I really need for her to be as nonchalant as possible for this conversation that we are going to have so that if she does make a decision, she`s protected in her decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What on earth, right? What on earth?
Now, there`s a lot to unpack there. But to put a finer point on it, Freeman told Reuters that Kanye`s publisher told -- publicist told her, if you don`t tell everything, you`re going to jail.
That`s the threat. She shows up at this woman`s door with all this crazy conspiracy talk and Harrison Ford, the Black progressive crisis manager who has authority to keep you in safety.
You have to confess to this or you`re going to go to jail. Bad things are going to happen to you and your family. Donald Trump and his allies tried everything to install him as the authoritarian leader of this country.
And this episode highlights how increasingly desperate they all were in the days leading up to the insurrection.
I mean, at one level, it`s so weak and bizarre but also so menacingly desperate. I think that is why people have a hard time getting their head around what we have been through. Because it`s not like they sent the tanks in, they probably couldn`t have. They were grasping at straws, they were shaking every tree they could.
A letter from DOJ to Georgia saying we`re investigating fraud, you guys should take that under advice in the state legislature.
Brad Raffensperger saying we found the votes or Ruby Freeman coming forward to be like it`s true, it`s true, I stuffed the ballots.
But all of those things would have had the effect they wanted, each of those. It would have provided cover just enough cover to delay the certification of the election. It was not without strategic logic. They failed.
And thanks to some work by the committee investigating January 6, we now know how off the walls desperate Trump`s top allies were in light of that failure.
Thanks to this PowerPoint dated January 5th from the trove of documents provided by Mark Meadows, and it is beyond insane. It includes the debunk claims of voter fraud. It argues the globalist and socialists who are trying to subvert the election on behalf of China. It invokes Hugo Chavez, a former Venezuelan leader who had been dead for years.
It is impossible to overstate just how bananas this all is. If a family member gave it to you, you would be very concerned.
Trump is so desperate but all out of options. They`ve tried everything, every link in the chain. All they have left is force.
But they know they don`t have the army. They know they don`t have the army. So, all he has left is to hurl the crowd at the Capitol and hope that they can use physical intimidation to disrupt the proceedings.
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TRUMP: And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don`t fight like hell, you`re not going to have a country anymore. We`re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvanian. And we`re going to the Capitol, and we`re going to try and give -- the Democrats are hopeless, they never voted for anything. Not even one vote. But we`re going to try and give our Republicans the weak ones because the strong ones don`t need any of our help. We`re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It did not work. But Trump did manage to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in this country`s long history.
And make no mistake, he`s gearing up to run again in 2024. Even if he does not, he`s already rebuilt much of the Republican Party in his authoritarian image. What happens when someone a little more competent who understands the levers of power tries to run the same playbook? What if the next Brad Raffensperger caves and finds imaginary votes? What if the next terrified Ruby Freeman gives into intimidation agrees to lie about fraud?
In order to be prepared for that moment, we need to acknowledge the gravity of the one we just lived through. The attempted a coup.
Next, Ruby Freeman`s lawyer joins me.
HAYES: On January 2nd, Donald Trump infamously made that call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to find 11,780 votes to put him one vote ahead of Joe Biden.
And on that call, he mentioned this truly crazy story about an election worker from Fulton County, Georgia named Ruby Freeman.
Trump falsely claimed that she and her daughter had illegally stuffed fraudulent ballots marked for Biden. Despite that story being completely false. Again, remember this is after multiple audits. Trump mentioned Freeman by name 18 times.
Last week, we report on that story because Freeman is suing that far right conspiracy website that originally published that false report.
Well, today we are learning that just two days after Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State, Ruby Freeman got a visit from a woman she later learned was a publicist for Kanye West, pressing her to confess to voter fraud.
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KUTTI: Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with us. We didn`t want to frighten you but we had to find you within this timeframe.
We have put in placement a way to move you, to secure you, from what may be authorized over the next 48 hours. We have probably 48 hours in which to move you.
You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A loose end for a party that needs to tidy up.
Ian Bassin, executive director of nonprofit organization Protect Democracy, which along with other attorneys represents Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss in their lawsuit against that right-wing publication and he joins me now.
First, let`s just talk about, again, there`s a strange combination of sort of almost comical ineptness, someone who sounds like they`re trying to act like they think someone would in a spy movie. And genuine menace.
I mean, the context tells us about the context for Ruby Freeman when this is happening to her when this woman shows up to talk to her and what has happened to her life after the president and his allies have targeted her for weeks.
IAN BASSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: Well, what should be quite obvious to anybody watching the video that you showed, and the story you told is that it has been terrifying. And I think this is why everyone should care about what happened to these brave election workers in Georgia.
It`s not just because it is a sign of just how serious the threat to our democracy was and is, but it`s also a sign of what life could be like for any of us should an autocrat return to power.
And Chris, this is what I mean, what makes someone an authoritarian, right? It`s someone who seeks to control all power and do so corruptly. And less there be any remaining doubt about whether Donald Trump is one just refer to your opening monologue of tonight`s show to prove it.
But an authoritarian is also someone who would eliminate by any means necessary, any barrier to their absolute power, whether in this case, that`s an election worker, were in another case, whether it`s a high ranking official, the National Security Council, or in another country, maybe it`s a reporter who walks into a consulate to get a marriage license and never walks out.
And you know, that this video and the situation were weird, right? Here`s the thing, in countries governed by autocrats, it`s not weird, it`s normal and it`s terrifying.
HAYES: Yes, that is -- that is part of this -- I mean, again, it`s because of both his ineptness and the fact that like vestigial rule of law restraints held that that isn`t two FBI agents showing up that those are -- that this is some rare -- very random person trying to play that role and that is what saved us in the end.
But a vision of that in which it is FBI agents, like that`s like the nightmare stuff. That`s -- I mean, that`s what we mean when we`re talk like that is -- and this was a nightmare for Ruby Freeman.
I`m saying like, one step past that, that`s where we`re in something that doesn`t, you know, that`s not a free country.
BASSIN: Well, and let`s get very clear. It`s not just it is a nightmare, but it`s not just a vision, it is something that is actually in progress, right?
You detailed very clearly the attempt to overthrow the election last time, but there is right now happening a four-part effort. And these four parts all interlock to lay the groundwork, so next time the effort to overthrow an election and make sure that Donald Trump or his allies return to power, whether they win enough votes or not, this is the key, is underway, right?
There`s four parts. One, there`s an informational part. Two, there is a legal part. Three, there is a personnel part and four, of course there`s violence.
There`s the big lie as the information part, convince people that elections are corrupt, the last was stolen and so will the next one be. Use that as groundwork for the legal part to change laws.
Right now, legislatures around the country are changing electoral rules to change who can be in charge, how votes are counted, how votes are certified. There`s a personnel effort to remove people like Brad Raffensperger or the Michigan Republican state (INAUDIBLE) voted to certify.
BASSIN: And of course, a recent poll showed today, 30 percent of Republicans say violence may be necessary to protect the country. There`s a violent effort. Last time was practice for the next time unless we do the necessary steps now to protect our democracy.
HAYES: Well, I want to say in a minute, what are those? Because I feel like I`ve -- I mean, again, I -- we end up in this place every night. I mean, I feel like I`m -- it feels a little like COVID in March of 2020, where it`s like, just ring the bell. That`s what we have. That`s what we have here, we talk to you and ring the bell. What are those steps?
BASSIN: So, ringing the bell is one of them. Because we have the same four steps in our arsenal of democracy. And the information one we have to tell the truth, which you are doing here, right? And that is that unfortunately, the vast majority of the Republican Party has become autocratic and we cannot deny that whether we are politicians, whether we are reporters, or whether we are American citizens, we have to tell truth.
The second is legal, like the brave election workers in Georgia are doing now because the law does have protections for us.
The third is political, right? The midterms this year are going to be a referendum on democracy. And the last is personal. This is a moment for us all to be active citizens and reach out to our neighbors.
And here`s the weird thing, it may be tempting to demonize those who fallen prey to a cult. But we need empathy because what the country needs is we need to get our fellow citizens out of the cult, and that`s something we often do as citizens.
HAYES: All right, Ian Bassin, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
BASSIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Election workers like Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss were an integral part of the firewall that stopped Donald Trump from pulling it off of overturning the will of the voters and stealing election. After watching the relentless public intimidation campaign over the last year, who will be there next time? We`ll talk about that and how to stop it from happening again, next.
HAYES: Utterly surreal and menacing Reuters story about a publicist who apparently worked for Kanye West, traveling to Georgia to intimidate and threaten a poll worker in an attempt to keep Donald Trump in the White House reveals a frightening truth just how close we came to a coup this year. And how close we could come again next election.
I want to bring in Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney and former assistant U.S. attorney and Brandy Zadrozny an NBC News Senior Reporter on the online disinformation and extremism beat.
Maya, it`s great to have you and I know that you have -- you practice in the civil division in the Southern District and have had worn many different hats as a lawyer.
But the thing I keep coming back to is like, did no one commit a crime here? Is it really possible that the phone call Raffensperger, all these attempts were all non-criminal actions? Maybe it is. Maybe it`s just a weird liminal space. But I`m just not -- feel like I`m not convinced.
MAYA WILEY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) you shouldn`t be convinced, Chris, because we`re still watching investigations unfold both by Congress.
And frankly, the Department of Justice is doing its own investigations. So, until we know all that can be known and find all the can be found., we can`t actually say a crime has not been committed.
And certainly, there are indications that there are many things we can be concerned about, but also that the more we learn, the more steps we learned we might be able to take in order to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
But let me go to the specific story we`ve been talking about, right? Because this -- what we saw on that videotape very much appears to be a violation of Georgia criminal law. Because it there is a crime of one suborning perjury.
So, you know, frankly, poll workers being told lie about voter fraud. That isn`t of itself a crime, but also intimidating poll workers, harassing poll workers falls under the criminal code.
One of the reasons why Ahmaud Arbery`s case finally saw some justice is because people organized and made noise about the fact that law enforcement was not taking action against his killers.
This is the same situation in the context of poll worker intimidation, we have to also have on the ground organizing, that identifies where and how the apparatus of government should be doing its job.
And there`s a real question to me in this reporting and I don`t know the facts of whether that`s happening.
And just one other point, because I don`t want us to lose it, there are things that are happening right now. Because there is an Election Protection network of lawyers, so lawyers can volunteer in every state to essentially help with the legal proceedings for poll workers. Some of this means defending them against new state statutes that are trying to make it more difficult for them to do their job by criminalizing them.
That is also where like in Florida, they might face fines for "blocking a poll monitor", which has been completely political, in terms of Republican legislators passing these kinds of laws.
So, there are all kinds of things that are happening now including the FBI Task Force on voter intimidation and other things. But we have to do more of these things to make sure that justice is done when laws are violated.
HAYES: Yes, and your point Maya there about these, you know, this individual being intimidated and harassed, I mean, Brandy, this is -- this is such a paradigmatic story because this is not the only poll worker who`s been intimidated or harassed.
In fact, as Reuters documented, you know, there have been many. Broad camp -- (INAUDIBLE) broader campaign of fear waged against frontline workers and American democracy, nearly 800 intimidating messages to election officials in 12 states, more than 100 that could warrant prosecution according to legal experts.
And of course, in this -- in this situation, this is a woman who`s plucked from anonymity by the internet and fed through the disinformation will all the way up to the president of the United States and then has to bear the brunt of it.
BRANDY ZADROZNY, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes, I think about Ruby Freeman all the time. My colleague Ben Collins, who you know very well, and we talk about her all the time, because she -- her story is the most egregious example of something that we have seen all over the country, right? There`s a joke on the internet that you never want to be the main character and someone plucked the 62-year-old grandmother who made bedazzled handbags, and seems like a God fearing, you know, lovely woman and just made her the main character of the vilest people for a full month and then, beyond, you know.
Her story went from the president of the United States and his lawyers to Gateway Pundit, which is one of the trash cans of the internet. And he -- the Hoff, and Gateway Pundit, that far right website, just like every day where there was a new story about how she was a crook, and she was stealing.
And so, when you have that narrative out there through those very powerful pipelines, what it does is it emboldens these people who consider themselves digital soldiers who think that when they call this 62-year-old grandmother and say, we`re going to kill you, or they go down to her house and try to make a citizen`s arrest. They think they`re doing the bidding of the president, much like we saw on January 6.
It`s a terrifying, terrifying thing and I hope Miss Freeman is getting some relief now.
HAYES: Well, just to end on a positive note, and I want to say this, that she is -- she is suing.
And also, you know, we`ve talked a lot about the people that sort of held the line up to and including the fact that Mike Pence refused to, you know, go ahead and say I declare these. People like Ruby Freeman and her in particular, I mean, she comes out of that meeting, I think she -- the phrase is the devil`s a liar, and she knew that she was being lied to.
She holds firm under this tremendous pressure. And we -- she is -- she exhibits exemplary citizenship. And we all owe her a debt of gratitude. Random person put in extraordinary circumstances who stood up for American democracy. And that spirit, I think, should animate all of us going forward.
Maya Wiley and Brandy Zadrozny, thank you both.
Next, the Supreme Court`s ruling on the Texas abortion -- Texas abortion bill which my next guest says could go down as one of the most disgraceful decisions in Supreme Court history, what to make of it.
And Chief Justice Roberts warning for his conservative colleagues, after this.
HAYES: So today, the Supreme Court announced a complex but ultimately quite unnerving series of decisions on that near total abortion ban that is in effect right now in Texas, that`s the law that allows private citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets an abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy.
The court ruled that a federal lawsuit challenging that ban can proceed, which is a small victory for the supporters of abortion rights.
The court is still letting the Texas abortion law remain in effect, while legal challenges play out. And the path to challenging this law is now very narrow.
The conservative majority of the court ruled that providers cannot sue a state court clerk Texas judge or the Texas attorney general which would be the normal course of business.
Instead, allowing suits only against state licensing officials. A decision that the Chief Justice himself disagreed with.
Siding with the three liberal justices on the court, John Roberts delivered a strongly worded opinion that read in part "If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the Constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.
The nature of the federal right infringed does not matter; it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake.
Nancy Northup is the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights a nonprofit law firm which argued this case before the Supreme Court.
It`s complicated, procedurally. Kate was breaking it down for me, my wife was -- you know, was a Supreme Court clerk and is a scholar in this area. And it`s complicated. How should we think about what the court did today?
NANCY NORTHUP, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Well, let me just think, start with that we should think about it as a really disgraceful opinion, as you were saying at the outset.
I mean, the court is allowing the state of Texas to basically nullifies the Supreme Court`s guarantee of the right to abortion. And it`s done so by this scheme, that really, the court greenlit today.
So, the effects of today`s decision is that the law is still in effect. It goes back to the district court, it has said that we can proceed in this case, only against the medical licensing authorities.
And while that is important, and we`ll pursue it, we do not want doctors in the state of Texas to lose their medical licenses or the nurses lose their nursing licenses for providing constitutionally protected services.
But that isn`t going to stop the lawsuits under S.B. 8, which are those bounty hunting lawsuits that are chilling the provision of abortion services in Texas because they have $10,000 bounties. Anybody can sue in any of these districts in Texas, and there`s no preclusive effect, the losses can just keep on coming, even if we`re winning them by defending under the fact that this is unconstitutional.
So, it is absolutely shameful. I mean, those were strong words by Chief Justice Roberts, about how the court is not upholding its constitutional duty to make sure that these rights are not violated.
I mean, Sotomayor compared the logic here, she invokes John C. Calhoun, one of the great villains of American history, this sort of intellectual force behind the Confederacy and the slave power, who, before the Civil War writes an anonymous pamphlet, essentially laying out a legal theory that states can nullify federal law.
HAYES: And Sotomayor and her opinion says, this looks like nullification. We have a constitutionally protected right to abortion in this country, this state says, we`ve come up with this clever way to nullify it, and this court is going to OK it.
NORTHUP: That`s right. And the justice is right. And she was joined by Justices Kagan and Justice Breyer and of course, the Chief Justice opinion essentially says the same thing, that the state of Texas is being allowed to nullify, to disregard the decisions by the Supreme Court, decisions about Roe versus Wade and the constitutional right to abortion that the chief justice doesn`t necessarily agree with.
But he agrees that when the Supreme Court has ruled about what the Constitution protects, and it has ruled that the Constitution protects the right to abortion. States like Texas cannot say, we don`t agree. And they`ve done this through this bounty hunting scheme.
It has all kinds of, you know, reverberations about our really bad history in the United States. And so, for Justice Sotomayor to invoke John Calhoun, she`s absolutely right.
HAYES: You know, I`m thinking about process. And what happens, you know, while something`s in effect. I used to cover labor a lot, right? And what would happen is, you bring a labor claim, the NLRB, and then like three years later, they find you`re unfairly fired for organizing, and you get like six weeks back pay three weeks later, like, OK, it -- the damage is done.
Here`s Amy Hagstrom Miller as the President and CEO of Whole Woman`s Health, your client and the plaintiff here saying staying open is not sustainable if the band stays in effect much longer. They operate four clinics in Texas, chief plaintiff in the case before. Hagstrom Miller said her chain has been operating less than 30 percent of its income since the law went into effect.
Of course, this is precisely the goal of the entire fakakta (PH) Rube Goldberg machine that they erected in the law to avoid a stay so that they could put them out of business.
NORTHUP: Absolutely, and you know, it`s been just amazing the commitment of abortion providers in Texas and their staffs, that they have been going forward since September 1st, even though they can`t operate at full capacity, even though it is such a financial strain.
And thank goodness, you know, people have been making donations to the clinics, to the abortion funds that are helping people leave the state.
I mean, let`s just remember front and center, this is the 100th day that this law has been in effect and women have had to leave the state of Texas if they have the means to do so. If they can take time off from work, if they can get childcare.
And what this is causing in other states Oklahoma and Louisiana and you know, far out, is that there are now backlogs on having -- getting abortion care. People can`t get abortion care in other states until, you know, 2022 because of all the influx of Texas patients and that`s what they live in Oklahoma, you can live in Tulsa two blocks away from the clinic and you can`t get an abortion until January of 2022 because Texas is denying its own citizens their rights, it`s an absolute -- you know, it`s an absolute abomination.
HAYES: All right, Nancy Northup, thank you for joining us today.
From threat to reproductive rights, the nightmare pandemic beyond, it is easy to feel things are bad and can`t get better, but that`s not true. When we come back, I promise you a ray of hope from somewhere you might not expect.
HAYES: So, I think the most pernicious threat we face right now, among the many challenges of our current world from democracy, in decline to climate change, the ongoing pandemic, three biggest ones. The biggest threat is succumbing to a sense of certain doom.
It would be easy to succumb to a feeling that things cannot get better, that they cannot be fixed, but they can. And there are all sorts of examples of people doing the right thing, putting in the hard work and producing great results against the odds.
I want to tell you about just one of those examples is in the rural area of Southwestern Mississippi. Jefferson County it`s called, home to just about 7,000 people, 85 percent of whom are Black, nearly 30 percent of residents live in poverty.
And the state of Mississippi as a whole routinely ranks at or near the bottom in all kinds of health care outcomes. So, when the COVID vaccines first became available early this year, uptake in Jefferson County was as you might expect, pretty slow.
Vaccinations in the county lag behind the state and then Mississippi lag behind the rest of the United States.
But then, there was a drastic change. Jefferson County`s vaccination rate surge, surpassing the state`s pace, it is now the most vaccinated county per capita in Mississippi. Nearly 80 percent of the eligible population receiving at least one dose. It`s among the highest vaccinated rural counties in the entire country.
So, how did Jefferson County do it?
Well, local health care providers went out into the community to meet people where they are, literally, physically. Healthcare workers from the Jefferson County Comprehensive Health Center took their mobile unit to town centers, apartment complexes, local churches, even a correctional facility.
The sheriff medical director estimate that 95 percent of the 270 inmates and more than 50 employees there have now been vaccinated. The mobile unit made multiple trips to Jefferson County High School.
According to the superintendent, approximately 94 percent of district staff are now fully vaccinated.
Medical Director of this effort Dr. Crystal Cook second from the right in this photo, also credits her relationships they built and the trust they earned with the community for their success.
HAYES: It is a real triumph. Through sheer will and effort, the health care workers and leaders of Jefferson County were able to protect their community.
They should be held up as a great example of beating the odds and a reminder that good and difficult things are within our grasp with will and diligence.
That is ALL IN for this week. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.