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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 12/21/21

Guests: Jelani Cobb, Linda Chavez, Hunter Walker, Adam Schiff, Rochelle Walensky


The right-wing descent into darkness continues as the glorification of violence by way of Kyle Rittenhouse and what it means for the country. The obsession of guns and the celebration of violence is one of the most ominous developments in American politics and sometimes been happening for a long time. Hunter Walker with new reporting on the Trump campaign`s connection to intimidation of a Georgia election poll worker. The January 6 Committee is taking the first steps in trying to talk to lawmakers who may or may not have relevant information, and the first person on that list is a Republican member of Congress.


REID: The one billionaire is the governor. I bet you who the next governor is going to be watching me Joe Manchin and you`ll get to billionaire eventually because he`s working them funds.

Grace Segers, Molly Jong-Fast, thank you very much. That`s tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN, the right-wing descent into darkness continues. Tonight, the glorification of violence by way of Kyle Rittenhouse, and what it means for the country.

Then as the January 6 probe considers criminal referrals of the former president, Congressman Adam Schiff, on his Republican colleague, that the committee says, has information directly relevant to the investigation.

Plus, Hunter Walker with new reporting on the Trump campaign`s connection to intimidation of a Georgia election poll worker.

And my interview with the director of the CDC, on the President`s new push to deal with Omicron.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Former President Trump announced he`s had gotten his booster shot. Maybe one of the few things he and I agree on.


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.

The only reason that anyone knows Kyle Rittenhouse`s name is because he shot three people and killed two of them. Last month Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges after his lawyers argued that he acted in self- defense when he shot those people.

But I think the most reasonable people, even those who believe that that was the correct legal finding in that case. Understand the key facts of what Kyle Rittenhouse did in Kenosha, Wisconsin last August, what brought him to that moment. He was a minor, 17 years old at the time of the shooting. He took an illegally acquired semi-automatic rifle to another city that he didn`t live in and inserted himself in the midst of protests and chaos. And he then took the lives of two people, including robbing a young child her father.

His actions are not worthy of celebration, independent of that verdict, and yet Kyle Rittenhouse is being turned into a right-wing hero. And you should see the moment that Tucker Carlson was lucky enough to meet him.




CARLSON: It`s nice to meet you.

RITTENHOUSE: Really good to meet you.

CARLSON: I can`t believe you`re here.

RITTENHOUSE: I love your show.

CARLSON: Fans of yours as you know.


HAYES: You`ll have to excuse Tucker. He gets giddy in the presence of his heroes. We`re big fans of you, as you know. Think about that sentence. What does that mean? There`s literally nothing to be a fan of.

Kyle Rittenhouse is a child who shot and killed two people and wounded a third. That`s his body of work. That`s it. You`re a fan of that.

It`s not just Fox News. I want to show you what that looked like as the -- at the right-wing America Fest 2021 taking place over the past four days in Phoenix, Arizona. Kyle Rittenhouse received the rock star treatment there complete with pyrotechnics and a theme song.


CHARLIE KIRK, FOUNDER, TURNING POINT USA: Ladies and gentlemen, please, let`s get loud for Kyle Rittenhouse.



HAYES: This event hosted by the conservative group, Turning Point USA, is the kind of place where we are seeing a certain grim aspect of right-wing politics getting increasingly more pronounced.

It is a sort of celebration and modeling of fundamentally aberrant anti- social violent behavior, like being a jerk. That`s the Donald Trump MAGA model, of course. It`s what turned Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia into stars.

It`s proven on the right, people acting as terribly as possible seems to be the thing that makes you most adored. It`s a fascinating thing to watch at some level. That`s the recipe. That`s the secret sauce of this current version of right-wing politics.

And it`s not just rhetorical, this is key, not just rhetorical, not just, you know, saying stuff that makes people upset, as you saw with the welcome for Kyle Rittenhouse. I mean, Kyle Rittenhouse known for one thing, they are literally celebrating killing people.

Now, all this comes in a larger context and that`s the broad fetishization of guns and violence on the right. A public poll from the -- a recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 30 percent of Republicans agreed with this statement.

Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country. We know there are more and more guns in America and they are held in fewer and fewer hands. We have more guns than people. About 121 firearms in circulation for every 100 residents making U.S., by far, the most heavily armed society in the world. And most of those guns are owned by Republican, 50 percent of Republicans personally owned a gun and 61 percent within the household with a gun, compared to 21 and 30 percent of Democrats.


Now, the right celebrates this. This has become a sort of core identity aspect. They celebrate it this week at Turning Point USA, so-called America fest with Kyle Rittenhouse at the center of it all.

And I have to say, watching that tape of him walking out and the big cheering is one of the most ominous, despicable developments in our politics in recent memory, which is really saying something because, boy, we have been full of them.

Now, Turning Point USA events are also the kinds of places where you get questions about when to start killing people. This happened at an event at Boise State University in Idaho in October.


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

KIRK: So no. Hold on. Stop. Hold on. Now, I`m going to denounce that and tell you why. Because you`re playing into all their plans and they`re trying to make you do this.


HAYES: When that guy says, I`m not joking, take this seriously, you should take it seriously. He wasn`t joking. The person who responded to that question was the founder of turning point USA, Charlie kick --Kirk, who did knock down that suggestion, which is a low bar, but you know, give him credit for crossing it.

But the celebratory message around violence, I mean, coming from the right- wing, it`s coming from Charlie Kirk`s group saying, here`s Kyle Rittenhouse, guys, is very clear. Sometimes that message is implicit, sometimes it is explicit. And sometimes it`s just a rhetorical flourish just sort of laying out there.

Just saw another version of it from Jesse Watters, and again, Jesse Watters is one of those people -- the only reason that anyone knows Jesse Watters name is because when he was a younger Fox News personality staffer, he was the one willing to act like a bit of a sociopath hounding people in the streets sticking a microphone in their face and ambushing them. Now, sometimes you do that to famous people, which that`s fair, fine. But a lot of time, they weren`t famous people. They were just being bullied by him. And that was his path to right-wing fame.

Yesterday at America Fest, Jesse Watters had some instructions for those who want to follow in his footsteps. He described the way to ambush interview Dr. Fauci to catch him in a lie about the origins of the coronavirus. And just like everything else about this stuff, it is laced with violent rhetoric.


JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Now you go in for the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush, deadly, because he doesn`t see it coming. This is when you say Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab, the same lab that sprung this pandemic on the world. You know why people don`t trust you, don`t you? Boom, he is dead. He is dead. He`s done.


HAYES: He`s dead, that`s the kill shot, the question about the Chinese lab that spread COVID, which by the way that is extremely, extremely undetermined at this moment, but you knew that.

Now, of course, again, in the immediate context on that sort of Vegas-style sage, where you`re sort of basking in the adoration of a lot of young people who maybe want to grow up to be a sociopath like you, that language is metaphorical.

But Dr. Fauci has had to have security as a result of language and threats like this. And, of course, these words come in the broader context of everything being said and done on the right and they were spoken at this America Fest event where they are celebrating Kyle Rittenhouse`s literal kill shot against two people.

It`s hard to see and hear all that and not hear something that sounds a lot like your next lib. The right`s celebration of violence, the fetishization of guns, which is, you know, there`s a whole lot to say about where that`s coming from.

But the fetishization of guns and the celebration of violence is one of the most ominous developments in American politics and sometimes been happening for a long time, but they are putting it now in full display.

Jelani Cobb is a staffer of the New Yorker, professor at Columbia University School of Journalism. Linda Chavez served as -- served as the highest-ranking woman in the Reagan administration and they both join me now.

Linda, I want to start with you because I have noticed something just in interactions with people on social media about Kyle Rittenhouse that it`s a little bit of a wedge among conservatives. It`s similar in some ways to the vaccine. You know, a lot of conservatives were like, I`m a Trump person. And, you know, I hate the liberals. I don`t like Fauci, but I got the vaccine and then there`s people who are like, no, it`s a secret plot by, you know, George Soros.

And with covered nose, I have seen like -- there`s a lot of conservatives were like, obviously, we should not be celebrating what this person did, just common sense. And I just am astounded -- I mean I know that exists but I am astounded that that is not the obvious consensus view of people on the American right.


LINDA CHAVEZ, FORMER REAGAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I agree with you. And by the way, if this Kyle Rittenhouse, the Tucker Carlson, Charlie Cook of Kyle Rittenhouse had been the young man who had testified on the stand in his own behalf, I don`t think he would have been acquitted.

HAYES: Right.

CHAVEZ: I think he was acquitted -- yes, I think he did have the law on his side, whether you agree with the way the law is written or not, I think he did have the law on his side. But he also was a sympathetic figure. He seemed to be genuinely sorry over what he`s done. And soon after, he seemed to think that, you know, he shouldn`t have been there. He shouldn`t have been having an AR-15 or whatever other semi-automatic weapon he had on the streets.

But now, you know, he`s become a cult hero. And my guess is, you know, we`re going to see more of this. I think it`s a real tragedy. It`s a tragedy for Rittenhouse as well as for the conservative movement.

HAYES: Jelani, you`ve written a lot about sort of gun culture and the role of the gun and the sort of fetishization of the gun as instrument of politics. What do you see when you see this rock star introduction?

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, I mean, there are two things, Chris, you know, the first is -- you know, I want to be consistent. You know, I`ve written a lot about juvenile justice and the way that our system treats young people who have not psychologically developed into adulthood and cognitively developed into adulthood. And I want to be consistent with that. The thing that I have to say, you know, I`m horrified that there is this fetishization of guns and this valorization of killing people under the circumstances in which they were killed.

But the other thing that strikes me is that this is profoundly unhealthy for a young person.


COBB: That this is -- I mean, we just -- we know about the psychic toll and the emotional toll that celebrity takes on young people. We -- it`s a -- it`s a well-known story of the child star who is very poorly adjusted as an adult.

Compound that with being a celebrity for killing two people and shooting a third, I just think that this is wrong. I think it`s immoral, unethical in ways that go across partisan minds. But about the firearm part of it specifically though, this is about him realizing an objective, which has been fairly well stated on the right for a long time.

There`s a great book on this, you know, Richard Slotkin`s Gunfighter Nation talking about the psychology of the firearm, and how it relates in American history. But just as a quick point of it, a decade ago, this was George Zimmerman, and he received a similar kind of treatment. And so, this is what is goes to the core of the values of people on the right, the increasingly reactionary and violent right.

HAYES: Yes. I`m glad you said what you said to Jelani in that first part too, because I feel the exact same way. And in fact, when this -- when he was acquitted, I tweeted something about how I hope he takes the opportunity to like recognize what he did was awful and atone for it and change his life and do something that makes the world a better place.

I think people you know, were angry at that because they felt a lot of rage at the injustice they felt of the verdict. But like that core point again, to put the politics aside for a second, like, it`s -- this is a sick, sick spectacle. It`s a very sick spectacle with a lot of people who should know better who don`t.

I mean, watching Tucker Carlson, Linda Chavez, like, you know, quiver and squeal and delight, you know, you`re a grown-ass man, like, grow up, grow up.

COBB: Right.

HAYES: You`re a man, and you`re groveling at the foot of this kid, because the people he killed? Like what`s wrong with you?

CHAVEZ: Yes. No, it`s really scary. I mean, there is this, you know, a very strange idea of masculinity that seems to prevail on the right. And Tucker Carlson, I think, exemplifies that. It`s really -- it really is unfortunate, I think, just as a matter of public policy.

I mean, Ronald Reagan, who was a real man was someone who had sensible views on gun control. He was opposed to the open carry law. In California, for example, He did not want -- there was a law that was passed actually by the state legislature, which he signed, which made it illegal to open carry in the state of California, and he came out for other sensible laws. And the NRA itself used to be all about gun safety, not anymore.


HAYES: Well, and I should note, I think Reagan signed that after the Black Panther started opening carrying on the Capitol steps, which I think -- which I think points, Jelani, to like the sub -- you know, the subtext of all of this, right? Which is like you hear it all the time, all this stuff, when do we get to use the guns?

It`s like -- the narrative here is, it`s moved from we like these, and this is our way of life hunting, fishing, I learned to shoot from my dad, all that stuff, and that stuff still there to like, explicitly know. We have these to turn against our fellow citizens when the time comes. And that is -- as -- that`s increasingly explicit, not just implied.

COBB: I mean, it`s Charles Bronson (PH) if we go, you know, back to the 1970s, it`s Bernhard Goetz if we`re familiar with the incident in the 1980s. I mean, there`s a long lineage of this.

But the other thing that I think that`s increasingly important is that the rhetoric has changed from being simply about self-defense, to a kind of preemptive self-defense. It`s very quickly if you think about what ties Rittenhouse, Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, and the death of Ahmaud Arbery together is that all three of these incidents involve people who were going out to protect property that was not theirs. So, this is fundamentally about the idea that you can construe self-defense to mean anything. And you can proactively pursue people and still say you were defending yourself.

HAYES: Jelani Cobb and Linda Chavez, thank you both for sharing your perspective. And I really, really appreciate it.

You remember that bizarre video that surfaced from police body cam we played on the show and it showed one of the weirdest stories of the past few years? A publicist for Kanye West attempting to strong-arm a Georgia election worker into falsely claiming election fraud so that Donald Trump can steal the election.

Well, it now appears that that incident was exactly what it looked like. And we just learned why that publishes showed up in Georgia, from the Trump campaign guy who sent her there. That story, next.



HAYES: I said it earlier this month when we first brought you this story, and I will say it again, Donald Trump and his allies, at everything they possibly could, he tried every possible avenue to overthrow a democratic election and install an authoritarian ruler in defiance of the people`s will. That included showing up at the doorstep of a local Georgia election worker named, Ruby Freeman.

Now, Reuters broke this bizarre story about a publicist named Trevian Kutti, pressuring this poll worker, Ruby Freeman, and trying to get her to falsely admit that she rigged the Georgia election by stuffing thousands of fake ballots.

Freeman had been the target of this ludicrous conspiracy theory based on this, like, edited together video and it made its way from a fringe website being like, that`s the woman that stole Georgia, all the way to the Oval Office. Donald Trump even mentioned that woman, Ruby Freeman, 18 times on that now-infamous phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State.

And because of that, Freeman`s life was essentially ruined. I mean, she`s barricaded in her house. There are people outside, her family got death threats. And that may be why she ultimately agreed to listen when she`s barricaded in this, you know, whirlwind.

And this publicist, Trevian Kutti, shows up at her door and offers to help. Now, we need to pause for some context here. Kutti was first identified as the publicist for rapper, Kanye West, now goes by Ye. And that was notable, of course, because West is a close ally of Donald Trump. West himself ran a half-baked presidential campaign in 2020 that many suspected was a kind of dirty trick to siphon votes away from Joe Biden.

But a spokesperson for the rapper now says Kutti was not affiliated with him at the time of this incident. So, Kutti shows up and Ruby for his doorstep, again, this is the poll worker who`s the subject of this malicious viral lie that she stole the election, OK.

And she`s barricade in her house and Kutti shows up at her door and says that, well, I work for a high-profile individual. She has crucial information for Freeman and her family. And so the two agree to speak at a local police station because Freeman is wigged out. And thanks to body cameras footage from the officer in the room uncovered by Reuters, we have video of the conversation and it`s truly unnerving.

TREVIAN KUTTI, PUBLICIST: I cannot say what specifically will take place. I just know that it will disrupt your freedom. The freedom of one or more of your family members. I would like to connect on the phone, Harrison Floyd who would be taking this situation to a detailed level for you to let you know what is at stake.


KUTTI: Harrison Floyd -- Harrison Floyd is a black progressive crisis manager, very high level with authoritative powers to get you protection that you need.


HAYES: OK. So, I come for these people, all this like cloak-and-dagger talk. And Harrison Ford, the black progressive crisis manager, he`s going to get you protected. Before we go on, we should note Reuters identified the black progressive crisis manager she called as Harrison Ford.

But as journalist Hunter Walker uncovered his name is actually Harrison Floyd. His phone conversation with Ruby Freeman was not caught on camera, but they didn`t call Floyd. And according to Freeman, Floyd Georgia quote, "If you don`t tell everything, you`re going to jail. In other words, you`re going to get locked up unless you confess to your sins which didn`t happen.

So, what`s happening here is pretty obvious, even if bizarre. We kind of knew it at the time, but now we know for sure Trevian Kutti and Harrison Floyd are trying to bully Ruby Freeman to admit she rigged the election. Because then that would give Donald Trump and his allies something concrete to use to challenge the results because they`ve been striking out all over the place.

And Floyd is not a black progressive like he claimed he was. He is a right- wing operative. He was head of an organization called Black Voices for Trump. He wants even got a shout out from Trump during an Atlanta rally.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re delighted to be joined by Harrison Floyd of our Black Voices coalition.


Harrison, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you. Great job you`re doing.



HAYES: Now, journalist Hunter Walker actually spoke to Floyd who denied being explicitly involved with Trump at the time of the Freeman incident. The way he tells it, he was just trying to offer a helping hand, quote, "I started getting phone calls from a lot of people saying they were hearing that Ruby Freeman wanted immunity. That she wanted to talk to the President."

So, you see, Floyd just wanted to help or Ruby Freeman when he reportedly told her she was going to jail if she did not admit to crimes she didn`t commit.

Hunter Walker`s piece on Harrison Floyd is titled, former Trump campaign aide admits involvement in incident involving Kanye West publicist and Georgia election worker. And he joins me now.

And, Hunter, this has been truly one of the most bizarre stories I have ever seen. So, who is Harrison Floyd? And what is his connection to Trump world?

HUNTER WALKER, THE UPRISING NEWSLETTER: Well, I think it`s important for your readers -- your readers, sorry, your viewers to understand that Black Voices for Trump is actually part of the Trump campaign. So he was the direct -- the executive director of this coalition, which was basically the centerpiece of the Trump campaign`s effort to woo black voters.

So, potentially, this links this Trevian Kutti incident directly to the Trump campaign. In my conversation with Harrison Floyd who also ran for congress very briefly in 2019, he insisted that he was not employed by the Trump campaign after November 15th of 2020.

At the same time, he didn`t exactly deny being in touch with the campaign, although he said to me repeatedly that any conversation he had with them was in a, quote-unquote, personal capacity. So, he`s someone who was connected to the Trump campaign. And he also was the man on the phone in this police station meeting with Trevian Kutti and Ruby Freeman.

HAYES: Yes, I just -- let`s just hammer on this because I don`t want that to get lost. He`s a Trump campaign aide. Trump campaign aide teamed up with Kanye West publicist to pressure a random Georgia election worker and intimidate a Georgia election worker into confessing to crime she did not commit so that Donald Trump would have a predicate to overturn the election. That is the story.

WALKER: Right. And prior to this, there were already questions due to the number of Republican operatives on Kanye`s staff about whether his whole, as you said half-baked campaign, was an effort to help Trump take away votes from Biden.

People I`ve talked to about that wonder, you know, was it a grift or was it dirty tricks? Because Kanye sort of threw $12 million around so people might have had motivation to join him besides helping Trump.

But this is also a connection between the Trump campaign and the Kanye West campaign. But I think it`s you alluded to one of the most interesting things here is that this took place on January 4th, two days before President Trump stood on the ellipse and told people to march to the Capitol.

As we talked about last week, Chris, at this time, this whole loose confederation of Trump allies were sort of looking for evidence of voter fraud from the January 6 organizers who have talked to both of us, they were hoping to present it on that stage. And coincidentally, Trevian Kutti was in the room saying to Ruby Freeman, I need to move you in 48 hours, and you need to make this confession within 48 hours.

HAYES: Yes. She keeps saying 48 hours, like the clock`s ticking. And basically this -- the strong sense you get is like this is the last shot because everything else hasn`t worked. Every claim has been laughed out of court. The lawyers have even been sanctioned at this point, though not sanction yet.

You know, the audits have come back with nothing, like, there`s nothing. Here it is the last shot, get this woman to confess that she and her daughter, I think, you know, the two of them stuffed thousands of ballots. And that will be the thing that brings down the whole house of cards. And here`s the pressure and it`s a team effort between a Kanye publicist and a former Trump campaign aide, who by the way, ran for Congress with this ad just to give people a little bit of what this individual`s vibes are. Take a listen to his ad.


HARRISON FLOYD, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: I`m running for Congress, because my family and I didn`t fight for our freedoms to allow our country to fall to socialism. I`ll fight socialists in Congress the same way I fought terrorists in the desert. So help me God.


HAYES: Which, you know, I`ll kill them is the point there. He didn`t win his congressional race.

Hunter Walker, fantastic reporting. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

WALKER: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right. Coming up, possible criminal referral for Donald Trump in a stonewall from a sitting member of Congress. The latest developments in the January 6 investigation with committee member, Adam Schiff. That`s next.



HAYES: The January 6 Committee is taking the first steps in trying to talk to lawmakers who may or may not have relevant information. The first person on that list is a Republican member of Congress.

Yesterday, in a letter requesting Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry`s cooperation, the committee`s chair Bennie Thompson writes, "Then President Trump considered appointing Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, as Mr. Clark pressed his Department of Justice superiors, to use agency authorities to challenge election results.

We have received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting attorney general. Perry responded this morning saying, "I declined this entity`s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical, capital L, left.

Tonight, the committee is indicating a firm response to Perry`s resistance. We`ll talk about that in one moment with committee member Adam Schiff. But it is just another sign of how serious this investigation is getting. Remember, as the New York Times reported last night, the committee is considering recommending that Donald Trump himself face federal criminal charges.

As mentioned, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California is a member of the -- member of the House Select Committee. He`s also the lead impeachment manager in Donald Trump`s first impeachment and he joins me now.


Congressman, first, let`s talk about Congressman Scott Perry. Obviously, this is interesting and I feel like almost uncharted waters. I`m trying to wreck my brain for a similar situation in which you had a sort of specially empowered investigative committee who have, you know, witnesses who are themselves member of congress and how to treat that. What is your response to him saying he simply won`t cooperate?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, there is, you know, precedent certainly for calling members of Congress before an investigatory committee. In the Russia investigation, we asked a Republican and a Democratic lawmaker both to come in. Both agreed to do so voluntarily. It is extraordinary for a member of Congress to refuse.

And here, you know, you have to ask the question why is he trying to obstruct the work of the committee. Why is he unwilling to volunteer what he knows when, you know, he evidently had some role in trying to install Jeffrey Clark at the top of the Justice Department when reportedly there were efforts to use that Justice Department to get Georgia and other states to not send their electors or send an alternate slate of electors.

And he reportedly was also involved in you know these conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems and had communications with the White House Chief of Staff including unencrypted apps. So, why is he unwilling to talk to Congress about that? If it`s all about board, then why is he unwilling to talk to Congress?

HAYES: Yes, we should say that there`s quite a bit of public reporting that he was a key sort of intermediary with sort of getting Jeffrey Clark who of course would was at the Department of Justice and sort of plotted directly with the president to overthrow the acting attorney general at the time and to send out these letters telling oh, we found fraud in your state. You can just have another election or send your lectures.

We know that Perry was involved in some way with Clark, right? I mean, that`s pretty established.

SCHIFF: You know, on the basis of testimony that we`ve received, we have a good-faith -- reason to believe that yes, he was involved in efforts to install Jeffrey Clark at the top of the Justice Department. And why were they trying to effectively decapitate the leadership of that department and install Clark? And you know, I think there`s good reason to believe it`s because Clark was willing to try to get Georgia to withhold its electors or send an alternate slate and was developing plans to do that with other states.

So, look, Perry has a lot that he could share with the Congress and the country and legally he`s -- at this point, you know, been asked to volunteer. But if he refuses, we`ll have to consider what comes next.

HAYES: We should note in that letter that chair Thompson said. He said, when Mr. Clark decided to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, he understood that we plan to pose questions addressing his interactions with you among a host of other topics. This is not -- he has not declined a subpoena at this point. This was simply an invitation to cooperate.

Given that he`s a Member of Congress, there would be an expectation that of course a member of Congress wouldn`t. So, then what happens next?

SCHIFF: Well, we`ll discuss it as the committee whether the next step is to issue a subpoena and to compel him to appear. We`ve had to take that step with other witnesses, and with others, it has been successful. Still, others have sought to resist but I would hope that none of this would be necessary. And yet, Congressman Perry seems intent on refusing to volunteer what he knows.

And you know, again we`ve got to ask why. If the Congress doing an investigation of a violent attack on the Capitol believes he has important information, and clearly he does, why is he refusing to volunteer to cooperate?

HAYES: I want to read to you from a New York Times article that came out last night just before I went to air. I had Michael Schmidt on the on the program to discuss it, and it reads as follows. According to people briefed on their efforts investigated -- investigators for the committee -- that`s the committee you sit on -- are looking into whether a range of crimes were committed including two in particular. Whether there was wire fraud by republicans who raised millions of dollars off assertions the election was stolen despite knowing the claims were not true, and whether Mr. Trump and his allies obstructed Congress by trying to stop the certification of electoral votes.

Can you confirm that reporting that you were looking at that?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, I could say certainly our primary purpose is a legislative one. That is we want to establish all the facts expose into the light of day and take legislative action to protect the country going forward. But certainly, if we discover evidence of criminal activity, we will consider referring that to the Justice Department if they`re not already investigating it.

We have made referrals in the past. The most referrals that we make frankly are people who come before congress and we believe have lied to us like Roger Stone, like Mike Flynn and others -- well, not Mike Flynn in terms of Congress, but like Roger Stone. And so, we`ve made those kind of referrals in the past, but if we discover other criminal activity we`ll discuss referring that as well.


HAYES: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff who sits on that committee, thank you very much.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, the head of the CDC is here to talk about the new COVID variant and the administration`s plan to tackle it. That`s next.


BIDEN: I know you`re tired. I really mean this. And I know you`re frustrated. We all want this to be over. But we`re still in it.




BIDEN: More than 200 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. In March of 2020, no one was fully vaccinated. What that means is today as cases -- case of COVID-19 for fully vaccinated and boosted person will most likely mean no symptoms or mild ones similar to the common respiratory viruses. Over 200 million Americans should have the peace of mind that they did not have in March of 2020.



HAYES: Today, President Joe Biden addressed the nation on the Omicron coronavirus variant as his administration faces a unique challenge at this point in the pandemic. They want people to get the booster shot because the data show that your vaccine immunity does decline over time. So, if you boost -- your shots were six months or longer ago, a booster shot helps restore it. And that could help a lot against omicron based on some of the data we`re seeing.

At the same time, the White House does not want to downplay the importance of vaccination itself because the one consistent takeaway we have is that the vaccine, just the normal vaccine course, does not just reduce transmission, it also is our greatest protection right now against serious illness and death from the virus.

And in this way, that is more important than ever because Omicron is causing outbreaks even in highly, highly vaccinated places. So, one example of that is Denmark. That is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. 81 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, 36 percent is boosted.

To give you some context how high that number is, here about 66 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated and 30 boosted. So, it`s a very, very vaccinated place. Well, in Denmark, they are in the midst of the worst wave of the virus case-wise that they have ever seen since this whole thing started, averaging over 9,000 new cases a day in a place with a population of about 5.8 million, equal to the state of Wisconsin.

Omicron is just incredibly transmissible but here`s the hope if we turn our attention from Denmark to the U.K. In the U.K. which has 70 percent of the total population fully vaccinated, we can see a model of what we`re hoping could happen here in the U.S. and we`re looking at Danish hospital data right now to see if it`s happening there.

In the summer, the U.K. had a big spike in new cases that trickled into the fall. That was caused by the delta variant. But you will see that the number of COVID-related deaths stays pretty flat. See that blue on the right there? It does not spike up the way the case is due in red on the left of your screen, right?

So, the red is cases. They`re going crazy. What you see is that the deaths don`t spike with cases. So, that`s the hope. The wedge between people getting this infectious disease and not getting super sick. That`s what the vaccines should do. It`s what we know they do. And we are hoping for right now in places like New York City where omicron is exploding.

Preventing the worst outcomes, hospitalization, because hospitals have been really pummeled throughout this pandemic and of course worse, death. That is still the way out of the worst of this pandemic and it is the one thing that vaccines do really well. That said, it`s not the only tool we have. There are other tools that we need to fight this outbreak or who knows if there`s another variant after this one.

Today, the White House Announced they are sending at-home testing kits for free to American households. That`s welcomed announcement. I will ask CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky about that announcement next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what`s your message to Americans who are trying to get tested now and are not able to get tested and who are wondering what took so long to ramp up testing?

BIDEN: Come on, what took so long?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m hearing that from people who are trying to get tested now before the holidays.

BIDEN: Well, what took so long is it didn`t take long at all. What happened was the omicron virus spread even more rapidly than anybody thought. I told you four weeks ago that this was spread by day to day basis. It was spread by 50, 100 percent, 200 percent, 500 percent. I think you`d look to me and said Biden, what are you drinking?


HAYES: Trying to head off criticism on the COVID testing front, President Biden today announced the government will start mailing 500 million at-home test kits to American homes for free.

Joining me now for more on the administration`s efforts against Omicron variant, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky. It`s good to have you, doctor. Let me -- let me follow up on that question. The President was asked -- because I follow this very closely.

I`m not an epidemiologist, but it`s been my job for the last 19 months to follow this. We did know that Omicron was going to spread very quickly. I think the pace of it is surprised some people but four or five weeks ago, when we started looking at what the lab isolation of the nature of the mutation, the earliest data we were getting from Gauteng province in South Africa, it shouldn`t really be a surprise to anyone that we have this massive outbreak right now, right?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: Yes, good evening, Chris. Good to be back with you. So, let me just step back and sort of say where we are right now, because I know people -- things are moving quickly. So, we have about 73 percent of our cases now of COVID are the omicron variant. That was projected by the CDC and released in the last 24 hours.

And what we have seen as we`ve watched this virus, this variant in other countries is exactly mirroring what we are seeing here. The doubling time for this virus has been around one and a half to three days. And when you have a virus with doubling times, at that rate, it can increase very rapidly. And that`s exactly what we`ve seen here.

We were anticipating this. We were preparing for this. And this was really the motivation for the President`s announcement today to really help with surge support in the hospital setting to increase access to testing, and then of course, to increase access to vaccination. And that`s all of the package of what we`re doing just in this moment.

But I do want to remind everyone that we are in a very different place today than we were just a year ago, because now we have the science and we have the tools that we know we need to combat this. And that of course includes getting vaccinated, getting boosted, and practicing those prevention measures, regardless of whether you`re vaccinated or boosted, wearing a mask in public indoor settings.


HAYES: Yes, but one of the problems I think that folks have had is access to high-quality N95 masks and not -- you know, and not cloth masks, and also access to testing for, you know, group gatherings, holiday dinners, and stuff like that. And it does feel like the capacity -- and again, I know the doubling time is nuts. I`ve watched it myself. It`s -- I`ve never seen anything like it. I`ve never seen an infectious disease do what this disease is doing right now in New York City, just in terms of case transmission.

But it does seem like those -- the capacity that we have, and New York City`s a place with a very strong public health infrastructure for testing has not kept up with the spikes in cases. And the worry is that, you know, when it comes to places that have less of a public health infrastructure than the New York City, that that`s going to be a real problem.

WALENSKY: Yes, so the government right now is doing a lot. And we know we have more work to do. Look, there`s a huge demand for tests in this moment, not just in New York, not just in this country, but truly around the world. So, we have invested now -- the government announced -- the President announced an investment of $3 billion in rapid at-home tests, and we have today 20,000 sites where you can get a PCR test for free, and they`re going to be new federal sites for PCR tests that are going to be in places that are high demand just at this moment. And those are happening right now especially in New York City. So, there`s a lot of work going on right now as this demand is increasing.

HAYES: I want to -- I want to ask another policy question here about travel ban. South Africa was -- it was scientists in South Africa who first isolated and identified this variant. The world in some ways is in their debt because they`re the first ones to figure this out, to notify the world and ring the alarm bells.

We still have -- in relation to that, we have a travel ban on South Africa. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb echoing criticisms I`ve heard from many others that the travel ban on South Africa didn`t work, didn`t even buy us time, but it reordered geopolitical cooperation when it comes to public health, hopefully, an instructive lesson for future and how we treat nations that do the right thing, identifying new pathogens alerting the world. Shouldn`t we get rid of the travel ban to South Africa given what we`re -- levels of community transmission here now?

WALENSKY: Yes, I think many important points that you just made that I want to reiterate. One is how indebted we are to our South African colleagues and scientists and how helpful they have been as we`ve learned more and more about this Omicron variant. We -- at the time that the travel ban was put on out of an abundance of caution, the goal really was to diminish the spread that we were going to have here and to buy us some time.

And that is exactly what we did. We put the travel ban on in the place that have the most disease with Omicron at the time. We are obviously revisiting that decision right now and, you know, we all anticipate that this will be temporary.

HAYES: Final question for you. I think people are trying to figure out right now, what are we in right now? And I want -- as a policymaker at CDC, what is success over the next six weeks looked at? How do you define and how does the administration define success over these next six weeks as this very inevitably spreads across the country?

WALENSKY: Right. So, we have a lot of disease out there now. And what we`re working right now to do is to decrease the amount of severe disease and death that is associated with this current surge. How do we do that? We have 40 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated with their first dose. We want to get them their first dose, we want to get them their second dose, and ultimately, we want to get them their booster dose.

We want to get our most vulnerable populations and truly the entire eligible population with their booster dose because we know that especially against this Omicron variant, we need extra levels of vaccine protection in order to remain safe from severe disease and death.

And so, we`re working to support more vaccinations and more booster doses, and really to make sure that we can maintain our hospitals so that they`re not overwhelmed. And that we can maintain regular hospital services.

So, that in my mind, if we can decrease the amount of cases, get more and more people vaccinated and boosted and decrease the surge on our hospitals. With low rates ultimately of disease, I think that we would come out of this surge successfully.

HAYES: All right, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC, thank you for making time with us tonight. I appreciate it.

WALENSKY: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: Before we go tonight, have you heard of NFTs? I hadn`t until a few years ago and then this year. They`re everywhere. And people are making millions of dollars on little pieces of unique digital code called Non- Fungible Tokens associated with pieces of bar and all sorts of random stuff.

And I think if you listen about it casually, seems like it must be a scam, right? But is it? That`s what I wanted to find out from New York Times Tech Columnist Kevin Roose on my podcast. And what he told me was fascinating and clarifying. And I feel like I have my arms around this now. You can listen to our conversation right now on Why Is This Happening? wherever you get your podcast.

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