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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 12/7/21

Guests: Tim Alberta, Philip Rucker, Katie Benner, Sarah Kliff, JR


Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is going to quit his job in Congress and join the Trump Media Company. Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips performance artists in the Republican Party. The January 6 panel says Mark Meadows will face contempt charges if he fails to appear at the deposition tomorrow. Republican governors are taking the credit for the COVID relief bill that Republicans voted against in Congress. President Joe Biden announced his plan to have private insurers cover the cost of at home tests. JR`s new documentary Paper and Glue, which premiere this Friday on MSNBC, reflects on his trajectory from the projects to the international art scene.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: -- born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship have become Americanized, the racial strains are undiluted."

The war may have taken a big toll on us, but Americans did ultimately come together at that point. And democracy did prevail over fascism, something that`s even more relevant now than ever. And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


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

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Devin Nunes is someday going to be hailed as a great American hero.

HAYES: Trump`s greatest defender is cashing out as one of his colleagues diagnoses the larger problem.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): There`s two types of members in Congress. There`s performance artists, there`s legislators. We have grifters in our midst.

HAYES: Then, an ultimatum from the January 6 committee to Mark Meadows, show up or face charges.

JOHN EASTMAN, ATTORNEY: They`ve already brought one criminal indictment against one of the people that refused to comply.

HAYES: Plus, as the ribbon cuttings begin, one Republican`s creative way of taking credit for a law that no Republicans voted for.

And my interview with the artist JR about his incredible new documentary Paper and Glue when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California is leaving his job. The reason he`s leaving though tells you a lot about the trajectory of the modern Republican Party. See, the old model of governance was, you stuck it out so you could wield the power of the state.

You could wield that power for all kinds of purpose, good, evil, lots of stuff in between. The goal was wielding power in the service of some governing agenda. That`s why people got in politics. And that`s less and less the case. Congressman Nunes who joined Congress as a 29-year-old and is currently serving his 10th term is retiring to run Donald Trump`s new grift.

That`s right. Nunes will become CEO of the Trump Media and Technology Group which even as far as startups go is particularly questionable. It`s supposed to be a social media company, but in typical Trump fashion, right now, more like a half-baked idea with his name on it also in typical Trump fashion. The company is already being investigated by federal regulators which is truly an incredible record to get your first SEC investigation before you ever have a product.

So, that`s where Devin Nunes has gone, to be a professional troll for a company of professional trolls. As Jonathan Chait puts it in New York Magazine, "unofficial Trump propagandist, Devin Nunes makes it official. And that is basically how we think of Devin Nunes these days as the Trump sycophant who remember was chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Back in 2017, he made that bizarre middle of the night trip to the White House to warn the Trump administration about the so-called unmasking of Trump campaign officials who are being surveilled by intelligence agencies for their ties to foreign governments or, you know, you may remember him as the right-wing troll who sues journalists and also wanted to sue Twitter, the company, over like a few parody accounts like Devin Nunes` mom and Devin Nunes` Cow.

Now, for the record, I just want people to know the Devin Nunes Cow account was not actually run by a cow of Devin Nunes. But here`s the thing. Nunes was not always like this. For much of his nearly two decades in Congress, he was just kind of a normal Republican. He represented a very conservative district, had very conservative politics, did the normal dance of governance, worked his way up to be chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Back then, Nunes seemed less interested in the theatrics of politics. In fact, he once referred to the tea party government shutdown over ObamaCare -- remember Ted Cruz sort of pushed them to do that, as lemmings with suicide vests.

But most revealing though, listen to this, is a quote. It`s a 2015 interview with journalist Ryan Lizza who Nunes would later sue over different reporting. Listen what he had to say. "I used to spend 90 percent of my constituent response time on people who call e-mail or send a letter such as I really like this bill. And they really believe in it because they heard about it through one of the groups they belong to, but their view was based on actual legislation. Now, ten percent were about Chemtrails from airplanes are poisoning me to every other conspiracy theory that`s out there. And that has essentially flipped on its head. It`s dramatically changed politics and politicians and what they`re doing."

Yes, no kidding, dude. It`s a remarkably prescient comment from 2015 Nunes, just months before Donald Trump would essentially take over the party, and Nunes would eventually go full-on MAGA Chemtrail friendly.

But there`s something profoundly revealing about Devin Nenes` choice to quit to become a professional troll because he`s not some newcomer to Congress. He`s been there for nearly two decades. He`s worked his way up. He started young and he`s young now for someone who`s in his position. He was chair of House Intelligence. And while redistricting California means his seat could potentially be in jeopardy, worry to stick it out and be elected -- re-elected. He`d be very well positioned to potentially take over the House Ways and Means Committee next term. That`s if Republicans win the House which many expect they will.


Now, arguably, Ways and Means Committee chair is the second most powerful position in the House next to the speaker, an enormously consequential job. It does all the tax legislation. It gets to control how trillions of dollars of federal money is directed.

And back in the day, ways and means chairs would even go on to be presidents like James Polk and Miller Fillmore. You already knew that, right, didn`t you? Or you know larger than life political figures like Dan Rostenkowski, Paul Ryan, Charlie Rangel, OK. These were titans.

It`s basically the end goal for a long line of legislators who wanted to reshape the federal government in their own ideological image or, you know, just run a kind of big patronage operation where they got to give out the goodies to various interest groups. But again, even that kind of old- fashioned soft corruption which is as old as politics, even that isn`t really even so enticing to the contemporary Republican Party anymore.

Increasingly, what they want in their hearts, they want to be essentially professional trolls, talking heads, podcasters, content creators. Which again, don`t get me wrong, I mean, nothing -- I got nothing against content creators and talking heads. But you`re in government.

They`re much more concerned with posting on Twitter and owning the libs than they are on doing the work of government, crafting legislation or writing amendments. And an observation that to that end came from kind of an unlikely source last night, take a listen to Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw during an event in Texas.


CRENSHAW: There`s two types of members in Congress. There`s performance artists, there`s legislators. Now, the performance artists are the ones that get all the attention, are the ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know that our voters want to hear.

We have grifters in our midst, not here, not like in this room. That`s not what I mean. I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after a lie after life.


HAYES: And to be clear, that point, while incredibly astute, is more than a little hypocritical coming from Congressman Crenshaw who`s done a fair share of his own partisan trolling and who loves performance enough to release an ad like this last year ahead of the Georgia runoff elections.


CRENSHAW: What`s the situation on the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have two patriots down there, Sen. Laulic and Sen. Perdue. Great fighters with great message. They just need a little backup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question, what do you want to bring?

CRENSHAW: Bring everyone.


HAYES: By the way, that video ends with Crenshaw landing on top of an Antifa truck and pretending to punch the windshield out. So, again, he may be less than a reliable narrator here about like who`s serious and who`s not, but his point fundamentally about his Republican colleagues is spot on.

A lot of them just are not interested in the job they have, the act of governing, of being a representative of people in the government. Those Republicans who do care about that are dying breather, leaving. Republican legislators like Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri and Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Again, they`re both on their way out because it is clear there`s just no will left in their party for the actual stuff of legislating.

And I got to say, it bears repeating, I think those men`s politics are bad. They`ve caused a lot of damage, a lot of bad votes, a lot of bad bills. I`m not endorsing what they were doing or what they stand for. But what I`m saying is they were doing something legibly governing related in some sense. Something that is more in line with what governing is or isn`t than anything that this new current wave of Republicans are doing.

Which is why in a new piece in the Atlantic, Tim Alberta questions if there is any place in the party for a Congressman like Michigan Republican freshman Peter Meijer. Meijer voted to certify the results of the 2020 election and for Donald Trump`s second impeachment, and seems at least nominally committed to actual governance.

As Alberta notes, Meijer does not believe he is standing alone against Republican trolls like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or Paul Gosar of Arizona. "Meijer is convinced there are more Republicans like him, rational pragmatic disgusted by the turn the party has taken than there are like Gosar. Because they have the numbers, he says, there`s no need to engage in guerrilla tactics. They can reason and debate like adults. They can take the high road, they can play the long game.


All evidence would point to Meijer`s optimism bordering dangerously close to naivete. But I guess for the sake of our democracy, I hope he`s right. Tim Alberta is a staffer at the Atlantic where he wrote that new piece on Congressman Peter Meijer, and he joins me now.

I was struck -- I was struck by this profile because I do think there`s kind of a throwback situation. And I want to in some ways like take this out of the realm of ideology because I don`t think actually the sort of set of like what people stand for and believe in is really what we`re talking about here.

It seems to me that there`s just an approach to the job to the conception of what it means to be a member of Congress that is being sort of stoked by Gaetz and Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene that`s just like fundamentally inimical to the idea that i think Meijer and other Republican legislators have about like going and doing the job of being a Republican member of Congress.

TIM ALBERTA, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Chris, I don`t know how much time you have, but we could have a long conversation on that subject. I`ve written a lot about it. Listen, everything you said there is right. I distinctly remember sitting with Paul Ryan a couple of weeks after he retired from Congress and this was in Wisconsin in his hometown. He had uh sort of just begun to process the, you know, the last few years with Trump`s takeover of the party.

And whatever you think of Paul Ryan`s politics, whatever you think of his legislative record over the years and his proposals on Medicare reform Medicaid reform, all these things, Paul Ryan spent 20 years in Congress climbing the traditional way of writing policy, working on committees, accumulating power the way that one was expected to in Congress, you know, rarely seen on cable news or doing sort of the cocktail circuit tour. He wasn`t a social media guy. And basically gained all of his influence in congress by committee route and became Ways and Means Chairman, eventually became Speaker of course.

And when we were talking about this, he took sort of an unsolicited detour at one point and just started ranting about Matt Gaetz by name and a couple of others and talking about how basically the entertainer complex in our politics had been so dominant, and how this was going to get much, much worse before it got better.

And so, when you place a guy like a Peter Meijer in the context of all of that, he is in many ways the antithesis of this. He`s a -- he`s really smart, really earnest guy who thought that when he was elected to Congress, that he would be in the majority, and that the -- some of the clowns in his freshman class like Marjorie Taylor Greene, that they were just going to be a very vocal minority when in fact it`s been the exact opposite. He finds himself in a decided minority as somebody who actually came to Congress to try and legislate.

HAYES: Yes. And I think, you know, we`re watching this dynamic play out right now with sort of Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz, and Gosar where sort of day by day it seems like they -- they`re accruing the power of the party to themselves. I mean, you know, like, McCarthy is now scared to cross them the way he`s scared across Trump.

And it just means that A, the next class of freshman members of Congress are going to be -- there`s going to be 20 like them. Like, if the midterms go the way we think they might and particularly the redistricting, where that will be what it means increasingly to be a young freshman you know member of the Republican House Caucus.

ALBERTA: Yes. Look, and I think some of this obviously stems from a fundamental problem. And you`ve been flicking at it here is when Congress no longer legislates in a meaningful way, and certainly when Congress ceases to legislate in a meaningful bipartisan way, then really, all there is left for a minority party is to entertain, is to obstruct.

And really, if you think about the ways in which a party relates to or earns proximity to relevancy and to influence, there could be a case made that even up until recently at least what the Republican Party in the Obama years was doing, again, not at the fringes but in the mainstream was its relevancy was earned by knock-down drag out fights over healthcare, over immigration, over taxation, right? These were -- at least they were policy fights.

HAYES: Right.

ALBERTA: And what you see now increasingly is that that influence, that relevancy is gained not through fighting on any of the policy. We`ve seen almost none of that in the early days of the Biden administration. It`s all on the sort of lowest common denominator culture war issues. And a lot of isn`t even real culture war outrage. It`s sort of phony manufactured for- profit outrage that`s meant to raise money and rile up the base and it`s very effective.


HAYES: Tim Alberta who`s a wonderful chronicler of this situation, thank you very much for joining us tonight.


HAYES: Mark Meadows finds himself in a wee bit of a pickle. His big book tour money grab came to a speech in halt after he revealed the former president tested positive for COVID well before we knew, a detail that reportedly infuriated Donald Trump.

Today, Mark Meadows offered something of an olive branch to the former president, refusing now to testify before the January 6 committee. But is Meadows willing to risk contempt charges to get back in Trump`s good graces? A new ultimatum from the House Committee after this.



TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: So, why comply? What -- I mean, honestly, at this point, look, if it`s totally fake, this is just some Soviet show trial which it is, then why would the rest of us have any kind of obligation to play along with it, honestly?

EASTMAN: Well, we shouldn`t but Congress has the power to issue criminal contempt. Normally, those don`t go anywhere on such charades as this, but the Department of Justice is fully in line. And you know, they`ve already brought one criminal indictment against one of the people that refused to comply.



HAYES: That was John Eastman, the guy who wrote up the infamous coup memo on how former Vice President Mike Pence could steal the election for Donald Trump and railroad the American people`s ability to choose their own leader. And that`s him grudgingly telling Tucker Carlson last night that well, he has to comply with the subpoena from the House committee investigating January 6.

That however is not the case with Trump`s former chief of staff Mark Meadows who today announced he basically changed his mind. He will not cooperate with the committee investigating January 6 and appear at a deposition tomorrow. Now, that flip-flop might have something to do with the ex-President`s reported fury over Meadow`s new book after an excerpt leaked last week revealing an apparent cover-up surrounding Trump`s coronavirus diagnosis.

The thing is, back in October, less than two months ago, Trump had nothing but good things to say about Meadow`s book on his blog telling his followers to pre-order your copy now and that would make an incredible Christmas present, saying it`s a fantastic book and Mark Meadows and his wonderful wife Debbie are great people. That`s nice.

In fact, this glowing post is still up right now on the internet. But over the weekend, the Daily Beast reported that Trump fumed over how Meadows was effing stupid for what he revealed in his book and that "Trump`s displeasure towards Meadows was volcanic."

Today, the New York Times Maggie Haberman`s reporting that a source close to Trump says he hates Meadows book and feels betrayed by him. I wish you could take that blurb back. So, now it looks like Meadows will have to choose between appeasing his former boss and avoiding a criminal referral.

Following his announcement today, the committee released a statement saying tomorrow`s deposition which was scheduled at Mr. Meadow`s request will go forward as planned. If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings.

Katie Benner covers the Justice Department for New York Times and has been following the criminal charges coming from the committee. Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief of the Washington Post to help report out a three-part series on the events of and surrounding the January 6 attack. They both join me now.

I got to say, let me start with you, Philip. This entire dynamic is a little bit of a head scratcher. I mean, Meadows writes a book with a startling, shocking revelation that the president tested positive for COVID six days before announcing it, spent six days circulating among the people, very strong circumstantial evidence that he was the patient zero for the White House cluster, and was at a debate and what did you think was going to happen, buddy?

Like, at the press -- and Trump blurbs it. And now they`re all angry about it. How did this come about?

PHILIP RUCKER, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, THE WASHINGTON POST: And Chris, that`s not even the worst of it. Because Meadows in his book also reports about Trump`s basically lack of strength, his physical condition when he had COVID, how he was in the hospital in a T-shirt with his hair messed up and his face a very peculiar hue and completely out of energy and feeling like he didn`t even have the strength to get out of bed.

That is certainly not the image that Trump wants anybody working for him projecting to the public. And that`s exactly what Meadows wrote in his book. So, it has infuriated the former president as you might imagine. And now Meadows is apparently trying to get back in Trump`s good graces by refusing to cooperate with the January 6th Committee. But I`m not sure that`s going to work with Trump.

HAYES: Yes. The causation here -- again, I`m -- this is correlation that we`re imputing a cause to, right, which is that Meadows gets on the wrong side, change his mind about cooperation. Katie, I want to play you Meadows giving his own justification and then sort of ask what the ramification could be given that, as Eastman said, they`ve already done one criminal referral. Take a listen.

Do you have that? Maybe not. All right, Meadows -- yes, there we go.


MEADOWS: We found that in spite of our cooperation and sharing documents with them, they had issued unbeknownst to us and not -- without even a courtesy call, issued a subpoena to a third-party carrier trying to get information.

And so, at this point, we feel like it`s best that we just continue to honor the executive privilege. And it looks like the courts are going to have to weigh in on this.


HAYES: The executive privilege article argument, Katie, seems a little tougher when you`ve just written a long book about your inside deliberations with the president.

KATIE BENNER, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Absolutely, yes, that`s true. And also, when other former officials from the Trump administration have spoken to several of the issues the committee would like to speak with you about, it does make it tricky.

One thing though is that by holding him in criminal contempt or voting to hold him in criminal contempt, if the House is successful and the Justice Department does bring that before a grand jury, Mark Meadows could face steep fines. He could face jail time. But that doesn`t mean they`ll actually ever have to give over any information.

So, he could be punished but he would still not have to speak to the committee. Now, if they held him in civil contempt, that would be a little bit different. Generally speaking, if the court finds that you are in civil contempt, the punitive measures do not stop until you comply. But this is a little bit different. So, it`s almost as though he`s making the calculation be held in criminal contempt, perhaps face jail time, perhaps face fines, but not actually have to give over information.


HAYES: Yes. And we know that Steve Bannon`s trial which he`s now been, you know, indicted for criminal content is set for the summer, so there`s some time. And obviously, I think delay is sort of the at the far mind for all the people with this.

There`s also news, Philip, about someone else in the circle which I think is fascinating which is Marc Short who strikes me as an interesting player in all this because he`s not really a Trump guy. He`s much more of a Pence guy. That he is cooperating with the House committee that`s investigating the January 6 riot. And that may it seems to me be a sort of interesting and fruitful lead for the committee.

RUCKER: It certainly could be. Marc Short is a very key witness where he had to fully cooperate with the committee because he was with Pence on January 6. But he was also in a lot of those meetings at the White House that the president, former president was in in the days leading up to the 6th.

He was privy to the arguments that Eastman and others were making in favor of the coup effectively, and he could pinpoint for the committee, you know, who was pushing which buttons in and around the president to try to create the events of January 6.

And one note on that, Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported just in the last couple of hours that Short, although he`s cooperating with the committee, is also coordinating his responses with the Trump team. So, any documents he`s providing to the committee, he`s intending to let the Trump team know ahead of time and coordinate with them.

So, it`s not clear exactly whether Short`s cooperation is going to be the sort of full open kimono that the committee would like it to be.

HAYES: And then there`s a question, Katie, about what DOJ does. They`ve got -- they`ve got Bannon. The committee is talking about a possible contempt citation for Jeffrey Clark. There`s the possibility that now hangs over this at Mark Meadows. And those would be i think a little slightly trickier cases for the Department of Justice just on the facts and the law than the Bannon case was which was sort of the most clear cut of the group it seems.

BENNER: Absolutely. Because Bannon, he was -- he was not working at the White House at the time. So, even though the question of whether or not you could hold somebody in contempt despite their claims of executive privilege, that person or private citizen that was unsettled, it did seem to really weigh against Bannon.

Now, in this case, Mark Meadows, he was Donald Trump`s chief of staff. He was the White House chief of staff. He can very plausibly say this is covered by executive privilege and I really cannot speak to these questions.

Now, keep in mind, he could come before the committee and at least hear their questions and explain why he doesn`t feel comfortable answering certain, you know, inquiries. That is not seemingly the talk he`s going to take.

HAYES: Yes. And it seems like the other thing that you could always do under the constitution is say that you invoke your right against self- incrimination which appears to be what Clark is planning on doing. There`s been some discussion about others may be doing that. That in and of itself is notable when people do that, so we will keep monitoring that as well. Katie Benner, Philip Rucker, thank you both.

RUCKER: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, Republicans railed against the pandemic relief bill earlier this year, passing without a single, not one Republican vote. But now a funny thing is happening. They`re trying to take credit for it. That`s next.



HAYES: That $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed into law on March was the first giant legislative achievement of his administration. It came very early on. And now, we`re seeing the real effects of it across the country is that money goes to help all sorts of folks in all kinds of places.

What has been truly astonishing about the whole thing is that while every single Republican voted against the legislation, lots of them have been trying to take credit for all the good things in it, something President Biden enjoyed pointing out back in May.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even my Republican friends in Congress, not a single one of them voted for the rescue plan. I`m not going to embarrass any one of them but I have here a list of how back in their districts they`re bragging about the rescue plan.


HAYES: There`s Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker who tweeted before Biden even signed the bill, "Independent restaurant operators have owned $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief despite personally voting against the bill. In June, Florida`s Republican governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida`s largest budget ever saying, and this is very rich, "Part of the reason we`re here is because we`ve had good stewards in the legislature who spend conservatively and responsibly, but also the fact that Florida has schools open, business open, and people having the right to work."

He declined to mention the bill was boosted with $10.2 billion in federal COVID relief money. Last month, Arizona`s Republican Governor Doug Ducey announced he was investing a $100 million to expand high-speed broadband in the state. But if you read into just the second paragraph of the press release, you learn "Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act."

But the best one yet, and you really got to give it to him, came this week from Republican governor of Ohio Mike DeWine. Look at this tweet. While Democrats work to defund the police, we`re investing $250 million in our law enforcement and first responders, a point he reiterated during a press conference.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OHIO): This is clearly not the time to defund the police. This is time to fund the police and to fund them in a new and creative way.


HAYES: You can probably guess where this is going by now. According to the governor`s own press release, the new and creative way he is funding the police is by using money Ohio got from the American Rescue Plan.

You imagine how shameless you have to be to not only take credit for funding that you and your party did everything to prevent, but to go one step further and attack the party, the Democrats, that actually got Ohio that money you are taking credit for. Well done, Governor Mike DeWine.



HAYES: Imagine how different how your life would be if you could wake up tomorrow morning, every morning, go to a drawer, take a quick coronavirus test before starting your day the same way you take your temperature with your thermometer, a little longer.

We`re now two years into this pandemic and the thing we needed in month one is still the thing that we need today, widespread easy rapid testing. Last week, President Joe Biden announced his plan to have private insurers cover the cost of at home tests, meaning you can buy a test, submit the cost, and your insurance will reimburse you for it. That`ll be fun.

And while that`s better than nothing, it`s not the easiest thing which is why White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about it yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not just make them free and give them out and have them available everywhere.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Should we just send one to every American?


PSAKI: Then what happens -- then what happens if you -- if every American has one test? How much does that cost and then what happens after that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I know is that other countries seem to be making them available for -- in greater quantities for less money.


PSAKI: Well, I think we share the same objective which is to make them less expensive and more accessible.


HAYES: Now, for the record, I do not think sending every American one COVID rapid test makes any sense. We should send every American 10 rapid tests every month. Why is that so crazy? In the U.K., you can mail order seven tests at a time each day for no charge. In Singapore, the ministry of health has mailed six antigen rapid tests every household. Canada is sending free rapid tests to businesses and organizations.

Today, alone in the U.S., there are over 70,000 new coronavirus cases. If we want to continue gathering with our loved ones safely, the only answer is widespread easy rapid test. And the more we can test, the more we can try and control the spread of this virus and get back to normal.

Sarah Kliff is an investigative reporter for New York Times, focused on American health care policy. She wrote about the Biden administration`s new home test reimbursement program in a piece called In Biden`s plan for rapid -- free rapid test, leg work will be required."

First let`s start with the cost of the tests here because this is a thing that you report on as well as anyone in America which is why American health care and its many different facets cost more than other places, and the rapid tests seem to be another example. Why is that?

SARAH KLIFF, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. This is -- you know, pretty emblematic of the American health care system. In this case, it boils down to some different reasons. We just haven`t seen either of the administrations who have been in charge during the chronovirus pandemic, not the Trump administration, not the Biden administration really prioritize rapid testing.

They`ve tended to favor PCR testing which tends to be more accurate but also comes with a longer turnaround time, which is not exactly what a lot of people are looking for as we`ve removed many coronavirus restrictions.

You just haven`t seen the FDA prioritize these applications from drug makers who want to get these out. There hasn`t been robust funding. There hasn`t been major government purchasing yet. The government has essentially sent a signal we`re just not that interested in these tests. So, it`s kind of been left to the private market and you know, as we know, the American health care system, when it gets left to the private market, test makers can charge whatever they want.

So, we see these tests, you know, costing upwards of $30.00 in the drugstore. That`s much, much more expensive than Europe where you might be able to find them for as little as one euro. It`s a really stark difference.

HAYES: Yes. And I think -- part of my understanding -- ProPublica did some reporting on this and part of it is a competition issue too. It seems like the FDA has only approved a few of these. In other places, they`ve -- there are more folks in the market. So, even the market competition is doing a better job in driving the cost down than in the U.S. where there are -- it`s not like there`s a ton of different ones. I think there`s basically two that I`ve come across.

KLIFF: Yes. There`s really only a handful. There was another one that was approved last month. We should be coming on to the -- see coming out to the market soon. But there`s generally been, you know, a reluctance and a slowness to approving these tests in the United States. I think the hesitance has been around having tests that are not accurate, that are going to produce false positives, false negatives, and kind of a preference for tests that are more accurate.

But I think there`s also a case, you know, with where we are in the pandemic right now, that having widespread testing that is going to catch people when they`re infectious as these antigen tests are generally best for is going to be a real game changer. And I think it`s really been that lack of investment.

Like you were saying, Chris, in the U.K., test makers know the government is buying lots and lots of these tests because anyone can go onto this website and order seven of them sent to their home. In the U.S. the market is less uncertain. It`s harder to get approved by the FDA. It`s just a less appealing place to come and try and sell the COVID test.

And that means for the people who have gotten approved, that they can charge higher prices because they`re facing less competition in the market.

HAYES: Yes. I think it`s point -- it`s funny you say that because i do think there`s been like a weird stigma around these tests in the beginning partly because they`re -- in the technical terms, I think their specificity which is the term, is lower than PCR tests. They`re less -- they`re less accurate. But they`re not -- they`re still pretty accurate.

And as a tool, I mean, look when you`re encountering -- with people going back to work, schools all the time, like, there`s a test that pops up. You got to test everyone in the household. Like, we`ve been using them a ton. And again, I`m lucky enough to be in a situation where we have the dollars, the resources to pay these fairly high prices for the test, but there`s all kinds of situations I think particularly with kids in school where you know, if a case pops up in a circle or along a chain of people you`ve been with, the first thing you want to do is test.

You also want to do it prophylactically before gathering with people like we did at Thanksgiving which it just seems like those are obvious means of controlling spread.

KLIFF: Yes. No, I agree with you. I have a preschooler. He`s become very accustomed with what we call a tickle test. And we`ve used them in the same way it sounds like your family has. But I`m always on the lookout if I go to CVS to see if they have them in stock because they often are running short. So, I stock up when I can.

And luckily, you know, I have the financial means to do that. But they`re expensive. You know, the two packs of the Abbott tests usually are going for about $25.00. I think you can find them for $14.00 in some places. It`s just -- it feels very emblematic of the American healthcare system that we`re once again in a place where folks in Europe can get these freely, they can get these easily, they can get them through the government, whereas we`re kind of left to our own devices and still you know will be with the way these are going to be reimbursed through insurance to make sure that we get our tests, that we get the cost cover. It`s going to be a lot of leg work and continue to be legwork for consumers to get, you know, "free COVID tests."


HAYES: I mean, I personally like interactions with insurers particularly around reimbursement. I find that like a really enjoyable way to spend time, so that`s a nice benefit here that people get to do that. I do think the White House has gotten some -- I mean, look they`re trying to do what they can within the system. I think they`ve gotten some pretty severe pushback on that Psaki uh exchange.

And her saying today, our focus is on ensuring everyone in America has access to free testing whether a doctor`s office, pharmacy community testing site, or at home. We`re continuing to scale up our testing program to meet demand ensure people who want tests are getting tests.

And I hope we continue to see that go up. It`s going to be ever more crucial this winter. Sarah Kliff, as always, thank you.

KLIFF: Thanks.

HAYES: Don`t go anywhere. My interview with legendary street artist JR who`s larger than life installations is the subject of a brand new award- winning documentary that airs this Friday on MSNBC. He joins me live here in studio next. Stick around.



HAYES: For 20 years, he`s been pasting his art all over the world. Nobody knows his real name or even what he really looks like. He`s known only as JR and he exhibits his striking black and white photos on walls and buildings or wherever huge real-world canvas he can find.

Growing up in an immigrant family in the poor outskirts of Paris, JR`s first foray into art was graffiti. When he found a camera left behind a train station, he expanded into photography and eventually combine the two interests with a little inspiration my friend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time, lad was shooting a short film and asked to film me pasting.

JR, DIRECTOR, PAPER AND GLUE: That was his pasting in this neighborhood. Someone says, hey, why don`t you take us in photo? And I said, yes, I take that photo you. I said we`ll take that photo.

Everybody looked at it and say you had a gun. I said, what are you talking about? You were there. This is not -- it`s my camera. Oh, yes, it`s your camera. It`s crazy.

Which is the first day of taking photos. Then, there were all these photos, and we didn`t know what to do with it.

We look around us and there was all those buildings. That`s worth billions. Let`s just do it.


HAYES: That clip comes from JR`s new documentary Paper and Glue which has its first TV premiere this Friday on MSNBC. The film reflects on his trajectory from the projects to the international art scene, also delves into some of JR`s most compelling work from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the U.S.-Mexico border, and even inside a California supermax prison.

Throughout the documentary and JR`s artwork, it`s a purpose, a theme of bringing humanity to people who are often overlooked. And JR, the artist and director of Paper and Glue joins me now. It`s great to have you here.

JR: Thank you.

HAYES: I really enjoyed the documentary. And I enjoyed this sort of story of the discovery of creation of how you started doing this first with the camera.

JR: Yes.

HAYES: How did -- how did you learn technique? Like, what was the process that you improved from this found object you had? You`re already doing graffiti, you had this sort of visual sense, how do you learn how to use the device?

You know, I don`t think I`ve ever learned. I think if someone can give me any course, you know, I would absolutely love it. Because I never really figured it out. I was like, as long as it looks like an image that I can read, that seems good to me.

So you know, I don`t -- I was not using light. I was -- I didn`t understand the depth of field and none of that. I just wanted to share something and portraits and pasting them was the main thing. So, you know, the pay stub would cover all, you know, the wrong side of the image if it was not well taken.

HAYES: Right, because it`s so big and kind of rough in your face that like it that that has its own sort of visual --

JR: Exactly. I don`t really do commercial photography. So, it wasn`t a problem for me. No one was there to say, hey, this is a little bit too overexposed or underexposed. As long as it look good, then, you know -- the people loved it, I was like, good.

And also, remember, I shared all my photograph in the street. So, it`s like if you walk in your studio, and you paint, but everybody`s watching, there`s no privacy. I`ve always shared everything public. So, people would come to you and say when it`s look like shit. They would tell you.

HAYES: I like -- I really like the pasting element too, because it`s such - - it`s like the oldest way of posting something.

JR: Oh, yes.

HAYES: You know. And when I remember growing up in New York City, it used to be like construction sites, all like when there was a show in town, when there was a new album coming out, this sort of like visual field. You don`t see it as much anymore. But there`s something like incredibly distinct about the way that looks.

JR: Yes, definitely. And also, the one thing you need to know, I`ve been spending 20 years pasting in the street. Nobody really looks at you. You look like nobody out there. And so, that was my biggest green card. I`ve just been in the street and I`ll be pasting. Nobody pays attention.

HAYES: Whereas if you have a spray can.

JR: Spray can, they look at you.

HAYES: Someone is going to come up to you.

JR: And pasting, it like, let him do -- let him do the job, you know. And so, I could just go in the middle of the day, at rush hour, and in front of anybody, and people would not suspect that this was not legal.

HAYES: This image that we have behind us is of the -- which is one of the projects that are in the documentary. It`s Favelas in Rio where you go and you take people`s portraits, and then put them up. And I mean, obviously, you see from this one of the most striking things about Rio is that the neighborhoods have this kind of height differential about where the rich neighborhoods are, where the poor neighborhoods are, which tend to be up high.

JR: Exactly. And in here, it`s all -- you know, faces of woman on this community and it`s in a neighborhood. It`s actually the first favela, so the first slum of Brazil, and it`s in Rio de Janeiro. And basically, when people from the city who live right in front of that hill, so suddenly that there was not only like violent people in there, but like, actually, there is regular people, there`s woman, there`s people who fight for their life every day, which represent 80 percent of the community, because people know that drug dealing in there represents a tiny minority. But still, those are the only one you hear about in the media.


HAYES: Yes. And when you`re in -- if you`re in a neighborhood of Rio, that`s down and fairly affluent. There`s very strong messages of like, that`s a forbidden zone. Definitely, don`t go up there. Stay away from there. It`s like it might as well be on another planet.

JR: Completely. But the truth is when this happened, and suddenly everybody could see those eyes on the hills, then the woman came down the hill and the journalist came and interviewed them because they couldn`t go up there, and then they -- it was their narrative, their story, what they wanted to share, how they wanted to represent their own community.

HAYES: I found the work that you did in this Tehachapi Supermax Prison in California in California really beautiful and really inspiring. I want to play a little bit from it. You went into this supermax prison, did this very, very cool project which you can see up there. This is one of the incarcerated folks who`s there talking about it. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I was raised -- I never really imagined that one day, you could get out and do something that you`re never even going to believe. And the more we think like that, the more we`re going to be able to obtain those dreams. You know, people want to be this big for way up there, you know what I mean? We could see it. We want to be that big for way up there.

JR: And that doesn`t take just a little hope, a little effort?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got in some paper.

JR: With some paper.


HAYES: So, you went into this prison, and you took people`s portraits. And how did the project evolve?

JR: Look, there was normally -- the portrait was sitting right behind you. Portraits from inmates are found in custody when they were kids, but also victims from, you know, the violence from, you know, people incarcerated there or other prisons and also guards.

And you can -- there`s a free app, actually. You can download it. It`s called J Arm Rolls. And you can listen to stories of each single one. You just click and you hear a story. What happened there is that suddenly, even their own families started listening to their story, because I let them as long as they want to talk. So, some of the stories I like 30, 40 minutes. So, they reconnected with their family, but also the gods listened to the story and started seeing them as human also.

And the warden also sensing, wait, why are those guys still here? So, everyone you see in this actual image, which is in a supermax prison level four, the maximum, got actually moved to level three within the next six months. And one set of them got freed after that, because they used to do their case.

So, it shows the power of art within a supermax prison. It goes a very long way because no one has ever had that access to actually -- because of the excuse art, listen to the other.

HAYES: There`s a project that you did which might be something that people are familiar with, very iconic image, which is the U.S.-Mexico border, which I love. And when I saw it, it just seem so -- like, it`s such an amazing combination of -- it`s so striking. It`s both whimsical and kind of comical, almost, but carry something very deep in it. And the difference in size between this child and the child glaring down, who is that child there on the on the wall?

JR: So, he lives actually in the house right there that you see behind. He lives right there. I met him there because I was asking the people, you know, who was that land there? And I met this family and I didn`t pay attention to the kid at first and then --

HAYES: He`s on the Mexican side.

JR: Yes, on the Mexican side. And then, I realize, wait, he`s a year old kid. He`s looking at the wall every day because he lives there. But is that a wall for him? Is that a separation wall? Is that a fence? He`s a kid. It`s just like any wall. He should be the one I should paste there. Because what does the kid have to do with politics?

You know, he`s naive. He don`t know. He`s just seeing the world and he`s living in front of that, whatever that that fence that`s there. And so, his mom was very excited and say, of course. You know, and his father too, the grandparents, and everybody there. And so then, I installed it. But it was all illegal.

I rented a caterpillar, we dig the ground, and we built the scaffolding two time the -- two times the size of the wall. No one said anything. Then we paste it in. So, then it attract the attention of the helicopters and everybody. But then, strangely enough, no one came in and arrests us.

So, I`ve left it there. I rented the scaffolding for months. And for months, actually, people would come there, take photos in front of it on each side. People would see each other through the fence. So, what happened was incredible, is that people would pass, the phone to the fence, to another family, so that they can take a photo of them and vice versa where the Border Patrol should have arrest every single one of them. They didn`t. None of them.

And I was following that on social media and I was like how does people not getting arrested? It means that the Border Patrol are looking from the distance and saying, let it beat out.

HAYES: JR, it`s really a fantastic piece of work. It`s really wonderful to meet you and have you here. Don`t miss Paper and Glue. It premieres on television this Friday at 10:00 p.m. only on MSNBC.

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