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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 12/9/21

Guests: Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Harry Litman, Adam Schiff, Dan Vergano


The D.C. Circuit Court ruled against the former President Donald Trump in his case to stop the January 6 Committee from getting their hands on his presidential records. Today at the White House, President Joe Biden kicked off the first-ever summit for democracy. The January 6 Stop the Steal rally organizer testifies before the January 6 Select Committee. Starbucks workers at Buffalo, New York store voted to unionize.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: The Republicans and (INAUDIBLE) want to see that surge burn brighter than a Fox News Christmas Tree, which is why they are tonight`s absolute worst.

And that is tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now. And we love you, Brian.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN. Donald Trump`s case to keep his presidential record secret loses in court as the current president rallies democracies around the globe.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the defining challenge of our time, democracy.

HOLT: Tonight, more alarming new signs of democratic erosion in America. Then, Adam Schiff on this stinging court loss for the former president. What`s next from the Supreme Court and today`s big flurry of January 6 development? Plus --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, we have the strongest economy perhaps I have ever seen.

HAYES: More great news for workers as the American recovery roars when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, just a few hours ago, D.C. Circuit Court ruled against the ex-president, in this case, to stop the January 6 Committee from getting their hands on his presidential records.

It`s a big decision. It`s got broad implications. The judgment just came down, and now Donald Trump has two weeks to petition to the Supreme Court. We`re going to be discussing all that in just a bit. We`ll be joined by Congressman Adam Schiff who of course sits on that committee to discuss what the ruling means for their investigation.

Also, what it all means for our country as we try to understand what happened on January 6, the efforts to subvert and weaken our democracy. In fact, coincidentally today at the White House, President Joe Biden kicked off the first-ever summit for democracy. It`s a two-day virtual gathering. It brings together leaders from more than 100 Democratic governments around the world with the lofty goals of defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, crucially, and promoting respect for human rights.

Of course, the summit takes place in the context of democracies in decline worldwide. The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance found that more than a quarter of the world`s population now lives in democratically backsliding countries. This year, for the first time, the United States was added to that list.

This morning, President Biden spoke about renewing the struggle to protect democracy here and abroad.


BIDEN: Here in the United States we know as well as anyone that renewing our democracy and strengthening our democratic institution requires constant effort. American democracy is an ongoing struggle to live up to our highest ideals and to heal our divisions, to recommit ourselves to the founding idea of our nation. Democracy doesn`t happen by accident. We have to renew it with each generation. And this is an urgent matter on all our parts. In my view, this is the defining challenge of our time.


HAYES: Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke and she was even more explicit about what`s happening and the growing peril to democracy.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democracy is presently under threat and for 15 years has been on the decline. Around the world, autocrats have become emboldened, human rights violations have multiplied, and corruption is undermining progress, and misinformation is undermining public confidence. And so, it is incumbent on each of us individually and collectively to take action.


HAYES: The Vice President remarks really capture in some ways the strangeness of the summit and the strangeness of this moment. I`m glad they`re holding a summit for democracy but I also feel we really need to show not tell here. Lead by example.

The best thing i think the United States could do for global democratic movements right now is to protect our democracy. And American democracy is under the most intense manifest threat it has faced in my lifetime, maybe even since the Jim Crow era.

And I`m going to level with you for a moment about this. I feel a little conflicted about how to cover this democratic crisis, how to treat it. It seems incredibly urgent to me and at the same time I got to say, I`m not necessarily hopeful the people in power will take the steps necessary to fix it. And I don`t want to stand here and forecast endless authoritarian doom if they don`t because well, the futures aren`t written. No one knows for sure where this is all headed.

But the fact is that the developments are pretty bad and things are moving in the wrong direction right now. The really worrisome trend is that what you might call minoritarian anti-democratic institutions are building on each other to further entrench power and barricade in minority rule.


In other words, they`re using the power they have now to extend that power into the future and kind of majority-proof it. What do I mean by that? Let`s take one example, gerrymandering. Right now, nearly all 50 states are going through the process of redistricting, redrawing the maps that divide the states into voting districts based on the information gathered in the 2020 census.

Now, this happens every 10 years. Every state handles it differently. But in a lot of them, the responsibility falls to the state legislature. And in many of those states, the legislatures that are going to do the gerrymandering themselves are the products of wildly gerrymandered districts.

In North Carolina for example, the legislative maps that elected the current general assembly are deeply gerrymandered, skewing the results towards Republicans in a more or less evenly divided state. In 2020, Republicans won a tiny majority of the votes for State House but took 69 seats to Democrats 51.

North Carolina`s newly drawn maps for the state legislature and the U.S. congress faced three lawsuits resulting in the state Supreme Court ordering a two-month delay in next year`s primary elections.

Georgia is another example. Big Republican majorities in the state house and the state senate and a republican governor as well. But as we saw last year, Georgia is a swing state voting narrowly for Joe Biden, electing two Democratic senators just a month and a half later. And now, Georgia Republicans have managed to gerrymander themselves a nine to five majority congressional districts up from eight to six.

So, in those two states, in North Carolina and Georgia, these are swingish states, you`ve got these Republican majorities, some that have been fabricated through gerrymandering, using that power to draw the new maps and maximize their partisan advantage.

And we should be clear that the green light to do that as aggressively as you want to came from none other than Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court ruling in 2019 that federal courts cannot review partisan gerrymandering cases.

Now, the Supreme Court is a democratic institution in so far as part of the structure of American constitutional governance. And it`s important to have checks on sheer majority rule, obviously. Fundamentally, though, the court is insulated in key ways from democratic accountability. We don`t vote for justices. They receive a lifetime appointment.

And three of the six current conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch, Bret Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, were nominated by a president who lost the popular vote. Of course, Neil Gorsuch is there because Republicans blocked President Obama from filling his vacancy in his last year in office.

So, you`ve got this not very democratic institution of the Supreme Court which again has its role in American constitutional governance, but the non-democratic Supreme Court gives the green light to more partisan gerrymandering. Then you have some states where a majority of voters have expressed a desire for fair maps. They don`t want partisan gerrymandering. They`ve gone to the polls and they`ve voted to establish independent redistricting commissions taken out of the hands legislature.

But several those commissions have just been steamrolled. In ohio, Republicans who control the legislature simply ignore the state`s redistricting commission, choosing to draw a highly gerrymandered map themselves. Utah Republicans adopted their own maps ignoring proposals from a redistricting commission that voters approved in 2018. Again, that`s Utah. This is not like some liberal-conservative thing. Utah`s a red state. Voters voted for independence. They just got steamrolled by Republicans.

Now, when you look at how this is working on the democratic side, it perfectly encapsulates the maddening tragedy of this moment. According to Dave Wasserman -- the guy has been following the redistricting battles almost better than anyone who analyzes this data for the Cook Political Report, the maps drawn by non-partisan commissions -- again that`s one way to do it right -- in the blue states of California, Colorado, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington will end up costing Democrats 10 to 15 House seats they could have seized by gerrymandering.

So Republicans steamrolling the independent commissions, gerrymandering maximally aggressively. Democrats saying, well, we believe in independent commissions, and here`s the independent commissions, and we`re just going to leave 10 to 15 states on the table, which means that once again Republicans will not have to win a majority of the votes cast in next year`s midterms to win a majority of house seats, yet another anti- democratic feature of our government.

Now, there is a solution for this. I would be remised for not mentioning it. Democrats have proposed a bill they are calling the For the People Act. It has already passed in the House. It would ban partisan gerrymandering, instituting a straightforward statistical test to identify biased maps.

Democrats have the majority of the U.S. in the House and the Senate, but they do not have the votes to pass the for the people act in the Senate because of the anti-democratic institution the filibuster which also counteracts majority rule.

You can see what I`m getting at. It feels claustrophobic. It feels like the space for democratic action keeps shrinking day by day. And what I`ve just laid out as the backdrop for today`s summit for democracy, those are just the structural factors. None of this takes into account the explicitly authoritarian purge happening in one of the two major parties, and obviously want to be authoritarian who tried to install himself in powered in an auto coup against the will of the people and whipped up a violent mob to attack the Capitol is now purging people in his party who are insufficiently loyal to his aspirations for another attempt at a coup.


He`s trying to replace them with loyal foot soldiers and it`s working. The most recent and flagrant example of this is in Georgia where Donald Trump has endorsed David Perdue for governor to replace the insufficiently loyal current Republican Governor Brian Kemp. And now, Purdue is telling Axios that he would have pulled off the coup for Trump in Georgia. He would have unilaterally thrown out the majority will of the voters in his own state and handed the state to Donald Trump.

That`s just sheer authoritarianism. It`s pretty bad out there. And I really hope I`m wrong. I`ve definitely been wrong before about politics a lot. I`ve definitely watched people make confident pronouncements about certain trajectories and politics extending indefinitely in the future that we`re also wrong. A lot of things could change.

The reality right now is there is a ferocious, determined anti-democratic faction in American life attempting to take a sledgehammer to the foundational pillars of American self-governance and majority rule. And they are having a lot of success. And I`m not quite sure how long this thing`s going to hold up.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas who is co-sponsor of the For the People Act, also a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Tom Perez, former Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice where he oversaw the Department of Justice`s work on the last cycle of redistricting. He`s also former chair of the DNC, currently candidate for Governor of Maryland. And they both join me now.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, I will begin with you as someone who has been, you know, in Texas has seen this play out in the state maps that Republicans have issued, In voting rights challenges to those state maps, a current DOJ lawsuit about them, and someone who I think from my reporting sincerely believes in democracy and the peril we face.

But here`s my question for you. Can you convince me that your colleagues share your sense of urgency? Because we sit here and we watch day by day not a lot of movement and we wonder whether the Democratic Party and members in Congress in both the house and Senate truly understand what`s at stake here?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, Chris, thank you, first of all, for having me. And I might just say that we`re in a life or death matter. We are certainly, as the president said today, in the challenging issue of our time. It is a defining moment in our history. And our vice president said that we must take action.

Let me give you comfort. I do believe that there are more who love democracy, who will fight for democracy than not. And of course, you know today, we stood on the floor of the House and successfully voted for the -- promoting democracy act which incorporates a rejection of all of the angry tools that the last president, President Trump abused. He abuse the pardon process, the emoluments clause, etcetera.

But what has to happen is that we have to take a really strong look at a fixture, at someone that -- something that does not work at this time, and that is a filibuster. Because it is known across America that it`s a Democratic President, Democratic House, and then of course, a Democratic Senate. And that`s where we have our most difficult times.

We in the House have passed enormous importantly -- important legislation. And you ask the question why it is different than a decade ago, my good friend Tom Perez had the Voting Rights Act. He had Section 5 10 years ago. It was abolished by the John Roberts court who miscued and misinterpreted a little bit of success and suggested that Section 5 pre-clearance was not needed.

Of course, the justice that was there, Justice Ginsburg said it`s ridiculous to get rid of polio just because you don`t see -- polio vaccine just because you don`t see polio. So, that`s what we did not have. And what we have to do is pass the Freedom to Vote Act now and as well the John Robert Lewis Voter Enhancement Act.

Those tools could stop the Governor of Georgia and whatever he would attempt to do. Those tools could stop the ridiculous gerrymandering that takes populations of color that increase your state like Texas and give them zero, and create two Republican majority anglo-seats --

HAYES: Right.

LEE: -- out of the census of minority. So, laws can do things as well as passion. I think we have the passion. We`ve now get -- have to get the laws or get rid of some things that are not even laws to make a difference.


HAYES: You know, politicians, Tom, I think tend to be pretty self- interested. They want to, you know, get elected and then stay elected and wield power, generalization but -- and so there`s something sort of wild about watching the situation in which like, a collective effort on the part of Democrats to further sort of shore up these democratic principles would probably help them in the near term at least. We don`t know how it will shake out in the long term.

And yet, you know, you don`t have the votes to overcome the filibuster and everyone just says, well, that`s that and we`re just sliding towards authoritarianism and you know, I wish we could pass these bills. Like, the gap between the rhetoric and what people are willing to do and those last few votes for this is so difficult for people to watch play out.

TOM PEREZ (D-MD), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It is, Chris. And just to add even more sense of urgency. I say all the time. The most important year in voting rights is the year that ends in a one. We`re in that year now. Why? Because you have the census, then you do your redistricting.

And if you chart a plot of the year and then the amount of shenanigans that occurs, the years that ends in a one is invariably the year with the most shenanigans. I know that because 10 years ago I sued Texas and we won. And guess what, we won in no small measure because Texas had the burden of showing that what they did was not discriminatory because that`s what Section 5 of the voting rights act did. They had the burden.

Now, when Justice Roberts declared things have changed dramatically, well, he`s correct. They`ve changed dramatically for the worse. Now, the burden is on the plaintiffs. And that is a huge difference. The Department of Justice is moving aggressively in Texas. This is their second lawsuit pertaining to voter issues in Texas.

But the thing about this is if we wait until a year from now to do something about this, the die will have been cast because these states will have enacted all of these gerrymandered districts, and it takes too long to undo that.

That`s why the fierce urgency of now is what needs to happen. The lawsuit from the Justice Department is a good start. And again, to underscore what the congresswoman said, and she`s been such a leader, you know, there was 95 percent of the population growth in Texas that created two new seats where African-Americans and Latinos, 95 percent, and they`ve created two new seats for white people.

And not only did they do that, Chris, but they did something that they did 10 years ago and the court called them on it. They`re going into places like West Texas and the El Paso area. They find areas where you have not only large numbers of Latino voters but they`re looking at their voting patterns. And they find the Latinos who voted and they pull them out so that those districts are less capable of electing a Latino. Ten years ago, the court said, that is racial discrimination. And guess what? They did it again.

HAYES: Yes. I guess -- I mean, again, we find ourselves -- the problem is described. There is a solution on the table, and it just comes back to this question about the will of a certain members of the Democratic caucus to shuck this vestige, the filibuster, to move forward on it. I continue to hope the pressure is exerted. We do our part here. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Tom Perez, thank you both. I really appreciate it.

PEREZ: My pleasure.

LEE: Thank you for having us.

HAYES: All right, tonight, a big win for the January 6 House Committee as an appeals court rejects Donald Trump`s attempts to block records from their investigation. What does it mean for those documents? What does it mean for the rest of Trump`s executive privilege claims? And what does it mean for an appeal to the Supreme Court? We`ll break it all down and get committee member Adam Schiff`s reaction to the news in just ahead.



HAYES: Donald Trump was just handed a massive loss by the Court of Appeals at the D.C. circuit. The court unanimously rejected his attempt to evade the January committee`s request for White House records with a tenuous argument of executive privilege. The blistering opinion written by Judge Patricia Millett lays out exactly why.

"The President and the legislative branch have shown a national interest in and pressing need for the prompt disclosure of these documents. What Mr. Trump seeks is to have an Article III court intervene and nullify those judgments of the President and Congress, delay the committee`s work and derail the negotiations and accommodations the political branches have made."

But essential to the rule of law is the principal at a former President must meet the same legal standards for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief as everyone else. Former President Trump has failed that task."

The former President now has two weeks to appeal at the Supreme Court which will ultimately decide whether Congress gets the White House records. Harry Litman is the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice, now host of the Talking Feds podcast and he joins me now.

Harry, what`s your reaction to the opinion?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It`s monumental. So, it`s not simply the language and the text which is methodical comprehensive, but it`s the tone of it. It`s got, you know, moments of ringing rhetoric. Blood was shed, lives were lost. It`s a great -- it`s a moment of great constitutional import. They wrote somewhat for the ages.

So, it demolishes his executive privilege claim, and that has great practical implications for his whole circle, all the folks who are now trying to, you know, hide behind that tissue-thin claim. That`s now been pierced. But it also kind of weighs in a ringing way about the importance of the moment the absolute validity of Congress`s legislative purpose to get to the bottom of what happened.

It sets out the facts in vivid and sometimes violent detail. It really has a feel of something that doesn`t only dispose of his claims comprehensively, but really takes a stand in favor of the broader themes of separation of powers. And he`s a nobody here. He`s just an outsider former President, and the real seriousness and scathing nature of this January 6 insurrection itself. It`s big.


HAYES: Yes. It connects -- I think, you know, we`ve seen this now thematically, this is with federal district judges involved in some of the -- in some of the sentencing. We`ve seen somewhat similar -- I mean, similar language, right? Across the judiciary, when judges have had an opportunity to weigh in on this, what has -- there`s been a commonality of yo, this was a big deal. They tried to overturn the government. People died. This is -- this was not some sideshow. And you see that in the -- in this decision as well.

On this sort of question of legislative purpose which is one of the arguments, right, Trump`s lawyer is trying to say like, this is a phishing expedition with no legislative purpose. I`m going to read you the portion of the opinion here. The January 6 committee plainly has a valid legislative purpose and its inquiry concerned subjects on which legislation could be had.

Former President Trump argues the committee has an improper law enforcement purpose. Not at all. The committee`s announced purpose is to issue a final report to the House containing such findings, conclusions, and recommendations for such changes in law, policy, procedures, rules and regulations as the committee may deem necessary. That seems pretty open and shut.

LITMAN: Open and shut and broad. And it`s not -- it`s what you said but it`s also they as Congress, you know, they were attacked and they have a right to investigate the -- and then the court in another passage, Chris, talks about the gravity of the -- of the failure to have a peaceful transfer of power, investigating that and make sure -- making sure it doesn`t happen again.

And you know, this claim, this broad it`s just law enforcement legislative, continues to be the hobby horse. This is the main thing that Mark Meadows said when he sued the Congress yesterday. So, it really does decimate it and tries to put to rest an argument that`s being made not just here but generally wherever team trump is trying to push back against the -- any investigations of any sort by the Congress.

HAYES: Now, there is -- there`s a stay on this pending the possible appeal at the Supreme Court. Obviously, they will appeal to the Supreme Court. And I think there`s an expectation they would take it. What is your expectation? What are the odds they don`t take it, they let this lower court ruling stand, and how expeditiously do you see them moving on it were they to take it?

LITMAN: Yes, the two most important questions. So, it does seem -- you talk to the committee, people are seeing it as a 90 percent shot. Trump`s lawyer tweeted out that oh, it`s always about the Supreme Court. I don`t see it that way. It`s not out of the question, but in sort of Supreme Court nerdy terms, you can get to three pretty easily, but I`m not sure where they get to four.

And the opinion, by the way, Chris, was written sensitive to this issue. Judge Millett specifically served up a definition of separation of powers as serving liberty. That`s well known to be one of the hobby horses of Justice Kavanaugh. It really does come down to Kavanaugh and Barrett here.

And I see it as 50-50 at best. As for expediting, well, those are twin questions. If they do expedite, it`ll show that they are at least taking seriously the prospect of denying it and denying it quickly so that they`re not responsible for gumming up the works of the committee.

So, I`m here to -- you know, to say that I think there`s a good shot that this is the end of the road for Trump. And by the way, it means that the law of the D.C. Circuit is this executive privilege claim of his is garbage, and that matters for Meadows. It matters for Bannon.

HAYES: Right.

LITMAN: It matters for anyone else they would consider referring for criminal contempt because they couldn`t hide behind a bogus executive privilege claim any longer.

HAYES: Yes, just to be clear, I mean, you need four votes, right, of the nine --

LITMAN: Yes, that`s right.

HAYES: -- to what`s called grant cert which is for the court to take on the case. The vast majority of cases obviously don`t get cert. I mean there`s thousands, thousands of petitions. They only hear a few dozen.

LITMAN: A dozen 60 case, right.

HAYES: Right. So, for 60 cases. Now -- and the opinion is written to basically try to sort of lay the groundwork and say hey, you -- people who hate judicial activism don`t like the bench, you know, putting its nose in the political branch`s business like you did of course in that famous gerrymandering case.

Here`s an example where you can live by that by just saying this is the two political branches have reached an accommodation on this. They say it`s fine. We`re going to step outside this. And you don`t even have to take it up.


LITMAN: That`s one other big theme. And the other one is hey you, conservatives, you great lovers of the executive, we only have one president at a time.

HAYES: Right.

LITMAN: You love that principle. And that`s the principle that is basically what drives this decision. The President, the only President has spoken. There is some law out there that muddies the waters a bit and says maybe a former president can be heard. But push has come to shove here. You`ve got to go with the current president. Nothing more you need to say, Supreme Court of the United States.

HAYES: All right, Harry Litman, thanks. That was great.

Don`t go anywhere. The January 6 Committee is one step closer to getting the records Donald Trump doesn`t want them to have. Committee Member Congressman Adam Schiff on that and today`s vote on his bill to protect democracy next.



HAYES: The bipartisan House committee investigating the insurrection is one step closer to gaining Donald Trump`s White House records after a top appeals court overwhelmingly rejected his claims of executive privilege. Congressman Adam Schiff of California is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He sits on the bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. And his bill on presidential accountability, the Protecting Our Democracy Act passed the House today.

Congressman Schiff, first your reaction to the D.C. circuit court ruling today.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I think the two things that were really significant about it. The first was how quickly they took up the case and how quickly they arrived at a decision, but also the overwhelming nature of that decision, and the real invitation to the Supreme Court to allow the court of appeals judgment to stand.

I think the courts understand that during the Trump years that he effectively played rope-a-dope in the case of former White House Counsel Don McGahn. He was able to stall for over two years before that official was deposed. And I don`t think the courts won`t allow themselves to be used that way again.

So, I think a very significant decision on the merits and very significant in terms of how quickly they reached that conclusion.

HAYES: How significant is getting these documents to the committee`s inquiry?

SCHIFF: It`s a very important. You know, of course, we don`t know all that`s in there, but we have received cooperation from any number of witnesses including for a time Mark Meadows. So, we know some of what`s in the archives. And if the rest of what`s in the archives is any anything like what we`ve received already, it`s going to be very important for our committee.

I`m confident we`ll get it. The question is just how quickly will we get it. We are -- when witnesses fail to cooperate looking for other ways of getting the same information, and this is one very important source.

HAYES: You mentioned Mark Meadows. He -- you know, he was cooperating, then not cooperating after he got Donald Trump mad because he told the world that Donald Trump tested positive for COVID six days before he told everyone and went around 500 people including the family members of fallen service members, you know, possibly exposing them to COVID, and that didn`t look great, so then now Trump is mad at him.

He then sued. And in the lawsuit, he basically makes this claim that this is not properly legislative exercise. He says, Congress has no freestanding power to issue subpoenas. Instead, its investigative powers or ancillary to its legislative authority. Because of this tie between the investigative and legislative powers, Congress may only issue subpoenas that serve a valid legislative purpose. Today`s circuit court ruling seems to put a stake through that argument.

SCHIFF: It really does and it`s absurd argument to begin with, and made more absurd by the fact that it`s made by a former member of Congress. He`s basically saying Congress has no legislative -- no proper purpose in investigating an attack on Congress or in trying to determine what steps should be taken to protect the Congress going forward, or to protect our democracy.

I can`t imagine frankly a worse argument when it comes to Congress`s power of oversight and power to legislate, but there you are. You know, Meadows has to tie himself in knots because he came in, he provided lots of documents, some of them very revealing, and now he`s trying to claim that he can`t testify because his testimony would be privileged even as the documents which he admits are not privileged, even as to comments he makes in his book which he has to admit are not privileged.

So, look, they`re going to throw everything against the wall. So far the courts are rejecting that approach.

HAYES: An interesting figure named Ali Alexander who`s one of the self- described organizers of the Stop the Steal movement and the rally on January 6th. I want to play a little bit of sound from him today because he did appear today and cooperate and then get your reactions to whether his cooperation is sufficient and being done in good faith. Take a listen.


ALI ALEXANDER, SELF-DESCRIBED ORGANIZERS OF THE STOP THE STEAL MOVEMENT: I was the person who came up with the January 6th idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then-Congressman Andy Biggs. We force schemed up of putting maximum pressure on congress while they were voting so that who we couldn`t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.


HAYES: Slight correction. That`s not today. That was much earlier as he described his own role in it and his -- by his words, what he thought the point of the enterprise was. What is your assessment of the level of his cooperation?

SCHIFF: Well, I think I need to reserve judgment on that. But I think the deposition that we had today which I participated in will be very useful for the committee and for our fact-finding process. That doesn`t mean that we`re going to uncritically accept everything or anything that a particular witness has to say.

But often witnesses lead to very valuable evidence, sometimes when they intend to and sometimes when they don`t. So, I found today, and we have four witnesses before the committee today to be a very important date in terms of our fact-finding process.


HAYES: There`s also -- some of the documents that Meadows turned over are coming out now which appear to show including a 38-slide PowerPoint just a very explicit-like plan for a coup takeover of the government in violation of the will of the people.

SCHIFF: You know, it is staggering but I think that`s exactly what was going on. This was not some spur-of-the-moment thing. This was a well- concerted plan that began with laying the foundation before the election by positing that any vote counted after the election when people were going to be relying on absentee voting because the pandemic was somehow going to be illegitimate.

And then the lies immediately following the election, and then the effort by the president to intervene with state local elections officials and statewide officials, the frivolous litigation culminating in as you played that clip from Ali Alexander this last ditch effort to stop the joint session to coerce the Vice President into ignoring his constitutional duty. And if that failed, then this march on the Capitol which became an act of insurrection.

So, this was a concerted plan. And what we are looking at and I think uh the documents we receive from Mr. Meadows help fill in some of the pieces in terms of the role of people in the White House, in the highest levels of our government at the Justice Department. And we`re going to assemble that complete picture and I think we are well on our way.

HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you for your time tonight.

SCHIFF: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, the report the government didn`t want you to see, an investigation into one of the earliest catastrophic failures of the pandemic response, the faulty CDC test kits. I`ll talk to the reporter who broke the story about what he uncovered just ahead.



HAYES: This morning, the Labor Department released new data showing that weekly jobless claims are now at their lowest level since 1969, 52 years ago. In fact, layoffs are at their lowest rate since the Labor Department started keeping track 21 years ago. We`re starting to see more and more of these good record numbers in American employment each month.

Quits, as the Labor Department calls voluntary separations, are at a 4.2 million near the record set back in September. The title Quits is a little misleading since it implies people are just leaving the labor force altogether.

Atlantic Staff Writer Derek Thompson points out in a recent piece the increase in Quits is mostly about low-wage workers switching to better jobs in industries that are raising wages to grab new employees as fast as possible. From the quitter`s perspective, that`s a job hop.

This is all to say the labor market at this moment is about the tightest it has been in the last 20 years. And all of this is giving workers more power than I`ve seen them wield in my professional life as a journalist and it is having real tangible consequences. One of them is that more workers are forming unions to protect their interests.

Today, we saw a remarkable scene in Buffalo, New York after three Starbucks stores there each voted on whether or not to unionize. As is often the case, almost always the case, the company put up a huge campaign against union which included the company`s former CEO Howard Schultz showing up and using an ill-fated holocaust analogy to describe the company`s mission to help convince workers not to unionize.

Today, the vote was counted as workers watched on a live stream and they saw their store become the first company-owned Starbucks to unionize in its 50-year history. I should tell you, in the second store, workers voted against the union, and at the third store the results are delayed, though right now the union is leading by a slim margin.

But those folks there, you see there, just won a pretty monumental victory because workers have been trying to form unions for a long time at places like Starbucks. It`s also a testament to this moment in both organizing public support for unions at its highest level since 1965, and the macroeconomic conditions of labor power that`s happening right now.

It`s a promising signal about what kind of economy we could have on the other side of this crisis. If and when the pandemic is brought under full control, if and when inflation subsides, two things that I think could happen, it could be the beginning of a best-case scenario, an era of real worker power rising wages, and rebuilt middle class. Let`s hope that`s what we are seeing.




DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, FORMER DIRECTOR, CDC: Our first responsibility, CDC, as I said was to develop the eyes, the lab tests. The second responsibility is to get that out to the public health community. And we`ve now shipped out I think it was enough to test 75,000 people into the public health labs now.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anybody that wants to test can get a test. That`s what --

REDFIELD: I would just say that we --


HAYES: Man, that gives me really bad memories. That was back in March of 2020 when the country was in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. And in reality, barely anyone could get a test at that time. Only about 2000 tests were conducted that day, when Donald Trump claimed that anyone can get a test.

Other countries, places like South Korea were doing 10,000 tests a day. China was locked down to halt the spread of the virus. Here, there was nothing, no real plan for how to handle the virus, and especially for scaling up testing. And that is in large part because a month before that visit that we just played you, the CDC sent the only diagnostic tests we had in the U.S. to a network of public health laboratories across the country, and almost all of them did not work.

It would be months before the U.S. had enough working tests to navigate the pandemic which in the spring of 2020 was spiraling out of control. That failure by the CDC is one of the most significant failures in a series of blunders by the Trump administration and the response to the Coronavirus. Even today, the CDC has never given a full explanation is how those tests got screwed up.

But now, thanks to exclusive reporting by BuzzFeed of an internal HHS investigation, we`re beginning to understand why. I`m joined now with the man who did that reporting. Dan Vergano is a science reporter for Buzzfeed News. His article titled "The government asked us not to release records from the CDC his first failed COVID test. Here they are."

And on that note, Dan, let`s start first with what these documents are and how you got them.

DAN VERGANO, SCIENCE REPORTER, BUZZFEED NEWS: Well, Chris, what these documents are, are about 50 pages of interviews with the people who made the test. They are -- HHS sent a bunch of lawyers in March of 2018 parachuted them in, find out what happened, get their words, and they took that and you know made a kind of blame for whoever -- who did -- who did what at it.


HAYES: What does it say? What is -- what are the takeaways from what those lawyer interviews found?

VERGANO: Well, they paint a picture of sort of disorganization and not enough resources at this lab. They only had three full time employees. And then eventually the -- they went through the observations of an FDA observer to say, well, we really think it was this one lab screwed up, and there was contamination in this one lab.

But there`s all these other sort of hanging things in it, like maybe that they were the other causes of it, and it`s not really settled. And so, you`re left -- when you hand these out to experts, them scratching their heads and saying, like, geez, all these guys were put into a bad spot to start with.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, that caught my eye. So, there`s -- basically, there`s three people total tasked with making the test that is going to be the one test that everyone in the U.S. uses for the pandemic?

VERGANO: They`re initially tasked with designing it. So, they designed it, and they have to order chemicals. And they need the chemicals right away, but they can`t get them. So, they have to go to this other lab at CDC and get them. And the other lab doesn`t want to give them the chemicals right away, you know, and then they have to say, pretty please.

And then it turns out, they need other chemicals that might contaminate the first set of chemicals. And they like to go outside CDC to get them but they can`t get them back fast enough because nobody`s putting pressure on industries to do that. So, they have to go back to their own lab and their own lab says, OK, sure, go ahead. And then may have screwed up the test that turned out the whole country was depending on.

HAYES: Yes. So, you have this contaminated test. But there`s a broader thing here too, which is the single point of failure. I mean, there`s a policy decision, there`s the technical fact that they screwed up the one test, which got shipped out, and then we`re useless. But there`s the bigger issue of having one test inside CDC as opposed to going outside of CDC, which is what they did in South Korea, where they had already experienced both SARS and MERS and say, to all the pharmaceutical companies, everyone, you guys, go get them, go develop a bunch of tests. And that didn`t happen.

VERGANO: Exactly. When we brought these notes to experts at labs, we said, who`s the bad guy here? And they said, the government should have been taking these to all kinds of other places. It was a calamity that this one test didn`t work out. But the bigger catastrophe was that we didn`t have a testing strategy in this country. They should have delivered all kinds of tests from all kinds of different places that would have made this you know, failure just one thing among, you know, a stronger response, and that those were -- they`re waiting when this bad thing happened at the CDC lab is the really -- is the real catastrophe in all of this.

HAYES: Yes. CDC employee familiar with the development of the test told Buzzfeed News, the health agency had also felt it would better have both U.S. and German types of tests available worldwide, that copying the WHO test would not have been politically possible under Donald Trump. Imagine the backlash we would have if CDC said, hey, yes, let`s use a German test, the CDC employee said.

This is about another huge decision that was made just not to use -- just to just not copy the test that was already extant to build an American first one that didn`t end up working.

VERGANO: Right. So, these -- but these investigators are saying, how come you didn`t do that at this lab? And that wasn`t their job. It was the job of their bosses to say, hey, you know what, maybe we shouldn`t have more than one test, or maybe we should have this very good one from Germany, we should have another one of our 200 labs make, and they didn`t do that. And then, all the blame fell on these guys when things went completely with their test.

HAYES: I mean, what`s interesting to me here is that like, there`s this sort of single point of failure -- there`s a sort of combination of things that I keep seeing replay throughout this pandemic, even after Donald Trump left, which is like some bureaucratic inertia, a sort of lack of like decisive leadership at one level above the folks that are working, the civil servants. And then with in the case of Trump, this like cascading feeling that it`s not going to be that bad.

VERGANO: Yes. Well, there was that feeling in both -- in medicine that like, oh, this was going to be SARS 1 or MERS again. And so, maybe we don`t need to put so much energy in this. And then on top of that, you have a totally dysfunctional and incompetent administration that like, you know, throws its own testing strategy out the window, its own pandemic strategy out the window, so there`s no backup for when things go wrong with exactly as you say, this sort of overconfidence, yes, we got this. It doesn`t work out.

You don`t have leadership at HHS, you don`t have leadership of the White House that could put the resources and the energy into like thinking, you know, geez, what if things really go bad? What should we be doing?

HAYES: Yes, this is the quote that stuck with me. There was a feeling this wasn`t going to be a major outbreak early on. A CDC lab official told Buzzfeed News saying the senior leaders didn`t do enough to encourage industrial test manufacturers to mobilize. That sentence, there was a feeling this wasn`t going to be a major outbreak early on. I mean, that is kind of the epitaph for that whole early response.

VERGANO: That`s very real. I mean, I was asking questions January 17, 2020, like, geez, you know, this is a new pathogen. We don`t have any immunity. That sounds really bad. And the answer I got from CDC spokesperson at the time was, well, you know, all new pathogens are bad. You know, OK. You know, like they thought this was going to be Ebola, or Zika, or you know, MERS again. They did not think -- nobody thought that it was going to lead to something that needed this kind of response.

HAYES: All right, Dan Vergano, thank you and thank you for your reporting.

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