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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 2/24/21

Guest: Bernie Sanders, Ryan Reilly, Val Demings, Robyn Kincaid, Faiz Shakir


The House Democrats aim to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID Rescue Bill on Friday. The GOP is rallying against the COVID Relief Bill at a crucial stage. A retired NYPD Police Officer was arrested for January 6th attack on a D.C. Police. Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia blasted his Republican colleagues at a hearing of the Postal Service today in response to comments by the Republican Congressman Jim Jordan and Jody Hice. Sen. Joe Manchin supports Rep. Deb Haaland`s nomination to be the Secretary of the Interior.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: As were Republican kids when they don`t clean their room are like, Antifa and Black Lives Matter is why I don`t clean my room. Geoff Bennett, thank you very much. They`re the ones that made my room messy.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts rights now.


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

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I didn`t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship.

HAYES: Fireworks in the House as Republicans choose Trump over the American people again. Tonight, how the GOP is plotting to block COVID relief with Senator Bernie Sanders.

Then, shocking new charges against a former police officer for attacking the Capitol police.

Plus, Congresswoman Val Demings on her call today to confront white supremacist terror.

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Aren`t we tired? Aren`t we as a nation exhausted? Haven`t we had enough?

HAYES: And as the president pursues his agenda under the radar, how one senator from West Virginia has become the most powerful lawmaker in America when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As the Democratic Party and the Biden administration is pushing forward, the Republican Party is stuck looking backward. We`ve reached a crucial moment for the COVID relief Americans desperately need and want, and the GOP is now openly trying to stop it.

So, this Friday, it`s the first big vote, right? The House will vote on Joe Biden`s $1.9 trillion COVID rescue package. The Senate now aiming to get it to President Biden by March 14th, and then for President Biden to sign it into law.

The Republican Party is opposing this rescue package in part because they are still mooning over the twice impeached loser who led their party`s defeat. Well, almost everyone. Exceptions like Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney who voted to impeach Trump after the attack in the Capitol, which led to this delightfully uncomfortable exchange today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe President Trump should be speaking -- or former President Trump should be speaking at CPAC this weekend?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, he should.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman Cheney?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Yes, that`s up to CPAC. I`ve been clear with my views about President Trump and the extent to which following -- the extent to which following January 6th. I don`t -- I don`t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.

MCCARTHY: On that high note, thank you all very much.


HAYES: You can actually see Kevin McCarthy`s soul leave his body at one point in Liz Cheney`s comment. He closes his eyes. He just floats out of him. Shortly thereafter, Republican Congressman and Trump sycophant Jim Jordan tweeted, "President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party."

And you know what, Jim, you`re right and Liz Cheney is wrong. The vast majority of Republican officials are falling over themselves to associate with this unpopular loser. We`re so used to it at this point that I don`t think it strikes us as weird as it is. Like, it`s truly upside down.

It is very weird in American politics to see a party rally around a loser. Losers tend to bleed popularity and appeal with their supporters and their party if they lose. I mean, unless you`re a Cubs fan which of course I am, lovable losers aren`t really a thing in politics. There is no big push for Jimmy Carter to run against 1984, like, we are the party of Jimmy Carter no matter what. Or to see George H.W. Bush challenge Bill Clinton in 1996.

Not only did Donald Trump lose, he has consistently been unpopular since he took office. At his very best during the brief window when he was pretending to take the coronavirus seriously, Trump could reach a 46 average approval rating. And he left office pushing a personal low point following his incitement of the Capitol insurrection and subsequent second impeachment.

And not only is Trump disliked, but unsurprisingly, so are his major legislative and executive actions in office. This chart by Chris Warshaw on The Economist shows the average polled support for major bills and executive actions since 2006. So, the farther something is to write on that chart, the more popular it was. The farther the left, the less popular.

Donald Trump has three items on there. The GOP health care bill, the GOP tax reform bill, and the separation of immigrant families. They are by far the least popular items on the chart. Compare all that to President Biden who has cruised along at a 54 percent approval rating throughout his first month in office.

According to The Economist data, his COVID rescue package is probably the most popular piece of legislation by broad parties bipartisan support since 2007. In fact, get this. New Morning Consult poll out today, and again, we all take polls a little bit grain of salt, right? But when the numbers are this big, they`re saying something.

So, a new poll today found 76 percent of voters support the plan. 76 percent, that includes 60 of Republicans. You basically never see that, all right. Almost everyone likes this. Earlier today, more than 150 CEOs including the heads of corporations like Google and Goldman Sachs signed a letter urging Congress to pass Biden`s COVID relief package. Labor unions are on board too.

Republicans at the state and local level support the plan to help their constituents and their businesses. The Republican governor of West Virginia who Donald Trump praised for not acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect says Biden needs to "go big on the COVID aid package and not worry about the federal debt."

The promise of direct cash payments was clearly a huge part of how Democrats won two Senate seats in Georgia. It was their closing message. The bill has those direct cash payments, $1,400 on top of the $600 in the last bill. It`s got money to open schools. It has money for vaccinations like actually funding a big vaccination program. It`s on the right side of public opinion by a lot.

It`s good on the merits. People want it. It`s got lots of stuff for different constituencies and it`s popular. Congressional Republicans are just saying they don`t care about public opinion. Like, if the shoe are on the other foot, Democrats would be quaking in their boots about how popular this thing is, and they`d all be like, oh my God, what do we do?

Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have come out against the bill. Nope, they`re saying we are sticking with the 45 percent loser down in Mar-a-Lago. We`re not doing any self-examination, not how do we lose touch with the American people. Why don`t people like us? Why can`t we reach these voters?

Yes, sure. He tried to overturn the election for the first time in the country`s history. Yes, the last guy`s rhetoric led to a violent attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power, rallied mobs, chanted hang Mike Pence. Yes, we`re on the wrong side of the rescue bill while the country`s in the once-in-a-century pandemic.

Sure, all that`s true, but we can rule from our little 45 minority. That`s the play here. And the thing is they might be right. That`s the core truth of American politics at the moment, right? Maybe they can just gerrymander themselves in the majority in 2022, public opinion be damned or get enough backlash going to get a high turnout election and win both houses.

The fundamental defining feature of American politics at this moment is that one coalition has become detached from broad public opinion, from trying to achieve truly national majorities. And they -- that`s true because they are pretty confident they can gain the system for America`s constitution instructions or power to successfully wield power from the position of a minority.

Senator Bernie Sanders is the brand new chair of the Senate Budget Committee which plays a huge role in passing this rescue package and he joins me now. You know, it occurred to me, Senator, in your long time in politics, you have championed causes both popular and unpopular.

You`ve been -- you have been someone who, you know, spoke out for bills that didn`t get a ton of votes, that weren`t polling that well amongst the American public. It does seem to me the Democratic Party and the broad coalition that`s assembled truly does have the wind at their backs on this big piece of legislation.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Absolutely. I mean, for once I think we are listening to the American people in this extraordinary time of need. 2020 was probably the worst year in American history since the Civil War. People are suffering. They can`t feed their children. They have no income, worried about being evicted.

Their kids can`t go to school. Mental illness is at a record-breaking level because of all of the anxiety and isolation that people are feeling. And we have presented a comprehensive bill which is not perfect but goes a long way to say to working families all over this country, you know what, we hear your pain and we are responding.

We`re going to get you that $1,400 check for every working-class adult. That`s a family of four. $5,600 on top of the $600 checks they received last month. That is life and death for millions of families. We`re going to extend unemployment benefits until September with a $400 bonus on top of your normal unemployment.

We are going to lower -- this is an issue we don`t talk about enough, Chris. Childhood poverty in America is way, way up there compared to other major countries. This legislation lowers childhood poverty by 50 percent.

We`re going to raise the minimum wage to a living wage $15.00 bucks an hour. That is why the American people support what we`re doing. We`re listening to their pain. We`re responding.

HAYES: So, the part of the reason that you are a fulcrum for this is that you`re the chair of the budget committee and the budget committee and the budget process of reconciliation is how this is going to happen. There`s a technical question. I just want to set this up before I ask you about it, right?

So, there`s a technical question that if you want to go through the reconciliation process which goes around the filibuster, simple majority rule, everything in it has to be germane to the budget. And there is an argument about whether raising the minimum wage is sufficiently germane to go in or out.

The Senate Parliamentarian will rule on that. We don`t know the ruling but I want to play you some sound from the Chief of Staff Ron Klain about what the White House`s approach will be if the Senate parliamentarian says no, you have to cut out the minimum wage part. Take a listen.


RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We`re all waiting on baited breath for a ruling from the Senate Parliamentarian, which at least when I walked over here, had not yet come down. Her ruling is going to have a big impact on the future of that provision.

The president believes we should have a $15.00 minimum wage. If it is ruled in order then, obviously, that would allow it to move in this package. If it`s ruled out of order, we`re going to have to find other ways to get it done.


HAYES: What do you think, Senator?

SANDERS: Well, I think what Ron said is basically accurate. And what I want everybody to understand is what the parliamentarian is ruling has nothing to do with the merits of a $15,00 minimum wage which is absolutely necessary if we`re going to end starvation wages in America.

What this is about is a complicated process for this so-called Byrd Rule and reconciliation. Is this a budget issue or is it incidental. We made arguments this morning which I think were very compelling that this is consistent with the Byrd Rule and the reconciliation process. So, we think we got a good shot to win. The parliamentarians ruling can`t guarantee it.

HAYES: How much -- I mean, because -- you know we`ve already got McConnell and McCarthy whipping against this. And I think, again, if the shoe were on the other foot, I think Democrats would be really shaking in their boots politically. I mean, I think you`ve been there long enough.

If the Democrats were on the wrong side of a 75-25 issue there`d be all sorts of freak-outs, right? They seem fine to go ahead opposing this. How much cohesion is there in the caucus of Democrats who are going to have to stick together if you don`t get any Republican votes?

SANDERS: Look, Chris, I`m not going to tell you that when you have 50 people, there aren`t 50 different nuances of opinion including myself, things in this bill I don`t like.

HAYES: Wait, you and Joe Manchin don`t agree on everything exactly?

SANDERS: Yes, I think that you could -- you could safely say that. But I think at the end of the day, every member of the Democratic Caucus understands the unprecedented health care and economic and educational crises that we`re facing today, understands that we have to work with the president of the United States to make sure that he is successful.

And at the end of the day, I am absolutely confident that every member of the Democratic caucus is going to support this bill and the vice president will give us the deciding vote.

HAYES: You know, on the minimum wage which is -- which is part of this and we will find out about the parliamentarian, and I have to say that, you know, the minimum wage raising to $15.00 an hour is very popular like the COVID relief package more broadly. It got 60 percent in the state Florida that Donald Trump won, beat Joe Biden.

We`ve seen this happen time and time again. It almost seems like Republicans are cutting ads for Democrats when they come out against it which they`ve been doing. I do wonder, if it wasn`t in this package, like, do you think you could win a floor vote on it? If you -- if you just said up or down --

SANDERS: Oh no, no.

HAYES: No, you couldn`t. No, OK.

SANDERS: No, no, no, no. You could not -- as of now, there`s not one Republican who will support a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. No.

HAYES: You just -- you can`t --

SANDERS: And what`s --


SANDERS: I`m sorry. I didn`t mean to interrupt.

HAYES: Oh, I just -- I just -- what you`re saying, just to be clear here, is that if you`re in a filibuster world and you need ten Republican votes, you`re saying there`s no -- there`s not 10 Republican votes to raise the wage?

SANDERS: Let me be very clear about this. The only way that we are going to raise the minimum wage is the reconciliation or ending the filibuster. In my view, I do not see in the foreseeable future getting significant support from Republicans.

HAYES: It`s so striking too because I`m sure you`ve seen this, Senator Sanders. There has been this rhetorical shift among many Republicans including Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, who actually partnered with you a bit on direct cash relief to families, Ted Cruz, right?

There`s a whole lot of talk about like we`re the party of the working people now. We`re done with the country club and the CEOs. We`re -- and then as soon as the issue is called, do you want a higher minimum wage? The mask comes off.

SANDERS: That`s right. That`s absolutely right. But I think on the other hand, let us be honest. You know, what polling shows, I think you`ve seen these polls, is that in recent years a number of working people significantly Whites, Latinos, some Blacks, have moved to the Republican Party.

And what I am fighting for, Chris, which is the subject of a whole other discussion, is what is the Democratic Party? What do we stand for? And I believe that our future must be -- and I think the president would agree with me. We must be the party of the working class of this country White, and Black, and Latino, Native American, Asian American.

We must have the guts to stand up to powerful special interest and do what exists in so many countries around the world, you know, provide health care to all as a right, make public colleges and universities tuition-free, have a living wage as a minimum wage, etcetera, etcetera. But we have got to stand up forcefully for the working class of this country if we`re going to succeed politically.

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of that Budget Committee which is the site of a lot of action these days. Thank you very much for making some time for us tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

HAYES: All right, even though it is one of the most consequential and most recorded events in modern American history, amazingly there is still so much we do not know about that attack on the Capitol on January 6th. But we learn more and more every day. And one of the things we`re learning is about current and former members of law enforcement who were there as part of the mob, including this man.

That man has been identified as a retired NYPD officer who faces charges for one of the most brutal attacks on police that we have seen yet. So, who is he and how did he end up doing that, next.



STEVEN SUND, FORMER CHIEF, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: The events I witnessed on January 6th was the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that I have seen in my entire career. I witnessed insurgents beating police officers with fists, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades, and flagpoles.

These criminals came prepared for war. They came with their own radio system to coordinate the attack and climbing gear and other equipment to defeat the Capitol`s security features. I am sickened by what I witnessed that day.


HAYES: Something striking we`re learning about the January 6th attack is just how many current or former law enforcement officers were involved in assaulting Capitol and Metropolitan Police. The Washington Post found that at least 13 off-duty law enforcement officials are suspected in taking part of the riot, so far, at least four of them. And at least three former law enforcement officers have been charged with federal crimes.

That includes Thomas Webster. Webster is a retired NYPD officer. The criminal complaint against Webster says he can be seen on bodycam footage waving a Marine Corps flag on a pole and screaming profanities at a metro police officer. He then begins shoving a metal gate against this officer and raises his metal flagpole.

According to the complaint, Webster then starts slamming the metal flagpole against the fence directly in front of the officer and tried to attack the officer, lunging directly at him. The officer managed to pull the pole out of Webster`s hands before being knocked to the ground.

The FBI says Webster then clenched his fists and charged the officer who was still on the ground at this point. The body cam perspective shows the terror of the attack. Just imagine how the Metro Officer amidst that crowd must have felt just at that moment.

The different angle shows the -- what the FBI says Webster did next. He tried to rip off the officer`s mask, choking him with his chin strap.

I want to bring in Ryan Reilly, Senior Justice Reporter at HuffPost who has been reporting on the identity of many of the insurrectionists since January 6th.

Ryan, this individual identified as Webster was someone that was very prominent in the videotape and law enforcement had been looking for some time, right?

RYAN REILLY, SENIOR JUSTICE REPORTER, HUFFPOST: Yes. I mean, he was on that FBI most wanted list. He was one of those, you know, now over 300 people that are wanted in connection with this attack. His photos were sort of plastered all over. So, it`s -- you know, it`s sort of astonishing that it took this long for someone, you know, who`s clearly known by so many members of law enforcement, having retired not all that long ago, to have you know, shown up and been tipped off about the situation.

Because you`d imagine he`s -- you know, his face, he couldn`t have changed that much since he retired, right? Like, his face could show up in some racial -- in some facial recognition software. There`s a number of ways that you`d think this would be able to turn up. But it took a little longer than expected.

HAYES: He also had been -- he`d been assigned after retirement to guarding a city hall, is that correct?

REILLY: That`s right, yes. And I mean, you know, I think you have to -- like, if you step back for a minute and like think about this idea of police officers attacking police officers and what the motivations for that might be. Because you have a situation where these people honestly believe that the election was stolen.

So, in their minds they`re the patriots. In their minds, they`re the people who are fighting against what`s wrong. They`re still standing up for the rule of law in their minds. They are fighting against people who they think are protecting people who are part of this sort of secret cabal to take over, you know, the U.S. government.

And I mean, if you -- if you actually think that people stole the election, you cut -- you know, you have to sort of follow that up what is your next action going to be. Are you just going to sort of protest and say well, we lost, let`s go home. If you honestly actually believe these conspiracy theories that the election was stolen, of course, you`re going to use force. Of course, you`re going to try to break in. What else can you possibly do?

I mean, these people thought they were patriots. They thought they were fighting. They thought this was 1776. And they thought, you know, they`re still standing up and protecting the rule of law in their minds.

HAYES: Yes. That`s -- I mean, it`s such a good point that if you believe it, then this is this apocalypse the curtain of tyranny has descended on the country and you`re the one thing standing in between it, right, a massively fraudulent stolen election. And it`s not just obviously this officer. I mean, there is a bunch of law enforcement folks.

And what is so ironic or crazy to get your head around, of course, is that we live through this year with the large -- most large-scale protests against police violence and brutality in recent memory, millions of people when all was said and done in the streets.

And the fear on the right was that you would have mobs descending on cops to beat them on the ground. And this is the place that it happened. Like this moment with the thin blue line flags and the MAGA flags and with police officers doing the beating.

REILLY: Right. And it`s also a matter of the lack of preparation here because they didn`t consider this group as much of a threat because they presented themselves this way. And you know, you could -- I mean, you could -- you know, you could write a book on the dynamics between policing protests against the police versus policing protests that essentially are against another entity, right?

Police are much more protective and much more defensive if they`re the ones -- and they also have just that gut reaction, that gut visceral reaction if they`re the ones being protested against, right? You don`t like those people. You don`t -- if you`re being protested against, of course, you`re not -- you`re not going to like that, right?

HAYES: Right.

REILLY: But in this situation, it was oh they`re -- they don`t -- like, this wasn`t a group that was actually caring about the police and targeting the police. That wasn`t their end goal. Their end goal was Congress. So, that`s this whole sort of dynamic here where, you know, that is irresponsible, I think, for a lot of the reason that, you know, we weren`t as prepared as they would normally.

Because if there was a group coming to the Capitol that was specifically targeting the Capitol Police, I mean, that would be a much different scenario. And I think those warning signs would have went up a lot quicker. But that`s a completely different dynamic here than what we`ve seen in the protest, you know, over the summer.

HAYES: And we saw multiple moments of protesters saying we`re on your side. You know, when everyone abandoned you, we had your back, sort of talking them into, you know, we`re on the same team here, we`re on the same team here. There`s also some reporting about investigations which have not been carried out of actual Capitol Police officers.

Like, you know, there was sort of a lot of video and rumor and sort of de- contextualized accusations that they have sided with the crowd at various points. I don`t think we`ve ever gotten anything definitive, right, about what exactly the situation is there. And I don`t think we got it today, but at some point we probably will, I imagine, right?

REILLY: Yes. I mean, you know, ironically, as much as we talk about this idea of transparency and policing, you can look at Capitol Police as an example of just an agency that`s really not transparent at all, and you know, really needs to step it up in terms of what they`re able to produce and should be forced by Congress to sort of turn over more information.

But you know, one moment that really sticks with me during this attack was you had this situation where -- I was watching this video where one of these individuals in the crowd came up and said, I was telling a Capitol Police officer, you`ll keep your job. You`ll keep your job. And I mean, that sort of captures the dynamic right there, right? They actually thought this was a takeover.

They thought they were going to take this over and that everything would move on. And that after Trump was installed as president, we`d -- you know, everyone would keep their job. So, they`re trying to inform them, just cooperate with us. And that was a big component of this. They were -- you know, initially, they`re trying to get the Capitol Police to cooperate with them and stand aside.

HAYES: Ryan Reilly who`s been doing just indispensable reporting on this, it`s -- you have been an incredible resource for all of us, so thank you and stay on the beat. I appreciate it.

REILLY: Thanks so much.

HAYES: Next, Congresswoman Val Demings on today`s hearing on domestic terrorism. Her call to confront right-wing violence like what we saw on January 6th.



CONNOLLY: It was Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, who was planting the idea, aided and abetted by disruptive changes proposed by a new postmaster general and a compliant board of governors that actually eroded public confidence in the ability to vote by mail.

That wasn`t a Democratic narrative. That was a Republican narrative by the president of the United States and his enablers.

I didn`t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship.


HAYES: Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia blasted his Republican colleagues at a hearing of the Postal Service today. It was in response to comments by the Republican Congressman from Ohio Jim Jordan and Jody Hice of Georgia.

Connolly was addressing the elephant in the room, right. Congress is back, regular legislating, they have committees, they do their thing, but there`s no apologies or resolution or anything after the majority of Republican members of Congress voted to overturn a democratic election in order to install the loser over the winner. And in so doing, they rallied around a cause that led to a violent insurrection.

What we saw on January 6th is just one part of a broader radicalization happening at the extreme right of American politics that was the focus of a House Judiciary Committee hearing today.


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): On January 6th, former President Trump directed a group of his followers which included an array of hate-filled extremists to attack the Capitol and Congress at a time when we were fulfilling our sacred constitutional duty in certifying electors.

There are no both sides in this debate. We must not be misled by efforts to divert the attention and accountability for these acts of right-wing violence and terror.

DEMINGS: Aren`t we tired? Aren`t we as a nation exhausted? Haven`t we had enough? Doesn`t this issue deserves more than a political debate, a lackluster and half-hearted response? And if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to keep score, you will lose.


HAYES: Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida is vice chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. You just heard her speaking at that hearing on domestic terrorism today. And she joins me now.

Congresswoman, it`s great to have you. What did you learn today?

DEMINGS: Well, Chris, it`s great to be with you. What I`ve learned today is that we`ve been dealing with domestic terrorism, white supremacy since the founding of our country, and that we still are dealing with white supremacy and domestic terrorism, and that there are those who will continue to defend those who are directly responsible.

You know, when we talk about insurrection day, we know that that was the direct result of the actions of the former president who helped to incite the attack against the Capitol. But unfortunately, many of my colleagues on this subcommittee and across the aisle in general have done everything within their power to continue to carry the big lie and the false narrative and not address the problems in this country that we have faced way too long, and that is again domestic terrorism, white supremacy, and extreme domestic individuals.

HAYES: I want to give you the argument that conservatives have been making on this so you could respond to it which broadly goes like this. They say, look, this is essentially a means for Democrats to sort of use the tools of the state to target all conservatives, and to lump us all in together with the worst and most extreme elements so that we can have the government target them on political grounds. What`s your response to that?

DEMINGS: Well, Chris, you know what? I say, we know them by the fruits that they bear. And you talked about it earlier. The majority of persons in the Republican Party in the House of Representatives voted to overturn the election. When President Trump and his enablers were standing at the podium saying go down to the Capitol, march down and fight like hell, that prepare for war, prepare for combat, the same Republicans did absolutely nothing to stop it.

As a matter of fact, after the capital was attacked and we reconvened, they went back to carrying the big lie. And so, I hear what they`re saying. No, we`re not talking about everybody in the party, but those who have participated by omission or commission deserve to be held accountable.

HAYES: Your background is in law enforcement. And I wonder both how that informs how you think about this, and also just your thoughts on what we were talking about on the last block which is the fact that, you know, more than a dozen police officers, law enforcement officials have been either arrested or suspected of participating in this which ends up being probably the most sustained attack on law enforcement in recent memory.

DEMINGS: You know, Chris, I was there that day as you know in the House Gallery. And when I heard there was a breach of the Capitol, I immediately knew that the fight that the Capitol Police were engaged in outside, that we were losing that battle. That the rioters, the violent offenders had gone through every layer of security.

And when I certainly have heard the reports that there were former law enforcement officers and some current law enforcement officers and others, members of the military in the crowd, all I can say is this, Chris. They deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

They`ve taken an oath that they would protect and defend the Constitution and yet they chose to come to the Capitol and beat the Capitol Police down with flag poles, use barricades, bicycle racks as deadly missiles. They beat them with pipes and any other thing they could get their hands on. And I don`t care what profession they were in before. They deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

And if there`s anything that I can do to help in that process as a former law enforcement officer, I am prepared and ready to do that.

HAYES: There`s a lot of rhetoric that has been coming from many quarters. I mean, I think that it`s been a very rough year in American life. It`s been the deadliest year in American life. It`s been very difficult in many ways. Our politics are quite polarized and frayed.

But there`s a specific vein of rhetoric that I`ve seen largely from the right about civil war cataclysm, warnings of violence, celebration and fetishization of guns as a sort of tool of political messaging. I wonder what effect you think that has on the extremists and the folks who are, you know, thinking about doing bad things.

DEMINGS: Well, you know, I think that the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, it didn`t just start that day. It was a culmination of vicious, hateful, violent rhetoric coming from the former President of the United States and others who were, you know, using the same language all over our nation. And it culminated into that vicious attack.

Look, people are listening and they`re paying attention to their leaders. And that`s why I am so bravely concerned about persons in leadership position, those who are elected to Congress who are not here to unify our country, to not -- not here to heal old wounds and to deal with some of the past ghosts in the room like racism and some of the injustices that we face.

But, Chris, I really do believe that they want the modern-day civil war. And those of us who don`t want that, those of us who want just the opposite of that, have to use our voices in a bold and powerful way to speak up and speak out against those within Congress, in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, those in our community, those at local and state level.

Remember, there were some state officials who were here on January 6th filming their illegal actions. And so, we have to use our voice in a more powerful and bold way to fight against the evils that are really trying to take hold of this nation.

HAYES: Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, thank you so much for making time for us tonight.

DEMINGS: Thank you.

HAYES: In a rare sit-down interview, the Vice President today spoke with Reverend Al Sharpton about the desperate need to vaccinate vulnerable communities as quickly as possible.


AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: As we continue fighting on other things, voting and all of that, the first thing we have to do is be here and be alive.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that -- but that`s right, Reverend. Here`s the thing. Let`s not let COVID get us. Let`s get the vaccine instead, right? Let`s not let this thing get us.

We know Black people are disproportionately likely to contract the virus and die from it. We know when you look at who the front-line workers are who have been most at risk. Disproportionately we are talking about people of color. When you look at the fact that Black small businesses, as many as I`ve seen, 40 percent, are going out of business or have gone out of business, it is disproportionately affecting us.

And if we want to get control of this virus that is harming us at a disproportionate rate, part of it is to get vaccinated when it is our turn.


HAYES: Much more that exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris will air tomorrow on "MORNING JOE." It`s an exciting exclusive as you don`t really see the Vice President or the President out about or talking to the media that much. They`ve been keeping a pretty low profile while focused on the first 100 days.

Ahead, why that could be a smart strategy? Plus, the one senator, the one man who could determine the fate of the president`s agenda coming up.


HAYES: We`re a month into the Biden presidency. I think every everyone has noticed you just hear a lot less from him than we did from Donald Trump. Joe Biden even promised us something along those lines during the campaign. Remember when he tweeted, you won`t have to worry about my tweets when I`m president.

The right loved to jump on Joe Biden for supposedly campaigning from his basement and not being omnipresent on the campaign trail in the midst of the pandemic. But his low profile on the trail and now relatively in the White House is a pretty clear specific tactical choice and one that has so far I think worked pretty well.

President Teddy Roosevelt was the one that first coined the term bully pulpit more than 100 years ago. At the time, bully just meant great or excellent. And the phrase described the unique platform the president had to control the nation`s attention.

But 110 years after that, a central feature of the U.S. Presidency has been essentially commanding attention, directing people`s focus to issues to get your message out in totally unrivaled ways. The apotheosis of that was Donald Trump, the guy you could never escape, who was just constantly in your face about everything.

And there`s pretty good evidence that it didn`t actually help him. I mean, he was both the most omnipresent and the least popular president in modern times. And those two probably have something to do with each other. Political Scientist George Edwards who literally wrote the book on the Power of the Bully Pulpit analyzed hundreds of public opinion polls and found that "Presidents typically cannot change public opinion even `great communicators` usually fail to obtain the public support for their high priority initiatives."

I mean, think about how the Trump administration polarized say the science around COVID, making some people less open to hearing messages about the pandemic. In very politically polarized times, it can actually be easier to build consensus when presidents are not directing attention, when they`re just sort of quiet about things.

Joe Biden might just end up having the very first post bully pulpit presidency. The U.S. President is trying to lay low on the biggest issues of the day so that he doesn`t essentially end up feeding more fodder into the assembly line of polarization that is running 24/7 in the background.

The big test for this restraint will be whether he holds his own caucus together to deliver the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. And that all comes down to most likely one senator, maybe the most politically powerful person in Washington. Who is he and what is he thinking? That`s coming up next.


HAYES: Joe Biden`s pick to head the Department of the Interior appears to be all set for confirmation thanks to the support of this guy.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): That`s me shooting the cap and trade bill because it was bad for West Virginia. Hey, I haven`t changed. I might be a few years older but I`ll still take on anyone that messes with West Virginia.


HAYES: Joe Manchin has never been anyone`s conception of a liberal Democrat, but now folks seem to be hanging on his every word. There was a big question about whether or not Manchin would support Congresswoman Deb Haaland`s nomination to be the next Secretary of the Interior.

Haaland is a progressive Democrat, supported the Green New Deal, and would be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary. Manchin who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, of course, has a vested interest in the cabinet position coming from coal country West Virginia. And he could essentially tanker nomination with a no vote.

But Senator Manchin said today in a statement that "While we do not agree on every issue, I believe Deb Haaland will be a Secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm." That`s just another day in Joe Manchin`s Washington. Every day seems to be a new Joe Manchin news cycle because in a 50-50 Senate, he`s basically the 50th vote. And how he votes means whether people get confirmed or whether a bill gets passed.

Manchin occupies a very rare space in a state that Donald Trump won last November by nearly 40 points, a senator who has a completely different set of political incentives from just about anyone else in the Democratic Caucus.

Two people who know a little bit about what makes Manchin tick are Robyn Kincaid, host of West Virginia`s Head-On.Live radio show and our expert on all things West Virginia. And Faiz Shakir, former Senior Adviser to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Welcome to you both.

Robyn, let me start with you. I mean, this is someone who basically if you were looking at them from like the perspective of drafting a fantasy politician league, is outperforming almost any Democrat in the country, right?

I mean, he`s managing to get reelected in a state that Donald Trump carried by 40 points. Like, there`s something he`s doing right in West Virginia politics. What is the secret?

ROBYN KINCAID, HOST, HEAD-ON WITH ROBYN KINCAID: Essentially, Chris, and like Senator Manchin says, it`s a great day to be a West Virginian. I think it`d be a little bit greater if he would do a little bit more. But in essence, he has taken complete control of the Democratic Party. In the course of that, he`s also rendered the rest of the Democratic Party entirely moribund, but it`s become a cult of personality of Joe Manchin.

And he manages somehow to bring enough Republicans along that he -- and the other part of it is that a lot of people, progressive like me, realize that no matter how bad on any given day of the week that Joe Manchin is, that if some Republican were to replace him, he would -- that Republican would make Joe Manchin look like Bernie Sanders.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, that`s precisely right. Like, the Republican who would win in West Virginia would almost certainly be way, way far to Joe Manchin`s right. So, there`s another part of this too, Faiz, which is Manchin has a kind of way to deal with West Virginians to get reelected, but there`s also a specific role I feel like he plays in the caucus.

And I`m curious your interpretation of these different notes he`s been making. So Deb Haaland gets a yes. He`s maybe not on board on the minimum wage. He just appeared to tank Neera Tanden`s nomination to OMB. I know, you worked with Neera at American Progress. Like, what do you make of this?

FAIZ SHAKIR, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO HARRY REID: Well, this frustration that we all have with Joe Manchin is well, he`s a good politician. And yes, he deserves credit for winning West Virginia, a very difficult state, is that the demand of the caucus should be make West Virginia constituents happy. Understand his politics. And even when you deliver on that, Chris, it may not be enough.

HAYES: Right.

SHAKIR: You take minimum wage, direct payments, if you were doing things that you know are popular in West Virginia, then why is Joe Manchin concerned and fighting against that, right? It has something more going on. It`s more about a carving his initials and things, being in the middle of action, sometimes wanting the attention in the limelight for you to say that he`s one of the most powerful senators in America. He likes those kinds of things, right.

And I think that`s what makes it a struggle when you`re trying to conduct politics as a team sport. If you one thing -- you know, he said recently -- Chris, he he says something like, I`m going to protect the Byrd Rule. Do you think any West Virginia`s know anything about the Byrd Rule? They`re out there -- probably they think it`s pheasant hunting season and it has something to do with birds, right.

But yes, he`s going to go and protect the Byrd Rule. What does that have to do with anything involving West Virginia? And that`s where I think he crosses the line of being a senator for West Virginia and not playing the role of Senate Majority Leader or President of the United States.

HAYES: Well, I mean, Byrd -- I mean, Byrd is famous. Like, Byrd is one of most famous West Virginians ever. But I agree with the rule itself. But I do think -- so, I want to ask about this on the -- and I`m going to come back to you in a second Robyn. But on this Neera Tanden thing, right?

So, this sort of ridiculous thing he`s going to, you know, withdraws support for an OMB nominee because of her tweets, which in the spectrum of tweets was they`re not particularly bad tweets. I think it`s preposterous in the era of Donald Trump. But the idea that like that gives him some symbolic distance from the Democratic Party so that he could vote for the $1.9 trillion package. Like, is that -- do you think it`s that strategic? Faiz?

SHAKIR: Oh, for me? Yes -- I mean, do I think it`s strategic? It`s hard to assess what is smart move politics for Joe Manchin, because when you think you`re addressing his politics, he will move the ball and shift the ball on you. I don`t tend to think that like, tanking nomination, what would -- I think what we all want is Joe Biden to be a successful president.

HAYES: Right.

SHAKIR: In order for that to succeed, you need 50 Democratic votes. You hate having somebody on the team who is occasionally rooting for the team to lose, or might, you know, want us to win by a smaller margin. It`s a very uncomfortable feeling. John Tester from Montana could certainly be saying the same thing every single day. He`d say, hey, you know what, it may not work for Montana.

But he understands we play politics as a team sport. If Joe Biden is to succeed, we all have to vote. Joe Manchin is the one rare exception which says, hey, you know, my own brand, my own initials, my own carving on things needs to be adhered to. Why does he fight Kamala Harris being on West Virginia TV? She`s the Vice President of the United States. She`s not allowed to be in West Virginia TV making the case for COVID relief?

HAYES: Robyn, quickly. Do you think the COVID relief pressure coming from the governor, Republican governor, helps on that yes vote on the big COVID package?

KINCAID: I hope that it does, because when it`s when you`ve got a governor who actually tells the people of West Virginia that the COVID vaccine will not cause people to grow antlers, and he`s more ahead of things than the Senator from West Virginia is, you`ve got -- you`ve got to hope that that`s going to drive Senator Manchin further toward the bill.

If I may really quickly though, let`s understand that Joe Manchin has a woman problem, OK. 1996, he shanked the West Virginia Democratic Party because the nominee was a woman. And it comes forward in this business with Neera Tanden. And at the same time, he supports Jeff Sessions, a racist. It`s inexplicable, Chris.

HAYES: Lots of anger at him for that double standard. Robyn Kincaid and Faiz Shakir, thank you for making time tonight. That`s ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.