The Biden administration just a short while ago announced there will be enough vaccine supply to vaccinate every American adult by the end of May. Today, Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the state`s mask mandate and declared Texas open for business. FBI Director Chris Wray testifies to Congress on the January 6th riot. A GOP lawyer argues to the Supreme Court that disqualifying votes helps Republicans on Election Day. The Senate is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Bill this week.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes, indeed. This is Medgar Evers` city, Jackson. So, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, we`re really thinking of you all. God bless you. Laurie Bertram Roberts, thank you and bless you for all you`re doing. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m pleased to announce today this country will have enough vaccine supply, I say it again, for every adult in America by the end of May.
HAYES: A major breakthrough on the COVID vaccine timeline as Texas takes its foot off the gas.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I`m ending the statewide mask mandate.
HAYES: Tonight, the implications of today`s big vaccine news and the state that`s trying to give the virus a fighting chance. Then, what we learned when the keepers of Trump`s election lie faced facts from the FBI Director.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: That attack, that siege was criminal behavior plain and simple. And it`s a behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism.
HAYES: And the GOP`s partisan plot to restrict voting laid bare in a stunning Supreme Court argument.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero sum game.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. There is amazing vaccine news today that puts the end of this phase of the pandemic within sight. The Biden administration just a short while ago announced we will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate every American adult by the end of May.
That`s just three months. And that is possible in part because of the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That single-shot vaccine is already getting into American arms. The first going to that one right there, an 86-year-old Ohio woman today who is now, thanks to that shot you`re seeing, fully vaccinated.
Johnson and Johnson is planning to ship 20 million doses by the end of the month. And while it initially expected to fulfill 100 million doses by the end of June, the Biden administration just announced a new partnership between Johnson and Johnson and pharmaceutical giant Merck that could double the delivery capacity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Johnson and Johnson and Merck will work together to expand the production of Johnson and Johnson`s vaccine. We also invoke the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck facilities to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the J&J vaccine.
And with the urging and assistance of my administration, Johnson and Johnson is also taken additional new actions to safely accelerate vaccine production. Johnson and Johnson`s vaccine manufacturing facilities will now begin to operate 24/7.
Here`s what all this means. We`re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The end of May. I mean, it`s hard to overstate just how amazing this is. July was the previous estimate for every American adult to have access to vaccine or enough supply for. Now, that could happen by the end of May. And there`s even more great vaccine news.
As we`ve been reporting here, we are seeing the number of shots and arms going up after last week`s weather-induced slump. The U.S. is now averaging just shy of 2 million vaccines per day. That`s almost double in the last month. One of today`s recipients, country`s superstar Dolly Parton, who had her first shot of the Moderna vaccine that she helped fund.
Also tonight, the CDC is about to issue new guidance for the newly vaccinated, saying that people with full vaccine protection can safely gather with each other in small indoor groups. The big question now because nothing is certain as we have learned over this difficult last year, is can policymakers and Americans together hold the virus at bay long enough that we can escape one more huge wave that costs tens of thousands of lives needlessly.
And on that score, there`s some really disturbing news today out of the state of Texas which is, of course, still recovering from that disastrous winter storm and catastrophic energy grid failure. Today, Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the state`s mask mandate and declared Texas open for business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBOTT: Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100 percent. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Did you hear that? You heard that, just like that. No masks there of anyone in the room. Why would you want to wear masks you`re about to reopen the state? So, Texas is reopening, just like that, 100 percent, no business restrictions. No business restrictions, think about that, any business. There are lots of say, nightclubs in Texas. You think nightclubs are a good thing to operate right now? And the mask mandate is repealed.
Now, it is one thing when you say we`re going to let businesses open back up, even though I think foolish with respect to certain businesses. But businesses really are struggling, right. There`s this awful trade-off that policymakers are making. But there is no upside to repealing a mask mandate at this point in the pandemic. In fact, mask usage is what could help you open up more safely.
I mean, let`s take a look at these charts just to get a sense of what we`re talking about here. This shows the weekly deaths recorded in Texas from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2019. And what you can see all those gray lines here after year after year group dinner pretty narrowband with a bit of an outlier here there but relatively consistent.
Now, look at what the pandemic looks like. Look at what COVID did. Those red lines are weekly deaths from 2020 in the first few months to 2021. Both the gray and red lines are deaths from all causes, but it shows you just how devastating this virus has been. And yes, deaths have dropped down. But why would you want them to go back up?
Not only that, Texas is behind much of the country in vaccinations. Less than 13 percent of the state has received at least one dose. That`s near the bottom of the ranking. And yet, the governor of Texas thinks now is a good idea to repeal the mask mandate, as if that costs anyone anything, to open everything 100 percent including like nightclubs, despite all the federal guidance that masks are key to preventing a new wave of COVID cases and deaths.
And it`s not just Governor Abbott making this terrible decision. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also announced his state would reopen and repeal mask mandates even though their vaccination rate in Mississippi is barely better than Texas.
And what makes this all the more maddening is that at the end of this week, hopefully, the Senate could pass the President`s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that will send much-needed aid to states and businesses and people who are unemployed and those making less than $75,000 a year, basically designed to help everyone ride this out safely to suppress the virus for the eight or 12 more weeks you can take to get to a much better place. If only we can hang on collectively as a nation.
I`m joined now by Gilberto Hinojosa. He`s the chair of the Texas Democrats. And Olivia Troye, a former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force who is originally from El Paso, Texas. Mr. Name, let me start with you and ask your reaction to the governor`s announcement today.
GILBERTO HINOJOSA, CHAIR, TEXAS DEMOCRATS: Insanity. I`d like to say that Governor Abbott has lost his mind by doing this. You know, when we have 90 percent of the people in the state of Texas today haven`t been vaccinated. We`re 49th in the country in vaccine distribution. We have some of the highest rates of COVID in the nation and the highest number of deaths in -- among all the states in the country.
But what he`s doing now is something that has nothing to do with what`s right and wrong but everything to do with politics. I don`t know if you know this, but the Republican executive committee in the state of Texas condemned him for having a mask mandate. The chairman of the Republican Party in Texas demonstrated in front of the governor`s mansion because he did this because it closed down the businesses and threatened to run against them.
What Greg Abbott is doing is putting his own political career over the interests of the people of the state of Texas. He doesn`t care about the fact that if he does this right before spring break, right before where I am from, thousands of kids are going to be coming to the South Padre Island gathering in restaurants and bars, shoulder to shoulder, and making themselves vulnerable to this disease that they go to take home to their parents and their grandparents and cause a huge spike in this virus in the state of Texas just when we were getting things together to try to defeat it.
This is something that I believe shows that Governor Abbott is got to be the worst governor in the state of Texas. Right after this colossal failure that left the state citizens without power and with without water, he then does this? This is just something horrible and I hope to God that people understand that this governor has to go.
He has caused so many problems in the state, caused so much harm. I`m in from the Rio Grande Valley. I just was a few weeks ago when there was trailers outside of funeral homes full of bodies because they didn`t have anywhere to keep them in the mortuaries, when they had lines of ambulances waiting in front of hospitals because there was no room in the hospitals and people were dying, mothers and fathers and grandfathers were dying all over the Rio Grande Valley.
And because they had no access to health care because the state refuses to accept expanded Medicaid, they were getting into a situation where families were being infected with this disease every single day across the Rio Grande Valley. It`s going to get worse now that he`s listed this, the mandates in the state of Texas. I just don`t understand why he`s doing this. And this is going to create all sorts of problems for our state.
HAYES: I want to say that the CDC issued guidelines. They issue guidance to the states and they sort of code states by where they are. Erin Banco obtained, she tweeted out this image from internal FEMA briefings that Politico attained showing Texas and Mississippi along with Oklahoma and New Hampshire are considered Red Zone states, which means their positivity rate is higher than 10 percent.
And Olivia, I don`t know about you, you were actually working on the Coronavirus taskforce, say, in May of 2020 or April 2020 when this rush to reopen happened. I was covering it. But I just -- I have to pick my jaw up off the floor. Like, have we learned nothing? Does this feel familiar to you?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: It absolutely does. I remember when Governor Abbott was one of the first people in line to start loosening -- you know, lessening restrictions across the state. And I knew what that would mean going forward. And I knew that it would lead to spikes in cases. And I knew that Texas hospitals and the frontline workers were going to suffer because of it.
So, you would think that Governor Abbott would have learned his lesson, but he doesn`t care. I agree with Gilberto, he doesn`t care. He doesn`t care about the well-being of these Americans. And really, he`s playing petty politics over human life. And this is from the school of Trumpism directly, right?
This is something -- this legacy of the number of deaths that we have and all of these problems are legacy of an unfit individual who ended up in the Oval Office. And all of these Republican governors who are actually imposing these lifting of these restrictions and taking these actions for their own selfish endeavors are shameful. And people need to remember this moving forward, and they should be held accountable.
HAYES: Gilberto, you know, it is never been -- except for that first, sort of first four to eight weeks, it`s never been this sort of all or nothing proposition. Every state is in some form of sort of managed reopening, right. So, you know, capacity limitation, some things can be open some things can`t. You have to wear a mask if you go to the barber.
But what we have around this time is we do at the vaccine. Today, the President announced federal prioritization of teachers and educators, right. So, the idea is we want to get schools open, we will target federal vaccinations at them. There are some states that are prioritizing workers who would be most exposed. Is that the case in Texas?
I don`t believe it is, but has he prioritize the kinds of workers say a bar back -- in a bar in South Padre Island who is going to be working through spring break in a few weeks?
HINOJOSA: No. What he is prioritizing the distribution of this vaccine has been wealthy people and people that are part of his -- the Republican elite of this whole state. That`s who`s getting it. If you look at the statistics on where this vaccine is going in the state of Texas, it`s only going to a few key areas.
Here in the Rio Grande Valley, it is very hard to get a vaccine. I was on my back the other day, and there was a line of probably a half a mile long of people in cars waiting to get a vaccine on a Sunday morning. That`s how bad the situation is. And the irony of all of this is that, as you saw in that film that you showed just a little while ago, all he had in front of him with a bunch of businessmen thinking that this is going to economically benefit the state of Texas by lifting these mandates. It`s going to work the other way around.
Because when we have this spike, people are going to have to close down again, people are going to lose their jobs. They`re not going to be able to earn a living because he jumped the gun -- jumped the gun for economic reasons, but not thinking through what this is going to do to our citizens.
If we go through another shutdown as a result of his mismanagement, his negligence, it`s almost criminal. His conduct with respect to lifting these restrictions, we`re going to cause a lot of economic harm in addition to illness and death in this state as a result of the recklessness and criminal conduct, criminal conduct that this governor has engaged in. He has been a problem.
You know what, I will tell you this. The most dangerous thing -- the most dangerous threat to the state of Texas is Greg Abbott.
HAYES: All right, Gilberto Hinojosa from the Texas Democratic Party, Olivia Troye, a proud Texas native, thank you so much for making the time tonight.
FBI Director Chris Wray was on the Hill today testifying before the Senate about the January 6th attacks. We`re going to talk about that. And what do Ted Cruz and this guy in a hotdog suit have in common? I will explain coming up.
HAYES: It has been almost two months since the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol. Today we had a rare opportunity to hear directly from someone with actual knowledge of the full scope of what happened that day, at least the known aspects of it when FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRAY: Citizens from around the country have sent us more than 270,000 digital media tips. Some have even taken the painful step of turning in their friends or their family members. But with their help, we`ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations in all but one of our 56 field offices. And of those identified, we`ve arrested already more than 270 individuals to date, over 300 when you include the ones of our partners.
Unfortunately, as you noted, Mr. Chairman, the January 6th was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it`s not going away anytime soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Wray did not deliver a lot of new information but he did confirm several important truths about just who perpetrated the attack and why, undermining the lies delivered by ex-President Trump and his followers including Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Has there so far been any evidence that the January 6th riot here, the insurrection, was organized by people simply posing as supporters of President Trump?
WRAY: We have not seen any evidence of that certainly at this point.
COONS: Is there any evidence at all that it was organized or planned or carried out by groups like Antifa or Black Lives Matter?
WRAY: We have not seen evidence -- any evidence to that effect thus far in the investigation.
COONS: And is there any doubt that the people who stormed the Capitol included white supremacists and other far-right extremist organizations?
WRAY: There`s no doubt that it included individuals that we would call militia violent extremists and then in some instances individuals that were racially motivated violent extremists who advocate for, you know, the superiority of the white race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Despite Director Wray`s testimony, there is of course still two months in. A lot we do not know about the attack, a lot we will continue to learn as the investigations continue to play out. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse questioned Director Wray during today`s hearing and he joins me now.
Senator, what did you learned today?
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): Well, we learned that the Antifa little lie that surrounds the big lie and the fake Trump protesters little lie that surrounds the big lie were complete bunk and just manufactured propaganda. And we learned I think that the FBI continues to take this, you know, seriously as a potential upstream investigation.
He was less clear than Merrick Garland about that they would follow the evidence wherever it leads and particularly towards people who are not in the capital at the time. So, we`ll see where that goes.
My concern at the beginning was that this was going to be an investigation that got dumped on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and that the method was going to be to just prosecute a lot of people from the raid itself but not do the proper upstream investigation to see who was behind it.
And I think we`ve headed that off with Attorney General Garland and that`s an important question I think to make sure that gets done.
HAYES: Do you -- what is your impression of Wray? Do you trust him? Do you think he`s a straight shooter?
WHITEHOUSE: If so, that would be a new phenomenon because I`ve spent three years trying to get him to answer questions and he`s hidden behind every conceivable dodge. And we have unanswered questions from 2017. The FBI came in for nine hearings in the Trump era and in seven of those hearings, we got exactly zero of our questions for the record answered. And when I say our, I mean, Democrats and Republicans alike.
So, he participated in or ran a massive traffic jam that stopped answers to huge numbers of QFRs, almost all of our questions for the record and to all of our letters. And then, at the same time, he set up this like side road where they could run thousands, 1,500 documents in 18 different document productions into the Republicans on the committee so they could do their Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
So I`m -- I still want an explanation of why our requests for documents and answers got jammed into the traffic jam and Republican Trump-friendly questions and requests for a production got given this special side road around the traffic jam at high speed and with considerable like, it seems, considerable waiver of ordinary protective privileges and protections about investigative materials, classified materials, and so forth.
HAYES: Do you have -- I mean were there specific inquiries? I know you had a back and forth with the director today about this. There`s specific inquiries that you still feel like you`re being stonewalled. And what does that say about your confidence in him to run this very, very, very, you know, what will be in many ways a very politically sensitive investigation?
WHITEHOUSE: Yes, I mean, I think the first thing we need answers to is why were we stonewalled for all those years? What was the method? Who -- on whose instruction was that done? What was the scheme? What was the plan? Who was involved? Why did it happen? All of that, but that`s kind of a processing question.
The more important stuff is to look back through say, the FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh and whether that was real or fake. And what happened with that so-called tip line that the FBI ran? Because as best as I can tell, these are some of the questions they refuse to answer.
As best as I can tell all the information that came floating in through that tip line got dumped straight into the bin. None of it got reviewed pursuant to standard FBI procedures and protocols for reviewing the info that comes in through a tip line. It was more of a tip dump than a tip line.
And understanding if that happened, why that happened, who was involved, on whose direction, presumably from the White House. I mean, if this guy presided over a fake FBI investigation, we need to know that.
HAYES: Final question for you is about your -- if Merrick Garland should be confirmed which looks like he will likely be. Your confidence in the entirety of the Justice Department dealing with an investigation that is massive in scope. 270 arrests already, 300, there`s probably hundreds of more suspects yet to be identified.
WHITEHOUSE: Yes. And we still have unanswered questions about that. As I said, the original plan was to dump it on the D.C. U.S. Attorney`s Office. And because the U.S. Attorney`s Office is also the local prosecutor, it`s a well-staffed, big, confident, you know, trial-ready organization.
But this would be a lot of cases and they`re not used to doing the kind of cases at that level where you`re working your way up to the kingpins and the funders and the organizers in the same way that they`re doing a lot of street crime in the district. So TBD I guess is the best way to say it.
HAYES: All right, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, I`m going to put you down as not yet convinced on Director Wray. Thank you so much -- thank you so much for your time tonight, sir.
Coming up, Ted Cruz, the hotdog man, and the utter shamelessness of the Republican Party on full display.
HAYES: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is back in Washington D.C. today. Maybe it`s just me. Every time I see him asking questions in hearings about the January 6th insurrection, I cannot help but think of this sketch from Tim Robinson`s Netflix comedy show, I Think You Should Leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is everyone OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened? Did anyone see?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone drove a hotdog-shaped car through the window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody call the cops.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to find that driver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could have killed someone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who`s car is this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, come on. Whoever did this, just get fast. We promise we won`t be mad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll close our eyes. Just take your car and get out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, I love hat show and I love that sketch. Is it any wonder I think of that guy in the hotdog suit whenever I see this guy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The Congress has now heard from numerous law enforcement officials that there is significant evidence that the January 6th attack on the Capitol was premeditated, planned, and coordinated. The riot on January 6th didn`t occur, come out of nowhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No, no, Senator, it didn`t come out of nowhere. We`re all trying to figure out who did this. It came from the encouragement and incitement of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz himself among others who spread the big election lie that the election was stolen and then set January 6th as the big day of the challenge, and then basically showed up today`s hearing in a hot dog suit asking Christopher Wray how it all happened.
Zerlina Maxwell is the co-host of the show Signal Boost at Sirius XM Radio, host of Zerlina on NBC`s streaming service Peacock. Adam Serwer is a staff writer for the Atlantic and both join me now.
Zerlina, I mean, I guess the strategy from Hawley and Cruz here is basically to just plow ahead in Trumpian fashion and hope people will forget. But it is remarkable everyone just is going to pretend that they had nothing to do with any of this.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, CO-HOST, SIGNAL BOOST, SIRIUS XM: Oh, it is -- it`s quite entertaining to watch folks asking questions when you`re thinking to yourself shouldn`t they be answering questions at this hearing about their conduct on January 6th and how that contributed?
I think what is horrible to watch in this moment is you sort of need two -- at least two political parties that are operating on what`s known as good faith. And what`s happening here is the Republican Party is essentially in this particular moment organized around bad-faith attacks on Democratic policies. I mean that is sort of the premise from which they work.
And so, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz see a short-term political benefit by continuing to tell the big lie which is the reason the people went to the Capitol. I mean, just think about it for a second. It wouldn`t have been Antifa. Antifa stands for anti-fascist. They would not show up at the Capitol trying to stop a Democratic process. The anti-fascists would not be for that. So, it just doesn`t even make any sense.
And I think that, you know, the reason why we`re so upset about folks like Hawley and Cruz is because they`re very educated. They went to Ivy League schools and they`re supposed to know better. When you`re lying and you know you`re lying, it becomes a bigger problem than just simply hypocrisy. And the result is that they`re undermining our democracy.
HAYES: I thought, Adam -- I mean, we -- again, I continue to be astounded there`s never been any kind of explanation offered, there`s no apologies, no nothing for again, what was -- and you`re someone who spends a lot of time reading history as I do. Like, there really is no precedent for what they tried to pull off on January 6th, this mass -- you know, this sort of massive resistance to crowning the -- you know, to passing power.
But here`s Josh Hawley at CPAC using it to get applause. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): You know, on January the 6th, I objected during the Electoral College certification. Maybe you heard about it. I did. I stood up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is why he did it to get the applaud and the thoughts in that room. You`re shaking your head, but it`s shameful. It`s not something you`re proud of.
ADAM SERWER. STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: It sounds like he`s talking about like a band. Like, you might -- you might have heard of it maybe. Like, yes, I don`t know. This whole thing is -- these people believe that the election was stolen because people like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, with a lot of authority within the conservative movement, within the Republican Party told them it was stolen. That`s why they believed it.
And what it was -- and they were -- they gave these people the predicate to act violently because they told him that their democracy was being stolen. And they gave credence to Donald Trump`s claims that their democracy had been stolen.
The only comforting aspect of this is that political violence remains so taboo that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz now want to pretend they had nothing to do with it because they know that most Americans, the vast majority of Americans look at the Capitol riot and are disgusted.
Too many look at it and think it was justified, but the vast, vast majority including Republican voters are disgusted. Which is why they want to pretend that somehow Antifa was involved, that it was a false flag by, you know, some sort of, you know, shadowy left-wing organization, and that they had nothing to do with it, because it makes them look bad.
HAYES: And there`s also the fact to me, you know, you`ve got this exculpatory story that I`ve seen Republicans try to trot out and they tried it at the impeachment as well, Zerlina, of like well, it was pre-planned. It`s like that makes it worse. If there -- if people knew that all the firepower is focused on that day, then going down, giving the fist and going down and giving that speech is worse.
MAXWELL: Exactly. But, I think, you know, they laid this out pretty effectively at the impeachment trial, and I think folks missed it. One of the main arguments made by the impeachment managers is that the pre- planning was out in the open. It wasn`t on the dark Web, it`s on Instagram.
And so, for folks in the Republican Caucus -- you know, save law enforcement for a different day, but folks in the Republican Caucus to act like they didn`t know that the threat was there, and also considering that the groups that showed up on January 6th had previously been violent in Washington D.C. just weeks earlier. And so, the idea that this was a surprise to anyone, it`s just not believable.
And I think that we`re at the point where we`re just refusing to pretend like we believe Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz when they say that -- when they say things that are not true when they know they`re not true.
HAYES: Yes, and I think --
MAXWELL: And we know it too.
HAYES: We do too. And I think, Adam, also there`s -- you know, memories are short and Trump and others have shown that you can just sort of boulder your way through this. But I do think this attaches to at least these two individuals. There`s others as well. I mean, Rick Scott voted against certification, Tommy Tuberville down in Alabama.
I do think it attaches to them just because of how, to Zerlina`s point, manifestly cynical the entire enterprise was.
SERWER: Right. I mean, these guys used this as a branding strategy because they wanted to be able to harness the energy of Trump supporters, the enthusiasm of Trump`s supporters without hating themselves with the violence of what those supporters did.
But the people who stormed the Capitol, I mean, they thought Cruz and Hawley were on their side. And we know that because some of them actually said Cruz is on our side while rifling through documents in the Well of the Capitol. So, you know, they can -- they will probably survive this in the sense because they come from very conservative states.
I live here in Texas. This is a conservative state. They come from conservative states where they can survive, you know, the defection of a decent number of supporters because these states tend to -- tend to vote for Republicans on the federal (AUDIO GAP). But, you know, that doesn`t mean that what they did was right or that it shouldn`t follow them for the rest of their lives beyond.
HAYES: Zerlina Maxwell and Adam Serwer, thank you both. That was great.
Next, a remarkable admission from a GOP lawyer today who told the Supreme Court they want to throw out votes because disenfranchising voters helps Republicans. That moment next.
HAYES: Republicans are on the warpath against voting rights in the wake of their loss in the 2020 election. State lawmakers are introducing hundreds of bills to make it harder to vote including in Georgia where House Republicans just passed a bill full of voting restrictions in an effort to hang on to power in a state that just elected President Joe Biden and sent two Democrats to the U.S. Senate.
The Supreme Court today heard two cases out of Arizona where Democrats are hoping to strike two laws for violating the voting rights act. One law blocks the counting of ballots cast in the wrong precinct, another prohibits anyone other than a family member or caregiver from collecting and delivering a voter`s absentee ballot.
And there was a startling admission today from a lawyer for the Arizona Republican Party who was asked by new justice Amy Coney Barrett why exactly is the Republican Party involved in the case, why Republicans want to stop people from having their votes counted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY CONEY BARRETT, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m interested in knowing why the RNC is in the case. So, you know, the DNC had standing and the District Court said that it had standing to challenge the out of precinct policy because the policy placed a greater imperative on Democratic organizations to educate their voters and because the policy harmed its members who would have voted out of precinct.
What`s the interest of the Arizona RNC here in keeping say the out-of- precinct voter ballot disqualification rules on the books?
MICHAEL CARVIN, ATTORNEY, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero-sum game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You get that? It`s rare you get that said so, so clearly, OK. Republicans want to be able to throw out people`s votes if they vote in the wrong precinct because throwing those votes out, disenfranchising those people who again, were voting in good faith, maybe they made a small act a mistake, that would help them win according to the Republican Party. Politics is a zero-sum game. That is what this is all about.
For more on what Republicans are trying to do, I`m joined now with the founder of Democracy Docket, Marc Elias, renown Democratic attorney and expert in election law. Were you as struck by that moment in the -- in the oral arguments today as a lot of people were?
MARC ELIAS, FOUNDER, DEMOCRACY DOCKET: You know, Chris, I was and I wasn`t. On the one hand, it was a remarkable admission that voters who had showed up at the little red schoolhouse rather than the little white schoolhouse, these are eligible voters, these are voters who are registered, these are voters who have only voted -- who are only voting one time, that they should have their ballots tossed out even though they`re otherwise lawful voters and they`re -- and it overwhelmingly burdens minority voting rights.
The fact that the Republican lawyer, you know, was so clear that yes, we want to do that because that`s in our political interest was both not surprising because that`s what we have seen the Trump presidency do to the Republican Party. But it was surprising and -- or it was jarring, I should say, more than it was surprising to hear it actually in court.
HAYES: Yes. One of the things that is worth burrowing in on this point, right, is that again, they`re looking at this from the perspective of the aggravated -- aggregate of who it helps or hurts. But again, like, there`s inevitably going to be Republican voters who vote at the wrong precinct too, too, right? We`re talking about the margins.
But from the perspective of a Democratic citizen, like I just want my fellow citizens to be able to cast their votes. That`s the important thing, right? The marginal advantage over -- to me sort of like, it overlooks the fact that like people across the political spectrum will be affected by this.
ELIAS: Yes. And look, we`ve seen this time and time again. Here, it`s about people voting out of precinct. We`ve seen them take -- go to court to try to drop ballot drop boxes. We`ve seen them go to court to try to have ballots thrown out for signature mismatches. We`ve seen them go to court to try to curtail in-person early voting.
There is nothing about the voting process that Republican support. It is all oppositional. You know, you mentioned Georgia where they`re right now proposing legislation that would severely cut back on voting rights. But look at Iowa. In Iowa, they both curtailed and cut back on vote by mail. They shortened the period for early voting. And as the kicker, they decided to cut an hour off of in-person voting on Election Day. Now, that bill is passed out legislature. We`ll see if the governor signs it.
HAYES: There was a quote -- you mentioned Georgia. This -- what they are doing in Georgia is really one of the most cynical things I`ve ever seen because there was this sustained attack of lies and propaganda about the integrity of that system. It was refuted by the Republican-elected officeholders in that state time and time again. It was refuted by hand count ballots, right? There`s just no evidence.
And here you have the gall, the unmitigated gulf of State Rep Barry Fleming referring to these restrictions as "the way we begin to restore confidence in our voting system is by passing this bill." What do you think of that?
ELIAS: Yes. I mean, look, they`re the arsonists. They started the fire by pouring gasoline and throwing a match. And now, they`re arguing that we shouldn`t build any more houses because of fires. I mean, the fact is Georgia is a great example because as you point out, Georgia had a full machinery account and a full hand recount.
So, whatever else you -- Republicans may have think that happened in Georgia, they literally counted the ballots by hand.
ELIAS: No equipment at stake there. That`s just human beings counting ballots. And Joe Biden won that election. And why they continue to perpetuate a lie to their voters for cynical partisan gain is really, really troubling.
HAYES: Quickly here. H.R.1 which would create uniform standards in terms of voting access, be a nationwide law has been passed out of the House in the last -- in the last Congress endorsed by President Joe Biden. How important is it?
ELIAS: Oh, it`s critical. I mean, it`s critical because we are seeing an avalanche of voter suppression laws coming out of Republican legislatures not just in purple states but in red states like Montana and like in Missouri. They`re proposing them in blue states but obviously, they won`t advance in blue states.
What H.R.1 will do is set a minimum standard for everyone to have a right to vote. It will make sure everyone has a right to cast an absentee ballot, everyone has a right to vote early in person, everyone has a right to vote on Election Day, and everyone has a right to have their ballots counted.
And so, it will do tremendous good there while also improving election security. So, I certainly hope Congress passes the law.
HAYES: All right, Marc Elias, thanks for making some time with us tonight.
ELIAS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, Senator Chris Murphy on why today`s big vaccine announcement could change the game. And when people desperate for that COVID Relief Bill should expect some help, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I`m pleased to announce today as a consequence of the stepped-up process that I`ve ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply, I`ll say it again, for every adult in America by the end of May, by the end of May. That`s progress, important progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Big news today. The Biden Administration says it will have enough vaccine supply for every adult in this country in about three months, which is great news. But there is still plenty of questions about the other needs Americans have right now, not to mention getting that supply into arms, like the $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Bill that is meant to help with crushing the virus and getting people on the road to recovery.
Joining me now is someone who will hopefully have some answers, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut. Let`s start on the announcement today. I know Connecticut is doing fairly well. It`s doing better than average in terms of getting shots into arms. Are you in regular contact with your governor, and how do you assess how this is going?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, you know, Connecticut is doing well, and what we need is more vaccine. But you know, we`re going to have a good problem very quickly. We`re going to go from scarcity to abundance of vaccine. And that means our problems very soon are going to be capacity, making sure that hospitals and health centers and local nonprofits can vaccinate people. And then this question of hesitancy, making sure that we continue to communicate to the vaccine is safe and effective.
But, you know, I know it`s shocking to Americans to see competence in government. But, you know, we used to kind of be used to these announcements. This is President Biden using powers that are granted to the executive branch in an emergency to go out and work with the private sector to dramatically expand the amount of medical equipment we need to fight a pandemic.
This is the opportunity that was available to Donald Trump all of 2020 on things like PPE, masks, and testing equipment. We went through a nightmare for a year because President Trump sort of left these capabilities on the table. And now, President Biden is picking them up, using the Defense Production Act, to dramatically ramp up the production of vaccine. We now need to get the funding down to the states to make sure that we can distribute it.
HAYES: Right. So, that`s the next big question. You`ve got the House has passed the $1.9 trillion package. The Senate is going to take it up. We think -- you think you`re going to get a vote this week?
MURPHY: I do. I think we`ll hopefully get a vote by the end of the week. Maybe we`ll have to debate it into the weekend. But we`re going to -- our intention is to stay here through the weekend to get this done.
HAYES: You`re confident you guys got the votes. That`s what Chuck Schumer said today.
MURPHY: Yes. Listen, I -- we had President Biden on our caucus call today. And, you know, he told us what we already know, failure is not an option here. We`re going to have to, you know, cross some T`s and dot some I`s to make sure we have 50 votes. But I think everyone in our caucus is of a single mind.
We need to rescue this economy. We need to kick this virus` butt in the next several months. And we can only do that with these additional resources.
HAYES: There`s been a lot of -- a bunch of foreign policy stories that I`ve been wanting to get your thoughts on because there have been some big foreign policy moves, including the announcement, I believe, today. The U.S. Treasury Department, sanctioning Russian officials in response to the poisoning -- the attempted assassination of a Russian political leader and dissident Aleksey Navalny with Novichok. Do you think that`s a good idea?
MURPHY: I do. I do. It was just unacceptable for the United States to be silent in the wake of Russia`s most important opposition leader being intentionally poisoned and now in prison by Putin`s government. I mean, if we don`t lead the global fight to protect democracy and stand up for pro- democratic movements in places like Russia, no one will.
And what we see is that the forces of despotism are on the march. You know, democracies that we took for granted, you know, just 10 years ago are now slowly sliding away from self-determination, even in and on the edges of Europe.
And so, by standing up to one of the world`s most brutal bullies, Vladimir Putin, we are also I think sending a signal to nascent democracy movements in fragile democracies that America is back on the democracy promotion stage.
HAYES: So, speaking of that, there`s -- there, of course, also the release of the previously classified report about the Intelligence Community`s findings about Mohammed bin Salman, that he had greenlighted, at the very least, the operation to capture or kill, those are the words there, Jamal Khashoggi, newspaper columnist for The Washington Post.
The Biden administration not doing anything personally to Mohammed bin Salman, not revoking visa, travel rights, or personal sanction, saying the aim is recalibration, not a rupture. We`ve been very clear with the Saudi this is an historic partnership. It`s lasted for 75 years. What do you think of that?
MURPHY: Well, I mean, I think you can sort of connect these two conversations. There`s no question that Vladimir Putin ordered the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, but we didn`t announce sanctions on Putin today largely because we tend to not levy sanctions on the leaders of countries. And I think that is probably part of the rationale for why MBS was spared sanctions.
But I would make this argument on Saudi Arabia. I frankly think that MBS`s weapons matter much more to him than his visa. And so, what I would argue is that we should recalibrate our security partnership with the Saudis. If they`re going to be in the business of chopping up dissidents or targeting them all around the world, then we shouldn`t be selling them weapons.
And so, I think the administration is right now having a debate about what our security partnership looks like and if we make changes to that. While it won`t look like personal sanctions on MBS, it will have a big impact on him and his priorities.
HAYES: All right, Sen. Chris Murphy, thanks for making time tonight. That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END