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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/24/21

Guests: Mazie Hirono, Miguel Cardona, Damia Bonmati, Evan Hill


The Republicans unite in an anti-voter effort, pushing legislations that are designed to make it harder for many Americans to vote. Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing hard for the passage of H.R.1, that comprehensive voting rights bill that would likely require weakening or getting rid of the filibuster. The Biden administration announces $81 billion in aid for school reopening. Biden transition officials say Trump officials delayed action on rising numbers of child migrants. Prosecutors say Oath Keepers coordinated with Proud Boys and others before the Capitol riot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Discovering those cases could be very, very interesting.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes, indeed it well. Joyce Vance, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you. All right, and also, thank you very much. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): If one political party believes that when you lose an election, the answer isn`t to win more votes, but rather to try and prevent the other side from voting, we have an existential threat to democracy on our hands.

HAYES: Tonight, new signs Democrats may move to counter the Republican radicalization against democracy.

Then, new evidence of anti-government groups coordinating before the attack on the Capitol and breathtaking new video of the attack on a Capitol Police officer who would later die.

Plus, my exclusive interview with the new Secretary of Education on today`s big announcement about the push to reopen schools. And what we learned when NBC News gain exclusive access to a border detention facility housing unaccompanied minors when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. There`s a lot going on the news, a lot going on the country, many challenges we face. And amongst all that, the only thing that really unites the Republican Party right now is not any kind of particular policy, it`s not even fealty to Donald Trump. No, the defining project the Republican Party right now is just holding on to power even at the expense of democracy.

I mean, we all saw right, the ugliest manifestation of this on January 6th, when a Trump mob tried to stop the certification of a democratic election. But of course, it didn`t stop there. As we`ve been following on this show, people like Mo Brooks in Alabama, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and Jody Hice in Georgia are running campaigns for office fundamentally grounded in the idea that the last election should have been overturned. Because well, they won`t quite say it this way, but because they didn`t like the result.

And Republicans are of course now using their power in state legislatures across the country to push restrictions in dozens of states designed to make it harder for many Americans to vote. There`s no really, I got to say, much of a substantive agenda here, some stuff about immigration. They don`t like canceled culture, etcetera. The big thing, the big central focus is just literally do whatever it takes to keep power, whether that means lying, or fear mongering, or undermining democracy. That is the project right now of the Republican Party.

And this was clear even before the last few months, right? Back in January, remember, we had that run off in Georgia, a day before January 6th. And while the Democratic candidates on the ground in Georgia we`re offering this substantive agenda to voters, right, we`re going to protect health care amidst this pandemic, including COVID relief, we`re going to send out survival checks, Republicans are making an argument not based on policy, but pushing the big lie and more importantly, offering a message that boiled down to keep them out of power, fear the Democrats, keep them out of power, keep us in power, or else. That was the argument down the stretch.

So now, with a 50-50 Senate with Democratic control, democratic controlled House, Presidency, the very, very rare trifecta in a polarized nation, and that has all come despite the structural conditions of the country, and the polarization of the two coalitions that mean Democrats have to win by larger and larger margins. How seats are gerrymandered largely to give Republicans an advantage.

The Senate is massively biased and getting more so to give outsized power to rural Republican voters. The Electoral College is structured such that even though President Biden won the popular vote by more than seven million votes, not a close election, beat the guy by a lot, just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin, separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College.

Over the last 20-plus years, 28 years, Republicans are consistently losing a majority of Americans in big national elections. They`re increasingly focused on entrenching minority rule. And the place where all of this comes together, right, the through lines that coursed through our democracy and our democratic life is in the use of minority rule in the United States Senate via the filibuster, which of course makes it impossible to pass almost all legislation without 60 votes.

Now, many Democrats now say that needs to change. And as a result, Republicans are quite palpably freaking out. Axios reports President Biden recently met with historians to discuss getting rid of the filibuster and is quote fully prepared to support the dashing of the Senate filibuster rule to allow Democrats to pass voting rights and other legislation for this party.

And Senate Republicans, you can sort of see the fear in their eyes. They see the writing on the wall. You got Democrat after Democrat coming out for some form filibuster reform, including relative moderates, institutionalists, like Amy Klobuchar who you wouldn`t necessarily expect to do so. Senator Angus King of Maine writing in the Washington Post just today, "If forced to choose between a Senate rule and democracy itself, I know where I will come down."

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing hard for the passage of H.R.1, that comprehensive voting rights bill that would likely require weakening or getting rid of the filibuster.


SCHUMER: I would like to ask my Republican colleagues, why are you so afraid of democracy? Why instead of trying to win voters over that you lost in the last election, are you`re trying to prevent them from voting?


HAYES: Now, in response to the prospect of losing the filibuster, Mitch McConnell has been threatening to go bonkers, right, to lay waste to the Senate, making it so that nothing can be passed. Everything would grind to a halt. It would be a non-functional body. And one of the things he`s trying to counter is the notion the filibuster has fundamentally been used as an institution to preserve white supremacy in America.

You know, Barack Obama pointedly made this argument last year at the funeral for civil rights icon John Lewis when he called for equal representation of all Americans.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that`s what we should do.


HAYES: Another Jim Crow relic, not mincing words there. So, then yesterday, when Mitch McConnell was asked about the historical use of the filibuster suppress black votes, he said this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) It has no racial history at all, none. So, there`s no dispute among historians about that.


HAYES: That`s a bald-faced lie as bald-faced lies anything Donald Trump has said. McConnell`s spokesman later claimed the minority leader was referring to the origins of the Senate filibuster when he made that comment as opposed to its actual use, which he certainly didn`t seem to be.

Now, the origin of the filibuster is in fact kind of random, almost accidental. They involve Aaron Burr, the guy who shot Hamilton and a ruling on an obscure bit of Senate procedure. The actual use of the filibuster, as it`s developed, has been almost more than anything, a tool of the white supremacist south and a cudgel to block civil rights. Starting with one of the great villains of American history, John C. Calhoun who first realized it could be used to preserve the power of the slave states.

In 1922, the filibuster was used to kill an anti-lynching bill that would come back the Ku Klux Klan. Infamous segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond filibustered for 24 hours straight to stall the Civil Rights Act of 1957. And a record-setting 60-day filibuster almost killed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Of course, back then they had to actually do the talking.

Actual historians, people that do study this, as opposed to Mitch McConnell say the filibuster has been used to deny Black rights for more than a century. Not exclusively, it`s been used for other stuff, but that has been a central theme here.

And now, Republicans are willing to use it to block a bill that would prevent the GOP from suppressing voters, specifically African-American votes, and would have the effect of making our elections more fair, by the way for everyone. Like, you know, Election Day is a national holiday would be good for Republicans to work on that day too. So, then the big question is, what are Democrats willing to do about it?

I`m joined now by one of those Democrats, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Senator, give me -- give me a little -- a window into the sentiment, the feelings thermometer in the Senate Democratic caucus right now. You pass this big rescue bill reconciliation, held everyone together, have confirmed all the top cabinet nominees for the Biden administration thus far with the exception of OMB. What is the conversation like in that caucus?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): We know that we have a lot more to do. So, voting rights, the infrastructure bill, all of these things. We have a lot -- a lot of work to do and we were facing basically mindless obstruction from the Republicans.

If the rescue package was any indication, we have to use a whole another procedure to get that through because I guess the Republicans decided, none of them voted for the bill either in the House of the Senate, that their constituents didn`t deserve any of the help that was provided in the bill.

So, if we`re facing mindless obstruction, then there`s more and more talk and more and more Democrats willing to go with filibuster reform.

HAYES: You wrote this last October because you`re someone who`s changed your mind on this topic. You said, there was a time when I did not support a filibuster change because the filibuster is supposed to protect the voices of the minorities. We`re in the minority. I don`t think our voices are being protected. So, I`m open to that discussion. But it won`t happen unless the Democrats take back the Senate.

You wrote this when you were -- you were not in the majority. Tell me how you`re own thinking on this changed.

HIRONO: By watching what the republicans are doing. They did not allow the democrats to exercise the filibuster. All they were interested in was passing judges with only 51 votes. So, you know, this is why we have brains. And we -- so we can think about it and to see that they`re just engaging in the stuff that they want to do.

And so, Mitch McConnell is very concerned about us doing filibuster reform, because he knows that there that Democrats will put forth bills that they would want to filibusters such as voting rights, such as some of the other issues that we`ve been talking about wanting to do.

HAYES: You make an interesting point here and I think it`s a sort of important one. Republicans will say, well, look, we didn`t get rid of the filibuster when we have the majority, but there`s no extras there. The first thing we did was get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court justices. That was one of the first things they did.

There was no filibuster for judges, which they cared about. And the two big pieces of domestic legislation they really cared about ACA repeal on the tax cuts, they moved to reconciliation. So, they didn`t really -- they didn`t have the same issue the Democrats face with something like H.R.1 or D.C. statehood.

HIRONO: Exactly. That`s what I mean, that they -- Mitch McConnell was not interested in the Democrats exercising the filibuster by stopping some of the bills that he wanted to push through. And that`s why pushed through the 1.5 trillion tax break for the richest people without using the regular order, as we say.

So, you know, he`s not interested in the kind of legislation that the Democrats want to propose. No, Mitch McConnell is interested in retaining power along with the other Republicans all across the country who want to take away basically steal people`s votes by massive voter suppression bills.

HAYES: Joe Manchin had this to say in a quote by Bloomberg News today, of course, Senator from West Virginia, member your caucus. He says any overhaul of voting rights must have GOP support. That is, you can`t do it in a party-line vote. That`s true without the -- you know, because of the filibuster. But he`s saying it almost as a kind of principled point. He doesn`t want to get rid of the filibuster.

Is there any middle ground? Is there any commonality to find? Is there any deal to be stuck with the Republicans on something like national election administration?

HIRONO: I also know that Joe Manchin wants to get things done for the American people. I know that. He sits right in front of me. And I know he wants that. And so, if he is confronted with what I would call, mindless obstruction, on bill as important as the fundamental right to vote, I think that Joe Manchin will say -- and he said it, that he would be open to possibly talking filibuster.

HAYES: Do you have any window into the White House on this? Obviously, the president United States does not control the Senate body, the Senate body is autonomous institution under our government. You guys control yourselves. But the President of the Democratic Party coming out one way or the other would obviously have a big effect. And I wonder how much those signals are being sent or how much those conversations are being had.

HIRONO: The President also wants to get things done. And he talked about four crises. One is, of course, the pandemic and we had to get the rescue bill done without a single Republican voting for it. And he talked about the economic crisis, so he wants to put forth the build bad back better bill which, unless we get Republican support, we`re going to need to do filibuster reform. He won`t get it. The third is climate change and the fourth is systemic racism.

He won`t be able to move on any of those areas unless the Republicans support us. And right now, they are not showing any indication that they are willing to work with us. And when they vote again -- when they vote against a huge bill like the rescue bill expecting that they`re not going to be held accountable for voting against something that the majority of people wanted, including Republican governors and mayors and people, well, they think they can get away with it.

HAYES: Senator Mazie Hirono who represents state of Hawaii, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.

HAYES: Two gigantic pieces of good news for American children. One, kids may be on the verge of getting back in the classroom, at least the ones that are, a lot aren`t. And two, this part is key, the person in charge of making that decision is not Betsy DeVos. Instead, it`s somebody who seems ready and capable making that happen. That person, the new head of the Department of Education joins me next.


HAYES: Joe Biden was elected on a platform of getting the virus under control chiefly, getting the country vaccinated. And part of that was getting back -- kids back in school safely. While that last one has become a patchwork of many complex local public policy decisions, the administration has taken some strong steps to try to make it happen.

They call on states to prioritize vaccines for teachers. There`s $10 billion going to help districts manage the cost of testing. And there`s $130 billion from that COVID relief package aimed directly at getting K through 12 schools to reopen.

Today, President Biden announced that $81 billion of those dollars were released to schools immediately. The President`s goals to open the majority of K through eight schools within his first 100 days in office. So, today, 63 days in, how close is he to achieving that goal? The person most suited to answer that is the new Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona. And he joins me now.

It`s great to have you on the show, Secretary. Thank you very much for making time. Let`s start with where things are because one of the challenges we`ve had throughout the pandemic is data. Does the Department of Education know how many kids are in school, how many are in part-time school, how many are remote school just as a way of starting to figure out what targets you want to hit?

MIGUEL CARDONA, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Yes, thank you for having me. Yes, we know that 76 percent of the students in pre-K through eight are at least hybrid, 45 percent are full in-person in school as of now, but we have a ways to go.

HAYES: So you got -- you got 45 percent full-time in school. What is -- are there -- are their goals about what you want to see happen in the next few months in terms of numbers?

CARDONA: You know, Chris, really I want to make sure that we have opportunities for all students to reengage in in-person learning this spring. You know, if we`re prioritizing vaccinations, we`re following those mitigation strategies, we`re now -- there`s $10 billion for surveillance testing, and we know based on what we`ve seen that schools can be safe if the mitigation strategies are followed, we can do it. And I really want us to try for 100 percent. But I`m pleased with the progress that we`re making now. I just think we need to keep our foot on the gas.

HAYES: There`s been an argument that some have made. Republicans and conservatives, though not exclusively them, that teachers unions have been overly cautious, overly worried about transmission in schools and have been a chief obstacle to getting back to in person learning. You`re an educator yourself and have been, what do you think about that critique?

CARDONA: Listen, teachers have bent over backwards since March of last year. And in my work in Connecticut, as commissioner, I partnered with educators to make sure that we can do it safely. 100 percent of the districts in Connecticut offer in-person learning because of that partnership. All educators want children in school. They just wanted it done safely.

HAYES: What does that mean? I mean, I guess the question is, has sentiment changed, right? Because look, the viruses scary. Schools, as we know, as any parent who goes through cold and flu season knows, very transmissible. At the same time, a lot of data has suggested that the levels of transmission are not what you would expect. They have not been huge locus of outbreaks, but yet people are worried.

Like, how much sense you have -- sense you have of how teacher`s sentiment has shifted and evolved, and how much vaccine access has changed that?

CARDONA: Well, you know, first of all we have -- it always helps to have a teacher in the White House, because educators are being acknowledged for the work that they`re doing and vaccination. prioritization for education - - for educators is something that the President led with, providing the funding to make sure that schools have supplies for PPE, for whatever safeguards are needed to safely reenter the school.

And you know, the emphasis on those mitigation strategies, all those things are helping build that level of confidence that we could do it and we could do it safely. So, I think that has a lot to do with it.

HAYES: Did you have anything to do -- what were your interactions like with CDC over the three-foot guidance they put out? There`s a lot of discussion on that. Obviously, it makes a big deal to change that because schools don`t have a huge surfeit of space, particularly in urban school districts.

Anthony Fauci said that was entirely a data-driven decision. But do you liaison with CDC on that? Did you get a heads up? What is that interaction like?

CARDONA: We follow their recommendations. So, there was no discussion before, there was no what do you think about this. We follow the science. And we implement safely based on those guidelines. And I`ll tell you, you know, from last March until now, one of the things in those districts that are successful, and we just had a summit today, and we heard success stories, one of the things that was a through-line is the reliance on health and safety data first.

This is a health pandemic. So, ensuring health and safety as a priority will always drive our reopening efforts.

HAYES: There`s been a lot of coverage of the emerging literature and studies of the effects of this past year, unlike any school year I think in recent memory, it`s safe to say, and the effects of remote learning, particularly remote only learning and particularly along lines of race and class in terms of equity.

What is your sense, your characterization, your understanding of what the literature and the data are saying about what the effects of a year of remote schooling have been like?

CARDONA: Well, you know, it doesn`t take -- we don`t have to look at the research. As parents that we are, I know you have little ones, you could tell when you talk to you a little ones, the impact that it has not to be around their friends, not to be around their teachers in person. And you can only look at a screen for so long, especially if you`re an elementary- aged student.

So, we know that there are effects. That`s why with the rescue plan, there are funds there to provide good opportunities for students for summer experiences, and making sure that when the students do come back to school, we`re prepared to meet them with what their challenges were and what their needs are, and make sure that our schools are designed better than they were last March to meet the needs of our students, which, as you said, are significantly impacted by this pandemic.

HAYES: There`s been some controversy around or some debate around standardized testing this year for understandable reasons. Arguments go in both directions, right? One is, you want to have a guidepost to measure precisely the effects we`re talking about, the other is it seems insane to subject schools to standardized -- children to standardized testing given the least standardized year in American history.

500 researchers and scholars wrote a letter to you basically saying, don`t force schools to give standardized tests this pandemic year, that it made no sense. It would exacerbate inequality and produce flawed data. There will be standardized testing this year. Why do you think that`s a good idea?

CARDONA: You know, this is analogous to the decisions, the difficult decisions that leaders had to make last July when we talked about reopening schools. And we know that there`s no one-size-fits-all. You know, when we were thinking about reopening schools, we have very small schools and we have very large schools, and states that had high numbers and states that have very low numbers of COVID. So, there`s no one size fits all.

So the flexibilities that were announced by the department last month, allowed for some of that variance. But let me tell you very clearly, that when we`re pushing out $130 billion state-level data, not necessarily the classroom data, because teachers know where their kids are, but that state- level data is going to ensure that we`re providing the funds to those students who are impacted the most by the pandemic.

We have to be very focused on addressing achievement disparities, opportunity gaps that were exacerbated by this. And those data do help make sure that we`re moving the money and the policies for those students that were affected the most, students of color, students with disabilities who whose impact by this pandemic were greater than many others.

HAYES: Your anticipation for the fall, I saw an announcement that Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey just announced, I think, that he will not allow any remote education in the fall. I know there are parents who are still hesitant and worried. We don`t know the trajectory of vaccines. It seems to me that getting all kids in class makes sense. Do you have a position -- does the department have a position on that?

CARDONA: You know, it`s premature to tell. One thing that I know as a former commissioner of education, COVID-19 numbers will dictate how we move to reopen schools. So, it`s not just about what`s happening in the schools, it`s about what`s happening in the community. If -- as members of our community, we can follow those mitigation strategies to make sure that our schools are safe places for our students and for our staff.

We should have students in school next year. We should have them in school in the spring. I really want to move forward this spring to safely reopen schools as much as possible. K through eight is the goal, but we also know we have high schoolers that are waiting for their drama club to start, for their band, for those graduation ceremonies that are so important.

So, we really need to make sure we`re following the mitigation strategies and doing everything to get our students in school now.

HAYES: All right, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, thanks for making time tonight. I enjoyed that.

CARDONA: Thank you.

HAYES: If you think you`ve had a bad day at work, well, at least you didn`t cause a literal traffic jam of global proportions. How that giant ship got stuck in the Suez Canal. This story is wild. After this.


HAYES: All right, so there`s a situation you might have heard of unfolding in the Suez Canal. Suez Canal would be the 120-mile waterway separating the African and Asian continents running through Egypt connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. And as you may know, the Suez Canal is one of the most used and most vital shipping lanes in the world. Nearly 19,000 ships passing through it last year, accounting for fully 12 percent of all global trade.

Now, for somewhat obvious reasons, right, the canal is so critical because it drastically cuts down travel time between key ports. If you`re shipping goods between the Middle East and Europe, oil perhaps, you don`t go -- if you don`t go through the Suez Canal, you have to go all the way around the African continent adding thousands of miles and days of travel time.

Sailing via the canal can cut the length of the trip nearly in half. So, it`s massively important economics -- economically, strategically, so much so that as you also may know, countries have gone to war over the Suez Canal. It`s been a very contentious, colonial possession by the Brits and then the Egyptians have it, right. It`s on their land after all.

All of that is why what is happening there right now is so bad. Yesterday, a container ship a quarter of a mile long, weighing 220,000 tons and capable of carrying 20,000 containers -- that`s a lot of containers -- well, it was traveling north into the canal on its way from China to Rotterdam. This is fairly standard thing you`ll see it enter the canal there at the bottom of your screen, represented by a little yellow arrow. There it is. Keep going there a little fellow.

When a sandstorm and high winds hit the area, the ship named the Ever Given lost the ability to steer, according the Suez Canal Authority, and it ran aground just a few miles into the canal right there. See that? And it got stuck, just wedged in there, completely blocking off the canal and stopping transit in both directions.

This is what traffic looked like in the canal prior to the Ever Given getting stuck. Each dot representing one of the 50 ships traversing the count each day on average. Early Tuesday morning, local time, the traffic jam begins soon leaving more than 100 ships unable to enter the canal. Satellite images show the enormity of the problem from above. You can actually see it from space.

Back at sea level, frustration grew as the hours went on. As you might imagine, the price of oil started to spike. About a million barrels usually passed to the canal each day. Concerns grew that all those ships just waiting around the Red Sea can be targeted and attacked.

Tugboats and diggers have been working to free the Ever Given and try to refloat it. So far, they have been unsuccessful. Work is suspended overnight Egypt and an elite salvage squad is set to arrive on the scene tomorrow. There are now at least 185 vessels waiting to enter the canal according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Man, can you imagine sitting in the cockpit of that thing. You get wedged in there. The situation in the Suez Canal is a reminder of how many giant important systems we have like global shipping that just, you know, run along in the background out of sight out of mind until they break down and we face a kind of crisis point.

That`s part of what`s happening here in this country where a year-long suspension of the normal workings of the asylum system, particularly the southern border, has now helped produce a humanitarian crisis at the southern border. That`s next.


HAYES: Today, for the first time, the Biden administration allowed a camera inside one of the facilities housing unaccompanied minors seeking asylum at the Southern Border. Our own Gabe Gutierrez was there in Carrizo Springs, Texas as a Congressional delegation toward a Health and Human Services facility that`s currently housing 766 children.

108 of those children tested positive for COVID when they entered. They`re now being housed in negative air pressure dormitories. Children played soccer outside in the Texas heat while inside, there are piles of clothing waiting to be distributed in intake center. And many of the children arrive with no family at all. As one Honduran teenager who crossed the Rio Grande into Texas told Telemundo, "His dream is to meet his father. The two have not seen each other for 13 years now, ever since the father left for the United States when the boy was four."

One of the added pressures at the border this year is that as in many parts of American life and global life, 2020 was unlike any year we`ve ever had, right? That means that any return to something like a pre pandemic normal makes everything look even more exaggerated. That`s true in, you know, car sales and housing construction. It`s true at the border too.

I mean, the Trump administration used COVID as a kind of pretext to just keep everyone out, asylum seekers, you know, people that had legal claims. A federal judge blocked them, but they were still pretty successful. And so, now, we have a year`s worth of families and children who were told they couldn`t get in are now able to enter. Much of what we`re seeing is the negligible math of migration.

The Trump personnel didn`t make it any better. NBC news reporting today that even though Biden transition official sounded the alarm on the need for more shelter space for those migrant children in early December, the Trump administration essentially sat on their hands until just days before the inauguration.

Julia Ainsley is the NBC Correspondent who reported on that story. And Damia Bonmati is a News Correspondent at Telemundo. He was a reporter who spoke with those children at the border in the NBC Latino article I referenced earlier. Welcome to you both.

Julia, let me start with just your reporting on these warnings that were sent up the chain where they`re just sort of looking at what`s happening at the end of last year and what the capacity would be in COVID, and saying we`re going to need more space.

JULIA AINSLEY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that`s right, Chris. This wasn`t just one warning. This was repeatedly, as I understand, at least once a week, brought up in numerous meetings both at HHS and DHS from the Biden transition team, telling at that time the current administration, the Trump administration, that they needed to expand Health and Human Services capacity, so that they wouldn`t have the backlog that we`re seeing now of children at Customs and Border Protection.

They were already looking at the numbers that were starting to rise in late fall. And they could foresee that this would be a problem. And they told the Trump administration, look, you have the same data we`re looking at, if not more data. You need to go ahead and start the process of opening places like Carrizo Springs, and using your power, the power that you now have being the controlling administration of the U.S. government to start looking at new sites where children can be housed under Health and Human Services, the agency that is supposed to take care of children, not Customs and Border Protection, knowing the problems that can happen when there`s a backup there.

But as we were told, they just sat on their hands. They didn`t get answers. They didn`t get reasons for this. When you ask the Trump administration why they didn`t give more response, what you hear from people like former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf who said, well, we were sounding the alarm in the other direction. We were saying that if they start to roll back some of the Trump-era policies, they`re going to see a rise in migration.

But in fact, we understand that from these conversations, it was even career officials at HHS without a dog in either fight -- you know, there -- those are people who have served under numerous presidents who said, we need to go ahead and expand this capacity. Because even though you may have 13,000 beds in these facilities as they did, because of COVID, again, always a part of every conversation we`re having now, they were only able to use about half of those beds because they had to space children apart. So, therefore you need more space, you need more facilities.

And that just didn`t happen until January 15th. And at that point, the only thing that happened was that then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar started to even look at sites, let alone start a contracting -- start looking for contractors or staffing to run this facility. So, they could have had a head start, Chris. They could have started in December to get the capacity that they so desperately need right now.

HAYES: I mean, I really liked the piece that you wrote that we published in NBC Latino in which you just interviewed some of these kids. Can you tell me what, what kind of things you heard from them?

DAMIA BONMATI, NEWS CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: So, as you said, Chris, we spoke with several children and teenagers minutes after they crossed the river. I sat down with them while they were resting. Most of them, they told me they were from Honduras. And something that really struck me is something in common in most of them.

They arrive here with a name that they have memorized with a phone number written down on a piece of paper, and with an address that they know by heart even though they`ve never been there. And that`s why it`s the state and the number in the name of a father or mother here in the U.S. they arrived years ago to earn a leaving to seek asylum here in the U.S.

And the parents, they left the country when they -- the children were very, very young, even they weren`t born. So, now they feel that -- these kids feel that their journey (AUDIO GAP)

HAYES: Yes, so you`ve got -- you`ve got parents that came off and fathers that migrated for work, then they`re then sent by themselves. They know a family member. You had this exchange with the child. You said, have you been scared? Yes. Why? Because I miss my mom. I`ve never been away from her. Justin has been in the U.S. for half an hour, sitting in a parking lot with 10 other unaccompanied minors.

That point that`s being made here by Damia, Julia, which is that -- which is what advocates have been saying about this situation, right? So, you got CBP doing the apprehension. These kids want to file for asylum. There`s a consent decree and legal -- there`s statutory guidance about moving them out of CBP into HHS custody.

But in the vast majority of cases, they have some family member contact. And the question is, is there a capacity at the border to process them and get them in touch and vet these family members so that they`re not staying in, you know, tense in the Texas sun?

BONMATI: The impression on the ground is that --

AINSLEY: Yes, that`s certainly what we know --

BONMATI: Go ahead.

HAYES: Go ahead, Julia, and then you, Damia. Sorry.

AINSLEY: I definitely want to hear from Damia. But I definitely know that that`s also what at DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that these Border Patrol stations are no place for children. And so, they want to get it so that they can actually put those healthcare workers, those HHS workers in the custody, but in the Border Patrol station, so that they can start to match children with those sponsors, with those relatives with those names that they have written down as quickly as possible.

Right now, we know they at least have a pilot program to do that. It`s not clear how much further it`s gotten beyond that.

HAYES: Damia, what were you saying?

BONMATI: Yes, and now it`s my turn. Yes, I have to say that sometimes we`ve talked a lot about these on the media. But the impression there is that those kids, they are not aware of all these debates and the process. I asked them if they were coming now because of the new administration. And they didn`t really understand my question, because they didn`t really know that there was a transition of power, or, for example, they would know about their upcoming trip the day before leaving into the U.S.

So, all the details of a travel are dangers. They were dangers. They would know day by day, and problem after problem at the border. And they would say -- and they would see those Border Patrol agents as people helping them. They wouldn`t have -- they weren`t afraid at that point. They were kind of relieved because they felt that they made it and they were in the U.S. They didn`t forget that telephone number and released that number to the Border Patrol. So, that was the impression for those kids. They were even closer to their families.

HAYES: Damia Bonmati who did great reporting down at the border, talk to some of these kids. Julia Ainsley who is always fantastic on this beat. Thank you both for the reporting you`re doing the story. I really appreciate it.

All right, tonight, newly uncovered video reveals what happened -- at least part of what happened to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who of course died the day after that January 6th attack. The video and the amazing detective work that brought it to life next.


HAYES: As prosecutors continue to build their cases against the people they say attack Capitol to stop Joe Biden from becoming president, learning more about the planning that went on the weeks before the event took place. So, according to prosecutors, this man, Kelly Meggs of Florida is a member of the right-wing militia group known as the Oath Keepers.

And he is one of a group of nine members of the group charged with conspiring to delay the certification the presidential election, manifestly what they were doing. And there`s a fair amount of we already know about him, right?

So, on December 22, Meggs sent a series of Facebook messages reading and part "Trump, said it`s going to be wild. He called for us to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild." Three days later, on Christmas, he wrote, "D.C. has no guns, so mace, and the gas masks, some buttons. If you have armor, that`s good." Weeks before the attack in the Capitol, Kelly Meggs was telling people he was going to D.C. to make it wild and he was bringing weapons.

We know from another filing that the Oath Keepers were planning on acting as security for long-time Trump fixer Roger Stone, a man who Trump, you know, sprung with a pardon. Here`s a picture of Kelly Meggs and Roger Stone together the day before the attack. Meggs is the guy in the camo hat, Roger Stone is the other guy.

Another court filing apparently shows Meggs wife Connie was shown at a Florida booksigning earlier in December. Now, in new filings today, prosecutors share messages from Kelly Meggs, they say show the Oath Keepers were coordinating their arm presence in D.C. with the Proud Boys. According to the documents on December 19th, Meggs sent a Facebook message reading, "Well, we are ready for the rioters." Rioters, he says. That`s filed.

This week, I organize an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida Three Percenters, and Proud Boys. We`ve decided to work together and shut this expletive down. A week later, Meggs sent another message saying "We have orchestrated a plan with the Proud Boys." I`ve been communicating with redacted, the leader."

That certainly looks like evidence of conspiring to do this thing. Then really telling message comes the next day when Meggs writes, "Wait for the sixth when we are all in D.C. to insurrection." His words. Like, he might as well written like we are conspiring an insurrection against the United States government.

We also learned a lot more today about the circumstances surrounding an attack on Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who, of course, later died. Several New York Times reporters did just an outstanding job using videos from the insurrection to isolate the attack on officer Sicknick, as well as tracking the men who attacked him around the Capitol grounds before and after the assault.

Evan Hill is part of that team of New York Times journalists and he joins me now. First of all, Evan, kudos on incredible video investigative work, which kind of blew my mind as I watched it. Let`s just start with sort of setting the scene here. I mean, you know, this has been one of the great mysteries and tragedies of this day. This officer lost his life and months went by and it was just not clear what happened to him. It looks like we`re finally getting a sense. What did you find in your visual investigation?

EVAN HILL, VISUAL INVESTIGATIONS TEAM, NEW YORK TIMES: So, what we found after sort of scouring these videos was basically that these two individuals who`ve been named in court papers, Julian Khater and George Tanios has worked together more or less to bring bear spray and pepper spray to the Capitol, and that Khater took the bear spray, approached the police line that Officer Sicknick was defending, seemed to wait for the right opportunity when there was a scuffle to rip away the bike racks from the police officers and then sprayed this chemical irritant toward these officers and seem to hit Officer Sicknickn in the face, and that he immediately retreated and tried to wash it out of his face and eyes.

HAYES: So, you`ve got -- just to give the timeline and the place, right, this is on the west side of the Capitol. And this is as far as I could tell -- this is before they`ve actually gotten in, right? This is -- there`s still a kind of perimeter that`s been set up where they`ve got these -- it`s not very well manned, but they`ve got bike racks and they`ve got Capitol Police officers.

And that`s the point at which these two individuals, at least -- at least as far as we can tell from the video and the court filings, appear to do this. Is that right?

HILL: That`s exactly right. And I think that`s something that we sort of realized watching these is that Sicknick arrives at essentially the extreme south end of this very lightly defended police line. And as you can see in the videos, he`s wearing his bike helmet, he`s in his blue uniform. He`s a bike cop at the time. He`s essentially last-minute reinforcements rushing in to protect this police line.

And when the videos start, there`s maybe five officers down there on the south end of the line, facing off against scores of rioters. And then as the video continues, the mob grows, and grows, and grows. And these Capitol Police officers are essentially left hanging on the extreme flank of this line. And you can see, they`re not wearing face protection. They`re not wearing helmets. They`re not wearing riot gear. They`re extremely vulnerable.

HAYES: Yet this is precisely what was I found so striking about the video you present is that they`re vulnerable A, and B, this question as we saw it unfold in real-time of like, how did this happen? How did these people manage to, you know, overwhelm the defenses of what you would assume is one of the most defended, secure locations in all of America, right?

And what you see in this little snapshot is that A, there massively outnumbered, but B, there are people there who have prepared themselves to bring implements such as bear spray, and tactically deploy them to, you know, cause enough pain dislocation that they could then punch through the line, which appears like what happens here.

HILL: Yes. And I think you noted today, Chris, as well, that bear spray has become pretty commonplace at protests and riots that have escalated from protests over the last few years of the Trump administration. Both sides are now bringing it. Proud Boys bring it. A lot of people are bring bear spray to riots now, and a lot of people brought it to the Capitol on January 6th.

And the -- I think one of the interesting things that we noticed reviewing these videos is that Julian Khater`s attack on the line with this chemical irritant, it could be bear spray, it could be pepper spray. The federal prosecutors aren`t saying what they think it is yet. But this attack comes at a really key moment because five minutes after the attack, the line essentially breaks and the rioters overrun the police who are stationed there, the police have to retreat, and this mob of hundreds gains control over the entire west side of the Capitol.

HAYES: Yes, I fell down a little bit of a bear spray rabbit hole on the internet today, which I don`t think I had been aware that for folks that are sort of involved in protests or counter-protests that turned violent, sort of street fighting that we`ve seen in different varieties of places, this has been become kind of a thing they armed themselves with.

What do we even know about -- it seems like the science about what it does to a person is actually a little unclear.

HILL: Yes, that`s right. And you know, bear spray is typically many times more powerful than the pepper spray someone might carry for self-defense. It`s not allowed to be used on humans. It`s regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. It`s a much more powerful spray. It`s a bigger spray. It`s meant for bears, obviously.

But what we don`t know and what`s still an open question is did Officer Sicknick die because he was sprayed, whether it was bear spray or pepper spray. He collapses shortly before 10:00 p.m. that evening. He is conditioned deteriorates over the next 24 hours. And the following evening, he dies. And his family says he had a blood clot and a stroke.

I`m not a medical expert, so I can`t say if this is something that happens when you`re suffering from the effects of bear spray or pepper spray. But federal prosecutors have obviously not ruled out bringing a murder case here.

HAYES: Right. That is not -- those murder charges haven`t happened and prosecutors are not alleging a causal link. What we -- what they are alleging and what your visual investigation suggests is that there`s -- you know, this did happen to him and we know that he died later. Whether one led to the other directly in a medical sense is still an open question.

Evan Hill, excellent work. Thanks for joining us tonight.

HILL: Thank you.

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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Chris. Thank you my friend. Much appreciated. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.