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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 4/23/21

Guests: Laurie Roberts, Rick Hasen, Elizabeth Neumann, Ben Wikler, Rachel Cohen


Arizona Republicans conduct election audit fueled by Donald Trump election conspiracy lies. A Capitol rioter was arrested after a Bumble match alerts the Feds. 10 days after pausing the use the Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus vaccine, the CDC and FDA cleared the one-shot vaccine just over an hour ago, a decision praised by Dr. Fauci. India has explicitly asked our country the United States to lift a ban on exporting raw materials for vaccines.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Beautiful little girl, so God bless them. They won the week too. Juanita Tolliver, Tiffany Cross -- don`t forget to watch Tiffany`s show, "THE CROSS CONNECTION" tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Her guests will include Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge. Marcia Fudge will be here. Do not miss it. That`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not going to be voting for any election integrity bills from this point forward.

HAYES: Election madness in Arizona. The State Senate auditing the 2020 results from Maricopa County as a Republican kills a bill to restrict voting because the bill doesn`t restrict voting enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason I am voting no on this bill is because I have given my commitment to my constituents that we will fix all election integrity.

HAYES: Then, the Justice Department now expecting a charge 500 people in connection with January 6th, including the man who boasted about storming the Capitol on a dating app. Plus --

ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: With these actions, the administration of Johnson and Johnson`s COVID-19 vaccines can resume immediately.

HAYES: The Johnson and Johnson vaccine cleared by the FDA and CDC as Senator Ron Johnson campaigns on a pro-COVID platform.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective. So, if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Like so many Republican-controlled states, the state of Arizona, which of course narrowly flipped for Democrats at the Presidential and Senate level has seen a Republican push for voter restrictions in that state.

Yesterday, that push to restrict access to the ballot box ran into an unexpected roadblock. After republicans introduced too restrictive voting bill like ones we`ve seen in dozens of other states, one Republican state senator defected to stop the bill for moving forward.

You might think, oh, wow, a Republican breaking with our party over this anti-democratic push to change the rules. But no, no, no, no, no, she is mad it is not more restrictive.


KELLY TOWNSEND, REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR, ARIZONA: I am committed to fixing the problems in this election system in Arizona even if it means my name is in read on this board and you guys can say it`s a temper tantrum. Absolutely, I`m upset about all of my election bills dead. Absolutely, I`m upset. You want to see a temper tantrum? I can show you one if you really want to see it, but I will not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me. Excuse me.


HAYES: I can show you a temper tantrum. Well, that`s kind of the Republican Party of the moment in microcosm, isn`t it? Because the extreme right-wing has taken over the Republican Party of Arizona including the Republican Party chair in that state, Trump loyalists Kelli Ward. Remember Mitch McConnell called her Kim Trail Kelly because she was so nutty?

Not only are they introducing restrictive voting legislation, they are also undertaking a truly insane audit of the 2020 election vote five months after the election. No, I`m not making up this. They are actually -- look, they`re doing it as we speak. That`s them. That`s them auditing the vote.

This is a live shot of an actual audit of the actual physical ballots that were cast. And they are doing this because they think they`re going to find some smoking gun that Donald Trump actually won Maricopa County.


KELLI WARD, CHAIR, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY: I`m your Chairwoman, Dr. Kelli Ward. And today, we are going to be talking full forensic audit because you want to know, our whole state wants to know, the nation wants to know, and the world wants to know what happened in 2020 in Maricopa County, and beyond.


HAYES: In case you thought this was going to go away, it`s not. I mean, first off, we know what happened in the election. Joe Biden won and nobody knows what they`re talking about disputes that. Election officials in the courts have found no merit to allegations of fraud or errors. Remember, all this got litigated in Arizona court in multiple courthouses, so there`s really no reason to do an audit at all.

But moving on from that, the head of the company that was hired to oversee this forensic audit, actively promoted Donald Trump`s attempt to undermine the election, tweeting, stop the steal and fight back and retweeted a post saying, I`m tired of hearing people say there was no fraud, it happened, it`s real and people get better get wise fast.

That is the guy running the audit, the audit that`s happening right now and those live shots. His name is Doug Logan, OK. Now, today, an Arizona central reporter who volunteered to help the audit to gain access tweeted, "I noticed the counters had blue pens. Supposed to only have red when you`re around ballots since ballots can read black and blue ink. Those blue pins the counter have could potentially be used to mark the ballots. I printed this out Doug Logan with Cyber Ninjas." That`s his firm, apparently.

"Doug is running this audit. He told me his understanding of blue ink was fine, the ballots only read black ink. And then he came back and said, actually, it seems I am correct, but he still seemed unsure. He said that they would work on this."

That`s what`s going on in Arizona right now with the actual ballots, OK. That`s the same guy, the one she`s talking to, with people going around with blue pens on the physical ballots. That`s the same guy who tweeted stop the steel. And his audit counters are using pens that could potentially be used to change ballots.

What on earth? I mean, there are already legitimate questions about the security around those ballots and this whole audit. A local news team in Phoenix reported that for four days they "gained access to the Coliseum, its hallways, staircases, the main floor, where the computer equipment will be used by the auditors. The team was able to get close to the actual ballots and counting computer equipment. At no time did anyone at the site asked the team to leave. At no time to the team enter through any doorway or entry that contained a no trespassing or restricted access sign."

For four entire days, nobody was guarding the ballots or election computers these people have gotten their hands on to run their audit unless you think the Trump supporter running operation to some kind of an anomaly. An ex- Arizona lawmaker who was allegedly photographed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th riots says he and his wife are now involved in Arizona`s audit of the 2020 election.

Here`s a picture of the guy shared by the Arizona House Democrats. He says he is helping with the audit. There he is apparently on the steps. Now, Democrats are not surprisingly pushing back on this ludicrous undertaking, suing to stop it. A judge did actually temporarily halt the count this afternoon before allowing it to continue after Democrats declined to post a $1 million bond demanded by the judge. And so, right now, the audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona is somehow ongoing.

Laurie Roberts is a columnist of the Arizona Republic and, and she joins me now. I have to say, I`ve covered a lot of elections, I`ve covered recounts, I`ve covered very tightly contested elections. I`ve never seen anything like this in my life. Like, I actually don`t even understand how this came to be. How did this come to be?

LAURIE ROBERTS, COLUMNIST, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: It`s Arizona, what can I say. You can`t spell Arizona without AZ. From the night of the election, the stop the steal chant began. And in our state, even though there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing. All of the audit done, all of the sample hand counts done, all of the lawsuits done, have turned up absolutely no evidence of a problem.

But we have a Republican Party here that is in the grips of the far-right wing. These are people that are deeply into Donald Trump`s pocket. And we have Republican elected officials, who simply put, are not willing to speak truth to their own constituents. They`re scared to death of them. And so, here we are with -- I call them the Trump ninjas because the company is Cyber Ninjas, and Doug Logan is their CEO, so I call them the Trump ninjas.

Here they are with our ballots. There are no city officials around. There are no state officials around. There are no county officials around. There is just Doug Logan and whoever his people are with our ballots. He can`t tell us who`s counting the ballots. He can`t reassure us that the people counting the ballots are a mix of Republicans and Democrats and Independents since we`re a state with a third, a third, and the third.

He can`t tell us who`s going to be doing the signature certification on the ballots, if they have any training and knowing how to compare signatures. He won`t tell us who`s going out to knock on doors to ask people hey, did you really vote, whether they`ve been vetted, who`s going to be asked what they`re going to be asked. We know nothing, because in fact, reporters aren`t allowed to come on to the floor of the coliseum there that you`re showing and report on what`s going on.

When asked about why, the reporters were told, well, there`s not enough space for them. This is an arena with 15,000 seats, and there`s not enough space to allow reporters inside with notebooks and cameras and all the things that they need to do their job. And we saw the result of that today when our -- when our reporter Jen Fifield was able to go in.

The only way reporters can go in is if they have official -- if they agree to be official observers, which is of course ridiculous. Reporters shouldn`t be officially observing anything. They`re there as members of the public.

So, she was allowed in as an official observer and noticed these pens which everybody knows, you can`t take a blue pen or a black pen anywhere near ballots because the machinery will pick up whatever markings you may make on it and invalidate the ballot. The fact that Doug Logan didn`t know that shows you just how ill-prepared they are to do this audit.

HAYES: So, I mean, I`m almost at a loss for words here. But what -- how does -- how does anyone take custody? Do they sue or were they -- it was unclear to me. Did they sue for this or did the Arizona Republicans in the state senate grant them this access?

ROBERTS: The Senate Republicans who control the Senate, it`s a 30-person senate and 16 of them are Republicans, subpoenaed these ballots for the first time --

HAYES: Got you.

ROBERTS: -- in I think late November or early December. And the county said, we can`t hand them over to you because Kelli Ward, who is the state Republican Party chairwoman is still suing us. And we`re not going to turn over our voting machines in our ballots to you that are potential evidence while we`re being sued.

So, once the lawsuits were mostly taken care of, Senate President Karen Fann put out another subpoena for these ballots and for the machinery and for everything else, and for voter records. And a judge ultimately ordered that the subpoenas are valid, so the county had to turn over this material.

Now, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is a five-member board run by Republicans who point out that there have been no evidence of a problem. They even went the extra mile and hired experts, real actual experts, to check out the machinery, which is the Dominion voting system`s machinery, to see if there was any problem with the machinery. They came up with nothing.

So, when the time came for them to be part of this audit, and when they found out who was involved with the audit, they`re like, we want nothing to do with this. We`ll give you the ballots. You take them wherever you want it to be.

And so that`s where they are. They`ve been taken out of the vault where they were under clear security, and now they`ve been trucked over, along with all these machines, to Veterans Memorial Coliseum where we don`t know what kind of security there are. Reporters were wandering around there last night.

They`re supposed to be -- I mean, who knows. If you can look in the picture there, you`ll see a little fence on the side I think to the left, and the ballots are behind there. There`s I think 50 or 60 pallets of them. That`s 2.1 million ballots. They also will have access to the envelopes that you have to sign should they want those. They get everything.

And here`s the scary part. It`s not the senate doing this audit. They have outsourced the whole thing to these private contractors who have our records, who have our ballots. We don`t know what they`re doing with it. And they clearly have no idea what they`re doing themselves with it because they don`t even know that you can`t use a red pen or blue pen. So, who knows what they`re going to do.

And another thing.

HAYES: This is --

ROBERTS: Another thing if you don`t mind me interrupt.

HAYES: Go ahead. Please.

ROBERTS: I know you`re not used to being interrupted.

HAYES: Please, no, please.

ROBERTS: The other thing -- the other thing that should shock people is the senate allocated $150,000 for this audit, which every elections expert that the Republic has talked to says that`s a ridiculous thing. You need anywhere from $1 million to $8 million depending on what you want to do. So, One America News Network, and one of their reporters in conjunction with Trump lawyer Lin Wood, is doing fundraising to raise private funds to supplement the cost of -- the expense of this audit, that he`s feeding this money directly to the Cyber Ninja people.

We don`t know who`s giving money for this official state audit. We don`t know this funding it. They won`t say whether -- we`ll never know the source of the money. It`s become a ridiculous thing. The only people to my knowledge, the only journalistic organization to my knowledge that has access to the floor is One American News Network. But this is a totally independent audit, totally.

HAYES: Laurie Roberts, that was -- thank you so much for coming on. I`m literally incredulous. I cannot believe the facts as laid out here. And thank you for explaining them so clearly. I really appreciate it.

ROBERTS: Glad to be here.

HAYES: All right, I want to bring in Rick Hasen, founder and editor of the Election Law Blog, author of Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy. He`s got a great new op-ed in New York Times titled Republicans aren`t done messing with elections, which well, yes.

I want to talk about your op-ed. But first, I just want you to -- I have no -- I have never in my life in my experience as a political reporter heard of anything like this. Have you?

RICK HASEN, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, ELECTION LAW BLOG: No. I mean, of course not. This is -- you know, I call it theater but it`s theater of the absurd. This is nothing like the way any kind of election professional would audit a race. Now, of course, we know this race was audited, recounted, gone through core challenges. There were no problems.

You have Republicans in charge in Maricopa County, you have a Republican governor. If there was a problem, it would have been uncovered. I mean, this is just adding fuel to the fire, trying to convince people that the election was stolen for really crass political purposes and I think for financial purposes, because it`s big business to be claiming the election stolen and raise more money off of it. It`s terrible, and it`s terrible for our country. It`s funny, but it`s actually very sad.

HAYES: But here`s what`s -- OK, here`s what I find absolutely chilling about this. And it dovetails what you are you in the New York Times. Basically, you say, look, we`re all -- we`re all clear about these attempts of voter suppression at the margins, closing polls early, and making it harder to register, etcetera.

But you`re worried that Republican state legislatures are making moves to essentially grab power of election administration which is usually in the hands of county boards or secretaries of state because they didn`t get their way during 2020 when Republican and Democratic alike stood up to them. And so, Republican legislatures are trying to grab that turf, so they can like directly manipulate votes. And this feels like a trial run of it.

I mean, you`ve got the State Senate turning over the county`s ballots to some private group to do whatever they want with. Like, this feels like a test run.

HASEN: Yes, I don`t know that I call it a test run because this has no legal effect. I mean, what`s a test run is what the Georgia legislature does. You know, we spent so much time talking about whether people can get water while they`re online to vote.

And that`s an issue and it`s upsetting, but it`s much less important than the part of the same Georgia law that says that the Secretary of State, the one who stood up to Trump when he called him to try to find those 11,280 votes, that this guy is now taken off the election board. He no longer has power. And instead, he can be replaced by someone who is handpicked by the legislature.

That person can have control over a board that can take away the power to administer the election and up to four counties, which can include heavily Democratic Fulton County. This is a way of potentially cooking the election books when we get down to actually counting the votes, two or four years from now, right?

So, this is kind of a time bomb. We don`t know how these rules are going to play out. In state after state, Republican legislatures are either passing or considering passing rules that are going to put more power in the hands of political actors who are going to be able to count the votes. I mean, it doesn`t get worse for problems of democracy than worrying that the votes are not going to be fairly counted by election officials.

HAYES: And one of the things that surfaced in this long process after election 2020 was we got into the kind of the sort of technical bureaucracy of election administration vote counting and how those results get certified and passed from the county level up to the state. And there`s these boards, for instance. So, you know, the Republicans in the Wayne County Board objected and then switch their votes. And then they went to the State Board of Michigan.

And no one -- no one knows anything or cares much usually about the state election board in Michigan. It doesn`t have any power. It just, you know, says yes, these are the votes, boom. But you know, one of them objected, one Republican voted with the Democrats to say this was free and fair. That guy, as you noted, and I learned from your op-ed, he`s been booted now.

Like -- it was like the whole thing was a test run, you know, who to pull the heist in the bank and find out where are the alarms are and where the security is and who switches shifts at what time. And now you`re going to go back and, you know, engineer around that.

HASEN: Right. The key point is that there was a lot of noise during the aftermath of the 2020 election about the election being stolen and rigged. But when push came to shove, almost every Republican who had authority from the, you know, this guy on the selection board to the Secretary of State of Georgia, they did the right thing.

And so, now it`s a change the personnel and put in place -- you know, so who replaced the guy in Michigan is a -- is the executive director of an organization that`s funded by the DeVoses. You know, this is somebody who`s going to be Trumpist loyalists. There are Trumpist being put into positions all around the country.

And if they`re the ones counting the votes, we`re in real trouble. That`s why we need things like paper ballots so that if it goes to a court -- and the court is fair, we can actually run fair recounts and not the kind of ridiculous circus like we`re seeing happening right now in Arizona.

HAYES: Rick Hasen who`s op-ed in New York Times I really recommend you take a second read. Thank you so much, Rick.

HASEN: Thank you. Coming up, little tip, advice quarter from your favorite APM host. For anybody getting back out on the dating scene, now let`s bring us here, getting vaccinated, things are starting to clear up a little bit. A tip, bragging about your hostile revolt against the government may not go so great. And we know that because that actually happened. That story is next.


HAYES: In the month since the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, federal prosecutors have charged over 400 rioters. The Department of Justice is now saying they expect the number to rise to at least 500. Writing court documents filed last night, "The huge and complex investigation continues."

One of those individuals arrested and charged just yesterday his 50-year- old Robert Chapman of Carmel, New York. He was part of the group that broke into the Capitol building on January 6th. He recorded videos and took photos of themselves like these that he and a friend posted on Facebook.

He also wrote on his Facebook page, "I`m effing inside the Capitol, sorry, Crapitol, all caps." The boasting did not stop there. He was clearly pretty proud of what he did. And it continued on the dating app Bumble where he told another user that he was, you know, trying to strike up a spark with, in a series of messages that he didn`t storm the Capitol and made it all the way to Statuary Hall. That unnamed Bumble user replied, "we are not a match and then reported Robert Chapman to the authorities setting off the investigation that resulted in his arrest yesterday.

Now, even as these arrests continue day by day as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pushes for a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack, corporate America seems to think that we`re all just going to forget what happened that day, right, we`re all going to move on. Because you remember how a bunch of companies stopped giving Republicans money who did not vote to certify the election. That was a big thing. It happened? Well, it appears many are now "resuming contributions Republicans who voted to overturn the election results, proving of course, there will likely be no lasting consequences for supporting and outright insurrection.

Elizabeth Neumann is a former Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy in the Department of Homeland Security. She left that job a year ago because she saw Donald Trump as a threat to the country. She`s now a director of the Republican Accountability Project.

Elizabeth, it`s good to have you on. I was frustrated and angry but not surprised about those corporate donations. What do you think the relationship is now between the kind of K Street institutional Republican Party and that ugly chapter in which majority of House Republicans voted to overturn a democratic election?

ELIZABETH NEUMANN, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Yes, I mean, we`re kind of in a dark season. There have been a number of stories that have come out. We`ve just passed the 100-day mark since January 6th. We don`t have a commission yet to study what -- how we got there and get to a fact-based account so that, you know, for the sake of posterity, maybe your children can know the truth, even though half of the country seems to be willing to memory hole what happened on January 6th.

But we`re having a hard time getting a commission stood up. We`re having Republicans try to pretend it never happened, or it was a false flag operation, it was really Antifa that that stormed the Capitol. And now we have the donors pulling out and doing, you know, going back to politics as usual, which of course, is to your point how the Republican establishment class with the exception of a very small number like Adam Kinzinger or Liz Cheney, they`re hoping that we all forget and move on too.

They`re trying to coax the corporations to think like, hey, this is just what we have to deal with, our base is a little crazy, but you should still give us money so that we can, you know, be a counterbalance to Biden. You know, this is a moment where we really need American citizens to stay involved, to have their verse voice heard, because there is a very loud radicalized part of the Republican Party. And if we just -- and I don`t mean this in a dismissive way, COVID is important, infrastructure is important. But if we just -- if that`s all we`re talking about and we`re not actually addressing some of the root causes that led us to January 6th, we`re going to see more.

January 6th was a symptom. It was not the cause. We have to address the causes behind January 6th to prevent it from happening again.

HAYES: Well, and we`re seeing this on display in Arizona today. I mean, the thing that I found sort of -- you know, I was I was a little surprise but encouraged when these -- when these -- all these corporations made these announcements, right, that they`re not going to donate to any member that voted to not certify the election because, you know, it was a recognition that this was a kind of difference in kind rather than difference in degree.

It wasn`t well, we didn`t like where you ended up on this bill. This is like, as fundamental as it gets, right? You have a democratic election, for someone`s fair and square, that person takes power in a peaceful transfer of power. And if you oppose that, like you`re kind of off the map.

But what I think has happened is, look, that`s where a lot of the party is. It`s a two-party system. And so the map just expands now to include people that did that. And that`s now part of -- it becomes part of our politics.

NEUMANN: Yes. And I think that -- I mean, that`s why I joined the Republican accountability project, right. We have to defeat these people politically. And that means educating American citizens. Look, I don`t expect and it`s not healthy for every person to be as invested in politics as those of us in Washington D.C. are. But we need to remind them and educate them why what happened on January 6th was so bad.

We need to go back to the basics of democracy. Some of this is about process, and it can be kind of bland, but maybe some creative types can really help us explain to the American people why the reason our country is so great is because of those foundational principles of democracy that -- you know, look at the course of history. What we have experienced for 250 years is very rare, very unique. It`s unique in the world. It`s rare in the world today.

We can`t take it for granted. We have to fight for it to be able to continue. And it`s almost as if by -- when you look at a corporation returning give back to the Republican Party, I take that as you think business is going to go back to usual and that nobody is paying attention. So, that tells me one, we need to do things like what we`re doing tonight, talk about it, so that people say no, we see you. We see you corporations thinking that what happened on January 6th was no big deal.

You`re right. This is not a typical political thing. This is not about cancel culture, there is -- this is about there is right and there is wrong. And in a democracy, you can`t tolerate a non-peaceful transfer of power. That is turning towards authoritarianism. It`s turning towards fascism. And history tells us, we ignore that at our peril.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, I mean, well, it is about cancel culture, they want to cancel democracy because they`re snowflakes and their fifis got hurt because they lost.

NEUMANN: Good point.

HAYES: Elizabeth Neumann, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

NEUMANN: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: From defending the integrity of Capitol Hill rioters, now spreading doubt of the vaccination efforts. Could Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson`s quest out Trump Trump end up costing Republicans the state? That`s next.


HAYES: Republican Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin might be best known these days as a ceaseless font of crazy quotes, the latest being this thing he said yesterday about COVID vaccines.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I think we probably should have limited the distribution to the -- to the vulnerable. To people that really aren`t, you know, to the very young. I see no reason to be pushing vaccines on people.

The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective, so if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?

Why is this big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine, and to the point where you better impose it. You`re going to shame people. You`re going to force them to carry a card to prove that they`ve been vaccinated so they can participate in society.

I`m getting highly suspicious of what`s happening here.


HAYES: Why this big push to vaccinate everyone? Why would we want to do that? Well, because if the vaccine is 95 percent effective, the number of people that are still going to get sick is going to be dependent on how much community transmission there is generally. This is not rocket science, Senator.

So, why do you care if someone is vaccinated or not? Well, let`s just look at Kentucky this week, where unvaccinated workers set off an outbreak at a U.S. nursing home where most residents were immunized, dozens of infections, including in 22 residents employees who were all fully vaccinated. Three residents died, one vaccinated and two unvaccinated.

So, yes, everyone getting vaccinated suppresses the disease, which is the point. Now, Johnson has since tried to clean up what he said by releasing a statement today basically calling his remarks a legitimate question which fine, whatever.

But his irresponsible vaccine talk comes on the heels of him parroting the popular white supremacist theory that Democrats are importing immigrants to replace certain American voters.


JOHNSON: This administration wants complete open borders and you have to ask yourself, why. Is it really they want to remake the demographics of America to ensure there -- that they stay in power forever? Is that what`s happening here?


HAYES: Just asking questions, you know, people that just like to ask questions. And there was the time last month, Ron Johnson said he was not worried about the Capitol rioters, of course, who injured dozens of police officers because they were "people that love this country, unlike Black Lives Matter protesters".


JOHNSON: I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law. And so, I wasn`t concerned.

Now, had the tables been turned, Joe this will get me in trouble, had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.


HAYES: Truly love law enforcement, the crowd that threatened to murder a cop with his own gun.

Perhaps, what is really crazy about Senator Johnson is that he`s saying all this, this whole performance of his, it`s not coming from some guy from a super conservative hard red state where he has to worry about a primary challenger or he`s never going to have to worry about a general election challenger.

No, he`s saying this stuff as a senator from Wisconsin, a razor-thin swing state as we saw from the last election. In fact, as of 2021, he`s the only statewide elected Republican left in that state.

Senator Ron Johnson has not decided if he`s going to run for re-election yet. But if he does, he`s going to have to answer to those voters in a closely divided Wisconsin where he thinks apparently that out trumping Trump is the key to his political future.

Someone with a keen eye on Johnson`s decision, of course, is Ben Wikler, the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and he joins me now.

I got to say, when you think about senatorial pairings in this country, it`s -- you hard press to come up with one more stark than Tammy Baldwin who is a progressive Democrat. And Ron Johnson, a Trumpist Republican in your state, which is a very closely divided state. How does Johnson -- how does this schtick work for him?

BEN WIKLER, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF WISCONSIN: So, I mean, let`s start with -- and it`s good to see you, Chris. Let`s start with acknowledging Ronald H. Johnson is bad for Wisconsin. He`s a disastrous senator, he is ill serving our public, he`s ill serving the country. He shouldn`t be in public office.

And at the same time, no one should underestimate the strategy he`s using here. Wisconsin is maybe the most closely divided state in the nation. We`ve had four presidential elections out of the last six come down to less than one percentage point.

But there was a period where we zigzag between Obama landslides and Scott Walker landslides. And Ron Johnson came in in 2010, when the Scott Walker wave and the Tea Party wave and then he was reelected in 2016, one of our, you know, one percent election years, but he rode the kind of Trump wave into office. He energized a group of voters that love what Trump was saying. They love what Ron Johnson was saying, and he got in.

And Ron Johnson`s strategy is pretty clearly to build and try to foment a Biden backlash. And to audition for the kind of new poster child for the mercers and the right-wing billionaires who fund Republican elections, that`s his meal ticket.

And that means he has no accountability to the truth, no accountability to the public. It`s not a political problem for him in his view if people die because of what he says, if he foments and feeds into hate.

And that makes it all the more urgent that we defeat him but I don`t think anyone should underestimate. This will be a big fight. The public does not like what he`s saying. But he`s not trying to appeal to the general public. It`s really a test of democracy about whether we can throw him out of office.

HAYES: Right. And it`s -- it also points to the fact of like, the Senate classes matter so much, right? So, if you`re in that 2010 class, you know, you -- a lot of states swung hard to the right, and then in the upper Midwest in 2016, right, that Trump vote came out, and that helped those folks.

So, he`s banking on a sort of, you know, a 2022, kind of tea party redux. I mean, that is -- that`s the Democratic -- that`s the Republican strategy here, right? It`s like, it`s going to be a mobilization election, it`s going to be a base election like 2010 was, it`s going to be turnout and opposition to the party in power.

What do you do to counter that, if that`s sort of structurally baked in?

WIKLER: So, this is -- this is what Republicans want. They want an atmosphere where people are angry, and they`re trying to, you know, get back by electing people like Ron Johnson.

On our side, Democrats are actually delivering for people. So, let`s take Governor Tony Evers, he`s up for reelection. He`s an actually real leader who`s trying to make people`s lives better.

And week after week, you look at the states that are actually getting the highest percentage of COVID vaccines into people`s arms. Wisconsin`s in the top three.

So, what we`re going to be doing as a party, what our grassroots activists are doing across the state, we`ll be actually talking to people once we do reach a level of safety, we`ll be at their doors right now, we`re on the phones talking about are you getting vaccine shots? Are you getting stimulus checks into your bank account? You know, shots in the arm, money in the bank, vote for Democrats. Like, we`re actually making a difference in your life.

And there`s a precedent for those things and, you know, a strong economy and a sense that things are getting better. The biggest predictor of down ticket success is the popularity of the sitting president.

And right now, we have a very popular president, we have a very popular governor. And our answers is not to meet his cynicism with more cynicism, it is to make sure people know that he threw himself at doing everything he could to delay the American Rescue Plan, that he`s feeding conspiracy theories that make it harder for schools to reopen, and that Democrats are actually doing the things that people want them to do and it`s working.

Yes, it`s a very succinct articulation of I think what is a has become a kind of canonical view of Democrats and Democratic strategists I`ve been talking to have like, the midterms are a referendum on the sitting president. And the the path the popularity of the sitting president is do as good a job governing the country as possible, do good things, get people back at work, vaccinate the country, and that`s basically your best shot and let the chips fall where they may.

Ben Wikler working hard up there in Wisconsin. Thanks for taking a little time away for us tonight.

WIKLER: Thanks so much, Chris.

HAYES: All right, tonight, big news, the FDA clears use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after that nearly two-week pause. We`ll talk about what this means as the need to vaccinate the world grows more urgent with each passing day, next.



DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: We are no longer recommending a pause to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I support the ACIP`s recommendation that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine be used for persons 18 years of age or older in the United States population under the FDA`s emergency use authorization and I have signed this recommendation.

With these actions, the administration of Johnson & Johnson`s COVID-19 vaccine can resume immediately.


HAYES: There you have it. 10 days after pausing the use the Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus vaccine, the CDC and FDA cleared the one-shot vaccine just over an hour ago, a decision praised by Dr. Fauci.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The fact that the CDC and the FDA originally paused this, should underscore to everyone that we take safety very, very seriously.

So, when a vaccine is let out, again, to be able to be vaccinating people in this country, you can rest assure that that`s a safe and efficacious vaccine.


HAYES: Early last week, federal health officials had called for halting the use of vaccine after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare blood clotting disorder.

At the time, more than seven million doses had been administered. Since then, we now know 15 cases of this specific disorder, three people have died. Four people were sent to intensive care.

And those cases are not nothing. I mean, there`s a reason I think they paused it. But today, a CDC panel that went through this thoroughly said the vaccine`s benefit outweigh the risks, although they did propose a potential warning label.

The decision of resume using the vaccine gives us back another important tool in our arsenal to fight this virus, as every U.S. adult is now eligible to get their shot.

But there is a much larger global problem to address which countries do -- which countries do or do not have access to the vaccine that is raging, raging in some parts of the world. We`re going to talk about that next.


HAYES: Until recently, a huge part of the developing world have appeared so far to escape the worst of COVID-19, somewhat miraculously.

But right now, India, home to more than a billion people is careening towards what appears to be possibly the worst outbreak anywhere ever and it`s horrifying.

Look at the graph of new cases in that country, it practically looks vertical. I mean, look at that blue line as they keep setting world records with surgeon cases over 300,000 a day. That`s never happened in any other country. 300,000 new cases of coronavirus a day there.

The crematoriums are running all day long, metal parts in some furnaces have literally begun melting because they are in constant use. Some are even burning bodies in parking lots.

Situation is so dire, Reuters reported on one new Delhi resident "was forced to keep his dead mother`s body at home for nearly two days while he searched for space in the city`s crematoriums.

Now, India has explicitly asked our country the United States to lift a ban on exporting raw materials for vaccines. And now, more than a hundred countries want the United States and other rich nations to waive their vaccine patents.

The United States has not yet done those things. The Biden administration has not and so, why not? And what can American citizens do to force our government to act now to help India and other countries?

Rachel Cohen is the executive director for the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative in the United States. It`s an organization created by doctors without borders, that works on medical and vaccine access and she joins me now.

Rachel, there`s a few few ways I think that there`s these inequities between the richest countries and poorer countries in terms of battling COVID right now. One is this export block on raw materials, something that India is explicitly asked us to lift? Can you explain what that is? And what can be done about that?

RACHEL COHEN, REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DRUGS FOR NEGLECTED DISEASES INITIATIVE: Yes, I mean, my understanding is that there have been complaints that the U.S. is not really sufficiently using the Defense Production Act to fill orders for raw materials, we`re using kind of an American use first approach.

And by doing that, the U.S. government`s holding up the entire supply chain for the whole world and India, as many people know, is considered sort of the pharmacy for at least the developing world actually produces a massive number of both drugs and vaccines, including for the U.S.

So, it`s just compounding and already horrific situation. But the one of the most important issues and you alluded to it is this issue of what can be done to lift some of the patents and other intellectual property protections in a way that might facilitate access to those vaccines in India and of course, from the rest of the world.

HAYES: Yes, so talk me through that. I know there are beginning discussions in a run-up to to WTO meeting about this. It would -- I think there would be some kind of World Trade Organization pack that would produce a waiver for the patents on some of these vaccines so that other countries could freely manufacture and distribute, is that right? And how does that come about and what would that do?

COHEN: Yes, that`s right. So, last year, South Africa and India actually submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization, requesting that countries be allowed to basically make use of a temporary emergency waiver of certain intellectual property patents, but also trade secrets and other things, until the majority of the global population receives an effective vaccine. And we approach herd immunity.

So, the waiver would really enable multiple manufacturers in Africa and Asia and Latin America to begin, or, in some cases, to ramp up the production of vaccines, something that can begin happening within six months or so, according to experts.

And frankly, something that should have been put in place a year ago when we could see this from a mile away. It was clear then, that while science was moving at an unprecedented pace to deliver vaccines in record time, rich countries would horde the doses and impose export bans and engage in with some other call vaccine nationalism.

So, the previous administration opposed this proposal to temporarily waive patents and other intellectual property. And so, there`s a coalition of now more than a hundred countries that`s basically asking the Biden administration to reverse course, support the waiver. And this has actually massive support globally. More than a hundred nobel laureates and many former world leaders have supported the waiver.

And here in the U.S., Speaker Pelosi supports this. Apparently, about a hundred members of Congress, 10 senators, large grassroots organizations, unions and so forth. And by the way, it`s been reported in some polls, 60 percent of the American public.

HAYES: We should also note, I mean, obviously, the sort of basic market rationale for these -- for patent grants, which are exclusive monopolies granted by the government, right, is that they are incentivize, very expensive research and pharma research is genuinely quite expensive, and difficult. And so, you want to be able to create some marketing incentive.

In this case, my understanding is that the companies that develop these patents are going to make a lot of money off them, even if the waiver happens, right? I mean, they`re -- we`re buying up, we have contracts with them, the developed world has gone up, right?

I mean, they`re going to -- Pfizer, Moderna, they`re going to do pretty well even if India were to manufacture a generic version.

COHEN: Yes, absolutely. And that isn`t really even at issue here. I work for an organization that develops drugs for extremely neglected diseases that fall completely outside of the marketplace. And we know that intellectual property has hardly been an incentive for those companies to develop drugs for these kinds of diseases.

The problem here is that despite the unprecedented pace of scientific progress in this pandemic, the development of vaccines in particular has just been record speed. We`re today in a situation where a tiny fraction of people in low and middle-income countries have access. Some people are suggesting we may not even approach herd immunity in this part of the -- these parts of the world till 2024.

0.3 percent of the 900 million doses that have been given globally have been given in Africa and this is really despite being in the midst of a clearly unparallel global pandemic that`s claimed more than three million lives.

We`re taking a business as usual approach the question of equitable access, whether and how to share the benefits of scientific progress, and we cannot afford to continue on this path.

HAYES: All right, Rachel Cohen thank you so much for that. We`re going to stay on this issue. I think if you care about this, it might be worth talking to your member of congress calling the White House switchboard and letting them know.

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