After over a year of wearing masks just about everywhere, today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance on mask- wearing. Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about the new CDC guidelines. The FBI opens a new civil rights probe into a police shooting in North Carolina. The Department of Homeland Security probes domestic violence extremism within the agency. The GOP is pushing voter restriction bills in Texas cities.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We`re getting the band back together. Join Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, and me for President Biden`s first address to a Joint Session of Congress. That`s tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right exactly now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message were you sending by wearing a mask outside alone?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By watching me take it off and not put it back on until I get inside.
HAYES: Big news on masks in America. And tonight, Dr. Fauci is here to explain the brand new CDC guidelines and why you don`t need to call the police on children in masks.
Then, another major move by the Department of Justice for reformed policing in America. Plus what exactly is going off with the DHS investigation into domestic violent extremists within its ranks.
And another day, another state moves to make voting harder. Tonight Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on the push to curb voting in Texas cities. And the man who stopped Trump in court during the election is back on the case suing states for suppressing the vote. Mark Elias joins me live when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. After over a year of wearing masks just about everywhere, today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance on mask-wearing. They put up this handy graphic explaining when and where one needs to wear a mask. So, if you look at that column in the right, that`s vaccinated people. They`re all green there.
Today, per new CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated people are basically free to go without a mask almost everywhere outdoors, except in crowds. Of course, that`s always been true. I mean, everything that CDC issues are just recommendations. You`re always free to do that. We will put this graphic up on our Facebook page, so you can check it out and look at the guidance there.
This new guidance though is a big step towards normalcy. In fact, I`m going to talk to Dr. Anthony Fauci about that in just a moment. Now, this announcement comes in the context of I got to say, a weird culture war about wearing masks outside that some on the right has started to wage in recent weeks and months.
Now, they`ve been waging a culture war against masks in the beginning, burning them and calling them tyranny, yadda, yadda, yadda. I shouldn`t say in this case, they`re not really off based on the science. I mean, we know that say, walking down the sidewalk or biking through a park without a mask are very low-risk activities because of the way the virus spreads.
Outdoors is way better than indoors. And if you`re not really close to people for sustained periods of time, it`s pretty low risk. That`s unless you are packed in with a whole bunch of people, which does happen outside sometimes. With vaccines down the mix, outdoor activities are even less of a concern. But it`s also case that over this past year, right, as we all navigated the draining, stressful, at times, terrifying, anxiety-inducing months of a once in a century pandemic that produced the deadliest year in American history that`s killed 577,000 of our fellow Americans and counting to this day, the mask became a form of social solidarity.
I mean, it`s one of the easiest, lowest-cost tools we have to stop the spread of respiratory virus. And again, it is not new. Back in 1918, during the flu epidemic, everyone from barbers to office workers, to baseball players wore cloth masks to help prevent the spread of the disease. It`s pretty rudimentary basic germ theory. We understood it more than 100 years ago. A mask helps prevent droplets that may contain the virus from spreading out into the air around us and for those aerosols to diffuse around where other people can breathe it in.
I should also know that people on the right are also correct when they point out that a lot of public health experts and officials got the utility masks very wrong at the beginning of the pandemic. But masking makes sense. And after some initial confusion, public health experts pushed it, so do political leaders, and even Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all tried to build this social norm in the midst of this awful pandemic, to slow the transmission of the deadly virus.
But because of the way the American politics worked, and especially the way right-wing media works, masks got turned into this insane cultural work cudgel. We saw anti-mask protests, people claiming masks were a sign of tyranny and conspiracy theories. It went wild. Children wearing masks were being kidnapped and couldn`t tell you. Masks will make you sick. Dr. Anthony Fauci is in league with the Rothschilds. Bill Gates is trying to implant microchips in your body and on and on and on.
It continues to this day. And I mean, i got to say, truly unhindered stuff. I mean, worrying stuff coming from the biggest platform for dangerous misinformation out there. Last night, the highest-rated personality on Rupert Murdoch`s cable network told his viewers to call the police if they see a child in a mask outdoors.
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TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: As we`re forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal. Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid at Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives.
What you`re looking at is abuse. It`s child abuse and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.
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HAYES: You know, it`s either trolling or it`s someone in the midst of a genuine breakdown, or it`s evil or some combination of all three. But it`s, you know, we all recognize that psychotic, right? That`s how psychotic it`s gotten. We are the people who believe in Liberty, you and left believe in tyranny, but we`re going to call the cops if you put a mask on your kid and have them take away your kids. Cool.
The mask, though it`s true, it has taken on a symbolic residence, I think on both sides of this. It`s a kind of bulwark amidst the unending campaign of disinformation and downright nihilism and cruelty from the former president all the way to the world of right-wing media, you know, telling Americans to inject bleach and then pushing the miracle malaria cure, which was a really, really crazy and destructive period, which kept going for a long time. To telling people, particularly senior citizens to just get out onto the battlefield like warriors and sacrifice your life so that Donald Trump can get reelected.
And all the people that were part of that, all that disinformation being pumped into people, they`re partly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and the worst response to the virus among wealthy nations worldwide. And we were all traumatized by that. We also all learn that for months and months of claims that things are going to get better, and we`re turning the corner, in two weeks we`re going to have Easter in the churches will be full. It was much better, more prudent, more realistic to expect the worst- case scenario, because the worst-case scenario was likely going to bear out.
But we are in a different phase of this fight. Look at where we are in this graph of new cases per day in the U.S. It seems like we have avoided a fourth wave which looked like it might happen. Michigan got pretty bad there. There was a bit of an uptake, but we are on a downward trend.
And though vaccinations in the last week or two of slack in a bit as we entered this sort of new phase where we`re trying to get people who are a little more hesitant or harder to reach, we are still vaccinating at an impressive pace, averaging about 2.7 million doses per day, 232 million total doses administered so far.
After having one of the worst responses in the world, the U.S. is actually having one of the best vaccine rollouts. And so, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. There`s a lot of good news happening. I don`t tend to view politics primarily through a first-person prism, because covering politics, you know, is my job. But just on a personal level, I will say, Joe Biden said he was going to try to get kids back in school. And you know what, my kids went back to school this week, within the first 100 days, the administration. For at least some public school parents, like yours truly, promises made promises kept. It`s great to say.
But as we entered this whole full, uncertain phase, it feels weird for a lot of people. I mean, I think across the ideological spectrum in a lot of places, we have all sort of built up these vestigial instincts to protect ourselves after enduring genuine trauma for more than a year, and a lot of people mourning the losses of the people they love, who are no longer with us.
Many of us suspicious of taking our foot off the gas, of easing up on the reins, but it really does look like we`re beating this thing. We are suppressing the virus. The vaccines are incredible. And the reward for this is we can now start to do some of the main things we`ve missed.
And today`s new math guidance is an example of that. I`m happy to have Dr. Anthony Fauci with us tonight. He`s the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health. And I know, Dr. Fauci, you are you`re distinct from the CDC. But because you`re part of the team advising on this, just talk us through the process that produces this kind of guidance like the one that was released today.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, it`s the realization of, you know, relative risk. It has become very clear when you look at the data that`s accumulated, and as I`ve said, so many times, the CDC is a science-based organization, and they will likely and almost always make a decision or a recommendation based on either data or modeling or expert opinion.
And the data became clear that the risk of being outdoors is very low. If you are vaccinated, it`s extremely low. So, they decided as they did when they made the statement and the recommendation that vaccinated people indoors with another vaccinated person don`t -- does not have to wear a mask and can have physical contact.
There have been a lot of questions about what can you do outdoors, and it`s very clear now, as you shown on the chart, Chris, that there are many things that common sense likely would have told you you can do that have now essentially been codified where you have an organization made up of the best epidemiologists in the world have come to the conclusion that the risk is so low, that you can do the kind of things outdoors if you were vaccinated. And then you see on the other side of the chart, they contrast and compare it with things that you can do and then things that are a bit risky if you still are unvaccinated.
So the message that I see in that, Chris, is get vaccinated. Get vaccinated, A, because it`s going to protect you, protect your family, and help protect society, but also will open up for you the kind of things to know that you`re doing them really quite safely. So, it`s a good thing all around what`s been done.
And then what you`re going to see, Chris, is that as the weeks go by, and more and more data are collected about individuals who are vaccinated, if they may get infected without symptoms, how low is the level of virus in the nasal pharynx? Is it so low that they almost certainly would not affect someone else you might see? An upgrading of the recommendations to go even further. So, this is another step in the right direction of how we can start getting back to normal.
HAYES: I want to follow up and press on a question here, which I think gets at the root of some of the debate about this and some of people`s uncertainty. Because it seems to me there`s a distinction between what the science -- the science, the best that we have it which is incomplete and uncertain in a changing world with a novel virus, right? But you can collect data and you can say, you can get a sense of what the risk is.
Okay, the risk of this kind of outdoor activity is x, right, some numerical estimate of your odds of getting Coronavirus. The question of what is tolerable risk isn`t really a scientific question. I mean, that`s a social question. That`s a political question. It`s a question for policymakers. The science can tell you what the risk is. The question society answers is what`s tolerable?
And I think that this sort of balance between those two is really what is driving some of this debate about what we can and can`t do. And I`m curious to hear you talk about that.
FAUCI: Yes. I mean, I think you mentioned it a bit ago. When you talk about what I referred to as relative risk, and what the level of risk that a person is, how risk-averse is a person, in fact, you might have people -- remember, and you said it at the top of the show, that these are really recommendations by the CDC. No, there`s not any policing for any requirement. They`re recommendations.
And there are some people who feel that the risk is so low that they would, in fact, go and take a step into that yellow or that red zone because they feel as far as they`re concerned they`re willing to take the risk. Nobody is going to stop them from doing that. But there`s one issue that I think escapes many people and it`s worth mentioning, Chris, is that you don`t live in a vacuum.
FAUCI: And we have tried to get an outbreak under control. So, even though let`s say the hypothetical. I`m a person now who`s vaccinated or not vaccinated, and I decide that I`m going to do something that is in a very red zone of what the CDC is saying. Because they say, I`m a healthy person, if I get the infection, it`s very unlikely that I`m going to get seriously ill.
Well, it doesn`t stop with you. Because if you get infected, you`ve got to realize that you may, inadvertently and totally innocently infect someone else who might be a vulnerable person, who might get very sick. And also, you`re propagating the dynamics of the outbreak.
So, try to look at it is that here`s the risk, according to what the CDC says the data. If you want a vary on either side of that because you`re either more risk-averse or less, you can do it. But understand the consequences for yourself and for your responsibility to society.
HAYES: And the social aspect of this, it also strikes me as very important, which is the base rate of transmission matters tremendously when we`re thinking about risk, right? So, if you were a vaccinated person, right, you say, you know, you`re fully vaxxed. Do you want to be in, you know, the U.S. right now or India? Where your odds of getting COVID be more, right?
Like, a place that has a lot of community transmission, you`re going to -- you`re going to have a higher odds. We want to break the back of community transmission as a collective undertaking as part of this project.
FAUCI: Exactly. Chris, you hit the nail right on the head. And that`s in fact --
HAYES: I`m glad you said that because I couldn`t tell if you were -- I couldn`t tell if you were sighing with frustration with what I`m saying or agreement.
FAUCI: No, no. I`m sighing an agreement, Chris, because that`s exactly the point we`re making. Right now. We have had for quite a while a seven-day average of about 60,000 new infections per day. Fortunately, and we predicted this, I predicted this last time you and I spoke, that if we keep getting people vaccinated, every day more and more people get vaccinated, you`re going to see a turning around of that curve, and the cases are going to start coming down.
And in fact, over the last couple of days, it`s been 30,000. Now, I hope that`s a trend. I believe it is. So, the lower and lower you get, that impacts the risk in this community. So, if you`re going out to a restaurant, and you say, I don`t mind the risk, I`m not that risk-averse, and you`re going out to a restaurant where there was 60 to 70,000 new infections per day, versus going to that same restaurant, when there were 15,000 infections, you have a much less of a chance within that framework of relative risk.
HAYES: Yes. Now, I want to talk about kids, because kids are an interesting outlier here. And like I said, I was able to take my two big kids to school, which was awesome. They -- you know, they have to mask in school, obviously. They can`t be vaccinated. We don`t have emergency use agreements for FDA approval vaccines for kids under 16.
So, they can`t be vaccinated. They have to mask obviously indoors. The question of like, what do we do with kids? What -- how safe is outdoor play amongst kids, if they`re masking or not at the playground? How should we think about that?
FAUCI: I think it`s the same context that we just discussed about the level in the community. Right now is a level high enough that the CDC would feel very uncomfortable, as do I, about saying, no problem, let the kids go out without mask. Because we can say and it`s been said, and it`s true, that children, when you talk about it statistically, have a much lower chance of getting infected to the point where they would get seriously ill.
That`s true, but they could still be part of the dynamics of the spread. So, you don`t want children to get infected, A, because you don`t want them to get sick, even though it`s a low chance that they will. But you don`t want them to be part of the spread and your dynamics of the outbreak. You want to keep getting those numbers down. That`s why we have children wearing masks when they`re outside until they can get vaccinated.
HAYES: You and have talked about a timeline before, specifically around the thing that I missed probably the most of pre-COVID life which is playing pickup basketball indoors with people. And we talked about the safety of that. You had at one point said, look, we`re looking at winter of 2021, sometime in that November, December range that, you know, we could -- you and I can maybe play a little pickup or you know, I could play pickup. I don`t know. It depends if you`re still game.
The point being, are we -- are we closer now, given the rate that we`ve been vaccinating at?
HAYES: It seems to me like that was a -- we vaccinated our way, that that seems more possible sooner than it was when I talked to you maybe six months ago.
FAUCI: Absolutely. Again, Chris, it gets back to the situation of why it`s so important for as many people as quickly as possible to get vaccinated. Because the more people that get vaccinated, the lower level. Right now, given the guidelines that the CDC came out, they clarified that. If you`re vaccinated and unvaccinated, we can play a pickup game tomorrow. I`ll probably destroy you but that`s OK. But we could play a pickup game tomorrow.
HAYES: Famous Regis point guard.
FAUCI: I`m just kidding, Chris.
HAYES: Famous Regis point guard, Anthony Fauci, talking that trash as I`m sure he did back on the mean streets of Brooklyn, the gyms of Regis High School. Dr. Anthony Fauci, that was really -- that was illuminating. I think this stuff is -- it can be hard because the risk questions are complicated, nuanced, and sensitive as we go into this next chapter, but I`m -- I feel hopeful and I thank you for taking the time to explain some of that.
FAUCI: Thanks a lot. Good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: OK, talk soon. Next, what an independent autopsy revealed about the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a black man shot and killed by police last week and why we still are waiting for the release of that body cam footage. What it signals that the FBI has now announced they`re stepping in after this.
HAYES: There`s a curfew under effect tonight as I speak to you and Elizabeth City, North Carolina where sheriff`s deputies shot and killed a Black man while serving a warrant for his arrest on felony drug charges last week. An independent autopsy commissioned by the family of Andrew Brown Jr. found Brown was killed by a bullet to the back of the head. The autopsy also found Brown was shot four times in the right arm.
Now, less than an hour after those results were released, the FBI announced it was opening a federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. There`s a hearing now tomorrow morning when a judge will decide whether to release the body camera footage of the shooting to the public. Attorneys of the brown family say they were only shown 20 seconds of that footage, but they describe what they saw as an execution.
Vince Warren is the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which says it has tenaciously challenged discriminatory policing for decades, and he joins me now.
Vince, I want to start with the FBI announcement because it strikes me as pretty notable. We`ve gotten -- you know, we`ve had a few announcements. So, we have the Attorney General announcing a patterns and practices investigation I think last week in Minneapolis, then yesterday announcing a patterns and practices investigation in Louisville.
Now those are both after big high profile controversies in those -- in those cities around policing. This is the FBI or a federal civil rights investigation being announced in the midst of the controversy, right. The local government was active. Like, does that send a message, does that have a kind of force on the ground?
VINCE WARREN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Oh, I think it definitely does, Chris. You know, historically, it`s taken the FBI and the DOJ a relatively long time as things were swirling around for them to decide politically or otherwise to be able to do those types of investigations.
And I think that as we have now body cameras and phones where we are at least aware in the public in real-time about these horrible killings that are happening, a similar thing is happening, I think, on the -- on the Department of Justice and FBI end, which is that now that this is in the public sphere and that there`s pressure that`s happening in the streets around these killings demanding answers, I think we`re beginning to see the FBI move a little bit quicker.
I also think it`s important to note that you`re right, that very often the FBI will have a parallel investigation that connects with and sometimes moves after a state or local-based investigation. But here we see that they`re not waiting at all. And in fact, there`s a bit of foot-dragging happening with the tapes that are coming out. And the FBI is jumping in and they`re like, let`s go, we want to do this now.
HAYES: That -- see, that`s exactly what I would get as a dynamic. I`ve been sort of reading through the news here which is that that, you know, there`s been sort of accusations that the sheriff`s department has been dragging their feet, that they`ve been selective. I know, the family feels that they were given a kind of a bait and switch about how much of the footage they were going to see and whether it was going to be released. They`ve expressed that frustration.
And it strikes me that, you know, these jurisdictional, these turf questions are -- they matter a lot to law enforcement. Like, it`s a big deal to a my reporting life when a local law enforcement group of police officers or sheriff have the Fed show up. That means something it. It makes people kind of take notice and stand up straight away.
WARREN: Totally. It`s like the last thing that they want is the feds to be able to come in. And I think that, you know -- and even not even thinking nefariously, but with local politics, everybody knows each other and they know the way things work.
WARREN: They know their bodies, they know who to talk to and who not to talk to. The feds come in, and it feels a lot like scorched earth on the ground. And there`s really no one -- nowhere to hide, and that local folks are in peril if they`re talking with each other, and not talking to the FBI. So, it really changes the game on the ground.
HAYES: There`s kind of a deeper history here. It`s probably worth discussing. And I would like to get your thoughts on it, right, which is that, you know, through much of the civil rights movement, I mean, the Department of Justice get started in the Reconstruction Era. One of the first things it does is it prosecutes the Klan. It prosecutes federal cases in in southern states, the old confederacy in which they can`t get juries to convict, essentially, white supremacist terrorists who are attempting to you know, maraud the Black folks into not voting and not participate in democracy.
The Department of Justice post-Civil Rights Act plays a really crucial role as well in some of these local jurisdictions that are resistant to either prosecutions of folks that have killed Black people, etcetera. So, there`s a long history here about federal enforcement of civil rights when local jurisdictions are not living up to equal justice under law.
WARREN: Oh, yes. And that`s the whole point of federal power which is that you take these things out of the locality, out of the municipality, out of the way that everybody knows that things work. And you apply federal law that, you know, is applicable to all of those jurisdictions. And the federal -- the feds will come in, and the Department of Justice, you know, has had that very storied history and particularly during the civil rights era where the worst thing you could do would be as a civil rights practitioner is to face local judges, to face local mayors and local governors that sort of be Klan network and that sort of thing.
And the Department of Justice has really symbolized, I think, the idea that there`s a new sheriff in town, and they are actually upholding these federal rights.
WARREN: And I think it`s in the modern era, even going to Rodney King, which the Rodney King beating gave the Department of Justice new power to do pattern and practice cases to this current era where I think it`s pretty clear that nobody trusts the local police to police themselves. And because of all of the activism that`s happening, folks on the street that are really creating that pressure that you see in places like Louisville where both the police chief and the mayor of Louisville are like, yes, we`re really open to the feds coming in and taking a look at our police department here.
These are really big changes that I think are actually being spurred by the activism and the organizing that`s happening on the ground, Black Lives Matter, the folks that are in connection with them, and people just not willing to take one more Black death at the hands of police officers for no reason.
HAYES: Yes. I should note here that the -- I don`t want to suggest that there are some cover-up or something untoward happening in the sheriff`s department or the municipal government in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in terms of making that sort of broader historical point, simply that federal -- you know, federal investigators have a sort of power and outsiderness as you said that can be very useful in some of these cases and can change the behavior on the ground.
Vince Warren who has a lot of experience in this area, thank you so much for sharing some with us.
WARREN: Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.
HAYES: Ahead, let this headline sink in for a second. So, the Department of Homeland Security has launched an internal investigation to assess the threat of violent extremist ideology within the department in the wake of the January 6th attack, within the department. New reporting on exactly what`s happening here next.
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HAYES: The Department of Homeland Security made an announcement that flew a little under the radar yesterday but really stuck with me. The Department of Homeland Security said it will conduct a "internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the Department of Homeland Security."
So DHS, which includes organizations like Customs and Border Protection, CBP, the Coast Guard, Secret Service, is concerned about violent extremism inside its own department apparently. Now, there have been some overt signs of extremism over the years including a Border Patrol Facebook group with over 9,000 members where agents joked about migrant deaths and shared derogatory comments about Latino lawmakers.
And then earlier this year, DHS confirmed that an American Neo-Nazi terror leader who`s now based in Russia, he founded a group called The Base which is based on al-Qaeda which means the base in Arabic, that he was employed by the department from 2004 to 2006.
In an interview with New York Times, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas declined to say how many active members of his department had been identified as taking part in the Capitol riot citing continuing investigations.
That`s a declined to answer that, I don`t know, raises some questions for me about what led to this investigation and what is going on in that department. Ryan Devereaux has extensively covered the Department of Homeland Security for The Intercept, including infiltrating that infamous Border Patrol Facebook group, and he joins me now.
Ryan, you`ve been on this beat for a while. I imagine the announcement didn`t come as a surprise to you. But I`m still curious what your reaction was, what your sense of where this is coming from is.
RYAN DEVEREAUX, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE INTERCEPT: Yes, that`s right, Chris. It didn`t come as a surprise. It would actually be more concerning to me if Secretary Mayorkas didn`t take some sort of action like this after what we`ve seen over these past several years.
Some of the examples you laid out there at the beginning of the segment, we had the Border Patrol Facebook group, I`m 1015, nearly 10,000 members. I`m 1015 was the name of the group. And it was some of the most vile content that I`ve seen online. It was agents, current and former agents, joking about roasting unaccompanied migrant children over an open flame, talking about committing violence against city lawmakers at the time that those lawmakers were visiting their Border Patrol stations.
And they`re -- I think, probably most concerning that was last summer during the George Floyd protests, we got access to some files of DHS sort of intelligence that was being circulated around the country at the time regarding protests. And there was serious intelligence indicating far-right threats to protesters, to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
And what we learned was that those sort of internal red flags that were raised at the time were according to the head of DHS and his intelligence and analysis office, according to his whistleblower statement, downplayed by the very heads of his department in order to sort of amplify the threat from the left that President Trump was amping at the time.
So, it`s been clear for a while that there`s a politicization problem within the Department of Homeland Security, and a politicization sort of towards the far right. So yes, like I said, not surprised. I think this is going to be a challenging task for the Secretary to undertake, but clearly a necessary one.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, it`s funny we say politicization because it gets to what I think is tricky here and difficult in terms of First Amendment terrain, right. I mean, you know, you can be a member in good standing of the federal government workforce and have any politics you want, you know, within some boundaries, right. You can`t be like an open insurrectionist. You have to pledge you`re not a communist. I think that still exists.
But you know, you don`t want to create a condition in which like, essentially, there`s a political test for office. And you don`t want to attack people`s First Amendment protects freedoms to express what they haven`t have whatever views. At the same time, you know, that this -- what feels like a kind of process of radicalization we`ve seen particularly in CBP in the way that they`ve put out statements and the way that their union supported Trump, you know, feels pretty worried.
DEVEREAUX: I mean, that is absolutely correct. And I think that is going to be the extremely difficult line for this administration and Mayorkas to walk here as sort of balancing the First Amendment rights of personnel within the Department of Homeland Security and the very real risks of having radicalized people responsible for the detention of some of the most vulnerable populations in this country.
I mean, it`s worth keeping in mind, we`re talking about CBP. We`re talking about the largest police force, essentially, in the United States. We`re talking about DHS. We`re talking about a massive department. I mean, it`s huge. And you know, these folks are not only responsible for border and immigration enforcement, they also disseminate law enforcement intelligence to local law enforcement around the country so that they`re helping to shape how cops on the ground are seeing protesters, how they`re seeing threats in their community, and they`re of course responsible for national security matters.
So, yes, while it`s really important to keep in mind the First Amendment issues here, we also have to keep in mind the fact that this is a frontline law enforcement and national security agency. And it is critically important that it`s not infiltrated by, for example, the leader of Neo-Nazi organization, like you talked about at the top of this segment.
HAYES: Yes, that -- and I should say that line -- now, I don`t want to read too much into Mayorkas declining to answer that question, and we know that a Trump administration official from the State Department was among those arrests in the Capitol. There had been, I believe, I think dozens, at least a dozen or more law enforcement, local police of various stripes who have been arrested as well, NYPD officer who had allegedly attacked a cop. But Mayorkas saying he wouldn`t answer the question if anyone DHS was there was striking to me that he didn`t just say the answer.
DEVEREAUX: Right. And, you know, it`s important to keep in mind. So, we did this, you know, deep dive investigation into the Border Patrol Facebook group. But this is only one investigation among many in which a journalist has found themselves in the secret social media group belonging to some segment of law enforcement in which terrible sort of really hard right things are being shared and what -- in what these individuals think is a safe space.
And so, there is an issue with law enforcement of this sort of stuff percolating below the surface and I think that it`s important to address it. And, you know, I think it`s about time for the Department of Homeland Security to take this seriously. It`s worth keeping in mind that in 2009, intelligence analysts in this department warned of a sort of emerging far- right threat in response to the election of the first Black president.
And his report was sort of buried amid outrage from conservative Republicans. And he was driven out -- the department and his team was shut down. And a lot of what he was warning about at the time came to fruition. That was the Department of Homeland Security. So, you know, it is a long time coming for DHS.
HAYES: Ryan Devereaux who is a fantastic reporter and has been a great reporter on this beat specifically. Thanks so much.
DEVEREAUX: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Still to come, after a turnout surge in Texas during the 2020 elections, Republicans are now trying to restrict voter access. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and voting rights lawyer extraordinary Marc Elias are here. That`s just ahead.
HAYES: Arizona Republicans in Maricopa County continued to keep Trump`s big lie alive nearly six months after losing the state to Joe Biden. This is once again we`re showing it to you a live look at the ongoing at-this- moment recount of the 2020 presidential ballots in Maricopa County. It began last Friday after the Republicans and the Arizona senate basically subpoenaed those ballots and then hired a private company to audit the more than two million ballot ballots only in the state`s most populous county where Phoenix is located.
Here`s the thing. Joe Biden flipped Arizona by just over 10,000 votes. Maricopa County officials have already completed multiple audits and reviews the election and the Secretary of State`s office said the election results were already certified and this review won`t change them. Yet here we are watching Arizona Republicans in Maricopa County.
We don`t know who these people are. They hired this cybersecurity firm lots of people hadn`t heard of. The guy associated with it tweeted stop the steal. And there they are trying to recount Donald Trump maybe to a pretend win.
Meanwhile, the pernicious and widespread lie about a stolen election which is settled in the psyches of millions of Republicans conservatives has resulted in Republican-led state houses introducing new voter restrictions in more than 40 states. The latest, a bill from Florida that`s already advanced in the State Senate. This bill would limit where drop boxes can be placed. It would put limits on who can collect and drop off ballots. And it criminalizes handing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
But these attacks on voting rights are not going unchallenged. Two people who beat Trump in the courts, in the ballot box, are fighting this fight too. They`re going to join me after the break.
HAYES: There`s an ongoing effort in multiple states by Republicans to undermine voter trust, then use that itself as a pretext to change voting procedures to make it harder to vote and thus tilt the field to help Republicans to keep winning elections. Like the sham process that`s taking place in Arizona, an April recount to figure out who really won the state last November despite the fact three previous reviews showed no sign of significant fraud or any reason to doubt President Biden`s victory.
Then yesterday, we reported on a pair of voting bills that are being pushed that would make Texas one of the hardest states in the country to cast a ballot. Attorney Marc Elias has a remarkable record of success fighting against voting restrictions by his own count. He and his colleagues have won 64 cases to date since the election.
And the person who seems most targeted by the pair of those new Texas laws, seeking to rollback voting procedures in the state`s largest county is Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. And both Marc Elias and Lina Hidalgo join me now.
Let me start with you, Marc, in terms of what is going on in the litigation space right now, which I have a hard time tracking because you guys are suing so many places at once. What is the kind of battlefield from your perspective look at like right now?
MARC ELIAS, VOTING RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Look, we`re facing an unprecedented assault on voting by Republican legislature throughout the country. Every month, the total number of anti-voting bills that have been introduced increase and the number of states in which they`ve been introduced increase.
So, so far, we`ve brought litigation in Iowa, which was the first state to pass a bill that made it harder to vote in person, made it harder to vote early, made it harder to vote by mail, made it harder to register to vote, and shortened Election Day by an hour.
The next state was Georgia, which of course passed a law that everyone in your audience is familiar with. We brought litigation that evening on behalf of Black Voters Matter, and, and New Georgia Project.
And then finally, Montana passed a restrictive voting law aimed at college students and also at rolling back on Election Day registration. And we brought a lawsuit there the day that it was filed on behalf of the Montana Democratic Party.
So, we`re only -- I wish I could say that these three lawsuits were the end of the end or even the end of the beginning, but unfortunately, we`re still in the beginning of the beginning because Republicans are planning equally or worse laws in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, New Hampshire, you name it, a place where Republicans control the legislature, and they plan on restricting voting rights because they can`t win a majority at the ballot box otherwise.
HAYES: Let`s talk about Texas. Although I wouldn`t say that part of what makes us strange, which I keep honing, is they did win a majority of the ballot box in Iowa and Montana and in Texas. So, you know, they think that they can`t, but they can also win if lots of people vote which was borne out actually by this last election, which makes part of this so perverse, as well.
Judge Hidalgo, you know, you have the largest county in Texas, if I`m not mistaken. I want you to just talk about some of the things your county did to expand voting and again, to stress this point to what I was just saying to Marc, to expand voting for everyone that was in your county no matter their affiliation, no matter who they vote for -- there are a lot of Republicans, your county who probably made use of these tools.
LINA HIDALGO, EXECUTIVE, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: Absolutely, Chris. And we invested in a voting expansion that led to the largest turnout in 30 years, in third-largest county in the nation, largest county in Texas. And we had drive-through voting, 24-hour voting, we tripled the number of early voting locations. And it did serve both parties. Both parties had record turnout.
Frankly, the Democrats didn`t do as well as we thought we would. And it was interesting because we have an election going on right now, some municipal elections. We have drive-through voting still. And I went to visit our busiest drive-thru voting location. Interestingly, it is in a very, very Republican area. And it is the busiest by far.
It is folks who are working parents, seniors that vote drive-through. But what we`re seeing is just the sense that if they suppress the vote, of course, their calculus is it`s going to hurt Democrats more than Republicans. But frankly, it hurts everybody.
HAYES: Yes, I want to just read this great anecdote about the 24-hour voting, which I thought was an incredible innovation from the New York Times. At 11:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the election, Miss Douglas, when they were interviewing, joined fast-food workers, nurses, construction workers, night owls, and other late shift workers of the NRG Arena, one of eight 24-hour voting sites in the county where more than 10,000 people cast their ballots in a single night.
Just to follow up, and I`ll go back to Marc, that it seems like the legislation making its way through the state capitol is really targeted at you specifically. Like, the elephant in the room here is what Harris County did. They didn`t like it. They would like to give themselves the tools to essentially override you doing this kind of thing in the county. Is that your understanding of the legislation?
HIDALGO: Yes, well, let me say a couple of things. First, there are other issues that go beyond what we did in Harris County, and the bills proposed are just dangerous. For example, one of the provisions would allow poll watchers, partisan activists to get as close as they want to voters inside the polling location, and video-record them. And the poll worker would not be allowed to intervene, lest they be charged with a misdemeanor.
HIDALGO: But yes, I mean, the bill say basically a county with over a million people, that says we`ve got five million, and then they target specifically our innovations. And this is the curious thing is that the most suppressive state for voting we`ve innovated, right, and they`re using that innovation to turn democracy, to turn voting into a wedge issue, as opposed to celebrating, you know, that spirit of innovation and participation.
We showed that we can have convenience and security participation for everybody. That should be celebrated.
HAYES: And there`s a dynamic here, Marc, that we saw a little bit in the Georgia legislation, right, which is being able -- there`s this sort of interesting thing, right. So, you`ve got these states that are republican controlled in the state level, but there are counties or municipalities completely controlled by Democrats, that county is usually the entity that`s controlling elections.
And Georgia wants to be able to kind of move people off the county boards. We all know what county they`re thinking of. We`re seeing it here again, in Texas. This seems like a sort of cutting edge thing happening.
ELIAS: Absolutely. You know, for a party that supposedly celebrates federalism and local control, the Republican Party all of a sudden seems to want to consolidate election administration at the state level. And it`s precisely to prevent the kinds of amazing innovations that we saw on Harris County,
I mean, Harris County, you know, in some respects, she`s being modest. I mean, this is one of the hardest states to vote. And what she and her team did in finding innovative ways to serve voters so that in the middle of the pandemic, they wouldn`t be waiting in long lines was nothing more -- nothing less than heroic.
And we`re seeing that in around the country, election officials in these densely populated urban counties having to show the kind of ingenuity that makes America great, and yet, it`s the MAGA crowd at the state level that want to then come in and prevent that or take over their counties to keep those long lines in place.
HAYES: Quickly, are the lawsuits largely state lawsuits? Are you -- are you suing on state law grounds or constitutional grounds?
ELIAS: Almost all the lawsuits are on federal constitutional grounds, denial of the right to vote, violation of the equal protection clause, and in some instances violation the 15th amendment.
HAYES: Yes, we got to -- we got to pass federal election legislation. I think we should try to get the Voting Rights Act.
ELIAS: Pass H.R.1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and my life will be much easier and Republicans can stop complaining that they see me too much in court.
HAYES: Perfect. Marc Elias -- that`s a win-win. Marc Elias, Lina Hidalgo, thank you both for making time tonight. I really, really appreciate it.
I want to just recap our top story-breaking news tonight. Dr. Anthony Fauci was on earlier to explain why the CDC is relaxing outdoor masks guidelines. He says our pickup basketball game is getting close to happening. He has also proclaimed in the proud tradition of pickup basketball trash talk that he will destroy me.
That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.