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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 5/11/21

Transcript: Amy Klobuchar, Elie Mystal, Mona Charen, Judd Legum, Ben Rhodes, Dr. Peter Hotez


Arizona passes law purging voters from ballot lists. The GOP preps over 100 amendments to the Voting Rights Bill. Rep. Cheney addresses the push to purge her from the Republican leadership. Independent reporter Judd Legum has discovered the trade organization for these corporate PACs has been encouraging its members to move beyond January 6th and resume their political contributions. Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum has a bill with 18 co-sponsors to prohibit Israel from using USAID from military detention of Palestinian children, the destruction of Palestinian homes or the annexation of Palestinian lands. Pfizer shots are now authorized for anyone over the age of 12, adding millions and millions of new folks who can get vaccinated.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And that does it for us on tonight REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): These bills that are moving in state capitols across America are not empty threats. They are real efforts to stop people from voting.

HAYES: While Democrats are trying to nudge voter protections for the Senate, Arizona`s Republican governor signed a lot of purge the early voting list.

Tonight, Senator Amy Klobuchar on the states for democracy. And the urgent need to protect the vote. Then --

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To try to erase Donald Trump from the Republican Party is insane. And the people who try to erase him are going to wind up getting erased.

HAYES: A vote to remove the number three Republican in House leadership for not pushing the big lie.

Plus, reports of a new effort to move past January 6, and get corporations to start donating to Republicans again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ultimately, you have to do what`s right for your organization, and deal with the fallout that comes from it because most likely, it`s going to be a one day story. Most likely, you`re not going to lose a (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We have a country that devolves a lot of important powers to state and local governments. It`s always been that way. It`s part the founder`s design. And there`s always a complex interplay between states, municipalities, and federal government. And one of the things that we allow state and local governments to do is administer elections.

Now, it does create a weirdly complicated system compared to other countries. You can argue though that states know what is best for their voters, right, since they are closest to them. Now, the problem, of course, is that through much of this country`s history, that power, that local power was abused explicitly and primarily, but not exclusively, to stop Black people from voting, to erect a one-party minoritarian authoritarian state throughout most of the American self.

And so, in the 1960s, after blood and sweat and tears and organizing, we came up with the grand bargain. And you know what it is. It`s called the Voting Rights Act. Now, the Voting Rights Act did not fully nationalize elections in this country, but it was an attempt to create a floor for the administration of those elections, as well as mechanisms of oversight to make sure that local election boards were not abusing the high levels of discretionary power that they had, levels of power they had used to effectuate further white supremacy and anti-democratic exclusion.

And it worked. It worked. It worked. It worked. For nearly 50 years, it is one of the most successful pieces of legislation in American history. Look at this chart of Black voter registration in southern states. Now, the columns in the left, the little ones in orange, those are Black voter registration levels before the law was passed. You can see Mississippi is just under seven percent.

The much higher columns on the right in green, those are Black voter registration levels just two years later, two years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. Look at that. And those new Black voters elected Black politicians to represent them. This chart shows the number of Black Southern legislators. You can see before the Voting Rights Act, there were practically no Black Southern legislators starting in 1965. That number steadily climbs.

The law was largely embraced by members of both parties. For instance, when Congress voted to renew it in 2006, that bill passed the Senate by a vote of 98 to zero, and the House 392 to 33. That`s as close to consensus as you get in American life. In fact, when Republican President George W. Bush signed the extension of the law, this is how he described it.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In four decades, since the Voting Rights Act was first passed, we made progress toward equality you have to work for a more perfect union is never-ending. We`ll continue to build on the legal equality run by the civil rights movement to help ensure that every person enjoys the opportunity that this great, great land of liberty offers.

Today, we renew a bill that helped bring a community on the margins into the life of American democracy. My administration will vigorously enforce the provisions of this law and we will defend it in court.


HAYES: Again, that was just like panic for everyone, OK, at the time. We will defend it in court. We have gone a long way towards solving this particular problem. Not all racial equity issues, but this particular problem, the targeted disenfranchisement of Black voters, the use of local discretion as a tool of oppression exclusion.

And then, just seven years later, after that speech, Chief Justice John Roberts came in and he just broke it again. In 2013, a fringe right-wing movement pairing with John Roberts and other conservatives on the Supreme Court just destroyed the Voting Rights Act in a monumental case claiming more or less racism was overdone, so what the heck are we doing here.

It`s important to remember, there was no grassroots rebellion against the Voting Rights Act. Removing it was not some huge pressing issue. There were some localities that wanted to do their own thing in the south, and there were some right-wing interests. But getting rid of the Voting Rights Act, make no mistake, was a raw act of judicial activism.

At the time, Federal Judge Richard Posner wrote about the decision, "Shelby County versus holder struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, the part requiring certain states with a history of racial discrimination and voting to obtain federal permission in advance to change their voting procedures called preclearance as violating the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty." He quotes that of the states. "This is a principle of constitutional law of which I had never heard for the excellent reason that there is no such principle."

That`s right. John Roberts just invented it. He invented the principle so he could do what he wanted to do, which was to break and destroy the Voting Rights Act, one of the most successful pieces of legislation in American history. And where do we find ourselves now, eight years later? Look, what Chief Justice Roberts has wrought.

John Roberts took this completely effective way of balancing all these different interests, and he destroyed it because he just didn`t like it. And nothing has risen up into this place. In fact, what we have now are Republican Party that is further radicalized and is using their power in states and localities to do whatever they can to gain advantage.

Take what happened just today in Arizona where they`re not just doing a phony forensic audit in an arena next to a circus. Today, Doug Doocy, the Republican Governor of Arizona, signed a law that experts say will remove more than 100,000 voters, including 30,000 Latino voters from the state`s permanent early voting list. That means they will no longer automatically receive mail ballots.

Now, here`s the thing. Arizona was one of the states fully covered by the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down. They would have had to get preclearance from the federal government to do this. What Arizona Republicans are doing with their bogus election audit is a PR stunt. What they did today is an attempt at real hardcore voter disenfranchisement.

Democrats have voting rights bills in the House and Senate in an attempt to try to reset the balance, right, to fill the vacuum left by John Roberts and the conservatives in the court, the grand bargain that we had that John Lewis shed blood for, along with thousands and thousands of others.

At the markup of the Senate Bill, today, Democrats tried to send a warning about these anti-democratic bills Republicans are pushing across the country, while Republicans trotted out bad-faith arguments, it`s really the Democrats who are trying to game the system for their own benefit.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We are witnessing an attempt at the greatest contraction of voting rights since the end of reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow. Republicans no longer want to let the voters pick their politicians. They want to let politicians pick their voters.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The truth is quite simple. Our democracy is not in crisis, and we aren`t going to let one party take over our democracy under the false pretense of saving.


HAYES: Our democracy is not in crisis. I mean, yes, we did have a violent insurrection whipped up by the last president, the first attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power and generations possibly ever, depending on how you define it. But you know, nothing to see here. And so, now, we`re back to all this again.

The pre-clearance bureaucracy of the Voting Rights Act was erected precisely to solve this problem. The one they`re fighting over now. Thank you, John Roberts, we are not going to take this power away from the municipalities, that was the idea behind the Voting Rights Act, but we`re going to have oversight and a check against attempts to lock voters out of the process.

Now, the only way to deal with this is to create some sort of new federal standards, but Democrats need 60 votes to pass that kind of Bill unless they kill the filibuster. The Republicans have made it clear they are all- in on making it as hard as they can to vote.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar chairs the Senate Rules Committee which conducted the markup of the Senate`s floor the people built today and she joins me now. How did the market go today, Senator?

KLOBUCHAR: Pretty good. Do remember, our goal was to at least get that even vote. What does that mean, Chris? We can bring that bill to the floor. Senator Schumer can. If we had lost a Democrat or hadn`t gotten everyone on board and then committee was incredible, including moderates like Angus King and Mark Warner who were on our committee, then we wouldn`t have been able to get it to the floor.

But we all stick together. We had a long, long markup, nearly 40 amendments. Senator Cruz dominated the day. And when you read that quote from Senator McConnell or played it, I did keep thinking the same thing. Yes, there`s a crisis when you have an insurrection. There`s a crisis when you have senators that basically said, oh, forget the electoral vote and believe the big lie. And there`s a crisis when you`ve got voters standing in line in garbage bags and homemade masks like they did in Milwaukee, or people that aren`t even able in Georgia now to get water if they`ve got along line, or when you basically say, we`re only going to have one drop box in a county of five million people, like happened in Texas last time and that`s Harris County. That would be like putting one drop box in the middle of my entire state.

So, that`s why this bill is so important to allow people to take back our democracy. And that means getting rid of the secret money. It means making sure there`s anti-corruption provisions in place. And it, of course, means minimal national standards for voting.

HAYES: Can I ask -- I don`t think you`re going to love this question. I`m going to ask it anyway.

KLOBUCHAR: I can take anything.


KLOBUCHAR: After today with Ted Cruz, come on.

HAYES: It`s true. `

KLOBUCHAR: Go ahead.

HAYES: OK. I`m going to take it as a challenge. I`m going to ask about Ted Cruz in a second. So, I guess maybe it`s just there`s no path to it. But the -- what the Supreme Court technically struck out -- I mean, what I`m -- what I`m struck by in this whole fight is that we are having a fight over a thing, a problem we had solved.

I mean, the Voting Rights Act will literally solve this problem. Like, local administration of elections is important. It`s a principle we generally have. There`s reasons to have that. You need a federal check because it`s been abused in the past. Is there a way of just restoring the preclearance formula in a way that the court will like --


HAYES: Can we just do that? It just seems like we`re trying to reinvent the wheel here a little bit for a thing that we have a solution to.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, let go -- let`s step back. Let`s step back. John Lewis Voting Rights Act, right? That`s a separate bill that`s in judiciary. That would go a long way toward restoring that. So, that is such an important bill. But it still doesn`t solve some of the problems of the dark money, right. That`s why we have the Disclose Act.

It doesn`t solve the problems that we have crazy situations where the Supreme Court of the United States has no ethics rules, even though Darrell Issa, I found out this week, did propose a bill that is similar to our bill to bring those in. And so, the point is that you need both. You need to restore the Voting Rights Act with the John Lewis Bill, and then you need this For the People Act, because it actually set some minimum standards and we`ll just make it a whole lot easier.

Because I think one thing we`ve learned in the last decade, as the Fourth Circuit once said, these guys are discriminating with surgical precision against African Americans, and they will do anything, so new problems keep emerging, like purging voters from the list as -- I think my best quote on that is Stacey Abrams when she said, you know what, when you don`t go to a meeting for a while, you don`t lose your right to assemble. But if you don`t go to church or mosque or synagogue, you don`t lose your right to religious liberty and you shouldn`t lose your right to vote.

HAYES: I want to do -- I do want to play the exchange. I mean, Ted Cruz is one of eight U.S. senators, if I`m recalling the number correctly, who voted to reject the electors, which essentially would have installed the loser Donald Trump over the winner Joe Biden in contravention of both the Electoral College and the national popular vote.

And when you talk about this today, he did his signature go-to move, one that I`ve seen before when boarding a plane on the way to Cancun amidst a weather crisis in Texas which is to look at his phone. Take a look.


KLOBUCHAR: When in fact, you Senator Cruz, not all of your colleagues here today, you were contesting the Electoral College. You were leading -- one of the leaders on the effort to say that the election results were not correct. And so, you wonder why we want to make sure that people have the right to vote.


HAYES: What was going on there?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, he made the claim that we didn`t need to put these provisions in place. And he went back of all ironies to 2016 and claimed that somehow Hillary Clinton was contesting the election when it`s you know, she conceded the Electoral College operated properly, and we sure didn`t have an insurrection like we did when he took the reins and claimed that the Electoral College was inaccurate and that we couldn`t count the people`s votes. That`s 2020.

So, I was making the comparison and then making the obvious argument that literally we had a group of white supremacists invade the Capitol, that people died, that we all remember the splintered glass and the spray painting on the walls. And for now, him to come and say, oh, hey, everything`s OK. No, not everything`s OK.

And as I said, on that inaugural stage, it is the moment where democracy picks itself up, brushes itself off, and move forward as we always do, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And how you do that is by making sure that people can retake their democracy and can vote.

And if his party can adjust, as I said today, adjust their views on issues so they bring in more voters, or adjust their messages or candidates, they can`t win by taking away people`s right to vote. That`s what they`re trying to do right now.

HAYES: Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is chair of that Senate Rules Committee, then, have the marked-up today on a Senate bill 1. Thank you very much.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: As justice correspondent for The Nation magazine, Elie Mystal has been closely following the Republican Party`s anti-Democratic push to suppress as many votes as possible, and he joins me now.

I want to start on the -- on the Roberts Court and what the Supreme Court has wrought. Because I just keep -- you know, there`s a sort of sense of like -- this whack-a-mole. (INAUDIBLE) in play.

They`re passing a bill in Texas, and they`re passing one in Georgia, today Arizona. And know, these small thing, and again, they`re up the margins. It`s like these 100,000 voters in Arizona, this drop box in Texas, but, it`s precisely that infrastructure that we used to have at a federal level with civil servants and not politicians looking at it, which also cuts both ways because of -- you know, if advocates are saying, well, this is horrible, and will have disparate impact, and the civil servant say, no, actually, this is a fine, like, that`s also good. It`s good to have someone dispassionately evaluate this stuff.

ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION MAGAZINE: Look, your open was right and your question to Senator Klobuchar was exactly right. This was wrought by John Roberts.

The problem with everything happening in Congress today, everything happening in the Senate, the Foreign People Act or the John Lewis Act is that John Roberts is still there.

HAYES: Right?

MYSTAL: Right? Nothing has happened to make him go away.

HAYES: Right.

MYSTAL: The Anthony Kennedy was part of the majority in Shelby County joining Roberts in eviscerating the voted right act -- voting rights act. Anthony Kennedy is being replaced by alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who opposed John Roberts` decision in Shelby County has been replaced by Amy Coney Barrett. I cannot count to five. I cannot count to five votes on the Supreme Court --


HAYES: Right.

MYSTAL: That would uphold anything that gets passed by this Congress to secure the voting rights act. So, I don`t know what we`re doing. If we`re not expanding the court -- if we`re not aggressively reforming the court, we are doing nothing to protect voting rights act because -- voting rights, because John Roberts and now six conservatives can destroy whatever Congress passes out of this Congress just as easily as they destroyed the initial voting rights act.

HAYES: It such -- a such a good point. I mean, it`s impressing one. So, like -- don`t you know, don`t change the channel. Stay with us here. But it`s a -- it`s a -- no, I mean, its -- but it points to -- I mean, you`re totally right, right?

Like John Roberts is sitting there -- like I went -- I went on a date with my wife in an indoor restaurant, he is sitting there like I was like watching the oysters come over, like he`s sitting watching like Senate bill 1, you know. Like, can you bring it right here.


HAYES: I know -- I know what to do with that bill. So, you`re totally right about that. I mean, it speaks in some ways to the profundity of the democratic stakes here. Because, again, all these stuff is like it`s this - - these small whittling attacks to the margins, the 100,000 votes here. But the animating spirit of it harkens back to the original send to the country and the -- and its worst authoritarian impulses. And like, we have to do some deep work to keep democracy going right now in a bunch of different directions.

MYSTAL: This is the battle that we`re always fighting, right? There are -- as I count them, four amendments to the constitution trying to get over our original sin of having a democracy where only rich, white people could vote. Right?

We have the 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment. The 24th Amendment, which illuminated the full tax. The 26th Amendment which dropped the voting age to 18. I could throw when the 17th Amendment which made popular elections in the Senate possible.


MYSTAL: That`s four to five amendments trying to expand the franchise. Who`s been against them at every point? Conservatives. Whether those Conservatives call themselves Democrats in the 1860s, whether they call themselves Republicans today, whether they call themselves Democrats from West Virginia today, Conservatives are the once or against expanding the franchise. Why? Because when everybody votes, Conservatives can`t win. That`s just -- they know it, I know it, everybody knows it. When everybody votes and everybody`s vote is counted, the current Conservative Party as it is currently constituted cannot win.

So, when -- they`re not playing chess, right? They`re not trying to arrange the white pieces so they can outflank the black pieces. They are trying to throw the black pieces off the board and say, check mate.

HAYES: Right.

MYSTAL: Like, that`s their actual political strategy and it has worked at various times in our country`s history very well.

HAYES: Yes, and that point about -- I mean, the point about the voting rights act and the 15th Amendment is the reminder of exactly the same issue here. Like, we had the 15th Amendment, it was quite clear.

And you want to talk about and said, it was quite clear that what happened afterwards was not OK, and yet, it happened again. We have to pass the voting rights act to get back to the square one of essentially reconstruction and enfranchisement multi-rational enfranchise and itself.

The battle continues now. We saw it in display in the Senate today. Elie Mystal, thank you so much.

MYSTAL: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: We`re on the eve of a pretty big moment for the two-party system, the future of our democracy. Tomorrow, the Republican Party is going to vote to remove Liz Cheney from her leadership position because basically she refuses to peddle Donald Trump`s big lie that the election was stolen, that he was the rightful winner.

Tonight, in a pretty remarkable moment, Liz Cheney took to the floor of the House to say her piece before the vote. This literally just happened. We will show it to you next.


HAYES: The vote is set and the message has been sent. House Republicans are going to try and pull off their purge of Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming from leadership tomorrow for the simple sin of telling the truth, refusing to be part of the big lie.

The vote is likely to be done by secret ballot or by voice vote and decided by a simple majority. Now, tonight, Congressman Cheney took to the House floor on the eve of the vote to address what is happening.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.

Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words but not the truth as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.

I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. The Electoral College has voted. More than 60 state and federal courts including multiple judges the former president appointed have rejected his claims. The Trump department of justice investigated the former president`s claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process.

Mona Charon is a policy editor of the Bulwark. Olivia Troye is a former advisor of Vice President Mike Pence, member of the White House coronavirus task force until she left last summer.

Mona, I`ll start with you. Aside from one sentence which we can get to in a second that the highest conservative principles of defense the rule law take out that one sentence. Everything there as just factual claims about what`s happening is essentially indisputable. It`s just -- it`s just the plain truth of what`s happening that like we all know, and that is the thing that you`re not allowed to say.

MONA CHAREN, POLICY EDITOR, THE BULWARK: That`s exactly it. This is a war on truth that is now being joined by or apparently about to be joined by the entire Republican conference. And it really raises questions about how capable this country is of sustaining democracy, because it`s really hard to overstate what this says about the state of the Republican Party. They are saying that Liz Cheney is unacceptable because she will not bend to the big lie.

And if that`s not acceptable, if that`s the stand the party is now, lashing itself to. Then, any lie in the service of Republicans is going to be demanded. Right? And so, I raised in my column a question, what happens -- and bear in mind, I was a Republican for 40 years. But what happens if the Republicans take the House as is likely in 2022, and then, are called upon in 2024 to certify an election at the Electoral College?



CHAREN: But will it be expected that any Republican in good standing will lie? It appears so.

HAYES: Yes. I -- I`ve been very focused on that point and I liked your column and for that reason, which is that January 6th, 2025, will feature literally the same thing, and we just do, that`s we do it. It`s usually just a vote procedural essentially it will administrate a vote.

And if it becomes the case --


CHAREN: Right, and don`t forget that --


CHAREN: And sorry to interrupt you, but don`t forget that in 2020, Mike Pence who in other respects has been invertebrate, nevertheless, he did his constitutional duty.

HAYES: Correct.

CHAREN: Brad Raffensperger did his duty. No -- none of the states that Trump won sent separate delegates of electors to the Congress in violation of the votes of the people. None of that happened in 2020.

But the party by endorsing Trump`s lies and his fantasy about the big lie - -


HAYES: Right.

CHAREN: -- about the election, are really throwing into doubt whether in 2024, those same standards would be upheld.

HAYES: Olivia, Mona just brought up Mike Pence, and I keep thinking like what does Mike Pence -- of the hang Mike Pence chant think about all this?

Mike Pence of the man who Donald Trump painted a target on the back of -- who Donald Trump after the Capitol been breached tweeted about that the crowd was there to I don`t know, I mean, according to their words, hang Mike Pence. What does he think about all this?

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Well, apparently, Chris, he thinks nothing. He is been silent. He hasn`t taken a stand, he hasn`t spoken out trying to defend our democracy like Liz Cheney is.

It`s clearly -- he`s known Liz Cheney for a very long time in the Cheney family there are true conservatives and depending on how you define the word, but I will say when you`re not standing with Liz Cheney at this moment and doing everything you can to defend her for what she`s doing in defense of the truth in our democracy, you have failed Americans. Because you`re not just failing the Republican Party at this point, you truly are failing our society.

Because what is happening right now will have consequences. They are subverting the truth and they will continue to do this over and over again.

HAYES: Yes, I can`t -- I think, Mona, because I`m I was raised catholic although not the most faithful Catholic these days, but I can`t help but see this in these sort of terms of sin and temptation. And this sort of, you know, the kind of moral compromise.

I mean, it`s like Stefanik is telling herself, well, I`ll just do this, and I`ll get a little more power and these lies, these things people are telling themselves about, you know, I can -- I can make do with Donald Trump and he brings new voters into the party.

It will lead to ruin. It already did. This is the thing that`s so crazy, those of us who are screaming our heads off for months running into the election saying, look, what he`s doing, this is horror for democracy.

And then, after the election, say, look what he`s doing. And it culminates on national television on January 6th. I feel like I`ve lost my mind for anyone to be like, well, what`s the big deal? This is exactly what we warned you about.

MONA CHAREN, POLICY EDITOR, THE BULK WAR: Well, exactly. I mean, it really -- look, I mean, so many aspects of the last five years have made people like you and me feel like we`re taking crazy pills, right?

I mean, it is insane that there wasn`t a national revulsion by everybody up and down the line about January 6th. The initial response, don`t forget in the first hours after that atrocity, everybody behaved normally, right?

Lindsey Graham said, OK, I`m done. You know, Kevin McCarthy was very, very strong in saying that Trump had responsibility to this. He called it into being and so on and so forth.

And then, within 48 hours, their spinelessness returned. And it`s just -- I mean, it is just so dismaying that those antibodies that used to be a natural part of every decent American, and I think that was the overwhelming majority, the antibodies against this kind of -- this kind of totalitarian temptation, if you will, we`re very strong and they have become eroded in an unbelievably short amount of time.

HAYES: Mona Charen and Olivia Troye, thank you both for making time tonight. I really, really appreciate it.

After the violent insurrection on January 6th, just as Mona was saying, everyone`s sort of -- well, a lot of people reacted normally, right, with horror and revulsion.

Among the institutions that did, Corporate America appeared to distance themselves from the nearly 150 Republicans who voted to overturn the presidential election results. The memories are short.

And so, four months later, Republicans are attempting to erase the memory of January 6th, and held corporations who have interests they want to push of course figure out how they can get back to donating.

Independent reporter Judd Legum has discovered the trade organization for these corporate PACs has been encouraging its membership to move beyond January 6th and resume their political contributions.

Legum obtained a webinar video from early March featuring a Republican operative named Michael DuHaime, essentially coaching the representatives of these corporate PACs on how to restart their donations.


MICHAEL DUHAIME, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Ultimately, you just have to do what`s right for your organization, and deal with the fallout that comes from that because most likely, it`s going to be a one-day story. Most likely, you`re not going to lose customer share over it. But doesn`t mean you shouldn`t be cognizant of it and be -- and be aware of it.


HAYES: We reached out to Mr. DuHaime there about that webinar and he sent along the following statement. He says anyone who follows me knows I have been critical of members of the Republican Party who voted against certifying the election results. I`ve strongly condemned the attack on our democracy. Any insinuation to the contrary is disproven easily.

I do believe we need everyone, in both parties, to stay engaged in the political process because that is the best way to move our country forward. Stay engaged.

That was the message I was conveying at the virtual meeting. I leave it to others to look at all my comments since the election November and also since January 6th and judge whether this seminar is presented in proper context.

Judd Legum is a reporter who broke this story. He`s the author of Popular Information, which is a newsletter about politics and power.

Judd, first, can you give us a little context about what this webinar event was? Who the -- who the group is that`s hosting it and what the point of it was?

JUDD LEGUM, POPULAR INFORMATION: Well, this is a group, the National Association of Business PACs that`s actually the trade association for corporate PACs. And they have different seminars. And in March, this seminar featuring Michael DuHaime was titled where do we go from here.

And the purpose of it was many of these companies had pledged to suspend their donations either to all politicians, all members of Congress, or just the 147.

And this group, which you`ve called NABPAC, it has its initials spell out was trying to help them work through how to restart those donations. And if you listen to the webinar, which is about 40 minutes long, the clear message was that corporations should begin to restart they`re donations to the members of Congress that voted to overturn the election.

And that`s what Mr. DuHaime who is crisis communications consultant, a Republican operative was taking them through, it`s only going to be a one- day story. Here`s how you should do it, set up a murder board with different communication professionals and sort of love the tough questions about why you`re giving to insurrectionists. And just get prepared and then take your lumps and let`s move forward.

HAYES: I mean, I should point out that Michael DuHaime is someone who, you know, has a public profile, and has not been a particularly Trumpy Republican in his public profile, and has been to -- as he noted, quite critical of January 6th and critical of Trump and all this stuff.

But to me, this is just an example of precisely like the gravitational pull here, which is like, everyone had seizures of conscience, they were horrified by what they saw and I think public opinion also pushed them in that direction. But it doesn`t matter in the long run. Like, business is business, they`re going to get back to it.

LEGUM: Yes, and I think that`s where DuHaime was coming from in this webinar. It wasn`t a Trump fest, there wasn`t a lot of talk about how the election was stolen. It was about the necessity of getting these contributions started, and how to prioritize the bottom line of your business.

And he was very direct that these contributions are the way that corporations get access to politicians and encouraged them.

He said that, that`s a good reason, you can continue to do that. But because of this new environment, you`re going to have to for public consumption come up with a pretext, a better reason to tell the public of why you`re resuming to --

HAYES: He says, at one point, you know, it`s a perfectly good reason to say you`re donating to these legislators because they have power over you. But you can`t say that out loud.

But, of course, if he`s right in so far as that is the reason, right? This access relationship and wanting to sort of grease the wheels of regulatory decisions is precisely what`s going on with all these PACs.

LEGUM: Yes, and I think there was a moment in time -- and we`re actually still in that moment, where a corporation said, this may not be in our financial interest. But what happened on January 6th, was so outside the bounds of what we can tolerate that we`re going to put that aside.

And if you looked at the first quarter donations, for the most part, there were exceptions, but for the most part, corporations withheld that money.

But now is really a test and there`s a push and pull of are corporations going to stick to that? Or are we going to go back to business as usual? And that`s what this webinar was really about.

HAYES: Judd Legum, great reporting. Very well done. Thanks for making time for us tonight.

LEGUM: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, former National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on the latest on the deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Why the domestic politics over this shifting before our eyes?


HAYES: Yesterday, you might have seen this New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang put out a statement about the latest violence between Israelis and Palestinians which read "I`m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people in New York City will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere."

Hamas has been firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel proper for three days. The first such barrage of this magnitude in seven years. There`s actually a U.S. funded air defense system called Iron Dome, which has managed to intercept most of them.

Though, today, the barrage has killed at least three people and forced Israel to temporarily close Ben Gurion Airport.

Now, the kind of statement from Andrew Yang is not at all unusual in New York City politics or Democratic politics or American politics. But as many pointed out in response, his statement wholly omits that just the day before Israel began airstrikes in Gaza that killed at least 30 Palestinians including 10 children and wounding over 200 people according to Palestinian officials there.

Yang`s statement also admitted this entire episodes proximate Twitter is an attempt by Israeli settlers with the backing of the Israeli government to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood or Sheikh Jarrah.

This is a cause long pursued by Israeli factions who believe that all of Jerusalem should be brought under Israeli control, including the parts in the East, which are not officially part of Israel proper.

What happened after Andrew Yang`s tweet was especially interesting. Yang was approvingly tweet retweeted by Trump figures like Stephen Miller, who said, "Andrew Yang is exactly right. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is outrageously wrong." He got a big thumbs up from Senator Ted Cruz who said bravo to Yang for opposing the rabidly pro-Hamas and anti-Israel attacks from fellow Democrats Omar and Tlaib. Both they and others using the opportunity to explicitly attack Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Here`s the thing, the politics here are shifting quickly both in the region where Israel course has normalized relations with a number of Arab countries in just the last few years and here in the U.S. where the Democratic Party has a growing fissure over this very issue.

So far, nearly 20 Democrats in the Senate in the House have issued statements condemning the Israeli government for its actions in East Jerusalem.

Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum has a bill with 18 co-sponsors to prohibit Israel from using USAID from military detention of Palestinian children, the destruction of Palestinian homes or the annexation of Palestinian lands.

Ben Rhodes has seen firsthand the complexities of the U.S. relationship with Israel and Palestinians and the domestic politics of it all in his time working at the White House where he was the Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications and Speech Writing. And Ben Rhodes joins me now.

Ben, I first want to start -- I mean, things are bad right now, they are escalating. There`s real concern, U.N. -- the U.S. -- U.N. envoy for Middle East peace talked about the concern of full scale war. What is your reaction to what we are seeing right now? And what the Biden administration can do?

BEN RHODES, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, it`s a horrifying situation. The worst-case scenario of escalation, Chris, where you had this kind of systematic effort to remove the Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

You had these attacks really, or operations against worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims. Then, you have Hamas, a terrorist organization firing indiscriminate rockets in Israel.

And now, we see escalation where Israel comes in very heavy-handed, they`re blowing up apartment blocks where civilians live.

The Biden administration is going to have to get involved. The two Gaza wars in 2008 and then in 2012 during Obama`s tenure took the United States getting involved to try to push a ceasefire here.

I think the Biden team was reluctant to get involved in the Middle East because there`s not a lot of prospect of peace. But ultimately, must the U.S. steps in here or this situation can get even further out of control.

HAYES: How are things changing? What did you learn about handling this portfolio and the U.S.`s relationship to Israel and to the Palestinian territories? And what do you learn from your time from the Obama administration navigating that? What surprised you?

RHODES: Well, I mean, Chris, I`m just going to be honest here. I mean, what I learned is that the old talking points don`t work anymore. We`re accustomed to U.S. officials, people like me, going out and talking about our commitment to a two-state solution to secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

But the reality is, the facts on the ground have changed overwhelmingly in the last decade or two, to the point where a Palestinian state is almost impossible, a viable contiguous Palestinian state.

The Israeli government under Bibi Netanyahu has moved further and further to the right and is not interested in peace. And he himself has said that he doesn`t want there to be a Palestinian state on his watch.

And I think what a lot of progressives in the Democratic Party are responding to is the fact that the old talking points don`t apply to this circumstance anymore. There`s such a vast asymmetry of power between Israel and the Palestinians, that people are saying, hey, wait a minute here. Obviously, we condemn Hamas and its indiscriminate rocket fire. Hamas doesn`t represent all Palestinians.

And frankly, the Palestinian people are increasingly in a dire circumstance. And I think, you know, that`s opening up fissures in the Democratic Party, at the same time that the Republican party in part because the evangelical support for Israel has become even more in lockstep with the right wing of the Israeli political system.

HAYES: Yes, it`s interesting, because Israel, you know, guns used to be this way and that it didn`t sort of break down on partisan polarizing lines, and Israel has often not been and it`s been a great triumph of various institutions, APAC, among others to sort of create this kind of bipartisan consensus relationship between the Israeli government the you -- and the U.S. government as a sort of bilateral relationship that went through administrations Democrat or Republican.

American politics are polarizing very intensely. Former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had this to say recently, which I thought was fascinating. We talked about what the backbone of American political desk domestic support for Israel, let`s take a listen to what he said.


RON DERMER, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR: People have to understand, the backbone of Israel support in the United States is the evangelical Christians. That`s the backbone.

And it`s true, because of numbers. And also, because of their passionate and unequivocal support for Israel. Look at numbers, about 25 percent and some people think more. 25 percent of Americans are evangelical Christians, less than two percent of Americans are Jews.

If you look just at numbers, you should be spending a lot more time doing outreach to evangelical Jews, that evangelical Christian, sorry, than you would do to Jews.


HAYES: I think, Ben, that points to something you were saying and it also the sort of the flip side of that are fissures within the large American Jewish population, folks that are orthodox, who are secular, who are liberal, who are conservative on an issue that I think used to be more uniting than it is now.

RHODES: No, absolutely. I think what Netanyahu would advise like people like Ron Dermer has done is decided that we can do what we need to do with the support uniformly of the Republican Party and some Democratic support.

And if there`s a divide in the Democratic Party, if there`s a divide even in the American Jewish community, where the raucous debates about these issues, that`s OK.

I think that puts a risk that kind of bipartisan long-term support for Israel in the United States. I think younger Democrats are raising more and more questions.

And look, Chris, the reality is, the Palestinians, the millions of Palestinians who live in the area that is either governed or occupied by Israel, they are there.

And if there`s not a two-state solution, what is the solution here? Is it - - is it a one state situation where Palestinians have equal rights? Is it a situation where the Palestinians are increasingly driven out of their homes? Is it some situation in which the Palestinians are second class citizens?

There are not good answers to these questions right now from the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu and from a lot of his supporters in the United States.

And that`s why I think, people in the United States who care about structural injustice, who care about human rights, you know, in the United States and Israel and other countries around the world, it`s not singling Israel out. It`s I think a uniform progressive agenda of asking hard questions about, hey, wait a second here, what are we supporting in terms of policies that are not only not bringing peace, but continue to bring about these kinds of escalations that we see?

HAYES: Ben Rhodes, it`s always great to talk to you. Thanks for making time tonight.

RHODES: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Next up, Dr. Peter Hotez on the big vaccine news today and what it means for the summer after this.


HAYES: Some good news, we have some really positive signs here in the U.S. as we try to end the pandemic. COVID cases, they are down. They are down more than 30 percent over the past few weeks. Vaccination rates are ticking back up again after a fairly worrying decline. And Pfizer shots are now authorized for anyone over the age of 12, adding millions and millions of new folks who can get vaccinated.

Here to tell us if it`s time to start celebrating at, Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, co-director of the Texas Children`s Hospital Center for vaccine development.

Dr. Hotez, I want to talk about the case numbers because we saw in Israel, we saw in the U.K., around 50 percent things started to really come down. We saw virus -- viral suppression happening. It looks like we`re starting to see that in the last week or two here. What do you think?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: It may be the case, especially in the states that are doing well with vaccination rates.

So, if you look at the New England States, New York, New Jersey, as well as California, New Mexico, what you`re -- what you`ve got now is about 60 percent of the country -- 60 percent of those populations have received a single dose 40 to 45 percent, two doses, so you`re getting up towards Israel numbers, and you are seeing a really steep decline.

So, that`s really exciting news, that, you know, we could reproduce what`s been done in Israel and in some of the states.

The worrisome news is those are all blue or bluish states that lead at the top, if you go to the bottom of the list, all the deep -- the deep red states are not doing nearly as well there and still in the 30 percent range in states like Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, in the South, and then Wyoming and Idaho in the -- in the mountain area.

And so, what I worry about is, if you remember, Chris, at this time last year, we were also doing pretty well, we were at a nadir and then, as the summer hit, those numbers really skyrocketed in the southern states.

And the way it looks now is those southern states are only going to be partially vaccinated. And I don`t know what that means. I`m kind of holding my breath about the -- about the South right now.

HAYES: Obviously there`s a complicated mix of factors in the population that hasn`t been vaccinated yet. I think there`s a huge population that just hasn`t gotten around to it, or for whatever reason is not -- hasn`t been super proactive about it, but they`re not hardcore resistors. And then there are folks that really don`t want to get the shot.

I know that you`ve been kind of a target of some of the the anti-vax movement, I think that`s gotten worse recently. How are you seeing this as someone who has dealt with this political tendency in American life for a while? How are you seeing this play out now?

HOTEZ: I think that the difference between now in the last year or so compared to in the past is the increasing polarization and linking it to far right-wing extremist groups and kind of becoming mainstream across parts of the Republican Party.

So, the attacks coming to me from last -- as for the last week, what happened was a group that I didn`t know that much about, but I looked it up and they call them -- they`re identified as a far right-wing conspiracy theory, kind of anti-vaccine group started telling their followers to contact me providing my e-mail and phone numbers.

And so, it`s been a nonstop barrage of really pretty scary e-mails and you know, saying there are group of armed patriots, they`re going to hunt me down and that kind of stuff. And a lot of their -- they love their Nazi imagery, lots of hangings at Nuremberg, and that kind of stuff. So, it`s pretty unnerving, but we`ll just have to keep on watching it.

And, you know, this is the nature of the anti-vaccine movement in this country, it`s got -- its somehow married now to a far right-wing extremism and white nationalist groups. And that -- it was starting over the last couple of years, but it`s gotten more intense and more expansive.

HAYES: All right, Dr. Peter Hotez. Well, I hope that you are safe and you are well and you have been an incredible resource for us.

Finally, just a quick question on the -- on the teenagers. That seems like good news, good news?

HOTEZ: It`s definitely good news. You know, the 12 to 15-year-olds, we -- you know, with this B117 variant that`s been around, we`re starting to see younger people go into hospital, we`re starting to see even teenagers go into hospital. So, we need to get them vaccinated.

And when that happens, if we can get high rates of vaccine coverage, it means middle schools, high schools are going to be very safe places for the students and for the vaccinated teachers and the staff.

And then, if we can get a high percentage of both the adolescents and the adults vaccinated, overall transmission is going to really dramatically decline. And that`s going to make even the elementary school safe even though the little kids are not vaccinated yet, so that`s really good news.

But again, I worry about this kind of red state, blue state divide. I don`t want to see two countries COVID positive and COVID negative.

HAYES: Dr. Peter Hotez, always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you very much.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

HAYES: As some people are still holding out on getting vaccinated, Lawrence O`Donnell sits down with President Joe Biden to discuss what it will take to vaccinate every American in a special MSNBC townhall event that`s happening tomorrow night.

We`ll be joined by members of the White House COVID response team as well as a developer with the Moderna vaccine. Watch Vaccinating America, an MSNBC Townhall tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC, streaming on

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