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

Guests: Haley Byrd Wilt, Adam Schiff, Jena Griswold, Lee Merritt, Timothy O`Brien, Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-AL)


More and more Republican senators are coming out against the bipartisan January 6th Commission. Louisiana State Police released a brief statement saying that Greene had struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital. The Washington D.C. Attorney General says that Trump`s Inaugural Committee misused over $1 million of the $107 million they raised for the 2017 inauguration in order to enrich his family`s businesses. In 1993, the Alabama Board of Education banned yoga and meditation practices in its public schools amid complaints that counselors were harming children with psychotherapeutic techniques.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Under a Trump administration policy that required children born abroad to have a biological tie to a U.S. citizen. Well, this week, the Biden administration announced a new interpretation of that law that would grant citizenship previously denied to their child, taking into account the realities of modern families such as assisted reproductive technology used by LGBTQ families.

Congratulations to Ethan and the rest of the Dvash-Banks family. And they`re so adorable. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL THE WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): You don`t even need the subpoena. You just need the request for subpoena to damage republicans for blocking it and to damage that member of Congress, whoever it is, simply because you want to look at them. Why would you want to look at them unless they did something wrong?

MAXWELL: How the Republican argument against a January 6 commission sounds a lot like their rationale for Benghazi hearings. Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff on where we go from here. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I beat the ever-living fuck out of him, choked him, and everything else trying to get him under control.

MAXWELL: Horrifying new body cam video showing what really happened in the death of Ronald Greene. And a Greene family attorney joins me tonight.

Then, new trouble for Donald Trump as prosecutors put the pressure on his top money guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?


MAXWELL: Plus, how the attack on the election in Arizona is a warning for the rest of the country. And why yoga was banned for school kids in Alabama for decades and how they got it back when ALL IN starts right now.


MAXWELL (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Zerlina Maxwell in for Chris Hayes. Even though both Democrats and Republicans we`re all there together when hundreds and hundreds of Trump rioters attack the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election, with each passing day, more and more Republican senators are coming out against the bipartisan January 6th Commission.

Instead of actually addressing the bipartisan content of the bill, Florida Senator Marco Rubio wondered if Democrats want to turn the commission into a political weapon.


RUBIO: This is about politics. Here`s how. They have this thing that says well, in order to issue a subpoena, you need both the Republican and the Democratic side evenly divided to agree to it. But that`s not the point from politics. You don`t actually need the subpoena. All you need is a story out there saying congressman so and so, they want to subpoena him or her, but they can`t because the Republicans are blocking it.


MAXWELL: According to Marco Rubio, the bipartisan commission is back because members will use it to subpoena people and embarrass them. For context, remember what a big deal Republicans made about Benghazi. House Republicans conducted six different investigations. And then a couple of weeks after five Republican-led House committees released a 43-page report specifically faulting the State Department for the 2012 Benghazi attack, Senator Marco Rubio wrote an op-ed demanding more investigations and complaining no one has yet been held accountable.

And then, they made Hillary Clinton testify for 11 straight hours. You remember that. And Senator Marco Rubio was so upset, he just had to have a set of hearing with a woman who just happened to be the woman who would be the Democratic nominee for president.


RUBIUO: Madam Secretary, we all wish that this had never happened so this hearing would never have had to happen. But before the attack in Benghazi, what had we done specifically to help them build their security capacities?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, there`s a long list and I`ll be happy to provide that to you.


MAXWELL: Senator Rubio is more concerned about how the Secretary of State responded in Libya than how President Donald Trump responded during an insurrection right here in America. He thinks Democrats want to use this bipartisan committee for political purposes just like they did with Benghazi. And we know that`s how Republicans viewed the Benghazi hearings.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she`s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not thought of something --



MAXWELL: This is why a commission looking into the January 6 insurrection is too much for them. But there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Questions that Republican Congressman John Katko, you know, the guy who helped design the commission, highlighted two days ago on the House floor.


REP. JOHN KATKO (R-NY): We must find answers to the many questions surrounding that day. What information was known leading up to January 6? Why was that information not shared with the proper entities? Why were Capitol Police officers left someone prepared? Who failed to provide them with support? Why did it take so long for reinforcements to come to their aid?

How can we improve the decision-making and bureaucracy that is clearly hampering the Capitol Police and security of the Capitol Complex? How can we ensure that the Capitol, members of Congress, and our staffs are secure from attacks? And how do we ensure that this is a safer place for members of the Capitol Police Force who risk their lives every day to protect us?


MAXWELL: There is absolutely nothing political about those questions. And the fact that Republicans do not want them answered only raises more questions. Haley Byrd Wilt is an associate editor for the Dispatch and author of the Uphill, a newsletter about Congress. She has a really informative piece out today titled "Republican senators dig in against the January 6 Commission." And she joins me now. Thank you so much for being here tonight.


MAXWELL: So, how has the Senate Republican position evolved on the January 6 commission just in the last week?

WILT: Right. So, I spoke to several senators on Monday night. Most of them said that they had not seen the bill but they were open to it. They were sort of waiting to see what was in it. It was already available at that point. Of course, over the week, Republican leaders of both in the House and in the Senate came out against this commission. They said it would be political. And following those statements, Republican senators very quickly coalesced against the bill.

I spoke to a more than 20 yesterday -- on Thursday and many of them had not read the bill yet, even though it had been available for a week. But they seemed confused about how the commission would be structured, how it would work, and they raised concerns that were largely addressed in the legislation.

So, that`s where we are. It seems very difficult for them to reach the 10 votes needed for Democrats to pass this bill in the Senate at this point.

MAXWELL: It seems to me that sounds a lot like when they used to say, I didn`t see the tweet. I mean, to your point, a lot of the things in this bill addressed their concerns. So, what is their real objection, having maybe at this point, read the bill right here on Friday night?

WILT: Right. So, Senator Rubio, I spoke to on Thursday. He was speaking to several reporters, and he was raising concerns. You know, the commission -- he was worried that it would issue political subpoenas, that it would turn into sort of a partisan circus.

And I pointed out, it`s evenly divided. The Democrats on that on the commission would not be able to issue sub subpoenas without at least one Republican appointee. Those Republican appointees will be -- would have been selected by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House. Basically, Democrats gave Republicans veto power over the subpoenas.

At that point, Rubio told me he had not read the bill yet. He released that video that you played earlier today after having read the bill, has sort of revised his concern about the subpoenas. He said, it doesn`t -- you don`t even need the subpoena to be issued. He`s worried about bad press for Republicans if the Republicans on the commission block certain lines of inquiry.

So, it`s not a problem with the structure of the legislation or of the Commission. It is an issue for him with just the politics of it. And that`s something that you`ll find with almost every Republican you`ll talk to. They`re worried about how this will be used in the upcoming midterm elections.

MAXWELL: It`s very interesting in terms of the state of affairs in the Congress right now. So, seven Senate Republicans voted to convict Trump in the impeachment trial, and just to clarify, the second impeachment trial. So, in the last minute here, it feels to me like there shouldn`t be anything stopping those same senators from supporting an investigation into the exact same set of facts, right?

WILT: You would think so. Some senators like Richard Burr who supported Trump`s conviction have said that the congressional investigations so far have been enough. There`s still a lot we don`t know from those investigations. We`ll get a report from two Senate Committees that have been looking into this in a couple of weeks, which some senators said, you know, they`d like to see that report first before they decide on the commission, which is pretty reasonable to see what they have found.

But speaking to Rob Portman who is the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, who has been involved in this, yesterday, he said that they had not spoken to any top White House officials of former President Trump, people who were, you know, central to the administration`s response that day, as if that`s a pretty big gap that`s going to be in that Senate report.

And like Representative Katko was saying on the House floor. There`s just a lot of questions that are unanswered and Democrats had hoped that this commission would be able to look into those.

MAXWELL: You definitely cannot do a commission without asking Donald Trump what he was doing that day. Haley Byrd Wilt, thank you so much for being here and please stay safe.

For more on the raw politics of it all, I want to bring in democratic congressman Adam Schiff, who not only prosecuted the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump, he was also a Democratic member of the Republican- led Select Benghazi committee which I mentioned in the open. Congressman, thank you so much for being here tonight.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Good to be with you.

MAXWELL: So, what do you make of the fact that seven Republican senators voted to convict Donald Trump at the second impeachment, not the one you are manager for, the second one, but some of them will not vote to approve a commission to investigate the exact same event.

SCHIFF: Well, look, they`re all falling in line behind Donald Trump. This has been the story since the second impeachment trial. And I think it`s most vividly demonstrated by Mitch McConnell, who gave that impassioned speech after he voted to acquit the President about how guilty the President was and how reprehensible the conduct of the President was.

And now, he just doesn`t want to look into it. And why because the president says, don`t support the bill. And that`s basically where the Republican Party is now. They`re willing to look away, ignore what happened on January 6, tried to bury it, try to deny it, try to pretend that it was just a bunch of tourists. And they don`t want the public to know any more about it.

You know, I watched that clip you played of Marco Rubio. The idea that somehow it`s unfair to have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on a commission, and to provide that subpoenas can`t go out unless there`s bipartisan support, that somehow that`s unfair, because they actually might want to issue a subpoena.

You can`t do a credible investigation without the power of subpoena. It`s an absurd argument. But it just shows where that party is right now. They are lock stock and barrel, the property of Donald Trump.

MAXWELL: Yes, that was a real stretch, in my view, in terms of that not being fair. I mean, that`s overly fair in a lot of ways. But also this is a -- it`s a nonpartisan commission. The whole point is that it`s outside of the politics. That`s why we`re talking about a commission and not a select committee, like the one from 2015.

And you said this back then about the many Benghazi investigations.


SCHIFF: This is actually just what concerns me about the select committee, you know, we see with the abuse of impeachment that it becomes just another tool to be used for partisan purposes. And now, this is what the select committee has become.

In the future, I think Benghazi will become synonymous with a partisan abuse of taxpayer dollars. People will say, should we form a Benghazi committee on this.


MAXWELL: Do you think the Republicans have tainted the ability for Congress to truly have an objective investigation?

SCHIFF: Well, it`s really demonstrated in the Benghazi select committee how they could abuse the process of Congress. I was on two Benghazi investigations, one that was a bipartisan investigation done by the House Intelligence Committee that debunked all these conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton. But that didn`t reach the right conclusion for Kevin McCarthy.

So, we have this partisan select committee that was chaired by Trey Gowdy. It had one mission, tear down Hillary`s numbers. That was a terrible abuse of congressional process and of taxpayer dollars. Does that mean that you can`t have a properly constituted select committee? No, Congress can do the job, right.

But the best way to do it is to perform an independent commission like the 9/11 commission. It`s outside the political process. And I hope that we can find the votes in the Senate to do that. It`s clearly in the public interest. But if that doesn`t work, we`ll have to consider alternatives not to -- not like a partisan way like Benghazi, but in a -- in a thorough and objective way.

But we`re going to get answers one way or another. We`re not going to simply look the other way as a lot of Republicans would like.

MAXWELL: I mean, I imagine the security questions even that John Katko laid out there are ones that need to be answered whether Republicans want answers or not. So, one thing that I want to play for you and get your reaction is in Donald Trump`s first impeachment, you said something that really just stuck with me ever since.


SCHIFF: You know you can`t trust this president to do what`s right for this country. You can trust he will do what`s right for Donald Trump. He`ll do it now. He`s done it before. He`ll do it for the next several months. He`ll do it in the election if he`s allowed to.


MAXWELL: What do those words mean to you now?

SCHIFF: It means that, you know, all the horrors that we went through over the last year, including on January 6, were eminently predictable and avoidable if people stood up to that President and people have held their constitutional oath. The evidence against the president in both rounds was overwhelming.

But look, the Republican Party has become the party of Donald Trump. His lies, become their lies. His obfuscation becomes theirs. His opposition to finding out the truth becomes their opposition to finding out the truth. And this is a terrible thing for the country.

We need two functional parties. But right now, we have one functional party, the Democratic Party, and we have a cult, an anti-democratic cult, an anti-truth cult around the president -- the former president. And that as long as that`s the case, this country is going to really struggle.

MAXWELL: Yes, I think that there`s a lot of truth to what you just said. And I think about the fact that we definitely need at least two functioning political parties. Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for being here tonight. And please stay safe.

SCHIFF: You too. Thank you.

MAXWELL: Tonight, the big lie continues. Thank you so much. Tonight, the big lie continues spreading from Arizona now to Georgia where a judge just gave the green light to yet another recount in Fulton County. How can election officials stop this from spreading to other states? That`s up next.


MAXWELL: In Arizona, the audit of Maricopa County`s 2020 ballots has been on pause this week to make way for high school graduation ceremony, seriously. The Republican president of the Arizona senate says the recount will continue once the graduates have vacated the building.

But it`s no longer just Arizona. A judge in Fulton County, Georgia just granted a motion allowing absentee ballots from 2020 to be unsealed and examined for fraud. A conservative group created and funded by former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler spoke out in support of the decision. "We must inspect Fulton County`s absentee ballots to reassure Georgians that their voices are heard and their votes are counted."

Of course, as you recall, the votes in the 2020 Presidential election were already recounted twice in Georgia statewide, and we know that there was no fraud. Jena Griswold is the Secretary of State of Colorado, and the chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State. And she joins me now. Thank you so much for being here tonight.

JENA GRISWOLD, SECRETARY OF STATE, COLORADO: Good evening, Zerlina. Thank you for having me.

MAXWELL: So, what is the danger of the precedent Republicans are setting here? Is it that that election results can`t be trusted anymore?

GRISWOLD: No, it`s that Republicans are trying to stack the deck against American voters to take power. That`s what`s happening. In Arizona, in places where these conversations are happening about sham audits, in the 47 states where we`ve had over 400 bills to suppress voters, the key behind all of this is a coordinated attack on our democracy.

It`s spreading lies to then be able to suppress voters for conservative Republicans to tilt the election in their favor. This cannot be the new normal. It`s un-American, it`s undemocratic, and it`s just wrong.

MAXWELL: One of your fellow secretaries of state, Katie Hobbs of Arizona, wrote this letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors saying they should no longer use the voting machines turned over in the audit. Why is that a concern here? And what are the security risks associated with the machine being in the hands of the Cyber Ninjas?

GRISWOLD: Well, first and foremost, the entity that -- I wouldn`t even call it conducting an audit, conducting a sham audit, conducting shenanigans out in Arizona is a partisan group that doesn`t have any experience in elections. And when we do election audits, there`s a whole host of best practices, including chain of custody, among other things.

And once that chain of custody is broken and other security procedures are not followed, then it puts the voting equipment at risk. And this could cost Arizona millions of dollars to replace this election equipment. But I think the bigger picture is that this attack on our democracy by spreading lies is not over. In fact, it`s just getting ramped up and I think we`ll be seeing it for quite some time.

And voters will have an opportunity in 2022 to elect people who will stand with them, stand and protect our democracy, including Democratic secretaries of state who will be running in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and in Colorado, big swing states for the nation. So, I do think that, you know, we just have to keep our eyes on the prize, and the prize is democracy. A nation where every eligible person can have their voice heard in free, fair and secure elections and decide the outcome of those elections. And that`s what democratic secretaries of state are fighting for every single day.

MAXWELL: Right. It`s the idea that, you know, you have your position, someone else has their position. You debate it out, voters vote, you count it up, and whoever gets the most wins. It`s quite simple.

So, in your opinion, what can be done by elected Democrats in the states? You mentioned the Secretaries of State, but what else can be done proactively to protect the ballot and voting rights?

GRISWOLD: Well, there`s a lot that needs to be done. And I`m so glad to be Secretary of State of Colorado, just honored every single day because we have the security and most accessible elections in the nation.

So, we affirmatively send a mail ballot to every registered person. We have weeks of early voting. We have same-day voter registration, online voter registration, automatic voter registration. And that leads to us being the security state in which to cast a vote and one of the leaders when it comes to turnout.

And every American not only deserves the same, has a right to the same -- these are our constitutional rights were talking about. So, what can be done right now is the Senate can pass the For the People`s Act and save our democracy. That`s what is what we`re facing. We are facing a party who is trying to dismantle our democracy for their own corrupt wins. It`s un- American.

So, the Senate has to act. And then, I just encourage all of your viewers to demand that their elected officials protect the right to vote, and just the backbone, the foundation of this country.

MAXWELL: Colorado`s Secretary of State Jena Griswold, thank you so much for being here tonight. Please stay safe.

Ahead, the newly uncovered body cam footage that exposed a two-year lie about the death of Ronald Greene in police custody. That`s up next.


MAXWELL: 49-year-old Ronald Greene, a black man living in Monroe, Louisiana, died in May 2019 after a high-speed chase with Louisiana State Troopers. At first, Greene`s family says officers told them he died after crashing his car into a tree. Later, Louisiana State Police released a brief statement saying that Greene had struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.

For years, police refused to release body camera footage from that night. But now, the Associated Press obtained some of that video and it is incredibly disturbing.

It shows officers using a taser on Greene, punching him in the face and using a chokehold, also dragging him while he`s coughed in on the ground.

Tonight, two years after his death, the state police just finally released all of the footage from that night.

NBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson has been covering this story and she joins me now live from Monroe, Louisiana with the latest, Priscilla.

PRISCILLA THOMPSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Zerlina, that announcement from Louisiana State Police coming late today a reversal from what they were saying just yesterday, which was that releasing all of this footage would not be done until this investigation was complete.

However, today, they are saying now that the A.P. has dropped this second batch of videos, the videos that they have published are not the complete and entire amount of evidence. And so, that is why they have chosen to release this video in its entirety at this moment.

Now, NBC News is still reviewing that newly released video but what we did see from the second batch of footage that was dropped by the Associated Press today is Ronald Greene on his stomach and handcuffs, trying to prop himself up and turn over on his side and officers commanding him to remain on his stomach. One officer even using his foot to keep Ronald Greene down. A reminder that this video is disturbing. Take a look.



OFFICER: Don`t you turn over.

GREENE: All right.

OFFICER: Don`t you turn over. Lay on your belly. Lay on your belly.

GREENE: Yes, Sir. OK, Sir.

OFFICER: Lay on your f---ing belly like I told you to, you understand?

GREENE: Yes, Sir.


THOMPSON: And what may be even more disturbing than that is some of the comments made by trooper Chris Hollingsworth caught on camera on that body camera footage, take a listen to this.


CHRIS HOLLINGSWORTH, MASTER TROOPER, MONROE, LOUISIANA: I beat the ever- living f--- out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control. And we finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there. And the son of a b---- was still fighting, and we were still wrestling with him trying to hold him down because he was splitting blood everywhere.

And then all of a sudden he just went limp.


HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, I thought he was dead. We set him up real quick. He`s on the ambulance en route to Glenwood and I`m hauling ass trying to catch up to him.

SECOND OFFICER: You think he -- you all got that on body-cam?


THOMPSON: And so, you hear at the end there, the fellow officer asking Trooper Hollingsworth if the body cameras are on, at which point Hollingsworth turns off his body cam.

Now, Hollingsworth was ultimately terminated for his role in this incident, and he has since died in a single-car accident. There are also two other officers who have been disciplined in some way as it relates to this incident.

But it`s also worth noting that we now have a newly public official autopsy report, which shows that Greene sustained a broken breastbone and a torn aorta and also, a head injury as a result of this incident.

Although, it is unclear if those injuries occurred because of the high- speed chase and the car accident or as a result of this altercation with police.

It`s also worth noting that that autopsy report did show he had high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his system. And what the autopsy didn`t specify though, was the manner of death whether they were calling it a homicide, accidental or undetermined, Zerlina.

MAXWELL: NBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson, thank you so much for being here tonight. And please, stay safe.

Right now, I want to bring in Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys representing Ronald Greene`s family.

Lee, what do you make of today`s press conference from the Louisiana State Police?

LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE GREENE FAMILY: Well, the new leadership there is has an uphill battle. He`s inherited a department that is rife with corruption and brutality. He was just discovering a lot of this that we`ve been investigating for the past two years. He hasn`t been around when we`ve been asking for these files. He wasn`t around when these officers invented the car crash a scenario or when the previous supervising officers issued a 50-hour suspension to Kory York, one of the more brutal officers in that video.

And so, you see him trying his best, I feel sorry for him. Though he`s not coming close to justice and what needs to be the outcome of this now becoming public, which is criminal accountability for several of his officers. And of course, a serious revamp of that entire unit.

MAXWELL: I want to play some of the video released by the Associated Press. They`ve released the first video -- series of videos on Wednesday, and they released more today, which is again, I have to warn the audience, very disturbing. It`s officers spraying a handcuffed Ronald Greene with pepper spray while he`s lying down.

What do these videos show you? What do you see when you`re watching this video? And what training, if any, would help prevent what you see?

MERRITT: What you`re watching is really gratuitous violence. It`s not the only thing that I see. It`s important whose camera that is.

That`s the camera of the supervisor who came to the scene to check to see how his officers were doing. And he said everybody was doing a good job. He had three officers, they are covered in blood. Officer Dakota DeMoss, Officer Chris Hollingsworth and Officer Kory York.

And they`re forcing Ronald into a prone position, which everyone knows would limit his breathing especially after macing him directly in the face while handcuffed, stomping on him.

These were actions that any reasonable person would know that would lead -- could likely lead to his death. And certainly, we`re far in excess of anything necessary for a man who at that point was completely surrendered and in handcuffs.

This tells me because this is the supervisor approving these actions, this is the policy. When someone runs in Louisiana, officers feel like they get a free opportunity to be as violent and as cruel as possible.

And so, we can`t blame this on bad apples anymore. This is -- this is their policy. This is the de facto policy for Louisiana State Police. And that`s what we really need to drive home in terms of what we`re demanding come from this is a revamp of that entire department.

MAXWELL: My Signal Boost co-hosts, my radio show on SiriusXM, she was an English major, and she always likes to point out Jess McIntosh, that the idiom is actually the bad apples spoil the rest, the whole bunch is ruined now. So, they`re using the idiom actually incorrectly every time they do it.

In terms of what has happened in this case, this was two years ago. And there are allegations in this case of a cover-up because somebody had to see that body camera footage and put it on the shelf.

So, in terms of the state of this investigation, there`s also news that there`s a federal investigation. What do you hope the outcome of all of these pieces are?

MERRITT: Well, someone needs to go back with a fine-tooth comb and identify the misconduct by each officer. And not only considered for administrative consequences but understand that these men are now acting outside of the law. They are no longer enforcing the law, they are criminals. This is an aggravated assault.

Some level of homicide needs to be applied to each of these men`s actions because their actions resulted in the death of Ronald Greene.

And there needs to be a state level criminal accountability, which so far has been sort of punted to the fed -- to the Feds, the Fed should bring a charge, you know, these are constitutional violations. This is also a violation of the Louisiana State code.

And, you know, we were speaking with the prosecutor for Union Parish earlier today. And we asked, you know, can we expect charges to come out of the state? And he said that he`s certainly looking into that from his -- from his office and getting to everything that can be done.

But we can`t just move on here and say this was bad. And you know, Chris Hollingsworth passed away, and somebody else got 50-hours of suspension and that`s the best that we can do. We can`t move on from this. This is American policing exposed.

MAXWELL: Absolutely. Lee Merritt, thank you so much for your time tonight. Please stay safe. Have a great weekend.

Ahead, will Donald Trump`s longtime money man flip on the former president? The latest on the investigations after this.


MAXWELL: There have been so many scandals and investigations in the Trump orbit that you may have forgotten about the one stemming from his very first day in office.

The Washington D.C. Attorney General says that Trump`s Inaugural Committee misused over $1 million of the $107 million they raised for the 2017 inauguration in order to enrich his family`s businesses.

Someone who cannot forget about that investigation, however, is Donald Trump`s longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.

Last night, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff one of the organizers of the inauguration tweeted "Allen Weisselberg`s hands were all over the Presidential Inauguration Committee`s $107 million."

It is yet more pressure on Weisselberg who is also under criminal investigation in New York in connection with his personal taxes.

Timothy O`Brien is the executive editor and a columnist at Bloomberg Opinion. He`s also the author of Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald, and he joins me now.

Thank you so much for being here tonight, Tim.


MAXWELL: So, what may Allen Weisselberg have done wrong here? What are the kinds of things he`s being accused of in this particular case?

O`BRIEN: Well, you know, the -- this is a very straightforward case. They`re saying that the Trump Organization or the Trump family diverted portions of the inauguration funds into their hotel -- into their hotels in Washington for their own uses.

And the interesting thing about Weisselberg`s name coming up is I hadn`t seen that before, Ivanka`s name had come up a lot. She was considered one of the people piloting communications around what to do with the inauguration funds that went into Trump`s Hotel in Washington.

It`s significant that Allen Weisselberg`s name is here, because it`s yet another thing he has his fingers on. But remember, this D.C. investigation is a civil case. It is not -- it is not close to the kinds of charges or potential penalties that exist up in New York now.

So, it`s significant. It`s another example of how deeply entwined Allen Weisselberg is in the Trump Organization, in the Trump family`s business affairs and political affairs now in this example, so he`s obviously -- we`d known already that he`s essentially the cryptkeeper. He knows where every financial body is buried in the Trump empire and this is another piece of the puzzle.

MAXWELL: It`s so interesting to watch towards the end of investigations, or even at this stage of this investigation to see the attempts of the FBI and prosecutors to put pressure on folks. Here`s what Allen Weisselberg`s former daughter-in-law told CNN about whether or not he`ll flip.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. I mean, no, o hesitation at all with your answer there.


MAXWELL: So, she thinks he`ll flip on Trump. What do you think?

O`BRIEN: Well, I think he will flip on Trump in a heartbeat, Zerlina. Look, the only traction Donald Trump has with the people around him is money.

He has never been emotionally or personally close to most of the people that have inhabited this very small universe that he lives in. And Allen Weisselberg has been there for decades since the 1970s, mid-1970s. He was Fred Trump`s accountant. He and Donald essentially grew up in the Trump Organization together.

But Allen Weisselberg has watched Donald Trump throw people under the bus time and time again. He saw him do it. As a young man. He saw him do it as a casino owner. He saw him do it as a T.V. celebrity. He saw him do it as President. He`s under no illusion, that if -- that if this really gets intense, that Donald Trump is going to protect him.

So, I don`t think at the end of the day, he`s going to protect Trump if he`s staring at that an orange jumpsuit, I think that will matter to him clearly more than money.

MAXWELL: I would hope so. Jail is usually a pretty serious circumstance. And you`re one of the very few people in the world outside of the New York Times and Cy Vance, who have seen Donald Trump`s actual taxes.

So, what do you think investigating -- investigators are looking at when they`re looking at all of these documents?

O`BRIEN: You know, the Cy Vance`s case began off of the payments, you know, to women who alleged that they had had sexual relationships with Trump and were paid hush money to cover that up. And it wa -- the district attorney wants to know whether or not actually that involve falsification of business records, did they categorize this as a business expense, rather than as a campaign contribution? And that was dead end.

And when that information, when that first came out, you`ll remember that Michael Cohen had a tape in which he has a conversation with Trump about how to pay these women. And Donald Trump says to Michael Cohen, go talk to Allen about it.

And he clearly was directing Allen to figure out the best way to structure these things, I think so they can remain hidden and buried.

That has now blossomed into an investigation of tax improprieties, the falsification of banking records, insurance -- possible insurance fraud, a whole group of things that Weisselberg knows a lot about and is threatening to Trump.

MAXWELL: All of those things are crimes potentially. So, investigators will let us know what they have found. Timothy O`Brien, thank you so much for being here tonight. Please stay safe.

Don`t go anywhere because my favorite story of the week is coming up next. Take a deep breath in and out and stick around.


MAXWELL: So, you should know this about me. I love yoga, which makes this next story one of my favorites this week.

In 1993, the Alabama Board of Education banned yoga and meditation practices in its public schools amid complaints that counselors were harming children with psychotherapeutic techniques.

One mother in Birmingham was concerned that a relaxation tape that her child brought home, made one boy visibly high.

Well, anybody who knows who does yoga knows he may have just been very relaxed, and that Alabama rule has been on the books for the past 27 years. And there are still groups who are afraid of allowing yoga in Alabama schools.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more I`ve researched this, the more I`ve realized that you can`t separate the exercises from the religious meditation aspect of it. This is in Hinduism, straight up.

BECKY GERRITSON, ALABAMA RESIDENT: Instructors will be able to come into classrooms as young as kindergarten and bring this child through -- these children`s through guided imagery, which is a spiritual exercise and it`s outside of their parent`s view.


MAXWELL: Yet despite almost three decades of pushback, yesterday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that lifted the ban on yoga in schools, but with specific guidelines like prohibiting the use of the word namaste, which is very odd.

Joining me now is Alabama State Representative Jeremy Gray who fought for that legislation. And who I should add is also a former yoga instructor himself. Thank you so much for being here on a Friday night.

REP. JEREMY GRAY (D-AL): Oh, thank you for having me today.

MAXWELL: So, what changed your Republican colleagues minds about yoga in schools?

GRAY: Well, when I first brought it in 2019, I didn`t really know what I was getting myself into. I ended up getting the bill out of committee and it was voted. The deadest bill or the runner-up for the deadest bill in session.

So, I spent a lot of time really educating my colleagues, I built a coalition. And in politics, when your constituents are getting down to you or they`re complaining about yoga, you hear them because those are votes.

So, when I came back in 2020, I was able to pass the bill out of the House. But due to COVID, I wasn`t able to get the bill to the Senate.

So, in 2021, I was able to advance it through the House and the Senate, and the governor signed it yesterday. So, it`s been a journey.

MAXWELL: That is a journey. Do you see the fight to pass this legislation as a part of Republican culture wars?

GRAY: Well, I think it`s -- I would just say Republican, but more of your conservative groups, a lot of Republicans was on board with it. But when the conservatives came out, and started talking about imagery and hypnosis, and Hinduism, it really scared a lot of them.

And so, that`s -- that was really the push back. And I had to kind of stand firm. I`m glad that I was a yoga instructor, so I can kind of guide my colleagues on what are the myths and really educate them.

And once I was able to do that, I was able to gain three-fifths of the House and the Senate to pass this bill.

MAXWELL: So, it`s been a really long year, it`s been hard because we`re so isolated from one another through this pandemic. And I have to say, hot yoga classes, in-person yoga classes, I miss very deeply.

How have you used yoga to keep sane throughout this pandemic year?

GRAY: It`s funny, you say that, during the pandemic, I actually -- I actually contracted COVID. And through breathing exercises, and you know, walking and meditation, I was able to really boost my respiratory system. And I was able to get through COVID, without any kind of real damage. And I think that it really helped when you talk about stress -- the stress and the anxiety and all the things that happen through this pandemic, that people put people in shock.

So, I think this was a really good thing. I think that a lot of educators really wanted this deal during a pandemic and virtual learning. And so, all in all, I think that it was really useful in this pandemic.

MAXWELL: I think those are pictures were showing of your yoga class there in that B roll.

In terms of, you know, how you would encourage others to practice yoga and to take up meditation, why do you find it so helpful? You said it helps you get through this pandemic and COVID itself, but why else does it help you - - help you?

GRAY: I think -- I think it has two benefits. It has a physical benefit when you talk about flexibility, alignment of the body, core stability, all those things that you keep help -- keep you healthy and strong. But it also has a mental component to help with those daily stressors, their anxiety.

Sometime in life, we`re just looking for clarity and just breathing, count to 10, closing your eyes and just being one with yourself and your thoughts is really useful for your day-to-day ventures.

So, I think it has both a physical and mental component that really helps the average citizen. Anyone can do yoga, we do yoga in prisons in Alabama. They do it at universities, football players do it at Auburn, Alabama.

So, I just think that it`s something that everyone can embrace and without feeling like they`re going to be converted into Hindu. It`s not -- I thought that was really a silly thing to say when you have Christians and all kinds of religions that take on this practice.

MAXWELL: Yes, it seems to me that it just comes from a place of not understanding yoga as a practice and why people would want to do it is to stay sane. I mean, the world has been a little bit nuts this past year plus. And so, it`s so important for all of us to have some sort of outlet to keep our sanity.

State Representative Jeremy Gray, I want to thank you for your time tonight. I love this topic and I think that so many folks maybe at home found that a nice break from the political conversation that we are constantly having in this country. So, thank you so much for being here tonight and please stay safe.

That is ALL IN for this evening. Chris Hayes will be back on Monday. I want to thank you for allowing me to fill for him the last two days. And you can find my show "ZERLINA" streaming weeknights at 6:00 p.m. Eastern over on Peacock. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.