Republicans trade their dignity and our democracy for a spot in the party of Donald Trump. ABC News reported that one of the most senior officials in the Trump Organization has already testified before that Manhattan grand jury. The infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan is in a kind of holding pattern because the Biden White House and Chuck Schumer don`t actually have all 50 Democratic votes on board. UFOs have been a source of great fascination, mystery for nearly 75 years since the first widely reported citing in the United States. U.S. Navy published three videos showing jet encounters with unknown objects.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I think we have lost -- hopefully we did not lose your audio. But I think we have. Phil Wilson, thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate you. God bless.
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Have a great weekend, everyone. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. Breaking news on the criminal investigation of the Trump Org as the subservience continues.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know if we`ll ever see eye to eye on that day.
HAYES: Tonight, the new depths of shamelessness from Mike Pence and others. Plus, what could be a major development from the Trump grand jury. What we know about this senior Trump Org executive who is about to testify. Then, why Democrats defending the filibuster are defending a system perfectly rigged by and for Republicans.
And how was that constant UFO sightings just became a thing and have Pentagon started taking UFO seriously? When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As we have watched Republicans vote to kill a January 6 commission, pursue the slow motion interaction in the states over the last few weeks, I have had a few occasions to think what about Mike Pence of the Hang of Mike Pence chant? What does he make of all this?
Because let`s remember the role that Pence played that fateful day in the history of American democracy. And I suppose we should start with credit where it is due. When the time came, Mike Pence in his ministerial role as the vice president presiding over the counting of electoral votes, did not choose to throw in his lot with an attempted coup and kill off 220 years of the American democratic experiment. So, I guess, nice job Mike Pence.
But for being unwilling to do so, of course, he was the target of Donald Trump`s ire. And I think you could make a plausible case that Donald Trump in word and an action put Mike Pence in physical danger that day. In his speech shortly before Pence was due to certify President-elect Joe Biden`s Electoral College win, Donald Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn`t, that will be a sad day for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After that, he encouraged his supporters to head down to the Capitol because, "you don`t concede when there is theft involved." And his supporters did just that, eventually, of course, violently storming the Capitol. At one point, then-Vice President Mike Pence and his family were whisked out of the Senate chamber by security to a secure location by Secret Service.
Minutes later, Trump essentially put a target on Pence`s back to his rabid followers. This is after this is all happened, right? People are already starting to storm and Trump tweets, "Mike Pence didn`t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution."
This is happening while the rioters were literally roaming the halls of the Capitol. Many of them chanting "Hang Mike Pence" and "Bring out Pence" while writers outside had set up makeshift gallows on the field near the Capitol. So, not only were the rioters literally calling for Mike Pence`s murder, they had set up the structure to carry it out.
Perhaps Pence was thinking about this at the time or perhaps he was thinking about how, leading up to January 6, Trump reportedly told him, "you can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a pussy."
Putting all that aside, putting aside how one feels about whether we should or should not continue American democratic self-governance in which the people choose their leaders as opposed to having their leaders just choose to stay -- choose to stay in power by themselves. I mean, I have strong feelings about that. I imagine most of you do too. But putting that aside, OK, at a personal level, it`s a pretty messed up thing when your boss tries to get you killed, which is more or less what happened on January 6.
So, I have always been curious as to how Mike Pence was going to respond to that. Because when it comes to Trump, we have watched, of course, Republican after Republican bow, and scrape, bend the knee, give away their personal dignity in the most humiliating, cowardly, excruciating way possible.
I mean, the two big examples that come to mind and they are really countless are Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. During the 2016 campaign, Lindsey Graham had called Trump a nutjob and a loser and yadda, yadda, yadda, before he took on the role of Trump`s golf caddy in the U.S. Senate.
Donald Trump personally insulted Senator Ted Cruz`s wife in 2016. And Ted Cruz stood before the cameras with lots of unburdening. And after losing a primary to him, Ted Cruz turned around and phone bank for him, and since then, he`s done nothing but kiss up to the man. Sorry, Heidi. That has been the pattern.
Now, politicians tend to be people with pretty big ego. They tend to be people who care at some level, about how they are perceived. But there are also people who are pursuing power. And so, we keep seeing this almost Shakespearean test for politicians, particularly in the modern Republican Party, which is what matters more, your pursuit of power or your own basic dignity.
Ask yourself, what if Donald Trump just told everyone in the Senate to crawl around like a dog and bark if the bone, they were promised was proximity to power? I got to think they would do it. I can almost hear the arf, arf coming from Ted Cruz`s mouth.
Now, the person whose literal safety and the safety of his family, to be clear, was threatened by Donald Trump is Mike Pence. And yesterday, Mike Pence spoke at a Republican dinner in New Hampshire where he addressed the attack on the Capitol and finally mustered up the courage to stand up for himself against his former boss a little.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled. The Capitol was secured. And that same day we reconvene the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don`t know if we`ll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, there`s a lot there. Like, several weeks` worth of therapy sessions, really, but a couple of things. Did you see how clearly Mike Pence meant for the "We did our duty under the Constitution" to be an applause line and it just gets nothing, silence, because him doing his duty was the whole problem. That`s the thing they hate.
But that was Mike Pence his heroic stand. I may never see eye to eye with Trump about hanging Mike Pence. I agree to disagree. Still really proud though. Now, the process by which free governments and free people collapse into dictatorships and authoritarianism is a source of endless historical study and comparative political analysis. It`s something I read about a lot. I`m pretty interested in it for obvious reasons.
And we know that there are regimes after regimes that wield the power of the state in horrific ways, and that force upon people compromises for their own survival and the survival of their families.
Here`s a recent example just last few days, this is Belarusian dissident Roman Protasevich who was essentially kidnapped off a commercial flight last month. Yesterday, an interview with him was posted online. It is excruciating to watch, really, really hard to watch. He essentially praised Belarus` authoritarian president on state TV. If you look closely, it appears his face is caked in makeup to cover bruises. God knows what this man has been subjected to.
I mean, they scrambled a fighter jet to down -- to make -- to force an E.U plane to land to get him. And yet here he is, this man praising his captor, the man that sent a fighter jet to intercept his plane. It`s literal hostage video. And that`s the evil of authoritarian regimes documented by authors and thinkers and dissidents country after country, decade after decade. That`s how they break the dignity of their subjects using violence and torture and threats to family and secret police and surveillance and coercion.
What is crazy to watch is people who face none of that, absolutely none of it, people like Mike Pence, and still they give up their own dignity willingly. They voluntarily trade it for power. And in the midst of this selfish pursuit, they are also trading away something special to all Americans, which is our own collective freedom. And that threatens all of us.
For more on all this, I`m joined by Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, and Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist now writing for USA Today, author of The Daughters of Erie Town which is now out in paperback. And Welcome to you both.
Michael, you know a lot of these people. What I keep being struck by is this. You know, I just feel like takeaway -- we keep saying well, when are they going to do the right thing. Like, just get rid of that. Get rid of ethical calculations or weird place in history? I`m just talking sheer ego, just ego, dignity and ego. Like, I will be embarrassed, I will be humiliated, I will look bad to people I care about my family.
No, I`m serious about this. I find it remarkable how much people are willing to humiliate themselves on that level alone, having nothing to do with any sort of moral duty.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the appropriate word, and you put your finger right on it, is dignity. Because that if nothing else is all you have in the final analysis, say whatever you want about my view on an issue or the position I`ve taken on a policy, my dignity as an elected official is that thing that I need the people to rely on the most. In other words, it translates into things like honesty and trustworthiness, etcetera, etcetera.
What we have found sinse the emergence of Trump on that stage in those -- in that first debate, where in any number of opportunities, those on that stage refuse to assert their dignity against the affront to that dignity that was represented by Donald Trump.
For example, when he goes after Jeb Bush, when he goes after, you know, the Bush family and the and John McCain. Those are moments early on in this process where these individuals were tested. And they made a political calculation, not one based on their own self-respect and dignity. In other words, call me an SOB baby, but I can look myself in the morning -- in the mirror in the morning. And oh, by the way, right back at you.
So, that kind of tension was never moved into it. In other words, they just avoided it. And here we are.
HAYES: And, you know, Connie, I feel like this is something you`ve -- you write about in your -- in your columns that you write about in your novel, which is that, you know, adult life is a bunch of ethical choices. It`s compromises, it`s questions about your integrity, about how you relate to other people in no matter what position you have, whether you`re a waiter or a parent or a politician.
And just to watch this -- to watch people give away this precious thing, which is their own freedom and dignity at the cost that it will have for the rest of us is incredibly difficult to watch.
CONNIE SCHULTZ, COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: Well, Chris, politicians are like regular people in this way. There are two types. You either grow and evolve in that role or you devolve, right, you shrivel up, and you become someone you wouldn`t even recognize a decade later.
I keep thinking about a book review I did for The Washington Post in 2018, a Michael D`Antonio, Peter Eisner`s book, The Shadow President, and it was about pets. And they described him as the most successful Christian supremacist in the country. And that the reason he was willing to hitch his wagon to Trump is that Trump was God`s plan for Pence.
And I think that`s what we`re not -- because we don`t think this way, it`s hard to imagine it. But it seems to me pretty clear that Mike Pence and his closest supporters, ardent supporters see him as doing by he must do to eventually become president, and they think it`s all part of God`s plan.
And I say that as a woman of faith. It is appalling to me that they can justify it that way. But I also think it`s not unreasonable to think that`s what`s going on here right now.
HAYES: There`s also the -- there`s also -- again, you know, politics is about winning. And that`s what politicians want to do. They want to win and they want to stay in power. And even on that score, I mean, here`s Kelly Loeffler, right. Kelly Loeffler, if there`s one person, you could put a finger on and say, Donald Trump cost you your job, right? He just cost you. You paid a Donald Trump tax in votes. It`s Kelly Leffler, OK.
So, again, surely a moral calculation, self-preservation, I want -- and here`s Kelly Loeffler like, tweeting about how great this guy is. I mean, there is a reason that the one-term presidents who are turfed out by the American people don`t become the avatars for their party because usually there`s this like, what did we do wrong here moment. And yet, even by that calculation, they`re not doing it, Michael.
STEELE: No, they`re not. And part of that calculation is there was so much banked in Donald Trump, on Donald Trump. There was so much that was placed on that brand. He has suckered them into taking on that brand, making it a part of themselves, reimagining the GOP as, you know, Donald J. Trump.
And so, when you realize that the American people have a different understanding of all of that and a different appreciation to the point that they are willing to unelect him, where do you go? What else is Kelly Loeffler going to do? Of course, she`s going to take a picture with Donald Trump and brag about it. Where does she go?
Because to walk away from that begs the question, well, couldn`t you figure this out a few years ago? Didn`t you know to your point, Chris, that this was a one way street to nowhere? And that`s their problem. They`re stuck on a highway they can`t get off. And in the country pays a price for that, which is why moments like Liz Cheney matters. When one or two start to stand up and push against that tide, that`s the synergy a lot of folks inside and outside the party are trying to create to give folks like Kinzinger and others that ability to move this thing away from the country.
HAYES: Yes, you know, I will say this of Liz Cheney whose worldview I have to say, to be honest, I essentially despise. I mean, there`s a lot of things about -- she views the world that I just -- I find personally odious. She has her dignity intact. Say whatever you want about her. She has not bargained it away, and she has not given it away and that can`t be said of a lot of people, Connie.
SCHULTZ: This time. She voted for Trump, keep in mind, in 2020.
SCHULTZ: Let`s not give her the medal quite yet. And speaking of medals, I want to (AUDIO GAP) because the only way this changes I think is when regular Americans rather Republican -- especially Republican voters decide that they are done with this mess. And in Ohio, I`m sure you`re familiar with the story came out of Hudson, Ohio earlier this week. Affluent -- most, not all, but primarily affluent -- certainly primarily white, suburb of Cleveland, where the mic was shot off on Lieutenant Colonel Chemter after he attempted to talk at a Memorial Day service sponsored by the American Legion about the black soldiers who helped dig graves for Civil War, men who were killed in the war, who helped to honor their work and to pay honor to their service.
And the organizer didn`t want that speech to happen and she cut off his mic. Today, we found out that the American Legion national chapter has suspended the license of that post. It may end up being dissolved and the person who was in charge has resigned.
You know what happened that was different? Donald Trump couldn`t get on Twitter as president and start mocking a veteran for telling the truth about Black soldiers during the Civil War. That`s what changed. And I see that as a sign of hope here in the middle of the country.
HAYES: That is a great, great, great point. Connie Schultz who`s column I have missed and I`m very, very, very happy that it`s back and it is in the USA Today. Michael Steele, as always, great pleasure. Thank you both.
Last week, we learned that the Manhattan D.A. convened a grand jury in the criminal probe of Donald Trump. Tonight, we now know the name of one of the witnesses called to testify. Who it is, what he or she knows, and what it reveals about prosecutors` efforts to get Allen Weisselberg to flip on the former president next?
HAYES: So it was just last week that we learned that Manhattan District Attorney, right, has convened a grand jury to hear evidence and weigh potential charges and a criminal probe into disgraced former President Donald Trump or his subordinates or Trump Org, right? Now, that followed a report that the New York Attorney General is criminally investigating Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. We`ve been saying his name a lot. He`s a key figure in that organization.
Now, tonight, new reporting shows the grand jury may already be a problem for both Trump and Weisselberg. Here`s why. ABC News first reported that one of the most senior officials in the Trump Organization has already testified before that Manhattan grand jury. According to the report, Jeff McConney who serves as a senior vice president and controller of the Trump Organization is the first employee of the former president`s company called to testify. And his testimony is a sign that prosecutors have burrowed deep into the company`s finances.
So, how much does McConney who has worked for Trump for nearly 35 years know about Trump`s business? Well, in closed-door congressional testimony back in 2019, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was asked a question about the Trump Organization`s accounting practices and responded, "There are three people that -- well, actually four, approximately four people that would know, Mr. Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Jeff McConney, and another one." He was then asked, can you spell McConney for the record, and well, he did.
Rebecca Roiphe is a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, who works in the very office that is convened that grand jury. She`s now a professor at New York Law, and she joins me now. OK, I still am a little unclear about the procedure here. So, they`ve convened this grand jury and they`re bringing witnesses in front of it. What does that mean and how does that work?
REBECCA ROIPHE, PROFESSOR, NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL: Yes, so they already had a grand jury that had begun the investigation and was essentially sending out subpoenas and gathering documentary evidence. But now they`ve reached the stage when they`re ready to present it to jurors who could ultimately decide whether charges are warranted or not.
So, they`ve moved on to this special grand jury. They want to have enough time to present it to these jurors who could have seen all of the evidence and then ultimately decide whether or not there is enough evidence to support charges against somebody or something.
HAYES: So, when someone testifies before a grand jury, that person is called by the district attorney, right? There`s only one side putting on a case here. It`s the district attorney.
ROIPHE: Exactly. So, this is not like a regular trial where you have an adversary process. You really have the prosecutor leading the grand jurors through this procedure. And the prosecutor should not ethically do so and or should not ethically present charges unless that prosecutor is convinced that those charges are warranted and that the end asks the jurors to return those charges.
And, you know, occasionally a grand jury will say no, we don`t agree with you. But for the most part, the grand jury is, you know, it follows the lead of the prosecutor because the prosecutor is really the advisor there and ethically bound to only do this if the prosecutor is sure that this is the right thing to do.
HAYES: Right. So, my understanding, and the -- and the actual reporting here is fairly short in terms of what`s been broken here. It just revolves around the fact that this individual, Jeff McConney has testified before the grand jury. The sort of natural and logical inference to draw is that the DA`s office has been talking to this guy. He`s there because they want him to be there. That he is at some level cooperating.
ROIPHE: Yes, I think that`s the right imprints to draw. And another thing to be aware of is that the New York grand jury, unlike the federal grand jury, when a witness is called in, that witness automatically gets what`s called transactional immunity, which basically means that the prosecutors could never prosecute him for anything that he testifies about. So, they`re not going to do that unless they have a plan. And the plan is to involve that person, usually, as a witness, not as the ultimate target.
So, that does tell us something. I mean, it`s not that we hadn`t already had a lot of clues, but we have a sense that this is a serious investigation, as you said, into the finances of the company. And they`re looking at something other than this controller. So, it could -- you know, it could really be Allen Weisselberg here in the hot seat because this is a person who works closely with him and reports to him and probably has a lot to say about his involvement in whatever is going on in terms of the accounting of the company.
HAYES: Yes. So, that`s -- I mean, my understanding, again, of the reporting -- the extent reporting on this, and some of the reporting we`ve done is that this is in the org chart, right? This is a kind of direct report. Like, McConney, he reports to Weisselberg. Weisselberg is essentially his supervisor. And again, independent of this investigation, just talking in a sort of more general sense about how one would go about this, you know, my understanding is prosecutors sort of work from the bottom up of the organization, right, and work their way up to the top, and this seems like an example of that.
ROIPHE: Yes, definitely. And even more so, if you`re giving witnesses immunity, because you don`t want to give a witness immunity if it turns out later on that that`s the person who`s actually responsible for all of the criminal conduct. So, that`s why it`s a reasonable inference to draw in any grand jury and especially in this one, because it means that they have -- they are working their way up. They`re looking for something that is above him.
So, you can guess Allen Weisselberg or you could guess the organization itself, you know, possibly Trump if they`re going to bring Weisselber in, but you know, again, it`s speculative at this point. All we know, all we can really infer is that they`re looking at something more serious.
And another thing to realize is that the controller, in a normal organization or company, the controller --- that`s like the nerdy accountant person. And they`re supposed to function as a kind of break on the business side. And, you know, like any accountant, like, you can`t do that. You have to do this, you have to do that.
But, you know, Trump`s M.O. is that he really -- he -- I mean, we`ve seen this in public reporting. He likes to mix his personal, is political, his business, his charity, all of that work gets mixed up. And that`s a red flag to a lot of people who are looking into this stuff. And so, you really want your controller -- you know, this is a longtime employee. He`s obviously not, if he`s been working this long for the organization, somebody who`s going to say, no, no, no, you can`t do that. It`s somebody who knows all about that and has been in some ways involved in it.
And so, he can do two things. One, he can explain what`s going on with it. And two, he can give us some background that`s something -- you know, you can explain the documents, but he could also give us this key thing in a criminal case which is, well, who did what? Like, who intended and who -- who intended what and who knew what at what point?
And so, those are kind of background conversations that might not necessarily be contained in like an e-mail or, you know, some kind of written down exchange. And so, that`s why these kinds of witnesses are so critical in these investigations because they both explain things to the Grand jurors, and they also can give some background that is essential to building a case that`s not even in that -- in those documents.
HAYES: Rebecca Roiphe, that was extremely lucid as always. Thank you so much for that. I appreciate it.
ROIPHE: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, as Democrats fret over the bipartisan implications of abolishing the filibuster, a reminder that Mitch McConnell already got rid of the filibuster when it benefits Republicans the most. I`ll explain next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to go it alone with just Democrats?
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I don`t think I shouldn`t, I really don`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At all?
MANCHIN: I don`t think that right now basically, we need to be bipartisan. If we can`t become -- I`ve always said this, I`ve never seen a pothole that had a Republican or Democrat name on. (INAUDIBLE), I don`t care who you are.
SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): The filibuster was not created as a tool to accomplish one thing or another. It was created as a tool to bring together members of different parties to find compromise and coalition.
It was designed to be a place where you cool the passions of the House, where you work together to find a compromise and importantly, where you protect the rights of the minority from the majority regardless of which party is in the majority at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: So, when Senate Democrats who want to preserve the filibuster minority rule make their arguments, they tend to rest as you saw there in two points, right? The filibuster produces bipartisanship, bipartisan compromise, A.
And B, that it protects the right of the minority party in the Senate so that when Democrats are inevitably in the minority, they can`t get steamrolled.
But here`s the thing, that is not actually the case right now, as we`re speaking here. OK. Republicans have already effectively gotten rid of the filibuster for the things they care most about, while leaving it in place for the things Democrats care most about.
Remember, one of the first things Mitch McConnell Senate did in 2017, right, when they had unified control government was to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in order to end the Democratic filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated for the seat the Republicans had blocked Merrick Garland from filling.
Democrats had already gotten rid of the filibuster for other judges during Obama`s first term, because Republicans were so abusing it.
And so, during the Trump years, Republicans went on a judge confirmation spree at a historic pace. And thanks to simple majority votes in the Senate, Donald Trump appointed nearly as many federal appeals court judges as Barack Obama in just half the time.
That`s because no filibusters for judges, or the three justices that got confirmed to the court, right? And that`s one of the two main things Republicans do when in power.
So, party-line vote after party-line vote, they rammed through judges, no bipartisanship, no protections of the minority we found.
And the other thing Republicans care about, arguably, like really the only thing we`re in policy standpoint, is cutting taxes for the rich and corporations. And guess what, they did not need to override a filibuster for that either.
The two main big piece of legislation, Republicans proposed, both went through the reconciliation process, simple majority.
ACA repeal failed not because of the filibuster, because it couldn`t muster enough Republican votes. And a multitrillion-dollar corporate tax cut went through on a party-line vote, no filibuster to be seen.
So, right now, think about this, Mitch McConnell and Republicans, they have the best of both worlds, OK. Simple majority votes for what they care about, tax cuts and judges. It`s all they want to do.
Party line votes and then supermajority thresholds for all the things they want to block, like saying investigation to the violent insurrection that the last Republican president whipped up.
Or think of it this way, this is to clarify. It took 60 votes and overcoming the filibuster to pass the ACA, but it would have only taken 50 votes to repeal it. Not a bad deal for Mitch McConnell.
But this brings me to another point. In the same way Republicans` failure to repeal Obamacare was not because the filibuster, but rather their own members.
Right now, I think the infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan is in a kind of holding pattern because the Biden White House and Chuck Schumer don`t actually have all 50 Democratic votes on board.
David Plouffe, was the campaign manager for Barack Obama in 2008, a former White House senior advisor and Betsey Stevenson was a former member of President Obama`s Council of Economic Advisers and a chief economist in the Department of Labor, and both join me now.
So, David, let`s start on that. And my theory here is, you know, what`s happening on these bipartisan infrastructure negotiations are a little inscrutable. And they`re a little hard to read from -- for me from just a purely political standpoint.
But what it seems to me is they just don`t have Manchin`s vote, they may not have Sinema`s and there might be a few others who are kind of hiding behind Manchin as a heat shield. Because if they did, we wouldn`t be doing this. Does that read to you?
DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yes, I think you`re exactly right, Chris. So, I think we`re reaching the end of the line. I think even probably Joe Manchin would say, you`ve given it the college try and it`s time to go forward. And I think at that point, Joe Biden will have the 50 votes for the infrastructure package.
But your setup was so important because, you know, the tax cuts got passed through reconciliation, we need to do this infrastructure package and a whole bunch of other things.
But we`re now at a point in the country, Chris, where it`s a simple choice. You either save this filibuster or you save democracy, and it`s not really much of a choice.
And I think that Joe Manchin and Sinema can say, well, listen, we all want more bipartisanship. I was a Democratic operative for a lot of years. I want it as much as anybody.
But they can say, well, listen, given what`s happening in the states, given the big lie, given the fact that it`s pretty clear that Republicans if they won back the House would not certify a Democratic winner in 2024. We have to get rid of the filibuster and save democracy.
So, you always have to have an exit ramp on these things when people take strong positions, as Manchin and Sinema have done and I think that`s the exit ramp.
As it relates to infrastructure, yes, I think we`re probably in a matter of days, we`re just going to have to call the question here because -- but I think that`s right. I think that`s why the negotiations are continuing because Manchin maybe some others are saying I`m not ready to sign on the dotted line till you fully exhaust whether there`s a deal with Republicans.
HAYES: So, here`s my -- I agree with that. You also raise the point which I want to return to you in a second is that if you could carve out exemptions for like budget and judges with there`s no, like, conceptual logic for those could be the two? Like, maybe we can carve out one for voting rights, right? Like, let`s just throw in another exception there.
But Betsey my -- here`s my suspicion too. And again, I think Manchin is playing the role of heat shield, which is why I wanted to have you on and I think this is important.
I worry that Larry Summers out there saying Dems are doing too much, you`re spending too much money, you`re going to have inflation, the -- you know, all the bad stuff, don`t you -- don`t think about doing too much for working people, blah, blah, blah that that`s getting in the heads of some Democratic senators.
And I worry that that`s part of what is happening beneath the surface, beneath the kind of Manchin negotiations and I wonder what you think based on where the economy is at and the jobs report today about the validity of those concerns.
BETSEY STEVENSON, FORMER MEMBER OF PRESIDENT OBAMA`S COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: So, all economists believe that it`s a really good idea to do long-run investment, like an in -- like an infrastructure bill at a time when the economy is weak, when there is a bunch of unemployed people.
You can turn to any principles of economics textbook, then it`ll say the optimal time for government to spend is when the economy is weak.
But I think we need to be clear that infrastructure is not just about stimulus. We are not thinking about an infrastructure bill, because we need to stimulate the economy. We had a stimulus bill.
What we`re now doing is thinking about how should we rebuild the U.S. economy so that it works better for everyone else. I think we need to think about inflation fears being about whether people are going to go out and spend everything today.
Look, an infrastructure bill is not going to result in highways being built by July. That`s just not how government spending works, right? They always tell us that the reason we can`t do infrastructure to get out of a recession is because it takes so long to get these projects going. That`s the same reason why infrastructure is not what`s on the inflationary risk.
The question is, how much money can -- should we immediately indirectly be putting in people`s pockets? Are they going to go out and spend very rapidly this summer before employers can hire up? Is that going to push prices up?
HAYES: So, that -- so that this brings us back to sort of this filibuster question too and these ways in which you have these asymmetries and one-way ratchet, which I think part of the problem here, too, David, and I think you`d agree with this is, look, the first Rescue Plan wasn`t paid for, right? That`s an easier sell than this, where you`re going to have to raise some taxes, including corporate taxes, and like, guess what, corporate America is not like, yes, please raise our taxes. They`re working over members of Congress for them not to do that.
And this is another place where like, it`s easier to cut taxes than to raise them by and large. So, if you`ve got this reconciliation threshold that ends up being a tool that Republicans can wield in a kind of advantageous way.
PLOUFFE: Yes, well, let`s talk about the politics. Truthfully, Chris, both in terms of the infrastructure raising the corporate rate and on the human infrastructure package, raising taxes on the wealthy, that actually polls better than what you`re using the money for. It`s kind of a win-win. So, the politics of this are pretty clear.
And listen, there`s no question, if the Republicans win back the Senate in 20 -- after 22 or 24, at some point they will, Mitch McConnell will say we`re getting rid of the filibuster whether the Democrats do or not.
So, I think what we need to understand here is Democrats have to use all the power they have to help all the people they can.
And to Betsey`s point, the economy -- I mean, some of the debate in Washington would suggest that the economy is perfect. And everybody`s got the job they want and the wage they want and our roads and bridges and infrastructure, broadband, what it is, we have big problems in this country.
And so, this is less about stimulus than finally doing the long, hard, tough things we need to do to lay that foundation.
But again, I think sometimes it seems like the parties watching are playing by different rules, or one party is playing by some arcane nice rules, and one`s playing by no rules. And I think we have to use the power we have, again, to help as many people as we can.
HAYES: Well, that`s -- that rule, Betsey, I mean, I think the American Rescue Plan, right, is a great example of that. Like, they passed it quickly, they pass in a party-line vote, the money went out, and we`ve got lots of evidence to show that it has helped a lot of people and Biden`s approval rating is 60 percent. So, like, that seems like the proof is in the pudding.
STEVENSON: I think we have a lot of evidence that all the stimulus efforts that have been done to get us out of this pandemic are why GDP is almost fully recovered and why we`re seeing people being able to get back to work.
I know that it`s not all happening as fast as people would like, but it is happening. And now what we need to do, get back to what David was just saying, is we need to fix the problems that have -- where they`re prior to the pandemic.
The infrastructure bill, the American Families Plan, these are about fixing the problems we had prior to the pandemic.
Look, Republicans have an economic vision for the country that they`ve been executing for the last 30 years, don`t have any tax increases, bring our revenue down as low as possible and let people fend for themselves and people are sick of that. They`re fed up and they were sick of it before the pandemic. They want an economy that works better for them with more infrastructure, with more support and that`s what Biden`s proposing.
HAYES: David Plouffe, Betsey Stevenson, thank you both, have a great weekend. Appreciate it.
Ahead, why the new UFO stories are about much more than little green men and what the Pentagon is saying, coming up.
HAYES: UFOs have been a source of great fascination, mystery for nearly 75 years since the first widely reported citing in the United States. It was by a pilot Kenneth Arnold flying near Mount Rainier in Washington, 1947. Supersonic flying saucers cited by Idaho pilot this how the Chicago Sun put it at the time.
And over the decades the government has tried to explain the unexplainable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. JOHN A. SAMFORD, U.S. AIRFORCE: I am here to discuss the so- called flying saucers. Since 1947, we have received and analyzed between one and 2,000 reports that have come to us from all kinds of sources. Of this great massive reports, we have been able adequately to explain the great bulk of them, explain them to our own satisfaction.
However, there have been a certain percentage of this volume of reports that have been made by credible observers of relatively incredible things. It is this group of observations that we now are attempting to resolve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You might have noticed recently stories of UFOs whether they are real has really picked up in volume. I mean, while a lot of us have been -- let`s say distracted by the pandemic and the attack on American democracy, U.S. Navy has just officially published three videos. You can see here showing unidentified aerial phenomena. They were recorded in 2004 and 2015.
Now, we are learning about a highly anticipated government report, which reveals that "American intelligence officials have found no evidence that aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years are alien spacecraft."
OK, but -- and there`s a but, they still cannot explain the unusual movements that have mystified scientists and the military.
They also determine that a vast majority of more than 120 incidents over the past few decades did not originate from any American military or other advanced U.S. government technology.
OK, so our government says these things are really out there, we`re really seeing them, they exist. We don`t know what they are or what they`re doing. You can put me in the camp of highly skeptical I guess but OK, I give up. What is the deal with these things? Like, honestly, what`s the deal? We`ll try to figure it out right after this break.
HAYES: Suddenly, everyone is talking about UFOs and aliens right now ahead of a much-anticipated government report about unidentified aerial phenomena that has been observed by military pilots. U.S. Navy published three videos showing jet encounters with unknown objects, you can see here. That report is expected to be released before the end of the month.
Former President Barack Obama stoke the flames recently when he confirmed there are things in the skies that we cannot explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to aliens, there are some things I just can`t tell you on air. The truth is that when I came into office, I asked, right? I was like God, is there the lab somewhere where we`re keeping the alien specimens and spaceship? And, you know, they did a little bit of research. And the answer was no.
What is true, and I`m actually being serious here is that there are -- there`s footage and records of objects in the skies that we don`t know exactly what they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a staff writer at the New Yorker, he recently had this great piece called how the Pentagon started taking UFOs seriously and he joins me now.
All right, Gideon, some things changed in the UFO discourse in the last years, which is as your piece sort of illuminates that we`re getting the U.S. military basically coming out and being like, yes, we have encounters with objects that we do not understand. Like, what is that about?
GIDEON LEWIS-KRAUS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: It`s a great question. I mean, I think it`s about a number of different things. And I think one of the reasons why we have all this Pentagon interest in this forthcoming report is because of a constellation of maybe otherwise unrelated constituencies who are interested in this.
There are people who really believe that this is the bureaucratic issue, which is that we need bureaucratic reform to allow for ways to talk about things that don`t fit other patterns. There are people you know, sort of ancillary to that, or people who care about it as a kind of pilot safety and pilot dignity issue that we let these guys fly $100 million planes, and we should trust them when they tell us they see weird stuff in the sky.
Then part of it is, you know, concerns about foreign adversaries, having perhaps made giant leaps in their technological abilities or concerns about drones. New kinds of drones or drone swarms.
And then, kind of the last constituency are the people who think that they could be alien spaceships. So, that there`s enough overlapping interest here to spark government action.
HAYES: OK, so what seems true is that there are some -- there are encounters that U.S. military pilots have with objects that really do like act in ways that we can`t explain, is that fair to say?
LEWIS-KRAUS: Sure, if you take these accounts at face value, that`s absolutely fair to say.
HAYES: Well, then why do you say if you take these accounts at face value, should I not take them at face value?
LEWIS-KRAUS: Well, I mean, there`s just so much that we don`t know. I mean, these videos in and of themselves don`t necessarily are not dispositive of anything. There are plenty of people who believe that these videos show balloons, or they show your engine glare or something like that.
Now, the people -- the people that I talked to at the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community say no, actually, there`s a lot of stuff that these debunkers don`t know that we can`t share with you for reasons of sources and methods. And that really, these are very mysterious things that we can`t figure out.
But it`s very hard for -- you know, the Pentagon has been -- you know, has said a lot of contradictory things and it`s hard to know where we stand given the information we have so far.
But certainly, you know, the Times reporting yesterday indicates that this upcoming report is going to say that this is certainly not our technology.
And it`s been reported by the South China Morning Post that the Chinese have had -- the PLA has had a UAP program for the last few years. And they claim that it`s not their technology, so who knows?
HAYES: OK, so that that part of the report which sort of removes one theory, right, which is that OK, if you think you`re showing up because the U.S. has some siloed special, you know, aerial projects that the, you know, are not being read into the pilots. Like, my understanding of this report, at least the reporting suggests that`s to take that off the table. Like the U.S. government is saying like, that`s not what`s happening here. You can take the way that theory no ma -- we don`t know what it is.
LEWIS-KRAUS: Well, that`s always been sort of an unlikely theory given that it just seems counterintuitive that we would be testing our most advanced technology on live training ranges without informing our pilot if that what was going on.
HAYES: Am I being snookered here? Is there some weird like constituency that wants us to spend $100 billion on some new weapon? That`s like trying to get me to think that we need to because of UFOs.
LEWIS-KRAUS: I mean, that is the thing. I mean, obviously, many people have all heard that interpretation. My sources told me that that`s very unlikely.
I mean, they kind of laughed at that idea. They said look, if you want money for, you know, the increased military budgets, the last thing that you`re going to talk about are UFOs. There are plenty of other threats you could come up with to get money that are -- you know, are not long-standing punch lines.
HAYES: Yes, that`s a great point. It`s not that hard-to-get additional military spending.
Gideon Lewis-Kraus, you should check out his article in the New Yorker which is sort of the best deep dive on this I`ve read. Thank you for your time. Have a great weekend.
That is ALL IN on this Friday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.