Texas Attorney General admits Donald Trump would have lost the state of Texas without restrictive voting measures. There has been no accountability for the Trump administration`s attack on American democracy. The former president`s fixer, Rudy Giuliani, is caught on a 2019 tape pressuring Ukraine to investigate baseless Biden conspiracies. The conspiracy-driven election audit continues in Arizona. This weekend, Senator Manchin came out in opposition to the Senate`s For the People Act.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: We will do that. We will make sure we put that on all of our social media. I`ll put it on my social media as well. Jane Fonda, thank you so much. Tara Houska, thank you. Bless you. We`re all rooting for you.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. A former president and his cronies will retake power or go to jail trying.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: And all we need from the President is to say, I`m going to put an honest prosecutor in charge, he`s going to investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists.
HAYES: Tonight, the former president`s fixer caught on tape and the former president`s chief of staff called imploring the Justice Department to act on the big lie.
Then NBC News tracked down the man at the center of the Trump Org investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feel pressure from Mr. Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no comment. Sir, I have no comment.
HAYES: Tonight, Michael Cohen on Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Org investigation. Plus, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on the ongoing undermining of democracy in her state and Senator Bernie Sanders on what happens now that Joe Manchin did what Joe Manchin does, when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. You know, these days, the most optimistic thing you can say about the state of American democracy and its perilous moment is it hasn`t given out yet. But its enemies are plotting in the open. We see it every day. And they will not stop until they either successful or some of them are put in prison. I truly believe that.
The leader of the nation`s anti-democratic faction made his reemergence at the North Carolina Republican Convention this weekend where he, once again, falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That election will go down as the crime of the century and our country is being destroyed by people who perhaps have no right to destroy it.
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HAYES: Now, his rambling speech was basically an afterthought. He`s not in a position to pull the strings of attention like he was for so long. This was a Republican event in North Carolina and not addressed in the Oval Office. But the people he is speaking to are hearing him and they are hearing him because he is telling them what they want to hear, what is mobilizing them as an increasingly militant radicalization against pluralistic, multiracial American democracy as a collective project. And the forces plotting its demise have been plotting in the open.
It did not work in the state and federal courts following Election Day. It did not work on January 6, but it was not for lack of effort. We`re still learning the extent of that attempt. Before the election, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a dozen lawsuits to make voting in Texas as difficult as he could. This weekend, he told Steve Bannon the reason he stopped every one of the largest county in Texas from automatically being sent to mail-in ballot in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic was that cutting off that voter access is what preserve the state for Donald Trump.
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KEN PAXTON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, TEXAS: It was a concerted effort nationally, with lots of money going into it, and just knowing that we had 12 losses that we had to win. And if we had lost one of them, we lost Harris County. Trump won by 620,000 votes in Texas. Harris County mail-in ballots that they wanted to send out were 2.5 million. Those were all illegal. And we were able to stop every one of them.
Had we not done that, we would have been in the very same situation we. Would have been -- on election night, I was watching election night and I knew when I saw what was happening these other states, that that would have been Texas, we would have been in the same boat, we would have been one of those battleground states that they were counting votes in Harris County for three days, and Donald Trump would have lost the election.
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HAYES: If Harris County had ensured the safe voting of all of its citizens then Donald Trump would have lost Texas. Ken Paxton is tipping his hand there. He`s saying everything he did was about preserving Trump`s victory in the state. He`s saying the proverbial quiet part loud. But that`s what all these rules are about in state after state after state where Republicans are putting in voting restrictions, trying to take power away from officials they don`t think can be trusted to overturn the elections they want them to overturn when the time comes.
Now, you`ll recall that Paxton also led a ridiculous lawsuit after the election to throw out over 20 million votes because he disagreed with how other states conducted their own elections. It would, of course, installed Donald Trump the loser over Joe Biden, the winner. That was the goal that everyone was working towards.
We are also learning more about the lengths to which the Trump White House went to overturn the election. New York Times report to the end of December, the beginning of January the lead up to the Trump fueled attack on the Capitol. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows repeatedly press the Department of Justice to investigate conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. They report in five e-mails. Meadows asked Jeffrey Rosen, then the Acting Attorney General to examine debunked claims of election fraud in New Mexico and an array of baseless conspiracies that held that Mr. Trump had been the actual that victor. That included a fantastical theory that people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joe Biden.
Think about that for a second. That`s the chief of staff of the United States, right? The President talking to the Attorney General, pressuring law enforcement to investigate ludicrous conspiracy theories to damage Trump`s opponents. But that`s nothing new, in fact. In fact, it`s why Donald Trump was impeached the very first time, remember that, for trying to extort Ukraine`s leaders into opening a fraudulent investigation into Joe Biden?
Now, CNN has obtained audio of a phone call between Trump`s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a senior adviser of the Ukrainian president. It took place in July of 2019, the same month when Trump told the Ukrainian President, I would like you to do us a favor, though.
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GIULIANI: And what we need -- what we need in the president is to say, I`m going to put an honest prosecutor in charge. He`s going to investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists, and is there are any other evidence about involvement in the 2016 election. And then the Biden thing has to be run out.
I don`t know if it`s true or not. I mean, I see -- I see him bragging about it on television. And to me, as a lawyer -- to me as a lawyer, it sounds like a bribe. Somebody in Ukraine has got to take that seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: NBC News has not obtain that audio independently, but it adds a whole new context to I would like you to do us a favor. Giuliani really makes it clear what the favor is, if there was ever a question, which of course there was not. Now, think about this for a second, right, Giuliani, Meadows, all the President`s men, what are they all doing? They`re all attacking free and fair elections It started back in 2016, right? It continued in the run-up to 2020. Then, it had happened during 2020, then after 2020. Trump was never held accountable for his actions there. He was not convicted in either of his impeachment trials, both of which revolved around him trying to subvert the presidential election, right, the core fundamental question of a free and fair election.
And what about Mark Meadows? There`s an example, right, who pushed so hard for domestic version of the same thing. Just days after Trump left office, Meadows got hired as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute, which says it was founded "to train, equip, and unite the conservative movement," which again, increasingly what they`re united around is opposition to American democracy, so I guess it`s a good hire.
Train them to do what exactly? I guess we`re going to find out, right, because they`re going to keep trying. What sanction has metals received? What`s to stop him from trying again? For the people who voted to overturn the election in the House and in the Senate that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Rick Scott, the majority of the Republican caucus, including Kevin McCarthy, and Elise Stefanik, the Republican attorneys general who tried to sue the election to being overturned, the willing participants in the state senate in Arizona who commissioned this fraudulent audit to destroy the democratic legitimacy of the election. What penalty have they faced? What sanction have they experienced that would induce them to stop?
Hey, Mark Meadows is chilling, dude. He goes on TV. Sure, he goes out to dinner in D.C. and does his thing. The answer is essentially zero, which is why they will not stop until someone goes to jail, or they find the weak point in the fence and they get through and they succeed. So, what do you do when one party in a two-party system is embracing anti-democratic policies and politics?
Claire McCaskill is a former Democratic Senator from Missouri, Adam Serwer is a staff writer at Atlantic. His latest piece is titled The Capitol Rioters Won. And Adam, let me start on that piece because it helped clarify some of my own thinking about this as I`ve watched all this, you know, rollout.
When you say that, I think you and I are sort of saying similar things. What do you mean by that phrase, the Capitol rioters won?
ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I mean, they didn`t -- the Capitol rioters didn`t succeed in their immediate goal of overturning the 2020 election and installing Donald Trump as president for life. But what they did succeed is doing is making it so that if you want to be a Republican in good standing within the conservative movement, you have to either be silent about the fact that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, or you have to actively lie about the idea that the election was stolen, much like Paxton, the Attorney General here in the state of Texas.
And so, what that means is that regard -- even though the individual rioters did not succeed in their proximity goal, they brought the Republican Party around to their way of thinking. And the truth is that they had been there all along. They just didn`t know how much they could get away with before Trump came along and showed them.
HAYES: Yes. Claire, I`m curious how you feel about this as someone who, you know, you were a United States Senator of the Democratic Party. You`re from a very, very swingy state. I don`t -- I would not put you in the left most part of the, you know, the curve of the Democratic coalition, particularly when you`re a U.S. senator. But I wonder if you feel the sense of alarm that people I think, across the democratic coalition, again, kind of, regardless of their specific politics or where they are on the spectrum feel about this moment.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I certainly am really concerned that these laws are being passed at breakneck speed in states across the country. I do think it`s important for the Congress to figure out what they can get past. I mean, let`s be honest here, Chris, with or without the filibuster, there are not the votes to pass H.R.1.
MCCASKILL: There are not the votes. Even if the filibuster was gone, there are not the votes to pass it. So, what can we get past that will reestablish some supervisory role of the federal government in making sure that not only is the casting of ballots done fairly, but also the counting of ballots done fairly.
And I think what I`m most struck by is I was always accused of being a wild liberal by a huge number of voters in Missouri. And I was always accused of not respecting the rule of law. And what is really astounding about this moment in the Republican Party is their complete attack on the rule of law.
There are ways to contest elections in this country. We have them. They used them. They did recounts. They did legitimate audit. They did 60 court cases, and they lost all of it. And that has not made any difference to the new Republican Party who is in a single-minded focus to go after the rule of law.
And on top of that, not respect the fact that police officers were beaten with flagpoles and they can`t even bothered to look into it with a commission. It is really astounding to me.
HAYES: Yes. The point you raised there, Claire, about the sort of the full spectrum efforts, right? So, there`s like -- there`s the -- there`s the high price lawyers in suits and then there`s the mob in the Capitol, and like, their methods are obviously very different. One is legal, and one is illegal.
But, Adam, part of what I see here, right, is that the problem is deeper than a problem of what the law says or what you can or can`t do under the law. It`s that the effort will persist across the spectrum of available methods until it is stopped in some sense. That seems to be the deeper problem. Like, no one is going to give up here.
SERWER: The core shared ideological conviction between the rioters and the Republican legislators who are working now to restrict the electorate or engineer the rules so that if the accident of a democratic victory ever occurs again, they can either reverse it or do something about it or prevent it from happening in the first place.
The core ideological conviction that they share is that democratic victories are illegitimate because the constituencies that vote for democrats are illegitimate. The Republican Party is the only legitimate representative of the American people, and the only real American people are the ones who vote Republican.
And so, when you share that ideological conviction, you might disagree about whether political violence is the right method for ensuring that your side wins or, you know, whether you can do it through the law. But ultimately, you share the fundamental belief that the other side is illegitimate. There is no legitimate way for them to win elections for them to, you know, represent the people of the United States because the people that they represent are not fundamentally American anyway.
And there`s simply no way to legislate that out of existence. You can -- you can change things structurally so that the Republican Party has to appeal to people outside of their own hardcore base in order to win power. And that`s something that can force the party to moderate. But as it stands, they can hold power as a minority indefinitely as far as we can tell and that`s the real problem. They have no incentive to moderate.
HAYES: Well, and when you think about that, Claire, when you think about that vote on January 6, that`s the one I keep coming back to because I think amidst all of the, you know, the questions about voter access in the States which is important, and I agree with you, we`re going to actually talk about it later in the show about restoring the Voting Rights Act and essentially reviving what Justice Roberts, you know, destroyed when you talk about the violence that day. But that vote, that vote to me set an intolerable precedent, because what that vote did that day was to say, you all Americans, you have your little election, but then we`re just going to decide in a -- in a vote here up on Capitol Hill whether we accept the results or not, essentially.
And that`s now -- that`s what I worry about. That has been introduced into the process. Like, OK, you guys voted. We`ll give you a thumbs up or thumbs down if we accept it. And if it`s a Republican, we accept it. If it`s a Democrat, no. What the hell was the point of the election?
And I don`t know the way around that other than just like the sheer pressure of people`s fidelity to the rule of law.
MCCASKILL: Well, that`s it. And that`s what is so corrosive about the Trump years is what it is done to the fidelity to the rule of law in this country that used to be the bright, shiny light on the hill. You know, this is what -- where we could brag, the United States of America, that we had a rule of law that apply, we had peaceful transfer of power.
But I got to tell you, Chris, I am not optimistic for the Republican Party long term, because I just don`t believe you end up with long-term political success if your most important principle of your party, more important than any policy, is like, we got to make sure people don`t vote because if they vote, we`ll lose.
HAYES: Right. Yes, I agree with that. And I think that, look, the future is not set. And I think that they`re -- what they`re doing right now is not popular. It`s a power play to Adams point. And there`s a sort of attempt to kind of shoot the moon. But you know, shooting the moon can be hard. And if you screw it up, you screw up royally. And that`s really the sort of where the hope lies. Claire McCaskill and Adam Serwer, thank you both for your time tonight.
MCCASKILL: You bet.
HAYES: New pressure tonight for Trump`s top money guy, as a grand jury starts to hear testimony from top officials inside the Trump Organization about just how Donald Trump runs his business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: Everybody`s job at the Trump Organization is to protect Mr. Trump. Every day, most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something and that became the norm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Donald Trump`s former fixer Michael Cohen on what he knows about who could spill the beans on Donald Trump next.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, the gentlemen we`ve been talking about quite a bit, has of course been at the center of the investigations of the Trump Organization by the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York Attorney General who have apparently kind of teamed up in what they`re doing.
We know that prosecutors are apparently trying to squeeze Weisselberg, for lack of a better word, looking into his personal finances, most recently subpoenaing the school his grandchildren attended since some of their tuition was paid with check signed by Donald Trump. All of that, one imagines , to get Weisselberg to flip on Trump.
And so, this is how Allen Weisselberg, number two in the Trump Organization, spent his morning in New York today, fending off a reporter who asked him if he`s going to turn on his boss.
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ADAM REISS, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Mr. Weisselberg, good morning, sir. I`m Adam Reiss with NBC News. I just want to ask you, are you cooperating with the district attorney, sir?
ALLEN WEISSELBERG, CFO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I have no comment.
REISS: Do you feel pressure from Mr. Trump?
WEISSELBERG: I have no comment. Sir, I have no comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s a moment there where it looks like Weisselberg is about to get on the school bus just to get away from Adam. Now, that comes on the heels of the news we just got before the weekend, right, that one of the most senior officials in the Trump Organization, the senior vice president and controller, a guy named Jeff McConney who works under Weisselberg has already testified before that special grand jury that`s been impaneled.
That grand jury was impaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office and will, according to reporting, consider potentially bringing criminal charges against the former president, the Trump Org, and or its employees.
Michael Cohn is the former personal attorney to Donald Trump. In August of 2018, he pleaded guilty to eight federal charges including campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments he made two adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. He also cooperated with the Manhattan District Attorney, the very office that has convened that special grand jury against the Trump Org. After spending more than a year in prison, he wrote a memoir about his work for Donald Trump titled Disloyal, and now hosts of the podcast Mea Culpa with Michael Cohn. And he joins me now.
Good to have you here. And I thought maybe we could start with you explaining what is, I think, to some folks, a new character in this tale. I noted in your congressional testimony you talked about Jeff McConney, the controller. But who is he and what role does he play in the organization?
COHEN: So, I guess the easiest way to explain it is to put it into an example. And that would be assuming that it`s like a small bank. Donald Trump would be the president of the bank. Allen Weisselber would be the branch manager, and Jeff McConney would be the teller. Every single transaction that was done in and out of any of the banking went through Jeff McConney. He worked specifically and directly for Allen Weiselberg.
HAYES: So, that`s interesting and sort of revealing in so far as like he is -- he`s directly under Weisselberg. He`s directly reported to Weisselberg. He`s doing this sort of -- he`s executing these sort of transactions. And so, they`re all coming by him even though he`s not the kind of authority signing off on that.
COHEN: Oh, that`s correct. The only person that can sign off on any of that would be Donald himself, and it would come through Allen`s desk, which is why I said that every single transaction went through Allen`s desk, but they were then keyed in or out of the bank accounts through Jeff McConney.
HAYES: So, we`re watching this -- I mean, what went through your head when you saw that news about McConney? And what it would mean both for Trump Org, but also specifically for Weisselberg?
COHEN: Yes, it`s not good news. It`s not good news for Donald. It`s not good news for the Trump Organization. And it`s definitively not good news for Alan Weisselber, and here`s the reason why. everybody stays tough. You want to stay on message, which is what Donald is telling them to do, until such time as they drop the bomb on you. Meaning whether for me, it was the SDNY, this case, it`ll be the District Attorney or the Attorney General, whether it`s for Jeff McConney or for Allen Weisselberg.
You see, the problem is that they have so much documentary evidence right now in their possession, that no matter what lies you tried to promote, it`s going to be met with resistance because there`s documents that show the exact opposite. And of course, if you lied to them, then you`re going to get hit with another violation and it`s another crime.
So, things aren`t really looking very good for, you know, Trump, or Weisselberg, or even Jeff McConney at this moment.
HAYES: Well, so I mean, you`re the one person in the world who probably has the best subjective access to the psychological experience of this particular squeeze, right? I mean, they`re kind of rerunning the play here. And I just wonder what you were -- what you were -- like, as we watch Allen Weisselberg there, and obviously, he looks like not a happy camper because he`s been -- you know, as a reporter asking him and the eyes of the world are on him. But just -- can you walk through what your own subjective experience of that feeling of that pressure was and how that moved your calculation decision making?
COHEN: Well, Chris, you have to remember, I didn`t have the luxury that they have, which is days and weeks, and then months. Mine came on a Friday night at 5:30 p.m. with a demand that if I don`t come in and plead guilty on a Monday, they will filing an 85-page indictment that was going to include my wife, and I wasn`t going to even risk any opportunity there.
But they come with so much pressure, they come with so much force, that no matter who you are, it makes no difference. You can`t oppose it. And that`s exactly the pressure that they`re going to put on Weisselberg. So, when people say, oh, Allen is not going to flip. This isn`t about flipping, folks. This is about telling the truth.
And the problem, like I said, and you used it in the clip, everybody lied for Donald. It wasn`t just me, it was the entire company. It was Don Jr, Ivanka, Eric, Jared, you know, Allen, you name it, the lawyers. Everybody in the company lied for Donald because that`s just the way the company operated.
So now, when you have somebody like Allen who`s trying to clam up, it`s not going to work, because everybody around you is going to be forced to tell the truth. And the truth is not in north to any of their benefit.
HAYES: That`s a great point and the point I was going to lead to, which is that, you know, the pressure works because the underlying conduct here, there`s -- it seemed fairly systematic conduct here that is, you know, charitably in a gray area, charitably, unethical, or perhaps, actually criminal. And, you know, so that`s -- right, I mean, that`s the issue here is the conduct within the records and how people are operating itself is pretty problematic.
COHEN: Yes, of course, it`s problematic. But remember, Donald was very smart in terms of listening to the one person I think his entire life he actually listened to all the time, and that was Roy Cohn. When he said to Donald, make sure that you have no fingerprints on anything, which is why Donald never had an e-mail address.
But then again, what`s the big deal? The document is the document. And the fact that they sent it to me or they sent it to Rona Graff, or they sent it to Alan Garten, or to Allen Weisselberg, whoever in the company, it makes no difference. It`s all about, hey, take this to Donald. Ask him what he thinks. You would take it to Donald, he tell you what he thought, then you would do what he was -- you were told to do, to go see whoever else he needed to see.
And that`s how the transactions work there. Every single transaction from the acquisition of a pin all the way to the acquisition of a piece of property, all had to be approved by Donald first.
HAYES: Let me ask you. I want to play this clip that Stormy Daniels gave an interview. Obviously, it was -- it was a payments to her that you were involved with, which was the kind of one of the things that you pleaded guilty to in federal court that you were involved in, that gave them the leverage they had and what she had to say today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been called to testify before this Manhattan grand jury?
STORMY DANIELS, FORMER ADULT ACTRESS: I have not been called to testify yet. But I`ve been very forthcoming since the beginning of all this, that I would love nothing more than my day in court and to give a deposition and to provide whatever the evidence that they need from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you make of that?
COHEN: Oh, good for her. You know, she`s entitled to her voice. She`s entitled to be heard. The bottom line is, you know, I was watching today on throughout the day social media attacking her based upon her job, you know, and what she does for a living. And I`m not really sure I understand why people have to equate what she does for a living with being honest, telling the truth, and providing, again, documentary evidence which proves the truth of what the district attorney and the Attorney General are looking to, you know, obtain.
So, I really don`t understand that. You may not like what she does, but that`s neither here nor there when it comes to telling the truth. The information that she`s looking to provide is backed up by not just other testimony, corroborating testimony, but also by documentary evidence. And so, you know, this is really now for the district attorney`s office in conjunction with Tish James, the Attorney General`s Office. This is all about them producing and conducting an investigation the way that they do. And I`m pretty certain that it`s going to -- it`s going to -- not in north to the benefit of Trump, the Trump Organization, and many other individuals because the truth doesn`t help them.
HAYES: Michael Cohn, thank you so much for making time with us. I appreciate it.
COHEN: Have a good night, Chris. Thank you.
HAYES: You too. All right, there are still thousands of ballots getting pored over in Arizona as Republicans redouble their brazen assault on voting rights. Arizona`s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs joins me live next.
HAYES: Years ago, I spent some time as a field organizer during campaign, trying to get people to take volunteer shifts, right? And even ahead of really big high-stakes elections, like the weekend before the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush versus John Kerry, it was very hard to get people to come out on a Saturday morning to knock on doors for say four hours.
Now, for the last six weeks, volunteers have been showing up to the Veterans Memorial Arena in Phoenix, Arizona to count ballots and scrutinize them for potential fraud in that ridiculous audit. And I got to say, the fact these people keep showing up day after day to sit there and tally ballots seven months ago and use UV lights to look for signs of bamboo fibers and the paper is just stunning to me.
But apparently, all that manpower is moving things along, though at a fairly glacial pace. The recount of Maricopa County`s nearly 2.1 million ballots has reportedly picked up steam. It`s now more than 60 percent complete. Of course, the audit was originally supposed to be completed by May 14. They had to pause for 10 days for high school graduation ceremonies held in the arena. They are now planning to finish by the end of this month, though Lord knows what the heck that will look like.
Katie Hobbs is the Arizona Secretary of State. She`s also running as a Democratic candidate for governor challenging current Republican Governor Doug Ducey, and she joins me now. First, Secretary, I want to start on the -- on the lesson here which I think is interesting, about what it takes to count ballots because, you know, there`s all this impatience on election night and into the impatience gets channeled all sorts of dark conspiracy theories. They`re taking so long.
And we`re kind of seeing an object lesson in Maricopa like, yes, it takes a while. It really makes you realize that a testament to all those local election workers who got things counted and recorded accurately in far, far shorter time than the folks in that arena.
KATIE HOBBS, SECRETARY OF STATE, ARIZONA: Yes, absolutely. You know, who knows how to count ballots are election officials. And who doesn`t know how to count ballots are the Cyber Ninjas and all of their volunteers.
HAYES: What is going on there? Is that`s still happening, and what is it -- what is -- what do you -- how do you think about what this is?
HOBBS: You know, we`ve had concerns from the beginning going into this. And we outlined a lot of security measures that we hoped would be in place which was flat out ignored by the Senate president and subsequently, Ken Bennett who`s in charge of this procedure. And then, we had to go to court to force these folks to allow the press in, to require disclosure of the procedures so that we knew what was going on, and to allow our expert independent election observers in to be able to document everything that`s happening.
And what we`ve seen overall, and there`s many, many things, and there`s a list on our Web site, but overall, is just a blatant lack of any kind of best practices that you would see in a valid post-election audit, a lack of procedures that is really creating a lot of room for error, and really an atmosphere for cooking the books to come up with whatever report they intend to come up with regarding the election that was over six months ago.
HAYES: You are secretary of state in the state of Arizona and you`re going to run for governor. Recently, the state legislature in a suite of bills that were passed in -- to sort of make it harder to vote, one of the things they did was to actually change some of the jurisdiction you have personally over some election procedures and give them to the governor, if not mistaken. Can you explain what that was all about?
HOBBS: So, basically, they`re taking constitutional -- things that are -- that are assigned to my office in the Constitution, giving them to the Attorney General that will basically tie my hands and make it impossible for me to do my job defending election law, defending the voters of Arizona.
We believe this is blatantly unconstitutional. It has not made it to the governor`s desk yet. So, we`re still waiting to see what will happen. But we certainly intend to fight this if it does get signed into law because it is -- the legislature cannot change the constitution, and that`s what they`re trying to do here. It`s a blatant power grab.
HAYES: I mean, the cynical interpretation, and the one that I`ve seen a lot of people apply here is that you`re a Democrat, the Attorney General is Republican, and they want to, you know, essentially park these duties with people they feel will be loyal soldiers when the chips are down, and the time comes to like, invalidate a bunch of votes if that`s what they need, and that`s what this is about. Is that how you see it?
HOBBS: Well, I see it as -- the Attorney General and I have butted heads many times over how we see fit to defend Arizona voters and protect the voters and how to handle these election cases. And so, what it seems like is that he doesn`t like how I`ve done it, and he wants to use the legislative majority to take that ability to do that himself.
And again, it is unconstitutional. It is, I think, directly targeting me because this provision ends at the end of my term. And so, it`s not, you know, carte blanche for the next Secretary of State. It`s directed directly at me.
HAYES: You`ll be -- you`ll be running against Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican there. I saw some polling today. I think the New York Times reported about how Arizona`s feel about this audit. I think 55 percent of the folks in the state oppose it, 41 percent support it. Those are not great numbers. You don`t want to be 14 points underwater generally on a political issue. Isn`t it -- it`s remarkable.
Here you have a state that`s, you know, Barry Goldwater, the state of sort of Western sunshine conservatism for decades that just flipped the Democrats in the presidential election and elected to two Democratic senators. And there seems to be no broad sense in the Republican Party or state of like, where have we gone wrong and how do we get these voters back, or am I missing something?
HOBBS: No, you`re not missing anything. And just to clarify the record, Governor Ducey is term limited, and so not running for reelection. But nobody in the primary field so far has said anything opposing this audit. I just think that it shows that they`re so out of touch with voters in Arizona, and they`re not focused on getting to work and addressing real problems.
This is a distraction, a dangerous distraction, but a distraction than the less. And voters are tired of all this partisan politics.
HAYES: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs who will be running for governor in that open seat because the governor`s turn led it out. I got that wrong. Sorry about that. Thank you so much for your time tonight.
HOBBS: Thank you.
HAYES: So, one of the big questions, as the fate of the American experiment hangs in the balance in the United States Senate, how do you solve a problem like Joe Manchin? That`s next?
HAYES: Well, it increasingly seems like we`ve ended up where we thought we might be. That isn`t the fate of the Biden presidency and more importantly, really, American democracy in its current form will rest -- is resting on solving the Joe Manchin equation.
Now, look, at one level I`ve said this a million times, Democrats are lucky as hell to have West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin at all. He`s a democrat who`s reelected in 2018, a state that Trump won by nearly 14 points last November. And he`s voted with the majority of Senate Republicans on 54 percent of the votes he`s cast as United States Senator.
Since 2011, no Democrat currently serving the Senate has split with the party more often, but he is the reason Democrats have the narrowest of Senate majorities, right. I mean, replacing him with a Republican and it`s a Republican Senate run by Mitch McConnell. He is also a pain in the butt if you`re a progressive who cares about protecting American democracy against its enemies.
This weekend, you may have seen that Senator Manchin came out in opposition to the Senate`s For the People Act, which would basically create a modern voting infrastructure, some sort of minimum standards along with campaign finance reform. It would expand early voting and it would lessen ID requirements, allow same-day registration, would regulate redistricting to avoid the worst excesses of partisan gerrymandering. Manchin also reiterated his opposition to changes to the filibuster that would restore majority rule to the body in which he serves.
Now, lots of people are very angry with Senator Manchin which I get. The question is, what are we doing now? What can be done? As I see it, there`s a few options, I mean, first figure out who has any political leverage over the senator such that it can be deployed to moving him towards changing his stance.
The problem here is that not many people have any, honestly, precisely for the reasons I just articulated. Senator Manchin has managed to defy gravity for a long time. And all his pressure in his home state among his voters is basically on the other side, or most of it at least.
Now, another option is just persuade him he`s wrong. And don`t under count that. I mean, that really does happen with politicians. It`s not all politics. They believe in stuff, wrong stuff sometimes, and there are people I`m sure that are working on that. But on the question of protecting American democracy, there`s perhaps another option. I`m just going to throw it out there, right.
In his recent op-ed, Sen. Manchin mentioned says he supports -- he doesn`t support the For the People Act, right, but he does support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore the federal preclearance requirements that John Roberts and the conservatives on the Supreme Court just ripped to shreds for no reason.
Manchin writes, "The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would update the formula states and localities must use to ensure proposed voting laws do not restrict the rights of any particular group or population." Now, as we`ve reported here in the program, because I`m sort of obsessed with this, Senator Manchin and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, remember that, they wrote this dear colleague letter calling for the same thing, right? We got to do this.
And in terms of Democratic triage, having the Department of Justice once again involved in pre-clearing states, gerrymandering, redistricting, voting changes, the kinds of things that we`re seeing happen in the states now with no check, that would be an enormous positive change. But it would require nine more Republican votes break the filibuster, right? You have every Democrat, you`ve got Lisa Murkowski, you got say, 51.
Now, of course, you are saying, yelling at your TV, and I can already hear you, there are not nine votes for that. Probably not, but I`m also not sure what the other options are. Joe Manchin is Joe Manchin. He is given in this equation. So, people who care about democracy in this country have to figure out how we`re going to solve the rest of it.
I`ll talk to the powerful chair the Budget Committee who`s working hard on exactly that and other questions ahead.
HAYES: It seems clear where Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, stands on passing of the big voting rights bill, H.R.1, the For the People Act. Earlier today, he tweeted, "If we are serious about calling ourselves democracy, we need to end voter suppression and make it easier for people to vote." Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Democratic Outreach Committee joins me now.
Senator, you know, you`ve got a 50 -- a 50 for the thinnest majority possible in the Senate. You`re the chair of the Budget Committee. You`ve got a coalition that ranges from, I don`t know, Joe Manchin to Bernie Sanders. How are you thinking about that op-ed and where things stand right now with the Democratic Party and the agenda?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Look, Chris, although I can tell you is to repeat what I said in that tweet, we cannot allow Republican governors and legislators to deny African Americans and young people and Latinos the right to vote. Not only is that an outrage unto itself, what it will mean is that in state after state where Democrats should win seats to the House or the Senate, because of voter suppression, they are not going to win. And that means perhaps for a long time, Republican control over the House and the Senate.
So, all I can tell you is, there is no issue more important to me and to most of my colleagues than the need to take on this ugly voted suppression and to defend American democracy. And at the end of the day, I believe we will succeed.
HAYES: Let`s talk about infrastructure for a second. You know, Sheldon Whitehouse, a colleague of yours again, and someone who like you is very focused on climate, had a thread this weekend saying he was worried about what the way things are going.
Now, obviously, the initial package proposed by the White House is a very, very climate-centered bill. There`s lots of great climate stuff in there. I think there`s concern that the ongoing negotiations with Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia and the Republicans would basically strip that climate stuff out.
Where does that stand as a climate voter, folks who are focused on climate? How should they understand where things are in this dynamic process with the climate aspects of that infrastructure package?
SANDERS: Well, it`s a great question. And I think everybody who understands what`s going on with climate understands what the scientists are telling us. If we do not act extremely boldly within the next few years, there is no debate about it. The planet we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren will be increasingly uninhabitable and unhealthy.
Yet, if we act boldly, we can create millions of jobs, transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, making our homes and buildings energy- efficient, moving to the electrification of transportation in America. We have got to do that.
But it`s not only when we talk about infrastructure, climate, or even roads and bridges, as important as that is, we have got to understand the for the last 45, 50 years, the working class of this country has been decimated. We are the only major country not to guarantee health care to all people. We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, half of our people living paycheck to paycheck, half a million people sleeping out on the street. On and on it goes.
This is the moment to create millions of good-paying jobs, rebuilding both our physical infrastructure, dealing with climate, and dealing with the needs of working families and our children and the elderly.
HAYES: Right. But I mean, I guess the question is -- I mean, all that stuff, what you said, and I think that you`re someone who a very supportive of the -- of the ambition that`s embodied in the -- in the package that was proposed by the White House. I saw very positive words. You`re sort of shepherding it through the Budget Committee. You`re on board with this.
I just -- you know, I don`t want to get too caught up in the details of negotiations, but that`s kind of where we`re at, right? Like, is this -- basically, are the Democrats going to make the decision at some point that they are going to pass this alone or not? And is that a possibility, and should we have faith that they can get there?
SANDERS: Well, safe -- that`s a big word over Washington D.C.
HAYES: That`s -- that is not a reassuring answer, Senator.
SANDERS: Yes. It`s like, if you want a friend, get a dog, something like that. This is what I do think, Chris. These negotiations cannot go on and on and on. In my own view, do I believe that we will have 10 Republican votes to do something significant for physical infrastructure, for climate, for human infrastructure, for health care, for education? No, I don`t.
So, I do want to tell you, maybe it`ll make you feel a little bit better, that as we speak, we are working upon on a major, major reconciliation bill which could combine both Biden`s physical infrastructure plans, as well as family -- the human infrastructure as well. We`re working on it right now.
HAYES: OK, so here`s -- and this is a sort of a weird, technical point, but I think since you brought it up, it`s worth asking the question.
SANDERS: A weird, technical point. All right, here we go.
HAYES: Well, you`re in the U.S. Senate and this is what -- this is the hand that fate has dealt both of us, Senator, which is this idea that there could be some bipartisan compromise on some stuff that gets passed, and maybe there`s -- you know, maybe you get 60 votes for that. And then some of the other stuff can go through a reconciliation vehicle. And it sounds like that`s maybe a little bit of what`s being gamed out when you say that. I just want to confirm that`s what you`re saying.
SANDERS: No, that`s not what I`m saying. I personally believe A, that the Republicans are not serious about anything that`s significant. Second of all, I have my doubts that if you pass something, it will give people an excuse to say, well, we did something, we don`t have to do anything more.
So, my own view is for two reasons, mostly for a policy point of view. People are hurting. We got to deal with infrastructure. We got to deal with climate. We got to deal with the high cost of prescription drugs. We ought to expand Medicare for dental and hearing aids and vision, etcetera.
But you want to hear something else? From a political point of view, as you well know, Chris, history is against us retaining the House and the Senate. And the last 21 elections --
HAYES: We got to move fast.
SANDERS: -- in 19 cases, the opposition party has won seats. We can`t afford to lose seats. If you want to gain control of the House and Senate, do something bold to help working families.
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Budget Committee, thanks for make time tonight. That`s it for this solar-powered edition of ALL IN on a Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.