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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 7/29/21

Guests: Donte Stallworth, Faisal Khan, Nikema Williams, Jamie Raskin


The NFL announced they are going implement a new policy that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the season to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and be credited with a loss. President Biden mandates vaccines or intensive testing for federal workers. An Anti-mask mob threatens a Missouri public health official for doing his job. Georgia GOP moves to take over Fulton County elections. Rep. Raskin grills Rep. Andrew Clyde who said the Capitol rioters looked like tourists.


A chance for Simone Manuel for the United States potentially to get a gold there as well. We`ll see what happens. But a bunch of swimming opportunities and we haven`t even got to track and field yet, Alicia.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: All right, Steve Kornacki, it is great to see you as always. That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This American tragedy. People are dying and will die who don`t have to die.

HAYES: A new plan from the White House as the vaccination fight comes to a head on the football field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t see me treating COVID until I actually get COVID.

HAYES: Tonight, how the NFL`s vaccine push is actually making progress.

RYAN TANNEHILL, QUARTERBACK, TENNESSEE TITANS: I wouldn`t have gotten the vaccine if -- without the protocols that they`re enforcing on us.

HAYES: Then, my interview with the Missouri public health official who`s being attacked for supporting a mask mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask you, I plead with you, listen to public health and please stand by this order.

HAYES: Plus, the stunning republican plan to take over elections in Fulton County, Georgia. And Congressman Jamie Raskin on his plan to expose the truth about January 6.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Those who attacked you and those who beat you are fascist traitors to our country and will be remembered forever as fascist traitors.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. You know, since the very beginning of the pandemic, professional sports has been a kind of laboratory, testing policies that we can use to deal with the virus in society writ large. Remember, professional sports teams were among the few organizations in the very beginning back in the spring of 2020 that had access to testing, which revealed early outbreaks among players. And it all started on March 11 of last year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the game tonight has been postponed. You`re all safe and take your time in leaving the arena tonight and do so in an orderly fashion. Thank you for coming out tonight. We are all safe.


HAYES: Remember that day? That was also a Tom Hanks day, the day Tom Hanks was positive. That was like the day where it was like, oh, everything is going to shut down. As the game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed because a player on the Jazz, their star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID right before that game. And that kicked everything off. It very quickly led to the NBA just suspending its season. And then this kind of thing started happening all over sports, not just basketball.

And so, conducting professional sports in the midst of a pandemic with an airborne infectious virus that is transmitted through heavy breathing presented a unique challenge. But because of the sheer amount of money riding on these leagues, billions and billions of dollars, and because they also basically have endless resources, that actually led to a lot of innovation.

The sports leagues had to figure out creative solutions to keep their sports going and to keep making that money and collecting their paychecks and their TV licensing deals. One of those was the NBA bubble, when 22 teams relocated to Disney World in Florida where they lived and played inside a bubble including family members had to test to come in and they couldn`t go back and forth. They couldn`t interact with anyone from the outside world for months.

Major League Baseball played games without fans in completely empty stadiums. And there were rigorous testing protocols like in the NFL where players, coaches, and staff were tested daily. So, all these sports leagues have been able to do a lot of things that we have struggled to do in broader society because well, we all do not have the level of resources or funds riding on our success.

But now, we`re watching the leagues grapple with the vaccination problem, and they are facing the same roadblocks as the rest of society. They cannot run their businesses safely unless they get everyone vaccinated. And they cannot get everyone vaccinated because some unknown number of people do not want to get vaccinated.

Now, at one level, I kind of understand this. I mean, if I really will myself to try to put myself in the shoes of some of these athletes. Athletes are of course very in touch with and connected to their bodies. They`re very concerned about what they put in them. And so, then, I can see why they might be reticent about the vaccine. But I got to say at the same time, these are people who are taking all kinds of drugs and medical interventions all the time, pain medications, some other kinds of treatments.

Also, these athletes` entire livelihoods depend on their physical performance, and not getting a case of debilitating long COVID that could, for example, significantly reduce their lung capacity. This is not a thought experiment. We see a bunch of athletes struggling with the effects of COVID after they got it like Yoan Moncada, 26-year-old third baseman for the Chicago White Sox, who struggled to run the bases without getting winded after contracting COVID last summer. Or Jayson Tatum, one of the brightest stars in the NBA, 23-year-old forward on the Boston Celtics tested positive in January. He now uses an inhaler before games. He didn`t have to do that before.


26-year-old Tommy Sweeney, a tight end on the Buffalo Bills, developed a heart condition linked to COVID that took him out of the game for months. This is a real actual risk that athletes are running not just to their health, but again to their livelihood. And yet, there remain a lot of skeptics. Even with all the money in the world of steak and expert doctors at their disposal and access to all of the best information.

I mean, literally, get this, last month, the Washington football team brought in an expert, an immunologist who was literally part of the team that helped develop the Moderna vaccine to just like one on one provide players with information about the vaccines, answer any questions they might have. And even that could not convince everyone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think of the way that the team is bringing in like vaccine experts and stuff to encourage people to get vaccinated. What do you think of all that?

MONTEZ SWEAT, DEFENSIVE END, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: I`m not a fan of it. I probably won`t want to get vaccinated until we got more facts and other type of stuff, but I`m not a fan of it at all.


HAYES: I`m not a fan of it. That player Montez Sweat had the doctor who developed one of the life-saving vaccines at his disposal to answer questions, right? This is not something that happens to most people. Still, he needed more facts. He`s not alone. It is a thing we are seeing across all professional sports.


COLE BEASLEY, WIDE RECEIVER, BUFFALO BILLS: I`m not anti or pro-vax. I`m pro-choice. Some people may think that I`m being selfish in making this a me thing. It`s all about the young players who don`t have a voice and are reaching out to me every day because they`re being told if they don`t get vax, there`ll be cut.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you got the vaccine?

DAK PRESCOTT, QUARTERBACK, DALLAS COWBOYS: I don`t necessarily think that`s exactly important clearance. I think that`s HIPAA.


HAYES: No, it`s not. It`s not a HIPAA thing. It`s not HIPAA at all. It has to do with health care providers sharing information. But secondly, we know basically everything about these athletes and their medical history. Again, I mean, I understand the desire for privacy, but like if they tear a groin, we get like a two-paragraph readout about their groin, right? That`s public knowledge. There`s basically nothing personal about their medical records. So, it`s not the most convincing argument.

And as for the rest, well, it`s the same stuff you hear everywhere. That sounds like people you may know in your life sort of squirrely it`s my choice, it`s my business, I need more facts, not actually making any real argument, just you know, generally skeptical and resistant. They don`t like things being mandated and shoved down their throats. It`s the same problem we have across the country. I mean, millions of people.

Now, part of it is being driven by a right-wing political movement that has from the beginning, basically, nihilistically opposed basically every attempt to try to fight the virus, whether that`s, you know, social distancing, masks, vaccines, and to keep people healthy and alive. I don`t quite understand why they`ve done that, but it`s racked up quite a death toll.

But part of it is also just the fact that, you know, human psychology is complex, I got all kinds of irrational beliefs and blind spots. People have all sorts of superstitions or skepticism or beliefs about all sorts of things. It`s just, you know, how we are. We`re, you know, that`s who we are. It just happens that this is one of those beliefs we really need to overcome.

And so, the sports leagues are again at the forefront of figuring out how to deal with that. So, last week, the NFL announced they are going to put their thumb on the scale sending a memo stating the new policy that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the season to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and be credited with a loss.

The NFL has also reportedly allowing teams to make unvaccinated players wear brightly colored wristbands, a move the players union is against. So, the NFL is clearly trying to put pressure on their players to get vaccinated. The players know that. Some of them are not happy about it.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Deandre Hopkins wrote and then delete this tweet saying, being in a position to hurt my team because I don`t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the NFL.

But some players, I think a lot are just going to get vaccinated so they don`t cost their team games. That`s what Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill did. And what Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker did, a guy who`s staunchly opposed getting the vaccine earlier this spring. And guess what, we are starting to see the same thing happen in broader society.

So, several companies including Google, Facebook, Morgan Stanley have announced they will require employees to be vaccinated to return to the office. And today, the biggest employer in the country announced they will be implementing a similar policy. President Joe Biden said federal workers will be required to confirm they are vaccinated or submit to regular testing and other restrictions. He also went out of his way to highlight the NFL`s policy.


BIDEN: I also commend the National Football League, has announce that if there are outbreaks among unvaccinated players and personnel, then the team risk forfeiting games or other sport leagues at every level to take every step they can.

Every day more businesses are implementing their own vaccine mandates. And the Justice Department has made it clear that it is legal to require COVID- 19 vaccines. We all want our lives to get back to normal. And fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully.



HAYES: Now, President Biden is I think smartly, like the NFL, not forcing vaccinations, right? Like the NFL, the Biden policy of federal workers are putting a thumb on the scale. And hopefully by stepping up in this way, the federal government will get leeway for other organizations and businesses to do the same.

But here`s the thing, folks. We got to get this done. We are in the midst of an outbreak of the Delta variant. Of course, you know that. There are places in this country like Florida and Missouri now seeing hospitalizations at all-time highs. And keep in mind what we learned last year, because there`s a really annoying tendency for all of us to forget, right? It`s a seasonal virus, and it mutates. We know those two things. Whatever we`re seeing now is the run up for the fall and the winter. So whatever it takes to vaccinate as many people as we can now, we got to do it.

Donte Stallworth is a former wide receiver who played 10 seasons in the NFL, and he joins me now. Dante, I`m so curious your perspective on this. And I`ve so, well, wanting to talk to you as a former NFL player, veteran of the league, been in a lot of different locker rooms what your understanding of the hesitancy is among folks that again, their lung capacity, their bodies, their lives are their livelihood?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER WIDE RECEIVER: Yes, I think a lot of it is kind of where you see players are in a position to where they feel like they are super healthy, they`re extremely healthy. And if they get COVID, the results are not going to be as extreme as we`ve unfortunately seen around the country and around the world.

But there are also, you know, in many other factors that go into this. And I think one of them is just the fact that people don`t -- some people just don`t trust vaccines. And we`ve seen this, obviously, not only in the NFL, and we`ve seen this across the country, right? This has been -- this has been one of the many ways that we`ve understood that the NFL is essentially microcosm of American society.

But when you -- when you look at this thing, you know, as a whole, athletes -- and you noted, you know, in the opening that athletes are very cognizant of what they put in their bodies. But you know, we`ve taken painkillers, we`ve taken all kinds of other things that have been banned now, not just by the NFL, but banned by the FDA because they`ve been bad for us.

And so, when you look at it, we`ve had an opportunity, the NFL players current have had an opportunity to hear from some of the people who have studied vaccines and studied virology and epidemiology for decades. We`ve had opportunities and the resources to be able to do all these things, have all these resources at our disposal. And the NFL, I think, they came to a - - to a conclusion a few weeks ago and said, you know what, we need to make a push.

And I think that push was what the new protocols they implemented. And you see a lot of players from the end of spring, I think it was only around half of the NFL players around the league that were vaccinated, or at least have one dose. And now, that number is up to three-quarters of the league of all players that are vaccinated.

So, they`re really trying to target that last 25 percent. Who knows how it`s going to go. But you know, there`s going to be a lot -- there is -- there is a lot of pressure on those guys from all angles. From coaches, from their teammates, you know, from the fans, obviously, who want to -- who don`t want to have their team miss a playoff game by one game because they had to forfeit because of unvaccinated players.

HAYES: You know, it`s funny. I thought it was kind of, for lack of a better phrase, ingeniously manipulative for them to do what they did because what they`re doing is marshaling -- you know, they`re marshaling that locker room psychology which is, can you imagine being in a situation where you test positive and then a few other people test positive in a big game, and you`ve let the team down and you`ve let the fans down? And it seems like a fairly smart way to go about this, which is to say, we`re not requiring you, but if you want to cost the team, that`s on you.

STALLWORTH: Yes. And you know, I don`t know how players would deal with that. I think they probably -- the ones that are very adamant about it, you`re not going to change their mind with no matter how much information, no matter which experts come and speak to them, their mind won`t change.

And I know Cole Beasley said he`s speaking out for a lot of young players, and I get that, because the young players essentially, especially the younger ones who are -- who are not top draft pick, those guys are going to be, you know, taking the vaccine whether they want to or not because they don`t -- they don`t want to risk their chance of making it in the NFL. So, I get what he`s saying.


But he`s also said some other things about you can still get COVID if you - - if you take the vaccine. And it`s like, well, you know, there`s a point into all of that. There`s a number of things that`s to not necessarily be able to spread in or to protect yourself against that vaccine or against COVID. And now, we have the new Delta variants which is much more transmissible than the regular COVID-19. So, there`s going to be a lot that goes into this NFL season.

And, you know, I wouldn`t want to be the guy on the end of that cost my team a playoff spot or that cost my team, you know, a home seat, the number one seat in the playoffs because you had to forfeit the game because you were unvaccinated.

HAYES: Yes, Donte Stallworth, great football player, even better thinker and writer. It`s always great to have you on, Dante. Thank you.

STALLWORTH: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: In St. Louis County, Missouri, their COVID cases there are surging. Missouri got hit early by the Delta variant, transmission is high. This is what it sounded like when the county council voted to overturn a recommended reinstatement of a mask mandate.

The public health official behind that mask recommendation had been in that same room just hours earlier, where he says he was heckled and racially harassed as he tried to do his job. He`ll join me live next.


FAISAL KHAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY: Sir, I don`t want to engage in a debate with you about what constitutes a mask or not. I commend the 16-year-old -- Madam Chair, if you do not restore order, I will walk away and we will have to have this conversation --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me. Excuse me.



HAYES: Public health officials in this country throughout the pandemic have become a kind of public enemy number one, as opportunistic politicians and media have whipped up a familiar kind of backlash politics aimed at mask mandates and public health orders and directed all this rage on basically civil servants.

It just happened again this week, St. Louis County, Missouri, after again weeks of rising COVID cases, public health officials there reinstated a masked mandate. Barely a day later, the county council met to discuss overturning that mandate and to hear from the crowd who packed into the room.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve lost sight of the fact that people shed blood, their lives, their children, their mothers, their daughters, for us to have the freedom from tyranny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Masks don`t seem to work in that occasion, but masks do seem to sell fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand with me now with our voices in unison and put our public servants on notice that we will not now nor ever again allow our rights and constitutionally protected liberty be taken from us. We will give no more ground. We will not comply. We will not comply. We will not comply.


HAYES: So, that was the crowd in the room when one of the people behind the new mask mandates, St. Louis County Health Director Dr. Faisal Khan stood up to address the council.


KHAN: Community transmission of COVID-19 attributable to the Delta variant is now at an all-time high across the St. Louis region. Madam Chair, it is my duty to inform you on the record that if the council decides in its infinite wisdom to negate this public health order, there will be more misery, there will be more infection, there will be more depth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we talking about shutdowns again? Are we talking about sports going away? What is it -- what`s your next move if they continue to go up?

KHAN: It is my duty to tell you. sir, that if the situation continues to worsen, then all options will be on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, OK. All right, please.


HAYES: You can hear the crowd audibly reacting to Dr. Khan throughout the hearing. He says, much of that heckling was racist, xenophobic, and threatening. In a letter to the council chair, Dr. Khan wrote, "I heard people doing their impersonation of Apu, a caricature character from the Simpsons television show that mocks people from South Asia such as myself. And Dr. Khan says, as he got up to leave, I became surrounded by the crowd in close quarters where members of the crowd yelled at me calling me a fat brown seaward and a brown bastard.

Dr. Khan says he instinctively reacted by raising his middle finger to one of the hecklers who had physically threatened him. Just a few hours later, the county council voted five to two to rescind the mask mandate to the cheers of the crowd. And Dr. Faisal Khan, the director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health joins me now.

Dr. Khan, thank you for joining me. First, I wonder if you could just tell us, what is your job as the county Director of Public Health there in St. Louis County? What do you do and how long have you done it?

KHAN: I`ve been the director of Public Health in St. Louis County for a total of five months. I have served in this position once previously for a period of four and a half years. But I have spent the last 10 years with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and in a variety of positions, and the last 25 years in public health across the world.

HAYES: What is the COVID situation right now like in your county?

KHAN: It is going from bad to worse. As you mentioned, cases are on the rise. Pediatric admissions attributable to COVID are seeing a sharp increase in area hospitals. And I know from talking to our colleagues across the hospital systems in the St. Louis region that they are extremely worried as they see ICU beds filling up and a direct threat to the life of the very patients that you seek to serve continue to increase unabated.

HAYES: That was what drove you and I think the others in that -- the department to recommend this mask -- this mask order. What was that room like to be in as you were there speaking to the county council?

KHAN: So, when I walked into the room, the first thing I noticed was that you know, it was a capacity crowd. In fact, it was overflowing. And almost nobody was wearing a mask, which alarmed me as a public health professional because what I see before me was a potential super spreader event.

It further horrified me to note that some people have children with them. And there were quite a few people in the audience that were older in the 60, possibly old range. So, it was not a good site. And there was palpable anger building up in the audience well before the meeting. As I learned afterwards, there have been some sort of political rally before the meeting, so people`s worst fears, I think, have been preyed upon and exploited to get them fired up in anticipation of the conversation.


HAYES: You write in the letter that there are two politicians who are sitting behind you, sort of berating you trying to distract you. One of them was Mark McCloskey who viewers may remember is the guy who brandished the gun at the Black Lives Matter protesters, pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor. What were they saying to you?

KHAN: You know, I couldn`t make out everything, but it was a series of interruptions and staccato sentences designed to throw me off course every time I would begin to formulate a sentence or think through a response to a question. Something was yelled at me, either from the right or the left. I couldn`t obviously see who was saying it behind me precisely. But that is where the individuals were seated.

And at one point in time, as you showed in the video, I actually turned around and asked somebody to please be quiet and let me finish.

HAYES: There was also a really unnerving and disgusting amount of racial animus that was hurled towards you. Have you experienced that before in this position ever? And what was that like?

KHAN: Not in the 25 years that I`ve spent in public health or the 10 years that I`ve worked in Missouri -- the St. Louis County Department of Health. This was truly unprecedented. And it wasn`t the entire crowd. I think most of the people there are good and decent people. They would never even think about offering a vile word to anyone, no matter how much we might disagree about wearing masks, etcetera.

But once the collective temper and emotions of the entire audience have been dialed up all the way to 100 by provocations and what I would call dog whistle words, it`s very difficult to return it to normal as soon as the conversation moves on to something else. It was right for spilling over and crossing boundaries. And that is exactly what happened. Some people in the audience took out their anger on me as I was leaving, and it was a very jarring and unpleasant experience.

HAYES: Have you ever been in a room like that before?

KHAN: I`ve been in plenty of heated conversations and tense meetings with the public. I mean, that that`s part of the nature of the work that we do as public officials. Our job is to explain facts and just stick to the truth and the evidence whether somebody agrees with us or not. We absorb a lot of anger all the time. But I have never seen this sort of dynamic at work. It has always been a case of meetings, being orderly and controlled from the dyes, from the people chairing those meetings because they understand the importance of careful deliberation based on an exchange of knowledge rather than allegations.

HAYES: Dr. Faisal Khan, the Acting Public Health Director in St. Louis County, a state of Missouri that has quite a bad outbreak on his hands. He`s doing his best to combat that. And I appreciate you taking time with us tonight.

KHAN: Thank you, Chris. It`s a pleasure.

HAYES: Coming up.


RASKIN: So, you`re saying this didn`t go far enough? Is that your point? So, you wanted to give the gold medal of these people but you voted against it because you wanted to give it to them?

REP. Andrew Clyde (R-GA): No.


HAYES: Congressman Jamie Raskin has had it with Republican lies. He joins me live. But first, the big Republican move to take away local election control in Georgia and squash the vote. That`s ahead.



HAYES: Amidst Republican fear-mongering about inflation, and there has been some of it, it`s worth looking at a few headlines to show just how in the main how successful the Democratic agenda has been. For one, today we learned the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of six and a half percent between April and June. The most important part of that number is that for the first time since the pandemic began, economic output was higher than it was before the pandemic. You can see the chart peeking back over the level we saw at the end of 2019.

The great part about that economic bump this spring is that it was fueled in part by consumer spending. Businesses opened up, millions of people got vaccinated and went out and spent money. The other side of that millions more people had extra money to spend. A new study found the huge increase in government aid prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will cut poverty nearly in half this year from pre pandemic levels and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record.

Think about that for a second. I want to say it again. The money the government has given out in response to COVID will cut poverty nearly in half and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record. That is a gargantuan achievement under any circumstances, let alone the pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens and cripple the economy.

Now, the present progressive agenda has become by and large the Biden agenda at least on big issues of domestic policy in political economy and Democrats have seized the opportunity to use the federal government to tangibly improve millions of people`s lives. And there are going to be lots of bumps in the road. Democrats are not going to get the political credit for they deserve I think, but it`s working. Please keep at it because this thing is not over, the pandemic, and economic inequality, and there`s a lot more do. Don`t let up.


There are two infrastructure packages working their way through Congress that will do more than just build roads. It will do things like provide broadband internet access to more Americans than ever, and a clean energy standard which we`ve talked about a lot. There`s just a lot of potential to help a lot of people. Democrats can only pass this kind of legislation if they maintain control of Congress. And Republicans of course are doing everything they can to make that as difficult as possible. We`ll talk more about the latest threat to voting rights next.


HAYES: Back in March, Georgia Republicans push the restrictive new voting - - new election law. And it came of course following the party`s humiliating back-to-back losses. First, they lost the presidential race in the state of Georgia, then two crucial Senate seats on the same night which flipped control of the Senate to the Democrats.


And so, the response from Georgia Republicans was to pass a lot of provisions to make voting access more difficult, particularly for voters of color. But the most pernicious part of their legislation had to do with the mechanics of who oversees elections in the state. Georgia Republicans clearly have their eyes on taking away the ability of predominantly Democratic and African-American counties to manage their own elections, particularly in places like Fulton County, the state`s most populous county, which contains most of Atlanta and has a significant Black population and votes overwhelmingly Democratic.

In the past, Donald Trump and the Republicans, and this goes back before Donald Trump, have done this sort of propaganda campaign waiting baseless and bigoted allegations that predominantly Black urban counties are up to no good. Philly is going to steal the election, Detroit. Well, now in Georgia, they`re taking that racist mythology and operationalizing it with a new law.

It allows the Republican-controlled State Board of Elections, which by the way, they kicked the Secretary of State out of, to take over local elections operations and appoint its own managers to oversee voting there following an audit or investigation. Well, guess what? This week, Republicans in the Georgia Senate took the first step to do just that. They wrote a letter demanding a performance review of the person who oversees elections in Folsom County, a man named Rick Barron.

Now, if this review comes back and does not satisfy their needs, Republicans can then initiate proceedings to seize control of elections in Fulton County. If Republicans are successful in Fulton County, they will be able to rip control away from local government, then they can send in their own handpicked appointees to oversee everything from polling place closures to the actual counting of the votes.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Democrat from Georgia`s fifth Congressional District which contains Fulton County. She`s also the chair of the Georgia Democratic Party. Congresswoman, first maybe just a little bit of level-setting here on what the situation is. You got -- there`s a county board of elections and there`s someone who has the job of managing those elections at the county board appoints, Rick Barron. Is that right?

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): The county board of elections is comprised of Democrats and Republicans appointed by each county Democratic Party and Republican Party, and then you have staff that actually run the election system which are hired and come out of the Fulton County board of -- Board of Commissioner`s budget. So, it`s an independent body that is running the elections.

And these are career bureaucrats. These are people who have signed up to protect elections, to administer elections across the board.

HAYES: And so, one of those people has become a real target of ire of state Republicans, Rick Barron. And I want to just sort of give the argument here, the sort of -- the argument that actually Fulton County independent of the big lie and these accusations of fraud, which are ridiculous, has had problems managing elections, and there are real issues there that folks are unhappy with.

WILLIAMS: So, I live in Fulton County. I`ve voted in Fulton County for the past a lot of years, Chris. But I live in this county, and I`ve had my fair challenges. But what I know is there 159 counties in Georgia. And there`s a reason that the Republicans are only investigating one county. Out of all of the other counties that have problems on Election Day, no other county is being investigated and at risk of being taken over by the Republican power grab. And so, it`s only Fulton County.

They`re afraid to say what we all know is true out loud. And that is too many people that look like me showed up to vote in Fulton County. And so, now, they want to do something about that. What we also know is that when you look across the board and how we`ve made changes in Fulton County.

In June, we had our primary elections. And the Fulton County Board of Commissioners had an independent commission to come in and look at the -- what happened on Election Day. They came in, they made changes and got things together for the November election. They gave people more access to get the lines down. They made sure that they hired more coworkers. And you know, what the state did, they passed SB 202 to say that, oh, you can`t do mobile voting units. Oh, we`re not going to do all of these drop boxes to reduce the waiting in line. So, the Republicans are still to blame for all of this.

HAYES: I want to play one of the County Board of Commissioners in Fulton County sort of expressing his view that this is nothing more than a sheer power grab. Take a lesson.


ROBB PITTS, CHAIRMAN, FULTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: They`re trying to set the stage for hostile takeover of our election system because they want a political win to appease believers of the big lie. I can`t let them get away with this in broad daylight without a fight. And I`m not going to do it. Because if they can do this us here in Fulton County, the largest in the state with a target on our back, they can do it to any of the other 158 counties in our great state.



HAYES: So, that`s the chair of that -- of that county board. Now, my understanding is this -- because of this new law, the state board of elections which no longer includes Raffensperger, and is it just members of the state -- it`s just Republicans that that make up that board or they control the board?

WILLIAMS: There`s one Democrat, Chris, that I get to appoint as chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. So, just one lonely Democrat. And I know that our representative on the board, Sarah Draper will continue to fight this and make sure that she represents the true access to the ballot when she is as our voice.

But we have to continue to do more about this, which is why I`ve teamed up with my colleague, Representative Sarbanes here in Congress. And we have a bill to address the elections subversion. Just this week, or yesterday, Chris, I testified in the House Administration Committee on this bill so that we can make sure that we`re moving something forward on the national level to present -- to prevent these partisan power grabs, of course, of elections.

HAYES: So, just to be clear, I just want to make sure I understand this, you`ve got a county board -- the board of elections that is half Democrat, half Republican. It`s a bipartisan board the way that a lot of these boards work throughout the country. They`re going to come in and try the state Republicans passed this law signed by Kemp. Now, they control a state elections board, and they`re going to do a performance review and try to come in and appoint a hand-picked person by the Republican Party, essentially, to run the elections in Fulton County, to run all of it. That`s what`s happening.

WILLIAMS: That is what -- that`s what`s happening. And they say they want local control only when it`s not convenient for them. And then it becomes a partisan power grab. They -- it`s very clear, we played by their rules, we still won. And now, they are changing the rules. It`s the same thing that they did with every other piece of this bill that has been S.B. 202 that is now the law of the land in Georgia.

And that`s why we have to continue to fight on the federal level to get things like H.R.1 which is currently hung up in the Senate, but we have to get this legislation passed. So, that we can make sure that we are protecting the rights of vote for everyone, not just in Georgia. And we`ve seen what happened in Texas. I just met with Chairwoman Maxine Waters and the Texas delegation today to make sure that they knew that we`re standing with them, because this isn`t just about one state, it`s not just about Texas, this is about the country.

And we have to standardize our access to the ballot in this country. And that`s why I`m still fighting for the For the People Act with H.R.1.

HAYES: Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia, thank you so much.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, Congressman Jamie Raskin on his mission to confront his Republican colleagues about January 6.


RASKIN: Did you watch the testimony of the Capitol officers who defended our lives on January 6, or did you not? It`s a yes or no question.

CLYDE: It`s irrelevant. It`s absolutely irrelevant to this amendment right here. And I`d like to stick to it if you --

RASKIN: OK. I`m reclaiming my time, sir. I`m reclaiming my time, sir.

CLYDE: Is that what you want to do, Mr. Chairman?

RASKIN: Excuse me, Mr. Clyde. I have the floor, not you.




HAYES: Earlier this week, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland grilled Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia, for saying the people who stormed the Capitol were indistinguishable from tourists. Remember, Congressman Clyde is the guy who can be seen here barricading himself against the door when the mob was trying to storm the House chamber. He then turned around and said that the insurrectionists were indistinguishable from tourists or at least pictures of them were.

Well, Congressman Clyde then went on to vote against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the officers who defended the Capitol that day. And Congressman Raskin was not having it, forcing him to defend his record.


RASKIN: Why did you vote no on this bill which was on the floor of the House?

CLYDE: The particular bill on the floor of the House, all right, was not appropriate. It was not that the bill that was appropriate is the one that I co-sponsored.

RASKIN: Really? What made this inappropriate?

CLYDE: Because it awarded that -- those gold medals to those Capitol Police for all of the times that they have defended this Capitol back in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, not just one incident. Because I think they deserve -- because there were Capitol Police officers that that died from gunshot wounds back earlier. Did you know that?

RASKIN: So, you`re saying this didn`t go far enough. Is that your point? So, you wanted to give the gold medal to these people but you voted against it because you wanted to give it to them?


HAYES: Congressman Jamie Raskin is the lead impeachment manager for Donald Trump`s second impeachment in the wake of that insurrection. In addition to serving as a member of the House Select Committee to investigate January 6, he`s the chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and he joins me now.

Congressman, you know, we were all -- that exchange with you and Andrew Clyde made all of us kind of sit up at for this reason. I feel like Congress right now is like a family in a Eugene O`Neill play where there`s just this roiling, you know, wound and trauma underneath all of it. There`s wrongs that have been committed and underdressed, and everyone`s sort of just going along with it like everything`s normal. And it`s just untenable, and it was sort of bracing to see you not do that. What, what made you do that?

RASKIN: Well, thank you, Chris. I think it`s a good analogy you`ve got. I mean, if something traumatic happens in a family, like say, child abuse or something like that, and most people want to deal with it but a faction of people who are in denial and want to lie about it and explain it away and sweep it under the rug, that festers and that becomes an incredibly divisive and polarizing thing.

And I think I probably am representative of most of my Democratic colleagues and even some Republican colleagues, which I just can`t take the lying anymore. And I don`t want to be party to propaganda and disinformation and the suppression of the truth.


HAYES: You`re on the committee that had the first hearing. And there`s been some interesting developments about what that committee is going to have access to including guidance from the Department of Justice saying there is no executive privilege claim that former officials including the former Acting A.G., Jeffrey Rosen, can cooperate with solicitations of information.

Are you optimistic that you`re going to actually have access to these ex- officials who might know exactly what happened in the lead-up to that day and on that day?

RASKIN: Well, I`m pretty optimistic about it. We have a great committee. We`ve got a great chair in Bennie Thompson. We`re forming a really good staff. I think that the law is going to be on our side. Of course, we had several years of frustration just trying to get what was rightfully due Congress out of the Trump administration. So we know some of these people believe that they can operate with immunity and impunity and above the law. But we`ll see at this point, you know, whether they can continue to get away with it.

In any event, remember, the House already impeached the former president for inciting violent insurrection. The Senate voted 57-43 to convict him. Trump beat that constitutional spread but we still convicted him in the court of public opinion and in the eyes of history.

And now, the question is not who incited it because we know at least one person incited it, but who organized it, who paid for it, how did these networks of domestic violent extremism get together with people inside the corridors of the innermost political establishment to make this happen? How did they do it, and why did they do it, and are they still out there?

So, we`ve got a strong bipartisan committee with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger working with us, and terrific members all around. And we are dead set on getting the truth. And we think this is (INAUDIBLE) assignment that we`ve got.

HAYES: I want to play for you something Jim Jordan said today. It`s sort of an amazing moment because there are questions about the roles of members of Congress. Jim Jordan was asked -- he admitted earlier he talked to President Trump on the day of January 6th. He had the follow-up with a local reporter and here is the exchange. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s some confusion over what you told Bret Baier on Fox News on Tuesday night so, I want to clear it up. First off, yes or no, did you speak with President Trump on January 6th?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, I mean, I spoke with the president last week. I speak with the president all the time. I spoke with him on January 6th. I mean, I talk with President Trump all the time. And that`s -- I don`t think that`s unusual. I would expect members of Congress to talk with the president of the United States when they`re trying to get done the things they told the voters in their district to do.

I`m actually kind of amazed sometimes that people keep asking this question. Of course, I talk to the president all the time. Like I said, I talked to him last week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On January 6th, did you speak with him before, during, or after the Capitol was attacked?

JORDAN: I have to go -- I spoke with him that day after, I think, after. I don`t know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don`t know. I`d have to go back. I mean, I don`t -- I don`t know that -- when those conversations happened. But all I know is I spoke with him all the time.


HAYES: Is this the kind of thing that the committee should get to the bottom to? By the way, great interview from that reporter. Kudos there. But it strikes me that these conversations, I would like some record, you know, for the record of who the president was talking to that day and about what.

RASKIN: Well, Congresswoman Cheney said at our very first meeting that she wanted a minute-by-minute account of everything that was taking place in the White House during the attack. And obviously, we`re going to follow every lead that we`ve got to determine what exactly happened that day, who was giving orders, and what was the president doing.

There were already indications that surfaced during the impeachment trial that while Congressional leaders of both parties were calling the president and begging him to call off the dogs and to do something to help, he just continued to escalate the political pressure on Mike Pence because the whole thing was to try to get Pence to announce new unilateral powers to reject electors coming in from Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, to cut Biden`s lead below 270 in the Electoral College, throw the whole thing into (AUDIO GAP) election under the 12th amendment and then get himself named president.

They had 27 state delegations. They would have had, I think, 26 votes. I don`t think that Liz Cheney would have cast the (INAUDIBLE) from Wyoming for him. But that`s where it was going. That was the coup inside the insurrection of (AUDIO GAP) inside the riot that was taking place outside.

HAYES: Congressman Jamie Raskin, we will keep having you on throughout this process. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. That is ALL IN for this Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. Good evening, Ali.