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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/11/21

Guests: Madeleine Dean, Jasmine Crockett, Chris Van Hollen, Ilya Somin


The Senate Judiciary Chairman wants to interview Trump`s chief of staff Mark Meadows on efforts to steal the election. Arrest warrants are issued for Texas Democrats who fled the states to stop Republicans` anti- voting law. Senate Democrats passed the $3.5 trillion budget proposal early Wednesday. Ted Cruz calls for zero COVID mandates while his kids safely attended a school that requires masks. Republican politicians like to pretend they`re sticking to libertarian values citing liberty, freedom, personal choice, as reasons to oppose just about every measure that could stem the spread of COVID.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That`s right. Amen. Well, thank you for all that you`ve done. Texas State and Democrats are showing us how it`s done. Thank you, state -- Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa, thank you.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.



SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Donald Trump`s pattern has been to use acolytes and sycophants in those positions of trust, whether in the White House or in the Congress.

HASAN: The widening investigation into Trump`s attempt to subvert democracy and the role his chief of staff played in it.


HASAN: Then, just one day after the bipartisan infrastructure vote, Republicans are back to their old obstructionist ways.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Republicans refusing to support anything on voting rights is not an excuse for Democrats to do nothing.

HASAN: And as they cry freedom over masks and vaccines.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We don`t have to accept the mandates.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): They do not respect your liberty.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I trust them to know their circumstances better than government.

HASAN: What actual libertarian legal scholars say that`s ridiculous. That`s when ALL IN starts right now.


HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. In March of last year, when Donald Trump had to pick his fourth chief of staff, he decided on Mark Meadows, a right-wing Republican congressman from North Carolina.

Trump said at the time that I`ve long known and worked with Mark and the relationship is a very good one. Perhaps that`s because the two of them have a lot in common. Both men made a fortune as real estate developers. A founding member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, Meadows, like Trump, also hated ObamaCare. And they both promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory which says Barack Obama was not born here in the United States.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It`s interesting, when the more we find out, the more we realize how wrong the direction we`re going. And so, what we`re going to do is take back our country. 2012 is the time that we`re going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is. We`re going to do it.


HASAN: Charming. And when it came to overturning a free and fair election in 2020, Mark Meadows signed up for that too. Back in June, The New York Times reported that in Trump`s final weeks in office, Meadows repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, which included debunked claims of election fraud in New Mexico and my personal favorite, a baseless conspiracy, a bonkers conspiracy, dubbed Italy gate, 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 from Trump to Joe Biden.

But there`s more. E-mails released by the House Oversight Committee show that Meadows pressed then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to investigate so-called voter fraud in Georgia, including one email sent January 1 that read, "There have been allegations of signature match, anomalies in Fulton County, Georgia. Can you get Jeff Clark to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there`s any truth to this allegation?"

The very next day, not only did Mark Meadows set up the infamous phone call in which Trump would ask Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find 11,780 votes, Meadows was also a willing participant in the call.


MEADOWS: Mr. Secretary, obviously there is -- there are allegations where we believe that not every vote or fair vote and legal vote was counted. And that`s at odds with the representation from the Secretary of State`s office. What I`m hopeful for is there some way that we can -- we can find some kind of agreement to look at this a little bit more fully. As you know, the President mentioned Fulton County. But in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to lead, and so, Mr. Secretary, I was hopeful that, you know, in a spirit of cooperation and compromise, is there there`s something that we can at least have a discussion to look at some of these allegations to define the path forward that`s less litigious."


HASAN: The day after the Washington Post released that extraordinary phone call, BJay Pak, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, abruptly resigned at the time we did not know why. Now, we do. Today, in closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pak reportedly said He had quit because Trump intended to fire him over his refusal to say that, to say that the results in Georgia had been undermined by voter fraud. And now, it looks like the committee wants to talk to Mark Meadows next.


Yesterday, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated that he would like the opportunity to interview Meadows. But you have to ask, what is the Department of Justice been doing for the last seven months when it comes to Mark Meadows?

On Monday night, on this show, I asked the same thing about Donald Trump. But look, I get that prosecuting a former president for inciting a coup and trying to deprive millions of Americans of a fair election process can be a bit -- a bit complicated. It`s unprecedented. But it shouldn`t be for a now-private citizen like Mark Meadows. Why is he still a free bird out there acting like Trump`s ever so loyal chief of staff?


MEADOWS: And the magic is still there. We`ve been here actually working on what comes next, not only in 2024, but how we win back the house in 2022. We`re looking at what does come next. I`m not authorized to speak on behalf of the President. But I -- but I can tell you this, Steve. We wouldn`t be meeting tonight if we weren`t making plans to move forward in a real way and with President Trump at the head of that ticket.


HASAN: But Mark Meadow`s his role is just a piece of the attempt to overthrow the United States government. Now, we are learning even more according to Politico. In late December, Trump asked his acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, about a legal strategy that would have urged the Supreme Court to declare that the electoral college votes from six key swing states lost by Trump cannot be counted because of baseless allegations of fraud, and for the justices to order a special election for president to be held in those states.

There it is. There it is. The Trump White House, in the form of the president and his chief of staff, was trying to serve up a coup and expected everyone from the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court to help them get away with it.

Joyce Vance is MSNBC Legal Analyst and the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, and she joins me now. Joyce, thanks so much for coming on the show tonight. Mark Meadows is a private citizen. What kind of criminal exposure might he have right now? I want to play to a bit more from that January phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger. Here`s Mark Meadows trying to persuade the Secretary of State`s offices General Counsel Ryan Germany, to give over voter data to the Trump team with an assist from the President himself. Have a listen.


MEADOWS: So, what you`re saying, Ryan -- hold on. Let me -- let me make sure. So, what you`re saying is you really don`t want to give access to the data, you just want to make another case on why the lawsuit is wrong?

RYAN GERMANY, GENERAL COUNSEL, SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE: I don`t think we -- I don`t think we can give access to the data that`s protected by law. But we can sit down with them and say --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But you`re allowed to have a phony election? You`re allowed to have a phony election, right?


HASAN: What type of criminal liability does Mark Meadows have in a state like Georgia?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s an important question and the answer, Mehdi, maybe not the one that you`re looking for is that DOJ should be investigating to determine the answer to exactly that question. Based on what`s on the public record these days, we know that there`s reason for DOJ to be looking at a number of crimes, particularly whether there was a conspiracy to defraud the government, whether there was some form of election interference or even criminal violation of the Hatch Act.

All of those cases need to be fully investigated to determine whether any of them should be brought. The interesting twist here is DOJ typically likes to keep its criminal investigations, very private, until they reach a decision and they only announce indictments once they`re ordained by the grand jury. So, it`s a little bit difficult for us to know precisely what`s going on at this point in time.

HASAN: But just to be clear, you mentioned those cases, those are all criminal cases if they went forward, election interference, conspiracy to overturn the government. This is serious stuff. And I just want to add -- I just want to add to that, Joyce. How damning do you think former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak`s closed-door testimony on that same issue was today?

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said that Mr. Pak had answered all questions in a seemingly honest and candid way. And my impression is that he believes in the rule of law and that he stood up for it. How much does that weigh into all of this?

VANCE: If Pak`s testimony is as reported, it`s just another nail in the coffin here because, you know, Trump did so many things that were horrible that it can become difficult to focus on any one of them. But here we have a U.S. attorney who has been appointed by this president and he conducts investigation in his district, the FBI does, and they determine that there`s no actionable voter fraud. That shouldn`t be the end of it.

That`s a decision that should be backed by the Deputy Attorney General, and the Attorney General. And instead, the top leadership of the department bows to pressure from the White House. And that pressure is essentially this. We don`t like the real facts. We want the facts to be something different so we can steal an election.

That was a moment where the leadership of the Justice Department should have stood up. And if Pak was going to be forced to resign, they should have resigned along with him.


HASAN: Yes. And you have former Acting A.G. Jeffrey Rosen has been testifying in front of Congress and to the Justice Department`s Inspector General sounding too many like a hero, the man who stopped Trump from overturning the election. Is he a hero in your view? VANCE: I think it`s great that he`s testifying now. It`s important that we learn the truth about these failed efforts by Trump to find a way to subvert the election which ultimately left him in his mind with no option other than to go forward with the events on January 6. That historical trail is important.

It would have been far more valuable for the country to learn these facts while the impeachment was live and ongoing.

HASAN: Oh, yes.

VANCE: The country was at a real risk. I think perhaps we forget how dramatic those events on January 6 were. This Attorney General could have been a profile encouraged by coming forward and trying to stop these events before they went into motion.

HASAN: One last quick question, Joyce. Do you believe the Merrick Garland DOJ is up to the task of investigating, indicting, possibly prosecuting Donald Trump and his cronies or is that a bridge too far for this administration?

VANCE: This is an impeccably well-qualified DOJ. Everyone from the Attorney General on down who will be involved in considerations of investigations and prosecutions has deep experience. They know the business of prosecutions. Mehdi, you`ve heard me say so many times that it`s a lot easier to be an armchair prosecutor than it is to actually be the person who`s in the grand jury looking at the evidence, making sure that you`ve got proof beyond a reasonable doubt on all elements of a crime before you indict.

I think the folks that President Biden has put in place are more than capable of making these tough decisions. And these are people who will resist any sort of external pressure. They`ll just look at the facts from the law.

HASAN: Let`s see what happens. Joyce Vance, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Congresswoman Madeline Dean is a Democrat from Pennsylvania and a former impeachment manager. She joins me live now. Congresswoman, as a former impeachment manager, what are you thinking when you hear about the scope of Mark Meadows` efforts to help Trump overthrow the election?

Wall Street Journal reporter Michael bender writes in his new book that Mark Meadows had helped introduce Trump to DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark who was putting together a secret plan to oust Rosen, the acting A.G. and forced Georgia to overturn its results. Mark Meadows seems to be an integral to all of this, was he not?

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Thank you for having me. I`m joining you from my car. I apologize. I`m in between summer storms here in Pennsylvania in my district. And I just left a roomful of Montgomery county young Democrats. They are so eager to learn more about what happened, what failed, who`ve stepped up and served and who did not.

And so, Mark Meadows, what a deep, deep disappointment. But you can see what happened here. As you pointed out in your reporting, this is his fourth Chief of Staff. Trump was -- his circle was shrinking, the pool of qualified people was shrinking. And so, he put people around him who were willing to do his bidding.

And what these tapes reveal is another set of data points. And I have a feeling we`re going to see a White House whether it`s a chief of staff or Mr. Trump himself with a full-time job of calling people, elected officials, state election officials, legislators trying to overturn the election. Mark Meadows -- it`s gravely disappointing and of course, we`ll need to hear much more about these phone calls, e-mails, and others trying to persuade people to say the election was fraudulent when 60 courts or more said it was not.

HASAN: Yes. Congresswoman, how do you view the Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen? Some Democrats have hailed him as a kind of courageous whistleblower, but he didn`t come forward during the impeachment hearings in which you were a manager, did he? In fact, Rosen testified before Congress earlier this year and was asked whether Trump asked him to interfere in the election, and he dodged that question. Have a listen.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Prior to January 6, were you asked or instructed by President Trump to take any action at the department to advance election fraud claims or to seek to overturn any part of the 2020 election results?


JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Congressman as I just alluded to in your prior question, I can tell you what the actions of the Department --

CONNOLLY: No, sir. No, sir. Mr. Rosen.

ROSEN: I cannot tell you consistent with my obligations today about private conversations with the president one way or the other.


HASAN: What do you make a former Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, Congresswoman?

DEAN: Thank you for asking. And I want to reserve judgment. And I want to point out two things. On the one hand, he came before -- voluntarily, he came before Senate Judiciary and offered hours and hours of what I am sure is going to be very valuable testimony.

Like you, I wish he had come forward sooner. But you have to remember, this is a change of administration from the Trump administration who treated the Department of Justice as its own personal political law firm to do its bidding under A.G. Barr and others.

And so, the transition to Biden and Merrick Garland, it was Merrick Garland and His department of Justice that just, I guess it was in the last month, freed people to testify, no cloud. So, I`m going to reserve judgment and try to understand why it is that Mr. Rosen didn`t come forward sooner. But I certainly thank him for doing two things, coming forward now and holding the line when the President of the United States urged him and his deputy to simply call it corrupt and leave the rest to me and my Republican Congressman friends. Mr. Rosen held the line there.

HASAN: Yes. One last quick question. Will we ever see, do you think, criminal charges against Donald Trump and his top aides? And if not, aren`t we saying to Americans, to the world, that yes, somebody is beyond the law in America? And also, aren`t we just risking another coup attempt in the future?

DEAN: I don`t know the answer to your question. I certainly know that we have many folks looking at criminal charges. And it sure seems as though charges should be brought in many cases and in many levels. But what this all points out is something else that happened this week. And I want to compare and contrast value system between Democrats who in the face of Mr. Cuomo`s difficulties, troubles, and behaviors, came forward after they saw the independent A.G. report and said he must resign. He does not represent the values of a public servant. He created a toxic work environment. He sexually harassed members of his staff.

Democrats came out including the very President of the United States and said you got to resign. What have Republicans like Mark Meadows done over the course of the past six years in the face of the corruption and indecency and alleged illegal matters around a president?

HASAN: That`s a very good point.

DEAN: Look at them surrounding him still, holding up him still, isolating or attempting to insulate him from the corruption, indecency, and criminal charges that he should face.

HASAN: Yes, it`s mind-boggling. It is truly mind-boggling.

DEAN: Yes. You take a look at these parties --

HASAN: Congressman Madeleine Dean --

DEAN: Thank you. Thank you. It`s just -- it`s reveals values. You don`t need to look much farther than that.

HASAN: Thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

DEAN: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.

HASAN: When Texas Democrats fled the state a month ago to try and stop Republicans from ramming through voter suppression bills in a special legislative session, this was how the governor of Texas responded.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I can and I will continue to call special session after special session after special session all the way up until Election next year. As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done.

HASAN: Well tonight, he`s made good on part of that threat. There are now arrest warrants out on those Texas Democrats and one of them joins me next.



HASAN: Texas is in crisis. The state has seen more than 32,000 new COVID cases over the past 72 hours and dozens of hospitals are out of ICU beds. But guess what? The GOP-led state legislature has other priorities. While there are plans to consider a bill appropriating federal COVID funds, the bulk of the current legislative session is focused on things like banning Critical Race Theory for the second time or blocking transgender athletes from competing in school sports. And of course, that bill restricting voting rights, which is the reason nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers fled the state more than a month ago.

Texas law requires a certain number of legislators to be present for work to begin. And most of those Democrats have not returned to the Capitol. So, simply refusing to show up is their only way to block the anti-Democratic GOP agenda.

Meanwhile, those budget-conscious state Republicans are keeping the session active despite it costing taxpayers $43,000 a day. And in a dramatic escalation, the Republican state house speaker has signed more than 50 civil arrest warrants for the missing Democrats, which means they can be detained and compelled to return to the Capitol.

Joining me now is one of those -- is one of those Democrats, Jasmine Crockett, State Representative representing Texas`s 100th district. Representative Crockett, thanks so much for joining me. There is currently a civil war with your name on it. Are you concerned about being compelled to return to the Capitol in Texas, because you`re still in D.C. right now, aren`t you?

JASMINE CROCKETT, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TEXAS: I am in D.C. I`m actually very close to the White House now. And I`m supposed to be having dinner with two of John Lewis`s brothers at this moment. You know, I`m not concerned. For those that don`t know, my background is that I am a criminal defense attorney, and we have some of the most amazing attorneys that have jumped on the case.

So, we are fighting this in various venues. And one of them is in Harris County, a county that oddly enough, the Republicans have targeted all session long, including these special sessions. And so, I do anticipate that I will be able to be victorious as it relates to a writ, which will allow me to walk about freely and do the work in my district until we have a hearing on the validity as to whether or not the speaker can even effectuate these warrants.


HASAN: So, the Republicans, I think, are now around five members short of what they need to get their legislation passed. How long can Texas Democrats realistically keep this going civil warrants, arrest warrants or not?

CROCKETT: I think so long as we have some protection from the courts, then we`re OK. I think it becomes very questionable if we lose those protections. And right now, we`re looking at being protected. And I believe that my colleagues are going to hold on. We have been fighting for so long and we know that the fight isn`t quite over.

We know that we`ve done what we could do here in D.C. We saw what happened at 4:00 a.m. when our wonderful senator from Texas decided that he did not want any voting legislation to even be debated about. And so, now people need to be at home. We need to be helping our constituency. Because as you stated, our governor is failing all Texans, including our constituents.

And so, we need to be on the ground. We need to be helping out with COVID vaccinations. We need to be going door to door making sure that we`re checking up on people, making sure that they`ve got access to the information that they need to protect themselves. And honestly, I personally need to back up people like my county judge who is going up against our governor as it relates to him deciding that there could be no mask mandates.

HASAN: Representative Crockett, I`ll be interviewing Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen in a moment. What is your message to him, to Senate Democrats, when it comes to protecting democracy in Texas and elsewhere? What do you want them to do that they`re not doing?

CROCKETT: It starts with passing H.R.1, obviously. You know, what I -- what I want Senate Democrats to see is that we have a governor that is hell bent on doing whatever it takes to infringe upon the voting rights of the majority of Texans. He is so hell bent that they are all about wrangling us into the chamber and making us be there to vote.

Imagine that. They want to make us vote to take away the rights of so many. If they can do all of that with their majority, then what we could simply do is convince all of our colleagues on the Democratic side that this is bigger than Texas, that this is something that we`ve got to do to save democracy. That is what we were elected to do.

Democrats standing are the good guys. We need to be the good guys right now because we see what the bad guys are doing. And if they`re doing it in Texas, they`re going to do it in Georgia, they`re going to do it in Arizona, they`re going to do it in Florida. We see what they`re doing. They are trying to take us down. And that`s not what any of us should stand for.

But we see that they are not the party of the Republicans. They just have philosophical differences. We see that they are the party of Trump, and the party of the Proud Boys and the party of insurrectionist. We need to save our democracy and we need to save it like yesterday.

HASAN: Yes, indeed, we do. Whether the Democrats in the senate are listening, we will find out later on the show when I will be speaking to Senator Chris Van Hollen. But for now, Representative Jasmine Crockett, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

CROCKETT: Thank you so much.

HASAN: Every single Republican in the United States Senate just voted against even debating a voting rights bill. So, where are the Democrats on killing the filibuster to save American democracy?


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We have made progress and we are showing very clearly to every one of our 50 senators that Republicans won`t join us. And yet, the importance of voting rights if anything has strengthened in the minds of everybody, everybody.

HASAN: The tradeoffs in the Senate and the price of bipartisanship with a top Democratic senator next. Don`t go away.



HASAN: We just saw a tiny blip of bipartisanship with the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that passed yesterday in the United States Senate with 19 Republican votes, including Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. That stands in stark contrast to today when every single Senate Republican blocked advancing the voting rights act before heading off for a month-long summer recess.

So, even the Republicans can do bipartisanship, it does not mean they will. And because saving the anti-Democratic filibuster is the thing Republicans care most about, senators like Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is out pretending that there will be many more bipartisan bills moving forward, so why get rid of the filibuster. Saying, "When we work together and really put the nose to the grindstone, we can get bipartisan support to move forward. That`s what the bipartisan group did. So, I think it blunts the argument on the filibuster."

Well, saying the quiet part loud. The thing is, it is worth it for Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell to vote for a bipartisan infrastructure bill if it means preserving their beloved filibuster, if it means they`re able to carry on killing other Democratic Party priorities including the protection of our voting rights.

So, look, while it`s great this country is getting new roads and bridges, what does it matter if the country ends up not being a proper democracy anymore? I`m joined now to talk about all this by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. He`s a member of the Budget Committee, which crafted the $3.5 trillion budget resolution that the Senate passed overnight. Senator, thanks so much for joining me on the show this evening.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill was a big win for your party for the White House. But it also seems like Mitch McConnell and the Republicans see it as a win for them too as a way of blunting the effort to get rid of the filibuster as a way of giving you this win on infrastructure which they benefit from as well in order to get an even bigger win for themselves on voting rights?


SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well, Mehdi, I`m glad that we got the bipartisan win on modernizing our physical infrastructure. But probably the more important, more revealing vote was the one right after that, when we moved to go to the budget resolution which will help expand job opportunities and educational opportunities for every American. Republicans voted no. That legislation would cut the cost of prescription drugs. They voted no. That would allow Medicare to cover dental and hearing and vision services. They voted no.

But here`s the catch. We were allowed to go forward with it because the Senate rules say that when there`s a budget-related thing, you can pass things with a majority 51 senator vote the way democracies work. And if you can do it for a budget-related thing, for God`s sakes, you should be able to do it to get a majority to protect our democracy. And so, that should be the lesson that came out of last night.

HASAN: So, I want to come back to the budget reconciliation bill in a moment, but just sticking with the democratic angle, the small d democratic angle. I want to play to you some of what your majority to Chuck Schumer has said recently about the importance of passing pro-democracy voting rights legislation. Have a listen.


SCHUMER: And what do Democrats make clear? That we`re standing up to voter suppression.

Failure is not an option. Voting is too sacred, and everything will be on the table to get it done.

In the fight for voting rights, this vote was the starting gun, not the finish line.

Voting Rights will be the very first matter of legislative business when the Senate returns to session in September.


HASAN: So, I hear Democrats, especially Senate Democrats talking a big game about protecting voting rights, defending free and fair elections. But if your caucus doesn`t get rid of the filibuster, what can you really deliver? We know that you cannot get voting rights done without getting rid of the filibuster.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Mehdi, that`s right. We have to change the rule. It`s an anti-democratic, small D rule. It`s an invention of the Senate. And if the Senate can change its rules to allow budget bills to pass by a majority vote, certainly, we should be able to change the rules to allow a majority vote to protect our democracy.

After all, just back in 2017, Republicans used the 51 votes and a budget resolution to give a big corporate tax break giveaway. And so, what we`re saying to all our colleagues, I`m trying to persuade all 50 of the Senate Democratic colleagues to focus on, is how does it make sense to have a rule that allows the majority which allows democracy to work on budget bills, which is -- which it should, but not to allow us to protect our democracy when you have these state legislatures like those in Texas in the legislature you just interviewed.


VAN HOLLEN: We have those Republicans trying to put up obstacles trying to block people from access to the ballot box. And so, you`re absolutely right. We are going to need to muster the 50 votes to change, amend the filibuster, whether it`s a one-time change for the protection of democracy, or what I would prefer is to get rid of the filibuster. But regardless, that kind of change has to go forward in order to make sure and make real the commitment to protect voting rights.

HASAN: So, one of the people blocking that change is, of course, Joe Manchin, your colleague from West Virginia. He`s not just standing in the way of filibuster reform, he put out a statement today basically attacking the budget reconciliation bill, the $3.5 trillion price tag. He said it`s too big, it`s too inflationary.

He also said this. I quote, "Adding trillions of dollars more to nearly $29 trillion of national debt without any consideration of the negative effects on our children and grandchildren is one of those decisions that has become far too easy in Washington." You`re on the budget committee that helped write this bill. What is your response to your Democratic colleague`s concerns, what many would say sound like Republican concerns about the debt, about inflation?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, first of all, Mehdi, on the debt issue, as President Biden has said, as we`ve said, in the budget committee, we are going to pay for this investment, the $3 trillion proposal. We`re going to pay for it through tax reform. We`re going to pay for it by closing down some of those huge corporate loopholes that allow corporations to park their profits overseas in places like The Cayman Islands rather than contributing to investment here in the United States. We`re going to close loopholes that allow multi-millionaires to pay zero income taxes as we saw recently. And I think that`s going to be something that brings the Democratic caucus together.

The other thing I want to mention here. People talk about the 3.5 trillion. It`s important to recognize that as Biden`s laid out his proposal, over a trillion dollars of that is actually tax cuts to middle-class families, right? It includes extending those payments, those monthly payments of up to $300 per child, per family. So, Republicans who say they`re voting against it, they`re voting against tax cuts for middle-class families, in fact, one of the biggest tax cuts for middle-class families in American history.

And so, it`s important to recognize that this bill includes tax cuts for middle-class families, as well as investments and things like early education, as well as investments in making sure folks on Medicare can get coverage for vision, dental, and hearing service. If Republicans want to say no to seniors on that, you know, they can vote that way. But I think our colleagues will, at the end of the day, come together on these issues.

HASAN: I hope you`re right both on budget reconciliation, but I hope you`re more right about voting rights. We`ll have to leave it there. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you. Thanks.

HASAN: Coming up, medical professionals harassed for trying to protect kids from COVID.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are. We know who you are. You can leave freely but we will find you.



HASAN: The dangerous and unhinged response to masks in schools and the hypocritical Republicans pushing against the mandates. I`ll explain next.



HASAN: One of the most frustrating aspects of this pandemic has been the way in which basic public health measures like social distancing, masks, vaccines have all been dragged by the GOP into America`s ridiculous culture wars. I mean, just check out this video from a school board meeting in Franklin, Tennessee last night showing anti-masked protesters screaming at medical professionals who had just spoken in favor of masks in schools.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are. We know who you are. You can leave but we will find you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will never be allowed in public again. You will never be allowed in again. .


HASAN: Absolutely bonkers. But here`s the thing, as with so many culture war issues, Liberals and Democrats are running away from these fights when they should be leaning into them and winning them. Those screaming anti- maskers are not the majority in this country. Just look at this new polling out today from Morning Consult and Politico. 56 percent of registered voters say they support requiring vaccines for all Americans except those with medical conditions.

And we know the vast majority of American adults support getting vaccinated. They prove that with their own arms. 71.2 percent of them have now had at least one shot. This new polling shows broad support for mask mandates too. 64 percent of registered voters say they support local governments requiring employees to wear masks in offices. 61 percent support requiring masks for indoor dining. 62 percent support requiring master gyms, and 65 percent support requiring masks at entertainment venues.

So, these mandates are clearly a winning issue for Democrats. A clear and big majority of the American people are on their side. Oh, and as for the other side, well, they are just drenched in hypocrisy. Take a listen to Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz`s latest anti-masked mandate, anti- vaccine rant on Fox News earlier this week.


CRUZ: My views were very simple. There should be no mandates, zero concerning COVID. That means no masks mandates regardless of your vaccination status. That means no vaccine mandates. That means no vaccine passports. And I`ve introduced legislation, a bill to ban vaccine passports. This week I`m introducing a bill to ban vaccine mandates. And this week, I`m introducing a bill to end mask mandates.


HASAN: Just one small point, Ted Cruz. Your children attend an elite private school in Houston, Texas at a cost of more than $25,000 a year. Whereas the blog Boing Boing reports masks are required. "The school views the use of face coverings as an important way that we as a community can slow the spread of the virus and protect one another." Due to the current situation in our community, all persons on campus will be required to have a face covering."

So, according to Ted Cruz, there should be no mask mandates except apparently at his own kids` very expensive school. No mandatory masks for your children in the classroom, but they`re fine for mine. Oh, hypocrisy. Ted Cruz be the name.

Coming up, another bad faith argument often made by Republicans against vaccine mandates is that they`re anti-freedom, anti-liberty. But even staunch libertarian scholars are now saying they`re in favor of such mandates. I`ll talk to one of them right here next.




PAUL: We don`t have to accept the mandates, lockdowns, and harmful policies of the petty tyrants and bureaucrats.

CRUZ: They do not respect your liberty. They do not respect your right to make your choices about your health care, about your children, about your lives.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I see no reason to be pushing vaccines on people.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): But it`s just like their philosophy. They want a mandate. They want to impose.

ABBOTT: Individual safety is managed every day as a matter of personal responsibility rather than by government mandate.

DESANTIS: There has been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level imposing compulsory masks on kids. We`re not doing that in Florida, OK.


HASAN: Republican politicians like to pretend they`re sticking to libertarian values citing liberty, freedom, personal choice, as reasons to oppose just about every measure that could stem the spread of COVID. But the thing is, a lot of actual libertarian legal scholars say vaccine mandates, for example, are actually OK, they`re fine, because you can have personal freedom for yourself, but not at the expense of others.

Ilya Somin is a professor of law at George Mason University and an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. He joins me now. Professor Soman, thanks so much for coming on the show tonight. Explain to our viewers why vaccine mandates, in your view, are not oppression, not authoritarianism, not tyranny as some self-style libertarians have claimed in recent days.


ILYA SOMIN, ADJUNCT SCHOLAR, CATO INSTITUTE: So, thank you very much for having me. I think they are a restriction on freedom. But they`re a very small one with a very large payoff not just for the person who gets vaccinated, but for other people they come into contact with as well. And that makes them very different from other infringement on liberty that are either much larger as in the case of lockdowns, for example, or where there`s little or no benefit except possibly a benefit to the individual himself.

So, I think vaccines, therefore, are a special case where you get a small infringement on freedom, you get the jab, but then you can move on with your life at worst in a day or two. And on the other hand, there`s a big payoff in terms of saving lives whereas there are other kinds of restrictions on liberty which are much more severe and are very different.

HASAN: So, you`ve done all the reading. You`re a scholar, you`re a professor, you`ve done all the reading, you`ve done the intellectual heavy lifting, but I do wonder for others, in other cases, whether libertarianism today is just an excuse for many on the right to act selfishly, recklessly, and then pretend it`s all about freedom and liberty when, of course, your freedom ends where mine begins.

SOMIN: People have almost every ideology site liberty when they think it`s convenient to do so. The Republicans, as you mentioned earlier, none of them are actually libertarians. None of them not even Rand Paul actually described themselves as libertarian. So, like many politicians, they will resort to pro-liberty arguments when they think it`s politically convenient.

But I don`t think either day or other politicians on either right or left necessarily exemplify libertarianism in any way.

HASAN: It`s funny you mentioned Rand Paul. I believe he was named by his father, Congressman Rand Paul, after Ayn Rand, the hero to many libertarians. He does, you know, do the stick about freedom and liberty. But as you point out, libertarianism, for example, is a -- is a -- correct me if I`m wrong, is in favor of open borders or fewer restrictions on the freedom of movement. And yet you have people like Ron DeSantis blaming immigrants for the spread of COVID, supporting the building of a wall. How does that fit with libertarianism?

SOMIN: Very poorly. Libertarianism certainly opposes severe restrictions on liberty. And there are a few more severe than migration restrictions which can find people to live in poverty and oppression simply because they happen to be born in the wrong place or to the wrong parents. And it`s certainly a far more severe restriction than a vaccine mandate.

I don`t know whether Rand Paul was named after Ayn Rand or not, but he himself describes himself not as libertarian but as a "constitutional conservative." So, he`s not a consistent libertarian, and to his credit, doesn`t claim to be.

HASAN: So, what is your position on mask mandates? Because we`ve talked about vaccine mandates, you said, you know, the infringement is minor and the payoff is big. The other big round, and we played a clip earlier in Tennessee, people losing their mind screaming about masks. Some people seem to have lost their minds on the right about the idea of putting a mask on their face for a few hours a day to protect their fellow citizens.

A lot of Republican governors gone out of the way to ban mass mandates. Where do you stand on that? What is the libertarian position on masks mandates in your view?

SOMIN: I don`t know that there`s one single consistent libertarian position on this. But my own view is that mask mandates are very different from vaccine mandates because they`re a much more severe imposition on liberty, in that it`s not just a jab and then you go on with your life, it`s potentially anytime you go inside in an indoor public space, you get this pretty severe restriction, which is very painful and annoying for many people, particularly those who wear glasses, or have sensitive face, or other conditions. It also significantly inhibits normal human communication, which both studies and common sense show often comes through facial expressions.

Moreover, to put it mildly, the evidence that mask mandates actually slows the spread the spread of COVID is much, much weaker than in the case of -- than in the case of vaccines. There`s much more division among experts over that. So, what we have there is a much more severe imposition on liberty for a much smaller payoff than with vaccines.

So, my view is that if you have the option of vaccination, which we do, and if necessary, in some cases, you can use vaccine mandates, then that`s the option we should pursue rather than more severe impositions on liberty, including mask mandates, lockdowns, migration restrictions and so on.

HASAN: Well, I mean, we could disagree on the masks, but I`m glad you`re coming and speaking out about vaccine mandates. I appreciate you taking time out Professor Ilya Somin. Thank you.

SOMIN: Thank you very much for having me.

HASAN: That`s all for ALL IN. Thank you. That`s all for ALL IN this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi, thank you, my friend. Much appreciated. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.