August 13th, the reinstatement day of Donald Trump passes without Trump returning back to the White House. Delta Variant is causing concerns as kids are going back to school. Paul disclosed that he and his wife bought between $1,000-1,500 worth of stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the antiviral drug known as Remdesivir, which was tested to treat COVID. The U.S. is deploying nearly 8,000 troops to Afghanistan and the surrounding region to begin the evacuation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, while at the same time trying to negotiate assurances from the Taliban that they will leave the embassy unharmed if when Kabul falls.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you all for fighting to end COVID, that in the end. Don Calloway, Dana Milbank, thank you. That`s the end of the show. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES:" starts now. Happy Friday.
MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: By the time August -- the morning of August 13, it will be the talk of the world going. Hurry up.
HASAN: The great reinstatement day has come and gone, but MAGA fans are still trying to overturn democracy. Tonight, Mary Trump on the bizarre plot to try and put her uncle back in the White House.
Then, Rand Paul and his family`s undisclosed investment in a COVID drug.
SEN. RAND PAUL (D-KY): I don`t understand where there would be a problem in investing for a cure.
HASAN: Just why are members of Congress allowed to buy stock?
Plus, the Taliban moving with frightening speed to take back Afghanistan?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.
HASAN: The terrible end to the terrible 20-year war when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. It`s Friday, August the 13th. For most of you, today`s significant probably does not go beyond a warm summer Friday. But for the one in three Republicans in this country who believe Donald Trump will be installed as their rightful president, today is a very significant day indeed. It`s reinstatement day.
And the reason they believe this deranged nonsense has a lot to do with this man, the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell. His is, in many ways, a harrowing life story from the depths of his crack addiction that cost him his home and his marriage, he found God, founded a successful business, and most importantly, he found Donald J. Trump, but he never found common sense.
You see, in the bizarre conspiracy world where Donald Trump won the 2020 election, Lindell acts as something of a ringleader. And according to him today, August the 13th is the day on which Donald Trump will be reinstated as president following massive incontrovertible evidence that China, yes, China stole the election for Joe Biden.
According to Lindell, President Biden himself will accept the results and immediately stepped down. Lindell even believes that the Supreme Court will vote unanimously to install Trump as president again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDELL: We don`t even have to deliberate. Donald Trump won. We got to vote nine-zero immediately to pull this down and get rid of whatever communists that are here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Well, it`s past 8:00 p.m. Eastern on the 13th of August, and you will be shocked to hear that Joe Biden is still the President of the United States. Now, we can laugh at this craziness, but it`s dangerous craziness. Think about what a deeply perilous moment for our democracy when a man who sells pillows on cable television has convinced tens of millions of Americans that a safe, secure democratic election was stolen.
Earlier this week, the pillow man held a bizarre multi-day symposium where he planned to at long last reveal his proof. He began the proceedings by blaming technical difficulties on a cyber attack and was ultimately unable to provide even a single shred of evidence to prove his cause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wouldn`t it be better for you to hand it over to as many cyber experts as possible?
LINDELL: You know what, I`ll give you the answer, because I`ve been told that they can go out there and corrupt it and make fake stuff and put fake news out. So, I don`t need your people to go out and factor the evidence to put out the Mark Lindell conspiracy --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you have been saying for months, media, experts, everybody come see the data.
LINDELL: We`re showing it right on screen right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: It probably goes without saying that the data Lindell was showing at the symposium was garbage. Well, one of the hackers Lindell hired together his proof still believes there could be evidence of fraud. He argues what Lindell showcased at the high profile event was ultimately illegitimate, telling the Washington Times "we were handed a turd." Now there`s an understatement.
According to a new lawsuit, Lindell also received so-called proof of voter fraud from another Trump ally, another Trump world ringleader, the founder of the furniture company overstock.com, a guy named Patrick Byrne. He stepped down as CEO in 2019 after admitting to a relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina.
And Byrne is well known for his vast trove of diluted conspiracies, writing a book and producing a documentary on what he calls a rigged election. Mother Jones has called him "one of the driving forces of misinformation and disinformation about the 2020 election.
And these are not just two random guys. Well, I mean, they are -- they are random guys, but they are random guys with millions of dollars to burn, huge platforms and access. Both men met with Donald Trump in the White House when he was president. Byrne was there in the Oval Office on December the 18th with Sidney Powell and General Mike Flynn plotting with Trump.
They are Trump`s guys, and so people listen to them, listen to their mad ramblings and those of others like them. And those mad ramblings have real- world consequences. The former overstock CEO, for example, contributed millions to that ridiculous election "audit" in Arizona. You know, the one by those so-called Cyber Ninjas, the one where they`re looking for bamboo fibers to see if China manipulated the votes and looking for watermarks on the ballots with UV lights.
Or look at Colorado were passwords related to the state`s election security was stolen and leaked to the far-right blog. Colorado`s Secretary of State says the leak was enabled by a local official named Tina Peters, who spent her weekend, where else, speaking at Mike Lindell`s China stole the election symposium, shock horror.
Both of these men, Lindell and Byrne are now being sued for billions of dollars for spreading lies that a voting machine company Dominion conspired to rig and steal the election from Donald Trump. So, here we are, Friday the 13th. Biden is still president, and the only significance today has for pillow man Mike Lindell is good old fashioned Friday the 13th bad luck.
But as with all good cults, expect the goalposts to shift fast. Expect one missed deadline from a false conspiracy to just bleed into another because a significant chunk of the American public has collectively lost its mind. And the blame lies squarely with the big lies perpetrated by a coalition of authoritarians, white supremacists, and yes, attention-seeking grifters and conman. History will record that in America in 2021, the fascist did not come wearing jackboots, they came selling pillows and online furniture.
Joining me now is someone who understands former President Trump probably better than most, Mary Trump, his niece. She`s also the author of the upcoming book, the Reckoning: Our Nation`s Trauma and Finding A Way To Heal.
Mary, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. I always wonder Trump is a conman, he`s a grifter. We can agree on that. But how much is himself being conned by those around him? The pillow guys, the online furniture guys, the dodgy lawyers and the rest. How much does he believe he won the election because people have convinced him to believe in these mad conspiracies? And how much of it is just a grift, a means to an end?
MARY TRUMP, NIECE OF DONALD TRUMP: It`s both as it always is with Donald. I think that he doesn`t need anybody to convince him that he won. He needed to convince himself because he got so badly beaten, he was so humiliated that that could not stand. The problem is as egregious as people like Mike Lindell are, as horrible as it is that because of Donald we have to be subjected to these people, the real problem and the real responsibility lies with the Republican Party and Republican leadership.
They could have turned this off at any point from the election to jam -- through January 6. And the problem is they let it go. They let him perpetuate the big lie. They got -- he got more and more people in his corner supporting him, and then the insurrection happened.
HASAN: Yes, indeed, Republican enablers is part and parcel of Donald Trump`s story, his rise, his persistence. I`m glad you`re mentioning that. There have been reports that your uncle was sincerely telling people he would be reinstated this month. Now, even Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who believes the election was illegitimate, who believes Trump won, who also made famous remarks about Jewish space lasers, even she says that`s a bridge too far. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): It`s going to be very difficult to overturn the 2020 election. And so, I hate for anyone to get their hopes up thinking that President Trump is going to be back in the White House in August, because that`s not true. And I`m telling you as a member of Congress, that`s a very difficult thing to make happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: What does it say when Trump, Lindell, and the rest of that motley crew have even lost Marjorie Taylor Greene?
M. TRUMP: I honestly didn`t think I could be shocked, but I am that she was willing to draw that line. I guess -- listen, it`s true. She`s right in this particular instance. So, how can you keep moving the goalposts before people get suspicious? You know, this is what cults do. So, I`m guessing that she decided this was one controversy that was not worth her getting wrapped up in.
HASAN: Indeed, in a new piece for the New Republic headlined Donald`s plot against America, you right that in addition to the big lie that he won the election, the election that he, in fact, lost, Donald "and his GOP enablers are peddling the second big lie that January 6 was just legitimate protest." Talk about that second big lie and how dangerous it is.
M. TRUMP: This one is exceedingly dangerous, much more dangerous in some ways than the original big lie because it is stoking people`s grievance in a way that is preparing them to take back the government as if it has been stolen from them. The fact that January 6 -- nobody has been punished for it.
We have seditionist currently serving in our government whose goal is to undermine democracy. Donald is being allowed to stay relevant. He`s being allowed to accrue power. And because of that, we`re looking at a situation in which it`s very possible the Republicans are going to use those accusations of fraud, those grievances that are really stirring up the base and spreading, by the way, to enact these voter suppression laws that may convince Donald that he can run because he won`t lose. And that`s terrifying.
HASAN: Yes. And you say that in the New Republic piece. You say, initially, you thought Donald wouldn`t run. He would never put himself in that position again. Now, I`m not so sure. You also said there`s no coming back from another Trump presidency.
And I just wonder, it`s worse than that in many ways, because even if he`s not reelected as President, even if he doesn`t run again, even if he were to disappear tomorrow, Trumpism is here to stay, isn`t it? It`s ingrained in the Republican Party, as you talked about it. It`s ingrained in movement conservatism. They`ve got a taste for it, and they love it.
M. TRUMP: Mehdi, you`re exactly right. And honestly, 2022 is just as important as 2024. If the Democrats lose the House and or the Senate, we may be in a position that we can`t come back from that either. All investigations will stop, all legislation will stop, and we`re all going to suffer for it. And I don`t know that there would ever be a free and fair election again that a Democrat could win because the system at that point would be so rigged against democracy, which is exactly what the Republican Party wants because they know Trump ism doesn`t scale.
He lost the House, he lost the Senate, he lost the White House. However, they don`t need it to scale. They just need to keep people angry enough that they`re not going to be paying attention or they won`t care when the rulebook is burned to a crisp.
HASAN: Yes, indeed. And meanwhile, Democrats still want to work with that rulebook. It`s a terrifying situation. Mary Trump, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.
M. TRUMP: Thank you.
HASAN: Back in March 2020 when coronavirus cases were climbing and the country was shutting down, science reporter Ed Yong wrote a seminal article for the Atlantic entitled, how will the -- how the pandemic will end? It`s one of the most read articles in the magazines history, and it helped when Ed Yong a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.
But today, nearly 17 months later, the Delta variant is causing havoc across the country and changing everything we thought we knew about how this year would go. Ed Yong joins me with his new article, "How the pandemic now ends" next.
HASAN: All across corporate America, businesses have been planning on bringing workers back to the office next month. But now, the Delta variant is throwing all those plans out the window. A familiar feeling for a lot of people right now judging by the My Full Plans versus the Delta variant meme on social media, the promise of what seemed entirely possible with vaccinations versus the reality of the Delta Variant, as people start masking up again, and canceling plans and trying to figure out the best ways to keep their loved ones safe.
We all need to once again shift our views on what this pandemic is and when it will be over. That`s exactly what Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter Ed Yong examines in his latest big piece for the Atlantic titled, "How the pandemic now ends." Ed, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening.
You say in your new piece that the fourth surge is underway, and the U.S. is once again looping through the pandemic spiral. Arguably, it never stopped. And so, I wonder, has it been a mistake to try and measure the pandemic in waves? I feel like every time we`ve declared victory over this virus, the virus makes a fool of all of us.
ED YONG, SCIENCE REPORTER, THE ATLANTIC: I think that`s right. You know, we definitely have declared victory too early. I think a lot of people felt that the pandemic was over when the Delta variant clearly makes it so that it`s not going away anytime, anytime in the near future. And I think that was --- that was always the case. A lot of experts have predicted that.
The fact that the Delta variant is so transmissible really does change the nature of the game. It means that contrary to what people hoped, vaccination alone cannot stop the spread of the variant. We are going to continue needing measures like masks and other precautions.
Now, I want to be clear, for an individual, you the viewer at home, vaccination still remains the single best way to protect you from the virus. But it`s the case now that communities, the U.S. as a whole cannot rely on vaccination alone to protect us. We need to do other things too to manage the pandemic.
HASAN: I`m glad, Ed, put it so clearly and bluntly. You also point out that pandemics end but this one is not yet over and especially not globally. Just 16 percent of the world`s population is fully vaccinated. Isn`t that part of the problem that we in America keep wanting to move on from a global pandemic without understanding that unless it`s tackled globally, we`ll never be safe. The Delta variant came out of India. It`s now ravaging America.
YONG: I completely agree. The country, I think, has this very strong ethos of rugged individualism. But individualism just doesn`t work in the context of a pandemic. It`s an infectious disease. It spreads. We all are connected within the nation and internationally. And internationally, we see that many countries have barely even vaccinated one percent of their citizens. And you know, while in America, a lot of folks are arguing about whether to wear a mask -- whether people wear masks or not. Around the world, a lot of countries are looking at protracted lockdowns and uncontrolled epidemics.
I think we need to have a little bit of perspective. The longer we let that happen, and the longer the U.S. government remains on its responsibility to share doses with the rest of the world, the more trouble all of us are going to be in. Like, addressing the global pandemic is a matter of incredible moral urgency for this country right now.
HASAN: Yes. And what you`re describing, the global scenario versus the American scenario, is both ironic and tragic. In your piece, you say, there is no zero COVID scenario at this point, that the pandemic will eventually become endemic. COVID, well, it`s here to stay. But you also seem to suggest that might be a good thing. There might be a silver lining, an opportunity to change the way we live for the better.
For example, you suggest maybe Western societies could adopt the practice of masking when sick, a common practice in Asian countries for many years before COVID came on the scene.
YONG: Yes, absolutely. The threat of COVID makes it clear that many of our attitudes to respiratory infections in general have been wanting. Throughout the entire pandemic, people have compared COVID to flu often as a way of minimizing it. And even now, the one common refrain I hear is, well, we don`t do this or that for the flu.
The flu is a huge problem. Respiratory diseases are a huge problem. They`re are among the top 10 causes of deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. We can do better, we can now establish the kinds of surveillance systems that would tell us what actually is infecting us in the air around us. We can do better with ventilation. We can do better with testing. We can do better with our attitudes to masking and going into work or schools while safe.
We can use this as an opportunity to revamp all of that in ways that are going to make us healthier, not just for the rest of COVID, but for future pandemics to come. This is an opportunity. It is a sad state of affairs where we`ve got to, but we can make the most of it in ways that are going to protect future generations.
HASAN: 30 seconds left, Ed. Very quickly, a new study by researchers in Japan not yet peer-reviewed suggest a lambda variant is proficient in escaping from the immunity elicited by vaccination. Is it inevitable that we eventually get a variant that beats the vaccines we have?
YONG: I don`t think it`s inevitable. But the odds of that are greater than more the pandemic is left uncontrolled, both in the U.S. and around the world. And that is another reason why none of us can tap out of the collective pandemic problem, and we need to fight it with everything we`ve got still.
HASAN: Ed Yong, I appreciate you coming on the show. I appreciate your reporting and analysis. Thanks so much.
YONG: Thanks for having me.
HASAN: As kids get ready to go back to class, we`re already seeing horrific stories in school districts where COVID is raging. In Broward County, Florida this week, three teachers and one teaching assistant all died of complications from the Coronavirus on the same day. At least three of them were unvaccinated.
The CDC is recommending that both adults and children wear masks as they return to the classroom in the fall. But given how contagious the Delta variant is, should teachers be required to get vaccinated? Randi Weingarten is the president of the teachers union,the American Federation of Teachers. She joins me now.
Randi, thanks so much for coming on the show tonight. Back on Sunday, you said that you personally supported a vaccine mandate for teachers. And at the time, your union didn`t endorse one. Some people said oh, well, you know, were she pressured to soften her stance? I believe your union has moved its position. Can you explain to our viewers where the AFT stands right now on vaccine mandates for teachers?
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: So, thank you, Mehdi for asking that question. So, and Sunday, I said, because you know, we work with employers, and everything gets bargained or everything gets done that way. So, on Sunday, I said, I thought well, we should be doing personally, was to work with our employers and vaccine policies including vaccine mandates, not oppose them. And my union is there now.
On Wednesday, we`ve had a lot of conversations. We`ve changed our policy from, you know, we thought that volunteerism would be the best way to get everybody vaccinated. And frankly, 90 percent of teachers are vaccinated. And frankly, teachers have stood up to do this. But you know, we have the Delta variant. And so, we said, as policy, all the AFT, that we`re going to work with our employers on their vaccine requirements.
And frankly, what you saw is this week in California, the California Federation of Teachers has supported Governor Newsome when he did vaccine or test. L.A., our union, our local in Los Angeles has supported their employers vaccine mandate. Chicago, they`re supporting their employer`s vaccine mandate. But we got to work on this locally and we got to get everybody back. Is it clear?
HASAN: So, you mentioned the 90 percent figure, which is a huge figure. Much -- it is clear. You mentioned the 90 percent figure. It`s bigger than the national average for vaccinations. So, let me ask you this. Has there been any pushback internally if nine out of 10 teachers a vaccinated. Have you had pushback? Did you get pushback on Sunday from members of your union when you said that?
WEINGARTEN: Yes. Look, I mean, our union is not monolithic. And there are - - there -- we have, you know, people who don`t believe in vaccines in our union. I am -- you know, I disagree with them. But we also have people who are scared and skeptical. We also have people, you know, who believe this disinformation about what happens in terms of pregnancy. We have people who are scared for their kids.
What I blame is I blame that the disinformation campaign. Vaccines have been a way of life in schools. You know, 50 states, you know, have them for kids throughout America. So, we have to work on the disinformation campaign. We have to meet fear with facts. And we also have to do, as Ed just said, these mask mandates in Florida, in Texas, I`m in Indiana right now, in Indiana.
HASAN: So, let me ask you about those mandates. In states like Florida and Texas where mask mandates have been banned, some school districts are defying the Republican governors and mandating masks anyways. They`ve been threatened with having their incomes, you know, their money taken from them, all sorts of threats being made. Are you supporting the officials at those schools on those school boards, those superintendents?
WEINGARTEN: Yes. And in fact, what was great today was about an hour ago, Secretary Cardona sent a letter to Governor Abbott, to Governor DeSantis, and to all the district superintendents in Florida and said, you`ve got to stand with the people who are fighting for safety for your schools. And he`s told the superintendents that the federal government is behind what the CDC has said which is we`re in the middle of this Delta Variant. It is a race between the variant and the vaccines. We want our kids in school. We want them to learn.
So,if we know that mass are going to help them, particularly kids under 12 who can`t get a vaccine, why are not we not letting these districts have these mass mandates?
HASAN: Exactly. We`ve just airbrushed kids --
WEINGARTEN: Look, I`ve been around the country -- let me just -- yes.
HASAN: I said, we`ve just airbrushed kids under 12 in this country which is frustrating. We got 30 seconds left. Please do finish your point.
WEINGARTEN: Let me just say this. And you can see my hair is a little disheveled. I`ve been around the country doing these back -- this back to school campaign. We want kids in school. We know it`s important. That`s what teachers want. That`s what they need. We need to make sure this is a whole of society help to get our kids back and make sure everybody`s safe. That`s why please, your listeners, vax and masks.
HASAN: Indeed. Randi Weingarten, we`ll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time tonight.
WEINGARTEN: Thank you. Thank you.
HASAN: Coming up, the undisclosed and unusual investment that Senator Rand Paul`s family made in a COVID treatment weeks before the threat became apparent here in the U.S. And why on earth, by the way, are members of Congress able to buy stock anyways? I`ll talk about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I just made my own personal decision that I`m not getting vaccinated because I`ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity now.
We have 11 million people in our country who have already had COVID we should tell them to celebrate, we should tell them to throw away their mask, go to restaurants and live again because these people are now immune.
It`s time for us to resist. They can`t arrest all of us. They can`t keep all of your kids home from school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has been so consistently pro-COVID. I don`t know you might think he had a financial interest in more people getting COVID.
And it turns out in a weird way, he kind of did. On Wednesday, Paul disclosed that he and his wife bought between $1,000-1,500 worth of stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the antiviral drug known as Remdesivir, which was tested to treat COVID.
The purchase was made on February 26 of 2020, the day after the first U.S. clinical trial on the drug began. This was around the time the virus was rampant in China and there were only 15 U.S. cases.
Members of Congress were getting briefed on the dangers of COVID at the time, but it was before the public really understood the threat.
Paul also disclosed the stock purchase 16 months after the deadline for senators to do so.
Now, that could be a totally innocent mistake. A spokeswoman for Senator Paul said he completed the disclosure form last year, and only recently learned it was not turned in.
This is what Paul and his wife said about it this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We`re proud of being -- tried to be part of a cure. Now, the company we invest lost money, so we weren`t exactly right on what the cure would be, but I don`t -- I don`t understand why there would be a problem in investing for a cure but losing money.
KELLEY PAUL, RAND PAUL`S WIFE: Two days before I bought it, the head of the World Health Organization pointed to Remdesivir as the possible treatment for COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: For the record, the Paul family have not lost money if they have not yet sold the stock. Maybe he`s not familiar with how it all works.
Because the thing is, this stock purchase is not a typical move for the Paul family. CNBC reports the couple had not bought or sold stock in an individual company in at least 10 years when they made this particular purchase.
Now, whether this deal was corrupt or not, we don`t know. Although waiting more than a year to disclose it is not a great look.
But the bigger issue is why are serving members of Congress is even allowed to buy and sell stocks in the first place.
HASAN: Walter Shaub was the Director of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 through July of 2017 when he resigned, saying of the Trump administration "I can only describe my experience with the way they run their ethics program in the White House right now as one of disappointment."
He`s now a Senior Ethics Fellow at the Project on Government Oversight, and he joins me now.
Walter, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. What do you make of this scenario with the Pauls? Should there be a formal investigation?
WALTER SHAUB, SENIOR ETHICS FELLOW, PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: I think there`s a few problems with it. First of all, he shouldn`t have made this purchase at all. He had a confidential briefing in January, he knew more than the rest of us that even if it wasn`t corrupt, he ought to have known that it`s going to look corrupt.
And how do you inspire confidence in government when you create the appearance of trading on superior knowledge to the average investor?
On top of that, he claims that he merely failed to hit send when he filled out his form. Well, you know, they use an electronic filing system. This is objectively verifiable. Senator Rand or the Senate Ethics Committee could release the metadata showing what date he began working on the report for the first time.
If they don`t do that, it only creates further questions. So, I think it should be investigated only because it`s so easy to investigate this. It`s a matter of simply going into the system and looking to see if he`s telling the truth when he said he created the form.
HASAN: I think you`ve just given a tip to many investigative reporters today, follow the metadata release the metadata.
A lot of people Walter are surprised that members of Congress are allowed to trade in individual stocks. How often would you say that there is a conflict of interest when this is done?
SHAUB: I personally think every stock trade is a conflict of interest to them, because we have absolutely no idea what confidential briefings they`re getting.
In this case, the connection to the work that Rand Paul and others did is so obvious, but there are plenty of other cases. Just last month, Nancy Pelosi`s husband was trading tech stocks while Congress was considering issues involving tech companies. James Inhofe traded -- bought Raytheon stock right after pushing for an increase in defense budget.
We shouldn`t have to wonder if these things are corrupt. It just should be illegal. And if people are surprised, they should be surprised because it`s insane.
HASAN: It is insane. And Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to a tweet of yours saying, "It`s absolutely wild that members of Congress are still allowed to buy and sell individual stock. It shouldn`t be legal. We`ve introduced legislation to end the practice. But as one can imagine, it`s a very uphill battle to pass."
Well, talk to me about the legislation itself, how good is it? And how hard will it be to get that passed into law?
SHAUB: Well, there`s a few different bills and there have been approaches from time to time. There`s one currently pending that would require them to put any money that they have into a blind trust and let a blind trustee purchase the stocks if they want to trade stocks, otherwise, they have to stay out of them completely.
I think that`s a fairly good solution. And I think it may be the one that has the best chance to get through.
But I`m with Representative Ocasio-Cortez, I think it should just be flat out illegal. I just think that members of Congress are realistic that their colleagues aren`t really that interested in Congressional Ethics, they spend plenty of effort on Executive Branch Ethics, when the other party`s in charge, whatever party a member of Congress happens to be, but you don`t see them talking about their own ethics.
And this is actually not a Republican or Democratic problem. They both do it. And this is a problem that every last one of them should be behind solving because it would be so easy to solve.
HASAN: It would be. Last quick question, 30 seconds left. There was all these investigations last year into senators allegedly using insider knowledge to trade stocks early in the pandemic. Did anything ever come of those?
SHAUB: I don`t believe they did. I lost track in all honesty of the one involving Burr. The others, they were all simply -- they dropped any investigation and concluded and said they didn`t find any wrongdoing.
But again, we shouldn`t have to go through that. And we wouldn`t if they couldn`t trade on stocks.
HASAN: Exactly. Well said. Walter Shaub, thank you so much for your time tonight.
HASAN: As the Taliban take city after city in Afghanistan, we`ll look at what can be done to help the Afghan people without always having to use the U.S. military. That`s next.
HASAN: What is happening in Afghanistan right now is deeply depressing and truly horrifying. As the United States military pulls out of that country in a hasty, haphazard, almost cruel manner, cities and towns keep falling to the Taliban.
That group is thought to now control half of the country`s provincial capitals, including Afghanistan`s second-largest city, Kandahar. And its capital Kabul, well, it could be next.
Those of us who support the United States` pull out who have been calling for an end to America`s longest war and welcomed President Joe Biden announcement of an August 31st deadline for full withdrawal, we have to reckon with the very real, very human costs and consequences of that withdraw. We do.
I`m under no illusions about how bad it`s going to get for ordinary Afghans. I`m a Shia Muslim. The Hazara Shia minority in Afghanistan has probably the most to fear from the Taliban. Hazaras have been constantly massacred by Taliban forces over the years.
And so, I wish the Taliban, those human scum, did not exist. But we have to live in the world as it is, not as we want it to be. And in the world as it is, the real world, the Taliban do exist. And we`re not defeated, despite 20 years of American blood and treasure.
HASAN: At one point, and I know everyone has short memories here in Washington, D.C. But at one point back in 2010, we had more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and we still could not defeat the Taliban, we still couldn`t end them.
So, to those of you who point to these Taliban victories and say we shouldn`t be leaving, we should be staying. I asked, to what end? For how long? With what goal in mind?
I mean, is there any greater indictment of our disastrous invasion occupation, and 20-year military presence in that country than these horrifying scenes we`re seeing on our T.V. screens? How is that country tragically falling right back into the Taliban`s hands only days ahead of our complete withdrawal? Anything other than evidence of what a failure that entire war has been for us and for them.
Look, I`m not a doctor. But my guiding principle when it comes to foreign policy is, first do no harm. Dropping bombs and kicking in doors for 20 years, hasn`t worked. Diplomacy gets a bad name here in D.C. but it may be the only way forward right now.
Pakistan and Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all have different forms of leverage over the Taliban. And they all happen to be U.S. allies. So why are we not putting more pressure on them to restrain the Taliban? Why not Afghanistan`s neighbors?
And if Republican hawks in Congress in particular are so keen to help the Afghan people? Why are they not calling for America`s doors to be thrown open to Afghan refugees, to interpreters and drivers and cooks, and others who worked with the United States for years, and who are now perhaps most threatened by the Taliban takeover?
Give Afghans asylum? Because I`m sorry, it`s over. We cannot win that war. But that doesn`t mean we should abandon the Afghan people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome.
The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies creating a response to the world as it was 20 years ago. We need to meet the threads where they are today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Today, a month after President Joe Biden announced the United States would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, the fight against the Taliban insurgency in the country looks desperate. Three more major cities Kandahar, Herat and Lashkar Gah surrendered to insurgents today leaving southern Afghanistan effectively in Taliban control.
Now, the U.S. is deploying nearly 8,000 troops to Afghanistan and the surrounding region to begin the evacuation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, while at the same time trying to negotiate assurances from the Taliban that they will leave the embassy unharmed if when Kabul falls.
So, what can be done and was all of this inevitable?
Joining me now, Spencer Ackerman, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist who`s reported from Afghanistan. He`s the author of the new book Reign of Terror: How the 911 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, his most recent peace is everything that will follow a Taliban victory is still a part of America`s war. And Niloofar Rahmani, she grabbed the headlines of Afghanistan`s first female fixed-wing Air Force pilot but was forced to flee her country in 2018 and seek asylum here in the United States.
Thank you both for joining me.
Nilofer, let me start with you. Many Afghan communities around the globe are looking on horror as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. You`ve served in the Afghan military, you were granted asylum after being threatened by the Taliban. What is your reaction to what`s going on there right now? And how is your family doing?
NILOOFAR RAHMANI, AFGHANISTAN`S FIRST FEMALE FIXED WING AIR FORCE PILOT: Thank you so much for having me. Actually, it`s very heartbreaking. This last two weeks has been very hard on me to see my beloved country and innocent people in Afghanistan to get hurt. And they have to live like an immigrant on their own country due to civil war again.
And we are all witnessed that Afghanistan again, facing the -- all the stories again, their stories is repeating again in Afghanistan. And seeing the womans and the girls that they will be the victim, they will be the one getting hurt from the situation the most. And it has been very hard on me to see what is going on.
And plus, my loved one, my parents, they`re still in Afghanistan, and I cannot just not think about it. It breaks my heart to see and not be able to help them. And it has been hard on me to even think about it.
HASAN: It is indeed heartbreaking to watch. Spencer, you point out in your piece today that the Taliban offered terms of surrender in 2001. But then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld turned them down.
How and why have we missed so many opportunities to end this war much earlier and in a less bloody way?
SPENCER ACKERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: The history of the Afghanistan war is going to be a lengthy history not just the missed opportunities, not just the misconceptions, but of almost world historical hubris.
The idea when America invaded, that it was immune to the ways in which Afghans throughout their history have resisted invaders. It was very pervasive in the atmosphere shortly after 2001. And that`s exactly why the United States insisted on something as absurd as an unconditional surrender from the Taliban.
The Taliban recognize instead that it could buy its time, capitalize on Americans mistakes and eventually outlast the United States in a country it was never particularly good at or interested in understanding.
HASAN: Yes, I remember back in 2001 when Russians were offering advice to the U.S. government and the Bush administration said, no, thanks, we`re good.
HASAN: Niloofar, the U.S. expects that the capital of Afghanistan Kabul could fall within a month, maybe sooner. People are terrified what the Taliban`s return to power will mean.
Reuters has a report of government forcing women from their jobs at a bank telling them to go home and send their husbands to replace them. Can you talk about what this takeover would mean? What it would mean in particular for women in Afghanistan, of course?
RAHMANI: I can definitely say it`s not going to be a good start and good for woman. Because since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, you know, I was one of those girls that always dreamed that I wanted to be part of the society, help my country, serve my country. And unfortunately, the people back -- they didn`t even let these girls go to school.
And because of the presence of the U.S. in Afghanistan, I was able to pursue my dream. The same as me, other girls in Afghanistan wanted to do the same, and they did it.
But now, their future is definitely in danger. And it`s really hard to even think about what they have achieved during this 20 years, they`re going to silence all the woman`s. All the woman`s is going to be replaced, or mostly most of them that they`ve been working with governments serving the country, they have been -- actually, their life is going to be in severe danger.
And I would not like to think about what the worst income is going to be. But as far as I can think, it`s not going to be very nice, because it`s very hard for them to lose whatever they earned.
HASAN: Indeed, and Spencer, we cannot win this conflict. We spent nearly 20 years trying, but we can help the Afghan people in other ways. In your view, what should the Biden administration be doing for the people of Afghanistan right now?
ACKERMAN: Every Afghan who is interested in doing so should be given asylum inside the United States, there should be an urgent process, this should be fast tracked. And the logistics of it can be impart the responsibility of one of the greatest logistical organizations on the planet, which is the United States military, and in particular, the United States Air Force.
The idea that what the Biden ministration is doing is helping get out Afghans who work for the United States military or serve the United States occupation, that is a moral floor that is functioning as a moral ceiling.
Working with the United States should not be a condition of acceptance by American refugee admissions people.
HASAN: And Niloofar, as someone who came to the United States as an asylum seeker, what is your message to the administration on how it can best help the people of Afghanistan, especially Afghan refugees?
RAHMANI: Well, thank you for your question. I`m one of those samples that since 2016, I came to America. And unfortunately, I have been actually waiting to get my residency and I`m not even a resident yet.
And what I`m thinking about is, Afghans need help, especially the families that they`re losing their child, there are girls, and I hope there will be a process at least.
There wouldn`t be like if you work for America, you are the only one going to go and get help. There`s so many other Afghans that they are afraid of their life, and they just look for a peaceful place to live. Because I`m one of them, that if I have been given the opportunity, I would have stayed in my country and I would live and if I didn`t have a fear for my life, and I would think I would be alive. The same like me, there`s so many Afghan girls and women and Afghan people that they just need a safe place to be at.
HASAN: And Niloofar, I have to ask, you served in the Afghan Air Force, you grabbed the headlines of the first fixed aircraft female pilot. A lot of people in the West are watching the Afghan security forces the military collapse in the face of Taliban advances. Why is that? A lot of people are wondering what happened to the Afghan security forces that we spent 20 years apparently training building up. Why are they collapsing in this way?
That`s a great question because America during this 20 years, they provide everything that they could for Afghan government. If they could provide any type of equipment they did, airplanes. And the only problem is that they did not give Afghan government the leadership.
What does that mean is that even though they do have now every equipments, but they just don`t know how to plan it, how they don`t know how to take care of it.
HASAN: It`s an absolute tragedy. I appreciate both of you Spence Ackerman, Niloofar Rahmani coming on tonight to talk about it, to explain it. We can only pray for the Afghan people.
That is ALL IN for this week. I`ll be back here on MSNBC with the Mehdi Hasan show on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, do join me then. But for now, it`s time for "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW." Good evening, Rachel.