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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/2/21

Guests: Kathleen Sebelius, Vivek Murthy, Jane Mayer, Cori Bush


Florida reports record hospitalizations as Gov. Ron DeSantis downplays COVID threat. After a month, the United States finally meet President Biden`s vaccination goal that he`d laid out, 70 percent of adults with at least one dose. Big corporations are still financing Republican politicians who voted for the goal of the insurrectionists. The Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush is among those protesting to reinstitute the eviction moratorium that expired over the weekend.



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. The nationwide rise in COVID cases continues and so does the red-state race to the bottom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve got Republican governors across this country pretending they didn`t shut down their states.

HAYES: Tonight, the Republican governor actually doing the best job at holding the Delta variant at bay.

Then, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on a genuine vaccine surge across America. Plus, the New Yorkers Jane Mayer on the dark money funding the big lie. And why is this Congresswoman about to spend her fifth straight nights sleeping on the steps of the Capitol?

We can`t go on recess. We can`t go on vacation when millions of people`s lives were at risk.

Congresswoman Cori Bush joins me live when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As the Delta variant moves through the country with truly stunning speed, Senator Lindsey Graham is the latest lawmaker to contract the Coronavirus. This afternoon he announced via Twitter he had tested positive. But the good news is he`s fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms as he`s grateful for that vaccination.

Other senators may have been exposed. Graham attended a party on Senator Joe Manchin houseboat on Saturday. At least eight senators including Graham and Manchin were at the party. Several of those senators say they have tested negative since being on the boat, several others still waiting for results. Senator Manchin told reporters that everyone on board was vaccinated and the party was held on deck.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We were outside, OK. And we were all -- everybody has been vaccinated. So, you know, I talk to Lindsay today. He`s fine. It`s all good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long did y`all go? How long was the event?

MANCHIN: I don`t know.


MANCHIN: Whatever it takes to eat a hamburger or two.


HAYES: So, the whole good news, vaccine folks, they were outdoors. Graham has tested positive, others getting tested, fingers crossed for all of them. As we wait and see if any other U.S. senators on that boat got infected, we`re watching Republican governors across the country figure out how to negotiate this renewed public health threat.

And the story of three of those governors, in particular, is the story of Republican politics at the moment, and how deeply perverse the political incentives are in their party. So, let`s begin in Florida which reported a record number of cases over the weekend, over 21,000 new cases in one day, according to data released on Saturday.

Now, that`s not great news. Although we should say it is far less worrisome that it would have been, you know, six, eight months ago before many people were vaccinated. That said, the state`s vaccination rate is not great. 56.3 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. And hospitalizations also hit a record high in Florida yesterday with more than 10,000 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID cases.

Now, it`s not like Republican governor of Florida Ron DeSantis necessarily caused all this, but he has been working proactively to make it harder to deal with the virus. Back in May, you might remember, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order that banned businesses, schools, and government agencies from requiring people to prove they`re vaccinated. And then a completely deranged move, there`s no other word for it, he refused to make an exception to that rule for cruise lines. Cruise Lines could not require vaccination on their cruise ships.

On Friday, DeSantis signed yet another executive order, this one banning mask mandates in schools saying parents have the right to decide if their children would wear face coverings. Of course, children can transmit as well as contract the virus which is why you have those mask mandates. This as the new school year is about to start in-person. Kids under 12-year-old of course still are not eligible to be vaccinated, and we know they can spread the virus, and we know that masks do reduce transmission particularly in indoor spaces.

Through all of this, Governor DeSantis has also been behaving like a Trumpian troll, like someone who`s on a message board is running a sort of shadow campaign against the evil Dr. Anthony Fauci making jokes at his expense, even warning against the country turning into a "Fauchian dystopia at an event last week, an event if I`m not mistaken, that was out of state.

The governor`s reelection campaign is selling t-shirts and beer koozies that say, don`t Fauci my Florida. It`s all kind of infantile, but Florida is once again going through a significant outbreak. And while Governor DeSantis did come out recently to encourage vaccination, the majority of the governor`s messaging, that is when he`s in the state for it, is that the tyrannical libs want to cut off your freedom. You can do whatever you want, even if that means spreading the virus around cruise ships and filling up hospitals.

But here`s the thing, right? Ron DeSantis very clearly wants to run for president in 2024. That is not at all a secret. He`s positioned himself to do it. So, he needs to make sure that the base of the Republican Party, the folks are going to vote in that primary know that he is not on the side of public health and the "bureaucrats," the people trying to suppress the virus. No, he`s on the other side, the side of freedom to catch COVID and spread COVID and keep the pandemic going.


Ron DeSantis has to watch his right flank as well. And he`s got a challenge from the most reckless governor in the entire nation when it comes to the virus. That, of course, is Kristi Noem. She`s a Republican of South Dakota.

Now, Kristi Noem essentially sent off a biological weapon last summer throughout the entire Midwest, not just her state, by allowing the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to go on. More than 400,000 people descended on the small South Dakota city, and then went back to their home states, leading to over 200,000 COVID cases, according to an estimate from one study.

And Governor Noem recently bragged about now shutting down or instituting mandates throughout the pandemic. Now, South Dakota has one of the highest death rates per capita in the country. And unlike states in the northeast, that remember, got hit before you didn`t really testing capacity or knew what was going on, you know, South Dakota was not in that first wave. South Dakota in plenty of time prepare for its outbreak, which hit its peak last winter.

But this is what Kristi Noem was running on, freedom of the grave. Her state did not shut things down. That led to more deaths per capita than, you know, almost any other state. And that is why you should elect her president of the United States. That is why she deserves to be your leader, Republican primary voter. And those other Republicans like Ron DeSantis, well, they save too many lives.


GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): We`ve talk about rewriting history. Let`s talk about rewriting history. We`ve got Republican governors across this country pretending they didn`t shut down their states, that they didn`t close their beaches, that they didn`t mandate masks that, they didn`t issue shelter in places. Now, I`m not picking fights with Republican governors. All I`m saying is that we need leaders with grit. That their first instinct is to make the right decision, that they don`t backtrack and then try to fool you into the fact that they never made the wrong decision.


HAYES: I`m not picking fights about Republican governors, but I just want you to know that I`m one of the most relentlessly pro-COVID governor in the nation. So, that`s what Ron DeSantis has to worry about. Now, we know that he knows that right? He`s a smart guy thinking about all this. Kristi Noem`s message seems to be the one that animates a huge part of the Republican base, maybe the most.

Now, those are two governors, DeSantis and Noem. There`s another Republican governor, who is just nowhere in the 2024 discussion has done arguably the best job of any governor in the nation, Republican or Democrat, of managing the pandemic. His name is Phil Scott. You may have never even seen a picture of the guy or even heard of him before, but he is in fact a governor. He is the governor of the state of Vermont.

Now, yes, you say, Vermont is a rural state with a small population. But you know what, so is South Dakota. South Dakota is also a rural state with a small population. And as Kristi Noem has shown, none of that precludes you from really screwing up the response to the virus.

Well, Phil Scott has done the opposite of Kristi Noem. He has been proactive since the beginning of the pandemic from closing all bars and restaurants on March 16, 2020, to instituting a mask mandate last July, and crucially rolling out a very, very successful vaccination campaign earlier this year.

Vermont is now the most vaccinated state in the Union. 76.6 percent of the eligible population, 12-plus, fully vaccinated. This dispatch from Vermont describes a world where the pandemic has basically been defeated, suppressed. Restaurants, bars, shops open. Hospital COVID units are empty. The state is basically staved off an outbreak brought on by the Delta Varian because they have such a high vaccination rate. They also have among the lowest death rates per capita.

Now, this is a state that Joe Biden won by more than 35 points. It`s a pretty liberal state. Governor Phil Scott is a Republican, but his approval ratings for his handling of the pandemic are through the roof, 71 percent according to one survey released in March. Think about all this, what this adds up to. In any sane political culture, Phil Scott would obviously be a top tier candidate for higher office.

This is a guy who could walk onto the national stage and say, I managed a once-in-a-century pandemic better than any other governor in our country as a Republican in a Democratic state with a 71 percent approval rating.

But not only is that not the case, it`s literally the opposite of the case. The fact that Phil Scott managed the pandemic so well is disqualifying. The base wants the politics of Kristi Noem. They don`t want Phil Scott. So, just think about the incentive structure that creates.

And this is bigger than Donald Trump. Donald Trump, of course, is an inescapable Republican Party -- part of Republican Party politics, but in some ways he`s one of a kind, all right. I mean, if you ask me five years ago, six years ago, 10 years ago, you know, who`s the last person on earth, Chris, you`d want to manage a pandemic. I`d probably say like, Donald Trump will be up there. And it was -- I would have been right that one exactly as expected.


But all this is about more than Trump`s sociopathic blind spots and his insane narcissism. It`s a broader truth about the culture of Republican conservative politics in this moment, what the hardcore base demands. what they demand and what their institutions push toward is actually incompatible with good governance.

Good governance means you`re bad politically. And that is the base for half of the politicians in this country, who hold at least half of the political power, sometimes more, in many states a lot more. Their base, the right- wing media, the institutions that feed all this, they are all actively incentivizing destruction at every turn.

Kathleen Sebelius is the former Democratic Governor of Kansas. She also served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama. And she joins me now. I thought about you today, former governor, former Secretary of HHS. So, you were a governor in Kansas, which was, again, always been a pretty conservative state, famously a Republican state for, you know, decades and decades and decades and decades.


HAYES: And, and sort of came to national -- yes, forever, right? And sort of came to national prominence. You know, I remember first reading the stories about well, there`s this Democratic governor of Kansas, and she`s doing pretty well. And she`s pretty successful. And it was a reason for people to sort of sit up and take note.

And I just feel like if that universe existed now, or if there was a democratic governor, like Phil Scott, that person would be kind of a national star. And it says something profound about where we`re at that he`s -- that he`s the opposite of that now.

SEBELIUS: Well, your analysis is pretty troubling, Chris. You know, I`ve know these facts, but watching you lay it out is even more disturbing. You know, my notion, and it`s not unique to me, it`s been part of our political culture all along, is that any elected official`s first duty is safety and security of his or her constituents. That`s where it starts.

And so, whether you`re in a, you know, once in a lifetime pandemic, or as snow storm, or a fire, you are obliged to protect your constituents, to look out for their best interest to use the resources of your state, call on the resources of your nation if needed to, you know, make sure that people are OK, that they can survive, that they are not left on their own.

So, what we`re seeing across this country with Republicans driven by their desire to be popular with the base of the party is just the opposite. It`s people saying, you know, you`re on your own. Not only are you on your own, but the most vulnerable citizens in the state are on their own. We are going to do everything to try and make sure that all of the science that we know is not followed, because that would be against our party belief. We`re not going to listen to masking or promote vaccines, or make it easier for people to stay away from affected folks.

And, you know, I start this discussion about COVID. We have 48 million children across these United States under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated, they are not eligible to be vaccinated. And for God`s sakes, we have to begin thinking about spreading this very dangerous disease to those children. Most of them will not get terribly sick, but some of them really will. Some of them will die. Some of them could have long COVID for the rest of their lives.

And I just can`t imagine we live in a country where adults are choosing to make their own children and the children in their neighborhoods and the children throughout their state that guinea pigs of this anti-science notion.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, I want to be clear just here about the sort of aggregate data on children, which is that they are miraculously and having -- they`re being quite low risk in the risk profile of what`s happened. And that has been a fairly durable finding, thank goodness. But you know, the math is the math, right?

Low-risk events, a million kids get infected versus 10 million, you`re going to see more kids with serious cases. That`s just the way this is going to work. And to your point about the masking in schools, you know, again, you can see -- feel the palpable sense in DeSantis particularly in his sort of performativity, where he sends out his e-mails about Fauci where it`s like, there`s two things going on.

There`s like the governing over here, and then there`s the trolling, but then sometimes he`s got to do the trolling in the form of governing, you know. It`s like, it would be better if you just like saying dumb things about Fauci and keeping them out of the policy. But when you start to do things like cruise ships can`t require vaccination, you get into very dangerous territory.


SEBELIUS: Well, then I live in a state, Chris, right in the middle of the country. We`ve done better than our neighbors in Missouri, but there`s a lot of crossover traffic, and we`re seeing those outbreaks in the border communities. But more than that, we have a Republican legislature who has done everything possible to tie the hands of our Democratic governor, much like you see in some of these states.

They, you know, don`t want her to be able to issue mask mandate. They take away her powers to look at school closings, anything that could keep people safe and secure. And we`ve done a pretty good job in Kansas as we try to get the vaccine out and about, but you know, it is a back and forth that should never happen. We should all be able to agree that the public health of our citizens is number one, and we have this miraculous vaccine.

HAYES: This is -- this is the thing that really -- this is really to me the real nub of it. You know, when you talk about the other measures we`ve used, there are real cost-benefit analyses there in terms of what it`s done when we, you know, gone to distant school, what it`s done to businesses when we shut them down, all that stuff. There`s even a little bit of folks who say, look for businesses, mass mandates are a little difficult.

But there is nothing like that with the vaccine, and you`ve got people that do want to command attention to do on a platform. You could just throw yourself into that if you`re Kristi Noem or Ron DeSantis or, you know, any of these people in the way that the governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, apparently has, right? He`s successful. And there`s no trade-offs there, but they`re not doing that. You`re not getting, you know, e-mails from DeSantis all the time about all -- what it what he`s doing on vaccines. You`re getting it about like nananana poopoo at Anthony Fauci.

SEBELIUS: Well, if you think about not only is it terrifying right now, so the, you know, average seven-day caseload is up about 500 percent of where we were in mid-June. That`s not a good place to be. We`re a couple of weeks away from school opening. And we have higher rates in many states that did last year this time, so not a good place to be.

But as you say, you know, this undercut of science in light of what`s happening, what happens the next time? Do we just say we didn`t mean it, people shouldn`t go get their kids, MMR vaccines as their -- we won`t pay any attention to the polio vaccine. We`re not going to -- or we just believe this for COVID because it`s separate. And we believe in science for everything else. None of this makes any sense. And it puts us in a very dangerous position.

HAYES: Kathleen Sebelius, always a pleasure to get a chance to talk to you. Thank you so much for talking to us.

SEBELIUS: Nice to talk to you, Chris.

HAYES: All right, it`s a month late, but today the country did finally meet President Biden`s vaccination goal that he`d laid out, 70 percent of adults with at least one dose. And we got there because a lot of hotspots that had been kind of holdouts, Louisiana in particular, Florida a bit now are rushing to get shots. So, what changed and why? I`ll ask Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy next.



HAYES: President Biden hope to have 70 percent of American adults vaccinated with at least one shot by the Fourth of July. Today, nearly a month later, the U.S. finally hit that mark. Over 180 million people in this country have received at least one dose. That number has been driven higher recently in states with some of the worst surges in new COVID cases.

Louisiana has the highest COVID infection rate in the world right now. The state just experienced its highest spike in single-day COVID hospitalizations since the very start of the pandemic. Only 53 percent of adults have received at least one of those the vaccine. That is changing however. Louisiana is now administering twice as many shots as it was two weeks ago. You see that spike right there.

More than 9000 people are being vaccinated daily in Louisiana. That`s the most since the beginning of April. Other southern states with COVID surges are looking similar. In Alabama where just 54 percent of adults have gotten one dose, more people are now getting a shot. You can see that trend line moving in the right direction at the end there. The same thing happening in Arkansas, which saw one of the first major surges of the Delta variant in the country and where 58 percent of adults have now gotten one dose.

So, if there`s one tiny silver lining and the completely unnecessary COVID surge in communities across the country now, it is that more and more people are finally going out to get vaccinated. Dr. Vivek Murthy is the Surgeon General United States and he joins me now. What do you see in the data across states in terms of the relationship between high levels of community transmission and people getting out and getting vaccinated?

VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL, UNITED STATES: Well, Chris, it`s a really good question. And what we see in fact is that the states that have low vaccination rates are the ones where we are seeing the greatest surges. Now, this is what you would expect, because when you have low vaccination rates, you get low protection. And that`s what we`ve been worried about all along.

Thankfully, the states that are at the top end of the scale in terms of their vaccination rates are actually doing pretty well in terms of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. So that is good. But what is reassuring also is despite how bad this has gotten, we are seeing a significant uptick in the vaccination rate across the country, and particularly in states that have been very hard hit like Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and Arkansas. We`ve just got to keep that going, Chris, because the key to ending this pandemic, getting those cases not just to come down, but stay down, is ultimately getting people vaccinated.

HAYES: It seems to me we`re flying a little blind right now about the trajectory that we`re on, partly because there`s a whole bunch of dynamic factors at play, both at the policy level, in the behavior level at the vaccination level about how bad the COVID surge of delta will get, how quickly it might abate.

One of the things we`ve seen in other places from India, to U.K. is extremely sharp surge up and an equally rapid decline down. We saw that happening in the U.K. which is a more vaccinated society than our own, but we`re in the ballpark. Do you feel like you folks inside the White House have a good sense of the modeling of where this is going?

MURTHY: Well, it`s a really good question, Chris. And one thing we`ve seen over the last 18 months is when these surges take off and when they come down, it`s hard to predict and it`s not always clear why they come down and why they come down as quickly as they sometimes do. But you are right both in a country that is more vaccinated than us, the U.K., we`ve seen that sharp upslope and then downslope.


And in India, a country that`s far less vaccinated than we are, we`ve seen a similar pattern. And so, that may happen here. But what we know right now, Chris, is that we are on the upsurge. And we are seeing cases increase significantly each day. In the short term, if you want to reduce that, you have to take mitigation measures. And that includes wearing masks. It`s one of the reasons the CDC advised people to really up their masking practices, including if they are fully vaccinated to help prevent transmission.

But in the longer term and medium term, it`s the vaccination that ultimately gets rates to stay down once they come up. And that`s why this has got to be an all-out push. As much progress that we`ve as -- as we`ve made, Chris, and as encouraging as the last few weeks have been in terms of vaccine -- vaccination rates, we still have millions of people who are not protected from this virus. And this is a variant that moves fast. Let me tell you that. It is the most transmissible version of COVID that we have seen today.

HAYES: On the masking issue, I mean, what do you say to someone who says, look, I am not an ideological anti-masker. I`m vaccinated, I want people to be safe. But when I look at the data, and I do a risk assessment for myself, and I look at the Provincetown data, for instance, where there`s a huge outbreak of breakthrough infections among vaccinated folks. And it seems like look, the vaccines are basically doing their job. I want to be able to hang out with people inside or go to bars inside and not wanting to wear a mask. If I`m vaccinated, why should I be thinking about masking?

MURTHY: Well, it`s an important question, Chris. And there`s something you said I think which is worth underscoring 100 times, which is that the vaccines aren`t doing their job. And that`s the critical message that we`ve got to make sure people don`t lose sight of. What the vaccines are doing even with Delta is they`re dramatically reducing your chances of dying or being hospitalized if you get sick.

And even though it`s a small portion of people who get breakthrough infections when they`re vaccinated, we`re seeing on top of that those infections, by and large, are mild or asymptomatic. That is all because the vaccines are working and working well. But the reason that the CDC is asking vaccinated people to mask when they`re in public indoor spaces, especially if they`re in high or substantial sort of transmission zones, is because we recently came across the data that helped us understand that breakthrough infections with Delta can continue to transmit.

And you might ask, well, why do I really care about that if I`m vaccinated? Well, the reason that you should care is even though you may likely going to be fine even if you have a breakthrough infection, the transmission that you may contribute to make key, again, the spread of this virus going in your community, and particularly if you`re somebody who has unvaccinated people at home like children under 12, or if you have immunocompromised family members at home. Those are especially reasons why you want to be even more cautious you don`t bring a virus home to those at home.

HAYES: Final question for you. We`re going to head into the fall in the winter. COVID is not going to go away. Hopefully, our vaccination levels will be higher, we can suppress the transmission, but we know it`s seasonal. Is there anyone in the Biden administration whose job it is, the point person, to solely work on indoor ventilation in the United States of America in public and private institutions in terms of HEPA filters, in terms of redoing ventilation? There`s a ton of money out there, and I am worried this is not happening.

MURTHY: Well, it`s a really important question, Chris. We know ventilation is a critical strategy. There`s not a single individual who is doing ventilation alone. It`s actually a big job. And the job of actually ensuring that schools have the support that they need to improve ventilation is something the Department of Education support, is very focused on the Department of Labor. And teams there are focused on supporting workplaces in their effort to improve ventilation.

But what I would agree with you on, Chris, is that in public conversation, I do agree that ventilation often gets relegated to the, I would say, lower priority -- on the priority list. And that`s really, really important. It`s why we see actually such a profound difference between transmission indoors versus outdoors.

And one of the things COVID has helped us to realize, it`s probably not just for COVID, but for other respiratory illnesses, is that ventilation is absolutely critical.

HAYES: There is a huge amount of upside bonus for the health of the American people across a variety of respiratory and airborne infections if we could get better ventilation. Dr. Vivek Murthy, surgeon general of the United States, thank you for making some time with us tonight.

MURTHY: Thanks so much, Chris. Take care.

HAYES: Still to come, pulling back the curtain on the rich and powerful group of conservatives keeping the big lie alive. Dark money expert Jane Mayer on her latest reporting ahead.



HAYES: Nearly seven months after the violent failed coup on January 6, the trauma for many of those who defend to the U.S. Capitol continues. Tonight, we have learned that a third police officer who responded to the attack that day has taken his own life. D.C. Metro Police Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead in his home last Thursday according to the department. He was 43 years old, leaves behind a wife and three kids.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying, "Officer Hasida has -- was a hero who risked his life to save our Capitol, the congressional community and our very democracy. All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6 and throughout his selfless service."

Again, she is the third officers to die by suicide. 51-year-old Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide three months after the riot. Metro Police Officer, 35-year-old Jeffrey Smith less than a month later.

Last week, we learned in excruciating detail about what the officers went through to protect the Capitol that day, and in some instances, what they`re still going through.



AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: For most people, January 6 happened for a few hours but for those of us who were in the thick of it, it has no ended. That they continue to be a constant trauma for us literally every day whether it because our physical or emotional injuries or both.


HAYES: In the immediate aftermath of the attack, it was impossible to sweep what had happened under the rug, even wide swaths of corporate America, which is of course inclined towards business as usual, because well, that`s how they operate, a bunch of them took a step back and said we`re going to suspend donations to the more than 140 Republicans who voted for the goal of the insurrectionists, which was to overturn a free and fair election.

But as we`ve reported on this show, and as watchdog groups like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have highlighted, a lot of those corporations have slowly but surely come back to funding these very people. As you can see from this chart, some corporate PACs and industry groups started reneging on their promise just days after the insurrection.

Boeing resumed their political donations back in May. They`re now the largest donor of the Republican politicians who voted against the election. There are other defense contractors on that top list of donors like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. And then there`s Toyota, which resumed donations back in February saying, "We do not believe it`s appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification." Toyota reverse course, again. They are not giving them money anymore after intense blowback to those donations.

So, pressure does work here. But the vast majority of these companies are going to remain on the side of business as usual, go along to get along you. UPS, for instance, which is once again giving generously to Republicans who voted against certifying President Biden`s win because, "We look to support candidates who are aligned with us on issues that impact UPS as an enterprise." Now, I would say the functioning of American democracy probably going to impact them as enterprise.

Corporate donations to Republicans who tried to overturn the election are just one part of the big money picture. There`s a whole other part that`s in some ways even worse, and that is people with very deep pockets funding that continue proselytization of the big lie. In a new piece in The New Yorker, staff writer Jane Mayer shows how a few wealthy conservatives are able to use their money to undermine U.S. elections.

Dark money organizations sustained by undisclosed donors have relentlessly promoted the myth that American elections are rife with fraud. And according to leak records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported, and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to vote. So, who`s behind this dark money funding the big lie? Jane Mayer joins me to talk about that next.



HAYES: Huge parts of the conservative movement are engaged in effort, day by day to come up with new ways to discredit the very idea that American elections are fair and legitimate. That when someone wins, the other person loses, and that`s it. Because the idea is to manufacture enough doubt and uncertainty to be able to toss out any outcome that is unfavorable them.

In a new piece in The New Yorker, staff writer Jane Mayer outlines who`s bankrolling this anti-democratic effort. "Although the Arizona audit may appear to be the product of local extremists, it has been fed by sophisticated well-funded national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country`s wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives. And Jane Mayer joins me now.

Jane, I thought it was a great piece and great reporting. Maybe we can start on the Arizona audit. Because that in some ways, one of the sort of the highest resolution examples of this, I mean, it is not being paid for by the state. It`s being funded privately. What do we know about who`s funding this enterprise?

JANE MAYER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, it`s actually being funded by allies of former President Trump. And that is the vast majority of the money that`s going into it. The State Senate is put something like $150,000 in and there`s over 5 million coming from Trump supporters, some of the better-known ones.

There`s Patrick Byrne who is the founder of Overstock, the company, and people like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, they have set up nonprofits that are putting money into that recount. So, it`s mostly out-of-state funding. And -- but that -- but that`s just the tip of the iceberg about what`s really going on. I went out to Arizona to take a look at the audit and what you find is that what looks like sort of local kookiness really has roots that go to some of the bigger and more established conservative foundations in this country.

And in particular, there`s one foundation that`s really been kind of like the wellspring of money for the sort of fraudulent vote fraud theories, and that is the Bradley foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has something like $850 million in its -- in its Treasury.

HAYES: Yes, you say, a lot of the disparate nonprofits that are sort of working in this space. And again, it`s from sort of at one level the election was fraudulent and stolen to voting restriction writ large. But these disparate nonprofits working on this have one thing in common. They`ve all received funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley foundation based in Milwaukee.

The private tax-exempt organization has become an extraordinary force in persuading mainstream Republicans to support radical challenges to election rules, a tactic once relegated to the far right. What is the Bradley foundation and who are they funding?


MAYER: So, the Bradley Foundation was founded by two John Birch Society members who way back and they sold the company -- the heir sold the company to a big defense contractor for $1.6 billion. And so, it`s a very rich foundation, even though it`s a very private foundation. And what`s interesting to me, I think, and should be to many people is it has some very prominent people on its board.

It has Robert George, who`s one of the best-known sort of Catholic intellectuals. He`s a professor at Princeton. It has Paul Clement, who`s known as one of the very best Supreme Court advocates. And it has a number of very deep-pocketed corporate people, extremely wealthy families. And so, this -- and they are funding a kind of a clutch of lawyers and advocates who have really questioned the reliability of elections in this country, when there`s really no evidence that there is fraud.

They`ve pushed this myth, and they`ve pushed it for years. I mean, so the Bradley foundation by my reckoning, came -- put something like $18 million into sort of a vote fraud. You know, it`s like a network of people pushing fraud, pushing the idea of fraud, and trying to really fear monger on the whole thing. It`s very -- it`s a very useful myth for people who want to discredit American elections and put in their own candidates.

HAYES: You know, one of the things I was struck by reading your piece is you don`t need that many deep-pocketed ideologically zealous funders to do a lot. I mean, we`re not -- you know, we`re not talking about hundreds and hundreds of different foundations. I mean, these are -- it`s a relatively small group of folks with a lot of money, that if they decide this is where they`re going to put their emphasis, they can -- they can make a lot of headway.

MAYER: It is interesting, and it`s a relatively small group that`s been fanatical on the subject. And it -- and it links in with sort of the big kind of right-wing media complex too. So, one of the -- one of the organizations that the Bradley Foundation has put some money into is Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk`s group, which then goes on social media and just pumps out that message as to some of the others who are involved in this thing.

And they litigate. I mean, and they`re still litigating. You know, there are a number of them of people I interviewed who were still trying to overturn the last election.

HAYES: And do you think this is a growth area I guess, is the question? Or is this a kind -- I mean, it seems to me a growth area at least in the base. But is there a growth area for the folks that are behind the kind of the deeper pocket organizations pushing this?

MAYER: Well, I mean, I do. I mean, what I worry about and what the people I interviewed worry about is that they`re laying a foundation for 2022 and 2024. The idea being that they can challenge elections and they can also, of course, attack the vote in many states. And there`s all kinds of new legislation cracking down on voting. So it`s -- this is a forward-moving movement basically.

HAYES: Jane Mayer, it`s great reporting. You can check it out in the New Yorker. Definitely check it out. Thanks for making time tonight.

MAYER: Great to be with you.

HAYES: All right, if you follow Congressman Cori Bush of Missouri on Twitter, you know, it was pretty cold this morning in Washington D.C., as the Congresswoman tweeted from inside her sleeping bag at 5:00 a.m. Anyway, this is what it looks like when a member of Congress sleeps out on the Capitol steps.

The Missouri Congresswoman is among those protesting to reinstitute the eviction moratorium that expired over the weekend. She says she intends to sleep on those steps again tonight. But first, she joins me here next.



HAYES: For the past few nights, a member of Congress has been sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol protesting the failure of the house to extend the federal moratorium on evictions before going on vacation. The moratorium was put in place in September by the CDC. It expired on Saturday.

Now back in June that more moratorium barely survived a Supreme Court challenge when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was the deciding vote chose not to strike it down he said because well, it was about to expire anyway. Now, the moratorium`s lapse leaves more than 3.6 million Americans in danger of losing their homes.

I`m joined now by that member of congress who`s sleeping outside the Capitol since the House went home, Congresswoman Cori Bush, Democrat from Missouri who`s experienced housing insecurity herself.

Congressman Bush, great to have you. And why -- this is a, you know, not an action that every member of Congress would take every day. Why is this so important to you?

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): You know, I am just a strong believer in first of all, humans helping humans. You know, that`s how I ended up out of the situations that I was in. Someone reached out, someone helped me. You know, my family was there for me and a family friend helped me get out of that situation.

But then also, just I know what it`s like to have to walk through every single piece of what happens when an eviction is possible in your life and then what happens when you are actually evicted. And what that does to you emotionally, physically, mentally, what it does to your family, like it is actual violence on a person you know, be evicted. And I don`t wish that on anyone.

I said when I ran for office that if there is anything that I could do to prevent other people, especially the people of St. Louis, from going through what I went through, all of those hardships, I would do it, I would put myself out there and do it. So, here we are.


HAYES: I want to present to you the argument that has been made both by the National Association of Realtors and the landlord lobby and those who have made these arguments in front of the Supreme Court as well that essentially, the original eviction exceeded the authority the CVC had, but more -- but what I`ve heard from them recently is, look, the pandemic is not where it was in September. Yes, the Delta variants out there, but this can`t be a policy that`s extended forever. So now`s the time to bring it to a close. What do you say to that?

BUSH: No way. No way. Because we`re talking about seven million people, possibly up to 11 million people. It would be bad enough if it was 20. If it was 100 people, that would be really, really bad. It would be bad if it was 1000. But millions of people will be out on the street, forced out of their homes, hundreds of thousands probably have already been forced out of their homes.

People have sent me pictures of what dockets look like that -- with the names on of evictions. Know this -- that is not good enough. We are talking about the highest government of the United States of America. This is unacceptable. We have to do better by people. And the other thing is this. People look to us because there`s nobody else that can fix this. People look to us to make sure that they`re -- that this is done. We can`t sit around and point the finger at anybody. We have to get it done.

And I think about those moments when I was working on house, when I was sleeping out of the car. And just wondering who can do something, who can help -- like, where are the real resources? Where are those that can help? Because you know what, when it`s so cold outside, and they`re -- like it was -- it was pretty cold outside last night, the wind was blowing through my -- through my sleeping bag as thick as it was. You know, I could not get warm. There was nothing I could do to get warm last night. The same thing - - and it rained. That`s the other thing.

It was raining, the sleeping bag was wet. This is what people live through -- they actually have to live on the street. So many problems, so many difficulties, so many barriers to being able to move out of that place. I will not sit by and be quiet because we want to talk about procedure and protocol. And let`s just do the job to make sure people are taken care of. We can go deal with court cases, we can deal with the states. Aside from that, let`s just get that pen right now and get the moratorium done.

HAYES: So, the moratorium would have to pass Congress. The Biden administration basically said, look, we don`t think we have legal authority to extend it. It narrowly survived a court challenge anyway. It has to be something that Congress would actually do. You`re there because you want Congress to come back and pass it.

But even if it did, it would then have to go to the Senate. And that seems a tough road. Are you just sort of like one thing -- one thing at a time, I guess?

BUSH: Yes, yes. One thing -- well, yes, kind of one thing at a time. The first thing for me is I`m not letting up on whether the White House should go ahead and get this -- the moratorium reinstated. I understand what the CDC is saying. I understand that there could be a court challenge. We get that. But that won`t take two days. That`ll take the little -- that timing will give us an opportunity to be able to bring the caucus back and be able to get those votes.

But then also, if the Senate -- the House has to worry about the House. We need to get our work done because the Senate can`t do anything, won`t do anything with it. If we don`t even start, we know for a fact that nothing will happen if we don`t at least start. So, we have to do that. We cannot legislate worried about what somebody -- what somebody else is going to do. We need to do our work. That`s what the people elected us for. Otherwise, they could have just elected the Senate.

HAYES: Final question for you. There is like $45 billion of rental assistance that was in the legislation passed last year. And I think 90 percent of it has been undistributed. This to me is the most insane part of this whole story. There`s literally tens of billions of dollars in rental assistance for back rent that is sitting in state coffers and not getting distributed. It seems like that has to change too, right?

BUSH: Absolutely, it has to change now. We are calling on states and local governments to go ahead -- that have those funds to go ahead and get those funds out. Don`t give a percentage of it. Give the funds out because we`re trying to keep people in their homes. And that was money that was sent.


BUSH: That money was sent. We did the work to get that. And usually, the problem is the funds aren`t there, but we`re talking about the funds being there. 40 billion --


BUSH: Billions, with a B sitting there while people are risking being out on the street in the middle of a global deadly pandemic.

HAYES: Congresswoman Cori Bush, Democrat from Missouri, thank you so much for making some time with us. I have to say, Congresswoman Cori Bush was recently on our podcast. I cannot recommend the episode enough. She`s a really incredible person. That episode is out now. You can find it wherever you get your podcast.

That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi at the Hill. Good evening, Ali.