The FBI has found scant evidence that the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol were the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election results, according to four current and former law enforcement officials. Desperation is building at Kabul, Airport for evacuations. Forty-nine percent of Americans support Afghanistan withdrawal. The Republicans are making efforts to turn Afghanistan`s exit into Benghazi 2.0. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blames the COVID surge on African-Americans who have not been vaccinated.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you guys very much. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.
HASAN: The new reporting on January 6 that actually undermines Donald Trump`s defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were invited by the President of the United States.
HASAN: Then, the disgusting and yes, racist response to COVID in Texas from the state`s own GOP lieutenant governor.
DAN PATRICK, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, TEXAS: The biggest group in most states are African-Americans who have not been vaccinated The last time I checked, over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats.
HASAN: Plus thousands of Africans are still trying to flee the Taliban tonight. Khaled Hosseini, the legendary author of The Kite Runner joins me live on that.
And while the U.S. scrambles to get people out --
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake, this evacuation mission is dangerous.
HASAN: Republicans try to exploit the tragedy.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We`re going to leave thousands of people behind, and if we do, President Biden should be impeached for dereliction of duty.
HASAN: 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. One of the open questions following the January 6 attack on our Nation`s Capitol was there`s a coordinated attack. Was it planned with the help of Trump allies like Roger Stone and carried out by the right-wing militias they were in contact with?
Well, there`s a new report out from Reuters today that basically says no, it was not. "The FBI has found scant evidence that the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election results," according to four current and former law enforcement officials.
Now, first off, one of the most important things to look at when you`re reading a piece like this is sourcing. Who is putting this information out and why? In this case, it`s four current and former law enforcement officials. So, you have to wonder what narrative they`re trying to push and on whose behalf.
But if we take this reporting at face value and say there was no overarching plot, just a bunch of small groups of random people that stormed the Capitol on 1-6, in many ways, that`s actually worse for Donald Trump. Let me explain.
First, as for right wing militias, members of the Oath Keepers have been charged with conspiracy to disrupt the election certification. A few of them have already pled guilty. So, there was certainly some element of planning. And in the lead up to the attack, these are some of the messages those people were sending to each other.
"Trump said it`s going to be wild. It`s going to be wild. He wants us to make it wild. That`s what he`s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild. Sir, yes, sir. Gentlemen, we are heading to D.C. Pack your expletive." These people, some of whom have legally admitted to it, went to the Capitol that day because they thought they were following Donald Trump`s orders, and they are not alone.
Other rioters who stormed the Capitol who are not affiliated with any militia groups, who weren`t necessarily part of a conspiracy, are out defending themselves saying they only did it because Trump wanted them to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A. EDUARDO BALAREZO, ATTORNEY FOR CAPITOL RIOT DEFENDANT: The only reason any of those people went to the Capitol to storm it and to do whatever they did there was because Trump demanded it, Trump asked for it, and Trump wanted it.
CHRISTOPHER GRIDER, CAPITOL RIOT DEFENDANT: The president asked people to come and show their support. I feel like it`s the least that we could do. It`s kind of why I came from Central Texas all the way to D.C.
JENNIFER RYAN, ARRESTED BY THE FBI: So, me personally, I do not feel a sense of shame or guilt from my heart from what I was doing. I thought I was following my president. I thought I was following what we were called to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: The amazing thing is that around the time of Trump`s second impeachment, this time for inciting the capital attack, Republicans were arguing that you could not blame Trump or his speech on the sixth of January for the violence if it was a bunch of militia groups would plan it all in advance.
Well, that argument has kind of fallen apart today. As for Trump`s own incitement, his law professor Jonathan Turley who defended Trump as a witness during his first impeachment arguing that Trump never said anything to incite the mob.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN TURLEY, UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: The speech itself does not give a clear basis or the charges of insurrection or incitement. The President talks about his followers marching on Congress peacefully, is one reference that he made. He does not call for riots, he does not call for violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: But those comments on Fox, where else, are not accurate. Here is Trump on the morning of January 6.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we`re going to have to fight much harder. And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn`t, that will be a sad day for our country. We`re going to walk down to the Capitol and we`re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we`re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you`re never take back our country with weakness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Donald Trump was whipping up the crowd, cheering them on to storm the Capitol. And they followed his instructions and marched to the Capitol saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump! President Trump!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re outnumbered, There`s (BLEEP) millions of us out there and we are listening to Trump, your boss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were invited here!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were invited by the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: We were invited hear, from the horse`s mouth. But if that`s not enough for you, you just need to go back a few weeks before the attack when Donald Trump repeatedly met with a group of Republican Congress members to strategize how to overturn the election results. And if that`s not enough, just go back to the weeks and months following the election when Trump and his allies were out in full force telling everyone who would listen that the election had been stolen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If we are right about the fraud, Joe Biden can`t be president.
They`re trying to steal an election. They`re trying to rig an election.
It`s going to be a very hard thing to see because we know there was massive fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Trump even preemptively made the case that the election would be rigged in the months leading up to the election itself spending all summer complaining about mail-in ballots. Donald Trump primed his base to expect fraud. He incited them with his words. He dispatched members of the republican party to do the same. And so, it`s not surprising they chose to act on 1-6.
Yes, maybe it was a bunch of largely random people who stormed the Capitol. Maybe it was not some master plan. But if it was just a bunch of randoms of individuals, you have to ask who whipped them up? Why did they decide to go attack the Capitol seemingly out of the blue?
Since January the sixth, Trump has gone out of his way to praise these people calling his rally before the attack a love fest and praising the rioter who was shot dead trying to breach the House chamber, well, basically holding her up as a martyr. He even attacked the officer who shot her saying it was unprovoked.
Well, today that officer was exonerated in an internal probe that ended the investigations into that incident. You do not have to look very far to see the impact of Donald Trump`s words and his continued incitement of violence. Just look at the near-disaster in Washington D.C. yesterday, when a Trump supporter parked his truck near the Capitol and threatened to blow it up, all while live streaming on his Facebook feed that the election was stolen and Joe Biden should resign. I wonder where he heard that.
Maybe it`s true that there was no grand or pre-planned conspiracy by armed militias to disrupt the election certification on January 6, but that just means Donald Trump is even more responsible for everything that happened on that day and 6. Daniel Goldman served as House Majority counsel in Donald Trump`s first impeachment. Prior to that, he was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. He joins me now.
Thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. Looking at this, as a lawyer as you are, this FBI claim that 1-6 wasn`t a coordinated or pre- planned attack, what does that mean for Trump`s potential legal liability? I mean, he`s still the guy who rallied them up on that day and in the weeks and months leading up to that days, you know.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY COUNSEL: Absolutely. And what you included in your lead in which is very well done is somewhat similar to what the house managers put on display in front of the Senate during the impeachment trial. And what the evidence shows is that the message was loud and clear from Donald Trump to his followers to protest the election.
But you need to separate out the criminal laws from what we may know to be the case. And in order to charge Donald Trump or senior White House officials or campaign officials, you really have to have a higher burden of proof. You have to show that this was -- there was some coordination between some of the folks on January 6 who -- the writers who attack the Capitol and Donald Trump.
That doesn`t mean he`s not responsible. That doesn`t mean that they understood their orders from him, but it`s very different in the court of law to say I understood his message to be X versus proving with the intent that he had the intent of sending that message and having them do, you know, do what they did.
And so, Mehdi, I think we need to separate out a little bit what a crime is, and what responsibility is because those really are two different things.
HASAN: So, Daniel, you are a former prosecutor, you worked on the first impeachment. Somebody comes to you tomorrow and says, Daniel, you are in charge of making the case against Donald Trump, the criminal case, around 1-6 against Donald Trump if there is one to be made, where do you -- what do you go with? What is the best option, the strongest option available to the prosecutor? Is it sedition? Is it conspiracy? Is it incitement to violence? Is it the Hatch Act? Is it none of the above?
GOLDMAN: I think I would look at all of them. But the biggest thing I would do is I would not narrow my focus to January 1 -- January 6, rather.
HASAN: Yes. It`s good point.
GOLDMAN: And I think that the reporting from Reuters really does that. It says they`re scanned evidence that Trump or the White House officials coordinated with the people who were arrested on January 6. But January 6 was just the culmination of a much longer effort that we are now learning more and more about from Donald Trump at the helm of it through Mark Meadows and others to overturn this election.
And so, the fact that Donald Trump was threatening to fire Jeffrey Rosen at the DOJ because he was not doing enough to call out the corrupt "election in Georgia," and the fact that he was trying to get the military involved, and that he was pressuring Brad Raffensperger in Georgia and other state officials.
GOLDMAN: What I would do as a prosecutor is I would take a step back and I would look at all of the different efforts that Donald Trump undertook himself to overturn this election. And I would put everything in context. And then with January 6 is kind of the culmination of that effort.
But if you narrow it to January 6, it`s a much tougher case. And I think you need to broaden it out and you have to see if there`s a conspiracy among Donald Trump and others, perhaps some involved in January 6 on the front lines, but some involved perhaps behind the scenes.
HASAN: Daniel, 30 seconds left, but I do want to ask. You mentioned to others. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today submitted a request to the DOJ to investigate former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark who they say appears to have played a significant role in trying to overturn the election.
GOLDMAN: Absolutely. I mean, the Department of Justice has already said that the inspector general`s office is investigating Jeffrey Clark, which is the appropriate first step for him because he`s an employee -- was an employee of the Department of Justice. So, that is a natural effort by the Department of Justice that they`ve clearly undertaken.
The big open question, Mehdi, just to finish here, is whether the Department of Justice is looking at Donald Trump or Mark Meadows or others actions prior to January 6, or whether their investigations focus solely on January 6. That we don`t know.
HASAN: Well, I hope folks at the DOJ are watching and listening to you. Daniel Goldman, thank you for your time tonight. I always appreciate it.
GOLDMAN: Thank you, Mehdi. For the second time this week, President Biden was out today defending the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the scene at the Kabul airport remains tense with thousands desperately trying to flee and the clock is ticking. The acclaimed author of The Kite Runner joins me to talk about what`s happening in his homeland next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history. And the only country in the world capable of projecting this much power on the far side of the world with this degree of precision is the United States of America.
We`ve already evacuated more than 18,000 people since July and approximately 13,000 since our Military Airlift began on August the 14th. These numbers include American citizens and permanent residents as well as their families. It includes SIV applicants and their families. Those Afghans who have worked alongside us, served alongside of us, gone into combat with us and provided invaluable assistance to us such as translators, and interpreters. The United States stands by his commitment, and we`ve made these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: That was President Joe Biden speaking to the American people earlier today about the situation in Afghanistan and the United States as military`s massive effort to airlift Americans and Afghans to safety. It`s been a dramatic and tumultuous week after the country fell to the Taliban last weekend.
Today, the evacuation operation you heard the President praising was stalled for a period of at least eight hours with no flights taking off from the airport in Kabul. Sources told NBC News that Qatar, the country that took in the first wave of evacuees did not have the capacity to take in any more people.
The U.S. has been working with allies to find other locations willing to take in Afghan refugees, and flights have since resumed. But the U.S. military is working against the clock with just 11 days left until the August 31 deadline to get all U.S. troops and now U.S. citizens out of the country.
Khaled Hosseini grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan and moved to the United States in 1980 when he and his family were granted political asylum. In 2003, he became a New York Times best-selling author publishing The Kite Runner which introduced Americans to his home country before the years of this war, before his country was run and terrorized by Taliban warlords.
Hosseini did it through the story of a young boy named Amir. He describes those peaceful before days. Sometimes my entire childhood seems like one long, lazy summer day with Hassan. We took strolls in the musty smelling bazaars of the Shara -e-Nau section of Kabul, or the New City West of the Wazir Akbar Khan district. We talked about whatever film we had just seen and walked amid the bustling crowds of bazarris. We snaked our way among the merchants and the beggars, wandered through narrow alleys cramped with rows of tiny, tightly packed stolls. Baba gave us each a weekly allowance of 10 Afghanis and we spent it on warm Coca Cola and rosewater ice cream topped with crushed pistachios."
Khaled Hosseini who`s probably done more than any person on the planet to share the rich, diverse, and unique experiences of the people of Afghanistan, is also the founder of the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, an organization providing humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. And it`s my pleasure and privilege to say he joins me now.
Khaled, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. What has this week been like for you? How are you feeling? How are you feeling right now?
KHALED HOSSEINI, AUTHOR, THE KITE RUNNER: You can imagine, Mehdi, it`s been gut-wrenching. Frankly, it`s not an exaggeration to say that my heart is broken, not only for those desperate families who are at the airport trying to board those flights. But for the millions of ordinary Afghans who`ve raised their children in the Shadow of War and the threat of persecution all in the hope of a better tomorrow. And most of all, for the millions of women and girls, who now face the grim reality of living under a regime that has systematically brutalized and terrorized and deprived women of their rights since their inception. Dreams and hopes have been badly punctured. And it`s a tough and very bitter pill to swallow.
HASAN: It is indeed. And we know the American War was a disaster in so many ways, and the American withdrawal also disastrous. But I wonder, what do you think Afghans, especially in the diaspora, make of Ashraf Ghani, the president, fleeing on day one, Afghan security forces collapsing in a matter of days? There`s been a lot of critical commentary around that. And I wonder what you make of that.
HOSSEINI: I think it`s a well-known fact among Afghans both in the diaspora and far more so, inside the country, is that possibly the seminal failure of the last 20 years, have been the forming of a government that could win the true faith of his constituency, a government that could deliver emergency and needed services to its population, that could protect its people against the attacks of insurgent groups like the Taliban.
And what they got instead was, unfortunately, a series of incompetent and frankly, very often corrupt governments that lost all semblance of credibility in the eyes of the Afghan people. And so, I think, for the most part, President Ghani will be judged rather harshly in the eyes of Afghans, both abroad and inside the country.
HASAN: And I have to ask, Khaled, you run a humanitarian foundation back in Afghanistan and I`m sure you`re connected to many friends and family members there? How are your staff doing? How are your friends back in Afghanistan doing?
HOSSEINI: Thank you for asking that, Mehdi. I appreciate that. Thankfully, our staff is based here in the U.S., and we`re OK. But we have been getting inundated with messages from people around the world, queries as to how they can help. And what we`ve been telling them and what I would like to appeal now to your audience, is that there is a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
We`re focusing on the airport as we should be. But there is also 500,000, over half a million people who`ve been internally displaced -- internally displaced inside the country since January of this year. These are ordinary families, fathers, mothers, children who need shelter, food, and water, and medicine. And should they decide to look for safety across an international border, it`s essential that we support those organizations that are there on the grounds that will provide not only those emergency services, but also legal protection and access to territory and access to asylum procedures.
So I asked your audience, if you want to help Afghanistan, please consider supporting displaced Afghan families by donating to organizations like the UNHCRD, The UN Refugee Agency, so that the needs of the most vulnerable Afghans are met.
HASAN: Well said. I`m glad you said that, Khaled. One last question. You wrote for NPR today that you would ask President Biden to use his influence to exert diplomatic pressure on the Taliban to respect the essential human rights of all Afghan citizens, particularly women and girls and to not use intimidation and violence against its own citizens.
Do you buy the Taliban`s claims that they will be more progressive, more moderate this time round? How worried are you especially as a novelist, an artists, a cultural figure about Afghanistan returning to the country it was when the Taliban was last in power?
HOSSEINI: I think that`s a great question, Mehdi, and one that I`ve been struggling with. In the last days, I`ve told myself the only sliver of hope as if the title might have changed. I`m deeply skeptical that they have. I have been listening to what they`ve been saying, but you know, the spotlight of the cameras are on them, the entire world is watching, and they`ve been more or less saying the same things, at least the leadership has.
But the indications on the ground are that their rank and file Taliban troops are abusing human rights. We`ve seen pictures of beatings. There was a protest in Jalalabad, in the Nangarhar province where three people were shot. And we saw of people being led around. So, I don`t believe it. I have to see it to believe it. They will have to prove it, not to me, but to the Afghan people inside the country.
HASAN: Yes, indeed, they will. Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner, also author of A Thousand Splendid Suns, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
HOSSEINI: My pleasure.
HASAN: For months now, a majority of Americans have supported withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, even now, after the Taliban takeover of Kabul. The polls show more Americans support our exit than oppose it. You might not know it from looking at some of the hawkish media coverage.
Joining me is Barack Obama`s former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. He`s the author of After The Fall: Being American In The World We`ve Made, and he is a supporter of the Biden withdrawal. Ben, the polls show that the public support and withdraw and yet all of our media coverage suggests Biden is in political trouble, that the withdrawal is the disaster, not the war itself.
Why aren`t we hearing more from the people who oppose this war instead of the people who wanted to continue forever?
RHODES: Well, look, I think when you have an end to the war, that you`re not going to win, and it`s a result of 20 years of choices, and frankly, just the reality that America`s capacity to conduct nation-building in a country that`s different in far ways Afghanistan was inherently limited, you were always going to have a difficult withdrawal. And it was always going to invite a lot of criticism.
And frankly, we had similar debates about Iraq where people who are responsible for starting the war tried to make all the results of that word, you know, the way it was ended, not the way that it was begun. I do think that for the Biden administration, they were never going to get criticism. But I think that the scenes of Afghans being unable to get out and the feeling that not enough was done to prepare for the contingencies. that leads to that kind of desperation outside of airport, that is weighing on even supporters of the withdrawal who would have liked to have seen a much more robust evacuation of the Afghans.
They have a chance here, Mehdi, in the coming days. And I think it should extend beyond the August 31st deadline. They have a chance to address some of those really painful circumstances that all of us are hearing from Afghans by getting as many people out in ways that I think can therefore return the debate of this question about whether we should be in Afghanistan or not.
HASAN: Well, I totally agree. You can support the withdrawal and be shocked by some of the stuff we`ve seen in recent days. President Biden has now done what President Obama supposedly wanted to do but didn`t, withdraw our troops. Obama not only didn`t withdraw. In fact, he sent in a surge of 30,000 troops instead.
You were on that national security team in 2009. Do you regret today that decision and accept it played a role in dragging out this war till today?
RHODES: Yes, I do. I mean, Mehdi, I wasn`t, you know, a huge supporter of the surge at the time. But I do think that, you know, the reality of Afghanistan is that there were really two wars taking place. There was a counterterrorism mission against al-Qaeda that kind of crescendo during the surge, and culminated in some ways in the killing of Osama bin Laden. And then there was a nation building exercise.
And I think it became very clear early in the days of the surge, even, that our capacity to build governance at the local level and to have a centralizing authority in the Afghan government that that was limited and that the counterinsurgency strategy didn`t form that surge. Unless the American people were going to have kind of an open ended commitment of far more troops than we even had at the height of the surge, there was not going to be a capacity to build the kind of Afghan government that could prevent the kind of steady unraveling that is taking place now for many years.
So, I do look back on that as the surge extending this war. I think by the end of the Obama administration, we had about 10,000 troops. President Obama paused on the question of whether to withdraw all those troops. His judgment at that time was that you have a situation that would look somewhat like we have today, and that he thought doing that at the end of his presidency was a difficult thing to leave to his successor. The successor would have to make that next decision.
Joe Biden at the beginning his presidency include he decided, I`m not going to wait any longer, I`m going to get this done right away.
HASAN: And that was a bold move, because he had to stand up to a lot of people. So, I wonder, Ben, what was it like for you in office dealing with the generals, many of whom have wanted this war to continue almost forever. In your book, you suggest commanders on the ground like Gen. Stanley McChrystal would often leak information to the media to try to undermine the Obama administration`s attempts to try to draw down troops.
How much do you blame the generals, the defense establishment in this country for boxing in presidents of both parties?
RHODES: Well, Mehdi, I`m going to be fair here. You know, any commander on the ground is going to one more resources. That`s natural. They`re looking in isolation at what can I do best to solve this problem in Afghanistan. And the answer to that is often going to be either more troops or more time.
And I do think that the military, you know, having been given this mission, way back in 2001, 2000, to the nation building Afghanistan, there`s a natural momentum for them to want to continue and stay and do more with more resources. And, you know, that that was the dynamic that has prevailed in Afghanistan for a long time.
That`s why I think we have to go back and question first principles here, Mehdi. And you know, it`s interesting, after the Vietnam War ended, there was something that was often discussed by foreign policy pundits and media in Washington, the Vietnam syndrome. And what they referred to is it was a bad thing, that the United States is more reticent to go to war and conduct nation-building efforts in distant countries.
You know, actually, maybe we should have learned that lesson at that time. Because I think the issue with the military is if you give them the mission of nation-building in places like Afghanistan or Iraq, what we`ve learned in this war on terror is that the military can go, they can take things out. They can deny terrorist safe havens, they can roll back ISIS, they can even topple regimes. But the U.S. military is not built to be able to build governance in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
HASAN: I hope -- I hope we have learned that lesson, Ben. But time will tell. Ben Rhodes, thank you for your time tonight. We`ll have to leave it there.
RHODES: Thanks, Mehdi.
HASAN: The man who threatened to blow up his pickup truck near Capitol Hill yesterday engaging police in an hour`s long standoff before finally surrendering, is now charged with two felonies, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to use an explosive device. He remains in jail tonight.
And as I watched the response to yesterday`s events, particularly from Republican politicians, there was a clear double standard at play that made me kind of angry. I`ll explain right after this short break. Do not go anywhere.
HASAN: In the wake of yesterday`s bomb threat at the Capitol and as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 fast approaches, it`s worth pointing this out. The vast majority of Muslims both in America and globally condemned the 9/11 terror attacks, along with every quote unquote jihadist attack that came after it. They did.
Muslim community leaders and the governments of Muslim majority countries fell over one another to put out statements either condemning terrorist organizations or distancing themselves from those violent groups. And Muslim politicians who have been elected to Congress since then have been smeared as terrorist apologists despite repeatedly denouncing terrorism and extremism.
Now, let`s compare and contrast that with what has happened here in America on the right in the wake of domestic terror attacks in 2020 whether it`s the armed insurrection at the Capitol on January the sixth, or the Trump supporter arrested yesterday outside the Library of Congress claiming to have a bomb.
Leading GOP politicians including Mitch McConnell now refuse to even call January 6 an insurrection. Former President Trump is praising insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as someone who truly loved America. Despite putting out a bunch of statements on Afghanistan this week, Trump has said nothing over the past 24 hours about the attempted attack at the Capitol by one of his supporters.
Still, in this case, he`s not as bad as GOP congressman Mo Brooks who should have said nothing rather than put out this basically pro-domestic terrorism statement saying, "Generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial socialism." Can you imagine if Ilhan Omar had put out a statement the day of an attempted al-Qaeda or ISIS attack on the Capitol saying she understood their anti-American anger? Can you imagine?
And it`s not just Brooks, a majority of Trump voters and Trump voters are Republican voters, by the way, say they think the domestic terrorism we saw on January 6 was patriotic, was a defense of freedom. Look at the bottom right, 51 percent, 55 percent, astonishing, shocking, shameful. While everyday Muslims have been demonized for decades, despite condemning terrorism without every breath, every day Republicans are openly excusing, apologizing for, defending and even praising domestic terror attacks.
Not only are the double standards here glaring, but they`re truly dangerous. Foreign jihadists have never had mainstream support in America, or apologists giving them cover and even encouragement inside the corridors of our government. But shockingly, our domestic terrorists seem to be able to count on the support of multiple members of Congress and even a son ex- president, which makes them I`m sorry, a much bigger threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Since the decision was made in May, I think it`s an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. And I think the President -- this is going to be a stain on this president and his presidency. And I think he`s going to have blood on his hands for what they did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Republicans were largely quiet when President Joe Biden first announced he would stick to Donald Trump`s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. And of course they will quiet. Biden was implementing a deal that their dear leader had agreed to. Isn`t that right, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seen here last November with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban`s negotiating team, and now they`re head of Afghanistan?
But as far as Republicans are concerned now, this is an opportunity to drop America`s longest war started by Republicans into the laps of Democrats. Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana is talking about giving it the Benghazi treatment if they win back the house next year. This makes Benghazi look like a much smaller issue. This may be one of the worst and most consequential foreign policy, national security disasters in our history. There will be a lot of answers to seek and questions to be answered. I think it will be a top priority.
And Senator Lindsey Graham, the man who refused twice to vote to convict Donald Trump is now threatening to impeach Joe Biden over Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: If we leave any Americans behind, if we leave thousands of those Afghans who fought along our side behind bravely, Joe Biden deserves to be impeached for a higher crime and misdemeanor of dereliction of duty. If we leave one America behind, if we don`t get all those Afghanistan -- Afghans who`ve stepped up the plate to help us out, then Joe Biden, in my view, has committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution and should be impeached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: David Plouffe was a White House senior adviser for President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2013. And he joins me now. David, thanks so much for coming on the show this evening. You experienced Republican bad faith attacks over Benghazi from inside the Obama White House. Are you surprised they want to try and use the same playbook against the Biden White House with Afghanistan?
DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR FOR BARACK OBAMA: No, not at all. I mean, you know, this sort of clown car was predictable. Yes, I mean, they were convinced that Benghazi would deny Barack Obama a second term. And let`s -- on Afghanistan, Mehdi, the only question is this time next year in 2022, all the Republicans running for Senate and House they`re going to make the centerpiece of their campaign Afghanistan, that we should have stayed there, that we should have sent it additional troops? Of course not.
So they`ve all got courage on cable, but they know where their voters are. And at the end of the day, I don`t think this -- that doesn`t mean by the way that there`s not significant issues around the execution, getting those Americans out, getting the Afghanis out, but the politics of it, just speaking about that, the American people are clear about this.
And let`s not -- you know, back in `08, you might remember, John McCain said he would stay in Iraq for 100 years. That became a centerpiece of our campaign. It wasn`t just Benghazi, Mitt Romney, really made the centerpiece of his campaign criticizing Barack Obama for the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.
So, we`ve seen this before. So, no, I think this is a bunch of hot air. Now, if they win back the House and Senate and they, you know, really start impeachment proceedings, I think they`ll pay a political price for that. But that`s something of significance, I think, Lindsey Graham said. But no, we`ve seen this movie before. And they`re speaking to the third of the country that basically believes anything they`ll say and wants to, you know, live in a fantasy world.
HASAN: Courage on cable, that should be the title of Lindsey Graham`s autobiography. But putting Republicans to one side for a moment, let`s talk Democrats. Ryan Cooper writes in the week that it will be Democrat to Benghazi Biden because "not one, not two, not three, but four different Democrat-controlled congressional committees have announced so far that they will open investigations into the withdraw, three in the Senate, one in the House.
David, a lot of the Senate and House Democrats were quiet when the Pentagon Papers came out in 2019 showing how disastrous the war was. Why they`re helping Republicans make this into a Joe Biden problem rather than a George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump problem?
PLOUFFE: Yes, well, listen, I think when the dust settles here, hopefully, they`ll deal with it responsibly. And I will say this, Democrats believe in government. We believe in facts. We believe in accountability. It`s not just a theater of politics. So -- but if it`s done responsibly, and does take that 20-year arc.
And listen, you know, I was part of the discussions. You had Ben Rhodes on earlier, around Afghanistan. There was no good time to make this move. You`re going to have issues. Now, I think that what we need to really focus on now is between now and the end of August. I agree with Ben. Probably that needs to go deeper into September.
If we execute well, I think we can really go a long way to satisfying some of the valid concerns people have about what we`re seeing on the ground in Afghanistan. But Democrats need to do this responsibly. And if they do, you know, maybe there`s some value coming out of it. But I think Democrats also like let`s not just chase headlines, let`s just not chase cable news appearances. Let`s be thoughtful about this.
HASAN: So, David, here`s a letter from over 4300 veterans, including 150 who fought in Afghanistan, saying our support for the President`s decision to leave is as resolute as ever. It`s the right thing to do no matter how many people in the chattering class want to claim otherwise. And yet, Joe Biden is again on the defensive today.
I wonder why are Republicans on the defensive over one of their supporters trying to attack the Capitol yesterday and charged today with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction? Why can`t Democrats ever do the kind of ruthless body contact politics that Republicans do all the time?
PLOUFFE: Yes, well, it`s a fair question. So, I think part of the Republican ardor for Afghanistan, and really trumping itself, excuse the pun, is because of the shadow of January 6. You know, and I think we saw another example yesterday. We have thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people in this country who`ve been radicalized against the government. And what we see is the normalization of that.
So, we`re going to see -- I hope I`m wrong about this, but my suspicion is you`re going to see more and more events, more threats of violence, more actual violence. And yes, the big story, even with COVID, even with Afghanistan, is that our democracy is hanging by a thread, and if the Republicans gain power in 22 and 24, it may be over for good.
HASAN: Yes, we need more democrats saying that with that kind of passion. David Plouffee, thank you for making the time tonight. I appreciate it.
PLOUFFE: Thanks, Mehdi.
HASAN: Still to come, the ugly COVID fight unfolding in Texas as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick blames Black Democrats, yes, Black Democrats for the state surge in COVID cases. His own words right after this.
HASAN: This is the point of the show where normally I would give you a summary of the current COVID situation in Texas as cases continue to surge. I`m not going to do that tonight. I`m just going to let you listen to these astonishing claims from the GOP Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK: The COVID is spreading particularly most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated. And the Democrats like to blame republicans on that. Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. And the last time I checked, over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.
So, it`s up to the democrats to get just as it it`s up to Republicans to try to get as many people vaccinated. But we respect the fact that if people don`t want the vaccination, we`re not going to force it on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN: Frankly, I do not know how to respond to partisanship and bigotry that brazen and that dishonest. Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett joins me now. Representative Crockett, you are a Black woman and a Democrat in Texas. What is your response to what we just heard?
JASMINE CROCKETT, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TEXAS: Oh, I mean, first of all, it`s good to see you, Mehdi. You know, when we fled the state of Texas, and we said hey, this is voter suppression, we said hey, they are pushing forward with specific attacks on people of color, people looked at us and thought, are y`all sure about this? They questioned and then it was kind of slow to build.
Now, you see who is in control in Texas. You see that they are consistently targeting Black folks in Texas. How in the heck do you say -- I mean, and they don`t care. They`re open about it. And sadly enough, I had colleagues that went back to the floor and gave them a forum, because they are going to continue to target Black people in our state and blame us for any and everything.
And sadly enough, you can`t even keep up with the Republicans lies, so long as they blame anybody but are all white man, then it`s fair game, because we know that this started off with those that were immigrants.
HASAN: Yes. And Dan Patrick released a statement on Facebook today saying in part, "Not surprisingly, Democrats social media trolls wrote late misstating the facts and fanning the flames of their lies. Federal and state data clearly indicate that Black vaccination rates are significantly lower than white or Hispanic rates. Democrats continue to play politics with people`s lives pandering to rather than serving certain constituencies."
Aside from the pure projection there, The Washington Post, Representative, citing census data reports that while vaccination rates may be lower for Black Texans, unvaccinated White Texans outnumber them three to one. What`s so stunning, by the way, aside from the dishonesty, is it he doesn`t see Black Texans as his constituents or his responsibility?
HASAN: He basically says they`re Democrats, so it`s up to Democrats to get them vaccinated.
CROCKETT: Yes, that is exactly how they see it. And you notice that he also said in our urban centers, right? And we talked about the laws and how they`re trying to formulate them. They are attacking the urban centers. They are basically saying throw away all the urban centers, we only want to deal with those rural Texans, because the rural Texans, well, we know that most of them are white. I mean, it`s absolutely ridiculous.
And the fact that they are playing with people`s lives -- COVID isn`t a game. It should not be a partisan issue. The fact that our governor is on national news almost every single day for failing in some way, it is a problem. I need people to finally stand up and say, you know what, I`m going to vote for me over politics and games, because there are children that are dying because they refuse to just listen to science and somehow have turned a simple mess into something that`s partisan, same thing that they`re doing with the vaccine and acting like Black folk or the problem with spreading COVID.
HASAN: Yes. I mean, if I was -- if Texas was a TV show and I was a writer on that TV show, and I said to the other writers, let`s have the governor get COVID while he`s stopping everyone from stopping COVID, you would say, that`s unrealistic. We can`t -- we can`t let that happen, but that has actually happened.
Let me put this to you. Author and commentator Keith Boykin tweeted this response to Dan Patrick. He said, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is blocking the Black mayors of Houston and Dallas from implementing CDC recommended COVID rules to save people`s lives. And Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has the audacity to blame Black people for the spread of COVID in the state.
This is the -- this is the same theme we`ve seen with voter suppression in your state, right, state Republicans trying to override the autonomy of Democrats, especially Democrats of color.
CROCKETT: Absolutely. It`s interesting because the areas that we saw taking the lead in defying the governor`s orders when it came to COVID, guess what, they were the large urban centers. It started off in Dallas County and Harris County, and even Tarrant County. And Tarrant County has been republican for some time.
I mean, it`s trending the right way, but we saw them defy them everywhere. And now it even went to Paris, Texas, an area that voted for Trump at least in the 70 percentile. So, you would think that they would say maybe this isn`t really a good thing for us to do if we really want to be reelected in this state. Maybe we should let this one go and allow the locals to do what they`re supposed to do because we used to be the party that believed in local control.
HASAN: We`re almost out of time, but I have to ask. The state legislature is now back in business. It has a quorum enough. Texas House Democrats have returned to resume business in a special session. That means a restrictive voting bill can go through. Do you think it was a mistake to give back the quorum for that state legislature?
CROCKETT: It was absolutely a mistake. I don`t even know. It was a colossal failure, not just a mistake. We`re talking about -- we went all the way to D.C. We had multiple levels of litigation as relates to warrants. We`ve done everything. And we are in the middle of the game. I fully anticipate that the John Lewis Voting Rights Act will be move forward this upcoming week, and we decided that we were going to throw in the towel. I`m very disappointed.
HASAN: More than disappointed. It`s an absolute tragedy if this voter restriction law goes through in Texas. Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett, thank you for your time tonight.
CROCKETT: Thank you.
HASAN: That`s all for ALL IN for this week. Chris Hayes will be back next week. Don`t miss my show this Sunday airing at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on MSNBC. My guests include, Mary Trump and Greta Thunberg.
Time now though for "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW." Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. You`ve done a fantastic job with filling in.