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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/27/21

Guests: Adam Serwer, Amy Fried, Tom Kludt, Cori Bush


Right-wing goes after the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riots. U.S. police unions push back against vaccine mandates on the police forces. South Dakota Attorney General facers scrutiny after a crash that killed a pedestrian. According to the administration, roughly 12,500 people were evacuated between yesterday and this morning despite that horrific act of mass murder and that`s a point of pride for all the service members taking part in this mission, they did and continue to do their jobs.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And that is what I think we should do with our platforms. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN, the unhinged backlash to a policeman defending democracy.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Given the nature of the threats that you described, do you have any concern about showing your face and identifying yourself?

MICHAEL BYRD, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: Of course, I do. I believe I showed the utmost courage on January 6, and it`s time for me to do that now.

HAYES: Then, why are police unions across America so vehemently opposed to vaccine mandates? Plus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ally, this -- well, ally, I`m the Attorney General and I am -- I don`t know. I hit something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hit something?

HAYES: The shocking resolution after Republican state attorney general struck and killed a pedestrian with his car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things haven`t been straightforward by any means. In fact, some people would call you a liar.

HAYES: Congresswoman Cori Bush slept on Capitol steps to fight for an eviction moratorium. She joins me tonight to talk about how the Supreme Court just took it away when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. When Capitol Police Officer Michael Byrd, you saw him here last night, when he came forward in that exclusive interview with Lester Holt, revealed his identity as the man who shot the Capitol insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, he knew what he was doing. Byrd already had been a target and all the places you expect, Web sites catering to conspiracy theorists, and those sympathetic to the insurrection and Trump devotes. And they had built up this story about this savage killer cop.

And his race, of course, a figure prominently in that tale since it was clear in the video that his hands holding the gun behind the doors that he was a Black man. So, before Michael Byrd even came forward, he was treated in a way that was a complete inversion of how the right usually treats police.

You`ll remember, of course, in the wake of George Floyd`s murder, when right-wing media bent over backwards to offer sympathy to his killer and alternative explanations for Floyd`s death. Tucker Carlson and his buddies would go on the air to say things like Blue Lives Matter, and they`re not telling you the full story. And actually, it was not Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd, it was something else.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: These cities are warzones, Geraldo. This is a war on police now.

CARLSON: Democrats hate the police because they don`t control the police.


HAYES: No physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. That was uttered. That was just said. Now, even though we all knew what we had seen, even though it was clear to everyone what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd, responsible organizations were careful in the language that they -- we use to describe what happened because Chauvin was innocent until proven guilty, and so we would say things here on all in like, he put his knee on the neck of George Floyd and he appeared to kill him.

And that changed when we found -- when Chauvin was found guilty. We then said the murder of George Floyd, that Derek Chauvin had murdered Georgia Floyd. But there is no such regulation in the world of Fox News, of course.

On January 6, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, many of them were carrying thin blue line flags. They threatened, attacked, and beat up police officers. They threaten the lives of elected officials. They chanted hang Mike Pence famously. And when one insurrectionists tried to jump through the doors leading to the House chamber and the Capitol officer shot her, instead of defending blue lives, they spent months turning Ashli Babbitt into a murder, whipping up a frenzy of hate towards this police officer.

And so, it was predictable that when Lieutenant Michael Byrd came forward, that Fox would come after him.


CARLSON: So, she was an unarmed protester. I don`t think we execute unarmed protesters, do we? Well, we just did. No one has apologized for it. He`s a hero. Michael Byrd executed an enemy of the Biden administration so they`re praising him. But if we call that courage, we`ve devalued the term.


HAYES: Executed. It`s been clear forever through Donald Trump`s whole campaign and his presidency that law and order and respect for law enforcement is not some actual principle of these people. There`s no abstract thing they believe in. What they believe in is preserving power and hierarchy above all else. It is about who has power.

Donald Trump surrounded himself with criminals, literal convicted felons. He was handing out pardons to his buddies like candy. I mean, it`s not about crime or respect for the law. Trump was flagrantly lawless. Everyone knew it. The first president to be impeached two times, both sides for abusing his position to try to stay in power.

And so of course, the moment in which a Black man wearing the Capitol Police uniform defended a citadel of democracy against a marauding horde of Trump supporters who wanted to overturn election, well then that is a -- that is an infraction -- that is an inversion of the natural order.

And so, Lieutenant Michael Byrd who is cleared of wrongdoing an internal investigation, has a difficult time ahead of him. Of course, he already has had a difficult time as the force of this venom is directed towards him.

But there are also broader questions here about law and order that suffuse all the stories we encounter right now at this moment. Questions about the very meaning of public safety, who defines it and who is it for? And that`s whether we are talking about the wars that we fight abroad to keep Americans safe here in the homeland, or what police officers are allowed to do or not do or what public health measures we need to keep people out of the ICU and out of the crematory in the graveyards.

And on this question, there`s a shockingly revealing trend happening in the law enforcement circles that demonstrate how American police officers view themselves with respect to public safety and the vaccines. To be clear, police officers are frontline workers. They have had to work through COVID. They`ve had to show up in person to their jobs in New York.

To pick one example, they bore an incredibly heavy toll from it. In fact, at least 16 New York City police officers have died from COVID. One study found more active duty police officers in the U.S. died of COVID in 2020 that all other causes combined. Police officers have made incredible sacrifices during the pandemic just like many other workers who had to go to work, whether postal workers or folks at the grocery store, nurses of course. And yet we find ourselves in this bizarre situation right now in which a huge number of police are refusing to get vaccinated and resisting vaccine mandates.

These are people whose cars say to protect and serve. The most basic thing you can do to protect yourself if you are someone who served the public is to vaccinate yourself to protect yourself and all the people you deal with. And if you really view your job as serving and protecting, that should be a no brainer.

And yet, a police spokesman said last Friday that 47 percent of New York uniformed and civilian employees have been vaccinated, just 47 percent. Vaccination expert Dr. Peter Hotez explains, "If you look at New York in terms of vaccination rates, 79 percent of residents 18 and older have gotten at least one dose of vaccine. That means members of the Police Department are more vaccine hesitant than the general population."

Well, yes. But rather than do more to protect its officers and the people they serve, the NYPD`s largest police union has vowed to sue over a possible vaccine mandate. Both the Los Angeles and San Francisco`s Sheriff`s Deputies Unions have protested vaccine mandates. Well, the head of Chicago`s largest police union said this, and I`m going to quote for you and just listen up. This is the head of the Chicago police union. "We`re in America, God damn it. We don`t want to be forced to do anything, period. This ain`t Nazi expletive Germany where they say, keep listening, step into the expletive showers, the pills won`t hurt you. What the expletive."

I`m not -- that`s not a random with nine followers on the internet that I just quoted. That`s the head of Chicago`s biggest police union comparing a safe and effective vaccine that will likely save the lives of members of the police and the public they interact with to Nazi gas chambers. And he didn`t pull that out of thin air. The metaphor is not unique to him. It`s all over the right.

Republican member of Congress, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, tweeted an image saying, "If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant venue or event in your own country, that`s no longer a free country, and then an arm with what appears to be a concentration camp tattoo." Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had to apologize for comparing mask mandates and the Holocaust, although that has not stopped her from making more inflammatory comments in the same tenor.

I mean, think about this. Take a step back for a second. The notion that police officers are given the power to kill by the state with very little recourse or accountability, in fact, protected from some of the lawsuits or legal oversight that other folks would have, right? That`s not problematic from the perspective of freedom, tyranny, and self-determination. But a requirement that people who frequently interact with the public get vaccinated is akin to the Third Reich.

Again, these are not fringe views. This is a huge part of current conservative ideology. It`s not specific to beliefs but they are a part of it because of their proximity to the engine of right-wing misinformation reaction that is right now the key propulsive force in accelerating and continuing the death and destruction of this pandemic.

Adam Serwer is a staff writer for The Atlantic. His latest piece is titled, The Absurdity of Police Comparing Vaccine Mandates to Nazi Germany. Amy Fried is a professor of political science at University of Maine, co-author of At War With Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump.

And Adam, let me start with you. I thought your piece on this -- I have been thinking a lot about this. And I don`t think I`m that shocked by it. But I still find it deeply, deeply troubling. What it means to have this segment of workers, police officers, react in this way to the vaccine?


ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, it`s an expression of the sort of underlying ideology of police unions which is that their behavior does not need -- it should not be restricted under any circumstance. But you have to do whatever they say when they want you to say it. And they`re also cross pasture.

Look, police unions are aware that COVID HAS killed far more police officers than violence. Something like 600 police officers in the last two years have been killed by COVID, or since COVID emerged. You know, if 600 police officers had been shot down in the street, the country might be under martial law.

But because police officers lean conservative, their membership`s anti- vaccine ideology has become a part of, you know, conservative political beliefs. The unions want to encourage their members to get the vaccine but they`re going to oppose any mandates, despite the fact that people don`t have a choice if they interact with police.

You know, if a cop stops you, you don`t get to say well, I guess I`m just not going to talk to him because I don`t know if he`s vaccinated or not. So, this is something that should be required for all public-facing employees, not just police officers. But it`s something that police unions are opposing, because they understand how Trumpy their membership is.

HAYES: Professor, do you think this is -- this is distinct and new what we`re seeing, this sort of the kind of right-wing backlash? It seems to me intensifying and growing in certain ways, even as we`re getting lots of folks with all sorts of ideological backgrounds getting vaccinated day by day, luckily. But the resistance is really there. And I wonder what you -- what framework you view it through.

AMY FRIED, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF MAINE: Well, what I`d say is, it`s both tied to a very long kind of historical tendency. You know, something that we talk about -- my co-author, Doug Harris, and I talk about in this new book of how conservatives have promoted distrust in government for various strategic reasons.

But even though it`s been something that`s been around for a while, I completely agree that it has been also intensifying. And at times, it has been linked to issues around health. You could go back to the discussions about Florida`s -- putting fluoride into drinking water in the 1940s through 1960s, calling that a communist plot.

And really all of the discussions about health policy where instead of seeing the increase of coverage for people with various kinds of health policies as a positive, collective good, presenting it as a threat to freedom. And you know, we saw that recently with ObamaCare, certainly. But really, you can go back even when, you know, Harry Truman was first introducing health policies.

HAYES: You know, what`s so what I find so maddening here, Adam, is the way that safety and security gets weaponized towards certain ends, and certain things count as that and certain things don`t. So, you know, roughing up "bad guys" or you know, arresting bad guys or patrolling the thin blue line that that prevents, you know, the sort of hordes from overwhelming civilization, like that safety, that security, that`s like the righteous serving and protecting. But getting a shot or wearing a mask, like that`s for -- that`s emasculating, or that for like other people.

But it`s this -- like, you`re more likely as both a police officer to get COVID and die COVID. And also in facing the public, like that`s a real threat to people`s safety, and it just doesn`t compute is the same thing.

SERWER: Well, I mean, this is one of those instances where something seems hypocritical, but it`s actually ideological which is that they believe they are exempt from the rules that everybody else has to follow. But you are not exempt. And you`re particularly not exempt from their directives, but they should be exempt from yours.

And that is a problem because police officers serve the public. Their authority is granted to them by the public. It`s not something they have inherently as police officers. It is a legitimacy that comes you know, from the people`s support for what they do. And so, you know, what`s happened here is that despite the fact that COVID has killed so many police officers, it`s not politically salient to the political agenda of police unions.

They want to oppose progressive politicians. They want to oppose police perform. They want to o oppose restrictions on the behavior of police officers. And COVID doesn`t actually go into that. You can`t -- you can`t blame a crime wave on COVID. Or you can`t say, you know, because COVID is killing police officers, you shouldn`t -- you shouldn`t put restraints on our use of force.

So, it`s just something -- despite the fact that it is killing so many officers, they just don`t see it as you know, something that they can use politically.

HAYES: Professor Fried, I wonder what you think the effects of increasing requirements will be given all this distrust that has been cultivated for so long and intensifying in certain circles, whether it`s employers, school districts, or the government at some point.

FRIED: I think to the extent that things are mandated, they`re going to be hard for people to resist because people do want to continue to go to school or send their children to school. They want to keep the jobs that they have, or you know, at least stay in the same profession. So, I think people will end up following a lot of those rules.

But we`ll also continue to see these very intense kinds of responses and they`re really hyperbolic language, you know, this kind of Nazi Holocaust language that`s continued. And some of it is a kind of effect where there`s some establishment Republicans who probably don`t like this very much, but they`ve been gaining from promoting distrust over time.

Then at the same time, they sometimes cannot control what it is that they`ve kind of promoted and roused over time.

HAYES: Adam Serwer and Amy Fried, thank you both. I appreciate it.

OK, I`m about to show you footage of an interrogation of the Republican Attorney General of the State of South Dakota, a statewide officeholder. He was questioned last year after a hit and killed a man with his car which he claimed he thought was a deer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not see him the night before. I did not know there was a human until the next day. I do not know what it was a man until the next day. I did not find him until the next day. I mean, it pains me tremendously to hear that his face went through the windshield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things haven`t been straightforward by any means. In fact, some people would call you a liar.


HAYES: OK, I`m not sure if you heard all that. But there`s a lot to that story, including the Attorney General`s stunning new plea deal. We`re going to get to all of that right after this break. Do not go anywhere.



HAYES: On the evening of September 12, 2020, a 55-year-old man named Joe Beaver was walking on the shoulder of a South Dakota road. He was carrying a flashlight likely on his way to his truck which had broken down. And he was struck by a car and killed.

The car was being driven by this man. That`s Jason Ravnsborg. He just so happens to be the Attorney General of the State of South Dakota. Now, Attorney General Ravnsborg was on his phone while driving. In fact, he was reading conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and China. He put the phone down and about a minute later, he struck and killed Joe Beaver with his car. About a minute or two after that, he called 911.


JASON RAVNSBORG, ATTORNEY GENERAL, SOUTH DAKOTA: Well, Ally, this -- well, ally, I`m the Attorney General. And I am -- I don`t know. I hit something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hit something?

RAVNSBORG: By Highmore, Highmore, and it was in the middle of the road. It sure hit me, smashed my windshield.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no. OK, do you think it was a deer or something?

RAVNSBORG: I have no idea.


RAVNSBORG: It could be.


HAYES: Ravnsborg later told police he thought it was a deer, that he hit a deer as a 911 dispatcher suggested. But watch this clip from recording the second police interview with the Attorney General which they present him with evidence that the victim`s glasses were found inside his car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, did you see the glasses right next to that?

RAVNSBORG: I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You showed me the glasses the first time.

RAVNSBORG: The first time, there Jill`s glasses. I`m wondering -- I wondered about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that means his face came through the windshield. His glasses are right there, Jason. Those are Jill`s.

RAVNSBORG: I did not -- I did not see the glasses until you showed it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, the only way for them to get there is through the windshield. We also have the imprint on the hood, where his body -- or at least part of his body likely was riding. At some point in time, he rolls off, takes off the mirror, and slides into the ditch. I want you to be -- I want you to be really honest, right now.

RAVNSBORG: I am. I never saw him.


HAYES: So, the South Dakota Attorney General struck that man, Joe Beaver, so hard that his face came through the windshield and his glasses landed inside the Attorney General`s car. And in this photo of the car, you can see the crumpled imprint of the hood, the detectives referenced, and the badly smashed windshield with a hole in it.

The AG says that he and the sheriff who responded to his 911 call did not see the body, even though cell phone data indicates they walked right by it. That evening, the sheriff loan Ravnsborg a car to drive home. On his way to return the car the next day, the Attorney General says he -- well, he pulled over and he found the body of Joe Beaver, which he then reported the sheriff.

So, what is the endgame of all this? Was Jason Ravnsborg removed from public office. Was he charged with anything? Well, I think you can see where we`re going here. Yesterday, the Attorney General pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from the accident. He paid $1,000 in fines and he is still Attorney General of South Dakota.

Tom Kludt is a journalist who wrote perhaps some of the most definitive piece on this bizarre and tragic saga for Vanity Fair and he joins me now. Tom, first, just tell us a little bit about who Ravnsborg is, what his reputation is, what kind of politician he is.


TOM KLUDT, CONTRIBUTOR, VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE: Yes, I mean, I think he`s still a relative unknown. You know, he ran for public office for the first time in 2014 in what was a quixotic bid for U.S. Senate. He finished last in the Republican primary that year. But you know, in a state of this size with fewer than a million people, you can really pound pavement, you can cultivate these meaningful contacts and build a name for yourself that way. And he did that in the integral.

And by 2018, four years after that Senate bid, he was elected Attorney General. You know, it held that he had an R next to his name. Democrats haven`t had an AG here since the 70s. It really is a state that`s dominated by one party rule. And so, he`s a pretty garden variety conservative.

You know, he`s definitely toe the line with Trump. And he just has conducted himself as you`d expect the Republican Attorney General in these parts would.

HAYES: We should note that the he was one of the Attorney General joined that Texas lawsuit seeking to essentially block the electoral votes of four other states that would have overturned the election. So, this happens.

Now, the key detail here that`s so crazy to me is he hits this man, he calls 911, and claims he doesn`t know what he hit, and then doesn`t go to check that night. It`s the next day that he on the way back to return this loaner car pulls, over and discovers the body. Is that correct?

KLUDT: Well, it`s partially correct. I mean, he claims to have conducted a search that night with his cell phone flashlight. And in that video that you showed with the special agents from North Dakota, you know, that was a huge source of skepticism for them. They kept noting that the victim`s body was lily white. He`d been stripped of his clothing over the course of the crash. And that, you know, if he had been using his cell phone flashlight, that would have illuminated the body, not to mention the victims flashlight itself which those agents referred to as a beacon.

You know, in their recreation of the scene, they went back out there, they placed the flashlight where it was, and in their own words, it was -- it was basically unmissable. And so, I think that`s what`s fueling a lot of the skepticism surrounding Ravnsborg`s account here. I mean, for one, you know, in South Dakota, you live here long enough, you drive the roads. Invariably, you`re going to have a brush with wildlife on the highway. You just are.

You`re going to have a close call with a deer or a raccoon. You`re going to hit one yourself. And it`s a pretty unmistakable experience. And there are a lot of telltale signs to that, namely, animal fur on the grill. And all of that was absent. And so, I think that you also have to point to, you know, what Ravnsborg himself said in the 911 call, the ambiguity and what he tells the dispatcher.

He didn`t say -- he didn`t say he hit an animal. He said he hit something. It wasn`t about a minute he tell into the conversation with the dispatcher floated that as a possibility. And so, you know, all together, you just have this sense that something isn`t adding up.

It`s been very difficult to find many people who are sympathetic to Ravnsborg`s version of events. He talk to people anecdotally over the course of my reporting. It just -- it just doesn`t pass the smell test for them that he didn`t have at least an inkling that he hit a man that night.

HAYES: Yes, let me just play -- you mentioned the flashlight. I think the flashlight was still on when the body was found. So, I think the police believe it would have been shining that night. And here`s that exchange about the flashlight. Did you not see the flashlight? Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got another question for you, OK. Did you see the flashlight he was carrying?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever? When you walk back to town?

RAVNSBORG: No. There was no flashlight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pitch dark out there, right? And with it being pitch dark -- we went out and tested it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we picked up the flashlight. The flashlight was still on when Joe and I got to the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It had not been touched. We picked it up and the light is still on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked to a witness that had just seen the light, had seen him walk with a light. A flashlight was like a beacon.

RAVNSBORG: I don`t know if I turned around at the wrong spot. I don`t know. I did not see a flashlight.


HAYES: Very quickly, Tom. What is his future now? He has got pleaded to this misdemeanor and he`s still in office.

KLUDT: Yes. I mean, I just mentioned a moment ago that it`s been difficult to find many backers of Ravnsborg, and that`s particularly true in the political realm. Governor Kristi Noem has called on him repeatedly to resign. She did so again yesterday. And his predecessor, a man named Marty Jackley has already announced plans to run for attorney general next year, setting up the prospect of contested convention between the two of them.


And so, it`s difficult, especially right now, in the immediate aftermath where the trial, the case is still fresh, it`s difficult to see a very bright political future for this guy. But he`s given no indication that he`s going to step down.

In his statement that he put out yesterday, he remained pretty defiant and he talked about the work that remain to be done.

And so, I see no indication as of now that he`s going to resign. There is a possibility that legislators could bring impeachment articles once again. But for now, Jason Ravnsborg is digging in his heels.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tom Kludt, it`s great reporting. Thank you so much, really appreciate it.

Ahead, what happens when a Republican administration ends in widespread catastrophe from a historic crisis to a public health disaster to a forever war, the triage required of Democratic administrations after this.


HAYES: Horror of the Kabul airport bombing is coming more into focus today with the news that 13 U.S. service members and now, as we`ve learned up to 170 Afghan civilians were killed in the blast.


HAYES: Keep in mind, these were desperate people outside an airport desperately trying to escape carnage.

NBC News has confirmed the names of some of those U.S. service members killed. I want to take a second to name the Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, Lance Corporal David Espinoza, Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, Corporal Hunter Lopez and Navy Corpsman Max Soviak. Many of them were infants or toddlers on 9/11 itself.

Yesterday was a brutal day for the country, for this country, for Afghanistan, for Afghans for their families and loved ones that I don`t have the names of the folks that died who were Afghan.

And I have to say, I found the bad faith, gross, almost gleeful chest- beating by Republicans in the immediate aftermath of what happened yesterday pretty disgusting. Because this is now the second time in 12 years as a journalist and just an adult American citizen, that I have watched and covered a Republican administration that ushered in catastrophe in crisis on a host of fronts, and then leaving it for a Democratic administration to come in and fix.

I mean, the first time, of course, involved the worst financial crisis in 70 years, and a possible run on the banks during the George W. Bush administration, not to mention two wars that were going terribly. And not only did that mess get passed off to Barack Obama by Republicans, but they immediately started turning around saying, where are the jobs and why are you bailing out the banks and the deficit? That`s the country that the last Democratic president was handed.

Now, fast forward 12 years, just sitting in a country that was handed over to Joe Biden, a global pandemic, in which the U.S. performed terribly. More than 600,000 Americans dead, millions of people out of work, millions unable to pay their rent as a result.

And crucially, millions are under the sway of a political movement led by that former president feeding them disinformation and constant lies about both democracy and public health.

And under these conditions, the Biden ministration has done an incredible job on a number of fronts. The vaccine rollout was an amazing bit of logistics and competence, passing the big recovery bill that included a new child tax credit to help families badly in need of assistance, managing the recovery in the economy, which is now trending the right way. Wages are finally rising swiftly.

And they have also had places where they have fallen short and even messed up very, very badly. There are many immigration facilities, for example, for minors that remain awful. We`ve reported on whistleblowers who talked about that, even if some of them are improvement from the Trump administration.

Another issue, global vaccine distribution, which is of the utmost importance is nowhere near where it needs to be. And it is true that many folks, members of Congress, veterans groups, human rights groups warn this White House, the Biden administration about the backlog of special visas for Afghans for months. And those warnings, well, they went pretty unheeded.

But again, why is Joe Biden the one ending this war after 20 years? One answer is because Donald Trump was too much of a coward to actually do it. Donald Trump could have gotten the U.S. out entirely Mr. End the Endless Wars could have done it.

He sent a Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the head of the Taliban three times in February, September and November of 2020. He made plans to pull out but he never did it. So, it was passed off to the new administration. And this happening on Joe Biden`s watch, it was left to this administration to coordinate how the U.S. would get out and now the evacuation no more than as of this count 110,000 people.

That evacuation meant that American service members are put in a vulnerable position trying to get people out and yesterday, the worst imaginable happened at those airport gates.

Now, let me be clear, Joe Biden is the President of the United States, and this happened while he`s president, there should be congressional hearings, there should be oversight, absolutely.

But I just cannot stomach watching feckless Republicans and right-wing T.V. personalities callously carping about this, particularly the purveyors of the same war and war nonsense that have gotten us to this point.

When we come back, I`ll talk to someone who is involved in cleaning up the last Republican mess and has a deep understanding of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, next.



HAYES: There has been too much tragedy to bear in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, both U.S. service members and Afghan civilians. And there are times you have to ask yourself what is the mission? Why did this happen? Because the mission for much of that time was unclear. It was unclear, you know, as soon as bin Laden got away, probably.

But the mission of the 13 U.S. service members that died for -- who died yesterday was a clear one. It was to get Americans and our allies out of Afghanistan. They were there on the frontlines saving lives. They gave their lives for it.

And after their deaths, the mission continued. According to the administration, roughly 12,500 people were evacuated between yesterday and this morning despite that horrific act of mass murder. And that`s a point of pride for all the service members taking part in this mission, they did and continue to do their jobs.

Ben Rhodes serves as Deputy National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, worked on the Iran nuclear deal. He`s author of After the Fall: Being American in the World We`ve Made and he joins me now.

Ben, I want to just first start on this, this sort of, you know, cleaning up other messes kind of point. I mean, I guess the first question I want to ask you is, when you look at this, do you think like, we should have done this, we should have gotten out of there 10 years ago, and it was a mistake not to and we left it for this administration to have to deal with?


BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, Chris, look, I don`t think the U.S. could have just withdrawn from Afghanistan, because nine in part because -- the reality is because of the war in Iraq, in 2009, Al- Qaeda was at its strongest point in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11.

And so, clearly, there was a necessity of counterterrorism action that ultimately led to take out bin Laden.

I do believe that the surge of forces in 2009 in retrospect was a mistake and ended up prolonging this war. So, it was necessary to finish the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan in the early Obama years. I think, obviously, this war got extended beyond the point of us being a constructive force in Afghanistan.

HAYES: You know, you`ve written about Benghazi and the -- both the sort of run up to it, the after-action reports. And I think a lot of the sort of awful soul searching that went through people in that administration about it, because it was a horrible tragedy, and four Americans lost their lives.

And you could already see the makings of that happening within seconds, within minutes of the news yesterday, right? You have like an actual thing that happened, a horrible attack. And then very immediately, the kind of political machinations of folks in the Republican Party about like how we use this.

And I`m wondering, as someone who lived through that in the wake of Benghazi, your reaction to seeing those tweets and those calls yesterday?

RHODES: Well, I think, look, Chris, this is not informed by some sincere concern about American foreign policy. This is entirely a disingenuous effort to inflict political damage on.

I mean, there`s no proportionality. There`s no perspective. There`s no honesty on how these issues are handled.

I mean, when four service members were killed in Niger, when Donald Trump was president, nobody investigated a thing.

You know, so this is not about, you know, evaluating congressional oversight responsibilities. This is about viewing wars. Wars that were started by George W. Bush, and fervently supported by a Republican Party that has basically given a blank check for the prosecution of these wars, people die in wars, terrible things happen.

And when you have one political party that is just seeking to cynically manipulate any event for its own political gain, it`s no wonder that the United States can engage in nation-building in other countries.

How can a country that has a politics like this, that has mobs of people storming our own Congress think that somehow, we`re going to create the structure for governance in Kandahar?

So, I think what the Republican Party has done, and civically, you know, manipulating the politics of national security and kind of turning it into this never-ending identity politics issue and series of investigations into whoever the Democrat is, is significantly undermined American leadership in the world in our ability to conduct a competent foreign policy.

HAYES: What do you think about also -- I mean, are you able to separate the sort of execution of the end of this and the flaws there have been in that, the mistakes and the the end of the project? Because I think those two have run together and there`s people who say, well, no, you`re trying to tar everyone who says the administration did a bad job, you know, facilitating these visas as war hawks.

And then, there`s other people who are like, clearly want to sustain Afghanistan forever. And those two voices are very mixed together in this sort of criticism and debate.

RHODES: Yes, I think I could separate it. And first of all, this is tied to the inheritance point, Donald Trump negotiated the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan.

He negotiated an agreement with the Taliban that cut out the Afghan government in which if they didn`t shoot at us, we would leave. And he went down to 2,500 troops, which is not even enough troops to protect our forces in Afghanistan by the time he left office.

That`s what was left to Joe Biden, a big part of the reason why the Afghan National Security Forces collapsed as fast as they did is a lot of Afghan commanders and the Afghan regional governors cut the exact same deal with the Taliban that Donald Trump did, because they could see the writing on the wall. Don`t shoot us and we won`t fight you.

Now, I do think that when you look at the execution of the withdrawal, I think the glaring challenge has been the evacuation of vulnerable Afghans, people who worked with us, as well as Americans.

And the reality is you had a window of time between the announcement of the withdraw and the fall of Kabul where not enough people got out and that contributed to the really wrenching humanitarian circumstance we see now where we`re trying to get as many Afghans out and hopefully, we can welcome them here at home if the Republican Party doesn`t try to slam the door in their face.

HAYES: All right, Ben Rhodes, thanks so much for joining me tonight.

RHODES: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Earlier this month, Congressman Cori Bush, you might remember slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to save the eviction moratorium.

Late last night, the Supreme Court struck it down. Congressman Bush says she isn`t giving up the fight, she joins me next.



HAYES: Late last night, the conservatives on the Supreme Court ended the Biden administration`s moratorium on evictions to protect tenants. The court issued an eight-page unsigned opinion, so I don`t know which conservatives it is, maybe all of them, maybe five of them. But the three liberal justices dissented in it.

And the legal questions here are I have to say genuinely difficult but the context is that, again, the U.S. is still in the midst of the pandemic. We just had 2,000 deaths I think today, it`s one of the deadliest public health crises in American history, evictions could help accelerate the spread of the deadly virus that we have spent a year and a half fighting. And it was under that logic that the moratorium was put in place.

But here`s the craziest part of this story and the one that I just cannot let go. No one in America should be facing eviction, not one person. And landlords should all get their money and be made whole.

And the reason for that is because Congress passed and the President signed an appropriation bill with over $46 billion for rental assistance.


HAYES: That amount is approximately twice -- get this, the amount of total rental debt in the United States. That`s been made available and to be distributed to renters.

And yet, as of July, only $0.11 on the dollar of that money has actually been given out. That`s correct, 89 percent of that money that was appropriated by Congress is just sitting there.

There is no world where anyone should be evicted, particularly under these circumstances or were any landlord should not have their money. So, what happened and what happens next?

Cori Bush is a Democratic Congresswoman from Missouri who has personally experienced homelessness earlier this month. She held a vigil on the steps of Capital for five days, sleeping there for three full nights as a way of calling on the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium and she joins me now.

First, Congresswoman, let me just get your reaction when you heard last night that the court in this strange, you know, unsigned opinion had upheld the lower court striking down of the moratorium.

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): You know, it was -- even though we knew that that was a possibility the first night we were out there on the steps, we knew that this was a possibility. But it was like, the air was knocked out of me.

Because again, we`re talking about 11 million people. We`re talking about individuals, our elders, we`re talking about children that will be forced out onto the street. And it is unconscionable, it is cruel, it`s inhumane. And we`re still in the midst of a deadly pandemic. And we get to hear all the time about how deadly it is. You know, people have lost loved ones over and over again. Communities have been just turned upside down.

And now, we are saying that it`s OK. The government is saying that it`s OK to just send people out to the streets.

HAYES: So, there are a few different ways that can proceed here. I mean, there are states like California, for instance, which has an eviction moratorium. We should note that the -- your efforts to push the administration to do this did buy three weeks that wouldn`t have been there, otherwise, just not all was lost. You can`t run time backwards.

But the biggest thing to me is this money that`s sitting here. Just to read you from the Times reporting, only about 500,000 households reported receiving assistance, another 1.5 million are waiting for approvals, while nearly 700,000 have been rejected.

Those are just the tenants who have tried to get access to the program, over 60 percent of vulnerable renters have not even applied. How do we solve this to get the money into the hands of the people that need it?

BUSH: You know, one thing that I`ve seen in my community, I`m going to speak about St. Louis. You know, we were having trouble getting people to be connected to the funds.

And so, after we slept on the steps for those days, after that protests, I spoke with leaders in my community, and our community put together clinics. You know, St. Louis County has clinic set up in our county libraries and our public libraries, so people can come in.

You know, St. Louis City is doing pop ups. You know, this is how we get that -- we get people connected, and we have to be where the people are, you have to go into those communities.

And I`ve caught myself -- this is the thing, Chris, I called myself to see what their process was like in my own community. And I sat on the phone for an hour and a half waiting, you know, I understand that structurally, there were issues, but we have to be able to work through those issues. And people volunteer to help.

You know, we have to get that money out. The landlords need to get that money in their hands so that people can stay in their homes.

I cannot sit by and allow 8,700 people in my community to hit the streets. I can`t allow 11 million people all across this country to hit the streets. I will not. It is violence on people.

HAYES: Yes, I should note this. The reporter for Houston Public Media have tweeted this last night, I`ve been thinking about it. He says yes, there`s a CDC eviction moratorium in the country now. I just met a Houston couple who filed a CDC form, got 7,000 rent relief, their landlord received it but decided to return it and evict them anyway. And then CPS took their baby away because they were unhoused.

And I think that last line everyone should be thinking about about what the cascading effects of eviction are if people get turned out of their houses.

BUSH: Chris, I would move my -- when I was on house with my two babies, both of them were arm babies, they weren`t walking yet. And out -- we would move the vehicle around the city of St. Louis throughout the night, because we didn`t want the police to stop us and for them to take our children from us.

And so, I know what that`s like. Why are we putting people in this position when we have the money? We have the money and we just need more time to get people -- to get people signed up to get this relief.

HAYES: Congresswoman Cori Bush who has been really vital advocate on this issue. Thank you so much for your time tonight, Congresswoman, appreciate it.


HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Friday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.