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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/3/21

Guests: Greg Sargent, Alexander Vindman, Rebecca Traister, Elizabeth Warren, Jelani Cobb


Former President Trump uses disinformation to try to stay in power. President Biden asked the governors of Texas and Florida to please help stop COVID or get out of the way. President Joe Biden is one of the Democrats asking for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign after a damning report came out concluding that the governor sexually harassed 11 women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just issued a new federal moratorium on evictions in areas that have been hit hard by the Delta variant. A new Obama documentary, "Obama In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union," debuts tonight on HBO.


SIMONE BILES, OLYMPIC GYMNAST, TEAM USA: It was just -- it was very emotional and I`m just proud of myself and just all these girls as well.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Biles also said she`s going to let the events of Tokyo sink in before deciding whether to return for the 2024 games in Paris. And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. The fallout from Donald Trump`s failed coup continues. Tonight, how the slow-motion insurrection in Arizona is laying the groundwork to steal the next election.

Then, as the anti-vaxxed death toll climbs, the President takes on the governors of Florida and Texas.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say to these governors, please help. But if you`re not going to help, at least get out of the way.

HAYES: Plus, Rebecca Traister on the Cuomo investigation, and the calls for him to resign.

LETITIA JAMES, ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK: What this investigation revealed was a disturbing pattern of conduct by the governor of the great state of New York.

HAYES: And the surprising results from the protest movement to help Americans avoid a housing disaster. I`ll talk to Senator Elizabeth Warren about the Biden administration`s reversal on the eviction moratorium when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. This may come as something of a surprise if you haven`t been following it closely, but remember the Arizona Republican Party`s election audit that started way back in April. Remember that? It is somehow still going on nearly four months later.

It has been paused for high school graduations. They shipped voting system data Montana for reasons that remain totally unclear. They used blacklights to look for bamboo and the ballots because they thought they could have been made in China. Now, for context about the length of this enterprise, when the state of Georgia announced they would recount that entire state`s votes in November, they kept the length of the recount at just eight days.

This Arizona audit in quotation marks has passed 100 days. They`re only auditing one county. Who the heck knows what they`re doing? There`s very little transparency. More and more Republicans are out are losing their patience with the entire enterprise. In fact, just yesterday, Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors rejected a new subpoena from the State Senate, right, this is the Republican-controlled State Senate calling the audit a "adventure in never -never land."

So, what is the point of this whole embarrassing and cringe-inducing charade? It`s obviously a clown show. It looks ridiculous and incompetent. And you hear all sorts of Republicans in the states grumbling about it, and saying it makes them look bad, and it`s drawn out. And there`s no way to begin to trust anything that comes out of it from this openly pro-Trump company with apparently zero expertise or experience that the New Yorker Jane Mayer reports is also being funded by wealthy right-wing donors.

None of that matters though because that is, of course, not the point of what they`re doing in Arizona. The audit, such as it is, will produce some piece of information, some set of findings which don`t have to be true, in fact, they likely will not be, that will then float through the internet, and will then be repeated by right-wing media figures, both on YouTube and podcasts and Twitter and of course, Fox News. And that will create an impression in people`s minds that there`s -- Oh, there`s some problem here. Oh, they -- you know, I heard they found something.

And people will then cite that whenever it comes out of it in the way that Donald Trump told his acting Attorney General back in December of last year, you guys may not be following the internet the way I do. That`s as he tried to convince him to declare the 2020 election corrupt.

It`s the same way that people cite the internet when they say they`re, "doing their own research on the vaccine. Like, oh, I read this thing about how it does this or that. That`s the point of what we`ve come to call disinformation. Not information, it`s disinformation. It`s it releases false information into the atmosphere as a kind of pollutant where not even false, it might be narrowly true but just distracting. And that pollutant mixes with the other molecules and information in the air and it becomes increasingly hard for people to distinguish because well, we breathe in the bad air and the good all mixed together.

The disinformation doesn`t have to be persuasive. It doesn`t have to look competent or correct. Just look at what`s going on in Maricopa County. It just has to be out there. That`s it. That`s the point of the Arizona audit. And it is the latest in a long line of disinformation coming from the right and particularly from Donald Trump because give him this. That is a man who understands the power of disinformation as well as anyone.

It does not have to be provable. In fact, it`s best if it`s not. It`s best if someone is just asked question as if there is some kind of hidden MacGuffin, just past the horizon that will reveal all but that we never find, which is of course a Trump specialty.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m trying to find out, you know, where`s the birth certificate?

Why did he spend millions of dollars on trying to stay away from this issue? Why doesn`t he give his birth certificate?

What happened to Hillary Clinton`s e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone, just gone.

Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server.

Haven`t they taken the server? Because I still ask the FBI, where is the server? How come the FBI never got the server from the DNC? Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?

And what about the whistleblower? The whistleblower got it all wrong. Who`s the whistleblower? Who is the whistleblower? Who is the whistleblower? We have to know.

And where is the person that gave the whistleblower the information? Because is that person the spy or does that person even exist?

The county as for whatever reason, also refuse to produce the network routers? We want the routers. Why are these commissioners fighting not to give the routers? How simple could it be?

Now, think of this. You had 205,000 more ballots than you had voters. That means you had -- where did they come from?


HAYES: Again, it`s all nonsense. It does -- what does it mean with the routers, the servers, the this, the that, it doesn`t mean anything. It`s nonsense. What is he talking about? It doesn`t matter. The sheer volume of disinformation and confusion make it difficult for people to see clearly. But it also gives people a thing to talk about. Like, oh, where`s the router? Where`s the server? It smudges up our view.

That was what the Trump campaign did in 2016, of course, very effectively with Hillary Clinton`s e-mails and the WikiLeaks postings. Most of it was just meaningless trivia that meant nothing. But just because it was out there, was the thing to talk about, the way to frame the Clinton campaign and Donald Trump understood that was useful to him and he used it.

And that works so well in 2016 that Trump tried to rerun the exact play against Joe Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election. We saw Trump going to these insane, almost comically preposterous lengths to get the Ukrainian president of all people to announce he was opening investigation into the Bidens.

It was never about the content of said investigation. It was never about the actual facts of the matter and what happened. Those were completely immaterial from the beginning because Trump understood the powerful disinformational force that would be released through the atmosphere. That some guy, most Americans ever heard of, the president of the Ukraine, just announcing, speaking the words, there is an investigation into the Bidens, Hunter Biden. Oh, my gosh, you see that there`s an investigation of Hunter Biden, the corrupt Hunter Biden. I saw how there was investigation on Hunter Biden. It`s just to think now that`s out there. You got to deal with it.

The way Hillary Clinton`s missing e-mails that she bleached or whatever just floating out there. The way some piece of information about the terrible things vaccines do to you now just take up space in our social atmosphere. False, totally false. It doesn`t matter. It just floating out there. You can`t stuff it back from wherever it came. Trump understood and understands that.

That`s why he went to these absurd lengths with this ragtag group of clowns crawling over themselves, including Rudy Giuliani to try to get the Ukrainian president to announce this investigation. And when no one else was able to do it, not for the lack of trying, Trump himself goes and puts the screws to Volodymyr Zelensky in the infamous phone call that led to his impeachment.

The President of Ukraine, Zelensky, told Trump that he wanted to buy more American weapons. Remember, they`re waiting on the weapons. Trump responded, I would like you to do us a favor, though. And the favor was producing a piece of disinformation. That was the deliverable. That was the point of it. He didn`t care about what the investigation found. He just wants the announcement. Announce you`re investigating. When that plan failed, guess what, undeterred, Trump stuck with the same strategy.

Constantly, scurrilously, recklessly, falsely floating theories about mail fraud and voter fraud in those big cities like Philadelphia where there just happened to be a lot of black voters. Oh, it`s all going to be rigged before the election. And then of course, intensifying after, trying to rerun the same play he ran the Ukrainian president, this time trying to rerun it with his own acting Attorney General, where he comes to him and he says, as simply as you possibly can, just save the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressman. Again, just produce the bit of disinformation I need from you. I just need you to say it`s corrupt, we`ll take care of the rest, because he understands the power of that disinformation. He just needs a little predicate.


In fact, get this. Just today, ABC News reports that a top Department of Justice official who is loyal to Trump actually drafted a letter saying the election was corrupt and was thankfully shut down by his superiors. Here`s the letter. The Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for the President of the United States, the draft letter said. The department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress, but at this time, we`ve identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia.

That was a lie, of course, but can you imagine if the DOJ had released that publicly? How close we came. Just that idea released out in the atmosphere, that bit of disintegration, the Attorney General declares the election corrupt. Ukraine is launching investigation into the Bidens. The Arizona audit has found ballot discrepancies.

Truth doesn`t matter in any of this. This is this stuff emanating, polluting the atmosphere that we all breathe, the informational atmosphere. It is really at this moment quite literally undermining both American public health and American democracy at the same time.

The Republican Party, those will Donald Trump, the conservative movement doing whatever it can to get official-sounding institutions to parrot Trump`s lies. That`s the entire goal of all this. And it is wreaking unbelievable damage. And it hasn`t stopped. And it`s not going to stop. And guess what, we`re going to have more elections.

As Greg Sargent writes in his column, the Plum Line in the Washington Post, "it seems increasingly plausible that we`ll see an effort to steal the 2024 presidential election if the Democratic candidate wins by a margin close enough to permit it. Indeed, whether this effort does or does not end up happening, a host of bad actors are already laying the groundwork for it right now via the execution of a simple mission. And Greg Sargent joins me now.

You know, Greg, there`s sort of two parallel issues here and they`re -- and they`re related. But there`s the question of well, did the institutions hold, right? And you know, Raffensperger rebuffs Trump. And Jeffrey Rosen, the Attorney General, rebuffs Trump. And Jeff Lee Clark, the man who wrote that letter, that unbelievable letter that is a shameful piece of work product that should be tarred -- that should be tarred with the rest of his career in life, that guy, Jeffrey Clark, he failed also, right?

But, but, but, but the legitimacy problem is a deeper one. And that`s what you`re writing about. That`s where so much of this is doing independent of whether the institutional players do.

GREG SARGENT, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I thought it was really important that you connected the Ukraine scandal directly to that quote that we just got from Trump to the high-level Justice Department official, because in both those cases, all that was asked for was a mere announcement as kind of a smokescreen of doubt and uncertainty. That was the ask.

It took us all very long time to figure out that in the Ukraine scandal, he never had any intention of actually finding any. Although, of course, if he had found one thing or another, that he could have twisted into something, he would have used that, but the announcement was the key.

I thought there was a really telling quote in Jane Mayer`s piece which was just a great piece of work. One of the lawyers for Trump kind of cheerfully said to Jane Mayer, oh, you know, I don`t know if we`ll ever know who really won Georgia. And you know, the only solution is to have another election. It was a quote like that. And there it was all in plain sight, right?

The basic idea there was, well, we can`t really know who won, so we`ve got to take another route here to resolve this. And that`s really the game.

HAYES: Yes, precisely. And that`s what -- and that`s what makes the Arizona enterprise so toxic and so destructive as manifestly absurd as it is, as we`re watching it. As we`re watching more and more Republicans in the state say, this is outrageous and has to stop. Whatever it produces will then be entered into some cannon among some part of the population as either the truth and with some other set of the population like, oh, I don`t know, what -- do we ever -- who`s right on that? I can`t remember.

SARGENT: Right. And I think we really need to think of the sort of the in the twofold way. One is it`s sort of keeping the troops steeled for the next battle, right? To the degree that people can whatever segment we`re really talking about activists, some portion of the Republican official and so forth, can remain persuaded or at least continue to say that they remain persuaded that this -- that the outcome was dubious, they`ll be steel for a much more aggressive push next time. But also, it`s got to be seen as a kind of an dry run for the next time too.

Right before our eyes, as we speak, we`re seeing numerous efforts to manufacture, test runs really, but manufacturing uncertainty about outcomes, using whatever means are available, whatever it`s an audit, whether it`s the investigation in Georgia, right? Whether it was the thing that Trump did asking the attorney -- the Attorney General to put out a statement saying that the outcome was corrupt. These are all tests, right.

The next time, we`re going to see if, you know, we could very well avoided that there are all sorts of scenarios by which we avoid the worst. But I think it`s highly (AUDIO GAP) that we -- that if t it`s very close, they`ll really come up with some sort of new way to do it. And then we see a Republican legislature sending, you know, a broad set of electors, and then I think all bets are off.


HAYES: Greg Sargent who`s been following this very closely and writing about it so well, thank you so much.

SARGENT: Thanks.

HAYES: I want to bring in someone you might be familiar with and might not have heard of -- heard from for a while, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. He was a former director for European Affairs for the National Security Council, author of the new book Here, Right Matters: An American Story, which is an account of his life and his career and his decision to expose Donald Trump`s abuse of power which, of course, led to the former president`s first impeachment.

Colonel Vindman, it`s good to have you hear. You write about in the book this sort of shock of hearing the brazenness of the ask on the phone call. And I want you to just talk about what it was like to hear that in your context for understanding precisely what was happening in the moment when it happened.

ALEXANDER VINDMAN, FORMER DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Sure. So, certainly, in the book, I relay this - - the whole background before the -- before this call is enterprise unfolding over the course of multiple months. What was brazen and beyond the pale was the President`s own direct hand being the driving force in seeking to undermine a free and fair election, undermine the very foundation of how our government has operated for more than 200 years, the peaceful transition of power following free and fair elections. That was what was brazen about it.

The fact that this enterprise was unfolding is something that we were watching for many months. We thought it was, you know, Trump toadies, proxies seeking to ingratiate themselves, even all the way up to Mick Mulvaney, the president`s chief of staff. It`s the President`s own actions directly that how alarmed me and necessitated I take my concerns to other officials in the White House.

HAYES: So, you -- did you have a view -- I mean, my sense that from the book is that you`re -- in some ways you couldn`t quite bring yourself to believe that he himself would be the driver behind this, that this was opportunistic people in his circle. And it`s in the moment of the phone call where it`s like, oh, this is -- his driving this.

VINDMAN: So, as a -- as an Army officer, 21 years of service, I have this reverence for the Office of the President, reverence for the chain of command, and the Office of the President in particular. And I somehow rationalize that it couldn`t be that the President was behind this, this brazen act, this brazen assault on our democracy. And really, you know, I couldn`t deny it anymore, because it`s staring right in front of me.

And that`s what makes the president such a powerful weapon for disinformation, whether it`s his own or the information he carries on behalf of other governments, you know, that simpatico with our interests. It`s because the president -- the Office of the President is so revered that it`s hard to fathom the President is the corrupt individual.

HAYES: So, did you understand -- when you talked about disinformation, did you understand the role that ask which was to produce a bit of disinformation had, why that was important and what why that was the deliverable that he was so obsessed with seeking?

VINDMAN: Sure. It was readily apparent to me that he was just -- because I certainly had done the due diligence and inquired whether there was anything to substantiate, you know, the President`s -- at that point, it wasn`t the President`s, but the President`s men, their accusations into president -- Vice President Biden`s corruption.

And I did the due diligence. There was nothing to it. And having gone through that, the next question would be, you know, why is the president pushing this? And it was for a dirty -- it`s for dirty tricks, a dirty tricks campaign to undermine his most viable opponent in the upcoming election. He was present in that he recognized that President Biden would be the most likely person to defeat him. And he was looking for every way to hang on and tarnish President Biden and he came really, really close to it.

We were on the cusp of President Biden being tarred with this stain of corruption, and potentially not making it through the primaries, and the President running against another candidate that maybe was more beatable. And then we would have been subjected to four more years.

And one of the things I take away from your segment right before I came on is that it`s public servants that are doing their job that`s going to be critical to keeping the ship on course. And the other thing is shining a light on these are these -- on these lies and not letting somebody get away with just making some sort of false accusation and moving on.


HAYES: Final question for you. As you watch all this play out, the run-up to the election, the post-election period culminating in January 6, and the second impeachment trial, when you watch that, when you`re -- I don`t know if you`re watching the television on the day of January 6, but what was going through your mind as you watch that unfold?

VINDMAN: My first thought is what I can -- what can I do to defend democracy. And my first instinct was probably not the best it`s instinct was a counter-protest, which would have probably fed right into the president`s plans and, you know, created more chaos and allowed him to invoke the insurrection act.

But my immediate -- my first thought was what can we do? And what I did was I launched a campaign through the Renewed Democracy Initiative about what democracy means to me, spoke about how we could maybe bring the country together instead of separating us apart. And that`s fundamentally one of the messages I tried to communicate in my book, something positive, affirmative, how we could move forward.

It`s not an impeachment story. It`s about an American trying to do the right thing in the right way leveraging every tool in his background to try to get to do the right thing.

HAYES: Colonel Alexander Vindman whose new book Here, Right Matters: An American Story is out today. Thanks so much for your time.

VINDMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Today, President Biden had words for three different governor, none of them were good. Ahead, why he told Abbott and DeSantis to get out of the way. Plus, his calls for the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a big deal. That`s coming up next.



HAYES: COVID cases are rising sharply across the country, up more than 100 percent in 40 states plus D.C. Leaders are starting to take much more significant steps to try and curb the spread. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that starting in September, people will need proof of vaccination for a number of indoor activities like working out at the gym or eating indoors.

And in Louisiana, which is the highest rate of code infections in the world at present, Governor John Bel Edwards just ordered an indoor mask mandate. But in Florida, where cases have risen by more than 165 percent and hospitalizations break new records every day, Governor Ron DeSantis continues to downplay the virus, focusing instead on making sure schools don`t require masks. In Texas, where cases and hospitalizations are also surging, Governor Greg Abbott is going on Fox News to complain about the Biden administration`s draconian safety precautions while blocking local governments from instituting even basic steps like mask requirements.

Well, today, President Biden called out both governors to start taking COVID seriously or get out of the way.


BIDEN: These two states, Florida and Texas, account for 1/3 of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country, just two states. Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren`t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.

I say to these governors, please help. But if you`re not going to help, at least get out of the way. The people are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.


HAYES: It was a sharp rebuke from a sitting president clearly growing frustrated with Republican abstinence when it comes to saving the lives of people in their states. Those weren`t the harshest words Biden had today for a sitting governor. He saved those for the Democratic governor of New York. That`s next.




JAMES: Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making inappropriate comments. I believe women, and I believe these 11 women.


HAYES: After a five-months long investigation, the New York Attorney General`s office today released a damning report concluding that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women in violation of federal and state laws. Nine of them are current or former employees, one is state trooper. And all told investigators about a toxic work environment that enabled the governor`s abuse.

One aide said when the governor said inappropriate things, "I was uncomfortable but also acutely aware that I did not want him to get mad. Another said, I would say that that was his if he liked you toxicity. For most people around, you saw the if he hated you toxicity.

The report also detailed efforts by the governor`s staff to smear at least one of his accusers. Today, in a prerecorded statement, Governor Cuomo denied he ever touched anyone inappropriately and released photos of himself embracing and kissing other people to demonstrate his behavior was unremarkable.

Hours later, New York State Assembly Speaker announced that "It is abundantly clear to me the governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly, Democratic majority, that he can no longer remain in office. Once we receive all relevant documents from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigations as quickly as possible.

Also, the Albany County DA asking for those documents and evidence as part of an ongoing criminal investigation to the Governor`s conduct. Multiple Democrats calling for Governor Cuomo to resign including New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the President of the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you now call on him to resign given the investigators said the 11 women were credible?

BIDEN: I stand by that statement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you now calling on him to resign?



HAYES: Rebecca Traister wrote about the abusive and toxic environment in Gov. Cuomo`s office in a piece of New York magazine back in March. And she joins me now. Rebecca, the President of the United States calling for him to resign which feels like a pretty big moment given how long Cuomo has been able to tough it out and just keep going.

REBECCA TRAISTER, WRITER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It certainly does feel like a big moment. Although I will also say, having reported on these allegations as they were coming out being reported in other places through February and March, that also felt big. State Democrats were calling on him to resign then. And as you say, he took the very Trumpian road of simply saying, nope, I`m denying everything and I`m staying in power, and he`s stayed in power.

So, you know, yes, the pressure is going to be on. The -- you know, the impeachment inquiry is going to happen. But I don`t -- I don`t know how it`s going to end.

HAYES: So, I don`t know if there`s a way for the governor to defend himself that wouldn`t feel objectionable because the substance of the accusations that underlie it are whatever objectionable. But two things that he did today, one was like, I do this with everybody and then like pictures of Barack Obama or George W. Bush hugging hurricane victims felt like a strange defense.

And the other was that oh, well, one of the women who thought I was making a pass at her thought that because she had experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment in the past. What did you think of those defenses?

TRAISTER: Well, so his defense when it came to Charlotte Bennett who is the woman who came forward in the New York Times in the spring with her story of his asking about her dating life, would he -- would she date older men. His excuse is -- his story is I spoke to her in ways I wouldn`t speak to most people and asked her questions about her personal life because I was so anxious to help her.

He said he wanted to help her today. He was concerned about her experience of having been sexually assaulted. I spoke to her in ways I haven`t spoken to other women. In fact, this report and the reporting that I did, and that others did in the spring, is rife with him speaking to women about their dating lives in inappropriate ways, women who worked for him, women who are named and unnamed.

He asked all of them their divorces, have they ever cheated. These are stories that have been told, and in this Attorney General`s report corroborated by multiple contemporaneous sources. So, he`s lying. So, let`s be clear about that. He`s lying when he says, oh, I did this in a way that I don`t usually do with other people. There are lots of other people who are speaking on the record and to the attorney general`s office about his having spoken in exactly the same ways to them.

As for the stuff about, oh, I can`t -- look at all these people who kiss and hug. It is one of the most demeaning things, right? He traffics in diminution, you know. And one of the most demeaning approaches he has here is, oh, I guess nobody can tell the difference between the kind of hug that a politician gives to a hurricane victim. And that was -- that was genuinely -- some of the pictures he put out today were of politicians comforting people who`ve lost their homes and lost loved ones and wrapping them in a hug.

As if that is the same thing as these multiple women who have worked for him told investigators. As if that was remotely comparable, as if people who have been touched inappropriately, kissed inappropriately at work, kissed on the lips inappropriately by their boss, the governor of New York, touched on the back in the midsection, groped as one former executive assistant alleges he did to her, as if the people who are telling those stories somehow can`t tell the difference between the political gesture of physical support through an arm around the shoulder.

And by the way, I should also note, not all of those gestures are always welcome either, right? There is a way in which we have normalized bodily conduct in public, but it doesn`t always sit well with those who are -- who are touched by public figures or in professional settings. But the very notion that it`s just all these accusers who can`t tell the difference between this and regular political public behavior, that is -- you know, it is incredibly insulting that he would try to (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: Yes. And if the audience was the people that hold his fate in their hands in New York assembly Democrats, it didn`t seem to scan very well. Rebecca Traister, thank you so much for joining tonight.

TRAISTER: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: It took widespread outrage and Congresswoman Cori Bush sleeping on the steps of the Capitol in protest to get the White House to change course on the eviction moratorium. Senator Elizabeth Warren was among the high- profile Democrats who went to support the protest on the Capitol steps. She returned there today to congratulate Congresswoman Bush after the reversal from the White House. She joins me to talk about it all ahead.



HAYES: About this time last night, I spoke with a member of Congress, Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri who is sleeping out on the steps of the Capitol for the fourth night protesting the House`s failure to extend the federal moratorium on evictions.


REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): I know what it`s like to have to walk through every single piece of what happens when an eviction is possible in your life, and then what happens when you are actually evicted and what that does to you emotionally, physically, mentally, what it does to your family. Like, it is actual violence on a person, you know, to be evicted. And I don`t wish that on anyone.


HAYES: Well, today, we got word that Congresswoman Bush`s protest appears to work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just issued a new federal moratorium on evictions in areas that have been hit hard by the Delta variant. The order will remain in place until October.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been championing this cause along with her colleague Cori Bush, joining her in the Capitol steps or the weekend to demand the moratorium to be extended. And Senator Warren joins me now.

There was a lot of back and forth among folks about the legality here. People said, look, the CDC issued this. It had been challenged in court. The Supreme Court sort of narrowly let it go. It was going to expire. The White House said, oh, no, we don`t have the legal authority. Now, you get the pronouncement by the CDC. Is this on shaky legal ground in your view?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I don`t think so. Look, we`re in the middle of a pandemic. The CDC has narrowed somewhat the eviction moratorium and focused it on places where the threat from COVID is the greatest. And I think that`s exactly what the CDC is supposed to do. I think they`re on sound legal ground.

HAYES: Do you -- how do you understand what happened here? I mean, this really seemed to me a strange moment. Everyone has known that the deadline. The -- and then a few days beforehand, the White House said, oh, we need statutory authority. We need Congress to handle it because we don`t think we have the legal authority. Then Congress couldn`t do it in time. Then you get the protest. Now, you get the reversal. Like, what -- was no one -- does this just like fell through the cracks? Did someone dropped the ball? Like, how did -- how did this end up here?


WARREN: Look, it is always possible in a big administration that there are lawyers who get ahold of things. And I say that with all deference to lawyers who worry about this pace, who worry about that pace, or what happened the last time we were in court. And they sometimes use that as a way to try to back folks off doing what we all know is the right thing to do.

Because remember the larger context. Congress had already passed a law giving the tools to the states in order to stop an eviction crisis. We`ve already allocated $43 billion. And the states just hadn`t gotten their acts together in too many places, and had only pushed out about $3 billion of that. So, this is a case where it was a crisis that was unfolding and that was unnecessary.

And the way I see it is when Cori Bush said, wait a minute, I know what this is like. She`s spoke from the heart. And she rally people all across this nation and said, this is an important moment. People started pushing back and said, in the middle of a pandemic, we are not going to throw families out on the street. We`re not going to tell people to get out and couch surf and double up with relatives. It`s the wrong thing to do.

We`re going to take a little more time and spend the money that Congress has already allocated, protect the landlords, and protect the tenants. I think what we saw happen is power to the people on this one.

HAYES: OK, so what you just said is so important. And I just want to hammer this home. I got -- I got an e-mail, a very long and thoughtful e-mail from a viewer last night who`s a landlord and said, look, I don`t want to kick - - put anyone out on the street in a pandemic. I actually think that they should renew the moratorium. But it`s sort of an untenable situation. There`s some land -- a lot of landlords that are extremely, you know, wealthy and they can management it, but for some of them can`t, OK.


HAYES: And I wrote back I said, yes. Well, you`re in luck. This is the craziest thing about this entire situation. There`s $45 billion with a B dollars. It`s been authorized by Congress. It has been signed by the President of the United States. It is there. And the states have -- they distributed, I guess, 12 percent of the first 25 billion in funds. OK, so now we`ve got till October. What is -- how are we going to make sure that this money gets out there, so that we can actually like get to the root of the issue here.

WARREN: OK, so now we`re down to fighting state by state. Look, when Congress set this up, they tried to maximize flexibility to each of the states saying, you know your states best, you know where the problems are. We`re going to make sure there`s plenty of money here.

Now, states set something up to make sure people don`t get put out in the street and to make sure that small landlords are fully taken care of. That`s the idea behind it. Some states stepped up and a lot of states didn`t. So, where our attention really needs to turn now is to each of us to our own states. And to say to the states, you`ve got the money, make sure the money is being used to keep people in their homes. To make sure landlords, small landlords don`t get hurt. And to make sure that tenants don`t get hurt, either. God when you got the tools, and you got the money, you think we could get to this solution.

HAYES: I mean, this is the big question now. I mean, you know -- and there`s going to be another legal challenge, and we don`t know what`s going to happen. The clock is ticking. So, I hope we can rectify this. Senator Elizabeth Warren, always good to talk to you. Thank you so much.

WARREN: You bet.

HAYES: There is an incredible new Barack Obama documentary about to drop on HBO. And the movie`s executive producer is a guy by the name of Jelani Cobb. You probably know him. And he`s here with a special sneak preview next.



HAYES: Tonight, a brand new documentary about President Obama debuts on HBO Obama In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, examines how everything Obama did from winning the presidency to how he governed was all seen through the prism of race.


JOHN LEWIS, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: On the day when he was inaugurated, I walked up to him and asked him to sign simply. You wrote on this piece of paper. It was all because of you, John. I said, thank you, Mr. President. He gave me a hug. I hugged him and we both teared up.

CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR AND ACTIVIST: Now you got a Black man in the White House built primarily my Black slaves. That`s the moment that I think all of us of all colors feel very, very deeply. I will never forget that as long as I live.

TA NEHISI COATES, AMERICAN AUTHOR: Rappers and basketball players. That was the range in which Black men existed in the pop culture for the most part. That was it. It was really something beautiful about, you know, seeing something else. This was Black Camelot. How much more American could we get than this?


HAYES: Jelani Cobb was one of the executive producers of the new HBO documentary Obama in Pursuit of a More Perfect Union. It debuts tonight on HBO and HBO Max and he joins me now.

Jelani, as I watched that footage, I thought to myself about the arc of the story of the Obama presidency between that moment 12 years ago of him walking down to be inaugurated and now, and how that informed the project as you guys undertook this.


JELANI COBB, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, OBAMA IN PURSUIT OF A MORE PERFECT UNION: Yes, I mean, so we have this sense now that with all the bedlam that it`s become a kind of daily part of our lives in terms of our politics, that there`s a connection between Obama and his presidency. But the thing that - - watching this documentary and working on this documentary over the course of the years has really cemented is the one to one correlation. You can almost begin to see, you know, the craziness taking form from one section to the next section to the next section. And I think that was one of the one notable things that we got out of -- out of making this film.

HAYES: Explain what you mean by that.

COBB: So, when you look at, you know, for instance, these conversations about, you know, whether or not the 2020 election was legitimate, whether Joe Biden actually won the presidency and so on, we could almost overlook the fact that this is the second consecutive Democratic administration in which a significant plurality of Republicans believe that the occupant of the White House is there illegitimately. And that began, of course, with birtherism.

You know, of course, Donald Trump was responsible for those on both ends was the kind of connective tissue between those two theories. And, you know, this started with birtherism. And when you see the initial fury of the Tea Party movement and their reaction to the Affordable Care Act, and isn`t that really hard to believe that somebody would storm the Capitol on January 6 of this year.

And so, it`s just time after time, you know, looking at this footage. And this is recent history, but time after time, you just see the fingerprints of the past emerging right into the present.

HAYES: There`s also -- you talk a lot about in the documentary -- I want to play this clip of Henry Louis Gates Jr. talking about Du Bois, and the sort of double consciousness that he talked about and how inescapable that was in the Obama presidency and Barack Obama himself. Take a lesson.


HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., AMERICAN LITERARY CRITIC: W. E. B. Du Bois in one of the classics of the black tradition, called the Souls of Black Folk defined the double consciousness of every African American. And Du Bois have one, ever feels his Tunis, and American, and Negro. Two warring ideals in one dark body. There never has been a more classic example of Du Bois` dilemma than Barack Obama in the White House.


HAYES: You know, that -- as I was watching that, I thought, you know, this is also the sort of those -- that Tunis is the source of so much of the remarkable political scale and rhetorical ability that characterize that presidency. And that was so powerful and profound that it was able to kind of make you lose sight of how much rage and anger was sort of fomenting underneath it.

COBB: Yes. I mean, in the kind of ideal of Obama, you know, he was trying to reconcile those two things that Henry Louis Gates was talking about. The idea of being Black, of being American, that these two things are not necessarily warring ideals. And that was the lofty aspiration. That was what the 2004 democratic convention speech was supposed to be, an attempt to submit those things.

And we ended with a white supremacist presidency following Obama with a revitalized white nationalist movement, violently white nationalist movement in this country. And that`s not simply to say that`s the sum total of Obama`s legacy. Of course, it`s not. But we saw the way those two things played out in the course of his presidency. And that dynamic that was really a microcosm of American history. We look at Obama`s presidency. And that`s what we see.

HAYES: Quickly, finally, what surprised you most What do you relearn that you`d forgotten or discover?

COBB: You know, the interesting thing about it was that, you know, kind of seeing how much of the character of Obama was formed and who the person was, and who entered the White House. And you can see time and time again - - and in this is kind of, of course, the way that history works. You know, when he becomes president of the Harvard Law Review and you know, the various experiences in his life, that is essentially the guy that is in the White House. And it`s almost a series of like trial runs before he winds up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And I think we`re just fascinating to see that unfold.

HAYES: Yes. I agree about those -- the interviews of him when he becomes president of Harvard Law Review, there`s -- the continuity there, the presence that`s already there at that moment is really kind of uncanny. Jelani Cobb, one of the executive producers of Obama in Pursuit of a More Perfect Union. It debuts tonight on HBO and HBO Max. Thanks so much for making time. Jelani, I can`t wait to have people watch that.

That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now with Nicolle Wallace in for Rachel. Good evening, Nicolle.