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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 9/14/21

Guests: Marc Elias, Stacey Abrams, Anthony Fauci

Summary

A new book by the Washington Post`s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa shows Vice President Mike Pence is desperately trying to find someone to tell him he could do what Donald Trump wanted which is to steal the election. We are in the final hours of voting in California recall election. Stacey Abrams backs the Democrat`s new voting rights compromise. President Joe Biden announced vaccine requirements in companies with 100 employees or more, so should vaccines be required for airline passengers?

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.

HAYES: New reporting on just how close Mike Pence came to caving to Trump and new alarms about the people he`s tapping to help take the White House next time. Tonight, Mark Elias on the ongoing threat to democracy and Stacey Abrams on today`s big voting rights compromise among Democrats.

Then, should vaccinations be required to fly on an airline? Dr. Anthony Fauci on why he supports the idea and the one and only Steve Kornacki is here to kick off election night coverage as we get our very first exit polls in the California recall when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It`s Election Night in America. Just a few hours from now polls will close in the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom, the first huge election of this year. We will have more on it in a bit with Steve Kornacki at the big board. Of course, once those votes come in, right, they get counted. And we go through the mechanics of the election, the actual mechanics of which how you go from votes being cast to the winner being certified.

You know, that kind of opaque. I mean, we think of it just as a process where, you know, people cast their votes, and then some stuff happens, and then we get the final number and the person with the most votes wins.

We learned last year that it`s more complicated than that. There`s an entire process. It`s staffed by people, you know, overwhelmingly anonymous folks, volunteers, who essentially act as guardians of democracy at three pressure points along the way and we just take them for granted, right?

We count on these guardians to do what they`re supposed to do. They, you know, oversee the polling places, and they count the votes accurately, and then they report them, and then they certify the winner. But if you have an anti-democratic would-be authoritarian like Donald Trump with an anti- democratic movement committed to overturning a democratic election, well, then all of a sudden, all the people in that sort of assembly line, right, they come under pressure to do the wrong thing to subvert and destroy democracy.

I mean, big example, right, we saw the famous Trump call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when he said, I just want to find 11,780 votes. That was one more than he needed to win. We saw Trump`s preposterous, obviously unconstitutional, anti-democratic democratic idea that as the person who is the parliamentary roll presiding for the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, could just unilaterally decide basically who won the election, which electors to count and not count. A concept clearly completely anathema to the entire notion of self-rule and self-government and self-determination.

But, again, remember, Donald Trump basically wanted Mike Pence to pull off a coup. He said as much on the morning of January 6.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All he has to do -- and this is -- this is probably the number one or certainly one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country, he has the absolute right to do it.

All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Mike Pence didn`t do that, a violent mob stormed the Capitol and chanted, Hang Mike Pence because of it. And when he didn`t play along, Mike Pence, that is, we all walked away saying well, you know, Mike Pence did his job to save democracy.

Today, we`re learning just how close Pence came to going along with the coup. A new book by the Washington Post`s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa shows Pence desperately trying to find someone to tell him he could do what Donald Trump wanted. Pence reportedly called former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle, asking him if there was any merit to Trump`s plan.

Quayle said -- again, this is according to the book, I can`t independently confirm it, but according the book, Quale said, "Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away." "I know. That`s what I`ve been trying to tell Trump," Pence said. "But he really thinks he can and there are other guys in there saying I`ve got this power. I`ve --" Quayle interrupted him. "You don`t, just stop it," he said. Pence paused. "You don`t know the position I`m in," he said. "I do the position you`re in," Quayle said. "I also know the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That`s all you do. You have no power. So just forget it."

I don`t know if it went down like that, but however, it didn`t go down. Luckily, in the end, Vice President Mike Pence did the right thing barely, reportedly. And there are a lot of people like him. And Georgia Secretary of State -- Georgia`s Secretary State Brad Raffensperger who again, in the end, they did the right thing, right?

No one knows what would have happened if it went the other way. But what happens if we run this again -- we do every four years, we have elections in this country where we the people decide who our leaders are, and those people are all gone. What if those people are replaced by people who believe in QAnon, who believe the election was stolen, people who are Stop the Steal Organizers, maybe even members of right-wing militias?

[20:05:30]

Well, that is literally the future we`re staring down right now. Meet Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem. He has promoted QAnon conspiracies. He said this in March, "That`s one of the things that disturbs me so much about our current congressional state of affairs. There`s a lot of people involved in a pedophile network and the distribution of children, and that makes me absolutely sick." That of course, a reference to the queue and on theory that there`s this democratic Hollywood-run child sex trafficking ring.

Finchem was a member of the Oath Keepers. That is a far-right militia. He wrote this. "I`m an Oath Keeper committed to the exercise of limited constitutional governance." So, that`s a -- you know, it`s a pretty good indicator he`s in Oath Keeper because he wrote an Oath Keeper.

The Oath Keeper, of course, one of the many militia groups who stormed the Capitol dressed in tactical gear. More than a dozen of its members have been charged with federal crimes from that day. Last week, Mother Jones reported the FBI is investigating seditious conspiracy charges related to the group`s involvement in the insurrection.

But lest you think this is a kind of guilt by association situation, that is not the extent of Mark Finchem`s involvement in January 6. No, he was actually on the Capitol grounds that day. He tweeted a picture of Trump supporters swarming the steps saying, "What happens when the people feel they have been ignored and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud. #StopTheSteal."

Messages released by his lawyer show he and Stop the steal organizer Ali Alexander were "in touch long before January 6." Alexander invited the lawmaker to a rally in Washington in December and offered to pay for a hotel room. E-mails released by the Arizona House of Representatives appear to show an aide to Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama asking for documents from Finchem`s meeting with Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

So, Finchem is really getting around. You got to Stop the Steal organizer, you got Brooks, you got Giuliani. And remember, Brooks, of course, was the one who gave that impassioned speech in the morning of January 6, telling the crowd to start kicking ass, that`s right, before they went to the Capitol and a bunch of them bludgeoned the heads of police officers.

So, what did Finchem talked to Rudy Giuliani about? Well, Finchem did not give up on overturning the election. After the insurrection failed, the fraudulent audit in Arizona spent more than $400,000 to hire off-duty police officers as security, and they paid that money to, drumroll please, a nonprofit created by none other than Mark Finchem.

So, that`s Mark Finchem, a state representative. Mark Finchem is, by the way, now running for Secretary of State in Arizona. Yesterday, Mark Finchem picked up a big endorsement from the man he has worked to keep in power against the will of the people, Donald Trump. Trump called Finchem a patriot, praise his "incredibly powerful stance on the voter fraud that took place in the 2020 presidential elections scam."

Now, the position of Arizona Secretary of State is currently held by this woman. You`ve seen her on our program probably, Democrat Katie Hobbs, who again was stalwart in protecting the votes of the people of our state, spoke out against the anti-democratic mobs holding protests after Trump lost.

But what happens if you run an election in Arizona with Mark Finchem operating, supervising the machinery of elections in the state? Well, first of all, I got to say, it would be hard to trust any outcome in either direction with this guy running it, to be honest. Second of all, what are the odds that Mark Finchem says, oh, the Republican didn`t win, therefore there was fraud, therefore, we`re not certifying it.

What kind of world are you living in if the next presidential race comes down to one state, and it`s Arizona, and there`s a secretary of state who just decides he thinks there`s fraud, it cannot be the democrat won, and so we`re sending a slate of electors of Republicans or we won`t certify the election.

Well, we would be in a constitutional crisis, one even more acute and intense than what we had in 2020. I mean, people in the streets contested legitimacy. You would have questions about who the security forces are going to be loyal to when everything breaks down. It`s something that we`ve seen in country after country throughout history. That`s what we`re looking at here. It`s a little hard to communicate how close we appear to be to it. None of this is theoretical.

Remember, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly feared the president and his acolytes might attempt to use the military to stay in office. The President of the United States set himself the goal of overturning American democracy to keep himself in power and we manage to just barely dodge it, but there was a very clear plan. And this is -- continues to be the existential democratic threat we face.

[20:10:19]

Now, there are people trying to put it front and center who are working every day at multiple levels to make sure that people have access to the ballot box. There are people out there that are working every day against this anti-democratic faction and movement, right, to make sure the Voting Rights Act is reconstituted to protect voters from restrictive voting laws, to ensure at the ground level the machinery of democracy works as intended, that it`s not intentionally broken by these anti-democratic forces with the goal of turning a country with a long tradition of self-rule, you know, pockmarks and all into a country where party loyalists choose the leader and not the people.

Someone who`s committed to that fight, Marc Elias, election law attorney and founder of the news Web site, Democracy Docket. Marc, it`s good to have you. I mean, you are someone who has sort of litigated at the ground level in states after state. You`re an election lawyer sort of by training for a long time. So, you know better than most the kind of, you know, the plumbing of all this right? Like, who`s counting the votes and how it`s getting certified and what the deadlines are.

And as someone who does that, like, what would it mean to have this, an individual like Mark Finchem as the Secretary of State of Arizona overseeing Arizona elections?

MARC ELIAS, ELECTION LAW ATTORNEY: Look, Chris, I think you`re spot on as usual. Unlike most lawyers who come to voting rights, I actually started as a recount lawyer. So, I focused on the back end of the process, the counting and the certification of elections. And while we are doing a lot in this country to look at how do we make voting more accessible, and how do we make sure that everyone can register and everyone can vote, and even doing things to protect election workers, all of which are admirable.

The bill that the Senate Democrats released today is a very good bill. But we need to also pay attention to the back end of that process, the How do we go from ballots cast to ballots counted and certified?

HAYES: Right. And right now, we are assuming the problem is that good election officials at the top save the day. But what if the election officials at the top are not the good ones, but the bad ones?

HAYES: That -- I mean, yes. What is -- to answer -- to answer your own rhetorical question there. I mean, honestly, like, just play it through. Like, you know, a secretary of state in a state says, you know, they have this sort of role, right? They certify. It`s like they get all the reports and they said, they`re the ones. They`re the authority. They`re -- they have the authority first.

If the secretary of state says like, I don`t like the result, we`re not certifying. Like, I guess you go to court, right? The courts are what we`re dealing with at that point. But it`s not a position we want to be in.

ELIAS: Sure. Yes, we go to a court, but there are things that they could do in the interim. Remember, you know, everyone focuses on the Georgia 11,000 votes. But remember, the President of the United States, himself, picked up the phone and called canvas board officials in the state of Michigan, to try to get first the Detroit folks to not send the Detroit results, and then to try to get their Republican statewide canvassing board members not to certify the statewide results.

So, before you get to, you know, the Secretary of State, there are a lot of steps in this process where bad actors can try to derail democracy. And yes, you can go to court. And yes, we would go to court. But that`s not a substitute for taking the kinds of steps we could take today to prevent those things from happening.

HAYES: Well, that`s the question to me, because I go back and forth on whether there`s a technical problem here, right? Like the plumbing is bad, right? We talk about, you know, use the metaphor. Like, all that stuff that`s, you know, underneath the cabinetry and behind the walls of democracy. Like, you cast your vote, and then there`s someone who wins and who knows how you get from one to the other, right?

So, there`s that idea that there`s technically stuff and there`s other stuff was like one of the two parties have been captured by a fundamentally anti-democratic faction, and there`s never a technical legal fix to that. But on the first thing, like what should we be thinking about on that first problem?

ELIAS: Yes, so look, I wrote a piece on Democracy Docket about this exact question, which is that we need to rethink the way in which we certify account. We count ballots, and we certify results. Because right now, it`s based on a pageantry of democracy. We have ballots tabulated at the local level, and then they`re certified to the counties, and the counties issued certificates, and then those certificates go to the state, and the state issue certificates. And then in presidential elections, those certificates go to the electors, and the electors meet with certificates, and then those certificates go to the House and Senate for further certification.

So, the two things we need to do is number one, we need to collapse the number of entities that this needs to go through, so there are simply fewer people who have to fill out a form with a -- with a ribbon on it.

The second thing that we need to do, Chris, is we need to replace the partisan election officials who do the certification with people who are not susceptible to political influence or susceptible to less political influence. And so, those are the two things that I think we need to do.

[20:15:25]

HAYES: You know, there`s also -- I`m not going to lead us down the rabbit hole of the electoral account act, but when you -- you know, that also seems to me this is the sort of controlling legislation at the federal level passed after this contested election in 1876 that controls a lot of these processes, which to me, seems like the Chekhov`s gun of this entire awful tragedy, it looks like, when it comes down to Mike Pence.

It`s like, you know, we got this close. Like, if Mike Pence gets up there and says, nope, sorry, I don`t recognize it, no one knows the play after that. No, one.

ELIAS: It`s true. But there are things before you get to the Vice President of the United States where he could have been given an excuse to do that. He could have been given an excuse by the U.S. Supreme Court if they had sided with the state of Texas in throwing out the results in four states. He could have been given an excuse if the Michigan canvassing boards had not certified. He could have been an excuse if the Georgia Secretary of State had not done what he did.

HAYES: Right.

ELIAS: And we need to take those excuses out of the process.

HAYES: Yes. That`s well said. And I should say, you noted this before about the compromise bill. I just want to read this quote because we`re talking to Stacey Abrams in just a bit on this new piece of legislation saying the Freedom to Vote Act -- which is the name for it -- introduced this morning reveals a surprisingly good voting rights bill. It is not just a reformulation of the prior For the People Act, but in many places, it is an improvement. So, you give it the Marc Elias thumbs up, which I think will count for some folks.

ELIAS: I do. I do. It is a very good bill. It`s a very good voting bill. And it gives people the tools to protect the right to vote and ensure that Republican states follow it. Because we can`t assume that the State of Texas is going to simply read this law and say, great, now we`re going to do all these things. So, it`s a really good bill.

HAYES: All right, Marc Elias, that was -- that was helpful and clarifying, slightly terrifying. I appreciate it. Thank you.

ELIAS: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, still ahead, today was the day as I just mentioned that the Democrats unveiled that new compromise bill on voting rights, the Freedom to Vote Act. So, does it have a chance of becoming law? What`s in it? What do we think? I`m going to ask Stacey Abrams about that. But before we get to that, those folks, the anonymous vote counters, tabulators, certifiers I talked about, the machinery of democracy happening in the background, happening right now because there are only a few hours left in that California recall election. And the one and only Steve Kornacki who I have not seen in too long is at the big board with the latest. Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:00]

HAYES: In less than three hours 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Pacific, polls will officially close in California`s recall election. Governor Gavin Newsom will find out if he will stay in office. He`s to get 50 percent plus one to stay in office on that binary question recall or not. And then, the top vote-getter, if he -- if he`s recalled, right, if he gets less than that, the top vote-getter of the 46 candidates on the ballot no matter how many actual votes they get will become governor.

Now, the turnout is expected to be massive. According to The New York Times, political experts predict at least 50 percent of registered voters will cast ballots, roughly double the turnout that would be expected in a special election. Earlier today, the San Diego Registrar of Voters said it expects a 70 percent turnout there.

Now, with new exit poll data just out, we can start to get a picture of what governor Gavin Newsom`s fate might be. Steve Kornacki is the MSNBC National Political Correspondent, of course, the one we turn to make sense in elections. And he joins me now from the big board. And Steve, I think you have some info for us. What do you got?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We`ve got a look at the exit poll here. And remember, we`re going to get more and more data. It`s only, you know, about 5:30 right now out in California. But we get a little look here at what the exit polls telling us, the electorate looks like in California.

So, first of all, let`s start with this just as a baseline here. We ask people in the exit poll who would you vote for in 2020? This is sort of self-reported, but again, it just underscores. Look, 55 percent Biden, 32 percent Trump. This is pretty much in line with what the actual results were in 2020. This was a state Joe Biden carried by almost 30 points. So, this is heavily an electorate that voted for Joe Biden last year.

And then when you take the next step he asked folks, well, what do you think of Joe Biden as President right now? Do you approve of the job he`s doing? 56 percent in the exit poll say they approve of Biden`s job performance. So, all of this is just a way of underscoring. It`s a heavily Democratic electorate. It`s an electorate that a majority of which approves of Biden`s performance as president. That`s the challenge recall supporters face, convincing Democrats, convincing Biden`s supporters to throw out a Democratic governor who Biden has asked them to keep in office.

Now, we asked folks, what do you consider the most important issue in this recall campaign? You can see here a plurality saying the Coronavirus is the top issue in this campaign. However, that`s not the same answer that both sides of this fight are giving here. Let me show you what I mean on this.

Folks who say they are against to the recall say by a 42 percent count here that the Coronavirus is their top issue. The folks who say they vote for the recall, it`s not the Coronavirus is their top issue. It`s down at 15 percent for them. It`s the economy. It`s homelessness, it`s crime. Those issues rank higher for the recall supporters.

HAYES: Yes. So, just to go back that first thing because I think six weeks ago, when there was some concern in Democratic operative circles, political circles that Newsom was in some trouble. One conception of the way this race might have gone down was a turnout election in which the electorate of the recall election essentially looked nothing really like the normal California electorate. And that was bad for Gavin Newsom, right?

It seems from the data we have that`s not what`s playing out here. If Gavin -- if the recall goes forward, it is because based on the data we have that a sizable chunk of Democrats don`t like Newsom and are voting for the recall.

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, it was always -- there was a lot of talk about, you know, is there going to be a turnout disparity here. We`ll see when we get the actual results in here. But again, in a state that went for Joe Biden by 30 points last year, a turnout disparity is only going to get you so far through supporting the recall.

[20:25:03]

So, one way I think of showing it and we`ll give you a little preview of what we`re looking for in the polls close here, 11:00 and just a few minutes after 11:00, we`re going to start getting a ton of results. Let me give you an example though here. Let`s zoom in. I got Orange County selected here. This is a biggie. This is 3 million people just south of LA. So, take a look here.

Orange County, you know, went for Joe Biden by nine points in last year`s presidential election and this is a county used to be Republican stronghold years ago, has been moving towards the Democrats as a benchmark. You know, the recall needs to be outperforming in every county. Keep this number in mind tonight. In every county, the recall basically needs to be running 16 points better than Trump did to have a chance.

So, in Orange County where Trump was sitting at 44 percent, the magic number for the recall probably about 60 percent. And we`re going to do this in every county on the board tonight. When the numbers start coming in, they will just have to beat Trump. They got to slaughter the Trump number. They got to hit 60 percent in a place, you know, like Orange County.

If you`re going to San Diego County, Trump got 37 and a half. They got to be well over 50 percent in San Diego County. So, it`s a steep, steep challenge just given the political terrain of the state.

HAYES: All right, Steve Kornacki, that was informative as always. We`ll be watching you throughout the night. Thank you.

KORNACKI: Thanks, Chris. Whatever the results in California, Republicans are already calling the election rigged. And in Washington, Mitch McConnell has already nixed any Republican votes for a new voting rights proposal the very day it was announced. The threat to the very foundations of democracy is real. It`s happening across the country right now. So, what can be done to stop it? Stacey Abrams has some ideas and she joins me live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

HAYES: Right now, as I`m speaking to you, states across the country are in the process of redrawing their congressional maps. They do that every 10 years, right, for redistricting, and it`s hugely consequential. This year, the maps are likely to more or less determine which party Republicans or Democrats controls the House in the next election.

And Republicans in states under their full control, push their advantage in unprecedented ways in the last round of redistricting, including maps that were struck down by courts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania because they were so extreme. That`s just one way Republicans can hijack American democracy in addition to those restrictive new voting laws in Georgia and Texas.

Now, the Justice Department is suing to block the Georgia law, which is big news. It`s one way to sort of put a check on this. But fundamentally, you need federal legislation to create minimum standards for all 50 states to strengthen our democracy, no way around it.

Now, the House has already passed two such pieces of democracy reform legislation. So far, Democrats have struggled even to get all 50 Democratic senators on board before we even take up the question of the filibuster. That now appears to have changed.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has now signed on to a compromise plan. It`s called the Freedom to Vote Act which would make Election Day a public holiday, would require a same-day registration by 2024, and mandate at least 50 days -- 15 days of early voting for federal election.

But Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has already said his party will not support a federal voting rights bill, which could provide political cover for President Joe Biden to move ahead with a public push to actually just reform the filibuster or get rid of it for this piece of legislation.

Stacey Abrams has been instrumental in the fight to expand voting rights. She is the founder of Fair Fight, an organization that promotes free and fair elections across the country. And she joins me now. It`s great to have in the program. First, let me just ask where you are on this piece of legislation that was announced today that now has, as far as I understand, everyone in the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate onboard.

STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT: I am excited and very supportive of the Freedom to Vote Act. It takes the best intentions that we have for protecting our democracy, and concretizes it, making sure that we have uniform standards across this country, so that the quality of our democracy doesn`t vary from geography to geography or based on your rates. Those are two important steps.

And what this bill does is it takes the important pieces that we need to protect our democracy, to protect our elections, and modernizes it. It recognizes that the challenges we faced in 2020, in 2018 have now been joined by subversion of elections, by threats and intimidation to election workers and to voters. And that responds not only to what we knew we faced, but to new challenges that have been brought forward by the legislation that`s been passing in 18 states and that is pending in 49 states.

So, the Freedom to Vote Act is an incredibly important step forward. And in tandem with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, will protect our democracy and allow us to keep moving forward.

HAYES: Yes. You mentioned the threats to election and poll workers that has been a theme in the aftermath of the sort of failed insurrection, and the run-up to that failed insurrection. Reuters has done some reporting on this and identified more than 100 threats of death or violence made to the U.S. election workers and officials, part of an unprecedented campaign of intimidation inspired by Trump`s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The response so far, only four known arrests and no convictions.

As someone who has again worked at this issue at the ground level for a long time, like what is the effect of that?

ABRAMS: It has a chilling effect, first of all, on people`s willingness to actually administer our elections. When you know that your willingness to help move democracy forward will be met with death threats, the likelihood of you continuing that work is almost no. And that`s why we are watching unprecedented numbers of people retire from or resigned from the process.

But it also emboldened those who would try to continue the insurrection at the state and local level. That is why it`s so critical that we have federal legislation that says that no one should be more protected in this process than those who are called upon to count those ballots, to process those voters, and to ensure access to our democracy in all 50 states.

[20:35:03]

HAYES: The Georgia law which you mentioned, obviously Georgia and Texas and other states that have limited or tinkered with the rules, right, around elections in such ways that will make it more difficult for people to vote, DOJ has filed suit against searches. That was announced, I believe, back in June.

There`s a real question about how much of a check these DOJ actions can be particularly in the -- in the landscape we exist in with the voting rights as it`s currently constituted. What`s your feeling about how much the DOJ can play the role that we wanted to play of sort of basically enforcing those constitutional standards?

ABRAMS: I believe in belt suspenders and then twine around your waist to hold things up. And where we are in this moment in our history, we are under assault by those who would declare themselves insurrectionist who would undermine the very fundamental premise of our nation by undermining our democracy.

And so, I want the Department of Justice to be at the forefront of pushing back against these laws. I want them to be at the forefront demanding action. But we also need our Congress to step up. We need our executive branch, we need our judicial branch, and we need our legislative branches.

And the Freedom to Vote Act ensures that the legislative branch takes its step. And what -- we`re doing while we wait is making sure that the Justice Department who works for all of us, that they are doing their best to ensure and protect our access to the right to vote. And hopefully, with these two pieces in place, we will have a judiciary that recognizes that its responsibility is not partisanship, but patriotism, and will defend the right to vote and start to reverse some of the terrible decisions they`ve made in the last decade.

HAYES: One of the focal points of these laws, this is very much true in Georgia and Texas, particularly, but others, is vote by mail. And it`s interesting because, you know, vote by mail for a long time, its partisan valence actually favored Republicans. Republicans were actually to the extent that we have data on this more likely to vote by mail.

The Democrats were -- that switched during COVID because of this once-in-a- century pandemic and the behavioral differences between different political parties and coalitions. But one of the things that new -- the new legislation would do, again, would sort of standardize regularize vote by mail. What do you think about voting by mail as a tool? And how much do you view it as a kind of now permanent aspect of American elections going forward even as the pandemic maybe wanes, although it hasn`t really waned that much yet?

ABRAMS: Georgia, Republicans pioneered access to voting by mail in 2005, 2006. And they proved over the course of years that it is a very effective way of voting. It`s so effective than in 2018, we strongly encouraged every voter to use it. And we saw a shift in the population that used to vote by mail.

What happened in 2020 is that we recognize that in this day and age, in a modern era, being able to vote by mail is an essential part of participating in our democracy. Everyone was promising that COVID would be over -- certainly, some people were promising COVID would be over. We find ourselves in the second year of this process, a second year of this pandemic. But what we do know is that vote by mail is safe, it`s secure, and it provides even greater access to democracy because communities that rely on it, like the disabled, like the elderly, should not be the only ones who have the ability to access our democracy when challenges happen.

It works. It safe, it`s good. And Republicans have spent more than a decade proving it, and we believe them now.

HAYES: Finally, I want to get your response to what Mitch McConnell said today. So, we can count to 50 votes, I think, for the new voting rights legislation today. I think there`s probably 51 votes at minimum for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. I`m counting Murkowski there who did a statement along with Joe Manchin to that effect.

Here`s McConnell today on this piece of legislation at the Republican caucus` reception.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): You`re watching some states pass new laws based upon the experience we had last year during a 100 year pandemic. What are all these new laws have in common? None of them. Not one is designed to suppress the vote based upon race. So, there is no reason for the federal government to take over how we conduct elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What do you say to that?

ABRAMS: I grew up in the south and there`s a phrase that we`ve heard growing up and that`s that a hit dog will holler. What we know is that, Joe -- that that what is before our Congress, what the U.S. Senate has put together with these 50 senators are asking your 50 colleagues to do is stand up for democracy.

We know that these bills were designed to thwart and suppress voters of color, young voters, voters with disabilities, voters who are inconvenient to the minority powerplay that Mitch McConnell wants to pervade. But what we also know is that if we speak up, if we take the time as Fair Fight will do this year with freedom to vote fall. If we call our U.S. senators at 833-465-7142, if we do our job and work with Stand Up America to demand our U.S. senators, Democratic, Republican, and independent do their job, then we can prove to Mitch McConnell that we can indeed have a free and fair election system that responds not only to the record turnout we saw, but the record response we are seeing that continues the insurgency.

We need to make certain that no matter where you live in America, your right to vote is real and protected. And I call on Mitch McConnell and all of his colleagues to stand with Democrats and say that we believe in patriotism over partisanship, and that the freedom to vote act is going to be the bill that makes it so.

[20:40:32]

HAYES: All right, Stacey Abrams, great to get a chance to talk to you tonight. Thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.

ABRAMS: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: President Biden was in Colorado today. He`s been crisscrossing the country quite a bit touring a renewable energy lab as part of his big push for clean energy and renewable infrastructure, and an ambitious part of his agenda is that plan for half of all new cars sold by 2030 to be electric.

Now, we`ve talked about it a bit on this show, but I finally got to have a really in depth conversation about the electric vehicle revolution with Bloomberg auto reporter Dana Hull on my podcast Why Is This Happening? We talked about everything from the feasibility of Biden`s target to the electric vehicle revolution, to how I personally can realize my dad`s dream of getting an all-electric minivan. It`s out now wherever you get your podcasts up. I hope you`ll check it out.

Up next, there`s new proof that vaccine mandates are working. So, should vaccines be mandated for air travel? Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks they should. He`ll join me live coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:00]

HAYES: After a year of playing in front of empty seats, the NFL kicked off its 2021 season this weekend with no capacity limitations whatsoever. The result was packed stadiums all across the country. An NFL executive telling the Associated Press that all 30 stadiums are able to be at full capacity, and that`s how we expect to go through the season in lockstep with those local and state authorities.

Well, today, the Buffalo Bills citing their health department directive, announced they will require fans 12 over to show proof of at least one dose of the COVID vaccine until Halloween, at which point they will need to prove they are fully vaccinated. The New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks have similar proof of vaccination policies in place.

Now, the Las Vegas Raiders debuting last night on Monday night football, was the first to issue a blanket requirement for fans to be vaccinated to attend home games. And they even offered to vaccinate fans on site on game day.

So, yesterday, in a packed Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, there was a designated area where unvaccinated fans could join the ranks of the jabbed and walk into the stadium wearing a mask. That is the thing about vaccine mandates. As long as you require them or people can get access to them, they work.

Take it from Dr. Ronny Jackson, Donald Trump`s scale-fudging White House physician turned Republican Congressman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get vaccinated?

REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): I got vaccinated. And the only reason I got vaccinated was because I knew that I`m on the Foreign Affairs Committee, on Armed Services, and I knew that Nancy Pelosi was not going to let me travel on coattails on Congressional delegations if I didn`t get it. Otherwise, I probably wouldn`t have got it because I`m otherwise pretty healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Otherwise, I wouldn`t have got it but I was required to because of a vaccine mandate and now unvaccinated. The "FOX AND FRIENDS," by the way, they know all about vaccine requirements because today, Fox Corp`s head of human resources, this is just too good, they said more than 90 percent of full time Fox employees have been vaccinated, which is great news.

Because you see, Fox mandates employees to disclose their vaccine status, and if they`re not vaccinated, they have to get tested daily. In other words, just to be clear here, the Fox News vaccine policy is considerably stricter than Joe Biden`s, which it turns out is popular.

According to a new poll from Axios, 60 percent of Americans support the Biden vaccination requirement policy. The question is, is it time to go even further and begin mandates for the one thing that has sort of escaped in so far, travel, mass transit? Should any person flying on a commercial airline in this country be required to show proof of vaccination before being allowed on the plane?

There`s one prominent official who says he`s in favor of that, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He`ll be here with me to talk about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:50:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Transportation Safety Administration, the TSA, will double the fines on travelers that refuse to mask. If you break the rules, be prepared to pay. And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing the job is wrong. It`s ugly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Last week, President Joe Biden announced a set of sweeping Coronavirus vaccine standards covering tens of millions of workers across the country. It did not include a vaccine requirement for airline passengers. While many airlines like United and Frontier Airlines require their employees to get vaccinated, a big question is should a vaccine mandate be extended to passengers?

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that while he is not proposing a mandate, he would support one that President Biden called for. And joining me now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Chief Medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

It`s good to have you on, Dr. Fauci. It seems to me there`s like a fairly natural -- I mean, of all the places we go in America that are the most sort of controlled where you have to go through a lot of stuff to get -- to do it, it`s getting on a plane. They`re also enclosed spaces with circulating air. It doesn`t seem like that would be a natural place to have this kind of requirement.

ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: You know, yes, it would be. But, you know, as you mentioned right now, this is something that is on the table that`s being discussed. And as you quoted me correctly, I said that I`m not proposing it, but if the President decided, all other things considered in that decision, I would certainly support that.

But you should know that these types of discussions are ongoing all the time, Chris, and he`s still on the table. A decision hasn`t been made. And when the President makes -- if the President makes a decision, I certainly would support that for the reasons that you mentioned.

HAYES: Well, take me through -- I mean, this seems like a perfect example of one of the kind of policy conundrums of COVID, right, because, as I`ve said many times in our conversations, the science isn`t quite totally settled. It`s a novel virus. Things are changing all the time, A. And B, the science is necessary, but not sufficient for a set of policy declarations about a bunch of competing equities and imperatives. How do you think through the question of this kind of thing for air travel?

FAUCI: Well, what you do first of all, there has to be a major public health component of it that you want to do what`s best for the public health. But sometimes there are other things that are involved in there that might, in essence, things that you don`t think of might get in the way, a certain type of pushback, a certain type of regulation you might have overcome.

[20:55:12]

So, although public health and science clearly always drives everything that we`ve done, and the President has made that very clear right from the very beginning that he`s going to have the science drive what we do. Right now, these things are under discussion and may occur, but is not.

The President went so far in his six-point program, of doing a lot of different mandates, as you will know, when you have companies that have 100 or more people that they`re either going to get vaccinated or they`re going to get tested. When you have the federal government, particularly the executive branch, when you have individuals who are involved in patient care through Medicare and Medicaid, they`ve got to get vaccinated.

So, he`s really done an awful lot in the area of mandates and he`ll consider doing more at the time that`s appropriate.

HAYES: There`s a bit of a debate swirling about booster shots. And I think, again, this is a place where there`s not -- the science is a little unsettled, a little unclear. There`s some arguments in both directions. I want sort of read to you from some Politico reporting on this. The White House and top health officials said in mid-August, they plan to roll shots for most adults beginning on September 20, those being booster shots.

The move sparked tensions between Biden`s top aides, the CDC and the FDA amid questions about whether domestic data supported the goal. Two senior FDA vaccine scientists who were leaving the agency co-authored an analysis published Monday in The Lancet that found no evidence to support giving booster shots to the general population.

Now, this seems to be a question about what the Israeli data is showing, which is a little bit of waning of vaccine efficacy, what our own data shows. Talk me through how we should think about this.

FAUCI: You know, that`s a great question. And hopefully, we can sort of dispel some of the confusion here, Chris. If you look at the data from the cohorts in the United States that the CDC is following, unquestionably, there`s a waning of immunity against infection and mild to moderate disease.

There is a suggestion, a clear suggestion, but not overwhelming that there`s a diminution in protection against hospitalization. When you look at the Israeli data, in every aspect of this outbreak, and vaccinations and boosters, and all the kinds of things that are important in this, they`ve been about a month or month and a half ahead of us.

What they`re seeing, and we`ve had the opportunity through their courtesy to see their data in a confidential way, but also they`re publishing the data. And they`re going to be coming out in the regular peer-reviewed literature literally within the next day or so. Their data, a much more dramatic, Chris. They have a very clear cut diminution of protection against infection, and an unquestionable diminution in the protection against severe disease. And it goes across all the age groups.

So, I think that the colleagues who are making that statement that there isn`t the data there to make that kind of a move, have not seen all the data. And I think when the data becomes public, a lot is going to be clarified, and a lot of this so-called conflict is going to get resolved.

HAYES: Meaning that the Israeli data you think is highly suggestive for what the trajectory of this is, generally, because they were sort of a first mover, essentially. I mean, they were the fastest and most rapidly deployed. And so, they`re our future is the -- is the conceit here.

FAUCI: Well, you know, I think it would be reasonable and appropriate to say that Israel is where likely we will be in the next month or so. So, in the spirit of trying to stay ahead of the virus, that`s the reason why you heard a couple of weeks ago that we made a plan to be able to roll out vaccinations in the week of September the 20th. And it was always underlining contingent on the FDA analyzing the data and making a regulatory decision.

And literally, as we speak, the FDA is now doing just that. They`re analyzing the data. And if they analyze the data, and they get all the data, they get the Israeli data, they get the United States data, and they very carefully go over it. If they come to a determination that we shouldn`t be rolling out the boosters, we`ll do it. If they say no, we won`t do it.

HAYES: Got you. All right, well, we will -- we will look for that. This is -- I mean, it matters a lot -- to a lot of people. Dr. Anthony Fauci, as always, thanks so much for joining us.

FAUCI: Good to be with you. Thank you very much, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for tonight. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.

HAYES: You bet. Absolutely.

MADDOW: And thanks to your home for joining us this hour. We got the book. We got it early.