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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 9/28/21

Guests: Asawin Suebsaeng, Vivek Murthy, Katie Porter, Donna Edwards, Dave Wasserman


Republicans are scoring political points and money at the cost of the lives of the American people by going against COVID measures. The Business Roundtable along with at least 12 other influential CEOs is running ads on Facebook attacking the Reconciliation Bill`s higher corporate tax rate. Corporations launch lobbying blitz to kill Biden`s budget bill. Sen. Sinema had multiple meetings at the White House to discuss Biden`s budget bill.



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. The anti-vax grift. Why would a political movement do so much to sicken its own supporters?

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The science shows the vaccine will not necessarily protect you.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Maybe it doesn`t work and they`re simply not telling you that.

HAYES: Tonight, blockbuster new reporting from The Daily Beast on who is getting rich from sowing vaccine fears.

Then, Congresswoman Katie Porter on the state of the infrastructure negotiations in Congress.

Plus, called to the White House three times same day she`s fundraising from lobbyists opposed to the Biden budget. What exactly is Kyrsten Sinema up to?

And how could Sen. Ted Cruz embarrass himself at a hearing he didn`t even attend? We`ll explain when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. If you`re watching this show, you are probably the kind of person who gets fundraising e-mails from politicians and political groups. You know the genre well. Most likely, we need your help to fight for something you care about. Click here to donate now.

And the point of this fundraising particularly the kind that happens over e-mail and text these days is to reach in and activate your emotions. The people who send out those e-mails and texts, they`re constantly pressing a whole bunch of different buttons to see what gets a reaction they can measure and monitor it. And that explains a lot of what happens in politics and honestly, particularly I will say on the right. Because, you know, conservatives pioneered this for decades A huge part of that movement. It was really kind of breakthrough discovery.

It has essentially been a kind of beefed-up direct mail marketing grift in which they pump people full of rage and then take their money. I mean, I will never forget visiting my beloved grandfather who was a staunch Republican, rock group conservative his whole life, and on his kitchen counter there`d be a stack of mail about how say, Bill Clinton was turning the country into a Marxist hell and you had to write a check to stop it.

Now, the reason I bring all this up is that I`m going to show you some recent fundraising e-mails from the Republican National Committee. That`s one-half of the major parties in this country. And these fundraising e- mails, they explain what has been a bit of a mystery.

The mystery is this. Why would a political movement, in this case the conservative movement in this country, do so much to try to sicken and even kill off its own followers? Take a step back and look what the right has done and said about COVID. They are constantly pushing messages to their followers that contradict medical and public health advice, messages that have their own people seeking out quack cures and refusing vaccines and mask mandates.

And in so doing, they are tangibly endangering the people who support them. It seems truly sociopathic and irrational and you really cannot overstate the cost. I am never going to get used to this or understand it or be OK with it. Just look at the last few months through the delta wave. Tens of thousands of people have died needlessly, still losing 2 000 Americans a day. The vast majority of whom were not vaccinated.

And a huge portion of those people who did not get the vaccine and got sick or hospitalized or died, they did so because conservatives they trusted told them not to.


CARLSON: This is lunacy. We should not go along with it. It has nothing to do with medicine. It is a terrifying precedent that if we let solidify, we will deeply, deeply regret. This is not about COVID, this is about the existence of rational decision-making in this country and personal autonomy.


HAYES: This has nothing to do with medicine. That`s what they`re saying. It`s a liberal plot, right? The libs are trying to shove it down their throats. It`s tyranny. Why would a movement do that? Well, a big reason is that it sells. And the people selling it do not care how many people get sick or die.

It`s really not unlike what we saw with Purdue Pharma and the infamous Sackler family empire. Remember, that empire and that company nearly single-handedly plunged this nation into an opioid epidemic that we`re still in that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. And they did it because it was profitable. They could buy lots of fancy stuff and give money to the museums.

So, those Republican National Committee fundraising e-mails I was talking about. So, The Daily Beast reports that the RNC started blasting these out in the week following President Joe Biden`s announcement that federal workers and employees at large businesses would be required to be vaccinated or, in the cases of large businesses, tested weekly. They have an option.

This one, here`s an example, sent out September 12th, declares -- a lot of capital letters -- that they plan to launch a massive lawsuit against Biden to end his authoritarian vaccine mandate and implores the recipient to donate now and help fund our efforts to sue Biden.

They asked for contributions for $45.00 presumably in honor of the 45th president to stand with the GOP as we fight the un-American vaccination mandate. Yes, so un-American those vaccination mandates like the ones in every 50 states for every kid to go to school. Another e-mail sent later that same day took a more dire tone asking the reader, are you going to join our fight or sit on the sidelines. Warning, ominously, your freedoms are in grave danger. You must step up right now and fund our efforts against Biden to end this evil vaccine mandate or all will be lost. Yes, all will be lost.


This is par for the course, right? The whole conservative movement understands there is real energy here. There is political and personal profit to be made. Today, the Intercept reported on hacked data they received showing that a network of right-wing health care providers have made millions of dollars selling debunked COVID treatments like the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the parasite drug Ivermectin. That group who call themselves America`s frontline doctors has closed ties to a network of right-wing efforts to undermine public health during the pandemic including the Tea Party patriots.

The Daily Beast also reports that political consultants are advising candidates to run on an anti-vaccine requirement platform. Four different long-time Republican strategists told them that they have encouraged various 2022 GOP candidates who they`re each advising to lean heavily into anti-COVID mandate messaging viewing it as perhaps the winning issue with the conservative and Trump base of voters.

And then, there are the benefits for the right-wing media machine. I want you to listen to this quote very closely. One Fox News insider succinctly described the anti-COVID mandate segments and vaccine-resistant commentary as "great for ratings." Another current Fox employees, the numbers clearly demonstrated there are vanishingly fewer subjects these days that get our viewers more excited or engaged than those kinds of segments.

I`m sure it`s probably true. They kind of know what they`re doing over there. The issue rates, so that`s why they`re leading into it despite the fact that it might get their own viewer sick or killed, despite the fact that Fox News has a vaccine requirement itself. Their own human resources department said earlier this month 90 percent of full-time employees reported they are fully vaccinated after the company, wait for it, mandated everyone to report their vaccination status.

Oh my God. That`s a private decision how dare they? And they would soon be introducing daily testing for those who are still unvaccinated. Daily testing, that is five times as onerous as the policy Joe Biden proposed that unvaccinated workers be tested weekly. The policy they are railing against day in day out and calling tyranny.

Notice by the way, they don`t call out their own employer. They could if they had any courage. If you think it`s tyranny, you could do that on air, but you won`t. And I am willing to bet you that nearly all those people who go on air every night and rail against it, they are vaccinated, their loved ones are vaccinated. They are selling this poison because it is profitable for them and they truly do not care.

I mean, I don`t know what`s in their hearts but their revealed preference, all I can judge is their actions, do not seem to care of the people who watch them get killed as a result. And yes, there are actual human beings taking their last breaths with a plastic tube down their throat while they say goodbye to their loved ones over an iPad. Entire universes of memories and life experience snuffed out forever, but guess what, it`s great for ratings.

It`s even more morally obscene because just as we have incredibly have incredibly solid evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, we are also seeing evidence the vaccine mandates they`re railing against, like the ones Fox has are also effective not just at Fox News. Again, a place that has a stricter policy than the Biden administration has required their private employers. Fox News which seems to care more about its employees than its viewers.

In New York, vaccine mandate for health care workers went to full effect this week. It appears to have pressured thousands of holdouts to receive last-minute shots. In the New York City public hospital system alone, more than 8000 workers were unvaccinated. A week ago, by Monday, that number had dropped to about 5000 or just over 10 percent of the workforce.

A North Carolina hospital system, you may have seen these headlines that were floating around, they mandated vaccines and they suspended 375 unvaccinated workers last week who were given five days to comply. Almost 200 of those suspended workers received their first dose by Friday. The Massachusetts State Police, this has been a theme -- lots of police all over the country, police unions describing his tyranny. We tell you about Chicago or the police union boss compared it to literal Nazism. They said just one of their troopers has retired because of their vaccine mandate despite claims by police union that dozen of troopers plan to resign.

The union has reported that 80 of its members are vaccinated. Thanks to folks in the conservative movement who have either been outright spreading vaccine misinformation or flirting with it, we`ve reached a point where there is a small hardened minority people who seem past persuasion. The way to get them is just require it. And we`re watching it work in all sorts of places across the country. Let`s stop fighting culture wars. Just get the shot.

And so, fighting these requirements is a way of ensuring that more people do not get vaccinated and that more people die because the ratings are good. That`s just the stark reality of the situation.


Asawin Suebsaeng is a senior political reporter of The Daily Beast where he reported on the Republican fundraising frenzy based on vaccine mandates. And he joins me now. Asawin, it`s a great piece. Talk to me about what you heard from your sources about how this is working as a fundraising tool which is a place where they have very, very granular metrics about what pitches are and are not working.

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I love it when you bring me on and I can start with something that is this thoroughly depressing for your audience, and I apologize for that. But when you talk to operatives and honchos within the mainstream national Republican Party within the upper echelons of Trump world and they talk about what is really clicking both in the data that they`re looking at and in their experiences when dealing with individual candidates running right now ahead of the 2022 midterms.

And of course, in Donald Trump`s case possibly ahead of 2024 run for the White House again, they will say that perhaps the thing, the main thing that really energizes their base right now, the thing that you would need in say a Republican primary is hollering on and on and on about vaccine mandates and how these things are being imposed on you or supposedly imposed on you by people like Biden or a nasty Democrat are virtually satanic. And that is something that is profitable in a variety of ways.

Of course, it can be politically profitable and it can be financially profitable. And oftentimes those two things run on a concurrent track. If you look at the fundraising appeals as you showed some of them on the screen earlier from the national GOP -- and again this isn`t from the fringes --

HAYES: No, right, exactly.

SUEBSAENG: This is from the RNC headquartered in Washington D.C. When you look at the fundraising appeals from Donald Trump and his large-scale fundraising and political apparatus, they lean very, very heavily into all of this anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine mandate hysteria.

Donald Trump is selling T-shirts off of this while thousands upon thousands of new corpses are lining up across America. That is -- I don`t know if you could figure out a more succinct definition of the horrors of late capitalism, but that is certainly up there.

HAYES: Yes. And I think it`s important for people to understand like these choices of chasing energy are choices that all kinds of operators in a political system or any kind of market system will face. It`s just a question about people make decisions for themselves about what they`re willing to bear morally and what their conscience will allow.

And I thought that quote about it`s great for ratings was so succinct and probably true. Like, they get that this works for that and that is what they are focused on above all else.

SUEBSAENG: I don`t know if you`ve ever dealt with Fox News spokespeople, but if you get on the phone with them about a story that they are displeased with, they are not at all shy about trying to yell your ear on. When we tried to reach out to people about our reporting about these multiple Fox News insiders telling us that oh, they`re saying it`s great for ratings and this is really when you look at the numbers what really does it for us, I didn`t pick up on a hint of yelling. There was -- there was nobody upset with that. There was nothing to say on the record in terms of rebutting this thing that you would think would be damning in any other context.

If somebody tried to do a remake of a Paddy Chayefsky screenplay or a remake of network, this would seem heavy-handed.


SUEBSAENG: But yet this is stark reality at the Fox News empire.

HAYES: Asawin Suebsaeng, thanks so much. Great reporting. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of these United States under President Joe Biden, formerly under President Obama. First, let`s start with your assessment and the administration`s assessment of the efficacy of various requirement policies as you`re seeing them play out and hit these deadlines across the country in a variety of different contexts.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, UNITED STATES SURGEON GENERAL: Well, Chris, when it comes to the vaccine requirements, one thing is very clear. They do work to increase vaccination rates. We`re seeing that with COVID, but we`ve also seen that long before COVID. And if you ask the question why in our country do we have such high rates of vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella, it`s because we require that vaccines among school children.

And that`s why as people go through school like you and I did, Chris, and many others over the years, we`ve been required to get our vaccines, and hence we`ve been able to contain measles for the large part here in the United States.

But look at COVID-19 and what`s happening even in recent weeks with the vaccine requirements. You`re seeing health systems like the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit go from 68 percent of a vaccination rate for their health care workers to 98 percent after they instituted requirements. You`re seeing two of the major hospital systems in Maine go to more than 99.5 percent of vaccination rate among health care workers after they put requirements in place. You`re seeing this outside the health care sector and private companies as well.

So, the bottom line is our experience during COVID and before COVID with vaccine requirements are very clear. They work. They increase the vaccination rate and ultimately they protect and save lives.


HAYES: Yes, we should be clear too. To the extent we have polling on this which is secondary to the public health effects, but the polling here is general support, right? I mean, in terms of most federal employees, you have 56 percent. Companies with 100 employees vaccine or testing which is the policy announced by the President, 58 percent. Health care workers you get 60 percent supporting it which seems like a no-brainer.

What is the other -- what are -- I guess my question is we are now I think 40th in the world in vaccination rates. What are the other policy levers lying on the table to be pulled to get us higher?

MURTHY: Well, it`s a very important question, Chris, because while we have a number of measures we can take to contain COVID, really vaccinations are going to be our most critical pathway to get through this pandemic. So, the requirements that the President announced recently uh two weeks ago are really going to be critical there.

And keep in mind, you haven`t seen the full force of those yet in terms of the impact that they`re going to have on vaccination rates. We`re just starting to see that. So, I think that there is more to come there. But we also know, Chris, that one of the profound barriers we`re facing to people getting vaccinated is the misinformation crisis that we have in our country.

There are a lot of well-intended, well-meaning people who want what all of us want which is to protect their health and the health of their families, yet they`re being misled sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally by misinformation they see often on social media and in other forms of media.

And this has led them not only to turn away from, you know, helpful measures like vaccines, but it`s also led them to turn toward things which are absolutely unproven like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as treatments whereas we have no evidence whatsoever that these actually are helpful in preventing or treating COVID-19.

You know, recently earlier in the summer, I issued a surgeon general`s advisory on health misinformation precisely for this reason, Chris, because if we really are going to tackle the COVID crisis and get people in our country vaccinated, we`ve got to hold technology companies accountable for what`s happening on their platforms for the spread of misinformation that in many cases they`re allowing. We`ve also got to examine our own practices and recognize that sometimes we unintentionally share information that is not based in science and that can mislead people.

So, the bottom line is if you`re not sure something is rooted in science and it`s coming from credible sources, don`t share because you could be inadvertently harming other people`s health.

HAYES: All right, Dr. Vivek Murthy, thank you so much for your time.

MURTHY: Of course. Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: There is no one in congress quite like California Representative Katie Porter whose iconic whiteboard expert ability to cut straight to the heart of things can leave those on the other side of the day as squirming. Like, when she got the CDC director to commit to free COVID testing in March of last year. When she pinned Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about the mail delays.

Congressman Porter knows how to hold those in power accountable when the stakes are high. And right now, as Democrats negotiate the fate of the Biden agenda, the stakes have rarely been higher. And Congresswoman Porter is here to do what she does best after this.



HAYES: Back in 2013, Apple hired Lisa Jackson, the recently departed EPA administrator under President Barack Obama. And she took on the role of vice president for environment policy and social initiatives, part of Apple`s push to be seen as a good corporate citizen.

Just last week, she released a statement and said addressing the urgent threat of climate change is a key priority and called for the enactment of a clean energy standard which is that`s great. That measure is included in President Joe Biden`s Budget Reconciliation Bill. Jackson`s call echoes a letter sent to lawmakers back in July advocating for a clean electricity standard. It`s signed by over 100 companies including Apple.

And again, that`s all good and that clean energy standard is very important. The problem is that around the same time Apple was signing that letter, a group called the business roundtable was engaged in, as their spokesperson put it, a significant multi-faceted campaign to fight corporate tax increases which is a key funding mechanism of the very same bill that now includes the clean energy standard which has been converted to clean energy payments to utilities.

Today, journalist Judd Legum points out in this newsletter Popular Information that Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on the board of the Business Roundtable along with at least 12 other influential CEOs. The group is running ads on Facebook attacking the Reconciliation Bill`s higher corporate tax rate.

We reached out to Apple for comment. They did not get back to us. And just be clear, it`s not just Apple, there are a number of CEOs on the board. The Business Roundtable is an enormous force in Washington along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which is opposing the Build Back Better Bill as well. That`s largely how corporate America as a whole weighs in on legislation when it really cares.

So, if you`re a company, you`re supporting those groups or part of those groups as they go to war against key facets of the bill, what you`re really doing operationally is opposing it, frankly, whatever statements you may put out about clean energy notwithstanding.

Now, make no mistake, corporate America is fighting this bill tooth and nail. The Washington Post reports that budget plan`s biggest opponent, again the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, promised to do everything they can to block the Reconciliation Bill.

Congresswoman Katie Porter, Democrat of California is knee-deep in the negotiations for the budget reconciliation bill and she joins me now. Good to have you, Congresswoman. First of all, you`re in a district -- redistricting is happening so you have a different district presumably. It might change. But the districts you`re in is a -- is a pretty split district, a lot of swing voters in that district.

Do you feel confident going back to your district and saying look, I`m proud to have voted for the -- for the Build Back Better Bill in full and be able to convince your constituents that`s a good vote?


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Absolutely. Look, my constituents know that what`s in the Build Back Better agenda is what they need. And they know that because they voted for President Biden. This is the president`s agenda that we`re supporting right now. And that agenda deals with real problems that families are facing in my district and across the country.

Difficulties in affording child care, the cost of college, difficulties in finding care to take care of seniors, climate action, that`s what`s in the Build Back Better budget bill, and that`s why it`s widely supported. The polling on this, Democrats, Republicans, Independence is very, very strong.

What they want us to do is to get it over the finish line and that`s exactly what I`m here in Washington to do.

HAYES: So, how much opposition has there been from corporate America on this? The Business Roundtable back in August said if this massive new spending contemplated in the proposed budget resolution were to materialize -- this is when they pass a resolution -- inflation risks would increase dramatically, undermining recovery. You`re seeing lots of activity on K Street to go against this bill. How much do you feel that as a member?

PORTER: Well, I don`t take corporate PAC money and I didn`t come to congress to fight for big corporations. I came to fight for a strong stable economy for all Americans. So, I personally am going to vote for a bill that`s going to put the American people first. And I think it`s important that the American people are the voices that we`re listening to as we`re making sure that we leave nobody behind in this economic recovery.

HAYES: So, many of the things that you just mentioned are in the Build Back Better Bill, but they`re not in the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill that`s passed. So, when you talk about child care and community college, and elder care, and real big climate stuff, that`s not in that bipartisan bill to pass the Senate.

So, there`s a fight right now brewing. Nancy Pelosi says they`re going to be a vote on Thursday on that bipartisan bill. The House Progressive Caucus says they are not going to vote for it because it`s a package deal. They`re going to vote for both when they can vote for both, but they`re afraid of getting hung out to dry if they vote to pass it. Where are you on that?

PORTER: Well, I plan to vote no on the Infrastructure Bill until we have an assurance to the American people that the Build Back Better plan will pass. Like I said, we can`t leave anybody behind. The American people work in lots of different industries and lots of different kinds of occupations, they face lots of different challenges not just roads and bridges and airport and transit, but they face challenges regarding child care, challenges regarding the greening of our -- the need to green our economy, challenges regarding college costs.

So, we need to see an assurance from the Senate that we`re going to be able to pass President Biden`s agenda. And that means all of the different pieces that the American people elected him and us to do.

HAYES: Some of the most ferocious lobbying, and I think some of it has been successful if you look at some of what`s happened in the Ways and Means Committee and other places have been on things that a certain small group of corporate interests really care about.

So, the corporate tax rate, right? Not making sure the corporate tax rate goes up. The estate tax, a very tiny small group of very, very wealthy heirs, how much they`re going to get taxed. Prescription drug benefit, letting Medicare negotiate, right, for prescription drugs. Are you confident you can override those special -- that special interest opposition?

PORTER: I`m absolutely confident that we can because the American people across the ideological spectrum support these things. They want to have a fair tax system in which everybody pays their fair share including the largest corporations and the most wealthy Americans, and they want us to enforce our tax code fairly.

They want us to close loopholes and they want to make sure that everybody in America including the most wealthy and the most powerful have to do what the rest of us every day Americans do which is pay our fair share. And if you look at the polling on things, like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, this is one of the best polling issues. In fact, President Trump supported doing this when he ran his campaign. He did not deliver which is why it`s up to President Biden and us to do so.

That`s a very, very good point. I had forgotten -- I had forgotten that detail. Congresswoman Katie Porter of Orange County, California, thank you very much.

PORTER: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, my -- one of the Democratic holdouts in the Senate today held a fundraiser with business groups that are actively lobbying against the budget bill. The Kyrsten Sinema enigma after the break.



HAYES: All right, amidst all the confusion and all the stuff about procedure, I want to sort of center things a little bit. The problem for President Joe Biden and Democrats right now is pretty clear. With the narrowest possible majority in the Senate, they need all 50 Democratic senators to agree again, unanimously on legislation. And two Democrats have emerged as the face of opposition to the party`s agenda. There`s West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Now, say what you will about Senator Manchin, but he represents the state Donald Trump won by nearly 40 points in 2020 and he also has explicitly articulated the basis of his opposition to the current Biden agenda proposal. He thinks $3.5 trillion price tag again, over 10 years and also that`s just the spending side, not the taxes side, he thinks that`s too high.

He wants more means testing and work requirements to limit the scope of some of the benefits of the bill. And I think he is dangerously destructively wrong about the substance and the politics.But at least those are tangible demands. To quote the Big Lebowski, at least it`s an ethos.


When it comes to Senator Sinema, we don`t know exactly what her objections are. In fact, not entirely clear she`s invested in advancing the agenda at all. And her tenure in the Senate has essentially been well, quite focused on looking out for wealthy and special interest at the expense of her constituents.

Like, during last year`s summer recess, the time when most senators spend with their families and their districts, instead Sinema attended a paid wine making internship in California at a winery that also held a fundraiser for her campaign run by a founder of one of the country`s largest private equity firms, a firm which donated $6800 to her campaign.

I mean, I guess, that would be fun but I don`t know. You really need to look no further than what Senator Sinema was doing today. She met with the White House twice on the future of the bill. I think she`s going back a third time I just saw before we got on air.

And then, while Democrats were feverishly working to put together a compromise she will support, the New York Times reports her schedule included a fundraiser with five special interest groups looking to kill the legislation ready to write checks for between $1000 and nearly $6,000 to Sinema.

Now, I may not agree with Senator Manchin`s politics, but it does seem like he`s articulating things he wants and is trying to get to yes. Senator Sinema on the other hand has been spending her time basically alienating -- alternating between a vineyard internship and getting checked from lobbyist groups.

Donna Edwards is a Washington Post columnist, previously represented the Maryland`s fourth congressional district in Congress where she served alongside then-Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema. And she joins me now.

What do you think about -- I have found Joe Manchin`s explicitly articulated objections in some ways reassuring because as Faiz Shakir who used to work for Harry Reid said, you can`t negotiate if you`re not getting counters. At least that`s something to work with. I don`t know what is going on with Sinema. What do you think of that read on the difference between those two right now?

DONNA EDWARDS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think you`ve got it exactly right. I mean, it does seem to me that at least publicly Senator Manchin has articulated his concerns with the legislation and is actively working to try to negotiate.

I think that he wants to get to yes. And you know my concern about Senator Sinema apart from the fundraising which I think is very, very problematic, one of the reasons that we need the For the People Act to pass, but if you look at the voters in Arizona, this is overwhelmingly supported by a majority of voters in Arizona. And among Democrats, also her constituents, the numbers are in the 90s in terms of support for the Build Back Better agenda.

And so, it is the president`s agenda. I`m concerned about any senator, any Democratic senator who would put on the line to possibly tank the President`s agenda because that effectively takes Democrats out of the running for the majority in the House and in the Senate. It`s very problematic.

HAYES: Yes, the polling on Sinema is fascinating. We got this new polling Data For Progress` poll. So, you`ve got -- you`ve got a little bit of a test case. You`ve got Sinema and Kelly, right? And they`re both from the same state. They have similar overall numbers but Kelly`s very, very approved by Democrats and very disapproved by Republicans. Sinema has much lower approval among Democrats, higher approval against Republicans.

Although when you are in a race against a Republican, it`s unclear how much that`s going to help you. And they`ve both won their seats, right? So, these are different approaches here. As someone who served with her in the House, do you have a read on what`s the deal?

EDWARDS: Well, I mean my experience of Senator Sinema when she was in the House is that she did spend a lot of time, you know, caucusing with um with Republicans even on very minor issues. And so, I think this is a long- standing problem and it is -- you know, it`s a challenge I think for the majority leader for Senator Schumer in trying to get -- make sure that there are 50 votes in support of the Build Back Better plan as well as, you know, the infrastructure that`s already passed.

And so, I don`t know what the answer is, but I do think part of the answer is Arizona voters calling her to task. I mean, you look at that wide gap between her and Mark Kelly who`s up for re-election next year. Senator Sinema is not up until uh 2024 but her numbers have been going progressively down over this last year from her vote on the minimum wage to where she is right now.

HAYES: Yes, she gave that very, very a notorious thumbs down vote on the minimum wage. We have a Ro Khanna who`s a current member of the house caucus who says we have one senator from a state Biden carried from a state where her colleague is 100 on board holding up the agenda of the entire House of the National Democratic Party. This senator refuses to even give a number.

So, here`s my question. When is the Democratic Party going to tell a single senator it`s time to get behind our President, it`s time to get in line. I mean, the issue here is -- I mean, that is true. That is the equation. The problem is like, you know, senators are -- they`re not -- you can`t tell them what to do. Chuck Schumer is not their boss.


EDWARDS: Well, when I talk to both House Democrats and Senate Democrats, they`re incredibly frustrated particularly with Senator Sinema. They feel like they can work with Senator Manchin. we know that that number from $3.5 trillion is going to be something different. We heard uh Speaker Pelosi say that. But they`re not really sure what to do right now with Senator Sinema.

And I do think that among Democrats across the country and certainly in Arizona, this is not going to go down very well if the president`s agenda is not passed.

HAYES: Yes, and I think -- I think --


HAYES: Yes, she will. And I think the voters of Arizona or the people ultimately she`ll answer to and all those constituents who feel strongly about this, you know, have the means of Democratic input that we all have towards elected leaders which call or write or do things like that. Donna Edwards, thank you so much.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, there`s a fight happening right now across the nation. Lawmakers in statehouses redrawing lines that could determine the balance of power in Congress in the next decade. And tonight, new evidence Democrats are joining that fight in a really fascinating and meaningful way. We`ll explain ahead.



HAYES: When Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sets his sights to get you, he`s going to get you. There`s just no one better. Just check out this exchange from last week when he went after a USC law professor named Franita Tolson brought to testify before the Judiciary Committee on voting rights.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): In your judgment, are voter ID laws racist, Professor Tolson?

FRANITA TOLSON, PROFESSOR, USC: Thank you for that question. So, it depends. One thing we have to stop doing is treating all voter ID laws as the same.

CRUZ: OK, so your answer -- I want to move quickly so, it depends is your answer.

TOLSON: Yes, it does. That`s my issue.

CRUZ: OK, so what voter id laws are racist?

TOLSON: Apologies, Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas perhaps.

CRUZ: So, you tell me what about the Texas voter ID laws is racist.

TOLSON: Absolutely. So, the fact that the voter ID law was put into place to diminish the political power of Latinos with racist intent and it had been found to have --

CRUZ: You`re asserting that. What`s your evidence for that?

TOLSON: The district -- the federal district court that first resolved the constitutionality of Texas` voter ID law.

CRUZ: OK, so your view is voter ID laws are racist.


HAYES: Wow, outstanding gotcha there, Senator. You can really tell he anticipated that answer was ready to tear her apart. Actually, Ted Cruz gets to himself more often than he gets anyone else but the guy does keep trying.

Just today, General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command testified about his advice to President Joe Biden regarding the plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.


GEN. FRANK MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I recommended that we maintain 2500 troops in Afghanistan. And I also recommended earlier in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4500 at that time. Those are my personal views. I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.


HAYES: Ted Cruz jumped all over that tweeting "It`s abundantly clear Joe Biden and Kamal Harris ignored the advice from the military and misled the American people. You got him, Ted. Yes, the military advised Biden to keep 2500 troops in Afghanistan and Biden chose not to.

Here`s the thing. That`s always the advice from the generals. It is always to stay, never withdraw. That has been the advice for 20 years. It`s why we were there for 20 years and at a certain point that it was what it came down to for a lot of these people.

The generals wanted to stay indefinitely which meant forever. We get it. So, sure, Ted, you`re right. President Joe Biden ignored the advice of the military and pulled out. It`s a good thing he did. He`s the one who broke the cycle and brought U.S. troops home. So, yes, he did not take the military`s advice to keep troops there forever. You got him.



HAYES: Every time we talk about redistricting, it`s almost always about how Republicans have drawn congressional districts or legislative districts to heavily favor Republican candidates and solidify their power in those legislative bodies including Congress. But once we`re seeing Democrats using power where they have, they have it to fight back.

In Oregon, the state is gaining a congressional seat because of population growth. Democrats hold majorities in the State House, so here`s what they did. First, the House Speaker shut Republicans out of a power-sharing agreement on redistricting. Then, Democrats released a new map that would easily secure them five of the six congressional seats. Republicans boycotted so Democrats scaled it back a bit coming up with a proposal that makes four Democratic leading seats, one Republican seat and one toss-up.

Here`s what those changes look like. This is the current congressional map of Oregon with one incredibly Democratic seat in Portland, three Democratic-leaning seats along the coast, and one big Republican seat in the eastern part of the state.

This is what the new map looks like. It basically carves out a new congressional seat, the toss-up seat which inches into the east and incorporates the city of Bend which as the Salem Statesman Journal points out has trended left in recent decades and is growing quickly, meaning it could turn the district into a safe Democratic seat in the near future. Good thinking.

The new maps is passed yesterday. The governor signed the bills late last night. So, those will be the maps. The Democrats, they played to win here and it looks like they did. Now, there`s a similar thing brewing in the New York State Legislature where Democrats now have total control of the state government for the first time in 100 years and are reportedly plotting a way to take away five Republican seats with redistricting.

And you know what, I hope they do because right now, well, it`s a lawless Hobbesian struggle for power on redistricting. Now, that`s no way to run a country and reforming this process is a key part of the democracy reform legislation that House Democrats already passed and that Senate Democrats all support, that the president supports.

The Democratic Party is on board with reporting this -- reforming this process to make it more fair. But unless and until you pass laws to create an even playing field, every state with Democratic governors and state houses has an absolute obligation to be as aggressive as possible at this point.

I`m joined now by a person who`s following the redistricting battles better than almost anyone, Dave Wasserman, senior editor covering the House of Representatives for the Cook Political Report. So, Dave, I`ve been following you on this and you`ve been doing great sort of look at this.

First, I guess, let`s just go through the different processes these states have because you`re talking about like, some states have full Democratic control, some have Republican control, some have independent commissions. Like, what are the categories of who is deciding this?

DAVE WASSERMAN, SENIOR EDITOR ON U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Yes, it`s a great question. A lot of people are surprised that politicians in most states get to draw the boundaries. But this is true every 10 years. Republicans have control in 20 states that total 187 districts. Democrats have control in eight states that total 75 districts.

So, a big Republican advantage but not actually as big as in 2011 when Republicans had nearly a five to one edge. There are ten states that have independent or bipartisan commissions that total 121 districts. There are six states with split control that total 46 districts where courts may end up having to draw the map because there`s a partisan deadlock.

HAYES: Right.

WASSERMAN: And then there are six lucky states that only have one district and don`t need to redraw them.

HAYES: That`s right, the at-large states, places like, you know, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska.

WASSERMAN: Alaska, yes.

HAYES: Yes, so -- we did a little bar trivia there. So -- OK, so there`s really something interesting about how -- let`s say you have unified control and I think this is -- this is something I`ve learned from you. There`s different approaches you can take. One is like be super aggressive and try to maximize the number of seats your parties can control. But that`s a little bit of intention with padding the margins of your current members for incumbent protection. Am I getting that right? Like, explain this tension to me.

WASSERMAN: That`s right, Chris. Packing and cracking are the names of the game. You`re trying to pack your opponents into as few overwhelmingly red or blue districts as possible and maximize the number of your own seats. In Texas, we saw Republicans come out with a map this week that gives them 25 of the state`s 38 seats, or at least attempts to.

But actually that`s not much more than they currently have. And one constraint on Republicans ability to gerrymander is that first of all, they got to redraw a lot of these states last time so they`re already gerrymandered. But also, the suburbs have grown and trended so blue that Republicans have enormous work to do to shore up their own incumbents who represent demographic ticking time bombs. That if they weren`t revamped in this round of redistricting, would fall to Democrats within a few years.

HAYES: Yes. The Texas -- the Texas -- Texas is interesting. So, one aspect of it is a -- it is a relatively defensive incumbent protective map, but it`s also notable when you talk about the demographics of the state -- the Tribune pointed this out -- that people for color accounted for 95 of the state`s growth over the last decade. But in the new map, there`s one less Hispanic majority district and zero districts of the black majority.

The latest census results show Hispanic Texans nearly match the number of white Texans. So, you`ve got -- basically it looks like it`s preserving the current partisan bent. But in terms of the racial makeup of the state, it`s not necessarily reflecting them.

WASSERMAN: Yes, you`re right. 95 percent of the growth was non-white, 53 percent of it was Hispanic, and there is not one new Hispanic or non-white majority seat in the map. And Republicans are essentially playing keep away from Democrats and minorities moving their own seats to higher ground.

They did create one new Democratic district, or proposing to in the Austin area which is a vote to try to shore up the --


WASSERMAN: And then, they`re also trying to capitalize on the Hispanic surge for Republicans in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. So, that`s something to watch as well.

HAYES: Yes. The -- Austin is great examples, right? So, when you talk about votes sinks, right? And this is something that we see in a lot of places. So, they won a new district that`s like -- it`s like a plus-60 Biden district or something like that, right? Like, something in those terms. And the idea is like, if you create districts that are plus-70 for your opponent, you`re using -- those can`t be used in other places to make them more contestable.

WASSERMAN: That`s right. You`re essentially diluting your opponents` votes. And let`s be honest, Democrats are going to be dominant in the states they control, Illinois but especially New York. New York is probably the single biggest redistricting weapon for either party in the country. Democrats could purge, as you mention, up to five of the eight remaining Republicans there, like for example, drawing Staten Island in with Cobble Hill and some more Prospects Park -- you`ll get it.

HAYES: Yes. So, that`s -- the New York is the big one right now. And New York is interesting because you have full Democratic control. And you have the new governor Kathy Hochul saying, like, we`re going to be pretty aggressive on this. I mean, she`s already sends signals that they`re already like looking to be pretty aggressive on this.

Again, we`ll have you back to talk about possible ways of not having a sort of partisan arms race. But right now, when the partisans arms race is happening where I think we`re going to see it play out across the country in states red and blue. Dave Wasserman, thank you very much.

WASSERMAN: Thank you.

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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I`m happy to have you here.

When a criminal complaint is filed in a case like this, it`s not unusual for there to be an affidavit that makes up the bulk of the complaint.