Right-wing forces have come together to try to remove Newsome and the person currently best positioned to replace him if the recall is successful, is a man by the name of Larry Elder. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law that new restrictive voting bill. January 6 Committee refutes Rep. Kevin McCarthy`s claim that former President Trump was cleared of all wrongdoing for the riot. Congressman Neguse seems to believe that there`s a credible chance Congresswoman Boebert could be his opponent for reelection next year.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Election integrity is now law in the State of Texas.
HAYES: Texas moves to suppress the vote as the Republican frontrunner puts the big lie to work in California.
LARRY ELDER (R-CA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans. And my fear is they`re going to try that in this election right here in the recall.
HAYES: Tonight, the insidious, evidence-free movement to undermine elections everywhere. Then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, would you comply with the Committee`s request to testify?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Jim, this isn`t a committee.
HAYES: Why the January 6 Select Committee is chastising Kevin McCarthy as their requests for evidence begin to come in.
Plus, is Colorado redistricting about to pick Congressman Joe Neguse against Republican Lauren Boebert. I`ll ask Congressman Neguse about his chances tonight.
And as school starts around the country, the key tool on top of vaccines and masking that could keep kids and their families safe when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The first big high-stakes political test of the Biden era and the post-Trump era is happening one week from today. It`s the recall election of California`s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
Now, right-wing forces have come together to try to remove Newsome and the person currently best positioned to replace him if the recall is successful, is a man by the name of Larry Elder. We`ve talked about him on the show. He`s a -- he`s a far-right talk radio host. He`s been one for years. No governing experience. He opposes abortion rights and the minimum wage. He recently told an interviewer that he would replace Dianne Feinstein if anything happened to her with a Republican.
He mentors former Trump adviser Stephen Miller of all people. He told Stephen Miller he wants to see him be president. And crucially, Larry elder is also spreading the big lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELDER: The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans. And my fear here they`re going to try that in this election right here in the recall. So, I`m urging people to go to electelder.com. And whenever you see anything, hear anything suspicious, go to my Web site. We have a battery of lawyers. We`re going to file a lawsuit in a timely fashion this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, this snooping on your neighbors for suspicious activity is kind of a fad right now in right-wing politics. And in addition to one of the highest polling candidates in the race pushing nonsense about voter fraud, there`s been a slew of disinformation going viral online. One of those most circulated rumors, which really, really got around has been an incident last month in Torrance, California where a man was found passed out in his car and a 7-Eleven parking lot.
Among the many items found the car were a loaded firearm, drugs, thousands of pieces of mail, thousands, including more than 300 unopened mail-in ballots with a special election, according to police. Now, some far-right Web sites pounced on this and claimed it was evidence of Democrats trying to steal the election, but the local police department called those claims, "baseless," saying there`s no indication one way or the other right now.
OK, let`s take a step back here and remember, we`re talking about California, right? I mean, if Newsom were recalled an Elder were elected, it would be a seismic shocking, shocking upset, it would change the politics in the country, right? But at the same time, it should not be shocking to conservatives that it`s an uphill battle for them to win statewide office in the big blue state of California.
And I think it`s revealing they have already begun to see the big lie as the explanation for the outcome of this recall race. Already, there are folks that are blaming it on the nefarious forces that want to stymie conservatives by stealing an election, instead of what is obviously true. Again, we don`t know what`s -- week from now could go either way. But the possibility that Larry Elder`s ideas, right, like women should not be able to have abortions, for instance, are just unpopular. Or that after four years of Donald Trump, Californians may not want to put a right-wing talk radio host in charge of the fifth-largest economy in the world.
But here`s the thing. In the case of the California recall, you can see how insidious and also how weirdly useful malleable this big lie is, how much it sort of looms over all conservative politics. If every election is stolen, well, then, you never have to confront the reality of why you lost. Like, maybe people don`t agree with your policies, which is generally the case for conservatives in California who have not had a great run of it recently.
The big lie is also super useful for one man in particular, Donald Trump, personally, and he`s the one who`s cultivated the most. That`s probably not an accident. I mean, think about it this way, right? We`ve had three one- term presidents in the last several decades who lost their bids for reelection after being elected by the general public since 1980. You got Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump.
Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were not wielding outsized influence in their respective parties after being rejected by voters. Far from it. Carter returned to his hometown in Georgia focused on human rights and diplomacy. Bush also moved back home to Houston and lived a mostly private life.
In fact, being a loser tends to be detrimental to your political influence. People don`t come running to you for advice, and Donald Trump is a loser. He squandered the advantages of incumbency and yet retains near total control of the Republican Party, in part, because he has fostered the big lie, right? This false story about fraud that Trump and his party created continue to spread. Well, it also plays an incredibly useful role in their efforts to tilt the playing field in their favor.
They are still working harder to make -- still working to make it harder for people who might lean Democratic to vote. The most recent example, one of the most egregious, today, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law that new restrictive voting bill. And it bans measures put into place to make it easier to vote like 24 hour and drive-through voting. It also prohibits election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballots to voters and promoting voting by mail. And it increases access for partisan poll watchers, which is a really, really gnarly provision in there.
Governor Abbott is dutifully spreading his party`s lies feeding the ongoing conspiracy that there`s widespread election fraud, and that`s the reason for the new bill. He`s out today claiming that this new restrictive law is good for the enfranchisement of Texans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBOTT: The Texas law, it does make it easier than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot. That does also, however, make sure that it is harder for people to cheat at the ballot box in Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fascinating thing there, right? Notice -- I mean, partly it`s how you deliver the line. But the easier to vote gets no applause, harder to cheat gets all the applause. Now, notice, he said the law will make it harder to cheat, right? That`s always the justification. It doesn`t really scam in this case or any case. We have to keep people from cheating, but that`s always the justification.
We know it`s totally baseless. I mean, in the case of Texas, right, they ran the experiment in Texas last year was fascinating. We covered it. It was one of the most interesting things to happen in voting rights recently. In Harris County, which is where Houston is located. Officials, they`re introduced a bunch of these new measures that are now banned, specifically, I think, because they were successful in Harris County, like for instance, drive through polling places and 24-hour voting.
There was no cheating. An election security task force even investigated it and found nothing. In fact, think about it for a second. Why would coming in a car be more open to cheating than walking in? Why would voting at 10:00 at night be more cheat-friendly than 10:00 a.m.? It doesn`t make any sense.
Republicans in Texas also did well in 2020 elections. They won a bunch of contested House seats. Donald Trump won the stapler more than five points, even with huge turnout in blue Harris County where a lot of these new methods were implemented. So, what`s the big deal? There should be nothing for Republicans to fear in Texas elections. And yet, yet, what are they doing? They`re scared enough to take proactive steps to make it harder for those folks to vote. People that work shifts, for instance, that would make it easier to vote at night, right? To limit the number of people who can cast a ballot or at least have the opportunity to do so, all to make it quote, harder to cheat, and so the lies continue to spread.
It`s everywhere, from California, Texas, everywhere in between different states now banding about the idea of their own audits of the 2020 elections. The big lies become so ubiquitous and so insidious, and it`s marshaled in so many ways. It is now I think, fundamentally an obstacle, the basic mechanisms of democratic accountability and feedback and an almost existential way.
If every loss is fraud or cheating, if you`re not buying into actual contested elections as some determination of democratic politics, you`re living in a different world, and you`re trying to bring out something that is not really a democracy.
Christian Menefee is the Harris County attorney who`s part of a lawsuit challenging the new restrictive voting law that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed today. It`s good to have you. First, maybe tell me a bit about the lawsuit that you are part of to try to block the law that the governor in your state signed into law today.
CHRISTIAN MENEFEE, ATTORNEY FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: The Harris County elections administrator, my office is representing her in a lawsuit against the governor and other actors at the state. And we`re joined alongside the Brennan Center for Justice and several other organizations, including the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and faith-based organizations and civic organizations all of whom have the same goal in mind, and that`s to make it easier for folks to access the polls and participate in the political process.
The governor, in signing S.B.1 has made it more difficult, and so we`re taking him to court in order to fight and advocate for folks who are trying to vote.
HAYES: As someone who`s the -- who`s the attorney for this county that implemented many of these policies, I`m just curious, what do you say when you hear him say harder to cheat in a -- in a law that will get rid of some of the voting methods that your county sort of pioneered?
MENEFEE: Well, our state leaders in Texas, their justifications for these restrictive voting laws are ever moving. Originally, it was the language that Representative Briscoe Cain had in the initial version of the bill back in the regular session, and that was to ensure purity at the ballot box. And I`m sure we all know what that means. And then from there, it moved on to ensuring uniformity across the state.
But what we know to be true is that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, this is the federal appellate court that covers Texas, had a 9-0 decision, including three judges that were appointed by Republican presidents, and they said that there`s little to no proven incidence of in-person voter fraud. It simply isn`t true.
It`s the big lie that was perpetuated by President Donald Trump and is now being pushed by members of the same party at Texas State level so that they can undermine the innovations that we`re taking in Harris County to expand voter access during the pandemic, and so that they can stop folks from voting will look a certain way and think a certain way.
HAYES: You know, they -- some Texas Republicans came, I thought, quite close to just coming out and saying what they`re on about here. When back at earlier this summer, House Bill 241, which called for an independent third party appointed by the state`s top GOP officials to conduct a forensic audit of results in counties -- not all counties, only counties with more than 415,000 people. Of the 13 counties that met that criteria, 10 voted for Biden last year.
This is the subtext often just stated explicitly, that the big counties that are more urbanized and often more demographically diverse, that`s the place where the -- where the bad votes are.
MENEFEE: That`s right. You know, it`s aimed at the counties and cities that have not as diverse populations, but leaders who have been elected who don`t look the same as the folks who have run our state for nearly 200 years. In a recording from then-Speaker of the House, Dennis Bonnen a couple of years ago, he said he wanted the next legislative session to be the worst in the history of the legislator for cities and counties.
And we`ve seen that borne out by laws like this law, the abortion ban that was passed just recently, and they have laws that are meant for no reason other than to undermine the growing diversity that represents our state.
You know, when I talk to friends from law school and friends who I`ve known throughout my life who live in other states, they think that our state is a representation of what we`ve seen in Austin in the nonsense bills that they`ve signed, but it`s not. Our states have large, urban populous areas that are diverse, that are forward-thinking. And that`s why we filed this lawsuit to show not just the state leaders but folks across the country that we`re not just going to sit back and let you infringe on our right to participate in the political process.
HAYES: All right, Christian Menefee who is the attorney for Harris County which has joined that suit with those other outfits as well to challenge the new laws signed today, thank you, sir.
MENEFEE: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Jean Guerrero is an opinion communist for The Los Angeles Times who have been writing about the recall. Her most recent column is titled How anti-California propaganda and racism are driving the recall. She`s also author of Hate Monger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda.
Jean, this story about the individual who was apprehended and arrested with a weapon and drugs and a ton of mail that had nothing to do with ballots, it really took off among certain circles, particularly right-wing websites. And then this is a perfect sort of example of how this works. The Texas GOP tweeting it, saying, here`s an example of mail-in vote fraud, that S.B.1, that`s the law they just passed, a Republican election integrity bill would make illegal. Is this the kind of voting Democrats want? How wide play did that story get in conservative circles in California?
JEAN GUERRERO, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, extremely wide-played. I mean, disinformation from Republicans has played an outsized role so far in the polls in the -- leading up to the election. I mean, the Latino vote in California is going to play a decisive role in the outcome. And early polls showed Latinos strongly supporting the recall and supporting recalling Newsom.
And part of that is the fact that there was so much disinformation on social media that was specifically targeting Latinos. Things like the idea of voter fraud. You know, I had -- I had relatives of mine, Latino relatives sending me that very story that you`re talking about, you know, believing in it. And it has been incredibly widespread.
But now that Newsom is making more of an effort to campaign in these communities of color, that will be decisive in the outcome. Some of that is beginning to change. Now you see polls reflecting that something like 66 percent of Latino voters support Trump, you see 58 percent of voters in general -- not Trump, I`m sorry, support -- are against the recall and support keeping Newsom. And they are the ones who are driving the fact that now California voters are largely in favor of keeping Newsom in office.
HAYES: Yes, it`s interesting to see this. I saw some conservative pundits saying that, you know, again, speculating that like some sort of, you know, nefarious activities would be to blame if Newsom were to stay. It does seem that that Elder`s politics are a key problem here for Republicans. And you would think this would occasion some soul searching, right.
I mean, Kevin Faulconer, for instance, is running. He`s the ex-mayor of San Diego. He`s not someone that, you know, I don`t think Liberal Democrats would like the guy, and they certainly don`t want to replace Newsom with him, but he would be a more plausible sort of alternative. But Elder is the one that the base wants, that is attracting the attention. And rather than doing some soul searching about that, you sort of see this retreat to the kind of stories about they`re out to get us.
GUERRERO: Exactly. I mean, because the election -- this election is fundamentally about discrediting the idea that a multiracial democracy can work and discrediting the idea that progressive policies that embrace racial diversity actually strengthen the economy and improve safety for everyone.
And that is the reason that the recall was launched in the first place. I mean, it was launched by anti-immigrant nativist who were upset by Gavin Newsom`s pro-Latino and pro-immigrant policies. Some Latino leaders tell me he`s been the most pro-Latino governor we`ve ever seen, you know, prioritizing high-risk Latino areas for COVID relief, extending health insurance to undocumented seniors, providing pandemic assistance to essential workers, including the undocumented ones, and investing more heavily in public education, which helps working-class Californians overall, than any governor we`ve ever seen.
So, that`s the reason they launched the recall. All you have to do is look at the voter information guide that comes with the ballot. It talks about how Newsom was essentially too friendly to Latinos. And this is the reason that you see Larry elder in the lead because Larry elder represents that white supremacist worldview. And I know it sounds crazy to a lot of people because of the fact that he is a Black man.
But he has made a career out of advancing white supremacist talking points, even quoting a well-known white supremacist named Jared Taylor, who believes in a white majority United States and constantly maligned Black and Brown communities. And he quoted him, and this man shaped Larry Elder`s belief systems. He`s the reason that Stephen Miller believes a lot of the things that he -- that he did, as I wrote in my book.
You know, he mentored Stephen Miller from the time that Stephen Miller was a teenager, introduced him to this idea that, you know, if you deny the fact of systemic racism, and you malign and demonize Black and Brown communities, you`re not necessarily racist, because here`s the Black man espousing these beliefs as well. But that`s obviously completely false.
HAYES: Yes. I should know that Elder has taken the new face of white supremacy line and sort of appropriated to its own ends, which he now begins his campaign talks with that line with, you know -- to just sort of say like, this is ridiculous. But people should check out your book and check out his relationship with Stephen Miller.
Jean Guerrero, thank you so much.
GUERRERO: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, despite House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy`s varied attempts to derail the investigation into January 6, the committee`s work keeps turning. Remember the massive document requests from a couple of weeks ago, records, communications from that day? Well, the deadline for those document requests to those big telecom companies is this week. We`ll talk about what we`ve learned right after this.
HAYES: As the House January 6 Select Committee moves forward with its investigation into the causes of the insurrection, Republicans are trying to pull a Jedi mind trick and just make everyone forget about everything they said and did leading up to that day.
Last week, in response to the House Select Committee requesting telecom companies preserved the phone records of a group of Republican lawmakers, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened those telecom companies not to comply saying a future Republican majority would punish them.
This week, during an appearance on a local news program in his home district, McCarthy tried to scrub the record clean for Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another question that the Democrats want to know is how deeply was the president involved with what happened that day?
MCCARTHY: Well, you know what is interesting about that? That`s where law enforcement goes. The FBI has investigated this. The Senate had bipartisan committees and come back. And you know, what they have found? That there`s no involvement. But this is purely political in how has Nancy Pelosi has handled this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s interesting. It seems like McCarthy is basing that claim, you know, oh, this is interesting, guess what nothing to see here, off this Reuters report that cites four anonymous current and former law enforcement officials. But the January 6 Committee`s Chairman Democrat Bennie Thompson, Vice Chair Republican Liz Cheney shot that down saying, "When this anonymous report was first published, the Select Committee query the executive branch agencies and congressional committees involved in the investigation. We`ve received answers and briefings from the relevant entities and it`s been made clear to us that reports of such a conclusion are baseless. We will continue to pursue all elements of this investigation in a nonpartisan and thorough manner."
The investigation is likely to have something to show this week. Two weeks ago, that was when the January 6 Committee demanded records from eight federal agencies relating to the attack involving or related to more than 30 people including Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Trump`s Chief of Staff, Trump`s three eldest children, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr., First Lady Melania Trump, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Chairman Thompson set a deadline of January -- September 9th for the records and that is this Thursday.
Asawin Suebsaeng is a senior political reporter for The Daily Beast, the author of Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump`s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington. And he joins me now. Asawin, let`s first start on that document request. This is different than the telecom companies obviously, because it`s from federal agencies, and those federal agencies are in a position to furnish this stuff. So, this is not something we anticipate, I think, to get hung up in court. What is your understanding?
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, my understanding is that for the past several weeks, Trump has been huddling with close advisers and attorneys trying to game plan different ways to address these different requests. And as you mentioned, there are different facets to this investigation when it comes to documents or phone records requests to try to see which elements he will be able to try to stall the investigation, if not completely hobble it, probably not completely hobble it, by invoking executive privilege.
That may sound weird to some of your viewers because Donald J. Trump is obviously no longer leader of the free world. But it`s something he and his lawyers have actively been discussing behind the scenes to try to use to make sort of an argument about not just his presidency, but all future presidencies, I guess, including Joe Biden`s.
And the funny thing is when you talk to people who`ve spoken to Trump about this in recent weeks, or even days, they will tell you that one of the people he brings up most frequently when he talks about the executive privilege arguments is former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. And he gets in a little bit of a tizzy about why any White House Chief of Staff should have to be subjected to this "harassment."
HAYES: Kevin McCarthy -- Kevin McCarthy`s answer on the local news program was interesting. And I thought the response from Thompson and Cheney was also interesting. You had a great piece about just sort of recalling a thing that had sort of vanished down the memory hole, which is that McCarthy himself and other Republicans had called for some kind of inquiry into January 6. And so, you sort of followed up on that and found that, basically, there`s no -- I mean, not surprising, no appetite that -- for that anymore.
SUEBSAENG: Chris, would it shock your audience that this maybe wasn`t the most good faith declaration of investigative intention. This was a situation where back in July, Kevin McCarthy said in response to the moves that Nancy Pelosi and others were making, that Republicans would mount their own sort of counter investigation to try to have a counter-narrative about what happened in the lead-up and during the January 6 pro-Trump Riot on Capitol Hill.
So, obviously, time has passed, months have passed. We followed up with various sources on around Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the senior ranks of the Republican Party to ask if there`s been any movement on this whatsoever. We couldn`t -- we could find barely a shred of evidence, in fact, probably less than that that there actually is movement on it. It`s something that even Donald Trump has moved on from and doesn`t care about anymore.
This was almost certainly, unless something dramatically change, is another, hey, hey, look at this shiny object over here attempt at a trick that the Republican Party has been doing basically ever since January 7th.
HAYES: There`s also that letter from House Republicans to the telecom companies. And that`s going to be -- I mean, that`s very interesting partly because the Kevin McCarthy is subject. It appears his records are part of that records request. That could be a big kind of showdown. There might be legal implications. A bunch of House Republicans writing to them, including writing to Marissa Mayer who has left Yahoo like four years ago was the current CEO.
So, I`m not sure who is doing the staff work there, not a great look, to basically make real the kinds of threats that McCarthy and others have been offering.
SUEBSAENG: Right. And it goes to show the amount of care and the level of seriousness that they are approaching the actual legal or constitutional issues that come with a big investigation and congressional probe like this. And look, it`s yet another example of how, especially during the Donald Trump era, and after it, that Republicans have largely disposed with this idea of leaving big business alone, and having this sort of small government conservatism.
That was barely hanging by a sinew before Donald Trump came along as leader of the free world, but it`s something that they completely tore the mask off during the Trump presidency, where every nightmare they have about a socialist or far-left Democrat getting into the White House or taking the reins in Washington D.C. and cracking down on big business, they are doing exactly that so they can protect their dear leader, the former Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump.
HAYES: Yes. Although I will say, it`s largely rhetorical insofar as every one of those telecom companies got a very big fat corporate tax rate cut that has been massively beneficial to their shareholders. Asawin Suebsaeng, thanks as always. I appreciate it.
A quick programming note. Make sure you tune in tomorrow night as MSNBC and Peacock will premiere Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11. It`s a brand new documentary looking back on September 11. Personal testimonials recorded from a video booth in the wake of the attack. Now, the same eyewitnesses returned to reflect on the last 20 years. Memory Box airs tomorrow commercial-free 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. It can be streamed exclusively on Peacock.
And still ahead tonight, Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse is here to explain why he could be running his reelection campaign against Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I will carry my firearm in D.C. and in Congress. This caused outrage from Democrats and the media, why? It`s our job in Congress to defend your rights, including your second amendment. And that`s exactly what I`m here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Congressman Lauren Boebert. She is super into guns. It is hard to believe she has only been in Congress for eight months, sworn into her first term representing Colorado`s third district -- third district just this past January. Boebert won a Republican primary riding the wave of controversy she generated when the gun-themed restaurant she owned defied local COVID orders and continue to operate despite a cease and desist order from the county sheriff`s office.
In that short eight months, Congresswoman Boebert has reliably generated outrage with her trollish Trumpian style of politics, like when she clashed with Capitol security over metal detectors after pledging to bring her gun to the House floor as you just heard. Or when she tweeted today is 1776 on the morning of January 6, just hours before the violent insurrection. Or when she showed up for a zoom Congressional hearing with just a whole mess of unsecured guns piled up on the shelf behind her. Or just last week when she announced she has a plan to remove President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from office.
So, that is Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, the kind of MAGA Republican from a safely deep red district who could devote herself to this kind of weird performative politics, whose number one policy idea is like, I`m going to carry my gun into the House floor without ever really worrying about a competitive race except Colorado, which Boebert represents is currently redrawing its political maps. In fact, all 50 states are.
This is what it looks like now. This is what it could like in the future, reshaping the entire western half of the state, which geographically speaking is currently almost all Boebert`s district. Now, while this new map is still working progress, right now, it looks as though it`s possible Boebert`s district could be merged with the one represented by none other than Congressman Joe Neguse, the Liberal Democrat who rose to prominence as one of the impeachment managers during Donald Trump`s second impeachment trial.
Again, nothing`s set in stone the map could change again or Boebert can decide to run a different, more favorable district. Right now, though, Congressman Neguse seems to believe that there`s a credible chance Boebert could be his opponent for reelection next year.
Congressman Joe Neguse currently represents Colorado`s second congressional district, and he joins me now. First of all, what is your -- I mean, I`m always fascinated by how members of Congress get their information about the redistricting, because obviously, it`s massively important and consequential for you. What is your understanding of where things stand and how possible it would be that you would square off with Congresswoman Boebert?
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Well, good evening, Chris. It`s good to be with you. I found out the same way that members of the public did when the map was released by the commission late last week on Friday evening. As you said, of course, the maps could change and I suspect are likely to change.
The commission as an independent commission here in Colorado. We`re working as you know, to try to emulate actually the independent style of redistricting that we have here in Colorado at the national federal level through H.R1 and other pieces of legislation that we`ve worked on. So, time will tell ultimately as to what the final map looks like. Obviously, we`ll be prepared for any eventuality and any outcome.
Of course, this particular campaign, to the extent that the map lines were finalized in that fashion would be an interesting one, as you astutely described. Our worldviews couldn`t be more different. And obviously, we have a very different view as to governing and how to, you know, ultimately represent our respective constituents. So, it would make for an interesting campaign.
HAYES: Well, I want to -- I want to talk about that in a second. But you mentioned the independent commission. There`s something really interesting happening this time around in redistricting. So, some states like Colorado have an independent commission. There are other states Virginia and Oregon. And as the Colorado sun pointed this out, in Democratic control, Colorado, Virginia, and Oregon, new congressional maps drawn by Commission`s or bipartisan power-sharing agreements are unlikely to give the party the sort of political advantages it could have otherwise enjoyed.
Meanwhile, Republicans haven`t given up their power controlling the process in 20 states, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. And so, I think you and I both agree that as a policy matter, these independent commissions are much better than politicians picking their voters. But there`s a weird kind of unilateral disarmament that`s happened here where you`ve got states like yours that are quite Democratic and quite Democratic-controlled doing that, while the Republicans can just maximize the number of seats they put together.
NEGUSE: Well, I take your point. I mean, obviously, I agree with you that extreme and partisan gerrymandering has become insidious and pervasive across the country, in particular, Republican governed states, right, largely in states like Texas and Florida, where clearly you have legislators that will work to corrupt the redistricting process.
But I don`t believe that that fact ultimately, you know, compels or would warrant Democrats doing the same. Far from it. I think, as you said, as a policy matter, Democrats believe in good government. We believe in ethics and government. And that means independent, nonpartisan redistricting, which is you know, Chris, is wildly popular on a bipartisan basis across the political spectrum.
In Colorado, as you mentioned, this is a relatively new style of redistricting. It was approved by the voters themselves just three years ago by an overwhelming basis. And I think that the voters made the right call. Politicians shouldn`t be in charge of drawing district lines. That job should ultimately be one handled by a nonpartisan commission like the one in Colorado.
So if anything, I think it underscores, Chris, the real necessity for us to get serious in Washington about recognizing gerrymandering really is another form of voter suppression and why H.R.4 and H.R.1 ultimately need to get across the finish line to the residence test because many of these states, as you know, have already embarked on their redistricting processes.
HAYES: Yes. H.R.1 would sort of create this process across the country. Last point, just to bring it back. I mean, to me, what this example shows is how powerful it is when you can control the lines, because you could sit down and draw a map that puts you and Congresswoman Boebert into the same district where she would trounce you. You could do one that you would trounce her.
Like, regardless of worldview or your abilities as members of Congress or whatever, like, there`s a certain degree to which drawing the maps is quite determinant of outcomes, not 100 percent, but pretty far. And you can really see it when you think -- when you think through this kind of thought experiments.
NEGUSE: Yes, well, I mean, again, I think it`s the reason why the nonpartisan independent redistricting commissions and reapportionment commissions in terms of state legislative maps are the way to go. At the end of the day, the voters should be in charge, and by extension, the citizen-based commission that we have in Colorado, and that we also have in many other states across the country.
And I think politicians candidates ultimately need to be comfortable with letting the chips fall where they may. And so, I`m certainly supportive of the measures that we`ve taken here in Colorado, and I hope that the Congress will get the message in doing the same in Washington.
HAYES: Well, if you open up a diner in Boulder where ever one has to pack, I guess we`ll know what`s going on. Congressman Joe Neguse, thank you very much.
All right, coming up, with COVID cases on the rise and kids heading back to classrooms, at home rapid COVID tests to be a vital tool in preventing outbreaks. So, why isn`t it easier to get them in the U.S.? That`s ahead.
HAYES: So, it`s the day after Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, which boy, I hate that. It`s still a bummer as far as a 9-year-old. And this summer was dominated this year by the Delta variant. You know, a lot of us went into summer thinking, myself included, things would maybe basically be back to normal and my brother got married in May. That was fantastic. Vaccines became widely available in the mid to late spring. And there was that moment where everyone you knew was getting vaccinated, maybe or maybe not.
But thanks to vaccine hesitancy, and in lots of cases, outside outright vaccine resistance, that didn`t quite work out. You know, 80 million people are still unvaccinated, and we did not get a normal summer. Instead, we got what you see here on the right side of your screen, a huge outbreak of this highly transmissible Coronavirus strain moving primarily through the unvaccinated, towering over 2020 summer peak.
As David Leonhardt wrote today in New York Times, it is important to keep in mind just how well these vaccines have been holding up even with Delta. In Seattle, on an average recent day, about one out of every one million vaccinated residents have been admitted to a hospital with Coronavirus symptoms. That risk is so close to zero the human mind can`t easily process it. My best attempt, he writes, is to say the Coronavirus risks for most vaccinated people are of the same order of magnitude as risks that people unthinkingly accept everyday like riding in a vehicle, which I think is basically true.
But of course, now, again, end of summer, something front of mind for both policymakers and a lot of parents is the fact that we have a huge unvaccinated population entering indoor spaces for much of the day. That`s schoolchildren. We`re entering the third school year affected by this pandemic and looking once again at a worst-case scenario that we had a huge increase in transmission as a year progresses partly because basically, it`s in-person school everywhere in the country.
I think that`s good as it should be. But that`s going to have effects, right? Already, this is the case in parts of the South and Midwest and West where Delta has been running rampant. You see those dark Maroon counties where average jelly cases are high. In Florida, where the governor`s fighting school mask mandates, Hillsborough County Public School saw 8400 students and 307 staff members either in isolation because of the positive test or in quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive. That was after just one week into the school year.
Meanwhile, in Texas, nearly 52,000 public school students have tested positive for the virus in the past three and a half weeks.
This points to a larger question about the fall, which is this. If we did not get that normal summer despite the vaccines, what will the fall and winter look like? Well, there`s a key tool on top of vaccines and masking that can help get us to something more safe and normal and I`m going to explain that ahead.
HAYES: When it comes to mitigation strategies to slow down the spread of this virus, one tool we should be deploying at much greater scale than we currently are is rapid testing. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration authorized several rapid COVID tests for over-the-counter use. Then, as COVID cases fell significantly in the spring, Abbott Laboratories, one of the leading producers of these tests, reportedly began destroying inventory with a limited shelf life.
According to The New York Times, workers were told to "take apart millions of the products they`ve worked so hard to create and stuffed them into garbage bags." Well, now, as infections continue to surge and millions of kids are heading back to school for in-person learning, demand for these over-the-counter tests are through the roof. That is because they are remarkable weapon for the COVID Arsenal.
For about $25.00 or so, the at-home antigen tests can deliver results in about 15 minutes. Are they accurate? Yes. Not quite as accurate as a PCR test which are processed in the lab. Are they foolproof? No. But any form of testing is better than no testing, which is perhaps why some countries have been using rapid testing for months.
England rolled out rapid home tests for everyone back in April. Just recently, Singapore`s health officials said that antigen rapid test kits will be given to all households as well as children and staff at kindergartens and preschools. So, why is U.S. so far behind on deployment of rapid testing?
Michael Mina is an epidemiologist, assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health. He has been banging the drum on this question for months, recently tweeting, "A goal of a rapid test program is to keep nine out of 10 infectious people from walking into a train station infecting others. Medicine has nothing to do with this. MDs have no training for this. It is a public health engineering problem, not medicine." And Dr. Michael Mina joins me now.
Dr. Mina, let`s just start on the -- on the accuracy of these tests because I think back last year, they got kind of a bad rap. I think people generally felt like oh, they`re not reliable. They get a lot of false positives. My understanding is they both gotten better and are now being used quite well. What`s your feeling about their general level of accuracy?
MICHAEL MINA, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It`s a terrific question. The rapid tests are very accurate if your goal is to ask the question, am I infectious right now? And for that question, they`re extremely accurate.
We continue to compare them to medical diagnostics, which are not -- which are not designed to give you an immediate results. And instead, they -- you get greater sensitivity, but they can be sensitive for a very long time, continuing to tell people if they`re positive even after they`re infectious.
So, these rapid tests don`t do that. They tell you, am I infectious right now? And if so, that means you should be isolating because you don`t want to spread it to other people.
HAYES: I think that`s a great way to frame the question. And that`s where it does seem so crucial in transmission. I have to say, I`ve used them a bit a bit. I mean, first of all, there -- folks that haven`t used them, they`re kind of like pregnancy tests. You do a nasal swab, you put it down, and you get -- you know, it gives you the bands 15 minutes later.
So, the question of am I infectious right now, like if you`re going to go see some friends, that`s a useful thing that to answer. And it seems like if we weren`t doing that, you know, at scale, we could stamp out a lot of outbreaks and certainly prevent like super spreader events.
MINA: That`s exactly right. In fact, we`ve published earlier in 2020. So, over a year ago now, we started publishing papers that show exactly that. That if you can have enough people find out that they`re infectious and be able to self-quarantine, it doesn`t need to be near perfect, but just enough people, then you can actually sever transmission chance and stop outbreaks from growing and not having to lock down schools, lockdown businesses, we could have truly prevented the massive outbreaks that we saw this past fall and winter. And we could have prevented the major lockdowns and ideally saved hundreds of thousands of lives potentially.
HAYES: Netherlands is -- the Netherlands is a place where they`re making these fairly available. I`ve seen people shooting -- taking pictures from other countries. This is a doctor posted a picture of them home self- administered 15 minute wait COVID tests available on Amsterdam supermarket for about $3.50 each. I don`t understand we still don`t have these in the U.S.
The ones that Abbott Labs make are like 20 or $25.00 whereas in the U.K., they`re free from the National Health Service. In the Amsterdam, they`re $3.00. Singapore is getting them. How important do you think it is to A, scale up availability and bring down the cost?
MINA: It`s the most crucial thing we could do right now to scale up availability is what I`ve personally been calling for over a year now. I`m glad that people are now starting to see with their own hands and eyes what exactly these tests are. And we can scale these to massive numbers so that every American can have access to these tests on a frequent and routine basis to help us get through the rest of this pandemic.
These tests can be produced, especially the rapid antigen tests, like we were talking about, can be produced for very little money. And we`re seeing across the globe that they`re actually selling for one or $2.00. Usually that`s with government subsidies. We could be doing that here in the United States as well.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, I read somewhere, I think per unit price cost production is around $0.80. It also -- you know, lowering the barrier here, I mean, I think getting a PCR test is an undertaking. And even if you`re very careful, right, like, if let`s say your kid cough a little bit. You`re thinking, I don`t know. You know, I`m going to take them to go get a PCR test somewhere, maybe wait online, wait a few days. But you know, if you have one of these around, it`s like, OK, well, let`s just see. You coughed a little bit.
And I just think that -- it would just really be a game-changer on top of vaccination, obviously, which I think is the single most important way to fight this, to have that level of accessibility for people.
MINA: Absolutely. You know, it`s the band-aid model. If people didn`t have any band-aids in their home, and their kid gets a cut, and you`d have to go to the doctor to clean up that cut and put a bandaid on it, most people would just not go with the band-aid and you`d see a lot more infections.
And accessibility is the number one thing we need here. I want to see a day where people especially during this pandemic, can just go and pull one out of their cupboard without even thinking about it say, hey, my kid isn`t feeling so well. Before they go to school, let`s just use a simple 30- second rapid tests and be done with it. And you know, that alone could do massive gains to really stop spread across our population.
HAYES: The other thing I note here is we`re up against this sort of barrier, right, with tens of millions of people not vaccinated and some of those folks just hard to reach, others dead set against it. I don`t think there`s the same mobilization against rapid tests, although Lord knows what we have in store in the future.
Dr. Michael Mina who`s been really great on this issue, I think it`s one we want to sort of stay on and maybe talk to the Biden administration about next time we have them on the program. Thank you so much.
That is ALL IN for this Tuesday evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I`m happy to have you here today.