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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, August 10, 2020

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Sara Nelson, Tom Perez, Katie Hill


The Republicans are stalling on economic help for Americans as Wall Street gets low interest rates. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is interviewed about President Trump's new executive order. President Trump continues to lie claiming the kids are immune to COVID. Trump tries to undermine the election by making it hard for Americans to vote by mail.


GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the propaganda that Bill Barr tried to feed us in yesterday's interview would make Putin blush.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes, indeed. And bone spurs cowardice a study. Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much really appreciate you being here. That is tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN. As Congress bickers over the Coronavirus stimulus, the lives and livelihoods of millions of people hang in the balance. Why there's always money for Wall Street but not for working Americans?

Then, the Friday night massacre at the Postal Service. As the attack on democracy continues, DNC Chair Tom Perez is here on how democrats are trying to protect the election.

And it's decision time for Joe Biden. This week we'll finally find out about his vice presidential pick. Former Congresswoman Katie Hill on the challenges facing that candidate when ALL IN starts now.


VELSHI: Good evening from Philadelphia, I'm Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes. Republicans have now gotten to the phase of the pandemic where they are pretending that there's just not enough money to help Americans. They say that we cannot afford another large relief bill to help those who are suffering. The money doesn't grow on trees, they say.

But here's the thing. It sort of does. That's because we have a magical money tree with lots of money on it. We know this because we've seen it. It's planted on Wall Street. The head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell said as much back in March at the start of the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any limit to the amount of money the Fed is willing to put into this economy to keep it afloat? Is it a blank check?

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Essentially, the answer to your question, though, is no.


VELSHI: Less than two weeks ago, the Fed basically repeated itself keeping interest rates near zero percent, which is essentially free money. The Fed said it is "committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time." Now, as you know, in normal times, I'm a financial journalist. And when I translate that out of banker speak into English, it means the Fed is willing to do whatever it needs to do, including printing money, to avoid a repeat of the credit freeze that jammed up the global economy in 2008.

So, you see, there is a money tree for the banks and for the stock market and for investors, and for people who can access credit right now. But if you're just one of the tens of millions of unemployed through no fault of your own, there's just no money tree for you.

We're in the middle of a recession. We've got double-digit unemployment. Literally millions of people on the verge of losing their homes and Republicans say there's no money because they're worried about an increase in the national debt. Well, they weren't much worried about the increase in the national debt when they passed a giant tax cut bill in 2017. I don't see much worry about it when they carry on about increases defense spending, but when regular folks need money for housing and transportation and food, it's about the national debt.

And you might be wondering why I'm talking about a money tree. The reason is Senator Ted Cruz Cruz of Texas. His state has had over half a million cases of Coronavirus with more than 7,000 people in the hospital and almost 9,000 people dead. Testing has plummeted. There's an increase in positive tests.

By all accounts, Senator Cruz's state is a hotspot, and yet this is what he tweeted today. "Why be so cheap? Give everyone $1 million a day, every day, forever. And three soy lattes a day at a foot massage. We have a magic money tree. We should use it." Senator Cruz's tweet was met with this response from one of his colleagues, Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts. "It's not a goddamn joke, Ted. Millions of families are facing hunger, the threat of eviction, and the loss of their healthcare during a pandemic that is worsening every day. Get real."

Well, here's the problem if we get real. Senator Ted Cruz is right and Senator Markey is wrong. There is a magical money tree and you can eat its fruit and you can sit in it shade if you're rich, or you hold stock, or you are a major American corporation. If you just lost your job or you're about to lose your job, there's no money tree for you.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we don't have a deal right now because Republicans simply put, do not want to share the fruits of the money tree with Americans who are suffering. This is why the federal eviction moratorium lapsed and why the extra $600 a week of unemployment benefits expired last month.

Over the weekend, the President kindly interrupted his long weekend at his New Jersey golf club to circumvent Congress and signed four executive orders on Coronavirus relief. But those orders are insufficient. They're really just part of a P.R. stunt. Included in those orders is a plan to suspend payroll taxes which would actually hurt Americans more than anything because it takes money away from Social Security and Medicare, not to mention the obvious, that suspending payroll taxes doesn't help people who aren't on a payroll at all.

It's kind of incredible that in the depths of this economic despair, Republicans are taking this moment to deceive Americans because it conforms to a conservative fetish about poor people getting freebies and running up the national debt. Just to be clear, there is a magical money tree, it's just not for Americans.

For more on this, I'm joined now by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, who's also the chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Congressman, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. The President has done something unusual here. He often can be relied upon to do the wrong thing. But in this case, he's done something that some people are going to say, hey, he got this executive order out so that I can get my federal bolster to my unemployment when Congress couldn't get its act together. What's your response to people who think that what the President did might have been a good thing?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, the executive order by Donald Trump is nothing more than a dog and pony show. Nobody is feeling it. The constitutional scholars are not feeling it because they know it's an unconstitutional power grab that will go nowhere once it is sued. The Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not even feeling it because they know that it has done nothing meaningful in terms of dealing with the economic distress that exists all across the country.

Senate Republicans, at least in part have criticized it as well. Democratic and Republican governors aren't feeling President Trump's executive order because they know it will do nothing to help out the state and local budgets that are collapsing across the country, which will undermine the ability to provide public health, public safety, public education, public transportation, and the public good.

The President's so-called executive order will even cut in the middle of a deadly pandemic with depression-like conditions in many communities $800 per month from everyday Americans. It's shameful.

VELSHI: Talk to me about this debt issue. The debt issue comes up every now and then. Mitch McConnell has said, because this bill was stuck in the Senate, you passed it in the House, has said that he's got 20 or so members who say it's too much. It's enough. We've done enough, we can't run up the debt.

This is the same Congress that passed a tax cut bill two years ago when a lot of us were screaming from the rooftops that this is going to increase debt. And they said, no, it's not it's going to increase economic growth, everyone is going to have $4,000 more and everyone's going to pay more taxes. It's actually going to reduce that. It actually have the opposite effect.

JEFFRIES: It's absolutely correct. Republicans could care less at the end of the day about the national debt. And Exhibit A is the GOP tax scam that they passed in 2017 where 83 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest one percent in America without any credible justification. And in doing so, they exploded the national debt by $2 trillion.

And now they want to talk about fiscal restraint in the middle of a pandemic, where you've got more than 150,000 Americans who have died, more than five million Americans infected by the Coronavirus, more than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed, more than 55 million Americans have filed unemployment claims for the first time?

I mean, what we're dealing with here is a group of Republicans who care about promoting the lifestyles of the rich and shameless, period. We are fighting as House Democrats to try to stand up for the least, the lost, the left behind working families, everyday Americans, displaced workers, the middle class and those who aspire to be part of it, and of course, our senior citizens. They're all about the wealthy, the well off and the well connected. And that's what this moment truly reveals for the American people to see with great clarity.

VELSHI: You know, we always know that if you -- if you go into a recession in good shape, you often come out in better shape, but this recession is remarkable. The S&P 500 is almost at a record. We were in a recession, we've got tens of millions of people unemployed, we've got tens of millions of people food insecure, we have tens of millions of people who might actually lose their homes, but the stock market is at a record because the Fed has provided free money to business.

And I'm not saying they shouldn't have. It's a good model. Why can't we do that on the other side for regular people?

JEFFRIES: Well, that is why we continue to fight for a meaningful Congressional intervention. We pass the Heroes Act, as you noted, Ali, on May 15th. Almost three months ago, Republicans have done nothing. And we would provide an extension of the emergency unemployment benefits of $600 per week into next year. We would provide approximately $175 billion in assistance for homeowners and tenants struggling to pay the rent or their mortgage.

We would provide food assistance to Americans who are increasingly food insecure. We would provide an additional round of direct stimulus payments of approximately $6,000 per family of five because we know that people are struggling in the midst of this moment. There's a lot of pain and suffering and death that the American people have experienced.

That is why, led by Speaker Pelosi, we are fighting for a real congressional intervention, not a nickel and dime intervention which is what the Republicans would like us to settle for. Meanwhile, as you've pointed out, the Fed is propping up the stock market and corporate America.

VELSHI: I don't understand how money to people who have lost their jobs or -- and may lose their homes through no fault of their own is a partisan issue. Congressman, good to see you. Thank you for joining me. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is the chair of the House Democratic caucus and a member of the House Budget Committee.

For more on coronavirus relief, I want to bring in Sara Nelson. She's the president of the Association of Flight Attendants Union. She's the co-chair of the Biden-Sanders Task Force on the economy. But unique to this discussion, Sarah Nelson was involved in the negotiations around earlier relief bills to try and figure out ways so that we're not in this pickle all the time.

Sara, every few months, we're not sitting here about whether it's too much money or it's going to increase the debt. You're trying to come up with a durable solution and your complaint here is by the president working around this, he's done an end run around something that could have been more durable and more permanent.

SARA NELSON, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: Absolutely. In March, what we did in aviation, and we hoped would be a model for every other industry and for our government is to turn these relief packages on their head and actually build them from the ground up.

So, the aviation relief package is a payroll support program that requires the money from the government to go directly to people's paychecks. It requires the airlines to keep people employed, connected to their healthcare. And that money can only be spent on that payroll and benefits. And that keeps people connected to their jobs that allows us to start up again, and it is durable and it is successful during crisis.

VELSHI: You gave an example of a flight attendant who couldn't work because -- or was worried about working and getting Coronavirus because her husband had an underlying condition. Explain to me how your system works better than what we've got right now.

NELSON: Ali, we were absolutely in a crisis. And we're in a unique position in aviation where we are actually an essential service, essential workers, and yet demand fell off a cliff. 97 percent in March, it's just barely back to 20 percent of what it was before. So, there's not enough work to go around and yet we still have to go to work.

The money from the federal government was enough to keep people in their jobs and connected to their benefits but they didn't fully fund the program. So, what the airlines did was they also asked people to take voluntary leads. There were people like my flight attendant friend who has a husband who is waiting for a heart transplant. She was getting ready to go back to work after caring for him in a recent surgery, getting ready to go back to work in March when COVID hit.

And her doctor told her, if you go to work, your husband will die. So, she had to stay home. She took that voluntary furlough. She stayed connected to her benefits, though, because of the program that we had in place. So, she could continue those medical benefits, stay on the list for a heart transplant, they're still waiting for that, and they were able to use the $600 unemployment benefits to get by.

Now, if we don't continue this, if we don't continue the $600-plus up, if we don't continue the payroll support program, she is on the furlough list at United Airlines, will lose her job, will lose her health care, and her husband will lose her life. She is one story but this is the story of millions of Americans right now. We are in crisis and we cannot wait.

Congress has to get together. Congress has to fix this because the President does not have the power of the purse. The President does not have the ability to allocate the money to do what those executive orders said. Those executive orders are empty. It's not just a legal challenge, they just -- the money is not there. The money is not going to show up for people.

VELSHI: Sara, thank you for the work that you're doing. And thank you for continuing to work with Congress on getting a durable deal that makes a lot more sense. Sara Nelson is the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants CWA, she's also the co-chair of the Biden-Sanders task force on the economy.

Tonight, as more students across the country returned to school, a new report that nearly 100,000 kids tested positive for the coronavirus in just two weeks. We'll talk about that next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My view is the school should open. This thing's going away. It will go away like things go away. And my view is that schools should be open. If you look at children, children are almost and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease. So few, they've got stronger, hard to believe, I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they do it, they don't have a problem. They just don't have a problem.


VELSHI: That's a lie. That was President Trump obviously last week saying children are almost immune from the Coronavirus. It is a lie -- not just a lie, it's a lie that so recklessly dangerous that Twitter and Facebook actually removed the video of that interview of the Trump campaigns account. Pop over to my Twitter timeline sometime or Chris Hayes. It's kind of amazing how low the bar is for Twitter to actually make you take down a tweet.

Kids are absolutely not immune to the Coronavirus. The science is still up in the air about the exact risks to children, but it's clear that they can catch it, they can spread it, and they can die from it. In fact, a new study found 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for coronavirus in just the last two weeks of July. 97,000, that's a 40 percent increase in cases in children in a matter of two weeks.

Joining me now for more on the coronavirus and children, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia. She's an infectious disease physician and the medical director of special pathogens unit at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Bhadelia, good to see you again. Thank you for joining us.

I mean, on one hand, I don't know that anybody actually believed this stuff that Donald Trump was saying about children being almost immune, and I don't know how many people still take his word about science at face value. But let's just talk about what the relationship is between Coronavirus and children.

NAHID BHADELIA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Ali, I think you summarized it pretty well. You and I have often talked about the fact that with emerging infections, you're building the ship as you're sailing. And the data that we know, the known knowns are, as you said, children get sick, you know, as this report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, nine percent. That's the percent of total cases that children make up.

And in some areas, I mean, what's concerning is that in that report, what you see is that in some areas, they make five percent of the total hospitalizations of all COVID-19 cases. That's, it's a big number. And so, children do get it, children can be hospitalized, and children have died of COVID-19 albeit a lower rate than what adults do.

So not only that, but as we've seen schools open up, and summer camps open up over the last few weeks, what we've seen is that children actually can get thick and they represent the illness that's going on in their community because they're bringing that disease into schools and they're transmitting it back potentially to their -- to their homes.

VELSHI: So, one of the -- one of the issues, of course, which you were just, I think, leading into is that children, while they may not have the rate of infection of adults, they mimic what we see in the larger community. So, we see in poorer communities or in communities where there are forced multi-generational homes in in small square footage, or communities where there are high numbers of pre-existing conditions or no medical care, that the same patterns exist amongst children in those kinds of communities.

BHADELIA: That's right. Well, I think the problem is that in those communities, you know, what -- so, we talked about the known knowns. Here, the known unknown. We don't know what happened, but we can predict what would happen if you open up schools without all the proper sort of protection, you know, for teachers, for the kids themselves in areas where there is high community transmission, and where there are schools that have huge class sizes.

And potentially as you said, so where do you see large class sizes and you know, potentially students who are going home to multi-generational families? These are metropolitan areas and these are areas potentially kids of essential workers who may not have other options such as other options for remote learning. And so, it does carry an undue burden. I think we push in-person learning and might carry an undue burden for those areas and those families that don't have other options for schooling.

VELSHI: And you have done some studying as to how we should reopen. I think -- I think everybody would like schools to reopen. I think we understand the damage to children, if they are -- if they are not properly educated and they're not socialized in a school setting. There are places in the country where it might make sense to start it on a slow basis and learn as you say while the ship is sailing.

BHADELIA: Right. Well, you just going back to the study that we started with, right? I mean, I think that the question is, what is this study tell me. The study basically tells me is that, you know, the reason, it's not that the virus changed. Why are we seeing more kids getting diagnosed to this is because, you know, kids are maybe out more, they're getting tested more because they have to return to school. And we have more testing, so that existing disease that exists in kids is being picked up.

And if that's the case, and what it's telling me is that, you know, A, the kids are getting sick and at a higher rate than we thought they were. And the second is the importance of testing. As you know, the current CDC guidelines sort of downplays the role of testing and reopening schools and potentially surveillance of disease in schools.

To me, I think that the few important things are, you know, as you said, the children will reflect -- disease in children will reflect the disease in communities. The number one step, no matter what we do, have to be to decrease community transmission. And in some of the states that are being the most aggressive and opening up reopenings are those that have the highest test positivity.

Texas has a test positivity of 20 percent. And as you know, the recommended is about five percent. That's the CDC and the White House, you know, Task Force's own on criteria. So that's number one. We need to bring community transmission down. I do think there's a role for testing. We need to go back and sort of look at what that role is and how we can ensure that we pick up these clusters early.

And three, I think that we need to -- if we're going to open -- reopen schools, the reopening needs to be in areas with low transmission. Give those places all the resources. This is about learning, unfortunately, about this disease as we move, so let's learn from low prevalence areas and then apply those best lessons to other areas once they bring that community transmission down.

VELSHI: Well, talking about sports for a second, a headline today that Big 10 is expected to cancel the football season. No games for Michigan, Michigan State in 2020. Donald Trump subsequently tweeted, "The student athletes have been working too hard for their season to be canceled. Hashtag, we want to play and play college football."

Now, look, I guess the problem I've got with this is I want students to go back to school, I'd love football to be played, but we can't really be making decisions on the basis of they've worked too hard. The decision has to be made on the basis of can they stay safe, can spectators stay safe, can these young people stay safe?

The problem is the same. We keep on talking about what we want, when we've got science that can actually be guiding us.

BHADELIA: That's right. You know, and a few things here. You can't wear personal protective equipment when you're playing sport, you know. Or if you could, I don't think it would look like what you think it's going to look like. And not only that, but you know, some of the things that we're noticing is that patients who survive COVID-19, there's a small proportion of them they still have, you know, persistent symptoms for at least in the short for moderate term.

And so, what does that mean you know, for these college students, these athletes who are near adult? You know, we know for example, that yes, they get more asymptomatic disease, but they probably get sicker than patient -- you know, kids who are younger.

The other thing is, you know, you spoke about data and science. We do need the science but we also need -- we need the basis on which we can base it -- we can create that science and knowledge. And right now, for example, for this academy of pediatric report, only nine states actually reported hospital -- you know, testing. What percentage of people who get tested are kids?

We don't even know what percentage of kids are getting tested. Only 20 states in New York City reported the number of kids that are hospitalized from COVID-19, so -- or what percentage of hospitalizations are kids? So, we need that data from all the states to really get the better picture of what's going on.

VELSHI: Dr. Bhadelia, good to see you again. Thank you for joining us. Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston University School of Medicine and she's an MSNBC Medical Contributor.

Still ahead, Democrats say the United States Postal Service fell victim to a Friday night massacre led by the Trump donor Postmaster General. The systematic dismantling of the Postal Service and the attack on your ability to safely exercise your vote this November, ahead.


VELSHI: There are some deeply distressing anti-democratic events going on around the country right now, remarkably appalling news around the world, by the way. Appalling news out of Hong Kong where under the new secretly drafted national security law, police arrested a pro-democracy media mogul named Jimmy Lai.

Officers raided the newsroom of his newspaper which is critical of the Hong Kong government and of Chinese leadership. They also arrested activists and a freelance journalist who works for Britain's ITV News. This is the latest attempt by China to silence free speech and dissent in Hong Kong as it tries to exert control over the region.

In Eastern Europe, critics say yesterday's election in Belarus was rigged after the country's Central Election Commission announced that longtime autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko won with 80 percent of the vote. President Lukashenko controls the vote counting as well as security services, and the state media.

In recent days, security services arrested many protesters and journalists in Belarus and internet service was cut off in the capital Minsk. The country is now being rocked by major protests, as the President's main opposition candidate refuses to accept the government's results, and has not conceded.

Now, in normal times, when faced with these kinds of situations around the world, they would look to the United States to do something. We're supposed to lead the free world. We're supposed to shine as the beacon of democracy, but we're not doing that because similar things are happening here.

We saw it when federal agents attacked American protesters in Lafayette Square. We're seeing it right now as our president tries to undermine the upcoming election in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to violate the important civil rights of Americans the right to vote.

We're seeing what's happening with the Postal Service, where Trump's crony and major donor, the new Postmaster General executed what's being called a Friday night massacre following a host of cost-cutting measures at the Postal Service that is slowing down mail delivery ahead of the election when we expect a record volume of mail-in ballots.

I'm going to talk to the head of the Democratic National Committee about what he plans to do to protect the election after this.


VELSHI: For weeks now, we've been covering the slowdown of the Postal Service during this pandemic in an election year where mail-in voting is going to be crucial. The newly installed Postmaster General, a major Trump donor, has denied that his agency is slowing down mail delivery. But then in the midst of all this, pulling the old hide the news on a Friday night routine, he quietly and completely gutted the leadership of the day to day operations of the United States Postal Service.

The Washington Post reports that "23 postal executives were reassigned or displaced, moving some to new positions and others out of leadership roles entirely." The latest Friday night massacre is just one of the many recent changes that undermine the Post Office's ability to deliver mail.

For example, the American Prospect is reporting that states will now need to pay first class $0.55 cent postage for mailing ballots instead of the normal $0.20 bulk rate. As a result, states and cities may decide that they don't have the money to mail absentee ballots and will make them harder to get.

This is not a philosophical issue. People died for our right to vote. This is an actual violation of civil rights. Trump is trying to undermine the constitutional requirement to deliver mail because delivering the mail actually threatens his reelection.

To talk about Democrats and what they're doing to combat this violation and protect the election, I'm joined by Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee. He's the former Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. And I want to talk about that. I want you to take off your DNC hat for a second, Tom, and talk to me as a guy who has a deep and rich history with civil rights. This is our right to vote that is being tampered with.

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DNC: Exactly. This is what John Lewis said. The right to vote is the most important non-violent tool to build a model perfect union that we know. And John Lewis gave us his marching orders, which is we need to make sure that everyone gets out to vote and everyone has that right to vote and they do that.

And what you're seeing with the postal sabotage is another effort to make sure that less people vote. That's the fundamental philosophical underpinning of Donald Trump and the Trump Republican Party is we want less people to vote. We do better when less people vote. This is voter suppression on steroids.

And you know what we knew it was coming as a party, Ali. And so, we have -- we're using every tool in the toolbox and we're actually building new tools to make sure that people are able to exercise their right to vote this November.

VELSHI: The problem, Tom, is that we've got just a little more than 80 days to the election. And in a normal world, and you realize that we went from about 23 percent mail-in ballots in the last election to I don't know what it's going to look like this time, 40, 50, maybe 60, maybe higher. We need to be doing everything in every state to get up to the gold standard in mail-in ballots. We're not only not doing that; we're going in the opposite direction.

PEREZ: Well, our government is -- the executive branch, Donald Trump, they're supposed to make government work, not make government fail. And that's exactly what they're trying to do with the Postal Service is make government fail. And here's what we're doing in a nutshell. We're doing many things. Number one litigation, and we've been winning cases.

And the "we" isn't just the DNC, it's other partners in the ecosystem. We've been winning cases in places like Minnesota, in Wisconsin, elsewhere, and we will continue to file lawsuits whenever justice demands. Number two, educating and organizing. The reason we were able to win a Supreme Court seat in Wisconsin in April, in addition to the litigation success we had, was because we out-hustled the other side.

We worked with our partners in the ecosystem to educate voters on the need to vote by mail, vote early, and so we were able to get so many people out there to vote. If you look at places like Florida right now, you have a major vote by mail advantage for Democrats because everyone has been doing their homework reaching out to voters, 600,000 vote advantage.

The same thing in North Carolina, major advantage because we are organizing, organizing, organizing. We're using a lot of tech tools to help people. You go to and you can find out how to vote, where to vote, how to do it early, how to make sure you're registered to vote.

And we've actually -- we're working with local authorities to make sure that there are -- you can -- rather than having a vote by mail, you can -- you can put drop boxes. That's what they do in Colorado. That's what they do in Washington state and elsewhere.

VELSHI: Yes, Colorado does that, yes.

PEREZ: So, when I say we're building new tools in the toolbox, we're doing that as well. And we're working with other partners in the ecosystem. We can do this. People -- this is an affront to our democracy. This is a civil rights challenge. But you know what, we've confronted these challenges before. The ecosystem working on this is stronger than it's ever been. It's more robust.

It's not just the DNC and the Biden campaign, it's other partners in the ecosystem. And we are united in our unfailing desire to make sure that we allow every single person to exercise their right to vote, however they do.

VELSHI: Every single person, not Democrats, everybody in this country should have an equal right to vote. You do have one tool in your toolbox that's particularly good. Your old boss who was talking about this the other day. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive I.D. laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run up to an election that's going to be dependent on mail in ballots, so people don't get sick.


VELSHI: Tom, this is an interesting thing, because the point you were making is that actually we can overcome this, right? People can actually -- as hard as the Trump administration is going to try to stop people from voting, people can do this. Barack Obama is a good, good weapon for you.

PEREZ: Now, we can overcome this and we will overcome this. And not only is Barack Obama on this, but my other former boss, Eric Holder, is all over this, and he's a remarkable partner in the ecosystem. What's shameful about this, in addition to undermining our democracy, is that people depend on the Postal Service, Ali, for prescription drugs. They depend on it for their Social Security check. Making government fail isn't the way to treat people well.

Rural America depends so much on the Postal Service, and this President is undermining their ability to carry on life and death activities in their -- in their everyday existence. And that is why there is so much energy being devoted to this. It's not going to be easy, but the number of people working on this, we are winning in court, we are organizing everywhere. We have Republican governors who have said, you know, yes, we should allow a vote by mail.

We are -- we are doing things that we've never done before. We're going to have dropboxes in certain places. We're going to make sure that everybody has choice. That's the key to voting. People who want to vote in person should have the right to vote in person. People who want to vote early, we should have a maximum number of early vote days so we can eliminate social -- we can have social distancing, and eliminate or minimize Coronavirus challenges, and people who want to vote by mail.

And by the way, Donald Trump says vote by mail versus absentee ballots, they're the same darn thing. I don't know what the heck he's talking about when he tries to draw a distinction. People who want to vote at home or vote by mail ought to be able to do it. And if you drop it in the mailbox by Election Day, and by the way, the government ought to pay the postage, that's the gold standard.

Drop it in the mail by Election Day, that should be the gold standard, and we're going to sue everywhere and anywhere we need to do that in order to get those rights for people. This is too important an election to allow someone to steal, and we're not going to allow that.

VELSHI: Yes. I never realized how suitable it might be that a civil rights lawyer is the head of the DNC, but now that is the case, Tom, good to see you again, as always. Thank you. Tom Perez is the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Coming up next, down to the wire for Joe Biden to make his V.P. pick. I'm going to talk to former Congresswoman Katie Hill about what's in store for whoever gets the nod right after this.


VELSHI: Joe Biden's self-imposed deadline to name a running mate came and went on August 1st. His next deadline, the first week of August came and went last week. But the deadlines he can't miss comes next week, the Democratic National Convention. And so tonight, as the New York Times is reporting, the pick is imminent and will likely be announced in the middle of this week.

Joe Biden went through this very vetting, same vetting process back in 2008. He's been very open about how seriously he takes this decision, both for his campaign and for the future of the Democratic Party. What we do know is that his pick will be a woman. He's told us that. And we all remember what happened the last time a woman was on the ticket opposite Donald Trump.

And so, when you hear the name of the woman who is going to be Joe Biden's running mate, you might be impressed by her credentials. You should be. But what you will really need to be impressed by is the fortitude of someone who is going to have anything she has ever said, written, or done scrutinized, dug up, and held against her.

So tonight, I'm going to talk to someone who knows what it's like to be at the receiving end of those attacks. Katie Hill flipped a district held by Republicans for more than 20 years in the historic 2018 wave that saw more than 100 women elected to Congress. But less than a year later, then Congresswoman Hill found herself resigning from Congress after her ex-husband leak revenge porn of her online, which led to an allegation of an inappropriate affair with a staffer.

But before she left, she delivered a fiery speech on the House floor calling out quote the dirtiest gutter politics she had ever seen.


KATIE HILL, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN OF CALIFORNIA: I'm leaving, but we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in boardrooms on the Supreme Court in this very body, and worst of all, in the Oval Office.


VELSHI: Katie Hill is now detailing her experience in a new book She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality. Former Congresswoman Katie Hill joins me now. Good to see you again. You and I have not talked since you were in Congress. And now, you have come out with a book that tells a story many of us thought we knew, but it really tells a lot more.

Tell me about this moment that you're -- in which you're releasing this book, this moment that we are in in America where we're on the footsteps of having a woman named as a vice-presidential candidate.

HILL: Yes. I mean, I decided I wanted to launch this book in conjunction with the anniversary, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which is when women, you know, got the hard-fought right to vote. And you know, of course, that was only for white women. It took a lot longer for women of color to be able to fully exercise their voting rights.

But the truth is that we have come a long ways in these past hundred years, but we've got a long way to go. And it's a -- it's a monumental feat that we have a woman who is going to become vice president. Well, who is -- who is going to be nominated as vice-president and I really think has the best shot at winning?

But we still have so much more work to do. And one of the things that we see the most is the double standard to which women are held, and we're seeing this play out perfectly in the V.P. process.

VELSHI: Let's just dig a little deeper on that one because we use different language when we talk about women. We criticize different things. We -- as I said, yesterday, we asked women for a plan and for receipts and when we just take men at their word that they're going to do it. But your particular experience was different, particularly about the things that we don't pursue men for that we destroy women's careers for.

HILL: Yes. I mean, we have -- you know, we have someone like Donald Trump, who has multiple allegations and proven allegations of sexual assault and certain sexual harassment and the reality is that we've seen that over and over with male politicians, with male candidates. And of course, you know, in my case, I decided that the right move was for me to step down, and I don't regret that choice.

But I think it is a perfect example of when, you know, we hold women to this kind of heightened standard of what we want to see this, this sort of you have to be perfect if you're going to be a female politician. And we do not expect that from it. And in many cases, scandals involving male politicians actually boost their numbers.

So I think there's a real reconciliation that we have to have, as we're looking at more and more women running for office, being elected to office, you know, making it to the highest levels as a nominee of the party or as a vice-presidential nominee for the ticket, then we really need to rethink the way that we're looking at women, and it's simply not on equal playing field right now. That's why, you know, a big part of that I have moving forward is really electing women.

VELSHI: In fact, you've started a political action committee called Her Time which is devoted to supporting younger women and women of color. What do you hope to achieve with that?

HILL: The goal is to get us to actual parody, which means that 50 percent of elected bodies are made up of women. And I don't think that we're going to be able to achieve true equality until we hit that standard. And, you know, we've got a huge legislative agenda that is -- that is very common sense, and honestly, I don't think it's controversial at all, that can help us really dismantle the barriers that women are facing in in terms of equality altogether.

But I don't think that we're going to be able to achieve those outcomes until we have enough women who are elected to office. And so really, that's the purpose of Her Time. And I think that we have this moment in history where, you know, we know that we're going to have a woman nominated as the vice president -- as the vice presidential nominee.

And, and I think that last time in 2016, we saw this as a historic moment. So many of us thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win. This is -- this is now a time where we realize you know, such gains are fragile, and we saw that with my own case, right? Those -- you know, what we thought was a huge victory, and it was, it can be taken away in a moment's -- in a moment's notice because of the misogyny and double standards that are at play.

So, I think we have to have that same realization when it comes to the vice presidential nominee and I'm concerned about the way we've already treated that process and certainly the way that it's going to be used moving forward.

VELSHI: So, what do you say to people, because I've had tweets about it who say, we'd dig up anything on anybody. If you run for president or vice president or any office, people are going to dig stuff up on you and anything you've ever done, written, tweeted, said will be held against you. How do you see it being different for a woman?

HILL: Well, I think the way that we hope things that for women is different. We have -- we have this sort of purity test or this is angelic standard test where we don't want women to be too ambitious. We want them to be kind and matronly and you know, appealing, but not too sexy.

We want them to be you know, bold but not aggressive. We want them to, you know, be smart, but not seem like a no at all. And there's this -- there's this very fine balance that seems to be acceptable or -- and the reality is that no one can meet that. You know, we've seen that with -- play out over and over again with, oh, I want to elect a woman or I really want to vote for a woman, but not this woman. Like I don't really think that she can beat Donald Trump.

And we saw that with, you know, so many people playing out. And I think that we just -- were at a place where we can't accept that as the status quo anymore.

VELSHI: One of the things that was very interesting to me when you ran is you have experienced an issue that I really enjoyed talking about, because it's such a serious issue that we can solve and that is homelessness in America. We have 500,000 people, by some estimates, sleeping on the street every night. That was before the pandemic. And now we've got possibly millions who will lose their homes.

We don't have any infrastructure in this country to deal with millions of people who will lose their homes. You, like many of your fellow women freshman congressman, brought a policy focus to Congress. And that was going to be a big step for you because you had gone from being working at a nonprofit into making law. How did that make you feel?

HILL: Yes. Yes, I mean, it's a tremendous opportunity. I think being in Congress at a time when the Senate was held by Republicans and the White House was held by not only a Republican, but by Donald Trump, in particular, you know, you realize it's forcing your pace every single day how the limits of the way that our government was set up can be a real barrier to trying to get things done.

And that said, I'm very optimistic about what we're going to be able to do if we flip the Senate and if we get Joe Biden in the White House, because we have these huge systemic barriers that are in place in terms of income inequality, in terms of money in politics, in terms of, you know, the lack of health care for people and housing. You know, the expensive housing, I think we're seeing that just play out in such a magnified way because of the Coronavirus. And all of those at their heart are also women's issues.

So I think that this is our moment where we -- where we really have to say that we're not going to accept this anymore and we have to set an aggressive agenda that's going to mean that, you know, it's really about how are we taking these steps to make sure that not only are we -- you know, are resolving the issues that have been ignored for the last several years and fixing the damage that has been done by President Trump, but we're really setting out the pathway for moving forward and to creating the sustainable future that all of us want for the next generation.

VELSHI: What does the future -- what does the future hold for you?

HILL: You know, right now, I'm really dedicated to the work at Her Time. I'm excited about the PAC. We are supporting candidates, especially young women, women of color, at trying to reach, you know, the highest levels of elected office. But you know, aside from that, we're also working on mobilizing young women as a voting bloc. I think that that has not truly been activated in the way that it could be.

So women between the ages of 18 and 40 are sort of our target demographic that we're trying to figure out what are the issues that motivate them most, and I don't think it's ones that you will necessarily expect right off the bat, and how do we ensure that is useful as a political force moving forward so we can go on with our agenda. So, I'm excited for that.

VELSHI: Former Congresswoman Katie Hill, thank you for joining us. It is good to see you again. Katie Hill's new book She Will Rise is out tomorrow. That's ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW" show begins right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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