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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/20/22

Guests: Gwen Keyes Fleming


Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis ask judges to approve a special grand jury for her investigation into whether former President Trump committed crimes when he tried to pressure officials in Georgia into falsifying the results of that state`s election. Letter sent to Ivanka Trump by the January 6 committee includes texts, testimony from former VP Mike Pence national security adviser.


DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: But, yeah, that`s the big thing. There`s no message at the end of the week. No talking point. No ad.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yeah, that`s right.

PLOUFFE: That`s going to clear the clouds of the pandemic.

HAYES: That`s right.

PLOUFFE: So, until that happens, they`re going to be stuck in political purgatory if not with Donald Trump.

HAYES: Well, I think we --

PLOUFFE: But if the clouds left, then I think you do have a fighting chance as you predict, Chris.

HAYES: We`re in agreement. Let`s end the pandemic. We solved it.

David Plouffe and Michelle Goldberg, thank you both.

That is "ALL IN" on this Thursday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

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

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Wow, what a day this has been. This has been a day where mysteries were solved, things were revealed, stuff we suspected turned out to be true.

It turns out it was Rudy. Here`s the front page at right now: Giuliani led fake electors plot.

Here`s "The Washington Post`s" version of that same front-page story today: As Giuliani coordinated plan for Trump electoral votes in states Biden won.

It was Mr. Giuliani, apparently. You know, you find a thread of a story. You tug and you tug and you tug some more and then one day, you`re like, one more tug on the same thread and the whole sweater comes apart. Today was the day the whole sweater came apart. And now we`re all sitting there in a pile of yarn going oh, that`s what it`s made of.

Here`s how CNN put it in their story on this tonight. Quote, Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts in December 2020 to put forward illegitimate electors from states that Trump lost according to three sources with direct knowledge of the scheme.

Members of former President Donald Trump`s campaign team were far more involved than previously known in the plan, a core tenet of the broader plot to overturn President Biden`s victory when Congress counted the electoral votes on January 6th. Giuliani and his allies coordinated the nuts and bolts of the process on a state-by-state level.

The Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots. They secured meeting rooms in state houses for the fake electors to meet on December 14, 2020. They circulated drafts of fake certificates that were ultimately sent to the National Archives. Behind the scenes, Giuliani and Trump campaign officials actively choreographed the process.

"The Washington Post:" and their piece on this today also has this important new piece of news. Quote: Vice President Pence`s chief of staff Marc Short tells "The Post" that Rudy Giuliani and his associates forwarded to Pence`s office letters arguing the Trump electors should be recognized in these states that Biden had in fact won. Mr. Short and Pence`s legal team reviewed the unsolicited letters but were not persuaded there was any legal basis to accept Trump electors who had not been certified by their states.

So Rudy Giuliani and associates directly conveyed to Vice President Pence and his staff that Pence should count the fake ones, should open the forged fake elector counts and count those instead of the real ones when it came time to tally up the Electoral College results on January 6th.

And per today`s reporting, Mr. Giuliani also led the effort at a nuts and bolts level to create those fake forged elector slates in the first place, including distributing the drafts of the fake certificates that were ultimately sent in to the Congress and the National Archives.

It`s interesting though. All the reporting on this says some version of it being Rudy Giuliani and company, right? Rudy Giuliani and associates or Rudy Giuliani and others from the campaign. Well, who else?

Well we`ve got direct evidence -- evidence on tape -- that other people at the Trump campaign were involved in trying to get state legislators -- state legislators to pretend the fake electors were real, to give some perceived legitimacy at the state level to these fake electors when it came time in the plot for Mike Pence to count the forged fake elector slates instead of the real one.

We have evidence of that on tape, thanks to a small news service in Michigan, the Michigan Information and Research Service, MIRS, which focuses just on covering the Michigan state capitol.

God bless MIRS News in Michigan, because thanks to them, we all can hear this part of this alleged federal criminal conspiracy out loud as it happened on tape. Listen.


ANGELA MCCALLUM, NATIONAL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Hi, Representative. My name is Angela McCallum, and I am calling from Trump campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C.


I know you`re very busy, but I did want to personally reach out to you on behalf of the president as you`ve got an opportunity to be a crucial part of his re-election.

We just wanted to make sure you knew how you could be helpful and ensuring that every American is represented and can rest assured that their vote will be fairly and correctly counted in this election.

The United States Constitution provides that the state legislators retain sole authority to designate the presidential electors. You do have the power to reclaim your authority and send a slate of electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence.

This is an effort that`s happening in other states as well, such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia. There are state legislators across the country who are standing with the president to stop this voter fraud from happening under their watch.

We want to know when there is a resolution in the House to appoint electors for Trump if the president can count on you to join in support. My number is (AUDIO DELETED). Thank you so much, Representative.


MADDOW: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

I`m just calling to let you know that we`re overthrowing the government of the United States to stop the new president from taking power by sending Trump electors from states that Trump didn`t win, and if you want to help us overthrow the government of the United States and stop the new president from taking power and keep the guy who lost in power instead, we have figured out this one neat trick to do it so you know give us a call.

That call again published by MIRS News in Michigan, was a voicemail left by the Trump campaign for one Michigan state legislator. Again, Trump lost Michigan. This was an effort by the Trump campaign to say effectively, don`t worry as a state legislator, you can send an Electoral College slate of electors for Trump even though he lost the state. That`s under your authority, you`ll do that, right?

I mean, this voicemail is saying, hey, we`re having everybody send in fake electors from states Trump lost. You totally have the authority to do that. We need you to help. The president asked me to call. He`s counting on you.

It`s interesting -- and forgive me for saying it this way -- but it`s interesting that that call is so sort of lame, just -- and the reason I say that is because -- I mean, I don`t know that there is a punchy way to do a call like this -- but this was like a rote enough function of what the Trump campaign was doing as of December 1st, 2020, that they just had like campaign randos leaving this kind of thing on people`s voicemail.

Hi, Representative whoever, we`re falsifying the election results to overthrow the government. Okay, call me back when you get a sec. We need you to do a thing.

I mean, clearly, that was not the only call of this type that was made. That was clearly somebody who was exhausted from making these calls all day long, I surmise from the tone, which isn`t fair. But the sort of banality of this effort being done by low-level campaign staff like that it tells you that it was something the campaign had put its shoulder to. This is not something that one or two people were doing as a rogue effort.

"The Washington Post" reports today that understanding the origins of the fake elector slates has now become a focus of the January 6th investigation in Congress. That seems undeniably true.

Today, the chairman of the investigation told reporters that the investigators are looking into whether there was a broader conspiracy or involvement from the Trump White House in the creation and the submission of the fake electors.

I should also mention that the Trump campaign staffer who left that sort of insanely banal voicemail for that state representative in Michigan, she herself was subpoenaed by the investigation back in November. We reached out to her tonight but she did not wish to comment.

But, clearly, she`s -- you know, not the one who came up with this plot. She was just making calls as part of it because by then apparently it was a sort of mechanized effort what they were doing as a campaign.

Clearly, the January 6th investigation is on this. It is a focus of theirs. Again, their subpoena to that campaign staffer went out in November so they have been on this for a while.

But increasingly right now, as more of this becomes clear in terms of how this part of the plot worked, it`s also increasingly a focus in the states. Not just in the January 6th investigation in Congress, not just in the beltway press, not just here, but in the states where Republicans forged these fake documents to try to change the apparent results of the election, the states are starting to get quite focused on it too.

In Nevada, for example, the governor of Nevada was asked today about whether this was all criminal. This is from the local CBS station in Las Vegas today. Watch.


REPORTER: The Eight News Now I-Team`s David Charns (ph) recently reported the National Archives received documentation from the Nevada GOP certifying the state`s six electoral votes for former President Donald Trump even though President Joe Biden won.


Here`s the governor weighing in.

GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D), NEVADA: Well, if they sent fraudulent or fake you know electorate, absolutely, the crime was committed. Now, it`s up to the attorney general to decide what he`s going to do in terms of filing charges or prosecuting that.

But our democracy is at stake. You can`t have people filing false reports and fake certifications and whatnot.


MADDOW: They sent fraudulent or fake electors, absolutely, the crime was committed. That`s Nevada`s governor speaking today. So far, the attorney general in Nevada has put out a statement saying he is not confirming or denying if any state investigation is active on this matter, but he has assured the public that his office is aware of this and it`s quote on our radar.

Look, in Nevada, this was the front page of "The Las Vegas Sun" today. Front page above the fold headline, legal line crossed? Nevada Republicans faux electors draw scrutiny.

This thing has actually been front page news all over the country all week. This is the front page of "The Detroit Free Press" yesterday. Fake electors broke law, attorney general says she hopes Feds will prosecute.

It was also front page above the fold news this week in Arizona. This is "The Arizona Republic". No details on false electoral document, Trump backers refused to explain alternate plan.

In Wisconsin, it was front page above the fold news this week as well. Still no ruling on GOP tactic, alternate electors were ignored questions linger. That still no ruling reference in Wisconsin is about the continuing uncertainty in that state as to whether the Republicans who forged those documents who took place took part in that that fake elector forgery, whether they are potentially going to be referred for prosecution or investigation either at the state or federal level.

You`ll recall that in Michigan, the attorney general there referred the issue to federal prosecutors. She said publicly that she will prosecute it under state law, if they don`t under federal law. Today, she told "The Washington Post" she believes it is a, quote, open and shut case of forgery of a public record. That was Michigan.

In New Mexico, the attorney general has also referred it to federal prosecutors. That happened earlier this week.

In Wisconsin, there was some interesting news this week, which I think gave rise to that headline -- in "The Journal" -- in the "Wisconsin State Journal". The news this week in Wisconsin was that a county prosecutor, the Milwaukee County D.A. who had been asked to look into this matter for possible prosecution, this week he released a letter, just yesterday, saying that his office has looked into this matter and they have handed it off to state law enforcement in Wisconsin. To the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is overseen by the state`s attorney general, for them to potentially prosecute it.

That lands this as the as the as "The Wisconsin Journal" puts it -- excuse me, as "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" puts it -- it puts the issue, quote, squarely before the attorney general in the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin attorney general has not yet said if he`s opening an investigation or referring it to federal prosecutors or neither.

But this is -- this is live. I mean, this is -- this is front page above the fold news in multiple states over the course of this week. And with the focus of the January 6 investigation on this issue and revealing more about it all the time, with this new revelation today from CNN, from "Washington Post", that Mr. Giuliani appears to have headed it up -- I mean, it does just seem like we`re only going to get more. And the January investigation today showed a whole bunch of its work in a kind of shocking letter to Ivanka Trump, the adult daughter of former President Trump.

This has been a remarkable few days for the Trump family. I mean, just in the past 48 hours, right, we`ve had the news reported by CNN that Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle who`s the fiancee of Donald Trump Jr., they reportedly both had their phone records subpoenaed and obtained by the January 6th investigation. Also, Don, Jr. and Ivanka Trump, as well as their father, the former president, they were all the subject of a long public-facing court filing from the New York attorney general, effectively accusing them all of personal involvement in a very detailed sort of lurid list of alleged bank fraud, tax fraud and insurance fraud schemes at the Trump family real estate business.

I think it must have been unsettling for those members of the Trump family that the allegations were laid out sort of in particular to each one of them.

The filings from the New York attorney general this week, for example, stated this about Ivanka Trump, quote, until January 2017, Ms. Ivanka Trump was a primary contact for the Trump Organization`s largest lender, Deutsche Bank. In connection with this work, Ms. Trump caused misleading financial statements to be submitted to Deutsche Bank and to the federal government.


That`s not good when an attorney general says that about you specifically and personally while asking a judge to enforce the subpoena for your testimony, after your brother, the blonde one, just had to plead the Fifth over 500 times in his recent deposition in that case, and that`s not good. But now, I mean, all in the same 48-hour period, now, we`ve got this bombshell letter to Ivanka Trump from the January investigation. And in this January 6th investigation letter to her, we do not have harsh allegations against her personally the way we do for example from the New York attorney general. But we do have a surprising number of sort of eye- popping revelations about what the committee has found out thus far, what the committee knows.

And there are lots of questions for Ms. Trump to come in and talk about what she knows given how much she apparently features in other people`s testimony. There`s so much going on in this today. We`re going to get expert help understanding the importance of some of these revelations in just a moment.

But let me just -- let me just give you a couple of them to start. This is from the letter: As January 6 approached, President Trump attempted on multiple occasions to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan to not count the legitimate electors for the Electoral College vote. One of the president`s discussions with Vice President Pence occurred on the phone on the morning of January 6th.

You -- meaning you Ivanka Trump -- you were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation. General Keith Kellogg was also present in the oval office during that call and he has testified to the January 6 investigation about that discussion as follows: question -- then there`s this transcript from Keith Kellogg`s testimony.

Question: It`s been reported that the president said to the vice president, you don`t have the courage to make a hard decision, and maybe not those exact words, but something like that. Do you remember anything like that? Answer from Keith Kellogg: words and I don`t remember exactly either but something like that, yeah, being like you`re not tough enough to make the call.

Question: another report of this phone call is that Trump said, Mike, it`s not right. You can do this. I`m counting on you to do it. If you don`t do it, I picked the wrong man four years ago. You`re going to wimp out. Do you remember anything like that? Answer from Keith Kellogg: words like that, yes. I can`t exactly -- I can`t, it`s tough but yeah.

General Kellogg also testified regarding your remarks, meaning Ivanka Trump`s remarks, at the close of the call. Quote: Ivanka Trump turned to me and said, Mike Pence is a good man, and I said, yes, he is.

The letter then continues, the Select Committee wishes to discuss the part of the conversation you observed between President Trump and Vice President Pence on the morning of January 6th. Similarly, the committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the president`s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes.

The committee has information suggesting that President Trump`s White House counsel may have concluded that the actions President Trump directed Vice President Pence to take would violate the Constitution or would otherwise be illegal. Did you discuss those issues with any member of the White House counsel`s office, to your knowledge were any such legal conclusions shared with President Trump?

Similarly in the, I mean -- sorry, similarly, in the days before January 6, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which is the furthest right most pro- Trump caucus within the House Republican -- within -- among Republican members of the House of Representatives. In the days before January 6, the member of the House Freedom Caucus with knowledge of the president`s planning for that day sent a message to the White House chief of staff with this explicit warning, quote: If POTUS allows this to occur, we`re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic. Did you discuss that or similar concerns with the White House chief of staff or with the vice president or his staff?

The committee, after all that, goes on to assert that Trump actually did intend, he did want to go down to the Capitol himself after he made his speech riling up the crowd. He apparently wanted to lead the mob down to the U.S. Capitol personally. They said they want to ask Ivanka about that.

The committee also asserts that they have found no evidence that Trump ever called for the National Guard to be deployed or for any other law enforcement effort be made to protect the Capitol over the entire scope of the day on January 6th. It just goes on and on. I mean, these are all revelations about what the committee has found.

I should also points out that it then ends pointedly with a reminder to Ms. Trump that all White House officials need to have their communications preserved and handed over to the National Archives, with the clear implication that perhaps her communications have not been adequately archived, and she needs to do that.

But, man, between the electoral -- the forged electoral votes finally being unwoven, so we can now see where those came from within the Trump campaign, we can now see apparently Rudy Giuliani.

Remember, President Trump put Rudy Giuliani in charge of the efforts to try to mount some sort of pseudo-legal effort to keep Trump in power even though he had lost the election. Apparently, what Giuliani did as part of that mission from the president was helm this effort to send out these fill-in-the-blanks mad libs forgery documents by which Republicans created fake documents in multiple states trying to pass themselves off as real electors even though those were states that Trump lost and so the real electors from those states were Biden electors.

We also now know from the January 6 Committee not only that they are focusing on that matter. That`s one of their areas of focus. But also that they`ve uncovered a lot of information about it and that they`ve uncovered a lot of information about what happened including in the White House in the Oval Office on January 6th both by the president himself and among people who we would otherwise previously have thought were supportive of his efforts that day.

What a day this has been, man. We`ve got expert help to unwrap all of this and much more, straight ahead.

Stay with us.



MADDOW: So this is the letter today from the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, to the county`s chief judge. Quote: Dear Chief Judge Brasher: I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits. Excellent start.

Quote: Please be advised that the district attorney`s office has received information indicating a reasonable probability that the state of Georgia`s administration of elections in 2020, including the state`s election of the president of the United States was subject to possible criminal disruptions. Therefore, I am hereby requesting as the elected district attorney for Fulton County that a special purpose grand jury be impaneled for the purpose of investigating the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the state of Georgia.

Now, it was not unexpected that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis would move to impanel a special grand jury for her investigation into whether former President Trump committed crimes when he tried to pressure officials in Georgia into falsifying the results of that state`s election. We`ve talked several times on the show about the prospect that her investigation might ultimately take this step.

But now that it has happened, now that she has requested the formation of a special grand jury to look at the evidence in this case, the specifics are really interesting. Grand juries, including this idea of a special grand jury, that is handled differently in every state. In Georgia, there`s all sorts of interesting detail here in terms of what this means for this -- this criminal case involving the former president.

I mean, first, just on the logistics, getting a special grand jury to work on this evidence this is not something the D.A. can just do on her own. She`s asking the court because a majority of the county`s superior court judges will have to approve her request if a special grand jury is in fact going to be put in place. Also, interestingly, she`s asking for a county judge to oversee the special grand jury, to oversee its work to supervise it, which is an interesting thing.

If the special grand jury is impaneled, it will sit indefinitely. Grand juries, normal ones in Georgia, sit for I think two months. This one will not have that two-month time restriction. They`ll work indefinitely and they`ll work only on this one case.

Willis writes in her request today that the special grand jury`s investigation will likely exceed a normal grand jury term of two months.

So for those of us who aren`t familiar with this kind of a process, at least in this kind of a process in this state, there`s -- this raises a bunch of interesting questions, right? How rare is a request like this? Will the judges definitely say yes?

Is it unusual to ask a judge to oversee this or is that sort of standard operating procedure? Is there anything that we can read into the D.A.`s confidence in the amount of evidence she has already amassed that she`s willing to take this step?

Also, there`s also what Fani Willis says is the justification for needing to empanel this grand jury. Why she is asking for this step at all. On the one hand, there is this very straightforward reason at the center of her investigation is of course a call that then President Trump made to Georgia`s secretary of state last January, Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to find just enough votes to overturn Biden`s win in the state.

In her letter today, D.A. Willis cites recent statements by Brad Raffensperger saying that he will only speak to investigators from her office in this case if he is compelled to do so by a subpoena. Well, she needs a grand jury in order to get subpoena power. A special grand jury cannot issue indictments but they can issue subpoenas to obtain testimony and obtain evidence. That is something the Fulton D.A.`s office cannot do on its own. They are ready to go for subpoenas in order to get testimony and so they need the grand jury.

And it`s apparently not just Brad Raffensperger. Fani Willis says in her letter that a significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony. Well, a special grand jury with subpoena power would remove that problem, so the investigation can go forward on that level.

But then there`s also the sort of just almost surreal point, it`s a true assertion, it`s just bizarre. And she puts this right up front in her letter to the county judge today as to why her office needs this special grand jury, which is that conceivably there are lots of law enforcement agencies in Georgia who could take up this matter.


If in fact there`s reasonable suspicion that Georgia`s statewide elections were criminally interfered with, why does it have to be the Fulton County district attorney who pursues the evidence and tries to put together the prosecution? Why that one county prosecutor`s office?

Well, she makes a very good case. It`s because every other law enforcement agency that could conceivably be investigating this was a potential witness to the alleged crime. The Georgia secretary of state`s office, that was one of the targets of the alleged perpetrators of this scheme. The Georgia attorney general`s office, also one of the targets of the alleged perpetrators of this scheme. The U.S. attorney`s office, the federal prosecutor`s office in Georgia, that was one of the targets of the alleged perpetrators of this scheme.

So, you know, if your office is inside the crime scene tape, that makes it hard for your office to be the entity investigating the crime scene. Therefore, quote, this office, meaning the Fulton County D.A.`s office is the sole agency with jurisdiction that`s not a potential witness to conduct related to this matter. As a result, our office has opened an investigation into any coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections in this state.

Just a -- on top of everything else, just a remarkable development today in the great state of Georgia.

Joining us now is Gwen Keyes Fleming. Ms. Keyes Fleming is the former district attorney in DeKalb County, which is right next to Fulton County. She has known Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for years.

Ms. Keyes Fleming, you have helped us understand so much about this case up until now. I really appreciate you making time to be here tonight now that this big stuff has happened.


MADDOW: So, the last time you were here we talked about the prospect that D.A. Willis might move to empanel a special grand jury. What does it say to you? What`s important for us to understand now that she`s done it and now that we`re able to see the reasoning for doing it that she`s laid out in this letter?

KEYES FLEMING: Well, I think it`s a smart move, been a strategic move. She has indicated previously that she would be methodically working through all of the evidence in this case and use all of the resources available to her to do just that. And a special grand jury is one of those tools and resources that allows her to subpoena witnesses. She notes in the letter that she has run into the challenge of some witnesses not coming forth and talking to her office voluntarily.

This signals to me that she did not prematurely ask for a special grand jury. She has done -- and she and her team have done a significant investigation up into this point and are only at making this request at the point that she needs the help from the court.

The special grand jury also as she notes will not be constrained by a two- month timeline that a regular criminal grand jury has, which also means that this dedicated group of Fulton County residents will be able to focus on this one case and this one case only for as long as it takes to get to or complete the investigation.

In my experience when I was D.A.. we had special grand juries that were empanelled for as long as a year. That`s not to say it will take that long in this matter, but again it removes one of the obstacles in terms of having to make a decision in a certain time frame, particularly when you`re investing in investigating a case as complex as this one and you don`t know where all of the evidence is going to reach.

The early witnesses that are subpoenaed may lead to more subpoenas more questions the need for more documents. And so, this is the beginning for her of a very long investigation.

MADDOW: How rare are special grand juries in Georgia? In term -- I`m thinking about the chief county judge who received this request today and what I learned today about how this will be decided which is that a majority of the judges in the county need to -- need to say yes in order for this -- for this request to be granted. How frequently is something like this pursued?

KEYES FLEMING: Not frequently, and again it`s usually reserved for cases that are either they span crimes in a long span of time, years in some instances, or they`re very complex. And if you will recall some of the earlier statements D.A. Willis has made, she was looking at four different elements here.

She was looking at the January 2nd second call. She was looking at the January 4th resignation of the U.S. attorney. She was looking at an earlier November call between one of the senators and the secretary of state`s office. And she was also looking at statements that were made to the Georgia legislature.

So she -- this demonstrates the complexity and why a special grand jury would be warranted in this case.


I think it`s also important to point out with the judge`s vote, because she is seeking this grand jury in light of reticence of some people coming forward to -- in talk with her office to continue the investigation, I think it`s critical that she mentioned that because it`s very unlikely that judges will reward that opposition by denying her request. Again, if they say no, then all of the evidence that she means will never come to life.

And so again, judges take an oath just like prosecutors. It`s their duty to uphold the law and again, this grand jury is the best opportunity to fully vet all of the evidence that`s available, and they can make recommendations as to what charges if any should be brought.

MADDOW: Is it notable that D.A. Willis has requested that a an individual county judge be appointed to oversee the special grand jury and supervise their work or is that just how these things are handled?

KEYES FLEMING: That`s how these things are handled. That`s a part of the stash and it helps her in the event that there is any sort of dispute with the particular witness, particularly if that witness hires counsel and they want to contest the subpoena. It allows to have one judge that would resolve all of those issues over the course of the impalement of the special grand jury, rather than going to different judges on different days.

MADDOW: Gwen Keyes Fleming, former district attorney in DeKalb County, Georgia, Ms. Keyes Fleming, I feel like you are our magic decoder ring for explaining these things in incredibly cogent clear terms. You have -- you have -- you have really, really helped me personally and all of our viewers understand this every step of the way. Thanks for being here tonight.

KEYES FLEMING: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more here tonight. Stay with us.



MADDOW: Today is just nuts. I mean, I know this all happened on one day, but it feels like a month`s worth of I can`t even get my head around this. A special grand jury convened in the criminal investigation of the former president in Georgia. The bizarre story of the fake forged elector documents that Republicans created in multiple states, the story we`ve been covering for weeks now, that story blows wide open and we learn who was running the scheme inside the Trump campaign.

The president`s daughter asked to testify to the January investigation in a letter that reveals all sorts of new information about what they know, including that the former president tried to personally physically lead the mob to the Capitol that day, that was his intention, that at least one far right wing member of Congress told the White House that Trump`s plans would drive a stake into the heart of the federal republic if he got away with what he was trying to do. That the White House counsel`s office concluded the whole plot that he was trying to pull off was illegal.

And now, on top of all of that, today, here come the documents. Here`s -- here is some of what they are starting to get, daily presidential diaries, schedules, appointment information showing visitors to the White House, activity logs, call logs, switchboard shift change, checklist showing calls to the vice president and president, all specifically for or encompassing January 6 2021. Drafts of speech, remarks and correspondence concerning the events of January, three handwritten notes concerning the events of January 6th. Draft text of a presidential speech for the January 6 Save America march.

A handwritten note from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows files listing potential or schedule briefings and phone calls concerning the January 6th certification and other election issues. A draft executive order on the topic of election integrity, a memorandum apparently originating outside the White House regarding a potential lawsuit by the United States against several states President Biden won, a document containing presidential findings concerning the security of the election and ordering various actions. We`ve got all of these descriptions about material that was requested by the January 6 investigators that was being held up while Trump claimed that it was all privileged.

Well, his privileged claims have now failed and so all of that material from the National Archives is on its way to the January 6 investigators. This follows last night`s Supreme Court decision citing eight to one against Trump`s efforts to declare all this stuff privilege and thereby keep it secret.

Now, we know that some of Trump`s records that he had tried to keep secret are already in the hands of the January six investigators right now. Today, in the investigations letter to Ivanka Trump, they reaffirmed that they`re also seeking outtakes, early drafts from former President Trump`s disastrous January 6th video message, which he delivered after the Capitol riot had basically resolved, the one in which he told people you know who`d been storming the Capitol all day, we love you, you`re very special.

That was the video they decided to release. There were apparently earlier iterations of that video which were even worse than that. The committee is now seeking to obtain them and given what`s just happened legally, and what the national archives has said they are sending over, it seems like they`re going to get those things.

Joining us now is Daniel Goldman. He`s a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. He also served as uh the Democrats majority council during Donald Trump`s first impeachment trial.

Mr. Goldman, thank you for being here. There`s a lot going on. I was really hoping we could get to talk to you tonight.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, amazing, amazing news day on the legal front.

MADDOW: It really is.

So let me ask you first about the Ivanka Trump letter today and what the January 6 investigators told us in that letter about their investigation. I just wanted to ask you there was a lot of revelation -- there were a lot of revelations in that letter to me today in terms of stuff that I didn`t know they knew, quotes from transcripts, descriptions of things that we had never had described to us before.


What stood out to you is the most significant thing about that?

GOLDMAN: Well, I think some of what stands out to me really is the types of evidence that they have. The fact that Keith Kellogg who I remember refused to testify in the first impeachment investigation that I was running, he came in and testified, and he gave a sort of minute by minute, clearly gave from the document a minute by minute exposition of what happened that he saw on January 6, including conversations that Donald Trump was having.

We now know that Kayleigh McEnany who testified last week, the former press secretary, provided text messages to the committee. So we`re starting to see that the committee is actually getting a lot of evidence, notwithstanding some of the obfuscation and obstruction from the Meadows and the Bannons, et cetera, that they`re still gathering and able to gather a lot of evidence.

And it was interesting to me, Rachel, it`s an 11-page letter. And obviously the committee did not need to include all of this evidence for a request to Ivanka Trump, but I noted a couple things that I thought were really interesting legally. First, they`re really narrowing their requests to January 6th and in light of that Supreme Court decision that you referenced yesterday which relies on the court of appeals decision earlier, where basically courts have said that it doesn`t matter whether Donald Trump is the former president or would be president now, but matters that occurred on January 6 are not subject to executive privilege. That`s basically everything that they ask Ivanka Trump for.

And then the other thing that uh that jumps out to me is they`re putting Ivanka Trump in a really difficult position by laying out all of this evidence. Now we know what evidence they have and we know how relevant and important her testimony is. So if she is going to refuse to testify based on you know some fictional reason, she looks a lot worse because it`s very clear that she`s an important witness. So, strategically, I thought it was a very interesting and smart move by the committee.

MADDOW: Part of me watching this as just a lay observer, somebody who`s not a lawyer part of me is sort of wanting the investigation to hold its cards closer to the vest so that when they finally sort of reveal to the -- reveal to the public their final report which will be the end result of what they do, it`s got a narrative that has enough new information in it that we`re able to put it all together in a way that`s going to seem like a new story and it won`t be something that just feels like an accumulation of things that we incrementally learned along the way.

But as you say, there does seem to be some sort of strategic import in disclosing some of this stuff to witnesses you`re trying to get to come in to testify if for no other reason than to increase the pressure on them that they need to talk given that other people are talking about them, but also to make clear if they decide to litigate this how key their testimony is to understanding what else the investigation has learned from other people. Is that sort of a fair, balance way -- is that the right way to look at it as far as you can tell?

GOLDMAN: That`s exactly right. I don`t think the committee and we know that from letters that they released yesterday, or the day before to Rudy Giuliani and others were that we`re very short. They`re not gratuitously including evidence, but they are doing it in situations where they may expect litigation or, you know, as Congress is a public animal it`s a public beast and a lot of the authority within Congress comes from public pressure and messaging.

And so, by laying this out there to the public and uh to everyone else that is watching, it makes it more difficult for Ivanka Trump to refuse.

This is something that we did I thought in the Ukraine investigation and that was important. We also on a much smaller scale kept the initial depositions uh closed and or, you know, secret, which is best practice for any investigation. But in this case, you know, they`re trickling out a little bit. Remember there are 400 interviews. So we are going to get public hearings and we are going to start to see some of the key evidence.

I don`t think you`re going to feel like you`re over saturated before the hearings or the report comes, but in any event, I think what they`re starting to do is include this evidence when it is helpful to the committee, not just for giggles, you know, that we can get a little insight into it.


And I think that that`s an interesting move and frankly what we`re also seeing, Rachel, is they`re starting to narrow down on the family, on the children. And I doubt they expect a lot of cooperation. So this is an opportunity for them to be able to lay out what evidence they have that is related to the Trump`s family and, who knows, potentially Trump or Mike Pence himself.

MADDOW: Daniel Goldman, former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, former house majority council during the Trump impeachment trial number one -- Dan, it`s great to have you here tonight. Thank you.

GOLDMAN: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.



MADDOW: So it really has been a crazy day in the news particularly on the issue of court cases and investigations concerning the former president. Here`s a weird little coda to all that news breaking today though. Do you remember Igor Fruman? He`s the man you see there on the right with former President Donald Trump.

Mr. Fruman, you might remember along with his partner, Lev Parnas, they were helpers for Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election when Mr. Giuliani was tapping weird Russian connected sources in the Ukraine to try to come up with ways to smear then candidate Joe Biden. The Ukraine plot, of course, ultimately led to Trump impeachment number one.

Well, in 2019, Mr. Fruman was arrested. He was charged with illegally funneling a million dollars from a Russian oligarch to a PAC supporting Trump`s re-election campaign. Mr. Fruman pled guilty to the charge last summer and now he is about to be sentenced, due to be sentenced tomorrow, because there isn`t enough going on on this front.

Prosecutors in his case are asking for a three to four year prison sentence. We are not aware of any cooperation deals between Fruman and federal prosecutors continuing to investigate Mr. Giuliani`s dealings in Ukraine. But we may learn more tomorrow at the sentencing.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: All right. That is going to do it for us tonight. Hoping for a slower news day tomorrow because today was crazy.

I`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.