Donald Trump says Republicans will not be voting in the elections in 2022 or `24. President Biden announces 24/7 operations at the port of L.A.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Melanie Coburn, thank you very much for joining me. I really, really appreciate it.
MELANIE COBURN, FORMER WASHINGTON CHEERLEADER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: That is "ALL IN" for this Wednesday evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Fantastic show tonight, by the way. You`ve been doing great shows recently but tonight was amazing.
HAYES: I appreciate it.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Much appreciated.
Let me just start out with an admission here. I will admit -- I fully recognize and I will admit that over the years, there has been some tough reporting and tough commentary on this show about former President Donald Trump. I`m also fully aware we have invited numerous guests on to this show over the years -- newsmakers, experts, former government officials, who have also at times expressed tough minded sentiments about Donald Trump. I am not hiding the ball here.
I know that this show broadly speaking has had a lot of tough words for the former president and his behavior.
But tonight I feel I need to give credit where credit is due. If you had asked me in the past whether that particular former president could bring America together across partisan lines, I would have scoffed at you. If you had put the proposition to me that Donald Trump of all people could bring Republicans -- Republicans who support him and Democrats together as one, if not in unison at least in harmony, I would not have believed you that he would be the man to do that.
But here we are tonight. I want to tell you that I am able to admit it. In a very special and specific way Donald Trump tonight has brought America together across partisan lines, with this statement that he just released. I will read it to you in full.
He says, quote: If we don`t solve the presidential election fraud of 2020, which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented, Republicans will not be voting in 2022 or 2024. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do. Ta-da!
Democrats and Republicans join hands and come together as one. Donald Trump says Republicans will not be voting in the elections in 2022 or `24.
Democrats, you good with that? Yes. Turns out Democrats are good with that. Republicans? Well, you`re going to tell Trump he is wrong? You`re going to break with Trump on this? Tell him, sir, admire you for so many things but on this, I disagree.
Really? You`re going to say that out loud in front of everybody including him? Break with Trump on this or on anything?
Republican supporters of Donald Trump have their marching orders from him as of tonight. No Republicans voting in the next two elections. Now, Democrats have been very quiet in response to this directive from the former president today for all the obvious reasons.
But, you know, if there was ever a cross the aisle moment, I would say Democrats are all in favor of this. There`s a lot going on in the news right now, a lot of which Republicans aren`t really engaging on at all.
President Biden today at the White House announcing a new deal brokered by the White House to get major American ports operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week from here on out in order to clear backlogs that have led to this huge supply chain crunch we`re having in all these different sectors of the economy.
President Biden making the announcement today about deals already brokered by the white house to get the ports going 24 hours a day and major private sector distributors of goods also operating 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Also, the FDA is going to start a series of meetings tomorrow on important COVID vaccine approval decisions both for kids under age 11 and for booster shots for adults. Those are complex decisions involving multiple companies and multiple important demographics when it comes to our continuing epidemic in this country.
Also, the wrangling continuing among Democrats in Congress over the size and the content of president Biden`s budget bill, which they are going to pass just with Democratic votes because Republicans have said that they`re going to sit that out and all vote no-no matter what is in the bill. So, that renders them totally irrelevant to the process. It is only Democrats working on that.
All these things that are happening right now. But the Democrats are working on all of this stuff, right? Whereas the Republicans are basically outside all of those processes.
They`re just in a different place.
What`s going on in that party is not a mirror image of the Democrats working on the budget and the Democrats working on the economy and the Democrats working on COVID and all the rest. What the Republican Party is working on is this. Georgia ballot inspection case dismissed after no fraud found.
"The Atlanta Journal Constitution" today reporting on a judge today dismissing what appears to be the last major lawsuit Trump supporters filed over the presidential election results in the great state of Georgia.
This is a case where pro-Trump conspiracy theorists were demanding they be given all the actual ballots from the largest county in Georgia along the lines of what Republicans demanded in Arizona for their five-month long clown car investigation/audit of the Arizona election results. They`re trying to do that in Georgia, too, but a Georgia judge today put an end to that lawsuit.
That led to this angry response from Trump. He said, quote, here we go again. After a very long wait, a judge in Georgia refuses to let us look at the ballots, which I have little doubt are terrible. Terrible ballots?
This whole situation is a disgrace to our country. Why can`t the public see the ballots? Our country is going to H-E-double hockey sticks and we are not allowed transparency even in our elections. The people of Georgia deserve to know the truth. So unfair to them and our country. The fight continues. We will never give up. Our elections are so corrupt and nobody wants to do anything about it, exclamation point in the original.
No one wants to do anything about it. If nobody is going to do anything about it, he is going to hold his breath until he passes out, I swear, I swear, watch me, watch me, I`m turning blue.
Actually the tantrum from him plays out more along the lines of this statement also today. Busy day. This one demanding that unless Republicans in the legislature in Michigan figure out how to launch a Trumpian investigation of the presidential election results in the major counties in Michigan, well, then, he`ll endorse primary challengers against all of them.
The statement today follows the sort of insane rally yesterday by Trump supporters at the Michigan state capitol when they said they were going to lock up Michigan`s governor and Michigan`s attorney general. Lock her up. Lock her up, after that sort of sad spectacle yesterday. Trump today in his statement doesn`t seem to even know which Republicans he is threatening in Michigan. He is just threatening all of them or maybe some list to be announced later.
He said, quote, why won`t they give respected professionals and representatives at yesterday`s rally, you mean like the people with the signs? Why don`t they give them the right to do a forensic audit of Wayne County in Detroit and Macomb County. That includes the RINOs, Republicans in name only in the state Senate and House who for whatever reason do nothing but obstruct instead of seeking the truth. Hopefully, each one of these cowardly RINOs whose names will be identified and forthcoming will be primaried with my capital, complete, and capital endorsement in the upcoming election.
Whose names will be identified and forthcoming. I don`t know who I`m primarying, but you guys figure out a way to take back the presidential election results in Michigan or I`ll primary all of you whoever you are. I`ll figure it out. What are your names? Can you send me a list?
Which is as nuts as it sounds, right? But honestly, in Republican politics, there isn`t really all that much else going on. If Michigan Republicans do get challenged in Republican primaries by challengers who are endorsed by Donald Trump, because they say they`ll overturn the results of the election, what do you think is actually going to happen in those Republican primaries? Michigan incumbent Republicans are in fact going to lose their seats.
To the Trump endorsed ones who say, I`m getting your seat because I said I would overturn the election results. That will become their mission and their reason to be in office. It sounds nuts on earth one that the settled results of last November`s elections are the only issue in Republican politics right now but this is the sum total of what politic is for and about right now on earth 2, where they live.
That`s why even with the humiliation of what they did do in Arizona, right, this audit, this laughable audit that in the end found no change in the vote total and just wild allegations they never figured out what they actually meant, with all the humiliation of what happened in Arizona, we`ve nevertheless got all of these follow on investigations and audits being promoted by Republicans in all of these other states now.
In Wisconsin, which we`ve been paying particular attention to, I think it may be helpful to note that thanks to Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature who are doing what Trump demand and mounting this investigation of Wisconsin`s presidential election results.
Right now in Wisconsin, we know of two people who have been put on the public payroll to conduct this supposedly impartial investigation of Wisconsin`s vote. One of them recently hired was a Trump White House lawyer who last year said, quote, the 2020 presidential election was stolen fair and square. That`s one of the people on the payroll for that investigation.
The other, the man who is actually running the audit is a former Wisconsin judge who spoke at a stop the steal demonstration last year about how the election was stolen. I should also say I`m not sure why nobody else has pointed this out yet but I would note the guy Wisconsin Republicans have put in charge of investigating the presidential election results in that state, the guy put in charge of doing this supposedly objective just the facts investigation, in addition to hiring a Trump White House lawyer as apparently his sole employee for conducting this investigation, he himself was also a Trump political appointee.
On December 22nd last year, when Trump had less than a month in office, when he had already lost the election and the Biden inauguration was less than a month away, Trump named this guy Michael Gableman of Wisconsin to a federal criminal justice advisory position. They did a former White House press release about it and everything. But that`s who Wisconsin taxpayers are now paying to do their impartial, totally nonpartisan investigation of whether dastardly Joe Biden really truly did win Wisconsin or whether Trump actually won it secretly.
It`s a Trump White House lawyer and a Trump political appointee both of whom have already participated in efforts to overturn the election to try to reinstall Trump in power.
Congratulations, Wisconsin taxpayers. The Republicans in your legislature are stewarding your tax dollars very shrewdly. They`re being paid with public funds.
"The Capital Times" newspaper in Madison today called for the resignation of Mr. Gableman, the man who`s leading the Wisconsin investigation.
But, you know. We`ll see. As if. Right? This will get worse before it gets better.
In terms of exposing the overall scheme here, some interesting developments in D.C. tonight. The committee that`s investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, Trump supporters who are trying to stop the election being certified by violently attacking the U.S. Capitol, tonight, that investigation sent a new subpoena to a man named Jeff Clark.
Jeff Clark was the Justice Department official who appears to have hatched this scheme with Trump to have the Justice Department declare publicly that there was some kind of serious fraud in the election. His idea was that the Justice Department would announce that and then they would direct Republican led state legislatures to ignore the election results because of all this fraud. The Justice Department was looking at. It would direct, he wanted the Justice Department to direct state legislatures to not certify the election results.
Well, he has now been subpoenaed by the committee that`s investigating the January 6th attack. This is from the letter they sent with the subpoena tonight to Jeff Clark. Quote: The select committee`s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power. As detailed in the report issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, you proposed that the department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting that they delay certification of their election results. Also, you suggested that the Justice Department should hold a press conference announcing that the department was investigating allegations of voter fraud.
These proposals were rejected by department leadership as both lacking a factual basis and being inconsistent with the department`s institutional role. As a result of your efforts to prompt this departmental action, the president considered installing you as acting attorney general. Your efforts risked involving the Department of Justice in action shuns that threatened the rule of law. Accordingly the select committee seeks both documents and your deposition testimony regarding these and other matters.
So, that went out tonight to former Justice Department official Jeff Clark. Based on what is already known about what Clark tried to do with Donald Trump here, how he tried to use the Justice Department to keep Trump in power after Trump lost the election, based on what is already known about his behavior the Judiciary Committee and Senate has already referred Jeff Clark to the D.C. Bar Association for potential disciplinary action against him as a lawyer.
Well, now on top of that he has been subpoenaed to hand over documents and testify to the January 6th investigators. And, you know, honestly who knows if he will? The ability of that investigation to actually get records and documents, actually get testimony from people, it`s still a little hazy as to whether they`ll be able to do it.
I mean, as we`ve been reporting Trump is trying to get his folks to defy these subpoenas, to refuse to testify, to refuse to hand over materials. A whole bunch of Trump administration officials and people involved in the events of January 6th are now hitting their deadlines in these subpoenas for handing over documents and testifying to the committee. Some of these figures are apparently complying. Some of them are not.
Now the committee has explicitly said they`re not going to take screw you for an answer and they keep saying they`ll pursue criminal contempt charges for anybody who blows off these subpoenas. We don`t know what that will look like yet.
In addition, President Biden`s White House counsel, Dana Remus tonight formally notified the National Archives that President Biden is not going to go along with Trump trying to claim executive privilege as a reason his White House documents shouldn`t be handed over to the January 6th investigation. Former presidents can claim -- can try to assert executive privilege as a reason to not hand that stuff over but the current president gets to decide whether the privilege claim is valid.
President Biden`s White House counsel tonight saying President Biden has looked at the matter and decided those assertions of executive privilege from Trump are not valid. And he can`t block those documents for being handed over to the investigation.
That`s not the final word. Trump has every right to take that matter to court. Which, of course, would stretch this out for longer for who knows how long? But honestly, it is also worth considering that the former president is not having the easiest time holding on to lawyers these days. And it`s not clear if he has the stomach or the wallet to handle all of that litigation if he has to pay for it on his own dime.
So we`ll see what happens there. We`ll see.
But I mean, this has become the driving force not just in his political life but in the Republican Party right now. There`s nothing they`re working on in Washington, in the states, anywhere. There`s nothing they are working on as much as they are working on subverting the results of the last election, and using the supposedly fraudulent results of the last election as justification for trying to game the next one.
The only other thing they`re working on is trying to avoid any accountability for any of that stuff they`re doing. But there is one little sliver of what I guess you`d call accountability that seems to have punctured the haze tonight just as we were getting on the air that I want to tell you about.
I mentioned Jeff Clark, a Justice Department official who appears to have cooped up this scheme with Trump, where in the U.S. Justice Department would declare publicly that the election was corrupt, that serious voter fraud was being investigated by the Justice Department when in fact the election wasn`t corrupt and they weren`t investigating serious incidents of voter fraud. If he was going to make the public claims anyway and Clark`s apparent plan was to make the false assertion about the Justice Department and then use that as pretext to tell Republican-controlled legislatures that their election results shouldn`t be certified.
Now, we shall see if Jeff Clark is disciplined or, you know, disbarred by the D.C. bar for having done that. Again, he has been referred for potential disciplinary action to the bar association. We shall see if Jeff Clark responds to the subpoena he just got tonight to hand over materials and testify to the January 6th investigators.
But we shall also see if Jeff Clark continues to be gainfully employed. A couple nights ago we had Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse here as a guest. He is on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate that turned up evidence of what Jeff Clark and Trump had done, the committee that referred Jeff Clark to the bar association for potential disciplinary action as a lawyer once they found what he had done.
The senator made an interesting point that stuck with me. In my interview with him a couple of nights ago, he pointed out to us that since Jeff Clark left the Trump administration, since he left the Justice Department, he had landed -- his new job was at a place that the senator called a dark money shop, a place called the New Civil Liberties Alliance. What this group is a right wing advocacy group that does things like bring lawsuits against vaccine requirements and they bring lawsuits against like gun safety laws and stuff, a right wing organization that does have opaque funding. And that brings lawsuits that serve right wing causes.
In July of this year, that group in fact put out a big, bold press release bragging and kind of chest pounding terms that they had snagged this guy Jeff Clark. NCLA hires former Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark to join battle against unlawful, administrative power. Wow. He is going to be joining the battle. You got that guy, huh?
Then they put up his picture on their website, under the headline, our team and leadership. Jeffrey Bossert Clark, chief of litigation and director of strategy.
Kind of sounds like he`s in charge right? The chief of litigation. Director of strategy. To be clear this is what their website looked like yesterday.
Here is what it looks like today. Notice who`s gone? Oh, where did he go? He`s gone.
They don`t seem to have announced that he is leaving. They didn`t announce that he quit or that he was fired. No press release about him leaving to match the one about him getting hired.
But he does appear to be the man who tried to use the Justice Department to keep a president who lost an election in power as president anyway. He`s been referred for disciplinary action to the D.C. bar for having done so. He got subpoenaed to testify about it tonight.
Apparently his job just disappeared him. Just disappeared him without comment, within the past 24 hours.
Accountability is a many facetted thing, I know. But maybe this was part of it. Maybe.
Stay tuned. Lots to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The most prominent election lawyer in the country right now is Marc Elias. He is the Democratic powerhouse lawyer who headed the team that won more than 60 lawsuits against Republicans and the Trump campaign over the 2020 election. Elias has been fighting new voting restrictions put in place by Republican legislators ever since.
Well, today, Marc Elias wrote an op-ed warning about the method in the Republicans` madness here and warning it may be leading us toward a real crisis.
He said, quote: Immediately following the insurrection on January 6th, the Republican state legislatures began laying the groundwork for 2022 and 2024. They enacted new voter suppression laws and created false narratives of election irregularities and rallied supporters around the big lie. The goal of these new provisions is to manufacture fraud where none exists.
Since one of the big problems in all of the sort of bogus Republican Trumpy election audits and election results investigations is that they haven`t been able to actually find any significant fraud anywhere, but Elias is saying the strategy here is to manufacture it. To make a bunch of new, tricky to understand laws that do make it harder to vote and then when people make mistakes by voting how they have always voted call that fraud and use that as a pretext to overturn any election results that you don`t like.
The way Marc Elias puts it today, he says, quote, we are one, maybe two elections away from a constitutional crisis.
Joining us now is Marc Elias, election attorney, founder of the group Democracy Docket.
Mr. Elias, it`s nice of you to be here with us tonight. Thanks for taking the time.
MARC ELIAS, ELECTION ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Am I right that you are trying to help us knit together these various things that we have been reporting on sort of in isolation to see them as part of a single strategy, to see them as things that work together to try to subvert future election result?
ELIAS: Yeah. That is exactly right, Rachel. It is too many people are looking at the fight for voter -- voting rights and against voter suppression as somehow separate and distinct from election subversion.
They really go hand in glove. You know, the fact is Republicans didn`t find much fraud, really any fraud, because there wasn`t much of any fraud. So, what they`re trying to do now is to make the voting rules harder for people to vote particularly for young voters and minority voters to vote, and essentially manufacturing irregularities where they don`t exist. So that they can then use those made up irregularities in 2022 or 2024 to argue elections shouldn`t be certified, and therefore subverted.
MADDOW: If that is the goal, to approach these problems in a way where you are both making it harder to vote, giving -- making it harder to vote in such a way that gives you evidentiary pretext for calling the whole operation of the election fraudulent, so that you can subvert the result of the election, if these things are all knitted together, where is the place where you can short circuit that? Where is the place that you can stop that?
ELIAS: So, look, the first thing we need is for Congress to pass the various voting rights bills that are pending before them both the freedom to vote act in the Senate, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and those will go a long way. Now, there are other things that can be done to specifically target the certification process, which I, you know, write about. I think it`s long time past having secretaries of state and governors` signatures required in order to certify election results. We ought to be moving toward more nonpartisan ways of certifying election results so a single Trump acolyte who is secretary of state can`t someone from the election simply by refusing to sign a piece of paper.
MADDOW: If the Democrats in Washington aren`t able to get it together to do this, if they leave the filibuster rules as they are, if people like Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema continue to not be interested in helping Democratic majority slim as it is pass things either by reconciliation or changing the Senate rules, are there things that can be done at the state level short of just litigating every one of these cases that could in some systematic way provide the kind of protections you`re talking about?
Or is this something for which there is only a federal remedy?
ELIAS: So a federal remedy is best, but if Congress doesn`t act in this area, it is incumbent on all of us to take the necessary actions. That means in blue states, by the way, improving voting laws substantially from where they are in many states where Democrats have the ability to make voting easier. It includes recruiting and training and making sure that good people are filling the slots of local election officials.
You know, there`s been a lot of reporting recently about how good election officials are being driven out of their positions because Trump crazies are driving them out. Of course, the courts have to be a piece of this. I started my career as a recount lawyer. I know the power of the judiciary to ensure that the will of the voters is abided by in election returns.
And, finally, people like you, the media and activists speaking out and putting a spotlight on what is going on, on the fact that Republicans are planning a constitutional crisis by targeting election certification processes, by putting spotlight on it we might be able to head some of it off.
MADDOW: It does feel like the people in the crosshairs, the proverbial crosshairs, the elections officials largely a lot of them volunteers, a lot of them even in paid positions, technocratic nonpartisan officials who have been doing this stuff as experts quietly in the background without much fuss for all these years before, those people are getting hounded out of their positions, those people being forced out of the way is both a tragedy for them and they deserve to be defended.
But once they have cleared out of those positions, it opens those positions to be filled by people who are there on a mission to do this. At Trump`s orders and increasingly the Republican Party`s orders. That is something that feels like it is going to take a very, very long time to get anywhere around when you sort of force out the good actors and make room for the bad actors. That is something that doesn`t have an easy fix.
ELIAS: That`s right. But you put your finger on something that is really important. And that I think too many progressives are looking past which is that not all election officials are going to be good actors.
So, yes, it is important we protect the good actors. It is important we recruit and put in place as many good actors as possible. But we need to be careful about not lionizing every local election official because some of those positions are now going to be filled by Trump acolytes there to sabotage the process.
And we want to be sure what we are doing is taking a voter centric approach. Are voters able to vote? Are their ballots counting? That is really what matters.
MADDOW: Marc Elias, can you tell him I`ll call him right back.
ELIAS: Sorry about that.
MADDOW: That`s okay. It happens to the best of us. I will give you a hall pass for whoever is needing you right now.
Marc Elias, election attorney and founder of Democracy Docket -- Marc, it`s great to have you here. Thank you so much.
ELIAS: Anytime. Thank you very much.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska home to more than 250,000 people. Anchorage is run by an assembly effectively their city council is an 11-member assembly. That body does things like certify municipal elections and set budgets and enact local ordinances.
Last month, the Anchorage assembly took up a proposed mask rule for indoor public spaces in Anchorage. It was not a surprise this came up. As we`ve been reporting in recent weeks, Alaska has recently had its hospitals suffering under one of the worst COVID case loads in the nation, with even the largest hospitals in the state forced to ration care and literally turn people away.
So, in Anchorage, largest city in the state, the assembly met to consider whether there could be an indoor mask rule in indoor spaces in Anchorage. And the public was invited to come say their piece. It very quickly got pretty hairy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are backing us into a corner. There is nowhere else to go. We will be forced to fight.
You have pushed us against the wall. Please don`t do that. Do not incite violence in our city. That`s what`s happening with this ordinance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to go up against some people like us? We`re getting our back bone. We`re standing tall. We`re locking our knees. We`re coming after you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time to stand up for yourselves, stand up for this country, stop listening to these tyrants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long do you think we`ll take this (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? How long do you think this is going to stand? All across the nation, men are gathering. Will the police be with us? What will the cost of freedom be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We are coming after you. What will the cost of freedom be?
This has unfolded over the past week or so in Anchorage, Alaska. Multiple people have been arrested at these increasingly raucous meetings including one man who was carrying a concealed firearm when he was arrested.
Around the country, the atmosphere has become so charged around stuff like this that threats, even threats like those, started to feel like the new normal. There`s also sometimes actual violence now. Last week in Maryland, a man who prosecutors say was convinced that his brother, a pharmacist was working with the government to poison people with vaccines, that man allegedly murdered his brother and two other people in order to stop the vaccine tyranny.
Yesterday in Texas, federal grand jury indicted a man for making very serious death threats against a doctor who publicly advocated for vaccinations.
But back in Anchorage, while this has been unfolding very publicly at these very raucous very threatening meetings of the Anchorage assembly, in the hospitals in Anchorage, it`s coming home. Health care workers in Anchorage hospitals have been detailing threats and even assaults that they`re encountering literally just for doing their job as doctors and nurses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got assaulted when I swabbed somebody for COVID who was literally on the verge of dying from COVID. She didn`t believe she had it and she struck me and another nurse after we swabbed her. I think tensions are high in general.
You ask somebody to put their mask on in the emergency department sitting next to a cancer patient with no immune system and we can`t tell them that. We can`t share that information but we`re trying to protect our vulnerable patients. And, you know, we get cussed at and yelled at and obscene gestures and we frankly don`t have enough security to keep everybody safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Don`t have enough security to keep everybody safe at the hospital.
I mean, this is happening in Alaska against this very real back drop of hospitals across Alaska implementing crisis standards of care, right? Hospitals across the state operating above capacity. They`re having to implement rationing of health care, because the number of unvaccinated COVID patients has so swamped the health system that they can`t provide even life saving care to people who otherwise would be getting it.
The doctors and nurses suffering under those conditions are the ones being threatened and assaulted in the health care setting. Just as public officials are getting threatened in public meetings about things like mask ordinances.
Despite the threats of violence hurled at Anchorage assembly members by the public, despite that intimidation I should tell you the Anchorage assembly just passed the mask requirement for indoor spaces in Anchorage. Their vote was 9-1.
That said, tonight as we got on the air, Anchorage`s Republican mayor who has repeatedly downplayed the virus, issued a veto against the mask requirement. Republicans from the governor`s mansion in Alaska to the state legislature have echoed those sentiments.
And you know, we`re used to seeing the politics and fighting over this but in some ways it is a scary situation. The threats of violence in Alaska aren`t an isolated or strange thing. This isn`t some strange phenomenon just occurring in Alaska. We are seeing elements of this all across the country.
Americans are threatening the men and women across the country who are tasked with trying to come up with public health strategies to fight this epidemic. They`re also fighting the people and threatening the people and assaulting the people who are literally providing health care to people trying to survive it.
Joining us now is Emily Goodykoontz. She is a reporter at the "Anchorage Daily News" in Alaska and she has been following the story from the start.
Ms. Goodykoontz, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate you making time.
EMILY GOODYKOONTZ, ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS REPORTER: Thank you so much. I`m happy to be here.
MADDOW: So the Anchorage assembly meetings, we watched hours and hours of the streaming footage from those meetings and the anger and the overt threats not only were sort of surprising and hard to watch but did seem to build on each other over time. I have to ask if Anchorage assembly meetings are often so intense, are often a thing where people get arrested, are often that raucous, or if this really was reserved for COVID?
GOODYKOONTZ: You know, that is a good question. And not in my time have I seen them be so intense. I`ve talked to a lot of folks who have said that this is the height of contentious debate we`ve seen in the assembly chambers. However, we have had very contentious debates in the past.
A number of years ago, there was an ordinance that the assembly took up on I believe it was gay rights ordinance within the city. And so, that also became very contentious as well.
However, we did see a lot of arrests. This has been going on for six meetings over two weeks, and just ended this week. And during that meeting, first meeting we saw several arrests.
Those arrests stopped, however, there was a lot of outbursts and behavior within the chambers that has, that assembly members have said is very problematic.
MADDOW: And I have to tell you, we have been following the situation in Alaska since the crisis standards of care were implemented and then seeing this sort of raucous display in the Anchorage assembly.
And we`ve been in the last couple weeks trying to talk to health care professionals in Alaska to get people to come on and talk about what is going on especially when we knew doctors and nurses were being not just threatened but assaulted while doing their jobs.
And the thing that we have found, just to pull back the curtain a little, over and over when we`ve talked to professionals working in the health care field in Alaska is that they are afraid to talk to us. They are afraid sometimes even to talk to us off the record. They are certainly afraid to put their face on television, their name to anything that associates them with the provision of health care in the state because they feel the environment is so threatening they`ll put themselves and their families in danger by sticking their heads above the parapet.
As a reporter in Alaska, in Anchorage, covering these things are you finding that from your sources and from people you otherwise would be interviewing as well? For us, it was an unusual and sort of heart breaking thing we went through just literally trying to book the show.
GOODYKOONTZ: Oh, I have to say first that I`m not the reporter who was talking to medical professionals on a daily basis. I am definitely focused specifically on city government here. However, I do know and I have heard from many residents who have said they don`t want to show up to assembly meetings because they don`t feel safe. That is for a large part just due to COVID. You know, they don`t want to put themselves in a space, in close space where people aren`t wearing masks.
But also, some of the behavior in the assembly meetings has been a deterrent for people showing up to testify in person. However, a lot of people have testified via written or phone testimony as well. We`ve heard from recently assembly member Austin Davidson (ph) that there was a lot of testimony in support of a mask ordinance through written testimony.
MADDOW: Through written testimony. Interesting.
MADDOW: I didn`t mean to cut you off there. I`m sorry.
Let me just ask you one last procedural question. As I mentioned the Anchorage assembly did pass this mask ordinance by a 9-1 vote. Then the mayor came in and vetoed it. He said immediately he would veto it and he did. As far as I understand the assembly is meeting tonight to try to override that veto which effectively would put the ordinance back in place.
Do you expect they will do that?
GOODYKOONTZ: I do expect they will do that. That meeting is actually happening tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. because they only need eight votes to override his veto with the super majority and the ordinance passed with nine votes it is clear it will likely pass.
Currently, the ordinance is not in effect but it will go back into effect as soon as that veto override passes.
MADDOW: Emily Goodykoontz, reporter at the "Anchorage Daily News" in Alaska, we`ve all been reading every day following your reporting and your colleagues on this situation and the situation in the health care system there.
Thank you so much for all the shoe leather work you are doing and thanks to you and your colleagues for covering this and for being here tonight.
GOODYKOONTZ: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The first thing to understand about the port of Los Angeles and the port of Long Beach just next door is that they are huge. The two ports stretch over four miles from one end to the other. Of all the shipping containers that come into the entire United States, fully 40 percent of the containers come through these two ports.
But this is what`s happening at those ports right now. All these container ships backed up in line, offshore, waiting to get into ports so they can be unloaded, look at all the ships there. Dozens of them there this week, normally, there`s only a handful if any.
Even if you live nowhere near L.A. or Long Beach, you may be feeling the effects of the bottleneck. Maybe you ordered something online and it took a long time to reach you or maybe the store shelves are all empty. Maybe you want to buy a car, but the car you want is back ordered because some parts of it is short supply, that`s making it hard to buy new cars, also an effect on used cars, too.
You`ve probably seen warnings about getting any Christmas gift orders and as soon as possible, if you have any hope of them arriving on time.
That`s not just because Trump holdover Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is slowing down the mail and hiking prices just in time for the holidays, although he is doing that, it`s also this sprawling interconnected multi faceted global supply chain disruption, caused by the COVID pandemic, which manifest in this dramatic fashion, in his backup ships, on the American West Coast.
We`ve got a shortage of trucks, and truckers, and port workers at the docks, that means those containers on those ships cannot be unloaded quickly, enough. There`s not nearly enough empty containers to send back overseas to carry all the imports back in, nor enough to carry away exports, winds and jumps it in around an rail car, so those rail cars can`t go pick up more stuff, from American warehouses. It`s a compounding problem. That is as we say, complex.
Well, today, President Biden announced a plan to try to untangle at least one of these knots in the supply chain. The port of Los Angeles is now going to go from running only on weekdays, to running both on weekends and overnight, it`s going to go to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. President Biden said today that will almost double the number of hours the poor is open for business. He praised along sure men in the warehouse unionist staff support, for their role in making this feasible.
The president also said he`s gotten commitments from the country`s largest retailer, Walmart, as well as the shippers, UPS and FedEx, to expand their overnight shipping operations, two more hours and more days as well, to try to clear the backlog.
The problem here is that even though this is obviously an issue of national concern, affecting just about every American, the supply chain is not something that is directly controlled by the federal government. This is a private sector thing. To lead your way out of this, you need to urge all of these different private sector actors, with all of these different incentives and constraints, to work together to fix the problem.
The port of Long Beach, next to the port of L.A., started adding overnight hours last month. It still does not appear anywhere near 24/7 operations. So we will have to see if the port of L.A. can move faster on this.
Private retailers and shippers are the ones that actually hire the trucks and rail cars to move the goods. It`s going to be up to them to step it up and fix this for the country. But the Biden administration step in and say, we cannot do this directly, but we can try to make all of these private entities do it together.
Well, it`s both needed and a huge challenge.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Before we go, just a quick reminder that tomorrow, the FDA starts holding meetings on potential booster shots for people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including the interesting prospect that the best booster might be for some people to mix two different brands of vaccines. Those meetings will start tomorrow. We`ll see what they say. We`ll have all the latest on that and more when we`re back tomorrow night.
Now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.