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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/27/21

Guests: Pramila Jayapal, Josh Kaul


Interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Interview with Josh Kaul, attorney general of the great state of Wisconsin.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": Yeah, that`s right. The Facebook news feed is the opposite of you a prayer or Buddhist meditation, literally.

Tristan Harris, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

That is "ALL IN" on this Wednesday night.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

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

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.

So, it used to be called the G8. It was us, Canada, France, the U.K., Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia. That`s eight. It was the G8 from the late `90s on.

And the G8 had drama. There were often big anti-globalization protests targeting the annual G8 meetings. There was once a big spending scandal involving the U.K. when the U.K. hosted the G8 once. It was also really super awkward one year when Italy hosted the G8 right after their prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi got busted in one of -- just one of his sex with underage girls scandals. Like literally that happened on the eve of the other G8 leaders arriving to be hosted by Berlusconi. And he`s like, pay no attention to the bunga bunga.

The G8 has had aches and pains over the years, but nothing, nothing like what happened that was so bad it made them actually shrink and become not the G8 but the G7. That was 2014 when Russia became the first and only country in Europe since World War II to invade another sovereign country and take over part of that other country`s land as its own.

That had not happened in Europe since World War II, but Russia did that to Ukraine in 2014. Russia under Putin had been pushing it to be considered a part of the G8. Him invading Ukraine and taking part of it and calling that part of Ukraine Russia that was too much. That was too much for the G8. Russia got booted indefinitely out of the G8 in 2014 and that is how the G8 shrunk and become the G7.

So the G7 still exists minus Russia now. But then there is also the G20. And the G20 is not seven countries. It`s 20 countries. And, therefore, by definition, it`s less exclusive. And it turns out if you want to be a part of the G20, it`s fine if you invade a neighboring country and take part of their land as your own.

Even when they kicked Russia out of the G7, they let them stay in the G20. And lots of people have stayed in the G20 through lots of scandals. But when President Biden leaves Washington tomorrow to fly off to this year`s G20 summit in Rome, there is a source of embarrassment, a sign of something gone wrong in our country that he is going to be bringing with him, that is going to make that big diplomatic shindig awkward for us specifically.

And, you know, again, I do not mean to say that we`re, you know, we`re soft in the eyes of the world than every other country in the G20. Lots of countries get to be in the G20. Even when they have scandals and big failures and people who are international disgraces are their leaders. Russia occupied an invading nation. You still get to be in the G20.

That said, I think we will be the only country at the G20 this year with this particular problem.

This is a list of the countries in the G20. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United kingdom, and the European Union, which is not a country, but you get the point.

Of all those countries in the G20, those 18 countries plus E.U., President Biden currently has his ambassadors in place in these countries. He has appointed an ambassador to Mexico and appointed an ambassador to Turkey just as of yesterday. There are ambassadors in place to Indonesia and Russia, but they are not ones appointed by President Biden. Those are leftovers from the Trump years.

Other than Mexico and Turkey, he has been allowed to name no ambassadors to any of the other countries in the G20, because Republicans in the United States Senate will not allow President Biden to have any ambassadors to any of the other countries. Republicans in the United States Senate are holding them all up.

The only reason President Biden got the ambassador to Turkey just yesterday and the only reason we have one to that one other country, Mexico, is that in both of those cases president Biden nominated someone who used to be a U.S. senator for the job. Jeff Flake in the case of Turkey, Kim Salazar in the case of Mexico and Republican senators have decided, well, okay, that`s okay because of senatorial courtesy, because of our club.


Oh, you used to be a senator? That`s okay. We will allow for those, but that`s it.

Unless you are a senator or a spouse of a senator, they will not allow President Biden to have any ambassadors anywhere in the world. So, happy G20.

As president Biden heads out to the big G20 summit, no doubt to try to position America as once again the leader of the free world, no doubt to try to convince the leading economic powers of the world about the great things that can be done with peaceful power through the power of diplomacy. That said, awkwardly, he, himself, is not allowed any diplomats.

Thanks to Republicans in the United States Senate, the United States is not allowed to hire people to be diplomats in the most important countries in the world. Because neener-neener, they are Republican senators and isn`t it fun to screw up the U.S. government like this?

President Biden is going to be out there making the international case for diplomacy and the power of persuasion and I know I`m not allowed to do any of that myself in my own government, but you all should do it. And actually this -- the embarrassing baggage for this summit about what we can`t do anymore, what we`re now incapable of as a country includes not just the ambassadors thing, but some weir small stuff, too. Here is an example.

We have been continually reporting over the weeks and months on the oddness of the fact that this guy, his name is Louis DeJoy, who was put in part of the U.S. post office during the Trump years, we have been reporting for weeks and months how odd that he is still postmaster general left over from the Trump years. It`s odd enough just if you just look at the fact that he`s currently serving as postmaster general of the United States while he is under active FBI criminal investigation related to corruption allegations. That`s itself kind of seems disqualifying.

On top of that, though, court documents released last week show he had a financial interest in more than a dozen companies that have been doing business with the Postal Service while he has been running the Postal Service. He has meanwhile started to implement plans to permanently slow down the U.S. mail and permanently make the U.S. mail more expensive.

Right now, this year, on top of all that, he is hiking postal rates specifically for Christmastime. Aw! To make sending stuff through the mail extra super duper expensive for Christmas.

Check your stocking. It`s called coal. Louis DeJoy was sued this past week for so screwing up the mail delivery in the state of Virginia, that they are worried it`s going to affect the election. They`re worried it`s going to disenfranchise Virginia residents trying to cast their ballots by mail, because election-related mail is pile up, particularly in Democratic counties in Virginia, according to this lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party there.

I mean, you know, a mail service, a working postal service, why do we have to be aware of this as a source of controversy or as a sort of like subversion in our nation. Having a working mail service is part of a very basic building blocks of what it takes to run a modern country like running water, sewage, electricity, mail service. These are really the basics.

But under this Trump era post office guy, we are not doing great on that front. And now, specifically, as President Biden heads off to the G20, one of the countries that`s part of the G20, our great ally, Australia, the U.S. Post Office under Louis DeJoy announced a few weeks ago that we are no longer capable of sending them mail. And so we`re giving up on that. What?

If you as an American want to mail something from the United States to someone you know or someone you are related to or someone you are doing business with in Australia, the U.S. post office is returning that mail back to the sender in the United States because per the U.S. post office now, we don`t have the capability to mail things to Australia anymore. So we`re just not doing it.

I mean, I know we have a complex and deep and trusting relationship with our ally Australia. It`s not like we just met and this is going to make some terrible first impression. How embarrassing and small is it that we, the United States of America, have lost even that basic function in terms of our ability to carry out basic -- the basic services of government for our people?

Yeah, sorry, hey, I just want to warn you that usually our embassy would send a really nice thank you note after these great meetings on the sidelines of the G20, but, well, number one, I don`t think we will be allowed to have an ambassador at our embassy as long as we have a Democratic president because Republicans won`t allow that anymore.


And also we have this guy left over from the Trump years who is running our national postal service now and, yeah, he is under FBI investigation, I know, he is still in charge. And under him, apparently, we can`t figure out how to mail things to your country anymore. We have given up on that as a logistical challenge. So, I just want to warn you, we`re not going to be able to send a thank you note you might be used to.

So, I was thinking like, maybe we can have the vice president shoot you a text in a couple of days? Would that be cool? Would that land the same way? You could take a picture of it and print it out on a color printer and frame that maybe? We could fax you.

President Biden talks about showing the world that democracies work to solve big problems, right? In the race in our time between the rise in authoritarianism on the international right and domestic right, the race in our time between rising authoritarianism and legacy democracies, he has said over and over again what we need to do not just to retain global leadership, but to retain our sense of self and to have strength in our own domestic selves in terms of what kind of government we are is we have to show that democracy isn`t an impractical idea whose time has come and gone.

Democracy is not for patsies. Democracy is not quaint. Democracy is not an idealistic thing that doesn`t really work to deliver. We have to show that democracy countries lead the world. We are best equipped to tackle the world`s problems. We offer solutions to people who really do need them.

Oh, but also, in our system the Republican Party won`t let a Democratic president have ambassadors any more and the peaceful transfer of power doesn`t happen because we have hand-to-hand combat and violence and death at our national capitol if a Republican candidate loss and we`ve given up on the 21st century challenge of knowing how to mail things to large islands. We can`t do that anymore, and so we are no longer trying. But other than that, trust democracies to get it done-ish.

That said, there is some good news that President Biden will be able to bear to the G20 summit when he leaves tomorrow. And this is legitimate good news. This is something that got some headlines today. I think it deserves a little more attention than it`s getting because something like this has not happened before and it ought to happen a lot more and it potentially could make the difference in terms of millions of lives.

And this is that good news. Right now there is only one treatment, not a vaccine, but a treatment for COVID-19 that you take as a pill. That has shown good efficacy in clinical trials. It`s not I think of the stuff promoted by random contrarian podcasters and FOX News hosts. None of those things have shown any efficacy against COVID-19.

We do have in terms of proven efficacy the monoclonal antibody treatments which were approved months ago. Those are very effective at keeping people out of the hospital, keeping people from dying from COVID, if you get the treatment to them in time, but monoclonal antibody treatment is intravenous infusion or it`s a series of shots and that administration of that particular type of drug does limit its not only the ability -- the number of people we can get it to in this country, but severely limits the prospects for use around the world.

If instead you want to be able to take a pill, actually, in this case a five-day course of pills the way you might take a five-day course of antibiotics, there is just one drug like that. It`s not approved yet, but the clinical data looks really promising. It`s a drug made by Merck. It`s developed at Emory University in Atlanta with the company called Ridgeback that`s based in Miami.

But still, Merck drug, Merck is based in New Jersey. I tell you where they are from to know that this is an American drug from American researchers and American companies. The drug is called Molnupiravir, but it`s an antiviral pill against COVID-19 and it could be a game changer for the pandemic worldwide.

For people at high risk of dying or need to go be hospitalized because of COVID, it`s still better if you don`t get COVID. That`s why you should get vaccinated. But if you get it, the data so far shows that taking this antiviral pill can have the risk of hospitalization and death.

And again, you don`t have to administer it in a hospital setting. You don`t need an infusion center. You don`t need multiple injections in the torso over a period of multiple days. It`s just pills. You take it with water. You don`t even have to refrigerate the pills. So it`s a big deal.

And today, we learned that that American drug developed by that American university and those American companies, well, they have just done a deal to give it away. The medicine patent pool at the U.N. did a deal with Merck and Emory and Ridgeback so this super promising antiviral pill to save people from COVID can be manufactured in dozens of countries around the world, potentially more than 100 countries around the world with Merck and its partners taking nothing in terms of royalties as long as the COVID emergency is still underway.

I mean, the drug industry for all the things wrong with the drug industry and healthcare system in this country, the drug industry, including these big powerful American companies that throw their weight around in toxic ways, they have done amazing things in terms of the science, in terms of developing the vaccines and now developing these treatments. But getting people access to them around the world has sucked so far. No vaccine company has been willing to give other countries so they can make it themselves. Moderna hasn`t done that. Pfizer hasn`t done that, right?

So, you know, generic drugmakers could make vaccines, could make these vaccines for pennies on the dollar. The manufacturers have not allowed that to happen. But Merck is going to do that as of today. It means that pill may actually be available all over the developing world, including the poorest countries in the world, including the poorest countries in Asia and Africa. This could potentially save millions of lives and be the ticket to the end of a global pandemic because the drug not only works, they have figured out a way to make it so that people can get it in poor countries.

And poor countries are not some other world when it comes to whether or not the pandemic stops, right? Pandemics ignore borders. If the pandemic is raging anywhere, it is not eradicable anywhere. And if this drug can get to the poorest corners of the world because of what they just agreed today about giving it way, that`s the best news we have had yet.

And, yes, the vaccine companies need to do this, too. And, yes, the other companies that are developing promising antivirals, including Pfizer has a promising antiviral. They need to step up and do this, too. They need to do much more like this.

The U.S. government is pressuring them to do so. We talked with David Kessler about that recently here in the show, talking about holding Moderna`s feet to the fire, to get them to do the right thing in terms of their developed vaccines and potentially treatments for COVID, too.

But with this Merck pill, this antiviral pill, the first pill that has shown promise here, it is happening. And so President Biden can walk into this G20 summit and say, at least for that, you`re welcome, world. Even if we can no longer, you know, either send mail to Australia or send new ambassadors to anywhere, we can at least potentially save the world, in terms of the foreseeable end of this horrific global pandemic.

President Biden would have a lot more to brag about on the world stage tomorrow where it not for these two. I will tell you, honestly, I am allergic, I am itchy and red faced and short-fused an bothered at this point trying to follow every new reasons that Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are coming up with for why President Biden shouldn`t be allowed to do the things he campaigned on, shouldn`t be allowed to pass a bill including all the priorities he ran on. You know, people getting help with family leave, people getting help with education cost, old people getting vision and dental and hearing covered under Medicare. All the biggest climate-related policies he ran on and all the rest of it.

Today as President Biden prepares to fly off tomorrow to that world leader summit, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to my at least seem to have settled in for the long haul in terms of their stranglehold on what the U.S. government and President Biden will be allowed to do. It is making my eyes cross at this point following this day to day.

But I also think the folks who don`t want the U.S. government to be able to do anything, who certainly don`t want President Biden to be able to do anything, the people who benefit from and enjoy and profit financially and politically from the stasis, I think they want our eyes to cross. They want everybody to give up on the prospect that anything could happen, stop paying attention and walk away in disgust.

They would love that, right? They that would leave them free to run the field, free to run the table. That perhaps is reason enough to not give them that satisfaction to persist, to pay attention, to make sure this is seen through to the end.

Joining us now is Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.


She`s chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has been active in these ongoing negotiations to say the least. She has been working hard for weeks trying to make sure President Biden`s agenda can survive -- all these substantial proposed cuts while getting the backing of Democrats.

Congresswoman Jayapal, it`s really a pleasure to have you here. I know it`s been a long day. Thank you.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): It is great to see you, as always. Your optimist in chief is with you. Eyes uncrossed.

MADDOW: Thank you.

I wanted to talk to you -- I literally wanted to book you tonight because I was, like, I think Pramila Jayapal might be the one to talk me off the cliff. At least I know she is con constructively working on this. I have been close to the proverbial cliff on this.

Let me ask you about something that just crossed our radar in the last couple of minutes. NBC News reported that President Biden is expected to delay his departure to the G20 tomorrow specifically so he can go talk to you guys, so he can attend a 9:00 a.m. House Democratic caucus meeting tomorrow morning.

Can you confirm that that is expected to be the morning`s agenda? Can you tell us anything more about where things stand right now?

JAYAPAL: Well, that`s what I hear also, that the president is coming. Of course, we always welcome the president to come and talk to us.

But, Rachel, here`s the deal. When he goes to the G20, there is only one country that doesn`t have paid leave out of the G20. There is only one country that is 40th on the list of rich countries when it comes to childcare.

And so what I hope the president is going to come and tell us is that he has been agreement with Senators Manchin and Sinema to actually deliver universal childcare, pre-K, paid family leave, home and community-based care for elders, housing for the unhoused and real significant action on health care and on climate change.

And, unfortunately, this is where I`m just going to be real with you, I don`t believe that we have a deal from the two senators that we have been waiting on for months. And I understand that we need 50 votes in the Senate. But I just have to say that at some point this is about democracy and it`s not just, you know, progressives have continued to be at the table. We have continued to negotiate in good faith. We have continued to cut down the price tag.

Last time I was on with you, I mentioned we are doing it by trimming the number of years. But there are programs going off the table. Yet, we have two senators, one who can say I don`t want paid leave, a guy, who can say I don`t want paid leave. And another who can say I don`t want to roll back the Trump tax cuts.

These are Democrats. And Democrats have to show that we are together on the agenda that the president campaigned on. The president`s been doing a great job trying to negotiate, but at this point, we need those two senators to get on board so that we can show the world that we are actually go to deliver for people in a significant way so that we don`t keep pushing people away from democracy and government right here in our own country.

They see us not fighting for them. They see us not delivering for them so that they cannot just have a road or a bridge, Rachel, but so that they can have childcare, so they can get back to work. And that`s what I hope the president is going to say, but, unfortunately, I don`t think we are there yet.

So, here`s my optimist in chief. Let`s keep negotiating and let`s deliver both bills next week. We`re close. By need to keep negotiating. And the progressive caucus dozens of our members have said we are not going to be able to vote for one and leave behind women and families and others. So don`t put us with an arbitrary deadline again. Get both the bills done and deliver them to the president`s desk.

MADDOW: Now, the last time that we spoke you had just had a long two-hour meeting with Senator Manchin and I asked you if you expected that you might have it additional communications with him. I think, again, all of us looking from the outside think that progressives such as yourself, having one-on-one conversations with people like Senator Manchin and even potentially Senator Sinema, that is -- that must be the way that this gets resolved, that must be the way we make progress.

Have you had any additional meetings or conversation was him? Are those discussions still happening or is this all sort of being negotiated through public statements and the press?

JAYAPAL: No, I mean, I have had a number of conversations with Senator Manchin. I just talked to him today. So that continues.

Look, I think he is trying to get to a place where, you know, he can help us get this done. But I have not had those conversations with Sinema. But I do understand that she is talking to the White House. But we need to get this done. And we can`t expect progressives to vote for an infrastructure bill which, frankly, Rachel, there were a lot of progressives who didn`t like that -- it`s got some good things in it, but it is net negative on carbon emissions and there were a lot of people who said the only way I can vote for that is if we fix that with the Build Back Better Act and a real investment in climate.

That`s how we got people to agree to vote for a bill that was negotiated by 12 senators without any consultation from the House. So if we are going to get this done, that`s why we`ve always tied them together to say we will vote both these bills through and that`s where our members still are. And I believe we can get this done, but we can`t put an arbitrary deadline and say we got to vote something through tomorrow. We got to get the agreement of those two senators and actually be able to go back and say we campaigned, you gave us the House, the Senate and the White House on this agenda, and new we are going to deliver on that agenda.

And we`re close. I do believe we are close. But we got to hang in there and not try to push this for, you know, for a quick vote on one and leave out the other because I don`t think it`s going to work.

MADDOW: Could I is you tactically if part of the solution here is going to be figuring a reasonable-sized, you know, phone booth or a small sedan, maybe like a panic room, something just the right size where Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin can be put in a confined space together for quite some time so the two of them can come up with something they agree on so everybody else can negotiate against that? I mean, it seems like of the problem is you get Senator Sinema to say she likes something and Senator Manchin says, what does she say she likes, no, I`m against that, vice versa.


MADDOW: The fact that the two of them don`t agree on anything seems like a formative problem.

JAYAPAL: That has been exactly the challenge. I will give out billionaire`s tax as an example. The original way that we were going to pay for this is roll back the Trump tax cuts and that was going to -- and go back to a real tax rate for corporations, you know, real tax rate for wealthy individuals so they pay their fair share. There is plenty of money here. No scarcity.

And then Senator Sinema said she didn`t like that. She didn`t want to do that. So then we got together, Senator Warren, Senator Wyden, others, came up with the billionaires act, a similar bill I have with Senator Warren, but a billion airs tax. And Senator Sinema said, yeah, I can go for that, 700 billionaires, we should tax them. They should pay their fair share. At least that gets us in the right direction along with other things. We have enough money.

Then Senator Manchin says I don`t like the billionaires tax. So this is the problem, exactly the problem. And I respect them both. We need them both. We need their votes. I am not denigrating them.

But what I am saying is that if you`re going to be a part of the Democratic Party, then be a part of the Democratic Party and let`s deliver on these things that are so important. There is just a little bit left to do here. Let`s get those things done and then we can all go and celebrate.

You know what? The president can really go to the G20 with a deal that is about a significant investment in climate, a significant investment in the care economy, a significant investment in housing, a significant change in our tax system so that the wealthiest are actually paying at least a little bit of their fair share.

I mean, this is what we have on the table, a significant investment in health care. You said COVID. We`re still in the middle of this, Rachel. We need to get help to people with expanding Medicaid, expanding Medicare, making sure that we continue the ACA subsidies. These are part of what is our responsibility to deliver if we are going to be able to say that democracy works. And that`s what we`re working towards right now.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, optimist in chief of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW -- Congresswoman Jayapal, thank you so much for keeping us apprise tonight. I really, really appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: I hope I talked you off the cliff, Rachel. We are going to get there.

MADDOW: Yeah. You have at least given me a little rope ladder so I don`t have to plunge. I can control my descent.

Thank you so much.

All right. We have much more to get to here tonight. Stay with us.



MADDOW: This weekend, Rochester, New York, 1,800 people who work at hospitals in Rochester have issued a strike notice. They are threatening to walk off the job. If those Rochester hospital workers do decide to strike, they will be joining hospital workers down the road in Buffalo, New York, 2,200 of them, who have just entered their fourth week on strike.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting to see if Kaiser healthcare workers in three states, California, Oregon and Hawaii are going to walk off the job after thee vote today authorize a strike two weeks ago. That would be tens of thousands of people who work at Kaiser. Then today, interestingly, it was working graduate students at Harvard.

So, these people below the level of professor who teach classes. They officially began a is strike at Harvard today, arguing the nation`s richest college doesn`t play the lowest level teachers a living wage.

Also today, working grad students at Columbia University in New York walked out of their classrooms as well. They plan to strike next week if they don`t believe what they believe is a fair contract.

At the Kellogg`s cereal company, 1,400 factory workers are entering their fourth week on strike. Four weeks of the Kellogg`s strike, trying to get better hours and wages. At John Deere, the big agricultural equipment company, 10,000 Americans are about to enter their third week on strike at John Deere.

You might remember last week we reported that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made an unprecedented trip to the picket line, visited the John Deere workers picketing in Iowa.


During that visit he showed those striking workers his own union card. He told them, I`m here for you.

And when that happened last week, we actually consulted a presidential historian and a labor historian, both of whom told us that that had never happened before -- a visit by a sitting cabinet secretary in support of Americans out on strike. That is something that we`ve never seen before, at least in modern American history.

In the past, some U.S. labor secretaries have met with striking workers and company executives to try to negotiate an end to a strike. But a sitting cabinet member showing up to a picket line to show support for striking workers, that is not something we have ever seen before in the United States of America, when Tom Vilsack did that last week with John Deere workers.

Well, now, today, it happened again. This time service U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who is the, of course, the top official in charge of U.S. labor policy ex went to a picket line in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, today to show support for the Kellogg`s workers.

He said this ahead of the trip. He said, quote: I grew up in a working class family. I am the son of immigrants and a proud second-generation capital laborer. I have always stood with America`s working people. I will continue to do so as your secretary of labor. See you there.

On the picket line, Secretary Walsh said these workers are exercising their right for free speech to get better working conditions not just for them, but their families and the generations of people who are going to come behind them. It might be different for a secretary of labor of the United States of America to come out and stand on a picket line, but he said workers need to understand that people stand with them and I want them to know as secretary of labor I will stand with them.

According to our local affiliate there in Pennsylvania, Secretary Walsh even joined the picket line himself at one point march being the workers as they demanded a better deal. This recent remarkable wave of big groups of Americans going out on strike and demanding better wages, safer working conditions, this is isn`t the United States hasn`t seen in a long time.

But cabinet members from the current presidential administration openly showing up and showing support for people on strike, that is something we have not seen as far as we can tell possibly ever. But it`s happening now.

Watch this space.



MADDOW: This is an official statement released this week by the Republican Party of Macomb County, Michigan. We will put it up on the screen here so you can see it. The Macomb Republican Party letterhead.

Now the statement is signed by the party`s chair and vice-chair. Ready? Quote, President Trump won the November 20 to general election by a wide margin. The American people watched on election night and witnessed the culmination of a four-year coup. Donald Trump is, quote, our legally elected president.

Now, to be clear, this is not a tiny fringe right-wing group out in the hinterlands or something. Macomb County is the northern suburbs of Detroit. It`s the third populous county in the state of Michigan. There are more Republicans in Macomb County than any other county in Michigan.

And this is an official statement from their actual Republican Party. This is the county Republican -- this is the Republican organization in Michigan that represents more Republicans than any other in the entire state.

And what they are endorsing here in this official signed statement put out on their party letterhead is not, like, there were irregularities in the 2021 election. We need to investigate them. All that garbage is bad and corrosive enough.

This is Donald Trump is actually secretly the president and we`re only going to obey him. That`s what they wrote. Donald Trump is our legally elected leader.

You know what? Apparently that is now a fairly mainstream opinion in the Republican Party. A poll out today from "Politico" and Morning Consult finds that 60 percent of Republican voters say that the 2020 election should be overturned. The question was not do you think the election was unfair or do you think there was fraud somewhere. The question was, do you think the election should be overturned? Aka should Donald Trump be reinstated in the White House now?

Sixty percent of Republican voters nationwide say yes. Yes, that`s what should happen.

And towards that goal, of course, Republicans in Arizona and in Pennsylvania and Texas and Wisconsin, Republicans all over are pursuing these reviews of the 2020 election results that they call audits, right? But they are really just designed to make all elections appear suspicious so Republicans can justify taking control of election administration because they are promising they will make sure that the election comes out the right way the next time.

In Wisconsin, Republicans in the legislature there are spending tax mayor money on one of these reviews. They put it in the hands of a guy who Trump also tried to give a federal appointment to before he left office. Sure that`s not a conflict of interest.

But how is that guy`s election review going in Wisconsin? Here`s my favorite headline of the day today from any newspaper anywhere in America. This is the best headline of the day from "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel".

Quote: A woman named Carol is helping Wisconsin Republicans review the 2020 election. No one will provide her last name.

Who is Carol?

Quote: Assembly Republicans have hired someone named Carol to help answer their questions about the 2020 election. Just don`t ask Carol or her bosses what her last name is.


No comment, she said Wednesday, before hanging up on a reporter.

Quote, the hiring of Carol is the latest example of the opacity of the review of the 2020 election being overseen by former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman at a cost thus far of $676,000. This woman, who signs her emails Carol M., has been contacting a attorneys for election officials recently to discuss subpoenas that Gableman has issued. She hasn`t told them whether she is a lawyer or administrative assistant or holds some other post, the attorney said.

Gableman from the start has cloaked his work in secrecy. Last week he used a general error Gmail account to send an email to election officials that was listed as belonging to someone named John Delta, which is apparently a fictions name. Since then he assigned his staff email accounts that have a first half that consist of digits, giving no sense of who operates these email accounts.

Carol, for example, has been assigned the number 3. Former Trump administration lawyer Andrew Kloster has been assigned the number 6. Gableman might be number one. Hard to tell. It`s unknown if there are accounts for numbers 2, 4 or 5 and, if so, who might use them.

If there is 2, 4, or 5, I hope they go by 002, 005. That seems above board.

I mean, if you were a county or city elections official in Wisconsin, wouldn`t you feel totally comfortable answering subpoenas from these folks and handing over documents and, like, elections machinery to a bunch of random numerical email dresses and a woman named Carol who won`t tell you what her last name is or job is? Sure, why not? Sure.

Joining us now is Josh Kaul. He is the attorney general of the great state of Wisconsin.

Mr. Attorney General, thank you for making time to be here tonight. I appreciate it.

JOSH KAUL, WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: Am I seeing any of this wrong because I am looking in from outside of the state? I have been following the local press on this matter closely. The local press on this matter seems to be agog at what is going on here. Is there anything I am missing in terms of the opacity or the strangeness of this review that I can`t see from this distance?

KAUL: No, you are not. Feels like we are living through a Monty Python skit in Wisconsin right now. The fact that this investigator won`t even disclose her name really says one of two things. It either says that the investigators don`t want her name out there because it will reveal bias, or she doesn`t want to be associated the investigation publicly, which probably shows a good judgment on her part. But this is no way to conduct a serious review.

MADDOW: When we spoke a couple of weeks ago, you said this election review from the Republicans in the legislature should be shut down. You called it a fake investigation and said it should be shut down. Since then you have gone to court to try to block the subpoenas that they have sent out.

Can you give us any update in terms of where that stands?

KAUL: That`s right. We went to court. We laid out several reasons that these subpoenas are unlawful and the judge has scheduled a hearing. There is now a few-month process in which this will play out. We may not get a decision until late December, maybe later than that.

Now, the election review is supposed to have been completed first by the end of October and then by the end of the year. So, we`ll see what happens.

But, in the meantime, our non-partisan legislative audit bureau issued a very thorough review of the election. While I think that review is far from perfect, there`s no question from that that the 2020 election results reflected the will of the voters and rather than accepting that, we are continuing on with this other investigation.

MADDOW: Well, and now there is this other, other, other investigation. One of the things that we noted in the Wisconsin press today is that a very pro-Trump, very sort of controversial provocateur local sheriff, and those are my words about him, not yours, I don`t want you to associate yourself with those, my observation of what he has been in the news for in the past, a local sheriff in a county in Wisconsin put out a press release today saying he has apparently secretly been doing his own investigation of the 2020 election and tomorrow he is going to hold a press conference revealing the evidence that the whole election nationwide was fraudulent and he wants everybody to come and hear the results of his investigation.

Is this an investigation that anybody in the state knew he was doing? Do we know anything about that circumstance in Racine County?

KAUL: Well, I can say we will hear more tomorrow. I think people can judge at that point. There is also a state Senate investigation that they are conducting following up on the legislative audit borough`s investigation. There is an assembly committee that has an investigation. There are all these investigations.

But the bottom line is that this is really just continuing to keep the big lie in the news and continuing to undermine people`s confidence in our election system.


And the reason that and the reason that is so dangerous, is when you`re undermining results in the confidence of elections, you`re undermining democracy. And I hope that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are watching when they consider what to do about the For the People Act, because it`s critical that we have strong federal protections in place against election subversion.

MADDOW: That`s` right. And even in the subsequent bill that Senator Manchin endorsed, there`s clear, not only guidance, but federal rules on not handing over sensitive and secure elections materials to these half- baked audits, simply to insure the integrity and the public-facing integrity of these elections, it`s very important point.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, I really appreciate you being here, Mr. Attorney General. Thank you for making time.

KAUL: Thanks for having me.

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



MADDOW: We`re six days away from Election Day in Virginia. Virginia residents are choosing a new governor. A new poll from Virginia commonwealth shows that Democrat Terry McAuliffe barely ahead of Republican Glenn Youngkin by 3 points. Another new poll from Newport University shows McAuliffe leading Youngkin by a narrower margin, just one point.

You factor in the margins of errors for all the polls, the polling pictures that McAuliffe and Youngkin are tied.

Well, last night, President Biden campaigned for Terry McAuliffe. At one point, he had some fun poking at the Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, because Youngkin is basically refusing to have Trump campaign with him. McAuliffe is happy to campaign with Biden, but, hey, Youngkin, you`ve been so happy to have Trump`s endorsement, how come he`s not on the campaign trail with you? Why don`t you bring him here?

If Biden`s goal was to goad Trump to coming to Virginia, maybe mission accomplished. I don`t know. Former President Trump released a one-line statement saying thank you, Arlington. See you soon.

And Trump`s spokesperson then followed that up with that another statement saying, Trump will explore to being back in Virginia, saying more details will be released, quote, when appropriate.

At this point, Democrats are very excited about the prospect that Trump might be coming to Virginia to remind everybody that he`s endorsed Glenn Youngkin. As of this evening, there`s related to Trump and Youngkin schedule. The Youngkin campaign has gone silent.

But Trump showing up in northern Virginia to remind everybody in the suburbs that Youngkin is a Trump candidate, that a vote for him is a vote for more Trumpiness, after how Trump did in the northern Virginia counties? I mean, yeah.

Yes, putting Trump there to remind everybody that Youngkin`s his guy, the Democrats would pay travel costs for that.

"Washington Post" is reporting that Trump seems to have changed his mind already and maybe he`s not coming. But we shall see. The Democrats will love it.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: All right. That is going to do it for us tonight. I`ll see you again tomorrow night.

Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with the great Lawrence O`Donnell.

Good evening, Lawrence.