Interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee. A federal judge has put a stop for now to the new Texas abortion ban.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
You have Bernie Sanders tonight.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I do have Bernie Sanders tonight. And, boy, did he make news today. And I`m really -- I`ve interviewed him a million times, I have -- I have -- I`m not sure that I have had this much anticipation in terms of what he`s going to say tonight than any other live interview I`ve had with him. I`m really excited to talk to him.
HAYES: A lot going on.
MADDOW: All right. Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to be back.
As Chris mentioned, Senator Bernie Sanders is going to be joining us live tonight. He will be here in just a few minutes.
I do want to address just a quick personal matter here before we go on to the news, if you will indulge me for just a second. A couple of months ago, Susan and I went to a Minor League Baseball game. I sat on the aisle. She sat to my left.
Our team won. It was a fantastic game. I bought like all the swag, I ate all the hot dogs, it was a great time. Minor League Baseball I am convinced is god`s gift to American spectator sports. At our local minor league baseball park, box seats are six bucks. The parking is free. Food is great.
The players are really good, actually, but nobody really cares who wins. Sometimes after the game, there`s fire works. It is literally a perfect way to spend a summer night, even if you don`t particular love baseball. I cannot recommend it hardly enough.
But at this particular Minor League game I went to with Susan, I`m sitting on her right, she`s sitting on my left. I caught her giving me a squinty eye. I was like, what, what`s wrong? I`m thinking, mustard from the hot dog or something. But she poked me in the neck. Kind of hard. And she said, that mole has changed.
It`s like she was speaking Greek. I had no idea what she was talking about. We were at a baseball game, again, this was a hot dog moment for me. I also didn`t know what she meant specifically about that mole because where she was poking me in the neck is not even I spot I even knew I had a mole, I can`t see it in the mirror. She was quite determined about it.
I said, you just never sit on my left because I`m the one who drives when it`s the two of us in the car, you`re used to sitting on my right, I`m sure it`s a mosquito bite or sunburn or something. She said, no, we`ve been together 22 years, that mole has changed, I know it. She said, ask Diane.
Diane is an old friend of mine. She`s been cutting my hair for like 20 years. And I was planning to see Diane the next day. I go see Diane the next day, she cut my hair, and I said, Diane, Susan thinks this mole has changed and I should ask you if you think so too. She said immediately, yes, I was going to say something about it myself, that mole has changed. I was going to tell you.
Long story short, Susan was right, Diane was right. I went to the dermatologist, she said, hey, you know what, that mole has changed. I was like, yeah, I`ve heard that. Did a biopsy, turns out it was skin cancer. Skin cancer accounts for the vast majority of cancers diagnosed in the United States and the vast majority of skin cancers are removable, treatable.
Here`s the thing I`m going to tell you. Even the deadliest kinds of skin cancer now, the ones that are -- you know, that like to spread to other parts of your body, the ones that really try to kill you, even the skin cancers that are the deadliest skin cancers in the country, those two are way more treatable than they used to be on one condition, that you get them early, even the most worrying forms of skin cancer. If you identify it early enough, it is now quite treatable. Advances in the last few years have been leaps and bounds.
Skin cancer, like I said, there`s a lot of different kinds of skin cancer. Event worst ones are eminently more treatable than they used to be. And if you get them early, they`re almost all completely treatable. All this to say, I would like to introduce you to my Band-Aid. Band-Aid, RACHEL MADDOW SHOW viewers. RACHEL MADDOW SHOW viewers, my Band-Aid.
I had a few days off because I had surgery at NYU Langone on Friday. They`re fantastic. They got it. They got all of it. I`m good. I have clear margins and the whole thing. I now need to have everything checked every fine minutes here on out, because I don`t want to get it again, I don`t want to get it anywhere else. I don`t want another one of these.
But Susan is right, like she always is. I am going to be absolutely fine. I`m going to be totally fine, but that is why I have a Band-Aid. I actually have felt fine since I got the surgery on Friday. In terms of how I felt, in like pain levels and stuff, I could have come right away, I could have been on the air Friday night. I didn`t do that because I didn`t want to weird you out because of the visual of me having the Band-Aid.
Finally, though, after these three days off, I asked to come back even though I still have it covered. And that is because, A, I really am fine, and B, I realized, by rights I need to pay this back, and I want to use this moment to tell you something, which is you should get checked.
If you`ve got moles like I do, just get on a schedule with your doctor.
Schedule a check now with your doctor. And then when your doctor tells you you`re fine but you should do this every year, put it in the calendar in your phone for a year from now, and then actually come back and do that follow-up appointment.
You know what I`m talking about, right? You know there`s all this stuff that you should regularly check, and you do it once and never again because they tell you it`s fine, that`s this guy right here.
It`s only by the grace of Susan that I found mine in enough time that it was totally treatable. Because I have been blowing off my appointments forever to get stuff like that checked because I`ve assumed it will always be fine.
Well, in this case it was Susan who checked it for me. And thank God. Not everybody has a Susan, I recognize. You do need to get this stuff checked by a doctor. Do not blow it off.
Honestly, it`s the easiest doctor`s appointment in the world. When you go in to check that you don`t have skin cancer, they look you all over, they don`t even do anything that hurts when they check you over. It`s the doctor`s appointment equivalent of getting your car inspected. You pull in, nothing`s wrong, do the lights turn on, honk the horn, start her up.
As doctor`s appointments go, it`s easy. Whether or not you`ve got moles, if you`ve got any new skin thing that you didn`t have before, yes, probably you`re just getting old, I`m sorry. But get it freaking checked by a doctor.
Again, lots of Americans get skin cancer. The deadliest forms of skin cancer would love to try to kill you if you don`t catch them and they get to run wild. But if you get even those worst kinds of skin cancer early, which is the easiest thing in the world as far as doctor`s visits go, if you get it early, you can murder it instead of it murdering you.
The treatment is excellent now. It is much more advanced, much more successful than it used to be, even for the bad kind. So, again, point of personal privilege. I hope you don`t mind. The Band-Aid will not be there long. It will look like my face-lift scar, so I`ll definitely make a fake face-lift face all the time, like "The National Inquirer" will do an expose about how I secretly got a face-lift but isn`t it weird because her face looks exactly the same.
Anyway, that`s it. That`s my PSA for tonight. Get your skin. If you have moles, or if you have anything that seems new or changing in your skin, it is easy. It very well might save your life. You have many beautiful summer nights of Minor League Baseball with your friends and loved ones in your future. You do not want to cut that short. Now you just have to not mind the Band-Aid until this gets better.
Actually, I don`t even care if you do mind the Band-Aid. I am delighted about this Band-Aid. This Band-Aid saved my life. I have never been happier about the Band-Aid in my entire life. Get checked. Call your doctor. Just do it. There`s really no reason not to and I am living proof that I really ought to do it. Okay? Okay.
Now let`s get on with it. In the couple of minutes before we got on the air, we got a little breaking news tonight out of the state of Texas. This is something we have been waiting for and wondering if it was going to happen. Tonight, it has just happened.
We have just learned that a federal judge in Texas has blocked the Texas abortion ban. This is the Texas abortion ban that bans abortions in that state after six weeks. That is way before most women even know that they are pregnant. That Texas abortion ban effectively renders the protected afforded by Roe versus Wade obsolete.
The United States Supreme Court allowed that law to go into effect after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed it into law and the Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect.
The U.S. Justice Department sued the state of Texas. They asked for an emergency motion to stop the implementation of the law.
Tonight, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the ban and has granted the Justice Department`s request for a preliminary injunction, saying in part, quote: From the moment SB8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution. That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide. This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.
So again, that has just happened in the last couple of minutes. Again, lots of different entities brought lawsuits against Texas when they first implemented, when they first passed this six-week abortion ban. It was a landmark moment in the longstanding conservative and Republican attack on abortion rights in this country when the conservative majority Supreme Court allowed the Texas ban to go into effect this summer. The Justice Department`s lawsuit is what has now brought about an injunction against that Texas abortion ban.
This of course is all being sort of stacked up on the table ahead of the Supreme Court, that same Supreme Court taking on a Mississippi abortion law in this year`s term that is explicitly and overtly designed to have Roe versus Wade overturned nationwide for everybody.
But this injunction tonight is a really big deal. It`s a big deal in Texas. It`s a big deal for abortion rights in this country. It`s a landmark ruling. It`s just happened. We`re going to have more on this breaking news later in this hour.
As I mentioned, we have senator Bernie Sanders standing by for us tonight as well. On Capitol Hill right now, you probably know there are these two simultaneous sort of shutdown than are happening at the same time. First, there`s the question of whether Republicans are going to allow the United States to pay its bills when they come due in less than two weeks. This is money Congress has already spent. Trillions of it, racked up by congressional Republicans during the Trump administration when they gave that huge super expensive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and corporations in the country.
But now that Congress has to pass a bill to cover that, to pay for that, Senate Republicans are not just refusing to vote for it. They`re actively blocking Democrats` attempts to do it by filibustering it.
The United States has never defaulted on its debt. If the U.S. does default on our debt, if the Republicans don`t allow a vote on this by October 18th, the economic consequences would be massive and global. The U.S. treasury secretary now says it alone, just hitting the debt ceiling, would throw the country into a whole new recession, just on those grounds alone, just for that debt ceiling issue.
Today, Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer scheduled a vote to try to pay those bills to raise the debt ceiling. He essentially dared Republicans to block that vote. I mean, and the stakes couldn`t be higher. The country is 12 days away from defaulting on its debt and causing global economic calamity. Are you really going to vote to let that happen?
Up against those stakes, in the end the Republicans did blink. At the very last minute just before the vote was scheduled to start this afternoon the Senate went into an unexpected recess. And I`m telling you, this is what counts for a nail biting drama in the United States senate. Unexpected recess, ta-da-da.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell put forget a surprise offer, it is not much of an offer. It is still Republican leader Mitch McConnell threatening the full faith and credit in order to try to extort stuff from the Democrats. But what`s sort of amazing about this offer is what it reveals about what Mitch McConnell wants. He only wants one thing, apparently.
But he`s willing to put the nation`s fiscal stability at risk in order to get it. He is willing to put the United States into an economic recession in order to get this thing that he wants to bad. It`s so valuable to him. The country gets it unless he gets this one thing.
What is the thing he wants? He wants Democrats to put a specific number on the debt that they are voting to cover. Instead of passing a bill that says we`ll cover the nation`s bills up to such and such a date, McConnell wants them to say they`ll cover the nation`s bills up to such and such a number, meaning "X" number of dollars.
Okay. Why does he want that? Presumably because then Republicans will put that number in all their 2022 election political ads. Democrats vote to spend this large number. Look at how large that number is, grrr.
I mean, even though all the Democrats are really doing is voting to pay the credit card bill for that spending that has already been incurred, Republicans nevertheless want them to name the number. That`s all they want, a TV ad talking point for next year`s elections. Or the country gets it. Or we`ll put the country in a recession deliberately.
Well, right now, Senate Democrats are meeting to decide if they`re going to accept this offer. They`re going to give into this very weird little extortion plot? We`re watching that unfold right now. That`s sort of showdown one that`s happening right now as we speak.
We`re expecting a decision at least a counteroffer from the Democrats perhaps later tonight, maybe tomorrow. Again, that`s one.
The other showdown right now doesn`t really involve the Republicans anymore. It is happening entirely within the Democratic Party. And this is over whether Democrats are going to be able to pass their own agenda. President Biden`s agenda, the legislation with all the president`s priorities in it, from childcare to community college to health care, to climate initiatives.
The agenda that President Biden campaigned on and one on, the agenda that Democrats campaigned on and won on. And something like 96 percent of Democrats in Congress are on board with passing this. And they can do it without any Republican votes. But they need all the Democrats to vote for it.
And there are these couple of Democratic holdouts, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, we have this evenly divided Senate so every single Democrat has to be on board in order to pass the president`s agenda.
And over the last several weeks, we`ve had all this reporting that President Biden is negotiating with these two attention-starved senators constantly. The president personally talking to them for hours. He`s actually said he has spoken with each of them for tens of hours.
And in recent days, President Biden has told the progressive caucus, the liberal lawmakers who have pushed hardest to get his full agenda passed, he`s told them basically, look, we`re going to have to scale down our plan in order to get the votes from these two senators. The progressive lawmakers have basically said, okay, we don`t want to do that, but if that`s what it takes to get this legislation passed, fine, let`s figure out what to cut out of it.
And that is where they run into the problem, because these two senators, Manchin and Sinema, who are holding up President Biden`s agenda, it`s all on them, they won`t say what they want.
They won`t say what they want to cut from the plan. They will say they want the plan to be smaller. They will say they want it to cost less even though the legislation includes ways to pay for everything in it. But still, they won`t say which of all the very popular proposals in the plan they want to get rid of. In fact, mostly, they`ve sung the praises of individual things in the plan but then they say they want the plan to be smaller. Oh, what do you want to cut out? They won`t say.
Joe Manchin keeps talking about how he doesn`t want to create an entitlement society. I just don`t want our society to move to an entitlement society. And I don`t think anybody`s quite sure what that means. Unless it means Senator Manchin has stuck in some sad waiting room since the 1980s with nothing to read except conservative radio talking points from bad right wing think tanks.
But I will tell you, for all of our frustration as people covering this stuff, just as Americans are watching them, trying to get this thing passed, trying to figure out what the hang-up is with these two senators, Democrats in Congress through all of this time have been very, very reluctant to criticize each other as this whole process has unfolded. And, you know, strategically, as a matter of human behavior, I get it. When you`re in the middle of fraught negotiations, you don`t want to unnecessarily insult anybody, you don`t want anybody`s hackles to come up unnecessarily, you want to keep everybody as happy as they can be.
Pretty much any time in the process asked a Democratic lawmaker about Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the other Democrat will say, oh, my good friend, we`re all negotiating in good faith, we don`t question each other`s motives, we all come from different places, it`s all very cordial, I`m confident we`re going to get somewhere in the end. That`s what it`s been for weeks.
Not today. The fact that it has been softly, softly, don`t say anything bad about anybody, don`t directly criticize anybody involved in the process, don`t get anybody upset, it has been that way for weeks. Today was the end of that.
What made today so surprising and so dramatic was Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, who today, without much preamble, without much notice, he got in front of the press, took the podium, and honestly just sounded like he had had enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Thanks very much on a busy day for being here. I just want to say a few words about some of what`s going on.
As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I want to say a few words about the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that a number of us are fighting for. And I would also like to make some brief comments about what Senator Manchin said earlier today.
Senator Manchin, as I understand it, talked about, today, about not wanting to see our country become an entitlement society. I am not exactly sure what he means by that. Senator Manchin has been extremely critical of the $3.5 trillion proposal that many of us support, in fact nine out of 11 members of the Budget Committee support.
But the time is long overdue for him to tell us with specificity, not generalities. We`re beyond generalities. With specificity, what he wants and what he does not want, and to explain that to the people of West Virginia and America.
REPORTER: Senator, you got there, I mean, I feel like for weeks you have not wanted to take questions about other senators` objections to this bill, especially Senator Manchin`s. But is it now incumbent upon him to come out and say this is what I`m for, this is how --
SANDERS: That`s exactly what I`m -- that`s exactly what I`m saying, yeah. Look, it`s very easy to use vague phraseology.
My concern with Mr. Manchin is not so much what his views are. I disagree with him. But it is that it is wrong. It is really not playing fair that one or two people think that they should be able to stop what 48 members of the Democratic Caucus want, what the American people want, what the president of the United States wants. That would be my position.
So, Senator Manchin has a right to fight for his point of view. He has not only a right to be heard, he has a right to get some compromises. He`s a member of the Senate. But two people do not have the right to sabotage what 48 want and what the president of the United States wants. That to me is wrong.
REPORTER: when you listed off the measures that are popular that you seem to think Manchin is opposed to, is it your understanding that Senator Manchin is calling for significant cuts to be pulled out of this or is this still a conversation about means testing?
SANDERS: That`s a great question. Ask him. That`s exactly my point. We need some specificity here.
It`s not good enough to be vague. You want to cut childcare? How much do you want to cut childcare? Do you want to cut climate? Cut climate. How much do you want to do that? Tell us with some specificity what you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s exactly my point. We need some specificity here. It is not good enough to be vague. Tell us with some specificity what you want.
Senator Bernie Sanders there appearing to be frankly at the end of his tether, fed up. And everybody watching this process has known Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema are the reason that the president`s agenda, the reason that President Biden`s legislative agenda isn`t happening thus far. The frustration for that has been I think evident and palpable among people observing this process.
But it has been tacit among those who are involved in this process. Democrats involved in these negotiations have been quiet about their frustrations before today.
Now, I will tell you that after Senator Bernie Sanders held this remarkable press conference today, kind of breaking the glass for once, expressing his frustration with Joe Manchin`s, what did he call it, vague phraseology, and complaining that he doesn`t understand what Senator Manchin means when he talks about making the U.S. an entitlement society, Senator Manchin himself put out a statement in response.
He said, quote, respectfully, Senator Sanders and I share very different -- share? Share very different policy and political beliefs. As he and I have discussed, Senator Sanders believes America should be moving towards an entitlement society while I believe we should have a compassionate and rewarding society.
We don`t know what I mean by entitlement society, okay? An entitlement society is whatever you believe and whatever I believe, that`s not an entitlement society, what I believe involves a whole different set of vague but positive adjectives that mean nothing in this context but sounds better than "entitlement" which sounds bad. How am I doing on specifics?
So, what happens now? What does this mean, that Senator Sanders has done this today, what should we read into that in terms of where things are? It is an unusual and bold thing for a member of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate to call a press conference for the purpose of critiquing another Democratic senator. But Senator Bernie Sanders decided to break the unwritten rules of the Senate and do just that today, which implies to me that he is at his breaking point. I am sort of desperate to know why. He`s going to join us live to talk about exactly that, right after the break. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Look, if we were in a room, and in a caucus where half the people wanted something lower and half the people wanted something higher, you`ve got to go somewhere in the middle. We`re not in that position. I think there`s got to be some give or take. But to ask 48 people to go down to where two people want, that just seems to be unfair, not to mention when poll after poll shows where the American people want us to be, it`s not where Mr. Manchin is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Forty-eight people to go down to what two people want, that just seems to be unfair.
Senator Bernie Sanders to the delivering a blunt message on how compromise is supposed to work, a blunt message to his colleagues, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, specifically talking about Senator Manchin by name.
To put it mildly, this is not something that we usually see from senators of the same party, talking about each other in such blunt terms. It`s a remarkable turn for Senator Sanders today and I`m eager to know what made him decide to do that today.
Joining us now is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He is chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Senator Sanders, it`s a real pleasure to have you here tonight, thank you for making time.
SANDERS: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: You always speak your mind. You never leave any ambiguity or shadow or gray area in terms of what you want and what you`re seeking and why. Still, though, it was remarkable to hear your blunt language today about your Senate Democratic colleague, about Senator Manchin and how you feel like he`s essentially behaving in an unfair way. What led you to that point today?
SANDERS: Well, I think there is a growing frustration, not only in the Congress but among the American people, that now is the time, Rachel, for us to try to restore the faith of the American people in their democracy and in their government, that we in fact can do meaningful things for them, that we can improve their lives.
And all that we are trying to do in many ways is to do what countries all over the world are doing. Is it really very radical to say that older people in America should not have rotting teeth in their mouth or should not be able to afford hearing aids or eyeglasses? Or that disabled people should be able to stay home and get the care they need at home rather than be forced into a nursing home? Or that working families should pay 20, 25, 30 percent of their income for childcare?
And then when you deal with the issue of climate, you know, just last week scientists working on climate change got the Nobel Prize.
Climate change is the existential threat to our planet. We cannot walk away from that issue and then go back to our kids and grandchildren and say, we didn`t do it. This is the future of the planet.
So I am tired of the generalities. You know, hearing what Mr. Manchin, frankly, Ms. Sinema, are saying. And if they want to negotiate, let`s negotiate. But when you got the overwhelming majority of the American people, the overwhelming majority of the Democratic House and Senate Caucus, when you got the president of the United States, you know, it`s not a 50/50 deal.
Mr. Manchin deserves to be heard. He deserves to get some compromises. But it is wrong for one or two people to think that they can dictate the outcome of this process.
MADDOW: And is that what`s actually happening with the negotiations, that rather than the entire Democratic Caucus being at one point, Senators Manchin and Sinema being at another, and finding out where in between you may be able to land, is it not happening that way, are they just insisting on what they want, full stop, 100 percent, or they won`t vote for the bill and it will die?
SANDERS: That`s the threat. That is exactly the threat. And I hope everybody understands this. We got 50 votes. The Republicans -- we should pay a little bit of attention to the fact that there`s not one Republican prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry or the fossil fuel industry or the health insurance companies, you know, or the billionaires who want to continue to get their tax breaks and enjoy their loopholes. Not one Republican.
But in truth, that is the leverage that any one member of the Democratic caucus has. Look, I could go to Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and say, Chuck, you know that I believe that our current health care system is totally dysfunctional, wasteful, expensive. We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Unless you put a Medicare for all single pair program into reconciliation package, I`m not voting for it.
I could do that tomorrow, Rachel. But that would be unfair to do, you know? At most, half the caucus supports that position. It would be wrong for me to say take what I want or I`m out of here. That`s just not being part of a caucus. It`s give and take, and not holding that type of attitude.
MADDOW: Is it possible here that part of the problem is that Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, who you I believe rightfully pointed out today have been very vague about what they want, that they might want different and contradictory things? I say that thinking specifically about climate. At least in the abstract, Senator Sinema keeps saying she cares a lot about climate and wants to do a lot on climate mitigation efforts.
Senator Manchin, especially because of his past association with fossil fuel and coal companies, seems to be in a different position. Is it possible they both have do-or-die things they`re going to insist on that are contradictory and so there`s no way to even please them even if you tried to give in to both of them?
SANDERS: Well, one of the problems we have is we`re not quite clear about what either of them wants. I think that you are right. According to press reports, Senator Sinema is not unsympathetic to doing something on climate.
On the other hand, according to press reports, are they true or not, I don`t know, but the press says she is -- does not want Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices despite the fact that 90 percent of the American people want a lower prescription drug cost in America, and that she doesn`t want to have increased taxes on the very wealthy. Is that true? I don`t know.
But that`s one of the problems, that we hear this from third parties and we haven`t heard that directly from her, nor have we heard the specifics in terms of what Manchin wants. So I think what we are going to have to do, I think there`s a growing feeling in the caucus to do this, is to sit down in the room and say, okay, you really want to cut childcare, you want to not have pre-K?
Do you really think that we should not expand Medicare or make sure that people today who have no insurance in Republican states get an expansion of Medicare, Medicaid? Is that what you think? Do you think we should not have free community college so kids can`t get the training they need to go out and get the jobs that are sitting unfilled right now?
You know, we need that type of specificity in order to negotiate appropriately. We don`t have it right now.
MADDOW: I was struck by the fact that after you gave your press conference today and talked about Senator Manchin by name in such specific terms, he put out a statement saying that you and he have very different political beliefs and that he thinks that you want America to be an entitlement society where he doesn`t want that, he wants what he called a compassionate and rewarding society.
It`s an unusual dynamic playing out effectively through the press, both you at this press conference and him in this written statement today. Are the two of you going to eventually get together face-to-face and talk about this out? Will that be how this gets resolved?
SANDERS: It`s not just me. We do meet. He`s part of leadership. I`m part of the Democratic leadership, every week we sit down and these issues do come up.
I`m not quite sure. We need Mr. Manchin, Senator Manchin, to help us with what compassionate and rewarding society is about. Does that mean addressing the reality that 600,000 people in the country are homeless? Does it mean dealing with the grotesque level of wealth inequality that we have? Does it mean dealing with one out of four Americans can`t fill the prescriptions their doctors write because the price of drugs in this country is sometimes ten times higher than it is in Canada and other countries?
So we need some specificity. He wants to say I believe in an entitlement society, I would not look at it -- use that phraseology. I do believe in a nation based on economic, social, racial, and environmental justice.
Yeah, frankly, I admit it, you got it right here on your show, I believe all Americans are entitled as human beings to health care. I believe people are entitled to quality education regardless of their income. I believe that people are entitled to affordable housing. I don`t believe that two people are entitled to own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of American society.
And by the way, one of the things that`s playing out here, Rachel, and I don`t think the media has paid appropriate attention to it, is in the midst of all of this, the ruling class of this country, and that is the drug companies, the insurance companies, fossil fuel industry, they`re spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. Pharmaceutical industry has 1,500 paid lobbyists on Capitol Hill, three lobbyists for every member of Congress so we don`t raise prescription drugs.
So this is a pivotal moment in American history, it seems to me, really. And I`m going to continue to fight as I have for working families and do my best to prevent this country from moving in an authoritarian direction. Because you`ve got so many people out there that are working longer hours for lower wages.
Their kids are going anywhere in a hurry. They can`t take care of their parents. And they are saying, does the United States government care about me? Or are they only worried about their campaign contributions from wealthy individuals?
So this is not only trying to improve life for working families who are really struggling to keep their ends together. It is whether or not we retain a democracy in which government works for all and not just the very wealthy and the powerful.
MADDOW: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee -- sir, thank you for joining us. I know these negotiations are fraught and everything is turning into very long days. Thanks for helping us understand.
SANDERS: Thank you very much, Rachel. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: All right.
All right. We`ve got a lot more to get to this evening, including, as I mentioned at the top of the show, this breaking news out of Texas. Just before we got on the air tonight, a federal judge has put a stop for now to the new Texas abortion ban. The United States Supreme Court, that conservative majority, allowed Texas` abortion ban to go into effect. A federal judge has just put at least a temporary stop on it. We`ll have more on that just ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Breaking news tonight -- big breaking news tonight out of the state of Texas. It was September 1st, just over a month ago, when the conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court let a Texas state abortion ban go into effect. Roe versus Wade is supposed to protect American women`s right to get an abortion. It`s supposed to stop any state from trying to ban abortion. But nevertheless Texas` ban on abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy was allowed by the Supreme Court to go into effect.
Well, tonight, a federal judge has stepped in and blocked the law. The U.S. Justice Department had sued Texas over the law, had asked the judge for this injunction. Tonight the injunction was granted.
Now, Texas had asked the judge in the event he was going to grant this injunction, Texas asked him to hold off until Texas could appeal. The judge explained tonight why he wouldn`t do that, and why the Texas abortion ban must be blocked effective immediately. The judge said tonight in his ruling, quote, the state has forfeited the right to any such accommodation by pursuing an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right.
At least we thought it was a well-established constitutional right until the Supreme Court let it go into effect. Let this ban go into effect.
Joining us now on the phone is Amy Hagstrom Miller. She is the founder and CEO of Whole Woman`s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas. Whole Woman`s Health was at the center of one of the court challenge to the Texas law.
Ms. Hagstrom Miller, I really appreciate you making time to join us tonight. I imagine this is a hectic interview evening for you.
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH FOUNDER & CEO (through telephone): Oh, Rachel, these are m favorite interviews with you, we get something to celebrate for once in Texas. Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Well, tell me about the significance of this ruling and what it`s going to mean in practice.
HAGSTROM MILLER: Well, I will admit, it is a 113-page ruling, so I haven`t read the whole thing yet, but wow. We have been waiting a really long time for this. What`s happened over the last 35 days in Texas has been devastating. I know our clinics and most of the independent clinics I know are trying to figure out how to resume care to 17 weeks to 18 weeks to 22 weeks depending on the clinic as soon as possible.
Hundreds and hundreds of people have been denied the abortion care that they need in this last month and we`re hoping to, you know, deliver them the care that they deserve and resume some sense of justice and fairness in Texas as soon as possible.
MADDOW: The proponents of this law and the state of Texas in defending it has admitted that their effort here is to try to force you out of business, to try to force abortion providers out of business, essentially through intimidation, through the idea that laws like this would be used to financially ruin not only you, your institution, your clinics, your facilities, but also individually ruin and harass and sort of chase down anybody involved in the provision of abortion care.
What kind of damage has been done in the month plus that this has been in effect? That intimidation doesn`t turn off with the judge`s ruling, presumably.
HAGSTROM MILLER: No, it doesn`t. And it`s been a really devastating month. I mean, I can`t even begin to describe the chilling effect. You know, staff have been scared off. Doctors have been worried about providing care. Patients are sometimes confused because they think that they might be sued.
And keep in mind, 14 out of the 20 clinics left in the state of Texas are small independent providers who don`t have a fundraising network. We don`t have income if we`re not able to see patients, just like any doctor`s office. And so this was designed to try to stop abortions by any means necessary in the state of Texas. The justice that Judge Pitman (ph) gave us today is much needed. Most clinics, especially the Whole Woman`s Health Clinics, we have long waiting lists of people who said, please call us back if we can still get an abortion in the state of Texas, because we can`t travel outside of the state.
You know, like I`ve told you before, most of our patients seeking abortion care are parenting already. They`re juggling multiple jobs and school and work and childcare and making all the family decisions during a pandemic that all of us are. And so, this justice couldn`t have come soon enough. And we need to get to work to try to help the people that have been waiting.
MADDOW: And just to be clear, this injunction goes into effect, it`s an immediate injunction, and so if the law is now enjoined in Texas, this means as soon as clinics can get their doors open, get back in touch with patients, get themselves back logistically back up and running, that you will start providing services immediately?
HAGSTROM MILLER: Yes, that`s what we`re working toward, it`s to try to resume care beyond the circumstances-six-week limit as soon as possible.
MADDOW: Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO of Whole Women`s Health, which, again, operates multiple clinics in Texas, thank you so much for your time tonight. What a whirlwind this has been. I know it will continue to be. Thanks for joining us tonight, Amy.
HAGSTROM MILLER: Thank you so much, Rachel. I appreciate it.
MADDOW: All right. Again, this breaking news tonight in Texas, Supreme Court effectively took a sledgehammer to Roe v. Wade by letting this Texas ban go into effect. Thanks to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit brought against the state of Texas, in a federal court ruling tonight in Texas, Texas` abortion ban is on ice, at least for now.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: A month after Trump was inaugurated in 2017, a history professor named Timothy Snyder published this book. It`s a tiny little thing, bigger than a pamphlet, but smaller than most books. It literally fits in the back pocket of your jeans. I have bought dozens of copies of this book. I have given them to just about everybody in my life.
It`s titled "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century." And it`s been a lodestar for me and for a lot of people of these past four or five years because Professor Snyder`s book takes really specific examples from the 20th century of other countries around the world that started as democracies but then slipped, other countries that sawed the rise of authoritarian governments, even the countries where you never expected it. And from those lessons, he affords very practical advice to keep your country from doing that, to keep your country as a small d, democratic country.
It`s the sort of book you don`t forget. The lessons stick with you. Like lesson two, defend institutions. Institutions help us preserve decency. They need our help as well. Don`t speak of our institutions unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. I think about that all the time. All the time.
When I saw a statement from former President Trump today trying to redefine the insurrection he tried to pull off, President Trump issued a statement today saying that actually the election itself was the insurrection. That was the crime. All that happened on January 6th was the protest against the criminally stolen election on November 3rd. When he said that today, I thought of Tim Snyder`s lesson ten from "On Tyranny", which is believe in truth. Quote: To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there`s no basis upon which to do so. He says, quote: You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case.
That`s from the new edition, the graphic edition of "On Tyranny" that just came out this week, came out yesterday. The book is updated from its original publication in 2017 in a way this brings its lessons up to where we are today and what we are still struggling with like this section, which reads to me like a chorus about our last president.
He says, quote, it is not patriotic to dodge the draft and to mock war heroes and their families. It is not patriotic to discriminate against active duty members of the armed force in one`s companies or campaign. It`s not patriotic to compare one`s search for sexual partners in New York City with military service in Vietnam that one has dodged. It`s not patriotic to avoid paying taxes when American working families do pay.
It`s not patriotic to ask those working tax paying families to finance one`s presidential campaign and spend their contributions in one`s own companies. It`s not patriotic to call upon foreign leaders into intervene in American elections. It`s not patriotic to cite Russian propaganda at rallies. It is not patriotic to share an adviser with Russian oligarchs. It is not patriotic to appoint a national security adviser who likes to be called General Misha, that`s Mike Flynn.
Nor is it patriotic to pardon him for his crimes. It is not patriotic when that pardoned official calls for martial law. It is not patriotic to try to sabotage an American election nor to claim victory after a defeat. It is not patriotic to try to end democracy.
A nationalist might do all of these things, but a nationalist is not a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst and then tells us that we are the best.
That was from the new edition -- the new graphic edition of "On Tyranny" by professor Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University. His "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from Twentieth Century" has been a multiyear bestseller. The new graphic edition of "On Tyranny" is quite beautiful, updated. It`s in book stores as of yesterday.
Professor Snyder, thank you for being here tonight.
TIMOTHY SNYDER, AUTHOR, "ON TYRANNY": My pleasure. Glad to be with you.
MADDOW: You wrote the original edition of "On Tyranny" in response to what you saw happen in the 2016 presidential election, helping Americans identify patterns that other countries, European countries had gone through. You wrote in "The L.A. Times" this week that you`ve also observed the book inspiring protesters and resistance around the world, Hong Kong, Poland, Brazil, India, Syria. Did you know it would resonate this way around the world and not just in America?
SNYDER: My hopes were much narrower. I was trying to take the things that I thought I understood from the 20th century in Europe and from the dissidence in Europe who taught me and from my contemporaries in Eastern Europe who were struggling for democracy and remind Americans of the things we should know. I was trying to think us the things we thought we knew about Nazism or communism.
It`s been a great honor to me that Europeans repeat this back to me and a surprise and a great pleasure to see the basic message of the book be useful in Brazil or India or China or Hong Kong and have student leaders from as far afield as Thailand translate the book themselves. This has been extraordinary, but it`s also for me a source of hope, because it suggests that if we`re facing the same problems, we might be able to use a similar language and take similar actions.
MADDOW: Indeed. One of the lessons we need to learn is make contacts in other countries to make sure we have passports, to make sure we stay in touch with people who may have confronted these same problems and may have been wiser than us in the way they dealt with them.
One of the things that I found myself having gone back to the book and read it again now that it`s out in this beautiful graphic edition, I realized that when I first read this work in 2017, it meant so much to me, and we`ve talked about it a number of times over the years. The one place where I felt like what he`s talking about here doesn`t resonate with me, I don`t think we`ll get there, was the message about violence.
Lesson six, be wary of paramilitaries. When the men with guns who claim to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches, the end is nigh. When the pro leader militaries and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come. That was one thing that didn`t resonate with me before because I couldn`t picture it, but you were picturing something like what happened on January 6th.
SNYDER: Yeah, the last several lessons in the book are all about that. I mean, the book is meant to be a guide starting with lesson one, and moving through to the end, be as courageous as you can. It`s also meant to chart a trajectory towards authoritarian authoritarianism and violence. We got through those steps pretty quickly.
By January 6th of this year at the very latest, you see what the alternative to democracy is. We see what mob rule looks like, and we see how that isn`t the alternative, right? It`s not that if we lose democracy, we kind of go on with our lives. If we lose democracy we have that kind of image, but not just one in every four years. That sort of thing becomes normal.
MADDOW: Also the prospect that we continue to on paper have the same institutions that we believe are the pillars of our democracy, but they become meaningless institutions. We continue to have elections but they have been corrupted, but they have been manipulated in such a way that they won`t actually represent the will of the people. We continue to have legislators and elected leaders who necessarily follow the authoritarian`s guide, whether or not they have their own views or policy positions that might have put them at odds with it.
It does feel like we`re racing down that path faster than I could have thought.
SNYDER: Yeah, I mean, look one of the things I think I understood from the people I learned from living or dead that undergirding all these lessons have to be values. We`re not going to be saved by the system as it exists. We`re going to be saved if we think about democracy as something that has a future which we care about, which we love, which has all kinds of little daily components to which we all contribute.
So, I mean, the one thing I like about the illustrated edition is that it brings out that hopeful element of the book. It`s not just about the risks we face, but it also suggests things might be much better.
MADDOW: Yes, exactly. Tim Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, the best selling author of "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century", which I can`t recommend high enough, including the new graphic edition of "On Tyranny" which now in book stores. I read it and absorbed all the illustrations and all of it in one sitting, and you will too if you buy it. It`s remarkable stuff.
Professor Snyder, thank you.
SNYDER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. That`s going to do it for us for now. See you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.