IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/16/21

Guests: Jon Ralston


Pfizer is going to the FDA to get approval for its new antiviral pill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained why the House will take action tomorrow against pro-Trump Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That is "ALL IN" on this Tuesday 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. It has been a busy day in the news today and a lot is continuing tonight.

We got word late this afternoon, this time of year late afternoon feels like evening, we got word that the FDA looks like it`s going to move this week to approve booster shots for all adults. The previous approval had just been for high-risk adults to get boosters, but a bunch of states started ignoring that and making boosters available for any adult that wants one.

Well, it`s emerging tonight that that is likely to be the national standard by the end of the week, booster shots approved for all U.S. adults. That`s -- that`s good news. It`s at least sort of simplifying news in terms of the rules and formal government advice about vaccinations.

And that news comes on the same day, we`ve learned, that Pfizer is going to the FDA to get approval for its new antiviral pill. This is not a vaccine. This is a pill you take as a treatment for COVID. Merck has one of these antiviral pills. Pfizer has one of them, too. The Merck clinical results looked really good in terms of people being kept alive, getting out of the hospital if they could get that drug soon after being diagnosed with COVID.

The Merck results were good, but the Pfizer clinical trial results looked even better. The Pfizer clinical trial results showed nearly 90 percent efficacy at keeping people out of the hospital and alive if they could get this drug, this new Pfizer antiviral drug, again, that you take as a pill soon after contracting COVID.

Again, Pfizer has just put in to the FDA to have that treatment authorized for use in the United States. Merck`s application for its antiviral treatment is already being processed at the FDA. That`s all good, having a whole new armamentarium of clinically proven effective drugs to treat COVID. That is a potentially a really big deal, really big advance in terms of the fight against this pandemic.

And again, we do have monoclonal antibodies, which also shows strong effectiveness at treating people who`ve already contracted COVID if you can get those monoclonal antibodies to people in time they too show good effectiveness at keeping people out of the hospital and alive. The problem with monoclonal antibodies is that you have to take them as a series of injections or as an infusion that has to be done either at an infusion center or some site that`s set up to function like an infusion center. It`s hard to administer.

In the case of the Merck pill and the Pfizer pill, they`re just pills that you take for a relatively short course of treatment. Each of them is a five-day course of treatment.

You know, the vaccine requirements that are due to go into effect in a whole bunch of different sectors of the economy in the next coming weeks and months for all the controversy around those vaccine requirements, those will have the effect of boosting the vaccination rate in our country. Plus, now, of course, kids can be vaccinated and the number of vaccinated kids is going to rise steadily over time.

You know, all those things are good news on the COVID front particularly if now doctors are going to have as I said a whole new armamentarium of easy to administer drugs that don`t even need to be refrigerated that they can give people if they do contract COVID to keep them reliably out of the hospital and to keep them from dying. It`s all -- it`s all good news.

Frankly, it`s all good news you hope could move along a little quicker given the rising case numbers once again, the rising hospitalization numbers we`re seeing once again. This time, it`s the Mountain West and New England and some places in the Southwest. The state of Minnesota for whatever reason it`s also seeing the fastest growing case numbers in the country right now.

But honestly, if it`s not one part of the country, it`s another. Overall as a nation, we`re still up over 1,100 Americans dying every day in this country from COVID still. Over 1,100 Americans per day dying on average right now.

Obviously, the more vaccinated we get as a country, the more good clinically proven options doctors have for treating people who do get infected, the closer we have to getting this thing in hand. We are making progress, an important progress just announced tonight. But, of course, it`s all still too slow.

I should also -- I should also say on this subject that at the same time that Pfizer is starting the process of having its anti-viral pill, it`s COVID treatment approved here for use in the United States, at the same time that they have applied for that authorization for it to be used as a COVID treatment here, today, they also the same day, announced that they`ve come to a deal with the U.N. medicines patent pool, which without getting too much into the weeds basically means that Pfizer`s going to allow for that drug, that potentially game-changing drug to be manufactured all over the globe.


They`re going to let countries all around the world make it themselves, which is huge news in terms of the global pandemic. It`s the only way there`s any chance that that life-saving treatment is going to reliably get to poor countries as if it`s actually manufactured all over the globe and not just in the West, where then those poor middle-income countries have to count on it being shipped out from here.

So that deal that the new anti-viral pill from Pfizer can be manufactured globally, that`s a really big deal in terms of the drug. The drug itself is really good news. We may soon have access to that drug in this country for people who`ve contracted COVID beyond just the clinical trials it`s been tested in already. It`s all good -- it`s all good news.

But it is good news obviously that we do need to go faster.

And speaking of literally global problems, we`ve also got a brand new problem I had never even thought about before it descended upon us now, but it has descended upon us now thanks to Russia.

Russia, this week, literally used a ground-based missile to blow up what if it`s one of its own satellites. They had a satellite that was out there in space orbiting the earth. They shot a missile from the ground at that satellite and exploded it. Now, the good news for Russia is that the missile hit its target, and in fact blew up the satellite. The bad news for Russia and the whole rest of the world is that their missile hit that target blew up the satellite but they blew it up into a gazillion little pieces that are now still there orbiting around the earth like a million little faster than a speeding bullets, posing a real threat not only to you know other satellites in orbit but most acutely posing a threat to the International Space Station which is currently in orbit full of astronauts who are currently living on board.

Those astronauts had to take emergency precautions yesterday as they were surprised flung into an orbital debris field that didn`t exist before Russia chose to pull off this stunt despite the proximity of the international space station and the humans on board.

Thanks, Russia. Did you did you think about that first? Did it even matter to you that some of the astronauts you put in danger were themselves Russian astronauts? Do you care? You just wanted to cannonball into the crowded kiddie pool and never mind who you crushed on the splashdown, right? Knock yourself out.

It`s a problem I never even conceived of before and now we`re living through it.

We also late tonight got a massive revision in important economic numbers and jobs numbers, all summer long the job numbers that come out every week and that come out monthly. The job numbers were kind of meh.

President Biden and the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress got all sorts of bad press over that, over how the economy wasn`t performing great under Democratic leadership and surely that was going to be a drag on the Democrats in the election this year -- months of coverage like that, right?

Well, now, oh, hey, look, turns out the job numbers have actually been kind of awesome because they`ve been retroactively revised.

Here`s "The Washington Post" tonight, quote, the government dramatically underestimated job growth this summer initial reports underestimated job growth by a cumulative 626,000 jobs over four months. Quote, in June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported it underestimated job growth by a cumulative 626,000 jobs, that`s the largest underestimate of any other comparable period going back to 1979. If those revisions were themselves a jobs report they would be an absolute blockbuster.

President Biden may even have paid a political price for the lackluster jobs numbers which have now been revised. From April to June, polls found that most Americans 51 percent approved of President Biden`s handling of the economy. But as the bad economic numbers came out, those approval numbers fell steadily by October, just 39 percent approved of Biden`s handling of the economy.

Well, yeah, people were subjected to months of headlines about how meh the jobs numbers were. Now, it turns out those numbers and those headlines were wildly off, more off that they`ve been in 40-plus years and actually the job numbers have been pretty good all this time. Oops we need to add another 626,000 jobs to what we thought the numbers were, at which point president Biden gets to say, great, now where do I go to get my reputation back? Where do I go to undo the months and months and months of bad press that turns out or based on false pretenses?

Like I said, a lot a lot going on tonight on lots of different fronts.

For a surprisingly large number of Americans on the political right though, the most important and most shocking and most difficult to take news of the past 24 hours is that John F. Kennedy Jr. did not rise from the dead at midnight last night in Dallas, Texas, to reveal himself as the new running mate for Donald Trump in 2024. And no, this news is not a rerun. This is happening again.

There is a surprisingly large slice of the Trump supporting world who adheres to the fractiously insane QAnon conspiracy theory. This is something we`ve reported on over the months. But it`s, you know, connected to Trump world by pretty strong cords.

Here`s Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn and his family pledging their allegiance to the QAnon cult and posting the video on social media.

Here`s Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene promoting the core QAnon conspiracy theory on social media with gusto which is how she built up her pro-Trump right-wing following that ultimately propelled her to Congress. It was also a QAnon promoter who ran the Republican audit of the 2020 election results in Arizona, the one that dragged on for months and that managed to convince a large majority of Arizona Republicans that the 2020 election was somehow stolen, even though the formal conclusion at the end of that audit was actually, oh, yeah, Biden I guess did win the state.

There`s a reason that the QAnon conspiracy theory has sustained itself this long. And there`s a reason it`s attached to the world of Trump supporters and it`s the same reason, it`s that high level, high profile Trump supporters have not only explicitly endorsed and promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, they`ve nudged and winked and hinted at support for it long enough to keep it propulsive within right-wing circles, to keep this sort of propulsive power of it that couldn`t exist without some sort of support from the people who the cultists worship, right?

Trump and his circle are the center of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Their support for it, their outreach to it, their willingness to tolerate it, engage with it, associate themselves with it, has kept it going all this time. There`s all this mainstream media coverage that`s like how come the QAnon thinks still around given that Trump`s out of office? Well, because Trump and his folks are still around and they`re still helping this stuff survive.

And the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory world has morphed into a lot of different increasingly insane ideas over the few years that it`s been around. We don`t have to go through all of that. You can look it up if you feel sick, if you want to feel sick.

But one offshoot of it is led by a guy who does a sort of magic fake numerology about things he finds in the world and by teasing meaning out of these numbers that he`s made up, he keeps making prophecies, and they`re about dead celebrities. He keeps telling his followers that dead celebrities are going to return from the dead or they`re going to return from having been in hiding when they were pretending to be dead.

They`re going to reveal themselves as having been alive all this time and they`re going to do that soon. His numbers tell him so. They`re all going to come back and reveal themselves as alive now so they can all be part of triumph of Trump`s triumphant return to power not just as president of the United States again but as king of the world.

So, the QAnon folks initially prophesized that JFK Jr. would come back from the dead and reveal himself to the world on July 4th, 2019. That did not work out. Must have been something wrong in the calculation.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, November 2nd of this year, 2021, like a ton of QAnon people, maybe a thousand people, maybe more, turned up in Dallas, at Dealey Plaza where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. All these QAnon people turned up in shockingly large numbers on November 2nd expecting not only that JFK Jr. would be rising from the dead there, but that his father, the assassinated former president, JFK Sr., would be with him.

And again, the whole point of them being resurrected from the dead or revealed to have not really died at all the whole point of it to the QAnon folks is that these people who are believed to be dead are now showing themselves to the world because they`re on Trump`s side and they`re going to help Trump return to power as king so among other things he can start in on the mass public execution of all of his enemies which has always been the end point of all the QAnon conspiracies.

It`s a bloody thing that they promote when I said you can look into it if you feel like if you want to get sick. The QAnon conspiracies have latched on to all sorts of various things, but they all have at their heart are a sort of blood-soaked vengeance tale in which there are public executions of every Democrat you`ve ever heard of and every celebrity and all sorts of people you`ve never heard of that they`ve decided are key to their conspiracies. It`s about killing people in mass numbers for the entertainment and glorification of the QAnon adherence and Donald Trump.

And a couple of weeks ago when that unexpectedly large number of QAnon folks turned up at Dealey Plaza where there was this flurry of national news coverage, because this was a lot of people. And it was craziness, it was some sort of like, you know, conspiracy theory fringe fest that popped up in the middle of Dallas. But then it faded away, until yesterday they came back.

"Vice News" had some actually good reporting this week showing that it seems like a significant number of these QAnon folks actually never left Dallas after the failed prophecy about JFK and JFK junior two weeks ago. They holed up in a Dallas hotel to wait for another prophecy, right? But last night at midnight, they apparently thought both JFK senior and JFK junior were really coming back and so they emerged from their hidey holes and came from all over the United States again and headed back out to Dealey Plaza by the hundreds to wait for the lightning bolt or whatever.

At one point last night, as they were all assembled there at Dealey Plaza waiting for the resurrections, some police cars went past with their sirens on and the whole crowd of QAnon folks at Dealey Plaza lost their mind. That must have been him. That must have been him, oh my God I have chills.

What happens to these folks? I mean, what happens to them in the short run? Do these people now leave Dallas again? They thought this was going to happen in 2019. They thought it was going to happen two weeks ago. They thought that was going to happen last night at midnight, it seems like it hasn`t happened.

Do they stay in Dallas now because they`re going to get another date, right? This guy`s going to pick some numbers out of the squiggles and his ramen noodles or whatever and tell them oh actually it`s Wednesday. I mean do they do they stay in Dallas? Do they pack it up?

Do they wait for another prophecy that other dead celebrities and politicians are going to turn up somewhere else? I mean, do they pledge allegiance to one of the multiple grifters who is currently claiming to be reincarnated JFK junior? I kid you not, there are multiple people turning up at QAnon conferences now claiming they`re all JFK junior. Do the Trump supporters and QAnon pick one of those JFK junior impersonators and start following him as if their prophecy came to be true?

I mean, what`s next for these folks and for the many, many grifters working this sad and dangerous Trump world scam, happily relieving all these poor souls of their retirement savings? But do they go back to Dealey Plaza again? Do they make it a permanent pilgrimage site? Will there be some other one? Will there be merchandise for them to buy there? I`m sure there will.

I mean, that that`s how things are going right now in the Republican Party base in Trump world. How was your day? What was the news in your world today?

Today, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl`s book finally came out, about the last months of the Trump administration. This book has been making news for a couple of weeks ahead of today`s publication date.

Here`s -- here`s a nice part. You may recall a controversy we spent quite a bit of time on right at the very end of the Trump administration. It was something that we were never quite able to figure out but that sort of set off a lot of alarms.

After the election, in the last weeks between Trump lost the election dividend and inauguration day when Biden was finally sworn in, during Trump`s lame duck period, Trump went out of his way to stuff the top echelons of the Pentagon with Trump loyal appointees who had no experience that would qualify them for those kinds of senior jobs. These were people who were above all and in some cases exclusively known as Trump loyalists. These are people who for example had worked for Mike Flynn, who had worked for the fringiest and weirdest Trump warriors in Congress, people who`d worked for like Congressman Devin Nunes.

What did Trump want with those guys at that time that he spent all of that time and energy during the lame duck period stuffing them into senior jobs at the Pentagon just for the dying days of his administration? What did he think they were going to do there?

Well, in Jonathan Karl`s new book, he explains how one of those Trump appointees who we spent a long time trying to figure out what he was doing at the Pentagon, one of the things he was doing in his last days at the Pentagon was he was fielding calls from Mike Flynn after the election. Flynn telling him that he needed to act from his senior position at the pentagon to overturn the election.

Quote, this is from Jonathan Karl`s book: We need you, Flynn told him. He said, there was going to be an epic showdown over the election results. He said he needed to get orders signed, that ballots needed to be seized, that extraordinary measures needed to be taken to stop Democrats from stealing the election.

The Trump Pentagon appointee man named Ezra Cohen-Watnick, quote, had enormous respect for Flynn and the retired general had given him one of the most important jobs on the National Security Council when he was just 30 years old. But as Flynn ranted on the phone about the election fight, Cohen Watnick felt his old boss sounded manic. Shortly after Flynn called him, Cohen-Watnick received another call from Sidney Powell, Flynn`s former lawyer who is now advising President Trump and like Flynn promoting some of the craziest theories about the election.

Sidney Powell called Ezra Cohen-Watnick with a bizarre request. The request was specific, urgent and highly sensitive. It was also completely insane.

CIA Director Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany, she told Cohen Watnick. You need to launch a special operations mission to get her. Ezra Cohen-Watnick had never before spoken to Sidney Powell and he was shocked that she had called him at his direct phone line in his office it`s a phone that only rang with calls from within the Pentagon or from the White House an unpublished number that somebody with access to the internal directory had to have given her.

Sidney Powell went on to explain to him that CIA Director Gina Haspel had been hurt while on a secret CIA operation to seize a computer server from a from a company named Scytl. The server, Powell claimed, contained evidence that hundreds of thousands maybe millions of votes had been switched using rigged voting machines. Sidney Powell believed Gina Haspel had embarked on this secret mission to get the server and destroy the evidence.

In other words, the CIA director was part of the conspiracy. That`s why Sidney Powell wanted Ezra Cohen-Watnick to send a special operations team over to Germany immediately. They needed to get the server and force CIA Director Gina Haspel to confess.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick thought Sidney Powell sounded out of her mind. He quickly got off the phone and reported the call to the acting defense secretary but Powell did not stop there.

She then emailed Cohen with another bizarre request. She wanted help getting something called a Letter of Mark. This was a rather obscure demand. But a Letter of Mark from the U.S. government would essentially allow Powell to act as a modern-day pirate, seizing property from U.S. adversaries.

Jonathan Karl writes, quote Seriously. It`s actually a real thing. In Article I of the U.S. Constitution, section A, clause 11, Congress has granted power to grant letters of mark and reprisal and to make rules concerning captures on land and water.

At the time it was written, the idea of this part of the Constitution was to give privately owned ships, privateers aka government authorized pirates, the authority to raid merchant ships who were aiding an enemy during time of war. Why did Sidney Powell want a Letter of Mark? did she want to conduct her own mission to seize some mysterious computer server in Germany? Who the hell knows?

Quote: The efforts of Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell to enlist Ezra Cohen- Watnick in their efforts to overturn the election results which are reported in Karl`s book here for the first time are among the strangest and most potentially dangerous actions taken by Trump`s allies in the aftermath of the election.

Just think about the request from Sidney Powell. She was asking the top intelligence official at the Pentagon to dispatch a special operations team on a mission to capture the CIA director.

And the most disturbing thing about all of this is that Sidney Powell was not just a lone crackpot. She was working side by side with Rudy Giuliani as a member of the president`s legal team and by late December, she would be meeting repeatedly with President Trump in the Oval Office.

Although Ezra Cohen-Watnick ignored Powell`s emails, the fictional story about Haspel`s alleged secret mission spread throughout social media on websites associated with the QAnon conspiracy.

And now, tonight, less than a year later, the QAnon conspiracy theory adherents are waiting in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, for the ghost of JFK junior and JFK himself to reinstate Trump as president because they`re going to be his zombie running mates or whatever.

And, you know, Trump is endorsing Republican candidates all over the country who pledged that yeah really he should be reinstated as president and Jonathan Karl`s reporting in this part of the book does actually jibe with something that really made no sense at the time last December.

December 4th 2020, right around the time that he reports this was happening, Reuters put out a fact check about some of the Trump election claims that were circulating online and their fact check on December 4th included this bewildered statement from an actual CIA spokesperson quote CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay told Reuters via email, well, this is the most absurd inquiry I`ve ever addressed but I`m happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office.


It was so confusing at the time that the CIA had to bother to put out a public statement from a named spokesperson asserting that the CIA director was in fact alive. But now, we know that that was not a response just to crazy QAnon people talking in their chat rooms, right, talking to each other on the Gab and the Telegram and the machine they made with the bean cans and the tin foil and the string between them.

Now we know that that CIA spokesperson wasn`t just responding to that craziness in the smelliest dankest corners of the internet, CIA was responding to something that had been put to the top intelligence official at the Pentagon, a Trump appointee who was being asked by somebody who was meeting regularly with the president to go dispatch Navy SEALs or like Delta Force or whatever to go rescue the CIA director so she could then be interrogated and then presumably publicly executed like all the Democrats and celebrities who the QAnon people want Trump to kill in front of them.

This is how it`s going on earth 2, where millions of our fellow Americans live.

I mean, there`s President Biden today on earth in New Hampshire promoting the fact that his new infrastructure bill is going to finally pay to repair a bridge that has been considered dangerous since that bridge is finally going to get fixed tomorrow President Biden is going to a big electric vehicle factory a huge EV only factory that GM is opening up in Michigan. President Biden`s EPA chief was just in Jackson, Mississippi, talking about how the infrastructure bill is finally going to help that great American city fix its terrible and intractable drinking water problems.

Here`s the FDA working triple time to approve booster shots for the COVID vaccine for all Americans and to approve promising new COVID treatments that have been developed by American firms in record time, right? That`s what`s going on in earth one.

And then simultaneously, here`s the Republican Party`s most fanatical base voters singing "We are the World" and praying in a circle and cheering at passing sirens because they assume the reincarnated former president`s son will come back from the dead like claw his way out of his casket and run with Trump to make him king soon, it`s about to happen.

Tomorrow, the most rabidly pro-Trump congressman in Washington, Paul Gosar of Arizona, will be censured by the House and stripped of his committee assignments after he posted a cartoon video of himself murdering a Democratic congresswoman. He`s one of the first Republican members of Congress to associate himself with QAnon conspiracy theories and he has continued to do so over time.

The most normal thing going on in Republican politics right now is that a Republican congressman from Alabama, Congressman Gary Palmer, has apparently distinguished himself by becoming the first Republican member of Congress to send out a local press release claiming credit for what`s in the infrastructure bill for what it`s going to do for his home state of Alabama, even though he himself not only voted against the bill, he spent the last several months vigorously denouncing it as a terrible reckless dangerous thing.

Republican Congressman Gary Palmer in Alabama denounced the infrastructure bill. He voted against the infrastructure bill. Now he wants his constituents to know that he`s going to take credit for all the good that infrastructure bill is going to do for the good people of Alabama. Congressman Gary Palmer.

It used to be that a story like that would be, you know, like a slam dunk story for the national press for weeks, that the Republican Party would have to come up with some answer for because that was so embarrassing, the hypocrisy on that level disingenuous cravenness on that level. Oh how are we going to put down this firestorm?

These days, that`s like cute, given what else is going on over there.



MADDOW: In the days after the presidential election, the Trump campaign and Republicans in the great state of Nevada and our friends at the Fox News Channel, they were very, very, very excited about what they said was one clear-cut absolutely indisputable terrible case of documented voter fraud. You may say that voter fraud wasn`t proven, well, in this case, it was definitely proven. They relentlessly hyped the case of a single ballot that was cast in the name of a woman who definitely could not have cast that ballot legally herself because she sadly had died in 2017.

Clark County, Nevada, issued a mail ballot in her name, this deceased woman`s name, they mailed that ballot to her home address. Voting records then showed that that ballot had been filled out and returned and counted in the election. How could that be? She died in 2017. Her husband said he never saw any ballot, no ballot for her ever arrived at their house. So this must be a clear case of voter fraud, somebody stole that woman`s ballot and voted in that woman`s name.

The Nevada Republican Party frequently, repeatedly promoted this video of the husband speaking with the local CBS station.


DONALD "KIRK" HARTLE, ACCUSED OF VOTER FRAUD: It was disbelief just it made no sense to me, but it lend lent some credence to the, you know, what you`ve been hearing in the media and about these possibilities and now it makes me wonder you know how pervasive is this.


MADDOW: How pervasive is this. He was shocked, shocked to find out that a ballot had been cast in his late wife`s name. Couldn`t believe it, made no sense. But you know, it sure does make you think, right, all these claims you`ve been hearing about all this voter fraud? It must be true. Here`s a proven case. If there`s this one proven case, there must be tons of it.

Well, today, that man, the husband pled guilty in court to felony voter fraud because he now admits after all that that he was actually the one who cast his late wife`s ballot.


The poster boy for voter fraud who was so shocked that this could have happened, Kirk Hartle was sentenced to a year`s probation and a two thousand dollar fine. Here was the judge at his hearing today.


JUDGE CARLI KIERNY, CLARK COUNTY, NV DISTRICT COURT: Ultimately, this seems to be to me a cheap political stunt that kind of backfired and showed that our voting system actually works, because you were ultimately caught.


MADDOW: Our voting system actually works because you were ultimately caught. After all the hyping of this story by the Trump campaign and the Fox News Channel and Nevada Republicans in particular, as far as we can tell, none of those entities have had any response at all now to the husband now pleading guilty, to the -- to the bizarre stunning collapse of the probably the most highly promoted false voter fraud allegation in the country.

Joining us now is the man we turn to anytime something crazy happens in Nevada politics, my friend Jon Ralston, founder and CEO of the Nevada Independent, MSNBC political analyst.

Jon, it`s great to see you, my friend. Thanks for being here.

JON RALSTON, NEVADA INDEPENDENT: Nice seeing you too, Rachel.

MADDOW: So have I got the four corners of this story correct. Is there anything important here that I`m leaving out or that I`m getting wrong?

RALSTON: There is a QAnon tide, do you want to hear that? Since you`ve been talking about QAnon little bit?

MADDOW: Okay, go ahead.

RALSTON: Well, the one part the one part that you didn`t talk about is this guy who has now pled guilty actually works for a guy who is essentially a mini Sheldon Adelson out here. He is a rich guy who when Caesar`s Palace rejected QAnon convention, recently guess where it went? To the company where this guy works.

This whole thing was a sham from the beginning, Rachel, we now know. But let`s -- you accurately dramatized how incensed, they all were that this voter fraud had taken place and how front and center Kirk Hartle`s allegations were. It was Adam Laxalt, now running for the U.S. Senate, I should mention, who was the co-chairman of the Trump campaign and the Trump campaign nationally sent two partisan thugs out here, Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union, who mentioned Hartle by name, and Ric Grenell, who as you know is essentially an Internet troll elevated by the Trump administration.

Those three were at a news conference and they repeatedly said that there was massive voter fraud and Matt Schlapp invoked Kirk Hartle`s name as essentially the canary in the coal mine or as you called him the poster boy for voter fraud. And now, it is all collapsed.

MADDOW: Now, that it has collapsed, has there been any reckoning at all? I wouldn`t expect it from somebody like Ambassador Grenell, for example. But within Nevada, within the Republican Party, particularly because they use this not only to hype this idea nationally, but to use it as the basis for advocating for voting restrictions in the state of Nevada, has there been any reckoning with the fact that the whole pretext that they created around this story was false?

RALSTON: Sounds of silence, Rachel. They`ve not said a word. And by the way, if any of them had any integrity whatsoever or weren`t tendentiously trying to create this atmosphere to put those election restrictions in place, Rachel, they would have apologized for foisting this fraud upon the public.

You know, the big question to me, of course, is what did they know and when do they know it, that that this was just a guy who essentially was fabricating this and believe me he`s getting off relatively easy as you saw with the sentence there because the case essentially is circumstantial that is they didn`t actually see him cast a ballot, but they had evidence I`m told my sources tell me, Rachel, on video and some text messages in which they had the guy pretty cold..

And so, they have not -- Adam Laxalt, Ric Grenell, Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the Republican Party, Michael McDonald, there have been crickets since this decision came out and then and then the sentence was imposed today.

MADDOW: Jon Ralston, the founder and CEO of the Nevada Independent, America`s indispensable source on all things weird Nevada politics -- Jon, thank you for being here.

RALSTON: You bet.

MADDOW: All right we got much more to come here tonight. Do stay with us.



MADDOW: In a federal courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, today, it was day 17 in the civil trial of 24 neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

Today, the plaintiff`s side of that trial rested their case which means the defendants get their turn and since so many of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis are representing themselves serving as their own lawyers, that means today was day one of us all being treated to the spectacle of literally Holocaust deniers and Nazi white supremacists asking themselves questions and then answering their own questions in the courtroom. They`re cross-examining themselves about their own beliefs.

The plan is for closing arguments in that case to start on Thursday.

And another extremely high profile trial in Georgia, the prosecution today rested its case after eight days of testimony in the murder trial of three men accused of killing Ahmad Arbery. He`s an unarmed black 25-year-old man was killed while he was out for a jog in his neighborhood last year. Prosecutors say Arbery was murdered after being harassed and then chased down by these three men in a truck.

You`ll recall that one of the defense attorneys made headlines last week for all the wrong reasons when he protested the presence of the Reverend Al Sharpton in the courtroom there as support for the family saying, quote, we don`t want any more black pastors coming in here today that attorney was at it again he told the court that he had filed a motion to, quote, prohibit any further conduct that may intimidate or influence jurors. The very presence of black pastors is intimidating and cause for a mistrial? We`ll see how that works out.

Tomorrow, the defense will begin presenting its case to the jurors in the Ahmad Arbery trial.

But meanwhile tonight, all eyes are on Kenosha, Wisconsin, we`re awaiting a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of killing two men and injuring a third at a police brutality protest in August last year following the police shooting of a black man named Jacob Blake. The jury got the case today they started deliberating they`re considering five counts the judge dismissed two of the other counts the Rittenhouse had initially been facing. The most serious charge Rittenhouse faces is intentional homicide, that comes with a mandatory life sentence.

But the jury left for tonight without reaching a verdict. They deliberated for over eight hours. They are due back in court first thing tomorrow.

With arguments inside the courtroom over, all of Kenosha, all of Wisconsin and some ways all the country is basically bracing for what this verdict is going to be what the reaction to the verdict is going to be.

Wisconsin`s governor activated hundreds of national guard troops in anticipation of the verdict. Today, he urged peace in Kenosha. Whatever the verdict is that the jury ends up delivering it`s all but certain there`s going to be a strong response from the public whichever way this goes.

Joining us now from Kenosha is NBC News correspondent Shaquille Brewster.

Shaq is at the courthouse where the written house jury has been deliberating today. He`s been on this story from the beginning when a Kenosha officer shot and injured Jacob Blake.

Shaq, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know this is all coming together and it`s been a long haul.

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDETN: Definitely the case, Rachel. No problem at all, and I`ll tell you, you know, the courthouse is pretty quiet now but it was much different earlier today when you had some protesters, people who were both defending Kyle Rittenhouse and people who were protesting and demonstrating against him, calling on his conviction. You had them gathered outside the courthouse.

But inside the courthouse, we saw the jury and we finally got an idea of the official makeup of the jury, that is deliberating that is now in our eighth of deliberations. They broke for the night they`ll begin day two of deliberations tomorrow, but we know that makeup includes seven women and five men out of that entire jury one person identifies as being a person of color a man and this is a county that is about 87 percent white. So it`s fairly representative of the entire county and of this community.

But you mentioned that this is a case that so many people are watching incredibly closely and that is definitely the case I spoke to actually the brother of Jacob Blake. Remember, this is the protest he was the unarmed or he was the man who was shot by a Kenosha police officer back in august and that`s the protest that then led to the shooting that is now leading to the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. And he said that he is watching this closely he says that it was the closing arguments that made him more comfortable about this but he knows and he`s praying and hoping for that conviction but he knows that there`s a high bar that the prosecution has to clear.

And that is what many people are thinking right now. That`s what they`re watching as jury deliberations now extend to that second day, Rachel.

MADDOW: Shaq, with the governor calling up the national guard and we know among other things from your reporting about um you know small business owners in the area preparing for the worst, people worrying about how the public might respond when the when the verdict is announced either way, it makes me wonder about leadership, community leadership on all sides of this issue. Some of the ways that some of the things that you look to in order to try to predict whether or not things are going to be peaceful and constructive in terms of people expressing themselves is whether or not there`s community leadership that is there to guide people and lead people to being constructive to being non-violent.

Are you seeing evidence of that? Are you seeing that as people are you know yelling at each other and facing off and taking different sides of this issue that there is some there are responsible parties among them trying to guide this in a non-violent way?

BREWSTER: You do and that`s something you know that even existed I`ll say back in last August after this shooting where you had pastors, members of the religious community coming together and calling for that calm. We do know that members leaders in the religious community have been gathering and praying over the deliberations and praying over this trial calling for that calm.

You mentioned the comments from the political leaders as well, from the governor who`s urging folks to if you`re not in Kenosha, to not travel to Kenosha. That is there and that is definitely a presence there.

And you mentioned the businesses and the business owners that we`ve been talking to. I mean, they`ve gone through a lot over the past year and you have some businesses deciding to board back up with the idea that this verdict is coming any moment now. But despite, that they are saying that they`re hoping that things remain calm.

Rachel, I`ll tell you from the feeling on the ground, even I talked about the protesters that have been at the steps of this courthouse throughout the deliberations and even in the closing arguments phase of this trial, it`s been relatively muted.


And the media presence has far outnumbered anything that you saw from the protesters or heard from them here as well.

So there is a balance that you see there things there`s the underlying tension there`s -- you get a sense that people are watching this closely, but you don`t have that hostility. There`s not that level of uh real concern that has been expressed or that`s being seen or reason for concern that we`ve seen just yet, Rachel.

MADDOW: That`s a hopeful note there.

NBC News correspondent Shaquille Brewster -- Shaquille, I hereby urge you to go somewhere warm and indoors. I know that it`s a cold night in Kenosha. Thanks for being out there with the lights for us. I really -- I really appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.

BREWSTER: You got it.

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



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He made threats and suggestions about harming a member of Congress.


That is an insult, not only an endangerment of that member of Congress, but an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives. We cannot have members joking about murdering each other, as well as threatening the president of the United States.


MADDOW: That`s how Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained why the House will take action tomorrow against pro-Trump Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Congressman Gosar has made national news a number of times for his sort of increasingly bizarre and radical statements and actions, including his promotion of election conspiracy theories, his association with white supremacist groups.

But tomorrow, the House will vote to formally censure him for posting a photoshopped anime video that depicted him a killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as attacking President Joe Biden with swords. The censure resolution needs a majority to pass. The Democrats are in the majority in the House.

Once it passes, they will remove Paul Gosar from his seat on the House Oversight Committee. He serves alongside Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. He will be stripped of his seat on the committee on natural resources. That will leave him with no committee assignments which will leave him nothing to do.

Another thing to keep an eye on tomorrow alongside that vote on Congressman Gosar is the sentencing tomorrow of Capitol rioter, a man named Jacob Chansley. Came to be known as the QAnon Shaman. You may remember him as the guy running around the capitol on January 6th with a six-foot spear wearing horns and a fur hat.

The Justice Department is asking the court to sentence him to prison for more than four years. They are asking for more than 51 months in prison for him. If the judge accepts the Justice Department`s recommendation, that would make him -- that would give him the longest sentence of any January 6th defendant so far.

Again, that vote on GGosar and that sentencing decision on this guy tomorrow. Watch this space.


MADDOW: Where does the time go? A lot going on. Makes the news go fast.

That does it for us now. I will see you again tomorrow night.


Good evening, Lawrence.