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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 12/24/21

Guests: Dahlia Lithwick, Raja Krishnamoorthi

Summary

Conservative Supreme Court justices signaled support for restrictive Mississippi abortion law. President Biden is going to nominate two former federal officials to USPS governing board.

Transcript

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Hello and thanks for joining us this hour. Nice to have you here.

So one thing it has going for it is it has a nice view of the Kremlin. This is the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge in central Moscow. Location, location, location. It sits in the Red Square and has a great view.

In the end, the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is where they got him. Boris Nemtsov was the leading opposition leader in Russia in 2015. He had been deputy prime minister in Russia under Yeltsin. But after Putin seceded Yeltsin and then showed what kind of ruler he would be, Boris Nemtsov became just a vociferous and fearless critic of Vladimir Putin.

In February of that year, February of 2015, Boris Nemtsov was planning an opposition march to protest against the Putin regime. It was two days before that he was shot four times in the back when he was walking across the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge.

Press reports at the time called it the highest profile assassination in Russia since the Stalin era. And he wasn`t the only target. Days before he was assassinated, Russian authorities had thrown one of his key political allies in jail, another vocal Putin critic who had worked alongside Boris Nemtsov. Nemtsov`s friend was put in jail for the high crime of handing out leaflets inviting people to attend that opposition march, the one that got Nemtsov killed.

The guy who was put in charge just for handing out leaflets about the march, his name was Alexei Navalny. Here he is leaving jail after Boris Nemtsov`s death. Reports say Navalny left jail that day, he went home, he took a shower and then he went straight to visit Boris Nemtsov`s grave.

Navalny said of his friend`s assassination, quote, there will be no let up in our efforts. We will give up nothing. This act of terror has not achieved its goal.

And he meant it. Alexei Navalny became the biggest, loudest, most charismatic pushiest opposition leader in Russia. He vowed to run for president himself to unseat Putin. Navalny built up an irreverent, creative, forward thinking, nimble opposition movement that among other things kept coming up with new, unexpected ways to expose corruption in the Putin government, to keep poking his finger right in Putin`s eye.

Navalny and his group, they flew drones with cameras on them over huge luxurious properties that somehow ended up in the possession of Russian government officials who at least on papers had very modest salaries and no legitimate means to acquire these mansions and these wineries and these gigantic yachts.

Navalny`s group tracked the secret mistresses and secret second families of high ranking Putin administration officials linking them to organized crime figures and to yet more unexplained wealth.

They exposed Putin`s own secret palaces which had never been disclosed to the Russian people. Palaces for which there was no public accounting at all as to where the money came from to build these monstrosities.

The last Putin-palace video was the most watched video of the year in 2021 in Russia, according to YouTube.

The Putin government has not appreciated any of it, as you might imagine. And so a series of increasingly unfortunate events started to befall Alexei Navalny. You remember Nemtsov was killed in 2015. Well, in 2017 Navalny was opening up a new headquarters for his opposition group. Somebody approached him to come up and shake his hand. When Navalny obliged and went to shake hands, the unknown assailant doused him with a chemical that dyed his whole hand and face a bright green.

But that didn`t stop him. He didn`t wait for the dye to wear off before he resumed his political action against Putin. He said it made him look like a super hero and supporters started painting their own faces green in solidarity with him.

But then just a month later, another assailant attacked Alexei Navalny with more green dye, and this time Navalny said it, quote, hurt like hell. He thinks the second go-around they mixed the thing with some kind of caustic chemical. And as you can see in this picture, the green stuff got inside his eyeball.

[21:05:03]

See his eyeball. It`s dyed as well. Navalny started losing sight in that eye after the second attack. He needed surgery to save his eye from a specialist in Spain. Since he picked up that mantle as Russia`s most visible, most vocal, most effective opposition leader, Alexei Navalny has been threatened, he`s been arrested. He`ll been jailed. He`s been dyed green twice, he`s been almost blinded and, of course, he was ultimately quite seriously poisoned.

He was poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent Novichok last year. It almost killed him. Put him in a coma, it almost killed him.

He recovered in Germany and against the advice of everybody who loves him, he said he would return to Russia. He did. He returned to Russia this year and was immediately arrested and then almost just as immediately convicted on phony charges and sentenced to two and a half years in a Russian penal colony.

This year, Russia has labeled Navalny`s opposition organization an extremist group and technically that`s the same designation that Russia gives to ISIS and al Qaeda. Not only has Putin banned him from standing as a candidate in any Russian election, Putin has banned Navalny`s whole anti- corruption group from operating inside Russia at all. They`re considered to be a terroristic threat, like al Qaeda is.

Many of Navalny`s associates and colleagues have had to flee the country for fear what Russia did to Navalny will next be done to him.

What Putin appears to be doing here is that he appears to be learning from what happened after the Boris Nemtsov assassination in 2015. He`s making it so this time there`s no next man. There`s no next leader. There`s no next Navalny in this case waiting in the wings to pick up the mantle.

With Navalny, Putin is pulling up his entire opposition movement by the root, at least he`s trying to, except there`s another element that Putin hasn`t accounted for. Look at this. This was Moscow in January of this year, a few days after Navalny had returned to Russia and got arrested, thousands of Russian people took to the streets to protest against Navalny being arrested, to protest against Putin`s corruption, his authoritarian regime.

It wasn`t just in Moscow that this happened. Russia is physically the largest country in the world, spans 11 different time zones. There were protests in little pockets all over Russia and it created this kind of wave effect all day long of people pouring into the streets. They gathered as far north as Siberia, one sub arctic remote village where it was minus 60 degrees that day people turned out in pretty considerable numbers.

I bring this up now almost a full year after these demonstrations in Russia because this happened at the beginning of the year and this ended up being kind of an appropriate first course for the year that we have had since. This has been a hard year. It has been a scary year at times.

Stuff we`ve covered here on this show over the last 12 months has only very rarely been good news. But what we`ve also been able to cover this year is people standing up in remarkable numbers, in remarkable ways, against remarkable adversity, people standing up for what they think is right, standing up for democracy, people standing up against tyrants and against abuse and violence by the state, violence by police.

And we saw it certainly in very dramatic form in Russia. But we haven`t just seen it in Russia. We haven`t just seen it against Putin. We`ve really seen it everywhere.

Over the course of the last year, I think it remains one of the most under- covered things about the politics of the moment on this earth. There has been an explosion of peaceful, dramatic, direct action from all kinds of people, from all kinds of places on all kinds of issues, calling on other people`s consciences, trying to move people to do the right thing.

Sometimes it does happen with big groups of people standing together, finding safety in numbers. But sometimes it happens in ones and twos, people standing up really all alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name`s Hannah, and I am here, the world`s largest coal port. I`m here with my friend Diana, and we are stopping this coal terminal from loading all coal into ships and from unloading all coal from coal trains.

This is part of the largest coal port in the world, and we`re here with Blockade Australia stopping the operation.

This is humans trying to survive this is humans trying to this is humans trying to overcome the system that is killing us, that is enslaving us, and we are trying to induce the social tipping points which will give us a chance at another generation.

[21:10:11]

What a wild thing to want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: What a wild thing to want. Those two young women in Australia, they rappelled off this giant piece of machinery at the largest coal port in the world this year. They were protesting Australia`s use of coal, as well as a major coal exporter and that port and its role in distributing coal all over the world.

They strung themselves up by those harnesses. They hung there are if hours, and it did halt the export of coal at that giant port for at least a little while. Eventually they were brought down and they were arrested.

This was Glasgow, Scotland, this year, during the big worldwide climate summit. 100,000 people demonstrating urging world leaders to take action on climate change including these scientists who chained themselves together and refused to move off this bridge. There were of course dramatic climate protests here at home, the Sunrise Movement, the national campaign of young activists dedicated of pushing to solutions to the climate crisis.

Ever since President Biden proposed really bold climate action in the Build Back Better agenda, they have just been dogged in their pressure to try to get Congress to actually do it, to actually see it through. For 14 days, young activists from the Sunrise Movement staged a hunger strike first outside the White House, then outside the Capitol. By the end they had to be carted out in wheelchair z because their bodies were so weak. Several of them were hospitalized after not eating anything for that whole stretch of time.

That action by these young members of the Sunrise Movement was just one part of a much larger series of protests and demonstrations that we saw this year urging lawmakers to pass President Biden`s agenda, this Build Back Better bill.

When conservative Democrat Joe Manchin, the senator is in Washington, he lives on a yacht that he likes to call his houseboat.

In September of this year, you might remember a group of activists from his home state of West Virginia, they paddled up to Senator Manchin`s yacht in their own kayaks. They called themselves kayaktivists and they held up signs saying support Build Back Better, don`t sink our bill, Senator Manchin. They eventually got Senator Manchin to come out and talk to them from the deck of their yacht and listen to their concerns and credit to him for being willing to talk to them directly, for not hiding below decks when they showed up.

Right around that same time Congress held its congressional baseball game, which is this nice annual tradition where Republicans and Democrats suit up and play a few innings against each other, this year during the game, folks dropped banners over the bleachers at the stadium that said "things like our lives are not a game", pass 3.5 T, as in $3.5 trillion, which at that point was the price tag for the Build Back Better bill. They also had one that cut right to the point, Dems, don`t eff this up.

In October, members of the disability rights group, the absolutely nails uncompromising disability rights group Adapt, they staged a protest outside the Hart Senate officer building where Senator Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema have offices. Among other things, the Adapt activists were trying to move those two conservative Democrats to agree to pass Build Back Better. Fifteen of the protesters from Adapt were arrested that day. By the next day, several of those same disability rights activists were already at another direct action outside the Capitol. They did a 24 hour vigil. For 24 hours straight they camped outside the Capitol and they talked about why so many lives depended on Congress passing Build Back Better.

They`re specifically trying to direct attention, I think they were successful in this, directing attention to this really important and previously overlooked part of Build Back Better, which is its support for elderly people and disabled people getting home based care and community- based care. That is huge for the lives and the dignity of elderly people and disabled people and their families, and that`s in the Build Back Better bill, and they went out there for 24 straight hours to put a spotlight on that.

At one point in the night they held up this illuminated sign "care can`t wait". And that phrase, care can`t wait, has been a rallying cry among people who have been trying to get President Biden`s agenda passed.

A few weeks later and yet another direct action, health care activists held a rally outside a Senate office building. They urged senators to support the health care provisions in Build Back Better. They set up chairs to make it look like they were in a doctor`s waiting room. They blocked access to the building for a while, while they told stories about loved ones they had lost, loved ones who had died because they had lacked proper access to health care.

There was another similar event just a few weeks ago. This group gathered outside the Capitol to urge Congress to pass a bill to expand global access to vaccines to help us better prepare for the next pandemic. About half a dozen of those activists walked to the front steps of one of the office buildings and they held cardboard tombstones with the names of their loved ones who have died from COVID. They spread their loved one`s ashes on the steps.

You can see them here. They`re chanting bringing the dead to your door. We won`t take it anymore.

This summer three black members of Congress, three African American members of Congress were arrested and hauled away by police at demonstrations in D.C. on the issue of voting rights. They were calling on members of the Senate to change the filibuster rules so voting rights legislation could be passed. It was also this summer that Democratic legislators from the Texas state Senate fled the state of Texas and came to Washington, D.C., so that Texas Republicans couldn`t have a quorum back home.

Those Democrats barn stormed the hill. They pled with U.S. senators to pass federal legislation to protect the right to vote in every state, even those controlled by Republicans. They delayed the passage of that voter suppression bill in Texas by weeks and weeks by fleeing themselves across the country to take that stand.

These are students all over the state of Oklahoma this fall participating in a surprisingly large and sustained series of high school student walkouts, to protest the scheduled execution of a man named Julius Jones. Julius Jones had been on death row in Oklahoma for nearly 20 years for a murder he says he did not commit. Serious questions have been raised about the fairness of his trial and whether or not he`s truly guilty of the crime for which he`s been sentenced to death.

Lots and lots of people in Oklahoma mobilized this year to try to move the governor to please not kill this man, please call off the execution. In the end it worked. Hours before the execution was scheduled hundreds of people gathered at the Oklahoma state capitol building, and with just a few hours left on the clock, it happened.

The governor did commute Julius Jones` sentence. They spared him -- he was spared from the death chamber.

You can listen to the reaction at the capitol when they learned. All those people who had been organizing to try to save Julius Jones` life finally getting the last minute news that it was worth it what they had done, he would be spared.

Here is direct action of another kind. This was Glynn County, Georgia, last month, outsides trial of three men who were accused of killing an unarmed black man named Ahmaud Arbery. The defense attorney for one of the men accused of killing Mr. Arbery attempted to have prominent African American pastors thrown out of the courtroom over the course of that trial. The defense attorney kept saying that their presence was intimidating. He said it was black pastors specifically who were intimidating, just the black ones. He didn`t have any trouble with other pastors.

In response more than 100 black pastors showed up outside the courthouse to establish themselves as a peaceful, powerful, prayerful presence at this trial, and to pray with Mr. Arbery`s family.

If you`re looking for one indelible image from this year, if you`re looking to sort of quantify or nail down one of the propulsive currents in the news this year. To my mind, this was it, creative, nonviolent, conscience calling direct action all over the place this year, all over the countries and in many ways all over the world, and we`re going to cover some of that tonight over the course of this hour.

And you know, direct action doesn`t always work. Alexei Navalny is still in prison, the filibuster remains in place, voting rights are being gutted all over the country because of it. The globe is still warming. The world isn`t ever, you know, just one thing. Just one direction, and people aren`t just helplessly tossed by the currents that we swim in.

Part of what this year has been has been a real master class in humans trying to change the course of human events. People being brave in the face of authoritarianism, people being unwavering in their convictions conviction, the convictions that we must change, not in spite of the opposition but because of the strength of the opposition.

Unsung story of 2021. Much more ahead on that tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:24:05]

MADDOW: Her name was Isabella. She was only five months pregnant but her water broke. Something was wrong. That`s not when your water`s supposed to break.

She went to the hospital and was told her fetus lacked amniotic fluid, which could cause severe birth defects. She was told that her pregnancy was not viable, that this baby was not going to survive, and that is when she texted her mother.

She said, quote, they gave me an IV drip because I was shivering from fever. The baby weighs 485 grams, 17 ounces. For now thanks to the abortion law, I have to lay down and they can`t do anything. I hope that I don`t have septicemia, otherwise I will not make it. In the it is dreadful and I have to wait.

In the end, Isabella did suffer septic shock and she died. She was 30 years old. She mentioned "thanks to the abortion law." She was talking about the near total ban on abortion that had gone into effect in Poland earlier this year, where Isabella lived in Poland.

[21:25:14]

In Poland, it is against the law to terminate a pregnancy at any stage of a pregnancy because of a fetal abnormality like in Isabella`s case. So when Isabella went to the hospital, even though they were sure the fetus would not survive, the doctors told her she would be treated only after her fetus no longer had a heartbeat. By that point, it was too late, being forced to continue to carry that pregnancy killed that woman, while doctors stood by and let it happened.

Protests erupted over the news of her death, outraged at the law that appears to have forced this woman to stay pregnant until it killed her. People carried Isabella`s portraits in the streets, they held signs that said you have blood on your hands.

Red lightning bolts have become a symbol of the abortion rights movement in Poland. People paraded them through the streets in the wake of Isabella`s death chanting "not one more."

Isabella`s story is an upsetting one at a lot of different levels. It`s also a policy story. It`s a dystopian illustration of what can happen when women are forced against their will to stay pregnant against their will.

Here in the United States, our Supreme Court heard oral arguments this month about an abortion ban passed in Mississippi that was passed specifically to get Roe versus Wade overturned, to erase the legal protections that women have that allow them to get abortions in this country.

Access to abortion is widely supported by the public in the United States. It has been for decades. Support for abortion cuts across all sorts of ideological and demographic lines. On the day of the oral arguments on this case, there were demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court and across the country urging justices not to end Roe versus Wade, but in the end, that day the headlines were essentially unanimous in papers all across the country. The Republican-appointed super conservative anti-majority super majority on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion super majority on the Supreme Court, they appear to be ready to outright overturn Roe versus Wade or to gut it so it doesn`t mean anything anymore.

The oral arguments that day ran about three hours. If you had a long drive ahead of you or something over the holidays, it`s actually worth listening to all three hours. It`s really engaging, but if you want to catch just one exchange, let it be this one. Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh appears poised to gut abortion rights along with the conservative majority on the court. This is Justice Kavanaugh during the oral arguments characterizing that prospect as the court simply becoming neutral on the issue of abortion. No longer playing a role in the issue, which makes it sound like there won`t be a rule on abortion either way, what it actually means is all Republican controlled states will now be free to make abortion a crime.

And the lawyer who answers him here is Julie Rikelman from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I think the other side would say that the core problem here is that the court has been forced by the position you`re taking and by the cases to pick sides on the most contentious social debate in American life, and to do so in a situation where they say that the Constitution is neutral on the question of abortion, the text and history, that the Constitution`s neither pro-life nor pro-choice on the question of abortion, and they would say, therefore, it should be left to the people, to the states, or to Congress.

And I think they also then continue, because the constitution is neutral, that this court should be scrupulously neutral on the question of abortion, neither pro-choice nor pro-life but because they say the Constitution doesn`t give us the authority, we should leave it to the states and we should be scrupulously neutral on the question. And that they are saying here, I think, that we should return to a position of neutrality on that contentious social issue rather than continuing to pick sides on that issue.

So I think that`s, at a big picture level, their argument. I want to give you a chance to respond to that.

JULIE RIKELMAN, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Yes, a few points if I may, Your Honor. First, of course those very same arguments with argument were made in Casey and the court rejected them saying that philosophical disagreements can`t be resolved in a way that a woman has no choice in the matter.

And second, I don`t think it would be a neutral position. The Constitution provides a guarantee of liberty. The court has interpreted that liberty to include the ability to make decisions related to child bearing, marriage, and family.

[21:30:05]

Women have an equal right to liberty under the constitution, Your Honor, and if they`re not able to make this decision, if states can take control of women`s bodies and force them to endure months of pregnancy and childbirth, then they will never have equal status under the Constitution.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: If states can take control of women`s bodies and force them to endure months of pregnancy and force them to endure childbirth against their will, then they will never have equal status under the Constitution.

The day of those oral arguments earlier this month we talked with our friend Dahlia Lithwick, who`s senior editor at slate dom. This is the headline on her article on what kind of ruling we might expect from the court. SCOTUS will gaslight us until the end. This court will overturn roe and insist on their own reasonableness the whole time.

Dahlia explained to us what she heard that day clarion take. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE`S "AMICUS" PODCAST HOST: I think going into argument today there was a narrative that went this isn`t really a 6-3 court. It`s 3-3-3 (ph) court. That Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh are incremantalists, they care what people think.

There was no reason to believe other than the chief justice who was trying to figure out a middle way not to overturn Roe, maybe we could move the viability line and be okay with a 15-week instead of a 24-week ban. There was no reason to believe, Rachel, that he had a single other person on the court with him in that project. I think anyone who could count counted all of the conservative justices except for Roberts gunning for Roe.

MADDOW: You said today -- you said today in your piece that`s just posted, dahlia, perhaps it would be refreshing if the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court no longer felt the need to lie to us. The lying after all is becoming nearly untenable, especially for an institution that relies on public confidence.

After confirmation hearings after they promised that stare decisis was a deeply felt value, and that Roe versus Wade is a clear precedent of the court and the law of the land, there`s something sort of soothing about knowing the lying to our faces will soon be over. They were all six of them installed on the Supreme Court to put an end to Roe versus Wade after all, and that is ex what they intend to do. I wonder if you feel like this moment does mean that the sort of lying and the artifice around this issue is over.

Under President Trump when we talked about Supreme Court nominations, he essentially dropped the guys and said, yeah, whoever I put on there is going to overturn Roe, and that`s the reason I put them on there. Are we sort of at a new layer, a new place where it`s open combat on this issue and we`re no longer couching it?

LITHWICK: Yes and no. I mean, I think, look, let`s be grateful that all of those fancy law professors and Susan Collins and people who told us that these folks really meant when they said Roe was precedent, they meant that, okay, let`s put that aside. That artifice is gone.

The artifice I worry about and you played that Brett Kavanaugh clip, he`s in the artifice of saying, let`s be neutral. We`re going to pretend to be neutral. We`re not going to bad abortion. We`re just not going to say there`s a right, and that middle place, that neutral place is to just let states decide.

We saw that same artifice Amy Coney Barrett kept insisting because there were safe haven laws that allow you to more readily give your child up for adoption, it`s not a problem for women to be forced to carry to term. They can just give their babies up.

I think for me the artifice of we`re being neutral, we`re being reasoned. This is just a tiny little tweak around the margins, nothing earth-shaking happening here, not to worry about other precedents when we are gunning for Roe, that`s the artifice that really rankled the sort of pretense this is a big nothing burger and everybody`s worked up.

MADDOW: Dahlia as always thank you for your clarity.

LITHWICK: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right, we`ve got much more ahead here tonight. Stay with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

[21:39:01]

MADDOW: This guy totally, totally, totally gets it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BATES, DES MOINES AREA LOCAL AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION PRESIDENT: I don`t think that he really has a clue of what we do because when you put something in a blue box, it gets there. And when I started working here, I seen the miracles behind these walls right here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: When you put something in the blue box, it gets there. It is kind of a miracle when you think about that. That man`s name is Mike Bates. He`s been a U.S. postal worker for nearly three decades. And he`s talking about the mail when he says he has witnessed miracles on the job.

Did you catch what he said right at the top there? He said "I don`t think he really has a clue about what we do." the "he" in that sentence is about a specific guy, about this man, whose name is Louis DeJoy, the head of the United States Postal Service, the postmaster general appointed during the Donald Trump years.

It was, of course, Louis DeJoy who basically broke the mail last year.

[21:40:05]

Immediately after Trump put him in the job or after he was put in the job during the Trump years, DeJoy instituted draconian new policies that created unprecedented, devastating backlogs in the mail across the whole country.

Somewhat unfathomably even after that disastrous start to his tenure as postmaster general, Louis DeJoy is still in charge over there. He`s still in charge of the USPS. And as long as he`s still there, he`s still coming up with new ways to monkey wrench the way the mail gets delivered.

Earlier this year, he proposed a new ten-year plan promising he had found a way to permanently make the mail slower and more expensive and less convenient. Well done!

"The Washington Post" called it the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation. Postal workers immediately point you had out that part of the plan would entail offloading more mail carrying operations to private companies in a way that is specifically designed to slow mail down even further.

So that`s what that postal worker, Mike Bates, was saying, that his boss had no idea about. Have no idea what we mail carriers do. You see the signs over his shoulder there. When Mike Bates made those remarks, he was at a protest, he was at an informational picket.

Postal workers held a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this year to protest these new changes to the way the post office operates. They stood outside the post office chanting "raise hell, save your mail." "They say cutback, we say fight back, they say cutback, we say fight back." They made signs that said "DeJoy equals delays, stop DeJoy, save USPS".

You might remember us covering this. This was in may of this year. It was fascinating to see, folks using these grassroots tactics to try to focus public attention on what was going on and to try to catch the attention of President Biden. President Biden can`t directly fire Louis DeJoy. The White House has repeatedly made clear that they think he is not the right man for the job, but it`s the Postal Board of Governors that hires and fires people for that postmaster job.

Well, now in a surprise move late last month, President Biden made changes to the postal board of governors that may finally clear the way for Louis DeJoy to finally get ousted. "The Washington Post" was first to break the news. Quote, President Biden announced plan to nominate two new officials to the postal services governing board, replacing key allies of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. The move was a surprise to postal officials and even to members of Congress. It casts doubt on DeJoy`s future at the agency. It potentially gives the panel two crucial votes to oust the postal chief who can be removed only by the board.

Joining us now is Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. He`s been calling for the -- he`s also been calling on President Biden to replace members of the postal service board so that the new board could replace Mr. DeJoy. He also introduced a bill called the Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On Time Year Round Act, which is as awkward as it sounds, except it spells out DEJOY. It`s called the DEJOY Act to fix the things in the postal service that Louis DeJoy has deliberately broken.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi, I really appreciate you being here. Thank you.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Hey, thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: From the DEJOY Act to your involvement in the oversight committee`s oversight of this matter to your direct pleas to President Biden to please replace members of the board of governors so that DeJoy can be gotten rid of, you`ve been really, really, really focused on this, perhaps more than anybody else in government. Did you know that president Biden was going to do what he did today?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I didn`t. But you know, my pleas really came from my constituents, Rachel. We`ve received more complaints. Thousands of complaints about slower mail delivery and raised prices than perhaps any other issue that we talk about in government, and now we`re on the verge of the holidays, and unfortunately the postmaster general is taking DeJoy out of the holidays, too.

So it was time to call for his removal, and once Mr. Bloom refused my plea to remove Mr. DeJoy, I asked that the president also remove Mr. Bloom, who`s the chair of the board of governors, which he announced today.

MADDOW: What sort of time line do you think that people should expect here? As you say, your constituents have been giving you more feedback on this than any other issue, a lot of Americans, people who run small businesses. People who just use the mail for normal bill paying and correspondence, a lot of Americans, millions of Americans have been really mad about how bad the postal service has been under his leadership.

[21:45:09]

And it is apparently all by design. It is what he has set out to do and what he`s done. If you can speak directly to Americans right now who have been mad about this or have been hurting about this, what would you expect in terms of the time line for getting rid of him and starting the process of undoing some of what he`s done?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: In the New Year, I`m hoping that the new chair of the board of governors conducts a vote with regard to Mr. DeJoy and relieves him of his duties and so I`m very hopeful that happens sooner rather than later in the New Year.

MADDOW: Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, again, who has been sort of playing point on this issue about Louis DeJoy leftover from the Trump years, doing a job that is infuriating and inconveniencing millions of Americans of every stripe now looks like he may be on his way out, something the congressman has been calling for. It`s been a huge day today. Thanks for helping us talk about it and understand it at the end of this long day.

KRISHAMOORTHI: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right, we`ve got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:50:16]

MADDOW: The raid happened at dawn. Five hundred police officers entered this office in Hong Kong on a June morning this past summer. The office belonged to a newspaper called "Apple Daily". The officers rifled through reporters computers and notebooks. They disconnected all the computers. They arrested five of the paper`s executives. They frog marched them right off the front doors.

For more than 20 years, "Apple Daily" was an independent, pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong. In recent years, it had become the only pro- democracy operating in Hong Kong, following escalating crackdowns on independent journalism by their pro-Chinese government.

After that dawn raid, authorities froze the assets of the paper and so "Apple Daily", the last remaining independent pro-democracy publication in all of Hong Kong, they announced this summer that they would shut down. No assets to access, no way to pay people, no way to fund their operations, their being thrown in jail. I mean, how they were supposed to be -- how they were supposed to keep going?

They announced they were shutting down. They announced they were shutting down the paper right away.

But then look what happened. This was outside the "Apple Daily" offices on their final night of publication. All these people gathered outside in the rain to show their support to the journalists inside for doing the hard, dogged work of the free and fair press. They held up their cell phone flashlights in the air, they waved at the journalists inside.

The staff of "Apple Daily" waved back through their office windows. Others went up to the balcony and shined the lights on their cell phones too, it was back and forth. It was ultimately from that vantage point that a photographer snapped the cover photo for the final page of "Apple Daily`s" final print run. The headline says: Hong Kongers bid a painful farewell in the rain. We support "Apple Daily".

This was the queue, this was the line in Hong Kong the next morning to buy a copy of the last edition of "Apple Daily". People got in line before the sun came up. On a normal day that paper would print about 80,000 copies. But for their final issue they printed a million. And by 8:00 they were all sold out.

The shutdown of "Apple Daily" will end up being a footnote when the history books are written about this time, about rising authoritarianism in the 21st century, but for right now in the parts of the world where it remains a scary time for freedom of the press, it`s also a story of hope. People being willing to use their voice, use their bodies, use their wallets to stand up for journalism, when of course we need a fair and free press more than ever.

We`ll be right back.

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[21:57:10]

MADDOW: So the thing about this show is that there is just one person`s name on it, which is convenient, I know, but it`s also ridiculous because besides me, this show is stacked with incredibly talented producers and editors and production assistants and artists and archivists.

Do you know we have a whole team of archivists here? How else do you think we could find all that cool old tape?

Without all of those folks, this would not be THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW that you know. It would be the, you know, potbellied lesbian lady in a room by herself wearing a cheap blazer but not making much sense show. It`s more efficient for it to be THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, but it couldn`t be this show without everybody who works so hard to make it possible.

Without further ado, a major thank you to everybody who works on this show for making me, oh, so much better at this job. Please behold.

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