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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/26/21

Guests: Dale Ho


Arizona Senate GOP orders audit of 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County in 2020. The Census Bureau released new data from 2020 count.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: The public health officials there have done a pretty amazing job in many cases, there are parts of India that have done an amazing job at a public health level, in countries with very low per capital income, but eventually the virus was like, unless we get the world vaccinated, the virus is going to win and India is an example of that right now, which the why I agree, we need to ship out vaccines and waiving intellectual property patents.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is back from India, her parents are doing well, thank goodness. I`m glad to hear that. Thank you for making time tonight.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Thank you. Chris.

HAYES: All right, that is all in on this Monday night, always an adventure.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: To the extent that I have added to your adventure, I apologize.

HAYES: No, no, that was not directed to you at all. That would be a wildly passive aggressive thing to do. I was not referencing you at all. We had a little technical stuff. But we are good now.

MADDOW: I will tell you I`m having a contact lens crisis as we speak. My drama right now is I`m wearing contact lenses that are not working and I don`t know which pair of glasses will work if I have to give up on the contact lenses all together.

HAYES: Wear them both.

MADDOW: You know, this is why I will turn to you in this type of advice -- for advice in this type of crisis.

HAYES: All right.

MADDOW: All right. Thank you, my friend.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. When there`s a little bit of drama in terms of how things are going to turn out.

It is the 26th day of April today. Just for a little bit of a reality in context check -- by the end of this week, we will be through and done with the first 100 days of the Joe Biden presidency. And by the end of this week, we will be through and done with the first third of this year, 2021, which seems impossible.

It`s been six months since the presidential election. How is that possible? It feels like it`s been 16 minutes.

But spring has sprung. Part of the reason that I have been having sort of technical difficulties and things are wonky all day that I -- today, return to my actual office for the first time since last March. And I have learned a lot. I learned that some chewing gum happily survives untouched in a desk drawer for more than a year and some really does not. And when it goes bad, boy, does it go bad.

I also learned that little packets of soy sauce that you get with Chinese food, some of them turn solid over time in just the right conditions. Take it from me, it is a whole new world out there once you get your vaccine full of wonder and weird stuff to clean up that you`ve forgotten about.

Anyway, remarkable news day, lots of twists and turns in the news today. And I think it`s going to be like that for most of this week.

Today, we got the first round of data from the 2020 Census. The census that is in the constitution, that happens because the constitution directly orders it. And again, this is just the first very rough not at all granular, not detailed set of results. But we do get a bottom line number for each state and therefore for the whole country for the census.

And that bottom line number we got from the census today shows that while we`re definitely not shrinking as a country, the U.S. population grew in this past decade, at the second slowest rate on record in our country. The only time our population grew more slowly than it did these past 10 years was in the 1930s in the Great Depression.

You might have seen headlines this afternoon and tonight about what these new population figures mean for politics. And there are big political implications. We have again, just very rough data, the total population of each state nothing about where people are living within those states, nothing about age or race or ethnicity, just the bottom line population numbers for each state.

But those do tell you how many seats in Congress that state is going to get. So there`s been all these interesting headlines today about what states are losing a congressional seat, which states are gaining a congressional seat. Bottom line basically, is that Democratic leaning states thought they were going to lose a ton of seats, Republican leaning states thought they were going to gain a ton of seats, which, of course would give the Republicans a big -- a big a big boost in terms of trying to take back control of the us congress.

But when the numbers actually came out today, the swings were much less dramatic than people expected. Lots of blue states sighs of relief today from the numbers they thought it could have been much worse.

But because this census was carried, I mean, the census is always interesting, right happens every 10 years, right? Because of where we are in American history right now, though, even things that happen every 10 years like this have this extra facade of weirdness and does this count- ness to them, right?

Because the census was carried out as the Constitution orders in the year 2020, the thing that we have to contend with newly about this year census data is that this census was carried out by the Trump administration. And they got weird about it. The Trump administration got caught multiple times. They got reamed out by multiple federal judges for ways they were trying to engineer an undercount, basically of people of color and immigrants in particular, ways they were doing the census wrong ways they were dragging their feet and just not getting it done right.

I think the last time they were in court over the census was when they were just deciding that they were going to end the census early that they just did they wanted to stop counting before they were done. That was I think the last thing they went to court for but they went to court a lot over a lot of different, different aspects of ways they appeared to be deliberately screwing it up.

So given that, when we look at the new census numbers just out today, and they say us population growth is down, way down, down further than it has ever been, except for the 1930s in the Great Depression. Maybe that`s true. It`s totally plausible that that`s true.

But there`s lots of reasons to think this is going to be the big asterisk census in modern American history, because of who carried it out, right? This will be the asterisk where we don`t know if the counts showed a dramatic slowdown in population growth, or if the count just showed that the Trump administration didn`t really want to count everyone. And so they didn`t. And so that`s why the population looks smaller.

I mean, how are we going to figure this out, we only get a census once every 10 years, we were unlucky enough as a country that 10 year timer went off when this guy was president. Did we get a screwed up census as a result of the fact that it was his administration that carried it out?

As of today, we`re already using it for deciding how many members of Congress are going to come from each state. That`s just the start of all the important and consequential things, those numbers will be used for. Super interesting.

We`re going to get some expert help tonight on that from someone who repeatedly won court cases against the Trump administration for how they were screwing up this very important thing. That`s coming up very much. Looking forward to that conversation.

We`ve also got news ahead tonight about a big announcement today from the Biden Justice Department and this is the second time in a week they have made an announcement like this. Attorney General Merrick Garland announcing today that the federal U.S. Justice Department is opening an investigation into the practices of a specific local police department. The first one of course was last week, when he announced a pattern and practice investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department after the police killings in Minneapolis of George Floyd and then Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center Nearby.

The new one announced today by Attorney General Garland will be in Louisville, Kentucky, after the very high profile, police killing of Breonna Taylor, during the execution of a no knock warrant on the apartment where she was sleeping.

The new police chief in Louisville, interestingly welcomed this move this announcement by the Justice Department today, that`s important, these investigations by the federal Justice Department are a really big deal. They can bring about significant and fairly fast changes in policing. It`s a big deal for the Justice Department to do something like this.

This happened quite a few times during the Obama administration. Trump did it once, total, in four years. Now it seems like the Biden justice administration will be using this more regularly, essentially to force police reform by intensive federally led police oversight in individual cities. So we`re going to have more on that ahead tonight as well.

On COVID, two big moves on two big issues today, one international, one domestic. First, the international, the White House announcing that in addition to medical supplies and equipment that the federal government is going to rush to India to help India deal with the just apocalyptic conditions, they have there, people dying on the streets, outside hospitals that can admit them without access to even just oxygen that might keep them alive. In addition to that specific help, that the Biden administration has just announced for India, which is having such a disastrous time right now, the White House today also announced that the 60 million doses we have stockpiled of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 60 million doses that we`re not going to use, at least anytime soon, those will be donated to other countries.

AstraZeneca is an approved vaccine all over the world. But our FDA hasn`t yet approved it here. The reason we`ve got a stockpile of 60 million doses of that vaccine is because they built up that stockpile. So once the FDA did approved, AstraZeneca 60 million doses would be instantly available and ready to ship out.

Now, the FDA may yet approve AstraZeneca for use by Americans. But rather than wait for that, given that we now have sufficient supplies of the three other vaccines that are already approved here, those AstraZeneca vaccines are now going to be sent to other countries.

And I think it`s worth it`s probably easiest to think of this as a sort of down payment on what is expected to be a fairly massive us effort ultimately to help get the whole world vaccinated because without the whole world vaccinated, the whole world, including us is never going to beat this thing. So that`s what`s going on in the international level, fascinating, U.S. global leadership, upping us up in global capacity to handle this pandemic.

But in addition to that, we`re also expecting a big domestic announcement on COVID from President Biden tomorrow. As lots of states have been freelancing on the masks issue, just dropping or changing mask mandates according to local politics or local considerations instead of on the basis of clear national scientific guidance, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said recently that we should expect the CDC to update their national guidance soon about whether or not we should all still wear masks when we are outdoors.

Well, now we believe that new guidance from the CDC could come as soon as tomorrow we don`t yet know what it will be. And we don`t know how complex it will be. We don`t know for example, if that guidance about mask use outdoors will be different for people who are vaccinated versus people who aren`t vaccinated.

But here`s something interesting that you may not have seen reported today. We could report tonight we`ve confirmed that the guidance we have been waiting for for a long time now on on masks in the workplace. President Biden in his first week in office asked OSHA to develop this guidance for for all American workplaces with a deadline of March 15, to have it ready.

Since then, we might have noticed, we`ve talked about this several times on the show. We have repeatedly asked OSHA and the Labor Department where it is. Again, Biden`s executive order from his first few days in office said that OSHA needed to have mask guidance for a federal workplace rule for mask guidance, ready by March 15. Since March 15, we keep asking, where is it? What happened to that?

Well, tonight, they tell us that the new proposed rule from OSHA about masks in the workplace. That proposed rule has been delivered to the White House today to the Office of Management and Budget.

And this is a big deal. I mean, the Office of Management and Budget, there will be some sort of review. But eventually this rule is going to be announced. And this is a big deal for all the checkerboard mishmash, right, on masks with some states having mandates to use masks and some dates, some states not some counties having mandates some cities, some towns, some workplaces having mask rules, and some not.

If the Biden administration is now going to say, hey, new, nationwide enforceable federal rule on workplace safety about masks. Here`s what the deal is on masks for all workplaces. That is going to be a very big deal. And again, that new proposed rule from OSHA has finally been delivered to the White House as of tonight more than a month late.

And it is apparently it has been delivered on the eve of President Biden`s expected announcement tomorrow on new mask guidance for people when they`re outdoors new mass guidance from the CDC. We don`t know what the proposed federal workplace rule says yet, I`m truly curious to see how it`s worded and how this turns out what they`re going to recommend.

To be totally honest with you, we have been trying to get somebody to leak that to us for a sneak preview, or at least to give us some characterization of what that proposed rule is going to be no one will leak it to us. No one will tell us but I will let you know what we can figure out when we figure it out.

It`s going to be interesting to see how Republicans react to any new guidance, especially because they`ve at times been really, really hysterical about how terrible masks are and how everybody should see mask rules not as a public health matter, but as some sort of partisan combat. It will be interesting to see how they react to new mask guidance from the president whether it`s about Americans, outdoor mask us generally whether we do get this new OSHA guidance for federal work, federal workplace rule. It will be interesting to see.

It`s kind of hard to know where Republicans are at right now, what they`re thinking about on COVID or on anything. The loudest voices and the highest profile people on the political right, for example, spent this weekend angrily trying to one up each other about how offended they are by President Biden`s ban on meat.

Republicans and conservative media figures denounced the meat ban angrily. They mocked the meat ban. They threatened dire consequences over anyone trying to enforce the meat ban. It was very weird, because of course there`s no meat ban. President Biden hasn`t proposed anything about anyone eating anything, let alone a ban on hamburgers or whatever it is that they are fantasizing about on the right.

It`s not even like he`s entertaining that or like progressives are pushing him for that. And Joe Biden is being very scary by listening. I mean, there`s no meat ban, nobody`s banning meat, and yet, is completely made up whole cloth doesn`t come from anywhere.

And yet, that was the animating scandal of the past three days in Republican circles. They`re very, very, very, very mad. And they`ve got their messaging cranked up to 3,000 on something that is not happening at all.

What do you guys care about? Do you guys care about do you have anything to say about stuff that is now you want to talk about Dr. Susan the meat ban, okay? That`s cool.

There has been a lot of consternation over the last couple of days over an interview that the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy did with "The New York Times". In the interview, he did try to rewrite history of what former President Trump did on January 6, during the mob attack on the Capitol, tried to make it seem like President Trump didn`t really know what was happening. Leader McCarthy even took back some things that he himself had previously said about his own actions that day and what the president did as well and their conversations.

But for all the consternation over him trying to put a shine on January 6, and him lying about his own experience on January 6, for all the I think continued and deserved interest and how Republicans in office even now they still can`t figure out what to do about their twice impeached one term president facing multiple criminal investigations after you left Washington, almost literally a smoldering hulk.

I mean, for all the consternation and the interest over that and I get it, when it comes to this latest interview that Kevin McCarthy did with "The New York Times", there is another thing now that we should be talking about. Can we talk about what else we learned about the House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and what he himself did on January 6?

I don`t -- I don`t understand how this isn`t the headline. But this anecdote, totally new to me, as far as I can tell completely previously unreported as new anecdote comes literally 34 paragraphs into a story that is 39 paragraphs long. I will read it to you verbatim, ready?

Quote: After the House chamber was evacuated on January 6, Mr. McCarthy retreated to his Capitol office with a colleague, Representative Bruce Westerman, a Republican congressman from Arkansas. When it became evident the rioters were breaking in, Mr. McCarthy`s security detail insisted he leave, but Congressman Westerman was left behind in Kevin McCarthy`s inner work area at his Capitol office.

For protection, Congressman Westerman said he commandeered a civil war sword from an office display. He barricaded himself in Mr. McCarthy`s private bathroom and waited out the siege while crouched on Congressman McCarthy`s toilet.

And then next line of the piece: Friends describe the post election period is traumatic for Mr. McCarthy. Traumatic for Mr. McCarthy, for Kevin? I mean, he is the one who got rushed out of there because the rioters were breaking in. He brought another Republican member of Congress to his private office with him.

And then once they were there, I was like, oh, no, Bruce. We came here to my office to hide but the rioters they`re inside now they`re coming for us. Bye Bruce. Later, I`m out of here.

There`s a toilet in there, maybe good luck crouching on top of the toilet. They won`t see your feet. If they look into the door. I don`t know.

The guy ended up opening up a display of civil war artifacts and grabbing an antique display sword and then he had to hide on Kevin McCarthy`s toilet. Because Leader Kevin McCarthy left that congressman there to fend for himself while the writers closed in. He left with the security detail but he didn`t bring the other congressmen with him.

It wasn`t like that Congressman had a gigantic entourage and they were like, oh, let`s do you know, pull straws. And we`ll see you could fit. It looks like one guy. They left him left the guy while rioters marauding through the office.

Imagine the discussion in like the armored SUV, while they`re driving Kevin McCarthy away our way, you know, in the tunnel, where they`re rushing him down the tunnel or whatever, where they`re taking him in somewhere safe. Do you think at one moment, they were like, oh, I hope Bruce is okay. We did just leave him.

We left him because the rioters were inside and closing in and they did ultimately maraud through the office. They left him there. That`s the leader of the House Republicans, their leader taking care of his members.

It`s like that old joke about how fast you need to be to not get eaten by a bear. Turns out you don`t have to run that fast. You just need to run faster than your friend. Sorry, Bruce. Good luck with the mob. Did you lock the toilet door?

That`s what`s going on in Republican leadership. But they`re all standing strong and standing together against Joe Biden banning meat, which is something that Joe Biden is not doing. They just made that up.

But they`ve got their priorities. And in terms of what they are really working on, like spending money on and doing in a very concerted way right now is that they are still trying to undo the results of the 2020 election from six months ago. For a few days now, we have been covering this absolutely wackadoo story this recounts of most of the ballots from the presidential election in Arizona this past November. Two thirds of the ballots in the great state of Arizona come from one county, Maricopa County where Phoenix is and Biden won Maricopa County on his way to winning the whole state of Arizona.

And that vote in Maricopa county, again, that`s most of the state, two thirds of the state`s votes. That vote has been audited by accredited firms. There`s been a twice actually there`s been a hand recount that was overseen by both parties. Biden`s win in Maricopa County was certified unanimously by the board of supervisors in Maricopa County, which is five seats, four of them held by Republicans unanimously voted to certify the results there. There`s no credible claims at all of anything having been wrong with the vote in that county.

But Arizona Republicans in the state Senate there have figured out a way to arrange arranged for a recounting, a way they can count themselves that vote privately to see if the result is something that they suspect it may be should be. They are using a private firm called Cyber Ninjas. That is led by a guy who is from the QAnon stop the steel wing that wing of the Trump election conspiracy world. You know the wing that Trump TV network one American news, they`re the only press allowed to record to report on to broadcast this suppose id audit of all of the ballots from the presidential election for Maricopa County in 2020.

No actual press. No actual reporters other than One America News are being allowed in to even cover what they are doing in their with the ballots. One reporter from the Arizona republic was able to get in last Friday by signing up for a shift as an official observer of the count.

Among other things, she was able to report that there was no training at all for these observers and the unknown people they brought in to actually physically handle the real ballots from the election. They apparently were given blue pens to do their work, blue pens that are readable by the scanner that reads the ballots, which means since they all had pins that could mark the ballots that would be read by the scanner as markings on the ballot. That means all the suppose that counters could remark the ballots if they wanted to either spoiled them or change the votes on them or do whatever they want. That`s not how you`re supposed to handle ballots.

That reporter, Jen Fifield, who joined us as a guest on Friday night, she tells us today that she tried to get in for a second shift as an observer, but she was not allowed in. And no other reporters have been allowed in either. So that`s it. In terms of anyone knowing what Arizona Republicans are doing with the ballots from the presidential election in 2020. What do you think they`re doing with them?

The level of -- part of the reason I have been paying attention to this story, and I have a feeling we`re going to be stuck on it now for a while is because if you look at this, there`s sort of the other side of the telescope. If you look at this, through the eyes of crazy Trump world, the level of excitement in crazy Trump world about what`s going on in Arizona is hard to overstate.

And it`s everyone from Steve Bannon to the QAnon people, to President Trump himself, who put out a barely containing himself statement praising Arizona Republicans for doing this to recount the vote in Arizona promising that the same thing the same kind of audit is going to happen in all the Republican controlled states where Trump lost Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, he called them all out by name basically telling them all they need to do what Arizona is doing. They need a Republican led private recount, hiring just the right kind of firm to do this work with the real ballots.

He says they`re going to do this in all those states and overturn the results in all those states. Yeah, if you get just the right people in there to conduct this audit. Sure, it`ll go exactly the way you want it to. The firm run by the QAnon Trump conspiracy theory guy who`s the firm that`s been given the contract or in this recount in Arizona, as I mentioned, that firm is called Cyber Ninjas.

And that firm through their lawyer told the judge this weekend that they will not disclose the means by which they are conducting the audit, nor the processes they`re using to handle the ballots or indeed recount the ballots. The company says those are trade secrets so they can`t be disclosed. This is from their actual court filing apparently written by a lawyer who types everything on an etch-a-sketch. It`s verbatim.

Quote: Clearly the documents Cyber Ninjas has been ordered to file our confidential information for various reasons, including that they constitute business information and concepts as well as operation and records, and reflect the know how of the Cyber Ninjas. The lawyer then says the Cyber Ninjas, quote, expect to have similar business opportunities to undertake such work for other governments around the country.

So that`s why they can`t disclose what they`re doing because they don`t want to let their competitors in on what their trade secrets are about how exactly they find Trump votes. They can`t disclose their methods or what they`re doing to the balance, because, yeah, they`re doing this in Arizona now, but they`re pretty sure they`re going to be doing this and other states do. That`s what they told the court this weekend about why they can`t describe their processes.

And then the one that you think like, oh, they just maybe they don`t have processes. Maybe they don`t have things they`re doing or like written policies or plan training or anything, maybe they`re just winging it. Or maybe they are planning on doing this in multiple states, or both.

Well, tonight, bingo, there they are, announcing that in Michigan, they are also the Cyber Ninjas going to be part of this same kind of effort to prove that there were dramatic, dramatic flaws, considerable fraud, terrible, terrible things gone wrong. In the Michigan presidential election in 2020, as well, Cyber Ninja is going to help out with that one, too.

They are creating a new founding myth for the Republican Party and the American right that Trump won the election, and it was robbed from him. And Biden is illegitimate as a president, and they are starting in Arizona. And even before that is done, they are already moving on with the same cast of characters literally QAnon conspiracy theorists, they`re moving on with the same cast of characters to go get this work done in Michigan to and then presumably beyond anywhere they can get Republicans who hold power in the legislature at the state level, to hire them to make this happen.

It is so stupid. And you know, if they can do it and do it right, it`s also kind of the end of democracy, at least the end of our democracy to the extent that our democracy is built on the principle of two major parties competing with governing visions that are fought out in contests where the people vote with ballots. They`re tallied in a technocratically sound way, we accept the results. The loser lives to fight another day and the winner gets to govern.

To the extent that that`s pretty much the way our democracy functions. If after every election, you lose, you call in the Cyber Ninjas, to declare the guy who`s now governing to be illegitimate and you to have been a usurped power. That`s a quick, quick, quick turn to the end.

The lawyer in Arizona is trying to stop them there joins us next.


MADDOW: It`s absurd as a concept. It`s even more absurd when you try to nut it up in a pithy headline. But there it is, in black and white Cyber Ninjas, hired by Arizona Senate to recount Maricopa County`s ballots asks court to keep its procedures secret.

Despite a court order to spell out in detail exactly what they`re doing exactly how they are conducting a so called audit of all the presidential election ballots in Maricopa County, which is two thirds of the ballots in that state, more than 2 million presidential ballots. The QAnon promoting, stop the deal promoting conspiracy theorist firm hired by Arizona Republicans to run this audit to go through all the ballots and see what they can find. That firm told in Arizona court this weekend, they will not disclose the trade secrets of how exactly they are recounting the ballots from the 2020 election in Arizona, or what in fact, they are doing with those ballots now that they`ve got their hands on them.

That case was brought by the Arizona Democratic Party which has been asking the court to stop this, this audit, which they say is illegal, among other things. It`s violating state laws about the sanctity and security of ballots.

They will be back in court tomorrow morning. But meanwhile, this supposed audit continues on with no press access and no independent observation whatsoever. So nobody really knows what they`re doing behind closed doors.

Joining us now is Roopali Desai. She is the attorney representing Arizona Democrats who are trying to stop this election audit.

Ms. Desai, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your time.


MADDOW: So there is a pronounced crescendo of national interest in what is happening in your case and in this situation in Arizona, as the days have gone by and I think the country has cottoned to the fact that they are trying to do something with the presidential ballots from Arizona from 2020. That raises serious concerns about whether the election is being messed with.

What do you think a national audience should understand? Are there misconceptions in the national coverage of this matter thus far?

DESAI: Well, I think that even the people here in Arizona, are not entirely sure what is happening with this audit. For weeks and weeks, there have been efforts to get information about the policies, the procedures, the steps that are being taken to safeguard and secure the ballots and election equipment that have now come into the possession of this audit firm, Cyber Ninjas. And everybody`s asking these questions, and there really aren`t any answers.

And to the extent that there is some legitimate purpose to audit ballots from the 2020 election, no one`s quite certain what they`re looking for, what kinds of things they`re trying to uncover. And most importantly, sort of, from my perspective, and from my client`s perspective, we`re really concerned about the long term impact that a so called audit like this that has no protections and safeguards in place really does to the overall erosion of public trust, in our elections.

MADDOW: It`s yeah, it`s sort of dog eating dog biting its own tail, you know, in a way, they`ve claimed that public doubts about the integrity of the election justify a some sort of review like this, and then the review is conducted in such a way that legitimately does risk the compromise of the ballots themselves and the certified election result that`s already been effectuated, in terms of Arizona having its electoral votes counted.

Do you believe that the judge`s order that the recount needs to be conducted in accordance with state law? Do you believe that order has teeth? And that`s changed anything in terms of their caution or the way that they`re approaching this?

DESAI: Well, let me take your first question. First, I think it absolutely has teeth when a judge has to order parties to follow the law that is meaningful. And frankly, you know, we all are expected to follow the law, when the court heard arguments from the parties last week and entered its order requiring all of the defendants and their agents to comply with the law. That`s critical. That`s important.

And so, yes, I do think it has teeth, whether or not that has changed the behavior or impacted the actual work that`s occurring. I`m not so sure about and that`s something that we`re going to be asking the court to look at. The other part of the order that I think is really critical is the judge ordered the Cyber Ninjas to produce documents that reflect the security measures that they`re adopting to show that they have in fact trained audit workers who are handling the ballots and the equipment.

And as you mentioned earlier, Rachel, those documents have not been produced, even though it was ordered by a court. There were no objections made, or about trade secrets or other concerns about producing those documents at the time the judge made the order, but when they were due to the parties into the court yesterday, they were not made and instead, the they filed a motion, asking the court not to force them to provide those and claiming things like trade secrets and other security issues.

And I think, you know, the kind of in terms of the double, double standard here, you have a firm that`s acting as an agent of the state, they`re using taxpayer dollars to conduct this audit, in addition to, you know, third party funding that`s coming in from we don`t know where, but if you`re asking the taxpayers to pay for this audit, then they ought to know what is happening and they ought to be able to feel secure that their ballots and equipment and other items that are involved in elections are safeguarded appropriately.

MADDOW: Roopali Desai, the attorney representing Arizona Democrats trying to stop the private company doing this audit at the behest of Republican or Arizona Senate Republicans. Ms. Desai, thanks for helping us understand, I know that this battle sort of continues in the courts in Arizona, please keep us apprised. We`d love to have you back.

DESAI: Thanks so much. Take care.

MADDOW: Thank you. What Ms. Desai just said there about funding this thing is also an another really interesting part of this story. Arizona Republicans say this whole thing is costing $150,000 and that`s how much taxpayer money they`re putting into it.

The company that`s doing it, this QAnon conspiracy theory, stop the steal company is also though accepting private funding to conduct this and they won`t say where it`s from. One of the entities that has been raising private funding to pay for what`s happening to the ballots in Arizona, is this Trump TV network, One American News, their reporters who are working on the story have been raising money to pay for the audit. And then they are also the only ones who are allowed to cover it by being in the room.

Seems totally kosher, right? That`s the way we do things.

Much more head for us tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Do you remember Wilbur Ross? He was Donald Trump`s commerce secretary for all four years of the Trump administration. And I think the way he kind of flew under the radar for most of that time is that he only made news for kind of ridiculous things, like wearing $600 Commerce Department monograms smoking slippers to President Trump`s first congressional address.

Secretary Ross was also reported to fall asleep kind of constantly at Commerce Department meetings and even at higher profile meetings on TV.

But velvets smoking slippers sleepy billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also had his moments of genuine scandal like when he threatened to fire federal weather officials because a hurricane was not going to Alabama. And they said so even though President Trump insisted for some reason that Alabama was absolutely where that hurricane was going. You remember that sharpie gate?

It was Wilbur Ross who tried to fire the weather people who were correct about the hurricane. He wanted to fire them for that. There was also at the time that Wilbur Ross lied to the Supreme Court.

As commerce secretary, it was Ross`s job to oversee the U.S. Census, that population count that the government has to undertake every 10 years because the Constitution says so. Trump administration announced they would add a question a new question to the census form this year, asking everybody about their citizenship status. That`s a question that hadn`t been on the census for at least 70 years.

And the ACLU, led by Dale Ho, the director of their Voting Rights Project, they took Wilbur Ross in the Commerce Department to court over that arguing that they were putting that citizenship question on the census, because they wanted to drive down response rates in immigrant communities. And that would produce a us population count that was whiter and more Republican and that would in turn skew the apportionment of congressional seats and the distribution of federal funding toward whiter and more Republican areas because they counted and less white areas didn`t.

Wilbur Ross said that was ridiculous set of allegations. He had merely added the question to the Census, he said because the Justice Department told him to he was barely involved. But a number of federal courts eventually the U.S. Supreme Court found that that was not true. In fact, the evidence showed clearly that Wilbur Ross had decided to add that citizenship question and then afterwards went flailing around trying to find some pretext to justify it.

Even as more and more evidence emerged showing that the citizenship question was exactly what it appeared to be. It really was straight up a ploy by the Trump administration to advantage white people and Republicans in congressional representation by excluding immigrant communities from the census count.

After the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from adding that new question to the census, President Trump flat out ordered the Census Bureau to exclude some immigrants from the census count. Though it was unclear how they would even go about doing this. Then Trump ordered that the census be ended early, which is a good way to come up with an undercount and the hardest among the hardest to reach communities including immigrants, minorities, and the poor, the people who are hardest to get to sometimes you don`t get to until you`ve made multiple attempts, so you need more time you cut the time short, you get less of those people counted.

Trump also decreed that the census count had to be delivered to him before the end of his term, so he could approve the count before sending them to congress, presumably so he could make sure on his way out the door before he was replaced by his successor that the numbers were rigged in the way that he wanted. But that did not happen. A census count did not get delivered to President Trump before he left office, we got the 2020 census count today.

And the top line numbers are fascinating and people will debate the ramifications of these for the next few months. Texas gains two seats in the U.S. House. Five other states gain one seat each seven states lose a seat including California, which is losing a congressional seat for the first time ever. New York loses a seat, they thought they were going to lose more than one seat. Turns out they only lost one and they would have even kept that one. If only 89 more census forms had been returned from New York state.

Lots of interesting stuff there. But the question hanging over all of this is even if Donald Trump`s plan to explicitly rejigger the numbers to exclude some immigrants, even if those explicit plots failed, because they got caught in lots of cases, they were blocked by the cards. Do his years of messing with the census mean that these numbers are always going to have an asterisk on them that they really can`t be trusted?

Just the person to ask, next.


MADDOW: At the ACLU, the head of their Voting Rights Project is Dale Ho. Dale Ho is the lawyer who argued one of the cases before the Supreme Court that resulted in the court stopping the Trump administration from what they were effectively trying to sabotage the count in the 2020 Census. The first results of which we just got today.

Dale Ho, it`s really nice to see you today. Thank you so much for your time.

DALE HO, HEAD, ACLU`S VOTING RIGHTS PROJECT: Thank you for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: I want to know if we should think of the 2020 Census as lockout that has asterisks on it because all the different ways the Trump administration really seemed to try to be screwing it up.

HO: We never had seen so many efforts to interfere with the census politically, but I think it`s too early to say whether or not these numbers are as accurate as we would like them to be. We have a lot of reasons to be confident. There is no citizen question on the census.

Immigration count didn`t matter. The bureau didn`t have the time that it said it needed to process the data after the collection of census responses took place. Trump failed in an effort to cut that time short.

But there are reasons for concern. We have the COVID-19 pandemic which obviously made responses and outreach a lot more difficult. We have horrible, anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric spewed forth from the last administration, which probably attributed to some reluctance to participate in the census. And then as you noted, census outreach itself was cut short by the administration.

So, there are reasons to be optimistic, they`re also reasons to be concerned.

MADDOW: And, Dale, as we get more detailed information, obviously we just got top line numbers today. We don`t know even age numbers, let alone ethnicity or race numbers, we don`t even know geographic numbers within specific states. We just know raw population numbers for each state and of the country.

As we get more, will potential problems be evident? I mean, how much transparency do we have to know, for example, if there was a community or specific state that was really left out, or if there was any place that had some sort of warping of their representation.

HO: Well, I think as you noted, Rachel, it`s a little early to speculate what problems may have emerged when we look at the census a little more closely. We do know that in June, the American Statistical Association will released its own review of procedures and protocols from the Census Bureau, you know, used for its operations this time around. Towards the end of the year, we will get a study from the Census Bureau itself which does its best to try to estimate whether or not there was any kind of under kind of particular populations, either nationally or state by state, or within individual states.

MADDOW: Dale Ho, the director of the voting rights at the ACLU, who did a lot with this team to shape the reality of what happened here with this important count, getting first data from it today -- Dale, thanks for being here tonight, I appreciate it.

HO: Thanks so much, Rachel.

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


MADDOW: I made it through show without having to put the glasses on. Yes. Couldn`t see the camera the whole time, but that`s fine.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. Again, keep an keep an eye out tomorrow for the time that President Biden`s announcement on COVID guidance. We`re expecting new CDC guidance on masks.

But I`ll see you here again tomorrow night.


Good evening, Lawrence.