Interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of the great state of Washington, chair of the Progressive Caucus. The man President Trump installed atop the U.S. Post Office is still there in that job and is now pushing a ten-year plan to slow the U.S. mail even further to offer less service and to close post offices all over the country.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC HOST: -- comes from a place of not understanding yoga as a practice and why people would want to do it to stay sane. I mean, the world has been a little bit nuts this past year plus, and so it`s so important for all of us to have some sort of outlet to keep our sanity.
State Representative Jeremy Gray, I want to thank you for your time tonight. I love this topic and I think so many folks maybe at home found it a nice break from the political conversation that we are constantly having in this country. So thank you so much for being here tonight and please stay safe.
That is "ALL IN" for this evening. Chris Hayes will be back on Monday. I want to thank him for allowing me to fill in for him the last two days, and you can find my show "Zerlina" streaming weeknights at 6:00 p.m. Eastern over on Peacock.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Zerlina. Thank you. I love that last segment. I love the whole idea of outlaw yoga in particular because it gives you that frisson beyond just its other benefits. I thought that was fantastic. Have a great weekend. Thank you so much, Zerlina.
MAXWELL: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Friday.
It definitely had a great title. It was called "Into the Storm." Cue "Into the Storm."
You might have watched it. Tons of people watched it. It was a big hit. It`s a documentary that HBO just rolled out recently.
It`s one of those blow your mind documentary series about something that you think you know a little bit about but then when you watch this things, boy, do you learn a lot. It`s about the QAnon phenomenon, which is such a weird phenomenon.
Very quickly in the matter of a few years it has become this giant belief system adhered to by lots and lots and lots of Americans on the right. And it consists of various interlocking totally over-the-top conspiracies, complex enough to make a six-part HBO documentary about it.
At its core, the bottom line of Q and its believers is that they think the entire American political establishment, definitely Democrats but also celebrities and also some people you thought that were dead but are secretly alive, they`re a big Satan-worshipping cabal of child sex traffickers. You know, and crucially Donald Trump is the one who will defeat them all and emerge victorious. Something like that.
QAnon started as a bunch of cryptic messages shared short of treasure hunt style intermittently on an obscure online message board, messages that purported to be from somebody called Q who was supposed to be some kind of high-ranking government official with very top secret security clearance, but obviously we`d never know who it was. Tried to figure out the identity of Q and decode what Q`s messages meant about when all the Democrats will be rounded up or sent to Guantanamo or publicly executed and Donald Trump would become a emperor or whatever it was.
It became an obsession for a lot of people. The surprise reveal at the end of this HBO documentary which has been out long enough that this is not a spoiler alert, the surprise reveal at the ending is that the documentary filmmaker who made the series appears to have secured a sort of inadvertent blurted out admission from a man who runs the message board where a lot of Q`s posts appeared. He sort of blurted out under questioning from this documentary filmmaker something that makes it seem like that actually he himself has been Q all along.
And he explicitly denies it and doesn`t want to be thought of as Q, but it kind of does feel like the circumstantial evidence suggests the guy who has been running the whole QAnon scam by posting all this stuff on his message boards, we do sort of have a pretty good idea of who it is.
And one of the problems, when Arizona Republicans decided they were going to uncount the vote from the 2020 presidential election, when they decided they would take all the 2 million ballots and machines from Arizona`s largest county and go through them all themselves to find the fraud that obviously cost Donald Trump the election, one of the problems they had was that Arizona Republicans picked a guy to run this so-called audit who was directly linked to the whole QAnon crazy conspiracy theory phenomenon and all of its inherent craziness.
They hired this firm, Cyber Ninjas, that had no experience with anything having to do with the elections, but they had this additional problem. Cyber Ninjas has this website. That`s going to be a problem in terms of your credibility.
Beyond that, their CEO had a publicly viewable record of promoting QAnon conspiracies and even corresponding directly with the guy who really does appear to be Q. Talking with him about how they were going to uncover the real fraud in the election.
The Cyber Ninja`s CEO, a man named Doug Logan, retweeting the Q guy, talking about 200,000 missing Trump votes in Arizona. Doug Logan messaging the Q guy asking him for source documents for his election conspiracy theories. Doug Logan saying to the Q guy, I`d love to chat if you have a chance. I`d love to chat with the chief scam guy behind this conspiracy theory that`s been separating all these people on the right both from their money and their sanity for months now. Maybe you have the answer.
So that was one problem. They picked this Cyber Ninjas company. No business having anything to do with this kind of an audit. Nothing to do with elections ever in the past. And their CEO is a QAnon conspiracy guy.
Another problem for Arizona Republicans with this contractor they hired to do this audit is that one of the people who was very happy to vouch for him, very happy to talk to the press and vouch for what a good guy the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, was and how closely he had been working with him already on the Arizona election fraud crisis, one of the people who was willing to step up and tell the press, hey, actually, I can vouch for this guy. He`s my guy, I`ve been working with him for a really long time.
That was this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY: Donald J. Trump has never conceded, has he? Because he won the election, so be cool. It`s all going to be good in time. Donald J. Trump is the guy and the military will call for the code if they need a first strike. Joe Biden is not the president of the United States.
Trump is watching. I believe, my own personal belief, is that he signed the Insurrection Act. Nobody knows it, he`s not going to tell anybody.
I think the military is prepared to act if we had a foreign threat or internal threat that can`t be handled by the police or the National Guard and we`re going to allow what appears to be continuity of government -- it`s going to painful about some things where you`re going to learning about what you coulda if you`d really gotten Biden, because he`s cleaning things up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He`s cleaning thing -- Trump is secretly working to clean things up. Joe Biden is not president. Why would you think Joe Biden is president? That`s a lawyer named Lin Wood from Georgia who involved himself in lots and lots of the Trump election fraud fantasy litigation after the election filing all kinds of election lawsuits that all got tossed promptly out of court. Lin Wood is now facing the prospect of losing his own law license because in his exuberance to promote the election fraud conspiracies, he called for Vice President Mike Pence to be assassinated. He`s accused John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, of being a pedophile and child sex trafficker.
John Roberts, really? Well, that said from Lin Woods` perspective, that`s kind of everybody who`s not him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOOD: They have accused me of being a QAnon conspiracy theorist. Why? Because they are telling you that I`m a bad messenger. They`re trying to attack me because they can`t attack Q, because Q is the truth.
This is about the children for God`s sakes.
Send this videotape, send it to Hollywood. Hey, Clay, send it to the House of Windsor.
Hey, Clay, send it to Bill Gates. Send it to the damn Illuminati.
Let them hear the truth. And whatever they do to me, I don`t fear them at all.
Send it to the Vatican. Send it to the politicians, the Clintons, the Obamas, the Bidens, the Bushes. Send it to those people, because they are involved in child sex trafficking. It`s time to tell the truth to America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`re going to put that in a time capsule at some point. Somebody from some distant land or civilization will look back and be like, what was going on with white people at that time in this country? What was -- it seems like there was a thing with like -- huh.
That`s Lin -- this is the guy who has been vouching for the bona fides and seriousness of Doug Logan, the head of Cyber Ninjas, which has been put in charge of recounting the Arizona presidential election result. This is the guy you want vouching for you, right?
Like when you`re applying for a job and you have to give them some references to call, that`s the guy you send them to? If you call my colleague, Lin, he`ll tell you about my qualifications and also fill you in on the Illuminati and how the Clintons and the Obamas and Bidens and, yes, the Bushes, and the British royal family. It`s all -- they`re all running a sex trafficking ring. By the way, the vice president should be assassinated.
Need more reference-wise? When do I stop the job because Lin can vouch for me. But there`s Lin Wood last month, happily as the sort of controversy was building around the Arizona recount. There`s Lin Wood happily telling the press that the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, this firm Arizona Republicans hired to do what`s supposedly an audit, Lin Wood is like, oh, yeah, I can totally vouch for them.
The guy who runs Cyber Ninjas, he stayed at my house for a while because we were all working together on the investigation into the election fraud. Quote: If it`s the Doug Logan I knew, I think he`s an excellent person to have that job. I`d trust any audit he gave. He`ll reveal the truth.
That`s the vernal pool from which you plucked your auditor from the presidential election results in your state, especially if he`s not certified or qualified to work on any sort of election thing at all, he`s just a guy who chats with a QAnon guy online and conducts election investigations from Lin Woods` basement, send it to the Illuminati! I mean, Arizona Republicans knew they had a credibility problem with having hired this firm run by this guy to uncount the presidential election results from Arizona for 2020.
They knew they had a credibility problem with him and so they decide that even though he would be running the audit overall, part of the way they would deal with his credibility issues is that they would tell everybody publicly that that guy would not be personally touching any ballots. Instead, there would be a subcontractor. He would have another company come in called Wake Technology Services or Wake TSI come in and actually do the hand counting of the ballots.
They were described by the Arizona Republicans as a company with deep experience with elections and audits. They specifically highlighted two previous elections that this Wake TSI company had worked on, one in New Mexico and one in Pennsylvania.
Well, "The Arizona Mirror", which has been doing fantastic reporting on this story for weeks, they dug into this supposed previous experience the Arizona Republicans were touting for Wake TSI both in New Mexico and in Pennsylvania.
"The Arizona Mirror" reports this, quote: No one in New Mexico has ever heard of wake TSI. Quote, Alex Curtas, a spokesman for the New Mexico secretary of state said he`s unaware of Wake TSI doing any work for the state or for any New Mexico counties.
There are two counties in New Mexico where losing Republican candidates demanded audits, but when "The Arizona Mirror" contacted those two counties, they had not heard of Wake TSI either. One county clerk said I`ve never heard of them doing anything in the state of New Mexico for anything. Okay, well, that was supposedly half their previous experience in elections.
What about their other claimed experience in elections, which was in Pennsylvania? Well, thanks again to reporting from "The Arizona Mirror", we now know that their Pennsylvania experience was something very specific. It was the guy who invited Rudy Giuliani to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, after the November election to do a fake hearing with Republican state legislators about how if you squint at Pennsylvania`s ballots you can see Satan in them.
The state senator who brought the Rudy Giuliani road show to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, last year, he also is the one who got this company who literally had no experience at all, Wake TSI. He did get them to come in and do an audit of one random county in Pennsylvania, to stop the steal or whatever. And this is a county that went for Trump by a huge margin anyway, and their audit of the result doesn`t appear to have made any material change in terms of what was revealed from that county.
The only consequence of that work by Wake TSI in that one county in Pennsylvania is that just like in Arizona now, that county in Pennsylvania, they too now have to throw away their voting machines. They can`t use them again, because they let these uncertified, un-experienced, random outside contractors tamper with them. And, therefore, they`re corrupted. And this public process can`t use those machines anymore.
We don`t hold private elections in this country. We have rules about how ballots and voting machines have to be handled. Public entities conduct elections. Rando fake audit firms brought in by the stop the steal local Republican legislators in Pennsylvania corrupted that process and meant that that county can`t use those machines anymore.
Same thing in Arizona. It made headlines across the country yesterday that Maricopa County is now going to have to throw away millions of dollars worth of voting machines and tabulators because they let these Cyber Ninja guys tamper with them. They let these Cyber Ninja guys do something to the machines, nobody knows what.
But now we know that that isn`t the first time that`s happened. The Cyber Ninjas have rendered the Maricopa voting machines unusable and the subcontractor they`re using to handle the ballots in Arizona, that subcontractor rendered the voting machines unusable in a county in Pennsylvania as well and that`s their only previous elections experience.
And, yes, all of this seems like disaster after disaster, right? Which makes it all the more remarkable that the momentum is on their side. They`re just getting started.
Tonight in Arizona, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who actually is under federal investigation for child sex trafficking, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was recently stripped of all her committee assignments in the House for promoting violent conspiracies around the election and QAnon, they are preparing to hold a live event in just a few minutes in Arizona, something they`re calling a rally to defend Donald Trump in the election audit in Arizona.
And tomorrow the clown car in Arizona will get even more crowded. Do you by any chance remember George Papadopoulos? Remember him? Trump campaign advisor who pled guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation and then he got a last-minute pardon from former President Trump? Guess what George Papadopoulos is doing tomorrow? He will also be in Arizona, appearing at a new fun-filled eventful of pro Trump QAnon-promoting election fraud conspiracy theorists.
Also there tomorrow is the failed inventor and treasure hunter guy whose secret scamming vote fraud detecting technology is allegedly being used in the fake Arizona audit because he says kinematic artifacts are his specialty.
The event will also be attended by the guy Patrick Byrne who used to run overstock.com. You might remember him after the dark days after the attack of January 6th at the Capitol where he admitted he was at a White House meeting/screaming match in which the idea of seizing voting machines all over the country and declaring martial law in order to turn the election was the topic of discussion in the Oval Office.
Mr. Byrne claims that he`s personally donated at least a million dollars to fund the recount/audit in Arizona. Which if you think about it really is a key part of the problem here.
What`s happening in Arizona is not an official thing. They have got the real ballots, the real voting machines, but it`s a privately funded thing with just random Trump people paying to have access to the votes and the voting machines. And Republicans all over the country are just letting them do it, lining up to do it now. They all want to get in on this good thing Arizona has got going on.
It`s happening in Arizona. We know it happened in one obscure Pennsylvania county before this. A county that can no longer use its voting machines because of it. As of today, it`s apparently going to happen next in Georgia, in Fulton County, Georgia, Metro Atlanta.
And who knows? That one may be handled more responsibly but you`ll recall that Georgia has already had at least three other recounts of the presidential election in Georgia, all of which showed that Joe Biden won. But now they have got another one they`re going to do. They`re going to try to uncount the election results in Georgia given how much traction, how much effect they have been able to have with this scene they have created in Arizona.
This is not -- I hear a lot of people say that they`re relitigating the election results. There`s no litigation here, at least not yet. They`re not bringing their claims about election fraud to the courts. They tried that more than 60 times and lost all of them.
Instead, what this is, is Republicans with private Trump supporter money using Trump supporter contractors who have no expertise in the field, they`re taking the ballots and taking the voting machines and doing lord knows what to them, but they think they`re going to be able to undo the results of the last election with whatever it is they`re doing, messing with what is supposed to be a public process. They`ll at least make it seem like the results of any election ever will never be knowable at all. Kinematic artifacts, they`re everywhere.
This is absolutely ridiculous and hilarious along with this clown car of ludicrous characters. Really, they`re bringing back George Papadopoulos now? Really?
But at the same time, they really are going to do this all over the country. Taking away from Trump supporters and Republican voters more broadly the basic idea that elections are something that we do publicly as a nation, as a means of making political decisions. They are ending that every way they can all over the country simultaneously.
This is incredibly stupid and occasionally hilarious. It is also at the same time way more serious than we are taking this as a country. They`re just getting started.
MADDOW: Okay. Now maybe we`re getting somewhere. President Biden has been in office 120 days, not that long, but in that time he and the Democratic majority in Congress did pass the big COVID relief bill, which is why you got a stimulus check, which is why families with kids are about to start getting child tax credit checks, which is what`s been funding the vaccine rollout, what`s been funding money for schools to safely reopen, the aid to restaurants that just started going out, it`s a lot.
And like I said, he passed it with the Democratic majority in Congress. I put it that way because no Republicans at all supported that, which turned out to be fine. I mean other than Republicans taking credit for it as if they passed it themselves, even though they all voted no. Other than that it`s fine, it still passed.
President Biden said he wanted the COVID relief effort to be bipartisan but the Republicans said no. Mitch McConnell guaranteed ahead of time there would be zero Republican votes for it. So the Democrats shrugged and said, okay, we would prefer to be doing something with you but if you`re not going to vote for it no matter what, we will not waste time talking with you about it.
Democrats did have to negotiate a little bit among is it themselves but they didn`t waste time. They went ahead and came up with something they could agree to and passed it on their own. They used something with the most boring name in the entire world. They used a Senate rule called budget reconciliation. Fell asleep there.
Budget reconciliation to pass the COVID relief bill which sounds very boring. What it means is that they could pass that bill with just a majority, with just 50 Democratic votes in the Senate even with all the Republicans voting no.
Now, to pass things that way, you have to get permission from the parliamentarian and not all legislation can be passed that way but that is how they passed COVID relief, which is a huge bill that`s made a huge difference in the country.
Well, now it looks like we`re about to get infrastructure too. At least that`s what it looks like to me. The Biden administration had proposed a big once in a generation infrastructure investment -- roads, bridges, airports, trains, charging stations for electric cars.
Do you know that China installed more charging stations for electric cars in December alone than we have in our entire country? In one month, they installed more than we have in our country coast to coast. The Biden infrastructure bill would wildly expand our electric vehicle charging stations, it would build 100 percent broadband access for everybody in the country, even in the most rural areas.
It would shore up our ridiculously fragile electric grid, put tons of people to work replacing lead pipes in everybody`s water systems and cleaning up abandoned oil wells and gas wells and mines. Cleaning up those sites and sealing them up. There`s a lot of work to be done there, which would do a lot of good.
The average hospital is about 11 years old. The average veterans hospital is about 60 years old. One of the things Biden`s infrastructure bill would be to rebuild and modernize our hospitals for our vets. They`re on average 58 years old.
Anyway, what Biden is proposing in terms of infrastructure in total and in its individual parts is very popular stuff. The Republicans don`t want to do it, though. And President Biden says, as he wants to say, that he would love Republicans to support the bill. He wants a bipartisan plan. There`s no reason this should be a Democrats-only kind of thing.
But the Republicans just really don`t want to do it, which was made very, very clear today, which is why I`m saying, okay, now maybe we`re getting somewhere, because clarity matters for stuff like this.
What Biden had proposed was $2.25 trillion on infrastructure. The Republicans said no. They`d rather spend about a quarter of that. And the Biden White House and the Republicans in the Senate have been meeting and meeting and meeting.
Today, the Biden administration released their counteroffer after all of their negotiations with the Republicans basically saying we`d love to do something with you in a bipartisan way. Here in the spirit of compromise is a new proposal from us that goes quite some distance toward what you`re proposing instead. The White House said today they would cut President Biden`s infrastructure plan way down.
They`ll make the proposal weaker and less ambitious because that`s what the Republicans want. Literally in the new plan they would propose doing tens of billions of dollars less work on roads and bridges and even broadband since that`s what the Republicans want. The White House`s revised proposal today, this offer to the Republicans, cut basically 25 percent off of what president Biden had previously planned to do.
The Republicans responded by saying, yeah, we don`t care. We still don`t like it. Thanks for nothing. We`re not any closer to anything. No, we still hate it.
And that honestly is good news if you are rooting for infrastructure investment in this country, because it`s clarity. Because the Biden administration has made this protracted good faith effort. They have made huge concessions to the Republicans to make the Biden proposal weaker and less effective since that`s what the Republicans want.
The Republicans don`t want it anyway, which means everybody now has clarity. We can all see and agree there`s no future in which Republicans will have a civic-minded awakening and say, oh, actually, yes, the country does need this stuff so let`s work with Democrats to pass something constructive.
There`s no future in which that happens, in which any considerable number of Republicans, let alone 10 senators, cross over and vote with Democrats to get infrastructure done. It`s never going to happen -- which means like COVID relief, their big success story thus far, Democrats can now have clarity.
They can now set aside, leave in the past, the talking to Republicans and making the bill weaker and worse part of this and instead they can just now get to work on passing it themselves. And I know this is not what you are hearing from the Beltway press today. The Beltway press is focused on the White House made a counteroffer but it still did not please the Republicans. What does this mean for the bipartisan future that both sides, blah, blah, blah.
There was never a bipartisan future. Republicans are never going to vote for anything that Biden wants to do. Mitch McConnell says his 100 percent focused on blocking the Biden agenda. Credit him for telling the truth. They`re never going to vote for what Biden wants.
And now we all know on both sides that that`s the future, and so that clarity is beneficial to the prospects of getting infrastructure passed. The actual most important news of the day is something first reported by "Punchbowl News" this morning and later confirmed by NBC News. The most important news of the day is that staffers to Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, and Senator Bernie Sanders, their staffers yesterday started meeting with the parliamentarian in the Senate, who is the person they need to give them permission to pass the infrastructure bill without any Republican votes at all if no Republican votes are coming.
That is how they passed COVID relief. That is why COVID relief was such a success, why it wasn`t watered down and they were able to get it done fast enough to actually help people and make a difference. That is also how they can now move forward on infrastructure and they have started the process.
Question one now is, now the Republicans have said we don`t care that you cut 25 percent out of your legislation, we still won`t vote for it. Does the Biden administration put that 25 percent back and go back to their original plan? The country, frankly, would probably be better off without cutting tens of billions of dollars out of what we`re going to do for broadband. So do they reinstate that stuff that they cut out purely to try to get Republican report and now it`s not going to get any Republican support? Question one.
Question two, do the Democrats agree now that it is time to get this done for all the differences amongst themselves? Are the Democrats basically ready to all pull in the same direction to now get this done?
Joining us now is Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of the great state of Washington. She`s the chair of the Progressive Caucus. She`s therefore a key player representing Democrats in Congress when it comes to Democrats figuring out what they are ready to do.
Representative Jayapal, it`s a real pleasure to have you here. Thanks for making time.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Always great to be with you, Rachel.
As I was listening to you, I was thinking, this is like waiting for Godot. You know, waiting for the Republicans to magically show up is something we don`t think is going to happen, but obviously we needed to give the president a little bit of room. I think that room has now been closed, that door has now been closed. We have clarity, as you said, and now we go back to doing what the country actually wants.
So even if Republicans in Congress don`t want a big infrastructure, jobs and families plan. We were talking about the jobs plan. There`s also the families plan which the Biden administration has proposed, the president has proposed, and we`re saying let`s put those two together, let`s pass it through reconciliation, and let`s do what is incredibly popular across the country.
MADDOW: Let me just ask you about what`s going on internally among Democrats right now, because as I just explained and as you seem to agree, the Republicans have kind of taken themselves off the table here, which is clarifying in terms of what needs to happen now in order to get this done. But I am acutely aware that Democrats in Congress come in all sorts of stripes and flavors.
Are there really significant differences that remain among Democrats about what to do here? Are there choke points that still really need to be figured out? Or are things at a place right now where Democrats are essentially ready to go and ready to pull in the same direction?
JAYAPAL: You know, every Democrat that I talk to in the House for sure is really on board with getting a big investment, a once in a generation investment done in all of these different pieces, roads, bridges, transit, broadband, you know, taking on climate, really addressing the issues around child care, especially when we`ve seen women being pushed out of the workforce, that is a huge piece. Free community college, which is also part of the Biden administration plan.
And we have been building the chorus even for additional health care pieces like lowering the Medicare eligibility age and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. And so there is a lot of agreement across the Democratic caucus.
Now, are there going to be places where we`re going to have to negotiate? Yes, there will be. And I think that for some in the Senate, some Democrats in the Senate, there needed to be an effort to at least see if Republicans were going to come along. It`s not really what we felt was necessary in the progressive caucus, but we understood that there needed to be a little bit of room.
However, Rachel, we have to learn the lessons from the last time around during the Obama administration where we tried and tried and tried to work with Republicans and we narrowed down everything we wanted to do and we didn`t make the kind of investment we needed to make. At the end of the day, the Republicans didn`t vote for it.
That is the same party we`re dealing with, except even worse because you look at the rescue plan, it was so popular. And the Republicans voted no and took the dough because they went back to their districts and people were like, oh, this is really great. I`ve got money in my pocket, a shot in my arm, my kids are going back to school, I got my child tax credit.
And all of a sudden, Republicans are like, oh, I can`t tell my constituents I voted no on this. So they started claiming credit for it. I think it`s important to distinguish between what Republicans across the country want and what Republicans in Congress are willing to do.
MADDOW: Realistically speaking, given all that you just said and what you understand about how the process is going to go from here on out, what`s your best guess as to when this passes?
JAYAPAL: Well, I think there`s a very good possibility that we take up the budget resolution in the House in June and then we try to pass it by July 4th. The speaker had said before that`s what she wanted to do. And then the Senate is able to do the same probably in the month of July and then the whole thing comes together and we vote it out before the August recess.
So that is really the timing that we need. This is urgent. And again, you know, when I look at what people are telling us across the country, they`re saying we like a bold, ambitious plan. Guess what, it gets even more popular if you put in the fact, as the president has said, that we`re going to tax the biggest corporations and the wealthiest people in order to raise some revenue.
We know that infrastructure pays for itself, but making the tax system fair, that`s something that Americans say, yeah, I want to get behind that. I`m for it. And it actually increases the popularity even more.
MADDOW: Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the very influential, very active progressive caucus, it`s always great to have you here, Congresswoman. Thank you so much for making time tonight.
JAYAPAL: It`s always great to be with you, Rachel, thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to get to this Friday night. I`m about to introduce you to somebody in Iowa who is going to be your new boyfriend. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Watch this. This guy totally gets it. I love this. I feel exactly the same way that he does.
(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`ve seen the miracles behind these walls right here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When you put something in a blue box, it gets there which looks like magic. It`s not magic, it`s because of all the hard work that happens behind those walls by people like him.
That man`s name is Mike Bates. He has been a U.S. postal worker for nearly 30 years, God bless him. What he`s talking about there is the mail. When he says he has witnessed miracles on the job, did you catch what he said first, though? I don`t think he really has a clue about what we do.
The "he" in that sentence is this man, Louis DeJoy. He is the head of the U.S. Postal Service, the postmaster general appointed by Donald Trump. He is still in that job today, believe it or not.
It was, of course, Louis DeJoy, pardon me for saying so, who kind of broke the U.S. mail system last year. Immediately after Trump installed him in the job, DeJoy instituted draconian new policies that created unprecedented devastating backlogs in the mail across the whole country.
He ordered multimillion dollar irreplaceable custom built mail sorting machines to be removed and destroyed. He cut the number of trips that mail carriers were allowed to take. He banned mail carriers from taking extra trips to deliver mail that would otherwise be late so, yeah, the mail got late, really late, all over the country at his orders.
I know you know all of this because we have all been living through what has felt like a collapse of reliable mail service in this country which started when Trump`s guy, Louis DeJoy, took over. Unfathomably, even after that disastrous start to his tenure as postmaster general, Louis DeJoy is still in charge of the postal service tonight as I sit here.
And since he`s still there, he`s still coming up with new ways to try to monkey wrench the way mail gets delivered even further. He`s recently proposed his own 10-year plan for the postal service, something "The Washington Post" calls the, quote, largest roll back of consumer mail services in a generation.
Just as one example, DeJoy`s plan calls for ending the use of airplanes to move first class mail across the country. To only use trucks instead, which, of course, would significantly slow down the delivery of the mail. He would further reduce hours at post offices. He wants to close a bunch of post offices, end a lot of postal services.
Postal workers and union leaders immediately pointed out that one of the things he`s proposing would be to offload more mail carrying operations to private companies, which is designed to have a side benefit of further slowing down mail deliveries, while also privatizing the mail.
So that`s why that postal worker, Mike Bates, was saying that his boss has no idea what he and his fellow mail carriers do. You might see those signs over Mr. Bates` shoulder there. When he made those remarks this week, he was at a protest, an informational picket. Postal workers, among them some of the ones who blew the whistle on the sorting machines disaster last year, postal workers held a rally in Des Moines this week in Iowa to protest these proposed new changes to the way the post office operates.
They stood outside the Des Moines post office chanting "raise hell, save your mail". They say, "cut back, we say fight back." They made signs that say things like DeJoy equals delays and stop DeJoy, save USPS.
And it wasn`t just postal workers who showed up for it. They had a live stream where people could explain why it was important to them to keep delivery standards high, because it`s the people`s service, why we all need the mail on home and on time.
This man, for example, is an advocate for retirees in Iowa, for people who rely on the mail being delivered on time to get their medications and household necessities. He called the slowdown of the U.S. mail a threat to the well-being of seniors, and it is.
All these people out there are still rallying to save the post office because the guy who messed it up is still in office and is now proposing major new changes that will mess it up even further. All those folks were rallying in Iowa this week not just to catch the attention of Louis DeJoy, they were there to try to catch the attention of the broader public too, because they want the public to do something now to try to stop what Louis DeJoy is doing, to try to stop the mail from getting even worse.
It`s a specific thing they`re asking for help from the public on. We`ve got that next. Stay with us. We`ve got that next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The man President Trump installed atop the U.S. Post Office, basically to try to break it, is still there in that job. After everything he did last year, including before the election to slow down and screw up the mail, Louis DeJoy is now pushing a ten-year plan to slow the U.S. mail even further to offer less services -- excuse me, to offer less service and to close post offices all over the country.
Right now, though, it`s just a proposal. It`s actually up to something called the Postal Regulatory Commission whether or not DeJoy`s plan formally gets adopted. Right now is the magic window of time where the general public gets to tell the postal regulatory commission if they should do that. Right now is when the public gets to tell that commission how they feel about Louis DeJoy`s plan to cut back and slow down the postal service even more than he already has.
The public comment period is open right now, but it`s only staying open for the next month. It`s only open until June 22nd. As Iowa postal workers rallied this week to try to let people know this is happening and to try to get people to public comment against DeJoy`s plans to further mess with the post office, the president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union said this, quote, if we don`t get DeJoy`s plan stopped, the avalanche will begin, and irreversible damage may be done.
Well, joining us is Kimberly Karol, who is the president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union.
Ms. Karol, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you taking the time.
KIMBERLY KAROL, PRESIDENT, IOWA POSTAL WORKERS UNION: Thank you, Rachel, for inviting me back. Again, another pivotal moment in postal history.
MADDOW: It feels like it, and I`m interested in the fact that you and your colleagues, the people who were out there in Des Moines this week, trying to raise awareness of this, trying to get news coverage, trying to let people know worse and further cuts are coming, are asking for people to give public comment against it.
Do you think that strong public comment against this proposal could actually stop it?
KAROL: Well, I don`t think we`ve ever had an opportunity where the public has been able to make comment in previous changes. And that`s why we really want to take this opportunity to make sure that the public understands what`s happening and they take action and let the Postal Regulatory Commission know that this is not the direction that we want to take.
There isn`t one right way or one way. We need to find the right way. And if the American people speak out and say that this is not what they want in the postal service, that they`re not willing to settle for adequate service, they want exceptional service -- and they deserve exceptional service -- we will find a different way.
MADDOW: It seems to me like if there`s one thing that you wanted to tell a randomly assembled group of Americans that you could guarantee would make most of them mad, would be that you`re going to close a bunch of post offices. I think everywhere in the country, including very rural parts of the country, the prospect of a local post office that`s been there forever is going to shut down gets people`s blood boiling pretty quickly. That proposal plus the proposal to slow down first-class mail, plus the proposal to just stop offering some existing mail services, it does seem like this is designed to hit the public`s hot buttons here in terms of the kinds of things that would most aggravate us.
I wonder if the plan here is to -- if the idea here was that Americans wouldn`t know this was happening. It just seems like there`s such inflammatory proposals.
KAROL: Well, I think that`s exactly what the plan was. Even in hearings with regard to the service standard changes that were conducted by the postal service, they admitted to not talking to customers, and they said they weren`t going to get public comment.
So I think that was part of exactly the plan, was to make sure that this went through, that the law got changed, and the postal service would make all these service changes, and the customer would be just left to complain. We`re wanting them to take positive, proactive action and tell them that they`re not willing to settle for this slowdown.
And if necessary, they need to reach out to their congressmen and senators because we as American people should be able to influence the service that is being provided to us as Americans. And the only way to do that is if we rally together once again and put pressure on the people who are making decisions for us and say, look, this is what we want. This is what we deserve. And the time to do that is now, before the law is changed, before the rules are changed.
MADDOW: Again, that public comment period with the Postal Regulatory Commission closes in a month, closes on June 22nd, which means public comment needs to go in now in order to potentially affect that.
Kimberly Karol, president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union -- Kimberly, it is a pleasure and an honor to have you here again. Keep us apprised. Come back soon.
KAROL: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One last thing before we go, something to watch for over the weekend. A couple of weeks ago, a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to release a memo they`ve been trying to keep secret. It`s a memo written during the Bill Barr era about potentially prosecuting President Trump for obstruction of justice.
That judge`s order stands. The Justice Department now, under President Biden, had asked the judge for more time, an extra week to think about whether they`re going to appeal that ruling or whether they`re going to release the Trump prosecution memo. They got a week`s extension, but that extension runs out on Monday.
So, on Monday, either the Trump prosecution memo comes out, or the Biden Justice Department tells the judge they`re going to appeal to another court to try to keep it secret. I have no idea what they are going to do, but the time for them to decide is now up.
Monday is the deadline. Watch for progress on that potentially over the weekend or on Monday early in the day.
I`ll see you again Monday night.
Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" where Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence tonight.
Good evening, Ali.